Book Review: The Bookshop of Second Chances by Jackie Fraser

Thea’s having a bad month. Not only has she been made redundant, she’s also discovered her husband of nearly twenty years is sleeping with one of her friends. And he’s not sorry – he’s leaving.
 
Bewildered and lost, Thea doesn’t know what to do. But, when she learns the great-uncle she barely knew has died and left her his huge collection of second-hand books and a house in the Scottish Lowlands, she seems to have been offered a second chance.
 
Running away to a little town where no one knows her seems like exactly what Thea needs. But when she meets the aristocratic Maltravers brothers – grumpy bookshop owner Edward and his estranged brother Charles, Lord Hollinshaw – her new life quickly becomes just as complicated as the life she was running from…

Heya, 

I stayed up all night just so I could finish this book. I really enjoyed it. I think it’s because I’m an avid reader that I really love books about bookstores. I loved the love interest, although felt like he was a bit emotionally immature for his age. That’s the other thing, I really enjoyed reading a book about a main character who isn’t 25 with a hot body, the best hair, and her whole life ahead of her to find love. 

I also loved that time passes in the book and you can really see the character arcs. However, I felt like the time jumps weren’t strong enough. They seemed to be thrown in, and some of the true emotional growth is glazed over. 

I would give this book 3.5 stars! I did really enjoy it and feel like the romance was just as great as the setting. How amazing would it be to go to Scotland and talk long walks, hang on the beach at the book’s Shed, and own such expensive and rare novels from Classics around the world?

Good Readdance,
Jade

Book Review: Ties That Tether by Jane Igharo

At twelve years old, Azere promised her dying father she would marry a Nigerian man and preserve her culture, even after immigrating to Canada. Her mother has been vigilant about helping—well forcing—her to stay within the Nigerian dating pool ever since. But when another match-made-by-mom goes wrong, Azere ends up at a bar, enjoying the company and later sharing the bed of Rafael Castellano, a man who is tall, handsome, and…white.

When their one-night stand unexpectedly evolves into something serious, Azere is caught between her feelings for Rafael and the compulsive need to please her mother. Soon, Azere can’t help wondering if loving Rafael makes her any less of a Nigerian. Can she be with him without compromising her identity? The answer will either cause Azere to be audacious and fight for her happiness or continue as the compliant daughter.

Heya!

First, I want to say how beautiful this cover is. I love the vibrant colors, the representation through skin tone and hairstyle, and the mirror image of the guy through the glasses. When I first saw it, I was immediately like I’m reading that!

Second, I stayed up all night just so I could read this book. Then I immediately fan-girled and wrote a Tweet to the author to tell her just how much I loved it. In Ties That Tether, you get to see parts of the Nigerian culture through words, phrases, and traditions in comparison to the character’s (and author’s) experience as an immigrant in Canada. You get to see the holds that family has over your life and how you might end up with someone you don’t love just because you want to please your parents.

I’m not Nigerian but I really related to this character. All my life my parents have stressed the importance of dating within my own race and how we’ve got to ‘stick together’. I dated a few white and light skins when I was younger and was immediately labeled the daughter who would Most Likely Go White. You should’ve seen their faces when they found out that Tony, my partner and (of course) soulmate, is black.

It also goes along with how you can’t judge someone by the culture they were raised in. It’s hard to tell who is racist, who is a pushover, and who is truly willing to stay and put up with your family because they love you – when you are only looking at their ethnic background. The struggle the main character goes through to listen to her heart or the generations of ancestors is visceral and shows on the page. It might make you agree to anything – as we see over and over.

That being said, I wanted to slap this main character up the head a few times (which I’m sure she might’ve gotten from a parental figure a few times). Girl, get it together! Might I also mention how important it is to show healthy girl-friend relationships!? Everyone needs someone in their corner (even me…I need friends, ahora) and I love how more and more these days you are seeing secondary characters who are more than just a device thrown in to further the plot. Also, I think I’d like to see a sequel with her best friend as a main character and finding love!

Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and I’m so glad that I read it. I felt like it was the first romance in a long time that didn’t make me roll my eyes or frustrate the hell out of me – which is saying a lot. Y’all know how I love my mushy stories.

If I had a star system, I’d give this book 4 stars! Thank you Jane Igharo for introducing us to the culture with an experience that is relatable and honest.

Good Readdance,
Jade

Book Review: The Shadows by Alex North

You knew a teenager like Charlie Crabtree. A dark imagination, a sinister smile–always on the outside of the group. Some part of you suspected he might be capable of doing something awful. Twenty-five years ago, Crabtree did just that, committing a murder so shocking that it’s attracted that strange kind of infamy that only exists on the darkest corners of the internet–and inspired more than one copycat.

