March Book Wrap-Up 2020


March was a decent reading month for me, but as we go into April I'm fighting what appears to be a reading slump. Did I burn myself out, or is the inability to go to the library affecting my mental state? Yes, and probably yes. Here are all the books I got to in March.

The Pisces 
by Melissa Borden

“Maybe [the ocean and I] were on the same side, comprised of the same things, water mostly, also mystery. The ocean swallowed things up--boats, people--but it didn't look outside itself for fulfillment. It could take whatever skimmed its surface or it could leave it. In its depths already lived a whole world of who-knows-what. It was self-sustaining. I should be like that. It made me wonder what was inside of me.”

Did I kick off my March by reading merman erotica that was disguised as women's fiction? Yes, yes I did. This is about Lucy, a woman who is simultaneously going to a support group for 'love addicts' while receiving quacking orgasms from a merman come nightfall. Basically. This book left me speechless but a variety of reasons. The blatant idiocy of the protagonist, the animal abuse, the licking of menstrual blood, and the various moments that left my head cocked in utter confusion. I've written an entire review for this novel as I has so many thoughts, check that out here (I'll also put in a link at the bottom of this post) But, yes, no. I can't recommend this.

Rating: ★★

The Immortalists
by Chloe Benjamin

“The cost of loneliness is high, she knows, but the cost of loss is higher.”

A group of siblings visit a psychic as children, and get told the exact date in which each of them is going to die. From there we follow each individual sibling to their deathbed. We watch as the psychics words affect their decision making, and brings up the question 'would their paths of been different if they hadn't known? Would that of changed their fates?'. I regrettably DNF'd this at approximately 50%. I tried to go through it both physically and as an audiobook, but  was just so... bored? That's mean to say, I know. But I couldn't find it in me to care at all where the story was going, and all the characters felt too stiff. Maybe I'll eventually pick this back up, but for now, it's a pass from me. Have you read this? Should I give it another chance?

Rating: N/A

I'll Give You The Sun
by Jandy Nelson

“Maybe some people are just meant to be in the same story.” 

This is a YA contemporary that's been sitting on my shelf for years but after seeing that @BooksWithEmilyFox gave it 5 stars, I got intrigued and put it instantly back onto my immediate TBR. In this we follow twins, Noah and Jude, and watch as their lives go onto different paths after one gets into art school and the other doesn't. This is a slow burn of a book, but I really enjoyed it. It had the right amount of angst and poeticness without seeming pretentious. It spoke about loss, depression, passion, sexuality, first loves, and the expectations put upon teenagers. And yet the book was written with both grace and specks of humour, it never felt heavy. I laughed, cried, and stayed up far too late in a bid to finish it. Would definitely recommend the audiobook.

Rating: ★★★★★ (4.5)

Lock Every Door
by Riley Sager

“Because here’s the thing about being poor—most people don’t understand it unless they’ve been there themselves. They don’t know what a fragile balancing act it is to stay afloat and that if, God forbid, you momentarily slip underwater, how hard it is to resurface.”

Jules is a recently single woman who has found what seems to be a perfect job - house sitting an apartment in the high profile complex the Bartholomew in central Manhattan. For a big sum of money she just has to follow a few simple rules: No visitors, no nights spent away from the apartment, and no disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. But when a fellow apartment sitter goes missing, Jules begins to unravel the dark secrets of the building. I enjoy Riley Sager's books. They aren't predictable nor do they have drunken mum's as the protagonist, yay! Due to my extensive horror knowledge I did foresee the twists coming in this, but that didn't affect my overall enjoyment of the book. If you like thrillers that feel original and have an eerie atmosphere, be sure to add this to your TBR.

Rating: ★★★★★

You Are Not Alone
by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen 

“Some people contend there are two primal fears. The first and most basic is the end of our existence. The second is isolation; we all have a deep need to belong to something greater than ourselves.”

Shay Miller is your average New Yorker. But when she witnesses a suicide on the subway, her life spirals fast. She can't get the woman out of her minds eye. Because of this she goes to the memorial to pay her respects, it is there that she meets Jane and Cassandra - sisters who bring Shay into their inner circle with welcomed arms. They give her a makeover, help her find a new place to live, and all-in-all help her become a better version of herself. But soon she finds that she's stepped entirely into the dead girls shoes. Was this all just a wacky coincidence, or did the sisters plan this? I haven't had great luck with the other books written by the authors, I find the naïve young girl protagonist they like so much to be a pretty annoying thriller trope. However, this wasn't terrible. I listened to it on Scribd, which I strongly recommend you do too. If I had read this physically I imagine I would've gotten lost in the multitude of POV'S. Will I remember this book in a years time? Probably not, but it was enjoyable for what it is. A fast paced thriller with some predictability. I stand by my statement that I think Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen's books are unworthy of the hype surrounding them, but if you enjoyed either The Wife Between Us or An Anonymous Girl, pick this up. And if you want an introduction into this author duo, I'd recommend going with this book first as it is their best.

