Hate the Game (Holly Hall)

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Pre-order link: https://amzn.to/2Z6woIG

My official title: Relationship Consultant. A modern-day, one-sided matchmaker. When I approach relationships like a formula, it’s simple really. If only I had the same success in my personal life.

My gorgeous neighbor turns me into a fumbling mess, and I don’t exactly match the leggy, model-types I’ve seen him with. Despite the fact that we’re total opposites, our chemistry is almost hot enough to convince me to give the dating game another shot. (Not to mention, it’s totally off-brand to be a relationship skeptic.) 

What could it hurt to practice what I preach? After all, Theo Hartley would be a fun specimen to practice with. And if things go south—which is my luck—I just have to remember what I tell my clients: 

don’t hate the player…

Typically, I do not read books like this. There’s nothing wrong with them, they just don’t typically pique my interest. But I knew I wanted to read one of Holly’s book and this one seemed like just what I needed and it came to me at the perfect time.

And wow– I was right! Hate the Game was SO much fun to read! What a joy it was to actually laugh out loud with a book. The banter was genuine and unforced and the writing flowed so nicely that I got lost inside the pages. Not only all of that– the story line was completely original. How cool to read the POV of a relationship consultant?!

“Maybe love wasn’t about the perfect person checking off all the boxes on your list. Maybe it was about the steady in the chaos; the person who, as life buzzed on around you, kept you grounded instead of caged.”

I felt like the characters were so comfortable with themselves and confident and really three dimensional. It’s so refreshing reading a book that contains characters that have a sense of humor. Every time they interacted, I had to run to the bathroom and pee because lets be real– after you have kids your bladder just isn’t the same even if you’re giggling.

Holly needs to write more rom-coms. Period. Girlfriend really shined with this one. Hate the Game was just the right amount of light-hearted fun and heart-felt moments that kept me turning the pages just as quick as I could.


Lock Every Door (Riley Sager)

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Buy link: https://amzn.to/2KTEHOf

No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen’s new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan’s most high-profile and mysterious buildings. Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind.

As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid, who comfortingly, disturbingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story—until the next day, when Ingrid disappears.

Searching for the truth about Ingrid’s disappearance, Jules digs deeper into the Bartholomew’s dark past and into the secrets kept within its walls. Her discovery that Ingrid is not the first apartment sitter to go missing at the Bartholomew pits Jules against the clock as she races to unmask a killer, expose the building’s hidden past, and escape the Bartholomew before her temporary status becomes permanent.

“The twelfth floor is special”

Well, I enjoyed it. For the most part anyways. The build up was great, the setting was eerie, gothic, and vivid, the plot line the first half of the book was strong. But…

…I’ll admit that I thought things went completely off the rails and I rolled my eyes (a lot) toward the last 40% of the book. I think the ending (and the chapters leading up to the ending)  just didn’t justify the story as a whole. Not with how I thought the author was taking this one. I definitely wasn’t expecting it to go in the direction that it did (just like with The Last Time I Lied) but unlike with that book, I guess this one was a little bit more unbelievable? I don’t know. Maybe it wasn’t as far-fetched as I thought. Every one else seemed to love it, so I am going to say it’s just me LOL.

The characters in this one also lacked a lot of depth. They were very two dimensional and just seemed to be… people on a page. They didn’t jump out at me and they weren’t very vivid. Not like the setting anyways. I can remember reading his other two novels and the characters jumped right out to me. This one wasn’t so attention-grabbing. I have hope for the next one though!

I enjoy Riley’s writing. 100%. I feel like I have been following him since he first released Final Girls so I can confidently say that. I also feel like he has a very captivating writing style that not only keeps you filled with hours of guessing the countless possibilities, but it also makes it impossible to put his book down, because you want to see if he’s going to go where you think he’s going to go. But between the far-fetched story line, the direction he took with this book, and the characters of Lock Every Door, it just wasn’t my favorite of his.

You Were There Too (Colleen Oakley)


Pre-order link: https://amzn.to/2HciR7y

Mia Graydon’s life looks picket-fence perfect; she has the house, her loving husband, and dreams of starting a family. But she has other dreams too—unexplained, recurring ones starring the same man. Still, she doesn’t think much of it, until a relocation to small-town Pennsylvania brings her face to face with the stranger she has been dreaming about for years. And this man harbors a jaw-dropping secret of his own—he’s been dreaming of her too.

Determined to understand, Mia and this not-so-stranger search for answers. But when diving into their pasts begins to unravel her life in the present, Mia emerges with a single question—what if?

“It’s him. It’s always been him.”

