ARC Review: The Mistake I Made

The Mistake I MadeThe Mistake I Made by Paula Daly

Publication Date: September 8, 2015

Publisher: Grove Press

Synopsis:

Roz is a struggling single mother. Her ex cheated on her and their debt is slowly crushing her. She’s doing everything she can to pay the rent and keep food on the table, but it’s not enough. Roz has two weeks until she and her son, George, are out on the street.

Then, she meets wealthy Scott Elias at her sister’s house. Scott approaches Roz with an offer. He wants one night with her and he’s willing to pay her a lot of money to do it. Roz really doesn’t want to. Scott’s a married man. It goes against everything Roz stands for…and yet, she knows she has to say yes. There’s no other way.

But nothing is as simple as it seems and soon Roz is regretting her decision. Things are spinning out of control and all Roz can do is try to prevent any more damage.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I liked The Mistake I Made, but I didn’t love it. It started out extremely slow and gloomy. A lot of pages were spent describing the sad state of Roz’s life. It was depressing. I understand that it had to be like that for her decisions to make sense, but it didn’t necessarily make me want to keep reading.

It also took a long time for the story to build. It wasn’t until about 3/4 of the way through that things started to really happen and the pace picked up. The first part of the book felt more like a drama than a thriller. I wish the entire book would have been as fast paced and interesting as the last fourth of the book because the twists and turns in the story were great. If the entire book would have been like the last fourth of the book, it would have been a 5 star book for me.

Thank you to Grove Press and Paula Daly for the opportunity to read and honestly review an ARC of The Mistake I Made.

More Happy Than Not Tag

recite-1pupmh3

A big thank you to Giselle @ HARDWORKBOULEVARD for tagging me and giving me the opportunity to complete the “More Happy Than Not” tag. It’s another fun one.

************************************************************************************************************************************************************

The I Am More Happy Than Not Tag was created by Shelumiel @ Bookish and Awesome but was originally made in response to the “What makes you #MoreHappyThanNot?” question inspired by Adam Silvera’s upcoming debut More Happy Than Not.  You basically highlight ways you’ve been able to express happiness from the things—big and small—in your life.

These are the three simple rules for doing this tag:

(1) Answer the question “What makes you more happy than not?

2) Link back to this post to the person who tagged you (or the original creator of this tag)

(3) Have FUN. You can add your links below, as well!

************************************************************************************************************************************************************

I Am More Happy Than Not surrounded by my family. Whether it’s my own little family, my extended family or my husband’s, it always makes me feel loved.

    

I Am More Happy Than Not watching my daughter participate in anything active. She loves sports and gives them her all. Her favorite right now is soccer and I’m proud to admit I’m a soccer mom. She also wants to be on American Ninja Warrior when she grows up. She’s been working on getting her dad to build her a course in the backyard, but we don’t think our neighbors would approve.

I Am More Happy Than Not when I get to hang out with my two best friends. As we’ve gotten older and had careers and families, getting together isn’t as easy as it used to be. I wish we were back in the days when we were able to hang out daily and have slumber parties, but life changes. Any chance I get to hang out with my girls is guaranteed fun.

I Am More Happy Than Not camping and boating in the summer with our friends and camping buddies. It’s always an adventure. We’ve seen friends in our camping group come and go, but the six of us always have a great time.

      

I Am More Happy Than Not when reading a book. (Duh!) I have always loved to read. I’m always looking for the next book that is going to make me feel something.

20150601_130744[1]

I Am More Happy Than Not listening to music from the 1980’s. I have loved listening and dancing to it since I was 18 years old going to a Seattle 18 and over club called DV8. The infectious beats and choruses make me smile. It can make a bad mood good. I would love to list a favorite song from the 80’s, but there are just too many.

20150707_092222[1]

I Am More Happy Than Not when watching a really funny movie. My favorite funny movies right now are Pitch Perfect and Pitch Perfect 2. Rebel Wilson just knows how to make me laugh!

