Tweet Cute

Tweet CuteTweet Cute

By Emma Lord

Source Purchased

Published by Wednesday Books
on January 21, 2020

four-stars

Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming―mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.

Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.

All’s fair in love and cheese―that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life―on an anonymous chat app Jack built.

As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate―people on the internet are shipping them??―their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.

This was such a nice change of pace from my recent darker, twistier books, and was pretty much loved by everyone I know who read it.

Tweet Cute was delightful, full of banter and descriptions of food that made my mouth water while I read.

It also surprised me in that I went in with certain expectations and was pleased when the story went in a different direction at times than where I thought it would go.

If you are looking for a cute, fun, bantery romcom that will make you smile, pick this up!

four-stars

The Southern Book Club’s Guide To Slaying Vampires

The Southern Book Club’s Guide To Slaying VampiresThe Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires

By Grady Hendrix

Source Library

Published by Quirk Books
on April 7, 2020

four-stars

Fried Green Tomatoes and “Steel Magnolias” meet Dracula in this Southern-flavored supernatural thriller set in the ’90s about a women’s book club that must protect its suburban community from a mysterious and handsome stranger who turns out to be a blood-sucking fiend.

Patricia Campbell had always planned for a big life, but after giving up her career as a nurse to marry an ambitious doctor and become a mother, Patricia’s life has never felt smaller. The days are long, her kids are ungrateful, her husband is distant, and her to-do list is never really done. The one thing she has to look forward to is her book club, a group of Charleston mothers united only by their love for true-crime and suspenseful fiction. In these meetings, they’re more likely to discuss the FBI’s recent siege of Waco as much as the ups and downs of marriage and motherhood.

But when an artistic and sensitive stranger moves into the neighborhood, the book club’s meetings turn into speculation about the newcomer. Patricia is initially attracted to him, but when some local children go missing, she starts to suspect the newcomer is involved. She begins her own investigation, assuming that he’s a Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy. What she uncovers is far more terrifying, and soon she–and her book club–are the only people standing between the monster they’ve invited into their homes and their unsuspecting community.

I’ve read a couple of Grady Hendrix‘s other books, and this one was very much what I’ve come to expect from him: compelling stories and characters mixed with humour and some pretty graphic gross-out scenes.

If you are already a fan of his, I think you’ll enjoy this one a lot. If you are squeamish, prepare yourself. I really enjoyed this book, and it might be my favourite of his. It was such a fun take on vampire stories, and of course with a book club at its centre, how could I not love it?

four-stars

Trace of Evil

Trace of EvilTrace of Evil

By Alice Blanchard

Series: Natalie Lockhart #1
Source Library

Published by Minotaur Books
on December 3, 2019

four-stars

Natalie Lockhart always knew she was going to be a cop. A rookie detective on the Burning Lake police force, she was raised on the wisdom of her chief-of-police father. These cases will haunt you if you let them. Grief doesn’t come with instructions.

But the one thing her father couldn’t teach her was how to handle loss. Natalie’s beloved sister was viciously murdered as a teenager, and she carries the scars deep in her heart. Although the killer was locked up, the trace evidence never added up, and Natalie can’t help wondering―is the past really behind her?

As the newest member on the force, Natalie is tasked with finding nine missing persons who’ve vanished off the face of the earth, dubbed “the Missing Nine.” One night, while following up on a new lead, she comes across a savage crime that will change everything.

Daisy Buckner―a popular schoolteacher, wife to a cop, and newly pregnant―lies dead on her kitchen floor. As Natalie hunts for Daisy’s killer in the wake of the town’s shock, her search leads to a string of strange clues―about the Missing Nine, about Daisy’s secret life, and reviving fresh doubts about her sister’s murder.

As the investigation deepens, Natalie’s every move risks far-reaching consequences―for the victims, for the town of Burning Lake, and for herself.

I have been in such a mystery/thriller mood these past few months, and this was one I’d been waiting on from the library for a while. I’d heard good things about it, and I was excited to get into it.

This was a really absorbing, excellent read. I loved that there were two intertwined mysteries and the way everything unravelled, and as a bonus, I didn’t predict everything and was genuinely surprised at the end.

I am glad to see that this is the first in a series, and I will definitely be reading book two.

four-stars

The Burning

The BurningThe Burning

By Laura Bates

Source Received from the publisher

Published by Sourcebooks Fire
on April 7, 2020

Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

four-stars

A rumor is like fire.

Once a whore, always a whore.

Roses are red.
Violets are blue.
Anna’s a slut.
We all know it’s true.

And a fire that spreads online… is impossible to extinguish.

New school. Check.
New town. Check.
New last name. Check.
Social media profiles? Deleted.

Anna and her mother have moved hundreds of miles to put the past behind them. Anna hopes to make a fresh start and escape the harassment she’s been subjected to. But then rumors and whispers start, and Anna tries to ignore what is happening by immersing herself in learning about Maggie, a local woman accused of witchcraft in the seventeenth century. A woman who was shamed. Silenced. And whose story has unsettling parallels to Anna’s own.

From Laura Bates, internationally renowned feminist and founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, comes a debut novel for the #metoo era. It’s a powerful call to action, reminding all readers of the implications of sexism and the role we can each play in ending it.

This was a really intense, anxiety-inducing read for me, but at the same time I couldn’t put it down.

I did think there would be more of the story about Maggie (the woman accused of witchcraft in the 17th century) in this story, but as a subplot it added an interesting parallel to Anna’s story. I guess I just thought, based on the synopsis, that it would be a bigger part of the story.

I liked this book, and I know it might not seem realistic to some readers in the sense of its resolution, but I wanted to read something that offered some hope, which this book did in the end, despite the bleak subject matter and the torment that Anna suffers.

four-stars

Catherine House

Catherine HouseCatherine House

By Elisabeth Thomas

Source Received from the publisher

Published by Custom House
on May 12, 2020

Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

four-stars

A gothic-infused debut of literary suspense, set within a secluded, elite university and following a dangerously curious, rebellious undergraduate who uncovers a shocking secret about an exclusive circle of students . . . and the dark truth beneath her school’s promise of prestige.

Catherine House is a school of higher learning like no other. Hidden deep in the woods of rural Pennsylvania, this crucible of reformist liberal arts study with its experimental curriculum, wildly selective admissions policy, and formidable endowment, has produced some of the world’s best minds: prize-winning authors, artists, inventors, Supreme Court justices, presidents. For those lucky few selected, tuition, room, and board are free. But acceptance comes with a price. Students are required to give the House three years—summers included—completely removed from the outside world. Family, friends, television, music, even their clothing must be left behind. In return, the school promises a future of sublime power and prestige, and that its graduates can become anything or anyone they desire.

Among this year’s incoming class is Ines Murillo, who expects to trade blurry nights of parties, cruel friends, and dangerous men for rigorous intellectual discipline—only to discover an environment of sanctioned revelry. Even the school’s enigmatic director, Viktória, encourages the students to explore, to expand their minds, to find themselves within the formidable iron gates of Catherine. For Ines, it is the closest thing to a home she’s ever had. But the House’s strange protocols soon make this refuge, with its worn velvet and weathered leather, feel increasingly like a gilded prison. And when tragedy strikes, Ines begins to suspect that the school—in all its shabby splendor, hallowed history, advanced theories, and controlled decadence—might be hiding a dangerous agenda within the secretive, tightly knit group of students selected to study its most promising and mysterious curriculum.

Combining the haunting sophistication and dusky, atmospheric style of Sarah Waters with the unsettling isolation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, Catherine House is a devious, deliciously steamy, and suspenseful page-turner with shocking twists and sharp edges that is sure to leave readers breathless.

I was definitely drawn to this book based on that cover and the boarding school setting. I liked this one quite a bit!

I found it to be a very quick read, probably because once I started, I was pulled into Ines’s story, and I didn’t want to put the book down. I was occasionally reminded of Nova Ren Suma’s books, I think because there is a similar dreaminess to the storytelling, So as a Nova Ren Suma fan, that was definitely a positive for me.

I don’t know that this will end up being everyone’s taste, but I really liked this dreamy, atmospheric, evocative story. It slowly wound its way to the end, not in a hurry to get there, but neither was I, since I was enjoying the writing so much.

four-stars

Girls Save The World In This One

Girls Save The World In This OneGirls Save the World In This One

By Ash Parsons

Source Received from the publisher

Published by Philomel Books
on April 14, 2020

Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

four-stars

June’s whole life has been leading up to this: ZombieCon, the fan convention celebrating all things zombies. She and her two best friends plan on hitting all the panels, photo ops, and meeting the heartthrob lead of their favorite zombie apocalypse show Human Wasteland.

