Wednesday, June 30, 2021

June Reading Wrap-up

 

June Reading Wrap-Up
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Project Hail Mary 🎧
The Other Black Girl 🎧
Dream Girl 📱
Upright Women Wanted 🎧

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Glorious Guinness Girls 📖
Faithful Place 🎧
Shiver 📱
Local Woman Missing 📱
Borrowed Time 📱
One Great Lie 🎧 

I enjoyed all the books I read this month. My favorite was Project Hail Mary. Loved the narration and Rocky is a favorite character. I also loved the slow burn of Dream Girl. What can I say? I’m a big Laura Lippman fan girl! The Other Black Girl is an impressive debut novel that lives up to the buzz that surrounded its publication. Upright Women Wanted was a quick re-read this month. I read it back in the spring, but wanted all the details to be fresh for a Zoom buddy read. This is such a fun quick read & we had a wonderful discussion. 

The Glorious Guinness Girls was an impulse buy & was entertaining. Faithful Place was an impulse check out from the library. It was available and I needed an audiobook. I’lm slowly working my way through Tana French’s catalog & I enjoyed this one very much. Shiver was an Instagram made me read it. I read Local Woman Missing with the #betweenfriendsbookclub. The book is filled with twists & we had a great chat about it. Borrowed Time is the second book in the PI Cass Raines series. The newest book in the series just published & is getting rave reviews. I’m trying to catch up with the series. One Great Lie is a YA contemporary fiction that has so many layers. 

What was your favorite June read? What are you looking forward to reading in July? I can’t wait to read Razorblade Tears which comes on next Tuesday. 

#readingwrapup #summerreading #projecthailmary #theotherblackgirl #dreamgirl #uprightwomenwanted #librarybooks #audiobooks #bookstagram #audiobookstagram #readerlife #readinglove #bibliophile #librarylove #kindle #ebooks #ebookstagram #libbyapp #audible 

On a personal note- happy 65th anniversary to my mom and dad! So happy we could be together on this very special day! 





Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Library Books

 


Hello Tuesday! 

I stopped at the library yesterday afternoon. It was my first time actually going in the library since the start of the pandemic. I did take advantage of their curbside pick up during shut down. And I’d be lost without their ebooks and audiobooks through the @libby.app. But it sure was nice to go in and browse the library shelves! These two books are on my TBR so it will be nice to knock them off the list. Have you read either of these yet? 

I feel a little ahead of the game because I already have dinner planned for tonight. I am not a good meal planner! Throwing steaks and corn on the grill to go with some macaroni salad. 
What’s on your dinner menu this week? I always need inspiration! 

#findyoufirst #linwoodbarclay #williammorrowbooks #thesearcher #tanafrench #viking #penguinrandomhouse #thrillerbooks #mysterybooks #librarybooks #lovemylibrary #readingcommunity #readerlife #bookworm #bibliophile #libraryhaul #alwaysreading 


Monday, June 28, 2021

City of Saviors

 

Author: Rachel Howzell Hall

Narrator: Je Nei Fleming

Publisher: Macmillan Audio

Year: 2017

Happy Monday! 

Rachel Howzell Hall writes incredible characters. Her characters are smart, funny, flawed, down to earth and so very real. As much as I loved Grayson Skyes from her best seller And Now She’s Gone, I love Det. Elouise (Lou) Norton even more. 

Lou, newly promoted to Detective Sargent, and her partner Colin Taggert get called to a scene that looks pretty innocuous. An older man was found dead in his home. At first glance, it looks like L.A.’s most recent heatwave plus food poisoning took it’s toll on the elderly Viet Nam veteran. But Lou doesn’t think the case is as simple as that. Murder is never simple. 

This is the fourth book is the series. It could be read as a stand alone but I’d recommend reading series in order so you understand Lou’s backstory. Je Nie Fleming’s narration brings the story to life and is the perfect mix of lady boss, sarcasm, and vulnerability. This is one of my favorite police procedural series. If you’re a fan of And Now She’s Gone, you definitely want to check out this series. 
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I’m off to the dentist this afternoon. No drilling this time around. Just getting the impression for the cap needed on the tooth that had the root canal. 🦷 Then I’m going to stop at the library to see what new books are available. What’s on your agenda this week? 