20150707_092436[1]

Here is who I tag:

Kelly @ Here’s to Happy Endings

Alyssa @ Seals of Approval Books

Skylee @ The Night Girl

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

 Me and Earl and the Dying GirlMe and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Publication Date: March 1, 2012

Publisher: Amulet Books

Synopsis:

Greg Gaines’ life has just been turned upside down by his own mother. Greg has spent his entire high school career trying to fly under the radar. He’s neither unpopular nor popular. Greg has his best friend Earl and that’s all he needs. It’s taken him a lot of time and energy to reach this status and his mother ruins it all with her one request: rekindle an old friendship with Rachel because she has leukemia.

Greg’s not sure about being friends with Rachel. First, she hates him. Second, how do you cheer up someone who is dying? But his mom’s not giving up, so he’s forced to spend time with Rachel. Soon, it’s not only Greg visiting Rachel but Earl, too. They confide in her about the top-secret films they have been making. When Rachel decides to give up her fight against cancer, Earl and Greg set out to make her one final movie. Making this final movie will teach them more than they ever thought possible.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I want to say I absolutely loved Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, but I didn’t. I was really surprised about that. I’ve been hearing about this book forever and since a movie version is coming out, I expected it to be exceptional. It was good. If it hadn’t made me laugh at times, it would have been just okay.

The story is narrated by Greg. It’s him writing a book about his experience with ill Rachel. It starts with him explaining his role in his high school social hierarchy. He gives you a lot of past social history. I kept wondering why. It wasn’t that it wasn’t interesting, it just didn’t seem to be going anywhere at the time. It took a long time to get to the actual Rachel part of the story and to see where all the history was leading. I was starting to get bored.

Earl saved the story in my opinion. He was incredibly funny. He made Greg funny. Their conversations could be kind of vulgar at times, but they definitely made me laugh. If it weren’t for their interactions, I don’t think I would have liked the book. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Me and Earl and the Dying Girl might be one of those rare books that makes a better movie than book.

Tales of a Book Bag: Banks Lake, WA

20150703_141353-01[1]

Okay. So I have to admit, even my vacations are filled with thoughts of books. My Fourth of July holiday was spent camping with friends at the incredibly beautiful Banks Lake. We beat the 100+ degree heat by spending most of our days boating. While we were out on the boat, I was thinking about what I could post from my vacation that would be book related. I looked up and there was my book bag. I was thinking it would be cool to post a picture of my bag at all the places I visit this summer.

Now, my book bag does not just haul books. It ends up toting a ton of different stuff when I go on vacation. On the 4 hour plus drive to and from Banks Lake it held my Kindle, wallet, snacks, chapstick, my car charger, etc. It was right next to my seat the entire ride. Once we were camping, it became my boat bag. The poor thing was overstuffed with sunblock, sunglasses, a cover up, snacks, water bottles, hats, my wallet and phone. Sadly, it didn’t have a book in it. It would have just been too awkward and rude to read while my friends were enjoying the water. Plus, I wanted to enjoy the water, too!

20150703_121801-01[1] 20150702_130004[1]

Nights at camp should have been spent in front of the camp fire, but with the heat and a huge mosquito problem it was spent avoiding the great outdoors. I was actually able to get some reading in before bed. I read Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. That was a good thing, since it had to be returned to the library when I got home. You’ll be seeing a review for it tomorrow.

Where was the last place your book bag visited? Let me know in the comments!

(Oh, and I must thank my wonderful sister, Amie, for the awesome book bag. What a great birthday gift for a book lover!)

Calm Like Home

Calm Like Home - Kaisa ClarkCalm Like Home by Kaisa Clark

Publication Date: July 15, 2015

Publisher: Kaisa Clark

Synopsis:

Alexa Clausen looks forward to her summers waiting tables. It may or may not have to do with the fact she gets to work with the gorgeous Adam Westbrook. She’s decided this is the summer for her chance with him–if only she can get up the nerve to show him she’s interested.

Alexa didn’t have to worry, though; Adam is definitely interested in her. Every minute with his infectious smile is exciting and fun. Alexa never knew she could fall so hard or so fast for someone. The only problem is Alexa feels like there’s something missing. Adam seems to be hiding something. She’s determined to break down his walls and learn everything there is to know about him, if Adam will let her.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Oh, my goodness. This book was so easy to identify with. It felt like a flashback to my college days. Seriously. At the time, I worked in a restaurant and my apartment had a pool. I didn’t have a relationship with anyone from work, but I did hang with my co-workers. I remember the camaraderie between us. It was just like the banter the author created between the characters in Calm Like Home. Their exchanges were so much fun to read!

