Maybe in Another Life (Taylor Jenkins Reid)


Buy link:

At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She has lived in six different cities and held countless meaningless jobs since graduating college. On the heels of leaving yet another city, Hannah moves back to her hometown of Los Angeles and takes up residence in her best friend Gabby’s guestroom. Shortly after getting back to town, Hannah goes out to a bar one night with Gabby and meets up with her high school boyfriend, Ethan.

Just after midnight, Gabby asks Hannah if she’s ready to go. A moment later, Ethan offers to give her a ride later if she wants to stay. Hannah hesitates. What happens if she leaves with Gabby? What happens if she leaves with Ethan?

In concurrent storylines, Hannah lives out the effects of each decision. Quickly, these parallel universes develop into radically different stories with large-scale consequences for Hannah, as well as the people around her. As the two alternate realities run their course, Maybe in Another Life raises questions about fate and true love: Is anything meant to be? How much in our life is determined by chance? And perhaps, most compellingly: Is there such a thing as a soul mate?

Hannah believes there is. And, in both worlds, she believes she’s found him.

“Fate or not, our lives are still the results of our choices. I’m starting to think that when we don’t own them, we don’t own ourselves.”

It pains me to do this. And when I say that I mean it because TJR is a go to author for me. Hands down, one clicking every single time no matter what. I know that when I read her books, I am going to be left feeling some sort of way. But with Maybe in Another Life, it didn’t affect me in that usual TJR way. I think if maybe I had read her books in order (of release date) I might feel differently about it but after reading all of her other fabulous books first, this one just fell super short.

Image result for well crap gif

Firstly, the characters. UGH. None of the characters evoked any type of feeling from me. Well, I shouldn’t say none. Only one did. I didn’t feel for Hannah, Ethan, or Henry but Gabby, she got to me. She had so much depth. And she was even a secondary character! I think that speaks a lot about the characters in this novel. When your secondary character sparks more interest from your reader than the main characters do, I think that becomes an issue.

A lot of times, in TJR’s other books, I attach to the character or even multiple ones. I pick a “team”. I find someone that I love dearly and I root for them the entire time. Even if it’s not a male. I feel like as an author, she does a great job at doing this. But I don’t understand what happened with this one. Maybe it was my book funk or maybe it was my growth in reading, but none of them captivated me or evoked any type of empathy from me.

Image result for i feel nothing gif

Hannah was very dull and flighty. I didn’t like how two dimensional she was in both realities. I would have thought with two different possibilities, one of the Hannah’s would be full of growth and she would bloom into something great but it just didn’t happen. Ethan was a lump on a log. That’s how I viewed him. He left zero mark on me and sparked zero interest. I think had TJR given the reader more of their past relationship, it would have given me something to go on but really we only get a few scenes with him and they’re all redundant. They serve no real purpose to the story at hand. Henry was just…there. The author tried way too hard to force him on me and she didn’t sell it. I feel like he was just a stepping stone for Hannah because of the way he is presented to us. He helps her and then that’s it. What does he really do for her emotionally though? I never really felt anything.

“He still, all these years later, shines brighter to me than other people. Even after I got over him, I was never able to extinguish the fire completely, as if it’s a pilot light that will remain small and controlled but very much alive.”

That is a line we get about Ethan. But, we never see how that spark ignites and stay lit as pilot. We just are supposed to believe these two people have a past and still love each other. Yeah, okay sis.

Image result for yeah okay gif

I really loved the story line and alternating realities. I think that was the only thing I liked within this entire story. I thought the way TJR presented this book to us was unique in her own way. I just didn’t like how she executed it. The end was a cop out. One that could have been done a million different ways– and it just wasn’t.

Maybe in Another Life was an interesting concept, but unfortunately the characters didn’t resonate with me the same way her other books have. I didn’t hate it but I sadly didn’t love it either.

I also hope I never hear about or see another cinnamon roll again. Jesus.

