Thoughts|| The Perfect Girlfriend.

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The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton
3 out of 5 stars

“If you love someone, set them free. If they come back, they’re yours. If they don’t, make them.”

Goodreads Description: Juliette loves Nate. She will follow him anywhere. She’s even become a flight attendant for his airline, so she can keep a closer eye on him. They are meant to be. The fact that Nate broke up with her six months ago means nothing. Because Juliette has a plan to win him back. She is the perfect girlfriend. And she’ll make sure no one stops her from getting exactly what she wants. True love hurts, but Juliette knows it’s worth all the pain… Juliette has everything going for her: she’s young, pretty, and driven, and she’s training for an exciting new career as a flight attendant. The darkness in her past doesn’t matter, because she’s moved beyond all that, and she’s building a great new life for herself-one that will impress her ex-boyfriend, Nate, who left her in a foolish moment of commitment-phobia, one that he surely regrets now. But he’ll be so proud of her once he sees how much she’s grown. And he will see her. After all, he’s a pilot at the very same airline where Juliette is training. What kind of man wouldn’t appreciate the effort Juliette has taken to win Nate back? She cleans his apartment when he’s not there, and makes sure to leave all his favorite foods in the fridge. It’s only a matter of time before he leaves his airheaded new girlfriend and realizes Juliette is the only one for him. He will realize it. Juliette will make sure of it. After all, she is the perfect girlfriend.


I received an ARC of The Perfect Girlfriend from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Release date: March 26, 2019.

I’ve never read a Karen Hamilton book, but The Perfect Girlfriend sounded like something I would really like. I like twisty creepy stories and this one sounded like it would be.

There were a ton of twisty creepy things in the story, but I did find it pretty slow to start and not a whole lot going on at the beginning. I was impatiently waiting for crazy things to happen, but it didn’t happen right away. I wasn’t completely satisfied with the way that the book ended, to be honest. I wanted more from the ending, but it just wasn’t there. Juliette definitely had a few screws loose and she made for a good character. Things happened in her past, which made her the way she was, which was actually a little sad.

Overall, I liked The Perfect Girlfriend. It had it’s twists and creepiness to it. I would have liked if more happened, but for the most part it was good and at times hard to put down. Even though I wasn’t happy with the ending, there were a lot of good things to make up for it and I was still invested in the story and wanting to know how it played out. It didn’t blow me away, but I also didn’t hate it; it was still pretty entertaining at times and pretty messed up other times.


In case you missed it, I have a giveaway happening on my blog for my four year blogiversary! You can win a book of your choice and it’s International! 😀 I’ll link it down below if you’re interested in checking it out and entering. It runs until the end of the month.

Four Year Blogiversary Giveaway!
Thoughts|| Famous in a Small Town.
Dr. Von D Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

Thoughts|| Famous in a Small Town.

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Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills
4 out of 5 stars.

Goodreads Description: For Sophie, small town life has never felt small. With her four best friends—loving, infuriating, and all she could ever ask for—she can weather any storm. But when Sophie’s beloved Acadia High School marching band is selected to march in the upcoming Rose Parade, it’s her job to get them all the way to LA. Her plan? To persuade country singer Megan Pleasant, their Midwestern town’s only claim to fame, to come back to Acadia to headline a fundraising festival. The only problem is that Megan has very publicly sworn never to return. What ensues is a journey filled with long-kept secrets, hidden heartbreaks, and revelations that could change everything—along with a possible fifth best friend: a new guy with a magnetic smile and secrets of his own.


I received an ARC of Famous in a Small Town from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Release date: today, January 15, 2019.

I’ve never read any books by Emma Mills before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up Famous in a Small Town. I ended up really liking it and read it pretty quickly. Easy to read and hard to put down.

I really liked that it didn’t center completely around romance and it was more about friendship. A great cast of characters with so many different personalities and things about them, but all the friendships worked perfectly when put together. They all had me laughing out loud and also getting pretty teary eyed. There were a few twists that I wasn’t expecting. I had my ideas of how things were going to play out and which characters connected with Megan Pleasant, but I was wrong every time, so that was fun being surprised.

