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Friday, November 30, 2018

REVIEW: The Last Day by Katey Morgan @kateyreads

The Last Day
by Katey Morgan

Publish Date: June 29, 2018
Kindle Edition
31 Pages
Genres: Short Stories, Thriller
Roger Series Book 1

Liam and Michael are identical twin brothers with the dream of owning their own fishing boat shop one day. Ten long years later, with Michael living in a different state, the dream seems to finally come to fruition. Liam's things are packed and his flight is booked for tomorrow morning. Liam just has to get through this one last day of work.

My Review:

I never know how to really rate or review short stories because they almost always leave me wanting more. I realize that short stories aren't as "full up" as normal sized and larger novels so we don't get all the nitty gritty details and instead are fast tracked through the story. Keeping that in mind, this is a short story by fellow Bookstagrammer @KateyReads and I'm extremely impressed and happy that she is published! I've always wanted to write but haven't quite followed through so kudos to Katey and CONGRATS LADY!

This story reads extremely fast. Now, I know... it's a short story, it's supposed to, but they don't always and I think if you've read enough short stories you'll know what I mean. This one zooms on by and you're taken on quite the ride. I did feel it was a bit choppy in certain areas as it passed through time with a quickness and at times I wondered where it could possibly be going. I did NOT expect it to go where it did and that ending... well, let's just say I looked like one of the characters did at the end. **wink** 

Succinct, unexpected and quite the ride.


REVIEW: Before We Were Strangers by Brenda Novak @brenda_novak @harlequinbooks

Before We Were Strangers
by Brenda Novak

Thanks so much to the author and MIRA for this gorgeous copy.

Publisher: MIRA
Publish Date: December 4, 2018
400 Pages
Genres:Contemporary, Mystery

Something happened to her mother that night. Something no one wants to talk about. But she's determined to uncover her family's dark secrets, even if they bury her.

Five-year-old Sloane McBride couldn't sleep that night. Her parents were arguing again, their harsh words heating the cool autumn air. And then there was that other sound--the ominous thump before all went quiet.

In the morning, her mother was gone.

The official story was that she left. Her loving, devoted mother! That hadn't sat any better at the time than it did when Sloane moved out at eighteen, anxious to leave her small Texas hometown in search of anywhere else. But not even a fresh start working as a model in New York could keep the nightmares at bay. Or her fears that the domineering father she grew up with wasn't just difficult--he was deadly.

Now another traumatic loss forces Sloane to realize she owes it to her mother to find out the truth, even if it means returning to a small town full of secrets and lies, a jilted ex-boyfriend and a father and brother who'd rather see her silenced. But as Sloane starts digging into the past, the question isn't whether she can uncover what really happened that's what will remain of her family if she does?

My Review:

Well hello there Brenda Novak.  My first book by her and I was a little hesitant because of the romance part.. while I do like my rom-coms, I tend to not like romance mixed in with my thrillers - but Novak has decidedly changed my mind on this with Before We Were Strangers.  While the romance is a bit heavy, the plot is as twisted as the characters and this book is a breeze to read!

I absolutely admire Sloane's tenacity and as I'm rooting for her throughout this entire read, I was also like, "Oh no girl, just WHAT are you doing?!"  Her character pulled me in right from the very first few pages.. and boy oh boy, in my last review I was discussing about how these books steer me clear of the desire to have ever grown up in a small town and this one also just proves my point... though if I had Micah waiting for me... well, hell.... 😉

There were a couple things that kind of stood out to me - I was giggling through one of the sex scenes because WOW I don't think I've ever seen so much dialogue happen in a sex scene before.  I didn't mind it, it just seemed a bit... odd.  And then there was just one typo with the reference to the Menendez Brothers being written as Melendez and you bet your sweet ass I googled it to see if there were other killers that I somehow did NOT know about because I used to research the crap out of this topic!  Also, I'm reading an uncorrected proof so I digress.

