After reading Riley Sager’s book “Lock Every Door” last year and LOVING the intensity and the craziness of it, I was really looking forward to reading his other books. Especially after reading reviews for “Lock Every Door” where people said that it was the worst out of all of his books. Damn, if that’s the worst and it was THAT GOOD, I can’t wait to read what the BEST is.
This book begins in the present day – where our protagonist Emma Davis is at her opening night for her first gallery. Her paintings consists of scenes from a forest – with trees, leaves, and branches. Each of the paintings holds a secret inside – 3 girls are buried underneath the foliage and trunks. At the gallery’s opening one of the patrons is someone she never expected to see, someone she knew from 15 years ago – Franny Harris-White, the owner of Camp Nightingale. Who comes to invite Emma back.
The book jumps back and forth from the past (15 years ago) when Emma first attended Camp Nightingale to the present where she goes back to Camp Nightingale to find closure. We learn about what information she unfurls that could possibly lead her to what happened to her friends.
This book honestly did not start getting exciting to me until about 50% of the way in. I understand that it is important to really set up all of the information but it took me awhile to get into it. Whereas with “Lock Every Door” I felt like I was enthralled from the beginning but it only got BETTER as it neared the end.
There was a good twist at the end of this book I will admit and this book gave me shivers a couple of times. If you’re looking for a creepy book then it is pretty good. But to me, I preferred “Lock Every Door” more than this one.
What are your opinions? Have you read this book? Have you read Riley Sager’s other books? Let me know in the comments below!
In the beginning of this year (or maybe late last year) I kept hearing about the “After” series by Anna Todd. On facebook I would see a lot of people recommending the series to people who enjoy Colleen Hoover books so I decided to give it a try
After being emotionally spent from reading it back in January, I finally read the 2nd book “After We Collided” this month.
Since “After” left on such a cliffhanger, I was really itching to figure out what happens next. Reading the goodreads comments about the book started to discourage me because they were saying it’s just another book of back and forth between Tessa and Hardin. But I guess I was in the mood to read some juicy drama so I decided to go for it anyways.
The best way for me to describe this series, is that it’s like a car wreck on the side of the road that you’re driving by when you know you should continue to look forward, but you can’t help but take a peak.
Unfortunately, love doesn’t always go hand. in hand with common sense.
Page 106, After We Collided
SPOILERS START HERE
So of course I knew Tessa would take Hardin back even though he did something completely unforgiving in my eyes.
And the whole book was basically Tessa and Hardin breaking up and getting back together DAILY.
Until they were apart for awhile – and then Tessa started hanging out with Zed.
Honestly, I liked Zed more than Hardin from the beginning. Especially when he gave Tessa some advice she should have followed:
“It’s not supposed to be so complicated, you know?” “What?” I ask him and follow him to sit at a card table. in the kitchen. “Love, relationships, all that. It doesn’t have to be so hard.”
Page 332, After We Collided
Until the book said this…
I try to ignore the fact that his bed doesn’t have a sheet on it. He’s a college boy after all
Page 479, After We Collided
Like alright Tessa get away from these boys and learn what a MAN is…
So I finished the book and of course it left off on another cliffhanger. This book was really long though (over 600 pages!!) and the next one is over 800 pages so I am definitely going to need another break until I’m ready for book #3.
Anna Todd is an excellent author who keeps you engaged in the story. But the story could be shortened probably into 1/3 of the entire series. Maybe I will feel different after the 3rd book 🤷♀️
Have you read the “After” series? How did you feel about it?
I finally had the opportunity to read one of my most anticipated reads this year!
**WARNING: There are DEFINITELY spoilers from the 1st book – The Simple Wild and this book**
After reading all of the reviews on goodreads claiming that this sequel was everything they wished for after the first book, I was really eager to read it. I loved the first book – with the whirlwind of Calla reconnecting with her father and falling for Jonah.
This book is a continued with Calla moving to Alaska to start her life with Jonah. It starts off on the wrong foot with her flight to Bangor from Anchorage getting cancelled and having to spend a night in a hotel that was owned by a taxidermist.