Overall, I really enjoyed Famous in a Small Town. I thought the story was cute and fun, but it also had it’s moments where things weren’t always so easy and fun for the characters. There were times when it was a lot deeper than I originally thought it would be. I happen to own a few other Emma Mills books, so I definitely plan to check out more of her books ASAP!

In case you missed it;
Dr. Von D Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park.
4 Star Reads of 2018.
5 Star Reads of 2018.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

Thoughts|| The Wicked King.

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The Wicked King by Holly Black
3 out of 5 stars.

I’m not posting the Goodreads summary, because I don’t want to spoil The Cruel Prince for those that haven’t read it yet. Read at your own risk if you haven’t read the first book, because possible spoilers of The Cruel Prince.

I received an ARC of The Wicked King from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Release date tomorrow, January 8, 2019.

It’s no surprise that I loved The Cruel Prince as much as everyone else did. The hype was real, you guys! I was so stoked when I was approved for the ARC of The Wicked King. I couldn’t wait to dive into it! I needed more of the story. I needed to know what was going to happen next. I needed more Cardan and Jude! I pretty much instantly fell in love with the story right from the beginning. There was excitement and things happening on every page. I was looking forward to more of that with The Wicked King.

It wasn’t there though. I didn’t instantly fall in love. Nothing happened until the last 30% of the book. It was a very slow start and with nothing that exciting happening. Nothing that really stood out to me or made me go “omg” or freak out like I did with The Cruel Prince. The last few chapters of The Wicked King were the highlight of the book and had the shock factor. I was disappointed with the story, because it lacked so many things that the first book had.

Cardan was even different. He didn’t have the same attitude or wickedness that he did in the first book. He was a bit of a bore. You didn’t see the old Cardan until the very end of the book, which was sad, because I loved his character so much! He’s part of what made the story exciting, so I was sad that it wasn’t like that this time. Jude was a bit annoying and whiny in this book, which sucked because I loved her in the first book. The two characters I loved the most were not the same to me. They just felt too different and may that’s because of what they’ve been through being thrown into being King and a new life.

But then with that being said…The Wicked King was a short book and felt rushed. I feel like so many other things could have happened or have been added if it was a longer book. Like more of Jude and Cardan right after the ending of The Cruel Prince instead of it taking place five months later. Not a lot of things were explained or shown. So we didn’t get to see the change in Cardan or Jude with their new roles and lives, because it started five months later and maybe that would have helped to explain why they felt like different characters to me?

I did like the book though, so it wasn’t a completely bad sequel. The ending had a lot of excitement and twists to it. One that even left me shocked. Overall, I liked it and it had it’s enjoyable moments. I was just really sad and disappointed that I didn’t fall in love with it like I did The Cruel Prince. I’m still really looking forward to the third book and can’t wait to get my hands on it to see what happens next. The ending left on a pretty crazy cliffhanger, so I’m still stoked.

In case you missed it;
Reading the Alphabet.
2018 Year in Books (Reading Stats).
2019 Reading Goals.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

Thoughts|| The War Outside.

thewaroutside

The War Outside by Monica Hesse
3 out of 5 stars.

Goodreads Description: It’s 1944, and World War II is raging across Europe and the Pacific. The war seemed far away from Margot in Iowa and Haruko in Colorado–until they were uprooted to dusty Texas, all because of the places their parents once called home: Germany and Japan. Haruko and Margot meet at the high school in Crystal City, a “family internment camp” for those accused of colluding with the enemy. The teens discover that they are polar opposites in so many ways, except for one that seems to override all the others: the camp is changing them, day by day, and piece by piece. Haruko finds herself consumed by fear for her soldier brother and distrust of her father, who she knows is keeping something from her. And Margot is doing everything she can to keep her family whole as her mother’s health deteriorates and her rational, patriotic father becomes a man who distrusts America and fraternizes with Nazis. With everything around them falling apart, Margot and Haruko find solace in their growing, secret friendship. But in a prison the government has deemed full of spies, can they trust anyone–even each other?


