Spoiler Free Review: When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole

Title: When No One is Watching

Author:ย Alyssa Cole

Pub. Date:ย September 1st 2020

Genre: Fiction/Suspense/Horror Noir

Format: ALC

Publisher:ย William Morrow

Pages: 368 pages

GOODREADS | BANRES & NOBLES | LIBRO.FM

๐Ÿ–คALC provided by author in exchange for an honest review๐Ÿ–ค

Hi hello, Latinx Brooklynite here๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿฝspecifically Williamsburg where gentrification swept through and forever changed the neighborhoods I called home. Alyssa Cole gives us Sydney Green, a Black woman who loves her community in Brooklyn but is seeing it erased with each passing day. Major developers buying houses & converting them into condos. The beautiful brownstones where her neighbors have lived for generations sold. Sydney is feeling very paranoid & questioning the whereabouts of those familiar faces. After experiencing a neighborhood tour where the hostess pointed out ONLY the Caucasian history, Sydney decides to start up her own. Theo, a white newcomer to the neighborhood is experiencing relationship issues. He knows he wants to help Sydney in her research as an ally but has to prove his intentions are good. Theoโ€™s girlfriend is racist & constantly referring to them as superior to the black people in the community theyโ€™ve moved into. We follow Sydney & Theo as they set out in starting up her tour company. There are times where I wondered if Sydney was an unreliable narrator. Sheโ€™s a woman determined not to lose her home or her history. In many ways this book felt like Horror Noir & I LOVED it!!! The Goodreads synopsis mentions the movie Get Out by Director Jordan Peele & thatโ€™s exactly the vibes I got while listening to the audiobook. Loved listening to the excerpts from โ€œThe Hoodโ€ app where many of the โ€œKarenโ€ type characters really displayed their micro-aggressions & were checked by black residents in the neighborhood.

CW: alcohol abuse, sick parent, cheating, gentrification, microagressions, death of a parent, panic attacks, gaslighting, anxiety, abduction attempts, involuntary medical experimentation

I’m no thriller expert and so I won’t pretend to know what makes a good thriller. What I do know is that if you go into this read and treat it as you would a horror, then it will meet those expectations. Otherwise, the plot pacing will seem off which is in large part what many readers have said they found issue with. I urge you to seek out reviews by black content creators who have been vocal about how realistic they found the fear & anxiety Sydney was experiencing. What I can say is that as a Latinx woman who has seen my childhood neighborhood torn down, redesigned and sold to the highest bidder…I found this book extremely relatable. I’ve seen whole families disappear at times rather abruptly after being offered a big check to leave their homes. Other times they’re met with uncooperative landlords who make it so they have no choice but to leave the community.

Gentrification is a complex subject and the ramifications it has on those who experience this won’t be the same for everyone. Sydney is a black woman who is made to feel paranoid. She encounters Theo’s girlfriend Kim who basically spews out any & all microagressions you can think of. What once was familiar territory is now a place where she has to watch over her back. Sydney is also experiencing a higher level of harassment from debt collectors, her stress levels are through the roof. All of which when put together, paints a picture of someone who may or may not be stable. That’s what made this book unputdownable for me! the fact that everything she was experiencing can and HAS happened. That ending was chefs kiss perfection! I smirked and nodded my head up & down as I stood in solidarity. This may be Alyssa Cole’s first book outside of the Romance genre but WOW! it is a solid entry into Horror Noir, I personally am excited to see more genre exploring from this author.


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Spoiler Free Mini Reviews: The Faithless Hawk and His & Hers


THE FAITHLESS HAWK (THE MERCIFUL CROW #2) BY MARGARET OWEN

โœจย 5 STARSโœจย 

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

The Faithless Hawk is absolutely making my Top 20 of 2020 list at the end of the year! I had for some reason thought this was a trilogy but in fact it’s the conclusion to a duology. The Merciful Crow (Spoiler free review) was one of the best new Fantasy books I picked up last year leaving me wanting more. The first book was more character driven whereas the conclusion expanded on world building & the magic system. We got a comprehensive look at the caste system this world is ruled by which further highlighted the issues with how the Crows have been mistreated. We also get more interaction from the villainous Queen Rhussana who takes the cake for EVIL, she could give Levana from the Lunar Chronicles a run for her money. If you’re someone who enjoys Fantasy that leans more towards the adult spectrum then this is one I HIGHLY recommend. It’s a dark world filled with the stench of death while our Crows deliver mercy as best they can while watching their own backs. One thing I can honestly say balanced out all that death was the humor Margaret Owen gave us in the second half of this book. Court politics, scheming, infiltration & CATS! yes, Barf is back and has managed to acquire some friends haha! the crew is focused on removing Rhusanna from the throne and crowning Jasimir as the rightful heir/ruler. Fie + Jasimir showed the MOST character development in this book and their friendship is unrivaled. Satisfying conclusion that left me bawling in tears! it’s pretty safe to say I’ll read anything Owen writes in the future


HIS & HERS BY ALICE FEENEY

โœจย 4 STARSโœจย 

โœจย ALC received from Libro.fm in exchange for an honest reviewโœจย 

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | LIBRO.FMย 

“There are two sides to every story: yours and mine, ours and theirs, His & Hers. Which means someone is always lying.”

