New Year, New Goals

New Year, New Goals

New Year’s Goals

I absolutely love the first day of a new year. I am an extremely organized and goal oriented person, and that first crisp winter day feels like a world of possibilities are on the horizon. I have a common theme among all of the goals I set for myself: I like to challenge myself but still be realistic. I wouldn’t classify myself as an over-achiever, but I do like to feel successful and accomplished and my goals will reflect that!

But this is a book blog, so I will move on towards my bookish goals for the year 2021. And I just have to mention that it felt great to write that. 2021. Thank goodness! Without further ado: here are some book related goals I have for myself in what I hope will be a much better year than 2020.

Let’s Talk Numbers: The easiest goal to set is the number of books I want to read in the year. A few years ago I set a goal of 100 books and achieved it. The next year, I set my goal at 101. My thoughts were that I wanted to achieve more than I had the previous year, but let’s be real, setting it a lot higher like 125 or 150 is just too high. I do have a full time job and a family after all, and there will eventually be a limit as to how many books I can feasibly read in a year, so I thought, “Why not just increase by one each year?”. So my numbers goal for 2021 is: 103. One more than last year.

Slow Down: This one is a little easier said than done. I love reading, and since starting my Instagram page and this blog, I read more than ever before and I love it! And I realized that keeping up with these pages adds a little pressure to my reading life. Not a lot, not uncomfortable, but enough to encourage me to keep reading and make sure I read everyday. The result of that pressure, however, is the reading of a ton of books! And don’t all readers have those moments where they wish they could read all the books all the time!? I really do want to read ALL. THE. BOOKS. But with that being said, I don’t want to race too fast through my books and instead want to slow down, just a little. It is completely reasonable to take a week to read a book and I need to remind myself that when I start to stress that I have been reading a book for three days and am only halfway through.

Read One Book At A Time: Ok, this one might seem silly to some of you who never even considered reading more than one book at a time. But, when you want to read all the books, like I do, sometimes you are dying to pick up your next read before your current read is even finished! I had moments in 2020 where I was in the middle of as many as six books. That’s just silly. I really want to pull back on that and (try) to read only one book at a time, at least for the majority of the year.

Authors and Specifics: My last goal involves some specific books and authors that I want to read. Last year, I wanted to read all of Karin Slaughter’s backlist, both the Grant County and Will Trent series. I made it only through the Grant County series, so this year I will continue with Will Trent. I would also like to read my first Lee Child book. He is such a well renown crime fiction author and I have never read anything he has written, so this year I will change that.

That’s all folks. Simple, right. We shall see what this year brings, hopefully some positivity, some joy, and lots and lots of reading. Happy New Year friends!

-Lindsay

Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown

Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown

IMG_0892Prepare yourself for an upside down/inside out thriller with a spider web of clues and plot twists. Watch Me Disappear begins when Olive sees a vision of her dead mother, Billie. A mother who left for a solo hiking trip almost a year ago and was never found or heard from again. In Olive’s premonition, her mother asks her to come find her.  Excited, Olive thinks that her mother is alive after all and has come into harm.  When Olive tells her father, Jonathan, about what she saw, he begins to worry that the stress from the past year is starting to wear on his teenage daughter.  He thinks her vision was nothing more than an emotional state until… some new facts come to light.

When Jonathan meets with Rita, one of Billie’s old hiking buddies, he learns that weekend long hiking trips that Billie and Rita supposedly had taken over the past year never actually happened.  So where had Billie been on all those weekends?  Finding password protected files on Billie’s computer start Jonathan on his own investigative journey to find his wife, dead or alive.  Every page and every chapter reveals some new piece of information into the complex and complicated life of his missing wife. Secrets are unearthed and Jonathan must compile everything he learns about his wife from other people from her past to find out what has become to her, or yet, what she has done with herself.

I give Watch Me Disappear 4 out of 5 stars.  I liked the characters, plot and the ending.  The only reason I took off a star is because of the pace: This is what some people might call a slow-burn.  There were a lot of details and descriptions and a lot of inner dialogue.  There is a lot of character development and also relationship development between the father and the daughter, which really did add quality and authenticity to the novel as a whole. The writing was very good, but for me personally I prefer my thrillers to move at lightning speed and this one was at a thunder rumble: slower but still equally strong and intense.

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

IMG_0239Six Stories is a unique book in that the whole thing is a transcript of a podcast. The podcast is meant to shed light on closed cases by interviewing people who were invloved. This particular podcast developed over six episodes (or six stories), each episode talking to a friend of a teen who was found dead named Tom Jeffries. At the time of the inquest, 20 years prior, his death was ruled as accidental.  Each of the six interviews give insight into the life of Tom Jeffries, his personality, and their time spent together as a group of friends. As the stories unfold, the unfortunate death of Tom begins to look less accidental and more like possible murder.  A great twist at the end really made this book thrilling.

While reading this book,  I definitely experienced a creepy feeling.  I think because the whole book is the actual podcast transcript, the characters and story felt very real. Like this could actually be something that happened in real life and not just a work of fiction.  Through each of the six stories, you could tell something was off but in subtle ways:  it really made me want to keep reading to  hear the stories from each person’s point of view.  I thought this book was very unique, creepy, and suspenseful. I give it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 stars and would recommend it to fans of Are You Sleeping. This would make a chilling addition to your fall reading lists!

Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips

Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips

IMG_0608I recieved a free e-copy of Fierce Kingdom from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. I give this fast and intense thriller ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 stars!

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Fierce Kingdom starts with a mom and son enjoying a regular afternoon outing at the zoo. As Joan and Lincoln start making their way to the entrance at closing time, shots ring out and they see bodies on the ground. Without thinking or pausing for even a moment, Joan does the first thing her instincts as a mother prompt her to do: she grabs her son and runs.

The rest of the novel follows Joan to her various hiding spots and through her thought process of survival. She has to be careful with her five-year-old son: if she tells him too much he may cry and give their location away, but she has to tell him enough that he understands their need to stay quiet and hidden. The tension of the situation keeps the book moving quickly and might be a read-in-one-sitting novel for many people.

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I honestly didn’t think I would like this book based on its description, but I decided to give it a try because I had heard a lot of good reviews for it. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the plot moved along, there was constantly something happening or changing. I did read this fairly quickly because I wanted to find out what would happen. Another thing that I think helped move the book along was the fact that there are no chapters, it is just one continuous start to finish roller-coaster of action. The only seperation between sections was a notation of time passed. Overall, a very enjoyable and fast paced thriller.

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti

IMG_0238The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley is such a unique, beautiful book that I had to think about it all day before writing this review. I definitely give it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 stars, I know this book is going to stay with me for a while!

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First, I must comment on the gorgeous book cover: the jack has twelve “bullet hole” cutouts, representing the main character’s twelve lives. The hardcover itself, under the dust jacket, is a star map which is another very relevant theme from the book. I loved how much thought and creativity went into creating the outer book art that perfectly matched the story.

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Now to get to the story itself: Hawley and his young daughter Loo move around constantly, under mysterious circumstances. They finally settle down in Loo’s deceased mother’s home town. The chapters alternate between the present and Hawley’s not so honest past, with each of Hawley’s chapters telling the story of how he earned a new bullet hole in his body, miraculously avoiding death with each one. As more is revealed about Hawley’s secrets, Loo starts to question their life more and more, until Hawley’s past finally catches up with him, and Loo, in the present.

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I just don’t really have anything bad to say about this book.  I was entertained from start to finish and I greatly enjoyed reading about the father daughter relationship.  Hawley went from being a law breaking man to a father who would do anything to protect his daughter.  So many parents can agree on how quickly priorities change once a child  has been brought into the world,  no matter the situation. Hawley and Loo’s love and loyalty for each other was endearing and beautiful.  The stories of Hawley’s bullet wounds also added a little bit of excitement to the book!  Over all a highly recommended novel about love, family, and  how our choices in life shape us.

Here and Gone by Haylen Beck

Here and Gone by Haylen Beck

IMG_0177Wow! This was an intense, fast thriller! I give it an easy ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 stars!

Audra is on the run from an abusive husband with her two kids. As she drives across the country,  she gets pulled over in a small Arizona town,  and as the officer searches her car he finds a bag of marijuana.  Audra has no idea where it came from,  but the officer arrests her anyway.  A deputy is called to come and get Audra’s two kids and take them somewhere safe while they go to the station.  Once Audra is in a holding cell at the police station she asks where her kids are and the arresting officer says  “What kids?”  He continues to tell her that there were no kids in the car  when he pulled her over. The rest of the book follows Audra’s struggle to find her kids while the town starts pointing their finger at her.

I was hooked from the first page!  This was one of the fastest moving thrillers I have ever read and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  There is just enough backstory thrown in to help the plot make sense,  but not too much so that it becomes extraneous. What made this book scary was how real the plot could be: this is something that could really happen! I liked the ending and would highly recommend this book!

Final Girls by Riley Sager

Final Girls by Riley Sager

IMG_0107I give Final Girls by @riley.sager ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 stars. I read this in three days (yeah for summer camp!). This thriller follows Quincy who is a final girl: the only survivor of a mass killing. She meets another final girl, Sam, and her world gets turned upside down. The quiet normalcy Quinn has worked so hard to find is being ripped to shreds with the tough, aggressive Sam pushing her to delve back into what happened all those years ago. Of course, the ending is a huge surprise twist! Overall a good thriller.

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The writing in this book was smooth and the characters were strong. The only reason I didn’t give this 5 stars was because of the ending. When I read a thriller/mystery, I like to try and figure out ‘whodunit’. I like when all of the parts of the story come together in the end. This book didn’t really do that, but I realize that is really just a personal preference. The ending was not bad, it was good, it just didn’t pull everything together the way I like, but it made sense and was a surprise! Hard to say more without spoiling it. I would still definitely recommend reading if you like thrillers!

The Sisters Chase by Sarah Healy

The Sisters Chase by Sarah Healy

IMG_9949Ok, wow! The Sisters Chase by @healyesarah took me 4 days to read and I give it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 I really loved this book! Like, really loved it. The story follows the struggled life of two sisters: Mary and Hannah. Mary does whatever she has to do to care for her sister since their mother died in a car accident when Hannah was very little and Mary is 18 (large age gap between the sisters). While the story is a sad one, the relationship between the sisters is the focus of the story and it is a beautiful relationship.
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I loved the characters in this story. Mary is an unusual personality but believable. She is very strong is some ways but also very weak in other ways. I loved the writing style and also how parts of the plot were revealed at unexpected points in the story, which I think was essential to really display the sisters’ relationship before you realize all the secrets of their lives. I would definitely recommend this book!