What I especially love about this book is that I was going through all the ups and downs with Sloane and figuring things out WITH her rather than trying to piece mail everything together myself during my read.  Ya get me?  And I did let out a bit of a WTF gasp during the last few pages when something was discovered.... if you've read the book then you know what I mean.  If you haven't then, well, GET ON IT.

Don't let the romance part deter you from this read - and keep an eye out for Novak.  I just found another author to pile on to my bookshelves.


Thursday, November 29, 2018

REVIEW: The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey @grandcentralpub @sarahbailey1982

The Dark Lake
by Sarah Bailey

Thanks so much to Grand Central Publishing and NetGalley for this copy.
A year later... better late than never! I've had this on my kindle for ages and in anticipation for book two, I had to devour this with a quickness!
See what Jessica and I thought of book one below!

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publish Date: October 3, 2017
Kindle Edition
448 Pages
Series: Gemma Woodstock #1
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Crime

Rose was lit by the sun, her beautiful face giving nothing away. Even back then, she was a mystery that I wanted to solve.

The lead homicide investigator in a rural town, Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock is deeply unnerved when a high school classmate is found strangled, her body floating in a lake. And not just any classmate, but Rosalind Ryan, whose beauty and inscrutability exerted a magnetic pull on Smithson High School, first during Rosalind's student years and then again when she returned to teach drama. 

As much as Rosalind's life was a mystery to Gemma when they were students together, her death presents even more of a puzzle. What made Rosalind quit her teaching job in Sydney and return to her hometown? Why did she live in a small, run-down apartment when her father was one of the town's richest men? And despite her many admirers, did anyone in the town truly know her? 

Rosalind's enigmas frustrate and obsess Gemma, who has her own dangerous secrets—an affair with her colleague and past tragedies that may not stay in the past.

My Review:

Let's see... let's see... how do I write this review without any spoilers?! 
First, I can't believe I've let this sit on my kindle and in my NetGalley for over a year now - EESH!  With book two in the series coming out, it got my butt in gear to read this. Second, this is her debut?! Thoroughly impressed!

As an avid reader of thrillers/crime fiction, it takes a lot to really give me that WOW factor.  What I loved about this book was the characters.  Scott, Gemma, Felix... the suspects.  I always wondered what it would be like to grow up in a small town where everyone knows your business and then I read books like this one and am mostly glad I never did. 😏  Let's talk about Gemma for a bit - a highly complex characters, extremely flawed and I can't figure out if I love her or if I hate her.  I will say this though, I was more intrigued with her story line than with the case at hand, which made this feel more like a gritty drama more than crime fiction.  

The book tends to go from past to present as we learn about Gemma's past and how it intertwines with the present.  Without any headings, it was a little confusing at first to realize that we were now in the past.  Once I got used to the chapter patterns it became a little bit easier but I think it would have benefited a little from some seamlessness.  I really enjoyed the backstory and thinks it lends a lot to the story and to learning about Gemma.  Especially as this is a series and is setting up the tone for future books.

As a more character driven novel than focusing on the crime/police procedural aspect, I'm curious to see where Bailey goes as the series continues.  Good thing I have book 2 on my kindle and can dive right in.  😉


Jessica's Review:

THE DARK LAKE by Sarah Bailey is book one in the new Gemma Woodstock series. This psychological crime thriller is set in a small Australian town in New South Wales. With a murder to solve, this could push Detective Gemma Woodstock to her breaking point, and threaten to reveal dark secrets from her past.

The small town of Smithson is shocked when the young drama teacher, Rosalind Ryan, is found dead. Surrounded by roses, she was found in the lake, strangled to death. Homicide detective Gemma Woodstock, and her partner Felix, are on the case. However, this case will prove to be difficult for Gemma, not only because there are a host of suspects, but because she has a past with Rosalind. Secrets from her personal life threaten to come to the surface as she digs deeper into this murder. Will her obsession with Rosalind be her undoing?