And when they arrive everything seems perfect, though June has to shrug off some weirdness from other fans—people shambling a little too much, and someone actually biting a cast member. Then all hell breaks loose and June and her friends discover the truth: real zombies are taking over the con. Now June must do whatever it takes to survive a horde of actual brain-eating zombies—and save the world.

I love reading about zombies and fandom, so when I read the synopsis for this book, I knew that I had to read it!

I loved the story’s depiction of fandom and its focus on friendship, and of course I really enjoyed the zombie outbreak itself and June and her crew battling against them.

This was a really fun read for me, and I finished it in a couple of days. I enjoyed it quite a bit, and definitely recommend it!

four-stars

Quick Lit

I’ve been reading a lot lately, and not always feeling like I want to write a full review for each book read (or sometimes I just don’t have much to say about a book). So I was inspired by Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Quick Lit posts, as well as Hannah at So Obsessed With‘s monthly Quick Lit posts, and decided to do something similar as a way to briefly discuss the books I read in a month but don’t write full reviews for.

I read 15 books in April, which is actually less than I expected to read, but then I remembered that I spent about a week playing Animal Crossing non-stop and then it makes sense.

Anyway, I have reviewed/will be writing reviews for nine of those, so here are my thoughts on the rest.

White Elephant, Trish Harnetiaux (library) – 2⭐

I couldn’t get into this. I wasn’t interested in the characters, and thought the mystery was really predictable, which meant this wasn’t a very suspenseful or interesting read.

Rich People Problems, Kevin Kwan (library) – 3⭐

I really enjoyed this series, but this might not have been the best choice of reading material during a global pandemic. I thought the first two books in the series were really fun and escapist reading, but I found it really hard to care about everyone’s concerns here as it related to obscene wealth. I did enjoy getting to learn more about Nick’s grandma, Su Yi, and her life, and I think that gave the story enough emotional heft that I was able to eventually get into this one. I just wonder if I might have enjoyed it more if I’d read it sooner.

The Kingdom, Fuminori Nakamura, Kalau Almony (Trans.) (library) – 3⭐

This was a really interesting story and a quick read, but also strange and I’m not sure what I was supposed to get from it.

Strike Me Down, Mindy Mejia (library) – 2⭐

I thought the synopsis was really intriguing, but this just wasn’t for me.

The Homecoming, Andrew Pyper (owned) – 3⭐

This was fine, maybe closer to 2.5 stars than 3, because I liked the initial set up and there was some suspense and intrigue at the beginning, but then it was kind of downhill from there for me.

Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators, Ronan Farrow (owned) – 5⭐

This was such an intriguing, intense read. The subject matter was difficult, but the way Ronan Farrow tells the story is a big part of what made this book so compelling.

What have you been reading lately?

The Dinner List

The Dinner ListThe Dinner List

By Rebecca Serle

Source Purchased

Published by Flatiron Books
on September 11, 2018

three-stars

We’ve been waiting for an hour. That’s what Audrey says. She states it with a little bit of an edge, her words just bordering on cursive. That’s the thing I think first. Not: Audrey Hepburn is at my birthday dinner, but Audrey Hepburn is annoyed.

At one point or another, we’ve all been asked to name five people, living or dead, with whom we’d like to have dinner. Why do we choose the people we do? And what if that dinner was to actually happen? These are the questions Rebecca Serle contends within her utterly captivating novel, The Dinner List, a story imbued with the same delightful magical realism as One Day, and the life-changing romance of Me Before You.

When Sabrina arrives at her thirtieth birthday dinner she finds at the table not just her best friend, but also three significant people from her past, and well, Audrey Hepburn. As the appetizers are served, wine poured, and dinner table conversation begins, it becomes clear that there’s a reason these six people have been gathered together.

Delicious but never indulgent, sweet with just the right amount of bitter, The Dinner List is a romance for our times. Bon appetit.

This was the second book by Rebecca Serle that I’ve read recently, and so I couldn’t help but compare this and In Five Years to each other as I read. I think I enjoyed In Five Years slightly more than this one, but The Dinner List had the more intriguing premise.

This book takes a very interesting concept that definitely grabbed my attention, but the central relationship being explored (Sabrina and Tobias) just didn’t pull me in. I struggled to care about them as a couple, and actually was really annoyed by them most of the time. I was more interested in Sabrina’s relationship with her friend Jessica, and there were some really interesting aspects of that friendship explored, but I felt like that definitely took a back seat to Sabrina and Tobias’s relationship.