While I enjoyed the story and being in Calla and Jonah’s world again – I was really bothered by how the communication and understanding in their relationship seemed very immature.
The people who gawk at that photo and read my loving, playful caption don’t know any of this. They have no idea that there’s an inexplicably odd, hollow feeling blossoming in the pit of my stomach as of late; I’m trying my best to be understanding and supportive, but I’m struggling because I like having him around, because I miss him so damn much when he’s not here.
Page 253, Wild at Heart
Jonah and Calla’s disconnect starts when they are looking for places to live. Calla’s parents encourage her to rent with Jonah first because you never know what may happen in a new relationship while Jonah is adamant on buying. Previously Jonah said that if she moved to Alaska, then he would look into moving closer to Anchorage to compromise. So – Calla is looking at places around Anchorage and Jonah isn’t into it. This already showed me that they have a communication problem and they aren’t able to voice their opinions and concerns with each other – so Jonah just brings her to a cabin that his acquaintance is selling as a SURPRISE – this is where I want to live in the middle of nowhere with my airstrip!
Yet throughout the story, Jonah and Calla both continually say they their relationship is so perfect and life is so perfect right now on one page, then on the next they are in another argument again. This happened multiple times throughout the book.
Also, Calla experienced quite a bit of jealousy about Marie this book and honestly, that is not a good look for her. Despite Calla continually saying “I don’t trust Marie but I trust Jonah” – I think all of the scenes of her jealousy show that she doesn’t trust either of them. Especially after she caught Jonah talking to her in the barn. If Calla was more mature, she should have had a civil talk to Marie instead of just embarrassing her at the bar.
Despite these shortcomings with Jonah and Calla’s relationship, there were some really cute moments between them. I also liked following their lives, moving into their new house, and developing relationships with the other people in town.
What would have made this book better was truly seeing Calla find her niche in Alaska. She kind of did with gardening but we didn’t really see her passion. Maybe if there is a third book this is what will be focused on? Regardless, I would still continue with this series if another book is released.
“Probably not.” Jonah likes to ride this thing at full throttle. As with everything he does in life, it seems. But that’s who he is. He’ll always be wild at heart, and there is no way to tame or change him
Page 417, Wild at Heart
Did you have the opportunity to read this sequel? What were your opinions on it?
For this blog I want to distinguish between “review” and “discussion” Review: an opinion about the book without spoilers Discussion: delving deeper into the book including spoilers
The sensation grew stronger, convincing me that it was only the distance between us that was keeping me from uncovering the truth. If I leaned toward him, something would happen. I was sure of it. But if I leaned away, nothing would happen. So I stayed perfectly still, balanced between something and nothing, not knowing which way I wanted to fall.
Synopsis: After a tragic event of losing her mother – Marianne, Cecily (her twin sister), and her father are split up to mourn. Cecily is staying with family in London while Marianne is stuck in Bath. After their father not returning or being in contact for over a year, Marianne and Cecily have the opportunity to stay with their mother’s friend – the Wyndhams – in Edenbrooke. Little did Marianne know what the paradise would have in store for her.
Review: This was my first real “historical romance” book and I was instantly pulled into the story. I enjoyed it so much because despite the setting being in 1816, the book was written in modern English so it was easier to follow. I resonated with Marianne’s character in so many ways that it made me rethink some of my passive actions in life.
Recommendation: I would recommend this book to someone who would be interested in reading a more “YA-style” historical romance – the book didn’t contain any intense, sexy scenes which I know some people prefer! I also think this book is especially good for any new historical romance readers because of the easy reading it was!
“I have discovered happiness in being true to who I am. I hope you will give that idea some consideration.”
There was so much waste in hoping for something that could never be yours, I decided. It was better to seize happiness where it was available.
What I loved the most about this book was the turmoil inside Marianne between wanting to be a good twin sister to Cecily versus doing what will make her happy with the rest of her life. I can definitely relate with feeling like I should fall by the wayside while everyone else can fight for what they want – this should not be the case for anyone!