I was sent an ARC copy of The War Outside from The Novl in exchange for an honest review. It was released last month (September).

There is a book called Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse that I absolutely loved, so I was stoked when I was sent a copy of her new book to read and review. While I did receive the ARC, since it was already released by time I got to reading it, I ended up listening to the audiobook instead. The War Outside is a YA historical fiction book set in America in World Word II. While I didn’t absolutely love The War Outside, I thought it was a really great story and I enjoyed it. There were a few times where it was a bit slow for me and that maybe more could have happened. It just felt like maybe something was missing.

I really liked Margot and Haruko. They were both struggling with things in their own lives and families; but also at the same time things were a little similar between them and they could relate to each other on some level. One family is from Germany and one is from Japan, which lands them in a internment camp because of the war. I really liked Margot and Haruko’s friendship from the start. There were a couple surprises in the story, which were a bit sad. A lot of the story is heartbreaking when you really think about it and the things that happened.

I really liked the author note at the end of the book that mentioned all the similarities between the book and the things that happened in real life/history that inspired the story. The main characters and their stories are fiction, but they are based on events, stories, and things that actually happened. The camp in Crystal City was actually a real camp there at one time. It makes everything seem that much more real and can connect with the characters even more. Overall, I really enjoyed The War Outside. Great characters, friendships, and it really opened my eyes more into that period in time and events that happened during World War II that I didn’t know about.


I haven’t updated in a couple weeks, but I’ve just been busy and preoccupied with other things. I usually get busy and my mind wanders more during the holiday months though, so this is expected. I’ve been making a lot of progress on my Christmas shopping, which is nice. I think I should be done with it in a couple weeks! Anyway, I’ll have another update soon (probably early next week) about what I’m reading and life happenings. I’ll also catch up with all of your posts soon too. I hope you have a great day! If you celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you have an amazing Thanksgiving tomorrow!

In case you missed it;
Random|| Reading & Life Update.
Unofficial November TBR.
Wrap Up|| October.

ashleyblack

Thoughts|| Dear Evan Hansen.

dearevan

Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich
4 out of 5 stars.

Goodreads Description: When a letter that was never meant to be seen by anyone draws high school senior Evan Hansen into a family’s grief over the loss of their son, he is given the chance of a lifetime: to belong. He just has to stick to a lie he never meant to tell, that the notoriously troubled Connor Murphy was his secret best friend. Suddenly, Evan isn’t invisible anymore–even to the girl of his dreams. And Connor Murphy’s parents, with their beautiful home on the other side of town, have taken him in like he was their own, desperate to know more about their enigmatic son from his closest friend. As Evan gets pulled deeper into their swirl of anger, regret, and confusion, he knows that what he’s doing can’t be right, but if he’s helping people, how wrong can it be? No longer tangled in his once-incapacitating anxiety, this new Evan has a purpose. And a website. He’s confident. He’s a viral phenomenon. Every day is amazing. Until everything is in danger of unraveling and he comes face to face with his greatest obstacle: himself. A simple lie leads to complicated truths in this big-hearted coming-of-age story of grief, authenticity and the struggle to belong in an age of instant connectivity and profound isolation.


I was sent an ARC copy of Dear Evan Hansen from The Novl in exchange for an honest review. It was released earlier this month, so it is currently out now. 

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up Dear Evan Hansen, because I never seen the musical or really heard much about it until I seen the book floating around the blogosphere and bookstagram. I am really glad I picked it up, because I actually enjoyed it a lot. It would be interesting to see the musical now that I have read it in book form.

Dear Evan Hansen is a really relatable story and deals with a lot of heavy things that a lot of people are experiencing every day; anxiety, depression, suicide. After Connor Murphy’s death, Evan gets mixed up in a lie that he never meant to tell. As events unfold, it’s harder and harder for him to get out of it or come clean. I really liked that the characters themselves were really relatable as well. It was easy for me to connect with Evan in particular, because I struggle with social anxiety myself. I really liked the characters in this book and I felt like they really made the story. I also liked that there are parts in the book where you get Connor’s point of view as well. His story was just as important as what was happening to Evan.

