July 2020 Wrap-Up! | Reading, Reading, Reading Monthly Wrap-Up

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

In the month of July, I read THIRTEEN BOOKS! Which, I believe, is the best reading month I have ever had since starting this blog in 2013! My high reading amount is due to several factors, including the fact that we are in a pandemic – meaning I have no school work to do or summer job to go to – and therefore I am reading all the time. This month, Ariel and Raeleen hosted the annual Reading Rush Readathon, which I took part in and contributed to a lot of this months reading success!

Before I share all of the books I read this month, I want to share my thoughts on some of the issues surrounding The Reading Rush that occurred just last week. While these issues due not impact me, I still feel that I have a responsibility to talk about them since I have a voice in the online book community. If you are unaware, The Reading Rush decided to include a group book pick (which I had not heard about until the actual readathon began) for participants to read and later discuss in the live show that was set to take place on The Reading Rush YouTube channel on the last day of the readathon (July 26). The book they chose was Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid, a book featuring a lot of important topics on race and society. In today’s day and age, it is important to amplify and cheer on black voices, and since the TRR book pick is written by a female black author, people were looking forward to promoting and discussing it. However, the hosts of The Reading Rush chose not to read the book, and instead of discussing it on their live show, they decided to laugh it off and interact with their viewers by creating a Q+A. People were very disappointed with this, as they were not only looking forward to discussing it with the hosts, but also the fact that the hosts were making money off of this event, and prioritized other books ahead of their own book club pick! I think that this was a very bad move on their behalf, and although they have since shared some apologizing remarks, I am not sure how genuine they were. When the next Reading Rush readathon occurs next year, I will be evaluating how they are planning on running it and if any changes have been implemented from the feedback they have been given recently. If not, I will not be participating in it again.


The first book that I read this month was The Guest List by Lucy Foley. This was my first Foley novel, and I enjoyed it! It was not the best mystery/thriller novel I have ever read, but it was a solid, enjoyable read. I found the beginning of the novel very intriguing and interesting, but by the end I was ready for it to be over. I thought that the middle of the novel was very rambly and long, but I did enjoy the very unexpected plot twists at the end! I gave this book 3.75/5 stars.


The second book that I completed this month was Beach Read by Emily Henry. This book blew me away, and will definitely be featured in my favourite books of 2020 list! I wrote a full review on this phenomenal novel, which you can read here. I gave this book 5/5 stars and cannot recommend it enough!


The third book I read this month was Girl Made Of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake. I have been interested in reading this book since it was released in 2018, and am so happy I was able to read it this month. While I had high exceptions for this book, it mostly lived up to them! I thought that the story was very emotional and well thought out, but I would have liked to have seen a bit more character development. I rated this one 4/5 stars.


The fourth book I read this month was The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides. This was one of the BEST books I read this month, and deserved all of the hype it has received ever since it came out. I knew quite a bit about this novel, but it still blew me away! You can read my full review for this novel here. Of course, I gave this book 5/5 stars!


The fifth book I read this month was Sister Dear by Hannah Mary McKinnon. As you will notice, I was in quite the mystery/thriller mood this month, but funny enough, I would not realize consider this novel a mystery. If anything, it was a thrilling literary fiction/women’s fiction novel. While the last 70 pages really picked this book up, I found the pacing very slow, and the overall story very boring. I also really disliked the characters and did not find the main characters’ comments on body dysmorphia necessary for the flow of the plot. I rated this novel 2/5 stars.


The sixth book I read was One To Watch by Kate Stayman-London. As a very proud member of Bachelor nation, I was incredibly excited to read a book based off of the hit reality show, featuring a plus size main character! Luckily enough, this book did not disappoint! This was such a cute story and exceeded my expectations! I will admit that this book took me a little while to really get into, but as the story went along, I started to enjoy it more and more! I was really impressed by some of the important conversations that took place in this novel, and I also enjoyed the diverse cast of characters. Overall, I gave this book a 4.5/5 stars!


The seventh book I read this month was All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. This was the first book I read for The Reading Rush Readathon, and by reading it, I completed the challenge of reading a book that inspired a movie you have already seen. I watched the movie adaptation of this novel on Netflix right when it came out, because I didn’t have time to read the book before I watched it. However, this challenge pushed me to read it and I am so glad I did! Truthfully, I think by watching the movie before reading the book, it hindered my reading experience a tad. Events in this novel seemed to be paced differently in the book compared to the movie, and I think I liked the adaptations pacing better. I rated this book 3.5/5 stars, nonetheless, these characters and this story will continue to stay with me for a long, long time.