Marianne talks about always doing things differently compared to her sister just so there wouldn’t be a competition since she “knows” that she would lose. There was an example in their childhood with a doll that they were supposed to share. Marianne pretended that she didn’t want anything to do with the doll and just let Cecily have it so they would never have to compete for it.
But with something as significant with loving someone, you should never have to give up on happiness in that area. Throughout the book you could see all of her attempts to shut Sir Philip out of her life – by listing things she didn’t like about him and by disregarding all of his actions towards her as him “being a flirt.”
You stole my heart the night we met, when you sang that ridiculous song and dared me not to laugh. And every moment I have spent with you since then, you have stolen more and more of me until when you’re not with m
Sir Philip loves Marianne for her quirkiness – while others (like Cecily and Marianne’s grandmother) reprimand her for not being an “elegant lady.” This lesson shows that you should always be true to yourself. Why would you want some man to fall in love with you while you’re acting like an “elegant lady” when you would have to act like that for the rest of your life??
I reread my grandmother’s letter and realized with a deep sense of contentment that I had not had to change at all in order to have every hope for happiness in life. I had not had to learn to sing for company or to behave like Cecily or to stop twirling. I could be myself and be loved deeply. I was, in fact, a lot like Meg, who had always been a racehorse. I just hadn’t known it.
What is the most beautiful is when Marianne realizes that she is worth it. She is worthy of having true love for the rest of her life.
Have you read this book? What did you think about it?
I’m sick of starting each post with “I know I have been bad with posting….” so I’m not going to do that today and just get on with it 😊
February Life Updates
Celebrated by fiance’s birthday ❤️
I started to make vision boards for books on WeHeartIt for fun!
Volunteered to perform foot screenings on people that are homeless or are going through a hard time at “Don’t Walk By”
Travelled to San Antonio for ACFAS 2020 conference – had a lot of fun and learned a lot.
Booked and planned a trip to Ireland next month!
Started organizing my life with an app called “Notion” that I may talk about on here in the future!
Ended the month with going to Find Your Harmony 200 and seeing my favorite DJs – Andrew Rayel & Alpha 9!
Read 10 Books
🎧 4 audiobooks
This book was probably my favorite book in the “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” series, until the ending happened. After reading To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before with the subtle asian book club – I knew I had to continue and finish the series! **Spoiler** I loved all the scenes with Lara Jean and John Ambrose McClaren. I loved that Stormy was his grandma. If Lara Jean ended up with John instead of Peter I would have been much happier. I didn’t really care for Peter in the beginning because of him still being involved with Genevieve. ESPECIALLY after he already knew that Gen leaked the video of them in the hot tub?? Come on. I really got sick of him through this book and knew that Lara Jean deserved better. Check out the mood board I made for this book.
I have been meaning to start this series and I am so glad I did this month! It feels like a more adult, more well put together, more sexy “Twilight” series and that makes my heart happy. I love the passion when a vampire finds their mate and it is mixed in with some humor and light-heartedness.
You already know how much I love Colleen Hoover books – that’s why I have been trying to space them out and enjoy them that way. This book is definitely more dark than others she wrote but with the way she writes – you can feel the characters pain going through the situations they are put in. This book is definitely not for the faint of heart but if you want to feel like you’ve got punched in the gut with an excellent ending, I definitely recommend!
I’m glad I got to read the ending of this wonderful series! My only complaint would be that this book felt very long (being over 800 pages). I listened to it as an audiobook so it helped me get through it! There is so many storylines and subplots which keeps the book interesting. I definitely recommend this whole series!
This book was probably my least favorite out of the 3 but it was still good!
**Spoiler** I liked the turmoil when Lara Jean didn’t get into her top choice to continue her perfect life with Peter. I think it is important for girls of this age to see that you need to go where you will be the most happy. I have met so many people who followed their girlfriend or boyfriend to a school just to end up breaking up and being stuck in a place they don’t care about. I loved when Lara Jean and Chris went down to visit UNC on a whim and had a crazy night together – I feel like we don’t get to see many friendship interactions between them in the book since Chris is always out being crazy.