I loved the writing style and the communication between characters. While this book deals with some pretty important and heavy things, there were still happy moments and laugh out loud moments. Some of the interaction with Evan and Jared in particular were pretty laugh out loud. There were also times where I felt so much anxiety for Evan. The feels are real with this book. I think a lot of people will relate to it and the characters. I can see why so many people love the musical so much.

Even though I haven’t seen the musical or listened to the soundtrack, I am happy that I was still able to experience the Dear Evan Hansen story in novel form. Overall, I really loved the book and the characters. I found myself sucked right into the story from the beginning. There were a few times where it did slow down for me, but it didn’t take away from the story or my enjoyment of it. I highly recommend reading this book whether you seen the musical or not. It’s out now, so you should definitely go check it out!

In case you missed it;
Photo A Day|| October 11-17.
Random|| Picture Update.
Blog Tour/Thoughts|| The No-Good Nine.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyhalloween

Blog Tour/Thoughts|| The No-Good Nine.

NoGoodNine_BlogBanner

Hey!

Welcome to my stop on the No-Good Nine blog tour! I am super stoked to be a part of this blog tour. I love a good middle grade book and one about Christmas at that! 😛 Continue reading to see my review for this book, more about the book, and a little about the author.

The No-Good Nine

The No-Good Nine by John Bemelmans Marciano
4 out of 5 stars.

They’re mad, they’re bad, and they’re about to ruin Christmas!”

Book Description: No kids get coal in their stocking these days. Do you know why? It’s thanks to The No-Good Nine! Pittsburgh, 1931. When Peter awakens on Christmas morning to find his stocking full of coal, he is outraged. After he finds the Naughty List, which contains the names of some other children who received no gifts, he decides they should band together and journey to Santa’s workshop to plead their case, as well as play with the toys intended for the Nice children. The ragtag band of misfits sets out on a series of wild misadventures as they travel by train, truck, dog sled, and boat, encountering thieves and bootleggers, in order to reach the renowned Toy Factory only to accidentally burn it down. More slapstick capers follow before the No-Good Nine extricate themselves and set out to find their next great adventure.


I was sent a copy of The No-Good Nine by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Release date: October 16, 2018.

I had a lot of fun reading The No-Good Nine. It’s a middle grade book, but it was still a lot of fun to read even as an adult. There was a funny cast of characters like the Liar, the Brat, the Cruel, and so many more! The No-Good Nine go on a crazy adventure to get to the North Pole to confront Santa about being on the naughty list and receiving coal for Christmas and to play with all the toys that are meant for the nice kids.

There so are many crazy things that happen along the way, which make it all the more fun to read. There were a few things that happened that I questioned, but would most likely be overlooked by a middle grader, since this book is mostly intended for that audience. They didn’t take away from the story or anything, so it was still pretty great. There were so many laugh out loud moments and I flew through it pretty quickly. It’s perfect to read around Christmas time.

Overall, I really enjoyed The No-Good Nine. I thought the adventure aspect was a lot of fun even with some things being a little out there. For a kid though, I think they’ll get a kick out of it. I liked that there were a lot of funny moments and the cast of characters made the story even better. I plan to pass this book along to my nephew, because I think he would really get like it. It’s releasing on October 16th (next week), so be on the look out for it!


john bemelmans

 

About the Author:

John Bemelmans Marciano collaborated with Sophie Blackall on the middle-grade novel The Nine Lives of Alexander Baddenfield as well as on the Witches of Benevento series. Continuing his grandfather’s legacy, John wrote and illustrated Madeline at the White House, Madeline and the Old House in ParisMadeline and the Cats of Rome, and Madeline Says Merci.

 

 

In case you  missed it;
WWW Wednesday #55.
Thoughts|| I Will Find You.
Photo A Day|| October 1-5.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

 

 

 

Thoughts|| I Will Find You.

iwillfindyou

I Will Find You: Solving Killer Cases from My Life Fighting Crime by Joe Kenda
5 out of 5 stars.

