Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens

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Genre: Domestic Thriller

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Officially released a little over a week ago, Never Let You Go, has been popping up on tons of book blogs and on Goodreads.  I read Those Girls by Chevy Stevens and really liked it and was excited to read the author’s latest.

When Lindsey’s abusive ex-husband, Andrew, is released from prison, she fears he will stop at nothing to get revenge against her.  Eleven years earlier, Lindsey escaped in the middle of the night with her young daughter and Andrew never forgave her for leaving.  Alternating between the points of view of Lindsey and her daughter Sophie, the story follows the mother and daughter as they are confronted with their past and the man they hoped was gone from their lives forever.

I loved the bond Lindsey and Sophie had and how close they were.  After leaving Andrew, Lindsey worked hard to make a happy life for herself and Sophie.  Lindsey is an independent woman who has taken self defense classes, created a support group for other women leaving abusive situations and started her own housekeeping business.  I loved how she grew into such a strong person, following her traumatic relationship.  I also liked seeing how protective Sophie was of her mom.  Although she made a few choices that went against her mom’s rules, it was clear how much she loved her when she was put in difficult situations.

I really liked the plot and was completely surprised by a twist at the end.  I have read a few domestic thrillers recently and didn’t feel this book had quite the level of suspense that others had, but overall, it was still a good read.

Have any of you read this book?  What did you think?  Thank you for stopping by!

Book Review: My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier

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Genre: Young Adult/Thriller

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I stumbled across this book on Goodreads and once I read the summary, knew I had to check it out!

The story is told from the point of view of seventeen year old Che, who seems to be the only one aware of his little sister’s violent tendencies.  At ten years old, Rosa, appears on the outside to be a perfect angel.  With blonde curls and blue eyes, she easily charms her way into the hearts of those around her.  Che lives in a constant state of worry as he tries to stay one step ahead of his sister and keep her from harming – or even killing – someone who would never see it coming.

I really liked Che’s character and felt so bad for him as he struggled to keep Rosa in line.  Despite being seventeen, Che has looked after Rosa and attempted to teach her right from wrong from a young age.  Che and Rosa’s parents are often wrapped up in their work or each other and seem oblivious to Rosa’s true nature.  They rely on Che to take care of Rosa and essentially act as a third parent, which would be a huge amount of stress in itself for any teenager.  Despite believing Rosa is a psychopath, Che still loves his little sister and remembers how innocent she was when she was a baby.

I really liked the characters and plot of this book.  I gave the book a 4 out of 5 because it was a tad slow at times and I would have liked a bit of a happier ending for Che at the conclusion.

Thank you for stopping by the blog!

Favorite Finds: Home Edition

Today, I thought I’d do a different type of favorite finds post and share some of my favorite home items!  I try to buy items that are pretty affordable and like to compare prices between stores.  I usually either visit a couple different stores in person or check out their website to see if I’m getting the best deal possible.  If you have any affordable home item recommendations, I’d love to hear them!

  1. Sectional – My husband and I were recently on the hunt for a new couch and went to a few different furniture stores in our area.  We found a sectional we loved but it was a little pricey.  We ended up coming across another sectional that was almost $300 cheaper and actually seemed better quality!  Sectionals tend to run a little higher than couches so we were happy to order this one for only a little over $600!  There’s plenty of room to stretch out and it’s super comfy.  If you’re looking for a new couch/sectional, I would recommend visiting a few different stores.  It ended up saving us a lot of money and we got to  compare different styles.
  2. Throw Pillows – I’m not sure why but throw pillows tend to be pretty expensive!  After looking at a few different stores, I ended up ordering these pillows from Amazon and in addition to being affordable, they’re also my favorite print!  I also got an email from At Home the other day and they have a bunch of throw pillows on sale for only $4.99 each!
  3. Mirrors – I love how mirrors make a room look bigger and help tie everything together.  I’ve seen some affordable options at Gordman’s and T.J. Maxx that range from $30 – $45.  I couldn’t find the ones I saw in store, online, but I have my eye on something similar to this one.
  4. Rugs – Rugs can be pretty expensive depending on where you look but there are a couple places that offer affordable options.  Target has a great selection and I especially like their outdoor mats.  We recently picked up this one and have an older mat similar to this one.  Another place to look is Menard’s.  I couldn’t find the ones we bought, online, but we found a kitchen mat (similar to this one) on sale for $12.99 and an indoor rug for $6!

I hope everyone is having a great week!  Thanks for stopping by the blog 🙂

Blog Feature: Clues and Reviews

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Happy Friday!  Today, I wanted to share another one of my favorite book blogs, Clues and Reviews.  (See my last blog feature here.)

