Atheists Who Kneel and Pray – Review

“Gimme, Gimme more,
Gimme, More,
Gimme, Gimme, More..”


Tarryn Fisher makes me sing Britney Spears after every book of hers I finish. I want more of her words. I want to live inside her mind. I want to be her friend, absorb some of her badassery.

She’s my favorite author for a reason, but often times when I try to pimp her writing out, it is met with lackluster reviews. That makes me love her more. Her writing is deep, emotional, and not everyone’s merry cup of tea. She is a soul writer, she doesn’t write to impress, she writes for the sake of art. Her art tugs at the red thread in my soul. Be warned, when you pick up a Tarryn novel,  you must leave any expectations at the door. You’ll never get what you think.

“She’s insane but those are the sorts of people you cherish.”

I was enjoying a vacation when I started this book, so I was unable to completely devour it like normal. I’m glad I took it slow. This story needed time to digest. When I started, I kept thinking, “I can’t find Tarryn here.” Yara was so insecure, so unsure of herself. She sounded more like a young version of myself than the Tarryn I’m used to. Honestly, I was wondering if this might be the first book of hers I didn’t like. Yara’s running, her quirkiness, and her mommy issues were like looking in a mirror. A dirty, broken mirror I didn’t want to see my reflection in. Ouch, sometimes it really hurts to examine our pasts. By now I should expect some of those sharp edges of reflection to cut me when I read her books. I didn’t realize how much I need to look back, to fix my present, until I was staring myself in the face. Yara reached out, handed me the confidence I needed and told me not to let it go. I’m worthy. By the end of this book, I was in tears. The conclusion felt so personal. Tarryn “gave feet to my thoughts;” my deepest, most buried desires. The fictional ending gave me peace for a real-life resolution I am unlikely to ever experience.

“You don’t forgive because they deserve it. Most of the time they don’t. You forgive to keep your heart soft. To move forward without bitterness. Forgiveness is for you.”

I don’t know how to review Tarryn Fisher novels, because they’re unlike anything I’ve ever been exposed to. They touch parts of me other books cannot reach. Instead of a traditional review, I wrote something to all of you that I would write in a diary. My personal feelings of how this novel cracked me open, put things I needed inside, and stitched me back together. Simply, it’s 5 stars from me. I’m not telling you to read this book because you’ll love it – you may not. I’m telling you to read this book because Yara is woman, and you need to hear her roar. She is written with a realness that I think all of us without a Y-chromosome can relate to. Not to mention, she’s British!

Oh Yara, I love you so.

Lots of Bookish Love,
♥Ashley


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The Wildling Sisters – Review

wildlingLet me tell you now, folks, The Wildling Sisters by Eve Chase is a summer release you are going to want to pick up. This book captivated me from the very first page. It begins in 1959 at Applecote Manor in Cotswolds, England with the Wilde sisters dragging a body through the landscape. This haunting tale combines past and present perspectives, diverging in the end, to reveal the story of a young girl who unexpectedly vanished. The walls of Applecote Manor haven’t changed much in decades, but the secrets within are silently screaming to get out. It will only take the right person to uncover them.

I cannot rave enough about this novel, as it had numerous elements I loved. To begin with, the cover is instantly eye-catching. When I look at it, I want to know the story the girls are going to tell. What are they up to? What secrets lie behind their eyes? It has such an interesting mystery, just like the pages to follow. I’m also enamored by stories set in England, especially the countryside; I love the written prose of British English; and enjoy reading about the quirks of life in Great Britain. Though this story was set in a beautiful place, it had a haunted feel throughout. I imagined the house speaking the sounds, thoughts, and feelings of its previous occupants. Continue reading “The Wildling Sisters – Review”

180 Seconds – Review

32487648I have been in a book slump for half of June. I’ve been wanting to read something great, but constantly feeling bored with my current reads instead. In most cases, it’s no fault of the books I’ve been reading; I have simply been distracted. Part of it might be that I’ve read more than I ever have in the past year and a half and maybe I am now harder to impress. Whatever the case may be, I had an unused trial of Kindle Unlimited and decided 180 Seconds by Jessica Park would be the book to break the slump. I’ve seen the excellent reviews of this novel by readers I trust, and knew it would be exactly what I was looking for. Luckily, 180 seconds was everything I needed to read. It was emotional, touching, and had a plot that never failed to be interesting.

When Allison Dennis is roped into a video recorded social experiment, she never expects her life to change in three short minutes. She is told to sit across from a guy and stare into his eyes for 180 seconds – what comes next, no one could have imagined, especially not Allison. She lives a reclusive life, free from the scrutiny of anyone. Keeping people at arm’s length prevents them from hurting you, right? As a girl who knows the hardness of the world firsthand, through the foster care system, breaking down her walls proves to be a challenge endeavor. Continue reading “180 Seconds – Review”

Quiet – Shared Review

IMG_0089editedI’m sure most of you know that I like to read books and write reviews for this awesome blog. I also enjoy being by myself for a longer period of time (and no, I don’t feel lonely, I have my awesome self keeping me company 😉 ), yet I still like to hang out with my close friends and talk about everything and nothing. In group gatherings, I only talk when I think it’s necessary or when someone asked me a question, I rather like to listen to the hilarious stories my friends have to tell. Yet, when I am with a friend one-on-one, I can’t seem to stop talking. I like people, but in small doses.
But what does this have to do with this book review. Well, you see, this book is about introversion and it may or may not be a surprise for you to find I am an introvert. It’s safe to say that I have been an introvert for as long as I can remember. The only thing that was missing was the term and an explanation from people, instead of saying it’s “unusual” (aka weird) to spend a whole weekend by oneself to watch a favorite TV show (or read a book) or to not raise one’s hand in class to share the answer with the classmates. But I guess back then the terms “extrovert” and “introvert” had not made it to my 2,000 inhabitant “chicken town”.
Then, about a year ago, Ashley mentioned something about introversion or maybe it was me mentioning something to her, I don’t recall. But whoever told the other first is not important; the important thing is that we talked about it and I am really grateful for that. Continue reading “Quiet – Shared Review”

