January Reads and Reviews

Tell all ya friends and neighbors!

New year, new month for this month’s mini book reviews!

graphic of book covers that says January reads

BOOKS

January Reads and Rapid Reviews

The House Across the Lake – Riley Sager

Amazon rating: 4 stars

Goodreads rating: 3.59 stars

How I read it: Audiobook

Read if you like:

  • Psychological suspense
  • Unpredictable narrator
  • Atmospheric thrillers

What I loved: 

What I didn’t love: Not a short read

Book Blurb

Casey Fletcher, a recently widowed actress trying to escape a streak of bad press, has retreated to the peace and quiet of her family’s lake house in Vermont. Armed with a pair of binoculars and several bottles of bourbon, she passes the time watching Tom and Katherine Royce, the glamorous couple living in the house across the lake. They make for good viewing—a tech innovator, Tom is powerful; and a former model, Katherine is gorgeous.

One day on the lake, Casey saves Katherine from drowning, and the two strike up a budding friendship. But the more they get to know each other—and the longer Casey watches—it becomes clear that Katherine and Tom’s marriage isn’t as perfect as it appears. When Katherine suddenly vanishes, Casey immediately suspects Tom of foul play. What she doesn’t realize is that there’s more to the story than meets the eye—and that shocking secrets can lurk beneath the most placid of surfaces.
 
Packed with sharp characters, psychological suspense, and gasp-worthy plot twists, Riley Sager’s The House Across the Lake is the ultimate escapist read . . . no lake house required.

My thoughts

seems to be what woman in the window wishes it could be

My rating

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Personal Assistant – Kimberly Belle

Amazon rating: 4 stars

Goodreads rating: 3.62 stars

How I read it: Audiobook

Read if you like:

  • Psychological suspense
  • Domestic thrillers
  • Multiple POV

What I loved: Multiple POV, fast paced

What I didn’t love: Somewhat predictable

Book Blurb

When Alex first began posting unscripted family moments and motivational messages online, she had no intention of becoming an influencer. Overnight it seemed she’d amassed a huge following, and her hobby became a full-time job—one that was impossible to manage without her sharp-as-a-tack personal assistant, AC.

But all the good-will of her followers turns toxic when one controversial post goes viral in the worst possible way. Alex reaches out to AC for damage control, but her assistant has gone silent. This young woman Alex trusted with all her secrets, who had access to her personal information and front row seats to the pressure points in her marriage and family life, is now missing and the police are looking to Alex and her husband for answers. As Alex digs into AC’s identity – and a woman is found murdered – she’ll find the greatest threat isn’t online, but in her own living room.

Written in alternating perspectives between Alex, her husband, and the mysterious AC, this juicy cat and mouse story will keep you guessing till the very end.

My thoughts

This was easily bingeable and action packed from the jump.

It had a lot of twists in it which kept me interested, but it did seem a bit predictable and a touch overly dramatic in parts. Overall, I did really enjoy it and I am a sucker for multiple POV.

My rating

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Nothing More To Tell – Karen McManus

Amazon rating: 4.5 stars

Goodreads rating: 3.98 stars

How I read it: Audiobook

Read if you like:

  • YA
  • Dark academia
  • Tons of plot twists

What I loved: Bingeable, has one of my favorite audiobook narrators

What I didn’t love: Teen dramaaaaaa

Book Blurb

Four years ago, Brynn left Saint Ambrose School following the shocking murder of her favorite teacher—a story that made headlines after the teacher’s body was found by three Saint Ambrose students in the woods behind their school. The case was never solved. Now that Brynn is moving home and starting her dream internship at a true-crime show, she’s determined to find out what really happened. 

The kids who found Mr. Larkin are her way in, and her ex–best friend, Tripp Talbot, was one of them. Without his account of events, the other two kids might have gone down for Mr. Larkin’s murder—but instead, thanks to Tripp, they’re now at the top of the Saint Ambrose social pyramid. Tripp’s friends have never forgotten what Tripp did for them that day, and neither has he. Just like he hasn’t forgotten that everything he told the police was a lie.

Digging into the past is bound to shake up the present, and when Brynn begins to investigate what happened in the woods that day, she uncovers secrets that might change everything—about Saint Ambrose, about Mr. Larkin, and about her ex-best friend, Tripp Talbot.

Four years ago someone got away with murder. More terrifying is that they might be closer than anyone thinks.