I’ll preface this by saying, If you plan on reading this book then audiobook should be seriously considered. The sampler gives you a taste of what’s to come with one of the narrators giving a bone chilling performance. Told in multiple POV we follow Anna Andrews a TV presenter, DCI Jack Harper working the case, and the third narrator whose identity is undisclosed. This web was thick & I had a hard time trying to even place a bet on who the actual killer is. A murder has gone down in Anna’s hometown of Blackdown in London & it just so happens to be a childhood friend. ย A Toxic friend who left behind a trail of frenemies from their younger years in school. Jack also knows the victim and pretty soon realizes he has become a suspect in his own case. Both Anna & jack know something but they’re holding their cards close to their chest. This is one of those books you just have to go in blindly to truly experience very twist & turn as intended. I listened to this audiobook every waking hour & finished it in 2 days. Every time I started a chapter with the unknown person of interest, I felt a bit of fear…enough to not want to read this one alone. Both Anna & Jack are not what you’d call honorable people, they are self centered and indulge in just about anything to dull whatever pain they’ve experienced. This is another author I hope to be reading more from in the near future.

CW: death of a child, alcohol/drugs, cheating, parent w/Dementia, domestic violence, fat shaming, eating disorders, grooming, rape, bullying


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The One Where I Try To Read All The Books…

Hey Bookworms! It’s Saturday morning when I’m writing this post to go up on Sunday. TBH I had no intentions of making this “Official” I kind of always participate on the low ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ™ˆย which is probably because of how high I set the standard for myself & don’t always meet it ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธย This time, I wanted a bit of accountability. These are just the books I’ll be reading during Contemporary-A-Thon, my actual September TBR is dreadful & scares me putting on paper so that’ll just stay in my head ๐Ÿ˜‚ย This readathon is run by some truly fantastic Booktubers I adore to pieces & you should definitely consider checking out:

Julie @PagesandPens

Chelsea @ChelseaDollingReads

Natasha @MyReadingIsOdd

The Challenges:

1. Read a contemporary with orange on the cover
2. Read a dark/spooky contemporary
3. Read a diverse contemporary
4. Read a contemporary in a non-traditional format
5. Read a contemporary that has your initials somewhere on the cover
6. Read a contemporary from a new to you author
7. Read a contemporary that is a 5 star prediction

 

Read a contemporary with orange on the coverย ย What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silveraย Not only is my MOST anticipated Contemporary book of 2018! ๐Ÿ˜ฑย One of my top 3 fave authors co-wrote this book! If you’ve been following my blog for some time now, you probably know how much I LOVE Adam Silvera’s books! They always leave me wrecked yet I keep returning for more tear jerking reads. I also think this will be a 5 star read & it also fits the diverse read category as well.

๐ŸŒŸBonus๐ŸŒŸย One of the MC’s ย is Puerto-Rican & therefore this book aligns with Latinx (I sure did change it to be more inclusive) Heritage Month (9/15/2018-10/15/2018)ย ๐Ÿ–ค

Read a dark/spooky contemporaryย ย Sadie by Courtney Summers which I’ve been trying my hardest not to start before the readathon! this book legit checks off so many of my boxes & appeals to my love of Podcasts. It’s been a while since I discovered Serial & the Adnan Syed case, but my time listening/obsessing over each episode is still fresh in my memory. I’ve had a couple of book blogging buddies tell me there is now a podcast to go along with the book & GAHHH! I’m so ready! I have this book in physical format & then used 1 of my Audible credits for the audiobook after hearing some AMAZING things about the narration.

Read a diverse contemporaryย  The Proposal by Jasmine Guilloryย ย is sort of a companion novel to The Wedding Date (My review) published earlier this year. Carlos, one of the side characters who starred in The Wedding Date had me wishing so hard for a character swap #jussayin ๐Ÿ˜‚ย he was way nicer & just all around chivalrous which is something rare. Carlos also IMO has excellent taste in foods ๐Ÿ˜‰

๐ŸŒŸBonus๐ŸŒŸย Carlos is a Latino Doctor which means this book alsoย book aligns with Latinx (I sure did change it to be more inclusive) Heritage Month (9/15/2018-10/15/2018)

Read a contemporary in a non-traditional formatย ย Blue is The Warmest Color by Julie Marohย is a graphic novel I’ve been meaning to get to since 2017 & never got around to it. I’ve heard it’s best to go into it blind but that it for sure is a tear jerker starring a F/F romance. STOKED to finally have no excuse to not get to this one. I also just found out a movie exists for this story (IMDB)ย ๐Ÿ–ค

Read a contemporary that has your initials somewhere on the cover ย The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reidย & no a longer title I could not find ๐Ÿ˜‚ย truth be told, I’ve been DYING to read this for so long. My initials are simple, ‘LB’ or my unmarried initials ‘LL’ can both be found in this title. I’m possibly even more excited to read this one than What If It’s Us. All great books but this is one I’ve owned for so long with the knowledge it’s going to be a 5 star read & that once I read it I won’t be able to experience it for the first time again…anyone else do this? procrastinate with nooks you know will be your next obsession? ๐Ÿ˜ฉ๐Ÿ˜‚

