In Five Years

In Five YearsIn Five Years

By Rebecca Serle

Source Received from the publisher

Published by Atria Books
on March 10, 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.

three-stars

Where do you see yourself in five years?

When Type-A Manhattan lawyer Dannie Cohan is asked this question at the most important interview of her career, she has a meticulously crafted answer at the ready. Later, after nailing her interview and accepting her boyfriend’s marriage proposal, Dannie goes to sleep knowing she is right on track to achieve her five-year plan.

But when she wakes up, she’s suddenly in a different apartment, with a different ring on her finger, and beside a very different man. The television news is on in the background, and she can just make out the scrolling date. It’s the same night—December 15—but 2025, five years in the future.

After a very intense, shocking hour, Dannie wakes again, at the brink of midnight, back in 2020. She can’t shake what has happened. It certainly felt much more than merely a dream, but she isn’t the kind of person who believes in visions. That nonsense is only charming coming from free-spirited types, like her lifelong best friend, Bella. Determined to ignore the odd experience, she files it away in the back of her mind.

That is, until four-and-a-half years later, when by chance Dannie meets the very same man from her long-ago vision.

Brimming with joy and heartbreak, In Five Years is an unforgettable love story that reminds us of the power of loyalty, friendship, and the unpredictable nature of destiny.

I was so intrigued by the premise of this book, and I was eager to read it when I received an electronic copy for review.

This was a very quick read, since I was pulled into the story right away. And while I really appreciated that this book offered a look at a deep friendship and bond between Dannie and her best friend, Bella, there was something about it that just didn’t click with me on an emotional level.

This was not what I expected it to be. I went into it thinking it was going to be more of a romance, but it really wasn’t. I liked that the book surprised me, and I was eager to read to the end to find out what happened, but I just didn’t connect with any of the characters. I felt strangely removed from Dannie and Bella’s relationship, which is why I think I didn’t have any emotional stakes in this story. I was interested to see how Dannie’s story would turn out, yes, but I wasn’t invested on a deeper level than that, and so despite what was happening on the page, I never felt moved.

I seem to be in the minority, though, and there are lots of glowing reviews for this one.

three-stars

The Merciful Crow

The Merciful CrowThe Merciful Crow

By Margaret Owen

Series: The Merciful Crow #1
Source Purchased

Published by Henry Holt (BYR)
on July 30, 2019

four-stars

A future chieftain.

Fie abides by one rule: look after your own. Her Crow caste of undertakers and mercy-killers takes more abuse than coin, but when they’re called to collect royal dead, she’s hoping they’ll find the payout of a lifetime.

A fugitive prince.

When Crown Prince Jasimir turns out to have faked his death, Fie’s ready to cut her losses—and perhaps his throat. But he offers a wager that she can’t refuse: protect him from a ruthless queen, and he’ll protect the Crows when he reigns.

A too-cunning bodyguard.

Hawk warrior Tavin has always put Jas’s life before his, magically assuming the prince’s appearance and shadowing his every step. But what happens when Tavin begins to want something to call his own?

This was a book club pick, and I think it might have been one that I suggested. I read the synopsis and saw favourable comparisons to Leigh Bardugo, so of course I was very excited to read it!

Generally, I quite enjoyed this one. I was so interested in the magic system, and I really liked Fie. I also liked that the story surprised me on occasion, and I really liked the writing. There was a sharpness to Fie that I enjoyed.

Tavin and Jasimir seemed woefully underdeveloped by comparison, and early on were indistinguishable from each other. I do want to read the sequel, and I hope we get to learn more about them then.

The story really dragged for me in the middle, compared to the rest of the book, but I feel like I should admit that this could be because I read this book while I was fully consumed by the BTS comeback, so it’s likely that no book could have held my interest during that time.

four-stars

Week In Review

I am not happy about losing an hour of sleep/reading time today, so let’s just pretend it isn’t happening.

I’ve been reading a lot, and I’ve also been watching a lot of TV. I’ve started watching K dramas and I am loving my choices!

So far, I’ve watched all of Strong Woman Do Bong Soon, and I loved it!

Bong Soon is a girl with superhuman strength, but she wants to make video games and has a crush on her childhood friend. She gets a job as a bodyguard to a video game CEO, and then there’s a creepy kidnapper in her neighbourhood, and gangsters, and family drama. There was definitely a lot going on, but it was fantastic. And the soundtrack is excellent!

