The Breakaway by Jennifer Weiner

Publisher: Atria Books

Date of Publication: August 29th, 2023

Genre: Romance, Fiction, Chick Lit, Contemporary, Adult, Women’s Fiction, Adult Fiction, Travel, Novels

Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Weiner comes a warmhearted and empowering new novel about love, family, friendship, secrets, and a life-changing journey.

Thirty-three-year-old Abby Stern has made it to a happy place. True, she still has gig jobs instead of a career, and the apartment where she’s lived since college still looks like she’s just moved in. But she’s got good friends, her bike, and her bicycling club in Philadelphia. She’s at peace with her plus-size body—at least, most of the time—and she’s on track to marry Mark Medoff, her childhood summer sweetheart, a man she met at the weight-loss camp that her perpetually dieting mother forced her to attend. Fifteen years after her final summer at Camp Golden Hills, when Abby reconnects with a half-his-size Mark, it feels like the happy ending she’s always wanted.

Yet Abby can’t escape the feeling that some­thing isn’t right…or the memories of one thrilling night she spent with a man named Sebastian two years previously. When Abby gets a last-minute invi­tation to lead a cycling trip from NYC to Niagara Falls, she’s happy to have time away from Mark, a chance to reflect and make up her mind.

But things get complicated fast. First, Abby spots a familiar face in the group—Sebastian, the one-night stand she thought she’d never see again. Sebastian is a serial dater who lives a hundred miles away. In spite of their undeniable chemistry, Abby is determined to keep her distance. Then there’s a surprise last-minute addition to the her mother, Eileen, the woman Abby blames for a lifetime of body shaming and insecurities she’s still trying to undo.

Over two weeks and more than seven hundred miles, strangers become friends, hidden truths come to light, a teenage girl with a secret unites the riders in unexpected ways…and Abby is forced to reconsider everything she believes about herself, her mother, and the nature of love.


First Line:

“Are you ready?”

The Breakaway by Jennifer Weiner

At thirty-three, Abby is finally in a happy place in her life. While she feels she lacks in the career department (working dead-end jobs), and her apartment is a mess, she has great friends, a biking club, and a gorgeous boyfriend. But she feels something is off. Moving in with her boyfriend doesn’t appeal to her, and her dead-end jobs drag her down. So, she agrees when her best friend asks her to fill in as a guide on a bike trip at the last minute. But this bike trip is going to be anything but ordinary. Why? Because Abby’s unforgettable one-night stand is there, she can’t take her eyes off him. Add her mother suddenly joining the trip, Tick-Tok drama involving her one-night stand, and a teenager with a huge secret, Abby will have her hands full. Can Abby survive the 700-mile, 2-week trip to Niagra Falls with her relationship and sense of self intact? Or will everything be thrown up in the air?

I am going to be blunt here. This book was different from what I expected. I thought this was going to be a lighthearted romantic comedy. Instead, I read a thought-provoking book about women’s rights and body positivity.

There are some trigger warnings in The Breakaway. I went back and forth on posting some of these because of spoilers, but I decided to proceed. They are:

  1. Body shaming:Abby was weight-shamed constantly by her mother when she was younger. She was sent to a weight loss camp every summer and forced to diet. She is also weight-shamed by various secondary characters in the book (in flashbacks and the present day).
  2. Abortion: There are several different angles to abortion discussed here. One is how not being able to get an abortion severely affects women. There were also brief mentions of politics and abortion. There is also a storyline about a teenager getting an abortion via pill during the bike trip (not graphic, but the author did explain what would happen while the abortion was happening). The religious stance on abortions is talked about (and it was heartbreaking to read).
  3. Cheating: Abby cheats on Mark in the book. The aftermath of her infidelity is explored.
  4. Challenging mother/daughter relationships (I got this from a review posted on NetGalley): Abby and her mother have a very tenuous and stressful relationship. She is weight-shamed constantly, sent to fat camp, and only praised when she loses weight as a teenager. Morgan has a tense relationship with her mother because of her secret. She also feels that she cannot tell or trust her with it because of religious implications.
  5. Eating Disorders: Bulimia is brought up by Abby during a heated conversation with her mother about the weight loss camp she was forced to attend. Abby’s boyfriend, Mark, has a severely restricted diet because of gastric bypass surgery. He also developed disordered food thoughts due to the surgery and what he went through when he was overweight.

If any of these trigger you, I suggest not reading the book. I struggled with sections of the book.

I liked how the author broke The Breakaway up. She sections the books into the trip’s legs (for example, the chapter would have the character’s name, and under it would be Day One: New York City to Mount Kisco. 50 miles). Within those blocks, the main characters (Abby, Sebastian, Morgan, Lily, and Kayla) would have chapters from their POVs. It was interesting to read and helped the book zip right along. I was OK with figuring out whose chapter it was (the author marked it) or where they were (again, clearly marked).

As I mentioned, there are 5 POVs in The Breakaway. They are the main characters. Instead of giving them each a paragraph, I will bullet point them instead.

  • Abby: She was my favorite character, and I hated how she viewed herself. I also thought that she was settling with Mark. I understood why she was so pissed that her mother showed up (there is an explanation). But I didn’t get her fascination with Sebastian. I liked her character’s growth during the book. I only disagreed with how she dealt with the Morgan situation or how she cheated on Mark with Sebastian.
  • Sebastian: He was not my favorite character. He was a manwhore, plain and simple. Who sleeps with every girl he meets on Tinder or other dating apps? But I did like that he was honest about it and that he felt shame when that girl made that TickTok about him sleeping with her and 8 of her friends. Sebastian did have some deep-seated issues that were lightly touched upon in the book (drunk mother/absent father). I wasn’t thrilled that he kept pursuing Abby, even though she told him she had a boyfriend.
  • Morgan: My heart broke for her. When she was introduced, I wasn’t expecting the storyline to go the way it went. I thought the author would reveal that she was lesbian and in a secret relationship with her best friend. When the author dropped that bombshell, I was pretty shocked. I’m not going much into the storyline except that I felt for her.
  • Lily: The author kept her chapters pretty sparse, as she appeared often in Morgan and Abby’s. But I did think she was a holy roller by some of the things she said. When Morgan finally admitted what happened, I was expecting nuclear fallout. Instead, she surprised me. Actually, she was too good about it. If a stranger had taken my daughter to do what she did (even if it was by pill), I would have been furious.
  • Kayla: I did like Kayla and wished she had been featured more in the book. I liked how she decided to help Morgan. It brought tears to my eyes. But again, I was a little irritated that she didn’t tell Lily.

The secondary characters made the book. I liked seeing Abby’s relationship with her mother progress (and it was very bumpy during the trip). I liked seeing Morgan’s friendship with Kayla’s oldest son, who was a sweetheart and supportive of Morgan. I also loved the elderly couples who traveled with the RV. I almost died when a particular tidbit was released about them. Mark, I wasn’t a fan of (he was dull), but Abby did do him dirty. And Lincoln, Sebastian’s best friend, was precisely what Sebastian needed during the trip.

