Today, I'll be reviewing one of my most anticipated reads of the year...
Lock Every Door by Riley Sager
No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen's new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan's most high-profile and mysterious buildings. Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind.
As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid, who comfortingly, disturbingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story—until the next day, when Ingrid disappears.
Searching for the truth about Ingrid's disappearance, Jules digs deeper into the Bartholomew's dark past and into the secrets kept within its walls. Her discovery that Ingrid is not the first apartment sitter to go missing at the Bartholomew pits Jules against the clock as she races to unmask a killer, expose the building's hidden past, and escape the Bartholomew before her temporary status becomes permanent.
THE KING IS BACK!!!! And this time, he's bringing readers a goosebump-inducing, hair-raising mystery.
After months of waiting, Lock Every Door is finally here. I couldn't be more thrilled to add it to my Sager collection, but must say that I'm a little bummed to have read it in August. This book is the PERFECT autumn read.
I love Riley Sager for many reasons, and one of those is that none of his books are alike. Lock Every Door is a completely different monster than Final Girls and The Last Time I Lied. Sure The Last Time I Lied was creepy and heart-pumping, but Sager's latest brings a whole new meaning to CREEPY AND EERIE.
Lock Every Door is dark, twisted, and truly terrifying. And like Sager's previous books, the writing is impeccable, the cast of characters is captivating, and the plot is absolutely magnificent. Nonetheless, the most fascinating component of this book is the author's attention to detail. The characters are perfectly imperfect and the Bartholomew—the building where the story takes place—is truly horrifying and authentic. As a matter of fact, a part of me is certain that a version of the Bartholomew exists somewhere in the world today.
Despite my love for this story, I must confess that I'm not all that crazy about the ending. While it seems modern and quite likely, a part of me wishes Sager would've taken another route.
Nonetheless, Lock Every Door is a novel that I'll be recommending to readers and friends for years to come. I'm so sad that I have to wait a whole other year for Sager's next novel, but I can't wait to see what he does next.
Have you read Lock Every Door?
Welcome back friends!
Today, I'll be discussing Christina Lauren's latest novel.
A million thank yous to Anabel Jimenez over at Gallery Books for my copy. Twice in a Blue Moon comes out October 22, 2019.
Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren
Sam Brandis was Tate Jones’s first: Her first love. Her first everything. Including her first heartbreak.
During a whirlwind two-week vacation abroad, Sam and Tate fell for each other in only the way that first loves do: sharing all of their hopes, dreams, and deepest secrets along the way. Sam was the first, and only, person that Tate—the long-lost daughter of one of the world’s biggest film stars—ever revealed her identity to. So when it became clear her trust was misplaced, her world crumbled beneath her.
Fourteen years later, Tate is now an up-and-coming actress who only thinks about her first love every once in a blue moon. When she steps onto the set of her first big break, he’s the last person she expects to see. But there Sam is, the same charming, confident man she knew, but even more alluring than she remembered. Forced to confront the man who betrayed her, Tate must ask herself if it’s possible to do the wrong thing for the right reason… and whether “once in a lifetime” can come around twice.
The power duo is back, and this time, they're bringing readers a unique twist on the "second chance" romance.
The first half of this book was everything I wanted it to be. Sam and Tate took me back to when I was fifteen. Their story was magical, captivating, intense, and hopeful—everything someone feels when they meet their first love. But it was also earth-shattering and heartbreaking—a reminder of how it all feels when it ends.
Christina Lauren told the first half of this story perfectly, which is why I was so disappointed when the second half didn't deliver. While i loved how real and imperfect this cast was, I couldn't help but think that Sam and Tate's reunion later in life felt rushed. The first couple of chapters of their second story was as captivating as the first, but in just a couple of days the two had fought, reconciled, and gone to the ends of the earth for each other. It was all too much, too soon.
Despite this, the authors' writing style and character cast was as superb as usual. I may be a bit disappointed with Twice in a Blue Moon, but I can't wait to see what Christina Lauren comes up with next.
Is this latest romance on your TBR list?
Hey there bookworms,
Today, I'm back with a book review!
Crashing the A-List by Summer Heacock
After four months of unemployment, former book editor Clara Montgomery is still stuck sleeping on her little brother’s ugly couch. Determined to keep her minuscule savings account intact, she takes a job clearing out abandoned storage units.
When Clara comes across a unit that was once owned by an escort service, she finds the “résumé” of a younger Caspian Tiddleswich… an astonishingly famous British actor. Her best friend thinks she should sell the gossip to a tabloid to fund her way off the couch from hell, but Clara instead manages to track down Caspian’s contact info, intending to reassure him that her lips are sealed.
Unfortunately, Caspian misinterprets Clara’s attempt at altruism and shows up on her doorstep, accusing her of blackmail. When the paparazzi capture a photo of them together, Caspian’s PR team sees an opportunity to promote his latest film—and if Clara wants to atone for her “crimes,” she’ll have to play along. Pretending to be Caspian’s girlfriend seems like it will be a tolerable, if somewhat daunting, penance… until their fake romance becomes something more than either of them expected.
Here's the deal romance friends.... I really wanted to like this book. But as great as that sounds, Crashing the A-List just didn't do it for me.
