Review: The Family Upstairs

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

Publication: Atria Books

Publication Date: 11/5/19

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

GoodReads Synopsis: Be careful who you let in.

Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am.

She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them.

Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.

In The Family Upstairs, the master of “bone-chilling suspense” (People) brings us the can’t-look-away story of three entangled families living in a house with the darkest of secrets.

Review: The Family Upstairs is Lisa Jewell’s latest thriller. Lisa Jewell has quickly become an auto-read author for me! I love the multiple POVs and the past vs. present narratives in this storyline. The book starts off a bit slow at the beginning, but quickly picks up towards the middle. I definitely didn’t see any of the twists coming which was quite refreshing. The characters are well-written and the writing style keeps you on your toes. If thrillers are your jam or if you’re craving an intriguing mystery, I highly recommend picking up The Family Upstairs!

Rating: 4/5

Review: Xeni: A Marriage of Inconvenience

Xeni: A Marriage of Inconvenience by Rebekah Weatherspoon

Publication Date: 10/4/19

Disclaimer: I received a free advanced copy this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review, or rating.

GoodReads Synopsis: Xeni Everly-Wilkins has ten days to clean out her recently departed aunt’s massive colonial in Upstate New York. With the feud between her mom and her sisters still raging even in death, she knows this will be no easy task, but when the will is read Xeni quickly discovers the decades old drama between the former R&B singers is just the tip of the iceberg. The Secrets, lies, and a crap ton of cash spilled on her lawyer’s conference room table all come with terms and conditions. Xeni must marry before she can claim the estate that will set her up for life and her aunt has just the groom in mind. The ruggedly handsome and deliciously thicc Scotsman who showed up at her aunt’s memorial, bagpipes at the ready.
When his dear friend and mentor Sable Everly passed away, Mason McInroy knew she would leave a sizable hole in his heart. He never imagined she’d leave him more than enough money to settle the debt that’s keeping him from returning home to Scotland. He also never imagined that Sable would use her dying breaths to play match-maker, trapping Mason and her beautiful niece in a marriage scheme that comes with more complications than either of them need.
With no choice but to say I do, the unlikely pair try to make the best of a messy situation. They had no plans to actually fall in love.

Review: Xeni is the second installment of the Loose Ends series and can also be read as a stand-alone novel. This has been the second book I’ve read from Rebekah Weatherspoon and it did not disappoint! Rebekah had a note about trigger warnings about specific sensitive topics which I immensely appreciated so I was able to prepare myself emotionally for the upcoming sensitive topics. I loved the diverse set of characters in this story. The characters also felt people that you would meet in real life which gave them more depth. Rebekah’s writing style keeps the reader engaged through out the story. It was also refreshing to see how mature the characters were and that they owned up to their own mistakes. If you love really steamy romance reads, I’d recommend picking this book up. Note that this book may not be everyone’s cup of tea though.

Rating: 4/5

Review: Imaginary Friend

Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

Publication: Grand Central Publishing

Publication Date: 10/1/19

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

NetGalley Synopsis: Christopher is seven years old. Christopher is the new kid in town. Christopher has an imaginary friend. 

We can swallow our fear or let our fear swallow us. Single mother Kate Reese is on the run. Determined to improve life for her and her son, Christopher, she flees an abusive relationship in the middle of the night with her child. Together, they find themselves drawn to the tight-knit community of Mill Grove, Pennsylvania. It’s as far off the beaten track as they can get. Just one highway in, one highway out.

At first, it seems like the perfect place to finally settle down. Then Christopher vanishes. For six awful days, no one can find him. Until Christopher emerges from the woods at the edge of town, unharmed but not unchanged. He returns with a voice in his head only he can hear, with a mission only he can complete: Build a tree house in the woods by Christmas, or his mother and everyone in the town will never be the same again.

Review: Imaginary Friend is Stephen Chbosky’s long awaited second novel. If his name sound familiar to you, it’s because he wrote The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Imaginary Friend was definitely a book that was out of my typical reading genre, but I’m glad that I gave it a chance. This horror book gave me Stranger Things vibes all the way and I loved how unique and intriguing the storyline was. I was immediately captured with the story and its characters from page 1. However, there were some instances in the story that lowered my overall rating of the book. First and foremost, the book felt like it was way too long (over 700 pages) and I thought it could have been culled down to under 500 or so. I wasn’t a big fan of religion talk or the descriptions of the dark fantasy in the book. There were also too many characters to keep track of and I lost interest in a few of the characters towards 60% of the book. Overall, if you like thriller or horror books, I would recommend picking this one up. 

Rating: 3/5

Review: No Judgements

No Judgements by Meg Cabot

Publication: William Morrow Paperbacks

Publication Date: 9/24/19

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

NetGalley Synopsis: The storm of the century is about to hit Little Bridge Island, Florida—and it’s sending waves crashing through Sabrina “Bree” Beckham’s love life…

When a massive hurricane severs all power and cell service to Little Bridge Island—as well as its connection to the mainland—twenty-five-year-old Bree Beckham isn’t worried . . . at first. She’s already escaped one storm—her emotionally abusive ex—so a hurricane seems like it will be a piece of cake.

But animal-loving Bree does become alarmed when she realizes how many islanders have been cut off from their beloved pets. Now it’s up to her to save as many of Little Bridge’s cats and dogs as she can . . . but to do so, she’s going to need help—help she has no choice but to accept from her boss’s sexy nephew, Drew Hartwell, the Mermaid Café’s most notorious heartbreaker.

But when Bree starts falling for Drew, just as Little Bridge’s power is restored and her penitent ex shows up, she has to ask herself if her island fling was only a result of the stormy weather, or if it could last during clear skies too.

Review: Meg Cabot has been one of my all-time favorite authors since The Princess Diaries came out. No Judgements, kicks off with her newest series Little Bridge Island series. Note there is a short story not in this book called Bridal Boot Camp, which is a bit of a prequel to this book, but it isn’t necessary in reading it though. Back to No Judgements, I found this be a decent read overall. I love how Meg Cabot’s writing keeps you interested and liked the set of characters she presented. However, I did find the story start out a bit too slow for me and it picks up out of nowhere in the last half of the book. I also noticed that towards the end of the book, the storyline is a bit all over place and it seemed a bit crammed. I understand that the author was trying to incorporate some important themes in this book and I appreciate her for trying to do that, but I feel that it wasn’t executed as well as it could been. Regardless if you’re a fan of Meg Cabot’s, you’ll definitely won’t want to miss this one.

Rating: 3/5

Review: Twice in a Blue Moon

Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren

Publishing Date: 10/22/19

Publisher: Gallery Books

Rating: 3/5

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

Review: Christina Lauren is my favorite writing duo and one of my favorite all-time authors. When I found out that they had another book coming out at the end of this year, I was so excited! Twice in a Blue Moon is a second chance at love story. Tate, 18,and Sam, 21, meet up in London while vacationing with their respective grandparent. They hit it off and Tate not only shares her heart with Sam, but also shares her deepest secret: who her father is. Within a day or two, her secret is exposed and her life is changed. Fast forward to 14-15 years later, Tate is a famous actress and finds herself on the set of an upcoming blockbuster with someone who betrayed her trust and gave her heartbreak all these years ago. Overall, this was a decent read. It wasn’t my favorite, but it wasn’t the worst. My all-time favorite from Christina Lauren is The Unhoneymooners. To be fair, I’m not a fan of second chance love stories and typically try to avoid them, but I decided to give Twice in a Blue Moon a chance since it’s with my favorite authors. I really liked plot which was intriguing and the writing style gripes me every time. However, I felt like I was wanting more. It would have great to read Sam’s perspective on this and not just Tate’s as I felt his character fell a bit flat and I didn’t feel like we really knew his personality as an adult. I was a bit disappointed in the climatic part of the book as that fell a bit flat for me as well. In all in all, if you’re a fan of Christina Lauren, you’ll love this book. Also if you’re a fan of second chance love, I definitely recommend this one even though it wasn’t for me.

Review: Twenty-One Truths About Love by Matthew Dicks

Twenty-One Truths About Love by Matthew Dicks

Publication Date: 10/15/19
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Rating: 1/5

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

Review: Twenty-One Truths About Love is the first book I’ve read from Matthew Dicks. This contemporary novel is told in a story of lists. The protagonist uses lists as a therapeutic exercise.  I had pretty high hope for this novel as Taylor Jenkins Reid (one of my favorite all-time authors) loved this book, however, I didn’t like it all. I liked the format, however, I found the main character to be extremely unlikable and couldn’t sympathize for him at all. He was just a bitter old man who could have made better choices in life. There were a few times where I wanted to not finish the book, but kept reading hoping it would get better. As I read, the story got progressive worse as it was getting pretty repetitive and dense. I ended up skimming most of it as it seemed like half the novel was fluff. I would definitely skip this book at all costs. 

Review: The Last Post

The Last Post by Renee Carlino

Publication: Atria Books

Publication Date: 8/20/19

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

GoodReads Synopsis: Laya Marston’s husband, Cameron, a daredevil enthusiast, always said this before heading off on his next adventure. He was the complete opposite of her, ready and willing to dive off a cliff-face, or parachute across a canyon—and Laya loved him for it. But she was different: pragmatic, regimented, devoted to her career and to supporting Cameron from the sidelines of his death-defying feats.

Opposites attract, right?

But when Cameron dies suddenly and tragically, all the stages of grief go out the window. Laya becomes lost in denial, living in the delusion that Cameron will come back to her. She begins posting on his Facebook page, reminiscing about their life together, and imagining new adventures for the two of them.

Micah Evans, a young and handsome architect at Laya’s father’s firm, is also stuck––paralyzed by the banal details of his career, his friendships, and his love life. He doesn’t know what he’s looking for, only that there is someone out there who can bring energy and spirit to the humdrum of his life.

When Micah discovers Laya’s tragic and bizarre Facebook posts, he’s determined to show Laya her life is still worth living. Leaving her anonymous gifts and notes, trying to recreate the sense of adventure she once shared with her late husband, Micah finds a new passion watching Laya come out of the darkness. And Laya finds a new joy in the experiences Micah has created for her.

But for Laya, letting another man in still feels like a betrayal to her late husband. Even though Micah may be everything she could wish for, she wonders if she deserves to find happiness again.

Review: This is the second Renee Carlino book I read and it may be my last. I just can’t stand the characters she writes. I understand that they’re flawed or whatever, but it’s too much. Both of the main characters in this novel are so unbearable. There were so many times where I wanted to DNF’ed this book, but I kept trudging through in the hope it would get better and the fact that I was already so far in it, but no it does not. Layla knew what she was getting herself into when she met her husband, Cameron, so it was frustrating to listen to her whine how Cameron was such a risk taker that it took his life when she’s the complete opposite. As for Micah, I didn’t like him from the beginning as he came off as stalkerish and weird. Also towards the end of the book, most of it seemed so unbelievable and overly cliché. Personally, I’d recommend skipping this book unless you already like the author’s other books.

Rating: 1/5