My thoughts

Lawwwwd, y’all I think I am officially too old for YA. I keep trying them because they always have really good reviews but this was just not it for me.

This read very VERY similar to the other YA book I have read recently, A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, which I also didn’t love.

I think if I were in this age range, I might like this because it would feel more realistic, but bro, the girl’s UNCLE was 24.

I’m 36.

It just wasn’t my cup of tea, although the plot twists did really have me guessing so I’m not too mad at it.

My rating

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Two Girls Down – Louisa Luna

woman's hand holding two girls down book in front of black bookshelves

Amazon rating: 4.5 stars

Goodreads rating: 3.86 stars

How I read it: Physical copy (borrowed from my local library)

Read if you like:

  • Private Investigator/Cop thrillers

What I loved: Not a super predictable read

What I didn’t love: A bit too slow paced for me, seemed to drag on, SO MANY characters to keep up with

Book Blurb

When two young sisters, Kylie and Bailey Brandt, disappear from a strip mall parking lot in a small Pennsylvania town, their devastated family hires an enigmatic bounty hunter from California, Alice Vega, to do what the authorities cannot. Immediately shut out by a local police department already stretched thin by budget cuts and the growing OxyContin and meth epidemics, Vega enlists the help of a disgraced former cop, Max Caplan, to cut through the local politics.

With little to go on, Vega and Cap will go to extraordinary lengths to untangle a complex web of lies, false leads, and dangerous relationships to locate both girls before time runs out and the girls are gone forever.

My thoughts

I really liked this in the beginning and then it just seemed to slow way down.

I also usually don’t really care for books that have a PI or something similar to an FBI profiler because it reads like a Law and Order episode and I would much rather have that be something I watch rather than read.

This was okay, but I feel like the longer the book went on, the more it drug on and then they kept just introducing more and more characters and it got very hard to follow.

It wasn’t nearly as good as I wanted it to be.

My rating

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Silent Patient – Alex Michaelides

woman's hand holding the silent patient by Alex Michaelides book

Amazon rating: 4.5 stars

Goodreads rating: 4.1 stars

How I read it: Physical copy

Read if you like:

  • Psychological suspense
  • Super fast paced
  • Short chapters

What I loved: 2-3 page long chapters made this an INCREDIBLY fast paced easy read

What I didn’t love: I still called the twist

Book Blurb

Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations―a search for the truth that threatens to consume him….

My thoughts

I wanted this to be my first official physical copy read of the 2023 year and I’m so glad it was.

This had everything I want in a thriller – psychological suspense, incredibly fast past and amazingly short chapters!

I gotta say – I wasn’t able to entirely guess the twist because the end was SO wild, but I *was* able to guess a big part of it, but it did not at all take away from the thrill I got from reading this bad boy.

My rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Home Before Dark – Riley Sager

Amazon rating: 4.5 stars

Goodreads rating: 4 stars

How I read it: Audiobook

Read if you like:

  • Horror
  • Paranormal
  • Haunted house trope
  • Creepy atmospheric vibes

Content warning: SO MANY SNAKES

What I loved: When it was over

What I didn’t love: SNAKES

Book Blurb

Every house has a story to tell and a secret to share.

Twenty-five years ago, Maggie Holt and her parents moved into Baneberry Hall, a rambling Victorian estate in the Vermont woods. Three weeks later they fled in the dead of night, an ordeal her father recounted in a memoir called House of Horrors. His story of supernatural happenings and malevolent spirits became a worldwide phenomenon, rivaling The Amityville Horror in popularity—and skepticism.

Maggie was too young to remember any of the horrific events that supposedly took place, and as an adult she doesn’t believe a word of her father’s claims. Ghosts, after all, don’t exist. When she inherits Baneberry Hall after his death and returns to renovate the place and sell it, her homecoming is anything but warm. The locals aren’t thrilled that their small town has been made infamous, and human characters with starring roles in House of Horrors are waiting in the shadows.
 
Even more unnerving is Baneberry Hall itself—a place where unsettling whispers of the past lurk around every corner. And as Maggie starts to experience strange occurrences ripped from the pages of her father’s book, the truth she uncovers about the house’s dark history will challenge everything she believes.

My thoughts

You can’t always go off of other people’s reviews, and this book is proof.

I bumped it up on my TBR because I saw someone RAVE about how amazing and incredible this book was. Since I had read a couple Riley’s and needed an audiobook, I checked it out since it was available with no wait fom my library.