I want to start off by saying that Heacock's latest novel features splendid writing and wonderful characters. The book truly is a quick and easy read. While Clara and her best friend's relationship feels forced at times, as a whole, the cast of characters is fun and authentic.
Nonetheless, this wasn't enough to get me to love the book. For starters, the plot seems great at first glance but is actually quite uneventful and repetitive. Almost all 336 pages include Clara and Caspian arguing over Clara's initial intentions. Of course it makes sense when Caspian first confronts her after the voicemail, but after their third screaming match I couldn't help but think "OKAY, I GET IT.... MOVE ON!!!"Another flaw I couldn't get past was the protagonists lack of chemistry. Their entire "love" story felt forced.
Because captivating dialogue and chemistry are essential to any romance story, I just couldn't get behind Crashing the A-List. This book might be a great read for other fans of the genre, but it personally wasn't for me. Nonetheless, the author's fine writing style and the delightful cast makes me consider picking up one of her other novels.
Have you read Summer Heacock's Crashing the A-List?
Today I'm back with something special...
I usually post weekly reviews, but since many of you have asked me questions about my summer experience as a publishing intern, I decided to do a blog post addressing all the questions!
If you're reading this and you have no idea what I'm talking about, let me catch you up... These past two months I spent the summer in New York as professional bookworm. I was given the opportunity to work at Hachette's romance imprint, Forever, where I worked in marketing and publicity. It was the best experience of my life (thus far) and further confirmed my love of all things books.
With that quick update, let's get to the Q&A!
Why did you decide to spend the summer in New York? How did you like it?
I've loved books for as long as I can remember, but only decided that I wanted to make a career out of it about three years ago. I live in South Florida, and while there are some professional literary opportunities here, they're not as abundant as in NYC. I wanted to spend my summer in the literary hub to see if I was really cut out to make it as a professional bookworm!
I had an amazing experience as a Forever intern and miss it everyday. I'm more sure than ever about my love of books and making a career out of my passion. I've very excited to see what the future holds.
How did you become an intern? What steps did you take to get there?
My first internship ever was as a writer for my university's newspaper. Then, months later, I applied for a summer marketing internship at a children's publisher—Santillana USA Publishing. After the summer ended, the publisher hired me as content blogger (a position I still hold.)
Apart from this internship at the publisher, I was also working as an intern for a TV show called Daily Flash. I was only at the show for a couple of months when I started applying to internships in publishing. I applied to a total of 31, and when I got an interview request for Forever I knew that was exactly where I wanted to be.
Every experience is different. So if you're reading this and want to get into publishing, don't think you have to follow my exact journey. Here's my advice:
1. Try your hardest: Apply to as many internships and jobs as you can, take any opportunity that comes your way, and remember that no job is too small.
2. If your dream is to get into the professional book world, do something that shows your love of reading! Work at a bookstore, volunteer at a book festival or at the library, try booktube, etc. Some people may think that bookstagram and book blogging is silly, but believe it or not, AZE was one of the reasons I got my first publishing job.
3. Work hard on your resume and cover letter: This is important because publishing is so competitive. Look up tutorials, ask people for help, and revise your resume as frequently as you can.
What was your favorite part of the internship? What was the most challenging?
Favorite: Meeting such wonderful people—my team, colleagues, and the other interns. Also... all the free books!!!
Most challenging: Trying to remember to not be super hard on myself. I tend to be really critical of myself, and this is sometimes hard when I make a mistake. But I like to remember that I'm learning everyday and that it's okay to mess up!
Most memorable moments?
Walking into Hachette for the first time, the RWA party, our Forever event at Strand bookstore, and my last FAM meeting (it got really mushy).
Did you meet any people who made your experience extra special?
So many!!! Kamrun Nesa, Sabrina Flemming, Jia Alonso, Mikayla Lawrence, Julia Perham, and so many other book friends.
But especially my supervisor, Estelle Hallick. She was the best teacher, and I miss her everyday.
I also can't forget my fellow intern friend, Hannah Towey. Not sure if I would've survived without our lunchtime chats.
What lessons will you take into your career?
Always try your hardest. It's okay to make mistakes. Express your ideas and opinions (respectfully). Be kind and respectful to your colleagues. Accept guidance.
Do I have to be an extrovert to work in publishing?
No! I think that most bookworms have a tendency to be introverted. Books > people... am I right?
But if you're looking to be in sales, subrights, publicity, marketing, or any similar departments, it's important to remember that you'll be talking to new people almost everyday!
How important is networking?
VERY IMPORTANT. Ask for informational interviews, get to know your colleagues and the people in other houses, be friendly and respectful!
What are some books you loved and discovered while working at Forever?
Down too Deep by J. Daniels:
Springtime at Hope Cottage:
Is romance your favorite genre?
I've always been a ride or die for the mystery and thriller genres, but I fell in love with romance books after reading One Day in December by Josie Silver. I've been reading romance books ever since! It's never too late to pick up a book that's out of your "comfort" zone.
Best books you read this summer? Books you're looking forward to reading?
Best books: The Seven 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton, Down too Deep by J. Daniels, The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez.
Looking forward to: Lock Every Door by Riley Sager, Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware, and everything on my Goodreads WTR shelf.
