Category Archives: Book Reviews

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

About: One horrible night changed the world of two families as they knew it. Two kids that cared about each other are now forced to live separate lives and grow up away from each other. It’s a book about mistakes and consequences. It’s also about second chances and redemptions.


Plot: I really did like this book. I can’t say I am in love with it. I will probably never read it again, but I don’t regret reading it. I don’t feel like I wasted my time. I do feel like it wasn’t at all like I thought it was going to be. I can’t say I’m really disappointed. Maybe a little miffed. I read it for book club. The group seemed to really love it, so there’s that.


Characters: It’s been a while since I read the book. I’m not going to lie. I don’t really remember a lot of the character’s names. I’m horrible with names. I really did feel for Peter and Kate in the book though. They both went through so much in their own way. I would have liked to have seen some of this book from Peter’s father’s point of view. I would have wanted to see why he did and thought the way he did. Was he selfish or did he have reasons?


Narration: This book is narrated by Molly Pope. I had never heard of Molly Pope before listening to this book. She did a pretty great job though. I can’t complain. I would definitely be interested in listening to her narrating other books as well. Maybe in the future.


Suggestions: More points of view and more explanations of certain things.


Recommend: I would. In fact, I’m giving my copy to a good friend of mine.

Quotes:

We repeat what we don’t repair.

In the old country someone would have opened a window to let the man’s spirit fly out, but any souls let loose here in the South Bronx would be free only so far as they could bat around four walls until, exhausted, they wilted in the heat and were forgotten.

But things are meant to change, Peter said. Because life changes and people change. As long as we change together, we’re okay.

The thing is, Peter, grown-ups don’t know what they’re doing any better than kids do. That’s the truth.

Highland Heat by Tilly Greene Book Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

About: Hamish has everything he could possibly want in life. He’s successful. He has the respect and fear of many people around him. He’s content. Only a few people are able to get behind the wall he’s lived behind all his life. All that changes when he meets Grace. The attraction between the two is intense and immediate.


Plot: First of all, I want to acknowledge that this book is for mature audiences. It is clasified as an erotic novel. I don’t really tend to read a lot of erotic novels. I really have my personal reasons for not doing so, but I digress. Every now and then, I will find one of them that I really enjoy very much. This is one of those books. I read it with somebody. Or rather, she read it to me. Between the wonderful reading and the wonderful writing, I really enjoyed it. I definitely plan to read more from Tilly Greene in the future.


Characters: The main focus was on our main characters, Hamish and Grace. There were a few other secondary characters scattered in the book. They were all quirky. I would have loved to have seen more of them in the story. I get why they weren’t though. Hamish and Grace were really amazing but really infuriating too. I can’t explain that. There were times I just wanted to smack both of them!


Suggestions: None


Recommend: Yes!!!!!

The Complications Of Pi by RK Phillips Book Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

About: Petyon is just your average klutzy girl. She loves all things numbers. She has an amazing family and best friend to entertain her. She loves her job as a math professor at a local college. She thinks that she has everything she could want in life. Until Nikola walks in. Everything changes as she knows it.


Plot: I really enjoyed the plot. I really felt like I was in Peyton’s head. There were times I felt like I was actually Peyton. I’m not used to getting sucked into a book as much as I was this one. I also don’t get nearly as gushy about books as I did this one. It was really well written. Especially for this being the author’s very first book. I’m looking forward to seeing the books she comes out with in the future.


Characters: Peyton is just so adorable! She’s really relatable. Especially for many of us nerds out there. I really liked Nikola as well. She seemed like a really intuitive individual. Simone and Petyon have this amazing dynamic as best friends. I would have liked to see more of Simone in the story. I would have also liked to see more of Damion, Peyton’s brother.


Suggestions: More Damion, More scenes needed to be elaborated a bit more. Other than that, this book is really fantastic.


Recommend: I really do recommend this book. It’s LGBTQ friendly. Don’t take my word for it! See for yourself!

Quotes:

Once inside the car, she rattled off her address and, like Cinderella, was whisked back home away from the ball. This time there would be no happily ever after and no shoe left behind.

She excelled at avoiding uncomfortable situations where she felt like her heart had relocated to inside her skull. Dating oddly was one of those scenarios. She didn’t really do casual dating. Her shortest relationship was six months and her longest one was three years. That one tore her apart and she still wasn’t sure if she was over the whole thing yet or not. Was she even ready to date again?

You’re right. I don’t believe you should have to out yourself so to speak just because you’re worried about your job. I mean, heterosexual people don’t go around saying ‘I just wanted you to know that I like men in case you have parents or students that think it’s wrong.’ I understand where you’re coming from, though. Maybe that’s why I’m a hard ass at times or don’t give a shit. Maybe I’m in a position where it doesn’t affect me as much. Were your parents cool when you told them?

N: LOL. Took me a minute. Why did you hang up?

Now this was the million dollar question and one she didn’t want to answer.

P: First time student walked into my office for help.

N: Earlier?

P: I am a bird people eat.

The Guest List by Lucy Foley Book Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

About: A celebrity wedding on a remote island in Ireland. Everybody wants to be there. Or do they? Things start out normally. Everybody is preparing for the wedding. Everybody is happy and getting along. Everything is perfect. Until the secrets start coming to the surface.


Plot: This book was really intense! It was told from multiple points of view in the past and present times. I felt like it kind of read like Big Little Lies did. I found out that it’s also a Reece Witherspoon Book Club read! It was definitely full of a lot of unexpected surprises. My advice is to pay attention to the small backstories that don’t seem to really make sense.


Characters: I really related to Olivia the most. Hannah too. They were very introverted people trying to fit in with an extroverted group of people. Will seems to be a decent groom. He has a bit of a playboy image but appears to be harmless. His best man, Johnno seems to be going through something that he’s constantly self-medicating to forget. The bride, Jules, is overly selfish and beyond judgmental. She also seemed to have an anger problem.


Narration: This book was narrated by a cast of six people. One for every point of view it seems. I think it was a brilliant idea. It brought the characters even more to life and made their personalities more distinct and alive. They all did a wonderful job!


Suggestions: Without giving too much away, I was very disappointed with the ending. There were a lot of ends that should have been tied a little better. Things that should have been explained.


Recommend: Yes!!!!

Quotes:

You don’t get this. This isn’t your moment. You didn’t create it. I created it in spite of you.

The rituals, the male bonding. When we get together there’s this kind of pack mentality. We get carried away.

In my experience, those who have the greatest respect for the rules also take the most enjoyment in breaking them.

When he broke up with me, he told me that he would love me forever. But that’s total crap. If you love someone, really, you don’t do anything to hurt them.

The Library Of Legends by Janie Chang Book Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

About: It’s 1937 in China. Japan bombs started being dropped at random. Ju Lian and her classmates are forced to flee their college and find safety before it’s too late. They are also tasked to help keep the Library of Legends safe. Each student is tasked to hold onto one book. They are also given an assignment to read the book they have and be prepared to write a paper on it.


Plot: This book was so beautifully written. It’s tragic, but it’s full of hope. I loved the references to the books in the Library of Legends. I would have liked to see more references. I would have also liked to see some of the things that were referenced in the story. This book reminded me of The Shanghai Girls. Only because of the event that takes place. It’s nowhere near as brutal.


Characters: It was easy to really empathize with the characters in this book. Especially Ju Lian. She and her mother had gone through so much in life. Her father is mistakenly killed. The cops refused to make the fact that their kill was in error public. She and her mother were forced to go into hiding because of it.


Narration: This book was narrated by Emily Woo Zeller. She had a tone that captivated attention. I can’t explain it better than that. I really enjoyed hearing her.


Suggestions: Maybe have some of the incidences that were referenced included in the story.


Recommend: Yes!

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki Book Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

About: Freddy is a seventeen-year-old lesbian. She is madly in love with Laura Dean. The only problem is that Laura Dean keeps breaking up with her. She writes to an advice columnist for advice about it all.


Plot: This was a really realistic story. There are many people who can relate to the main character. Most of us have had a person like Laura Dean in our lives. For those of you who haven’t done it and always wondered why people like us stay, I can explain it. We love them. We miss them so much when they neglect us that we’re willing to drop everything when they give us time of day. Yes, eventually we come to our senses, but at that time, we are blinded by love.


Characters: I really liked Freddy. I related to her so much. I’ve been where she was with Laura Dean. I did NOT like Laura Dean. She wasn’t a good person at all. She used people to get her way. Freddy’s best friend was amazing too. I wish I saw more of her in the book. I get why though.


Artwork: The artwork in this graphic novel was fantastic. I couldn’t get over how vivid all of the pictures were!


Suggestions: Nothing


Recommend: Yes!!!!

Mexican Gothic By Silvia Moreno-Garcia Book Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

About: Noemi’s father gets a very disturbing letter from her cousin, Catalina. Catalina’s husband agrees to let Noemi come and see Catalina for herself so they can assess the situation. Noemi is somewhat troubled about her life being temporarily disturbed, but she is looking forward to seeing her cousin. When she arrives at her the home that Catalina is staying, she finds more disturbing things then she can ever wrap her mind around.


Plot: I really enjoyed this book so much. At first, I was like this is a horror? I’m not seeing it at all. Maybe a bit of a paranormal. Then, it hit. Like a sledgehammer. In my opinion, that’s the best way to have a horror. Nobody expects it coming until it’s too late. I also feel like this could be made into a sequel if the author was up to it.


Characters: Noemi is this very strong character. She knows what she wants. She knows how to carry herself. She’s intelligent and proud. I wish I had seen more of Catalina. She’s more referenced and described than anything. The other characters definitely put some color into the book. Especially the people that lived in High Place.


Narration: I both listened and read this book. This book was narrated by Franki Corzo. She gave such an authentic feel to the Spanish heritage referenced in this book. It was wonderful. She also has a nice voice that I didn’t mind hearing at all. I would definitely hear other books narrated by her.


Suggestions: Sequel, please!


Recommend: I definitely recommend!

Quotes:

The world might indeed be a cursed circle; the snake swallowed its tail and there could be no end, only an eternal ruination and endless devouring.

The future, she thought, could not be predicted, and the shape of things could not be divined. To think otherwise was absurd. But they were young that morning, and they could cling to hope. Hope that the world could be remade, kinder and sweeter.

Beauty attracts beauty and begets beauty.

Books, moonlight, melodrama.

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager Book Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

About: Maggie has spent her whole life being teased and taunted or treated differently because of a book that her father wrote when she was little. One that she finally read and came to believe was completely false. She spent the rest of her childhood trying to figure out why her parents would lie and say that it was a true story. When her father dies, she finds out that he never sold the house that the book referenced. She takes it as an opportunity to finally get the answers she has asked for all her life.


Plot: This was so inventive! I really loved how there were parts in Maggie’s point of view and then parts that were part of the book referenced in Maggie’s parts. It was so creative. It was almost like I was reading two books at one time. I was definitely on edge for most of this book. I’m not even going to lie! To add to it all, I got the bright idea to start reading this right at night!


Characters: I really adore Maggie in this. She was just so determined. I get vibes that she may be a lesbian. I’m not sure. I would have liked to see a suspicion that I had in the book confirmed. I will just accept that I might be wrong. The mother was kind of a nightmare, but I get why she was the way she was. The rest of the characters played more in the background than anything. Some were hilarious though!


Narration: This book was narrated by Cady McClain and Jon Lindstrom. I didn’t listen to the full book in audiobook. I read a big chunk of it at work. But these narrators were really awesome. Jon was so authentic sounding that I felt like I was actually there in the story that was being woven! It was spooky!


Suggestions: I’d of liked to see how she goes about her life in the end and to see some loose ends tied up. Other than that, nothing.


