This Tender Land

Fun fact… I just took the book cover to take this picture. The full book was too heavy to bring apple picking!

My Synopsis: Odie, his brother, a classmate, and a little girl from the town they go to school in embark on a necessary adventure to save their own lives.

Pairs Best With:  Fresh off the tree apples, or anything fresh off a farm. Bonus points for anything that little Emmy grew.

Brief Review: A slow burn, but a beautifully written book. Odies story embraces some tough topics like family and faith. The end had some crazy twists, but in a great way that brought closure to the whole story. Overall a great one!

Interested in reading this one? You can get it here:


Daisy Jones and The Six

MY SECOND AUDIOBOOK… and it will be hard to top!!

My Synopsis: A documentary that follows the rise and fall of a 70s band Daisy Jones and the Six.

Pairs Best With:  Champagne for breakfast. Also probably with heroine, but I skipped that one (which I highly recommend doing).

Brief Review: I listened to this book and I loved every second of it! It honestly felt like I was watching a documentary about a band. I wanted to google the songs they were talking about and had to remind myself it’s fiction.

I also loved how women in this book were portrayed. There were only 4 primary ones (out if a large cast of characters), but they ran the gamete. I really appreciated that she didn’t stick to a few stereotypes. It showed real genuine female friendships in a male dominated world and I am here for it. Also Karen was my favorite – but I might have just liked her voice on the audiobook the best.

I was hesitant to read this because of the hype, but I’m so glad I did!!

Interested in reading this one? You can get it here:

Mother Knows Best

Thank you Netgalley for this ARC!

My Synopsis: A woman loses her child to a biological disease, and goes to great lengths to prevent it happening to her future children. With illegal scientific procedures, a doctor & his assistant help blend 2 people’s eggs to prevent the disease from occurring again. Twists, turns, and terror follow.

Pairs Best With:  Two eggs… too on the nose?

Brief Review: This was the perfect beach thriller – a quick, easy read with lots of twists. Some were predictable, others were less. I really enjoyed the science-y side to this book. It added unique spin you don’t see often. Although it bugged me that Jillian was a genius science prodigy who’s one downfall was a man (🙄), it was essential to the story. I’d recommend this one!

Interested in reading this one? You can get it here:

The Ventriloquists

Thank you Park Row Books for this ARC! This book is out TODAY!!

My Synopsis: Brussels 1943, a team of rebels is forced to create a fake newspaper promoting the Nazis. In another act of rebellion, they decide to create an additional fake newspaper against the Nazis, promoting their own agenda.

Pairs Best With:  I had no idea what to pair this book with, so I consulted with @thereadingchemist – Belgium… fries! And I’m never one to pass up an opportunity for fries!

Brief Review: This book was a very interesting twist on other WWII novels I have read. To start, you rarely see a WWII book with only one Jewish character! Each character was written really well, and I enjoyed the short chapters set in the present. They broke up the story nicely. Each persons plight and backstory was unique and intriguing – I was especially drawn to David Spiegelmans story. Don’t let the page count scare you off – though there’s a lot going on, it’s a fairly quick read.

The one thing I have to mention is I found one historical inaccuracy and was a bit confused in America’s involvement throughout the story.

Interested in reading this one? You can buy it here:

The Ventriloquists: A Novel

The Friend Zone

Warning: unpopular opinion below

My synopsis: Two people who are clearly meant to be together can’t be. Classic.

Pairs best with: Tacos. Because they talk about them a lot, and every time they do, I want some.

Brief review: I have a whole lot of feelings about this book. A WHOLE LOT. I was hesitant at first because I’m usually not a fan of romance. But there are definitely some I love, and this book was everywhere (plus I won it in a giveaway), so I gave it a whirl. There were times I was tempted to lean towards “like” but I think I hated it. The ending, like last 20 pages, included my biggest pet peeve in books of all time. (If you know me, that was a spoiler, so I apologize.) The whole second half was so depressing and I was not expecting that AT ALL, nor did I find it necessary.

The end made me so mad I almost forgot about how annoying and problematic the “cool girl” troupe was and always is. Hate that shit.

But, at the end of the day, a book that evokes this much emotion is obviously well written and really gets to you. So originally I gave it 3 stars. But the more I think about it the more it bugs me for reasons that are spoilers, so 2 it is.

