Review: The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir

The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir
Published: June 12, 2018
Publisher: Knopf
Format: audiobook via Overdrive
Rating: 3/5

Esther Ann Hicks--Essie--is the youngest child on Six for Hicks, a reality television phenomenon. She's grown up in the spotlight, both idolized and despised for her family's fire-and-brimstone brand of faith. When Essie's mother, Celia, discovers that Essie is pregnant, she arranges an emergency meeting with the show's producers: Do they sneak Essie out of the country for an abortion? Do they pass the child off as Celia's? Or do they try to arrange a marriage--and a ratings-blockbuster wedding? Meanwhile, Essie is quietly pairing herself up with Roarke Richards, a senior at her school with a secret of his own to protect. As the newly formed couple attempt to sell their fabricated love story to the media--through exclusive interviews with an infamously conservative reporter named Liberty Bell--Essie finds she has questions of her own: What was the real reason for her older sister leaving home? Who can she trust with the truth about her family? And how much is she willing to sacrifice to win her own freedom?

My Thoughts
The Book of Essie centers around Essie and her family who have a reality TV show and every part of their lives have been documented but when Essie discovers she is pregnant her family tries to cover it up so that their family “business” isn’t ruined. So what is Essie to do but use this to out an even bigger secret that will no doubt answer questions about her older sister’s absence from the family but also break her family apart. Her family tries to cover up her situation by faking a relationship and marriage to save face. Several things are going on throughout the book: we have Essie and her fake fiancée Roarke who has his own secrets, we have family secrets that are soon to be revealed and we have the matter of why Essie’s sister suddenly disappeared and doesn’t want anything to do with her family.

With all of these things going on I was drawn in and was dying to find out how this read was going to end but once it was over I felt a huge letdown. I like the story but when the big reveal was told I felt like we could’ve had even more of this storyline told. This was the big payoff but with all the other things going on the one thing I felt was the better story wasn’t explored to its fullest. I definitely thought this could’ve been told better and I was so disappointed we didn’t get more out of it.

I truly felt this book had a huge potential of being great but maybe it just had so many things going on that we were cheated with the outcome when the novel finally came to an end. I felt that if it had focused on one thing that it could’ve been amazing. While I had my differences with this read it was still a good read. It was entertaining and definitely had some good plot points. This was a middle of the road read that just fell a little flat for me.


Review: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
Published: June 11, 2013
Publisher: Doubleday
Format: audiobook via Overdrive
Rating: 4/5

Crazy Rich Asians is the outrageously funny debut novel about three super-rich, pedigreed Chinese families and the gossip, backbiting, and scheming that occurs when the heir to one of the most massive fortunes in Asia brings home his ABC (American-born Chinese) girlfriend to the wedding of the season.
When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home, long drives to explore the island, and quality time with the man she might one day marry. What she doesn't know is that Nick's family home happens to look like a palace, that she'll ride in more private planes than cars, and that with one of Asia's most eligible bachelors on her arm, Rachel might as well have a target on her back. Initiated into a world of dynastic splendor beyond imagination, Rachel meets Astrid, the It Girl of Singapore society; Eddie, whose family practically lives in the pages of the Hong Kong socialite magazines; and Eleanor, Nick's formidable mother, a woman who has very strong feelings about who her son should--and should not--marry. Uproarious, addictive, and filled with jaw-dropping opulence, Crazy Rich Asians is an insider's look at the Asian JetSet; a perfect depiction of the clash between old money and new money; between Overseas Chinese and Mainland Chinese; and a fabulous novel about what it means to be young, in love, and gloriously, crazily rich.

My Thoughts
I have been dying to read this book for the longest and I’m so happy it didn’t disappoint. In Crazy Rich Asians we met Rachel and Nick who are madly in love and Nick decides to take Rachel to finally meet his family. What happens next opens Rachel eyes to a world she never thought was possible. She soon realizes that her Nick comes from a super rich family and she wonders if she is right for it. His family seems really nice except for his mother. As most mothers are nobody is good enough for her son and she is determined to break them up.