Goodreads Description: Detective Lt. Joe Kenda, star of Homicide Hunter, shares his deepest, darkest, and never before revealed case files from his 19 years as a homicide detective. Are you horrified yet fascinated by abhorrent murders? Do you crave to know the gory details of these crimes, and do you seek comfort in the solving of the most gruesome? In I WILL FIND YOU, the star of Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe Kenda shares his deepest, darkest, and never-before-revealed case files from his two decades as a homicide detective and reminds us that crimes like these are very real and can happen even in our own backyards. Gruesome, macabre, and complex cases. Joe Kenda investigated 387 murder cases during his 23 years with the Colorado Springs Police Department and solved almost all of them. And he is ready to detail the cases that are too gruesome to air on television, cases that still haunt him, and the few cases where the killer got away. These cases are horrifyingly real, and the detail is so mesmerizing you won’t be able to look away. The tales in I WILL FIND YOU will shock you like the best horror stories-divulging insights into the actions, motivations, and proclivities of nature’s most dangerous species. Don’t mind the blood.


I received I Will Find You from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. It’s out in stores now. 

Well my, my, my…it’s not a surprise that I am a sucker for true crime. I love reading true crime stories and books. I love watching true crime TV shows and documentaries on TV/Netflix. I love listening to true crime podcasts. Detective Lt. Joe Kenda happens to be one of my favorites and I love watching his show “Homicide Hunter” on the Investigation Discovery channel. When I seen I Will Find You up on Netgalley, there was no way I was going to pass it up.

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On Joe Kenda’s TV show he talks about all the different cases he’s worked on during his career as a homicide detective. In his book I Will Find You, he talks about the cases that are too gruesome to even air on TV. In his book, Joe Kenda also talks about crime scenes and what he does to determine the who, what, where, when, and how the victim died along with the motive and find out who the killer is. He also talks about life as a homicide hunter and how he became one. I also love that he talkes about himself and his family. I loved learning about other sides to him aside from just his homicide hunter days. Even his family members pop in from time to time to recount a story.

I Will Find You is creepy, scary, and it’s one of the most realist books that you’ll ever read.  If you love true crime, this book is definitely for you. The world is a scary place (it seems so even more these days) and humans are the scariest of all. Joe Kenda talks about how animals kill each other for need (hunger & danger, basically to survive), but some humans kill just to kill. That’s really terrifying to think about and it’s true. In this book you’ll see different reasons and scenarios why humans kill, which none of them are ever justifiable. Then there are some humans that kill just because they like killing.

“Even today, humans are the most ruthless, aggressive, and dangerous of species.”

There’s a lot of triggers and gory things in this book, so proceed with caution. There were even a few things that freaked me out and I don’t get freaked out by these things easily. I mean, I can watch a TV show about a murder, see the reenactments, bloody bodies, and still eat my dinner like I was just watching a normal TV show. 😛 Even though this book is quite serious, I like that Joe Kenda throws in a little humor too. You kind of have to have a dark sense of humor though. I love Joe Kenda’s personality on TV and as he comes across in his book and because of that, this book was easy to read and hard to put down in a writing stand point. The subject matter isn’t always easy to read, but it’s written in a way that it’s hard to put down.

Like I said earlier, it is the realist book you will ever read. It has it’s good moments and a couple happy stories, but a lot of it is not. This isn’t like the TV show “CSI”, this is real life. It’s terrifying and shocking. As dark as I Will Find You is, I thought it was a very good book and really eye opening. I think after having read this book, I will be looking over my shoulder a hell of a lot more than I already do. I will leave you with this quote from the very beginning of the book, because it’s 100% true about this book and you should be prepared if you plan to pick this one up.

“If you have an interest in the truth, you are reading the right book. If you don’t think you can handle the darkest aspects of human nature, then you might want to put this book down, because it will get real in a hurry.”

In case you missed it;
Photo A Day|| October 1-5.
Book Haul|| September.
Unofficial Halloweenie TBR.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyhalloween