2019 READING STATS & ROUND UP

Reading Stats

GENERAL

  • Books Read: 53
  • Pages Read: 19,817

GENRE

  • Fiction: 47 books
  • Non-Fiction: 6 books

RATING

  • Average Rating: 3.6 stars
  • 5-Star: 10 books
  • 4-Star: 17 books
  • 3-Star: 20 books
  • 2-Star: 6 books

AUTHORS

  • New-To-Me Authors: 34
  • Repeat Authors: 8
  • Male Authors: 8
  • Female Authors: 44

FORMAT

  • Physical Book: 23
  • eBook: 20
  • Audiobook: 10

BOOKS READ PER MONTH

  • January: 2
  • February: 3
  • March: 3
  • April: 1
  • May: 0
  • June: 1
  • July: 4
  • August: 5
  • September: 9
  • October: 10
  • November: 9
  • December: 6

Books Read in 2019

#1. Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake

#2. Honeybee by Trista Mateer

#3. After by Anna Todd

#4. After We Collided by Anna Todd

#5. 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne

#6. On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves

#7. The Good Luck Charm by Helena Hunting

#8. After We Fell by Anna Todd

#9. After Ever Happy by Anna Todd

#10. Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered: The Definitive How-To Guide by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark

#11. Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals by Rachel Hollis

#12. Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

#13. A Serial Killer’s Daughter: My Story of Faith, Love, and Overcoming by Kerri Rawson

#14. What You Did by Claire McGowan

#15. The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

#16. The Arrangement by Robyn Harding

#17. Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

#18. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

#19. The Outsider by Stephen King

#20. The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

#21. Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

#22. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

#23. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

#24. Meet Cute by Helena Hunting

#25. Dating You/Hating You by Christina Lauren

#26. Punk 57 by Penelope Douglas

#27. Bully by Penelope Douglas

#28. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

#29. Tin Man by Sarah Winman

#30. Looker by Laura Sims

#31. The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay

#32. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

#33. Elevation by Stephen King

#34. An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

#35. The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

#36. Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

#37. The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

#38. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

#39. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

#40. Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

#41. Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

#42. The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

#43. American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century by Maureen Callahan

#44. Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey

#45. How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

#46. The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

#47. Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas

#48. The Guy on the Right by Kate Stewart

#49. My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

#50. The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

#51. The Wallflower Wager by Tessa Dare

#52. Voyager by Diana Gabaldon

#53. The Making of Outlander: The Official Guide to Seasons 1 &2 by Tara Bennett

REVIEW: My Dark Vanessa

Author: Kate Elizabeth Russell

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Genre: Psychological Fiction

Pages: 384

Date of Publication: January 23, 2020

Synopsis: Exploring the psychological dynamics of the relationship between a precocious yet naïve teenage girl and her magnetic and manipulative teacher, a brilliant, all-consuming read that marks the explosive debut of an extraordinary new writer.

2000. Bright, ambitious, and yearning for adulthood, fifteen-year-old Vanessa Wye becomes entangled in an affair with Jacob Strane, her magnetic and guileful forty-two-year-old English teacher.

2017. Amid the rising wave of allegations against powerful men, a reckoning is coming due. Strane has been accused of sexual abuse by a former student, who reaches out to Vanessa, and now Vanessa suddenly finds herself facing an impossible choice: remain silent, firm in the belief that her teenage self willingly engaged in this relationship, or redefine herself and the events of her past. But how can Vanessa reject her first love, the man who fundamentally transformed her and has been a persistent presence in her life? Is it possible that the man she loved as a teenager—and who professed to worship only her—may be far different from what she has always believed?

Alternating between Vanessa’s present and her past, My Dark Vanessa juxtaposes memory and trauma with the breathless excitement of a teenage girl discovering the power her own body can wield. Thought-provoking and impossible to put down, this is a masterful portrayal of troubled adolescence and its repercussions that raises vital questions about agency, consent, complicity, and victimhood. Written with the haunting intimacy of The Girls and the creeping intensity of RoomMy Dark Vanessa is an era-defining novel that brilliantly captures and reflects the shifting cultural mores transforming our relationships and society itself. 

Review: Y’all… How lucky am I to have received one of most anticipated books of 2020 for free from – of all things – a Goodreads giveaway?! I didn’t think that it was possible, that people actually won those things, but now that I know it can be done I can’t stop entering them. I don’t think the likelihood of me winning again is very high, but I digress.