I do my best not to give spoilers, but I HATED this. After I read it, I immediately went and removed the other books I had on my TBR from him because I have no desire to read anything else he writes.

Most of his stuff has paranormal aspects, but this read like an actual horror film and I HATE horror films.

The story was good and compelling, which is why I rated it where I did and why I powered through to finish but when I say it gave me nightmares, I’m not lying.

My rating

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Layla – Colleen Hoover

kindle laying on white and brown bedding with Layla cover on it

*Available on Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon rating: 4 stars

Goodreads rating: 3.7 stars

How I read it: Kindle

Read if you like:

  • Mid level spice
  • Paranormal
  • Romantic suspense

What I loved: The story was okay

What I didn’t love: It just gave off real big WTF vibes the entire time

Book Blurb

When Leeds meets Layla, he’s convinced he’ll spend the rest of his life with her—until an unexpected attack leaves Layla fighting for her life. After weeks in the hospital, Layla recovers physically, but the emotional and mental scarring has altered the woman Leeds fell in love with. In order to put their relationship back on track, Leeds whisks Layla away to the bed-and-breakfast where they first met. Once they arrive, Layla’s behavior takes a bizarre turn. And that’s just one of many inexplicable occurrences.

Feeling distant from Layla, Leeds soon finds solace in Willow—another guest of the B&B with whom he forms a connection through their shared concerns. As his curiosity for Willow grows, his decision to help her find answers puts him in direct conflict with Layla’s well-being. Leeds soon realizes he has to make a choice because he can’t help both of them. But if he makes the wrong choice, it could be detrimental for all of them.

My thoughts

I read this alongside Home Before Dark so I was reading 2 ghost stories and didn’t even mean to.

This was….so hard to describe. Again, I don’t want to give it away but I can not emphasize how many times I said “WTF am I even reading right now?” both in my head and out loud.

The storyline was okay and it didn’t feel “spooky” like Riley Sager’s book, but it was still just super weird.

My rating

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

It Happened One Summer – Tessa Bailey

Amazon rating: 4.5 stars

Goodreads rating: 4 stars

How I read it: Audiobook

Read if you like:

  • Spice
  • Romcom
  • Schitt’s Creek
  • Enemies to lovers

What I loved: I read a lot of this in Alexis Rose’s voice

What I didn’t love: Longer chapters

Book Blurb

Piper Bellinger is fashionable, influential, and her reputation as a wild child means the paparazzi are constantly on her heels. When too much champagne and an out-of-control rooftop party lands Piper in the slammer, her stepfather decides enough is enough. So he cuts her off, and sends Piper and her sister to learn some responsibility running their late father’s dive bar… in Washington.

Piper hasn’t even been in Westport for five minutes when she meets big, bearded sea captain Brendan, who thinks she won’t last a week outside of Beverly Hills. So what if Piper can’t do math, and the idea of sleeping in a shabby apartment with bunk beds gives her hives. How bad could it really be? She’s determined to show her stepfather—and the hot, grumpy local—that she’s more than a pretty face.

Except it’s a small town and everywhere she turns, she bumps into Brendan. The fun-loving socialite and the gruff fisherman are polar opposites, but there’s an undeniable attraction simmering between them. Piper doesn’t want any distractions, especially feelings for a man who sails off into the sunset for weeks at a time. Yet as she reconnects with her past and begins to feel at home in Westport, Piper starts to wonder if the cold, glamorous life she knew is what she truly wants. LA is calling her name, but Brendan—and this town full of memories—may have already caught her heart.

My thoughts

After the 2 super weird ghost books, I needed something SUPER light, easy to read (or listen to) and not at all in the thriller genre.

This totally delivered! This was also described as something good for fans of Schitt’s Creek (which is why I read Book Lovers by Emily Henry) and this one also gave those same vibes too!

Plus a good bit of spice ain’t never hurt nobody!

I enjoyed this so much that I added her second book in the series (which focuses on Piper’s sister Hannah) to my TBR!

My rating

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Loathe To Love You – Ali Hazelwood

Amazon rating: 4.5 stars

Goodreads rating: 4 stars

How I read it: Physical copy (borrowed from my local library)

Read if you like:

  • Spice
  • Romcom
  • Smart nerdy girls

What I loved: This was my first time reading novellas!

What I didn’t love: Felt like I was able to zip right through these since they were each about 100 pages long

Book Blurb

Under One Roof
An environmental engineer discovers that scientists should never cohabitate when she finds herself stuck with the roommate from hell—a detestable big-oil lawyer who won’t leave the thermostat alone.
 
