Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett

I have seen Jenn’s work at the bookstores for many years, but can you believe I haven’t read one of her books until now? Ugh, I am so ashamed! But, you guys, get a load of her newest book!

Thank you Simon Pulse for gifting me a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Birdie has gone through a lot in her childhood. Losing her parents and then raised by her strict grandparents, Birdie has had a lot to experience on her own. Her mother’s best friend has helped in that process. Birdie has turned to mystery books for most of her life for new adventures (a girl after my own heart). Then, a one-night stand with Daniel has completely changed her perspective on things. She was incredibly nervous about their interaction and actually ran away right after they hooked-up. Little did she know that Daniel was her new co-worker at her latest job. Can she handle this new adventure in her life?

THIS BOOK IS SO DARN CUTE. It’s weird though…I fell in love with Birdie as a character, but hated her initial interactions with Daniel. I wanted to scream at her! He was just so stinking adorable and she was totally missing the memo! Of course, that makes this book all the more addicting to read. There’s something so magical about reading books about a first love. This one takes the cake.

5/5 Stars

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God’s Word to Dream On by Diane Stortz

I’ve been searching for a great Easter book for my daughter that will last through the years. I was so excited to get this in the mail!

Thank you Tommy Nelson for gifting me a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Brief Synopsis: Hearing Bible stories read out loud at bedtime is often a child’s first introduction to spending time with God’s Word—and the effects can last a lifetime. In God’s Words to Dream On, bestselling author Diane Stortz (The Sweetest Story Bible) and incredible illustrator Diane Le Feyer offer a vibrant combination of story and picture with a “once upon a time” voice that stays true to God’s powerful Word. Fifty-two stories take children ages 4–8 through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation in a way that helps young readers see God’s plan from before Creation to send Jesus to make the world right again. These carefully chosen stories teach children about God’s provision, love, and strength—the perfect truths to be in their hearts as they drift off to sleep.

I feel like I have read a lot of children’s bible short stories lately, and this is one of my favorites! It has the most beautiful artwork! I haven’t seen something so wonderful in a long time! Let alone, the COVER! I didn’t know it by seeing pictures of it online, but the cover is actually glittery! So cool! I love how the book not only keeps the gospel truth at lengths that children of all ages can listen to, but also has small prayers to say after reading the stories, short bedtime summaries of each story, and small bible verse blessing to say throughout. This book will be cherished for a while in our household.

5/5 Stars

Here, Now by Kate Merrick

Between working full time and running a household, I’m always looking for tips on how to live in the moment. I was beyond excited to read Kate’s newest book.

Thank you Thomas Nelson for gifting me a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis from Goodreads: Does life sometimes seem to be passing you by? Are you so busy—with email to check, Instagram to scroll through, and friends to be envious of—that you’ve become disconnected from your actual life? You know, the one you are living right here, right now? With hilariously relatable confessions and profoundly beautiful insights, Kate Merrick invites us to stop running away from the lives we’re living today and instead walk in the peace and fullness God offers moment to moment. She shows us how to kill your Wi-Fi, put down the tech, and find deeper contentment, redirect the FOMO so you don’t miss out on your own life, and
go on a diet of fewer choices to discover the blessings of the quiet, the slow, and the intentional. Only when we look honestly at our hearts and have the courage to live truly present do we receive the gifts of God found in all of life’s seasons—the painful ones, the big and beautiful ones, and even the ordinary ones.

Between Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, emails, my blog, and more…I’m always connected. While it’s a great tool, I don’t want to miss out on what life has to offer! Kate echos the same feelings. I don’t think this book could have come at a better time. I think everyone needs to read this one. This was another book that I felt like I was talking with a friend over coffee while I was reading it. Not only does this book focus on putting the phone down, but it also talks about the don’ts of social media, something that we all need to be reminded of from time to time. It’s an emotional read in more ways than one – realizing how you act upon your social media life choices as well as what Kate has gone through herself. I can’t wait to hear what you all think of it as well.

4/5 Stars

Before We Were Wicked by Eric Jerome Dickey

I just love when the second book in a series comes out as a prequel! I don’t feel so bad jumping into this series with that in mind!

Thank you Dutton Books for gifting me a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis from Goodreads: They say the love of money is the root of all evil, but for Ken Swift, it’s the love of a woman. Ken is twenty-one, hurting people for cash to try to pay his way through college, when he lays eyes on Jimi Lee, the woman who will change the course of his entire life. What’s meant to be a one-night stand with the Harvard-bound beauty turns into an explosion of sexual chemistry that neither can quit. And when Jimi Lee becomes pregnant, their two very different worlds collide in ways they never could have anticipated. Passion, infidelity, and raw emotion combine in Eric Jerome Dickey’s poignant, erotic portrait of a relationship: the rise, the fall, and the scars–and desire–that never fade.