Image result for thats enough gif


Verity (Colleen Hoover)


Pre-order link:

Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish.

Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity’s notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn’t expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity’s recollection of what really happened the day her daughter died.

Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents would devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen’s feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife’s words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue to love her.

“What you read will taste so bad at times, you’ll want to spit it out, but you’ll swallow these words and they will become part of you, part of your gut, and you will hurt because of them.”

I am so excited to sit down and talk to about this book. Even if it feels like I am talking to myself or rather my laptop- I am excited. Colleen has found a way to capture an all new type of audience and I am so here for it!

Image result for here for it gif

For anybody (like myself) who has ever wanted to see Colleen Hoover branch out and create something so different from the types of books she typically writes (and for fans of Too Late), Verity will be the best thing to appease your hunger. I wasn’t sure of how much I would like this, being an avid suspense/thriller reader myself, but the way Colleen captured not only Lowen but Verity, I was blown away. I wasn’t sure how I feel about her, reading about her through other people’s POV but the way the book is structured – it worked. Especially for me. It made it all that much more fun.

Another fun part about this book was Colleen was able to steer away from her more dialogue driven novels, to something much more focused on plot and descriptiveness. Her descriptiveness of the setting is immaculate. I can FEEL the house they’re in. I can feel the eeriness and the complexity of the characters and the way they feel with the things going on. I can feel what all of these characters are feeling not from dialogue but from how well everything is described for us.

“You can’t look at someone the way he looked at me—with the entirety of your past—if you aren’t also imagining your future.”

Also, huge props to Colleen on making Verity evenly romantic and suspenseful. A lot of times, one trumps the other and I have a hard time liking what the author has done. But the balance was fantastic. I knew what was going to happen at times, both romantically and suspensefully, but I didn’t see the last few things coming and that for me was a game changer!

Related image

Verity is a character that we meet in a little different way then how we meet most characters. But the way Colleen wrote her was mesmerizing. She made her an unreliable narrator through a voice that I haven’t experienced before. Verity was a villain. Whether it was because she wanted us to think she was or because she really was, in my eyes she was a villain.

“But when a person finds someone who makes all the negativity in their lives disappear, it’s hard not to want to feed off that person. I fed off Jeremy in order to keep my soul alive. It was starving and shriveled before I met him, but being in his presence nourished my wilted soul. “

Verity is unsettling. It’s eerie, refreshing, and will have you question almost everything you read. But that’s the best part about books such as these right? The constant second guessing. The constant wondering. The constant what ifs and constant thoughts of the story long as you close it. I hope Colleen branches out and does this every so often, because I think this was a refreshing read from her. One that I would be happy to read more of.

The Wish Collector (Mia Sheridan)


Buy link:

When ballet dancer Clara Campbell arrives in New Orleans, lonely and homesick, she is immediately captivated by the story of Windisle Plantation and the tragic tale that is said to have transpired beyond its gate. Legend has it that it is abandoned by all living souls, but to Clara’s great surprise, it is not a ghost she hears through the stone wall surrounding the property, but a flesh and blood man. A scarred stranger with a pain deeper and darker than the churning waters of the Mississippi river that flows beside his self-imposed prison. 

The ruined man behind the wall hides himself from the world. The last thing he expects is to find a friend in the selfless girl who speaks to him through the cracks in the rock. The girl who keeps returning week after week. The girl who makes him wish for things he has long since given up on. The girl who strikes both fear and hope within his wounded heart. But there can be no future for them, no life beyond Windisle, for no one knows better than him that monsters only live in the dark. 

The Wish Collector is the story of shame and triumph, of loneliness and love, and the miracle of two hearts connecting despite the strongest of barriers between them.

“For love. For magic. For wishes that finally came true.”

Every time I read a Mia Sheridan book I am blown away by her story telling abilities. The Wish Collector is no different. I think she went back to her “Archer roots” with this one and I loved every second of it.

