Not That I Could Tell (Jessica Strawser)

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

When a group of neighborhood women gathers, wine in hand, around a fire pit where their backyards meet one Saturday night, most of them are just ecstatic to have discovered that their baby monitors reach that far. It’s a rare kid-free night, and they’re giddy with it. They drink too much, and the conversation turns personal.

By Monday morning, one of them is gone.

Everyone knows something about everyone else in the quirky small Ohio town of Yellow Springs, but no one can make sense of the disappearance. Kristin was a sociable twin mom, college administrator, and doctor’s wife who didn’t seem all that bothered by her impending divorce—and the investigation turns up more questions than answers, with her husband, Paul, at the center. For her closest neighbor, Clara, the incident triggers memories she thought she’d put behind her—and when she’s unable to extract herself from the widening circle of scrutiny, her own suspicions quickly grow. But the neighborhood’s newest addition, Izzy, is determined not to jump to any conclusions—especially since she’s dealing with a crisis of her own.

As the police investigation goes from a media circus to a cold case, the neighbors are forced to reexamine what’s going on behind their own closed doors—and to ask how well anyone really knows anyone else.


It’s not that the book is awful. It’s not. The writing was great and the pages kept turning. It’s just…nothing happens in this book. Not a thing. Not. One. Thing. Happens. You’re basically reading about these types of people of their day to day lives.

I never really got fully invested with the characters. It was almost like there was just too much going on with all of them. I liked them- but the pacing of the story was just way too slow for me. When there is so much going on within a story and it moves at a slow pace it drowns all of the goodness out for me as a reader.

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My favorite part of the entire book was the character development though. With as many characters as this book had it should have been hard to execute but the author really knocked that out of the park. The growth and the things going on with them was enough to keep my brain occupied for a while.

Not That I Could Tell was very underwhelming and predictable. If I had to think of two words to sum it up, those are if. It was really great until I finally realized that there were no twists. Mainly because I had guessed them all because the predictability was off the charts.

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But if you’re looking for a women’s lit book and if you liked Big Little Lies you’ll truly devour this book in no time.

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More Than Words (Mia Sheridan)

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Pre-order link:
https://amzn.to/2Gl4tvh

The moment she met Callen Hayes, eleven-year-old Jessica Creswell knew he was a broken prince. Her prince. They became each other’s refuge, a safe and magical place far from their troubled lives. Until the day Callen kissed her–Jessica’s first real, dreamy kiss—and then disappeared from her life without a word.

Years later, everyone knows who Callen Hayes is. Famous composer. Infamous bad boy. What no one knows is that Callen’s music is now locked deep inside, trapped behind his own inner demons. It’s only when he withdraws to France to drink his way through the darkness that Callen stumbles into the one person who makes the music return. Jessica. His Jessie. And she still tastes of fresh, sweet innocence . . . even as she sets his blood on fire.

But they don’t belong in each other’s worlds anymore. There are too many mistakes. Too many secrets. Too many lies. All they have is that instinctive longing, that need—and something that looks dangerously like love.


“Because I understood now. Some battles could only be fought alone.”

Mia never fails. That’s all that I can say. She never fails to tell a magical story every time she releases a book. When I finish her books, I feel like I am a new and cleansed person. And her stories are rare. They aren’t ones that I have read before.

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“But I also knew now that life was more than words. It was laughter and love, faith and joy. And mostly, it was the deep peace that came from living life fiercely and without regret.”

I had an issue though, but I can consider it a minor one. I wanted to have more of the past. Both Jessie and Callen had troubled pasts that affected their present (hence why they are both closed off people) and they state that multiple times so some more history of when they were kids would have been amazing. We get a couple of flashbacks but not what I felt I needed to understand them more.

Mia writes some of the best conflicted characters. Flawed. Beautiful. Loud characters that want to be heard by you. That’s my favorite thing about her as a writer. Jessie and Callen were no exception. She made sure you not only felt them, but that you heard them too.

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I loved the dual POV. When I’m reading I love nothing more than getting the male POV in a lot of situations and Mia pleased me with this one. You get the POV of the person at the times that you need it and I LOVE that.

