Hieroglyphics | Blog Tour

We are back with another blog tour and we could not thank Algonquin enough for our copies in exchange for our honest review!

This review and blog highlight is for Hieroglyphics by Jill McCorkle!

Synopsis:

Lil and Frank married young, launched into courtship when they bonded over how they both—suddenly, tragically—lost a parent when they were children. Over time, their marriage grew and strengthened, with each still wishing for so much more understanding of the parents they’d lost prematurely.

Now, after many years in Boston, they have retired in North Carolina. There, Lil, determined to leave a history for their children, sifts through letters and notes and diary entries—perhaps revealing more secrets than Frank wants their children to know. Meanwhile, Frank has become obsessed with what might have been left behind at the house he lived in as a boy on the outskirts of town, where a young single mother, Shelley, is just trying to raise her son with some sense of normalcy. Frank’s repeated visits to Shelley’s house begin to trigger memories of her own family, memories that she’d rather forget. Because, after all, not all parents are ones you wish to remember.

Hieroglyphics reveals the difficulty of ever really knowing the intentions and dreams and secrets of the people who raised you. In her deeply layered and masterful novel, Jill McCorkle deconstructs and reconstructs what it means to be a father or a mother, and what it means to be a child piecing together the world all around us, a child learning to make sense of the hieroglyphics of history and memory.

This book takes place across many decades as we follow Lil and Frank, a married couple that share a tragedy of both losing a parent who died too soon. It follows their journey from being young and having kids, living in Massachusetts, to decades later when they move down to North Carolina.

This story weaves together a tale of family, from the perspective of child and parent as they learn to navigate through relationships and heartbreak.

The writing in this book was quite beautiful and at times you could feel completely immersed into the heartbreak of losing a parent.

While the writing was something that brought this story to life, it also felt that the plot line got a bit repetitive. This sometimes made for a slow building story, as you felt like you were just revisiting the same things over and over.

As we have mentioned many times, we absolutely love books that are written with dual or multiple POVs to provide a deeper look into other character’s perspectives. So it will come as no shock that one of the things that we enjoyed about this book, is that it is told from 4 POVs. We get to follow both Lil and Frank on their journeys, as well as, a single mother Shelley and her son, Harvey who happen to live in the house that Frank grew up in.

All in all, this was a well written story that provides a look into family, relationships, heartbreak, and the legacy people would like to leave behind for their family and loved ones.

Book Details:

Title: Hieroglyphics
Author: Jill McCorkle
Publication Date: July 28, 2020 (TODAY!!)

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Thanks again to the publisher for providing us copies for review. And as always, thank you so much for stopping by our blog, we really appreciate you all!


The Switch by Beth O’Leary

Synopsis:

Eileen is sick of being 79.
Leena’s tired of life in her twenties.
Maybe it’s time they swapped places…

When overachiever Leena Cotton is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, she escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest. Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She’d like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen.

Once Leena learns of Eileen’s romantic predicament, she proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen can live in London and look for love. Meanwhile Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire. But with gossiping neighbours and difficult family dynamics to navigate up north, and trendy London flatmates and online dating to contend with in the city, stepping into one another’s shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected.

Leena learns that a long-distance relationship isn’t as romantic as she hoped it would be, and then there is the annoyingly perfect – and distractingly handsome – school teacher, who keeps showing up to outdo her efforts to impress the local villagers. Back in London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours, but is her perfect match nearer home than she first thought?

You guys! I am trying to formulate my thoughts for this book without giving any spoilers. The Switch reminds me of a Hallmark movie without Christmas time being the setting, if that makes any sense.

After reading and loving The Flatshare, I couldn’t wait to see what Beth O’Leary came out with next. When I found out it was The Switch, I was so impatient I ordered my hardcover copy from Book Depository (and I actually love the UK edition)! Then, Netgalley offered the Switch as an audiobook option, and I knew it was a sign that I just had to read it.

Side note, if you are a netgalley user, I had a lot of issues with the app, which is understandably so as it is new, so there are a lot of bugs they need to fix. That being said, my audiobook kept freezing and skipping/jumping chapters, so I ultimately found it faster to just read the book, because I didn’t want to stop, so just a fair warning in case you’re having issues with the app as well!

I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t tell you (time and again) how much of a sucker I am for dual POVs. Being able to read it from Eileen and Leena’s perspective was so refreshing and engaging. I really loved Eileen, Leena, the residents of the Yorkshire village, and Leena’s friends. My only complaint is I wish I could read more about them!