๐ŸŒŸBonus๐ŸŒŸย ย MC is a Cuban bi-sexual woman which makes this one perfect forย Latinx (I sure did change it to be more inclusive) Heritage Month (9/15/2018-10/15/2018)

Read a contemporary from a new to you author ย Flight or Fight by Samantha Young which I’ll be buddy reading with Melanie from Meltotheany (we’re also BR The Proposal).ย I admittedly don’t know much about this one other than it’s a cute hate to love contemporary everyone has been buzzing about. This will be my first Samantha Young read & I’m hoping to find a new fave authorย ๐Ÿ–ค

Read a contemporary that is a 5 star prediction ย Pride by Ibi Zoboiย is one I’ve been highly anticipating! After reading American Street & the short story written by Ibi Zoboi in the YA anthology Meet Cute, I can’t help but want to read everything this author writes. The fact that it takes place in my home city of Brooklyn & that it’s a Pride & Prejudice REMIX (not a retelling ๐Ÿ˜‚) has me HYPED!

๐ŸŒŸBonus๐ŸŒŸย ย The MC Zuri Benitez is Afro-Latina….we don’t have no where near enough Afro-Latinx MC’s in our books, so happy to be reading this one forย Latinx (I sure did change it to be more inclusive) Heritage Month (9/15/2018-10/15/2018) ๐Ÿ–ค


Contemporary-A-Thon takes place from 9/17-9/23, allย info to participate can also be found in the Booktube channels listed above. If you areย participating in the readathon or just happen to have ready any of the titles I’ll be reading, drop me some luv in the comments down below ๐Ÿ–ค


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& it’s a wrap for the Summer! give me Fall but 1st…

Were you as surprised as I was to see a Wrap-up/Haul go up ON TIME from Lair Of Books? cuz I’m pretty damn surprised & currently patting myself on the back hehe! This has been one of my best reading months in a long time & I think part of the reason is that I participated in #arcAugust ย which really kept me motivated to read whenever/wherever. I’m currently reading They Both Die at the End but i’m not 100% certain I’ll finish it before the 1st so I figured why not wrap-up the month. I honestly feel like I consumed so much in books and TV this month which is rare, it’s usually ย one or the other.

My book haul this month (I think) was a bit humble & i’m so proud of this lol…but this pertains to books I purchased & not the galleys I was approved for. I’m actually going to try something new this wrap-up/haul & include the eGalleys/physical arcs I received from Publishers. I’ve never done this before because well, the topic of arcs is very polarizing in the book community & I respect all sides. That being said, I have had blogging buddies put it out there (nicely) that they would’ve been up for a buddy read of certain arcs. Since we are reading these books in advance, we can’t really discuss them out of consideration for others who are waiting for publication date. This got me thinking, If I don’t make myself available (introvert that I am) by discussing arcs that I’ll be reading in the near future, I’ll continue to miss out on on what can possibly be a fun buddy read. So in conclusion, here goes something new…

Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi (Revised to โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…ย 4 Stars) *review to go live closer to pub date 10/31/17

The Tiger’s Watch by Julia Ember (โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…ย 4 Stars)ย 

the princess saves herself in this one by amanda lovelace (โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…ย 5 Stars) *not sure I have the words to review this one, I related to a ton of the poems & cried a ton more

Spellbook of the Lost and Found (โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…ย 4 Stars)ย 

When I am Through With You (Sins & Scandals #1) by Stephanie Kuehn (โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…ย 5 Stars)

The Serpent King (โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…ย 5 EPIC Stars!) *review to come

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yeeย (โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…ย 4 Stars)

*They Both Die at the End by Adam Silveraย (โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…ย 5 , finished on 8/31/17 & a review will go live on release date 9/5/17)

I read a total of 8 books this month of which 6 were arcs for #arcAugust and I’m pretty satisfied with this. I could’ve probably finished a 6th however, the last 48 hours has seen me trying to get over the book hangover Beasts Made of Night left me with. Originally I rated it 5 stars & revised it to 4 strictly because now that I’ve slept on it lol, I can see some pacing issues. My enjoyment however, remains the same. I LOVED this book & can’t wait to share my review in October! typically I don’t read my books this early however it was a eGalley from the First to Read program & the title was set to expire from all devices on 9/1 so yea *shrugs shoulders* what can ya do? lol. I listened to The Serpent King on Audible & gahhhH! loved it to pieces even as I collected the pieces of my shattered heart. Overall a quality reading month ๐Ÿ™‚

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The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones (Owlcrate)

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The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne (Book of the Month pick)

The Dazzling Heights by Katharine McGee (Thousandth Floor series #2)

Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert (add on for BOTM)

Song of the Current (Song of the Current #1) by Sarah Tolcser

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (Ravenclaw edition)


Physical ARCS

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Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed (received from the publisher)

Night of Cake & Puppets by Laine Taylorย (received from the publisher)

Berserker (Berserker #1) by Emmy Laybourne (Goodreads Giveaway win)

Artemis by Andy Weir (Goodreads Giveaway win in the mail)

ย eGalleys

Honor Among Thieves (The Honors #1) by Rachel Caine & Ann Aguiree

Heart Of Iron by Ashley Poston

Everless (Untitled #1) by Sara Holland

Frankie by Shivaun Plozza

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins

The Girl in the Tower (The Bear in the Nightingale #2) by Katherine Arden

The Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz

The Dangerous Art of Blending in by Angelo Surmelis

The Final Six by Alexandra Monir

Meet Cute: Some People are Destined to Meet (variety of contemporary authors)