For the people who loved Archer’s Voice, More Than Words will take you back to a place that you are familiar with. A place that you will love to be in. When you finish the book, you’ll have a huge smile on your face that you can’t wipe off no matter how hard you try.

Standing Sideways (J. Lynn Bailey)

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Buy link:
http://amzn.to/2GPT6sl

When Livia Stone suddenly loses her twin brother, Jasper, she must learn to navigate her new life alone. As she faces tragedy and starts down a road toward 
self-destruction, Daniel enters Livia’s life—at a moment when she needs it most. 

Standing Sideways is a poignant, relevant, and touching story of survival, courage, and compassion that will have readers crying, laughing, and most of all, debating the issues affecting the lives of parents and teens alike on a journey of hope and forgiveness.


“Maybe, sometimes, it’s easier in the dark. When the world doesn’t seem so loud, so chaotic.”

I am a ball of emotions right now. All kinds of them. Sadness. Hope. Awe. Shock. Calmness. Excited. When I opened Standing Sideways I had no idea what to expect as I have never read this author’s work before. But saying I was shockingly pleased would be a tremendous understatement. J. Lynn Bailey completely blew me away.

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With a sarcastic, in-your-face, and cutthroat narrative, Livia is one of the most interesting characters I have read to this day. Her struggles and her feelings were ones that I feel as if we can all relate to in one way or another. Her coping mechanisms- I’m sure we have all been there. The beauty of it all? Her character growth. Watching her transform into the person she was meant to be was an incredible journey for me. Watching her find her way, the way she needed to and the way she did it (good or bad) was even better. I felt like I was right beside her cheering her on every step of the way.

“Grief makes us do funny things. Our minds, once ours, are now blind by eternal light. Where we wait for our loved ones, in limbo, somewhere between heartbeats.”

I really enjoyed that the author didn’t base this novel around romance. That is not what Standing Sideways is about to me. Sure, Daniel is a great addition, but it wasn’t an addition that Livia herself needed. She wanted Daniel, but all through out the novel she didn’t need him to do what she had to for herself and THAT is what this book was about. A girl grieving, coping, and healing in a way that didn’t involved any one else but herself. She had support and the people there and she used what she had to but she had to find herself and watching her do that was incredible.

“I want to get lost in her words. Roll in them. And push them away and leave them in the dark by themselves to find their own way out.”

This is exactly how I felt about J. Lynn Bailey and her words. I wanted to get lost in them. I wanted to be buried in them. I wanted to be trapped in a dark room with them. They were just…exceptional. That’s just the only way I can put it.

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“And just because you’ve lost your way doesn’t mean I won’t help you find it because you don’t give up on others. It might be that you can’t see the light right now, Liv, but I do. I’ll be your eyes until you can see the same person I see sitting in front of me.”

I have this five-star review, something I hardly ever write and I have this immense love for this book I just discovered but I’m still wondering about a few loose ends. I won’t acknowledge them in the review in fear of spoilers for others but I do wonder how a couple of things panned out and what happened to a couple of other things as well. But ultimately- that didn’t deter my love for the story and the message the author was portraying to her readers.

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The story itself was so compelling and raw. The way that the author portrayed not just Livia’s grief but others as well was told in a way I hadn’t read before. It was heavy. I could totally settle for a Daniel book. Or even a Cao one. But I’m so happy I experienced this read. I’m just so happy.

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC. You did me a solid on this one.

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All Your Perfects (Colleen Hoover)

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http://amzn.to/2Ga6edC

Quinn and Graham’s perfect love is threatened by their imperfect marriage. The memories, mistakes, and secrets that they have built up over the years are now tearing them apart. The one thing that could save them might also be the very thing that pushes their marriage beyond the point of repair.


One of my most favorite things every year is the excitement I develop to read a new Colleen Hoover book. It’s just a fun feeling that I am sure is felt by many others as well. The anticipation, the hype, the support that she has, it’s all just so much fun to participate in. All Your Perfects was no different for me.

