Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate: Review



“In my multifold years of life, I have learned that most people get along as best they can. They don’t intend to hurt anyone. It is merely a terrible by-product of surviving.” 

I wrote that quote into three seperate places after I read it. If you loved that, you’re going to love this. I’m pretty sure that we all know by now that my favorite genre falls between romance and psycho thrillers. What you may not know is that I read a vast amount of books from different genres…I just never really feel like they are much to write home about. Well my friend, I have finally read something that is not absolutely twisted or sick over the moon love-struck. When Amazon suggested that I pick up a copy of Lisa Wingate’s novel Before We Were Yours I immediately imagined the story was about adoption. Which honestly is something my heart has always really felt connected to. Truth be told, we would love to foster or adopt in the future.

“One of the best things a father can do for his daughter is let her know that she has met his expectations. My father did that for me, and no amount of effort on my part can fully repay the debt.” 

I absolutely adored every single word of this beautiful portrayal of life. I felt like from the first three pages my heart was in the thick of it with both narrators. I’m going to tread lightly, because I genuinely don’t want to ruin any single aspect of this book for you. The most apparent connection I can draw for you is that if you liked Orphan Train you will most definitely like this even better. Seriously.

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My Summer 2017 Reading List

1571 Werninger St.,Houston, TX

One of the questions I get most often from my friends, family, and you online pals is, “What should I be reading?”

Well…nobody told me that when I had Virginia I’d never be able to sit and binge read through a summer thriller like the days of my youth.

Just kidding, everyone told me this and I foolishly decided they were nonsensical and w-r-o-n-g.

Oh my sweet momma friends, how right you were.

On the rare and sweet occasion that my littlest decides to bless her mother with a precious nap here is what I’m reaching for this summer–or what I snagged into my hands over maternity leave!

IntoTheWater.jpgInto the Water  by Paula Hawkins

If you were every book-loving human being in the last two years you likely read The Girl On The Train. While I can’t speak to the film adaptation, I can tell you that TGOTT is a book that will be in my husband’s beach read bag as we prepare to vacate for a week! I am always cautious to pick up any second novel by an author that I love so much, but after a lot of back and forth I finally picked up Into the Water and read it on my Kindle a few weeks ago. I.Loved.It. I think that while Hawkins’ first book left me wanting more, this one really stuck with me. You meet Nel, who is a single mom to a little girl and found dead. Her daughter goes to live with her sister–who becomes obsessed with figuring out the death of Nel and finds out there is way, way, way more (think more bodies–more) in the entire story than she originally believed.

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The Woman In Cabin 10: Book Review


In what I would consider to be one of the most bone chilling thrillers that I have read in 2016, I immediately recommend that you go to Amazon and put this in your cart for payday. You’re welcome. Make sure to buy the hardback–it’s only a dollar more than the Kindle version, and you will want to share it with a friend when you’re finished!

The entire book reads with a constant humming of danger and “whodunit” to keep your normally manageable daily anxiety on an entirely new level of HIGH.

Honestly I didn’t go into this novel with a whole lot of confidence. I had just finished a few romance novels and wasn’t even in the mood to read any type of thrilling fiction. Never mind the fact that the last few thrillers I had read left me a bit high and dry–and I wasn’t a  cult fan of Ruth Ware’s first book, In a Dark, Dark Wood.

First you are going to meet Lo Blacklock, who’s a journalist with a naturally inquisitive mind. Lo writes for a travel and lifestyle magazine which leads her to be be a passenger aboard the Aurora Borealis. Covering the maiden voyage of the ship is the break of a lifetime for Lo. Even before Lo boards the ship we get the sense that she a very nervous human being. She seems shaken–stating that she can’t sleep, think, or forget the man who broke into her apartment the few days before boarding the ship. Girl, I get it–I wouldn’t sleep for weeks either. (That’s why we have a dog, and a security system!)

Lo meets the woman in cabin 10 with the most awkward exchange of,

“Sorry, I know this sounds really weird, but I wondered if I could borrow some mascara?”

Lo gets some mascara from her new pal and remains determined to not let her previous experience at home deter her from kicking some major tail and making this opportunity work for her. Then we read this…

… there was a splash.
Not a small splash.
No, this was a big splash.
The kind of splash made by a body hitting water.

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A Few (or Eight) From My Summer Reading List: Review

Well, as I spend the second to last Friday of my summer vacation cuddled on the sofa with a good book–I realized I hadn’t shared my summer book list with you!


Usually I begin the summer with a pile of books that have come from my classroom shelves. 80% of those titles are recommendations from my students I couldn’t squeeze into the school year, but I want to be able to talk to them about when they return as seventh graders this year. The other 20% are titles I bought for our class library, but were just too perfect to leave on the shelf all summer long without a good read through. Add to that pile the books that I snag from the library, my fellow bookies, and some of my favorite Instagram feeds–and I always have more of a mountain, than a realistic pile of books to occupy my time. I’ve decided to only share books that I read this summer and LOVED.

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The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner: Review

The Serpent King

“We need to take care of each other from now on. We need to be each other’s family because ours are so messed up. We need to make better lives for ourselves. We gotta start doing stuff we’re afraid to do.” 