Yes, My Dark Vanessa was one of my most anticipated books of 2020 and as you can tell from my 5-star rating above, I really enjoyed it. I hesitate to say that I loved it as the subject matter is really dark and disturbing, and while a complete work of fiction, something terrible that occurs – and probably more often than we’re aware.

I was honestly shocked to learn that this was Russell’s first novel because My Dark Vanessa is masterfully written and entirely engaging. A thought-provoking conversation starter on abuse of power, consent, trauma, and the uber-relevant #MeToo movement, the book’s narrative switches back and forth between timelines; a vulnerable, 15-year-old Vanessa who’s being groomed for a sexual relationship with her English teacher, Mr. Strane, and present-day Vanessa, as she struggles with the aftermath of his abuse and manipulation. The trauma from her experiences runs deep and it’s something that, to be expected, has impacted all aspects of her adult life – her relationships, her career, her sense of well being and mental state, etc. She struggles with her identity outside of her abuser -she even struggles to see Mr. Strane as what he is and was – an abuser. The verbal and mental manipulation she suffered at the hands of her teacher was astounding and heartbreaking, and honestly hard to read. Equally hard to read was Vanessa’s processing of the situation and the ways she convinces herself that Strane was her true love. He ruined her life and she was blind to his manipulation.

A main plot point of the novel involves a former student coming forward and alleging abuse by the same teacher. She encourages Vanessa to join her in speaking out against their perpetrator and the institution that allowed the abuse to occur. For Vanessa, the decision to respond and speak out is no easy feat, mainly because she struggles to see her relationship with Strane as an abuse of power. She questions yet defends his intentions and the validity of their “romance.” Was she really in love? Is she delusional? Was she partly responsible for their relationship?

This is a very challenging, raw read but one that I highly recommend you pick up.

**I received this book for free from William Morrow Books through a #GoodreadsGiveaway, however, this is an honest review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Sarah & Her Shelves Recommended? YES.

WHAT I READ: November 2019

This time of year is always a killer for my reading plans. I always have the best intentions, but with the holidays and family time and just general end-of-year craziness, I don’t always accomplish everything that I set out to. That being said, I’m pretty proud of what I was able to knock out in the month of November. Check out my star ratings and reviews (if applicable) for the nine books I read last month below!

FIVE STAR READS ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams
Check out my Goodreads review here.

Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas (re-read)
Check out my Goodreads review here.

FOUR STAR READS ★ ★ ★ ★

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

THREE STAR READS ★ ★ ★

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaledes
Check out my Goodreads review here.

American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century by Maureen Callahan
Check out my Goodreads review here.

TWO STAR READS ★ ★

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey
Check out my Goodreads review here.

REVIEW: Fix Her Up

Author: Tessa Bailey

Rating:  ★ ★

Genre: Romance

Pages: 400

Date of Publication: June 11, 2019

Synopsis: Georgette Castle’s family runs the best home renovation business in town, but she picked balloons instead of blueprints and they haven’t taken her seriously since. Frankly, she’s over it. Georgie loves planning children’s birthday parties and making people laugh, just not at her own expense. She’s determined to fix herself up into a Woman of the World… whatever that means.

Phase one: new framework for her business (a website from this decade, perhaps?)

Phase two: a gut-reno on her wardrobe (fyi, leggings are pants.)

Phase three: updates to her exterior (do people still wax?)

Phase four: put herself on the market (and stop crushing on Travis Ford!)

Living her best life means facing the truth: Georgie hasn’t been on a date since, well, ever. Nobody’s asking the town clown out for a night of hot sex, that’s for sure. Maybe if people think she’s having a steamy love affair, they’ll acknowledge she’s not just the “little sister” who paints faces for a living. And who better to help demolish that image than the resident sports star and tabloid favorite?

Travis Ford was major league baseball’s hottest rookie when an injury ended his career. Now he’s flipping houses to keep busy and trying to forget his glory days. But he can’t even cross the street without someone recapping his greatest hits. Or making a joke about his… bat. And then there’s Georgie, his best friend’s sister, who is not a kid anymore. When she proposes a wild scheme—that they pretend to date, to shock her family and help him land a new job—he agrees. What’s the harm? It’s not like it’s real. But the girl Travis used to tease is now a funny, full-of-life woman and there’s nothing fake about how much he wants her… 

Review: Y’all…. where do I even start? This book DID NOT do it for me and I’m disappointed for so many reasons. First of all, I typically love a good fake dating trope and I also really enjoy a good “I’m in love with my brother’s best friend” story line. In theory, I should have enjoyed this book. The cover is illustrated and super cute. I also found my copy at a used bookstore for $5 and snatched it off the shelves so fast. Unfortunately, now I understand why it ended up being passed along and I’m about to do the same!