“No matter how much you love someone- the capacity of that love is meaningless if it outweighs your capacity to forgive.”

I would like to introduce you all to my new favorite coho book. I do want to apologize to Hopeless though because that one held on so strong for so many years but All Your Perfects just impacted me in such an emotional and personal way, therefore it has been promoted to new favorite. The overwhelming emotions I was consumed with brought me to tears. Yep, tears. I cried. Real tears. Because I get this book. I understand every part of this book way more than what I’d like to. Way more than what I even thought I would.

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Never once in this entire story are you not wanting to flip to the next page. I was dying to see what would happen next. What these characters would do and how they would react to each other through out all of the turmoil they experienced. That is the coolest thing about Colleen Hoover. Her ability to tell an incredible story never falters as the years go by. Her characters, themes, and plots never cease to amaze me. She is definitely one of a kind.

“It’s funny how you can be so happy with someone and love them so much, it creates an underlying sense of fear in you that you never knew before them. The fear of losing them. The of them getting hurt. I imagine that’s what it’s like when you have children. It’s probably the most incredible kind of love you’ll ever know, but it’s also the most terrifying.”

I went into this book not expecting a lot. I try to do that with these types of books. I know how Colleen writes and I know a lot of her stories pack an extremely large punch but I never for one second seen All Your Perfects coming. It took me completely by surprise and that was so incredible. Well, until I was in the fetal position and rocking back and forth.

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“Our marriage has never been perfect. No marriage is perfect. There were times when she gave up on us. There were even more times when I gave up on us. The secret to our longevity is that we never gave up at the same time.”

Like always, Colleen makes sure she builds you up so much but she also gives you a gentle landing. I honestly had no idea where this story could go and I am glad for that. The ride is much more enjoyable when you’re so consumed with the book you are reading. And just when I didn’t think it was possible, Colleen made me feel. It was a whole different level for me. One that I let take over me because the realness was so scary and overwhelming to me. Love you long time, Coho!

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Emma in the Night (Wendy Walker)

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Buy link:
https://amzn.to/2J92vvS

One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn’t add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister’s return might just be the beginning of the crime.


You know the phrase “Trust no one”, right? Yes well, with Emma in the Night this rule applies times ten. Unreliable narrators are one thing (and personally a favorite of mine) but what do you do when the entire book is full of people who are completely unreliable? You buckle up and get ready for a fun ride. I hope y’all ain’t allergic to whiplash!

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I really liked Emma in the Night way more than I had initially thought I would. There were a couple of points where I didn’t think I’d like the book. Especially revelations came to light I thought it would end up sloppy and unfinished but in whole- the book really surprised me. It might come across that it’s sloppy but really there was a point to the disguise. There was a point to everything.

The twists and the turns and the constant pulls in multiple directions were my most favorite part of the book. Just when you thought it was going one way, the author did a phenomenal job at side tracking you with something else and then you go back to the other thing with a NEW revelation. (Mind you- all of my revelations were wrong so…LOL that was fun).

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The writing was normal. It wasn’t anything special or out of this world but the author did a great job at piecing together a story with multiple twists. Sure, it could have been executed better but she did her job and I was satisfied.

The ending surprised me. It honestly did. I thought of a couple of ways that it could have gone and was quite surprised when I seen the way it actually went. Some of the loose ends weren’t tied up but it wasn’t huge ones so I wasn’t bothered as bad.

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It wasn’t a perfect book. So, just don’t have that expectation. But it was a good book that kept me on my toes, always had me guessing, and turning pages like it was my job.

Books turned to Disney movies.

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In 2018, I wanted to branch out and read a lot of the books that were turned into popular Disney movies. So, I compiled a list and took off!

I am writing this blog post because I didn’t want to do multiple blog posts for each of the books I am reading. I found a lot of the books to be in my library and also in Kindle Unlimited which is fantastic since I’m a new member there.

So- as I finish each book, I will add a tiny bit of my thoughts onto this blog post and re-share. It’s the most logical thing I could think to do.

First up:

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie 

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Next moment he was standing erect on the rock again, with that smile on his face and a drum beating within him. It was saying, “To die will be an awfully big adventure.”

I loved how dark this read was. Much darker than the Disney movie which made it that much more intriguing to me. The depth of Peter’s character in the book was so much more than what we got from the movie. I truly loved it.

I feel like from the author’s writing alone- traveling to Neverland was much more memorable and vibrant in the book form. Sure- the movie brought to life the lagoon and the pirates but there was so much more than that when Wendy, John, and Michael went to Neverland.

Like Peter and Wendy’s relationship for example. Those boys needed her and depended on her way more than the movie let on. They needed a mother. A permanent one. And they wanted Wendy.

 

Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers

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“We are all made of the same stuff, remember, we of the Jungle, you of the City. The same substance composes us—the tree overhead, the stone beneath us, the bird, the beast, the star—we are all one, all moving to the same end. Remember that when you no longer remember me, my child.”

YOU GUYS.

This book is a must read for all ages. All of them. I loved it so much more than I loved the movie (and I love the movie, a lot.)I even got quite a bit emotional while I was reading. Mainly because it’s so much different than the movie we are all used to. It is way more personable and relate-able. I think it felt this way because I was so engulfed in the story and the characters within the story.

The imagination that P.L. Travers portrays through this book is so magical. That’s the only word I can think of to describe it. I felt like I was on every adventure and meeting all of the people that Mary Poppin and the children were experiencing and meeting. How fun to read a classic children’s book and feel like a child yourself!

“They knew, too, that while they saw toys and books and holly-boughs and plum cakes, Mary Poppins saw nothing but herself reflected there.”

This is a book I will definitely experience again but with my child. I cannot wait to watch his face light up when we read this book together.

The Bad Ones (Stylo Fantome)

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Love isn’t always bright and shiny.

Sometimes, it’s dirty and wrong, buried six feet deep in a secret place where only wild things dare to go. Hidden behind a big black curtain that covers things no one should ever see.

Sometimes it happens between two people who should never be allowed to come together. One who is a match, and the other who just happens to be gasoline.

One strike is all it takes to burn the whole world down, and that’s exactly what they plan on doing.

Even if it kills them.


“They were a match and jar of gasoline. Who wanted to waste time with dating when there were explosions to be had?”

Well, it wasn’t bad…but it wasn’t outstanding. It was simply like a wreck that you’re driving by. You are just so nosey that you can’t help but to drive slower and watch what is going on, you keep going and going as far as you can just to see what is happening as an observer. Because these two people are absolutely off the chart CRAZY. And my crazy self was not wanting to look away for one second.

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The main things I enjoyed was the concept of the story and the dark story line itself. Oh! And the characters. Both of them are extremely messed up in their own specific ways but the author wrote them so well that they were actually appealing to me. Isn’t that so crazy? The authors writing was done so well that I actually LIKED psychopaths. That alone makes me a happy and satisfied reader.

“So what’ll it be? Exist on a higher plane from mere mortals and be crazy? Or retain some sanity and live amongst the flat people of the world?”

I am going to add a small spoiler right here though (for anyone who likes to be warned). I three starred this for a reason I promise! And that reason was that I had a really hard time with Con leaving Dulcie for THREE years with absolutely no word what so ever. And then when he did show back up, she didn’t even fight it. Just, gave right on in. Considering how badass Dulcie was and how destructive Stylo made her out to be, I wanted her to shove a little more. Resist. Push and push. I wanted to see that fight for her in Con. Soooo bad that I could hardly even stand it.

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I was even more so upset with the way it ended. I don’t know, I think I maybe just expected a much bigger shock and twist. I seen this ending coming from halfway through the book and with the way the book was structured and played out as a whole I was hoping that wasn’t the way it was going to end. But alas…sometimes I hate being right.

Ultimately, I’m on the fence with this one. I didn’t hate it and I didn’t love it. I couldn’t stop reading it but I cringed. I want to recommend it to people who like psychopaths and dark reads. So, I will just leave it at that.

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