Extended review: *includes spoilers*

Let’s start from the beginning issues: COOL GIRL. Overdone, and honestly, problematic. A girl can be worthy of love without “basically being a dude.” Kills me. I was hesitant I’d hate this book because of that alone, now I barely remember hating that part. Because there’s more.

The accident. Okay Brandon’s accident was so depressing and honestly unnecessary. I get that the lesson was people have real issues, yours aren’t that big. But it still was unnecessary.

And then he dies?! That was just too much. Sad. Very sad. But again, unnecessary. It didn’t even help their relationship develop!!!! She still wouldn’t be with him!! Which brings me to something I forgot about being annoyed by…

If she’s such a “cool girl” who always “says what she’s thinking,” why the eff couldn’t she just tell him the problem from the start. MAJOR. EYE. ROLL. Be an adult and give him the real reason or cut him loose. The “it’s only sex” HAS NEVER WORKED ASK ANY MOVIE, TV SHOW, OR BOOK EVER.

Okay back to where we were. Brandon’s dead. They’re still not together. Josh did research, they can have kids, they can be in love. Great. They go to get the hysterectomy and she’s. Fucking. Pregnant.

If you know me, you know my biggest pet peeve in books is “we had sex once and now I’m pregnant – oops!” So not only is she pregnant, but they back date it to being the first time they had sex. Of course! Super sperm can cure broken uteruses!

I want to praise the author for writing about infertility because it’s such a sensitive topic and I’ve read very little with it before, but honestly I found the way that it ended insensitive.

And this isn’t a personal thing, I got pregnant somewhat unintentionally (sorry Millie, still love you!) but to have a character some people can connect to on such a sensitive topic and then give them their happy ending naturally was too much. Show the rest of the struggle. Show them going through IVF and treatments. THEN give them the happy ending. Keep it real. I’m genuinely happy they had their miracle baby. I am. But it was a character for other people to relate to and then the ending was just a cop out.

This book was widely successful and my opinions are in the minority. Did you read it? What did you think?

Still interested in reading this book? You can buy it here: The Friend Zone

Pretty Revenge

I just finished Pretty Revenge. I have a lot of thoughts. I need to get them out. So let’s dive right in shall we.

My synopsis: Kerrie is out to get revenge on a girl, Jordana, who ruined her life 18 years ago. Jordana is now a big shot wedding planner in Manhattan with her own troubled past.

Pairs best with: The only thing the Manhattan hot shots in this book eat is salads, and probably without the croutons… good thing I’m just a Manhattan cold shot because I enjoy my croutons! So yes, pair with a salad. Or go the Kerrie route and pair with pizza (this sounds way better to be honest).

Brief review: I enjoyed this book a lot while reading it, but thinking back on it I’m not so sure. It’s a light and quick read, it’s chick lit with a small mystery in the background. It definitely made me want to be a wedding planner, but I didn’t think the mystery twist really held up in the end. All that being said, I still enjoyed reading this book in the moment and would recommend it. Just be warned: this is chick lit (as much as I hate that term) and not a thriller.

Extended review: *includes spoilers*

The whole time I was excited to see what big wrong Jordan did to Kerrie. The things they they were hinting at didn’t seem like something that would still eat away at you 18 years later… and I was right. Obviously it’s tragic that Kerrie’s grandma died in a fire, but it sounds like it was an accident. And obviously stealing is wrong, but 18 years later you’re going to commit your life to destroying hers over that? Sounds extreme.

The end was so rushed and just way too easy. There’s about 10 pages left and BAM mwahaha I gotcha –> no argument –> boards a plane –> oh and here’s my business on a silver platter. It just was too convenient that it worked out so well for BOTH girls, and the only people hurt were the genuine bad guys.

Okay now onto William. I mean… what?! So cliche. So cliche. Oh let me just fall in love with the groom. But oh no he’s still getting married! Oh, but then he gets annulled. So again… no one gets hurt and she gets the man. Because a story isn’t complete unless you end up with a man!

Honestly, the only character I found at all relatable/real by the end was Sara.

And how many times in Jordanas chapters can she say “thank heavens for Olivia! I really like Olivia!” Just to make it so obvious she trusts her. WE GET IT. The plan is working.

So that was a lot of shit talking. Which is strange, because in general I enjoyed reading this book! The whole time I was entertained and hooked. Not necessarily by the mystery, but I liked the plot and writing. The end just killed me.

Pretty Revenge comes out July 2nd. Are you going to read it? Have you already? What did you think?

