A Top 2020 Read: Under Glass and Stone by A.N. Willis – Book Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What I Loved:

Under Stone and Glass was such an amazing story with a well-written plot and I loved all of it. I was blown away by the story of the house. A.N. Willis wove such an intricate story in such an amazing way, I was absolutely captivated.

How I Felt:

The characters give a young adult feel to this story, however, it’s perfect for adults. Evelyn, our main character, is a high school student plagued by terrible dreams that feel more like memories of the house across the street. Everyone thinks she is obsessed with the house and needs to move on. She’s such a determined character and knows deep down that something is not right. She meets Alex and quickly finds that she’s infatuated with him, but also that he may hold secrets that she needs to know. Alex was a great character. He’s a bit about breaking the rules, but also wants to do the right thing. It was a nice mix for his character that kept me wondering what his motives were.

Continue reading “A Top 2020 Read: Under Glass and Stone by A.N. Willis – Book Review”

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – Book Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What I Loved:

The world Ernest Cline has created is one that completely envelopes the reader and takes them into the story and into the game. I loved this world. I do play video games. I remember the Atari I couldn’t wait to turn on when I visited my aunt and uncle, and when I got my Nintendo, I was SO excited. So, even though I don’t play much anymore, it was so much fun to delve into this crazy virtual reality world that Cline built.

How I Felt:

I listened to Ready Player One and while I am sure that reading this book will elicit the same exciting response I had to this story, I would like to highly recommend the audio edition. The narrator was wonderful. If you do not like to pay for audio, I found it through Libby at my library!

Continue reading “Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – Book Review”

A Top 2020 Read: Wildland by Rebecca Hodge – Book Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What I Loved:

I am unable to say the right words to express to you just how much I loved this book. The author’s ability to utterly hypnotize me with her words was wonderful. I was 100% invested in Wildland and could not put it down. What an excellent job Rebecca Hodge has done with this book!

Continue reading “A Top 2020 Read: Wildland by Rebecca Hodge – Book Review”

A Top 2020 Read: A Witch in Time by Constance Sayers – Book Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What I Loved:

I LOVED this book. Every single word, every page, every character. Can I also just throw in my massive cover-love for this one! It was a wonderful, exciting ride filled with a witch’s curse, a romance that spans lifetimes, secrets, and so much more!

Continue reading “A Top 2020 Read: A Witch in Time by Constance Sayers – Book Review”

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris- A Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What I Loved:

The Tattooist of Auschwitz featured a new perspective for me in the overwhelming number of WWII historical fiction books out in the world. While the main character, Lale, is a prisoner, he is also working with the Nazi’s as the Tätowierer, the tattooist. I knew that many jobs within a concentration camp were done by the prisoners, but had never encountered a book focused on the person tattooing the people there. It was such an interesting story and I really loved it.

Continue reading “The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris- A Review”

Fabulous Suspense: The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware – Book Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐

What I Loved:

The Turn of the Key is a re-imagining / re-telling of The Turn of the Screw. I haven’t read the Turn of the Screw, but I definitely want to now! I loved how Ruth Ware was able to take an existing story and make it her own. The book was filled with suspenseful moments and chilling thoughts. I loved her ability to creep me out in this story!

How I Felt:

The Turn of the Key is my FAVORITE Ruth Ware book so far. At this point, I have read four of her books and I can’t wait to grab the next one. This is Ruth Ware’s most recent release, published in August 2019. After reading all of these books by her, I really feel that she is developing as a writer and finding a way to make her books more and more suspenseful!

Quick overview of My Thoughts:

* Great overall plot and story
* Wonderfully suspenseful moments that make you want the light on

* I would have liked just one more chapter
* Some character decisions left me scratching my head

The Characters: The main character in this book is Rowan, and I felt that she had some really nice character development. I was fully connected with her, and really just kept thinking, “Get out of this house Rowan!”. So, I found that Ruth Ware managed to get me worried for the main character and I enjoyed that.

There are, of course, other characters in this story, but they are peripheral for a lot of the book. They come and go and I did not feel a need for the same amount of character information for them, so I didn’t mind that there was not as much time spent on them. Jack, one of the characters felt so mysterious and some of his secrets, I couldn’t quite understand why he was keeping them. I understand it made the story spookier, but I didn’t understand his motivation for doing it. I also just want to parent shame for a second. What parent hires a new nanny and just leaves her kids? There are a few things in the mother’s ENORMOUS book of how-to-care-for-my-kids that I felt should have been given verbally instead of just expecting Rowan to read it all. I don’t want any spoilers, so I won’t tell you what those were.