This was a great psychological thriller, but it is a slower build and more character driven. We get to dive into Gemma's personal life, which is a mess. She has a young son, Ben, and her loving boyfriend Scott. Despite that, she is carrying on an affair with her partner, and still harbors a love for Jacob from her past. Bailey does a great job diving into the past and how Gemma and Rose knew each other. They went to school together, but were never friends. Rose was the popular girl that everyone loved, while Gemma was one of the few that had darker opinions of her.

Overall, I can see this being a book that people will be split on. It focuses more on Gemma and her story rather than the murder of Rosalind. If you aren't a fan of the more character driven thrillers, then this probably won't be for you. This keeps a steady pace even though it's a steady build. Bailey did a fantastic job layering the characters and setting the scene. Gemma is a hard person to like - she's flawed and is psychologically all over the place. I thought this was very well-written and I'll be looking for book two!

I give this 4/5 stars!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

REVIEW: The Kinship of Secrets by Eugenia Kim @HMHCo @Eugenia_Kim

The Kinship of Secrets
by Eugenia Kim

Thank you to Houghton Miffling Harcourt for this amazing story.

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publish Date: November 6, 2018
304 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

From the author of The Calligrapher’s Daughter comes the riveting story of two sisters, one raised in the United States, the other in South Korea, and the family that bound them together even as the Korean War kept them apart.

In 1948 Najin and Calvin Cho, with their young daughter Miran, travel from South Korea to the United States in search of new opportunities. Wary of the challenges they know will face them, Najin and Calvin make the difficult decision to leave their other daughter, Inja, behind with their extended family; soon, they hope, they will return to her.

But then war breaks out in Korea, and there is no end in sight to the separation. Miran grows up in prosperous American suburbia, under the shadow of the daughter left behind, as Inja grapples in her war-torn land with ties to a family she doesn’t remember. Najin and Calvin desperately seek a reunion with Inja, but are the bonds of love strong enough to reconnect their family over distance, time, and war? And as deep family secrets are revealed, will everything they long for be upended?

Told through the alternating perspectives of the distanced sisters, and inspired by a true story, The Kinship of Secrets?explores the cruelty of war, the power of hope, and what it means to be a sister.

My Review:

Totally going out of my normal reads, when offered the opportunity to read this book, I just couldn't say no.  I don't read historical fiction very often but this one that deals with my Korean culture stood out and I'm so glad that I picked this up.

I'll say again how important it is to read the author's note at the end.  I was fascinated to find that the story for this novel derives from the author's family life, especially her sister's, which made the story so much more impactful for me.  As a half-Korean woman, I have heard stories and have learned a lot about my culture.  I couldn't imagine being split up from a sister so long that she is just a stranger to me, and then having a reunion with her and the intricacies of how that relationship ebbs and flows. This reminded me (very) slightly of me and my cousin. We're both only children but grew up together in the same household for years. My dad sponsored my aunt, uncle and cousin to the US and she is older but had very limited English.  It was definitely something to get used to - having someone you now have to share a room with, be compared to... teach and yet still learn from.

As I was reading, I found myself wondering how someone who doesn't know the English language would read the Korean words - even though they're written in "English", the pronunciation would be different for those who know, have heard or have never learned.  I heard them loud and clear in my various family members' voices during my read.

Overall I really liked this book and it really spoke to me.  The characters, especially the sisters, are given to us in detail and you really get a sense of what these girls (and their families) are going through.  For me personally, I may have needed a little more *something* for this to really resonate and shine.  However, I think that just stems from my typically not enjoying this genre because of too much of a history lesson over a story line. 

Anyone who wants a heartfelt story of two Korean girls split up between Korea and the US and their individual plights will surely adore this novel.


