Been There, Married That by Gigi Levangie

BOOK BLURB

Agnes, the wife to a Hollywood producer is shocked when he wants a divorce. She feels unprepared for a Hollywood divorce and struggles to figure out what her future holds.

QUICK GLANCE

Light hearted

Profanity

Women’s fiction

LOVE IT OR LOATHE IT

⭐️⭐️⭐️

It took me awhile to get into the book. I had a hard time with the narration in the beginning but after I got used to Agnes’ snark and sense of humor it fell into place. I actually didn’t really like the main character Agnes and it wasn’t until the very end that I really cared what happened to her. I’m not sure I ever really cared what happened to her but by the end I at least was curious to see. She does grow and do some good self discovery In the end and that really improves the book for me.

There is quite a bit of profanity and a few lines that were a bit vulgar which added nothing and had no purpose.

Been There, Married That is a light hearted look at what a life looks like when you are focused on yourself and material things.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

CA3DCFED-003B-4955-8D94-F633C76DE100

BOOK BLURB

The first person American Bex meets when she gets to Oxford for a study aboard turns out to be Prince Nicholas, the future king of Great Britain. They become close friends and then fall in love. It isn’t easy being in love with a future king. It’s even harder when you know nothing of the life of royalty. 

QUICK GLANCE

Romantic comedy feel

Tears

Family

Forgiveness

LOVE IT OR LOATHE IT

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I usually save a 5 star rating for a book that I really connected with and where I also learned something, or come away improved some in some way. Usually, a “serious” book. I’m not sure I learned anything profound or am now a better person after reading The Royal We. But I had so much fun reading this book I had to give it 5 stars. I listened to it on audio and found myself turning it on every chance I got and even creating opportunities to turn it on. I listened every chance I got. 

I was sucked into these characters lives. I found myself caring about them, crying with them, laughing with them, and yelling at them as they made decisions I knew were going to end badly. And they made a lot of really bad decisions. 

I have never trusted the media much, especially when it comes to the lives of celebrities but I trust it even less now. I don’t even want to look at a headline now. This book is a great look into the person behind the celebrity. 

I also really love the theme of family. There are many different kinds of families represented in The Royal We. Families have secrets, hard times, disagreements and they also have love and forgiveness. 

I listened to this on audiobook and recommend it. It is by far the best audiobook I have listened to. The narrator was excellent and may have been part of what made the book fly by. When she laughed I laughed, when she cried I cried. I loved every minute of The Royal We and am already looking forward to reading it again.

Liars’ Paradox by Taylor Stevens

609C9F89-44E5-44FF-BD6F-CB970B9C4CD9

BOOK BLURB

Twin brother and sister have had a very unusual childhood. Their mother trained them in espionage and survival to protect them. Is the danger in her head or are they really in danger? After her suspicious disappearance they begin to worry that it was to protect them as they rush to find her, protect her and hopefully get some answers.

QUICK GLANCE

#1 in the Jack and Jill Thriller series

Dysfunctional family

Plot driven

Violent

LOVE IT OR LOATHE IT

⭐️⭐️⭐️

Liars’ Paradox was action packed and put a whole new spin to dysfunctional family. Though this was the most dysfunctional family I have ever encountered the story was about protecting family and the love that a family has. Sometimes that love means you protect them before you show love. I really enjoyed the premise of the book and am looking forward to getting to know the characters better as the series progresses. It was pretty violent with lots of deaths. For these characters human life is not as important as family. It would be a good book to discuss the lengths you would go to to protect your family. 

Camino Island by John Grisham

3D9013AD-CD92-4F6C-8014-1389899BCDD1

BOOK BLURB

Camino Island begins with the heist of 5 original F. Scott Fitzgerald manuscripts. The story follows the thieves and the investigation. 

QUICK GLANCE

  • Quick read
  • Would make a fun beach read
  • Right vs wrong

LOVE IT OR LOATHE IT

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I had a lot of fun reading Camino Island. I love a good heist so the book starting off with the heist was perfect. I loved all the inner details of the heist and was fascinated by them. There are a lot of characters that we follow in this book but I did not feel confused about who was who or what was going on. A large part of the book takes place on Camino Island where we follow a young writer trying to write her next novel. She becomes involved in the writing scene on the island and it was fun watching the writers and an independent bookstore owner interact. Kind of a behind the scene look at writers. I didn’t know until the end what happened to the manuscripts or what their fate would be. 

There was a part in the book where I felt the need to shout that women are more than just bodies and that took the fun I was having with the book down a couple of notches. The novel plays with the question of right vs wrong and this good definitely fit with that discussion.

I thought Camino Island was a fun read and also had some themes that could be discussed. 

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

FF0A4CAE-96B1-4FE8-82F0-39DE95776CF3

BOOK BLURB

The journey of Lydia and her son Luca.

