Influence by Sara Shepard and Lilia Buckingham

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I Loved:

Well, this book certainly took me by surprise! I absolutely loved the themes around being yourself and being true to yourself. There was also such a strong element of friendship and being a good friend. All of these ideas were the foundation of this exciting and enticing mystery!

My Synopsis:

Delilah has been thrown into the world of social media influencers after one of her videos went viral and her follower count exploded. Her family coincidentally has moved to L.A. putting Delilah in the center of it all!

At her first social media event she meets:
🙋‍♀️Jasmine: Social Media Star and famous child actor currently struggling to understand who she is now as she phases out of her child-actor persona.

🙋‍♀️Fiona: Social Media Star and budding actress who struggles with hidden obsessive habits and a terrible secret.

🙋‍♀️Scarlet: Social Media Sensation and a bit vicious to just about everyone.

🙋‍♀️Jack: YouTube Star and boyfriend to Scarlet.

Delilah finds fast friends in Jasmine and Fiona who help her navigate this new world and event. After her new friends leave, Delilah finds a corner to sit and hide for a while, where she meets a lovely boy who makes her smile and laugh. After sharing a few fun moments with her mystery boy, they are caught in a photo and leave. Delilah soon figures out that this boy was Jack, Scarlet Leigh’s boyfriend and she’s horrified. This could ruin her social standing as Scarlet has a temper and a reputation for tearing people apart.

As the weeks go by, she finds that the photo taken of her and Jack didn’t capture her face, so she can breathe easier. As she settles into this new lifestyle, Jasmine and Fiona become close friends. Everything isn’t as wonderful as it seems though. . .

Every character is struggling with their own problems and fears of their secrets coming out. When the suspicious death of a fellow influencer turns their world upside down, the three friends must trust each other and themselves to find out what happened.

How I Felt:

I really enjoyed this book! The story was filled with twists and turns that I just didn’t see coming. The secrets that each person holds were fun to figure out, and the mystery was extremely interesting!

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She Had To Kill Him by Aviva Gat

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

This is the third book I have read written by Aviva Gat. I have enjoyed each one, and I think her writing just continues to impress me! I loved the premise of this story. It was intriguing and different and put me in a place to ask myself what I would do in this situation. It was outstanding!

How I Felt:

The plot starts off with a bang…almost… Mara is ready for revenge as she attends a charity event with her gun hidden as she waits for the right moment to take her shot. She is interrupted and side-tracked by the handsome man that whisks her away. After a few dates, Mara finds out that he is the son of the man that murdered her parents and sister in a drunk driving car accident.

This was such a good story. I felt completely swept into the book by Aviva Gat’s writing. The characters were so intriguing and held so much emotion. The writing did an excellent job conveying their thoughts and feelings.

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Swipe To Love by Angelique Bosman

Rating: 4 out of 5.
White library with lots of stairs and "Contemporary" text

What I Loved:

I loved how sweet this love story was! I felt like it is the kind of story that just boosts your mood!

How I Felt:

The plot felt like the kind of movie you sit down and snuggle on the couch for. I just had this wonderful happy feeling reading through it. The storyline makes you laugh and sigh in the best ways! Jade has decided to turn to online dating to avoid the hunky Aiden, already claimed by her best friend. Fate seems to have other plans though!

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Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Copy of Science Fiction with pink background and oversized moon with reflection in water
Oona Out of Order Cover with girl's face and book title
White library with lots of stairs and "Contemporary" text

What I Loved:

I LOVED everything about this book! The time travel was fabulous, Oona was a wonderful character, and the story unfolded with surprises big and small.

My Synopsis:

It’s New Year’s Eve, and the Eve of Oona’s birthday. She is partying with her friends and boyfriend to count down to the new year (and turning 19). The clock strikes midnight, and she awakes…in a new house and a significantly older birthday.

This is the beginning of Oona’s new life. As she turns a year older, she bounces to a new year in her body, sometimes older, sometimes younger. There’s no explanation as to why, it’s just the life she must now live.

As Oona travels from year to year, she finds struggles in the knowledge of things to come, and the unknown of what happened in years she hasn’t lived. This story takes the reader on Oona’s life as she experiences her life, out of order.

How I Felt:

I love time travel. I talk about my love of it all the time, so sorry, but here’s another FABULOUS time travel book! Holy moly, I enjoyed this book! The time travel was such an interesting twist. She can’t control it, and it’s not a one-time jump. She jumps at each birthday into another year in her life.

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Rachael’s Return by Janet Rebhan

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I Loved:

I loved this story’s idea of how souls interact and communicate. I thought it was such an interesting plot, and I couldn’t put it down!

My Synopsis:

Caroline Martin has always wanted a daughter. Unknowingly pregnant, she goes in for a hysterectomy. She shares a recovery room with a pregnant woman, Mary Anne, shot by her boyfriend.

The soul of Caroline’s accidentally aborted baby decides that Mary Anne’s baby may be an opportunity for her to be born and know her mother.

How I Felt:

Rachael’s Return is such a different book. This story features both the human characters and the characters of souls within the storyline. The souls play a huge role in the story and provided a fresh perspective. The story discusses a lot about spirituality, reincarnation, and destiny. It was written well, and when I wasn’t reading it, I found myself constantly thinking about the plot and the role fate plays in our lives.