This book has A LOT of characters but I never found myself getting confused about who was who. This is a fun story with characters that are over the top it's so good. The locales are breathtaking that you feel as if you are there. I loved the characters of Rachel and Nick. I loved them as a couple and their love was so unbreakable. Rachel never waivered from whom she was and I found that so endearing, even when people put her down she never let it get to her. Not only was Nick this smart and sexy guy but his love for Rachel was true. He was ready to break away from his family all for Rachel and that was the thing that did it for me. I loved that he stood up to his family and mother because he knew Rachel was the only one for him.

This is the first book in the series and I will definitely be continuing the series. I found it funny and very entertaining, I would even call it a guilty pleasure. This is the perfect summer read and I can't wait for the movie to come out. This is one read that will definitely keep you glued to the very end.


Mini Review: The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer
Published: August 16, 2016
Publisher: Gallery Books
Format: via Overdrive
Rating: 4/5

In The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, Amy mines her past for stories about her teenage years, her family, relationships, and sex and shares the experiences that have shaped who she is - a woman with the courage to bare her soul to stand up for what she believes in, all while making us laugh. Ranging from the raucous to the romantic, the heartfelt to the harrowing, this highly entertaining and universally appealing collection is the literary equivalent of a night out with your best friends - an unforgettable and fun adventure that you wish could last forever. Whether she's experiencing lust-at-first-sight while in the airport security line, sharing her own views on love and marriage, admitting to being an introvert, or discovering her cross-fit instructor's secret bad habit, Amy Schumer proves to be a bighearted, brave, and thoughtful storyteller that will leave you nodding your head in recognition, laughing out loud, and sobbing uncontrollably - but only because it's over.

My Thoughts
I fully enjoyed this collection of stories by Amy Schumer. She shared stories from her childhood and growing up and while most are definitely funny there are some that are more serious and you definitely see a different side of her that you rarely see. Of course, her funny stories are the ones that make you cry from laughter the serious ones are the ones I feel like that give us a real view of Amy. Take away all the jokes and everything else and see the rawness of her being and in those moments I feel like I can truly connect with her. If you are a fan of Amy you will love this collection and if you aren’t at least give this one a try, trust me you will see her in a new light thanks to this collection of stories.


Review: I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi

I Liked My Life by Abbi Fabiaschi
Published: January 31, 2017
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Format: via publisher
Rating: 5/5

Maddy is a devoted stay-at-home wife and mother, host of excellent parties, giver of thoughtful gifts, and bestower of a searingly perceptive piece of advice or two. She is the cornerstone of her family, a true matriarch...until she commits suicide, leaving her husband Brady and teenage daughter Eve heartbroken and reeling, wondering what happened. How could the exuberant, exacting woman they loved disappear so abruptly, seemingly without reason, from their lives? How they can possibly continue without her? As they sift through details of her last days, trying to understand the woman they thought they knew, Brady and Eve are forced to come to terms with unsettling truths.

Maddy, however, isn’t ready to leave her family forever. Watching from beyond, she tries to find the perfect replacement for herself. Along comes Rory: pretty, caring, and spontaneous, with just the right bit of edge...but who also harbors a tragedy of her own. Will the mystery of Maddy ever come to rest? And can her family make peace with their history and begin to heal?

My Thoughts
In I Liked by Life we meet Maddy who is a mother and wife who loves her life or at least it seemed like it until it is believed she committed suicide and her family and friends are left to wonder why and question how could they have not seen the signs. Told through Maddy’s voice overlooking her family we see how her husband and daughter are forced to move on and try to figure out a life without Maddie and more importantly try and figure out how to connect with each other.
Brady and Eve are more apart than close and as they try to come to terms with Maddie’s death neither one can believe she was that unhappy and would just leave them like that. Yes, they knew there was a history of depression in Maddie’s family especially her mother but no way can they accept she killed herself. Maddie is seeing all this and is willing her husband and daughter towards clues. She wants them to grow closer and she wants them happy despite her not being there. She even tries to find the perfect replacement for herself to help her loved ones but if that works out or not is something even Maddie cant completely make happen.

All through the story, you are left to wonder if she killed herself or not. I was debating back and forth and not until the very end do we really know what happened. This story tore me apart! It is beautifully written and it’s a tearjerker without a doubt. You feel for everyone involved and this will break your heart. I can't say enough amazing things about this read if you want a great with heart look no further than I Liked My Life.


Review: Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough
Published: January 31, 2017
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Format: via Overdrive
Rating: 5/5

Louise is a single mom, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she’s thrilled she finally connected with someone.