This review will be a little different. Maybe a little “story-telling-ish”. For that, I am sorry. If you only like to read about opinions on a book, or why I loved / didn’t love a book, I’d maybe skip this review of mine.

Firstly: You Were There Too was electrifying. Jarring. Captivating. And raw. If you like the types of books that Taylor Jenkins Reid writes— you will devour this one. It was FULL of characters with depth. Full of them. I thought the author did a fantastic job with the relationships, the struggles, and the way they reacted and handled the things they did.

Okay, story time:

For years, I’m talking years. Like, the first I can remember is from when I was 13. I have dreamed about a person. He’s always in my dreams, he has no name, sometimes I don’t even think he has a face. You know, maybe it’s even a woman. I can’t tell you for sure. But he’s always there. And when I am around him there is such a powerful pull. A connection. Something so strong I wake up and still feel the ping in my chest of his absence. Our interactions are always platonic, strictly friends being around each other, sometimes at places as random as Walmart. Or me seeing him in the audience at my wedding. But the pull is there for him.

But I’ve never met him.

For 16 years I’ve never once come across this person. Not even for a brief second. I would know it. I know I would. So reading about Mia’s experience meeting Oliver after the years of dreaming about him, in a non-sexual way, was SO enjoyable for me to read. I loved it. I loved them together, the way they fit, the way they responded to each other. They complimented each other so well. But I also loved Harrison. I loved him and Mia together. I respected the way Mia handled everything so much. I just really loved this book.

You Were There Too was a fun journey for someone like me who has experienced this type of re-occurring dream. Or even the ones who are hopeless romantics. Or even the ones who like to have your heart ripped out and handed to you on a silver platter. Enjoy!

I Stop Somewhere (TE Carter)

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Buy link: https://amzn.to/2Ku0DQR

Ellie Frias disappeared long before she vanished.

Tormented throughout middle school, Ellie begins her freshman year with a new look: she doesn’t need to be popular; she just needs to blend in with the wallpaper.

But when the unthinkable happens, Ellie finds herself trapped after a brutal assault. She wasn’t the first victim, and now she watches it happen again and again. She tries to hold on to her happier memories in order to get past the cold days, waiting for someone to find her.

The problem is, no one searches for a girl they never noticed in the first place.

“The things we wish for don’t happen. This is how things really go.”

I Stop Somewhere was SUCH a powerful read and the type of YA novel that I like to read. Not only did it deliver messages in a mature type of manner, it was respectful of said messages. It wasn’t added for dramatic effects and it wasn’t glamorized.

Hands down, the most amazing thing about this book was the POV and the way it was as a whole written. It tells Ellie’s story in a way that no other writing method could. Similar to The Lovely Bones and 13 Reasons Why, I Stop Somewhere tells Ellie’s story in a poignant, stunning, and respectful way.

I Stop Somewhere was horrifying, painful, yet so beautifully written and definitely a necessary book in a day like today. Having the POV that we do in this story was electrifyiung. I ached and I wanted to fight. I got teary eyed and I wanted to run to Ellie and the other girls that surrounded her.

Read this book. Soak it all in. You won’t regret it.


The Body Painter (Pepper Winters)

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“Must be slim, able to stand for long periods of time, and be impervious to the cold.”
The headline caught my attention.
“Hours are negotiable, pay is minimal, clothing absolutely forbidden.”
The second line piqued my curiosity.
“Able to hold your bladder and tongue, refrain from opinions or suggestions, and be the perfect living canvas.”
The third made me scowl.
“Other attributes required: non-ticklish, contortionist, and obedient. Must also enjoy being studied while naked in a crowd.”
The fourth made me shudder.
“Call or email ‘YOUR SKIN, HIS CANVAS’ if interested in applying.”
The final made my heart race.
I should’ve kept scrolling past the advertisement.
I should’ve applied for the boring receptionist job at minimum wage.
I should’ve clicked on any other job where I got to keep my clothes on.
But I didn’t.
I applied.
My interview is tomorrow…

“How could a man who surrounded himself in barricades suddenly leave himself wide open for attack?”

I loved this book.
I love Pepper Winters.
She is my absolute favorite guilty pleasure author and read. If I ever want to indulge myself into some troubled men / troubled women I ALWAYS go to her— her writing never fails me.

I love how Pepper creates the relationships that she does. The heart-wrench filled / angst filled ones. The troubled boy, the troubled girl. The troubled past. I LOVE THE TROUBLE! LOL! Give me all of your turmoil and trouble, Pepper! I’m stingy.

I also really loved how Pepper created such dynamic characters and I think the use of her dual first person POV helps with that immensely. Getting the past and present and the girls POV and the boys really helped build this story into what it was. The writing and time-line building was genius.