Two words. Slow. Burn. I could not get enough of Clara and Jonah together. Watching their friendship develop into what it did, in the amount of time that it did, was very heartwarming to me. I felt, I don’t know, warm inside every time they interacted. Their two personalities combined was the perfect yin and yang. Watching their worlds collide was just magical. That is the only word I can think of to describe it. Magical. 

Image result for magical gif

“He was beauty and pain, glory and suffering, vengeance and grace, and all things made stronger and more meaningful because they have an opposite.”

I love seeing the girl fight for the guy. I think that was my favorite part of the book. Although, Jonah does his fair share of fighting for Clara, I was so impressed to see Clara approach Jonah the way she did. I love that so much in a woman. Correcting her wrongs. Apologizing. And it didn’t feel forced. I felt Clara’s want and need to go to Jonah and make things right.

I adore Mia’s flawed characters. Whether physically or emotionally, I am a complete sucker for them every time. Knowing that there are books out there that doesn’t fit the cliche of abs and perfect faces and perfect everything, makes things a lot more real for me. In turn, the characters feel real. And there is nothing more appealing in a book than when characters come to life for you. I am blown away every time.

Image result for WOAH GIF

If you’re looking for a swoon worthy romance that’s very much character driven, packed full of magical, and will straight up enchant you, pick up The Wish Collector. Seriously. You will not regret it. Mia’s writing and story telling abilities never cease to amaze me.

Ryan’s Bed (Tijan)


Buy Link:

I crawled into Ryan Jensen’s bed that first night by accident.

I barely knew him. I thought it was his sister’s bed—her room. It took seconds to realize my error, and I should’ve left…

I didn’t.
I didn’t jump out.
I didn’t get embarrassed.
I relaxed.
And that night, in that moment, it was the only thing I craved.

I asked to stay. He let me, and I slept.

The truth? I never wanted to leave his bed. If I could’ve stayed forever, I would have.
He became my sanctuary.

Because—four hours earlier—my twin sister killed herself.

I want to start this review out a little differently than I usually do. I want to include this so I don’t come across as “insensitive” to others out there who really enjoyed this book because I know how it has hit a lot of people right at home and I never want to come off that way.

I understand how some readers connected with this story in a way that others might not have. I didn’t not like this story because of the subject matter. I think it’s important to read about all different types of things so that we can experience them, even if we haven’t experienced them in real life. We have all read those books that we don’t just read, we feel them. We experience them. We live through them because at that time, it’s the only thing worth living for. So to every one who might think I come across as insensitive because I didn’t love this book, I get it. I do. But that doesn’t mean I would ever take that away from you.

“My face. My body. My heart – it all went with her, because she was me.
My twin sister killed herself on June twenty-ninth.
We would’ve been eighteen the next day.”

Three star reviews are always so hard for me to write. Because while I liked the book, there were still some things I didn’t like and it’s hard packing all of that into a review before it just gets too long and no one cares to even read it.

Ryan’s Bed to me was very repetitive and the plot was going nowhere. I am saying that as a reader who is a huge plot driven fan. I love when stories stem from a plot so strong the words just flutter off the page. Tijan has some some pretty basic writing that is usually hit or miss with me but when her plot is strong, it’s a huge hit with me. Books like this one and Crew and Fallen Crest High aren’t strong in the plot departments but her book Anti-Stepbrother most definitely is.

I really wish we were able to witness more of Mac’s growth. I think that was really important for me with this one. And unfortunately with the way the story is told, almost in reverse, we never really get to see that. Between the multiple time jumps and repetitiveness of the things being said and happening, the growth of the main character, which to me was very important, was hugely missed.

I think the ending was my favorite. I see a lot of other people saying the same thing as well. I think that it explains a lot of Mac’s internal struggles and feelings that she deals (or doesn’t deal) with all through out the book.