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The Water Keeper by Charles Martin

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

Charles Martin has this beautiful writing style that draws the reader in immediately. I enjoyed every word in this book because of his prose.

How I Felt:

Murph, the main character, was heartbreaking and raw with emotion, and yet he finds it in himself to overcome those feelings to help others every time he can. He comes across a multitude of characters on his journey and they are all wonderfully built and add so much to the story.

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The Apartment by K.L. Slater

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I Loved:

This book was crazy! I really enjoyed the twists that were carefully woven into the story to provide lots of heart-racing moments! I especially enjoyed that we get to read the POV of the antagonist as well as the protagonist. It created an interesting perspective for me as I was reading, and I loved it!

My Synopsis:

Freya Miller is trying to get her life in order after the death of her husband. Without a job, she’s quickly running out of money. She has sold her home and is prepared to temporarily move into a friend’s place when the opportunity of a lifetime falls into her lap.

Dr. Marsden is looking for a new tenant and a coffee shop accidental meeting leads him to believe Freya is just what he is looking for. Freya quickly agrees to this upscale, beautiful apartment for such a ridiculously low rent, she can’t believe her luck.

Freya is soon moved in but doesn’t even get a chance to be happy. Everything seems a little off. Dr. Marsden and Mrs. Marsden seem extremely controlling. They want to install a video camera in her apartment entrance, and they don’t like visitors. The list goes on and on.

The apartment building, Adder House, seems to have a dark history that people won’t tell Freya about. She begins hearing sounds and voices, and things are moved around in their apartment. Freya is starting to think this was too good to be true.

How I Felt:

The plot for The Apartment was so good! I felt like all the pieces fit together perfectly to provide an exciting thriller for the reader. I did guess what was going on but didn’t have all the details figured out. I don’t mind guessing at a thriller, I like to see if I’m right. So, it doesn’t bother me as long as it’s still a good story.

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The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

Rating: 3 out of 5.

What I Loved:

The Wives had an awesome premise that had me so excited to pick this book up. I loved all the secrets that surrounded the intricacies of this relationship!

My Synopsis:

Thursday is married to Seth. Seth is married to Thursday…and two other women, sort of.

Thursday went into her marriage fully aware that Seth had two other wives, but she was okay with the arrangement because she loved him so much. She’s happy with their arrangement. She gets to see him once a week, and that makes her content.

Until she accidentally finds the identity of one of his other wives and a receipt for a prenatal doctor’s visit. One thing leads to another and Thursday finds herself on the doorstep of this wife to see what she’s like.

Thursday’s life begins to spiral out of control from there as she suspects Seth of abusing this other wife. Except that her Seth is nothing like that…is he?

How I Felt:

This story did not go where I thought it was going to go and it threw me for a loop! I was really hooked on the whole plot until about halfway through. Then everything kind of got turned upside down, and I felt like I was reading a different book. The story completely changed and it felt less like a thriller and more like an odd domestic fiction.

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Private Lessons by Cynthia Salaysay

Rating: 3 out of 5.

What I Loved:

I really appreciate the author tackling such a tough subject matter. I am sure it is hard to write about the topics surrounding this story, but I feel it is also important for work like this to be available to people, especially a younger audience.

How I Felt:

This story was an emotional read. Written by debut author Cynthia Salaysay, it is touted as a #metoo story and it is, but it takes a while to get there. The book was slow to start and really draws out the manipulation by Paul, the music teacher. The author did a good job of showing how cunning Paul is as he passes small compliments to Claire in a very calculated manner.

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Swimming Sideways by C.L. Walters

Rating: 4 out of 5.

As A Whole:

Swimming Sideways was such an emotional story. I was so impressed with how C.L. Walters was able to draw out such feeling and connection to the characters! The story was deeply moving and I can’t wait to read the second book!

On The Details:

The story focuses on Abby, and her torn love between two boys, Gabe and Seth. Who Abby is as a person is a big focus. She goes through a self-discovery journey to decide who she is, and who she wants to me. I did find some portions of the story to be a bit slow. The beginning of the book didn’t quite capture my attention, and it took some time to really settle into the story. Once, I did though, I was hooked!

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One Woman Falling by Melanie Campbell – Book Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

One Woman Falling was such an emotionally impactful book, it almost hurt to read. I am so impressed with Melanie Campbells’s ability to write about the topic of domestic violence with such beautiful words. I was so drawn into this book and it deeply touched me.

How I Felt:

The characters felt so real in this story. Melanie Campbell created Cassie Peterson, a woman living a life filled with domestic abuse and made her come to life on the pages. Her story takes the reader through the emotional impact domestic abuse has on a person. Cassie comes to realize that she is worthy of love and that this relationship is not a loving one. Her faith helps to guide her to understand her own strength and empower her to make a change.

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Finding Jackson by Anne Holster – Interview

Q: What is something you’ve lied about?

Lol, my age, but who hasn’t?

Q: Who is the last person you hugged?

That’s an easy one! The last person I hugged is my daughter and that was early this morning. I always give her a hug before she leaves for school.

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