The eighth book I read this month and the second book I read during The Reading Rush was Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall. This book completed the challenge of reading a novel that takes place on a different continent then the one you live on. I had been seeing this book pop up a lot on Bookstagram, so I had high expectations for it. Unfortunately, it did not really live up to them. Overall, I thought that this book was WAY TOO LONG. I could not emphasize that enough. Just so many events that were not necessary for the story. I also got some weird The Catcher In The Rye vibes from some of the conversations that main character had with some of the side characters, which was… interesting. However, I really enjoyed the main character and the love interest, which made me continue reading it even when there was a chance that I might DNF it. Overall, I rated this book 2.75/5 stars.


The ninth book I read this month and the third book I read for the Reading Rush was The Passengers by John Marrs. This book completed the challenge of reading a book that starts with the word “The”. This book was PERFECT. Honestly one of the best books I have EVER READ. John Marrs continues to amaze me with his phenomenal plot twist and effortless writing. You can click here to read my full review of this novel. Obviously, I gave it 5/5 stars, and you will definitely be seeing this one in my Top Books of 2020 post come December 31!


The tenth book I read this month and the fourth book I read for the Reading Rush was I’m Thinking Of Ending Things by Iain Reid. This book completed the challenge of reading a novel completely outside. While I had issues with this challenge, I decided to safely read this book outside in my enclosed backyard on a nice sunny afternoon. This book is barely 200 pages, so I read it very quickly. Since I had heard some fantastic reviews for this book from reviewers whom I typically share the same opinion with, I was saddened that I did not enjoy this novel. The writing was great, but the ending of the novel was not for me. I rated this book 2/5 stars.


The eleventh book I read this month was Hamartia by Raquel Rich. While I am not usually an SFF (Science-Fiction/Fantasy) fan, I was so surprised by how much I enjoyed this novel! You can read my full review of it here. Thanks to Raquel Rich for sending me a copy of your book to read and review! I gave this book a 4/5 star rating.


The twelfth book I read this month was A Woman Alone by Nina Laurin. Laurin’s 2019 release, The Starter Wife, was my favourite book of last year, so I was incredibly excited to read her 2020 release! Unfortunately, this book fell short for me. I was LOVING after the first half, but as the story continued (and continued to get more complicated), I found myself enjoying it less and less. The ending was definitely unexpected, but the steps it took to get there were not very effective in my opinion. Regardless, I still enjoyed it and gave it 4/5 stars.


The thirteenth and final book I read this month was The Other People by C.J. Tudor. Truth be told, as of the time I am writing this post, I have not yet finished the novel, but definitely will be 11:59 PM on July 31 (the day when this post is going live)! So far I am REALLY enjoying it! It is just the amount of suspense and weirdness I love to read in thriller novels!


Those are all of the books I read this month! I am SO proud of myself for using my time well and reading so many fantastic books! I hope you all had a great reading month, as well!

Good Night Book Owls!

The Passengers by John Marrs | A Reading, Reading, Reading Review

Welcome to Reading, Reading, Reading!

As you may know, John Marrs has quickly become one of my new favourite authors of all time. His mystery/thriller novels are practically perfect in every way (movie reference, anybody?)! For the second half of 2020, I am going to try to get through all of John Marrs backlist publications, making this one the second Marrs book I have read this year. And boy oh boy, it did NOT disappoint!

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Synopsis (Goodreads.com):

Eight self-drive cars set on a collision course. Who lives, who dies? You decide.
When someone hacks into the systems of eight self-drive cars, their passengers are set on a fatal collision course.
The passengers are: a TV star, a pregnant young woman, a disabled war hero, an abused wife fleeing her husband, an illegal immigrant, a husband and wife – and parents of two – who are travelling in separate vehicles and a suicidal man. Now the public have to judge who should survive but are the passengers all that they first seem?

This book was UNREAL. With every John Marrs book I read, I am more and more impressed by his writing and unpredictable plot twists. He seems to have gotten the thrilling aspect down to a tee, and his plot twists for exceptional mysterious aspects.