Rating: ★★★ (3.5)

In Five Years
by Rebecca Sable

“It feels impossible how much space there can be in this intimacy, how much privacy. And I think that maybe that is what love is. Not the absence of space but the acknowledgement of it, the thing that lives between the parts, the things that makes it possible not to be one, but to be different, to be two.”

What if you get a glimpse into your future, but everything is different? When Dannie wakes up in what seems to be an alternate future, where she's no longer engaged to her perfectly matched boyfriend and is living in a completely different apartment, her mind feels a little bruised. Can five years be this different? But after a very strange encounter with this stranger and some of the best sex of her life, she wakes up back in the past and puts the entire thing down to just a really odd dream. But when the mysterious man from her future starts dating her BFF Bella, she begins to question everything.  I didn't know what to expect from this novel as the premise is confusing no matter how it's put. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved this book. It was much more centred around the friendship dynamic between Dannie and Bella than it was romantic, and I do thing that aided in my enjoyment. If you read one book from this entire blog post, go with this one.

Rating: ★★★★★

A Pale View Of Hills
by Kazuo Ishiguro

“As with a wound on one's own body, it is possible to develop an intimacy with the most disturbing of things”

I read Never Let Me Go last year and adored it, so I was interested in reading more of Ishiguro's work. This was a short novel with a premise that seemed right up my street. Set in both the current time and the past, we read the life story of Etsuko, a Japanese woman who has just lost her daughter to suicide. Muddled in her grief, we read about the years she spent in Japan during the wake of World War II and how she came to live in England. This is a hard book for me review, as I did enjoy the story but found the pacing a little odd. I read it in a total of three sittings, and yet it felt like it took me weeks. The writing was beautiful but slow. It's a book that has to sit with you for a few days, like Normal People by Sally Rooney, as it feels too full of a story to absorb right away. Does that make sense?

Rating: ★★★

by Stephen King

“Writers remember everything...especially the hurts. Strip a writer to the buff, point to the scars, and he'll tell you the story of each small one. From the big ones you get novels. A little talent is a nice thing to have if you want to be a writer, but the only real requirement is the ability to remember the story of every scar. Art consists of the persistence of memory.”

When popular author Paul Sheldon gets into a car wreck and wakes up with his legs splintered, high on medication, with a large busted woman (King really wants us to know this) acting as his nurse. Annie Wilkes is Paul's biggest fan, and she'll do anything to help him. Even if it means keeping him with her forever. I keep trying with Stephen King books, but they always tend to let me down in some way. This was a similar case. I found Paul to be a very dislikable protagonist and Annie didn't have any redeemable qualities to help me sympathise or 'get' her. It was a very slow moving novel, and I strongly disliked the chapters of Paul's book. They felt pointless and didn't line up with the actual story in any way, so they felt pointless. I don't know. Many will say I should just completely give up on King, but I really want to understand why so many people adore his work. And the audiobooks put me to sleep. Yay?

Rating: ★★★ (2.5)

Jane Eyre
by Charlotte Bronte 

“I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.”

Do I get my reading badge taken off me for not giving Jane Eyre 5 stars? I liked this book, I really did. In fact the first half surprised me as I kept wanting to read 'just one more chapter' which I wasn't expecting with a hefty classic like this. But you can probably see where this is going, the last half disappointed me. I found the turns that the story took too weird, and I couldn't find it in me to ship Jane and Rochester. Jane deserved better. All in all, a solid 4 star read. Glad I read it, but I can't see myself ever picking it back up.

Rating: ★★★★

My Squirrel Days
by Ellie Kemper

“One of my great hobbies in life is feeling sorry for myself. Nothing makes me feel more alive than when I suspect I have been wronged. Oh, the energy!”

