Book Review — “The Hypnotist’s Love Story” by Liane Moriarty

Ellen is a hypnotist and she’s in love. Saskia is a stalker and she’s in love too. Unfortunately they’re both in love with Patrick. The premise is great, and I really like Liane Moriarty’s writing. However, there were just too many missed opportunities here. There was a twist or two, and at times it was spell-binding. I loved the parts in Saskia’s voice, which showed her creepy cluelessness as to just how creepy she really was. But I expected more twists. Maybe a big one. And that’s where it fell flat for me towards the end. I did enjoy it. It did keep me interested. But it left me disappointed that there wasn’t more of what I expected, which was excitement and that “Wow” moment. 3 1/2 stars.

Book Review — “The Red Dirt Hymnbook” by Roxie Faulkner Kirk

Ruby Fae McKeever will win your heart over in “The Red Dirt Hymnbook”. Even tough she is stuck in a horrible position, she manages to keep her wits about her with humor and hope. And even though she is oftentimes treated brutally by her husband and his parents, she stays positive and loving in the face of those bullying her. I loved Ruby and I loved this book, which is told in her voice. It is sweet, funny, hopeful and entertaining. I would definitely recommend it to anyone. Disclaimer– I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review thanks to Book Sirens. Release date: June 28, 2019

Book Review — “Educated” by Tara Westover

Wow. It was like watching a train wreck. This book infuriated, frustrated, mesmerized and captivated me. Told with the most honest and humble voice, “Educated” is the true story of Tara Westover and her family. I cannot count the number of times I cringed, shuttered or said “Oh my God”. I absolutely despised some of these cruel, arrogant people and rooted for Tara not only to escape but to survive. In today’s climate where tolerance and forgiveness are not only encouraged but demanded, I had none for either Tara’s father or older brother, both of whom I found to be despicable, frightened, insecure monsters who used their “religious” zeal and righteous indignation to excuse their severe mental illness and moral bankruptcy. I cheer Tara for her escape and hope she finds a life where people love, cherish and respect her. Highly recommended but don’t expect this to be a feel-good book. It’s so incredibly not that.

Book Review — “The Paper Magician” by Charlie N. Holmberg

I can always find something I like about a book, so I’m going to start this review with what I DID like. I liked the main character, Ceony Twill. I liked her mentor, Magician Emery Thane. I like books about magic, and I liked the beginning and the end. I really liked the paper dog, Fennel. But I did not like the part where Ceony was inside (literally) the heart of Mg. Thane while he lay dying at the hands of evil Lira. Maybe it was just too much fantasy, and maybe I lack imagination. But the problem is that the part I didn’t like took up most of the book. I will, however, give the second book in the series a try — because of the things I DID like.

Book Review — “Secrets the Walkers Keep” by J. Morgan Michaels

Manhattan “Hat” Walker has a lot of secrets. Following his mother’s sudden death, he begins to “see” the past and has visions that are truly scaring him. Befriended by a group of young adults that also have various “powers” and abilities, he decides to solve the mystery of his family and their special gifts. “Secrets the Walkers Keep” is an interesting story, not only of super human abilities but also of family, friendship and falling in love. I really liked this book, but if I’m being totally honest, I wish some of it had been tightened up more. I think the sexual abuse part could have been completely deleted as it didn’t add to the story or move it forward in any way. That being said, I liked the writing style; I thought there was great dialogue and character development, and the twist at the end was truly unexpected. It looks like it’s the beginning of a series, and I plan to read more about the Walker family. Disclaimer– I received a free copy of this book for an honest review. #BookSirens

Book Review — “The Accidental Beauty Queen” by Teri Wilson

Twin sisters Charlotte and Ginny couldn’t be more different. When Charlotte travels to Orlando to see Ginny in the Miss American Treasure pageant, they find out more about themselves and each than they ever expected. This is a spunky, sweet story of sisters and friendship — and a little bit of romance!! “Miss Congeniality” meets “Parent Trap” and equals “The Accidental Beauty Queen”, an easy, fun and enjoyable read. #chicklit

Book Review — “Thank You For Your Service” by David Finkel

Haunted, disturbed, sad, infuriated and lost is how “Thank You For Your Service” made me feel. Journalist David Finkel tells the real-life stories of soldiers suffering from PTSD, their terrified family members and the under-paid and (even worse) under-trained government workers doing their best to help. This is not a feel-good book. This is a heartbreaking testament to the men and women who serve our country by going to war and come home broken, angry and let down by a bureaucratic and over-loaded system. That being said — this is a must read. It will make you cringe. It will make you think. It will make you feel….