Clues and Reviews features tons of great mystery/thriller book reviews and interviews with book bloggers and popular authors.  I’ve found more than a few books from the book reviews and love getting to know a little about other bloggers and authors behind books I’ve read.

Here are a few of my favorite posts:

  1. Book Review: The Doll Funeral by Kate Hamer – I read The Girl in the Red Coat by this author so I was interested to read this review on the author’s latest book.
  2. Book Review: The Silent Child by Sarah A. Denzil – After reading this review, I can’t wait to check this book out!
  3. Author Q&A with John Hunt – I’ve read a lot of good things about Doll House, so it was fun to read some background about the author.
  4. Behind the Blog: Lorraine from the Book Review Cafe @ReviewCafeThe Book Review Cafe is another one of my favorite book blogs so I was excited to read more about this blogger and some of her favorite books.

If you’re a fan of mysteries/thrillers, I recommend checking this blog out!

Beauty Review: NYX Matte Vs. Gloss

I love NYX makeup and how high quality it is for such an affordable price.  Recently, I tried two of their lip products and wanted to share a review, comparing the two.

First, I purchased the NYX Lingerie Lipstick, which is a matte liquid lipstick.  I picked “Baby Doll”; one of their lighter nude shades.  In the past, I was hesitant to try matte products because I was afraid they would make my lips look dried out.  Unfortunately, this product did exactly that.  Once the product dried, it was easy to see all the lines on my lips and it looked more like paint than lipstick.  I really wanted to like it but unfortunately it just wasn’t the product for me.  However, I have seen others wear it online and it looks really pretty.  It may just depend on the person!

I returned the Lingerie Lipstick and purchased the NYX Butter Gloss in “Fortune Cookie.”  This was a slightly lighter nude than the Lingerie Lipstick.  I’ve tried this gloss in other shades before so I was pretty sure this pick would be a hit – and it was!  This is my favorite lip gloss because it really is a buttery consistency like the name says.  It makes lips looks smooth and even smells good.  I really like the nude shade and how it goes with any makeup look or outfit.  If you’re looking for a new lip gloss to try, I definitely recommend this one!

Have any of you tried either of these products?  What did you think?  Let me know in the comments!  Thanks for stopping by the blog.

Book Review Roundup: February

I can’t believe it’s already the end of February!  I managed to read and review a lot more books this month and have included them all below.  About half are thrillers but the rest range from chick lit to fiction.

  1. The River at Night by Erica Ferencik (review here) (rating: 5 out of 5 stars)
  2. My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry (review here) (rating: 5 out of 5 stars)
  3. My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella (review here) (rating: 5 out of 5 stars)
  4. The Good Daughter by Alexandra Burt (review here) (rating: 3 out of 5 stars)
  5. This is Not Over by Holly Brown (review here) (rating: 5 out of 5 stars)
  6. The Wonder by Emily Donoghue (review here) (rating: 5 out of 5 stars)
  7. It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover (review here) (rating: 5 out of 5 stars)
  8. I See You by Clare Mackintosh (review here) (rating: 5 out of 5 stars)

Did you read any good books this month?  Be sure to leave a recommendation in the comments!

I See You by Clare Mackintosh

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Genre: Thriller

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

After reading, I Let You Go, about a month ago, I couldn’t wait to read Mackintosh’ February release, I See You.  Her newest book has the same level of suspense and eerie vibe as her last and drew me in to the story from the beginning.

Like many of us, Zoe Walker has a daily routine and follows the same pattern day in and day out.  What she doesn’t realize, is someone is monitoring that routine and keeping track of where she goes.  Once Zoe learns someone is stalking her, she discovers other women are being targeted as well, and many have been victims of violent crimes.  Zoe races to discover who is following her, before she becomes a victim herself.

I really liked the plot and female characters in this book.  My favorite character was Kelly, the police officer investigating the string of stalkings.  Despite having suffered a setback in her career, Kelly stays determined to get assigned Zoe’s case and find the perpetrator.  She does what she thinks is right, even when it could land her in the hot seat with her boss.  I liked how she was a bit of a flawed character who grew as the story progressed.

I tried to guess who might be behind the crimes but was completely surprised by who it was!  My favorite thrillers are ones where I’m not able to predict who the criminal is or how the book will conclude.  Similar to Mackintosh’ last book, there was an unexpected twist at the very end of the book – and it was so good!

Have any of you read this book yet?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Thanks for stopping by the blog!