Stuck with You
A civil engineer and her nemesis take their rivalry—and love—to the next level when they get stuck in a New York elevator.
 
Below Zero
A NASA aerospace engineer’s frozen heart melts as she lies injured and stranded at a remote Arctic research station and the only person willing to undertake the dangerous rescue mission is her longtime rival.

My thoughts

I wasn’t sure how I would feel about novellas, but this popped up on the shelf as a new book in my local library and I couldn’t resist.

It was a little rough to follow sometimes because STEM, if you didn’t know, is science so these chicks who were all college roommates and now have their PhDs and are working at NASA and stuff while I’m sitting here covered in crumbs in my Amazon jamz.

I liked the jump in time with these becuase it felt like they went by faster, but I was still able to follow.

And to cram some good spice in there to boot was nice!

My rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Educated – Tara Westover

Amazon rating: 4.5 stars

Goodreads rating: 4.5 stars

How I read it: Audiobook

Read if you like:

  • Life after cults/religious fundamentalism
  • Nonfiction

Content warning: Extreme fundamentalism, misogyny, emotional abuse

What I loved: That she ended up where she did

What I didn’t love: I literally wanted to punch her dad and brothers so many times.

Book Blurb

Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

My thoughts

Y’alllll the way I cussed this dad OUT. People would have thought I was crazy if they heard me talking back the way I did to this audiobook.

While I wasn’t surprised at anything I read since I’m very familiar with religious fundamentalism, I was still shocked to hear how deep it ran for Tessa.

I also think it’s comedically sick how her mother (who is also a garbage person) has released a memoir of her own called Educating.

All I have to say about that is I hope it sells zero copies.

As for this book, it was an amazing, incredibly eye opening read and it’s one that will stick with me for a while.

My rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

It Starts With Us – Colleen Hoover

Amazon rating: 4.5 stars

Goodreads rating: 4 stars

How I read it: Audiobook

Read if you like:

  • Heartfelt romance
  • Happy ending love stories
  • Dual POV

What I loved: Atlas <3

What I didn’t love: Somewhat of a slow burn

Book Blurb

Lily and her ex-husband, Ryle, have just settled into a civil coparenting rhythm when she suddenly bumps into her first love, Atlas, again. After nearly two years separated, she is elated that for once, time is on their side, and she immediately says yes when Atlas asks her on a date.

But her excitement is quickly hampered by the knowledge that, though they are no longer married, Ryle is still very much a part of her life—and Atlas Corrigan is the one man he will hate being in his ex-wife and daughter’s life.

Switching between the perspectives of Lily and Atlas, It Starts with Us picks up right where the epilogue for the “gripping, pulse-pounding” (Sarah Pekkanen, author of Perfect Neighbors) bestselling phenomenon It Ends with Us left off. Revealing more about Atlas’s past and following Lily as she embraces a second chance at true love while navigating a jealous ex-husband, it proves that “no one delivers an emotional read like Colleen Hoover” (Anna Todd, New York Times bestselling author).

My thoughts

Say what you will about CoHo, but for me, it’s the story behind the story.

Knowing that she wrote this from a place of what her mom went through, it just really made the story all that much better for me.

I saw someone give a scathing review about this saying “Oh awesome, just another guy doing the least and getting treated like he’s the world’s greatest guy,” in reference to Atlas, but I thought that was a nasty cheap shot.

I really related to his character with the shitty upbringing and having to tough it on your own and just wanting to feel loved.

Will this be a book that goes down as one of my all time favorites? Most definitely not. But was it a really good, fairly well rounded story? Yes.

My rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Hook, Line, and Sinker – Tessa Bailey

Amazon rating: 4.5 stars

Goodreads rating: 4 stars

How I read it: Audiobook

Read if you like:

  • Spice
  • Romcom
  • Schitt’s Creek
  • Friends to lovers

What I loved: Really easy read, easy to follow

What I didn’t love: Longer chapters just like the first one

Book Blurb

King crab fisherman Fox Thornton has a reputation as a sexy, carefree flirt. Everyone knows he’s a guaranteed good time—in bed and out—and that’s exactly how he prefers it. Until he meets Hannah Bellinger. She’s immune to his charm and looks, but she seems to enjoy his… personality? And wants to be friends? Bizarre. But he likes her too much to risk a fling, so platonic pals it is.

