S.K. Barnett

3.5 / 5 


I don’t profess to be a thriller junkie, but there are still some things I need for a thriller to grab me. Great characters are the first things. Heck, they don’t even have to be likable but make them interesting, well-developed and I’m hooked. Another must for me is plausibility. Unless we have now jumped genres to fantasy, there has to be a semblance of “this could really happen” within it. For these reasons, I struggled with this one.

Photo by Subakka.bookstuff

The premise is very intriguing:

Twelve years after six-year-old Jenny Kristal had disappeared while walking to her friend’s house, she shows up. Giving a story of having escaped her abusive kidnappers to the police, she wants to see her family. Her parents are shocked and thrilled, but her brother is cold to her. Journalist and T.V. stations want the big story of this missing girl returning home, safe. Then Jenny starts receiving strange messages, warning her. Is she really safe?

I can’t say the specific parts that I struggled with the most, or I’d give away some of the twist and turn of events. As the pieces of the puzzle were coming together, it didn’t feel real enough for me and the characters felt like they weren’t even putting on their best faces either.

Thank you to @duttonbooks and Edelweiss+ for this copy for review. All opinions expressed are mine. 

This book will be available June 9, 2020.

💬  𝐈’𝐝 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐫 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐞𝐥𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐬 𝐦𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐚 𝐭𝐡𝐫𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐨𝐩-𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐲𝐨𝐮.


A Good Neighborhood

A Good Neighborhood

Therese Anne Fowler

3.5 / 5


“Good Fences Make Good Neighbors.” ~ Robert Frost


Photo by Subakka.bookstuff

Do you agree with that quote? 𝐀 𝐆𝐨𝐨𝐝 𝐍𝐞𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐛𝐨𝐫𝐡𝐨𝐨𝐝 is an interesting domestic drama. It started a little slow for me and I had a hard time getting drawn into these two families that find themselves neighbors in a lovely North Carolina neighborhood.

It appears the problem between Valerie Alston-Holt and her new neighbors the Whitmans is simply her beloved oak tree. When Valerie begins a lawsuit over this dying tree and names Brad Whitman in it, it opens up the door to much larger, graver issues at hand.

This book takes on many issues: race, religion, class, the justice system, even parenting. I love books that aren’t afraid to tackle the big questions and strive to make us think differently, but I struggled with some of the generalizations. 

I found the third person plural narrator interesting. Were these the surrounding neighbors that watched the ensuing drama unfold? Or was it to be the voice of society as a whole – telling a cautionary tale? The ending was heartbreaking, but also a bit disheartening for me. I was waiting for that hopeful message on how we should be good neighbors to one another.

Thank you to @stmartinspress and @netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are mine.

*Trigger warnings: racial issues, pedophilia, suicide


🏡 𝔻𝕠𝕖𝕤 𝕪𝕠𝕦𝕣 𝕟𝕖𝕚𝕘𝕙𝕓𝕠𝕣𝕙𝕠𝕠𝕕 𝕙𝕒𝕧𝕖 𝕗𝕖𝕟𝕔𝕖𝕤? →𝕎𝕖 𝕙𝕒𝕧𝕖 𝕗𝕖𝕟𝕔𝕖𝕤 𝕖𝕧𝕖𝕣𝕪𝕨𝕙𝕖𝕣𝕖, 𝕓𝕦𝕥 𝕔𝕠𝕞𝕞𝕦𝕟𝕚𝕥𝕪 𝕡𝕠𝕠𝕝𝕤 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝕠𝕥𝕙𝕖𝕣 𝕒𝕔𝕥𝕚𝕧𝕚𝕥𝕪 𝕔𝕖𝕟𝕥𝕖𝕣𝕤.


Life and Other Inconveniences

Life and Other Inconveniences

By Kristan Higgins

4 / 5 


Photo by Subakka.bookstuff

This is my first time reading Kristian Higgins and I am thoroughly impressed. I went in thinking this was a light, breezy romance, but soon discovered this to be a family drama, sprinkled with the romance. 

I will warn you ⚠️ some heavy, dark topics are discussed, such as suicide, a missing child, child abandonment, depression, and long term illness care. But it’s all a part of Emma London’s family history.

Emma is the granddaughter of the famous Genevieve London. A wealthy, fashion designer who took Emma in at age eight when Emma’s mother had suddenly died and her father abandoned her.  Genevieve had suffered great losses in her life, and she had become cold and stoic, but she gave Emma the best money could buy. That is until Emma ended up pregnant during her senior year in college. Genvieve proceeded to kick her out of Sheerwater, her Connecticut mansion, to fend for herself.

Now, years later, Genevieve requests that Emma return to Sheerwater with her daughter Riley. Genevieve says she is dying and would like Emma’s help. Although she is still hurt from the coldness of Genevieve after all these years, Emma has Riley to think of now, and well family is always family. 

There is a lot to unpack in this story. Most of the characters are carrying around baggage and the London family has the heavyweight of what happened to Genevieve’s firstborn son looming over it. Higgins does a great job by using multiple POVs to tell backstories, as well as, to introduce new characters into the fold. 

Genevieve was definitely a favorite character of mine. Although I enjoyed the relationship between her and Emma, I found it interesting to watch Genevieve with her great-granddaughter, Riley. Riley was able to get past the cold exterior and see through to her hurting heart.

🌳 𝐻𝒶𝓋𝑒 𝓎𝑜𝓊 𝑒𝓋𝑒𝓇 traced 𝓎𝑜𝓊𝓇 𝒻𝒶𝓂𝒾𝓁𝓎 𝓉𝓇𝑒𝑒?

Head Over Heels

Head Over Heels

Hannah Orenstein

 3.5 / 5


Photo by Subakka.bookstuff

I was lucky enough to win a copy of Head over Heels from the #BLCVIPBookClub put on by the @bookishladiesclub. 