This book immediately drew me in the the whimsical cover with the promise of luck & fortune. This book was cute but it fell flat – I think the budding relationship between Natalie and Daniel could have been more developed. Despite the romantic relationship being a flop, the relationships between the other characters were very interesting! This was my first “magic realism” book and. I loved the prospect of certain foods having specific healing qualities.
I read this book for the subtle asian book club this month! I had high expectations for this book since a lot of people were very hyped about it. The premise is interesting – essentially it is about a camp that children are sent to to learn more about their culture (hopefully…). But there were some aspects that really bothered me: **Spoiler** First of all, after Ever found out that Xavier was the person who was drawing the beautiful pictures of her, there was no other mention of the pictures after that! I thought she would be more touched and give Xavier maybe some more consideration. Also after Sophie released those pictures of her and they welcomed her back later on – what the heck! After all the humiliation she gave Ever she didn’t get any repercussions for it! Then at the end when Ever was kind of hanging out with Xavier then Rick came back and she straight up ditched him. I felt really bad for Xavier. Wouldn’t you also be suspicious if the guy you’re interested in dumped his girlfriend of 2 years after just meeting you for a couple weeks?? There was just so much wrong with this book that should have been fixed. I loved the representation presented in this book. I also liked how we saw Ever’s parents fiercely deny her of what she truly wanted to do with her life but she fought for it in the end. I enjoyed watching Ever grow up and blossom into her own woman. Check out the mood board I made for this book.
This was my first Tawna Fenske book and I definitely enjoyed it! I have never heard of a smokejumper before this book but they made them sound quite hot 😏🔥 Willa has a rule that she will only go out with someone two times until she breaks it off. She is essentially married to her work and has to devote every day to pleasing clients. After going on a date with Grady everything seemed to change – they fix together perfectly – they were content just sitting home and eating pizza. So they both started dreading their second date since that would make it seem like it was over. They kept seeing each other but don’t call their outings “dates” to get around the rule. What I enjoyed most about this book was that Willa and Grady helped fix each others faults – Willa helped Grady by teaching him to look at the future instead of being scared of it. While Grady helped Willa by teaching her that she needs to take time to herself and can’t have clients dictate her whole life. Check out my mood board I made for this book.
This is another series I have heard only excellent things about and it definitely stands up to the hype! From the beginning of the story you are enthralled with Sydney and Brian and it only gets better and hotter as the story goes on.
This is the 2nd book in J. Daniels’ Dirty Deeds series. I enjoyed the first one more because of the immediate connection with Sydney and Brian. This story is about Sydney’s best friend Tori, who similarly to Sydney was screwed over by a guy as well. Brian’s best friend Jamie is trying to break down Tori’s walls and to get her to admit that she likes him. It was still a great and sexy book but it was hard to compare to the first one!
The Girl He Used to Know is about a woman named Annika (I love her name❤️) who falls in love and figures out what she needs to do in order to be independent. Also by having a high-functioning autistic character, it opened my eyes to how difficult social situations can be for these people.
It’s like everyone around you has a copy of the script of life, but no one gave it to you so you have to go in blind and hop you can muddle your way through. And you’ll be wrong most of the time.
The Girl He Used to Know, Page 161
Love and Other Words was one of those audiobooks that you find any excuse to listen to because you just can’t stop until it’s finished. It’s similar to The Girl He Used to Know because a couple that was deeply in love are meeting again. But in this situation, the hesitation for reuniting has to do with a tragic situation that happened when they were young.
What I am reading next
What am I watching now
After being bored while watching When the Camellia Blooms (Kdrama) I am happy to be watching Chocolate. There’s still wailing and crying every episode but It’s very touching.
Having goals is the best way to elevate your life and become the best person you can be.