#cityofsaviors #rachelhowzellhall #macmillianaudio #jeniefleming #backlist #backlistbooks #policeprocedural #mysteryfiction #losangeles #audiobook #detective #audiobooksofinstagram #audiobookreview #audiobookrecommendation #bookrecs #favoritebooks #audible #bookseries #bibliofile #alwaysreading 

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Give Us a Kiss

 

Author: Dianiell Woodrell

Narrator: Brian Troxell

Publisher: Hachette 

Year: 2012

Happy Saturday! 

Doyle Redmond, a down on his luck writer, is summoned back to his childhood home in the Ozarks. His older brother Smoke is wanted on a felony warrant and is hiding out. Doyle’s supposed to talk his brother into giving himself up, but Smoke has other ideas. Smoke and his partner Big Annie are getting ready to harvest a big patch of pot and could use Doyle’s help. Doyle doesn’t need much convincing, especially after he sees Big Annie’s beautiful daughter Niagra. Now all the brothers have to do is outsmart the sheriff and outgun the Dollys- a rival family intent on stealing their cash crop. 

This is a funny, rollicking tale of family loyalty and crime. The characters are sharply drawn and memorable. I loved the backwoods setting too. The plot, infused with humor, zips along like an old truck flying down a country dirt road. 
Brian Troxell’s narration has enough Sothern charm, warmth, and incredulity that it sounds like he’s in a dark bar telling you this story over many pitchers of beer. 

Author Daniel Woodrell is probably best known for Winter’s Bone, a stunning work or country noir. (The movie version of Winter’s Bone is outstanding &  was Jennifer Lawrence’s breakout role, earning her first Academy Award nomination.) Give Us a Kiss isn’t as dark. It’s a good time on a back road in the misty Ozark hills. 

What’s everyone’s Saturday plans? I’m going to sit outside and try to finish the book I’m reading. Wishing y’all a relaxing day! 😎

#giveusakiss #danielwoodrell #hachette #briantroxell #backlistbooks #audiobook #audiobookreview #audiobookstagram #audiobooksofinstagram #countrynoir #ruralnoir #cashcrop #ozarks #libbyapp #libraryaudiobook #bibliophile #librarylife #backwoods #missouri #ozarkmissouri #wintersbone 

Friday, June 25, 2021

The Vanishing Half

 

Authoe: Brit Bennett

Narrator: Shayna Small

Publisher: Penguin Audio

Year: 2021

Happy Friday! 

I feel like I’m one of the last people to finally read this book. This was all over bookstagram when it published last year. I put off reading it for awhile and then thought I should read it to see if my irl book club might want to read it some day. I think I had to wait about three months for the audiobook to be available from the library. It was worth the wait! 

I really enjoyed this multigenerational story. Author Brit Bennett examines race and identity with this story of twin light skinned Black girls and the choices they make with their lives. The effects those choices have when the lives of the next generation collide. Shayna Small’s narration is riveting and flowed perfectly with the story. 
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

What are you reading this weekend? Any fun plans? I should probably run the vacuum cleaner. 😀 

#thevanishinghalf #britbennett #shaynasmall #penguinaudio #audiobook #audiobookreview #librarybooks #librarylife #twins #racialidentity #raceinamerica #familydrama #familysecrets #audiobookstagram #audiobooksofinstagram 

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Like Water for Chocolate

 


Author: Laura Esquivel 

Publisher: Anchor Books/Doubleday 

Year: 1995

Happy Friday Eve! 

Like Water for Chocolate was such a huge hit back in the day. I remember reading it when it first published in the mid ‘90s. At the time I thought it was okay, but not for me. Fast forward 25 years or so. My book club read it last month. I thought maybe I’d feel differently about it now. Maybe reading it from a different point in life would change my opinion. I went into it with fresh eyes and a positive attitude, ready to finally appreciate this classic. Nope. I’m just not a fan of magical realism. It just isn’t my genre. 

It was a quick read and each chapter represented a month of the year. Every month had a recipe that Tita makes and the recipes tied the story together. 

The book club consensus: Mama Elena was the worst. Nacha and Dr. John were the best. Tita wasted her time on Pedro. She should have kicked him to the curb and never looked back. We wanted to hear more about Gertrudis’s life. How did she go from a brothel to leading an army?  ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Have you ever revisited a book after a number of years? Did you feel the same about the book as the first time you read it? 

