Monday, December 21, 2020

2020 in Reviews....Books I've Reviewed in 2020

Psychology professor Jackie Strelitz thought she was over her ex-lover and colleague, Harlan Crispin. Why should she care if Harlan springs a new “friend” on her? After all, Jackie has everything she ever wanted: a loving husband and a thriving career. Still, she can’t help but be curious about Harlan’s latest.

Nasira Amari is graceful, smart, and young. Worse, she’s the new member of Jackie’s research team. For five years, Harlan enforced rules limiting his relationship with Jackie. With Nasira he’s breaking every single one. Why her?

Fixated by the couple, Jackie’s curiosity becomes obsession. But she soon learns that nothing is quite what it seems, and that to her surprise—and peril—she may not be the only one who can’t let go. 
My Thoughts…
Sonja Yoerg has taken her writing in a different direction with Stories We Never Told.    This book is a suspense novel.    Jackie is married but her ex-boyfriend works at the same university as her.   When she finds out that Harlen, the ex, is dating on of the research team working on the same program as Jackie the jealousy comes through.   She stalks Harlen, she questions Nasira, and she questions the life she is living.    As things start happening to Jackie at work and at home, she starts to question what was really going on. 
I devoured Stories We Never Told.  I couldn’t put the book down and was curious to see where the story would head next.   The mystery of what was happening to Jackie, who was messing with her, who could she trust kept me turning pages, trying to figure out the who-dun-it aspect of the story, and hoping that I was heading in the wrong direction. 
I can’t say enough for the ending, it was phenomenal.  I didn’t see it all coming, I had some ideas and wasn’t entirely wrong, but the last part of the book was the absolute best.  
Add the Stories We Told to your MUST-READ list on Goodreads
Purchase your own copy on Amazon or Barnes and Noble

New York Times bestselling author and Queen of the Beach Reads Mary Kay Andrews delivers her next blockbuster, Hello Summer.

It’s a new season...

Conley Hawkins left her family’s small town newspaper, The Silver Bay Beacon, in the rearview mirror years ago. Now a star reporter for a big-city paper, Conley is exactly where she wants to be and is about to take a fancy new position in Washington, D.C. Or so she thinks.

For small town scandals...

When the new job goes up in smoke, Conley finds herself right back where she started, working for her sister, who is trying to keep The Silver Bay Beacon afloat—and she doesn’t exactly have warm feelings for Conley. Soon she is given the unenviable task of overseeing the local gossip column, “Hello, Summer.”

And big-time secrets.

Then Conley witnesses an accident that ends in the death of a local congressman—a beloved war hero with a shady past. The more she digs into the story, the more dangerous it gets. As an old heartbreaker causes trouble and a new flame ignites, it soon looks like their sleepy beach town is the most scandalous hotspot of the summer. 
My Thoughts…
I am a Mary Kay Andrews fan.   I love the beach settings, the realistic characters, and the plots that keep me turning page after page.   Hello, Summer is exactly what I was hoping it would be.    I was looking for a fun and easy to read book that would keep me entertained during a time when I am stuck at home more than I’d like to be.  
The length of the book had my second guessing reading it.  I am struggling right now to keep my attention on anything for long, but my attention was help for all 450 pages of Hello, Summer.  I was invested in Conley and Gray’s sister relationship, in Skelly’s and Conley’s romance, in Lorraine and Winnie’s friendships, and most of all in the mystery behind the death of a beloved local congressman. Hello, Summer has everything.   There is romance, mystery, drama, and family.   What more can you ask for?
Whether on a beach or cuddle up on a cold winter night this book will have you dreaming of putting your toes in the sand.  
** Thank you Jason Beatrice at St. Martin’s Press  for a copy of Hello, Summer in exchange for my honest review.
Add Hello, Summer to your MUST-READ list on Goodreads
Purchase your own copy on Amazon or Barnes and Noble

Based on an unexplored slice of World War II history, Exile Music is the captivating story of a young Jewish girl whose family flees refined and urbane Vienna for safe harbor in the mountains of Bolivia