Dear Wife

Blog posts about mysteries are my favorite… Bring on all the spoilers!

My synopsis: Two stories – Beth on the run and everyone searching for a missing woman named Sabine. But how do they overlap? Great question!

Pairs best with: Anything fishy. Because everyone in this story was fishy. Get it?? Yeah. I hate me too.

Brief review: Honestly, I loved this book. I think it is her best one yet. It takes a lot to surprise me with thrillers – I’ve read way too many and I’ve seen every twist. The initial turn I figured out pretty quickly, but the final twist I definitely did not see coming!! Not much more I can say without spoilers – but check this one out. You won’t be disappointed.

Extended review: *spoilers below*

Okay. I love reviews for thrillers because I go through ALL MY THEORIES mwahahahaaa

Okay let’s start with what I got right (yay me). Right off the bat I knew Sabine wasn’t Beth. How did I know? Easy – it was too obvious. Okay but really: Beth said she left her phone in the kitchen garbage. But Sabine’s husband called her cell phone multiple times (in every room) and never heard a ring.

Now what did I get wrong: everything else! I’m telling ya, I can smell a twist a mile away but this one got me!

My theory was that Beth killed Sabine and was on the run, but making it look like Sabine ran away. Using her credit card places, getting the apartment; I thought these were all Beth pretending to be Sabine. Maybe Sabine’s boyfriends wife, maybe someone we hadn’t met yet. That part I hadn’t figured out.

Needless to say, I was wrong. Beth was Emma, Marcus’ wife. I missed the initial hint, when Emma didn’t show up to dinner. I figured it out when Marcus’ mom showed up at his house.

And I really did not see Marcus killing Sabine until Emma/Beth did.

I love love loved that Emma/Beth paid back the Church and tried to keep her new friends. It had such a neat and happy ending. Normally those don’t fit in thrillers, but this one really did and I’m happy about it.

Dear Wife is out today – have you read it yet?? If so, what did you think??

Whisper Network

*Thank you Flatiron Books for this ARC!*

This was the first ARC I ever requested directly from a publisher… and I’m so glad I did.

My Synopsis: Four women learn their misogynistic boss is next in line to be CEO, and decide to put a stop to it.

Pairs best with: TBH, I totally cheated on the “snack” part of this pic. But what could this pair well with other than adorable babies? A glass of wine. Because nothing screams “girl power” like a glass of rosé.

Brief Review:

This book is everything. It had so much potential and so much going on, and it succeeded at every turn. I loved each character, even with their flaws. It was by far the most relatable book I’ve ever read. 

I was hooked. I laughed. I sent pictures of lines to my friends. I even got teary at parts. It’s insanely timely, both in the world, and in my life at the moment. I absolutely loved this book and highly recommend it!

Extended Review: *SPOILERS BELOW*

Guys. If you couldn’t tell already, I loved this book. It was the most relatable book I’ve read, so this post will be a bit personal. I just couldn’t help relating everything to personal experiences, so here we go!

This book is so applicable to the #metoo movement, which is exactly what all the reviews said. But as a 29 year old woman in the corporate world, especially one who just had a baby about 2 weeks ago, this book really spoke to me on a personal level. I don’t work in a legal department, but I always thought the environment of a public accounting firm in Manhattan was similar to practicing law. Even though the firm I work at is technically more women than men, the actual billable staff are heavily male and it can be difficult being a woman in that world.

As a new mom, I’ve spent an absurd amount of time in the last 9 months thinking about my the future of my career. I’m also moving in a week, which will change my 20 minute walk to work into an hour commute. The combination of these two things is making me question pretty much every decision I’ve ever made in my career, along with where I will be going forward. Commuting an hour and working full time while trying to be a caregiver to my daughter is something I have been already struggling with in theory – and I haven’t even had to do it yet. If I stay at my current position, I will need to have some type of flex schedule, which is allowed at my company, but of course is looked down upon by the all male management of the firm. My direct boss is a woman, but everyone above her is male. It makes for a difficult situation where there appear to be options, but the system is flawed.

I heavily connected with Grace because of the new mom status. Especially because I was reading this while I was feeding the baby at nights (though I fed from a bottle… so I couldn’t relate to the breast feeding part!). While Sloane was used to and able to balance work and her daughter, Grace was new to it and struggled. I’m still on maternity leave (like I said, it’s been 2 weeks), but I fully anticipate a similar struggle come October.