So yea…I just realized how long this post will be but it’s past midnight & i’m falling asleep…sorry lol. Every month I end this with what I watched this month but I’ve decided to write a separate post for that later this week. August seemed to be the month for approvals, usually they’re scattered throughout but this is the most in 1 month I’ve seen in a while. Thankfully most of these are 2018 titles giving me time to get them read. Even though #arcAugust is over I will still be reading arcs throughout September lest I be crushed by my tbr ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy reading in September Bookworms!!! Hope you’ve all had a wonderful August month & are enjoying your end of summer reads. If you participated in #arcAugust, how did you fare? what are you currently reading/watching? drop your comments down below <3โ€™s!


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Arc August Review: When I Am Through With You (Sins and Scandals #1) by Stephanie Kuehn

When I Am Through With You by Stephanie Kuehn

Published by: Penguin Random House/Dutton Books

Date of Publication:ย August 1st 2017

Genres: YA Thriller/Mystery/Suspense

Pages:ย 304

Format: eGalley

ย ย ย ย 

โ€œThis isnโ€™t meant to be a confession. Not in any spiritual sense of the word. Yes, Iโ€™m in jail at the moment. I imagine Iโ€™ll be here for a long time, considering. But Iโ€™m not writing this down for absolution and Iโ€™m not seeking forgiveness, not even from myself. Because Iโ€™m not sorry for what I did to Rose. Iโ€™m just not. Not for any of it.โ€

Ben Gibson is many things, but heโ€™s not sorry and heโ€™s not a liar. He will tell you exactly how what started as a simple school camping trip in the mountains ended the way it did. About who lived and who died. About who killed and who had the best of intentions. And heโ€™ll tell you about Rose. But heโ€™s going to tell you in his own time. Because after what happened on that mountain, time is the one thing he has plenty of.

ย Let’s just start by getting this out of the way….I LOOOOOOOVED this book!!!! Ok, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system I’ll tell you why ๐Ÿ˜‰

ย In what I found to be a unique form of story telling, our MC Ben is telling us this story as he sits in Jail which is disclosed in the very beginning & in the synopsis (no spoilers here lol). This had me asking all sorts of questions & all of the answers made this one story i’ll find hard to forget.ย From the opening pages, Ben Gibson starts off by recounting the day he met Rose. He’s automatically infatuated with everything about this gorgeous girl who seems too mature to be in High School. Even more unlikely is Rose approaching him and making him her boyfriend. Make no mistake, Rose doesn’t ask she tells him they are now in a relationship.ย This pretty much sets the tone for this story, both are complex characters for very different reasons.ย Ben is someone who comes from a toxic home environment & Rose is the polar opposite but she has her own dark passenger. Ben is part of the schools Orienteering class where you are taught all there is to know about camp, survival, map & compass reading. This is one thing that makes Ben feel good about himself and there isn’t much of that in his life. We’re introduced to the other students in the class who all fall into the cliques we’ve all seen form in High School. Ben however, is the teachers right hand man and he sort of leads the class whether they like it or not. They prepare to go on one class trail exploring trip with Ben spear heading while their teacher supervises. Ben, a character who likes to be in control of every variable has his doubts about whether he can successfully lead. He has no idea how justified his doubts really are. This book might have played out like one of those movies we’ve probably all seen where campers get lost in the woods & everything that can go wrong DOES go wrong. The thing is with so many players on the board having their own personal demons, it eliminates all predictability. I was HOOKED! this tale is DARK and twisted, it will make you question our MC who is also narrating since this is first person POV. It will have you looking at every character with a mean side eye lol & ultimately leave you shook!

Without getting into too many specifics, I can tell you this isn’t your ordinary cast of High School students. They each have secrets, some are manipulative, and others think they are better off than they really are. Ben Gibson isn’t like any MC I’ve ever come across in YA or even Adult Fiction for that matter. I wondered whether he was a unreliable character or just dead inside. It seemed like he couldn’t catch a break at times & others left me wondering if certain events cemented his fate. I found his story to be tragic and he surprised me when I read the last line in this book with a tear streaked face. I was left wondering what could’ve been if life had dealt him a different set of cards & not just him. All of the characters seemed lost inside & they kept me invested in this story. I NEEDED to know how and why. It’s been so long since I’ve come across characters that leave me thinking of them after I’ve read the last page.

GRIPPING! DARK! TWISTED! I’ve read other YA thrillers but NONE like this before. Yes I have already added this authors other books to my TBR, I’m definitely going to need more from where this came from lol. I inhaled this book similarly to how my read of Mary Kubica’s Every Last Lieย went last month…to the very early hours of the morning. Although we are given the end game in the beginning with Ben sitting in jail, how he got there is one MESSED up story you can’t possibly see forming til you’ve been given the final piece. I think writing this story in first person POV worked so well in giving us a sense of what Ben does & does not feel. Being in his head isn’t the easiest but that only heightened my interest. You really shouldn’t expect to like any of these characters, they don’t even like themselves but know you’re in for one hell of a sick ride!ย I was surprised to see on Goodreads that this is a start to a series & would love to know if the next book will have us following a new set of characters or the same. My guess is that it’s going to be one of those series where each book stands on its own but it any of you know please let me know down in the comments.