Read 150 books – 2019 was seriously the year of READING for me. In 2018 my goal was 20 books and I read 20. So in 2019 I decided to make my goal 25 books. I read 94 books this year. How did this even happen?? Starting in May I just became obsessed. Plus in July I started listening to audiobooks through my library. I got really bored with netflix shows so I would just read in my spare time. I am so proud of myself after this year and I have upped it to 150 this year!
Blog at least once a week – I was so upset that I went from September to November without writing anything. After retreating myself from social media accounts I want to make this the main part that I am on. I feel like I can more of myself on here and share with more likeminded people without being superficial.
Make my blog a reflection of myself – By writing more than just about books. I want to do more in depth posts on dramas, traveling, medical school, cooking, and life in general.
Train and run a 1/2 marathon – I have always been more of a lifting weights/HIIT workout kind of person but I have always wanted to run in a race. I volunteered at the NYC Marathon as a medical volunteer this last November and it was really inspiring seeing the participants at the finish line. I want to have that kind of accomplishment!
Practice languages (Spanish, Vietnamese, Japanese) Daily – This always ends up going on the back burner when school picks up then it is much difficult to pick up where I left off. Even if I just did 10 minutes a day of review, it will keep the language fresh in my head.
Remove myself more from social media – Definitely snapchat next. I don’t feel joy when I watch peoples stories on there anyways.
Call family more – It’s hard when life gets in the way but I want to at least call every 1-2 weeks. It really hit me when u started to call my grandpa more last year. Nobody is getting younger so you need to cherish them while they’re still around.
Read academic journal articles (ideally 3 a week) – It’s important to keep reading and learning!
Publish an academic paper – Working on this currently!
Present a poster at an academic conference – Is in the works!
Thank you for taking the time to read my goals! What goals did you set for the new year?
Keep in contact with your family, even if you’re always the one initiating – I was at the point where I felt like if my family didn’t call me, they didn’t care. That is just not the case. They may not know your schedule or feel bad bothering you. This really struck a point when I realized my grandpa was getting older and older everyday. When I would end up calling him, his entire demeanor seemed to light up. I promise you will never regret calling people, you will only regret not calling people.
Don’t be so hard on yourself, you are learning and that’s the point – No self-deprecating behavior. No matter with work or school, life is always about learning and improving. I think the people who struggle with this the most are people who try to be perfect or may be in a demanding school or work setting. The fact is, nobody is perfect. The goal is to be continually striving to be the best you can be. This is something I still need to work on.
Listen to people while maintaining eye contact – Let people finish talking. Engage in the conversation. I especially practice this with patients when studies have shown that doctors interrupt patients after 20 seconds of talking. Don’t cut people off – wait until they’re finished talking. As a doctor, the patient will tell you the pathology.
Removing yourself from social media is freeing – I deleted the instagram app off of my phone about 2 weeks ago. It is crazy to think that after deleting something I used to spend so much time on, I do not miss it at all. I don’t miss people trying to sell me stuff and show me how wonderful their lives are compared to mine. It is so fake it’s infuriating. Next is snapchat and facebook in the future. Before deleting my instagram app, I made a list of things I would rather spend my time on which I think made me more motivated to get it out of m life.
Saying “thank you” and showing gratitude is powerful – It is something so simple to do, yet can mean the world to someone. On the other hand, it is something that is so easy to forget and to make someone feel terrible. I used to not be as good at making sure I always show people how grateful I am towards them, but I have definitely gotten better.
This year for me was he year of Colleen Hoover. From Verity to Regretting You, Colleen’s writing has been maturing to serious, jaw dropping, heart stopping issues.
Whenever I read her books, I feel like I am friends with the author because of her witty humor and character personalities. I have never felt like that for any other author I have read!
This book is unlike anything Colleen ever wrote before with its psychological thriller themes. I listened to it on audible and immediately became engrossed in the story – so much so that I found excuses to go on walks that were hours long just to continue listening. It was a wild ride that will make your breath stop. It definitely has less romance compared to her other books but it is seriously incredible. I can’t wait for her to release another book similar to Verity!