Recommend: Yes! Be prepared to expect the unexpected.

Quotes:

Grief is tricky like that. It can lie low for hours, long enough for magical thinking to take hold. Then, when you’re good and vulnerable, it will leap out at you like a fun-house skeleton, and all the pain you thought was gone comes roaring back.

Every house has a story to tell.

Few things in life are more disappointing than knowing you’re parents aren’t being honest with you.

When We Were vikings by Andrew David MacDonald Book Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

About: Zelda has a cognitive deficiency. She doesn’t let that stop her. She keeps living her life and proving every day that she can live a very independent lifestyle. The only problem is that she’s put in danger. Her brother who she lives with and is taking care of her has gotten into a shady business to make ends meet and take care of himself and Zelda.


Plot: I really enjoyed this book very much. It wasn’t at all what I expected to be honest, but I am really okay with that. I loved the point of view. It kind of makes me feel like it sheds light on people with special needs a little more. I believe that many people feel like people with special needs all fit into one solid group. That’s just not the case. There are some who will never be able to live life alone, and there are some that are some that are very high functioning and live in society like everybody else.


Characters: I feel so much for Zelda. She’s got this obsession with vikings. She considers herself an expert. Things happen that were other people’s fault she’s blamed for. The worst part is that she’s taking that blame on. She’s also taken advantage of a lot. It’s horrifying. The other characters were great. Especially AK47. I just wish there were more of them. I would have loved to see another point of view in this book.


Narration: I toggled back and forth between reading this book and listening to it. It’s narrated by Phoebe Strole. She did a really great job. I feel like she really accented and honed in on Zelda’s personality. It was awe inspiring.


Suggestions: I would have liked to see other points of view in this. And maybe something after the ending.


Recommend: I really do! I do have to say there are a few trigger warnings in here.

Quotes:

Most of the heroes of the sagas are men who saved fair maidens from villains and monsters, because the fair maidens could not save themselves. This was a problem. I did not want to be a fair maiden who needed to be saved. I wanted to be the hero doing the saving.

He needs to write his own legend.

…Sometimes the world thinks something is not possible, but it turns out that they can be wrong.

Sometimes the most important things don’t fit on lists.

The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski Book Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

About: Arin has put himself in the thick of the war. He’s doing everything in his power to forget about Kestrel. Little does he know, Kestrel has been thrown in work camp for betraying her country. For what she did for him that he never knew about. By the time he finds out and goes and rescues her, she has no memory at all.


Plot: I thought that this book went a lot slower than the first two books. I still enjoyed it. I just felt it was very slow. I feel like I liked Arin’s point of view in this one more than Kestrel’s. I think Kestrel’s point of view should have been shifted to Arin’s cousin. At least for part of the book.


Characters: I didn’t really care for Kestrel in this book. I get it. She had no memory at all. She didn’t know who she was. I just found it frustrating to read parts in her point of view. That’s all. I really loved some of the secondary characters in this book. I wish I wasn’t so horrible with names! Arin had a great transformation in this book that I really liked as well.


Narration: The narrator for this book is Justine Eyre. She narrated the entire trilogy. I both read and listened to all three. I checked out both the book and the audiobook from the library. I listened when I couldn’t actually read. She did a fantastic job.


Suggestions: Other than the point of view should have been temporarily changed at the beginning of the book for Kestrel, nothing.


Recommend: Yes!

Quotes:

I won’t play you because even when I win, I lose. It’s never been just a game between us.

As he spoke, it occurred to her that maybe he, too, felt like two people, that maybe everybody does, and that it’s not a question of whether one’s damaged, but of how easily or not that damage is seen.

Later, Kestrel wished she had spoken then, that no time had been lost. She wished that she’d had the courage that very moment to tell Arin what she’d finally known to be true: that she loved him with the whole of her heart.

It was the horror of someone who’d been dealt a winning hand, had bet her life on the game, and then proceeded (deliberately?) to lose.