The end of The Breakaway had me crying. I liked how Abby and her mother started to patch up their relationship (what her mother told Abby was heartbreaking). The note about Morgan made me happy. And Sebastian, well, nothing was said about him until a year after everything happened. I liked that the author ended the book as a happy for now instead of a HEA.

I would recommend The Breakaway to anyone over 21. There is mild violence, language, and graphic sexual situations. Also see my trigger warning list.

Many thanks to Atria Books, NetGalley, and Jennifer Weiner for allowing me to read and review The Breakaway. All opinions stated in the review are mine.


If you enjoy reading books similar to The Breakaway, then you will enjoy these books:


Other books by Jennifer Weiner:

WWW Wednesday: August 30th, 2023

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

Here is what I am currently reading, recently finished, and plan to read from Thursday to Wednesday.

Let me know if you have read or are planning on reading any of these books!!

Happy Reading!!


What I am currently reading:

Sailor Moon meets Cinder in Guardians of Dawn: Zhara, the start of a new, richly imagined fantasy series from S. Jae-Jones, the New York Times bestselling author of Wintersong.

Magic flickers.
Love flames.
Chaos reigns.

Magic is forbidden throughout the Morning Realms. Magicians are called abomination, and blamed for the plague of monsters that razed the land twenty years before.

Jin Zhara already had enough to worry about—appease her stepmother’s cruel whims, looking after her blind younger sister, and keeping her own magical gifts under control—without having to deal with rumors of monsters re-emerging in the marsh. But when a chance encounter with an easily flustered young man named Han brings her into contact with a secret magical liberation organization called the Guardians of Dawn, Zhara realizes there may be more to these rumors than she thought. A mysterious plague is corrupting the magicians of Zanhei and transforming them into monsters, and the Guardians of Dawn believe a demon is responsible.

In order to restore harmony and bring peace to the world, Zhara must discover the elemental warrior within, lest the balance between order and chaos is lost forever.


What I recently finished reading:

In this new installment of Tasha Alexander’s acclaimed Lady Emily series set in the wild Scottish highlands, an ancient story of witchcraft may hold the key to solving a murder centuries later.

Lady Emily, husband Colin Hargreaves, and their three sons eagerly embark on a family vacation at Cairnfarn Castle, the Scottish estate of their dear friend Jeremy, Duke of Bainbridge. But a high-spirited celebration at the beginning of their stay comes to a grisly end when the duke’s gamekeeper is found murdered on the banks of the loch. Handsome Angus Sinclair had a host of enemies: the fiancée he abandoned in Edinburgh, the young woman who had fallen hopelessly in love with him, and the rough farmer who saw him as a rival for her affections. But what is meaning of the curious runic stone left on Sinclair’s forehead?

Scotland, 1676. Lady MacAllister, wife of the Laird of Cairnfarn Castle, suddenly finds herself widowed and thrown out of her home. Her sole companion is a Moorish slave girl who helps her secretly spirit out her most prized possessions from the castle: her strange books. Her neighbors are wary of a woman living on her own, and when a poppet—a doll used to cast spells—and a daisy wheel are found in her isolated cottage, Lady MacAllister is accused of witchcraft, a crime punishable by death.

Hundreds of years later, Lady Emily searches for the link between Lady MacAllister’s harrowing witchcraft trial and the brutal death of Sinclair. She must follow a trail of hidden motives, an illicit affair, and a mysterious stranger to reveal the dark side of a seemingly idyllic Highland village.


What I think I will read next (I will definitely get to the ARCs on this list. The reading challenge books will be read if I have finished the ARCs.):

ARC

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Weiner comes a warmhearted and empowering new novel about love, family, friendship, secrets, and a life-changing journey.

Thirty-three-year-old Abby Stern has made it to a happy place. True, she still has gig jobs instead of a career, and the apartment where she’s lived since college still looks like she’s just moved in. But she’s got good friends, her bike, and her bicycling club in Philadelphia. She’s at peace with her plus-size body—at least, most of the time—and she’s on track to marry Mark Medoff, her childhood summer sweetheart, a man she met at the weight-loss camp that her perpetually dieting mother forced her to attend. Fifteen years after her final summer at Camp Golden Hills, when Abby reconnects with a half-his-size Mark, it feels like the happy ending she’s always wanted.

Yet Abby can’t escape the feeling that some­thing isn’t right…or the memories of one thrilling night she spent with a man named Sebastian two years previously. When Abby gets a last-minute invi­tation to lead a cycling trip from NYC to Niagara Falls, she’s happy to have time away from Mark, a chance to reflect and make up her mind.

But things get complicated fast. First, Abby spots a familiar face in the group—Sebastian, the one-night stand she thought she’d never see again. Sebastian is a serial dater who lives a hundred miles away. In spite of their undeniable chemistry, Abby is determined to keep her distance. Then there’s a surprise last-minute addition to the her mother, Eileen, the woman Abby blames for a lifetime of body shaming and insecurities she’s still trying to undo.

Over two weeks and more than seven hundred miles, strangers become friends, hidden truths come to light, a teenage girl with a secret unites the riders in unexpected ways…and Abby is forced to reconsider everything she believes about herself, her mother, and the nature of love.

ARC

Night of the Living Queers is a YA horror anthology that explores a night when anything is possible exclusively featuring queer authors of color putting fresh spins on classic horror tropes and tales.

No matter its name or occasion, Halloween is more than a Hallmark holiday, it’s a symbol of transformation. NIGHT OF THE LIVING QUEERS is a YA horror anthology that explores how Halloween can be more than just candies and frights, but a night where anything is possible. Each short story will be told through the lens of a different BIPOC teen and the Halloween night that changes their lives forever. Creative, creepy, and queer, this collection will bring fresh terror, heart, and humor to young adult literature.

Contributors include editors Alex Brown and Shelly Page, Kalynn Bayron, Ryan Douglass, Sara Farizan, Maya Gittelman, Kosoko Jackson, Em Liu, Vanessa Montalban, Ayida Shonibar, Tara Sim, Trang Thanh Tran, and Rebecca Kim Wells.

ARC

As first contact transforms the Earth, a group of gifted visionaries race to create a new future in this wondrous science fiction novel from the award-winning author of The Best of All Possible Worlds.

The world is changing, and humanity must change with it. Rising seas and soaring temperatures have radically transformed the face of the Earth. Meanwhile, Earth is being observed from afar by other civilizations … and now they are ready to make contact.

Vying to prepare humanity for first contact are a group of dreamers and changemakers, including Peter Hendrix, the genius inventor behind the most advanced VR tech; Charyssa, a beloved celebrity icon with a passion for humanitarian work; and Kanoa, a member of a council of young people from around the globe drafted to reimagine the relationship between humankind and alien societies.