QUICK GLANCE

Hope

Motherhood

Searching

Perseverance 

New beginnings

Friendship

LOVE IT OR LOATHE IT

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I was drawn into the story that was Lydia and Luca’s. I’m aware this is not everyone’s story that travels from Mexico to the United States. But I felt for Lydia and Luca. Not only for the experiences they had but also for the changes they went through as people. I loved the lasting  friendships they made along the way. We are all on a journey and it is always made more beautiful by the friendships we make along the way and the kindness we show to others. 

My copy of American Dirt was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

A45DF86C-B212-4002-9057-8409F7533585

BOOK BLURB

The Russian story of Vasilisa who goes from hearing folklore tales throughout her childhood to living them in order to protect her family and home. 

QUICK GLANCE

#1 in the Winternight Trilogy

Fantasy

Honor

Good vs. evil

Faith vs. superstition 

LOVE IT OR LOATHE IT

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This beautiful, atmospheric story captured me from the very beginning. The setting was captivating. The characters deep and intriguing. I especially loved Vasilisa, who was carefree yet strong and spirited. She had a love and compassion for all that I admired. Yet a strength to stand up for what she knew to be right. 

The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali

35AB3538-9AB3-404E-953C-764182582FAD

BOOK BLURB

The Stationery Shop is the story of Roya. Of her life in Iran as a young girl. Of her life in America. Of her loves and losses. 

QUICK GLANCE

Begins in the 1950’s in Iran and goes through to present times in America

Love

Adapting to a new country and culture 

Loss

Grief

Motherhood

Mental illness

Rebirth/renewal

LOVE IT OR LOATHE IT

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I loved the experience of reading The Stationery Shop. I was immediately caught up in the life of Roya as she lived in Iran. I loved reading about her experiences and her fears in a country in political turmoil. I loved reading about her life, how she spent her time, and especially about the foods she ate. I continued to be caught up in her life as she moved to America and tried to adjust to a new culture. I rejoiced with her, I mourned with her, I feared with her and I felt like a lived with her. 

My copy of The Stationery Shop was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

A3521B60-A57E-40E1-8718-D7A654D2922F

BOOK BLURB

Lale, a Slovakian Jew, is imprisoned in the concentration camp Auschwitz for two and a half years. While there he serves as the Tatowierer, tattooing numbers on his fellow prisoners. The story shows his experiences in the camp and what life was like for him as a prisoner in a concentration camp. 

QUICK GLANCE

Hope

The goodness of people among terrible circumstances

Historical fiction

World War II concentration camp

LOVE IT OR LOATHE IT

⭐️⭐️⭐️

The premise of this book really intrigued me. I cannot imagine what it would have been like to permanently number another human in a concentration camp. I found Lale’s experience at Auschwitz interesting and very different from other stories I have read that took place in a concentration camp. Though it felt somewhat slow in pacing there was enough happening that I did not get bored. 

I did have trouble connecting with Lale, or any of the characters. For such an emotional premise and experience I wanted to feel more for the character and I just didn’t. By the end, I didn’t really care what happened to him. I think part of that was because I didn’t feel like the camp was that awful for him. I get that he was trying to be positive and have hope and make the best of his experience so he would survive. But, I didn’t really feel like anything that awful happened to him and when something did happen that would be awful I didn’t feel like he was that affected by it. I really wanted to ache and cry for him but instead I didn’t care.  

Death Wears a Mask by Ashley Weaver

3174A227-A939-426F-9A71-E95F1E7B4A89

BOOK BLURB

 Amory and her playboy husband have had a reconciliation and as they try to mend their relationship Amory finds herself first helping a friend catch a jewelry thief and then helping the friend find who killed her nephew. 

QUICK GLANCE

#2 in the Amory Ames mystery series

Set in 1930 London

Cozy mystery

LOVE IT OR LOATHE IT

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I’m not sure why I like Amory and her husband Milo so much. I feel like they have awful communication. I don’t like how Milo has treated Amory and I don’t like how Amory has let Milo treat her the way he has. Yet, I find myself rooting for them. I catch glimpses of what kind of relationship they could have and I think they are cute and fun together. I guess I have hope that they can work through their troubles.

The mystery had me scratching my head a bit. I did not understand the whole plan of catching the jewelry thief and why Amory chose to get involved. Actually, most of what Amory did in this book had me scratching my head but I still really enjoyed the book despite that. It was fun and quick moving. 

Long Bright River by Liz Moore

8E3AB070-E07B-48E3-B138-B38177A1D9AA

BOOK BLURB

The story of two sisters, Kacey and Mickey, their childhood and the mysterious disappearance of Kacey. Kacey is an opioid addict living on the streets that her sister Mickey patrols as a cop. 

QUICK GLANCE

Sisters

Drug addiction

Hope

No quotation marks

LOVE IT OR LOATHE IT

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I enjoyed this story of sisters. I can’t say I always liked the characters and I didn’t like most of what they chose to do but their story still pulled me in. I loved the resiliency of their relationship and how they looked out for one another.