This was my non-fiction read for March, which is a challenge I've set myself to read at least one non-fiction from my physical TBR each month. (Who else hoards non-fiction but never actually gets to it?) Memoirs are hard to review as 1) you're reading about the authors life, so you can't really criticise the books contents, and 2) nothing I say is likely to persuade you into picking it up if you have no interest in Ellie Kemper. However, this book disappointed me in the sense of it mostly being about her childhood and not her career/motherhood. I was hoping for more of an insight into the world of Kimmy Schmidt, however she only touched on the show in the final chapter. I don't know, there was just something about this book that felt disconnected. I never felt like I got a personal look at the author as it seemed to be written more for comedic value rather than an opportunity for her to help fans get a more in depth look into the woman she is. Eh.

Rating: ★★★

Local Girls
by Alice Hoffman 

“...he had a way of taking your hand which made it clear he'd have to be the one to let go.”

This slice-of-life novel by the beloved Hoffman is centred around a Long Island neighbourhood and the Samuelson family. In this family we have a terminally ill mother, a young girl who is feeling love for the first time, and a brother who has given up everything in a bid to be the man of the family. I went into this expecting something more along the lines of Little Fires Everywhere or Firefly Lane, but instead I turned each page expecting the book to suddenly take a magical realism spin. Hoffman has a magical way of writing, but I don't think it translated as well into this less than 150 page novel.

Rating: ★★★

The Year After You
by Nina De Pass

“I'm surprised to find that here, I may have finally found a place where I imagine myself surviving.”

Cara is a teenage girl who lost her best friend G in a car accident. Because of the depression that spouted after her lost, her mother sends her to a boarding school in Switzerland. There Cara meets a group of friends that could have the ability to help her go through her grief, but she has to learn to let them first. For a debut novel, this was beautifully written. Did it have some YA predictability? Yes, but in a similar style to We Are Okay by Nina Lacour, you find yourself looking past it because of the purity of the book. It didn't fall into any cliches, and the characters were all believable in their teenage ways. Much like Booksmart, there were no 'villain' characters. Everyone was just dealing with their own crap. One notable thing that I appreciated from this novel was how the adults were actually wiser than the kids. They weren't assholes. And they weren't pointless. They were trying to help throughout, but Cara just couldn't see it. All too often in young adult contemporaries, the parents/authority figures are useless to the teenage characters. To summarise this hefty review, I really enjoyed this book and I look forward to reading the authors future work.

Rating: ★★★★

Such A Fun Age
by Kelly Reid 

“I don't need you to be mad that it happened. I need you to be mad that it just like... happens.”

A young black woman is accused of kidnapping a white child when she was only acting as the girls nanny. This starts a domino effect with the girls life, and the parents of the child. I didn't know what to expect from this book as I'd seen it everywhere online without once seeing an actual review. So I randomly started the audiobook one day, and before I knew it I was 100% invested. This is a story about class, race, and the 'white saviour' complex we all too often see in media. I found all the characters beautifully flawed, and truly liked everyone even when they were doing the most infuriating of things. In many ways it reminded me of a mix between Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams and Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. If you liked either, give this novel a go.

Rating: ★★★★

So, yup. There we all have all the books I got to in March. Quite a mixed bag. Are any of these on your current TBR? Let me know!

Full Reviews:
In Five Years by Rebcca Serle 
You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkenan 
The Pisces by Melissa Broden 

Stay safe,

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle | Book Review [spoiler free]


This contemporary novel was on my Most Anticipated Releases Of 2020 list, so I was really happy to find it on Scribd. I listened to it's entirety in two sittings as I didn't realise how short this novel was (only 272 pages). It read much longer but in the best possible way. Reminiscent of Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah, Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid, and The Giver Of Stars by Jojo Moyes, this was wrongly marketed as a romance novel whereas it's much more of a book about the power of female friendship. Let's go over the synopsis before gushing over my enjoyment of it...

Dannie Cohan is leading the life she always wanted. She's a lawyer at her dream firm, fast to making partner. Her lifelong best friend Bella continues to live a life of spontaneity keeping Dannie as the responsible one in their friendship, which she enjoys. Her mother is always a phone call away. And most notably, her perfectly matched boyfriend just asked her to marry him. Everything is how it should be. After a few too many glasses of champagne in celebration, Dannie takes a nap that changes everything.

Suddenly she wakes up five years after the night of the proposal, only she is no longer engaged to her fiance. Instead she's in a completely different apartment in a different area of New York, and there's a strange man who appears to be her partner. Everything is different, and yet, she feels like everything is right for the first time.Without meaning to, she quickly finds this strange man's body on her, giving her the most pleasurable experience she has ever had. Only when she awakes the following morning, she's back in the past, back to living her usual controlled life. Assuming it was one hell of a weird dream, Dannie continues to live her life trying to put that apartment and that man out of her head. Four and a half years later something impossibles happens, she finds him. Only instead of him being a part of her life, he's dating Bella.