That's it for me, but if you're curious about something I didn't discuss, don't hesitate to comment on this post or message me!
Hope to hear from you soon. Until next time!
Hi there booksters!
Today, I'll be discussing a wonderful romance by author Beth O'Leary.
The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary
Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time.
But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window
I've heard a couple of mixed reviews about this one, but I got to say that I really enjoyed The Flatshare. The story was heartwarming and sweet, the characters were funny and complex--I think this is a book that's going to stay with me for some time.
While I truly did enjoy the plot, the protagonists, and all the post-it note shenanigans, there were two elements I wasn't crazy about: the author's voice and Leon's tone throughout the narrative. Some scenes in the novel felt overly detailed. I actually found myself skimming through excerpts a couple of times from how frequent it was. In regards to Leon's character, like other readers, I also noticed that his tone was strange. The words that come to mind are cold and standoffish.
Despite these two issues I had with The Flatshare, I did like the book overall.
To those who are interested in O'Leary's latest: pick it up and give it a shot! Just remember that if you're a reader who prefers steam and witty banter, this may not be for you.
Have you read The Flatshare?
Today I'll be discussing a mystery I've been dying (hahahaha) to read.
The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
Evelyn Hardcastle will be murdered at 11:00 p.m.
There are eight days and eight witnesses for you to inhabit.
We will only let you escape once you tell us the name of the killer.
Understood? Then let's begin...
Evelyn Hardcastle will die. Every day until Aiden Bishop can identify her killer and break the cycle. But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest. And some of his hosts are more helpful than others.
GUYS. This book is FREAKING insane. I have NEVER read anything like this. And I know I know, I say that about a lot of books, but I really really mean it this time.
First, I have to thank Thalia over at NYC's The Mysterious Bookshop for this recommendation. I went in one day, told her what kind of books I like, and she pulled out this little gem and told me to "try it out." So Thalia, if you ever stumble upon this one day, kudos to you.
It's kind of hard to explain The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle without spoiling the story, so I'm going to keep this real vague. This novel is a mix between Agatha Christie and Blake Crouch. If Blake Crouch doesn't sound familiar to you, he's the author of Dark Matter (and now Recursion). He writes crazy science fiction novels and is bloody brilliant at it.
Yes, you heard (read?) me correctly. This novel is a blend of mystery and sci-fi. It's great, one of a kind, and you have to go buy it asap.
I'm 100% sure this is going to be one of my favorite novels of 2019. I say one because Riley Sager released a book a couple of days ago and Ruth Ware's is coming out very soon. If you're an avid reader of AZE you know how much I love these two, so there's zero chance that I'll be able to pick a favorite. Don't worry though, this isn't a competition--there's enough room in my heart for all three.
If all that raving didn't convince you, I hope this does... GO BUY THIS BOOK IF YOU LOVE MYSTERY AND SCI-FI or even if you're looking for something different. The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle gets this girl's stamp of approval (if that means anything at all).
Have you read this Stuart Turton novel? Come chat with me!
Hey there book friends!
Today, I'm discussing my latest Agatha Christie adventure...
Cards on the Table (Hercule Poirot #15) by Agatha Christie
It was the matchup of the century: four sleuths--Superintendent Battle of Scotland Yard; Mrs. Ariadne Oliver, famed writer of detective stories; Col. Race of His Majesty's Secret Service; and the incomparable Hercule Poirot--invited to play bridge with four specially invited guests, each of whom had gotten away with murder! But before the first rubber was completed, the host was dead.
Before picking up Cards on the Table, I felt like it had been forever since I had devoured an Agatha Christie novel. The minute I opened the page and read the first sentence I actually sighed and said "honey, I'm home." Weird, right? Well, that's how much comfort these stories bring me.
Okay so, enough shenanigans. Let's dive into the review shall we?
I have got to say that Cards on the Table is one of A.C.'s more memorable stories. The plot is fun and intriguing--it's one of those whodunnits that drive you crazy because YOU NEED TO KNOW WHO DID IT before time runs out.
This is the second time I was able to figure out the murderer before I got to the end. And I don't think it's because I'm a kick ass detective, I just think that after reading 20 A.C. mysteries I finally got the hang of this thing.
It's also an added bonus that this Poirot mystery is a true delight. Aside from the storyline being quite memorable, the cast of characters is superb. All eight featured characters are intelligent and cunning, which makes for a wonderful set of suspects.
This is an authentic whodunnit if there ever was one, and I recommend it to all my fellow detective mystery lovers.
Have you read Cards on the Table? Come chat with me!
Hello fellow booksters!
Today, I'll be reviewing one of 2019 most anticipated summer romances.
Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. But when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry leak to the tabloids, American/British relations are threatened and White House staff has to do everything they can to save it.
Soon, the allies are staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince-- they just didn't expect the friendship to turn into anything more... As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry--one that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. Now the pair is forced to make decisions: How do you want history remember you? And more importantly, what's worth a sacrifice?
Red, White, and Royal Blue is unlike any novel I've read before. It's no secret that I'm not a fan of "flowery" writing, but I've decided to make an exception for this uplifting and captivating story (as I do with Tana French, obviously.)