Book Review — “South of Broad” by Pat Conroy

I’ve loved so many of Pat Conroy’s books, and this one is no exception. A story of friendship, love, loss, disappointment, failure and survival, this is a novel to enjoy and savor. Conroy’s touching voice brings to life these characters who will make you laugh and cry. There are plenty of surprises and drama, but it’s the simple nuances of lifelong friendship that will truly touch the reader. Be prepared to fall in love with this cast of characters, one of which is the city of Charleston and its history. Thank you to my friend, Leenie, for recommending this book. I loved it. It touched my heart. Highly, highly recommended. 5 stars ⭐️

Book Review — “Carolina Isle” by Jude Deveraux

Perfect Beach Read!! Meet Ariel and Sara — two look-alike cousins who each yearn for another life. They decide to switch places on a weekend trip to King’s Isle with Sara’s boss (whom she thinks she hates) and Ariel’s fiancé (in whom she thinks she has no interest). What awaits them on the island off the coast of South Carolina is mystery, secrets and danger that will test their relationships with both men. It’s a typical love story set in a mystery but well-written, fast-paced and lots of fun!!

Book Review — “I’m So Glad We Had This Time Together” by Carol Burnett

What a pleasure!! Everyone loves Carol Burnett, and they’ll walk away from this loving her even more. Through a series of short stories, you’ll learn about Carol Burnett herself, her co-workers, her show, her family and a bunch of other big-name stars. Carol Burnett is so incredibly humble and many times is as star struck as we all would be. I actually listened to this book on Audible, which was an extra special treat because Carol Burnett narrates her own story. You’ll laugh; you’ll cry, and you’ll feel good all over! Highly recommended in the Audible version. #CarolBurnett #Audible

Book Review— “Wonder” by R. J. Palacio

I can’t even put into words how much I loved this book. Although it’s a YA book, it’s for all ages and filled with hope, love, humor & acceptance. Have some Kleenex ready for this touching story of August “Auggie” Pullman and his family and friends. Born with a facial deformity, Auggie is going to school for the first time in fifth grade. You will love his honest journey, and no matter how old or how “beautiful” you are, you will learn about true inner beauty and….what it means to be a “Wonder”. Highly, highly recommended for all ages. Five stars!! #Randomhouse #youngadultbooks

Book Review — “Seven Letters” by J. P. Monninger

“Seven Letters” by J. P. Monninger is more than a love story. It’s a story of survival, growth, friendship, and healing. It’s a story of Ireland and its beauty. And it’s a story of forgiveness– both of others and one’s self. This book is full of well-developed characters that you will come to care about and enjoy. And, who doesn’t love a book with a great dog as a character?!? If you’re looking for a well-written, not-too-sappy love story, look no further. “Seven Letters” is for you. Disclaimer– I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. Publish date 10/08/19 #netgalley

Book Review — “The Fragments” by Toni Jordan

“The Fragments” by Toni Jordan revolves around a lost/damaged manuscript and the death of its author.   Alternating between present day and flashbacks it’s an interesting read but can be a bit slow at times.  I enjoyed the flashback story of Rachel and Inga much more than the present day sections of Caddie trying to solve the mystery, which I thought could have been tighter and more enticing.  I was very invested in the story of Rachel and Inga and enjoyed wondering how the elderly woman in the beginning of the novel came to know a line from the manuscript that was destroyed in a fire.   I was drawn to the premise of the book, enjoyed the mystery, and really loved Rachel & Inga’s storyline.  3 stars.  Disclaimer— I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.  #TheFragments #NetGalley

Book Review– “The House We Grew Up In” by Lisa Jewell

It’s the height of dysfunction in this story of the Bird family — people you will love in spite of themselves. This family puts the capital “A” in avoidance and never deals with anything head on especially their resentment of one another!! Lisa Jewell makes you care about this group of messed up but good people and your heart will break for all of them. Lorelei is one of the most damaged, saddest characters with the biggest heart; you’ll wish you could have helped. This is a must-read. Trust me, you will feel good about yourself in comparison to these sweet but incredibly flawed people. Highly, highly recommended. A great summer book and beach read. Grab a copy and dive in!!