BLOG TOUR: The Sorrows by Jonthan Janz @jonathanjanz @flametreepress

The Sorrows
by Jonathan Janz

Publisher: Flame Tree Press
Publish Date: December 1, 2018
Paperback, 2nd Edition
288 Pages
Genre: Horror

The Sorrows, an island off the coast of northern California, and its castle have been uninhabited since a series of gruesome murders in 1925. But its owner needs money, so he allows film composers Ben and Eddie and a couple of their female friends to stay a month in Castle Blackwood. Eddie is certain a haunted castle is just the setting Ben needs to find inspiration for a horror film.

But what they find is more horrific than any movie. Something is waiting for them in the castle. A malevolent being has been trapped for nearly a century. And he’s ready to feed.

Jonathan Janz is the author of more than a dozen novels and numerous short stories.

His work has been championed by authors like Joe R. Lansdale, Jack Ketchum, and Brian Keene; he has also been lauded by Publishers Weekly, the Library Journal, and the School Library Journal.

His novel Children of the Dark was chosen by Booklist as a Top Ten Horror Book of the Year.
Jonathan’s main interests are his wonderful wife and his three amazing children.

You can sign up for his newsletter (http://jonathanjanz.us12.list-manage....), and you can follow him on Twitter @JonathanJanz Instagram @jonathan.janz

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER: FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launching in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.

My Review:

Things I've learned from this book:
1. It's ok to be a 71/2 as long as you look like a Renoir girl;
2. Never go to a Castle with a shady history just to try and prove yourself (especially if you're a girl);
3. Never try to save a child in the woods unless you're absolutely certain he doesn't have a home; and
3. If all else fails, always kick 'em in the balls!

For some reason I failed to notice that this is Janz's debut novel! WHAT?!  I recently read Siren & The Specter (see my review here) and loved it so when given the opportunity to receive this for review, well... how could I say no?!  Once again we get some interesting, gruesome sex scenes, some crazy ass characters and a horned monster who wants what it wants WHEN IT WANTS IT.  I never got any creepy creepy chills while reading this but I did enjoy the past to present perspectives as we learn about several of the characters.. at first it feels like a lot but then I got used to it and everything fell into place.

The men are men - constantly ogling and trying to get theirs.  The women are using their wiles to get theirs.  All of them are subject to die. I didn't think I was going to actually connect to any of the characters but I'll be honest - there was one moment with Claire and Chris that was like "ah..." and then I was all "wait, what? Why do I feel like this?!" Haha.

Overall I found this a highly entertaining book with the usual trope of sex, violence, vengeance and the paranormal.  Check, check, check and CHECK! I think I like The Siren and the Specter a bit better and can see the maturity in his writing from this book to that one and for that I'll rate this a little bit lower than I did for Siren.  I'll tell you what though, Janz is on my list of horror writers to keep a watch on and I can't see what he brings to the table for us next!


Tuesday, November 27, 2018

SPOTLIGHT: Wild Flowers by Michelle S. Smith @MichelleSimoneS

Wild Flowers
by Michelle S. Smith

A poetry collection touching on love, loss, abandonment, depression and sexuality. 
Also, can we talk about this COVER!

renovations of my spirit
started and stopped
replanned without warning
i have been formed and broken
molded and smelted
crumbled and built up
torn and sewn again
yet my cornerstone remains
my foundation is not shook
no matter how often
i must be repainted

Michelle Simone Smith is a Writer of West Indian and West African heritage. Raised by a devout christian grandmother, writing came into her life by way of therapy and the exploration of healing. Best known for most recent collection of poetry and prose "Wild Flowers". It is widely read and loved by many. Wild Flowers takes you through her journey of healing and self-discovery. It engages with themes of love, loss, healing, depression, sexuality, and is both deeply personal and relatable. Her poems are infused with life lessons for women that suffer from Mental Illnesses. Her hope is that her words are able to touch, empower and encourage women around the world.

