Book Recommendations, Book Talk, Review

The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins


Amazon.com: The Wife Upstairs: A Novel (9781250245496): Hawkins, Rachel:  Books

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

Release Date: January 5, 2021 by St. Martin’s Press

Genre: Thriller, Mystery

Synopsis:

Meet Jane. Newly arrived to Birmingham, Alabama, Jane is a broke dog-walker in Thornfield Estates––a gated community full of McMansions, shiny SUVs, and bored housewives. The kind of place where no one will notice if Jane lifts the discarded tchotchkes and jewelry off the side tables of her well-heeled clients. Where no one will think to ask if Jane is her real name.

But her luck changes when she meets Eddie Rochester. Recently widowed, Eddie is Thornfield Estates’ most mysterious resident. His wife, Bea, drowned in a boating accident with her best friend, their bodies lost to the deep. Jane can’t help but see an opportunity in Eddie––not only is he rich, brooding, and handsome, he could also offer her the kind of protection she’s always yearned for.

Yet as Jane and Eddie fall for each other, Jane is increasingly haunted by the legend of Bea, an ambitious beauty with a rags-to-riches origin story, who launched a wildly successful southern lifestyle brand. How can she, plain Jane, ever measure up? And can she win Eddie’s heart before her past––or his––catches up to her?

My Thoughts:

There were times in the first half of the story like I was watching a Lifetime Movie LOL. That’s the only way to explain it. For me personally I found that to be really cringe-y.

I read Jane Eyre a very long time ago & I didn’t love the ending. I loved Jane at the beginning but I never understood her liking Mr. Rochester. So I was very curious about a re-imagining of sorts.

Honestly I liked this better but only by a little. The story is predictable. I was hoping for big twists or at least veering off the beaten path and explore something new.

I do think this works best without prior knowledge of Jane Eyre than maybe it won’t be so easy to predict.

Even though it was a fairly straight forward thriller it was still thrilling, which is the point.

My thanks to St. Martin’s Press & Netgalley for the advanced copy


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Alphabet Reading Challenge Q-Z

The Alphabet Reading Challenge for 2020 is finally over for me!

Its a fun yet stressing event that I task myself with every year. I might have to get more creative with certain letters. I feel Z should be like X where if it’s in the title you’re good.

Now we’ve come to the difficult letters of this portion. If you have any suggestions for Q , U, and Z I would love to hear it.

Next year these posts will be done differently.


Quiet: The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This is a more in depth look into her TED Talk on the history of introverts and how the world works for and against them. She goes over how society and Western culture is shaped to uplift and reward extroverts.


RWBY : Vol 1 The Fall of Beacon Arc  by Bunta Kinami

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

This is the manga of the first volume of the show. This is a great format for new comers. I thought it was really nice to revisit this story in a new art form. My only problem was confusion over who was talking. I read an ARC and hope that the final version cleared this up.  


Small Spaces by Katherina Arden

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Spooky Middle Grade. This was a delight! I haven’t read to my knowledge a scary middle grade novel and I think it’s better than some YA, or Adult. This was entertaining and creepy. I highly recommend for Goosebump fans.  


Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

This was incredible & powerful. This has Native American folklore where a girl hunts down and kills monsters. She lives far away from her community and refuses to make attachments after being hurt in the recent past. It has the angry one paired with the soft one trope. LOVE to see it.


Under the Lilacs by Louisa May Alcott

Rating: 2 out of 5.

For one delirious moment I thought this was going to be a horror starring two mystery solving lesbians.  I hate to report that this is not that story. If you know a story like that please leave a comment. Thank you 🙂

The beginning set it up nicely for a lovely thriller mystery solving duo who possibly are more than friends but sadly that is not the case. Honestly I have no idea what this story is about. This was droll as all hell and I don’t recommend. Sorry.   


Vow of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This duology was a disappointment after having loved the Remnant Chronicles. This duology focused heavily on the romance which was big mistake. This last book tries to over correct this but it didn’t fix the issues.


Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

This was a delightful & fierce reading experience. I honestly loved everything about this gorgeously written tale. We have hate to love, magic, & tyranny.

For this to be a standalone the pacing was amazing. That’s usually thing that I notice the most to be off with a lot of fantasy but this one pulls it off.

I wish the magical elements were more or at least the world building/ lore in that area was more. Also the fight at the end could have been better.

There is a companion novel Written in Starlight out in January.


The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This is a bridger book. A lot is being built for the rest of the series to build off which can slow the progression. This was still fantastic just not as heavy on the action but of the politics which is prevalent throughout the series.


You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This is the rom-com I’ve been needing! This was a feel good story that I needed to read. I couldn’t stop grinning while reading this just exudes good vibes. There are some super cringe things like with our Mean Girl© & the high stakes prom elements which I can over look for scholarship reasons buuut its still a mighty stretch. Either I’m old or I went to a low cal school but prom was never important. In any case this didn’t spoil or ruin my fun. I really LOVE friendships between siblings and M/F platonic friendships as well. I need more. Also, I’m glad to see lighthearted fun stories center Black characters. More of this immediately!


Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I read this without every reading his fiction pieces. I’m aware of them and after having read this I’m even more interested in picking them up. This was interesting to read just for the insight into the world of writing back in the 50’s and how much and how little has actually changed. This focuses on his own work and how he writes. It’s always fascinating to see the behind the scenes of writers.

Have you read any of these? How would you like to see these posts done differently?


Previous Challenge Posts:

Reading Challenge A

Reading Challenge B

Reading Challenge C

Reading Challenge D- F

Reading Challenge G – K

Reading Challenge L- P

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Book Blog, Book Recommendations, Book Talk, Review

The Tea Dragon Tapestry by Katie O’Neil

This is the cutest illustrated story ever told. I love this series so much it has the cutest dragons and the stories are always so thoughtful and wonderful.

Check out my review for the other books at my Goodreads

This is the third and final installment (which I hope isn’t entirely true) I love this series so much and hope more tea dragons are in our future.

In this story we are following Greta, and Minette who are learning to navigate the world. Greta has been offered a apprenticeship to forge with a prestige master smith. However she’s also dealing with her tea dragon’s depression over losing their last owner.    

Minette is also struggling with coping with her new life after the monastery. Life isn’t how she pictured for herself and she is unsure if she’s heading down the right path.

I really love the messages in these stories they’re great lessons for everyone to remember.

I highly recommend this series to everyone, the story and the art are phenomenal.

The Tea Dragon Tapestry (Tea Dragon, #3)

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thanks to Oni Press and Netgalley for a review copy 

Book Blog, Book Talk, Review

A Golden Fury by Samantha Cohoe

The beginning of the book was my favorite part. I didn’t want to put it down.

Thea wants to be a great Alchemist and she almost is but her mother has kicked her out of their laboratory and is pushing for her to leave the country. Thea just wants to finish what they started with the Philosopher’s Stone.

Things go awry and Thea finds herself with her father who didn’t even knew she existed.

Terrible things happen when people get near the making of the Philosopher’s Stone. They all go mad. Now Thea has to find a way to save the people she loves and herself before she goes mad.

This is a really interesting story and I found myself intrigued with what will happen but when we hit the halfway point the full steam engine died. A lot of relationship drama is introduced which slowed down the story but also felt very out of place.

I didn’t know or I didn’t remember this was a standalone going into this which could also explain the awkward pacing near the end.

Honestly, if she kept the relationship aspect out of this and just focused on the dramatics of the consequences of making the stone and becoming one with it would have had a more satisfying ending.

Overall, I would read something else from this author, as I did enjoy a majority of the story and characters.

IndieBound | Amazon US | Book Depository

A Golden Fury by Samantha Cohoe

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Book Blog, Book Recommendations, Book Talk, Review

The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi

For my thoughts on The Gilded Wolves here’s the link to my review


We are back in the beautiful and lush world but things are very different and somber now. Silvered Serpents picks up where we left the characters still recovering from their sudden loss.

There is a new search underway to find something that is of equal importance to many. This quest leads them out of Paris and into Russia.

There is a lot of intrigue, scheming and a dangerous leviathan that our cast of characters have to thwart to unravel the mystery of the item they hunt for. For this is literally now life and death.

I love and cherish Roshani’s writing. This was a heartbreaking story and frustrating at times because you just want to shake some of them but that’s not how grief works.

The characters are what I love the most about these books. Even though they are hurting they’re still a joy to read. There’s just such wonderful representation and the frustration that feel is very palpable and heavily relatable today.

The only problem I have now is how long I have to wait for the last installment. The ending snuck up on me and stole my breath away.

buy links:

Indie Bound | Amazon US | Book Depository

The Silvered Serpents (The Gilded Wolves, #2)

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thanks to St. Martin’s Press for a free arc via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Blog, Book Talk, Reading Challenge, Review

Alphabet Reading Challenge “B”

B


Belle Révolte by Linsey Miller

Synopsis:

Emilie des Marais is more at home holding scalpels than embroidery needles and is desperate to escape her noble roots to serve her country as a physician. But society dictates a noble lady cannot perform such gruesome work.

Annette Boucher, overlooked and overworked by her family, wants more from life than her humble beginnings and is desperate to be trained in magic. So when a strange noble girl offers Annette the chance of a lifetime, she accepts.

Emilie and Annette swap lives—Annette attends finishing school as a noble lady to be trained in the ways of divination, while Emilie enrolls to be a physician’s assistant, using her natural magical talent to save lives.

But when their nation instigates a terrible war, Emilie and Annette come together to help the rebellion unearth the truth before it’s too late.

My thoughts:

This was an interesting and surprising read. I love the Biromantic Ace rep which is rare to find in a fantasy. There is also a Trans side character and a wlw romance.

The story focuses on our two main girls, Emilie and Annette who both want more from the life they have. An opportunity presents itself and they take a chance to switch identities to pursue their dreams.