The Writing: Ruth Ware’s story-telling choice for The Turn of the Key was such a great idea. The entire story is told through a letter that Rowan is writing to a lawyer. She is explaining what happened and why she needs help. The letter-writing grabbed me right from the start! I loved how the story unfolded. We know right from the beginning that a child has died and that Rowan is in jail for the death. She then goes back and starts from the beginning in her letter and I loved it.

The suspense that Ruth Ware was able to bring to this book was wonderful. I could feel the goosebumps and fear that Rowan had as all these things keep happening. There is one scene where Rowan is sleeping on a couch instead of her room and I swear, I had to put the book down and check under my bed (HAHA!). You’ll totally understand why when you read that part of the book. Well done Ruth Ware!

The Plot: Rowan wants a new nanny position and how posted for one at Heatherbrae House. Her first visit for the interview goes well, but she finds a drawn picture with a weird message and before she leaves one of the children warns her that the “ghosts wouldn’t like it” if she came to stay. I think this would have been it for me, “no thanks”. Rowan perseveres though. She is offered and accepts the position.

As soon as she moves in, the mother and father are off to a conference leaving Rowan alone with the children. There are so many things that make the story suspenseful from here. The odd walking noises that are “upstairs” when there isn’t actually another floor above Rowan, the very “Smart” home that keeps functioning improperly, keys that go missing, etc. It’s filled with so many weird and creepy moments. It’s wonderful!

The Ending: The ending was fantastic. It was gripping and mysterious, and a bit heartbreaking. I would have loved just a little more information because there were a few loose strings. However, it’s always fun to not know and have those discussions with your bookish friends too, and the ending does make the book more mysterious.

Content Warnings: Child death.

Overall: I enjoyed this book for its suspenseful story. I could not put this book down and needed to know how it ended and just what was going on in this house!

To Read or Not To Read:

If you are a fan of Ruth Ware, you should ABSOLUTELY read The Turn of the Key. If you haven’t read Ruth Ware before, this was worth the read. If you enjoy the little (and big) creepy things that build a good suspenseful story, you’ll enjoy this book.

Where to Find This Book:

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware is available at these sites.

Amazon Kindle | Amazon | Audible | Goodreads

When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.

Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.

It was everything.

She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.

Just the Facts:

  • The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware
  • Genre: Mystery / Suspense / Thriller
  • Page Count: 352 pages
  • Publisher:  Gallery/Scout Press
  • Pub Date: August 6, 2019
Advertisements

All Amazon links are affiliate links.

#shejustlovesbooks #bookreview #bookblog #mystery #thriller #ruthware #theturnofthekey #suspense

A Beautiful, Heartbreaking Book – Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate – A Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What I Loved:

Before We Were Yours tackles a terrible time in American history. The story was written so well and with such emotion that I was utterly captivated. Lisa Wingate’s writing was so impressive and it was definitely the thing I loved most about this book.

How I Felt:

Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres. I love reading about historical events from a story-telling perspective. Before We Were Yours is a great example of why I love this genre. The Tennessee Children’s Home Society was something that I had briefly heard of, but I was able to be completely immersed in this story and learned so much about heartbreaking story.

The Characters: I found myself extremely connected to the children in this story. The main child, Rill was so determined to help her family and I just loved her. In the present part of the story, I found that I didn’t connect well with Avery, the main character. She was fine, but I was just so connected to the past portion of the story that I tended to want to get back to that.

The Writing: This story was woven together so well. I loved the way things were revealed to the reader. I appreciated the historical facts added to the story as well. At the end there is a section that discusses the historical basis for this fictional story and I was so happy to see that.

The Story: Before We Were Yours had a beautiful, sad story. With a time-jump story-line, the information given to the reader comes from both the present and the past portions of the story. I appreciated the way this story was woven and I loved that each character’s story was wrapped up by the end.

Overall: I found Before We Were Yours to be a wonderful must-read kind of book. The story was captivating and covered a terrible situation, but managed to add a heartwarming aspect.

Content Warning:

I have quite a few content warnings for this one: Child death, reference to child molestation and potentially rape, child abduction, and child abuse.