The Switch is such a sweet and charming book. While there was romance, much like Flatshare, it was not the overall theme of the book. There are themes of forgiveness, grieving, domestic abuse, infidelity, and moving on woven throughout the book and that added so much more depth to the story.

That being said, look no further if you’re looking for a book that will capture your heart almost instantaneously. Grab yourself a copy on Book Depository, or it releases August 18th in the US, and make a cup of tea, sit back, and relax and enjoy life with this book.

Many thanks to Netgalley and Macmillan Audio for providing me with an audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

Title: The Switch
Author: Beth O’Leary
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance
Publication Date: August 18, 2020 (US release date)

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

First Line Friday

Happy Friday book friends!!! Can you believe we are already halfway through JULY??? We have been a little behind on making posts lately, but we are back and ready to party!

What better way to get back into the swing of things than having a little fun with #firstlinefriday, a weekly meme hosted by Hoarding Books. This week I am featuring a book that Thi has been telling me to read for months now, The The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn.

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

First Line:

“Her husband’s almost home. He’ll catch her this time”

Synopsis:

Anna Fox lives alone, a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.

Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother and their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble and its shocking secrets are laid bare.

What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.

I have lost track of how many times Thi has told me that I need to read this book. After reading that first line, I am more intrigued, and ready to dive in! Hopefully I will be able to fit this into my reads before the end of the year (but I make no promises)

As always, thank you for stopping by and supporting our blog. We really appreciate all of you! Now drop a comment down below with the first line of your favorite book, a book next to you, or maybe your current read!

Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall [Book Review]

Synopsis

Wanted:
One (fake) boyfriend
Practically perfect in every way

Luc O’Donnell is tangentially–and reluctantly–famous. His rock star parents split when he was young, and the father he’s never met spent the next twenty years cruising in and out of rehab. Now that his dad’s making a comeback, Luc’s back in the public eye, and one compromising photo is enough to ruin everything.

To clean up his image, Luc has to find a nice, normal relationship…and Oliver Blackwood is as nice and normal as they come. He’s a barrister, an ethical vegetarian, and he’s never inspired a moment of scandal in his life. In other words: perfect boyfriend material. Unfortunately apart from being gay, single, and really, really in need of a date for a big event, Luc and Oliver have nothing in common. So they strike a deal to be publicity-friendly (fake) boyfriends until the dust has settled. Then they can go their separate ways and pretend it never happened.

But the thing about fake-dating is that it can feel a lot like real-dating. And that’s when you get used to someone. Start falling for them. Don’t ever want to let them go.

HAPPY PUB DAY!!! First, we would like to thank Netgalley and Sourcebooks Casablanca for providing us with the e-ARC in exchange for our honest review!

If you haven’t learned by now that we are total rom com lovers, let this be us telling you now, WE LOVE ROM COMs!! So when we saw this book on netgalley, you know we had to request it!

This book is told from the perspective of Luc, who is thrust into the public eye due to a famous, absentee father. With all the to unwanted publicity, Luc has many insecurities and plenty of trust issues. After one too many bad pictures in the press, he is now in search of a fake boyfriend to change the narrative!

Enter Oliver, the polar opposite of Luc. He is a put together barrister, healthy eating vegetarian, who wouldn’t ever stir up a scandal in the press. So, basically perfect fake boyfriend material!

This book provided so many laugh out loud moments that it is hard to track them all. The witty banter and sarcastic undertones made for quite the pleasant read. And while this book was a bit longer than most rom coms we have read, we think the fun dialogue made it a quick read.

Throughout the first part of the book it was a bit heart breaking to read about Luc’s insecurities and that fact that he genuinely didn’t tend to think very highly of himself. Oliver provided the support he needed and it was a pleasure to watch Luc grow throughout this book.

The only thing that would have made this book better, is a dual POVs. We were dyingggg to know Oliver’s thoughts!

All in all, this was a fun, LGBTQ+, laugh out loud rom com that we would definitely recommend to all rom com lovers!

Title: Boyfriend Material
Author: Alexis Hall
Genre: LGBT Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: July 7, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thank you again to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing us the opportunity to read this book! As always, thank you so much for supporting our blog and stopping by!

In The Neighborhood of True | Blog Tour Review

We are so excited to be taking part in our very first blog tour! Today is the paperback release of In the Neighborhood of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton and we are happy to provide our thoughts on this story!

A powerful story of love, identity, and the price of fitting in or speaking out.

“The story may be set in the past, but it couldn’t be a more timely reminder that true courage comes not from fitting in, but from purposefully standing out . . . and that to find out who you really are, you have to first figure out what you’re not.” —Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of A Spark of Light and Small Great Things

After her father’s death, Ruth Robb and her family transplant themselves in the summer of 1958 from New York City to Atlanta—the land of debutantes, sweet tea, and the Ku Klux Klan. In her new hometown, Ruth quickly figures out she can be Jewish or she can be popular, but she can’t be both. Eager to fit in with the blond girls in the “pastel posse,” Ruth decides to hide her religion. Before she knows it, she is falling for the handsome and charming Davis and sipping Cokes with him and his friends at the all-white, all-Christian Club.

Does it matter that Ruth’s mother makes her attend services at the local synagogue every week? Not as long as nobody outside her family knows the truth. At temple Ruth meets Max, who is serious and intense about the fight for social justice, and now she is caught between two worlds, two religions, and two boys. But when a violent hate crime brings the different parts of Ruth’s life into sharp conflict, she will have to choose between all she’s come to love about her new life and standing up for what she believes.

Book Details:

First things first, we want to say thank you to Algonquin Young Readers for our copies in exchange for our honest review! The paperback release for this book is TODAY!

This book takes place during the 1950s in and around Atlanta, GA. To say racism was prevalent would be an understatement. The Klan was in full force during this time period and brought forth a very divided community.

Ruth (who is Jewish), with her mother and younger sister have recently moved to Atlanta from NYC after the unexpected passing of her father.

Ruth’s mother was born and raised in the debutante society of Atlanta, where who you know, how much of a Christian you are, and what crowns you obtain justify your place in society. Ruth wants so badly to fit into this new society she has been thrust into, thanks to the friends she has made, as well as, having a grandmother that craves those things for her.

This story is one of Ruth trying to find her way in a place that does not welcome people being different than a white, God fearing Christian. She struggles with her identity of being Jewish, while also wanting to fit in.

This book tackles many important issues, that are still clearly and sadly prevalent in today society. It started out a bit slow, but once it grabs your attention and you can grasp the true importance of this novel, we think it brings forth many discussions that still need to be had.

The story is told from the perspective of Ruth, who is 16, but sometimes felt like it read like someone much younger than that. While this didn’t detract too much from the story, it did read a little less like a YA and at times more of a middle grade.

Overall, this book tackled the hard issues of identity and accountability, and Ruth as a character finding herself and telling her truth during this difficult time was extremely powerful.

Book Details:

Title: In the Neighborhood of True
Author: Susan Kaplan Carlton
Paperback Release Date: July 7, 2020

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Thank you so much again to the publisher for providing us the opportunity to read this timely novel. And as always, thank you for stopping by our blog and supporting us, we truly appreciate it!

Top ten tuesday| most anticipated releases [july-december 2020]

I seriously feel like just a few blog posts ago, I was welcoming us into June, so how are we now at the end of June already?!

Today’s post was originally going a little different- either with June’s wrap up, July’s TBRs, or a review, but when I saw that the Top Tuesday prompt (courtesy of ThatArtsyReaderGirl) was the most anticipated releases for the second half of 2020, I knew this was my chance to showcase some upcoming releases that I am super duper excited for!

This is My America by Kim Johnson

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Releases July 28, 2020

Dear Martin meets Just Mercy in this unflinching yet uplifting YA novel that explores the racist injustices in the American justice system.

Every week, seventeen-year-old Tracy Beaumont writes letters to Innocence X, asking the organization to help her father, an innocent Black man on death row. After seven years, Tracy is running out of time—her dad has only 267 days left. Then the unthinkable happens. The police arrive in the night, and Tracy’s older brother, Jamal, goes from being a bright, promising track star to a “thug” on the run, accused of killing a white girl. Determined to save her brother, Tracy investigates what really happened between Jamal and Angela down at the Pike. But will Tracy and her family survive the uncovering of the skeletons of their Texas town’s racist history that still haunt the present?

Ties that Tether by Jane Igharo

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Releases September 29, 2020

When a Nigerian woman falls for a man she knows will break her mother’s heart, she must choose between love and her family.

At twelve years old, Azere promised her dying father she would marry a Nigerian man and preserve her culture even after emigrating to Canada. Her mother has been vigilant about helping–forcing–her to stay well within the Nigerian dating pool ever since. But when another match-made-by-mom goes wrong, Azere ends up at a bar, enjoying the company and later sharing the bed of Rafael Castellano, a man who is tall, handsome, and white.

