The United States of Absurdity by Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Ten Speed Press for the opportunity to read and review The United States of Absurdity: Untold Stories from American History! This book is separated into six different sections: Great American Characters, The Best of American Sports, Great American Medical Breakthroughs, Very Bad American Ideas, When Americans Go Wrong and American Tails. Also included is a conclusion and an index. Disturbingly funny and morbidly fascinating, this interesting book grossed me out, made me laugh out loud and gave me the heebie jeebies! 4 stars for this nonfiction book with an adult sense of humor and content!

The Marvelous Misadventures of Ingrid Winter by J.S. Drangsholt

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Received a free ebook as a Goodreads giveaway.
The Marvelous Misadventures of Ingrid Winter by J.S. Drangsholt is about a mother, wife and a college employee struggling to find happiness and contentment. Ingrid lives with her three children in a small house with her husband. She seems to be having difficulty with all aspects of her home and work life. Problems and misfortunes pile up and she feels overwhelmed. She mistakenly offers too much money for a house bid, things get crazier at work and little mistakes compound into bigger problems. A story that we can all relate to because sometimes life feels like it’s getting out of hand. 4 stars for this realistic fiction aimed toward an adult audience.

Mosaic by Sarah Fine

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and 47 North for the opportunity to read and review Mosaic by Sarah Fine; the last book in the Reliquary trilogy. Asa and Mattie travel around the world together. Asa is captured and Mattie spends her time frantically trying to figure out how to get him back. Mattie discovers a lot about Asa and his family as she searches for him. This new adult story is like a maze of uncertainty and heartbreak with an ambiguous ending, 4 stars!

Splinter by Sarah Fine

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Splinter by Sarah Fine is the second book in the Reliquary series by this same author. Mattie has lost tremendous weight and seems unhealthy. At this point, she’s preparing for her wedding. Ben continues to make bad choices for the sake of his relationship with Mattie and Mattie continues to suffer the consequences. This sequel to Reliquary holds just as much suspense, excitement and action as the first book in the series. Mattie and Asa help each other out of more tough situations and drive each other crazy the whole way in this series geared towards adults. 5 stars for the believable world building and the intense characters in the Reliquary series!

Mona Lisa’s Secret by Phil Philips

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to Mystery Thriller Week and Phil Philips for the opportunity to read and review his book, Mona Lisa’s Secret. The action begins immediately with a supposed attack on the Mona Lisa painting hanging in the Louvre. In 1911, the real Mona Lisa was stolen by Joey Peruggia’s great grandfather, Vincenzo. Joey and his girlfriend, Maria, discover a secret room in the mansion he inherited and, lo and behold, they find the Mona Lisa inside! They plan on returning the original painting to the Louvre, but things quickly get out of hand. Full of action, adventure, twists, surprises and suspense and even allusion to more mystery, which makes this book fun for any mystery and action reader. The author’s descriptions of the France scenery and historical sites made me feel like I was actually there seeing it all in person! This written for adults story is a fairly clean read with a few swear words that are used as dialogue in swear worthy stressful events. I highly recommend this enjoyable mystery by giving it 5 stars!

The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen

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The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins confronts many difficult and possibly controversial circumstances. A young woman lives with her father, but they never stay in one place very long. Ariel loves her father when he isn’t drinking or being too overprotective. Other times he is abusive and angry. Ariel and her father finally stay in one place for an entire school year and she makes friends that she feels comfortable with. She is struggling with her sexuality because her father has always claimed that her mother is a lesbian. Ariel isn’t sure about what she wants or who she wants it with. Another story is being told alternately with Ariel’s. Maya also struggles with family situations and friendships. The stories of these two young women hold a strong, emotional mystery that knocked my socks off! In Ellen Hopkins standard writing, the mystery unfolds. 4 stars for an emotional book full of growth!

A Bend in the Willow by Susan Clayton-Goldner

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to the author’s request for me to read and review A Bend in the Willow by Susan Clayton-Goldner! Maya Angelou opens the story with her quote, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Robin Lee changed her name to Catherine years ago to escape her painful past, but her husband knows nothing about her past experiences. She fabricated a life story. Their son Michael is in an accident on his fifth birthday and while assessing his health, the doctor finds leukemia. The only hope he has for recovery is a bone marrow transplant from a matching relative. Catherine goes to her hometown and faces her past head on. She meets her brother Kyle and he doesn’t believe that she’s Robin Lee. She approached him too abruptly about her son instead of first trying to ease the pain from their past. The past keeps blowing up in her face and she struggles, and so do her family members, with trying to take care of Michael. The innocence of children brought tears to my eyes and this story is tragic and beautiful at the same time – 5 stars – for this adult realistic fiction novel with kudos to perseverance and unconditional love and compassion!

First Contact by Kat Green

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Thanks to YABoundBookTours for the opportunity to read and review First Contact by Kat de Falla and Rachel Green (Kat Green)!
First Contact marks the beginning of the Haunts for Sale series. Sloane is a paranormal real estate agent that searches for haunted houses that her customers want to purchase. She’s using this guise to search for her fiance, Michael, who was killed by a drunk driver just weeks before their wedding. He had a motto for being patient and now Sloane is following it to search for him: “…be patient and if things weren’t working out, give it a year and a day.” This is now Sloane’s mantra to keep her going. The haunting mystery holds suspense and creepiness throughout the whole story. The romance factor adds a nice, warm touch to the spooky tale. Lovable protagonists and horrible antagonists kept me on my toes! I give this book 4 stars and recommend it to anyone wanting a macabre, spooky adult read!

I See You by Clare Mackintosh

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.

Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House for the opportunity to read and review I See You by Clare Mackintosh! This mystery thriller has three points of view that switch on and off throughout the book. Kelly (a police officer), Zoe ( a nervous citizen) and the person behind the stalking and other awful acts that are occurring to random women that have somehow had their photos secretly taken without their knowledge or permission and posted onto a dating chatline. I was interested in the mystery and tried to figure out the guilty party, but it is very unpredictable and every time I thought I had it, I found out I was wrong. The twists and turns, the unpredictability and the ending that is creepy to the core make this murder-mystery a must read for suspense lovers; 4 stars!

Faithful

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Faithful by Alice Hoffman is a surprisingly uplifting book, even though a lot of sadness and turmoil take priority as the story unfolds. I received a book through a Goodreads giveaway and an advance reader copy for a fair review, thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster!

The books by telling the tragic story of two teenage girls involved in a car accident and what happens to both of them afterwards. Helene is in a coma and miraculously heals people by the touch of her left hand. Shelby feels guilty for not being as physically damaged as Helene and continues to blame herself for the accident because she was driving. Shelby has had to deal with horrible experiences even after the accident: trying to commit suicide, being sent to a psychiatric ward, being raped by an orderly in the ward and trying to deal with everything and still live a normal life. Shelby moves in with Ben, a guy she has known for a long time and this way, she finally gets out of her parents’ home and gains a little independence. She saves neglected pets, gets a job in a pet store and builds a relationship with Ben. Shelby meets new people, makes friends and makes some mistakes along the way. Shelby finally realizes she wants to improve her relationships and be more grateful for them. She has a wonderful mother and she finally realizes that also. Shelby’s world turns completely around after the accident, and then, eventually, her world turns around again. Through her struggles and trials, Shelby finally knows what she wants in life and how to let herself enjoy life and love. I give this book 5 stars because I became so involved with the characters and grew to understand parts of my own life more clearly through reading about Shelby! Thank you, Alice Hoffman!