The theme Tijan chose is sensitive in Ryan’s Bed yes, but she treated it with the necessary respect that it so deserves. There was a disconnect for me though, as a reader. There were parts of the story that didn’t feel plausible and it felt very dragged out and constantly repeated multiple things up until the end. But for those of you who related to Mac or anything about this book, I get it. I do. And I get you.

Bloodstained Beauty (Ella Fields)

Bloodstained Beauty

Buy link:

Fresh out of college and headed straight for my dream job, I didn’t think things could get any better.
Then I met my dream man.

In an instant, my happy ever after had begun.
The life I’d stumbled into was beautiful, and the man I loved was perfect.
But perfection comes at a cost, and I’d slumbered through all the alarms.

Then I met my nightmare.
The man whose bright eyes held untamed darkness.
The man who disarmed me with his peculiar behavior.
The man whose cold, merciless hands shook me awake.
In an instant, questions started to dismantle my happy ever after.

But whoever said the truth would set you free was wrong.
It wasn’t going to repair the cracks in my naive heart.
It wasn’t going to caress my face with comforting hands and reassure me it was all just a dream.
No, the truth shoved me down a rabbit hole, and I landed in the lair of a real-life monster.

“It all fades. Memories fade. Heartaches fade. But although time makes it bearable and easier to smile, to live, it doesn’t erase the pain entirely.”

I think the hype really killed this book. Seeing so many people that I follow on Goodreads talk non-stop about Bloodstained Beauty and rate it with five stars, I should have known better than to give in. I only say that because the cover is a huge turn off for me, the type I don’t usually think twice to read but I was willing to over look my personal preferences for this one because I have enjoyed a lot of Ella’s other books. But I am not completely sure what was trying to be accomplished with this story. It was kind of messy.

Image result for all kinds of messy gif

Full disclosure: Ella’s writing did not turn me away in this book. I felt like I really needed to emphasize that me not liking this book, had nothing to do with her writing. Ella’s writing is always easy flowing for me and very enjoyable and this book was no different. I always feel like her writing matches her themes of her books but this particular one just didn’t work for me.

The plot just wasn’t my favorite. I felt like it was reaching too much. Over exaggerating. Maybe she was trying to hard to create this scenario that worked for every one but for me it was hard to hold interest in. I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Image result for uhhh gif

None of the male character interested me. Jemima didn’t interest me. Lou Lou interested me to an extent but I really liked the secondary characters and the way they played bigger roles all throughout. Hope, Murry, there are so many things I could say about them that really drew me in but I can’t say the same about the main characters and unfortunately that’s always a let down.

There is cheating. Some may not think it is, some might think it’s not. To me, it was tiny and minuscule but I still think it turned me off. Especially because the author pushes Jemima into it pretty early on in the book with Thomas.

Image result for unnecessary gif

I feel like Ella tried to hard to execute a Stockholm syndrome story with a dark twist and it just fell really flat. I was intrigued enough to finish but the plot was pretty far fetched. There are a lot of books out there where the author does an all around great job at creating a world full of characters we can connect to in uncommon circumstances but Bloodstained Beauty missed it for me.

The Reigning and the Rule (Calia Read)


Étienne Lacroix and I had a fire I thought would never die. 
Our love was timeless. 
An irreversible decision sent me back to the present day with a family I barely recognize, but I am determined to find a way back to Étienne. 
I can survive time. But I can’t survive life without him. 
Time bends to no one’s demands, so I must fight with everything I have to return to the past. However, I am terrified that the past I once knew might not look the same, and the man who once called me his surviving trace will no longer be waiting for me. 

Time bends to no one’s demands but sometimes love does…

“Our love is timeless.”

When I say that I have been lucky enough to read these stories beside Calia, I mean it. Being next to her every step of the way has been so much fun. Not to mention, this world that she has created has enchanted me in the best possible way. Which brings me to my most important point of this entire review: The more time I spent working on this, the more I realized what garbage said review is because no words I ever typed could put into words how strategically beautiful and genius this series is.