SO many elements of this book ANNOYED me to no end. Let’s start with Travis. He is NOT the kind of love interest that I gravitate toward. At all. His excessive use of “baby girl” made me want to throw up (I don’t mind one or two ~baby girls~ thrown in there, I don’t like it but I can stomach it, but the dude literally says it every other page, like please stop) and his cockiness was a major turn off for me. He was an a**hole! He didn’t treat Georgie well, he was jealous, controlling and overprotective of her when he had no right to be?

The dirty talk/sex scenes had me cringing so hard. So hard. Terribly written, not anything anyone would ever or should ever say. Circling back to Travis being one of the most annoying love interest I’ve ever seen, he hyper focuses on Georgie’s virginity. I was rolling my eyes at the fact that Georgie, who has pined over Gavin since childhood, is a virgin. There is nothing wrong with a woman being a 23 year-old virgin, but it’s constantly mentioned and glorified by Gavin, the womanizer, who LITERALLY, I’m not kidding, says, “You’re about to meet your God” in reference to his d*ck. OF COURSE she’s a “wholesome” virgin who’s saved herself for Travis, who’s slept with a plethora of woman. And of course, he has to repeatedly mention how he’s the first guy to mark his territory with Georgie and that she’s his property and all that. Gross.

The story really revolves around Georgie, who works as a clown for children’s birthday parties, wanting to be taken seriously by her family. However, I couldn’t take her seriously throughout the entirety of the book due to her horrendous, cheesy dialogue. She didn’t come across as quirky or relatable, just annoying and childish. Which, let me tell you, made the sex scenes ever weirder.

Sarah & Her Shelves Recommended? NO.

WHAT I READ: October 2019

Well, hello there! It’s been a good, oh, I don’t know, 11 months since we last spoke? I’m riding this recent wave of inspiration, rolling up my sleeves, hopping back up on the horse, WHAT HAVE YOU, and bringing you my October 2019 reading round up.

October ended up being my most productive reading month of the year thus far. I managed to finish 10 books over the course of the month, mainly thrillers and misc. spooky stories. You just have to read those kinds of books in October, I don’t make the rules.

While it was my most productive reading month in terms of books finished, it definitely wasn’t my best reading month in terms of ratings. To summarize, I read two 5-star books, three 4-star books, four 3-star books, and a terrible Stephen King novella (?) that I rated 2-stars.

Since it’s now the middle of November, I don’t really have any thoughts regarding these books anymore, but I’m pledging to record my thoughts as I read for future books and blog posts!

FIVE STAR READS ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

Synopsis: Alaska, 1974.Unpredictable. Unforgiving. Untamed. For a family in crisis, the ultimate test of survival.

Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if it means following him into the unknown

At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.

But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves.

In this unforgettable portrait of human frailty and resilience, Kristin Hannah reveals the indomitable character of the modern American pioneer and the spirit of a vanishing Alaska―a place of incomparable beauty and danger. The Great Alone is a daring, beautiful, stay-up-all-night story about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature.

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

Synopsis: No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen’s new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan’s most high-profile and mysterious buildings. Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind.

As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid, who comfortingly, disturbingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story—until the next day, when Ingrid disappears.

Searching for the truth about Ingrid’s disappearance, Jules digs deeper into the Bartholomew’s dark past and into the secrets kept within its walls. Her discovery that Ingrid is not the first apartment sitter to go missing at the Bartholomew pits Jules against the clock as she races to unmask a killer, expose the building’s hidden past, and escape the Bartholomew before her temporary status becomes permanent.

FOUR STAR READS ★ ★ ★ ★

Looker by Laura Sims

Synopsis: In this taut and thrilling debut, an unraveling woman, unhappily childless and recently separated, becomes fixated on her neighbor—the actress. The unnamed narrator can’t help noticing with wry irony that, though she and the actress live just a few doors apart, a chasm of professional success and personal fulfillment lies between them. The actress, a celebrity with her face on the side of every bus, shares a gleaming brownstone with her handsome husband and their three adorable children, while the narrator, working in a dead-end job, lives in a run-down, three-story walk-up with her ex-husband’s cat.

