Top Ten Tuesday | Most Anticipated of 2020 (First-Half)

Posted January 7, 2020 by Bonnie in Top Ten Tuesday / 7 Comments

I have been staying on top of the 2020 releases a bit more closely than I typically do, and as such, my not-released shelf is out of control. And there’s SO much good stuff! I had so many I honestly thought I’d be able to break down my most anticipated for the year into quarters, but I restrained myself. It’s just when you pair that with the other various bookish resolutions I tend to make that involve tackling my entire backlist, it just doesn’t seem reasonable that I’m going to be able to read everything. Trying to find the balance between staying on top of the new releases and continuing to chip away at a backlist tbr that you’ll never have enough time to complete is rough. But here are ten being released in the first half of this year that I’m extra excited for.

Bent Heavens by Daniel Kraus | Expected publication: February 25th 2020 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver | Expected publication: March 3rd 2020 by Ballantine Books
In Five Years by Rebecca Serle | Expected publication: March 3rd 2020 by Atria Books
The Return by Rachel Harrison | Expected publication: March 24th 2020 by Berkley
Shorefall (Founders #2) by Robert Jackson Bennett | Expected publication: April 21st 2020 by Del Rey

Hard Cash Valley by Brian Panowich | Expected publication: May 5th 2020 by Minotaur Books
The Down Days: A Novel by Ilze Hugo | Expected publication: May 5th 2020 by Skybound Books
Deal with the Devil (Mercenary Librarians #1) by Kit Rocha | Expected publication: May 12th 2020 by Tor Books
Kingdom of Shadow and Light (Fever #11) by Karen Marie Moning | Expected publication: June 2nd 2020 by Delacorte Press
Dragon Unleashed (Fallen Empire #2) by Grace Draven | Expected publication: June 9th 2020 by Ace

What are you looking forward to most in the next few months?

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Something To Look Forward To – Week of January 6th, 2020

Posted January 6, 2020 by Bonnie in Something To Look Forward To / 2 Comments

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Week of January 6th, 2020

Lady Hotspur by Tessa Gratton
Expected publication: January 7th 2020 by Tor Books

Come Tumbling Down (Wayward Children #5) by Seanan McGuire
Expected publication: January 7th 2020 by Tor.com

Qualityland by Marc-Uwe Kling
Expected publication: January 7th 2020 by Grand Central Publishing

The Secret Chapter (The Invisible Library #6) by Genevieve Cogman
Expected publication: January 7th 2020 by Ace Books

Grace Is Gone by Emily Elgar
Expected publication: January 7th 2020 by Harper Paperbacks

In the Shadow of Vesuvius (Lady Emily #14) by Tasha Alexander
Expected publication: January 7th 2020 by Minotaur Books

Mr. Nobody by Catherine Steadman
Expected publication: January 7th 2020 by Ballantine Books

Hindsight (Kendra Michaels #7) by Iris Johansen & Roy Johansen
Expected publication: January 7th 2020 by Grand Central Publishing

Long Bright River by Liz Moore
Expected publication: January 7th 2020 by Riverhead Books

The Widows’ Club by Amanda Brooke
Expected publication: January 9th 2020 by HarperCollins

Westering Women by Sandra Dallas
Expected publication: January 7th 2020 by St. Martin’s Press

Cesare: A Novel of War-Torn Berlin by Jerome Charyn
Expected publication: January 7th 2020 by Bellvue Literary Press

The Girls with No Names: A Novel by Serena Burdick
Expected publication: January 7th 2020 by Harper Paperbacks

Spitfire (A Livy Nash Mystery #1) by M.L. Huie
Expected publication: January 7th 2020 by Crooked Lane Books

House on Endless Waters by Emuna Elon
Expected publication: January 7th 2020 by Atria Books

Lady Clementine by Marie Benedict
Expected publication: January 7th 2020 by Sourcebooks Landmark

Welcome to the Pine Away Motel and Cabins by Katarina Bivald
Expected publication: January 7th 2020 by Sourcebooks Landmark

Moral Compass by Danielle Steel
Expected publication: January 7th 2020 by Delacorte Press

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
Expected publication: January 7th 2020 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick: Stories from the Harlem Renaissance by Zora Neale Hurston
Expected publication: January 7th 2020 by Amistad