It was really sweet and funny and also had some creepy moments, and I loved the romance!

Now I’m watching Touch Your Heart. I’m only a few episodes in, but it’s very delightful. Very cute and funny and fluffy.

Oh Yoon-seo is an actress who has had a major public scandal, so she’s been out of the public eye for a while. As part of her efforts to get a role and make a comeback, she starts working at a law firm as a secretary for Kwon Jung-rok, who is a great lawyer but comes across as cold.

It’s very silly and sweet, and I’m really enjoying it.

New books:

I received a copy of The Silence of Bones by June Hur (big thank you to Raincoast Books!). This is one of my highly anticipated 2020 reads, and I don’t think I can wait too long to start reading this!

I also snagged two majorly anticipated reads from my library:

The Feminist Agenda of Jemima Kincaid, Kate Hattemer; and

House of Earth and Blood, Sarah J. Maas.

And for my Kobo, I purchased four 2020 books that I was really excited about:

Upright Women Wanted, Sarah Gailey;

Topics of Conversation, Miranda Popkey;

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, Holly Jackson; and

Foul is Fair, Hannah Capin.

Since my last Week in Review post, I’ve read six books, bringing my total for the year up to 37 (I’m aiming for 40 by the end of March):

In Five Years, Rebecca Serle;

Dead To Her, Sarah Pinborough;

The Merciful Crow, Margaret Owen;

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, Holly Jackson;

Darling Rose Gold, Stephanie Wrobel; and

The Shadows Between Us, Tricia Levenseller.

Current reads:

I’m about halfway through The Feminist Agenda of Jemima Kincaid, and will likely finish it today. I’m also reading an e-ARC of a middle grade novel, Pippa Park Raises Her Game by Erin Yun.

Posts and reviews:

I shared a Saturday Soundtrack about BTS (what else); a Waiting on Wednesday post; and my February Quick Lit post.

I also posted a few reviews:

The Better Liar, Tanen Jones;

Seven Deadly Shadows, Courtney Alemeda and Valynne E. Maetani;

The Only Child, Mi-ae Seo; and

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, Holly Jackson.

Now it’s time for some more reading and definitely some more coffee. Happy Sunday!

Quick Lit

February 2020

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.

February was a decent reading month. I read 12 books, and I’ve reviewed/will be posting reviews for nine of them. Here are my thoughts on the rest!

Prosper’s Demon, K.J. Parker (purchased) – 5⭐

This novella was fantastic! It was really interesting, and I loved the ending. I am definitely going to track down more by K.J. Parker.

A Perfect Crime, A Yi, Anna Holmwood (transl.) (purchased) – 3⭐

I think I went into this with really high expectations. It was fine. I didn’t love it, didn’t hate it, was curious to know how it ended, but it won’t stay with me. I haven’t read L’Etranger by Albert Camus since I was in high school, many many many years ago, but A Perfect Crime reminded me of that book (however accurate it may be).

Murder Lo Mein (A Noodle Shop Mystery #3), Vivien Chien (purchased) – 3⭐

This was another pleasant entry in this cozy mystery series. I already own the next book in the series and am looking forward to reading it.

Strange Planet, Nathan Pyle (purchased) – 5⭐

Hilarious and delightful!

Shelter, Yung Yun (library) – 4⭐

This book really crept up on me. I thought it was a tangled and moving story.

Dead To Her, Sarah Pinborough (library) – 2⭐

This was disappointing. It was too long, tried to be too complex and came off as convoluted, and it was pretty boring. I should have DNFd but I was hoping that I’d start to enjoy it as it went on.

What have you been reading lately?

A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder

A Good Girl’s Guide To MurderA Good Girl’s Guide To Murder

By Holly Jackson

Source Purchased

Published by Delacorte Press
on February 4, 2020

four-stars

Pretty and popular high school senior Andie Bell was murdered by her boyfriend, Sal Singh, who then killed himself. It was all anyone could talk about. And five years later, Pip sees how the tragedy still haunts her town.

But she can’t shake the feeling that there was more to what happened that day. She knew Sal when she was a child, and he was always so kind to her. How could he possibly have been a killer?

Now a senior herself, Pip decides to reexamine the closed case for her final project, at first just to cast doubt on the original investigation. But soon she discovers a trail of dark secrets that might actually prove Sal innocent . . . and the line between past and present begins to blur. Someone in Fairview doesn’t want Pip digging around for answers, and now her own life might be in danger.