Casey McQuiston's debut novel may follow the story of a complicated romance, but it's the vivid and memorable cast of characters, such as President Ellen Claremont and the White House trio, that make Red, White, and Royal Blue a story to remember.
This narrative is funny and lively, but it's also real and powerful. I barely ever cry when I read. (The Harry Potter series, A Man Called Ove, and Me Before You are the exceptions). But McQuiston's latest novel made me shed a tear or two, AND THAT, in itself, is HUGE PEOPLE.
I could sit here and say how much I loved Henry and Alex, but instead I'll say GO PICK UP THIS BOOK. I'm sure you won't regret it.
Have you read Red, White, and Royal Blue? Let's chat.
Hey there book friends!
Today, I'll be discussing Christina Lauren's latest novel: The Unhoneymooners.
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in everything. Her identical twin sister Ami, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests. Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.
Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.
Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of... lucky.
Will there ever be a book by this duo I don't enjoy? The answer is PROBABLY NOT.
The Unhoneymooners was as wonderful as I expected it to be, and it just might be one of my favorite C.L novels (along with Josh & Hazel) of all time.
Christina Lauren's latest release follows the story of Olive Torres and Ethan Thomas, two sworn enemies who decide to go away together when their siblings' all-paid honeymoon is up for grabs. The pair can't stand each other but are forced to act like a couple when they run into Olive's boss and Ethan's former girlfriend. Soon, Olive and Ethan are doing everything they can to keep up the charade: scuba diving, boating, and lots of PDA...
The Unhoneymooners is the ideal summer read. It's comical, light-hearted, and effortlessly romantic. The writing is captivating & easy to follow and the characters are lovable & memorable. I, without a doubt, recommend this pick to all my fellow romance readers and anyone looking for the perfect summer read.
Have you read Christina Lauren's latest novel? Come chat with me!
Welcome back bibliophiles!
Today, I'm discussing one of St. Martin's Press latest releases.
The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth
From the moment Lucy met Diana, she was kept at arm's length.
Diana is exquisitely polite, but Lucy knows, even after marrying Oliver, that they'll never have the closeness she'd been hoping for.
But who could fault Diana? She was a pillar of the community, an advocate for social justice, the matriarch of a loving family. Lucy had wanted so much to please her new mother-in-law.
That was ten years ago. Now, Diana has been found dead, leaving a suicide note. But the autopsy reveals evidence of suffocation, and everyone in the family is hiding something...
The Mother-in-Law is a wonderful contemporary novel. It's character driven, intriguing, and even has a SPLASH of mystery (HAHA... who let me write reviews?).
Hepworth's latest book follows the story of Diana, a strong-willed woman who believes in hard work and refuses to provide her children with hand-outs. Then one day, Diana turns up dead, and every one in her family seems to have a reason for wanting her gone. There may be a suicide note hidden in the drawer near her body, but it seems that Diana fought for her life until the very end. It won't be until readers analyze the psyche of these characters that they'll be able to uncover what really happened on the day of Diana's death...
The Mother-in-Law is a captivating testament of what people are truly capable of when they're pushed to their limits--it's a story of the lengths people go to to get what they want.
Hepworth's writing is absorbing, and when paired with this carefully developed plot, the two make an enthralling and complex tale.
The Mother-in-Law is a wonderful pick for readers who enjoy contemporary fiction, character-based novels, and stories that explore human nature.
Have you picked up this new release? Leave a comment below or chat with me on social!
Today, I'm discussing one of the most controversial thrillers: Behind Her Eyes.
Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough
Louise is a single mom stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she’s thrilled she's finally connected with someone.
When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar…who says the kiss was a terrible mistake but who still can’t keep his eyes off Louise.
And then Louise bumps into Adele, who’s new to town and in need of a friend. The only problem? She just so happens to be married to David.
The pair look like the picture-perfect couple, but soon, Louise can't help but notice David's need for control over Adele.
As Louise is drawn into the pair's orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong, but Louise can’t guess how wrong―and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.
I debated whether or not to pick up Pinborough's Behind Her Eyes since her release of Cross Her Heart. Unlike most readers, who read BHE before reading CHH, I did things the other way around. This didn't alter my expectations but it did make me wonder exactly what I was dealing with this time around. And after finishing this highly controversial book, I can honestly say that I don't think anything could've prepared me for the journey that is Behind Her Eyes.
I'd like to start off by saying that Pinborough's writing style is absolutely splendid. Her stories manage to captivate from the very first page in a way that has nothing to do with the characters or the storyline itself and everything to do with her simple ability to compel an audience.
However, in regards to the narrative itself, it's too difficult (for me at least) to set aside the fact that the plot is so incredibly far-fetched and unlikely. While there are hundreds of readers that are completely okay with setting logic aside and suspending their disbelief for the sake of a story, I'm not that person. Because of this (and don't worry, I won't spoil the story), I can only simply say that while I did enjoy Pinborough's novel, I didn't love it.
Aside from the problem I have with the plot and ending, I also didn't love any of the characters. Each of the protagonists was either manipulative or deceptive, which in turn, made the cast (as a whole) quite unlikable.
