Bookish Travels—January 2023 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 initially posting this!!

This post is what it says: Places I travel to in books each month. Books are lovely 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).


Panem

District 12, Capitol

United States

Florida
Ohio (Chestnut)
Maine (Dearmont)
New York (New York City, upstate New York)
Crooked Tree (unknown state)
New York (Willow Cove)
Massachusetts (Boston, Riverton)
Massachusetts (Pittsfield, Boston, Amherst)
Florida (The Everglades)
California (Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Pasadena, Studio City)
Texas (Houston)
North Carolina (Raleigh)
Washington D.C.
Massachusetts (Coventry)
California (San Verde)
Wisconsin (Fontana, Lake Geneva)
Florida (Accident)
Colorado (Last Word)
Washington (North Bend, San Juan Islands, Seattle), Montana
Illinois (Chicago)
Pennsylvania (Johnston)
Iowa (Ames, Sibley), Minnesota, South Carolina (Columbia),
Alabama (Summerland, Hell), New York (New York City)
Illinois (Chicago), New York (New York City), Montana

Ljosland

Hrafnsvik

Japan

Tokyo

Guatemala

Guatemala City

France

Limoges, Perigueux
Giverny

Scotland

Edinburgh
Edinburgh, North Berwick

England

Hull
London
Bellehaven Bay, Regency London
Essex, London, Kent

India

Delhi, Kanpur, Calcutta, Brahmapur

Argentina


Italy

Ostia, Padua, Port of Civitavecchia, Palmro, Sicily, Florence, Rome, Milan, Pompeii, Amalfi, Tropea

Hungary

Budapest

Slovenia

Ljubijana

Germany

Berlin

Austria

Vienna

Bookish Travels—December 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 initially posting this!!

This post is what it says: Places I travel to in books each month. Books are lovely 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).


Scotland

Loyal (Village), Island of Altnaharra

India

Geeta’s unnamed village, Kohra

United States

Texas (Houston)
Kentucky (Brownsville–past + present)
California (San Francisco)
California
Connecticut (Hastings)
Georgia (Atlanta), Florida (Silver Bay, Varnedoe)
New York (Newborn City)
Arizona (Flagstaff, Sedona), Wyoming (Yellowstone National Park), California (Los Angeles, Encino, Westwood, Aladorio), Georgia (Athens), Nevada (Franklin Lake, Sierra Nevada Mountains), Utah (Salt Lake City), Indiana
Portents
Unknown City/State
Nevada (East Las Vegas)
Minnesota (unnamed domed city, G-town)
Arizona (Flagstaff)
California (Los Angeles)
Ohio (Columbus), Colorado (Telluride)
Arizona (Tucson, Dove Valley)
New York (New York City)

Agartha

Mount Olympus, River Styx, Hades (the Underworld)

Italy

Rome (Ancient)
Florence, Tuscany

Silver Empire

Argon (Argentium), Straits of Anthelos, Haddon Bay

Samud

Western Reach

Theria


Nelfydia


Vespia


Canada


England

Victorian London
Cornwall (Penry)
Derbyshire (Leacroft)
London

Australia

New South Wales

France

Paris
Villon-sur-Sarthe, Le Mans, Paris

Marsyas

Marsyas Island

Before You Knew My Name by Jacqueline Bublitz

Publisher: Atria Books, Atria/Emily Bestler Books

Date of publication: November 1st, 2022

Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Crime, Thriller, Mystery Thriller, Contemporary, Adult, Book Club, Feminism, New York

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

Goodreads Synopsis:

This is not just another novel about a dead girl. Two women—one alive, one dead—are brought together in the dark underbelly of New York City to solve a tragic murder.

When she arrived in New York on her eighteenth birthday carrying nothing but $600 cash and a stolen camera, Alice Lee was looking for a fresh start. Now, just one month later, she is the city’s latest Jane Doe. She may be dead but that doesn’t mean her story is over.

Meanwhile, Ruby Jones is also trying to reinvent herself. After travelling halfway around the world, she’s lonelier than ever in the Big Apple. Until she stumbles upon a woman’s body by the Hudson River, and suddenly finds herself unbreakably tied to the unknown dead woman.

Alice is sure Ruby is the key to solving the mystery of her short life and tragic death. Ruby just wants to forget what she saw…but she can’t seem to stop thinking about the young woman she found. If she keeps looking, can she give this unidentified Jane Doe the ending and closure she deserves?