When their one-night stand unexpectedly evolves into something serious, Azere is caught between her growing feelings for Rafael and the compulsive need to please her mother who will never accept a relationship that threatens to dilute Azere’s Nigerian heritage.

Azere can’t help wondering if loving Rafael makes her any less of a Nigerian. Can she be with him without compromising her identity? The answer will either cause Azere to be audacious and fight for her happiness or continue as the compliant daughter.

You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria

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Releases August 4, 2020

Leading Ladies do not end up on tabloid covers.

After a messy public breakup, soap opera darling Jasmine Lin Rodriguez finds her face splashed across the tabloids. When she returns to her hometown of New York City to film the starring role in a bilingual romantic comedy for the number one streaming service in the country, Jasmine figures her new “Leading Lady Plan” should be easy enough to follow—until a casting shake-up pairs her with telenovela hunk Ashton Suárez. 

With their careers on the line, Jasmine and Ashton agree to rehearse in private. But rehearsal leads to kissing, and kissing leads to a behind-the-scenes romance worthy of a soap opera. While their on-screen performance improves, the media spotlight on Jasmine soon threatens to destroy her new image and expose Ashton’s most closely guarded secret.

Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer

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Releases November 3, 2020

In this young adult contemporary romance, a girl is suddenly gifted with the ability to cast instant karma on those around her—both good and bad.

Chronic overachiever Prudence Daniels is always quick to cast judgment on the lazy, rude, and arrogant residents of her coastal town. Her dreams of karmic justice are fulfilled when, after a night out with her friends, she wakes up with the sudden ability to cast instant karma on those around her. Pru giddily makes use of the power, punishing everyone from public vandals to karaoke hecklers, but there is one person on whom her powers consistently backfire: Quint Erickson, her slacker of a lab partner and all-around mortal enemy. Soon, Pru begins to uncover truths about Quint, her peers, and even herself that reveal how thin the line is between virtue and vanity, generosity and greed . . . love and hate.

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren

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Releases October 6, 2020

One Christmas wish, two brothers, and a lifetime of hope are on the line for hapless Maelyn Jones in In a Holidaze, the quintessential holiday romantic novel by Christina Lauren, the New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.

But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.

The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.

Jam-packed with yuletide cheer, an unforgettable cast of characters, and Christina Lauren’s trademark “downright hilarious” (Helen Hoang, author of The Bride Test) hijinks, this swoon-worthy romantic read will make you believe in the power of wishes and the magic of the holidays.

Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey

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Releases September 22, 2020

In Tessa Bailey’s latest rom-com, two enemies team up to flip a house… and the sparks between them might burn the place down or ignite a passion that neither can ignore!

Hair, makeup, clothing, decor… everything in Bethany Castle’s world is organized, planned, and styled to perfection. Which is why the homes she designs for her family’s real estate business are the most coveted in town. The only thing not perfect? Her track record with men. She’s on a dating hiatus and after helping her friends achieve their dreams, Bethany finally has time to focus on her own: flip a house, from framework to furnishings, all by herself. Except her older brother runs the company and refuses to take her seriously.

When a television producer gets wind of the Castle sibling rivalry, they’re invited on Flip Off, a competition to see who can do the best renovation. Bethany wants bragging rights, but she needs a crew and the only member of her brother’s construction team willing to jump ship is Wes Daniels, the new guy in town. His Texas drawl and handsome face got under Bethany’s skin on day one, but the last thing she needs is some cocky young cowboy in her way.

As the race to renovate heats up, Wes and Bethany are forced into close quarters, trading barbs and biting banter as they remodel the ugliest house on the block. It’s a labor of love, hate, and everything in between, and soon sparks are flying. But Bethany’s perfectly structured life is one kiss away from going up in smoke and she knows falling for a guy like Wes would be a flipping disaster. 

The White Coat Diaries by Madi Sinha

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Releases September 15, 2020

Grey’s Anatomy meets 
Scrubs in this brilliant debut novel about a young doctor’s struggle to survive residency, love, and life. 

Having spent the last twenty-something years with her nose in a textbook, brilliant and driven Norah Kapadia has just landed the medical residency of her dreams. But after a disastrous first day, she’s ready to quit. Disgruntled patients, sleep deprivation, and her duty to be the “perfect Indian daughter” have her questioning her future as a doctor.