#likewaterforchocolate #throwbackthursday #backlist #backlistbooks #lauraesquivel #anchorbooks #doubledaybooks #bookclub #bookclubbook #mexico #recipes #lovestory #magicalrealism #romancebooks #bestsellerbook #bestseller 

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Let It Go!

 


Happy Wednesday! 

I started a new book yesterday.
It’s by a debut author from a small independent publisher. I had high hopes. 

I knew by the end of the first page that it wasn’t for me. I think the opening scene was meant to be sort of shocking or a provocative way to introduce the main character, a teenage girl. It was supposed to be a peek at the wants and desires of this girl. It felt like an exploitation. 

But I kept reading. I wanted to give this story and the author a fair try. A few more chapters in, I gave up. The characters were flat. The story never really picked up and the depictions of violence against teenage girls was too over the top and unnecessary. 

It was disappointing, but I’m not going to spend my time reading a book I don’t like. There’s too many other great books I want to read. So I happily browsed my library’s ebook collection and found something more suited to me- a thriller from a familiar author featuring a female PI. 

When I was working in the library, I stressed to kids, especially reluctant readers, that it was ok to give up on a book and find something else. It was a tough concept for some kids to get. Are you the kind of reader who pushes on through a book no matter what? 

Happy reading! 

#noshameinmygame #readhappy #alwaysreading #bibliophile #readerlife #everybookareader #choosewisely #librarylife 


Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Dream Girl

 


Author: Laura Lippman

Publisher: William Morrow Books

Year: 2021

Happy publication day to Dream Girl! Let me tell you, this is a dream of a book! 

I’ve been a Laura Lippman fan since the early days of her Tess Monaghan series. Since then,  she’s gone on to write a number of outstanding stand-alones. Her latest offing, Dream Girl, is a dark, slow burning, and enthralling puzzle full of twists that you will never see coming. 

Gerry Anderson is a successful novelist who recently returned to his hometown of Baltimore to care of his aging mother. After his mother’s death, Gerry has an accident and is confined to a hospital bed in his high-rise apartment. He is dependent on his assistant Victoria and the night nurse Aileen for everything. As Gerry slowly recovers from his injuries, he starts getting mysterious phone calls from a woman claiming to be the real life inspiration for Aubrey, the main character of his breakout novel. Gerry had always insisted Aubrey was purely a product of his imagination and not based on anyone. Gerry considers who could be behind the calls. He has three ex-wives and a girlfriend he just ditched so there are numerous suspects. 

As his isolation from the outside world grows, Gerry begins to question his own sanity and reflects on his own life and relationships. As his story unfolds, we see another side of Gerry- one that he doesn’t want his fans and admirers to see. And it’s at this point when Lippman really starts playing mind games! 

This is a totally character driven psychological horror story. Lippman does credit Stephen King’s Misery for the inspiration. Her writing is sharp and the whole book is masterfully plotted. 

You all know I’ve gotten tired of the psychological thriller genre. But like Flynn’s Gone Girl and Hawkins’ Girl on the Train, Lippman elevates the genre to new heights with Dream Girl. Make this one of your reads this summer! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

Thank you to NetGalley and William Morrow Books for the digital review copy! 

What’s your most anticipated book this summer? 

#dreamgirl #lauralippman #williammorrowbooks #netgalley #baltimore #author #horror #suspensebooks #mysteryfiction #publicationday #hospitalbed #bookreview #nightnurse #psychologicalthriller 


Monday, June 21, 2021

The Other Black Girl



Author: Zakiya Dalila Harris

Narrator: Aja Naomi King

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio

Year: 2021

Happy Monday!

Thank you Simon & Schuster Audio for gifting me the audiobook The Other Black Girl. The novel, by Zakiya Dalilia Harris, is one of the most anticipated books of this summer and is already on numerous best books of the year lists. Deservedly so! 


Nella is the only Black person working at Wagner, a prestigious publishing house. She’s tired of the isolation and the everyday micro aggressions. She’s thrilled when Hazel, a young Black woman, is hired as another editorial assistant. Hazel is effortlessly stylish and cool and she quickly leapfrogs Nella in the office hierarchy. When Nella starts to get vaguely threatening anonymous notes, she begins to wonder if Hazel is behind them. As Hazel’s star quickly rises, Nella pieces together a nefarious plot and is given a choice. Is Nella willing to give up a part of herself for easy success? 


This is an intense and thought provoking workplace suspense story. The book is advertised as a cross between The Devil Wears Prada and Get Out. The terror here is subtle, but no less horrific when it’s finally revealed. 