As a young girl growing up in Vienna in the 1930s, Orly has an idyllic childhood filled with music. Her father plays the viola in the Philharmonic, her mother is a well-regarded opera singer, her beloved and charismatic older brother holds the neighborhood in his thrall, and most of her eccentric and wonderful extended family live nearby. Only vaguely aware of Hitler's rise or how her Jewish heritage will define her family's identity, Orly spends her days immersed in play with her best friend and upstairs neighbor, Anneliese. Together they dream up vivid and elaborate worlds, where they can escape the growing tensions around them.
My Thoughts…
World War II was such a horrific time to live through.  The war was going on, you never knew where you were safe, and you had to rely on other people for everything from food to shelter to clothing.   Now imagine that as a young girl.   Orly is that girl.   She is young, she lives an ideal life with her parents and brother with her best friend living in the apartment above her.  Until it all changes.   
Orly’s story was so interesting.   I was invested in the world she was living in.  The story told not only of what was happening around her but also what was happening directly in her house and her emotions to those happenings.    I could feel her joy in writing the stories of the make believe world with Anneliese, the fear of seeing the Nazi’s invade her neighborhood, the sadness at losing the things that were most familiar to her, and mostly her strength in not knowing what her future held but having to keep her head up, staying strong.      She experienced a life that many did not survive, and she knew how lucky she was that she and her parents were able to be together through it all.   
I am a World War II fan, it is my favorite era to read about.   Jennifer Steil has written an amazing book telling the story of a time where everything was different and the world was a scary place to live.  Yet, with the scariness, there is hope, love, and music.  

Add Exile Music to your MUST-READ list on Goodreads
Purchase your own copy on Amazon or Barnes and Noble

From the bestselling author of The Overdue Life of Amy Byler comes a fresh, funny, and thoughtful story about going off the grid in order to truly live.
As one of the most popular influencers on social media, Mia Bell has lived her life online for years. With her celebrity dog and gorgeous fiancé, she is planning the ultimate virtual wedding—expensive, elaborate, and entirely paid for by sponsors. But off-camera, her world is far from picture perfect. After being jilted by her fiancé and faking her nuptials to please her sponsors, Mia finally has had enough. She heaves her phone off a cliff, ready to live—and maybe find love—offline for a change.
Mia’s sudden absence doesn’t go unnoticed, especially by techie loner Paige Miller, who hacks Mia’s account and begins impersonating the internet celebrity. Paige has her reasons. Her half sister, Jessica, idolizes Mia and desperately needs something to believe in. If taking over Mia’s online persona is Paige’s only means of connecting to her sister, so be it.
Creating a like-worthy life is more fun than Paige expected. But when she grows too bold and is caught in the act, a fiasco ensues that could forever change Mia, Paige, and the people who love them. Because somewhere amid the chaos is an invaluable lesson—one that only real life can teach.

My Thoughts…
I almost passed on reading/reviewing The Bright Side of Going Dark, let me say that would have been a mistake for me.    I have been struggling with focusing on my reading, nothing is really holding my attention until Kelly Harm’s book.    I started this book, I quickly became invested in the characters, and I found the story easy to follow.   There were times I would sneak away just to read a few more pages or, hopefully, another chapter.

While I am not a social influencer, there are times that I feel like I am hooked to my screen.   I loved that Mia, a social influencer, makes the difficult decision to step away from her life on Instagram.  It was amazing to see her bloom into a real person, a person who had friends, who did not photograph everything, and a person who could see her life for herself not just as her followers see her.   The story opened my eyes to what I am missing when I sit with my phone or tablet open while the family is around.  I really like that with Paige’s side of the story you could see how someone who didn’t spend a lot of time on social media and then starts to spend more time was losing herself and losing time that she couldn’t make up.   While it could be fun, for a bit, to be an influencer there is so much more to life and The Bright Side of Going Dark shows just how much is missed when your stuck behind your screen.

The other part of this story is the anxiety, grief, and family.   The generation gap between mother and daughter, the age difference of sisters, the fiancé calling off your wedding, and the cute neighbor with the adorable daughter are all added aspects to this story.   I definitely recommend picking up your own copy. 

Add to your MUST-READ list on Goodreads
Purchase your own copy on Amazon or Barnes and Noble

No comments:

Post a Comment