Great Reads


owntober (2)I decided to jump on the bandwagon for this one! We all have tons of books around the house and if you’re like me, even when you have a ton to read, you keep purchasing more! Kathy over at Books and Munches suggested doing a monthly challenge for October where you read your own books that you have on your shelves or in dangerously messy piles around your house! You can find the original post HERE. I’m going to be joining in on this challenge and I suggest you do too! Now, I can’t forgo all my ARC’s because I too have a neverending list of these to get through but I figured instead of one or two of my already owned/bought  books, maybe I’ll try and accomplish more like three or four in addition to my never-ending ARCs that I cannot fully abanddon! It counts, right?

The books I’ve chosen to try and read this upcoming month are:

The Most Beautiful by Mayte Garcia
A Child Called ‘It’ by Dave Pelzer
Misery by Stephen King
Me Before You by Jojo Meyes


The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Have you read any of these and am I in for a treat with any of these?

Are you planning on joining in to Owntober ’18? If so, let me know and let me know what you plan to read!


Great Reads

Rust and Stardust







Publish Date : 8/7/2018
Author:  T. Greenwood
Started: 9/15/18
Finished: 9/15/18
Pages: 368
Rating : ⭐⭐⭐

I’m a little embarrassed being a town away from Camden and never hearing this story. Camden today is a far cry from Camden in the past. Camden is where my family rooted after moving here from Puerto Rico. It was a nice area to live in during this time. T. Greenwood painted Camden at this time truthfully. As a gang-ridden city today and often labeled America’s most dangerous city now, this story is surprising for the time. Also never read Vladimir Nabokev’s ‘ Lolita which is also based on Sally Horner.

Goodreads Summary:

Camden, NJ, 1948.

When 11 year-old Sally Horner steals a notebook from the local Woolworth’s, she has no way of knowing that 52 year-old Frank LaSalle, fresh out of prison, is watching her, preparing to make his move. Accosting her outside the store, Frank convinces Sally that he’s an FBI agent who can have her arrested in a minute—unless she does as he says.

This chilling novel traces the next two harrowing years as Frank mentally and physically assaults Sally while the two of them travel westward from Camden to San Jose, forever altering not only her life, but the lives of her family, friends, and those she meets along the way.

My Review:

There is nothing but heavy material here. Reaaaalllly heavy material, but the author does a phenomenal job of keeping the read lighter by not going into details and really just skimming the surface of what she believes Sally’s life with her kidnapper was like.

This was a quick read for me, not because I wanted to know what was going to happen (I like most know the conclusion) but because I felt like not reading it was keeping Sally’s story on hold. This is a sad, mainly true, fiction and her story needs to be told.

I had to get past the fact that these situations would not play out like this in today’s world. Our technology such as cameras, and cell phones, and even the internet would add so many different facets to Sally’s story and as our kidnapper (I won’t glorify him by naming him), didn’t seem to have a murderous trait at least for the majority of the book, keeping Sally for so long would have been much more difficult. The time period, an important facet of setting, really makes this crime possible. The trusting factor during this time period was much higher, as I had to keep reminding myself as I was constantly hating Sally’s mother, Ella. She seems to just throw in the towel which was also very hard for me to imagine but again, times have changed that make our society more urgent and able to track information down quickly. I actually feel that had Sally been kidnapped today, her survival factor would have been diminished as her kidnapper would have been tracked easily which may have resulted in using her for a short period of time, killing her, and finding a new hostage. When reading, please keep in mind these time period differences. Sally’s naive nature is also more likely a result of the time period. I think I would have been a much different 11 year old to kidnap and would have been much more clever in an escape long before and also much less naive in believing what was happening but our culture of kids grow up much faster in our day in age so this may just be a facet of the time.

I felt for Susan the entire time of course but so many happenings that would have put this tragedy to an end long before two years made me so much sadder. I kept hoping that she would be found even though I knew she was not going to be yet.

This is not an enjoyable book in the sense of liking what you read but definitely one worth reading. My lower rating is partially because I would have liked some more character depth. I understand this is based on a true story but gaining more insight into the monster himself, or even more of Susan’s hatred towards Ella would have made this an easier 4 because these vague portions of the book left me wanting more for me to understand.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, for giving me a copy in exchange for my honest review!

Great Reads


Publish Date 
: 6/1/1991
Author:  Diana Gabaldon
Started: 8/10/18
Finished: 9/5/18
Pages: 850
Rating : ⭐⭐⭐

Summary from Goodreads:

In 1945, Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon—when she innocently touches a boulder in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of our Lord…1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire’s destiny in soon inextricably intertwined with Clan MacKenzie and the forbidden Castle Leoch. She is catapulted without warning into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life …and shatter her heart. For here, James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a passion so fierce and a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire…and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

My Review:

I found the book to me unnecessarily long. There were chapters that were extremely interesting and important and then there where were entire chapters that were irrelevant and boring. For example, there’s a section of the book where Claire helps a horse give birth. Why? My question exactly. I took my time getting through this reading chunks at a time and reading a second book for the first time ever doing so. Surprisingly, even though I thought I was uninterested in the book, I did just order the second one. Even through the longwindedness, I am still interested in Claire, Jamie, and our other characters but it will be a book I read slowly during other reads again.

