15 June 2019

BOOK REVIEW: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides


The Silent Patient The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides really surprised me... in a good way! The author did a fantastic job of keeping me in the dark. I had so many "Oh, I see what's going on here..." moments that were followed by "Okay, you got me that time but now I REALLY see what's going on..." moments while reading this book.

In fact, I never actually did see what was going on until mere moments before Michaelides plainly reveals it. To which I must say... BRAVO. I love a well-written psych thriller that keeps my brain asking question after question all the way up until the very end. Because it's so hard to find them!

The Silent Patient is broken down into five parts (+ a prologue) and is told from the alternating perspectives of a "silent patient" named Alicia and her psychotherapist, Theo. The prologue provides the reader with Alicia's backstory -- the context of her daily life, as well as her marriage, and the events leading up to the traumatic event that triggered Alicia's silence -- and is told in the form of a diary written before the event. From that point forward, the story is largely told from Theo's POV in first person narrative, with an occasional entry from Alicia's diary mixed in here and there.

Short, palatable chapters, and alternating point of views, create a story that is unputdownable and easily consumed. More importantly, the author's ability to keep his readers guessing until the very end makes The Silent Patient well worth the read.

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11 June 2019

BOOK REVIEWS: The Boys of Brayshaw High & Trouble at Brayshaw High by Meagan Brandy


THE BOYS OF BRAYSHAW HIGH and TROUBLE AT BRAYSHAW HIGH are the first two books in a three part series authored by Meagan Brandy.


Brayshaw High SeriesBrayshaw High Series


TROUBLE AT BRAYSHAW HIGH was recently released on May 28, 2019, and THE BOYS OF BRAYSHAW HIGH was released earlier this year.

This was my first time reading Meagan Brandy's work, but it definitely will not be the last. THIS SERIES DID NOT DISAPPOINT. 

Do you prefer new adult novels with high angst and high drama?
If you answered yes, you definitely want to check out this series. It feels a bit like a mashup of The Royals series by Erin Watt, Fallen Crest High by Tijan, and Bully by Penelope Douglas. And, I mean that in the best possible way.


The Brayshaw High series centers around a feisty young girl by the name of Raven Carver.

Raven takes no prisoners.
She doesn't care about the opinions of others.
She's quick to act to shut down all forms of injustice, and she doesn't back down from anyone. 

Born to a neglectful and abusive mother, and having no real friends of her own, Raven doesn't have much to lose and constantly acts out at school. After she's expelled from three schools in a few short months, a social worker steps in and sends her to live at a girl's home. 

Raven immediately captures the attention of Brayshaw High's well-respected, and highly sought after, Brayshaw brothers: Maddoc, Captain, and Royce. 

Brayshaw Boys

Things start to get a bit weird and complicated at this point. See... Maddoc, Captain, and Royce aren't blood related. They were adopted by the same man shortly before he was arrested and sent to prison for thirteen years on charges of sexual assault. Maddoc is the only brother old enough to remember his dad from childhood, but all three have remained close to him during his time behind bars. The story that follows Raven meeting the Brayshaw brothers is complex and impossible to explain without spoiling the book for you.

Brayshaw High Series

The most important thing you need to know is the Brayshaw backstory. The Brayshaw family once worked alongside the Graven family (another wealthy and powerful family) to control the entire town. This was how things were handled for years and years and years. Until... something happened that caused a rift between the two families before their father was arrested, and now the two families are at war with each other over control of the town. And, the brothers, who don't even have Brayshaw blood flowing thru their veins, are the last three family members that remain.
But... could Raven be their secret weapon?

THINGS
ARE
GOING
TO GET
INTENSE.


I truly can't wait to see how it all ends!

06 June 2019

COVER REVEAL: Violent Ends by Jessica Hawkins


I'm very excited to reveal the cover of the second book in the White Monarch series by Jessica Hawkins. See my review of Violent Delights >>> here

COMING SOON


I had a life, love, and future to give.Until my enemy took a wife.