*HUGE thanks toย Penguin Random House/Dutton Books and Stephanie Kuehn for this eGalley in exchange for an honest review

Hello Readers! happy FRIYAYYYY! AYYY! hope you’re all enjoying this day & getting ready to start your weekends. Have any of you read When I Am Through With You? if so, how bout those feels? eh? haha!


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July Wrap-Up & Book Haul

 

Happy Monday Bookworms! I come to you with my faithfully late Wrap-Up/Haul for the month of July & hope you’ll still check this post out lol. I read 5 books from different genres, watched 1 movie, and played catch up with one of my favorite tv shows. I also had the pleasure of attending my twin Gretchen’s very 1st Poetry reading at Bluestockings in New York City. She did wonderful this being her first time & I was so very proud of her. Gretchen has a blog called ChicNerdReads & her Poetry book Love, and You is currently ranked in the top 10 on the Amazon Bestsellers list for Love & Erotica which is pretty bad ass! So, it was a pretty amazing July & can only hope the rest of the year is just as epic ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

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The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… (5 Stars)

Who’s That Girl by Blair Thornburgh โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… (3.5 Stars)

The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… (4 Stars)

Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… (5 Stars)

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… (5 Stars)

The stand-out reads for July were The Last Magician and Every Last Lie, both left me hungry for more story. The Library of Fates left me with food for thought & was just a beautifully diverse read, I look forward to more from this author. Who’s That Girl was a contemporary about friendship with LGBTQIA+ representation that I enjoyed more towards the second half. Lastly, The Disappearnaces got me in the mood for Fall and all of the mysterious reads I associate with my favorite season. It was an overall quality reading month & also a more productive blogging month. Also, I followed a ton of new blogs that I am still making my rounds getting to know & to them I say THANK YOU for following my blog & I’m looking forward to seeing you around ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Super stoked over the paperbacks I hauled in July! The Night Circus is one of my all time fave books of ALL TIME! this paperback edition caught my eye with its white/black contrast. The Princes Saves Herself in This One is one that I have been DYING to read! haha, I’m sure many of you have already read & loved the hell out of this one. One Of Us is Lying I purchased from Bookdepository because of the red sprayed edges smh call me vain lol! Until it Fades is K.A. Tuckers newest novel & the only New Adult author I’ve read & LOVED so of course ran out and got a copy. Akata Witch has been at the TOP of my TBR for too long & It’s one I am really looking forward to reading and reviewing here on Lair Of Books ๐Ÿ˜‰

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These hardcovers come well recommended & I can stare at them all day long they are so BEAUTIFUL! haha. I’ve already red & loved The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue & so to see it in my Owlcrate box was sweeeeeet! lol. My Book of the Month choice was Final Girls & although it has received mixed reviews, It still hasn’t taken my curiosity away. Stalking Jack the Ripper I am trying to read ASAP since I have an arc of Hunting Prince Dracula. Because You Love to Hate Me I p/u solely because of Adam Silver & V..E. Schwabs villains. Lastly, When Dimple Met Rishi was a MUST! I know I’m going to LOVE this one a ton & can’t wait to read the story that has everyone ready for the next book by this author โค

This movie seriously took me by surprise & it pushed me to write my very 1st Gush Spoilery Review (see here). I’ve watched all of the Spider-Man movies with my hubby but never really found any to WOW me. I’m a big fan of Marvel movies but this guy just was OK LOL! Whelp! all that changed with Homecoming & I’m now A Spidey fan *gimme more*

OK! this may come as a surprise since I am not a big fan of things that go bump in the night but I LOVE The Originals! forget The Vampire Diaries, this show is ten times better than that show ever was *sorry not sorry* but seriously, The Originals takes place in New Orleans & there isn’t a single episode that doesn’t transport you. I binge watched season 4 with my hubby on Netflix & it consumed our nights smh lol. I lost count of the times I jumped from fright & was left wondering whyyyyy viewers ever chose to watch The Vampire Diaries over this AMAZINGLY well told show?!?!? Season 5 will be the last & this makes my โค sad but it will most definitely join my Hall of Amazing TV Shows (not yet a thing but maybe I should look into this) cuz it has already made me lose sleep on more than one occasion. I recommend to anyone who loves New Orleans, Witches & their craft, Wolves, Vampires, Family Loyalty, plot twists, double crossings, Stakes through the heart, and just EPIC bad assery ๐Ÿ˜‰

Happy reading in August Bookworms!!! Hope you all had a wonderful July month & are enjoying your summer reads. Read or watched any of these? drop your comments down below <3โ€™s!


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WWW Wednesday 7/19/2017

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On a World of Words and to participate all you have to do is answer the three Wโ€™s listed below. Once youโ€™ve posted your WWW, drop a link to your post in Samโ€™s comments <3โ€™s!

The questions are:
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think youโ€™ll read next?

