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!


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!

Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd |book review|

52698452. sx318 sy475

Synopsis

“I am Ana. I was the wife of Jesus.” So begins the new novel from the number one New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Life of Bees and The Invention of Wings, an extraordinary story set in the first century about a woman who finds her voice and her destiny in a time of great despair and great hope.

In her fourth work of fiction, Sue Monk Kidd brings her acclaimed narrative gifts to imagine the story of a young woman named Ana. Raised in a wealthy family in Sepphoris with ties to the ruler of Galilee, she is rebellious and ambitious, a relentless seeker with a brilliant, curious mind and a daring spirit. She yearns for a pursuit worthy of her life, but finds no outlet for her considerable talents. Defying the expectations placed on women, she engages in furtive scholarly pursuits and writes secret narratives about neglected and silenced women. When she meets the eighteen-year-old Jesus, each is drawn to and enriched by the other’s spiritual and philosophical ideas. He becomes a floodgate for her intellect, but also the awakener of her heart.

Their marriage unfolds with love and conflict, humor and pathos in Nazareth, where Ana makes a home with Jesus, his brothers, James and Simon, and their mother, Mary. Here, Ana’s pent-up longings intensify amid the turbulent resistance to the Roman occupation of Israel, partially led by her charismatic adopted brother, Judas. She is sustained by her indomitable aunt Yaltha, who is searching for her long-lost daughter, as well as by other women, including her friend Tabitha, who is sold into slavery after she was raped, and Phasaelis, the shrewd wife of Herod Antipas. Ana’s impetuous streak occasionally invites danger. When one such foray forces her to flee Nazareth for her safety shortly before Jesus’s public ministry begins, she makes her way with Yaltha to Alexandria, where she eventually finds refuge and purpose in unexpected surroundings.

Grounded in meticulous historical research and written with a reverential approach to Jesus’s life that focuses on his humanity, The Book of Longings is an inspiring account of one woman’s bold struggle to realize the passion and potential inside her, while living in a time, place, and culture devised to silence her.

Have you ever read a book that leaves you completely inarticulate? Because I just did. I read a lot of books that leaves me at a lost for words, but the Book of Longings has left me not only speechless, but also breathless.

I’m going to be frank with you guys- I’m agnostic, so the Book of Longings was originally no where near being in my pile. I was scrolling through Goodreads one day, and someone gave this book a one-star without even reading it because it didn’t follow their religious view, so it peaked my curiosity.

I was skeptical going into this book, worrying it would be more focused on the religion aspect than the synopsis leads you to believe. It came through on Libby three days ago, and you guys- I practically inhaled the book. WOW! I’ve been working on this review the last three days, and yet- I find myself continuously rambling because I still cannot articulate my thoughts.

It is a poignant story that is character-driven and may not be for devout Christians unless you are willing to keep an open mind, reminding yourself it is a work of fiction because it is traditionally believed that Jesus did not marry. While obvious mentions of God, prayers, and biblical stories are present throughout the book, the story primarily focuses on Ana, the wife of human Jesus, an amiable husband who is in the background. Ana is fierce and strong. She speaks her mind and writes her words in a time period that tries to silence women.

What I loved about this book are the women, their resilience, and their friendship. There are definite note of feminism, courage, and perseverance. Ana’s voice is strong and she uses that to make sure other’s stories get told and are heard.

All in all, Kidd did a terrific job balancing the book between biblical stories and weaving in a woman’s voice and determination to stand up for herself and others as well as maintaining equality in her marriage with human- Jesus. It is very clear that Kidd put a lot of research into this novel, and while I am not familiar with all biblical stories, I know they are sprinkled throughout the book.

This is a book I’d highly recommend for anyone willing to step out their comfort zone, regardless of which side you stand on, because you have to have an open mind in order to see all the beauty this book has to offer. It is a book that’ll sit with you for a long time if you’re willing to look at the big picture instead of dissecting every phrase of paragraph, or page.

Title: The Book of Longings
Author: Sue Monk Kidd
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: April 21, 2020

Rating: 5 out of 5.

If you are a BOTM member, do you have any books in mind that might be a contender for the year, because I can see Book of Longings being one! I’d love to hear your thoughts and chit-chat 🙂

pretty things by janelle brown | book review |

52217478. sx318 sy475
Pretty Things by Janelle Brown

Synopsis

Two wildly different women–one a grifter, the other an heiress–are brought together by the scam of a lifetime in a page-turner from the New York Times bestselling author of Watch Me Disappear.

Nina once bought into the idea that her fancy liberal arts degree would lead to a fulfilling career. When that dream crashed, she turned to stealing from rich kids in L.A. alongside her wily Irish boyfriend, Lachlan. Nina learned from the best: Her mother was the original con artist, hustling to give her daughter a decent childhood despite their wayward life. But when her mom gets sick, Nina puts everything on the line to help her, even if it means running her most audacious, dangerous scam yet.

Vanessa is a privileged young heiress who wanted to make her mark in the world. Instead she becomes an Instagram influencer–traveling the globe, receiving free clothes and products, and posing for pictures in exotic locales. But behind the covetable façade is a life marked by tragedy. After a broken engagement, Vanessa retreats to her family’s sprawling mountain estate, Stonehaven: A mansion of dark secrets not just from Vanessa’s past, but from that of a lost and troubled girl named Nina.

Nina, Vanessa, and Lachlan’s paths collide here, on the cold shores of Lake Tahoe, where their intertwined lives give way to a winter of aspiration and desire, duplicity and revenge.

This dazzling, twisty, mesmerizing novel showcases acclaimed author Janelle Brown at her best, as two brilliant, damaged women try to survive the greatest game of deceit and destruction they will ever play.

My Review

“Don’t take too much; don’t get greedy. Take only what won’t be missed. And only steal from those who can afford it.”

Firstly, can we all just take a moment to admire the beautiful cover! I’m not going to lie. It was one of the reason that convinced me I needed to have this book. Cover aside, this is my first novel by Janelle Brown and it truly did not disappoint.

Pretty Things is a slow-burner, character-driven novel. At almost 500 pages, there were moments that felt too slow to me and wished it was just a tad bit shorter; however, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was well-written and does keep you intrigued from beginning to ending.

The story is written as alternating POVs from Nina, a con artist, and Vanessa, an Instagram influencer, which will always be a plus for me because it tends to capture my attention more. Nina uses her Instagram primarily as a way to track her targets and learn the ins and outs of their life. She has been tracking Vanessa for quite some time, so when Nina’s mother fall ill and needs a heaping amount of money for treatment, Nina decide it is time to insert herself into Vanessa’s life. What happens next is a story of deception, betrayal, and loyalty.

Now might also be the time for me to tell you that I personally would not classify this book as a psychological thriller. While there are plot twists and tension that will have you turning the page like there is no tomorrow, I think it’s more appropriate to classify it as a literary suspense. The suspenseful moments are woven throughout the story leaving you to try and anticipate the ending. The story plays on more than just the plot of con-artist and social class difference. It is a multi-layered book. You get to see the impact social media has on a person when they broadcast every moment of their lives, it brings awareness to the fact that you don’t need anyone to validate you, and through all the backstabbing and lies, it shows what forgiveness can do for you.

Overall, I found Pretty Things to be a gripping story with many twists and turns. I did have some minor questions and though I do wished it was a tad bit shorter, I absolutely enjoyed this story and the emotional yet suspenseful roller-coaster it took me on. I am so ecstatic that Nicole Kidman will be starring and producing Pretty Things.

“When you’re documenting everything that you do, you stop living life for yourself and start living it as a performance for others.”

Book Details:

Title: Pretty Things
Author: Janelle Brown
Publication Date: April 21, 2020
Goodreads: Pretty Things

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Have you read Pretty Things yet? If so, have you started thinking about some cast members? Drop your guesses in the comments!

Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

Synopsis:

Celaena Sardothien is Ardalan’s Assassin and has been imprisoned in Endovier. The Crown Prince, Dorian has come to make her a competitor to become the King’s champion. When she makes it to the castle and begins in the competition, one by one the champions start dying in horribly gruesome ways. Calaena must fight for her freedom and survival, while trying to root out the source of the killing before it kills herself and those she holds dear.

Along the way she finds ways to overcome her previous betrayals and seek refuge in new friends and allies. From the Crown Prince himself, the Captain of the Guard, and an unlikely friendship with a foreign princess.

Review:

Sometimes, the wicked will tell us things just to confuse us — to haunt our thoughts long after we’ve faced them.”

Let me start this review by saying, if you have not read the Novella The Assassin’s Blade prior to picking up this book, I highly suggest that you do. The novellas give you a nice preface to the start of this series and lay out the ground work for Calaena’s journey.

This book was everything and more for what I was looking for in a Sarah J Maas novel. Her writing style is one to be admired, as she really has a way of dragging you into a universe and fully immersing you into the characters and setting. Not only that, but I am in awe of anyone who can create such dynamic characters and truly make you understand the difference in all of the personalities.

Speaking of such characters, Calaena Sardothien has got to be one of my all time favorite female leads in a YA fantasy novel. I have yet to come across many female leads that do not sound whiny and/or annoying. Calaena is a badass assassin, who also enjoys the finer luxuries of style. She is a breath of fresh air in this genre and I feel like more authors should take note.

I have fallen in love with this series even after just reading the novellas and the first book. I am excited to see where the next book will take us on this journey.

Book Details:

Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J Maas
Publication Date: May 7th, 2013
Purchased/Gift/Library/Borrow: Christmas Gift
Goodreads: Throne of Glass

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Christie