My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island – Review

Reading My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island was the most pleasant walk down memory lane for me. When I saw this title on NetGalley, I had to request it immediately due to the title alone.  I was born in Michigan and have vivid memories of visiting Mackinac Island and nearby St. Ignace as a child, though I haven’t been there in probably 20 years. The book featured scenes around Mackinac Island’s most famous landmarks, such as Arch Rock and The Grand Hotel and other areas around the island. One of the most interesting things about Mackinac Island is its restriction of motor vehicles. All of the sights must be seen from a carriage, bicycle, or on foot. I enjoyed the author’s use of bicycles in the story, making it seem realistic to the actual island, though the book was set in a time period before cars would have been common.

Image result for Grand Hotel (Mackinac Island)

In the first half of the story, we are acquainted with Maude, a young woman who finds she has been jilted by her beau. Her hopes of running the inn that has been in her family for years are dashed by her two-timing lover. Maude’s father’s refusal to turn the business over to his unmarried daughter forces her to take matters into her own hands by getting a job at the Grand Hotel as a maid, to prove her competence in managing a hotel.

Along the way, Maude meets a wealthy German aristocrat who seems immensely intriguing and kind.  She cannot help but be captivated by him after he inadvertently helps her young brother. Unfortunately, this impressive German man also has a secret he isn’t telling, and Maude is loathe to trust anyone after being deceived. Continue reading “My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island – Review”

Wait for It – Review

Wait for ItOne of the hardest things to do as a book blogger is to read an entire (670 page) book and give it a low-star review, especially when nearly half of Goodreads readers gave it the full 5 stars. Be warned, dear readers, I have an unpopular opinion ahead. Please don’t grab your torches and pitchforks.

Wait for It was the first Mariana Zapata book I have picked up. I knew about her high ratings, her hardcore fans, and her slow-burn romance style. All of these elements factored in to me choosing to read Wait for It, as it had been sitting on my TBR list for around a year. I needed a break from my current read and was looking for something I was bound to love. Unfortunately, Wait for It didn’t do it for me, as much as I wanted it to. I waited for it…I waited for the story to get rolling, I waited for the writing to get better, and I felt like it took until the last pages of this long book to improve incrementally.

Wait for It features the life of Diana, a young woman who inherited her nephews after the death of their parents, one being Diana’s brother. Diana is finally getting her life sorted out after such an unexpected and heartbreaking disruption, by moving into a new neighborhood. When Diana hears a fight happening outside of her new home, she decides to help out and break it up. The ungrateful recipient of Diana’s help is the younger brother of Diana’s new neighbor, Dallas. Eventually Diana and Dallas develop a friendship, which eventually grows into a deeper relationship.
Continue reading “Wait for It – Review”

The Evolution of Ivy – Review

Bad. Bad. BAD….but so GOOD.

The Evolution of Ivy: Poison is an addicting debut novel from Lauren Campbell.  The main character, Ivy, is a tormented young girl enduring an endlessly painful life.

“I scurry to the back of the classroom, making eye contact with no one, and take my seat.  New outfits, fresh haircuts, and confidence burst from this room, this concrete prison where the kids are wardens, and I’m on Death Row.”

As her future circumstances change, she decides to assume a new identity and remake her life for the better. Her main goal: acquire the love of Brooks, the only boy she ever cared for. Ivy has a take no prisoners approach to her new lifestyle. After all, a person can only be hurt so many times. She refuses to let her plans be thwarted, no matter the cost.

As a reader, I love my fictional characters with a side of crazy.  Crazy people know life, they understand pain, and they don’t live in the traditional ways society imposes. This always makes for an interesting story.  The only thing that kept me from reading Ivy sooner were my hangups about the mature content within the pages. I normally try to avoid the more graphic and gritty novels because it simply makes me uncomfortable and isn’t my taste.  However, I knew I was going to love this story if I could overlook the parts I was apprehensive about.

Everything about this story, especially the characterization and plot were on point. Let’s not forget the amazing cover design by Murphy Rae of Indie Solutions. Lauren’s ability to tell Ivy’s story had me turning pages faster than I expected.  I could have finished the book in a day, but chose to savor it one more, to make the story more memorable. My empathy was triggered for Ivy’s past. It was heartbreaking to read the cruelty she faced, and I couldn’t help rooting for her to get revenge and take back the life she deserved, despite her less than moral antics. The story alternated between Ivy’s past and present, something I love as a reader, as it allows me to connect to the characters in a deeper way. We also were able to hear a bit of Brooks’ voice, and I couldn’t help but fall in love with the guy.

This is a sharply written, genre-busting page turner worth reading immediately, especially for fans of psychological thrillers.  I was immensely impressed with Lauren’s storytelling and her ability to put me into Ivy’s mind so thoroughly.  The Evolution of Ivy feels like the work of an author with eons of experience, not the debut novel it is.  I can’t wait to see The Evolution of Lauren Campbell as she shares more of her stories with the world.  I see the title New York Times Bestselling Author in her future. Give me more cray, cray, Lauren!!!

You need to snag a copy of this book now! It is sure to leave you wanting more of Ivy and Brooks.

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Happy Reading,
♥Ashley


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