When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar…who says the kiss was a terrible mistake but who still can’t keep his eyes off Louise.

And then Louise bumps into Adele, who’s new to town and in need of a friend, but she also just happens to be married to David. David and Adele look like the picture-perfect husband and wife, but then why is David so controlling, and why is Adele so scared of him?

As Louise is drawn into David and Adele’s orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong, but Louise can’t guess how wrong―and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.

My Thoughts
This one hard review to write not because I didn’t like it but because I LOVED it so much! It's hard to discuss mainly because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read it yet.  Let me just say this read was nothing like anything I have EVER read before. For those who want to read it, I’ll just say you have to go into this with an open mind that’s the only way you can enjoy and accept this for what it is. Trust me the pay off it well worth it and the ending….OMG!!! I never saw it coming and its nothing like I’ve ever read before in a book. I’m so glad I didn’t know that much about the book going in, because I went into this blind I let the story unfold and simply went with the flow of the novel and the ride was so mind blowing I’m still thinking about it weeks later.  If you want a unique, twisted and out of this world reading experience all you have to do is pick up this read, sit back and enjoy!


Mini Review: Boardwalk Summer by Meredith Jaeger

Boardwalk Summer by Meredith Jaeger
Published: June 19, 2018
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Format: via publisher
Rating: 4/5

What happened on that long-ago summer? In this riveting novel from the author of The Dressmaker’s Dowry, an aspiring Hollywood actress makes a shocking choice in 1940, and seventy years later, a young mother sets out to discover what happened …

Summer, 1940: When Violet Harcourt is crowned Miss Bathing Beauty in her hometown of Santa Cruz, she’s determined to see herself on the silver screen. But Violet’s pageant victory comes with a price—cracks appear in her seemingly perfect marriage…and she quickly discovers Hollywood is not the glittering escape she dreamed of. So she makes a shocking choice, leaving her name in headlines and creating a mystery surrounding her fate.

Summer, 2007: Single mother Marisol Cruz lives in a charming seaside cottage that belonged to her grandfather, Ricardo, once a famed performer on the Beach Boardwalk. Drawn to the local history of her town, Mari discovers her grandfather’s connection to a beauty queen who died too young. She embarks on a journey that uncovers his lifelong secret—Ricardo’s connection to Violet…a story of tragedy and courage that will forever transform her.

My Thoughts
First off let me just say I loved and adored everything about this book! In Boardwalk Summer the narrative is told in dual timelines one in the Summer of 1940 and the Summer of 2007. We meet two women who are just trying to make their dreams come true while trying to be true to themselves. I really enjoyed the flashbacks to the 40’s I loved the way they spoke and everything just felt true to the time period. I was really intrigued by Violet’s story and the lengths she felt she had to go to get out of a bad situation. You really felt for her and as her story is revealed I felt her pain.

At first, you wonder how these two could be connected and as the story goes on the way these two stories are connected was seamless, you see how both these women are more alike than we realize. I loved this story so much and the writing was so beautifully done you could perfectly see and hear the sights of the boardwalk during the Summer, plus I liked how there was a little element of mystery thrown in. This is one book that takes you a ride and it's perfect for the Summer.


Blog Tour [Review]: Somebody's Daughter by David Bell

Somebody’s Daughter by David Bell
Published: July 10, 2018
Publisher: Berkley Books
Format: via NetGalley
Rating: 4/5

When Michael Frazier's ex-wife, Erica, shows up on his doorstep pleading for help, she drops a bombshell that threatens to rip his family apart: Erica's nine-year-old daughter is missing--and Michael is the father. Unable to quickly determine if Erica is telling the truth, and unwilling to leave the little girl's fate to chance, Michael has no choice but to follow the elusive trail of the child he has always wanted and never knew he had.

But finding Felicity comes at a price--the closer Michael gets to the truth, the further into jeopardy his marriage falls and the faster his family begins to unravel. As lies that span a decade bubble to the surface and the window for Felicity's safe return closes, Michael will have just a few short days to decide who can be trusted and who is hiding the truth.

My Thoughts
Somebody’s Daughter starts off with a ring at the door that will change Michael and his wife Angela’s life forever. Michael’s ex-wife Erica is there after ten years of their divorce and tells him that he has a daughter that he never knew about and that she is missing and needs his help. He is stunned and doesn’t know what to think of all this but being a good guy decides to go and help Erica find her daughter.