Monday, November 26, 2018

REVIEW: Limetown by Cote Smith, Zack Akers, Skip Bronkie

by Cote Smith, Zack Akers, Skip Bronkie

Many thanks to Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for this copy!

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publish Date: November 13, 2018
Kindle Edition
304 Pages
Genres: Mystery, Sci-Fi

From the creators of the #1 podcast Limetown, an explosive prequel about a teenager who learns of a mysterious research facility where over three hundred people have disappeared—including her uncle—with clues that become the key to discovering the secrets of this strange town.

On a seemingly ordinary day, seventeen-year-old Lia Haddock hears news that will change her life forever: three hundred men, women, and children living at a research facility in Limetown, Tennessee, have disappeared without a trace. Among the missing is Emile Haddock, Lia’s uncle. 

What happened to the people of Limetown? It’s all anyone can talk about. Except Lia’s parents, who refuse to discuss what might have happened there. They refuse, even, to discuss anything to do with Emile.

As a student journalist, Lia begins an investigation that will take her far from her home, discovering clues about Emile’s past that lead to a shocking secret—one with unimaginable implications not only for the people of Limetown, but for Lia and her family. The only problem is…she’s not the only one looking for answers. 

Zack Akers and Skip Bronkie are first-rate storytellers, in every medium. Critics called their podcast Limetown “creepy and otherworldly” (The New York Times) and “endlessly fun” (Vox), and their novel goes back to where it all began. Working with Cote Smith, a PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize Finalist, they’ve crafted an exhilarating mystery that asks big questions about what we owe to our families and what we owe to ourselves, about loss, discovery, and growth. Threaded throughout is Emile’s story—told in these pages for the first time ever.

My Review:

As someone who has never listened to a podcast before (I know, I know.. I'll get there!), I was a little hesitant to read this book. However, as a prequel, it states you don't need to listen to the podcast to read this. I'm not sure I entirely agree with that, but how could I really know since I never listened to it, right?

There's two POVs - Emile and Lia, uncle and niece. He's disappeared in the mystery that is Limetown and Lia is looking for answers. Honestly, I felt lost most of the time. I was intrigued with certain topics that came up and the thought of opening up intellect and brain power from those who are gifted. Maybe the back and forth in timelines, or the offset potential romantic (though extremely slight and left somewhat hanging) parts left me a bit bewildered.

The cliffhanger wasn't quite what I wanted or needed from this book. Sometimes I don't mind them, sometimes I do. I'm not sure how I feel particularly in this case since clearly it's a prequel and my thinking is that they're leaving it wanting for those who haven't listened to the podcast to search it out. Unfortunately it just didn't quite work for me and I can't quite pinpoint the exact things that did not. Maybe it was the confusion of the back and forth timelines. Maybe it was the interweaving of what seemed like a variety of different things... or maybe it just didn't clique for the me the way that I hoped that it would. I don't feel the need to run to the podcast to see what happens but if you've listened to it and want to enlighten me, please do ;). 


#allthebookreviews: Desperation by Stephen King

by Stephen King

Jessica and I's reread of The Regulators and Desperation is at a close!  We both still hold our original opinions of her preferring The Regulators and me preferring Desperation, but we both agree that both are amazing books that don't get enough love.

Get our full thoughts on Desperation below!

Publisher: Gallery Books
Publish Date: February 20, 2018 (first published September 24, 1996)
624 Pages
Standalone (mirror book to the Regulators)
Genre: Horror

Stephen King’s #1 national bestseller about a little mining town, Desperation, that many will enter on their way to somewhere else. But getting out is not easy as it would seem…

"I see holes like eyes. My mind is full of them."

For all intents and purposes, police officer Collie Entragian, chief law enforcement for the small mining town of Desperation, Nevada, appears to be completely insane. He's taken to stopping vehicles along the desolate Interstate 50 and abducting unwary travelers with various unusual ploys. There's something very wrong here in Desperation...and Officer Entragian is only at the surface of it. The secrets embedded in Desperation's landscape, and the horrifying evil that infects the town like some viral hot zone, are both awesome and terrifying. But one of Entragian's victims, young David Carver, seems to know—and it scares him nearly to death to realize this truth—that the forces being summoned to combat this frightful, maniacal aberration are of equal and opposite intensity... 

