Review: The Arrangement

The Arrangement by Robyn Harding

Publication: Gallery / Scout Press

Publication Date: 7/30/19

Disclaimer: I received a free advanced digital copy of this book from Gallery / Scout Press in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review, or rating.

GoodReads Synopsis: Natalie, a young art student in New York City, is struggling to pay her bills when a friend makes a suggestion: Why not go online and find a sugar daddy—a wealthy, older man who will pay her for dates, and even give her a monthly allowance? Lots of girls do it, Nat learns. All that’s required is to look pretty and hang on his every word. Sexual favours are optional.

Though more than thirty years her senior, Gabe, a handsome corporate finance attorney, seems like the perfect candidate, and within a month, they are madly in love. At least, Nat is…Gabe already has a family, whom he has no intention of leaving.

So when he abruptly ends things, Nat can’t let go. She begins drinking heavily and stalking him: watching him at work, spying on his wife, even befriending his daughter, who is not much younger than she is. But Gabe’s not about to let his sugar baby destroy his perfect life. What was supposed to be a mutually beneficial arrangement devolves into a nightmare of deception, obsession, and, when a body is found near Gabe’s posh Upper East Side apartment, murder.

Review: This was the first book I’ve read from Robyn Harding. The whole concept of sugar daddy / sugar baby relationships in this book was truly fascinating to read. Robyn’s writing style intrigues you from page one and you can’t put it down. However, half way through, the book did feel a bit predictable to me. I liked how we were able to see the perspectives of Natalie (sugar baby) and Gabe (sugar daddy), but I was craving more of the first person alternative narrations in this novel. I was also curious to learn more of Celeste (Gabe’s wife) perspective more in the book instead. If you like domestic thrillers, then you should check this one out.

Rating: 3/5

Review: Lies

Lies by T.M. Logan

Publication: St. Martin’s Press

Publication Date: 1/17/17

Disclaimer: I received a free finished book from St. Martin’s Press in exchange for my honest in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review or rating.

GoodReads Synopsis: WHAT IF YOUR WHOLE LIFE WAS BASED ON LIES?

When Joe Lynch stumbles across his wife driving into a hotel car park while she’s supposed to be at work, he’s intrigued enough to follow her in.

And when he witnesses her in an angry altercation with family friend Ben, he knows he ought to intervene.

But just as the confrontation between the two men turns violent, and Ben is knocked unconscious, Joe’s young son has an asthma attack – and Joe must flee in order to help him.

When he returns, desperate to make sure Ben is OK, Joe is horrified to find that Ben has disappeared.

And that’s when Joe receives the first message…

Review: This is the first book I’ve read from T.M. Logan. Overall, this was a decent domestic thriller. The book had a great premise and the beginning pulled me in by being fast-paced. I didn’t see the twists coming and I liked the ending. However, I did feel that the middle part of the story did drag on for a bit. There were a few cheesy parts in the book I didn’t care for and there were times I didn’t like the main character, but that didn’t hinder me to continue reading as it was fast-paced. If you like domestic thrillers, then I’d recommend checking this one out.

Rating: 3/5

2018 Wrap Up & 2019 Goals

2018 was a wonderful reading year for me! Here are some positive things that happened:

  • Not only did I surpass my original goal of reading 50 books, but I surpassed my revised goal of reading over 100 books (I netted out to 105 books)
  • I met some really great people on bookstagram both online and in person
  • I received my first physical ARC book this year (It was An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen)

Some things I learned this past year:

  • It’s okay to DNF a book so I can read something else that’s better.
  • Be picky about the books I decide to read and put on my TBR list
  • It’s more of quality of books I’ve read versus the quantity

Going into 2019, here are my reading goals:

  • GoodReads Reading Goal: Putting the goal at zero so I focus on books I truly want to read and not stress about getting to a specific number (updated as 1/8/19)
  • Join a book club I will enjoy and to meet new friends
  • Buy less books for myself – buy books for book swaps and utilize the library more

How was your 2018 reading year? What are your goals for 2019?

2018 Best & Worst Books I’ve Read

2018 was filled with some true gems which will be part of my list of my favorite books ever and there were also a few that were real duds where I literally threw the book in the trash!

Here are my top 9 favorites in no particular order that you should add to your 2019 TBR list!

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine

This book made me discover my love for domestic thrillers. The duplicity, affairs, toxic relationships are gripping! I definitely liked this one over The Wife Between Us. This thriller has a special place on my book cart along with in my heart.

The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

This young adult contemporary novel is surprisingly deep. The author tackles serious topics of immigration, race, family, and scientific vs. artistic mindsets in such a beautiful way with an array of diverse characters.

Mr. And Mrs. American Pie by Juliet McDaniel

If you’re looking for a feel good lighthearted novel that isn’t too romantic, look no further! This contemporary novel dives into beauty pageants, family, finding your identity, and the American Dream.