Although I usually don’t prefer to read about sports, when I saw that this book centered around gymnastics I thought I’d give it a try. I loved gymnastics as a kid; I even had fleeting dreams of being a gymnast. 🤸🏻‍♀️

This was the moment Avery Abrams had worked for; her dream of going to the Olympics rested in one more routine. And then it happened, her routine resulted in not only knocking her out of Olympic contention but ending her gymnastic career as well.

This book has a lot of gymnastics in it, a lot. Avery finds her way into coaching through a former Olympian, Ryan, who trained at the same time she had. Together they help a young girl train for the upcoming Olympic Trials. Avery develops routines for Hallie, they practice them over and over, there are the nerve-wracking events, and then a scandal rocks the gymnastics community.

Romance blooms between Avery and Ryan, but it really takes second place to the sport in this story. The characters are a little flat for me. I would have liked to have seen more of their full stories, more of their inner workings, to give them a bit more depth. The plot flows well and reads easy. If you love the gymnastic world you will be in heaven. Being a second chance story, this one leaves you feeling good.

Thank you to the #bookishladiesclub @atriabooks and @netgalley for this advanced copy for review.

This book is available on June 23, 2020.

The Selection

The Selection

Kiera Cass

4 / 5 


Photo by Subakka.bookstuff

Did I grab up these books because of their covers? I might have. Can you fault me though? I heard this series described as a blend of The Bachelor and The Hunger Games, I can definitely see The Bachelor aspect. 

Set in a future time, after WWIII, in the new country of Illéa, the Crown Prince Maxon is looking for a bride. Young ladies from all over the land are to submit an application for The Selection for a chance to be among the thirty-five girls that Prince Maxon will bring to the palace. There he will decide who will wear the crown alongside him.

With her family being artists and musicians, America Singer’s rank is only a five. The government has given numbers to the caste system here in Illéa. And they frown greatly on marrying outside your caste. America must sneak out at night, breaking strict curfew laws, to see Aspen. Aspen is a six, yet they have been meeting in secret for nearly two years now. When The Selection letter arrives at America’s home, her parents are thrilled. This would be a way for her family to move up out of their caste. America is appalled. Why would she go into a competition for a man she doesn’t love, and be away from the man she does love; away from her family too? She is blindsided when the one person she thought would want her to stay encourages her to sign up for The Selection.

I chose to listen to the audiobook. At first, I was worried the story may not hold my interest, but then I became strangely hooked. I have never watched The Bachelor, but the drama between the girls vying for Maxon and the forming of allegiances was fun to see unfold. It has romance, of course, even a love triangle. But it’s toned down, nothing steamy. Will I continue with the series? If you know me, I’m terrible at sticking with a series, but I just might – the competition is far from over.


The Hating Game

The Hating Game

Sally Thorne

4 / 5


Photo by Subakka.bookstuff


Have you ever noticed that love and hate are both rooted deep in passion? 

Ever since the publishing companies of Gamin and Bexley Books merged, Lucy Hutton has had to sit at her desk, day in and day out, staring at the man she hates; Joshua Templeman. 

Joshua came with Bexley Books. Joshua is tall, with stunning blue eyes, has a weekly color dress code for his shirts, and is uptight. Lucy came with Gamin Publishing. She’s short, loves bright colors, collects smurfs, and wears flame-thrower red lipstick. From day one the games begin: the staring game, the spying game, the hating game.

When Lucy and Josh come up for the same job promotion, the competition is taken up a notch. But as Lucy spends more time with Josh she begins to understand what makes this hunk of a man tick; she wonders if all these raging feelings are really hate or something else. Josh is giving her mixed signals too. The rules of the game appear to be changing.

This was a fun one! My husband and I met at work, so this workplace romance was a great read. Not that we were enemies to lovers, but it is one of my favorite tropes; it just lends for such great snarky banter and teasing.

I read this for the #fomobuddyread hosted by my friends @lola.and.puki @checkyourshelf_  and @amalie_reads . I decided to try the audiobook and I’m glad I did! I highly recommend it.


👩🏻‍💻𝐂𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐧𝐞𝐫 𝐨𝐫 𝐬𝐢𝐠𝐧𝐢𝐟𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫? 

Eleanor & Park

Eleanor & Park

Rainbow Rowell

4.5 / 5 


Photo by Subakka.bookstuff

Oh, Eleanor & Park, you stole my heart! Of course, this Young Adult book is a romance, but the underlying themes of acceptance and belonging make Eleanor & Park so much more than a teenage fling.

It’s hard starting out at a new school, let alone high school. And then there is the dreaded bus. Eleanor gets on and, of course, no one gives up their seat they claimed like eons ago. Standing awkwardly in the aisle, she notices a boy with bangs hanging in his eyes. He slides over. Park doesn’t know why he did it, all his friends he knew since middle school were making fun of the strangely dressed new girl, but he moved over.

Bonding over comics and great music, Eleanor & Park find common ground with each other. While others are cruel and unkind, they find acceptance in each other, although it’s hard for them to believe it at times. At sixteen, Eleanor has had it rough at home and can’t believe that somebody would truly see her as someone of worth. Park is trying to live up to his parents’ high standards. 

Rainbow Rowell does a super job of contrasting these two teens, as well as their families. And when she allows them to fall in love – it becomes beautiful and fearful, but ever hopeful.

I loved being back in the ‘80s with Eleanor & Park, the making of mixed tapes, walkmans, the great music, but being in high school, not so much. 

I read this one (actually listened to the audiobook) for the #unabridgedpodbuddyread and we are having great discussions.

💥 Do you have a favorite comic book character? I love Batman!