Now, Hannah’s in town for work, crashing in Fox’s spare bedroom. She knows he’s a notorious ladies’ man, but they’re definitely just friends. In fact, she’s nursing a hopeless crush on a colleague and Fox is just the person to help with her lackluster love life. Armed with a few tips from Westport’s resident Casanova, Hannah sets out to catch her coworker’s eye… yet the more time she spends with Fox, the more she wants him instead. As the line between friendship and flirtation begins to blur, Hannah can’t deny she loves everything about Fox, but she refuses to be another notch on his bedpost. 

Living with his best friend should have been easy. Except now she’s walking around in a towel, sleeping right across the hall, and Fox is fantasizing about waking up next to her for the rest of his life and… and… man overboard! He’s fallen for her, hook, line, and sinker. Helping her flirt with another guy is pure torture, but maybe if Fox can tackle his inner demons and show Hannah he’s all in, she’ll choose him instead?

My thoughts

I loved It Happened One Summer as a really fun, mind clearing romcom and this one was just as good.

It features the sister and Brendan’s BFF Fox, who is having a hard time rising above his reputation of being a player so that creates some good tension.

It’s witty, it’s spicy, it’s a good all around story with a sweet little happy ending to boot!

My rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Kiss Her Once For Me – Alison Cochrun

Amazon rating: 4 stars

Goodreads rating: 3.9 stars

How I read it: Audiobook

Read if you like:

  • LGBTQIA+ representation
  • Second chance romance
  • Christmas romcom
  • Dual timelines
  • Super diverse cast of characters

What I loved: Loved the diversity!

What I didn’t love: A lot of “extra” characters that were a bit hard to keep up with

Book Blurb

One year ago, recent Portland transplant Ellie Oliver had her dream job in animation and a Christmas Eve meet-cute with a woman at a bookstore that led her to fall in love over the course of a single night. But after a betrayal the next morning and the loss of her job soon after, she finds herself adrift, alone, and desperate for money.

Finding work at a local coffee shop, she’s just getting through the days—until Andrew, the shop’s landlord, proposes a shocking, drunken plan: a marriage of convenience that will give him his recent inheritance and alleviate Ellie’s financial woes and isolation. They make a plan to spend the holidays together at his family cabin to keep up the ruse. But when Andrew introduces his new fiancée to his sister, Ellie is shocked to discover it’s Jack—the mysterious woman she fell for over the course of one magical Christmas Eve the year before. Now, Ellie must choose between the safety of a fake relationship and the risk of something real.

Perfect for fans of Written in the Stars and One Day in DecemberKiss Her Once for Me is the queer holiday rom-com that you’ll want to cozy up with next to the fire.

My thoughts

I wanted to read this so bad at Christmas, but it wasn’t available so I jumped on it when it came up available at my library finally.

It did end up falling a little flat for me, especially with the hype, though. I loved the storyline of the queer characters, but I found the story a little slow and kind of boring at times.

However, I was really impressed with all the diversity and neurodivergence in this book and major props to that!

My rating

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Half Sister – Sandie Jones

woman's hand holding the half sister by Sandie Jones

Amazon rating: 4 stars

Goodreads rating: 3.5 stars

How I read it: Physical copy (borrowed from my local library)

Read if you like:

  • Family drama
  • Dual POV
  • Domestic thrillers

What I loved: Dual POV let you see how each sister was processing the plot line

What I didn’t love: The ending felt rushed and like it was missing something

Book Blurb

THE TRUTH

Sisters Kate and Lauren meet for Sunday lunch every week without fail, especially after the loss of their father.

THE LIE

But a knock at the door is about to change everything. A young woman by the name of Jess holds a note with the results of a DNA test, claiming to be their half sister.

THE UNTHINKABLE

As the fallout starts, it’s clear that they are all hiding secrets, and perhaps this family isn’t as perfect as it appears.

My thoughts

This wasn’t my first Sandie Jones book – I read The First Mistake in December and really enjoyed it.

This fell a little flat to me.

I do love a good family drama and I did enjoy trying to figure out what was really going on, but the ending felt super rushed and I wanted things to be a bit more fleshed out. I like where the characters ended up, but I didn’t love the ending itself.

