The Second Home: E-Arc Review

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43312830Title: The Second Home
Author: Christina Clancy
Genre: Adult Contemporary
Publication Date: June 2nd, 2020

Content Warning: Rape, Suicide

eARC provided by publisher through NetGalley.

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“After a disastrous summer spent at her family’s summer home on Cape Cod, seventeen year old Ann Gordon is left harboring a secret that changes her life forever, and creates a rift between her sister, Poppy, and their adopted brother, Michael.

Now, fifteen years later, her parents have died, and Ann and her sister Poppy are left to decide the fate of the old Wellfleet home that’s been in the Gordon family for generations. While they both love the house, they decide to sell it and move forward. But then Michael re-enters their lives with a legitimate claim to a third of the estate. He wants the house. But more than that, he wants to set the record straight about that long ago summer.

Reunited after years apart, these very different siblings are forced to decide if they can continue to be a family–and in the process, they’ll discover that the house might be the glue that holds them together.” (Goodreads)

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I wanted to like this book, I did. Family dynamics are always interesting to me and so the synopsis pulled me in. The thing is, there were just too many factors I didn’t like about it.

This review will not be spoiler-free.

The writing pulls you in and the characters start off as being very intriguing. They hold secrets. Since there are three siblings, they each have their own point-of-view. I always like more than one but some of their chapters just felt slow and a bit bland.

The plot twists/tragedy is where this book took a turn I didn’t want. The main character, Ann, is sexualized by an adult who eventually rapes her. This leads to pregnancy and then drama between the boy/ her friend that her family had adopted. The rape part had details that were very uncomfortable and had me wanting to dnf. Since this was an arc I chose to continue but should have listened to my gut because it didn’t get better.

The man who does the raping/sexualizing ultimately kills himself while Ann and his wife are in the same house discussing what happened. His wife says something along the lines of, “Oh dear, I must have forgot a gun.” Like what? Even if you didn’t love your husband is that really what you say? It just baffled me so much!

The ending didn’t really have much closure but I guess I should have known that since at 90% not much wrapping up had begun.

Overall, this book wasn’t for me and I personally wouldn’t recommend it.

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

 

Blog Tour: The Sweeney Sisters by Lian Dolan (Review)

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GflAkeaATitle: The Sweeney Sisters
Author: Lian Dolan
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publication Date: April 28th, 2020
Publisher: William Morrow

Thanks to the publisher for the free copy! (I received a copy for reviewing. All opinions are my own.)

Look out for my instagram post too!

*Click the banner for all other tour dates!*

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An accomplished storyteller returns with her biggest, boldest, most entertaining novel yet—a hilarious, heartfelt story about books, love, sisterhood, and the surprises we discover in our DNA that combines the wit of Jonathan Tropper with the heart of Susan Wiggs.

zfo_LdvgMaggie, Eliza, and Tricia Sweeney grew up as a happy threesome in the idyllic seaside town of Southport, Connecticut. But their mother’s death from cancer fifteen years ago tarnished their golden-hued memories, and the sisters drifted apart. Their one touchstone is their father, Bill Sweeney, an internationally famous literary lion and college professor universally adored by critics, publishers, and book lovers. When Bill dies unexpectedly one cool June night, his shell-shocked daughters return to their childhood home. They aren’t quite sure what the future holds without their larger-than-life father, but they do know how to throw an Irish wake to honor a man of his stature.

But as guests pay their respects and reminisce, one stranger, emboldened by whiskey, has crashed the party. It turns out that she too is a Sweeney sister.

When Washington, DC based journalist Serena Tucker had her DNA tested on a whim a few weeks earlier, she learned she had a 50% genetic match with a childhood neighbor—Maggie Sweeney of Southport, Connecticut. It seems Serena’s chilly WASP mother, Birdie, had a history with Bill Sweeney—one that has remained totally secret until now.

Once the shock wears off, questions abound. What does this mean for William’s literary legacy? Where is the unfinished memoir he’s stashed away, and what will it reveal? And how will a fourth Sweeney sister—a blond among redheads—fit into their story?

By turns revealing, insightful, and uproarious, The Sweeney Sisters is equal parts cautionary tale and celebration—a festive and heartfelt look at what truly makes a family. (Goodreads)

Amazon / B & N / Book Depository / Google / Kobo / iTunes

gv7YAdkALian Dolan is a writer and talker. She’s the author of two Los Angeles Times best-selling novels,Helen of Pasadena and Elizabeth the First Wife published by Prospect Park Books. Her next novel,The Sweeney Sisters, will be published in 2020 by William Morrow. She’s a regular humor columnist for Pasadena Magazine and has previously written monthly columns for O, The Oprah Magazine and Working Mother Magazine. She’s also written for TV, radio and websites. Lian is the producer and host of Satellite Sisters, the award-winning talk show she created with her four real sisters. On Satellite Sisters, she’s interviewed everyone from Nora Ephron to Madeleine Albright to Big Bird. Satellite Sisters began life as a syndicated radio show and is now a top-rated podcast for women. The recent book by the Satellite Sisters,You’re the Best: A Celebration of Friendship, is popular with book clubs.A popular speaker who combines humor and heart, Lian has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS Sunday Morning and The Today Show and many local TV stations. She’s been a featured speaker at the LA Times Festival of Books, the Santa Barbara Celebrity Authors Lunch, the Literary Guild of Orange County Festival of Women Authors and dozens of other events at libraries, book stores, schools and women’s organizations across the country. In 2020, she’ll be on the faculty of the Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop. Lian graduated from Pomona College with a degree in Classics. She lives in Pasadena, California with her husband, two sons and a big German shepherd.

Goodreads / Website / Twitter / Instagram / Facebook

 

reviewheaderWhat would you do if your whole world gets turned upside down? Not just because your father died but because now you have found out you have a half-sister?

For the Sweeney sisters, this is their reality.svAh8GvQ

The reason I wanted to read this one is because it is based around sisters. I have three sisters and I always enjoy reading about this type of bond. It just makes it easier to relate to the characters.

This story covers all their point-of-views told in third person. It made it easy to understand how each one was feeling when it came to the death of their father and the news about their half-sister. I also liked that we got a point-of-view from her too.

Not only are these sisters facing grief but there are so many questions they have and their lives are far from perfect when it comes to their relationships and even their jobs. Each sister is facing different things and I liked reading about each one. Some of the twists, I definitely wasn’t expecting.

There is definitely heartbreak found on the pages but there is also humor. The author does a great job of weaving the two together.

Overall, I enjoyed this one! It was just the right book to take a break from fantasy and dive back into a contemporary read.

giveaway

Win a copy of The Sweeney Sisters by Lian Dolan (US Only)

Starts April 28th, 2020 and ends May 12th, 2020

Click Here to Enter Giveaway!

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I hope you enjoyed my blog tour spot for The Sweeney Sisters by Lian Dolan! Be sure to check out the other reviews and Instagram tour!

Tour Schedule

Find me on Instagram / Goodreads

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

 

Arc Review: Body Language by Marylee MacDonald

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50635773._SY475_Title: Body Language
Author: Marylee MacDonald
Genre: Fiction / Short Stories
Publication Date: April 17th, 2020

Arc provided by publisher through BookishFirst for review. All opinions are my own.

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Life-changing moments. Impassioned encounters. Twelve stories at the crossroads of heartbreak and desire.

When a long-lost love comes knocking, a loyally wedded rancher is tempted by old passions. A bartender wrestling with sobriety is pushed to the edge by a familiar barfly. After her husband’s death, a famous composer struggles to write a single note.

From international flights to hidden grottoes and a nude beach, twelve wayward souls seek to satisfy their deepest hungers and escape their fears.

Body Language explores our often-misguided quest for happiness and connection. If you like vulnerable explorations of carnal cravings, challenging moral quandaries, and transformative self-reflection, then you’ll love these heartbreaking and unforgettable portraits of people yearning for the solace of human touch.” (Goodreads)

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Short stories can be a bit tricky to get into or even feel any emotion towards but that was not the case for this book.

The first story was the one that grasped my attention when I had a chance to read a snippet from this book before winning the copy I received. There is so much emotion and words left unsaid between the two characters. I would love a book just about those two! It deals with heavy topics and where passion could lead. Definitely quite intriguing!

There were others that I really enjoyed as well. With twelve stories it’s easy to find more than a few that get you thinking and trying to understand the characters and their decisions.

Of course with that many stories there will also be a couple that fall a bit short (no pun intended, ha). They still were a decent read and that’s another thing that is great about short stories, you don’t have to worry about continuing on for tons of pages.

Overall, it was a good read. I enjoyed getting to read snippets from each character’s life and trying to understand the emotions they may have been feeling.

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

One Week ‘Til Christmas: Mini Book Review

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47956293._SY475_Title: One Week ‘Til Christmas
Author: Belinda Missen
Genre: Contemporary/Romance
Publication Date: November 1st, 2019

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“Two people. One chance meeting. Seven days to Christmas.