The audio narration, lead by Aja Naomi King, is riveting and kept me listening. This is an impressive debut novel and I’m looking forward to see what Harris does next. 


Hope y’all had a great weekend and are refreshed and recharged. 


What’s been your favorite debut read so far this year? 


#theotherblackgirl #zakiyadelilaharris #simonaudio #ajanaomiking #audiobook #audiobookreview #suspensethriller #workplacethriller #workplacesuspense #audiobooksofinstagram #readdiversebooks #readdiversely #bibliophile 

Saturday, June 19, 2021

The Prophets

 The Prophets 


Author: Robert Jones, Jr.

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Year: 2021

I don’t think I’m a deep enough thinker to really appreciate this book. 

The Prophets tells the story of Isaiah and Samuel, two gay enslaved young men on a plantation in the Deep South. Their love for each other is a refuge from the horrors of slavery and a hope for freedom and peace. But when a fellow slave begins a whisper campaign against Isaiah and Samual to gain the master’s favor, their world falls apart. 

I loved Isaiah and Samuel and how they could find love amidst the hatred and violence in their lives. I just wanted them to escape the brutality and find a place where they could be free. 

Where this book missed the mark for me was the writing was just too abstract for me. There were so many biblical references and figurative language that it made my head spin. I felt like a high school kid trying  to interpret the book’s symbolism in order to write a five paragraph essay about it. 
⭐️⭐️⭐️

Hope you’re having a great weekend! What’s everyone reading this weekend? 

#theprophets #gpputnamssons #robertjonesjr #literaryfiction #historicalfiction #lqbtq #lgbtqfiction #slavery #buddyreadstodiefor #bibliophile #alwaysreading #bookstagram #kindle 

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Shiver

 Shiver 


Author: Allie Reynolds

Publisher: G.P Putnam’s  Sons

Year: 2021

My grandmother always said death comes in threes. 

The same can be said for locked room thrillers set in remote mountain locations. First there was Ruth Ware’s One by One. Then Sarah Pearse’s The Sanatorium.
And now comes Shiver by Allie Reynolds. All in less than a year of each other. Weird how coincidences or publishing works! 😀

In Reynolds’ debut, five former friends are brought together to a French Alps ski resort. No staff are around and they can’t get back down the mountain. Disturbing things start happening and long buried secrets and lies are revealed about the ten year old disappearance of the former mean girl of their clique. 

The story unfolds across two times lines- present day at deserted ski resort and ten years ago at the same ski resort when the friends were competitive half pipe snowboards training and competing at the resort. The author herself is a former professional snowboarder so her knowledge of the sport lends authenticity to the story. 

The characters were interesting and the story’s pace kept the action moving. This is a solid debut and I liked that it was a female-centered sports-related thriller. Perfect for readers who enjoy locked room mysteries, fans of Harlan Coben’s Myron Bolitar series, or snowboarding enthusiasts. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

Happy Tuesday! What’s everyone reading today? 

#shiver #alliereynolds #gpputnamssons #skiresort #snowboarding #halfpipe #frienimies #mysteryfiction #thriller #frenchalps #snowboarders #snowboarderslife #librarybook #bookreview #librarylove #crippler #lockedroommystery 

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Faithful Place

 Faithful Place 


Author: Tana French

Narrator: Tim Gerard Reynolds

Publisher: Penguin Audio

Year: 2018

Happy Sunday!

A dysfunctional family, a nosy neighborhood, family secrets and lies, a long lost love, and a recently discovered body all add up to a gripping mystery. 

Twenty-two years ago, Frank Mackey was all set to run away from his working class Dublin neighborhood with Rosie, the love of his life. But Rosie never showed up to meet him. Frank walked away that night, vowing never to return and became a police officer. He’s pulled back to his old neighborhood and his family when remains are discovered hidden in an abandoned house. 

Frank’s not on the Murder squad. He’s in the undercover division, but he begins his own investigation of the remains and that puts him right back in the middle of his dysfunctional family he was so desperate to escape all those years ago. Frank has to use all his skills to uncover information from his old neighbors and his own family and to maneuver around the detective running the official investigation. 

This is the third book in Tana French’s popular Dublin Murder Squad series, but it reads as a stand alone. I read the first book in the series and skipped the second book. I didn’t have a. problem reading this one out of order. 