 

Book Review: It End with Us by Colleen Hoover

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“No one is exclusively bad, nor is anyone exclusively good. Some are just forced to work harder at suppressing the bad.”
― Colleen HooverIt Ends with Us

Genre: Fiction

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Oh wow, this book was so many things.  Raw, emotional and most of all, real.  I went in knowing it was about a dysfunctional relationship and not much else.  I was expecting a plotline similar to many of the thrillers I’m a fan of.  Instead, it was a much more realistic portrayal of abusive relationships and the many layers they consist of.

I won’t go too much into the plot because I think it’s better to go in knowing as little as possible.  The author dedicated the book to her mother and father and wrote the storyline around the type of relationship they had during the time they were married.  The main character, Lily, is based on her mother.  Hoover makes a great case about the stigma and judgement surrounding abuse.  While many people may feel sympathy for the victim, they often can’t understand why they would stay in a relationship when someone is hurting them.  Hoover answers this question, by sharing Lily’s story.

I loved Lily’s character and her strength.  Growing up in an abusive home, she told herself she would never get in a situation like the one her mother was in with her father.  As she becomes an adult and enters her own relationship, she realizes things aren’t always as black and white as they appear on the outside looking in.  I loved the quote one of the characters uses, “There is no such thing as bad people.  We’re all just people who sometimes do bad things.”  This resonated with me so much and helped me relate to Lily’s character and what she went through.  I loved how the author didn’t portray the male character as the stereotypical evil partner but instead showed the many different sides of his personality.  It’s not as easy as saying someone is simply good or bad.  This story revealed the gray area that can be present in situations such as this one and why it isn’t always an easy choice to stay or leave an abusive relationship.  In Hoover’s acknowledgement at the end of the book, I related to her feelings of wanting to rewrite certain scenes and depict the male character differently.  I would have felt the same way.  I appreciated the painfully honest way she ended up portraying his character and the inability to categorize him as one thing is one of the reasons I loved this story.

It Ends with Us is a powerful book and a beautiful depiction of a difficult subject.  Have any of you read it?  Let me know what you thought in the comments!

Thank you for stopping by the blog!

Book Review: The Wonder by Emily Donoghue

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Genre: Fiction

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I want to start out by saying this book is totally different from most I normally read – and I loved it!  My typical picks tend to lean towards thrillers or mysteries and this one is historical fiction.

The story takes place in the 1800’s and follows a nurse’s quest to discover the truth.  The nurse, Lib, travels from England to Ireland for a two week job overseeing an eleven year old girl, Anna.  Anna claims to have not eaten in four months and her family backs up these claims.  Lib is sure the girl and/or her family is lying and is determined to catch Anna sneaking food.  As she begins to spend more time with Anna, she becomes increasingly worried about her health.  Her hands and feet are swollen, her skin scaly and her temperature increasingly low.  As her health continues to decline, Lib becomes more desperate than ever to get to the bottom of whether the girl is truly eating or not.

The author’s writing style was smooth and kept me interested from beginning to end.  The vivid descriptions sucked me into the story and made me feel like I was right in the middle or Ireland.  I really liked Lib and Anna’s characters and the relationship they formed.  Although Lib was hesitant to grow attached to Anna, she couldn’t help but connect with her as they spent more time together.  As the story progressed, I had no idea whether Lib would discover that Anna had been eating all along or if she truly was the “wonder” her family claimed her to be.

This was a great read and I will be sure to keep an eye out for future books from this author.  On another note, I’m starting I See You by Clare Mackintosh today and I’m excited to see if it meets up to all the hype!

Thanks for stopping by the blog!

Book Review: This is Not Over by Holly Brown

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Genre: Thriller

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

You’ll have your deposit within seven business days, just like it says on Getaway.com. I’ve put through a refund to your credit card for the full amount, minus $200 to replace the stained sheets…

Miranda

When Dawn and her husband return from renting a vacation home, she is shocked to receive an email from their host, Miranda, letting her know she is withholding half of their deposit.  Miranda insists the couple left a stain on the sheets so she will need to deduct $200 of the $400 deposit to replace them.  Dawn knows they didn’t leave the stain – and is furious that Miranda is trying to extort money from them.  What starts as a series of heated emails between the two, escalates into a full blown war.

This is Not Over is my favorite book I’ve read so far this year.  It was so so good.  Although I questioned whether I would end up rooting for Dawn or Miranda, I wound up rooting for both of them in different ways.  Dawn and Miranda are completely different from one another but both deal with extremely difficult issues.  Both struggle to improve their current situations but neither one can figure out how to do that.  They look for love and validation in the wrong places and turn on one another as a way to vent their frustrations at the world and people that have done them wrong.  I really liked the way the author revealed the women’s layered personalities and showed that – like all of us – neither one is all good or all bad.

This book was an emotional roller coaster and a story I will remember long after I’ve finished it.  Have any of you read it?  Let me know what you thought in the comments!