When an interaction with the actress at the annual block party takes a disastrous turn, what began as an innocent preoccupation spirals quickly, and lethally, into a frightening and irretrievable madness. Searing and darkly witty, Looker is enormously entertaining—at once a propulsive Hitchcockian thriller and a fearlessly original portrait of the perils of envy.

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

Synopsis: When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.

Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.

It was everything.

She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.

Full of spellbinding menace and told in Ruth Ware’s signature suspenseful style, The Turn of the Key is an unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

Synopsis: On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.

Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the centre of it.

THREE STAR READS ★ ★ ★

Tin Man by Sarah Winman

Synopsis: This is almost a love story. Ellis and Michael are twelve when they first become friends, and for a long time it is just the two of them, cycling the streets of Oxford, teaching themselves how to swim, discovering poetry, and dodging the fists of an overbearing father. And then one day this closest of friendships grows into something more. But then we fast forward a decade or so, to find that Ellis is married to Annie, and Michael is nowhere in sight. Which leads to the question, what happened in the years between?This is almost a love story. But it’s not as simple as that

The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay

Synopsis: Seven-year-old Wen and her parents, Eric and Andrew, are vacationing at a remote cabin on a quiet New Hampshire lake. Their closest neighbors are more than two miles in either direction along a rutted dirt road.

One afternoon, as Wen catches grasshoppers in the front yard, a stranger unexpectedly appears in the driveway. Leonard is the largest man Wen has ever seen but he is young, friendly, and he wins her over almost instantly. Leonard and Wen talk and play until Leonard abruptly apologizes and tells Wen, “None of what’s going to happen is your fault”. Three more strangers then arrive at the cabin carrying unidentifiable, menacing objects. As Wen sprints inside to warn her parents, Leonard calls out: “Your dads won’t want to let us in, Wen. But they have to. We need your help to save the world.”

Thus begins an unbearably tense, gripping tale of paranoia, sacrifice, apocalypse, and survival that escalates to a shattering conclusion, one in which the fate of a loving family and quite possibly all of humanity are entwined. The Cabin at the End of the World is a masterpiece of terror and suspense from the fantastically fertile imagination of Paul Tremblay. 

An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Synopsis: Seeking women ages 18–32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed.

When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave.

Question #1: Could you tell a lie without feeling guilt?

But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking… and what she’s hiding.

Question #2: Have you ever deeply hurt someone you care about?

As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what in her life is real, and what is one of Dr. Shields’ manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.

Question #3: Should a punishment always fit the crime?

From the authors of the blockbuster bestseller The Wife Between Us comes an electrifying new novel about doubt, passion, and just how much you can trust someone. 

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Synopsis: Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice” of Kinnakee, Kansas. She survived—and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club—a secret secret society obsessed with notorious crimes—locates Libby and pumps her for details. They hope to discover proof that may free Ben. Libby hopes to turn a profit off her tragic history: She’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club—for a fee. As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer.

TWO STAR READS ★ ★

Elevation by Stephen King

Synopsis: Although Scott Carey doesn’t look any different, he’s been steadily losing weight. There are a couple of other odd things, too. He weighs the same in his clothes and out of them, no matter how heavy they are. Scott doesn’t want to be poked and prodded. He mostly just wants someone else to know, and he trusts Doctor Bob Ellis.

In the small town of Castle Rock, the setting of many of King’s most iconic stories, Scott is engaged in a low grade—but escalating—battle with the lesbians next door whose dog regularly drops his business on Scott’s lawn. One of the women is friendly; the other, cold as ice. Both are trying to launch a new restaurant, but the people of Castle Rock want no part of a gay married couple, and the place is in trouble. When Scott finally understands the prejudices they face–including his own—he tries to help. Unlikely alliances, the annual foot race, and the mystery of Scott’s affliction bring out the best in people who have indulged the worst in themselves and others. 

2019 MOST ANTICIPATED READS

Hello, friends! Must be all of these ‘new year, fresh start’ vibes rubbing off on me, making me feel all inspired to read and blog and just generally better myself and what not.

I’ve mentioned in nearly all of my blog posts, and recent Instagram posts too, about how 2018 was not my best reading year. I think I keep repeating it because I’m literally so disappointed in myself, but I’m trying not to feel too down because 2019 is a fresh start and there are so many books coming out that I’m really excited to read.

Most anticipated reads are exciting, but can also be super disappointing when they don’t live up to the hype. Hoping these ones are as good as they sound though! What books are your most anticipated reads for 2019?! Keep up with my ‘most anticipated 2019 releases’ Goodreads shelf here.

The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh
Publication Date: Jan. 8, 2019

King has tenderly staked out a territory for his wife and three daughters, Grace, Lia, and Sky. He has lain the barbed wire; he has anchored the buoys in the water; he has marked out a clear message: Do not enter. Or viewed from another angle: Not safe to leave. Here women are protected from the chaos and violence of men on the mainland. The cult-like rituals and therapies they endure fortify them from the spreading toxicity of a degrading world.

But when their father, the only man they’ve ever seen, disappears, they retreat further inward until the day three strange men wash ashore. Over the span of one blistering hot week, a psychological cat-and-mouse game plays out. Sexual tensions and sibling rivalries flare as the sisters confront the amorphous threat the strangers represent. Can they survive the men?

A haunting, riveting debut about the capacity for violence and the potency of female desire, The Water Cure both devastates and astonishes as it reflects our own world back at us.

Her One Mistake by Heidi Perks
Publication Date: Jan. 8, 2018

It all started at the school fair…

Charlotte was supposed to be looking after the children, and she swears she was. She only took her eyes off of them for one second. But when her three kids are all safe and sound at the school fair, and Alice, her best friend Harriet’s daughter, is nowhere to be found, Charlotte panics. Frantically searching everywhere, Charlotte knows she must find the courage to tell Harriet that her beloved only child is missing. And admit that she has only herself to blame.

Harriet, devastated by this unthinkable, unbearable loss, can no longer bring herself to speak to Charlotte again, much less trust her. Now more isolated than ever and struggling to keep her marriage afloat, Harriet believes nothing and no one. But as the police bear down on both women trying to piece together the puzzle of what happened to this little girl, dark secrets begin to surface—and Harriet discovers that confiding in Charlotte again may be the only thing that will reunite her with her daughter….

This breathless and fast-paced debut—perfect for fans of Big Little Lies and The Couple Next Door—takes you on a chilling journey that will keep you guessing until the very last page.

As Long as We Both Shall Live by JoAnn Chaney
Publication Date: Jan. 15, 2019

“My wife! I think she’s dead!” Matt frantically tells park rangers that he and his wife, Marie, were hiking when she fell off a cliff into the raging river below. They start a search, but they aren’t hopeful: no one could have survived that fall. It was a tragic accident.

But Matt’s first wife also died in suspicious circumstances. And when the police pull a body out of the river, they have a lot more questions for Matt.

Detectives Loren and Spengler want to know if Matt is a grieving, twice-unlucky husband or a cold-blooded murderer. They dig into the couple’s lives to see what they can unearth. And they find that love’s got teeth, it’s got claws, and once it hitches you to a person, it’s tough to rip yourself free.

So what happens when you’re done making it work?

Once a Liar by A.F. Brady
Publication Date: Jan. 29, 2019

Peter Caine, a cutthroat Manhattan defense attorney, is extremely adept at his job. On the surface, he is charming and handsome, but inside he is cold and heartless. A sociopath practically incapable of human emotions, he has no remorse when he fights to acquit murderers, pedophiles and rapists. When Charlie Doyle, the daughter of the Manhattan DA–and Peter’s former lover–is murdered, Peter’s world is quickly sent into a tailspin as the DA, a professional enemy of Peter’s, embarks on a witch hunt to avenge his daughter’s death, stopping at nothing to ensure Peter is found guilty of the murder.

Peter sets out to prove his innocence, and as he pieces together his defense, he finds that it’s those closest to us who are capable of the greatest harm.

99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne
Publication Date: Jan. 29, 2019

Darcy Barrett has undertaken a global survey of men. She’s travelled the world, and can categorically say that no one measures up to Tom Valeska, whose only flaw is that Darcy’s twin brother Jamie saw him first and claimed him forever as his best friend. Despite Darcy’s best efforts, Tom’s off limits and loyal to her brother, 99%. That’s the problem with finding her dream man at age eight and peaking in her photography career at age twenty—ever since, she’s had to learn to settle for good enough.