The Passengers features a very interesting cast of characters. Quickly, readers realize that everyone involved in this event has a secret to hide, and while I was expecting the secrets to be very basic (murder, money laundering, etc.), these ones were actually very complex and unexpected. Each of the secrets helped to further develop the characters, and they added to the uniqueness of this book.

Within this story, I found so many tropes that I love to read in novels, including an element of tech, majority of the story taking place over a small period of time, and a romance element that does not take over the whole story, just to name a few. Since this story was so plot driven, it was necessary for Marrs to include a lot of different tropes to help advance the plot of the story, and I thought that the ones he chose were not only interesting, but also executed so well.

I think this book would make a phenomenal movie adaptation, as the majority of the story takes place over only a few hours during one day. The technological aspect would be so interesting to see play out on TV, and I know the characters could easily be cast. I hope that after The One gets put on Netflix, Netflix will think about creating The Passengers into a movie!

And of course, I ended up giving this book 5/5 stars. Out all of the John Marrs books I have read so far, this one was my favourite!

Good Night Book Owls!

Hamartia by Raquel Rich | A Reading, Reading, Reading Review

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

If you are a frequent reader of my book blog, you will notice that I rarely read Sci-Fi novels. That being said, when I was first approached by Raquel to read her novel, Hamartia, I thought that the premise sounded very different from most Sci-Fi novels. Since the synopsis peaked my interest, I accepted to read and review it… and I am so glad I did!

Synopsis (Goodreads.com):

Grace’s nine-year-old son, Jordan, is dying. First, the Metagenesis disease will tear his soul from his body, and then it will kill him. Desperate for a cure, Grace agrees to take part in an illegal clinical trial cloning souls. Supported by her best friend Kay, the two embark on the ultimate “Vegas Vacation” to the past in search of the right soul to clone, racing against time to save Jordan’s life. But someone is trying to stop them and when they discover why Grace must make a choice: let her son die or kill her husband. If she kills her husband, she triggers widespread Metagenesis, sealing the fate of the human race with a new plague.
Humanity is counting on Grace choosing to let her son die.

Right off the bat, the story takes place starting in Toronto travelling to Las Vegas 80-years in the past (Las Vegas circa 2000). This was so coincidental, as the last trip I took before COVID was to Las Vegas from Toronto! The overall world building was one of my favourite things to read in this story, which stemmed from Rich’s stupendous writing.

Rich’s writing is fantastic, especially for a debut novel. At times, I thought that the writing was a little ramble. Rich includes a lot of detail in this story, which is appreciated, however I didn’t think that all of it was absolutely necessary. This also goes for some of the character dialogue. However, her word choice and overall writing devices were written incredibly well.

In my opinion, the best part of this novel were the characters and character development. As readers, we see the characters go through a lot in this story, and I really enjoyed reading them develop. I especially enjoyed Grace’s character and all of the emotions she goes through throughout this story. I felt really invested in Grace’s story while reading this novel, which helped me read this story very quickly.

Since I was a bit nervous to read a Sci-Fi novel, I was incredibly impressed by how thrilling it was! There are quite a few plot twists in this novel that I did not see coming at all, which added to my overall enjoyment of the novel. Rich did a great job of incorporating an equal amount of sci-fi elements – especially time travelling – along with both emotional and thrilling elements.

Overall, I was incredibly surprised by this novel (in the best way!), and rated it 4/5 stars! Thanks very much to Raquel Rich for giving me a copy of Hamartia to read and review, I apologize for how long it took me to finally read it!

Good Night Book Owls!

5-Star Predictions: Summer 2020

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

Before we start this off, I hope all of you (us!) that are participating in The Reading Rush Readathon are doing well! I have read two full books as of Wednesday (the day I am writing this post), and hope to read at least three more by the end of the readathon!

Any who, last year, I started doing a seasonal 5-star predictions post where I shared five books that I thought would be 5-star reads. And at the end of each season, I would share my thoughts on the books and share whether they were actually 5-star reads or not! I had so much fun doing these posts in 2019, so I wanted to bring them back this year!


The first book I predict will be a 5-star read is One To Watch by Kate Stayman-London. To be transparent, I have actually already read this novel…but you will have to wait for my 5-star reflections post! I will say, if you enjoy the Bachelor/Bachelorette TV show, I would highly recommend this one!


The second book I predict will be 5-stars is Smoke Gets In Your Eyes & Other Lessons From The Crematory by Caitlin Doughty. I featured this book in my last book haul, but have yet to start it. I am still incredibly excited for this one, and plan on reading it near the end of the summer!


My third 5-star prediction is A Woman Alone by Nina Laurin. As I have shared previously, Nina Laurin’s 2019 release, The Starter Wife, was my favourite book of 2019, so to say I have high expectations for this book is an understatement!


My next 5-star prediction is The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. This book was incredibly popular last year, and to this day I have not heard one bad thing about it! My Mom read the book last spring and loved it, so I hope to have the same reading experience!


The last book I predict will be 5-stars this summer is The Swap by Robyn Harding. I have been looking forward to reading this book for a very long time, and I hope to get to this book before the end of July!


Those are all of the books I plan to read this summer that I predict will be 5-star reads! Have you read any of these books? Let me know in the comments section!

Good Night Book Owls!


Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

Since I have been on a huge reading kick lately, I have subsequently been on quite the book buying kick as well! I had not purchased many new books for quite sometime, until last month when I used a gift card to buy myself some new reads (click here to see that book haul). After I made that purchase, I immediately started adding new books to purchase for my next book shopping spree (I’ll admit, that was probably not the smartest idea), and I purchased them just last week! They showed up on my doorstep a few days ago, so I wanted to share them with you here! These are books I will be adding to my growing Summer TBR shelf, and I am so excited to read all of them!


The first book I picked up was Stamped From The Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi. In my opinion, it is SO important to educate yourself on history from all different groups. Before I start reading how I can become a better and more active antiracist, I first want to educate myself on the hardships the African community has faced from the beginning of time. As a proud Jewish person, I too have faced racism and racist comments (on this blog!), and I think it is important to learn about other groups who have also faced extreme hardships just by merely existing. Since this book is so detailed and dense, I have started by reading one chapter everyday, in hopes of finishing it before the end of August. At the time of writing this post, I have already completed the prologue and first chapter, and I have already learned more about the history of racist ideas than during my twelve years of public schooling! Surprising? I am not so sure.


The second book I picked up was my second and final non-fiction book purchase in this haul. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes & Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty was a book that I was influenced to pick up by Kat from PaperbackDreams. I have an “interesting” perspective on this industry, and I am incredibly excited to pick up this book and hear Caitlin’s experiences and opinions on it.


The third book I purchased was practically the sole reason for this purchase. A Woman Alone by Nina Laurin is a new thriller that has just been released. Nina Laurin’s The Starter Wife was my favourite book of last year, and I had been planning to read some of her backlist titles this year. While I haven’t gotten to any of them yet, I wanted to pick up her newest book since it seems like a mystery/thriller that I would be very interested in. If you are a mystery/thriller fan like myself, I highly recommend Nina Laurin’s The Starter Wife, and you can read my full review on it here!


I then went on to purchase The Swap by Robyn Harding. I don’t know anything about this book (as per usual with thrillers), but I do know that it was just released and has already gotten some fantastic reviews!


The next book I purchased was I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver. I have heard some fantastic things about this novel, and have been wanting to read it ever since I saw ARCs of it floating around last year. This book is an own-voices story set around Ben De Backer and his life after coming out as non-binary, while trying to get through his final year of high school. I believe this book has a few triggers, so I would look into those before reading the book if that is something you need. I hope to read this book very soon!


Since I have been watching Kat’s videos recently, I stumbled upon a video that talked about I’m Thinking Of Ending Things by Iain Reid. Ever since I heard her talk about it, I have not stopped thinking about it and knew that I needed to purchase it! I have zero clue as to what this book is about, which in turn, is making me even more excited to read it!


The last book I purchased was The Passengers by John Marrs. As you should know by now, John Marrs has quickly become one of my new favourite thriller authors, and I am slowly trying to get through his entire backlist. This was his 2019 release, and since it just became available in paperback in North America, I wanted to pick it up immediately! I am really looking forward to reading this one!


Those are all of the books I recently purchased from Indigo! Have you read any of these books? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Good Night Book Owls!

The Reading Rush 2020 TBR!

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

The Reading Rush (formerly known as the BookTubeAThon) is happening from July 20-26, and is hosted by Ariel Bisset and Raeleen LeMay! I have participated in this readathon for several years (click here to see my 2019 TBR post), and am most excited and prepared for this one! In order to help you pick out your TBR, the hosts have created reading challenges for you to participate in. I do not think I will be able to read seven books this upcoming week, but I have chosen six to attempt to read!


Challenge #1: Read a book with a cover that matches the colour of your birth stone.

My birthday is on May 27, therefore my birthstone is an emerald! For this challenge, I have chosen the book Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. I know this book is mostly dark blue, but the spine and the entire back cover are green, and since I really want to read this one, I am going to count it for this challenge!


Challenge #2: Read a book that starts with the word “The”.

For this challenge, I have chosen the book The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis. I purchased this book from Book Outlet two years ago, and never ended up picking it up before 2019 was over. I have heard phenomenal things about this one, and hope it lives up to my expectations!


Challenge #3: Read a book that inspired a movie you’ve already seen.

I watched the movie adaptation of All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven on Netflix a few months ago, just because I could not wait to watch the movie since I thought the trailer looked so good! Looking back, I should have read the book first, especially because I enjoyed the movie so much. I bought this book over 4 years ago, and started it (I think I got around 50 pages into it) but never finished it. I am really, really excited to read this one!


Challenge #4: Read the first book you touch.

For this challenge, I closed my eyes and reached out to a random book on my TBR shelf, and I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid was the one I touched! I picked this book up because of Kat’s recommendation in one of her PaperbackDreams videos, and while I know nothing about this one, I have heard that it is very eery and creepy, which makes me incredibly intrigued by it! This book is the shortest book on my Reading Rush TBR, so I may leave this one until the last day to read!

Challenge #5: Read a book completely outside of your house.

This challenge is definitely my least favourite one, as it is asking participants to read outside of your house… during a pandemic. Plus, in most places in North America, we are in the thick of summer weather and it is incredibly hot outside. For this challenge, I will try to read one of the books I have already selected in a different spot than I usually read in.


Challenge #6: Read a book in a genre that you’ve always wanted to read more of.

For this challenge, I have selected Stamped From The Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi. I have been wanting to read more Non-Fiction books that revolve around racial history, and I think that this one is a good book to start off with. I have been trying my best to read one chapter of this book everyday, and I will be continuing to do that into the Reading Rush!


Challenge #7: Read a book that takes place on a different continent than where you live.

For the final Reading Rush challenge, I have chosen I Know You Know by Gilly MacMillan. This book takes place in Bristol, located in Europe, which is on a different continent than where I live (I’m in North America). I wanted to include a pure mystery/thriller novel in this TBR, and this one fit perfectly for this challenge! I have read some mixed reviews on this book, but recently people seem to be enjoying it.

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Those are all of the books I hope to read for the 2020 edition of the Reading Rush! If you are participating and have a TBR post or video, leave a link to it in the comments and I will be sure to check it out!

Good Night Book Owls!

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides | A Reading, Reading, Reading Review

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides has been staring into my soul since it arrived on my shelf at the end of last year. I have had this book on my TBR since November 2019 (you can find it on multiple TBR posts on my blog!), and have been quite intimidated by it, only because of the massive hype in 2019. It was a #1 NYT bestseller, won several book awards, and earned the #1 Mystery/Thriller of 2019 on Goodreads! Oh, and did I mention it is a DEBUT NOVEL?!?!?!?!?!


Synopsis (Goodreads.com):

Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.
Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.
Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him…

This book was MIND BLOWING.

Most people’s ratings are strictly based off of their thoughts on the final (again MIND BLOWING) plot twist. What was interesting about this novel, is that you will either love or hate it depending on how you read it. Without going into much detail or spoiling the entire plot line, the plot twist at the end will shock you if you don’t think about the timeline presented in the book. That is ALL I will tell you… and I feel like even that is sharing too much!

Although I absolutely loved the plot twist, the stand out feature of this novel was the writing. I could not believe that this was a debut novel. The writing in this book was so simple, yet so elegant. Everything was written for a reason and only provided just enough detail for readers to visualize the [wild] events that were taking place. After completing the book, I read a few reviews that criticized the writing style, but I feel like those reviewers were used to a more outgoing first person narrator. This book is technically written in first person POV from the psychotherapists’s perspective, but there are also journal entries written from Alicia herself, which were fantastically written, as well. Normally when reading books written in this way, I will favour one POV/writing style better, but in this book, I enjoyed them equally!

The characters were really interesting and very well developed. Theo and Alicia’s characters contrasted each other, but as you continue to read the novel, you learn that they are actually very similar internally.

Overall, I gave this book a 5/5 stars (my second 5-star book out of my last three reads!), and would whole-heartedly recommend it to anyone who enjoys Mystery/Thriller novels!

Good Night Book Owls!

Beach Read by Emily Henry | A Reading, Reading, Reading Review

“I lost myself in him, and instead of trying to convince myself that someday everything would okay, I focused that, right now, it already was.” – Beach Read, Pg. 288

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

It’s book like Beach Read by Emily Henry that remind me why I fell in love with reading in the first place. There are certain emotions you feel when you’ve been transported into the world of a book, totally transfixed in the story and with the characters. It’s one thing to see the story play out for you on the screen, but it’s another to play a story in your head, in total peace and quiet. This book was an absolute delight to read, and I will continue to scream about it from the rooftops for the rest of my life.


Synopsis (Goodreads.com):

A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.
Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.
They’re polar opposites.
In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.
Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.

I think I’ve come to the conclusion that I enjoy books that make me cry more than books that make me feel butterflies in my stomach. Sure, passionate romances are great (when written well), but there is something about feeling perplexed with emotions that makes me appreciate a well written novel. Clearly, this one was no exception. The writing in this novel was perfection. There were a few times where I stopped and re-read specific passages, as they often held a deep meaning. The more passionate love scenes were beautifully written with not only physicalities, but also emotions, kept in mind. While the gave me butterflies, they seemed realistic and truthful. Near the end of the novel when January begins to read letters her Father had left for her, the writing style changed effectively, which took my reading experience to a new high.

Truthfully, the title of this novel is actually quite deceiving. This is not your quintessential lovey, swoon worthy, romance novel, but rather a book that showcases the power of past trauma and how it can impact future relationships. While it isn’t highlighted in the plot, the characters have both experienced an immense amount of hardships, which contributes to their hard-exterior, yet soft interior, personalities. They are so alike yet so different in an abundance of ways.

I really didn’t want this book to end. I became so attached to not only the two main characters, Gus and January, but also the side characters that were equally important to the story. All of the characters were incredibly layered and written with distinctive voices. One of my favourite parts about this book revolved around January’s father. While January finds out that her Father wasn’t the great man she had always thought he was, she learned to understand his issues and separate his secrets from the way he treated and raised her. I am incredibly close with my Father and consider him to be one of my best friends(hi Dad! I know you are reading this!!), so I immensely enjoyed reading about January’s relationships with her Father. I think it’s hard to come by a novel where you whole-heartedly enjoy all of the characters, and that is another reason why this book was (is!) so special.

This book mostly takes place inside/outside of a lake-front house, which is one of my favourite settings to read books take place in. While I am not a big “outdoors” person, I have always loved homes that back onto water-fronts, and reading this book reminded me of that.

I appreciated that while this was technically a hate-to-love romance (although I haven’t seen it publicized as one), it was about characters who misunderstood eachother, and through the process of individual growth and maturity, they learned and connected with one another. Words cannot describe how lovely it was to read this first hand.

And of course, I rated this book 5/5 stars (I would have given it 6 stars if I could have)! I hope you enjoyed my review of Beach Read by Emily Henry! If you’ve read this book, let me know your thoughts on it in a comment!

Good Night Book Owls!

Alyssa’s Reviews – Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

Over the past few years, Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng was at the top of my TBR list, and appeared on over five different monthly TBR’s in the past two years! In June, I was in the mood to pick up a character-driven novel, and was immediately drawn to finally read Little Fires Everywhere! To say that I had high expectations for this book would be an understatement, and unfortunately, it did not live up to them in my opinion.


Synopsis (Goodreads.com):

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned–from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.
Enter Mia Warren–an enigmatic artist and single mother–who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.
When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town–and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.
Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood–and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.

I will describe this book in one word: underwhelming.

Like I stated above, I had SO many high expectations for this book. Thinking back, maybe that was unfair, but when you hear about a book that is loved by millions of people internationally, you believe that it will be your next new favourite book. In my case, that did not happen. Now, I am not saying that this was not a good or enjoyable book. I quite enjoyed it, but I have definitely read better books before (both literary fiction and books from other genres).

I want to get all of the negative things I have to write about this book out of the way, so if you are only in the mood to read positive things (which I understand might be possible since we are in such depressing times), then skip to the next paragraph. Upon reading the Goodreads synopsis, you would think that this book centres around Mrs. Richardson digging into Mia Warren’s troubled past. However, I would argue that that is not the first main plot of the story. In fact, everything that is shared in the synopsis does not begin to unfold until 150 pages into the story. One of the main things that I did not like about this book was the fact that there were too many different plot lines and stories to follow, especially when this is supposed to be a character driven novel. I enjoyed all of the plot lines once they were fully introduced, but I thought that it took way too long to get to all of them. I also didn’t really love the writing in this novel. A lot of reviewers have cited the writing as something they have adored about this book, but I did not think that it was anything special. Throughout the novel, I thought that Celeste Ng had some very rambly sections, as well as some sections that I would have liked more information on. Had she balanced those out evenly, I think I would have enjoyed the story a lot more.

However, there were a handful of things about this book that I really enjoyed. Mainly, I loved many of the characters in this novel. In my opinion, this book is a master class on character development. I have NEVER read a book with such clear characters that flawlessly developed when the story concluded. Interestingly enough, my favourite character was Izzie, the character in this novel that I believe goes through the least amount of development. I would have loved to have read more about her thoughts and opinions on everything going on, and would love to read a short story in her perspective in the future,

Truthfully, I think that most readers will, in fact, enjoy this book (probably a lot more than I did). One of the key factors influencing my dissapointment of this book may be my age and lack of experience in the adult world. I would be interested in going back to this book in about 10-years, and seeing if I would enjoy it more then. If I am still blogging then, I will read and review it again if I remember! Overall, I gave this book 2.5/5 stars.

I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on this book, so if you have read it, let me know in the comments and we can discuss it!

Good Night Book Owls!

July 2020 TBR

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

I hope you are all doing safe and well during these very interesting times (to say the least)! I am trying my best to stay home as much as possible, and whenever I am going out, I always wear a mask. Wearing a mask is NOT a political statement, it just means that you care as much about your own health as the health and safety of others (TLDR: you are a kind person!). I encourage you all to do the same 🙂

Anyways, I have been struggling with blogging frequently for a few reasons, one being that I was very busy finishing up my last and final semester of high school (woohoo!!!), and secondly, I have been having trouble with making authentic and quality posts. I have always been someone who would love to post daily and make new and interesting content on a regular basis, but that always seems to be a bit challenging for me. Whenever I post TBR videos, I always pick out a ton of books that I know other people are interested in, but I never end up reading them because I am a) not super interested in them and/or b) a mood reader. SO, I have compiled a list of books – and stuck them all on the same shelf – that I would like to read sometime this summer. These are all books that I already own and have been wanting to read for quite a while now, and REALLY need to read them over the next two months!

This month, I am going to be strictly reading based on my mood and what I am interested in at the moment! I think that will help prevent a reading slump, and will allow me to continue this great reading kick I have been on! In June, I read 8 books – and I decided to make a BookTube video on them! You can watch it here. I will NOT be using BookTube as my main book platform (even though I have been giving it a few moments of thought), because I have been dedicated to this book blog for so long now, and will forever use the gift of writing to share my love of reading to others. That is, of course, not to discount BookTube videos in any way (gd knows I spend WAY too much time watching them), but I think this blog is a lot better for me, and reaches a lot more people than my videos ever will. I have been writing on this blog for over six and a half years, and still love it as much as I did when I first created it. My June TBR will be the only video on my BookTube channel that will not have a corresponding blog post, so if you are interested in hearing my thoughts on the books I read this past month, please watch the video!


Currently, I am about half-way through The Guest List by Lucy Foley and am really, really enjoying it so far! Look out for a review of it in the coming weeks!

And that is it for today’s long and rambly post! I cannot believe we are already half way through 2020! What are you planning on reading this month?!

Good Night Book Owls!