This leads me to the few times the book mentioned “having it all.” This is such an interesting concept to me in general. When you hear that, you think of societies definition of “all,” but I’m a firm believer that everyone should define that for themselves. Whether it’s having a career and family life, or staying home to raise your kids, there shouldn’t be pressure to do everything at once. Anyway, I digress. Back to the book!

Each chapter started off with little blurb about how it is for working women. And I. ATE. THOSE. UP. I took pictures of blurbs and sent them to friends. I laughed out loud. I don’t know the last time I laughed out loud at a book. They were just all so true and so honest. Why yes Chandler Baker, you’re right, I DID waste my entire weekend watching Jane the Virgin. And yes, I DID read Lean In, and you’re right, it didn’t help my career. All the little snippets of information really helped build the story and sucked me in.

Obviously, some things were less relatable. I probably would not actually push my boss off the roof. But I also won’t say I haven’t thought about it!

Also understandable – the cliqueiness (not a word) of the women in the story. I loved all of the characters, despite their flaws, but it was interesting to me how a new woman joined the company and they instantly tried to get her to join “their side.” To me, it seemed them taking Katherine under their wings was them trying to win her over. To have another ally. It didn’t seem innocent.

Okay lets talk about the BAD list. This was so creative. I don’t live in Dallas, but I live in Manhattan which is its own beast. I could see a list like this circulating a college, and it isn’t so far fetched to think about it circulating a city either.

Sexual harassment. A very prevalent theme throughout the book. I was surprised in the end to find out that Ardie had also been raped by Ames, and I liked that in the end it was her and Katherine that had ultimately killed him. Katherine’s story line was frustrating, but rang all too true. And to be honest, I get where she was coming from. Why let an incident of something that happened TO her define her? If she could use it to elevate herself, why only let it hurt her and bring her down? I wish she didn’t have to do it at the expense of the other ladies, but I understand not wanting to relive that over and over for the public just to get back at a man who was already dead.

Rosalita. I figured out early on, but only once the hints started, that Ames was her sons dad. Reading that part and her confessions is what drove me to a few tears (but we can also blame the postpartum hormones. I know Grace would feel me on that). I loved that she was so brave and stuck with the women to help bring Ames down. I’m a sucker for strong female characters.

There was so much feminism and girl power in the book that I can’t even write about everything I loved. From Ardie and Sloane sticking up for Sloane’s daughter to the law firm they build at the end and everything in between. This book was chock full of great moral lessons and positive messages.

Listen. None of these women were perfect. They were cheaters, they were single moms, they struggled, some of them were kind of murderers. But they were real and honest and raw, and by sticking together they were able to make a big change.

I can’t wait for a day when a book like this seems like something of the past. When the idea of women in the work place being treated differently than their male counterparts is historical fiction rather than contemporary. That the thought of women who accuse a man of sexual harassment aren’t bribed by a higher paycheck or have their authenticity questioned by other women.

If women stick together, like Ardie, Grace, Sloane, and Rosalita did, maybe we can make that happen! Until then, we have books like this to get us through.

If you can’t tell, I highly recommend this. Keep an eye out for it in July 2019!!

The Aftermath

I have a lot of thoughts on this book. I wish I wrote this post a while ago while it was still fresh in my mind, but lets see what stuck…

My Synopsis: This story follows a German family and a British family one year post WWII, showing how the war effected each person individually.

Pairs best with: Popcorn. The movie just came out… but of course you have to read the book first!! Nothing pairs better with a movie-book than popcorn.

Brief Review:

I’d say this was about 3.5 stars on the 5 star scale – it was pretty entertaining, but more than that it was an interesting time period you don’t hear about often. Germany one year post WWII. It brought up something you don’t think of; the kids who grew up during WWII, didn’t fully understand what was going on, but knew enough to feel the loss of loved ones and their home. Though the story itself wasn’t the most gripping, the setting and time period made up for it. Worth a read!

Extended Review: *SPOILERS AHEAD*

OKAY. Like I said, I have a lot of thoughts. Overall, I liked this book. But there were a lot of things that just didn’t add up or get fully developed. And I think that was my biggest issue – there were so many starts to story lines that didn’t quite make it as far as they needed to go, and it lost a lot of the momentum of the story.

Maybe this was explained and I just missed it, but I was confused at the ages of Edmund and Freda. Yes, Freda was older, but I didn’t think she was that much older. Their plots were so different that their ages seemed exasperated. Edmund was written as a child, while Freda was portrayed as an angsty teen. This confused me throughout the story.