Not only allll of that— but her story line is completely original. I loved the entire concept and felt the characters filled their parts perfectly. The way these character shift and change, really kept me flipping the pages.

If this book surprised me the way that it did. I can only IMAGINE what the next book will do to me. RUIN MY LIFE, PEPPER! Do it. I dare you.

Followers (Megan Angelo)

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Pre-order link: https://amzn.to/2GSLq9P

An electrifying story of two ambitious friends, the dark choices they make and the profound moment that changes the meaning of privacy forever.

Orla Cadden dreams of literary success, but she’s stuck writing about movie-star hookups and influencer yoga moves. Orla has no idea how to change her life until her new roommate, Floss―a striving, wannabe A-lister―comes up with a plan for launching them both into the high-profile lives they so desperately crave. But it’s only when Orla and Floss abandon all pretense of ethics that social media responds with the most terrifying feedback of all: overwhelming success.

Thirty-five years later, in a closed California village where government-appointed celebrities live every moment of the day on camera, a woman named Marlow discovers a shattering secret about her past. Despite her massive popularity―twelve million loyal followers―Marlow dreams of fleeing the corporate sponsors who would do anything, even horrible things, to keep her on-screen. When she learns that her whole family history is a lie, Marlow finally summons the courage to run in search of the truth, no matter the risks.

Followers traces the paths of Orla, Floss and Marlow as they wind through time toward each other, and toward a cataclysmic event that sends America into lasting upheaval. At turns wry and tender, bleak and hopeful, this darkly funny story reminds us that even if we obsess over famous people we’ll never meet, what we really crave is genuine human connection.

Now that I have had a day to think about this one, I have decided that I did not love Followers nor did I hate it. In fact– I really loved the premise of the story itself. It’s what encouraged me to read the book in the first place (as well as the cover). When it was all said and done, I felt like what I had read was two episodes of Black Mirror crammed into one book. The mediocre ones.

Followers was lengthy and wordy. There. I said it. It was. I think the words in this one took over and at some point(s) you don’t even know what is going on because the author gets so long winded. I had to start paragraphs over multiple times. But maybe that was just me.

I think the ending really killed this one for me. That’s what I will say about that. Moving on.

HOWEVER, with me saying all of the above, I really loved the concept of this story and the way it was laid out. I think for me, it was a very realistic story that fits into the world we live in today. For an author to write that out, it was fascinating to me.

Thus concluding: I believe it’s definitely possible to enjoy Followers and not be annoyed by what annoyed me. There were some great elements and like I said above, the premise of the book as a whole was so interesting. I just wished the writing flowed a little better for me. And about 2000 words were removed.

Behind Every Lie (Christina McDonald)

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Pre-order link: https://amzn.to/2T4TDg9

If you can’t remember it, how do you prove you didn’t do it?

Eva Hansen wakes in the hospital after being struck by lightning and discovers her mother, Kat, has been murdered. Eva was found unconscious down the street. She can’t remember what happened but the police are highly suspicious of her.

Determined to clear her name, Eva heads from Seattle to London—Kat’s former home—for answers. But as she unravels her mother’s carefully held secrets, Eva soon realizes that someone doesn’t want her to know the truth. And with violent memories beginning to emerge, Eva doesn’t know who to trust. Least of all herself.

Told in alternating perspectives from Eva’s search for answers and Kat’s mysterious past, Christina McDonald has crafted another “complex, emotionally intense” (Publishers Weekly) domestic thriller. Behind Every Lie explores the complicated nature of mother-daughter relationships, family trauma, and the danger behind long-held secrets.

I just know Christina McDonald is forever an author that I will always automatically read. So far as I finish up her second book– I love how she creates such dynamic mother / daughter relationship stories. The type of relationships that don’t often seem as they appear. The deeper you dig, the more you find out about not just one character but each one.

I think my absolute FAVE part of this entire book was the way it was written. I loved the past and present POV’s and how it wove the story together. I particularly enjoyed knowing what was going on and then turning around and watching Eva unfold it all. I thought the story-line as a whole was nicely paced. Not too rushed – not too slow.

Literally there was twist after twist after twist. Now, it may not blow your mind and you may sit there and say “yeah, I knew that was coming” but you know what? Maybe that is true. But I think if you’re like me, you’ll still appreciate how believable and real it all seemed.

No matter if you’re the type of reader who enjoys being surprised or even if you are the reader who can see a story-line coming from two miles away, I think every type of reader will enjoy this book. I enjoy the way Christina McDonald makes us see the things that we do when we read her books. I am most definitely a forever fan.