When my traveling book club selected The Serpent King I was immediately turned off. I don’t really get into fantasy novels anymore, and at first glance at the title I was positive that was what I was in for. For some reason I thought that the three silhouettes were on another planet, and certainly not of Earth. Then I started seeing everyone who is anyone on Instagram posting pictures of how they were buying their copies and flagging them so quickly as beloved words to share. I read a synopsis, and was even more cautious than before–I was positive this was going to be one of “those” books that focuses on the suppressed child of a wayward bible beating preacher that was several fries short of the drive thru special. To be equally as honest, when it was finally my turn to read The Serpent King it took me weeks to actually focus and read the story. I had to restart the novel twice–because my friends assured me that I HAD to read the book in one swoop. Well, they were absolutely right. Jeff Zentner’s novel was almost immediately trailing behind my new favorite YA love The First Time She Drowned on my reading list. I was positive that I would not love another novel this year as deeply as I loved Kerry Kletter’s debut novel.  The Serpent King certainly earned itself a space right beside The First Time She Drowned in my reader’s heart.

You will fall in love with every character, every story line, every feeling, and every single thing that comes out of Lydia’s mouth.

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The Love That Split The World by Emily Henry: Review


Sometimes I pick up a book and it just looks so pretty that I buy it on the spot. Sometimes I’m scrolling through Instagram and someone has the prettiest scene surrounding the book, and I just have to buy it to have a piece of that perfection. 8/10 times I’m usually pretty pleased with my irrational way to pick something to read so rapidly. The Love That Split the World was not one of the greater majority. While I did not adore this book, I definitely think it is one that will appeal to a slew of readers.

Natalie Cleary is an adopted daughter of a loving family. She sees “Others” (they are apparitions) that come at night, like Grandmother, or that appear in another world entirely, like Beau. There was just far too much happening in the book for me to be able to enjoy it fully.

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The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter: Review

The First TIme She Drowned

While this book is one of fiction, Kerry Kletter weaves so much realism into the pages that at times it was hard for me to distinguish that this wasn’t happening in real time to someone that I cared about–or myself. To be able to write such a realistic portrayal of depression, suicide, abuse, and so many more triggering topics with such beautiful language is what will set Kerry Kletter on the “must read” shelf at every book store this summer. I found myself continually comparing Kerry Kletter to Jandy Nelson, author of I’ll Give You The Sun in the indescribable way that she paints such violent events with such  beautiful words.

To say that I gorged myself on this title would be slightly under-kill. I didn’t just read The First Time She Drowned, I breathed it.

I can’t begin to recommend this book enough to young adults, old adults, in-between adults, daughters, mothers, fathers, and anyone with a pulsing happening in their chest.I firmly believe that you should take a moment to step back and place it into your Amazon cart, immediately.

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The Light of the Fireflies by Paul Pen: Review


The Light of the Fireflies

While scanning through the recommendations on my Kindle page, I spotted this cover and instantly read the description and downloaded the title. I’ve decided that this book is what would happen if Room met The Shock of the Fall and had a book baby involving insects.

I read the entire book in less than two days and could not put it down. Finding myself constantly running between the emotions of wanting The Boy to experience the world, and wanting The Boy to stay and be with his family was exhausting. When I finished the book I found myself unable to describe it eloquently without ruining everything that I loved discovering firsthand.

The language and writing style of Paul Pen is exquisite, and I found myself really needing to highlight things I found poignant  multiple times in every chapter. The ability to portray a child as being adored, required, and desperately wanted but still  abused was not only astonishing to read but was breathtakingly emotional. The book handles a lot of hard topics, including incest, murder, and mental health.

The Boy has only known the basement. The Boy’s father has told him all about the outside world and he believes that leaving will hurt worse than a thousand blisters.

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Pretending to Be Erica by Michelle Painchaud: Review


When I found this gem, nestled safely among the throws of the other hardbacks the cover spoke to me. Mostly because I was thinking that I could absolutely rock that skirt, but also because I’m a sucker for anything that looks remotely typographic.

If you are looking for a novel to cause warm fuzzies to burst forth from your guts–this is not your tribute. However, if you are a fan of a light crime novel heavy on high school melodrama—you have found your mark.

Con artists, kidnappings, plastic surgeons, private detectives, house staff, and the melodrama mammoth…high school.


The Silverman family has had more heartbreak than any family should. They lost a daughter–kidnapping. A wife lost her husband—insanity, two fake Ericas—imposters. Finally they get the call. There’s emphatic, irrefutable DNA evidence proving that she is home. Except Erica isn’t really Erica anymore, she’s been replaced by Violet who has quite literally been groomed for this job. Don’t worry, you cannot get past page three before reading one of my favorite lines from Violet (again—she’s not Erica).

“Dear God, forgive me of my sins. I’m pretending to be a girl who went missing thirteen years ago. A girl who’s rich. A girl who’s dead. “

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Melt by Selene Castronova: Review


This review was originally published on 1/5/15.

*I was given an ARC of this story from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.* 

So I must admit, when going through my galley site (NetGalley) I very seldom read an entire description before clicking the “request” button. I love such a vast and varied selection of stories that I nine times out of ten genuinely enjoy reading whatever it is that I’m approved and graced with reading. Melt had very intriguing cover art. After becoming slightly obsessed in high school with abandoned theme parks, castles, and other odd places I spent an entire evening with my best friend, Amy, looking at the most creepy pictures of an abandoned theme park based ENTIRELY on The Wizard of Oz. The theatre geek in me freaked, and I’ve often thought that I would like to visit the perpetually eerie state of the park. (You can read all about it and see pictures HERE and HERE)

So when I made the connection between the cracked and decayed yellow brick road of the park with the cover art, I knew I HAD to get my hands on Melt. About a year ago I purchased and read Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige and genuinely enjoyed the visit back to the land of Oz after Dorothy went back to Kansas. The take on a retelling/revisiting of one of my favorite stories with the fast paced thrill, murder, and excellent writing had me instantly hooked. I’ve since had multiple students fall just as in love with DMD as I did, and I was sincerely hoping that Melt would differentiate from this already well done title.

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