It Ends With Us
This book started my Colleen Hoover binge from November to December 2019. I listened to the audio while I was cooking and near the ending I just had to stop from my heart breaking. This is what introduced me to her books about serious heart breaking problems. This book made me feel so much more than any book has made me feel. Colleen has a way of writing about the characters that make you so connected with them, that when something terrible happens to them you feel it in your gut.
All Your Perfects
This was the perfect one to continue my streak of heart wrenching Hoover books. It was more of a slow burn about the characters marriage compared to when they first met. I thought it was such a beautiful way to write a story to experience how much love can change throughout a marriage. I think it especially a beautiful story for people who have struggled to conceive to read because they would be able to connect with the characters even better. It also shows how important communication is in a relationship!!
Now I delved in to her younger works which I still enjoyed. November 9 was so sweet because of the pure connection between the characters. When something didn’t go as planned, it made me hurt so bad because you know what they have is so important. There was one point where I got so mad for one of the characters but since you hear both of their sides it tears you apart.
It was so cool that the confessions used in this book came from actual readers! I know it adds depth but I get frustrated when characters seem like a bad person on the outside but they’re truly good on the inside. I know a few of her books have those themes but it makes me just want the other character to know how they truly are!! In some part it is refreshing that the perceived “good guy” is bad in reality with the “bad boy” being good in reality.
This book made me go back and forth from being happy to upset since the relationship was such a ride. The main premise with their love was so beautiful though.
I didn’t realize at first that this book s just Hopeless from the guys perspective. I wish I waited more time to read it because it essentially felt like I was reading the same book that I just read again. The good part was that I could compare the stories to each other. It was definitely important to hear Dean’s side.
This book was very different because instead of focusing completely on romantic relationships, the family relationship was more important. I can’t say I agreed with the mom’s way of dealing with everything but it was definitely still a wild ride. I think it is kind of easy to tell the twist from the beginning but it is still amazing nonetheless.
I recommend Colleen Hoover books to people who like romance. If you like more YA romance I would suggest November 9 and Losing Hope. If you enjoy more mature romances then definitely It Ends With Us and All Your Perfects. If you’re into psychological thrillers, then definitely Verity!
December has truly been the month of reading for me! I don’t know if it’s the fact that there isn’t a lot of tests right now or I’m just on a reading spree. I have read about 16 books already this month – I have seriously never read that much! I wasn’t even pushing to do it, I just keep reading book after book. Without further adieu, here’s some reviews!
REVIEW: All We Ever Wanted
If you love to read juicy gossip about Nashville’s high society, this book if for you. A few teenagers that attend an elite Nashville high school get in trouble when an inappropriate photo from a party circulates. The book goes over the difficult decisions made by parents to protect their children, even when the kids would rather forget about it to save face at school. It is told in 3 POV, which in the audiobook all of the voice actors were fantastic. I found the book to be drawn out with not a lot of action. Nonetheless, the book does an excellent job with presenting each characters stance on the issue.
REVIEW: The Covenant (1 Abram’s Daughters)
This was my first ever Amish fiction book! I would see other readers post about it can decided to try it out. This book follows an Amish family and their day to day life. Since there are 4 daughters, one of them named Leah is the designated tom boy who helps her dad on the farm while the rest help their mom in the house. The story especially focuses on Leah’s older sister Sadie during her “Rumspringa” where she has the opportunity to see what is outside the Amish community. It follows Leah’s and Sadie’s love lives as they approach the age to get married. This book really taught me a lot about the Amish and after reading more about them, it seems quite accurate. I definitely plan on reading more in the future!
REVIEW: Red Queen (1 Red Queen)
I have had my eyes on this book since it came out in 2015. I have a soft spot of YA dystopian fantasy novels and plus, the cover is gorgeous. But I must admit this book was a little bit of a disappointment to me. I think partially it may have been from listening to the audiobook instead of actually reading it that I started to get some of the characters names mixed up by the end. I felt like the story was not really special either – the main character Mare ends up being special along with some deceit and rebels. All in all I think I will continue with the series but I don’t feel like I’m DYING to read the next one.