That was a long-winded synopsis, I know. I'm sorry. It's really hard to put this book into words without giving away any of the plot.

Huge thank you to @theshelfaroundthecorner for borrowing me her photo for this blog post. Go give her a Bookstagram follow!

I loved this novel, it broke my heart and then sewed it back together. The characters were all greatly developed despite the 272 page count (or 5 hour listening time), and I truly was blown away by the writing. As mentioned at the beginning, this was written about the enrichment that a healthy friendship can bring to your life. It had romantic elements without ever falling into the trap of being corny or unrealistic. This was a beautiful portrait of the paths that life may give us, if we only felt brave enough to listen to our hearts and not our minds.

As a main character, Dannie was a pleasure to read. She was flawed despite her seemingly perfect life, but not in a try-hard 'why is this supposedly smart character doing all these dumb things?' way. If you're the friend who always seems to have it together, giving out advice, while secretly being a little broken, you will find solace in Dannie. In parts she reminded me of a more grounded Eleanor Oliphant from Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. All the characters were actually great in this, all had fleshed out personalities which was a real accomplishment by the author.

All in all, if you like stories driven by female friendship and enjoy a little destiny in your stories, pick this up. I enjoyed the audiobook but I guarantee I would've had the same experience if I'd physically picked this up. Go with the format that you prefer.

Rating: 5/5

Things To Consume For Happiness


We are currently in the midst of a truly terrifying time. A good portion of us are stuck at home feeling very helpless and seeking out distractions that will both aid in lifting our mood and taking our mind off the devastation that is taking over the world. Here are my recommendations for everything of this nature:

Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist
This is a current show airing on NBC (and Hulu), but I'm pretty sure the first two episodes are available to watch on Youtube. Zoey is a tech girl who gains the ability to hear people singing the songs that most portray their inner emotions after the entire online music catalogue gets jammed into her head during an MRI. This is my most recent obsession, it's light-hearted while not being a sitcom, the songs are feel good and beautifully done (sometimes there's even dancing!), and all the characters are wonderfully unique. It stars Lauren Graham, which was enough of a selling point to me. If you liked Kimmy Schmidt and/or Glee, then you'll like this. Give it a try.

Pocket Camp/Animal Crossing
I know the entire Internet is currently abuzz with Animal Crossing: New Horizons hype, but as someone who is poor and dislikes sharing a Switch with someone, I'm happy to stick with the free app Pocket Camp which is basically the same game though limited. I find happiness in dressing up my little animal friends, catching fish to distract myself from those gloomy 2am thoughts, and all-in-all like having something mindless that doesn't necessarily keep me awake longer than I should. Bonus: It isn't social media. I can't push this game strongly enough if you're a person who deals with nighttime anxiety. It's very soothing, give it a try.

Anna Kendrick
Whether it's marathoning the Pitch Perfect trilogy, reading her book Scrappy Little Nobody, listening to any soundtrack with her involved, rewatching her lip-sync battles, or reliving the utter crazy that was The Twilight Saga, you literally can't not be happy when consuming anything involving Anna Kendrick. She's a ray of freaking sunshine with the mouth of a sailor.

Books are the most realistic escapism you're going to get. Your mind can't digest a book and be freaking out over the apocalypse simultaneously, well, it probably can but that just means your book isn't distracting enough. Reading is a personal thing, so you may already have a genre that you reach for when looking for something to grab your undivided attention. Personally, I find rom-com type books or thrillers to be the most engaging for me when stressed, so... For rom-comness I recommend The Hating Game by Sally Thorne or The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang, both are great if you want quick-wit dialogue and smutty goodness. For thrillers I recommend anything by Riley Sager or Ruth Ware. Their entire catalogues are fun and not entirely predictable.

Food Network
When is a cooking show not comfort television? It's no secret that me and my husband constantly watch and push Guy's Grocery Games onto people. It's one of our favourite shows and has some weird rewatchablity that not many cooking competitions have. But if that's not your jam (judging you.. joking.. kind of), Ace Of Cakes is the ultimate feelgood show with a great group of people, all of whom you will grow to adore. Jeff is the best. However, you will want cake when watching so make sure you have baking supplies. In a similar sense, when is The Great British Bake Off not good for the soul? This one is on Netflix, so I'm kind of cheating, but it's for a good cause. Watch Mary Berry say 'soggy bottom' a few dozen times and your body will relax.