Despite these shortcomings, I really did enjoy Pinborough's Behind Her Eyes. I wouldn't exactly recommend it to my fellow thriller junkies, but if you are on the fence and what to check it out for yourself, go for it!
Have you read this controversial mystery? Come chat with me.
Today, I'm discussing Helen Hoang's long-awaited novel: The Bride Test.
The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.
As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.
With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.
The Bride Test is a quick and easy read. It's the kind of romance that readers pick up when they're looking for something light--a palate cleanser of sorts. But it's not the kind or romance story that is memorable or all-consuming.
Unlike The Kiss Quotient, which is wonderful due to its originality and captivating set of characters, The Bride Test is simply a fine read. Despite Hoang's splendid writing style, the storyline and the characters aren't particularly notable.
While this is an okay love story, I wouldn't recommend it to my fellow readers. Nonetheless, if you have read it, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Send me a message on Instagram @theazereads or simply leave a comment down below.
Welcome back bibliophiles
Today, I'll be discussing Book of the Month pick Before She Knew Him.
Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson
Hen and her husband Lloyd have settled into a quiet life in a new house outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Hen (short for Henrietta) is an illustrator and works out of a studio nearby, and has found the right meds to control her bipolar disorder. Finally, she’s found some stability and peace.
But when they meet the neighbors next door, that calm begins to erode as she spots a familiar object displayed on the husband’s office shelf. The sports trophy looks exactly like one that went missing from the home of a young man who was killed two years ago. Hen knows because she’s long had a fascination with this unsolved murder—an obsession she doesn’t talk about anymore, but can’t fully shake either.
Could her neighbor, Matthew, be a killer? Or is this the beginning of another psychotic episode like the one she suffered back in college, when she became so consumed with proving a fellow student guilty that she ended up hurting a classmate?
The more Hen observes Matthew, the more she suspects he’s planning something truly terrifying. Yet no one will believe her. Then one night, when she comes face to face with Matthew in a dark parking lot, she realizes that he knows she’s been watching him, that she’s really on to him. And that this is the beginning of a horrifying nightmare she may not live to escape...
After hearing great things, I was excited to choose Swanson's latest as my Book of the Month pick. Unfortunately, this one was a miss for me.
Despite Before She Knew Him not being a standout novel, it's important to note that Peter Swanson's writing is wonderful. The story may have lacked a cast of intriguing, likable characters and an exciting storyline, but Swanson's writing did not fail to be both colorful and concise. His fast pace and word choice kept me reading until the very end.
Sadly, the novel lacked suspense and mystery--it gave up too much too soon which resulted in the missing element of surprise. While some readers did enjoy the twist featured towards the end of the novel, it's one that has been done too many times before.
Aside from this, the cast was filled with unlikable, untrustworthy characters. Each was either a liar, cheater, or simply unreliable.
Altogether, these combined components made it difficult to connect with the story and the cast. Because of this, I wouldn't recommend this novel to fellow thriller readers.
Have you read Before She Knew Him? I'd love to hear your thoughts on Swanson's latest release.
Today, I'm discussing another Hercule Poirot case: After the Funeral.
After the Funeral (Funerals are Fatal) Hercule Poirot #29 by Agatha Christie
When Cora is savagely murdered with a hatchet, the extraordinary remark she made the previous day at her brother Richard's funeral suddenly takes on a chilling significance. Just hours earlier, Cora was heard saying: "It's been hushed up very nicely... He was murdered, wasn't he?"
Now, nothing makes sense, and the family's solicitor has no choice but to turn to Hercule Poirot for help.
This Hercule Poirot mystery is one of the most difficult to review.
On one hand, the storyline is extremely captivating. The ending also makes this one of the most memorable novels that Christie has ever written. However, the slow pace of the narrative accompanied by the underdeveloped cast of characters takes away a lot from this novel.
Despite having the potential to be one of the author's best, After the Funeral lacks Christie's traditional sense of "whodunnit." Because the story focuses more on whether or not a crime was committed and less on who actually committed the crime, readers don't really get the chance to get to know the characters. This not only takes away from the eerie and dangerous aspect of the plot, it also makes it difficult for audience members to draw their own conclusions.
In spite of these contradicting elements, After the Funeral is a wonderful mystery. While it's not Christie's best, it should definitely be added to your "want to read" list.
Have you read this Hercule Poirot mystery?
Today, I'm discussing one of Liza Palmer's most successful novels: Conversations with the Fat Girl.
A big thanks to Forever publishing for my free copy.
Conversations with the Fat Girl by Liza Palmer
Everyone seems to be getting on with their lives except Maggie. At twenty-seven, she's still serving coffee at Joe's while her friends are getting married, having babies, and thriving in their careers. And now Olivia, Maggie's best friend since grade school, is getting married too. The man in Maggie's life? Well there isn't one, except the guy she has a crush on, Domenic, who works with her at the coffee shop. Oh, and her dog, Solo (the name says it all).
When Olivia comes to town and asks Maggie to be her maid of honor, Maggie is thrilled... but she can't help comparing herself to the new and "improved" Olivia. Way back then, they befriended each other because they both struggled with their weight. Now grown up, Maggie is still shopping in the "women's section" while Olivia went and had gastric-bypass surgery in search of the elusive size 2. But as the wedding nears, Olivia's seemingly perfect life starts to unravel, and Maggie realizes that happiness might not be tied to a number on the scale.