Isobel Bennett is waiting for the number 11 bus when a man quite literally falls into her lap. Snow is falling, Christmas lights are twinkling, and a gorgeous man with dark brown hair has just slipped on ice and is now pressed against Isobel.

Isobel knows she’s not imagining the chemistry between them. But then his ride arrives and, embarrassed, he beats a hasty retreat, murmuring apologies – and Isobel realises only too late that she didn’t manage to catch his name…

When she runs into him again the next morning, she decides it’s fate.

It’s a second chance for Isobel and Tom – but there’s only one week until she’s leaving London for good. Seven days of enjoying all the festive delights the city has to offer: ice-skating at Somerset House, mulled wine on the Southbank, Christmas shopping at Liberty.

There’s magic in the air and mistletoe in the trees – but what will happen when the week is over?” (Goodreads)

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I wasn’t sure if I would like this because I have a love/hate with novellas. Sometimes I just need more! This was a short holiday read and it was cute. I probably could have had a bit more epilogue to know if they make it or not, haha.

As for the characters, I thought they were cute and funny together. When they realized it was the other person after the first encounter I knew where it was going but I was here for it. Their holiday dates were adorable!

Overall, If you are looking to squeeze in a short holiday read, this would be for you!

Well Met: Book Review

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43189874._SY475_Title: Well Met
Author: Jen DeLuca
Genre: Romance/Contemporary
Publication date: September 3rd, 2019

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“Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him?

The faire is Simon’s family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn’t have time for Emily’s lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she’s in her revealing wench’s costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they’re portraying?

This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can’t seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon, or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek.” (Goodreads)

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I was hoping this one would be as cute as I thought it was going to be. I did have a bit of an issue really caring for the characters up until around 35%. After that, I was hooked!

Emily is quite relatable when it comes to me. She dropped out of college, was going for an English major, and enjoys Shakespeare. That is literally me. Overall I liked her character and thought a lot of her emotions were justified throughout the book. With her bad past, I was really rooting for her to get a happy ending!

Simon on the other hand, he was like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He would do/say one thing and then do a 180. He also comes from a bad past just with different situations. I didn’t care much for him in the beginning but I couldn’t help myself from swooning during certain scenes, like him as a pirate.

The setting was one that I loved since I have always seen photos of Ren Faires but have never been to one. It was unique and made for a great plot! As for the plot, it was everything I needed and more. Enemies-to-lovers is a great trope and I think this book did it justice.

Overall, this book had me giddy and I couldn’t help but smile (My husband probably thought I was being a weirdo but no shame here). I would love to see what the future has in store for Simon and Emily. Also, this would make a great movie and I think it needs to be made into one!

Recently Acquired: The Worst Best Man

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Hello Lovely Bookworms!

I am here with another eARC from NetGalley! This book is one that I requested last week and was approved today for. As you may know, I have been diving into the Romance genre. I will say that I do not like ones that are super steamy because honestly, I just don’t like those scenes. I tend to skip them because they make me giggle, haha.

Although this one uses the word steamy in the synopsis, I had to request it because it just sounds like a great read! Hopefully, it will be everything I think it will be.

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43801254Synopsis:

A wedding planner left at the altar. Yeah, the irony isn’t lost on Carolina Santos, either. But despite that embarrassing blip from her past, Lina’s managed to make other people’s dreams come true as a top-tier wedding coordinator in DC. After impressing an influential guest, she’s offered an opportunity that could change her life. There’s just one hitch… she has to collaborate with the best (make that worst) man from her own failed nuptials.

Tired of living in his older brother’s shadow, marketing expert Max Hartley is determined to make his mark with a coveted hotel client looking to expand its brand. Then he learns he’ll be working with his brother’s whip-smart, stunning—absolutely off-limits—ex-fiancée. And she loathes him.

If they can survive the next few weeks and nail their presentation without killing each other, they’ll both come out ahead. Except Max has been public enemy number one ever since he encouraged his brother to jilt the bride, and Lina’s ready to dish out a little payback of her own.

But even the best laid plans can go awry, and soon Lina and Max discover animosity may not be the only emotion creating sparks between them. Still, this star-crossed couple can never be more than temporary playmates because Lina isn’t interested in falling in love and Max refuses to play runner-up to his brother ever again…” (NetGalley)

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What do you think of this one? Does it pique your interest? Let me know in the comments!

Find me on Instagram / Goodreads

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Want to Read Before I See the Movie

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018.

Today’s prompt is a freebie as long as it deals with books and movies. So, since I have done one about bad adaptions I thought this time I would talk about movies I haven’t seen that I want to read the books for first!

39939417.jpg1.) I have been wanting to read Five Feet Apart but I just keep pushing it off. I was planning to see the movie while visiting family but never got around to it so it still makes the list!

18158562.jpg2.) Crazy Rich Asians seems hilarious and cute but again, haven’t found the time to do it. I think since I am in a reading slump I may stay clear of fantasy right now and read a contemporary in hopes it helps. Maybe my library will have this one available.

186924313.) Everything Everything has been out for awhile but as usual I am always behind! It seems like a great movie and one that I need to get sooner than later!

That’s it for my list today! Is there any books you need to read before you see the movie? Let me know in the comments!

Nick and June Were Here: NetGalley Review

28147081Title: Nick and June Were Here
Author: Shalanda Stanely
Publication Date: February 12th, 2019
Rating: 3 stars

eARC provided by publisher through NetGalley

->Click for Synopsis<-

Nick and June Were Here is about two teenagers in love trying to stay afloat when their both faced with harsh reality. June has always been the good one and figuring out her plans for college while Nick has had a rough life since his mother left and his dad is in jail for the same thing he is doing now. Both are opposites but love makes you do questionable things as they set off on an adventure together.

I enjoyed the plot of the book and how it touched on mental illness which can be a hard subject at times. The characters were unique in their own way but I didn’t feel as though I connected with them on a deeper level. The relationship between Nick and June was one thing that kept me going. Every step of the way, Nick wanted what was best for her and even when he does put her in danger he has the courage to realize it and make a decision that changes his life.

Her writing style was great and I loved how the chapters were split by point of views, Nick or June. It’s nice when you can get into the head of multiple characters too see why they would make decisions especially in this book which is full of them. I can’t say I was a fan of the ending because I am one that needs more closure but overall it was a decent tie up.

Although the characters lacked a bit for me, it was a decent read and didn’t take long to finish. If you like contemporaries then give this book a try!

The Sisterhood: NetGalley Review

40378292Title: The Sisterhood
Author: A.J. Grainger
Publication Date: February 12th, 2019
Rating: 3.5 stars

eARC provided by publisher through NetGalley

->Click for Synopsis<-

The Sisterhood follows a young seventeen-year-old named Lil who is desperately holding on to the hope that her sister, Mella, will come back after she disappeared. One night, Lil almost hits a young girl in the road who is running from something or someone. Could she be the key to finding her sister?

This book took me for a ride! The plot is nothing short of intriguing as we learn about a cult and the secrets of those that belong to it. Cults always add a spooky factor to any book and her writing of this cult did not disappoint. I enjoyed the chapters being broken up by point of views, where one is the perspective of Lil and the other as someone in the cult. It adds to the intensity and had me finishing this book in one sitting.

Even though I liked the characters, I didn’t feel connected to them. They didn’t have any unique qualities about them. I was more drawn to the ones in the cult than Lil. With that said, I think the book could have also used more context on why this cult existed.

Overall, I wasn’t too unhappy with the book as it did keep me engaged. Her writing is wonderful and combined with the plot it has a way of drawing you in. If you like contemporary thrillers or just a fan of cults, give this book a try!

A Danger to Herself and Others: A NetGalley Review

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I really enjoyed this young adult book and didn’t know what to expect going in. I gave it 4 of 5 stars and I will tell you why. I will add a courtesy warning that this book does involve mental illness and a small scene of someone hurting them self.

Click for Synopsis

A Danger to Herself and Others by Alyssa Sheinmel follows a high school senior named Hannah through her stay at a mental health facility due to an accident that occurred with her roommate at  a summer school program. Hannah doesn’t understand why she has been placed here and hopes that her new roommate, Lucy, at the facility can help uncover the truth.

I do not have a mental illness so I cannot speak for those who do and have been in such a situation but I really liked how this book shows Hannah’s stay, her treatment, and the way she tries to cope with everything that is going on. I also liked how the author portrays her mental illness in the book because you almost feel like you are right there with the main character figuring out what is true and what is false. Nothing was obvious and I was surprised and intrigued all the way through.

One thing I didn’t like was the ending. It was left off without closure. Her parents struggle with their daughter’s diagnosis and they were never really close but it would have been nice to see if they ever managed to cope with it and if Hannah ever found some form of closure or acceptance with it as well.

Overall, this was a great book and I would recommend it to anyone who likes contemporary thrillers. A Danger to Herself and Others is expected to be published February 5th, 2019.

Thank you NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for this digital copy.