Tim Gerard Reynolds narrates the audiobook with aplomb. He sounded like what I thought a tough Dublin cop should sound like. This mix of police procedural and domestic drama gives him great material to work with. Well plotted and filled with very real characters, this book will satisfy any mystery fan. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Hope you have a relaxing day to recharge for the upcoming week. Anything planned for the week? I have to get an oil change for my car. 🚙 

#faithfulplace #tanafrench #penguinaudio #timgerardreynolds #dublinmurdersquad #dublin #ireland #mysteryfiction #policeprocedural #coldcase #dysfunctionalfamily #familysecrets #bibliophile #audiobook #audiobookreview #audible 

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Currently Reading

  


Happy Saturday book friends! 

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Audio for the gifted copy of The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris! I think this book is on every most anticipated or best books of the summer list I have seen recently. Just getting started and I already know I won’t want to stop listening to it! 

It’s a quiet weekend for me. Hubby has a golf tournament today and tomorrow. So I’m just hanging out with the dogs and listening to this fantastic book. What are y’all doing and reading this weekend? Enjoy! 

#theotherblackgirl #zakiyadalilaharris #simonaudio  #audiobook #audiobookstagram #audiobooksofinstagram #audiobooklove #weekend #weekendreading #weekendlistening 


Wednesday, June 9, 2021

The Glorious Guinness Girls

 The Glorious Guinness Girls 


Author: Emily Hourican 

Publisher: Grand Central Publications 

Year: 2021

Three sisters with wealth, glamour, and a name recognized around the world. A country struggling to throw off the shackles of its oppressor and find it’s independence and identity. A society of changing norms and expectations ushered in by the Jazz Age. It all comes together in Emily Hourican’s The Glorious Guinness Girls. 


That’s is a lot, but the Guinness girls were a lot. Descendants of the the famous brewery family, Aileen, Maureen, and Oonagh came of age during Ireland’s fight for independence and civil war and the Jazz Age. In this fictional account, Fliss is sent to live with the Guinness family after her father dies in WWI and her family falls on hard times. She’s meant to be a companion for the girls. The story is told through her eyes as she grows up with the three sisters at their estate outside of Dublin and at their residence in London. Fliss is part of the family,  but she is very aware she is never a member of the family. 


Most of the book’s attention is focused on middle sister Maureen, the most outspoken and quick tempered of the sisters. All three sisters come off as very superficial characters. Of course, this was the time period when wealthy daughters were sheltered and raised to marry well and be good hostesses. But their characters seemed flat and not fully fleshed out. The chapters set in London where all they did was go to wild parties every night dragged for me after awhile. 


The story unfolds over two different timelines- when the girls were growing up and then in the late 1970s. I think the story could have been told with out the later timeline. I don’t think it added much to the story. 


Overall, this was an entertaining and enjoyable quick read. I liked the time period it was set in. The author provided enough historical and political details so the reader gets the gists of what was happening in Ireland at the time. This is a good choice for fans of Downton Abbey or The Great Gatsby. 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️




Tuesday, June 8, 2021

The Disappearing Act

 The Disappearing Act 


Author: Catherine Steadman 

Publisher: Random House/Ballantine 

Year: 2021

Mia Elliot is a British actress whose star is rising after a breakthrough performance in a television series about Jane Eyre. Blindsided with the breakup of her longtime boyfriend and in need of a change of scenery, Mia goes to Hollywood to try to land a starring role. While at an audition, Mia helps another actress out with a favor. That favor leaves Mia wondering who the other actress really is and puts her life and career in danger. 


I enjoyed this behind the scenes look at Hollywood. Author Catherine Steadman is also an actress so she definitely knows the business. The auditions, the screen tests, the meetings with Hollywood power players, and the swag all add an air of authenticity to the story. It’s the mystery part of the book that is a little convoluted. Mia spends most of her time trying to track down a woman who she met for about 10 minutes. Is it mistaken identity or identity theft? Mia is like a dog with a bone and just won’t let it go even when the police tell her everything checks out. 


I don’t want to give anything away but it wasn’t hard to figure out where the climax to the story takes place- and that Mia followed along so willingly. And the ending wraps up too neatly, not only for Mia but also for the character that put Mia in danger. I guess since it’s Hollywood, there has to be a happily ever after, right? 


But none the less, this is an entertaining slow burning mystery perfect for readers who like the entertainment biz or who enjoy a good cat and mouse thriller. 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 


Thank you to NetGalley, Random House, and the author for the eARC! The Disappearing Act is available today. 



Monday, June 7, 2021

The Cave Dwellers

 The Cave Dwellers


Author: Christina McDowell

Narrator: Madeline Maby

Publisher: Simon Audio

Year: 2021

Happy Monday! 

Thank you to @simon.audio for the gifted copy of this audiobook! 

One of Washington DC’s most elite families is brutally murdered and their home set on fire. The senseless murders reverberate through the families of the district’s oldest, richest, and most powerful families. 

@christinamcdowellauthor’s novel is filled with an assortment of scheming characters including a sex addicted senator, an old money family trying to hide their current business troubles, social climbers, a military man at the apex of his career, and a teenage girl trying to reconcile her belief in the criminal justice system with reality. Their secrets and the pressures to appear perfect trickle down to their children with sometimes tragic consequences. 

I found this to be an engrossing dramedy. The lengths some characters went to to make sure their kids went to the right school, or that they joined the right country club, or socialized with the right people bordered on the absurd- scathingly funny but sad at the same time. 

Narrator @madeleinemaby brings the elite power players to life in the audiobook. She easily switches back and forth from heartbroken teens to desperate wannabes trying to crack the unwritten societal codes. Her narration gives depth to even the shallowest characters, making me care what happened to them. 

This is perfect for fans of Scandal, House of Cards, Gossip Girls, or Real Housewives. Any reader who likes a peek behind the curtain to see how the other half lives will easily be pulled in to this story of power, lust, and wealth. 
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Summer weather has come roaring in to my little corner of the world! Where’s your favorite summertime reading spot? 

#thecavedwellers #christinamcdowell #simonaudio #madelinemaby #audiobook #audiobookreview #audiobooksofinstagram #audiobookstagram #washingtondc #thedistrict #powerplayers #wealth #power #familysecrets #murder #justicesystem 

Friday, June 4, 2021

The Last Place You Look

 The Last Place You Look


Author: Kristen Lepionka

Publisher: Minotaur Books

Year: 2017

This book was on my Goodreads TBR list for awhile before I found it at the library. 

15 years ago Sarah, a beautiful teenage girl, disappeared the night her parents were brutally murdered.  Her boyfriend Brad, a young Black man, was tried and convicted for the murder of Sarah’s parents and now he sits on death row hoping for a miracle. When Brad’s sister thinks she sees Sarah out in public, she hires private investigator Roxane Weary to track down the girl and exonerate Brad. 

Roxane is still reeling from the death of her father, a cop. The case draws her in when she thinks she links Sarah’s disappearance to one of her father’s old unsolved cases. Roxane races the clock to save Brad from death row and butts heads with a local police department before another girl disappears. 

This is the first book in Kristen Lepionka’s PI Roxane Weary series. It had been on my TBR list for awhile until I finally discovered the library had it. I think it’s a good start to the series. (The fourth book in the series published last July.) Roxane is a complex, self-destructive character with dogged determination to find answers. It will be interesting to see how her character develops and if she can overcome, or at least tame some of her personal demons in the later books. 
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️



Project Hail Mary

 Project Hail Mary


Author: Andy Weir

Narrator: Ray Porter

Publisher: Audible Studios

Year: 2021

An astronaut wakes up in a space ship with two dead crew members & no idea of who he is or what he’s doing there. This is the guy that’s supposed to save humanity? 

I’m not much of a sci fi reader, but Andy Weir’s The Martian is a one of my favorites (both the book and the movie). It’s the perfect mix of great main character, survival/adventure, humor, and just enough science to make it believable, but not enough to overwhelm.  Weir’s latest book finds that magic mix again. 

Middle school science teacher & former scientist Ryland Grace is on a desperate mission to save humanity. As his memories return, we discover what the mission is about & how he came to be on the ship. As Grace tries to figure out how to complete his mission, he discovers another interstellar traveler on a similar mission. I want Rocky to be my new BFF. 

I’ve read some reviews that knock this book for being a little too science heavy. I didn’t have a problem with it. The science fits and advances the story. Narrator @the.ray.porter is fantastic and really brings the story to life. If you’re not sure you want to read this because it’s too science heavy, then listen to the audiobook. Porter makes the science palatable and the audio adds an extra layer to Rocky. 

I know this is going to be one of my top 10 books of the year. And I’m already looking forward to the movie. 
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

What’s the last book you read that you just knew it was going to be one of your favorites for the year? 

#projecthailmary #andyweir #rayporter #audible #audiobook #audiobookreview #audiobookstagram #audiobooksofinstagram #space #aliens #spaceyravel #rocky #savehumanity #astronaut #scifibooks #scifi #sciencefiction #middleschoolscience #middleschoolscienceteacher 

When the Stars Go Dark

 When the Stars Go Dark


Author: Paula McLain

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Year: 2021

A detective reeling from a family tragedy returns to her hometown & becomes involved in the investigation of a missing teenage girl. 


I should have really liked this book. It’s a police procedural with a strong female main character. It had an interesting case- the adopted teenage daughter of a Hollywood star has gone missing. Did the girl run away or was she kidnapped? I liked the setting- a small coastal California town. 


But for me, the tone of this book was suffocatingly dark. I think every character in this book suffered from some kind of trauma - from childhood abuse, to bad marriages, to poor relationships with parents. Anna, the main character, is obsessed with finding missing kids. An obsessed & driven detective is standard in the mystery/thriller genre. But usually, there’s a wisecracking colleague or some kind of absurd subplot or character to add a smidge of levity. But not in this book. It’s like a massive black cloud of trauma hung over all the characters and the entire story. It was too much. I thought the only positive light in the book was a dog. But the whole tone of the book was so dark and depressing that I worried the dog was going to be killed off. 


I prefer my thrillers/mysteries with more action. This book reads more literary than thriller and maybe that’s another reason why it didn’t click with me. But I did enjoy the #betweenfriendsbookclub discussion for this book. I’m glad other people in our chat enjoyed the book more than I did, but this book just wasn’t for me. ⭐️⭐️⭐️


Happy Friday y’all! I’m reading The Glorious Guinness Girls this weekend. What are you reading this weekend? 


#whenthestarsgodark #ballantinebooks #literarythriller  #missinggirl #kidnapping #thrillerbooks #mysteryfiction #bookstagram #betweenfriendsbookclub #readreadread #policeproceedural #detectivefiction




Thursday, June 3, 2021

Furiously Happy



Author: Jenny Lawson

Narrator: Jenny Lawson

Publisher: Macmillan Audio

Year: 2015

I’m way late to the Jenny Lawson fan club. After finally listening to her best seller Furiously Happy count me in! 


I listened to this a little while ago and just loved it. It takes a very special and extremely talented author to write about crippling depression and anxiety and make mental health funny. And Lawson does this flawlessly. She writes so honestly about her lifelong battle with mental illness and it affects and she does it with such humor and grace. 


Lawson narrates the audiobook herself and I think that just adds a special layer to the book. If you haven’t read one of her books yet, make it a priority to do so. And this book cover is perfect! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️




Tuesday, June 1, 2021

May Reading Wrap Up

 May Reading Wrap Up


Happy June! Summer is here! 😎


Here’s my May reading wrap up. Thank you to Simon Schuster Audio for the gifted books The Cave Dwellers, Light Perpetual, and The Last Thing He Told Me. Thank you to Mulholland Books for the gifted copy of Heaven’s a Lie. 


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Heaven’s a Lie

The Cave Dweller’s 🎧

The Last Thing He Told Me 🎧 

My Life as a Villainess 


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Disappearing Act

They Went Left 🎧

The Vanishing Half 🎧

The Perfect Daughter

Light Perpetual 🎧


⭐️⭐️⭐️

Hour of the Witch 🎧

The Prophets

When the Stars Go Dark

Like Water for Chocolate

The Sanatorium 

The Distance from Me to You


The Perfect Daughter was a #spontaneousgroupread and we had a lively discussion about the book’s main character who had multiple personality disorder. The Prophets was May’s #buddyreadstodiefor and When the Stars Go Dark was for the #betweenfriendsbookclub We had great discussions with those books too. My irl book club read Like Water for Chocolate. 


My favorite book for the month was Heaven’s a Lie. What was your favorite May read? 


Under Your Spell

  Author: Laura Wood Narrator: Ellie Heydon Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Year: 2024 🎧𝗔𝘂𝗱𝗶𝗼𝗯𝗼𝗼𝗸 𝗥𝗲𝘃𝗶𝗲𝘄🎧 Many thanks...