My Review:

Ah Desperation! So good to reread you again.  It has been around 20 years since I've read this book and while I still prefer this over The Regulators, I didn't <i>quite</i> enjoy it as much as I have in my first round.  You certainly can't take away from King's ability to weave a tale, insert gore, religion, faith, horror and bloody ooziness into one solid crazy ass novel.

Some people have issues with the religious aspect of this book.  I am not a religious person by any means but this never really bothers me when reading books, especially horror books as this can be seen quite a bit with the whole good vs. evil aspect that's a common theme.  Some aren't as blatant about it as Desperation is, but it's still there.  I still put it all in a fiction category and enjoy the read for what (I think) it's mean to be.

While I did enjoy The Regulators a bit more my second time around, Desperation still holds its place in my heart between the two. Why? Well, we get more background on each of the characters, a more defined and "mature" Tak and a more developed story over all.  (Not gonna lie though, I did miss the "fun" aspect of the Motocops though).

I don't believe either of these books gets enough love.  


Jessica's Review:

DESPERATION versus THE REGULATORS, this is a debate you're one side or the other. Most people prefer DESPERATION, and after my second read, this one is still in second place for me. There is no doubt that King has created another incredible and wild story here and I think both of these books deserve more love than they get.

We are treated to the same characters as we are in THE REGULATORS, only some things are slightly different (adults are now kids, etc). Taking place in the utterly hopeless town of Desperation, all hell breaks loose for some unsuspecting travelers.

The readers are brought through a true good vs. evil story. I understand the incorporation of faith and the religious themes, but there were times it kind of took me out of the story. I will say though, it didn't as much this second time around as it did the first. With this being significantly longer than it's sister book, we do get more character development and I did enjoy this different version of Tak.

Overall, DESPERATION is another solid installment from Stephen King. Full of horror, gore, good and evil, the power of faith, all in a desolate setting. This one isn't as quick as THE REGULATORS, but one I still highly recommend picking up.

4/5 stars

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

REVIEW: Fountain Dead by Theresa Braun @tbraun_author @UnnervingMag

Fountain Dead
by Theresa Braun

Thank you to the author for this copy for review.


Publisher: Unnerving
Publish Date: November 20, 2018
Kindle Edition
187 Pages
Genres: Horror, Paranormal, YA

Mark is uprooted from his home and high school in the Twin Cities and forced to move with his family into a Victorian in Nowhere-ville. Busy with the relocation and fitting in, Mark’s parents don’t see what’s unfolding around them—the way rooms and left behind objects seem alive with a haunted past. 

Of course, Mark keeps his ghostly encounters to himself, all the while sinking deeper into the house's dark, alluring, and ultimately terrifying history. As romantic entanglements intensify, the paranormal activity escalates. Past and present come together. Everything is connected—from the bricks in the walls to the hearts beating in their chests, all the secrets of Fountain Dead are finally unearthed. 

My Review:

Teen angst. Check. Old Victorian mansion.  Check. Ghosts. Check. Two timelines. Check check!
I love YA novel and I love horror - combine the two and YAY for me!

I really enjoyed the two timelines.  I may have even enjoyed Emma's timeline best as she's a feisty woman going against the grain and basically being a bad ass.  Mark is living in teen angst - moving away from his best friend, who he has a crush on and is still discovering his sexuality.  I actually wish we had explored this a little bit more as I wanted to see where Mark went in his discovery.. but I'm also glad we didn't get too far into any type of romance in this paranormal story so... where's the happy middle ground here??  Ha. For this read that's under 200 pages, the author manages to get us in enough to feel for Mark and Emma and what their characters go through in their respective years.  However, I think things moved a bit quickly and I got a tad bit confused in a couple of areas but I think that has more to do with my own brain than to do with the writing.  