At one point, Edmund is looking through Lewis’s wallet and notices that Lewis has pictures of Rachael and Michel, but not Edmund. When Edmund asks him about it, he gives a reason that Lewis latches on to even though its not the real reason. But we never learn what the real reason is. So I’m not sure what the point of this was?? Or did I miss an explanation elsewhere??

Jumping right to the end of the story – when Lewis’ driver gets shot in the end, I wanted to be heart broken. But I wasn’t. We met him in one scene, and yes the shot was supposed to kill Lewis, but it didn’t have the same gripping effect than if the guy (who’s name I don’t even remember!) had been a main character being killed.

One of the main plots in the story is the relationship between Rachael and Lubert. I get the concept of their affair; we can see the winners and the losers in a war, but at the end of war, everyone has lost something. Everyone deals with grief the same way, and even though they were on opposing sides, they both lost a loved one and had to learn to cope. But the way the first kiss started was just too out of left field. It didn’t make sense to me that Lubert just kissed her out of nowhere to distract her, and thats what led to the affair.

I didn’t follow Otis’s plot line. At the end, it tied in, but I didn’t care about it.

Freda’s plot line was the most interesting to me. Hated her. Full on hated. But it’s such an interesting point that I’ve never thought of. There was a whole generation that grew up in Germany during WWII, didn’t fully understand what was going on, but knew they had lost people they cared about and were angry. Having lost her mom (or thinking she lost her mom), I didn’t blame Freda for being angry. I always think about the adults in WWII/Holocaust books and how they were to blame in some situations, but the kids grew up being fed these ideas. It put a different spin on something I grew up believing.

I loved Lewis. He was almost too perfect, but he gave me hope that theres still good people in the world no matter what garbage is going on. Especially in todays world, it’s a really nice message to get from a book.

I know I just pointed out a lot of negatives, but I’d say all around this story worked because of the unique time and place. It did fall short in a lot of places and could have been much better developed, but the unique idea behind it still makes it an interesting read.

Have you read The Aftermath? What did you think?

Where the Crawdads Sing

I said in my last post that The Night Olivia Fell was the most hyped book on social media, but I might have been wrong. It might be Where the Crawdads Sing. So, obviously, this was next.

My Synopsis: A double story following a young girl growing up alone in a marsh, and a murder in the same marsh years later.

Pairs best with: Grits. But I don’t know how to to make grits, nor do I think I’ve ever had them?? So I made pancakes instead. Obviously with chocolate chips. In retrospect, I wish I had mud cake. Damn it, now I’m mad I didn’t think of that before I took this picture!

Brief Review: 

Though it started slow, this book grew on me as it went. It was beautifully written, with a fast faced ending. My only criticism is the ending just didn’t quite click with me, things felt off. This book is one of the most hyped these days, and I definitely understand why. It combines a lot of different genres in a really well written way.

Extended Review: *SPOILERS BELOW*

So I know that I just said this book was good, and it was! But it had one main thing I really questioned.

The ending. The whole mystery was who killed Chase. Kya was accused and found not guilty, but in the end you find out she did do it. Great – do it! He sucked, and she was (in a nice way) a wild animal – her natural instinct was to protect herself and eliminate the threat. I get that part of it. But the elaborate scheme behind it just didn’t make sense to me. Kya was obviously incredibly smart. She knew the marsh like the back of her hand (what a weird saying) and it doesn’t surprise me at all she could plan a murder and get away with it within those parameters.

What made NO SENSE to me is the elaborate scheme she went through to make a scene of buying a bus ticket, getting on the bus, finding a hotel closer to the bus station, sneaking back into town, luring him into the marsh, killing him, getting back on the bus to the hotel, waking up in the hotel, and faking shock when she got home to find out he died. Really?? A girl who has literally never left the marsh except to go into town to get gas and groceries all of a sudden finds a map of a far away town she happens to get invited to, picks a convenient hotel, and gets a disguise to sneak back and forth!?

There was no evidence, so it makes sense that she didn’t get convicted. I knew the second they said not guilty that she actually was guilty – whatever she was found, I knew the “end twist” was going to be the opposite. There was nothing saying she did it. I just couldn’t get over how out of character the whole scheme was! Between the slow beginning and the ending, I wouldn’t say I loved this book as much as the vast majority.

Loved Tate, though.

Did you read this book? What did you think?