There we have it! Quite obviously, hobbies are a great way to occupy yourself, but rather impossible to recommend as your hobbies are, well, your hobbies. I like to paint, fill up my bullet journal, and am currently in the midst of learning to knit. What hobby are you thinking of picking up?

Keep safe, 

5 Star Book Predictions: Update 2020 | Was I Right?


Last year I did a blog post where I wrote all about 5 books that I thought I was going a 5 star rating to (Check it out HERE), was I right? Was I way wrong? Let's find out together. I'll be referring to my Goodreads to get each rating that I gave the books, so be sure to go befriend me there. Let's bond over books!

So, my first prediction was Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, a classic that I had never read. This is of course a novel about the life of a young lady named Jane Eyre and the adventures/misdeeds she goes through. I did enjoy this book for what it is, I found the writing compelling and stayed up far too late for 'just one more chapter'. However, I found the last half of the book semi boring and with each tragic turn I grew a little too exasperated to continue reading in large chunks. Overall I gave this a solid 4 star rating, so technically I failed, but it was very close.
Rating: 4/5 stars.

Second, I predicted The Help by Kathryn Stockett to be a 5 star book and it most definitely was. I fell in love with this story set in the 1960's surrounding a white woman who decides to write a novel about the lives of the black women who have raised both her and the other people in her life. I know this is quite a dividing book as many deem it problematic, but I felt captivated by the story and grew truly fond of each female character. I felt empowered while reading this, which is a difficult accomplishment. I loved it, and devoured it in two sittings.
Rating: 5/5

Thirdly I chose The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah, the latest release by one of my favourite authors. A surefire thing, right? Oy Vey. I didn't hate this survivalist story, but I definitely didn't enjoy it. Set in Alaska this is centred around a young girl who gets moved to the middle of nowhere by her father who has PTSD after serving in the war. Once there they prepare for Winter, a time that everyone warns them will be life or death - no daylight, predators, lack of food. Will they survive? This was one of those books that read like torture porn in many ways. I know many say that A Little Life is like that, but I could look past that as Jude's past always helped develop the story. The Great Alone however seemed gloomy for the sake of being gloomy. I felt like I needed a shower after I turned the last page. Huge disappointment.
Rating: 2.5/5

 Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson was my fourth pick. Epic fantasies aren't something that I usually read, but I do have a huge soft spot for Sanderson's world building and strong female characters. This was the epitome of a 5 star read. Set in the political world of Nalthis, Vivenna and Siri are sisters. The oldest of the sisters has been destined since birth to marry the God king of a viral nation and because of this, the youngest goes through life unnoticed. But when something unexpected happens, their lives get put into a tailspin of mercenaries, powered swords, and a royal court. Though huge, this read quickly with great character development and enough intrigue to keep me from ever getting bored.
Rating: 5/5

My fifth prediction was Educated by Tara Westover. Another survivalist story but with much much much higher stakes. This is a memoir written by a woman who was brought up by a family of survivalists. She didn't see doctors, didn't have a proper childhood, and never went to school until she decided to educate herself. Now she had a PHd and writes words in books that I have to Google. This is a horrible book to read but one that you just have to. Her life story broke my heart but left me with glimmers of hope and a whole heap of inspiration. I always feel weird rating memoirs, but I gave this 4 stars for the sake of this blog post. I enjoyed it, but felt like it dragged a little. Which is heavily critical as it's her story to tell. But yeah, as solely a reader, 4 stars.
Rating: 4/5

Lastly, I chose A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. Translated from Swedish, this hilarious yet heartbreaking story revolves around Ove, a grump old man who recently lost his wife and job. Because of this he decides to do the only thing that makes sense to him, he's going to kill himself. But with each attempt comes a distraction from the new neighbours - a loud but endearing family. I've never laughed as tears ran down my cheeks so many times during a book. This was just beautiful and put Fredrik Backman on the shortlist for one of my favourite authors. Ever. However, and I say this was a heavy heart, I gave this book 4.5 stars. I know, I know. There were some fatphobic comments that really got to me and I just couldn't look past them despite my love for the story. Deary me.
Rating: 4.5/5

So, yes, not bad but definitely not great. One fell quite short while others got dishearteningly close to their predicted 5 stars. Be sure to check out 5 Star Book Predictions Part II which will be up soon!

Have you read any of these? 
What book on your TBR do you predict that you'll give 5 stars to? 