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano
Expected publication: January 6th 2020 by Dial Press

Creatures: A Novel by Crissy Van Meter
Expected publication: January 7th 2020 by Algonquin Books

The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy by Elizabeth Kendall
Expected publication: January 7th 2020 by Abrams Press

The Vanishing (Fogg Lake #1) by Jayne Ann Krentz
Expected publication: January 7th 2020 by Berkley Books

The Little Bookshop on the Seine (The Little Paris Collection #1) by Rebecca Raisin
Expected publication: January 7th 2020 by HQN

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Top Ten Tuesday | Best of 2019

Posted December 31, 2019 by Bonnie in Top Ten Tuesday / 12 Comments

I always wait until the last possible minute to compile my best-of lists because I’m always holding out hope that I’ll read something truly amazing, possibly on the last day of the year. I’ve still got a handful of books that I hope to complete before the clock strikes midnight but these are the ten I came up with for now. I picked these a little differently this time. Instead of filtering for the highest-rated I chose instead to scroll through my full list and pick the ones that caused immediate remembrance of their brilliance. It’s kind of interesting how a few of these didn’t garner the highest of ratings after completion but still left a major impression on me. In no particular order…

One Day in December by Josie Silver
The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker
Phoenix Falling (Wildlands #5) by Laura Bickle
Like Lions (Bull Mountain #2) by Brian Panowich
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix
Recursion by Blake Crouch
Small Spaces (Small Spaces #1) by Katherine Arden
Evil Has A Name: The Untold Story of the Golden State Killer Investigation by Paul Holes
It’s Okay to Laugh: (Crying Is Cool Too) by Nora McInerny Purmort

What are your favorite reads of the year?

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Something To Look Forward To – Week of December 30th, 2019

Posted December 30, 2019 by Bonnie in Something To Look Forward To / 0 Comments

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Week of December 30th, 2019

The Wives by Tarryn Fisher
Expected publication: December 30th 2019 by Graydon House

The Playground by Jane Shemilt
Expected publication: December 30th 2019 by William Morrow Paperbacks

Recipe for a Perfect Wife: A Novel by Karma Brown
Expected publication: December 31st 2019 by Dutton

Husband Material by Emily Belden
Expected publication: December 30th 2019 by Graydon House

Killer High: A History of War in Six Drugs by Peter Andreas
Expected publication: January 2nd 2020 by Oxford University Press, USA

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Rapid Reviews | The Lost Man, Ghoster, To Be Taught, If Fortunate Recipe for a Perfect Wife

Posted December 28, 2019 by Bonnie in 2019, Adult, Book Reviews, Rapid Fire Reviews / 5 Comments

Sometimes review writing is hard. Sometimes you don’t have a lot to say. Sometimes you’re just lazy as fuck. These are Rapid Fire Reviews.

Rapid Reviews | The Lost Man, Ghoster, To Be Taught, If Fortunate Recipe for a Perfect WifeThe Lost Man by Jane Harper
Published by Flatiron Books on February 5, 2019
Pages: 340
Genres: Mystery
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads

four-half-stars

Short Summary: The Bright brothers run a large area of land in the Australian outback with hours separating each but when one of the brothers dies under mysterious circumstances, his death brings everyone together to question whether he decided his own fate or if someone else was responsible.

Thoughts: I think I’m finally beginning to understand what makes Jane Harper’s books so special: the setting. The Australian outback is so vibrantly written it becomes something of a character itself. It sounds beautiful and ethereal but I’m not sure you could pay me to venture into that deadly terrain.

Verdict: Harper’s stories always read like a breath of fresh air and it’s rare I continue to stay on top of subsequent releases from any particular author but I’m always eager for more from her.

In a nutshell, GIF style:

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I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Rapid Reviews | The Lost Man, Ghoster, To Be Taught, If Fortunate Recipe for a Perfect WifeGhoster by Jason Arnopp
Published by Orbit on October 22, 2019
Pages: 496
Genres: Horror
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads

three-stars

Short Summary: Kate is moving in with her boyfriend, Scott, but when she shows up in her moving van he’s gone, the house completely empty except for his cell phone. Determined to find him, wanting to know why he’d do this, she starts looking through his phone but the things she finds have her questioning everything.

Thoughts: I wasn’t anticipating the supernatural aspects but it sure did make for a suspenseful, gotta keep flipping the pages to figure out what the heck is going on, and unsettling read.

Verdict: Honestly, I was loving how entertained I was by this one, but the ending was super bizarre and Arnopp went a bit overkill on the “technology is evil message”.

In a nutshell, GIF style:

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Rapid Reviews | The Lost Man, Ghoster, To Be Taught, If Fortunate Recipe for a Perfect WifeTo Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers
Published by Harper Voyager on September 3, 2019
Pages: 153
Genres: Sci-fi
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads

two-stars

Short Summary: To Be Taught, If Fortunate is a tiny but mighty science fiction story about humans discovering the ability to transform themselves to live on other worlds and about a crew exploring the galaxy learning everything they can to send back home.

Thoughts: Considering this novella was meant to be a letter sent to Earth from the crew, there sure was a lot of rambling and a complete lack of a sense of urgency, and lol if they included the parts about how everyone is sleeping with each other. Honestly, I’m not sure I got it.

Verdict: Becky Chambers is a fantastic writer and her extreme research is evident, unfortunately, this focuses heavily on the scientific aspects of everything (that can be quite confusing at times) and far less so on the characters or even a plot and thus just wasn’t my style.

In a nutshell, GIF style:

I received this book free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Rapid Reviews | The Lost Man, Ghoster, To Be Taught, If Fortunate Recipe for a Perfect WifeRecipe for a Perfect Wife by Karma Brown
Published by Dutton Books on December 31, 2019
Pages: 336
Genres: Historical Fiction
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads

two-stars

Short Summary: When Alice and her husband leave New York City to live in the suburbs, she immerses herself in piecing together the life of the woman who lived there before from an old cookbook that was left behind.

Thoughts: The story is told from the viewpoint of Alice in the present day and Nellie, a housewife from the 1950s, but the similarities the author attempted to draw between the two characters were fairly baseless.

Verdict: This story ended up being shockingly dark and while I love a good ambiguous ending, this one leaves you with far more questions and fewer answers.

In a nutshell, GIF style: 

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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Life’s Too Short | The Honey-Don’t List, Follow Me to Ground, The Starless Sea

Posted December 26, 2019 by Bonnie in 2019, Book Reviews, Life's Too Short / 8 Comments

I received this book free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Life’s Too Short | The Honey-Don’t List, Follow Me to Ground, The Starless SeaThe Honey-Don't List by Christina Lauren
Narrator: Allan Corduner, Bahni Turpin, Dion Graham, Dominic Hoffman, Fiona Hardingham, Jorjeana Marie
Published by Gallery Books on March 24, 2020
Pages: 320
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads

Also by this author: My Favorite Half-Night Stand, Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating, Love and Other Words, The Unhoneymooners, Twice in a Blue Moon

dnf

Carey Douglas has worked for home remodeling and design gurus Melissa and Rusty Tripp for nearly a decade. A country girl at heart, Carey started in their first store at sixteen, and—more than anyone would suspect—has helped them build an empire. With a new show and a book about to launch, the Tripps are on the verge of superstardom. There’s only one problem: America’s favorite couple can’t stand each other.
James McCann, MIT graduate and engineering genius, was originally hired as a structural engineer, but the job isn’t all he thought it’d be. The last straw? Both he and Carey must go on book tour with the Tripps and keep the wheels from falling off the proverbial bus.
Unfortunately, neither of them is in any position to quit. Carey needs health insurance, and James has been promised the role of a lifetime if he can just keep the couple on track for a few more weeks. While road-tripping with the Tripps up the West Coast, Carey and James vow to work together to keep their bosses’ secrets hidden, and their own jobs secure. But if they stop playing along—and start playing for keeps—they may have the chance to build something beautiful together…
From the “hilariously zany and heartfelt” (Booklist) Christina Lauren comes a romantic comedy that proves if it’s broke, you might as well fix it.
From the New York Times bestselling author behind the “joyful, warm, touching” (Jasmine Guillory, New York Times bestselling author) The Unhoneymooners comes a delightfully charming love story about what happens when two assistants tasked with keeping a rocky relationship from explosion start to feel sparks of their own.

DNF @ 23%

I’ve read a ton of Christina Lauren books and my ratings have gone steadily down with each new release, however, this is my first official DNF. I just couldn’t do it. This one rubbed me the wrong way right from the beginning with how similar the plot was to Chip and Joanna Gaines and their home improvement show, Fixer Upper. In The Honey-Don’t List, they’re Rusty and Melissa, with their home improvement show and their perfect life… except it’s all a lie. I don’t know, for me, it felt like they were just taking something good and wholesome and ruining it. But I kept reading. Until I got to this quote which is referencing Rusty’s extra-marital affairs:

“I know her well enough to get that she doesn’t like my intrusion, but we’re all in this awkwardness together, and there’s no one to blame but Rusty. And to be fair, probably Melly, too.”

Oh, I’m sorry, what was that? We’re blaming Melissa for being the reason Rusty cheated on her?

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Life’s Too Short | The Honey-Don’t List, Follow Me to Ground, The Starless SeaFollow Me to Ground by Sue Rainsford
Published by Scribner on January 21, 2020
Pages: 208
Genres: Magical Realism
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads


dnf

A haunted, surreal debut novel about an otherworldly young woman, her father, and her lover that culminates in a shocking moment of betrayal—one that upends our understanding of power, predation, and agency.
Ada and her father, touched by the power to heal illness, live on the edge of a village where they help sick locals—or “Cures”—by cracking open their damaged bodies or temporarily burying them in the reviving, dangerous Ground nearby. Ada, a being both more and less than human, is mostly uninterested in the Cures, until she meets a man named Samson. When they strike up an affair, to the displeasure of her father and Samson’s widowed, pregnant sister, Ada is torn between her old way of life and new possibilities with her lover—and eventually comes to a decision that will forever change Samson, the town, and the Ground itself.
Follow Me to Ground is fascinating and frightening, urgent and propulsive. In Ada, award-winning author Sue Rainsford has created an utterly bewitching heroine, one who challenges conventional ideas of womanhood and the secrets of the body. Slim but authoritative, Follow Me to Ground lingers long after its final page, pulling the reader into a dream between fairytale and nightmare, desire and delusion, folktale and warning.

DNF @ 29%

This is one of those books that’s going to be amazing for a certain kind of reader. I am not that certain kind of reader. This was magical realism with a dash of weirdness but the more you keep reading you realize that the lid must’ve come off and the whole bottle of weirdness ended up in there. The utter strangeness of this reminded me a lot of The Library at Mount Char, so if you were a fan of that, definitely pick this one up. (That one also didn’t work for me. lol) Here’s a quick summary of the weirdness: this girl and her father were both “born from the dirt” or something, her father transforms into a beast at night and eats the local wildlife, they take out the yucky stuff from people that causes them pain/sickness, etc. The writing is lyrical and the only reason I got to 29% but the story is extremely weird. Take this scene for instance:

“First time I tried to lie down with a boy, I didn’t know what I was doing. I lay down and he lay down over me and I held on tight. He went to put it in and there was nowhere for it to go and he got scared and bit me. […] By the time I took Samson inside, I’d grown myself an opening that I’d a dozen names for.”

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Life’s Too Short | The Honey-Don’t List, Follow Me to Ground, The Starless SeaThe Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
Narrator: Dominic Hoffman, Dion Graham, Bahni Turpin, Allan Corduner, Fiona Hardingham, Jorjeana Marie
on November 5, 2019
Length: 18 hrs and 37 mins
Genres: Fantasy
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads


dnf

Far beneath the surface of the earth, upon the shores of the Starless Sea, there is a labyrinthine collection of tunnels and rooms filled with stories. The entryways that lead to this sanctuary are often hidden, sometimes on forest floors, sometimes in private homes, sometimes in plain sight. But those who seek will find. Their doors have been waiting for them.
Zachary Ezra Rawlins is searching for his door, though he does not know it. He follows a silent siren song, an inexplicable knowledge that he is meant for another place. When he discovers a mysterious book in the stacks of his campus library he begins to read, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, lost cities, and nameless acolytes. Suddenly a turn of the page brings Zachary to a story from his own childhood impossibly written in this book that is older than he is.
A bee, a key, and a sword emblazoned on the book lead Zachary to two people who will change the course of his life: Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired painter, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances. These strangers guide Zachary through masquerade party dances and whispered back room stories to the headquarters of a secret society where doorknobs hang from ribbons, and finally through a door conjured from paint to the place he has always yearned for. Amid twisting tunnels filled with books, gilded ballrooms, and wine-dark shores Zachary falls into an intoxicating world soaked in romance and mystery. But a battle is raging over the fate of this place and though there are those who would willingly sacrifice everything to protect it, there are just as many intent on its destruction. As Zachary, Mirabel, and Dorian venture deeper into the space and its histories and myths, searching for answers and each other, a timeless love story unspools, casting a spell of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a Starless Sea.

DNF @ 30 minutes into the audio

I knew quickly that this one wasn’t going to work out for me. I know I didn’t really give it a chance, but I was completely lost and had no idea what was going on and there didn’t even seem to be a freaking plot. It was full of extremely beautiful writing that was always describing something in explicit detail and never actually amounting to much. Maybe this would be better in print but I’m not sure I’ll be giving it that opportunity. Truth is, I DNF’d The Night Circus in print AND in audio (I tried it in both ways just to make sure it wasn’t a format problem) and I’m just not sure Morgenstern is the author for me.

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Happy Holidays 2019

Posted December 25, 2019 by Bonnie in Holidays / 3 Comments

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Top Ten Tuesday | Winter TBR

Posted December 17, 2019 by Bonnie in Top Ten Tuesday / 5 Comments

I don’t know what the weather is like where you are but it’s definitely a bundle up on the couch with a good book weather here!

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In the last few weeks of the year/decade, I’ve been trying to finally get around to at least a few of those 2019 releases before I become completely inundated with the 2020 books that are already rolling in. Here are a few that I’d still like to finish and a few early 2020 releases I’d like to get a head start on

My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing
The Tyrant’s Tomb (The Trials of Apollo #4) by Rick Riordan
To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers
The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves
A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan

Protect the Prince (Crown of Shards #2) by Jennifer Estep
Twenty-one Truths About Love by Matthew Dicks
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
A Beginning at the End by Mike Chen | Expected publication: January 14th 2020 by MIRA
Follow Me to Ground by Sue Rainsford | Expected publication: January 21st 2020 by Scribner

What are you planning on reading this season?

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Something To Look Forward To – Week of December 16th, 2019

Posted December 16, 2019 by Bonnie in Something To Look Forward To / 0 Comments

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Week of December 16th, 2019

The Kill Club by Wendy Heard
Expected publication: December 17th 2019 by Mira Books

The Network (Jack Logan #1) by L.C. Shaw
Expected publication: December 17th 2019 by Harper Paperbacks

A Trace of Deceit (Victorian Mystery #2) by Karen Odden
Expected publication: December 17th 2019 by William Morrow Paperbacks

Fatal Accusation (Fatal #15) by Marie Force
Expected publication: December 17th 2019 by HQN

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Something To Look Forward To – Week of December 9th, 2019

Posted December 9, 2019 by Bonnie in Something To Look Forward To / 0 Comments

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Week of December 9th, 2019

The Light of All That Falls (The Licanius Trilogy #3) by James Islington
Expected publication: December 10th 2019 by Orbit

Shatter the Night (Detective Gemma Monroe #4) by Emily Littlejohn
Expected publication: December 10th 2019 by Minotaur Books

The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters
Expected publication: December 10th 2019 by Crooked Lane Books

All That’s Bright and Gone: A Novel by Eliza Nellums
Expected publication: December 10th 2019 by Crooked Lane Books

The Stranger by Saskia Sarginson
Expected publication: December 10th 2019 by Flatiron Books

The Course of All Treasons (An Elizabethan Spy Mystery #2) by Suzanne M. Wolfe
Expected publication: December 10th 2019 by Crooked Lane Books

The Wicked Redhead (The Wicked City #2) by Beatriz Williams
Expected publication: December 10th 2019 by William Morrow

The Glittering Hour by Iona Grey
Expected publication: December 10th 2019 by Thomas Dunne Books

The Book of Science and Antiquities by Thomas Keneally
Expected publication: December 10th 2019 by Atria Books

Search Heartache by Carla Malden
Expected publication: December 10th 2019 by Rare Bird Books

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