And they may have an unexpected secret weapon: Owen, a pop megastar whose ability to connect with his adoring fans is more than charisma. He has a hidden talent that may be the key to uniting Earth as it looks towards the stars.

But Owen’s abilities are so unique that no-one can control him, and so seductive that he cannot help but use them. Can he transcend his human limitations and find the freedom he has always dreamed of? Or is he doomed to become the dictator of his nightmares?

2023 TBR Toppler

A new romantic comedy that will stop readers in their tracks…

For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don’t exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. She can’t imagine how waiting tables at a 24-hour pancake diner and moving in with too many weird roommates could possibly change that. And there’s certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures.

But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train.

Jane. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. Jane with her rough edges and swoopy hair and soft smile, showing up in a leather jacket to save August’s day when she needed it most. August’s subway crush becomes the best part of her day, but pretty soon, she discovers there’s one big problem: Jane doesn’t just look like an old school punk rocker. She’s literally displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her. Maybe it’s time to start believing in some things, after all.

Casey McQuiston’s One Last Stop is a magical, sexy, big-hearted romance where the impossible becomes possible as August does everything in her power to save the girl lost in time.

2023 Monthly Themes

What would you sacrifice to bring to light the greatest discovery in human history?

Quentin Darnell was only a boy when his anthropologist parents were overcome by a professional failure so crushing it led to his father’s suicide. Now a schoolteacher, Quentin is looking for answers that can only be found in the wild terrains of Indonesian Papua, where years ago his parents studied an isolated aboriginal tribe.

Quentin leads his wife, son, and six students on a field trip to experience Papua’s pristine tropical forests. When their plane tragically crashes in the wilderness, Quentin becomes trapped in a vicious fight to protect the ones he loves.

Just as resources and hope run out, several mysterious tribesmen appear, bearing a substance with extraordinary healing properties. The material promises to benefit all of humanity. But it’s much more than medicine. It creates creatures unknown to science. And it brings to life what should remain dead—including Quentin’s own son, Addison.

Logic and sanity begin to unravel. Addison speaks a new language. He knows things he shouldn’t. And he’s a killer.

For the others to escape, Quentin must face a decision no parent should have to make.

2023 Reading Challenge

A graphic memoir recounting actor/author/activist George Takei’s childhood imprisoned within American concentration camps during World War II. Experience the forces that shaped an American icon — and America itself.

Long before George Takei braved new frontiers in Star Trek, he woke up as a four-year-old boy to find his own birth country at war with his father’s — and their entire family forced from their home into an uncertain future.

In 1942, at the order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, every person of Japanese descent on the west coast was rounded up and shipped to one of ten “relocation centers,” hundreds or thousands of miles from home, where they would be held for years under armed guard.

They Called Us Enemy is Takei’s firsthand account of those years behind barbed wire, the joys and terrors of growing up under legalized racism, his mother’s hard choices, his father’s faith in democracy, and the way those experiences planted the seeds for his astonishing future.

2023 ABC Challenge

Kiki Michaelson wants one wild night to forget her starving-artist worries. Simple.

Only instead of Darren Cole becoming her one-night stand, he taunts her with a challenge. Then while she’s trying to best him at his own game, he turns out to be the last thing she’s prepared for: someone she wants to keep.

Which means all he can ever be…is a friend.

Darren Cole never allows a girl to get close—not close enough to matter.

Then storms in Kiki Michaelson, a beautiful, fearless temptation that rocks his world off-balance. But he fights their attraction, unwilling to gamble something physical with their close ties. Until the passionate sculptor exposes her heart and breaks his wide open.

In that moment it becomes clear: she could never be just a friend.

Sometimes what you run from…is exactly what you need.

***HEARTBREAKER is a standalone, full-length new adult romance told in dual POV. Due to mature themes and adult language, this book is for those 18 and older.***

ARC

A wild girl with sand magic in her bones and a mad god who is trying to fix the world he broke come together in SANDYMANCER, a genre-warping mashup of weird fantasy and hard science fiction.

All Caralee Vinnet has ever known is dust. Her whole world is made up of the stuff; water is the most precious thing in the cosmos. A privileged few control what elements remain. But the world was not always a dust bowl and the green is not all lost.

Caralee has a secret—she has magic in her bones and can draw up power from the sand beneath her feet to do her bidding. But when she does she winds up summoning a the former god-king who broke the world 800 years ago and has stolen the body of her best friend.

Caralee will risk the whole world to take back what she’s lost. If her new companion doesn’t kill her first.

ARC

When seamstress Lydia Barnes finds a dead body soon after moving to a new town, she will need more than shear luck to find the killer, in this novel perfect for fans of Molly MacRae and Anna Gerard.

Lydia Barnes is excited for a fresh start when she moves to the quaint mountain town of Peridot, Georgia. Her friend, Fran, offers her a job at the Measure Twice fabric store and even sets her up on a date with the handsome Brandon Ivey, who also happens to be Lydia’s new next-door neighbor. Finally, things are looking up. But after a disaster first date that ends with a fist bump instead of a kiss, Lydia doesn’t think her night can get any worse. She’s soon proven wrong when she later stumbles upon Brandon’s dead body.

Considered the prime suspect by the police, Lydia calls on her friends to help her hunt for the truth and prove her innocence. But when another body is soon found inside the Measure Twice store, Lydia knows that the killer must be close by, and that this town has more than its fair share of secrets. Who would want to frame the newest addition to Peridot for these terrible murders—and why?

Lydia may discover that while sewing might have a pattern, killing rarely does. Will she be able to stitch together the clues and clear her own name before the killer strikes again?

WWW Wednesday: August 23rd, 2023

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

Here is what I am currently reading, recently finished, and plan to read from Thursday to Wednesday.

Let me know if you have read or are planning on reading any of these books!!

Happy Reading!!


What I am currently reading:

Things have gone from weird to blatantly absurd in Rome and Julian’s quest to preserve the boundary between the Earth realm and The Void. With Darkbrand numbers growing at a terrifying rate, the escape of Beliarahm, the fiercest Nocturn yet, and the struggle to make ANY headway with the Elementals and all their tomfoolery, The Alliance has hit a veritable wall. Even with the promise of the light Talisman to oppose the forces of darkness, there’s just no telling how or where to find it. All the other Talismans are collected, but that doesn’t necessarily give our heroes any comfort, because to this point, these magical items seem to have served more as crosshairs than protection. Maybe they need something more than the Talismans. But what could that be?


What I recently finished reading:

In this queer cozy series debut perfect for fans of Ellen Byron and Ellery Adams, Luke Tremblay is about to discover that Crescent Cove has more than its fair share of secrets…and some might be deadlier than others.