I definitely feel this is on the more mature side of YA novels, which I absolutely appreciate.  While the ending is a tad bit predictable, I do like how the two separate stories meld together and become cohesive.  Old houses are beautiful and I love the gothic feel... but dang do they creep me out and this story didn't help to alleviate any creepy feelings I have for them.

If you like YA, horror and paranormal, this is a good read to pick up.  I look forward to more from this author.


Monday, November 19, 2018

#allthebookreviews: Come With Me by Helen Schulman

Come With Me
by Helen Schulman

Thanks so much to Harper Books for these review copies.

Publisher: Harper
Publish Date: November 27, 2018
320 Pages
Genres: Fiction, Science Fiction

"What do you want to know?"

Amy Reed works part-time as a PR person for a tech start-up, run by her college roommate’s nineteen-year-old son, in Palo Alto, California. Donny is a baby genius, a junior at Stanford in his spare time. His play for fortune is an algorithm that may allow people access to their "multiverses"—all the planes on which their alternative life choices can be played out simultaneously—to see how the decisions they’ve made have shaped their lives.

Donny wants Amy to be his guinea pig. And even as she questions Donny’s theories and motives, Amy finds herself unable to resist the lure of the road(s) not taken. Who would she be if she had made different choices, loved different people? Where would she be now?

Amy’s husband, Dan—an unemployed, perhaps unemployable, print journalist—accepts a dare of his own, accompanying a seductive, award-winning photographer named Maryam on a trip to Fukushima, the Japanese city devastated by tsunami and meltdown. Collaborating with Maryam, Dan feels a renewed sense of excitement and possibility he hasn’t felt with his wife in a long time. But when crisis hits at home, the extent of Dan’s betrayal is exposed and, as Amy contemplates alternative lives, the couple must confront whether the distances between them in the here and now are irreconcilable.

Taking place over three non-consecutive but vitally important days for Amy, Dan, and their three sons, Come with Me is searing, entertaining, and unexpected—a dark comedy that is ultimately both a deeply romantic love story and a vivid tapestry of modern life.

My Review:

This book was entirely not what I expected it to be.  Based on the synopsis I expected more in the way of multiverses and the experiences Amy would have as a guinea pig to Donny in his experiment.  This has been a subject that has always fascinated me.  How many different lives could you be living - what if you had made different decisions... what would your life be like now?  While this book did touch on that, I felt it was not the focus at all during my read, which was disappointing.

There are a lot of characters to keep track of in this book and they're all interspersed with each other in one form or another.  I kept getting confused as to who belonged to whom and who was whose mother, etc.  At times the story line changed from one character to another with no exact change over to let you know we were now looking through someone else's eyes.  

Unfortunately I never connected to any of the characters. I especially wasn't interested in Dan's story line and wanted to drop kick him into next week. I'm not sure exactly what it was about him that just really got under my skin but he just did.  Then that ending for him. UGH.

It's interesting that this is classified under sci-fi when it was such a minimal part of the book.  I would put this more under domestic drama and it certainly doesn't fly in the dark comedy or deeply romantic love story that the synopsis leads you to believe in the last paragraph.  Maybe it was due to all this misleading that led me to not particularly care for this book.  Maybe it was the disconnection I felt to every character.  Or maybe it just wasn't a good fit for this reader.  No matter which way, unfortunately this book just didn't jive with me.


Jessica's Review:

When reading the synopsis of COME WITH ME by Helen Schulman, I was expecting something completely different from what I read. It's really a shame when this happens to books - being mismarketed or having a synopsis that misrepresents the story can sometimes ruin the reading experience.

I was hoping to read more about the experiments and experiences that Amy was going to be subjected to as the guinea pig in Donny's work. I was anticipating more with multiverses, which is a topic that fascinates me. There were a lot of different characters to keep track of and there were moments in the book where they kind of meshed together for me. Perspectives would change and it wasn't clear - that or I just missed the transition.

Overall, I think this was more so a reader mismatch mixed with a misleading synopsis going into it. I would probably say this is more of a drama than science fiction.

2/5 stars

Friday, November 16, 2018

REVIEW: All Men are Assholes (... and All Women are Crazy) by Jordan West @allmenareaholes

All Men are Assholes 
(... and All Women are Crazy) 
by Jordan West

Thanks so much to the author for this review copy.  If ever afforded the opportunity, I'd sit down with her over a couple drinks and just hang.

Publisher: West Press
Publish Date: February 12, 2018

207 Pages
Genre: Humor & Entertainment

In this lesson on how to find love when everyone is awful, Jordan West sets out to prove a simple theory: while the ultimate goal for a man is to find that low-level lunatic he can learn to live with, the ultimate goal for a woman is to find that one special asshole that doesn’t make her any crazier than she already is. 

West carefully and comically weeds through the wake of her disastrous romantic past, juxtaposing it against all of our favorite famous couples that have exhibited asshole/crazy behavior. From Sid and Nancy, to the Ken and Barbie Killers, Jordan even drops in to take a stab at the Trumps in this ruthless relationship satire. 

So maybe you're sick and tired of scraping along the bottom of the dating pool only to wind up in a repetitive relationship that leaves you worse off than you were to begin with. Or maybe you're currently in the passenger seat of one of those relationships that's driving you to the madhouse. All Men are Assholes (…And All Women are Crazy) serves as the ideal guide to help you figure out where you land on the asshole/crazy scale and how to navigate through the herd of ineligible suitors to find that one perfect mate who is just as awful as you are.


My Review:

I honestly don't know how to classify this book? Is it memoir? Is it autobiography? Or just satire/humor/entertainment slashed with truths from her life? I really don't care - I absolutely LOVED it.  It's pretty much all I did at work.  Read this damn book.  Thanks, Jordan.  Productivity level at work today, ZERO.  But I did read your book, so there's that. And now that I'm speaking directly to the author it seems... Jordan, if you're even in NYC, look me up, let's grab a couple drinks and dish. 

OK - back to this book already right? GOOD LAWD, I must be the same age(ish) as the author because I understood every damn reference. This is all too realistic look at the game of dating and making one horrible (but lesson worthy) choice after another in relationship land.  I reside in this corner of that universe way more than I care to admit. I didn't even want to throttle Jordan when she continually went back and back and back again because hell, I've been there. DONE THAT. I'll just throttle myself, thank you very much.

"The Amount of bullshit humans still take and how quickly they'll get up only to fall back down again is nothing short of fascinating.  Masochists, all of us."

These stories are funny and somewhat depressing as well. At the same time, when we're young, we're allotted mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes carry over into our adult life but isn't our whole life spent learning and then learning some more? 
"Odds are if you're old enough to read this, cover to cover, it's too late for you."  WELL, FUCK.

I really enjoyed the sense of humor in this book.  I honestly thought at first it would be that whole 'the past made me who I am and men suck so that's why I'm crazy and fuck the men in the world (but not literally, unless you're on a dry streak then anything goes)'.  What it turned out to be was a lesson for us all - yes, men are assholes and women are crazy.  Some more than others.  And I'm jealous of all you women who found their men when they were young so never had to endure the vapid dating game that the single people embrace on the daily.  Then again, grass is greener and all that, right? 

While I enjoyed the stories women throughout this book, I appreciated the epilogue as well and the advice given at the end. Did I say lesson earlier? I didn't quite mean that.  This book isn't a lesson. This book is just a raw realistic look into the craziness that occurs in a relationship and quite frankly, if you're been in the dating scene for a while and haven't experienced any of these stories or something similar well then... you're lying.