I felt the relationships in the book to be a little strange. Jamie and his sister in particular were a little uncomfortable for me. I’m not sure if others felt this way, especially since I’m an only child and don’t really understand sibling relationships but I was a little weirded out.

I had a hard time following along because the writing was super lengthy. I found myself losing interest in long sections and missing pertinent information because I was zoned out while reading. There were quite a few times where I recognized that I must have not registered a certain happening in previous pages.

I think the concept was really cool but there could have been more done with it under the unique premise. The book was filled with fluff. I’m also not one to go for romances books so that is also why I was not engrossed in it as much as others.

However, all in all I did find myself interested enough to purchase the next book in the series. I don’t know when I’ll start it and it will be a slow read as this was but I am a tad bit interested in continuing whereas I thought at first I would not continue the series so not a complete fail! Maybe I’ll check out the series next.

Great Reads

ARC REVIEW – The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – OUT TODAY!

Publish Date : 9/18/18
Author:  Stuart Turton
Started: 9/1/18
Finished: 9/15/18
Pages: 512
Rating : ⭐⭐⭐⭐️⭐

Summary from Goodreads;

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…

The most inventive debut of the year twists together a mystery of such unexpected creativity it will leave readers guessing until the very last page.

My Review:

This book is truly astounding. It’s also known as The 7 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle but common titles led to an American title change under The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. It is the same novel with a more clever title! The many facets of this book is so surprising and intelligent it was hard to wrap my head around it. This concept and all of the details had to take a ton of thought to execute. I can’t say enough good things. At first I was not a huge fan and felt the writing dry and unnecessary but I quickly found out how important the first part was and how it shapes the book it it’s entirely.

The book needs your full attention. The book read slow for me because of the intense details but in a good way! I have never struggled so much to write a review. This is beyond brilliant and I don’t know how it is even conceivable. Stuart Turton did not miss a beat in making the most insane connections and I’ll admit, I did not solve a single plot twist until being given the ending on a silver platter. The concept is hard to wrap your head around and I have to admit, I was often confused but that was my fault as I didn’t go into the book with full attention and the understanding of how complex this book would really be.

Turton does a remarkable job of writing characters as you feel like you really understand Aiden and the hosts. He also does a great job writing a unique mystery with even a moral concept of our own possible future of an important judicial system in which I can give no further detail without spoiling something.

This is a twisted tale that’s never been done in which I can’t wrap my head around ever being clever enough to write. For me, the confusion made me feel more like this was a 4 but that was strictly my fault. You must go into this book ready to think and give it your full attention. This makes it easily a five in which I feel obligated to give it.


Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Sourcebooks Landmark, for a copy to read in exchange of my honest review!

Great Reads

Her Name Was Rose


Publish Date 
: 6/28/18
Author:  Claire Allan
Started: 8/2/18
Finished: 8/5/18
Rating : ⭐⭐⭐✨

Thank you to Netgalley, author Claire Allan, and Avon Publishing for sending me an advanced reader’s copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis from Amazon:

When Emily lets a stranger step out in front of her, she never imagines that split second will change her life. But after Emily watches a car plough into the young mother – killing her instantly – she finds herself unable to move on.

And then she makes a decision she can never take back.

Because Rose had everything Emily had ever dreamed of. A beautiful, loving family, a great job and a stunning home. And now Rose’s husband misses his wife, and their son needs a mother. Why couldn’t Emily fill that space?

But as Emily is about to discover, no one’s life is perfect … and not everything is as it seems.

My Review:

Whoa, everything I read was just whoa. Emily, our main character is a tad bit off her rocker in my opinion. Everything she has done is over the top and comes with severe questionable motives. Does this girl have a conscience? Does she understand how truly weird and over the top she’s being in every aspect of her life? Even her past she’s thrown herself at her ex, in who as she described him truly does not deserve her attention. However, her craziness made me feel sorry and scared for her. She has no boundaries in which she understands has gone too far and her family and best friend, Maude, have concerns for her that are justifiable I came to see.

Witnessing a death can not be easy but neither can sweeping in and replacing this person. Her mental stability as the author wanted is questioned throughout the story making it hard to believe her thoughts throughout the story. Her intense personality and actions however are what gives this story what it needs.