Cover Designer: Najla Qamber Designs 
Cover Photographer: Perrywinkle Photography

The devil has a name, and it’s Cristiano de la Rosa. On my wedding day, he was the last man I expected to see standing at the altar. He wants to make me his queen. His brother wants to rescue his princess.

Getting Cristiano to lose control becomes the name of the game, and the stakes are life and death. But as truth and lies blur, loyalty is tested, and our chemistry threatens to reach the melting point, the prize grows less clear. Either freedom no longer means what I think it does, or Cristiano is as devious as everyone says, and he’s mastered the art of playing my mind.

All I know for certain is that nothing is certain. And all you need to know? This is a love story.
But even love stories have to end.​
Violent Ends is not a standalone and must be read after Violent Delights.


PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY.

Amazon ➜ http://smarturl.it/violentendsamz
Apple Books ➜ http://bit.ly/violentendsapple
Google Play ➜ http://bit.ly/violentendsgp
Nook ➜ http://bit.ly/violentendsnook
Kobo ➜ http://bit.ly/violentendskobo
Add on Goodreads ➜ http://bit.ly/whitemonarchgr
Audible Alert ➜ http://bit.ly/videaudioalert
Learn more ➜ https://www.jessicahawkins.net/violentends.html


DON'T FORGET TO MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR THE RELEASE OF VIOLENT ENDS  ON  JUNE 18, 2019!


WHITE MONARCH SERIES
BOOK #1 - VIOLENT DELIGHTS


“She is mine.” Three words from two different men.A life, future, and love I don’t get to choose.





In the de la Rosa family, old grudges run deeper than loyalty, and betrayal is a three-letter word: war. But this feud isn’t between enemies. It’s between brothers. And I’m the prize.

I was born a princess among criminals. An untouchable among thieves. Heiress to a life others have killed for, and one I'd do anything to escape. I vowed not to leave without Diego, my first love and best friend, but if his ruthless brother has his way, I won’t leave at all. Cristiano de la Rosa is a man as big and bold as his legend. Once upon a time, he was our cartel’s best soldier . . . until he became my family’s worst enemy.

A man like Cristiano will bend fate to his will to get what he wants. Even if it means dragging me to hell—and tearing me from his brother's arms.

ORDER YOUR COPY OF VIOLENT DELIGHTS & GET ADDICTED TODAY.


Add on Goodreads ➜ http://bit.ly/violentdelightsgr

03 June 2019

BOOK REVIEW: The Initiation by Nikki Sloane

The Initiation

The Initiation by Nikki Sloane
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

WOW! THE INITIATION ended with a cliff drop so dark, twisty, and treacherous that I'm hanging on for dear life.


First and foremost, Nikki Sloane's talent is on full display throughout the entirety of this book. She grabs your attention and refuses to let it go, even after the final page.


This trilogy will not be for everyone, especially the faint of heart. Although Sloane has created a strong and powerful female lead in Marist, her villains are merciless. It's nearly impossible to discern their true intentions, and I read the book from start to finish desperately trying to figure it out.


Alas, I must patiently wait for the next book release to know for sure, but something tells me that Royce still has a few tricks up his sleeve.

Le sigh. (The good kind.)

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29 April 2019

BOOK REVIEW: The Seduction Expert by Saya Lopez Ortega


Let me first say that I've been looking forward to the release of THE SEDUCTION EXPERT by Saya Lopez Ortega for a long time. I requested an ARC more than a year ago, so imagine my confused excitement when I saw my request had been approved yesterday. Unfortunately, it fell drastically short of my expectations and reads more like the fictional, female equivalent of THE GAME by Neil Strauss.

The Seduction Expert, who is referred to only as Baroness, is a consultant living in Paris, France. Namely, she consults women on all matters regarding their intimate relationships--she helps them meet men, break up with men, extort their men, you name it. She is a supremely unlikable character and a psychopathic narcissist. 


She describes herself as someone who...

"women want to call on" and "men imagine life by my side."
She "daunts mankind" and "few people dare approach her".

The main character sees herself as a champion of women, yet debases all of the women in her life at every opportunity. I've seen people describe this book as pro-feminist but this is unequivocally untrue. Every female character other than the Baroness is spineless, self-conscious, and weak. In the same way that every woman is depicted as a clueless soul who desperately needs help, every man is depicted as a hapless schmuck. To put it plainly, the characters in this book have zero depth.


Also, there's a good bit of wording I didn't quite understand. Translation issues, perhaps? (I have no clue if it was initially written in another language; I'm just guessing here.) An example: "the way he looks at her largely witness for his interest."



WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?


Unfortunately, I'm very disappointed with this book overall. The only reason I finished it was to see if the main character gets what she deserves. You'll just have to read the book for yourself to find out what happens there. Who knows? If you enjoy books with villainous main characters, you may very well enjoy this one.  It just wasn't for me.


*A big thanks to both Netgalley and the publisher for granting me the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book. The thoughts expressed in this review are my own personal opinions and have been written in my own words.

12 April 2019

BOOK REVIEW: Violent Delights by Jessica Hawkins


VIOLENT DELIGHTS BY JESSICA HAWKINS
(White Monarch, #1)

AMAZON | B & N | KOBO



TWO BROTHERS.
TWO BETRAYALS.
ONE EPIC BATTLE.
WHO WILL COME OUT ON TOP?

Natalia is the daughter of one of the most powerful drug lords in Mexico. When her mother is killed by someone the family trusted, her father sends her off to live in the relative safety of California.


"I had run away from all this... but the devil still tempted that stupid little girl. She knew better than most what could come of that."


Natalia has managed to extract herself from the family business over the years, but she quickly becomes a pawn in a war of retribution while visiting her father for the Easter holiday. A war between two brothers -- Cristiano and Diego de la Rosa. 



VIOLENT DELIGHTS is told from Natalia's point of view with the exception of two chapters--one for each brother. I don't typically enjoy love triangles, but something about this story sucked me in from the very beginning.



Which brother is the real monster?
Which brother should she fear?
I simply cannot wait to find out.


"You're looking for a monster, and you found one in me. But I'm not the one you should fear. Just remember--no monster thinks of himself that way. He's just living by a different code than yours."



(Side note: I'd love to know how to get myself on the ARC list for this series --or any of Hawkins work, actually! If you are one of the lucky few who know how, please please please share it with me.)

25 February 2019

BOOK REVIEW: Midnight Blue by L.J. Shen




BOOK SYNOPSIS

It should have been easy. I needed the money. He needed a babysitter to keep him from snorting himself to death. I was cherry-picked especially for him. 

Responsible.
Optimistic.
Warm.
Innocent.

The worst part is that I should have known better.

Alex Winslow.
British rockstar.
Serial heartbreaker.
Casanova with whiskey eyes.

"Don't get near the devil in a leather jacket. He'll chew you up and spit you out." Guess what? I didn't listen. I signed the contract.

World tour.
Three months.
Four Continents.
One hundred shows.

My name is Indigo Bellamy, and I sold my soul to a tattooed god. Problem was, my soul wasn't enough for Alex Winslow. He ended up taking my body, too. Then he took my heart. Then he took my all.

MY THOUGHTS

GENRE: Contemporary Romance; New Adult
POV: Alternating First Person
OVERALL STARS: 5/5
WRITING STYLE: 5/5
CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT: 5/5
STORY LINE: 4/5
HUMOR: 2/5
STEAM FACTOR: 3/5
ANGST: 5/5

MIDNIGHT BLUE is a beautifully written story about fighting demons, taking control of your own destiny, and forging a new path. It is filled with love and devastation, sin and forgiveness, and everything that makes your heart beat loud and fast in between.

Honestly, it made every book I've read recently seem like trash in comparison. L.J. Shen never lets me down.

QUOTE WORTHY

"Everybody wants to be a rock star. It's the closest thing to being a god, but what people often forget is that God has a hectic job. God creates. God is worshiped. God is expected to answer, to deliver, to reassure. And when God is sent to earth to deal with humans? Well, God is bound to disappoint."

"What do you want from me, Alex?"
"Everything. I want everything, and then all the things you've already given away to other people. I want them back, too."

10 January 2019

BOOK REVIEW: An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks


Psychology majors, like myself, should thoroughly enjoy reading AN ANONYMOUS GIRL. It's loaded with psychology study and theory references like The Hawthorne Effect, The Invisible Gorilla, and The Prisoner's Dilemma. There are several others that aren't mentioned by name but clearly served as inspiration (at least in some aspect). Like the Stanley Milgram Experiment on obedience and the Stanford Prison Study on conformity, for example.




If nothing else, AN ANONYMOUS GIRL illustrates how quickly things can go south when psych studies are not ethically sound.

"We all carry the weight of secret regrets--the strangers we see on the street, our neighbors, our colleagues, our friends, even our loved ones. And we are all forced to constantly make moral choices. Some of these decisions are small. Others are life-altering. These judgements seem easy to form on paper: You check a box and move on. In a real life scenario, it's never as simple. The options haunt you. Days, weeks, even years later you think about the people affected by your actions. You question your choices. And you wonder when, not if, the repercussions will come."

15 November 2018

NINE PERFECT STRANGERS by Liane Moriarty


NINE PERFECT STRANGERS is about a group of strangers who attend a ten day retreat at a famous health resort know as the Tranquillum House.




The nine strangers:

Frances: A middle-aged romance novelist


Lars: A tall, dark, and handsome divorce attorney 


Heather, Napoleon, & Zoe: A midwife, her chatty husband, and their 20-year-old daughter 


Tony: A grouchy, old man who once played professional football 


Carmel: A recently divorced mother of four 


Ben & Jessica: A young married couple having marital problems

Each guest has a different reason for attending the retreat -- to lose weight, to transform their life, to reach enlightenment, to avoid reality -- but they soon find themselves in circumstances beyond their control and must come together to save themselves. 


I want to preface the following by saying that I adore Liane Moriarty. She is one of my absolute favorite authors. I've read every book she has published and will continue to read her work in the future.

Similar to Moriarty's previous novels, NINE PERFECT STRANGERS has such a unique and relevant storyline that I found it nearly impossible to put down. However, this was my least favorite of her books, by far. There are quite a few chapters that felt a bit too "woo woo" for me, I think twelve POVs is about ten too many, and the first half of the book is extremely slow paced. Despite all that, I still believe it's worth the read. For the amazingly clever and snarky excerpts, if nothing else.

"Some celebrity couple had come to this place and saved their marriage. They had "achieved inner peace" and got back in touch with their "true selves." What a load of crap. They may as well have handed over their money to Nigerian email scammers. Ben had a horrible feeling the celebrity couple might have got together on The Bachelorette. Jessica loved celebrities. He used to think it was sweet, a dumb interest for a smart girl. But now she was making too many life decisions based on what celebrities did, or what it was reported they did; it was probably crap anyway, they were probably getting paid to support products on their Instagram accounts. And there was Jessica, his poor innocent, hopeful Jessica, soaking it all up." 

26 June 2018

BOOK REVIEW: Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West

Listen to Your HeartListen to Your Heart by Kasie West
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm not the least bit ashamed to admit that I have a serious affinity for super cute YA novels. And, in the young adult world... West is king! I absolutely loved THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND, but LISTEN TO YOUR HEART might be my new favorite.


This is just the adorable kind of read that makes ya feel good! Yes, it was somewhat predictable. Some might even claim that it was too cheesy at times. Yet, I really and truly loved it! (Not in spite of those things, but because

of them.)

Side note: Queen's "Under Pressure" was playing on a loop in my brain as the background score music for the last few chapters. Which can only mean ONE thing... it would make a fabulous coming-of-age movie!


2nd Side note: I don't know why my brain finds the need to create a soundtrack for books, but I kind of love it.


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