Intimidating TBR Book Tag


In light of the current mess that is our scary world, I decided to post more over the next couple of weeks to give both myself and you lovely readers a (hopefully) book escape. What better way is there than a book tag? Feel free to tell me your answers to any of these questions in the comments, over on twitter, or do this tag yourself on your blog! I officially tag you! Let's get on with it.. 

1) What book have you been unable to finish?
Over the past year or so I've gotten much better at choosing to DNF books, the giving up guilt has slid off me. There are just too many books to be read in the world to forsake precious reading time with a novel you're feeling 'meh' about. The last book I DNF'd was The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin, I tried both the physical book and the audiobook to no avail. I found the story long-winded, the characters too bland, and overall it bored me. Welp.

2) What book have you yet to read because you just haven't had the time?
The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin. I enjoy a fantasy every now and again, but they take me a while to get through without always puts me off picking this up despite the multitude of glowing reviews and the fact it's on my '20 Books I Want To Read In 2020'.

3) What book have you yet to read because it's a sequel? 
A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers. I read The Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet last year and really enjoyed it, but I just haven't yet felt compelled to pick up the second of the series. These books are what the world of Firefly would be like if it was written as a book series instead of a show, which really sings to my heart. Soon my pretty, soon.

4) What book have you yet to read because it's brand new?
One of my most recent book purchases is King Of Scars by Leigh Bardugo which I found at my library's bookstore for a grand total of $1. I've seen this book absolutely everywhere online, but I'm still not 100% sure whether I can read the first book of this trilogy without ever having read any of her past books. Help?

5) What book have you yet to read because you read a book by the same author and didn't enjoy it?
The Little Friend by Donna Tartt. I've read both her other books and despite kind of liking The Goldfinch, I loathed The Secret History. So I'm in a complicated relationship with the author. Yet I still want to read The Little Friend so I can say that I've read everything the author has written.

6) What book have you yet to read because you're just not in the mood for it?
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. I know that sounds awful, but I really struggle to pick up non-fiction that I'm not in the mood for and yet it's a genre I'm never really psyched to pick up. Sooo.. yes. I know the importance of the book and for that I keep trying to force myself into picking it up, yet I know if I force it, it has the risk of putting me into a reading slump. The fear!

7) What book have you yet to read because it's humongous?
I don't easily get put off by a books length as I'm a huge mood reader so I just wait for what feels like the right time. However, spinning this question on it's head a little, I do really want to catch up with the Throne Of Glass series by Sarah J Mass, I left off on the third book but I know each novel in the series just continued to get bigger and bigger so I fear how long it would take me to read them all. They're total trash books, but that's just what you sometimes need. Reading is meant to be fun, after all.

8) What book have you yet to read because it was a cover buy that turned out to have poor reviews?
Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty. Big Little Lies is one of my favourite books, I loved the characters and laughed out loud multiple times. The moment I finished it, I read almost all of Liane's other books. I didn't love any of them as much as I did Big Little Lies, but they were fun. Cliche fun. I was excited to read her newest novel but the majority of reviews I've read have disliked it. For that read it's sat on my shelf for close to a year now untouched.

9) What is the most intimidating book in your TBR pile?
Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell. I have no idea why I keep getting drawn to this novel, but there's about three things I'm absolutely positive. First, this is a large daunting novel. Second, there's a part of it-and I didn’t know how potent that part might be-that many seem problematic. And third, I am unconditionally and irrevocably interested in it. (name that twisty turny quote) Anyway, odd tangent aside, I just keeping putting this maaahhhussive book on my TBR. So, guess that's gonna happen someday soon.

Again, let me know your answers to any of the questions above! Let's escape from the world by talking about books. 

Stay safe,

You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen | Book Review [spoiler-free]


From the women that brought us The Wife Between Us and An Anonymous Girl comes a new exciting thriller that has been pegged as the most anticipated thriller of the year by various outlets. I was a little hesitant going into this as I didn't have a great time reading their two previous novels The Wife Between Us and An Anonymous Girl. Though I did find The Wife Between Us interesting, the domestic abuse element of the story rubbed me the wrong way. I also physically read it, which having now chosen to go with the audiobooks for both their other novels, I realise was a huge mistake. It read too long. So, learning my lesson I then picked up An Anonymous Girl via audiobook from my local library, which gave an overall better reading experience despite giving it a 2.5 rating. I digress, basically I chose to listen to You Are Not Alone as I felt it would be the best option, I was right. 100%. If I had picked up the actual book I would've likely given this a lower rating than I have. Before venturing into why this is, let's talk about what this book is about.