 

Read: August 2020

Method: Audiobook and Physical (Mostly listened)

One of the great things about The Shadows by Alex North is that it was inspired by the Slender Man legend. I must admit that before I read this book I read a few articles interviewing the author as well as about the Slender Man. It’s a morbid curiosity as well as an interest in the role legends and myths play in society. It all made me giddy inside. 

I listened to The Shadows in one day, willing to sacrifice sleep in order to keep listening. I loved the narrator, the way you could feel the emotion from the main characters and the mystery. I feel that narrators should really get the kudos they deserve because you truly believe that the person is the character. The inflections of Paul, the worries of Amanda, the spooky woods, all come through because of the phrasing and the tone of the narrators. So, bless them! That being said, I felt that this book was much slower than The Whisper Man (another book by Alex North that I read recently). I felt that I kept waiting for things to really take off. This anticipation wasn’t fulfilled until later in the book but it was worth the wait. I just wished that there was more of a sense of urgency earlier on. I also felt that I might’ve missed something, regarding the timeline of deaths, while listening. Due to this, I spent the last half of the book looking for answers that I never got. This makes me feel like I need to reread the book, or at least search for that answer via Goodreads or reviewers (because others might’ve had the same question). 

I feel that even wanting to find those answers shows just how much I liked this book. The fact that despite this hiccup, I still want to learn more about the novel, as well as read more about Slender Man, says it all. I would definitely recommend The Shadows to anyone looking for a mystery. If I had a rating system, I would give this book a 3.5 out of 5 stars! Fantastic!    

Jade

Link to Book!

If you have any book suggestions you’d like me to read, comment them below!

theshadows

 

Book Review: The More of Less by Joshua Becker

To be clear, this book is [NOT] a memoir about my own journey in minimalism. Although I share some of my own story along the way to illustrate what I am saying and hopefully provide inspiration, the book isn’t about me. It’s about you. It’s about the joys of owning less. It’s about how to implement minimalism in a way that transforms your life for the better.

Heya,

When I first started this adventure into Minimalism, I knew one of the first things I would do is read books about the topic. I wanted to get first hand accounts from others who have become hoarders, or semi-hoarders, like me. Joshua Becker is one of the authors that I discovered while doing research.

less

I really liked The More of Less. It chronicles the time when Becker first discovered minimalism, via a neighbor, and the almost immediate change it made in his life. He goes on to give great advice on how to become a minimalist, inspiration from his own experiences, and ways to let minimalism set you free from the confines of clutter. Sounds woowoo, but he does it in a very tasteful way.

minimalismempty

“Minimalism…it may conjure up images of sterility, of asceticism, of bare white walls, of grim frugality, or of someone sitting on the floor because he doesn’t have any furniture. How boring and colorless! Who would want that?”

In one chapter, he lists all the misconceptions of minimalism, and what normal people – who haven’t done the research – decide what living with less means. A Cult. A Fad. A misguided attempt to feel sorry for all the things they bought on their over-extended credit cards. He talks about the different ways to combat these thoughts and how to discover for yourself what it truly means.

There’s a humorous tone to the novel that allowed me to feel that this whole ‘minimalism’ thing doesn’t need to be stuffy or stuck up or serious or devoid of emotion and color. (One chapter’s title is The Battle of the Jell-O Molds) It can be jovial and exciting and tiring but yet exhilarating. That last one I felt, myself, when I went through my first de-cluttering session. I’d taken all the boxes of books out, for donation, and my table was completely clear. I could see the white! There’s was a feeling of euphoria as I noticed that it looked so together. So…adult-ish.

Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own

At the end of the book, Joshua Becker includes his chapter notes on minimalism. From there you can get the names of authors, books, articles, and bible versus that have inspired him in his journey.

 

I would definitely recommend this to all newbie minimalists who are looking for guidance on starting out. If you’ve already read this book and want to discuss it, leave a comment below. I’m always down to chat with you guys!

 

Joshua Becker Creator of BecomingMinimalist.com

 

 

Good Readdance,
Jade

P.S. Yes, I hope to start writing book reviews again! Follow the blog to get more updates.

Dystopian Book Suggestions

Heya Readers!

So I asked in a few of my book groups for book suggestions. I specifically asked for Dystopian books, adult – not YA. I received tons of excited responses but it also let me know that sometimes even we, readers, do not always read. Dystopian and post apocalyptic books are not the same. Just because there has been a virus or nuclear war, does not mean the book is now dystopian.

I digress.

Since some of the books actually sounded really interesting, I decided to put them on my list anyway. So do not fret.