When Darcy and Jamie inherit a tumble-down cottage from their grandmother, they’re left with strict instructions to bring it back to its former glory and sell the property. Darcy plans to be in an aisle seat halfway across the ocean as soon as the renovations start, but before she can cut and run, she finds a familiar face on her porch: house-flipper extraordinaire Tom’s arrived, he’s bearing power tools, and he’s single for the first time in almost a decade.

Suddenly Darcy’s considering sticking around to make sure her twin doesn’t ruin the cottage’s inherent magic with his penchant for grey and chrome. She’s definitely not staying because of her new business partner’s tight t-shirts, or that perfect face that’s inspiring her to pick up her camera again. Soon sparks are flying—and it’s not the faulty wiring. It turns out one percent of Tom’s heart might not be enough for Darcy anymore. This time around, she’s switching things up. She’s going to make Tom Valeska 99 percent hers.

More Than Words by Jill Santopolo
Publication Date: Feb. 5, 2019

Nina Gregory has always been a good daughter, a good girlfriend. Raised by her father, owner of New York City’s glamorous Gregory Hotels, after her mother’s death, Nina was taught that family, reputation, and legacy are what matter most. And her boyfriend Tim, thoughtful, kind, and honest, not to mention her best friend since childhood, feels the same. But after Nina’s father passes away, she learns he may not have practiced what he preached. 

As her world falls apart, Nina begins to question everything she thought she knew and to see the men in her life–her father, her boyfriend, and unexpectedly, her handsome and attentive boss, Rafael–in a new light. Soon Nina finds herself caught between the world she knows and loves, and a passion that could upend everything.

More than Words is a heartbreaking and romantic novel about grief, loss, love, and self-discovery, and how we choose which life we are meant to live.

The Editor by Steven Rowley 
Publication Date: April 2, 2019

After years of trying to make it as a writer in 1990s New York City, James Smale finally sells his novel to an editor at a major publishing house: none other than Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Jackie–or Mrs. Onassis, as she’s known in the office–has fallen in love with James’s candidly autobiographical novel, one that exposes his own dysfunctional family. But when the book’s forthcoming publication threatens to unravel already fragile relationships, both within his family and with his partner, James finds that he can’t bring himself to finish the manuscript. 

Jackie and James develop an unexpected friendship, and she pushes him to write an authentic ending, encouraging him to head home to confront the truth about his relationship with his mother. Then a long-held family secret is revealed, and he realizes his editor may have had a larger plan that goes beyond the page… 

From the bestselling author of Lily and the Octopus comes a funny, poignant, and highly original novel about an author whose relationship with his very famous book editor will change him forever–both as a writer and a son.

Meet Cute by Helena Hunting
Publication Date: April 9, 2019

Talk about an embarrassing introduction. On her first day of law school, Kailyn ran – quite literally – into the actor she crushed on as a teenager, ending with him sprawled on top of her. Mortified to discover the Daxton Hughes was also a student in her class, her embarrassment over their meet-cute quickly turned into a friendship she never expected. Of course, she never saw his betrayal coming either…

Now, eight years later, Dax is in her office asking for legal advice. Despite her anger, Kailyn can’t help feeling sorry for the devastated man who just became sole guardian to his thirteen-year-old sister. But when her boss gets wind of Kailyn’s new celebrity client, there’s even more at stake than Dax’s custody issues: if she gets Dax to work at their firm, she’ll be promoted to partner.

The more time Kailyn spends with Dax and his sister, the more she starts to feel like a family, and the more she realizes the chemistry they had all those years ago is as fresh as ever. But will they be able to forgive the mistakes of the past, or will one betrayal lead to another?

The Witches are Coming by Lindy West 
Publication Date: May 7, 2019

What do Adam Sandler, Donald Trump, and South Park have in common? Why are myths like “reverse sexism” and “political correctness” so seductive? And why do movie classics of yore, from Sixteen Candles to Revenge of the Nerds, make rape look like so much silly fun? With Lindy West’s signature wit and in her uniquely incendiary voice, THE WITCHES ARE COMING lays out a grand theory of America that explains why Trump’s election was, in many ways, a foregone conclusion. 

As West reveals through fascinating journeys across the landscapes of pop culture, the lies that fostered the catastrophic resentment that boiled over in the 2016 presidential race did not spring from a vacuum. They have in fact been woven into America’s DNA, cultivated by generations of mediocre white men and fed to the masses with such fury that we have become unable to recognize them as lies at all. 