I also remember it being a tough time relationship wise — the insecurity and always wondering where I stood in relationships. So many of Alexa’s emotions in this book were mine back then. Really, the ups and downs of the story couldn’t have been more perfect. Kaisa Clark did an amazing job writing a relationship where one person isn’t willing to share all of themselves with the other person. Every emotion in the story felt genuine. The story was sweet, but very real and raw. I loved it.

My only complaint with Calm Like Home is that it ended before I wanted to be done reading it. I wanted more Alexa and Adam! (I know, I know. That’s not really a complaint.) I would highly suggest it to readers that love emotionally packed NA romances. The sex scenes are not descriptive, so it would even be safe for a less mature reader.

Thank you to Kaisa Clark for the opportunity to read and honestly review Calm Like Home.

Top Ten Hyped Books I’ve Never Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. I’ve seen several friendly bloggers take part and it looked like so much fun that I decided to join in! This week’s list is Top Ten Hyped Books I’ve Never Read. Below is my list.

1. The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1)

I’m not sure why, but I haven’t been able to talk myself into it. I’ve checked it out from the library a couple of different times. I even checked out the movie version from the library and never watched it.

2. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Big Little Lies

I want to read this book. Really, I do. Both my sister, mother and several friends have told me it’s great. It’s another one I’ve checked out a couple of times from the library but then ran out of time to read it before I had to return in. I will read it — some time.

3. The Nightengale by Kristin Hannah

The Nightingale

This is another one I do want to read. I love Kristin Hannah’s books. I just haven’t been in the right mood for this one, I guess. Friends have told me it’s really good but emotional.

4. Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Delirium (Delirium, #1)

I know it’s going to be good. I’ve enjoyed all the other books I’ve read by Ms. Oliver. I just haven’t gotten to it yet.

5. Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Okay, I feel super guilty about this one. My mom so lovingly gave me a paperback copy for my birthday a couple years ago. I haven’t read it yet. I want to, but the first time I opened the cover I noticed how small the print it. I don’t know why that made me put it down, but it did. I promise I’m going to read it.

6. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Rebecca

Several people have told me I wouId love this book. It just doesn’t pop in my mind when I’m thinking of what to read next.

7. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Outlander (Outlander, #1)

I know, I know. It’s a travesty. Everyone I know that’s read it loves it. At this point, I’m a little intimidated by the length of the series. I would want to read it all at once and it would take forever. I’m just not up to the commitment at this point. I will read it at some point.

8. Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Life of Pi

My college roommate read it years ago and raved about it. I bought it on my Kindle a few years ago. It’s sitting there waiting.

9. Room by Emma Donoghue

Room

I don’t know. Since I’ve had a child, there are some books I’m just not sure if I can read. This is one of those. I know it’s good, but I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to read it until my child is grown.

10. The Giver by Lois Lowery

The Giver (The Giver, #1)

I’m not sure why I haven’t read this one yet. It sounds good and I was planning on reading it before the movie came out. I guess I just never got to it.

Is there a hyped book that you haven’t read? Let me know in the comments!

Those Girls

Those Girls Those Girls by Chevy Stevens

Publication Date: July 7, 2015

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Synopsis:

The Campbell sisters have a rough life. Their mother died leaving them alone with their abusive, alcoholic father. When he’s away working, they are stuck fending for themselves. When he’s home, they try to stay out of his way. When Dani, Courtney and Jess can’t take the abuse any longer, they decide to run away to Vancouver. Only getting there isn’t as easy as they think it will be. Forced to take on new identities, the sisters forge a new life filled with secrets and lies. Those secrets and lies will eventually come back to haunt them years later when Jess’ daughter searches for the truth.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Holy. Moly. Those Girls is the most intense, suspenseful thriller I’ve ever read. The suspense started from the first chapter and never stopped. Just when I would think the story was getting to a place where I could relax, the intensity would begin again. Those Girls had me so anxious that, at times, I would have to take a break every few minutes before I could pick up the book again. So, 5 stars for the thriller aspect of the novel!

As for the actual storyline…To be completely honest, at times it was too much for me. The abuse/rape scenes were almost too graphic. It was uncomfortable to read what Dani, Courtney and Jess had to go through when I liked their characters so much. I get that life isn’t always pretty and sometimes things are ugly, but that didn’t make it any easier to read.