That being said..here are the books that I pulled from those suggestions, read the synopsis and decided to add to my TBR pile. I’ve requested most of them from the library and, as things go, they all came at the same time. So I currently have around 8 books sitting next to my bed.

Oh lord!

Below are the books, their covers, the beginning of the synopsis and their links. Enjoy!

Anthem by Ayn Rand

Anthem is a dystopian fiction novella by Ayn Rand, written in 1937 and first published in 1938 in the United Kingdom. The story takes place at an unspecified future date when mankind has entered another Dark Age. Technological advancement is now carefully planned and the concept of individuality has been eliminated. Get It Here!

Anthem by Ayn Rand

Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart

In the near future, America is crushed by a financial crisis and our patient Chinese creditors may just be ready to foreclose on the whole mess. The novel takes place in a near-future dystopian New York where life is dominated by media and retail. Get It Here!

Super Sad True Love Story

Arrowhead by Paul Kane

As the world dies, a legend is reborn!- In the years following ‘The Cull’ England has reverted back to the Middle Ages, ripe for invasion by the Frenchman De Falaise and his group of mercenaries. They enter through the Channel Tunnel and work their way up the country. Ex-policeman Robert Stokes lost everything to the virus that ravaged these isles. Along with his wife and his son, it took Robert’s whole reason for living. But when De Falaise arrives at Nottingham – proclaiming himself the new ‘Sheriff’ –Robert finds himself drawn reluctantly into the fight, using the famous legend of a Hooded Man as his guide! Get It Here!

ArrowHead by paul kane

 

The Circle by Dave Eggers

When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in the world—even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge. Get it Here!

the circle dave eggers

The Power by Naomi Alderman

In THE POWER, teenage girls now have immense physical power–they can cause agonizing pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world drastically resets. Get It Here!

the power by naomi alderman

 

The Stand by Stephen King

This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death.
And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides — or are chosen. A world in which good rides on the frail shoulders of the 108-year-old Mother Abigail — and the worst nightmares of evil are embodied in a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg, the dark man. Get It Here!

the stand by stephen king

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Largely set in a futuristic World State of genetically modified citizens and an intelligence-based social hierarchy, the novel anticipates huge scientific developments in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation, and classical conditioning that are combined to make a utopian society that goes challenged only by a single outsider. Get It Here!

brave new world aldous huxley

The Overstory by Richard Powers

An Air Force loadmaster in the Vietnam War is shot out of the sky, then saved by falling into a banyan. An artist inherits a hundred years of photographic portraits, all of the same doomed American chestnut. A hard-partying undergraduate in the late 1980s electrocutes herself, dies, and is sent back into life by creatures of air and light. A hearing- and speech-impaired scientist discovers that trees are communicating with one another. These four, and five other strangers—each summoned in different ways by trees—are brought together in a last and violent stand to save the continent’s few remaining acres of virgin forest. Get It Here!

the overstory by richard powers

The Binding by Bridget Collins

(This one I added myself! It sounds so good but it doesn’t come out in the US until April 9th! Of course I had to add the full synopsis for this one!)

Emmett Farmer is working in the fields when a letter arrives summoning him to begin an apprenticeship. He will work for a Bookbinder, a vocation that arouses fear, superstition and prejudice – but one neither he nor his parents can afford to refuse.

He will learn to hand-craft beautiful volumes, and within each he will capture something unique and extraordinary: a memory. If there’s something you want to forget, he can help. If there’s something you need to erase, he can assist. Your past will be stored safely in a book and you will never remember your secret, however terrible.

In a vault under his mentor’s workshop, row upon row of books – and memories – are meticulously stored and recorded. Then one day Emmett makes an astonishing discovery: one of them has his name on it. Get It Here!

the binding by bridgett collins

 

If you’ve read any of these books, liked them, disliked them, hated them or haven’t read them (or listened to them) yet but plan to…let me know in the comments!

I’d seriously love to hear your thoughts. How did you like the book? Did you know what was going to happen? Could you predict the way it would go? Are you upset with the ending? Happy?

If you have any book suggestions or any reviews you’d like to see here, let me know!

Good Readdance,
Jade

Book Review: Born in Fire by K.F. Breene

Supernatural Bounty Hunter isn’t the sort of thing you see on LinkedIn. But with a rare type of magic like mine, I don’t have many options.  So dangerous or not, the job is mine. And it was going fine, until an old as sin vampire stole my mark, and with it, my pay day.

Knowing I’m poor and desperate, he has offered me a job. I’ll have to work by his side to help solve a top secret case.