A “heartbreaking, beautiful, and hugely important novel” (Rosie Walsh, New York Times bestselling author), Before You Knew My Name doesn’t just wonder whodunnit—it also asks who was she? And what did she leave behind?


First Line:

You will already have an idea of me. There are enough of us dead girls out there.

Before You Knew My Name by Jacqueline Bublitz

I am a huge true crime junkie. I listen to various podcasts, watch ID Discover, and read fictional mysteries/suspense/thrillers. So, when I got the Before You Knew My Name invite, I accepted it. No hesitation, I downloaded this book to my Kindle in record time. I am glad I did because I enjoyed reading this book a lot.

Before You Knew My Name was an exciting book. This was the story of Alice, an eighteen-year-old girl from Wisconsin who had traveled to New York City. Alice was murdered and left for dead on a rocky pier. She is determined to help the woman who discovered her, Ruby, find her murderer and get justice. But this is also the story of Ruby. Ruby, from Australia, had been stuck in a rut for a while when she decided she needed a new start. And for her, it means traveling to New York City. But Ruby is the one who discovers Alice’s body, and Ruby is the one who pushes the police for answers. Will Ruby find herself in New York City? Will Alice get her justice?

There are trigger warnings in this book. The trigger warning is underage sexual contact/situations, cheating, mentions of sexual abuse, suicide, child abuse, and drinking. If any of these trigger you, I suggest not reading this book.

Before You Knew My Name was a medium-fast-paced book set in New York City. It starts fast, slows down in the middle of the book, and then picks up towards the end. The pacing was perfect for this book. Any faster, and I would have had an issue keeping up. Any slower, and the book would have dragged.

I wasn’t sure what to make of Alice and Ruby when they were both introduced. Alice seemed like an unreliable narrator. At the beginning of her story, she glossed over a lot. Ruby was a hot mess, and you know what? I related to her.

  • Alice— As I mentioned above, I wasn’t too sure about Alice at the beginning of her storyline. She was very unreliable and kept glossing over her earlier years. But, as the book went on and she opened up about her life pre-New York City, I started to like her. I did think she was too trusting (mainly with Noah, but he ended up being a teddy bear). When the killer killed her, it did hit me hard. I was a freaking mess. Then I got mad and hoped the police would catch the killer soon.
  • Ruby—I liked her right from the beginning. She was a hot mess but relatable (as I described above). I wasn’t that shocked that she up and left Melbourne. She needed a new start. But her fresh start didn’t exactly go as planned when she found Alice. I loved how her character grew after finding Alice. She became almost obsessed with finding the killer, and she did have a great support system (a found family) in New York. My only quibble with her was Ash. He was like a drug to her, and she needed to let him go.

There were many memorable secondary characters in Before You Knew My Name. They each brought added depth to the plotline. There were some that I wished had more book time (Noah and Tina were two), and others (like Alice’s teacher/lover) needed less book time.

Before You Knew My Name was a combination of mystery and thriller. It fits perfectly into those genres. I think there could have been a tad more thriller, but that’s just me.

Alice’s storyline was poignant. But it also made me unbelievably mad during some parts. Alice had some awful things happen to her, but she dealt with them with a grace that I know I wouldn’t have had. But, once she arrived in New York with that camera and found Noah, she turned into a different girl. She began to see a future. And that is what made me so unbelievably angry when she was murdered. The killer snuffed out her light too soon.

Ruby’s storyline was just as poignant but in a different way. She needed a change. She was stagnating in her life in Australia. So, her going to New York City and starting over was good. And, in a way, finding Alice’s body was a good thing too. Because if she didn’t, she would have never gone to the support group. She would have never met Lennie, and she would have never joined The Death Club. She also would have never met Josh, Susan, or even Noah.

The storyline with Alice’s killer was interesting. The author kept his identity and motive under wraps until almost the end of the book. Ruby had a hand leading the detectives to him when she remembered something crucial about the night she found Alice.

The end of Before You Knew My Name was poignant. The author was able to merge all the storylines, and she ended them in a way that tugged at my heartstrings. From beginning to end, this book will make you think about all the John and Jane Does out there.

Three Reasons You Should Read Before You Knew My Name:

  1. It was a true mystery. The author kept Alice’s killer under wraps until the end.
  2. The book had a great pace to it. It made reading and keeping track of the different storylines very easy.
  3. The characters were very relatable.

Three Reasons You Shouldn’t Read Before You Knew My Name:

  1. The trigger warnings.
  2. Alice being murdered. I was so angry about that (even though I knew it would happen).
  3. Ruby being a hot mess.

I would recommend Before You Knew My Name to anyone over 21. There is language, nongraphic sexual content, and violence. Also, see my trigger warnings.


If you enjoyed reading Before You Knew My Name, you will enjoy reading these books:

Bookish Travels—November 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).


United States:

New York (Brooklyn), Louisiana (New Orleans)
New York (New York City), Texas (College Station, Bryan), North Carolina (Raleigh), Washington D.C.,
California (Los Angeles)
Colorado
California (Orange County)
Georgia (Atlanta), Alabama (Birmingham)
Utah (Salt Lake City, Hill AFB), New York (Long Island, Manhattan, New York City), New Jersey (Glenn Rock), California (San Francisco, Lake Tahoe), Washington (Seattle), Missouri (Branson), Michigan (Detroit, Ann Arbor), Florida (Tampa), Ohio (Columbus), New Mexico (Albuquerque)
Alabama, Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, Pittsburg), New York (New York City), Washington (Seattle)
New York
New York (Long Island, Lake Ronkonkoma), New Mexico (Los Alamos)
North Carolina (Asheville)
California (Los Angeles), Georgia (Atlanta, Isle of Hope, Savannah, Beaufort)
New York (New York City, Manhattan)
California (Berkeley)
Vermont (Lake Salem), New Hampshire, Connecticut (Hartford, Mercy Hills)
Nevada (Las Vegas)
New York City, New York
New York (New York City), Wisconsin

The Netherlands

Rotterdam

France

Strasbourg, Southern France, Paris
Paris

Brazil

Brasília

Switzerland

Geneva, Zürich

Ireland

Dublin

Belgium

Brussels

Russia

St. Petersburg
Vladimir, Murimstevo Castle
Lake Chebarkul

Italy

Monferrato, Naples
Orvieto, Rome
Naples and Capri
Venice

Norway

Bergen, Borgefjell

Poland

Krakow

Canada

Syn Island
Prince Edward Island (Georgetown), Quebec

Japan

Tokyo, Mako Island, Tomo Island

Australia

Australian Coast, Lord Howe Island
Cairns
Melbourne

Uganda


Ignisia

Forest of Ghosts (Flamehaven),

Germany

Lindenmuhle

Spain

Granada, Carboneras, Barcelona, Cantabrian Mountains (Torre Cerredo), City of Lights (fictional)

England

Regency London
1970’s London
Cambridge
London, Reading
Little Hanting, Cumbria (Carlisle)

Outer Space

Mars (Carson), Eden

Khazinth


Rynne


Avenlor

Dagor, Gammod-Dhol

Mor


Antarctic

South Georgia Island

New Zealand

Akaroa
Christchurch

Ilarius

Capital

Belarus

Minsk

Madly (New York: Book 2) by Ruthie Knox

Madly (New York, #2)

Title: Madly

Author: Ruthie Knox

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept

Date of publication: March 14th, 2017

Genre: Romance

Number of pages: 273

POV: 3rd person

Series: New York

Truly – Book 1

Madly – Book 2

Completely – Book 3 (expected publication date: June 20th, 2017)

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

An impulsive trip to New York City, a heartthrob from London, and a scandalous to-do list turn a small-town girl’s life upside down in this sultry romance from the New York Times bestselling author of Truly and About Last Night.

Allie Fredericks isn’t supposed to be in Manhattan, hiding in the darkest corner of a hip bar, spying on her own mother—who’s flirting with a man who’s definitely not Allie’s father. Allie’s supposed to be in Wisconsin, planning her parents’ milestone anniversary party. Then Winston Chamberlain walks through the door, with his tailored suit, British accent, and gorgeous eyes, and Allie’s strange mission goes truly sideways.

Winston doesn’t do messy. But after a pretty stranger ropes him into her ridiculous family drama with a fake kiss that gets a little too real, he finds out that messy can be fun. Maybe even a little addicting. And as the night grows longer, Allie and Winston make a list of other wild things they could do together—and what seems like a mismatch leads to a genuine connection. But can their relationship survive as their real lives implode just outside the bedroom door?

My review:

I really didn’t know what to think of Madly during the first few chapters. The whole premise of the book, Allie goes to New York to find her mother and ends up meeting a hot Brit, had been done before. But I liked the spin that the author gave to the storyline. Winston and Allie, after having bonding in a bar while spying on her mother and her mother’s “friend”, decide to make a naughty list. The list included everything from a simple 30-second hug to anal sex to mutual masturbation to stexting to mind-blowing, feelings involved sex. Just acting out the list would have made a great read for me. But the author decided to make Allie and Winston human and that is what sold the book for me.

I actually felt bad for Allie. She always felt that she was the outsider and when she found out that she was the result of an affair that her mother had, the bottom of her world dropped out. I can’t even imagine being told that. It must have been awful finding that out and it must have been awful to keep it a secret from her sister, May. I can understand the anger she had towards her mother and I can understand why she went after her to drag her to her wedding anniversary.  I can even understand why she was in disguise, spying on her mother.  She was hurt and trying her best to get her family back together.

Let’s talk about Allie’s ex-boyfriend, Matt. OMG, he was the biggest pain in the butt in the entire book. Honestly, I think Allie should have had the personal boundary talk way before she did. The guy was a borderline stalker.

Winston, I really wasn’t too sure of at first. He came across as stiff and he really didn’t know what to think of Allie (which I didn’t either). But he really grew on me when he was Allie’s mailman and when he agreed to make that list with Allie. What really cinched it for me was his love for his daughter (who, I loved). He moved from London to New York City to make sure she had a parent nearby. Which was pretty awesome. I also liked how honest he was with Allie about his first marriage, his divorce and how he almost ruined his relationship with his brother.

The sex scenes between Winston and Allie were alright. Nothing spectacular and to be honest, I thought Allie talked, a lot. Not that I don’t mind a chatty character but when you are doing the nasty, shush!! LOL.

Like I said above, what really sold the book for me was that Winston and Allie were human. They didn’t have perfect bodies and they were very honest about not having feelings for each other. Well until they developed feelings, but that is a whole different story.

The storyline with her mother did take a very surprising turn. Actually, it was something that I didn’t see coming and looking back on it, made sense.

The end of the book was great and I liked that while Allie and Winston admitted their feelings towards each other, they didn’t jump to move in with each other. Actually, I think they were going to do a long distance relationship. We’ll have to see in the next book what happens!!

How many stars will I give Madly: 4

Why: I actually really enjoyed reading this book. It focused more on the getting to know each other part of the relationship than the sexual part. Which was perfect for me because sometimes I need to read a book like that. Where sex is there but not really mentioned and the hero/heroine get to know each other first before actually bumping uglies.

Will I reread: yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Adult

Why: Sex and language

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

Faithful by Alice Hoffman

Faithful: A Novel by [Hoffman, Alice]

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Date of publication: February 9th, 2017

Genre: Contemporary, Magical Realism, Coming of Age, New York

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible |Apple Books |WorldCat

Goodreads synopsis:

Growing up on Long Island, Shelby Richmond is an ordinary girl until one night an extraordinary tragedy changes her fate. Her best friend’s future is destroyed in an accident, while Shelby walks away with the burden of guilt.

What happens when a life is turned inside out? When love is something so distant it may as well be a star in the sky? Faithful is the story of a survivor, filled with emotion—from dark suffering to true happiness—a moving portrait of a young woman finding her way in the modern world. A fan of Chinese food, dogs, bookstores, and men she should stay away from, Shelby has to fight her way back to her own future. In New York City she finds a circle of lost and found souls—including an angel who’s been watching over her ever since that fateful icy night.

Here is a character you will fall in love with, so believable and real and endearing, that she captures both the ache of loneliness and the joy of finding yourself at last. For anyone who’s ever been a hurt teenager, for every mother of a daughter who has lost her way, Faithful is a roadmap.


I cried while reading this book. I, unemotional as a rock, cried while reading this book. The heartbreak that is portrayed is mind-numbing. But what rose from the ashes….well, that was something special.

The writing was fantastic. I love a story that draws you in and makes you feel for the character, and this one does. I felt for Shelby. She was broken, and she managed to piece herself together. Not perfect, but perfect for her right then.

The ending wasn’t what I expected, but it went well with the book.


If you enjoyed reading Faithful, you will enjoy reading these books: