Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I Read In 2015

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Best Books I Read In 2015.

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1. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. I loved pretty much everything about this book. The relationships, the humor, the drama.

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2. Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh Bardugo. I looooved this book! The characters are amazing. Kaz Brekker FOREVER.

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3. Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin. Probably the best suspense I’ve read all year – or ever, really. Read this book!

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4. The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh. This was probably my biggest surprise of the year. I really didn’t expect much from it and ended up really loving it!

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5. The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West. West continues to be my favorite YA Contemporary author. Her books are always so adorable and this was no exception.

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6. A Good Killing (Anna Curtis #4) by Allison Leotta. Though this is the 4th book in the series, it introduced me to the wonderful writing of Allison Leotta and this series has quickly become one of my all time favorites.

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7. First & Then by Emma Mills. Another book that surprised me by how much I enjoyed it. It was one of those books that I just wanted to keep reading forever.

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8. I Hunt Killers (Jasper Dent #1) by Barry Lyga. Jasper Dent is such an interesting, compelling character and he really made this book.

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9. Oblivion (Lux 1.5) by Jennifer Armentrout. I love the Lux series and I love Daemon Black and this is a wonderful addition to the series that I never expected, but always wanted.

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10. Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) by Marissa Meyer. This was a fantastic end to the series and I just loved it so much!

Top Ten Tuesday: Author Duos I’d LOVE To See Write A Book Together

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Author Duos You’d LOVE To See Write A Book Together.

Attachments   Broken Promise (Promise Falls, #1)

1 & 2. Rainbow Rowell and Linwood Barclay.

Two of my very favorite authors from two different genres. Pretty much everything they do is amazing and putting them together would probably be the best book of all time.

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3 & 4. Maggie Stiefvater and Leigh Bardugo

They both write really intricate worlds with complex characters.

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5 & 6. Linda Castillo and Allison Leotta

Two of my favorite mystery/crime authors. Kate Burkholder and Anna Curtis could team up and it would be amazing.

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7 & 8. Jojo Moyes and Liane Moriarty

They both can break your heart and put it back together again.

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9 & 10. Gillian Flynn and Abigail Haas

Their book would have the potential to be the biggest MindF*** you ever read.

What author duos do you wish would pair up?

Review: The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

Ellen O’Farrell is a professional hypnotherapist who works out of the eccentric beachfront home she inherited from her grandparents. It’s a nice life, except for her tumultuous relationship history. She’s stoic about it, but at this point, Ellen wouldn’t mind a lasting one. When she meets Patrick, she’s optimistic. He’s attractive, single, employed, and best of all, he seems to like her back. Then comes that dreaded moment: He thinks they should have a talk.

Braced for the worst, Ellen is pleasantly surprised. It turns out that Patrick’s ex-girlfriend is stalking him. Ellen thinks, Actually, that’s kind of interesting. She’s dating someone worth stalking. She’s intrigued by the woman’s motives. In fact, she’d even love to meet her.

Ellen doesn’t know it, but she already has.

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I went so back and forth on this book. There were times I really quite adored it and others that I was a little bored and others yet where I wanted to throw my Nook at the wall.

Ellen is a hypnotherapist. I have to say after reading this book I kind of want to go see a hypnotherapist. Which is odd to say because I was raised to believe that being hypnotized was some crazy witchcraft that opened you up to being possessed by demons. But here it really sounded quite relaxing and not at all evil. Anyways, Ellen is 35 and single and has started dating a man she met online. She thinks he’s about to break up with her when instead he tells her he has a stalker, Saskia, his ex-girlfriend from several years ago. The rest of the story focuses on Ellen and Patrick’s growing relationship and Saskia watching it from a distance (and sometimes up close).

This is definitely a character-driven novel and Moriarty really excels at that. While I really got to know the characters, I never really connected with them. I didn’t feel like there was really any growth until the final chapters and a lot of the in between seemed a little repetitive and like “filler.” That’s not to say I didn’t like it, though. There were lots of humorous moments that helped to get through the more tedious parts.

The story is mostly told in 3rd Person POV through Ellen, but we also get Saskia’s 1st Person POV. For awhile I was really enjoying Saskia’s POV. She’s completely crazy, and on some level she knows she’s gone a little overboard, but mostly she thinks her behavior is completely rationale. It was kind of fascinating. However, after awhile I just wanted to shake her and say “Enough already!” I also wanted Patrick to get a restraining order already! And for Ellen to take it seriously. And for Ellen to just tell Patrick the truth about what she was thinking or feeling. There were just so many times I was yelling at her to “just say it already!” that it drove me a little crazy. Everything does eventually get out in the open, though. And I think I liked Saskia’s development the most.