Crescent Cove, a small hamlet on Vancouver Island, is the last place out-of-work investigative journalist Luke Tremblay ever wanted to see again. He used to spend summers here, until his family learned that he was gay and rejected him. Now, following his aunt’s sudden death, he’s inherited her entire estate, including her seaside cottage and the antiques shop she ran for forty years in Crescent Cove. Luke plans to sell everything and head back to Toronto as soon as he can…but Crescent Cove isn’t done with him just yet.

When a stranger starts making wild claims about Luke’s aunt, Luke sends him packing. The next morning, though, Luke discovers that the stranger has returned, and now he’s lying dead in the back garden. To make matters worse, the officer leading the investigation is a handsome Mountie with a chip on his shoulder who seems convinced that Luke is the culprit. If he wants to prove his innocence and leave this town once and for all, Luke will have to use all his skills as a journalist to investigate the colorful locals while coming to terms with his own painful past.

There are secrets buried in Crescent Cove, and the more Luke digs, the more he fears they might change the town forever.


What I think I will read next (I will definitely get to the ARCs on this list. The reading challenge books will be read if I have finished the ARCs.):

The StoryGraph’s Reading Challenge’s Genre Challenge 2023

In 2014, Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, thought that a comic of reading statistics would be the last autobiographical comic e would ever write. At the time, it was the only thing e felt comfortable with strangers knowing about em. Now, Gender Queer is here. Maia’s intensely cathartic autobiography charts eir journey of self-identity, which includes the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes, grappling with how to come out to family and society, bonding with friends over erotic gay fanfiction, and facing the trauma of pap smears. Started as a way to explain to eir family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual, Gender Queer is more than a personal story: it is a useful and touching guide on gender identity—what it means and how to think about it—for advocates, friends, and humans everywhere.

Beat the Backlist 2023

Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.

When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.

Scavenger Hunt TBR Book Challenge

From Rupi Kaur, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of milk and honey, comes her long-awaited second collection of poetry. A vibrant and transcendent journey about growth and healing. Ancestry and honoring one’s roots. Expatriation and rising up to find a home within yourself. Divided into five chapters and illustrated by Kaur, the sun and her flowers is a journey of wilting, falling, rooting, rising, and blooming. A celebration of love in all its forms. this is the recipe of life said my mother as she held me in her arms as i wept think of those flowers you plant in the garden each year they will teach you that people too must wilt fall root rise in order to bloom

Scavenger Hunt

A wryly funny and surprisingly moving account of an extraordinary life lived almost entirely in the public eye

A teen idol at fifteen, an international icon and founder of the Brat Pack at twenty, and one of Hollywood’s top stars to this day, Rob Lowe chronicles his experiences as a painfully misunderstood child actor in Ohio uprooted to the wild counterculture of mid-seventies Malibu, where he embarked on his unrelenting pursuit of a career in Hollywood.

The Outsiders placed Lowe at the birth of the modern youth movement in the entertainment industry. During his time on The West Wing, he witnessed the surreal nexus of show business and politics both on the set and in the actual White House. And in between are deft and humorous stories of the wild excesses that marked the eighties, leading to his quest for family and sobriety.

Never mean-spirited or salacious, Lowe delivers unexpected glimpses into his successes, disappointments, relationships, and one-of-a-kind encounters with people who shaped our world over the last twenty-five years. These stories are as entertaining as they are unforgettable.

ARC

In this new installment of Tasha Alexander’s acclaimed Lady Emily series set in the wild Scottish highlands, an ancient story of witchcraft may hold the key to solving a murder centuries later.

Lady Emily, husband Colin Hargreaves, and their three sons eagerly embark on a family vacation at Cairnfarn Castle, the Scottish estate of their dear friend Jeremy, Duke of Bainbridge. But a high-spirited celebration at the beginning of their stay comes to a grisly end when the duke’s gamekeeper is found murdered on the banks of the loch. Handsome Angus Sinclair had a host of enemies: the fiancée he abandoned in Edinburgh, the young woman who had fallen hopelessly in love with him, and the rough farmer who saw him as a rival for her affections. But what is meaning of the curious runic stone left on Sinclair’s forehead?

Scotland, 1676. Lady MacAllister, wife of the Laird of Cairnfarn Castle, suddenly finds herself widowed and thrown out of her home. Her sole companion is a Moorish slave girl who helps her secretly spirit out her most prized possessions from the castle: her strange books. Her neighbors are wary of a woman living on her own, and when a poppet—a doll used to cast spells—and a daisy wheel are found in her isolated cottage, Lady MacAllister is accused of witchcraft, a crime punishable by death.

Hundreds of years later, Lady Emily searches for the link between Lady MacAllister’s harrowing witchcraft trial and the brutal death of Sinclair. She must follow a trail of hidden motives, an illicit affair, and a mysterious stranger to reveal the dark side of a seemingly idyllic Highland village.

ARC

Sailor Moon meets Cinder in Guardians of Dawn: Zhara, the start of a new, richly imagined fantasy series from S. Jae-Jones, the New York Times bestselling author of Wintersong.

Magic flickers.
Love flames.
Chaos reigns.

Magic is forbidden throughout the Morning Realms. Magicians are called abomination, and blamed for the plague of monsters that razed the land twenty years before.

Jin Zhara already had enough to worry about—appease her stepmother’s cruel whims, looking after her blind younger sister, and keeping her own magical gifts under control—without having to deal with rumors of monsters re-emerging in the marsh. But when a chance encounter with an easily flustered young man named Han brings her into contact with a secret magical liberation organization called the Guardians of Dawn, Zhara realizes there may be more to these rumors than she thought. A mysterious plague is corrupting the magicians of Zanhei and transforming them into monsters, and the Guardians of Dawn believe a demon is responsible.

In order to restore harmony and bring peace to the world, Zhara must discover the elemental warrior within, lest the balance between order and chaos is lost forever.

ARC

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Weiner comes a warmhearted and empowering new novel about love, family, friendship, secrets, and a life-changing journey.

Thirty-three-year-old Abby Stern has made it to a happy place. True, she still has gig jobs instead of a career, and the apartment where she’s lived since college still looks like she’s just moved in. But she’s got good friends, her bike, and her bicycling club in Philadelphia. She’s at peace with her plus-size body—at least, most of the time—and she’s on track to marry Mark Medoff, her childhood summer sweetheart, a man she met at the weight-loss camp that her perpetually dieting mother forced her to attend. Fifteen years after her final summer at Camp Golden Hills, when Abby reconnects with a half-his-size Mark, it feels like the happy ending she’s always wanted.

Yet Abby can’t escape the feeling that some­thing isn’t right…or the memories of one thrilling night she spent with a man named Sebastian two years previously. When Abby gets a last-minute invi­tation to lead a cycling trip from NYC to Niagara Falls, she’s happy to have time away from Mark, a chance to reflect and make up her mind.