Image result for at least you tried gif

I can start out by saying that if you wanted more angst in The Surviving Trace, Calia has delivered just that to you. On a silver platter even! Every single page you turn will have you wanting to either: cry, scream, beg, shake a character, or my favorite option, ALL OF THE ABOVE. It was the whole package.

“I will give you everything you want. Everything you need. Just scream and let the world know you are mine.”

But most importantly, Serene stole the show for me this go around though. Her spunk, fire, and fight had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. The way she adapted to her surroundings and the things happening to her had me cheering her on the entire time. The personality she embodied in TRatR captivated me more than I thought was even possible.

Image result for i got you girl gif

I really loved how Calia weaved in all of these fun little extras, especially with her side characters. Usually when authors do this, they intend to give us more books about said characters. If you think I would be mad about going back to Belgrave again and again, you are wrong. I would love nothing more than to experience that place through the lives of some of the others. Hint…hint…

This story. These characters. Calia. Belgrave. All of these hold such a special place in my heart and I know they will stay there forever. I hope you give this story a chance. I hope you read it and fall in love every time you turn the page just like I did.

“My heart will always belong to Etienne Lacroix no matter what happens, or what he does and that’s the truth.”

The Kingdom of Childhood (Rebecca Coleman)


The Kingdom of Childhood is the story of a boy and a woman; sixteen-year-old Zach Patterson, uprooted and struggling to reconcile his knowledge of his mother’s extramarital affair, and Judy McFarland, a kindergarten teacher watching her family unravel before her eyes. Thrown together to organize a fundraiser for their failing private school and bonded by loneliness, they begin an affair that at first thrills, then corrupts each of them. Judy sees in Zach the elements of a young man she loved as a child, but what Zach does not realize is that their relationship is, for Judy, only the latest in a lifetime of disturbing secrets.

Rebecca Coleman’s manuscript for The Kingdom of Childhood was a semifinalist in the 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Competition. An emotionally tense, increasingly chilling work of fiction set in the controversial Waldorf school community, it is equal parts enchanting and unsettling and is sure to be a much discussed and much-debated novel.

Well, that was a bust. Reading books like The Kingdom of Childhood always seems like a new adventure to me. I get excited to see how author’s can execute such a subject and sometimes I am even blown away on how well they do with it. With this book however, I didn’t feel any of that. I was just ready to be done with it.

Image result for are we done gif

The book as a whole had great writing. I was impressed that I actually enjoyed that part of it. The writing and flow of the story made for an easy read but sometimes a book needs more than just “good writing” to sit well with me.

Judy and Zach had zero chemistry. I think that is because Judy was the literal worst. Let me elaborate on that really quick. The author did a phenomenal job portraying Zach the way that she did. He is 16. Of course he’s quirky, annoying, and growing into himself. But Judy was in her 40’s. She was not a child. And the author made her out to be very childish. I’m not sure if that was her plan or not, but it didn’t work for me. It evoked a lot of eye rolls from me actually.

Image result for dramatic eye roll gif

I noticed a lot of things added to the story being used just for the drama. I won’t say specifically- but I feel as if the reader can pick up on what was added for dramatic effect and what wasn’t.

Another thing I can’t help but bring up is the past POVs. I realize the author really wanted to include Judy’s past into the story to kind of make us understand why she would even be drawn to Zach in the first place but honestly, it was all a waste. It made no sense to me and didn’t help me sympathize to her in any way.

Image result for get it together gif

I didn’t hate the book. I truly mean that. It was very readable with help from the great writing, it held my attention, but there was nothing about it that completely impressed me or blew me away.  I don’t ever mind branching out into this type of trope and taboo, but The Kingdom of Childhood just didn’t grab my attention. If any one is looking for a book along the same lines of this trope, I cannot recommend Tampa enough. It was incredibly well done.