Overall, I did mostly enjoy The Hypnotist’s Love Story. I do love a good character-driven novel and as I said, Moriarty is excellent at that. However, the character development, while quite in depth, was just a little too slow and a little repetitive for me to really love this book as much as I wanted to. Still, I think fans of character-driven novels and Moriarty will enjoy this.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far In 2015

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Well we are half way through the year and in accordance this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far In 2015. (In converse, I posted my most disappointing booksnof 2015 so far yesterday.) In no particular order, my favorite books I’ve read so far are:

Big Little Lies

1. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. Ok, so this one is in particular order, as I gave this book 4.5 stars and it’s probably my favorite book of the year so far.

The Singles

2. The Singles by Meredith Goldstein. This has been on my TBR forever and I was so excited when I found it for $1 at a library sale.

Eeny Meeny (Helen Grace, #1)

3. Eeny Meeny by M.J. Arlidge. A great thriller/mystery.

Missing You

4. Missing You by Harlan Coben. My first Harlan Coben and it won’t be my last!

The Fill-In Boyfriend

5. The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West. Another adorable book that reminds me why Kasie West is my favorite YA Contemporary author.

First Frost (Waverley Family, #2)

6. First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen. Garden Spells was one of my favorite books last year and it’s sequel did not disappoint.

The Start of Me and You

7. The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord. Another cute contemporary.

Unbecoming

8. Unbecoming by Rebecca Scherm. A very well done character-driven novel.

The Beautiful Daughters

9. The Beautiful Daughters by Nicole Baart. Beautifully written, another character-driven piece.

Black-Eyed Susans

10. Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin. This one isn’t out yet, but is easily one of my favorites. A great suspense story.

Law of Attraction  Discretion  Speak of the Devil (Anna Curtis, #3)  A Good Killing (Anna Curtis, #4)

11. Ok, so I’m adding another one and making it a series because these books are amazing and is my favorite new series of the year – The Anna Curtis series by Allison Leotta – Law of Attraction, Discretion, Speak of the Devil, A Good Killing

What are your favorite books so far this year? Do you agree with any of my choices?

Review: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Big Little Lies

Synopsis from Good Reads:

Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

I was so obsessed with this book! I can’t believe I almost let it expire from the library before I decided to give it a try! I think the synopsis makes it sound like it was going to be serious and kind of hum drum. However, it’s surprisingly hilarious. The satirical views of small community life were spot on and the recollection of events from the school parents made me laugh out loud.

Big Little Lies starts on Parent Trivia Night at the local school where high tensions and too much champagne result in disaster. We then go back 6 months earlier and get to know the characters and what led up to that awful night. Included in the beginning or ending of each chapter are snippets of witness statements that gradually clue us in to what happened. However, instead of mentioning what happened on Trivia night, they mostly make self-indulgent comments of themselves or mockingly judgmental comments of others. It was funny to see all the different view points and how easy it is for things to be taken completely out of context.

The main focus of the story falls on three of the women who have kids starting kindergarten. Madeline tends to be on the self-obsessed side and thrives on drama, but she’s there for her friends. She’d dealing with her ex-husband having a daughter also starting school and their shared daughter is now a teenager and seems to be favoring her father and step-mother instead of her. Celeste is rich and beautiful and has a seemingly perfect life, but she’s constantly putting on an act for those around her to hide what her husband does to her behind closed doors. Jane is a young, single mother new to town and on the first day of orientation her son is accused of bullying another student. Due to the only violent incident she knows of his father, she’s afraid the rumor might just be true.

I loved all of these characters. They were all very different and at times could be over the top, but they were very real and relatable. I loved Madeline’s good-humored husband, Ed, and the local owner of the coffee shop, Tom. The kids also made for several humorous moments.

Though the book was very funny, it dealt with some very serious issues. Bullying, rape, and domestic abuse, just to name a few. I felt like these were all handled in a respectful and realistic way and was glad to see the growth and development of those involved.

Overall, Big Little Lies was a compelling, compulsive read that I just loved. The humor was surprising in the most delightful way and was a wonderful way of balancing out the heavier issues involved. I was expecting a big twist at the end, though, and ended up being a tiny bit let down that the ending was not as explosive as I was expecting. This is the only reason I’m not giving this  book 5 stars.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4.5 Stars

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