But things get complicated fast. First, Abby spots a familiar face in the group—Sebastian, the one-night stand she thought she’d never see again. Sebastian is a serial dater who lives a hundred miles away. In spite of their undeniable chemistry, Abby is determined to keep her distance. Then there’s a surprise last-minute addition to the her mother, Eileen, the woman Abby blames for a lifetime of body shaming and insecurities she’s still trying to undo.

Over two weeks and more than seven hundred miles, strangers become friends, hidden truths come to light, a teenage girl with a secret unites the riders in unexpected ways…and Abby is forced to reconsider everything she believes about herself, her mother, and the nature of love.

August 2023 TBR

Books for Review:


The StoryGraph Reading Challenge books

Buzzword Reading Challenge 2023 (body-related words in title)

2023 Sami Parker Reads Title Challenge (A book that has a wild animal in the title)

Cover Scavenger Hunt 2023 (a heart)

The StoryGraph Reads the World 2023 (South Africa)

The StoryGraph Genre Challenge 2023 (a nonfiction history book about an LGBTQIA+ issue or person)

Beat the Backlist 2023 (fairy/folk tale you haven’t heard before)

Scavenger Hunt TBR Book Challenge (Find another book that has the same amount of letters as the last book and read it)

Scavenger Hunt (A book from your least favorite genre that you think you might like)

Popsugar Reading Challenge 2023 (A celebrity memoir)

2023 TBR Toppler (A book by a LGBTQIA + author)

2023 Monthly Themes (Books with a setting in Asia)

2023 Reading Challenge (Book in my least read genre)

2023 ABC Challenge (H)

Romanceopoly! (Contemporary romance with an illustrated cover)

2023 TBR Prompts (A feel good book)

June 2023 Wrap Up

Here is what I read/posted/bought in June.

As always, let me know if you have read any of these books and (if you did) what you thought of them.


Books I Read:

Kindle Purchase
ARC from Crooked Lane Books
ARC from Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Ballantine Books
ARC from St. Martin’s Press
Free Kindle Purchase
Free Kindle Purchase
ARC from St. Martin’s Press
Non-ARC from author
Free Kindle Purchase
Free Kindle Purchase
Non-ARC from author
Free Kindle Purchase
Free Kindle Purchase
ARC from St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books
ARC from St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books
ARC from St. Martin’s Press
ARC from Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Bantam
Free Kindle Purchase
Non-ARC from author
Kindle Purchase
Kindle Purchase
Kindle Unlimited Purchase
Kindle Purchase
ARC from St. Martin’s Press
Non-ARC from author
ARC from St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books
Non-ARC from author
Non-ARC from author
ARC from Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Dell
Non-ARC from author
KU Purchase
Non-ARC from author
KU Purchase
ARC from author

Books I got from NetGalley:

Invite from Atria Books
Invite from St. Martin’s Press
ARC from Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Rey
Wish Granted from Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Bantam
ARC from SMP Influencer Program
Invite from Crooked Lane Books
ARC from SMP Influencer Program
Wish granted from Soho Press, Soho Teen
Wish granted from Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Rey

Books I got from Authors/Indie Publishers:

Non ARC from author
Non-ARC from author
ARC from Author
ARC from Author
ARC from Author
Non-ARC from PubVendo

Giveaway Winners


Books Reviewed:

The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer—review here (5 stars)

Kill Your Darlings by L.E. Harper—review here (5 Stars)

Her Latent Charm by Dana C. Brentson—review here (4 stars)

The New Mother by Nora Murphy —review here (3 stars)

Skyseeker’s Princess by Miriam Verbeek—review here (4 stars)

A Clue in the Crumbs by Lucy Burdette—review coming August 8th (4 stars)

The Wind Knows My Name by Isabel Allende—review here (4 stars)

Identity by Nora Roberts—review here (4 stars)

The Girls of Summer by Katie Bishop—review here (4 stars)

The Celine Bower Story: Chronicle One by Carly Brown—review here (4 stars)

The Moonshine Messiah: A Mountaineer Mystery by Russell W. Johnson—review here (4 stars)

A Crown of Ivy and Glass by Claire Legrand—review here (4 stars)

Speak of the Devil by Rose Wilding—review here (3 stars)

A Stolen Child by Sarah Stewart Taylor—review here (4 stars)

Sally Brady’s Italian Adventure by Christina Lynch—review here (4 stars)

You Can Trust Me by Wendy Heard—review here (4 stars)

Jam Run by Russell Brooks—review here (4 stars)

How the Murder Crumbles by Debra Sennefelder—review here (3 stars)

Hotel Laguna by Nicola Harrison—review here (4 stars)

A Dream of Shadows by Peter Eliott—review here (4 stars)

What the Neighbors Saw by Melissa Adelman—review here (3 stars)

Forgive or Forget Me by Ann Einerson—review here (3 stars)

Shadowed Deliverance by Reily Garrett—review here (4 stars)

Will They or Won’t They by Ava Wilder—review here (3 stars)

Trust No One by Margaret Watson—review here (4 stars)


May:

Scavenger Hunt (a book turned into a movie/TV show you’ve seen): The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

2023 ABC Challenge (E): Ellipsis by Jacob L. White

Romancepoly 2023! (Read a book where either the cover is blue, black, or silver or it is a winter holiday book): Black Kiss by Dori Lavelle

2023 TBR Prompts (a book that has been turned into a TV series): Lovin’ on You by Fabiola Francisco

June:

Buzzword Reading Challenge 2023 (books with “other” in the title): The Other Side of Goodbye by Ben Follows

2023 Sami Parker Reads Title Challenge 2023 (a book that has the name of a month in the title): Every Day in December by Kitty Wilson

Cover Scavenger Hunt 2023 (a tree): My Dead World by Jacqueline Druga

The StoryGraph’s Onboarding Read Challenge 2023 (Read a book published in the last three years that fits your reader profile): How to Train Your Viscount by Courtney McCaskill

The StoryGraph Reads with World 2023 (Norway): Paradise Rot by Jenny Hval

The StoryGraph’s Genre Challenge 2023 (a popular science book): Factfulness by Hans Rosling

Beat the Backlist 2023 (giving an author a second chance): Spirit of Denial by Kate Danley

Scavenger Hunt TBR Book Challenge (What object did you first see on the cover of the last book. Find another book with the same object on the cover): The Bronzed Beasts by Roshani Chokshi


Books I bought*:

*Normally, there won’t be a lot of books on here. But, I am going through my Goodreads shelves and downloading any free books I am coming across from books already shelved. This is an ongoing project, and I should be done by September.

Let’s Play a Game by Lindsay Murray (free Kindle purchase)

The Girl in the Scarlet Chair by Janice Tremayne (free Kindle purchase)

How to Rope a Wild Cowboy by Anya Summers (free Kindle purchase)

Romancing the Princess by C.K. Brooke (free Kindle purchase)

My Twist of Fortune by Piper Rayne (free Kindle purchase)

Grace on the Horizon by Emma Lombard (free Kindle purchase)

A Girl with A Knife by Alina Rubin (free Kindle purchase)

Stone Heart by Katee Robert (free Kindle purchase)

Dead Draw by Layla Reyne (free Kindle purchase)

A Quest of Heroes by Morgan Rice (free Kindle purchase via BookBub)

In Her Defense by Margaret Watson (free Kindle purchase via BookBub)

Fencing You In by Cheyenne McCray (free Kindle purchase via BookBub)

Strip Search by Erin McCarthy (free Kindle purchase via BookBub)

Bad Night Stand by Elise Faber (free Kindle purchase via BookBub)

Her Morning Star by Violet Cowper (free Kindle purchase via Goodreads newsletter)

Her Venetian Beauty by Violet Cowper (free Kindle purchase via series)

Slashtag by John Cohn (free Kindle purchase via blog post)

White Lines by Tom Fowler (free Kindle purchase via BookBub)

Tempt Me at Midnight by Lauren Royal (free Kindle purchase via BookBub)

Okami by Renee Ahdieh (free Kindle purchase via series)

Danger’s Kiss by Glynnis Campbell (free Kindle purchase via BookBub)

Count Your Blessings by Sharon Sala (free Kindle purchase via series)

The Lightness of Water by Toni Cabell (free Kindle purchase via blog post)

The Final Play by Amie Knight (free Kindle purchase via BookBub)

Reckoning by Shelby Gunter (free Kindle purchase via series)

Opposites Attract by Camilla Isley (free Kindle purchase via series)

Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic by Meghan Ciana Doidge (free Kindle purchase via BookBub)

Fireball by Lainey Davis (free Kindle purchase via BookBub)

The Art of Stealing a Duke’s Heart by Ellie St. Clair (free Kindle purchase via BookBub)

Seven Sisters by M.L. Bullock (free Kindle purchase via Goodreads newsletter)

P.S. Never in a Million Years by J.S. Cooper (free Kindle purchase via BookBub)

In Too Deep by Mara Jacobs (free Kindle purchase via BookBub)

This is War by Kennedy Fox (free Kindle purchase via BookBub)

October 2022 Wrap Up

October was a busy month for me reading/writing reviews. I finally feel that I am getting back to where I was preCovid!!

Here is what I read/posted in October.

As always, let me know if you have read any of these books and (if you did) what you thought of them.


Books I Read:


Books I got from NetGalley:


Books I got from Authors/Indie Publishers:


Books Reviewed

Nightmares & Daydreams by Dominic J. Anton (review here)

The Lost Son by Aidan Lucid (review here)

The Man without Shelter by Indrajit Gara (review here)

Fleshed Out by Rob Ulitski (review here)

Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner (review here)

Steel Fear by Brandon Webb and John David Mann (review here)

The Last Huntress by Lenore Borja (review coming November 1st)

Alias Emma by Ava Glass (review coming November 2nd)

Locklands by Robert Jackson Bennett (review here)

A Broken Clock Never Boils by C.J. Weiss (review coming November 3rd)

A Sliver of Darkness by C.J. Tudor (review coming November 8th)

Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner

Publisher: Atria Books

Date of publication: May 5th, 2020

Genre: Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Chick Lit, Mystery, Romance, Contemporary, Adult, Adult Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Thriller, Mystery Thriller

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks | Alibris | Indigo | Indigo | Kobo | BetterWorldBooks

Goodreads Synopsis:

Six years after the fight that ended their friendship, Daphne Berg is shocked when Drue Cavanaugh walks back into her life, looking as lovely and successful as ever, with a massive favor to ask. Daphne hasn’t spoken one word to Drue in all this time—she doesn’t even hate-follow her ex-best friend on social media—so when Drue asks if she will be her maid-of-honor at the society wedding of the summer, Daphne is rightfully speechless.

Drue was always the one who had everything—except the ability to hold onto friends. Meanwhile, Daphne’s no longer the same self-effacing sidekick she was back in high school. She’s built a life that she loves, including a growing career as a plus-size Instagram influencer. Letting glamorous, seductive Drue back into her life is risky, but it comes with an invitation to spend a weekend in a waterfront Cape Cod mansion. When Drue begs and pleads and dangles the prospect of cute single guys, Daphne finds herself powerless as ever to resist her friend’s siren song.

A sparkling novel about the complexities of female friendship, the pitfalls of living out loud and online, and the resilience of the human heart, Big Summer is a witty, moving story about family, friendship, and figuring out what matters most.


First Line:

By the second week of September, the outer Cape was practically deserted.

Big Summer by Jennifier Weiner

I was excited when I saw that Jennifer Weiner had a new book. I had read Mrs. Everything and enjoyed it. I figured Big Summer would be just as good as Mrs. Everything, and guess what? I was right!! Big Summer was a perfect mix of mystery, thriller, and romance.

Big Summer had an interesting storyline. Daphne is an up-and-coming social influencer who has overcome body image/weight issues in high school/college. She is surprised when her ex-best friend, socialite Dru Cavanaugh, asks her to be in her wedding. Ask is not the correct word. Dru begs Daphne to come and offers to pay her. When Daphne agrees, she is immediately thrust back into the role of Dru’s best friend. But things aren’t what they seem with Dru. As the wedding draws closer, Daphne starts to see cracks in Dru’s flawless veneer. And when a murder happens the night before the wedding, Daphne is considered one of the main suspects. Can Daphne find the murderer and prove her innocence?

I liked Daphne, but she got on my nerves during the book. I liked that she had risen above the bullying and comments about her weight and turned it into something positive. But I wouldn’t say I liked that when Dru came back into her life, she immediately fell back into her old role as a sidekick. It made all that progress that she had made go down the drain. Daphne was also blind about Dru. I saw that Dru had something else up her sleeve when she begged Daphne to be in her wedding. It took Daphne until the wedding to realize that maybe Dru was using her again. Other than her willful blindness, I enjoyed Daphne’s character. She was positive, down to earth, and she knew she had come a long way from the girl she used to be.

I was not too fond of Dru as an adult and despised her as a tween/teenager. Let’s talk about Dru as a teenager first. Ever see the movie Mean Girls? She reminded me of Regina (the head of the group, The Plastics). She treated her friends, Daphne mostly, horribly. She would take pictures of kids and post them to an online burn book. She would alternately be all over Daphne or treat her like crap; there was no in-between. I did feel a little bad for her when the author revealed that her home life sucked and that she envied Daphne for her relationship with her parents. But still, it didn’t excuse what she did. Posting that video of Daphne freaking out at the club was unacceptable. Adult Dru was just as bad in my eyes. She used people to further her brand and didn’t care if it hurt them or the ones they loved. Dru was an actress who knew how to reel people in and get them to do what she wanted. She used even her ex-boyfriend (the one that Daphne found).

There are several triggers that I need to let you know about before continuing with the review. The author tackled issues such as fat shaming, online bullying, self-esteem, and body positivity in this book. The author doesn’t hold back regarding Dru’s treatment of Daphne or the video that resulted. It was raw and authentic, and unfortunately, keyboard warriors still think it’s ok to comment/make fun of another person’s weight. If any of these triggers you, I suggest not reading this book.

The main storyline, Daphne being in Dru’s wedding and the backstory of their friendship, was well written. I could see why Daphne was so taken by Dru. She was a new girl in a new school and had no friends. I also could see how Dru kept stringing Daphne along until college. When she showed up at Daphne’s nannying job and begged her to be in her wedding, I was shocked by how ballsy Dru was. And I wasn’t surprised with how that storyline ended up. What did surprise me was Daphne’s dedication to finding who and why. At that point, I would have washed my hands of everything.

The storylines with the mystery woman and the little boy were left in the air for 75% of the book. It wasn’t until Daphne was in the Cape for Dru’s wedding that the storyline got rolling again. Once it was revealed who the little boy was and how the police handled the case, I felt awful for everyone involved. I also didn’t blame the officer for telling Daphne what he did. That was the one case he couldn’t solve, and he wasn’t going to allow a 2nd case to go cold either.

The storyline with the murder didn’t start until halfway through the book. I was gut-punched at who the murder victim was and how that person died. Daphne’s reaction was typical, but I loved how she got herself together and decided to investigate the case. Being the main person of interest did have something to do with it. I was shocked at who the murderer was and was sad about the motive. That was a twist in that plotline that I didn’t see coming, and the reason was awful.

There is a romance angle that I wasn’t a big fan of. I was thrilled that Daphne hooked up with someone who liked her for who she was. But that person ghosted her after their night together. Not a great way to start a relationship. Also, figure in Instalove. Daphne was head over heels for this guy, and she didn’t even know who he was!!

The end of Big Summer felt a little rushed, but the author did a fantastic job with the reveal of the killer. She also tied up the remaining storylines and gave them all great endings.

I would recommend Big Summer to anyone over 21. There is moderate language, moderate violence, and some explicit sex scenes. Also, see my trigger warning paragraph above.


If you enjoyed Big Summer, you will enjoy reading these books:

September 2022 Wrap Up

It has been a while since I have done a monthly wrap-up. Usually, I am pressed for time (between the kids, their activities, and other life issues), and I choose not to do one. But I am making a change starting with this month. I will do a monthly wrap-up (even if it is only a couple of things).

So, here is what I read/posted in the month of September.

As always, let me know if you have read any of these books and (if you did) what you thought of them.


Books I Read:


Books I got from NetGalley


Books I got from Authors/Indie Publishers


Books Reviewed

The Diseased by S.M. Thomas (review here)

Shadowed Spirits by Reily Garrett (review here)

First Love: The Art of Making Doughnuts by Linda Budzinski, Melissa Maygrove, Sylvia Nay, Katie Klein, Michael di Gesu, Templeton Moss, S.E. White, Denise Covey, Sammi, Spizziri (review here)

Last Place Seen by Alessandra Harris (review here)

Love Secrets Lies by Teresa Vale (review here)

The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses by K.N. Smith (review here)

Owl Manor: The Dawning by Zita Harrison (review here)

Owl Manor: Abigail by Zita Harrison (review here)

Owl Manor: The Final Stroke by Zita Harrison (review here)

Bookish Travels—September 2022 Destinations

I saw this meme on It’s All About Books and thought, I like this!! So, I decided to do it once a month also. Many thanks to Yvonne for originally posting this!!

This post is what it says: Places I travel to in books each month. Books are wonderful and take you to places you would never get a chance to go. That includes places of fantasy too!!

So….enjoy!! Please let me know if you have read these books or traveled to these areas (other than the fantasy….lol).


Here’s where I traveled in September:

United States:

Jackson County, somewhere in the Midwest or South/Portland, Oregon/Chicago, Illinois/ Louisiana/ Midwest
San Jose/Napa, California
Danville Heights/Sandry Lake, Unknown state
Denver, Colorado/Chicago, Illinois/Morganton, North Carolina
Denver, Colorado/NYC, New York
Denver, Colorado
Emerald Springs, Historical West (maybe Montana??)
Hollywood, Los Angeles, California
Shadow Geirolf Pack Land, unknown state
Harleyville, unknown state
Seaton Falls, Michigan
Los Angeles, California
New York City, New York/Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Greece

Greek Islands, Santorini

Mozambique

Lourenco Marques

Portugal

Libson, Madeira

South Africa

Johannesburg, Durban

United Kingdom

London, England
St. Pirran’s Island, Cornwall, England
London/Chelsea, England

France

Marseille
Paris

North Atlantic Ocean

The Bermuda Triangle

Zargothia

Little Zargothia

Russia


Persian Gulf/Pacific Ocean

USS Abraham Lincoln, aircraft carrier

Grattiara

City State of Grattiara

Sea

Durazzo Sea

Giva

Givan Islands

WWW Wednesday: September 21st, 2022

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Personal:

This has been a week and this personal section might get a little long. So feel free to skip…lol

  • Miss R was out sick from school last week. She got so stressed over the beginning of grade testing and turning a project in that she had a panic attack (and I ended up taking her home from school). She threw up in class twice on Tuesday, the day of the BOG, and her deadline for the project. BK picked her up. I kept her home Wednesday (per the school: if you have diarrhea and throw up, you are automatically out of school for 24 hours). Thursday, she said she threw up and begged her teacher to go home (which was shot down by her teacher, myself, and BK). Same with Friday. Her anxiety about being in 3rd grade has caused her to have massive panic attacks at home, too, and I am beside myself with worry. Unfortunately, BK’s new insurance doesn’t kick in for another two weeks. But her therapist did call after hours and talk to her earlier this week, and it seemed to calm Miss R down a lot. Having a child with severe anxiety isn’t fun, and it does trigger mine (which I keep under wraps because I don’t want to stress her out even more).
  • Tony is now officially ours. He returned to the shelter on Friday to get neutered, a microchip, and his rabies vaccination. I am a little concerned with how they did the neutering. His boy bits were not shaved, and he didn’t have a shaved area for the IV. He did have two cuts on his testicle area, but again, it was hard to tell. Miss B thinks they might have gassed him (he’s small), and she might be right. But even she said that his boy bits didn’t look deflated. He’s going in for his 2nd set of kitten shots in a couple of weeks, and I will have my vet check it out then. Honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me if they didn’t do it. That shelter seems to do things half ass (or don’t hire people that care).
  • Speaking of the cats, I got a card from my vet for Vinnie (my other kitten), saying he needs to come in for vaccinations. I called and found out that the shelter only gave him a half dosage of his first kitten vaccines. My vet isn’t happy (from what I gathered, she called and gave them an earful), and I am not satisfied. But I was able to squeeze him in with Loki next week.
  • I am still waiting on the bus to pick Miss B and Mr. Z up in the morning. Miss B did complain to her principal and another administrative staff member earlier this week. From what she said, the bus driver is deciding when the kids will be picked up….which he isn’t supposed to do. Kids are being dropped off between 10-1030am (classes start at nine, and the route begins at 7:20, my kids are 2nd to be picked up), and teachers are beginning to get mad. So, we’ll see if anything changes. But, until then, I will keep dropping them off.
  • Miss R got her progress report on Friday and did very well. 100 in language arts, 98 in math, and 95 in science. The older kids don’t get progress reports (I can see their grades in real time through Powerschool).
  • I started playing a new game last week. Its called Disney’s Dreamlight Valley, and I love it!!!
  • I have been reading my eyes out and am now ahead of where I wanted to be. And I am ahead reviews also. That never happens to me, and I will enjoy it while it lasts.
  • I decided that I wasn’t going to abandon NetGalley after all. Instead, I chose to catch up on all the books I had on my Will Not Give Feedback shelf (about 68). I went through and took any books that had open archive dates or archive/publication dates in December and added them back to my TBR list. In all, I had about 12. I will start there and slowly work my way down the list.
  • I am going to add something new to this post. I am going to add “last book I purchased.