In You Are Not Alone you're following a young woman named Shay Miller. Shay's life begins to crumble around her after she witnesses a suicide on the subway of New York City. She can't get the woman in the polka dot dress out of her mind, over and over she goes through the circumstances that led to that tragedy. Shay decides to go to the woman's memorial service and it's there that she meets Jane and Cassandra, two sisters who eventually bring Shay into their inner circle of friends. They give her a makeover, find her a new place to live, and all-in-all turn her into a better version of herself. Without ever meaning to, she slips into the life of the woman who killed herself. Was this all just a chain of events, or did the sisters plan this?

I can't go much further into the synopsis as it's always difficult to not give away too much when reviewing a thriller. But let's just say 'bitches be crazy'. This worked as an audiobook as there are multiple POV's throughout the story and the voice actors really bring that to life. If I had physically read it, I imagine I would've gotten lost in the multitude of female characters a few times.

Shay was a likeable but heavily naive protagonist, which is what you expect if having read Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen's previous novels as it seems to be their style. Young naive main character who trusts too easily, and a more mature woman who you can't trust. Which is cool, but a tad predictable at this point. Speaking of predictability, I did foresee the 'twists' that happen in the story way before any of them happened, which I can usually forgive if the story gives off originality like Lock Every Door by Riley Sager, but I'm still uncertain as to whether this book managed that. Though I will be likely to pick up any other books these woman eventually release, I can't help but wonder whether I would want to if it were not for the popularity and hype of these authors on Booktube/Bookstagram. To be honest, all three novels read very basic. I've read better thrillers by much smaller authors who haven't had their work pushed as much online. Unlike Riley Sager and Ruth Ware, I don't believe Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen deserve the popularity. Harsh, I know, it makes me feel bad writing it, but I can't not be honest in an in depth review.

All in all, this book was semi entertaining but forgettable like their previous bookd. I won't remember what happened in this thriller in a few months, and I'll likely forget I ever read it.

Rating: 3.5/5

Which author do you think is unjustifiably popular among the reading community? And on the other side of this question, which author do you think doesn't get enough recognition? I'd love to know!

Inside Birchbox | March 2020


I failed miserably when it came to choosing a curated box this month, as I entirely forgot and got stuck with a box of surprises. What did I receive? Let's see together! If you've never read a post in this series, then let me just quickly say what it is. I, like so many other easily influenced viewers, got sucked onto the Birchbox train and have been an avid subscriber for over a year now. I like being able to try out so many new skincare, body care, hair care, or even makeup products for the respectable price of $15 a month ($13 for me, as I did a 12 month subscription wherein you still pay monthly, but are in a contract for the 12 month period. You can also do this for a 6 month period if that interests you.). Do you have a subscription box? Let me know. So without further ado, let's go through the products I received in the month of March...

Brand: Benefit Cosmetics
Product: The POREfessional Hydrate Primer
Full-sized details: $32
Sample size received: 3.0ml
I've only recently jumped into the magical world of primers so I've yet to splurge on the coveted Benefit POREfessional which every beauty guru or celebrity seems to use, so I was very excited to receive this in my box despite the small sample size. As I don't use foundation, I really won't be using much during each application, however I could see how this would be a measly amount to someone who wants a primer to go over every inch of their face.

Brand: Davines
Product: Ol All in One Milk
Full-sized details: $35
Sample size received: 50ml
As you will further see as this post goes on , this mystery box was rather heavy in the Davines brand. I'm never entirely thrilled when I receive shampoo or conditioner samples as they only last one (maybe at a push, two) uses and it will never sway me into spending the heavy price tag. However, this leave in conditioner peaks my interest and I'm interested in seeing how it treats the ends of my hair. The smell is quite pleasant, but nothing to write home about. It almost smells like a herbal bottle of medicine.

Brand: Davines
Product(s): Shampoo + conditioner
Full-sized details: Shampoo, $34 + conditioner, $40
Sample size received: Both 12ml.
As mentioned above, I could take or leave these samples as one wash is never going to convince me into buying a $40 product. Meh.

Brand: Sunday Riley
Product: Luna Sleeping Night Oil
Full-sized details: $55-$105
Sample size received: 5ml
It's samples like this that keep me using Birchbox. I received the vitamin C Sunday Riley oil last month, and despite my nightly use of it, I haven't even gone through a quarter of the 5ml sample. These are such luxurious products that really do last you awhile. I'm currently in the midst of a love story with facial oils, so you best believe this is going to go to great use.

Brand: Wander Beauty
Product: Double Date Lap And Cheek - Rendezvous
Full-sized details: 2.05g, $22
Sample size received: 1.05g
Make-up products are always fun to get, but I'm on the fence on how I feel about a cream blush. Only time will tell! (note from future Anne: This is surprisingly pigmented and stays on throughout the day on the cheeks, however it separates quickly on the lips.)

Brand: Hero Cosmetics
Product: Mighty Patch Original
Full-sized details: 36 for $12.99
Sample size received: 6 patches
This seems to be the more adventurous product in this months box. I'd never heard of this company or it's product prior to seeing this but after a scroll online they seem to be quite popular. I'll be sure to give these a whirl next time I feel a pimple coming through, though to be honest, that can be difficult as I'm more of a hormonal breaker-outer so I never sense anything coming. If these work, I'll be most definitely purchasing a bulk box for under my sink.

What product intrigues you the most? 

The Pisces by Melissa Broden | Book Review [spoiler free]


When I saw this book in my library, I was torn. I'd heard such varying reviews on The Pisces by Melissa Broden, but the consensus is always either 'ew' or 'wtf?', no matter whether the reviewer had rated the novel 1 or 5 stars. Should that of intrigued me? Probably not, but alas, here we are. Seen as it was free to pick up (libraries are magical), I figured I'd give it a try. How did I get on?

At heart The Pisces is a book about obsessive love. In it we follow a recently heartbroken Lucy, who decides  to detach herself from her current life and go and dog sit her sisters dog Dominic in Miami for the Summer. Once there, she becomes a part of a support group for women who are addicted to romance, and spends her nights sitting on a rock near the ocean chatting with a swimmer. But what she doesn't realise is, he's a merman. And the sex is going to be amazing. Basically.

Yeah, this is technically Merman erotica. Which I kind of knew going in, but my faith in the authors ability to not make it icky kept me going. Initially I was going to read a few chapters, see where my thoughts were at, and decide if I wanted to continue. Regrettably, I did. Okay, I say that with a pinch of salt. I really did enjoy the first half of this novel, it was fast paced and though Lucy was a very unlikable character she was still better than all the characters in The Secret History by Donna Tartt, so I really wasn't fussed. Who doesn't love to read from the narrative of a bitch every now and again? Hello Blair Waldorf and Petra Solano. It gave me vague Valley Of The Dolls vibes which I think we have already established my love for (not idea what I'm talking about? Check out my review HERE). I enjoyed her interactions with the other women in her group, and even found some humour in her truly terrible hook-up dates. However, once her and the Merman got together the novel ran into a whole field of crazy. Not only were the sex scenes questionable in comparison to the earlier ones that albeit were pretty gross, were at the very least realistic. Now we were reading about a merman licking up her menstrual blood and reading about her fantasies of cutting up his tail, cooking his flesh, and eating it with garlic butter. I lost count of how many times I stopped to read aloud some of the truly terribly written paragraphs and descriptions to my husband.

Have you ever read a book wherein a character works in an important profession; medical training, science, astronomy, etc, and the author tries to make it sound so convincing, and tries to make the character seem so knowledgeable in their work that it truly comes across as pure nonsense? This is how I felt during every single scene where Lucy was working on her thesis. Some sentences didn't make any sense and her 'epitomises' read like Joey's letter to the adoption agency in Friends. I really don't think the author knew what the hell she was writing about at times, instead trying to subtly get off the subject and somehow tying it into our protagonists horny nature. Though it sounds harsh, I think the author had a good idea for a smutty novel and instead tried to make into something it's not - good writing.

My other big problem with this novel was the problematic elements. Twice the protagonist compared the Merman's movements to a paraplegic trying to sit upright, which she commented was "cute". And the overall lack of anything resembling feminism was astounding for a novel that was released in 2018. I get that was kind of the point with the whole support group, but Lucy's lack of self respect of both herself and other women never changed. Also, a huge part of the book was her neglecting the dog she was sitting for which could be rather hard to read, so please take a trigger warning for animal abuse from this review. If that greatly upsets you, stay far away from this.

So, yeah. Objectively this was truly an awful book in both the story and writing. I did quite enjoy the first half, it was a pure guilty-pleasure and a great palette cleanser after I'd been reading heavy books all last month, but I can't in good consciousness recommend this to anyone. The cover is the only thing it has going for it.

What was the last book you read that disappointed you?

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