Everyone knows not to trust vampires. Especially a hot elder vampire. But without any other jobs coming up, I’m stuck. As I uncover a web of lies and treachery, revealing an enemy I didn’t know existed, the truth of my identity is threatened. I might make it out alive, only to end up in a gilded cage.

 

born in fire kf breene

 

First thing I’m going to say is that I honestly feel like the synopsis (on google and such) for this book is completely different than the actual book. I have no idea why they are different. I found this one on Amazon. At least it encompasses the personality of the main character!

Alright! So, administrative stuff over.

I really enjoyed this book. I love that the main character is so outspoken and confident. She is quick to point out when things are awkward, when she isn’t ok with something and has the strength to back it up. There’s just something about strong female characters that I love. Gone are the days of weak, docile, damsels in distress! Women are fierce, angry and wear kickass boots. I also love that the mcm is a hot vampire who needs help. He needs our assistance, despite being an elder with all this power and arrogance. Knock him down a few pegs.

The storyline for this one is also right up my alley: Vampire men, women who can hold their own in a magical fight, squirrelly snitches, emasculated cops and cross realm travel.

If you’re looking for a book with romance, fighting,  blood and guts and weird investigational tactics, this is the one for you! The pacing of the story is good. The sample of the next book in the series sounds really good too. I finished reading the book at 4am and read that as well. I plan to pick it up as soon as I can.

If you’ve read this book, liked it, disliked it, hated it or haven’t read it (or listened to it) yet but plan to…let me know in the comments! I’d seriously love to hear your thoughts. How did you like the book? Did you know what was going to happen? Could you predict the way it would go? Are you upset with the ending? Happy?

If you have any book suggestions or any reviews you’d like to see here, let me know!

Good Readdance,
Jade

 

Link to Book

Book Review: Grimspace by Ann Aguirre

As the carrier of a rare gene, Sirantha Jax has the ability to jump ships through grimspace-a talent which makes her a highly prized navigator for the Corp. Then a crash landing kills everyone on board, leaving Jax in a jail cell with no memory of the crash. But her fun’s not over. A group of rogue fighters frees her…for a price: her help in overthrowing the established order.

This is it!

This is the book I was talking about the other day. I’m still not exactly sure if this book is more fantasy than romance but I don’t care. I loved it. I blindly picked up the first three books in this series and I’m glad I went in unbiased. It was definitely a surprise.

Sirantha Jax is an amazing main character. She has dimension, fight and power. I love the way Aguirre really made you care about her, fear for her safety but also want to slap her. There are a few times in the book where I was just like girl, pull it together! I was rooting for her, for the crew and I need that in a book. I need to WANT the character to win, even if it also means losing. I need to be behind them and I was for her the entire ride.

 

Grimspace

 

I will say, I spent a healthy amount of time crying at the end. The book takes you on a wild ride from the very first chapter. On the edge of my seat. Wanting to know what’s next. Hoping she won’t fade into nothingness.

I would definitely recommend this book. That is definitely saying something as it’s from first person point of view and trust me…that is NOT my favorite pov. It intrigued me and the writing held a sense of urgency that made you want to read for hours. Which, of course, I did. If you are looking for something heavy on space, heavy on plot, heavy on inner turmoil, this is the book for you. Don’t worry about the romance, it is more mental than physical and makes the subplot ever so sweeter.

If you’ve read this book, liked it, disliked it, hated it or haven’t read it (or listened to it) yet but plan to…let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you have any book suggestions or any reviews you’d like to see here, let me know!

Good Readance,

Jade

 

 

Link To Book

Book Review: Copper Beach by Jayne Ann Krentz

Within the pages of very rare books some centuries old lie the secrets of the paranormal. Abby Radwell’s unusual psychic talent has made her an expert in such volumes—and sometimes taken her into dangerous territory. After a deadly incident in the private library of an obsessive collector, Abby receives a blackmail threat, and rumors swirl that an old alchemical text known as The Key has reappeared on the black market.

Convinced that she needs an investigator who can also play bodyguard, she hires Sam Coppersmith, a specialist in paranormal crystals and amber—“hot rocks.” Passion flares immediately between them, but neither entirely trusts the other. When it comes to dealing with a killer who has paranormal abilities, and a blackmailer who will stop at nothing to obtain an ancient alchemical code, no one is safe.

I’m actually quite happy I read this book. I bought it recently, during one of my happy excursions to the bookstore, and I don’t regret it. I didn’t know what it was about but I have several other books by JAK that I really enjoyed so…obviously I had to grab it.