Liza Palmer's upcoming rerelease is the story of 27-year-old Maggie--a young woman who has battled low self-esteem for as long as she could remember.
Maggie and her best friend Olivia grew up trying their hardest to make themselves invisible. They were sure that if they could not be seen, they could not be bullied. Now, Maggie and Olivia are in their late twenties. While Maggie is still battling the same issues, Olivia is down to a size 2 and living the life she always wanted: hanging with a group of thin, gorgeous women; marrying an intelligent man; and throwing the picture-perfect wedding. The only problem? Olivia is no longer the Olivia Maggie once knew.
Conversations with the Fat Girl is an interesting story. The writing is captivating, the plot is relatable, and the characters are authentic and vibrant. Palmer's novel is full of potential. The narrative is filled with powerful messages and lessons that are sure to resonate with hundreds of readers.
Unfortunately, the short anecdotes throughout the novel and Maggie's unlikable personality make it difficult for readers to make a strong connection with the story. Nonetheless, Palmer's shocking and empowering ending saves the story and makes Conversations with the Fat Girl worthwhile.
This rerelease will be hitting the shelves August 6th. Have you read Conversations with the Fat Girl? Will you be picking up a copy?
Today, I'm discussing one of my most anticipated romance reads of 2019: Meet Cute.
A huge thanks to Forever Publishing for my free copy.
Meet Cute by Helena Hunting
On her first day of law school, Kailyn ran--quite literally--into the actor she crushed on as a teenager, ending with him sprawled on top of her. Mortified to discover that the Daxton Hughes was also a student in her class, her embarrassment over their meet-cute quickly turned into a friendship she never expected. Unfortunately, she never saw his betrayal coming either...
Now, eight years later, Dax is in her office asking for legal advice. Despite her anger, Kailyn can't help feeling sorry for the devastated man who just became sole guardian to his thirteen-year-old sister. But when her boss gets wind of Kailyn's new celebrity client, there's even more at stake than Dax's custody issues: if she gets Dax to work at their firm, she'll be promoted to partner.
The more time Kailyn spends with Dax and his sister, the more she starts to feel like a family, and the more she realizes the chemistry they had all those years ago is as fresh as ever.
Will they be able to forgive the mistakes of the past, or will one betrayal lead to another?
Helena Hunting's latest novel is as captivating as expected.
This complex romance follows the story of Daxton Hughes and Kailyn Flowers--who once frenemies, are reunited when a tragic accident occurs.
Meet Cute is wonderful because it's a real-life romance. Unlike other love stories which often set impossible and unrealistic standards, Hunting's latest novel shows that while love is beautiful, it almost always turns up at the most inconvenient times.
Daxton and Kailyn are two people who are figuring out their life. Dax is dealing with loss while Kailyn is figuring out how to land her dream job. Their feelings for each other are complicated and could not have come up at a more difficult time, but despite it all, the pair is eager to make it work. For this reason, Meet Cute is a must read for fans of romance. Helena Hunting's latest features the elements of fate and romance while also being authentic.
If you have not purchased a copy, do so soon.
Have you read Meet Cute?
Hey there bookworms
Today, I'll be discussing one of my favorite romances of 2019.
A BIG thank you to Forever Publishing for my free copy. The Friend Zone will be available on June 11th!
The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez
Kristen Petersen doesn't do drama, will fight to the death for her friends, and has no room in her life for guys who just don't get her. She's also keeping a big secret: facing a medically necessary procedure that will make it impossible for her to have children.
Planning her best friend's wedding is bittersweet for Kristen--especially when she meets the best man, Joshua Copeland. He's funny, sexy, never offended by her mile-wide streak of sarcasm, and always one chicken enchilada ahead of her hangry. Even her dog, Stuntman Mike, adores him. The only catch: Josh wants a big family someday. Kristen knows he'd be better off with someone else, but as their attraction grows, it's harder and harder to keep him at arm's length.
The Friend Zone just might be one of my favorite reads of 2019. Abby Jimenez's debut novel is compelling, comical, and heartbreaking.
As previously mentioned, this book follows the story of Kristen Petersen and Joshua Copeland--two of the most genuine and candid characters featured in a work of romance. Kristen is witty, funny, and unapologetic. While Joshua is strong, determined, and big-hearted. Together, the pair is absolutely captivating.
Despite The Friend Zone being the author's first novel, Jimenez managed to create a wonderful narrative filled with both delight and heartbreak. Readers can expect to laugh-out-loud and even shed a tear or two.
This book is the perfect pick for readers who enjoyed Jojo Moyes' Me Before You or Christina Lauren's Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating.
Will you be picking up a copy of The Friend Zone? Have you read it already? Chat with me in the comments below or send me a message on Instagram!
Today, I'll be discussing one of Agatha Christie's earlier novels: The Seven Dials Mystery.
The Seven Dials Mystery by Agatha Christie
Gerry Wade had proved himself to be a champion sleeper, so the other houseguests decided to play a practical joke on him. Eight alarm clocks were set to go off, one after the other, starting at 6:30 a.m. But when morning arrived, one clock was missing and it was evident that the prank had backfired with tragic consequences.
The Seven Dials Mystery might be my least favorite Christie novel (up to date).
At first glance, the storyline seems captivating. Unfortunately, this isn't the case.
Despite the novel beginning with the murder of Gerry Wade, the focus of the story shifts--making it less entertaining and quite confusing for the audience. The novel features a handful of twists that are meant to keep readers on their toes but instead result in disapproval and displeasure. By the time the mystery is solved, the story can only be described as anticlimactic.
Not much can be said without spoiling the story, so I'll keep it short. If you enjoyed The Secret of Chimneys, you may like The Seven Dials Mystery. I recommend skipping it nonetheless.
Have you read The Seven Dials Mystery?
Hello fellow bookworms
Today, I'm back with an Agatha Christie mystery...
Towards Zero by Agatha Christie
Lady Tressilian, an elderly woman confined to her bed, has invited several guests to her seaside home at the end of the summer. Guest Nevile Strange, incurs her displeasure by inviting both his current and former wife, thus causing awkward misunderstandings and tension between the group.
But events soon turn when Lady Tressilian is killed and Superintendent Battle finds himself in a labyrinthine maze of clues and deception.
What reason could someone have of killing the old woman? Could it have been greed or jealousy, or is something much sinister at bay?
Towards Zero is one of Christie's fine novels. Nonetheless, it can't be described as great or stand out. Despite being enjoyable, the novel lacks a memorable cast of characters and a unique storyline. Because of this, the book is great for readers who are looking for a quick and easy read but not for those trying out the author's works.
Like in other Christie stories, the novel is set at the home of a very wealthy host. The host is found dead, and soon, every guest and employee is a suspect. At first, the narrative is interesting because it makes readers wonder who would gain from the victim's death. Unfortunately, the outcome becomes predictable in the early stages of the mystery.
For avid readers of Agatha Christie, this is a good pick. However, if you're not very familiar with her stories, it's best to opt for a different mystery.
Have you read Towards Zero? Chat with me!
Today, I'm discussing Colleen Hoover fan favorite Maybe Someday.
Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover
At twenty-two years old, Sydney has a great life: She's in college; working a steady job; in love with her wonderful boyfriend, Hunter; and rooming with her best friend, Tori. But everything changes when she discovers that Hunter is cheating on her--and she is left trying to decide what to do next.
Soon, Sydney becomes captivated by Ridge, her mysterious neighbor. She can't take her eyes off him or stop listening to the passionate way he plays his guitar every evening out on his balcony. And there's something about Sydney that Ridge can't ignore, either.
Finally, when their inevitable encounter happens, they soon find themselves needing each other in more ways than one...
While I understand why people would really enjoy this book, I can't seem to love Hoover's work.
A couple of weeks ago, I read It Ends with Us. And now, after finishing Maybe Someday--one of Hoover's most talked about novels--I've come to terms with the fact that her books might just not be for me.
Despite enjoying the author's writing style, I have a hard time connecting with her storylines and characters. Maybe Someday for example, features a really dramatic storyline and very unlikeable characters.
As much as I want to love Hoover's stories, my inability to connect with them makes it really difficult. Because of this, I'm coming to you all for help. If there's any Colleen Hoover book you think I might enjoy, send me a message on Instagram or comment down below!
In the meantime, I'll be checking out other romances.
Have you read Maybe Someday?
Today, I'll be discussing My Favorite Half-Night Stand.
My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren
Millie Morris has always been one of the guys. A UC Santa Barbara professor, she’s a female-serial-killer expert who’s quick with a deflection joke and terrible at getting personal. And she, just like her four best guy friends and fellow professors, is very single.
So when a routine university function turns into a black tie gala, Mille and her circle make a pact that they’ll join an online dating service to find plus-ones for the event. There’s only one hitch: after making the pact, Millie and one of the guys, Reid Campbell, secretly spend the sexiest half-night of their lives together, but mutually decide the friendship would be better off strictly platonic.
But online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. While the guys are inundated with quality matches and potential dates, Millie’s first profile attempt garners nothing but dick pics and creepers. Enter “Catherine”—Millie’s fictional profile persona, in whose make-believe shoes she can be more vulnerable than she’s ever been in person. Soon “Catherine” and Reid strike up a digital pen-pal-ship...but Millie can’t resist temptation in real life, either. Millie will have to face her worst fear—intimacy—or risk losing her best friend, forever.
Can Christina Lauren do any wrong? This duo has written wonderful novels: Josh and Hazel, Roomies, and Love and Other Words. My Favorite Half-Night Stand is no exception.
Along with Josh and Hazel, Half-Night Stand is one of my C.L. favorites.
The greatest thing about this novel is that the characters, storyline, and writing are equally wonderful.
The protagonists, Millie and Reid, are complex and real. But the supporting cast adds a lighthearted element. Chris, Ed, and Alex are funny and genuine. Like Millie and Reid, they have flaws and insecurities. However, it's their strengths--their loyalty and compassion--that makes them memorable characters.
The plot of My Favorite Half-Night Stand is especially splendid. It very accurately represents dating in the 21st century: dating apps, awkward dates, and the occasional catfish. Though the story can be a bit predictable and cliche, it's impossible not to enjoy it.
Additionally, C.L.'s writing is as captivating as always. It's eloquent but also concise and easy to understand.
Altogether, My Favorite Half-Night Stand is a marvelous novel and a great pick for fans of romance.
Have you read this C.L. novel? Chat with me below or on social media.
Today, I'll be discussing 2018 fan-favorite The Kiss Quotient.
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases—a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.
It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice—with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan—from foreplay to more-than-missionary position...
Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he's making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic...
There's a reason The Kiss Quotient is an award-winning fan favorite... this book is a must for readers of romance.
Hoang's debut novel is delightful... It's humorous, insightful, and absolutely genuine.
The narrative tells the story of protagonists Stella Lane and Michael Phan. Michael is an escort; Stella is an econometrician. And when they're together, all the things they thought they were sure of become blurred. Michael gets Stella to crave physical touch; Stella gets Michael to feel things he's never felt before. Before long, all their rules go out the window.
This novel has many amazing qualities. The storyline is refreshing, the writing is superb, and the characters are simply enchanting.
There isn't much else to say except pick up a copy of The Kiss Quotient asap!
Did you enjoy Hoang's debut novel? Will you be reading The Bride Test?
Welcome back readers
Today, I'll be discussing Christina Lauren's Roomies.
Roomies by Christina Lauren
For months Holland Bakker has invented excuses to descend into the subway station near her apartment, drawn to the captivating music performed by her street musician crush. Lacking the nerve to talk to the gorgeous stranger, fate steps in one night in the form of a drunken attacker. Calvin Mcloughlin rescues her, but quickly disappears when the police start asking questions.
Using the only resource she has to pay the brilliant musician back, Holland gets Calvin an audition with her uncle, Broadway’s hottest musical director. When the tryout goes better than Holland could have imagined, Calvin is set for a great entry into Broadway—until his reason for disappearing earlier becomes clear: he’s in the country illegally, his student visa having expired years ago.
Seeing that her uncle needs Calvin as much as Calvin needs him, a wild idea takes hold of her. Impulsively, she marries the Irishman, her infatuation a secret only to him. As their relationship evolves and Calvin becomes the darling of Broadway—in the middle of the theatrics and the acting-not-acting—will Holland and Calvin realize that they both stopped pretending a long ago?
Roomies, one of Christina Lauren's most popular novels, is a fun and unique love story that takes place in New York City. Unlike Love and Other Words, which is a heavy romance, Roomies is lighthearted and comical.
The novel follows the story of characters Holland Bakker and Calvin Mcloughlin--two individuals who are struggling to accomplish their dreams. The pair agree to get married for the sake of Calvin's big break, but soon, start having very real feelings regarding their fake marriage.
Despite the great cast of characters, this book is special for its storyline. Lauren creates a narrative that shows the lengths people go to achieve their dreams. It's a wonderful reminder that while things may not always go according to plan, it's important to never give up.
Nonetheless, I can't overlook the fact that the duo have written much stronger and captivating novels. Roomies is a good read but certainly not their best.
Despite this, this novel truly is a good pick for readers who are looking for a light and fun romance.
Have you read Roomies? Comment below or chat with me on social media.
Hello! Welcome back.
Today, I'm discussing my first Colleen Hoover: It Ends with Us.
It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover
Lily has never had it easy, but that hasn't stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up—she's graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything suddenly seems too good to be true.
Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. But he’s also sensitive and brilliant. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him this way in the first place.
As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan—her first love and link to the life she's left behind. Atlas was her kindred spirit and protector. So when he reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is suddenly threatened.
Colleen Hoover is a wonderful creator and writer. This novel may be a love story, but it's so much more than that. It Ends with Us tells a story of violence and pain but also one of compassion and kindness. It also shows a true depiction of domestic violence.
Hoover's writing is enchanting, but like in so many other novels, it's the characters that make this a memorable story. With the change in timeline from the past to the present, readers have the chance to learn about Lily--her thoughts, fears, and dreams. This also makes her interactions with characters such as her mom, Ryle, and Atlas, more captivating.
While this is a fine read, it's important to remember that it features mature content. It Ends with Us tackles difficult topics which may not be for everyone.
Have you read It Ends with Us? Chat with me below or on Instagram!
Hey there book lovers
Today, I'm discussing Sarah Knight's The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck.
The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck by Sarah Knight
Are you stressed out and exhausted? Are you fed up with pleasing everyone else instead of yourself? Then, it's time to stop giving a f*ck.
This practical parody of Marie Kondo's bestseller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up explains how to rid yourself of unwanted obligations, shame, and guilt in order to start caring about the people and things that make you happy.
Sarah Knight's The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck is a fun twist on Marie Kondo's bestselling novel. And in many ways, it's also more intriguing and engaging.
However, despite Knight's unique perspective, this read isn't as helpful as her other novel Calm the F*ck Down. While The Life-Changing Magic is simply a fine read, Calm the F*ck Down's guide is genuinely useful. Despite offering a couple of tips, this book is repetitive and not exactly applicable. Because of this, I would suggest skipping this one and checking out Knight's other works.
Have you read The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck? Share your thoughts below or reach me on social media!