I feel like I need to say that the Audrey Hepburn angle is part of what really drew my attention to this book, but the synopsis feels a bit misleading to me since her presence is so minor compared to others’ at the dinner. Still, I was really curious as to why Audrey was at the dinner and what she meant to Sabrina.

Overall, this was a fairly quick read that gave me some good food for thought, but I felt like the fascinating concept was not enough to sustain this story for me. I just didn’t care enough about the characters, particularly those in the central relationship being explored.

three-stars

The Ancestor

The AncestorThe Ancestor

By Danielle Trussoni

Source Library

Published by William Morrow
on April 7, 2020

three-stars

A bewitching gothic novel of suspense that plunges readers into a world of dark family secrets, the mysteries of human genetics, and the burden of family inheritance.

It feels like a fairy tale when Alberta ”Bert” Monte receives a letter addressed to “Countess Alberta Montebianco” at her Hudson Valley, New York, home that claims she’s inherited a noble title, money, and a castle in Italy. While Bert is more than a little skeptical, the mystery of her aristocratic family’s past, and the chance to escape her stressful life for a luxury holiday in Italy, is too good to pass up.

At first, her inheritance seems like a dream come true: a champagne-drenched trip on a private jet to Turin, Italy; lawyers with lists of artwork and jewels bequeathed to Bert; a helicopter ride to an ancestral castle nestled in the Italian Alps below Mont Blanc; a portrait gallery of ancestors Bert never knew existed; and a cellar of expensive vintage wine for Bert to drink.

But her ancestry has a dark side, and Bert soon learns that her family history is particularly complicated. As Bert begins to unravel the Montebianco secrets, she begins to realize her true inheritance lies not in a legacy of ancestral treasures, but in her very genes.

I love moody, gothic suspenseful stories, and this cover and synopsis certainly drew my attention.

I loved that the story didn’t take too much time to really get going, and one of my favourite things about it was the setting: the cold, isolated, rundown estate in the Alps. Things were definitely strange and there were secrets that Bert had to uncover, which certainly created a fantastically dark, creepy atmosphere while I read.

This lost me though around the big family secret reveal and most of what came after. It was interesting, but it had an air of unreality to me that was difficult to reconcile with what had come before. So I think your enjoyment of this one will depend on whether or not you buy into the second half of the story, which I struggled to do.

three-stars

Cozy Corner: The Undomestic Goddess

Cozy Corner: The Undomestic GoddessThe Undomestic Goddess

By Sophie Kinsella

Source Library

Published by Dial Press Trade Paperback
on April 25, 2006

five-stars

Workaholic attorney Samantha Sweeting has just done the unthinkable. She’s made a mistake so huge, it’ll wreck any chance of a partnership.

Going into utter meltdown, she walks out of her London office, gets on a train, and ends up in the middle of nowhere. Asking for directions at a big, beautiful house, she’s mistaken for an interviewee and finds herself being offered a job as housekeeper. Her employers have no idea they’ve hired a lawyer–and Samantha has no idea how to work the oven. She can’t sew on a button, bake a potato, or get the #@%# ironing board to open. How she takes a deep breath and begins to cope–and finds love–is a story as delicious as the bread she learns to bake.

But will her old life ever catch up with her? And if it does…will she want it back?

I will start off by saying that I LOVE this book. I recently reread it as part of m COVID romantic-comedy quarantine reading, and it was just as fun as when I first read it many years ago.

Samantha Sweeting works as a lawyer and is up for partner. She works upwards of 80 hours a week, and is from a family of other workaholics, While she waits to discover whether she has successfully obtained partnership, she discovers a missed contract in a stack of papers on her desk that results in the loss of millions of dollars for her client. In her shock after discovering the mistake, she boards a train to the country and is mistaken for a housekeeper when she approaches a house to ask for a glass of water. Samantha decides to hide out in the country, pretending to be a housekeeper while she learns about life outside of a hectic law firm.

It may just be that I’ve been wishing that life would slow down a bit, and have been dreaming of moving outside of the city, but this book hit the right spot for me right now. I love Samantha’s journey to discovering life outside of her career, and her attempts to clean and cook are hilarious disasters (though I would probably go through the exact same thing if I was in her shoes).

I wish this book had been developed into a series — I just found this to be such a perfect mix of a book. Great characters, great setting, great storyline. It’s the kind of book that I never want to put down when I’m reading it, and then get sad when it is over. I am sure I will be rereading it soon.

five-stars

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