Copper Beach

I’m happy because I am definitely a person who believes in the power of crystals and auras, etc. I just believe we can’t rule it out. Think of all the times you get bad vibes from someone you’ve never met. Think of the times where you knew not to do this thing or not the go down that alley. I believe it’s all intuition and and bad juju.

I’m a big fan of this novel, it had the right amount of romance and action. I love that this was a turn of the way romances are usually written. The girl falls hard for the guy and he has to some how learn that she’s the one for him before it’s too late. In this novel, she is the one who has to come to terms with their closeness, their intimacy and see if she can deal with her trust ‘issues’. I like that he is indeed powerful but so is she! Gone are the days of the damsel in distress. Now are the days of powerful lady in need of assistance, not you-take-over-and-I’ll-just-hid-and-cry. Yes, I did just put dashes in between, yes you get the point.

I love that our MC here is stubborn and refuses to give up. She has her life and she likes it how she likes it. I would recommend this book if you are a lover of crystals and their appeals. I would say read this if you are looking for something that won’t confuse you or leave you wondering. Although there is another book after this one (which I am actively trying to get), the end is nicely tied and nipped for you. I appreciate that in any good romance.

Thanks JAK!

If you’ve read this book, liked it, disliked it, hated it or haven’t read it (or listened to it) yet but plan to…let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you have any book suggestions or any reviews you’d like to see here, let me know!

Good Readance,
Jade

 

Link to Book

Book Review: Artemis by Andy Weir

Jazz Bashara is a criminal.
Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you’ve got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent.
Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she’s stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself—and that now her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first.

I really loved this book! It took me a little longer to read it because I am going through midterms right now but I’m excited to say that I am a big fan of Andy Weir. Jazz is relatable, intelligent, unassuming and daring. I love the characters ability to think quick on her feet and to be ready for anything that comes her way. I definitely love this ‘living on the moon’ theme that Andy Weir has started. It gives you a sense of hope for humanity and inspiration for the future of science.

I would not mind at all seeing a movie adaption of this book. I’d like to see what city they would create, how they would form the hubs and what they would use as a basis for the Moon’s surface. I definitely recommend this book to anyone, even those who are not interested in science and discovery.

andy weir.png

 

I need to find other books written by Andy Weir, I have a feeling he might soon become one of my favorite authors. I was actually talking to a fellow reader the other day and they mentioned the comparisons with Artemis and The Martian. I hadn’t even noticed they were written by the same author, Artemis was recommended to me.

They actually said they didn’t like this book as much as they liked the other. I can say that the way the books are written is completely different. Jazz Bashara is very different than Mark Watney. First of all, she’s a criminal and he’s a genius who recognized his intelligence and used it. Jazz did not. She is very flippant and squirrely in comparison to Mark’s character. The pace of the book is different as in the Martian you spend most of the book following one character who is unable to talk to anyone else but himself. It’s a great comparison and I love to see writers switch up their voice and still draw the reader in.

If you’ve read this book, liked it, disliked it, hated it or haven’t read it yet but plan to…let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you have any book suggestions or any reviews you’d like to see here, let me know!

 

Good Readance,
Jade

Link to Book

Book Review: You Will Pay by Lisa Jackson

It starts as a prank—a way to blow off steam after a long summer at Camp Horseshoe. Among the teen counselors, tensions and hormones are running high. No wonder the others agree when Jo-Beth Chancellor suggests they scare Monica O’Neal a little . . . or a lot. Monica has it coming, and no one will really get hurt. What could go wrong?
Everything. That summer, two young girls went missing.
Each one knows something about that terrible night. Each promised not to tell. And as they reunite, a new horror unfolds. First come texts containing a personal memento and a simple, terrifying message: YOU WILL PAY. Then, the murders begin.
It started years ago. But it will end here—as a web of lust, greed, and betrayal is untangled to reveal a killer waiting to enact the perfect revenge.

 

This was another one of those books that I read fairly quickly. I had forgotten how much I liked to read books by Lisa Jackson.  She writes mystery with just a hint of romance. In this book, you follow a sort of contorted ‘who done it’. You get the comparison of the characters when they were young and impressionable and them as adults when they have had a chance to put the past behind them. There are a few twists and turns in the story that were pretty exciting and unexpected.

lisa jackson

I will say this book is longer than I expected it to be. I think it could have been shorter and we still would’ve gotten the same level of character development. Some parts did drag on just a bit. This may just be me though, with my attention span and the fact that I have so many books to read so I really have to be very invested in every chapter.

I would recommend this book if you are looking for a quick mystery read. If you’ve read this book, liked it, disliked it, hated it or haven’t read it yet but plan to…let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you have any book suggestions or any reviews you’d like to see here, let me know!

 

 

Good Readance,

Jade