That being said, I still thought Those Girls was really good. Chevy Stevens is a phenomenal writer who knows how to keep you on the edge of your seat. I was interested in where the story was going the entire time and I didn’t want to put the book down (Even though I had to for mental breaks!). I think anyone that enjoys a good, suspenseful thriller will like Those Girls.

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and Goodreads First Reads for the opportunity to read and honestly review Those Girls.

The Girl with All the Gifts

The Girl with All the Gifts The Girls with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

Publication Date: January 10, 2014

Publisher: Orbit

Synopsis:

Melanie is a smart girl. She loves to go to class to learn and be with her teacher, Ms. Justineau. She loves Ms. Justineau. But Melanie isn’t just your average girl. Melanie is picked up from her cell every day and transported by armored guards to her classroom. Melanie doesn’t understand why. She’s just a girl.

My rating: 5 out 5 stars

I’m going to admit I read The Girl with All the Gifts simply because Maggie Stiefvator (absolutely love her writing) posted how amazing it was on Twitter. I immediately looked it up and the book description intrigued me further. I requested it from the library and the hold line was so long it took a couple of months to get it. When I started reading, I have to admit I was surprised. I had no idea it was a dystopian zombie novel for adults. From the description, I knew Melanie was dangerous, I just didn’t know why.

I’m not really into sci-fi or horror, but I found The Girl with All the Gifts to be a very interesting read. The dystopian world M.R. Carey created was unique and the story was fast paced. The characters felt real and I enjoyed being able to read each POV. You couldn’t help but like Melanie and Ms. Justineau and hate Caldwell. My favorite part of the story was the last two chapters because I was never sure how the story would end. I found Carey’s ending to be perfect.

The Girl with All the Gifts is a really great read. It was thought provoking in a way I wasn’t expecting. I think even don’t normally enjoy zombies or end of the world tales will enjoy this one.

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Fourth of July!!!

In honor of the Independence Day holiday, I’m going to recommend a great NA book with a fun Fourth of July party scene in it: Crushed by Lauren Layne.

Crushed (Redemption, #2)

I absolutely adore Lauren Layne’s writing. Her books are fun and emotionally packed. The Redemption Series is definitely my favorite series she’s written. I’ve read all three books. They can be read in order or each on their own.  Crushed  is the third book in the Redemption Series. It has just the right amount of humor, love and angst.

Other books in this series:

Isn't She Lovely (Redemption, #0.5)   Broken (Redemption, #1)

Grey

 Grey (Fifty Shades, #4)Grey by E.L. James

Publication Date: June 18, 2015

Publisher: Vintage 

Synopsis:

Christian Grey is a man with many secrets. He’s been through things no one should ever have to go through and it’s shaped his adult life. He’s a successful, rich, dominate male — emphasis on the dominate. Christian’s used to getting his way in both business and sex. He doesn’t do love or romance.

When Christian agrees to an interview for a college newspaper, the last thing he expects is to be attracted to the interviewer. Anastasia Steele should annoy him. Instead, she captivates him. He wants her bad. So bad he’s willing to bend his rules and give her a little “more.”

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Obviously, Grey is a retelling of Fifty Shades of Grey in Christian’s POV. It’s over 500 pages and walks you through what Christian was thinking when he and Anna met. It covers book one.

I have to admit that when I first started reading Grey I wasn’t that impressed. I found Christian’s self dialogue to be kind of annoying and I didn’t really like him. I started to worry that the magic of the original book was going to be lost after reading this one. What I figured out as I read was that Christian without Ana was a major jerk. Ana brought out the good in him. Once he met Ana, the story was so much better to read because he was so much happier.

I gave Grey 3.5 stars because while I did end up enjoying the book, I didn’t love it. I basically felt like I was rereading Fifty Shades of Grey. There were a few new insights but not enough to really make it different enough to really stand out. It would have been nice to have a few new Christian/Ana scenes that we didn’t see in the trilogy.

That being said, I do think readers that loved the original trilogy will enjoy reading Grey and getting a glimpse into Christian’s inner thoughts.

Other books in this series:

Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades, #1)  Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, #2)  Fifty Shades Freed (Fifty Shades, #3)