My rating

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Lessons in Chemistry – Bonnie Garmus

Amazon rating: 4.5 stars

Goodreads rating: 4.3 stars

How I read it: Audiobook

Read if you like:

  • Women empowerment
  • Feel good fiction
  • Strong female main characters

Content warnings: SA, misogyny/male dominance

What I loved: The characters

What I didn’t love: The audiobook narration felt kind of boring, similar to The Maid by Nita Prose

Book Blurb

Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing as an average woman. But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute takes a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans; the lonely, brilliant, Nobel–prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with—of all things—her mind. True chemistry results. 

But like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show Supper at Six. Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking (“combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride”) proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo.  

Laugh-out-loud funny, shrewdly observant, and studded with a dazzling cast of supporting characters, Lessons in Chemistry is as original and vibrant as its protagonist.

My thoughts

I loved It Happened One Summer as a really fun, mind clearing romcom and this one was just as good.

It features the sister and Brendan’s BFF Fox, who is having a hard time rising above his reputation of being a player so that creates some good tension.

It’s witty, it’s spicy, it’s a good all around story with a sweet little happy ending to boot!

My rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Second Mrs. Astor – Shana Abe

the second mrs astor by shana abe on a wood table

*Available on Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon rating: 4.5 stars

Goodreads rating: 4 stars

How I read it: Kindle

Read if you like:

  • Historical fiction
  • Love stories

What I loved: The 10% of the book that they were on the Titanic

What I didn’t love: The other 90%

Book Blurb

Madeleine Talmage Force is just seventeen when she attracts the attention of John Jacob “Jack” Astor. Madeleine is beautiful, intelligent, and solidly upper-class, but the Astors are in a league apart. Jack’s mother was the Mrs. Astor, American royalty and New York’s most formidable socialite. Jack is dashing and industrious—a hero of the Spanish-American war, an inventor, and a canny businessman. Despite their twenty-nine-year age difference, and the scandal of Jack’s recent divorce, Madeleine falls headlong into love—and becomes the press’s favorite target.

On their extended honeymoon in Egypt, the newlyweds finally find a measure of peace from photographers and journalists. Madeleine feels truly alive for the first time—and is happily pregnant. The couple plans to return home in the spring of 1912, aboard an opulent new ocean liner. When the ship hits an iceberg close to midnight on April 14th, there is no immediate panic. The swift, state-of-the-art RMS Titanic seems unsinkable. As Jack helps Madeleine into a lifeboat, he assures her that he’ll see her soon in New York…

Four months later, at the Astors’ Fifth Avenue mansion, a widowed Madeleine gives birth to their son. In the wake of the disaster, the press has elevated her to the status of virtuous, tragic heroine. But Madeleine’s most important decision still lies ahead: whether to accept the role assigned to her, or carve out her own remarkable path…

My thoughts

Not sure if you know this, but I am unashamedly in LOVE with the Titanic. It fascinates me to my very core.

However, this book was a huge letdown. And not just because it was my first book in the historical fiction category.

Since I read this on Kindle, I was able to see that the book was literally 60% of the way through before they even stepped foot on the damn ship.

And then it felt super rushed.

Also, with Madeline and Jack having a 30 year age gap, that high key felt super weird to me. I know in history, that was pretty common, and it never felt gross, but just knowing that a 17 year old was with a 46 year old did not sit well with me.

I wanted to love this SO BAD and I waited almost 4 weeks for this to be ready at my library and then it came available and I did not like it at all.

My rating

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

DNF

woman's hand holding a bad day for sunshine by Darynda Jones

It takes a LOT for me not to finish a book. I was also 230 pages into this and I STILL just could not make myself like it.

I don’t love a cop/FBI/law enforcement trope, and even though this did have some witty banter, it was just SO SLOW and felt like it was going nowhere.

Plus I had so many other fun books I wanted to read that this just wasn’t it for me.

Top 3 Reads of December

I like to give my top 3 so that if you can’t read as much, here are the ones to definitely add to your list!

3 – Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

2 – It Starts With Us by Colleen Hoover

1 – The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Monthly Giveaway

I like to give away books to help support my local used bookstore as often as I can.

THIS MONTH’S BOOK IS…..

woman's hand holding right behind you by Lisa Gardner book

I almost kept this one for myself like I did last month, but I’m trying to be kind so this is the one I’m giving away this month!

As you guys on my Book Buddies email list already know, you have to do NOTHING to be entered! It’s just as a thank you for being here and I’ll let you know via email if you’ve won!

SHOP ALL BOOKS

CLICK ANY BOOK COVER BELOW TO SHOP OR ADD TO YOUR TBR!

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