To Read or Not To Read:

I would recommend Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate for readers that enjoy historical fiction not related to a war, but on family and a struggle to survive.

Where to Find This Book:

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate is available at these sites.

Amazon Kindle | Amazon | Goodreads

The Foss children live on a shantyboat in 1939 with their father and mother and really are loving life. They travel down the river going from town to town and love each other. On the night their mama goes into labor with their twin siblings, they are left alone during the delivery. Soon, the police arrive, round them up and take them to the Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage without any explanations to them about what is going on.

In present day, Avery has it all, a wonderful fiance, great career, successful family, and then, she meets May. At a nursing home, a chance encounter between May and Avery, sticks with Avery. She can’t get May out of her head. The things she said…and the fact that she said Avery’s bracelet was May’s and she stole it right off Avery’s arm! Now Avery is digging into the past and one answer leads to so many more questions. Why does May think she knows Avery, what is Avery’s grandmother hiding from her?

Before We Were Yours follows the Foss children as they are abducted and illegally taken to the orphanage and one by one sold into adoptions to other families. In present day, Avery works to understand the secrets her grandmother is hiding about her connection to the Tennessee Children’s Home Society.

Just the Facts:

  • Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
  • Genre: Historical Fiction
  • Page Count: 368 pages
  • Publisher:  Ballantine Books
  • Pub Date: May 21, 2019
Advertisements

All Amazon links are affiliate links.

#shejustlovesbooks #bookreview #bookblog #historicalfiction #lisawingate #TennesseeChildrensHomeSociety

Circe by Madeline Miller – A Mythological Fantasy Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What I Loved:

Circe is a female goddess who lives by her own rules and I loved that. If someone pisses her off, she’s using her witchcraft to take care of them. If she needs to protect a loved one, she’s walking the ocean floor to do that. She’s pretty awesome!

How I Felt:

I really didn’t know anything about this book when I picked it up. I won a copy of Circe through an Instagram book giveaway and thought, well this will be a fun new read! I found myself drawn into the story, but lost at times because I didn’t know much about Greek Mythology. While, I did land on a five-star rating for this book, I think I would have enjoyed it even more with the knowledge of the legends.

The Writing: Madeline Miller has a beautiful way of telling a story. Her writing is almost lyrical, ebbing and flowing. She offers down time, where Circe is introspective, and then times of great excitement as well. I was really impressed with her ability to write a story where the main character is alone a great portion of the time. She brought secondary characters in at times to spice things up, and overall, Circe was a beautifully written book.

The Plot: I felt that the plot of Circe took a bit to fully form for me. Not knowing the history of Circe, I wasn’t sure where the book was going. However, as I reflect on the story, it was great. There was some crazy action that would make for an awesome movie. There were twists and turns that I didn’t see coming and overall, it was just an excellently told story.

The Characters: This story circles around Circe, a goddess in exile. She was amazing. Circe had depth and such emotion throughout her life’s trials. She falls in love, she revenges herself when wronged, she has compassion…she has it all.

Overall: I loved Circe. It was a bit of a slow-burn for me, but it grew on me as the story progressed and stayed with me afterwards.

To Read or Not To Read:

I highly recommend this book for readers that enjoy a mythology. Fantasy readers will also enjoy this.

Where to Find This Book:

Circe by Madeline Miller is available at these sites.

Amazon Kindle | Amazon | Goodreads

Circe, born daughter of Helios, grows up feeling like the outcast of her family. She doesn’t possess the power of her father or the viciousness of her mother. She connects with her younger brother, but in time, he leaves to start his own life and rule.

She befriends, and falls in love, with a mortal. She discovers she is powerful, but through witchcraft, not the normal power of the gods. After turning her mortal love into a god, and losing him to another, she is exiled by Zeus to an island to live in isolation.

Her island, at times is lonely, but at others, feels so filled with visitors, she longs for the isolation again. Her story takes the reader on many journeys to meet a variety of famed Greek characters. Her power brings fear and anger from other gods and she must find a way to protect what is hers.

Just the Facts:

  • Circe by Madeline Miller
  • Genre: Fantasy / Mythology
  • Page Count: 353 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Pub Date: April 10, 2018

All Amazon links are affiliate links.

#shejustlovesbooks #bookreview #bookblog #fantasy #greekmythology #madelinemiller