This has French Revolution vibes with the separation of magic into to two sides, one being Daytime Arts and the other being Nighttime Arts. These have subsequently have been even more segregated by genders.

One wants to practice the Daytime Arts while the other just wants to desperately change their life around and practice magic.


This is a standalone fantasy which was breath of fresh air. My only problem though is with the pacing. Being that it is a standalone things move incredibly fast and trying to learn about the magic of this world alongside the history of the rebels and kingdom could and would become a bit confusing.

Other than that the characters were very dynamic and interesting especially side characters.

I recommend it.

Belle Révolte

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Buy links:

Indie Bound | Amazon US | Book Depository

Book Blog, Book Recommendations, Book Talk, Review

Teen Titans: Beast Boy by Kami Garcia and Gabriel Picolo

Why did this feel so short?? I don’t if it’s because I sped through this or if it is actually shorter than Raven’s. There’s never enough time! I just need full length novels.  

I enjoyed seeing Gar with his friends. His struggles with his appearance and wanting acceptance with the popular crowd was portrayed nicely. Nicely as in these are real struggles teens face and to see it being depicted outside of the girl narrative is what’s nice about it.  

The illustrations are just as wonderful and I expect nothing less from Gabriel. I love how much his art really compliments these characters.

Speaking of characters, I’m happy to see more inclusive cast. We have a character, Tank that discovers he has dyslexia. I loved seeing a Black gamer girl, Stella who is Gar’s best friend.

They try to talk sense into Gar when he goes on about his looks and wanting to impress the “cool” kids.

He finally gets everything he wants, but his newfound popularity comes at a price. Gar has to work harder to impress his new friends. The dares keep getting bigger and the stakes keep getting higher.

I can’t wait to get a final copy to go with Raven. I LOVE the Teen Titans and I’m thrilled that we’re getting more of them.

Indie Bound | Amazon US | Book Depository

Teen Titans: Beast Boy

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thanks to Netgalley and DC Ink for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review

Book Blog, Book Talk, Review

Where Dreams Descend by Janelle Angeles

This started off with the promise of darkness and glitter but didn’t quite enrapture me. This will definitely not appeal to everyone. If you like The Phantom of the Opera and Moulin Rouge! than you’ll enjoy this. But as always with these things take it with a grain of salt.

The book starts off with our main character Kallia descending from a chandelier. She is a performer at a place called Hellfire House and its run by a mysterious powerful magician named Jack.

Kallia discovers a deadly secret and runs away to Glorian. She’s always wanted to go but couldn’t. There also just so happens to be a magical competition being held there. Kallia has been warned that women magicians are not welcomed like their counterparts but she decides to buck that tradition.

I liked Kallia’s character a lot she doesn’t listen to the naysayers and goes to the beat of her own drum. I would have loved more strong willed ladies in this. It is a very male dominated world but it would have been great to have more dynamic female friends.

The mysterious magician Jack is like the phantom he comes and goes is he real or just an illusion and what are his true intentions. We learn very little of this character. He honestly reminds me of the Darkling.

That was something that was missing from all of the characters was that spark that makes them take shape off the page. There would be scenes or moments where someone would shine for a bright second and then peter out. There wasn’t enough carved out of any of them to give them dimension.

The beginning and the ending were the best parts the middle sagged and drew on too long.

When it comes to magic systems I don’t often care if I don’t know all the rules. I’ll only care if what we already know gets tossed out the window for convenience. There isn’t a whole lot of world building in this story which is a bummer. This really sets up book 2 to delve into more on the world and magic of it all.

I do think this is worth trying if you are at all sitting on the fence on it.  

Here’s a link to an indie store to get your own copy

Where Dreams Descend (Kingdom of Cards, #1)

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Thanks to Wednesday Books for sending me a review copy

Book Talk, Review

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee


I really loved this. It was a quick paced funny story that I didn’t plan to read. I saw it go around and it sounded like something I would be interested in so I picked it up. And I’m so glad I did!

It combines comedy, folklore and romance brilliantly.

I read the Journey to the West in collage but I haven’t read or watched much more of it. You don’t need to have read it in order to understand anything happening in this story.  

We have to give it up for smart and angry girls like Genie. I rarely see angry girls in literature. Teenagers are angry and confused and grappling with a lot of expectations. For Genie it’s compounded by suppression of her emotional expression.

She‘s a hard worker aiming to go to an Ivy League school. Genie internally battles with whether she’s good enough for Ivy League. It’s such an honest portrayal that too many teenagers face.   

A transfer student shows up bringing monsters and romance. Quentin is a funny charismatic character which makes for great witty banter with Genie. I absolutely adored their relationship.

I can’t wait to see all the battles and shenanigans Genie and Quinton find themselves in next. The sequel The Iron will of Genie Lo is out now.

IndieBound | Amazon US | Book Depository

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo (The Epic Crush of Genie Lo, #1)

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.