Like I said previously, I did not read Eric’s first book “Bad Men and Wicked Women”, but that totally didn’t mean a thing as this was the prequel to that book. What a drama-filled book this is! I think it does a great job at portraying the political and emotional standpoints of these two characters and what they’ve gone through in their life. It’s raw and genuine. A lot of people need this culture shock in their lives. At the same time, I think Jimi was portrayed a little more dramatic than she needed to be. She went through a lot in her life, but her behavior was a little uncalled for in my opinion. Again, hard to judge a person through all of that, but she was just a tad unlikable. Otherwise, a solid read.

3.5/5 Stars

Atlas Alone by Emma Newman

As a huge Star Trek fan, I am on board with anything taking place in Outer Space!

Thank you Ace Publishing for gifting me a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis from Goodreads: Six months after she left Earth, Dee is struggling to manage her rage toward the people who ordered the nuclear strike that destroyed the world. She’s trying to find those responsible, and to understand why the ship is keeping everyone divided into small groups, but she’s not getting very far alone. A dedicated gamer, she throws herself into mersives to escape and is approached by a designer who asks her to play test his new game. It isn’t like any game she’s played before. Then a character she kills in the climax of the game turns out to bear a striking resemblance to a man who dies suddenly in the real world at exactly the same time. A man she discovers was one of those responsible for the death of millions on Earth. Disturbed, but thinking it must be a coincidence, Dee pulls back from gaming and continues the hunt for information. But when she finds out the true plans for the future colony, she realizes that to save what is left of humanity, she may have to do something that risks losing her own.

Sci-fi, gamers, and star fans alike, this one is for you. This is the latest novel in the Planetfall series, one of which I’m sad to be just learning about. I will say I feel like I would’ve benefited from reading the previous books before this one, but it did not ruin the reading experience for me. Stuck in a virtual reality, Dee is caught having committed a crime and has the most unusual co-conspirator. Just wait until you find out who it really is! This was a really cool and wonderfully adventurous read! Now I’m rushing to go start from the beginning!

4/5 Stars

The Last by Hanna Jameson

This book has been on my radar since early Fall 2018. I have been beyond excited to read this book because it just sounded so incredible!

Thank you Atria Books for gifting me a copy in exchange for my honest review.

It’s the end of the world as we know it. Or do we? Jon was away on conference when the end of the world came in the form of a nuclear war. He is one of the few people that decided to stay in the hotel to wait out and see what happens. What starts as a survival story becomes a story of mystery – a little girl is found murdered in the water tank of the hotel. You’d be surprised at how much this twist of fate makes a difference in the end!

I absolutely loved the way this story was written. This story was Jon’s written journal of what went down when he got the news that the end of the world had begun. Such a cool way to read a book! Hanna is also super talented at writing a mystery novel. She has gone on my list of favorite authors for sure! This story read like a Twilight Zone story. Everything about this novel I loved. Except? The ending! It totally caught me off guard! I don’t know why I didn’t expect it, but it shocked me and still has my head spinning. I thought it was so unfitting for how the rest of the story went. It was just really far-fetched and didn’t seem to belong. It’s been gnawing at my brain for the last 24 hours. I don’t know quite what to think of it, but just to take it as face value.

4/5 Stars

Trust Exercise by Susan Choi

A friend of mine on #bookstagram (instagram for book reviews) recommended this book to me – a story that takes place at a performing arts high school (right up my alley as a high school teacher myself)!

Thank you Henry Holt for gifting me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Synopsis from Goodreads: In an American suburb in the early 1980s, students at a highly competitive performing arts high school struggle and thrive in a rarified bubble, ambitiously pursuing music, movement, Shakespeare, and, particularly, their acting classes. When within this striving “Brotherhood of the Arts,” two freshmen, David and Sarah, fall headlong into love, their passion does not go unnoticed—or untoyed with—by anyone, especially not by their charismatic acting teacher, Mr. Kingsley. The outside world of family life and economic status, of academic pressure and of their future adult lives, fails to penetrate this school’s walls—until it does, in a shocking spiral of events that catapults the action forward in time and flips the premise upside-down. What the reader believes to have happened to David and Sarah and their friends is not entirely true—though it’s not false, either. It takes until the book’s stunning coda for the final piece of the puzzle to fall into place—revealing truths that will resonate long after the final sentence. As captivating and tender as it is surprising, Trust Exercise will incite heated conversations about fiction and truth, friendships and loyalties, and will leave readers with wiser understandings of the true capacities of adolescents and of the powers and responsibilities of adults.

Susan Choi is a Pulitzer prize finalist and it’s easy to tell why. Susan is gifted with a wonderful knack for writing beautiful prose literature. The thing that really stopped me in my tracks with reading this book is that it is one stream of consciousness. There are no chapters to this book. Yup, you heard me right – none. One long rambling narrative. The story itself is a truly in-depth look at high school life in the 1980s. I think she did an excellent job at capturing the truth of what it was, but I just wasn’t interested in what happened to these characters. There is very little dialogue and a lot of random twists in turns in the timeline. As cool of an idea this may have started out to be, it just wasn’t the book for me.