This is the story of an investigation turned obsession, full of twists and turns and with an ending you’ll never expect.

I am always intrigued by a YA mystery/thriller, and this one really pulled me in based on its synopsis.

I liked this book right away. I had so much fun reading it and got so pulled into the story that I read it in one day. I really liked Pip. She was such a great clever character. Every time I thought of a possible suspect/motive, Pip thought of it too.

The format was interesting, switching from third person narration to first person in the form of Pip’s interviews and investigation journal entries. I liked that variety.

While I do think that the story got a little convoluted in the end, overall I had so much fun reading this book, and definitely recommend it for YA mystery fans. I’m excited to see that it is the first in a series, and I am so looking forward to reading more about Pip unraveling more mysteries!

four-stars

The Only Child

The Only ChildThe Only Child

By Mi-ae Seo, Jung Yewon (translator)

Source Library

Published by Ecco
on February 11, 2020

three-half-stars

Criminal psychologist Seonkyeong receives an unexpected call one day. Yi Byeongdo, a serial killer whose gruesome murders shook the world, wants to be interviewed. Yi Byeongdo, who has refused to speak to anyone until now, asks specifically for her. Seonkyeong agrees out of curiosity.

That same day Hayeong, her husband’s eleven-year-old daughter from a previous marriage, shows up at their door after her grandparents, with whom she lived after her mother passed away, die in a sudden fire. Seonkyeong wants her to feel at home, but is gradually unnerved as the young girl says very little and acts strangely.

At work and at home, Seonkyeong starts to unravel the pasts of the two new arrivals in her life and begins to see startling similarities. Hayeong looks at her the same way Yi Byeongdo does when he recounts the abuse he experienced as a child; Hayeong’s serene expression masks a temper that she can’t control. Plus, the story she tells about her grandparents’ death, and her mother’s before that, deeply troubles Seonkyeong. So much so that Yi Byeongdo picks up on it and starts giving her advice.

Written with exquisite precision and persistent creepiness, The Only Child is psychological suspense at its very best.

I was very excited to read this book! It’s another one that I’d heard lots about, so I was eager to get a copy from the library as soon as I could.

I found this a bit slow to start, but then I really got into it. Overall I didn’t love this one, but I liked it. I thought the pacing was kind of off-kilter throughout, and for a short book, there were several moments where nothing seemed to be happening.

But the premise certainly drew me in, and I liked the way things came together in the end. But I’m glad this was one I picked up through the library rather than one I purchased.

three-half-stars

Seven Deadly Shadows

Seven Deadly ShadowsSeven Deadly Shadows

By Courtney Alameda, Valynne E. Maetani

Source Received from the publisher

Published by HarperCollins
on January 28, 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.

three-half-stars

Kira Fujikawa has always been a girl on the fringe. Bullied by her peers and ignored by her parents, the only place Kira’s ever felt at home is at her grandfather’s Shinto shrine, where she trains to be a priestess.

But Kira’s life is shattered on the night her family’s shrine is attacked by a vicious band of yokai demons. With the help of Shiro—the shrine’s gorgeous half-fox, half-boy kitsune—Kira discovers that her shrine harbors an ancient artifact of great power . . . one the yokai and their demon lord, Shuten-doji, will use to bring down an everlasting darkness upon the world.

Unable to face the Shuten-doji and his minions on her own, Kira enlists the aid of seven ruthless shinigami—or death gods—to help stop the brutal destruction of humankind. But some of the death gods aren’t everything they initially seemed, nor as loyal to Kira’s cause as they first appeared.

With war drawing nearer by the day, Kira realizes that if this unlikely band of heroes is going to survive, they’re going to have to learn to work together, confront their demons, and rise as one to face an army of unimaginable evil.

I was definitely drawn to this book by the premise. It sounded so interesting and exciting!

I definitely liked the story and the world, but for some reason I just didn’t get emotionally pulled into this one. I also felt that the relationship between Kira and her family wasn’t explored in depth or really resolved.

But this had a really cool action/adventure vibe, and the fight scenes were so fun to read. So overall I liked this one!

three-half-stars

Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday was hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Today my pick is We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry, out March 3 from Pantheon:

It’s 1989, and the Danvers High School Women’s Field Hockey team is staring down another losing season. But things start to look up when the team’s goalie discovers a book that will change both the course of the season as well as each player’s life.