What happens next is a series of twists and turns and so many characters that are there to tell the story of finding Felicity, as to who took her and why.  I don't want to spoil anything but this story is about finding a missing girl but it's also about so much more. The questions are mounting as to who Felicity's father is and her mother is under questioning about her past. Also if she is in real danger or is there something else going on with her disappearance. Everyone is a suspect and there are good reasons for each one, that’s why I loved this story. With each person, we met there is a valid reason why they could be behind Felicity being gone but slowly the web is untangled and when it's revealed what really happened I was generally surprised. I love a book that keeps me engaged and I love when I’m caught by surprise and can't figure it out right away. This is a great novel with mystery and suspense but it also has an element of family which is really relatable. This is one book that is a summer must have!


Review: All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin

All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin
Published: June 26, 2018
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Format: via NetGalley
Rating: 4/5

Nina Browning is living the good life after marrying into Nashville’s elite. More recently, her husband made a fortune selling his tech business, and their adored son has been accepted to Princeton. Yet sometimes the middle-class small-town girl in Nina wonders if she’s strayed from the person she once was.

Tom Volpe is a single dad working multiple jobs while struggling to raise his headstrong daughter, Lyla. His road has been lonely, long, and hard, but he finally starts to relax after Lyla earns a scholarship to Windsor Academy, Nashville’s most prestigious private school.

Amid so much wealth and privilege, Lyla doesn’t always fit in—and her overprotective father doesn’t help—but in most ways, she’s a typical teenage girl, happy and thriving.

Then, one photograph snapped in a drunken moment at a party, changes everything. As the image spreads like wildfire, the Windsor community is instantly polarized, buzzing with controversy and assigning blame.

At the heart of the lies and scandal, Tom, Nina, and Lyla are forced together—all questioning their closest relationships, asking themselves who they really are, and searching for the courage to live a life of true meaning.
My Thoughts
All We Ever Wanted is a very book of the moment. With the MeToo movement and social media’s effect on how we live our lives, All We Ever Wanted gives us the story of Layla who is at a party when photos of her were taken in compromising positions without her consent. What comes next is how she and the guy who is accused of taking the photos Finch react to what happened and how their parents see things differently than the teens do. Layla goes to rich private school with kids who have everything they could ever want. She doesn’t live that lifestyle, her single dad is doing his best and wanted her to have the best advantage in life so he was thrilled when she got a scholarship but he soon questions if putting her there has done more harm than good.

Nina and her husband live a great life and their son Finch never wants for anything but once they sell their company they have more money than they could imagine and soon Nina starts to wonder if it has changed them. She sees how her husband has changed and is scared if they have given Finch too much. He is spoiled and thinks he is untouchable so when she finds out he is accused of taking pictures of a girl without her consent she is scared she failed as a mom and more worried that her husband and Finch think it isn’t a big deal. Nina knows all too well that this is a big deal and realizes that while she has tried to suppress her past it's about to come to the surface.

I found this novel very on point. I found Nina very compassionate and while she loves her son she wants him to be punished for what he has done. She knows all too well that what he did is a huge deal even when he thinks it’s not. I found the reaction from Finch and Layla were real, teens today have no idea how their actions on social media are very important and that once something is out there it cant be taken back. This made me so mad at times, especially how Layla kept defending Finch because her crush on him made her believe he wouldn’t do that to her. I just wanted to shake this girl silly and scream about what he was doing!
I like how the parents  Nina and Tom had a bond from the start. They understood one another and while nothing happened between them there was always something there, and that was so enduring to me. The respect between them was so magical that you wanted them together. All in all, this was one of my favorite Emily Giffin books, after The One & Only. I enjoyed the message and it speaks to what is happening in the world today. It shows us to take our social media habits more seriously and to realize what we do have consequences. This is one novel that is a must in today's society.


2018 Mid Year Wrap Up

Hi Everyone!! I thought I would do a little mid-year wrap up and share what I’ve read so far [53 books] by my rating and I also want to showcase my favorites. It was good first half of the year reading wise and I hope the second half is just as good!

My Faves

5 Stars

4 Stars

3 Stars

2 Stars