Whether it be the notion overheard since the earliest moments of the #MeToo movement that feminism has gone too far or the insistence that holding someone accountable for his actions amounts to a “witch hunt,” THE WITCHES ARE COMING exposes the lies that many have chosen to believe and the often unexpected figures who have furthered them. Along the way, it unravels the tightening link between culture and politics, identifying in the memes, music, and movies we’ve loved the seeds of the neoreactionary movement now surging through the nation. 

Sprawling, funny, scorching, and illuminating, THE WITCHES ARE COMING shows West at the top of her intellectual and comic powers. As much a celebration of America’s potential as a condemnation of our failures, some will call it a witch hunt. To which West would reply, so be it: “I’m a witch and I’m hunting you.”

Necessary People by Anna Pitoniak
Publication Date: May 21, 2019

Stella Bradley is beautiful, rich, and very good at getting herself into trouble. Violet Trapp is smart, self-aware, and laser-focused on escaping her humble background–especially after Stella gives her a glimpse into a world of glamour and wealth. They are best friends, and from the moment they meet in college, they know their roles: Stella in the spotlight, and Violet behind the scenes. 

After graduation, Violet moves to New York and lands a job in cable news, where she works her way up from intern to assistant to producer, and to a life where she’s finally free from Stella’s shadow. Until Stella decides to use her connections, beauty and charisma to land a job at the same network. Stella soon moves in front of the camera, becoming the public face of the stories that Violet has worked tirelessly to produce-and taking all the credit for it. 

But Violet isn’t giving up so easily. As she and Stella strive for success, they each reveal just how far they’ll go to get what they want–even if it means destroying the other person along the way.

Set against the fast-paced backdrop of TV news, Necessary People is a propulsive work of psychological suspense about ambition and privilege, about the thin line between friendship and rivalry, about the people we need in our lives–and the people we don’t. 

Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered: The Definitive How-To Guide by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark
Publication Date: May 28, 2019

Sharing never-before-heard stories ranging from their struggles with depression, eating disorders, and addiction, Karen and Georgia irreverently recount their biggest mistakes and deepest fears, reflecting on the formative life events that shaped them into two of the most followed voices in the nation.

In Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered, Karen and Georgia focus on the importance of self-advocating and valuing personal safety over being ‘nice’ or ‘helpful.’ They delve into their own pasts, true crime stories, and beyond to discuss meaningful cultural and societal issues with fierce empathy and unapologetic frankness.

FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2018

Hello, friends! With the new year upon us (literally, like in just a few hours), I’ve been reflecting on my reading goals and what I was able to accomplish in 2018. I attempted to read 60 books this year, and unfortunately fell flat at 40, which is definitely not anything to scoff at, just a bit of a disappointing feeling. That being said, even though I didn’t meet my goal, I did enjoy the books that I read this year, and I even found a few new all-time favorites.

In no particular order:

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins-Reid

The Girl in 6E by A.R. Torre

Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas

Verity by Colleen Hoover

One Day in December by Josie Silver

Swear on This Life by Renee Carlino

Let me know if any of these were your favorites too, and have a happy and safe new year!

REVIEW: One Day in December

 

Rating: 4.5 stars

Genre: Romance, ChickLit

Pages: 392

Date of Publication: Oct. 16, 2018

Pages: 392

“Sarah is my best friend in the entire world, and however much and for however long it kills me, I’ll never silently, secretly hold up signs to tell Jack O’Mara, without hope or agenda, that to me he is perfect, and that my wasted heart will always love him.”

Is love at first sight real? Laurie is on a crowded bus, headed home after a long day at a job she hates when she spots a man reading at the bus stop. He looks up, they make eye contact, and sparks fly. “It’s a look of Hello you, and Oh My God, it’s you, and I can’t believe how good it is to see you, all in one.” The bus lurches away; a missed connection.

For the next year, Laurie searches for this stranger. She dreams about him, longs for him, and vows to find him. And find him she does. Except he’s on the arm of her best friend, Sarah. Unbeknownst to Sarah, her new boyfriend Jack is the man her best friend has been hopelessly in love with for the past year.

Over the next ten years, we follow Laurie, Sarah, and Jack on an emotional rollercoaster. From friendship and relationships to finding happiness and learning to heal, this book will warm your soul like a big mug of coffee in the wintertime.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38255337-one-day-in-december.

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