FACT: In 1692, a handful of young girls, interested in divining the nature of their futures, brought devastating consequences to what was then known as Salem Village. FACT: Three hundred years later, Salem Village is now the Town of Danvers, and these teen girls are just as wily and original as their ancestors. If hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, then Boston’s north shore is about to discover what lengths eleven teen girls will go to win a state championship, uncovering their true selves and bucking convention along the way. We Ride Upon Sticks presents a portrait of teen girl-dom in all its furious messiness, from big hair to Heathers to coming into one’s glorious own despite society’s stale notions of femininity.

I kind of love everything about this synopsis! A girls’ sports team, the 1980s, witchcraft, feminism…I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy!

What are you waiting on this week?

The Better Liar

The Better LiarThe Better Liar

By Tanen Jones

Source Purchased

Published by Ballantine
on January 14, 2020

four-stars

Robin Voigt is dead. If Leslie had arrived at her sister’s cramped Las Vegas apartment just hours earlier, this would have been their first reunion in a decade. In the years since Robin ran away from home as a teenager, Leslie has stayed in New Mexico, taking care of their dying father even as she began building a family of her own. But when their father passed away, Leslie received a rude awakening: She and Robin would receive the inheritance he left them together—or not at all. Now her half of the money may be beyond her grasp. And unbeknownst to anyone, even her husband, Leslie needs it desperately.

When she meets a charismatic young woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to Robin—and has every reason to leave her past behind—the two make a reckless bargain: Mary will impersonate Robin for a week in exchange for Robin’s half of the cash. But neither realizes how high the stakes will become when Mary takes a dead woman’s name. Even as Mary begins to suspect Leslie is hiding something, and Leslie realizes the stranger living in her house, babysitting her newborn son, and charming her husband has secrets of her own, Robin’s wild, troubled legacy threatens to eclipse them both.

An electric, twisted portrait of sisterhood and the ties that bind, The Better Liar is a stunning debut with a heart-stopping, twist-after-twist finale that will beg the question: How far would you go to get what’s yours?

This was a really buzzy release that I was excited to read, and I just knew once I started reading it that I wouldn’t want to put it down.

This was a book that kept surprising me, and I really enjoyed it. I think readers who like a certain kind of thriller (I’m putting keywords in the spoiler tag) will really enjoy this one. View Spoiler »

I believe this is a debut, and I was really impressed by it! I’ll be keeping my eye out for more from Tanen Jones!

four-stars

Week In Review

It’s been a busy couple of weeks! But of course the top story is the BTS comeback for their new album, Map of the Soul: 7, and the new music video. I posted yesterday about it, so I won’t talk about it much here…other than to say that it is consuming all of my waking hours so I have not been reading much.

New books:

I was very fortunate to receive several e-arcs of some of my highly anticipated 2020 books:

My Summer of Love and Misfortune, Lindsay Wong;

I Killed Zoe Spanos, Kit Frick;

The Girl From Widow Hills, Megan Miranda;

Three Perfect Liars, Heidi Perks;

Clap When You Land, Elizabeth Acevedo;

Burn, Patrick Ness;

I’ll Be The One, Lyla Lee;

The Burning, Laura Bates;

Utopia Avenue, David Mitchell;

Second Sister, Chan Ho-Kei;

Disappear Doppelganger Disappear, Matthew Salesses;

The Only Good Indians, Stephen Graham Jones; and

The Discomfort of Evening, Marieke Lucas Rijneveld.

Books read:

I finished six books in the last couple of weeks (bringing my total for the year to 31 books):

Seven Deadly Shadows by Courtney Alameda and Valynne E. Maetani;

The Better Liar, Tanen Jones;

Murder Lo Mein, Vivien Chien;

Strange Planet, Nathan Pyle;

Shelter, Jung Yun; and

The Only Child, Mi-ae So.

Current reads:

I’m trying to finish The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen before book club this week, and I’m also reading an e-ARC of In Five Years by Rebecca Serle.

Posts and reviews:

In addition to yesterday’s Saturday Soundtrack post, I shared my Quick Lit and Waiting on Wednesday posts.

I also shared my reviews of From Lukov With Love and The Family Plot.

I will obviously be spending the day listening to BTS while trying to read. Happy Sunday!

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