Enter chief resident Ethan Cantor. He’s everything Norah aspires to be: respected by the attending physicians, calm during emergencies, and charismatic with his patients. And as he morphs from Norah’s mentor to something more, it seems her luck is finally changing.

But when a fatal medical mistake is made, pulling Norah into a cover-up, she must decide how far she’s willing to go to protect the secret. What if “doing no harm” means putting herself at risk?

Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin

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Releases September 1, 2020

The hotly anticipated sequel to the New York Times and IndieBound bestseller Serpent & Dove—packed with even steamier romance and darker magic—is perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas.

After narrowly escaping death at the hands of the Dames Blanches, Lou, Reid, Coco, and Ansel are on the run from coven, kingdom, and church—fugitives with nowhere to hide.

To elude the scores of witches and throngs of chasseurs at their heels, Lou and Reid need allies. Strong ones. But protection comes at a price, and the group is forced to embark on separate quests to build their forces. As Lou and Reid try to close the widening rift between them, the dastardly Morgane baits them in a lethal game of cat and mouse that threatens to destroy something worth more than any coven. 

It is Wood, It is Stone by Gabrella Burnham

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Releases July 28, 2020

“A lush depiction of privilege and power, sex and stability . . . following three women in São Paulo . . . It Is Wood, It Is Stone is an elegant arrival of a new talent.”—Elle (One of the Most Anticipated New Books of Summer)

With sharp, gorgeous prose, It Is Wood, It Is Stone takes place over the course of a year in São Paulo, Brazil, in which two women’s lives intersect.

Linda, an anxious and restless American, has moved to São Paulo, with her husband, Dennis, who has accepted a yearlong professorship. As Dennis submerges himself in his work, Linda finds herself unmoored and adrift, feeling increasingly disassociated from her own body. Linda’s unwavering and skilled maid, Marta, has more claim to Linda’s home than Linda can fathom. Marta, who is struggling to make sense of complicated history and its racial tensions, is exasperated by Linda’s instability. One day, Linda leaves home with a charismatic and beguiling artist, whom she joins on a fervent adventure that causes reverberations felt by everyone, and ultimately binds Marta and Linda in a profoundly human, and tender, way.

An exquisite debut novel by young Brazilian American author Gabriella Burnham, It Is Wood, It Is Stone is about women whose romantic and subversive entanglements reflect on class and colorism, sexuality, and complex, divisive histories. 

The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel

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Releases July 21, 2020

Inspired by an astonishing true story from World War II, a young woman with a talent for forgery helps hundreds of Jewish children flee the Nazis in this unforgettable historical novel from the international bestselling author of the “epic and heart-wrenching World War II tale” (Alyson Noel, #1 New York Times bestselling author) The Winemaker’s Wife.

Eva Traube Abrams, a semi-retired librarian in Florida, is shelving books one morning when her eyes lock on a photograph in a magazine lying open nearby. She freezes; it’s an image of a book she hasn’t seen in sixty-five years—a book she recognizes as The Book of Lost Names.

The accompanying article discusses the looting of libraries by the Nazis across Europe during World War II—an experience Eva remembers well—and the search to reunite people with the texts taken from them so long ago. The book in the photograph, an eighteenth-century religious text thought to have been taken from France in the waning days of the war, is one of the most fascinating cases. Now housed in Berlin’s Zentral- und Landesbibliothek library, it appears to contain some sort of code, but researchers don’t know where it came from—or what the code means. Only Eva holds the answer—but will she have the strength to revisit old memories and help reunite those lost during the war?

As a graduate student in 1942, Eva was forced to flee Paris after the arrest of her father, a Polish Jew. Finding refuge in a small mountain town in the Free Zone, she begins forging identity documents for Jewish children fleeing to neutral Switzerland. But erasing people comes with a price, and along with a mysterious, handsome forger named Rémy, Eva decides she must find a way to preserve the real names of the children who are too young to remember who they really are. The records they keep in The Book of Lost Names will become even more vital when the resistance cell they work for is betrayed and Rémy disappears.

An engaging and evocative novel reminiscent of The Lost Girls of Paris and The Alice NetworkThe Book of Lost Names is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of bravery and love in the face of evil. 

Do you see any of your most anticipated reads on this list? If not, what are some on your list (because I am always looking to expand my never-ending TBR list)?

As always, thank you for supporting Christie and me on our blogging journey! We are so happy to have you around! Stay safe!