*Covers—>GR Link*

I’m kind of cheating here since I meant to start this today but wasn’t feeling too well & decided to leave it for tomorrow. Well I did take a peak at the first page & knew if I flipped to the next page that I’d be saying goodbye to my beauty sleep lol. The map alone had me giggling because it’s set in NYC (my home city) & some of the places have been changed. J.P. Morgan Chase in the book is “J.P. Morgan Mansion” & there’s a “Schwab Mansion” that has me raising a brow haha! I had no idea this book is 500+ pages long until I checked in with my spreadsheet & that led to some re-arranging on what I’ll be reading for the rest of the month. I have a really good feeling about this book & i’m feeling a bit excited to read on my commute to work tomorrow. By the time this goes live, I should have already started this book ๐Ÿ˜‰


I finished reading Who’s That Girl by Blaire Thornburghย this morning & will
have a review up by this Friday. I definitely feel this one ended much stronger than it’s Ok beginning. I’m still undecided on a rating but it’s looking like a 3.5-3.75 if I’m being honest. I really wanted to LOVE this book but for a book that is dialogue heavy, the first half struggled a bit. The characters however are perhaps the strongest part of this book & I have a few stand-out favorites. I’d recommend Who’s That Girl to anyone looking for more books based on friendship. Although there is somewhat of a romance in this book, the friendships play center stage & I appreciated that so much.


I also recently finished reading Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica, a Mystery/Suspense novel that made a fan out of me. I also wrote a review that you can check out here. This book had me up at all hours and very concerned for the characters. I spent a good portion of my morning looking into all of her books & trying to pick my next read. open to suggestions down in the comments <3’s

 


Once I’ve read The Last Magician, I will be diving right into The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy.ย This book gives me dark, mysterious, and atmospheric vibes. I LOVE stories that take place in towns that have a story to tell. Sterling is probably not a town I’d like to live in but I wouldn’t mind being sucked in for a few days to unravel some secrets ๐Ÿ˜‰

 


What are you wonderful bookworms currently reading? planning to read next? any good ones? & if youโ€™re reading any of the ones I mentioned, let me know down in the comments what your 1st impressions were <3โ€™s!


Review: Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica

Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica

Published by: Harlequin/Park Row Books

Date of Publication:ย June 27th 2017

Genres: Mystery/Thriller/Suspense

Pages:ย 331

Format: eGalley

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*HUGE thanks to Harlequin/Park Row Books, Netgalley, and Mary Kubica for the eGalley copy of Every Last Lie in exchange for an honest opinion

New York Times bestselling author of THE GOOD GIRL, Mary Kubica is back with another exhilarating thriller as a widow’s pursuit of the truth leads her to the darkest corners of the psyche.ย 

“The bad man, Daddy. The bad man is after us.”ย 

Clara Solberg’s world shatters when her husband and their four-year-old daughter are in a car crash, killing Nick while Maisie is remarkably unharmed. The crash is ruled an accidentโ€ฆuntil the coming days, when Maisie starts having night terrors that make Clara question what really happened on that fateful afternoon.

Tormented by grief and her obsession that Nick’s death was far more than just an accident, Clara is plunged into a desperate hunt for the truth. Who would have wanted Nick dead? And, more important, why? Clara will stop at nothing to find outโ€”and the truth is only the beginning of this twisted tale of secrets and deceit.

Told in the alternating perspectives of Clara’s investigation and Nick’s last months leading up to the crash, master of suspense Mary Kubica weaves her most chilling thriller to dateโ€”one that explores the dark recesses of a mind plagued by grief and shows that some secrets might be better left buried.

WoW! ok! here goes my attempt to write words that will do this book justice…I’ll start off by saying that this is my 1st book by Kubica & that I am now going to need all the monies just so that I can read all her other books smh haha! No but seriously, I have heard plenty about this author on all of the well known platforms & knew that I’d be reading her books at some point. Every Last Lie just so happened to pique my interest because it features a young mom as the protagonist as well as her deceased husband through alternating POV’s. As a young mom myself I thought hmmm…a relatable new character possibly? well sort of, in the sense that this can actually happen & unfortunately has to many others. I don’t know about you but I try to live an honest life & part of the reason for that is, I don’t want anyone to be hurt by anything left unsaid when my day comes.ย This book had me hooked from start to finish at all hours of the day & night. My heart went out to Clara who just lost her husband and is left with her 4 year old daughter & an infant son. She’s still in the post delivery months trying to adjust to her new life as mommy of 2. This is a time of exhaustion for Clara who is learning her new baby, his wants and needs and also adjusting to her post baby body. The last thing she could’ve fathomed was losing her husband in a tragic car accident.

It’s so easy to judge Clara as we read along and count the times she leaves her babies in the car with the windows down while she tries to get information on Nick’s death. The thing is, she’s doing the best she can & with that comes trying to console her 4 year old daughter who was in the car & miraculously walked away unharmed. Clara’s little girl is having recurring night terrors that wake her up running to the nearest safest hiding place. She’s running from “the bad man” but won’t say more than that which leaves Clara with so many questions & no answers. We see her try to put bits and pieces together on Nick’s state of affairs before his death and with that you see her make many assumptions. This is Clara trying to get some sort of closure on losing her husband & I felt every bit of desperation she was feeling.

Through alternating POV’s we get Nicks narrative before his tragic passing & I neither loved or hated him if I’m being honest. Nick is a man trying his hardest to provide for his wife & kids as a dentist with his own private practice. In a field that is extremely competitive, his office wasn’t doing well at all and this led to him making some very bad decisions. Decisions that he kept away from his wife who he loved & wasn’t trying to stress out with financial worries. He adored his beautiful wife & the comfortable life they lived and so instead chose to find other means of making money. We follow Nick from one bad decision to the next all the while knowing that it doesn’t end well.

The way Kubica chose to write Every last Lie was very effective in giving the reader a sense of desperation felt by both Nick and Clara. Nick had one foot in bankruptcy & the other in denial. Clara was coming off the hinges trying to piece together Nicks troubles. I kept rooting for Clara to get some closure & start living her new life but that wasn’t going to happen until she could separate fact from fiction. We see her turn over every rock looking for answers to questions about their financial ruin & their own marriage. I sat up reading & hoping that at the very least, Nick really loved his wife. Such a rollercoaster of a emotions during my time with this book but all I can say is, please READ this book! haha! If you’re someone who loves a good mystery/suspense novel on the beach, this is for you! If you’re getting your Fall TBR ready & filling it up with mystery/suspense, this is for you! I’m hooked *adds Kubica to auto-buy list*

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Lovely Bookworms! who has already read Every Last Lie? Thoughts? & for the Kubica fans, pretty please leave below your fave Kubica book ๐Ÿ™‚


May Wrap-Up & Book Haul

It finally feels like Summer is right around the corner! &&& I’m also late with my May Wrap-Up/ Book Haul but that’s less surprising. I had one goal in mind for the month of May & that was to keep my book buying to the bare minimum because I’d be attending Bookcon the 1st week of June. I succeded & have already given myself some pats on the back for this little accomplishment. I also read a bit more than expected what with all the Bookcon excitement keeping me up at night lol, so that was nice. I also managed to squeeze in 2 movies & celebrated LairOfBooks 1 year Blogoversary!!! *throws confetti*ย Since we’re already a week into June, I’ll keep it short & sweet ๐Ÿ˜‰

Noteworthy by Riley Redgateย โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… (4 Stars)

The Love Interest by Cale Dietrichย โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… (4 Stars)

New Boy by Tracy Chevalierย โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… (4 Stars)

The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. Kingย โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… (4 Stars)

Eliza And Her Monsters by Francesca Zappiaย โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… (5 Stars)

The Red Hunter by Lisa Ungerย โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… (5 Stars)

 

I had a pretty great reading month in terms of quality & quantity (for me anyways lol). I was over the moon excited to hear my favorite Thriller/Suspense author released a book in May (Lisa Unger, Red Hunter)ย & when my twin called from the Strand Bookstore saying she picked me up a copy, I did a little dance. I’ve only read her books through Netgalley so this will be my 1st physical copy on my shelves, thanks Twin @ChicNerdReads! It was an amazingly atmospheric read that I had a hard time leaving behind once I had reached the last sentence. My 2nd favorite read of the month is hands down Eliza And Her Monsters which is another I can’t let go of. For everyone who has ever belonged to a fandom or was behind the creation of one, this one is for you! for those of US who seek & find comfort at home reading or watching a fave show because social anxiety is ever present in your life, this one’s for you! there is so much good in this book, I really do believe there’s something for everyone ๐Ÿ˜‰

*Click on photo & follow my IG for more Bookish Fun ๐Ÿ˜‰

A Court Of Wings And Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J. Maas

Into The Water by Paula Hawkinsย (BOTM additional book I added)

Eliza And Her Monsters by Francesca Zappiaย (Owlcrate)

Milk And Honey by Rupi Kaur

The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Emberย 

The Red Hunter by Lisa Ungerย (gift from my twin Gretchen @ChicNerdReads)

The Love Interest by Cale Dietrichย (BOTM selection)

Hubby & I started May off with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2, we typically take off 1 day from work every month to chill, hit up a movie & bookstore/comic book store…basically nerd out sans the two tiny humans giving us major side eye haha! I want to say that I enjoyed Vol. 2 more than the first but I think that my feelings toward it are the same (3.5 stars). Except I could’ve done without the cheesy dad bit. The soundtrack & Groot continue to be my fave parts of this movie. Trang & Lashaan over at Bookidote have a EPIC review or as they call it on their blog, a “Cinedote”ย (see here)ย which pretty much sums up how I feel about this movie. I’d give them a follow if I were you cuz they’re pretty dope ๐Ÿ˜‰

Towards the end of the month, my sister & I went on our sisterly date to watch Snatched cuz Goldie Hawn & Amy Schumer LOl. I love these ladies & the idea of them together on the screen at the same time reallllly gave me the giggles so I had to see what it was all about. OMYGOSH it was so funny! I’m talking bust your stitches funny smh lol, I spent it holding my tummy the entire time. It’s centered around a mother (Goldie) & daughter (amy) getting kidnapped in South America. They end up being more trouble for their captors than it’s worth with escape attempts turning into jaw dropping high jinks. As a fan of Goldie Hawn since childhood, it was great seeing her back on the screen. I recently read & enjoyed Amy’s autobiographical memoir The Girl With The Lower Back Tattooย ย within the last couple of months & can say I am now a fan, LOVE HER! Def recommend (5 stars) ๐Ÿ˜‰

Hope you all are having a wonderful June so far! How was your May? read/watch anything AMAZING? thank you for reading my late post & I’ll see ya all in the next post <3’s!

 

Review: The Red Hunter by Lisa Unger

Theย Red Hunter by Lisa Unger

Publisher:ย Touchstone

Publication Date: May 16th, 2017

Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Suspense

Pages: 359 pages

Format:ย eGalley (Netgalley)

Rating: โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… (5 Stars)

*Trigger Warning: Rape

Cover = Goodreads

What is the difference between justice and revenge? In this buzzworthy new standalone thriller by New York Times bestselling author Lisa Unger, two wronged women on very different paths find themselves in the same dark placeโ€ฆ

Claudia Bishopโ€™s perfect life fell apart when the aftermath of a brutal assault left her with a crumbling marriage, a newborn daughter, and a constant sense of anxiety about the world around her. Now, looking for a fresh start with a home restoration project and growing blog, Claudia takes on a crumbling old houseโ€”one that unbeknownst to her has an ugly history and may hide long buried secrets.

For Zoey Drake the defining moment of her childhood was the horrific home invasion murder of her parents. Years later, she has embraced the rage that fuels her. Training in the martial arts has made her strong and ready to face the demons from the pastโ€”and within.

Strangers to each other, and walking very different paths in the wake of trauma, these two women are on a collision courseโ€”because Zoeyโ€™s past nightmare and Claudiaโ€™s dreams for her future take place in the very same house. As Zoey seeks justice, and Claudia seeks peace, both will confront the monsters at the door that are the most frightening of all.

The majority of this year has been dedicated to my YA titles but a change of pace was needed. Typically I turn to the thriller/Suspense genre whenever I’m in need of a good palette cleanser. Sometime last year I read Lisa Unger’s Ink and Bone & was hooked from page 1 to the very last. When I started seeing The Red Hunter’s beautiful splash of red all over my Bookstagram feed, I sent a little prayer to the Book Gods & went to see if Netgalley was offering it for review & the rest is history lol. I read the majority of this book in 1 day (60%), Lisa Unger once again delivered a immersive page turner. We get introduced to these two women who have been through traumatic experiences & somehow the reader knows their paths are fated to cross in some way.

Claudia is a rape survivor & we get to see her aftermath, she has a teenage daughter who may or may not be from her attacker. Her life has been turned upside down but she has chosen to re-build away from all of that by moving away from the city. I really enjoyed Claudia’s character, she has battle scars & yet she perseveres to find her peace. She has this love for places that have that lived in feel & so picking up and going to the country side to try & renovate her dads old house fit her personality so well. The parts where we see her blogging (some entries from her blog included) about her trauma & the home renovation were some of my fave parts. It did seem at times like she couldn’t catch a break with some of the decisions she made lol but that just added to her charm. We also get to follow her Daughter Raven’s POV. Raven knows all about her mom’s rape since they’ve chosen to be very honest, we get to see her search for more answers.

Zoey survived the murder of her parents when she was just a kid. Through a home invasion, both of her parents are tied up & asked to divulge the location of 1 million dollars (lots of backstory here but spoilers lol).ย Her parents are ultimately killed and Zoey herself is hurt & tortured. Fast Forward to the present & now we have someone who is searching for justice. She has taken up martial arts classes & excelled in training. You get the feeling that Zoey is traveling with a “dark passenger” (for fans of Dexter lol).ย Although she has re-built her life with the help of her uncle Paul (retired detective), she hasn’t been able to put her demons to rest. I LOVE morally ambiguous characters & I got that with Zoey who has taken so many hits that I found myself rooting for her to strike back!

The cast of characters in Red Hunter is bigger than these two leading ladies. We get to meet a lot of the people who have formed their support system as well. From Claudia, we have her daughter Raven & her ex husband. Zoey who comes from a cop family, has her uncle Paul, her martial arts teacher who is also a retired cop, and other cops as well who are still in her life. Unger manages to keep all players on the chess board while she weaves their story lines together. Once again she’s left me with fictional characters I love & will always remember.

The Red Hunterย is up there for top faves of 2017 & cements my love for Lisa Unger. She is now an auto-buy author for me & I will be keeping an eye out for anything & everything she puts out. I don’t want to get into the plot too much because that would lead to spoilers & take away the fun. The Goodreads blurb does a good job of summing it up w/out ruining anything. There’s so much story in these 359 pages & seeing her skills with weaving the lives in this story together leaves you in awe…FLAWLESS! Perhaps what I love the most about her writing style is her ability to deliver characters I can’t help getting invested in. I genuinely end up caring about where their roads lead which leads to my want for a series from this author *silent prayer to the book Gods*ย Lastly, the mark of every Unger book would have to be her settings. This time the story took place mostly in the country in that house Claudia is renovating. Yet just like the Hollows in Ink and Bone, you can’t help but see the house as its own character. It has a soul & holds a dark & violent past making for a very atmospheric read. I hands down highly recommend The Red Hunterย to all readers & please can we get more Lisa ๐Ÿ˜‰

*Thank you Touchstone, Netgalley, and Lisa Unger for the opportunity to read a eGalley copy of The Red Hunter in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Have any of you awesome bookworms read or plan to read The Red Hunter? if you have, which character was your favorite?