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

This steamy heartfelt read will give you all the reads. I love that author uses Asian main characters and also brings awareness to Asperger’s in a sensitive way as well. This book also won GoodRead’s best romance novel of the year.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This was the first book I read from TJR that quickly made her one of my favorite authors. This historical fiction novel oozes fame, money, and sex set in the Hollywood glamour era. I loved the vulnerability of the characters and how unapologetic the female characters are while getting what they want.

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

This dark compulsive thriller almost gave me nightmares! The book explores themes of mean girls, revenge, and summer camp. If you loved Riley Sanger’s Final Girls, then you’ll love this one even more!

No Exit by Taylor Adams

This insanely twisted thriller kept me on my toes the whole time. The storyline gripes you from page 1 and you don’t see any of the twists and turns coming. I have to admit that it makes me think twice about stopping at rest stop in the middle of nowhere now.

Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Jones

This beautifully written novel explores love, survival, nature, heartbreak, and loneliness. I loved that this book combined elements of historical fiction and mystery. Some of the quotes will resonate with you long after you are finished reading.

Wonder by R.J. Palacios

The main message in this book is to be kind. I think every child and parent should be required to read this book. You never know what another person is going through and a little bit of kindness goes a long way. This is one of those books that will resonate with you and give you deeper insight into human connections.

Here are the top 9 worst books I read in 2018 in no particular order that I recommend skipping at all costs.

Look For Me by Lisa Gardner

This crime novel covers topics about family, troubled pasts, abuse, and survivors. I was disappointed in how dull this book was with the unnecessary repetition and lack of character depth considering it had an intriguing premise.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Unpopular opinion alert! I was in the minority who didn’t like this novel at all. I found the writing to be mediocre and the characters were all so unlikable that I found myself struggling to finish.

Match Made in Manhattan by Amanda Stauffer

I was really looking forward to reading this one since it’s a contemporary novel that explores online dating in NYC. Though the premise was interesting, the writing style was pretty choppy filled with heavy mundane dialogue. I found myself skipping sections to see if it would get better and let me tell you that it does not!

When You Disappeared by John Marrs

This thriller ended up being a dud. At some point the twists ended up being predictable and the writing wasn’t as strong as the author had in other books. This novel explores toxic relationships, abandonment, and deception.

The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll

Fame, feminism, gossip, and sisterhood are some of the themes found in this novel. It barely qualifies as a thriller. The writing style was mediocre, however, all the characters ended up being so irritating which made it difficult to finish.

The Sisters Chase by Sarah Healy

This has got to be one of the dumbest thrillers I have ever read. It shouldn’t even classify as a thriller as all the drama was so predictable and boring. All the characters lacked depth and the storyline ended up being so bland.

Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou

This novel is supposed to be a thriller, but ended up being melodramatic and boring. Guilt, toxic relationships, and resentment are some topics that can be found in this novel. The writing style was so boring and the twists ended up being predictable able a quarter of the way into the book.

Sunburn by Laura Lippman

Small town, lust, betrayal, and troubled pasts are some of the themes across this thriller. The characters were pretty dense and the storyline ended up being a drag. Skip at all costs.

The Spite Game by Anna Snoekstra

This is basically a terrible wanna be thriller version of mean girls. The plot sounded promising, but the story was terribly executed. The alternating between present day and various years flashbacks were confusing and sometimes made no sense at all.

20 Awesome Bookish Gift Items

With the holidays around the corner, it’s a great time to start thinking about what gifts to get to the special people in your life. Maybe you’ve decided that you want to get your awesome friend or loved one a book, that’s great!

Buying a book as a gift is always a thoughtful idea. But maybe you’re thinking that’s not enough or you don’t only want to give books. In that case, you may want to consider doing a book package or a book gift basket. These packages or baskets are so fun to put together for your recipient. Down below are a few items to add to your gift basket or package. Happy gifting!

  1. Bookmarks or magnetic page markers
  2. Book lights
  3. Book sleeves or kindle cover
  4. Candles
  5. Enamel pins
  6. Candy
  7. Snacks
  8. Mug
  9. Tea or coffee
  10. Notebook
  11. Tote
  12. Funko pop book character collectibles
  13. Book ends
  14. Socks
  15. Blanket
  16. Throw pillows
  17. Scarves
  18. Tanks or tees with bookish quotes
  19. Jewelry with bookish quotes
  20. Poster with bookish quotes

What do you love to add to book packages or book gift baskets? Share in the comments below!

2018 Mid-Year Reading Goals Check-In

I can’t believe that we are already half way done with this year! Now it’s time to check the progress of my reading goals to see how they are coming along.

This year I decided to have two simple reading goals and if needed, I can modify. Here is my goals progress:

Goal #1: Read 50 books by the end of this year.

Tracking – I’m currently on book 46 so I’m pretty confident I can complete my goal by next month. I actually will surpass the number of books I read last year (53) by the end of this year so that will be exciting.

Goal #2: Reads 6 ARCs this year.

Complete – I was able to fulfill this goal pretty quickly earlier this year thanks to the publishers who provided them!

Did you set up reading goals this year? If so, how are they coming along?