So that’s the essential things for this past week. How was your week?

As always, let me know if you have read or are planning to read any of these books!!


What I Recently Finished Reading:

Nightmares & Daydreams unravels the dark consequences of suppressing one’s innermost traumas and pain. Kalim, a 27 year old songwriter living with his boyfriend in Marseille, becomes tortured by nightmares, hallucinations and out of body experiences, as the trauma from his past starts to ripple from the depths of his subconscious. An entity starts to emerge through the fog of his tortured mind, haunting him within his nightmares.

After violent nights and dark days of suffering and relapsing into volatile vices, Kalim is forced to follow the ominous entity as his final hope for salvation. Dominic Anton’s third book and first paranormal fiction thriller further comprises a section of poetry expanding on the theme’s of addiction, trauma, loss of faith, and shedding the skin of the past.


What I am currently reading:

A NEW EPIC FANTASY ADVENTURE BEGINS!!

It’s November 5th, 1945. Captain Edward Johnson and Sergeant Conor MacCall are flying somewhere over the Bermuda Triangle. What should have been a routine patrol mission turns into a fight for their lives when they are attacked by two dragons! After barely escaping, they think the worst is over. It’s not.

Fast forward to present day America and seventeen-year-old Henry’s life is turned upside down when he finds a magical gold coin. It takes him to Zargothia. There he meets the US Airforce pilots and Jasper the cat. Together they learn that they have been chosen to free King Argoth and the people of Zargothia from a cruel oppressive race known as the Sadarkians. With King Argoth’s army being vastly outnumbered, however, will Henry and his friends succeed?

In this fast-paced fantasy adventure, danger lurks around every corner and nothing is what it seems.”


What books I think I’ll read next:

Lucy, a young lawyer, is on fast track to partnership in her firm. Arnault, a convicted felon, leaves prison after two decades through a piece of evidence in his favor. The two of them come together during a rescue operation at the centre of Paris, and then they go on with their separate lives.

Months later, their paths cross again at a camp for migrants on the edge of Paris.

Wolves, dragon shifters, and a fallen kingdom destined to rise again.

Evie Callahan is positive there’s something strange going on in Seaton Falls, her new home. The locals are bigger, stronger, and faster than most. That includes Nick, the boy next door who’s become her silver lining in this godforsaken town.

She wants to trust her instincts–about Nick, about what she suspects in Seaton Falls–but rumors of wolves and dragon shifters makes it hard to tell what’s real. With a history of odd dreams and the nagging sense that she’s never belonged, Evie fears she’s losing touch with reality. Her concern only grows when someone who’s haunted these dreams is suddenly tangible… and claims to hold the key to unlocking her true identity.

Finding out her entire life has been a lie is scary enough, but what’s downright terrifying is discovering who she’s destined to become.

Evie’s much more than your average, seventeen-year-old girl.

And this is her genesis.

D R A G O   A C E R B I

I’ve known his name a long time. You’d have to live under a rock not to know of the heartless and cruel reputation the Acerbi family has established. They are monsters cloaked in suits and ties, or so my colleagues in blue have said. Being on the job, you quickly learn to watch your back, trust no one, and as much as I hate to admit this, sometimes that includes a fellow badge.

But to want to kill your own child for being born? Now that’s monstrous. Unjust. And something I will not stand for. I’ll take him down before I allow an innocent to be harmed.

Even if that means not only taking on the most dangerous family in Southern California but bringing down the drug lord they’re in bed with too.

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the “nothing short of brilliant” (PeopleMrs. Everything returns with an unforgettable novel about friendship and forgiveness set during a disastrous wedding on picturesque Cape Cod.

Six years after the fight that ended their friendship, Daphne Berg is shocked when Drue Cavanaugh walks back into her life, looking as lovely and successful as ever, with a massive favor to ask. Daphne hasn’t spoken one word to Drue in all this time—she doesn’t even hate-follow her ex-best friend on social media—so when Drue asks if she will be her maid-of-honor at the society wedding of the summer, Daphne is rightfully speechless.

Drue was always the one who had everything—except the ability to hold onto friends. Meanwhile, Daphne’s no longer the same self-effacing sidekick she was back in high school. She’s built a life that she loves, including a growing career as a plus-size Instagram influencer. Letting glamorous, seductive Drue back into her life is risky, but it comes with an invitation to spend a weekend in a waterfront Cape Cod mansion. When Drue begs and pleads and dangles the prospect of cute single guys, Daphne finds herself powerless as ever to resist her friend’s siren song.

A sparkling novel about the complexities of female friendship, the pitfalls of living out loud and online, and the resilience of the human heart, Big Summer is a witty, moving story about family, friendship, and figuring out what matters most.


Last book I bought:

They’ve exterminated an entire bloodline, purging the world of the only creatures vampires dread. Or so they think.

Chloe used to study hard, do everything right to pave a bright future, but children sometimes have to pay for their parents’ sins, and Chloe’s tab is pretty steep.
At twenty-six, when a series of attacks forces her to seek refuge in the notorious Institute of Paranormal Studies, Chloe sees it as a second chance to achieve her goals. She believes she has nothing to lose.
She couldn’t be more mistaken.

Levi has had centuries to observe the mortals and immortals of this world. He knows what the sassy woman who entered his domain is at first glance. A relic of the old days, so ancient that even an elder lord descended from the first immortals has reason to fear her.
He should slit her throat while he has the chance.
He should.

After Darkness Falls is a series of standalone paranormal romance novels.