Emily’s relationship with Cian is uncomfortable right from the beginning. Her obsession with Rose’s life at first is just a clue as to how obsessive she can really become. This obsession in my opinion puts blinders on Emily as her past relationship with Ben did as well. These blinders lead her to not see the truth in multiple matters.

The book was twisty but not super crazy. As a thriller, I was expecting a tiny bit more so I was a tad disappointed in it overall. There were parts I saw coming and some I did not but connecting the dots in the end was a relief. I wish one relationship was intensified more so that it made more sense but that is something I won’t get into as I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone. A solid 3.5 for me.

Great Reads

Every Time You Go Away

Publish Date 
: 7/25/17
Author:  Beth Harbison
Started: 8/18/18
Finished: 8/20/18
Pages: 336
Rating : ⭐⭐⭐⭐️⭐

A special thanks to Netgalley, St. Martin’s Press, and the author, Beth Harbison, for sending me an advanced reader’s copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.

Summary from Goodreads:

In New York Times bestselling author Beth Harbison’s most emotional novel ever, a fractured family must come together at a beach house haunted by the past.

Willa has never fully recovered from the sudden death of her husband, Ben. She became an absent mother to her young son, Jamie, unable to comfort him while reeling from her own grief.

Now, years after Ben’s death, Willa finally decides to return to the beach house where he passed. It’s time to move on and put the Ocean City, Maryland house on the market.

When Willa arrives, the house is in worse shape than she could have imagined, and the memories of her time with Ben are overwhelming. They met at this house and she sees him around every corner. Literally. Ben’s ghost keeps reappearing, trying to start conversations with Willa. And she can’t help talking back.

To protect her sanity, Willa enlists Jamie, her best friend Kristin, and Kristin’s daughter Kelsey to join her for one last summer at the beach. As they explore their old haunts, buried feelings come to the surface, Jamie and Kelsey rekindle their childhood friendship, and Willa searches for the chance to finally say goodbye to her husband and to reconnect with her son.

Every Time You Go Away is a heartfelt, emotional story about healing a tragic loss, letting go, and coming together as a family.

My Review:

The material is a little heavy but it read very lightly. Willa’s charm and sarcasm drew me to her immediately and reminded me of myself. I also was connected to the book because I too vacationed in OCMD many times starting at a drunk teenager like she had. It really helped me imagine everything. Losing someone is never easy and I can’t imagine losing a husband. Although Willa is down on herself for her disconnect with her son, Jamie, after her husband’s death, I felt her to be rather strong. Jamie and Kelsey are ideal teens and they’re side story is cute and Kristin is an amazing friend to Willa that I can only hope to have someone like that in my life one day.

This is a beautiful story about finding peace, making things right, and strengthening family bonds. I cried a couple times but it was worth it. Even though this isn’t a genre I usually enjoy, I LOVED it. I was always interested in reading, didn’t find it wordy or having too much unnecessary information, and it really pulled at my heart strings. Beautiful! I’ll be thinking about this one for a while.

Great Reads

She Was the Quiet One

Publish Date 
: 7/31/18
Author:  Michele Campbell
Started: 8/14/18
Finished: 8/18/18
Pages: 342
Rating : 

A special thanks to Netgalley, St. Martin’s Press, and the author, Michele Campbell, for sending me an advanced reader’s copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.

Summary from Goodreads:

From the author of It’s Always the Husband comes a riveting new suspense audiobook about privilege, power, and what happens when we let ambition take control. 

For Rose Enright, enrolling in a prestigious New England boarding school is the opportunity of a lifetime. But for Rose’s vulnerable twin sister Bel, Odell Academy is a place of temptation and danger. When Bel falls in with a crowd of wild rich kids who pressure her into hazing Rose, the sisters’ relationship is shattered. Rose turns to her dorm mother, Sarah Donovan, for advice. But Bel turns to Sarah’s husband Heath, a charismatic and ambitious teacher. Is Heath trying to help Bel or take advantage of her? In a world of privilege, seduction, and manipulation, only one sister will live to tell the truth.

In a novel full of twists, turns, and dark secrets, Michele Campbell once again proves her skill at crafting intricately spun and completely compelling plots.

My Review:

I struggled rating this. There were times I felt like it was slow and times I felt that it was rushed. I also found times that were under-detailed such as character relationships. Even with these issues,

We know from the beginning that one of the Enright twins was murdered but the book leaves out which and takes to almost the end to get into that portion of the book. I went back and forth for a little which twin it was. The murderer was predictable for me and I was hoping for more of a twist in this particular area but there is a twist that ties everything together  that I really did not see coming so that was a definite plus.

Although definitely a thriller, this also read like a Young Adult for me. The setting of the boarding school could have led to this feeling but some of the topics are definitely for adults. I found the topic highly disturbing and a little hard for me to be drawn to as a teacher myself. With all thrillers, it is super hard to give more detail than that without spoiling the read.  I recommend this as a quick twisty read.