Beards, brothers, and bikers! Oh my!
Identical twins Beau and Duane Winston might share the same devastatingly handsome face, but where Beau is outgoing and sociable, Duane is broody and reserved. This is why Jessica James, recent college graduate and perpetual level-headed good girl, has been in naïve and unhealthy infatuation with Beau Winston for most of her life.
His friendly smiles make her tongue-tied and weak-kneed, and she’s never been able to move beyond her childhood crush. Whereas Duane and Jessica have always been adversaries. She can’t stand him, and she’s pretty sure he can’t stand the sight of her…
But after a case of mistaken identity, Jessica finds herself in a massive confusion kerfuffle. Jessica James has spent her whole life paralyzed by the fantasy of Beau and her assumptions of Duane’s disdain; therefore she’s unprepared for the reality that is Duane’s insatiable interest, as well as his hot hands and hot mouth and hotter looks. Not helping Jessica’s muddled mind and good girl sensibilities, Duane seems to have gotten himself in trouble with the local biker gang, the Iron Order.
Certainly, Beau’s magic spell is broken. Yet when Jessica finds herself drawn to the man who was always her adversary, now more dangerous than ever, how much of her level-head heart is she willing to risk?
CW: Sexual content, profanity, mild violence
If you know me, you know I’m not the biggest fan of romance. I will read it, but I don’t love it, and I definitely don’t continue with a series of it. This one is an exception.
I’ve fallen in love with Green Valley, Tennessee and most of the people who live there. While I’m not in love with the Iron Wraiths biker gang, I am intrigued by the one they call Repo. He seems different than the rest of the gang, especially when it comes to Jessica James.
I love Jessica’s character. She’s funny, sweet, and sassy. She knows who she is and what she wants. Or at least she thinks she does.
Jessica’s brother Jackson is a royal pain in the butt to both Jessica and the Winston brothers. I often found myself groaning at some of the things he did in this book.
The Winston brothers are a collective group of characters – we don’t see them all for very long in this book. The ones we see the most of are Beau, Duane, Cletus, and Jethro. Billy and Roscoe are seen and get a bit of dialogue time, but not a whole lot. It’s mostly Beau and Duane (twins), Cletus and Jethro.
Jethro isn’t seen for a whole lot of the book, I’d say the last 1/4 – 1/3 of the book has Jethro in it. I got the sense that there is much more to Jethro than meets the eye. This is a character I want to see more of – fortunately it appears he is the featured brother in the second book of the series, Grin and Beard It.
Beau Winston is the identical twin brother of our main man in Truth or Beard, Duane. He’s a sweet, easy-going guy. You don’t get to see too much of his personality other than to tell that when the twins are on the loose, Beau is “good cop” and Duane is “bad cop”. He is the focus of the fourth book in the series, Beard in Mind.
Cletus is, to me, adorable. He’s a nerd in the highest sense. He’s good with machines and is just a sweetheart. He’s also a smart aleck at times, which is pretty fun. It seems he got the third book, Beard Science.
Finally, we have the male star of this book, Duane Winston. He’s gruff and no-nonsense. He loves Jessica with every fiber of his being. He’s the bad cop to Beau’s good cop. He’s a great guy even if Jessica can’t see it at first.
It took me a bit to figure out the actual plot behind this book other than Duane loves Jessica and Jessica hates Duane because she thinks he’s a jerk. It’s a classic enemies to lovers trope, but it is done in a way that doesn’t make it as cheesy or obnoxious as a lot of authors do it.
The plot twists aren’t something you see coming. However, there is one plot twist I was expecting that didn’t happen. I won’t say what it is, because it might come up in one of the later books. All I can say is that there are hints to it in this book, so I’m hoping it comes up later.
I gave this a 4 out of 5 stars. It’s not perfect but most books aren’t. I can’t wait to dig into the second book to find out what happens with Jethro.
For Penny Lee, high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she’d somehow landed a boyfriend, they never managed to know much about each other. Now Penny is heading to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer. It’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.
Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.
When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to, you know, see each other.
TW: Abuse, Racism, Mommy Issues, Daddy Issues (I’m sorry it’s been a month since I listened to it, so if there are triggers I missed, I’m sorry.)
Emergency Contact is the story of Penny and Sam. Neither of them is a particularly likable character. They are seriously messed up. But if I have to choose one over the other, I’ll take Sam, thanks.
For one, both have issues with their mothers, but for different reasons. To my idea, Sam has a legitimate reason to have issues with his mother, considering what she did to him. Penny, on the other hand, has issues with her mother for being herself. Penny seems to think that her mom is embarrassing and a pain in Penny’s butt on purpose. To my idea, that’s ludicrous and Penny is just being a brat.
When Penny moves to college and meets Sam via her dorm roommate, they become friends and text each other. Which is fine. Except they don’t tell anyone. They literally keep this a secret, when at first, there is literally no reason to. They’re just friends who talk to each other.
By the way, it takes way too long for them to figure out they have feelings for each other. Seriously. I thought they’d never figure it out. I had it figured out way before they did.
I don’t care for Mary H. K. Choi’s writing style – at least not in this book. I don’t mind books with multiple points of view, but this one was just irritating. At times it didn’t even seem like Sam and Penny were in the same story the way the chapters jumped around between Penny and Sam.
I gave it one star because I just did not like the book at all. I might give Permanent Record a try, but if it’s anything like Emergency Contact, I’m going to chalk it up to Mary H. K. Choi not being the author for me.
The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it.
But having grown up in the same small town that was consumed by the murder, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn’t so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final year project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth?
If there is one thing I do like, it is a good mystery. This one was definitely one of the good ones. The first thing you learn in A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder is that Sal Singh killed Andie Bell. At least that’s what everyone in town believes. Except Sal’s family and one other person. That person is our main character, Pippa.
A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder – The Main Characters
Pippa is sort of an interesting character. She’s every faculty member’s dream. Her homework is done on time and very neatly. She studies all the time. Even when she chose to prove Sal Singh was innocent, she worked on that all the time. While she is an interesting character, I don’t think we got to see enough of her real personality. We got more of the workaholic than we did the actual person with Pippa. While she may be the main character in A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, she isn’t the best main character I’ve ever seen.
Now we move on to Ravi Singh. Ravi is our second main character and Sal’s younger brother. He and his family have been deeply hurt by town’s belief that Sal killed Andie Bell. He would do pretty much anything to be able to have Sal’s name cleared. His personality has been shaped by the events that took place in 2014, when his brother was declared as Andie Bell’s killer. I wasn’t attached to him either. He just seemed a bit flat to me somehow. Maybe it was because I read most of the book between midnight and three AM.
I have to say that A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder was a great book – as far as the plot went. The plot had a lot of action in it and it was a fairly fast read once I actually sat down to read it.
One thing I found interesting about the book is that it is clearly set in the United States. However, Holly Jackson lives in the UK (London to be precise) and so some things that are unique to that part of the world are found in the book. They’re just little things, like everyone wanting tea instead of coffee. It doesn’t detract from the book in any way and I actually enjoyed it.
If there is one thing that you will find in A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, it is mystery. First, the mystery of why Sal was pegged as Andie Bell’s murderer. Then we have the mystery of who doesn’t want Pippa investigating this case. Finally, we have the mystery of who really killed Andie Bell.
There are some heart-stopping moments in this book and it will definitely have you wondering what the outcome will be. I definitely never guessed it!
If you’ve read A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder and you liked it, you might also like There’s Someone in Your House by Stephanie Perkins.
Have you ever gotten to the place where you just couldn’t take it anymore?
Dreams. Programs. Jobs. Relationships. There are so many different areas where we feel like calling it quits.
It’s time for an honest conversation on how not to give in to the temptation to give up.
Nicki Koziarz is a woman who has thrown in the towel a time or two. In fact, she’s quit just about everything in her life. But with God’s help, she’s discovered a few habits that have helped her and others conquer the choice to quit.
5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit will enable you to:
Evaluate the internal personal struggles that make you want to quit.
Cultivate consistent habits to help you progress toward your goals.
Receive a fresh dose of perspective from the Bible that will help you develop perseverance.
You are not made to quit! Join Nicki as she identifies five habits to help you keep going no matter what struggles may come your way.
Nicki Koziarz wrote 5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit for me. I have a horrible habit of quitting the things I commit to doing. I’ve quit going to my offline book clubs. I’ve quit doing things with my online book clubs. I haven’t been doing things with my blogging groups. About the only thing I have not quit is going to school.
So yes, Nicki Koziarz wrote 5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit for me. She wrote this book for you too. After all, I’m pretty sure you quit things as well.
Nicki Koziarz writes a book about Ruth and how she doesn’t quit. She details the 5 habits Ruth exhibits that means she doesn’t quit when the times get tough. Using Ruth’s story makes the habits Nicki is trying to tell us about easier to understand. As a result, the concepts outlined in this book are extremely easy to grasp.
When writing 5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit, Nicki tells us of several times in her life when she has wanted to quit. Quit working out, quit writing the book, quit trying to buy their Fixer Upper Farm (you HAVE to read that story – trust me). She lets you know that she is not perfect. She lets you know that she struggles with faith, with quitting, and with everything else. The result is a book that is funny, real, and will probably step on your toes, but in a good way.
She includes extras like sample prayers, Bible verses to help you not quit, and other things. If you are a woman who quits, 5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit is written for you.
I chose to give 5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit four stars. While this book is amazing, there is always room for improvement. I feel the book is a bit too quick of a read at only 154 pages.
I received a copy of this book free from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.
This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through my links, I will receive a small commission or free services from the sale.
Title: Ninth House
Series: Alex Stern
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Release Date: October 8, 2019
Source: Personal Collection
Amazon / Book Depository
Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?
Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.
The mesmerizing adult debut from #1 New York Times bestselling author Leigh Bardugo.
Ninth House was one of my most anticipated releases for October. I like Leigh Bardugo’s writing style. And I admit, I was curious to see if she can actually write adult fiction as well as she writes Young Adult fiction. The answer to that question is, she does.
I picked up Ninth House for the Barnes & Noble Book Club. It was November’s book of the month to read. It took me much longer to read the book because the episcleritis in my right eye made it painful to read – you never realize how much your eyes move until you try to read with an eye that hurts if it moves. In all honesty, I think that’s the only real reason it took so long to read this book.
As with most of Leigh Bardugo’s books, it does have a slightly slow, slightly confusing start. Where the prologue starts, you have no idea of what might be going on. Don’t worry, you’ll get there. You just have to be patient. Once you get into the story though, you’ll be sucked in. I read the last 200 pages or so in one sitting, my eye be damned. I didn’t want to put it down.
I liked Alex. She’s a tough kid but she’s also vulnerable. She comes from nothing, doesn’t feel like she belongs at Yale and from a standpoint of money, she really doesn’t. After all, she’s not rich. Her parents couldn’t pay her way in. She’s there because Lethe wants her. But she redeems herself well.
Dean Sandow is just plain a jerk. He’s one of those men who blames the victim. You’ll see what I mean, but honestly, he’s just a douche of a character that I really didn’t like at any point in the story. You might think he was doing Alex a favor by offering her a scholarship and a fresh start, but he’s only out for himself as you’ll see.
Darlington, an absent character that we get to know vicariously through what amounts to memories, is a mystery even after the fact. I think he’ll figure even more prominently in book 2, for reasons I won’t be disclosing.
Dawes – Pammie/Oculus – is an interesting character. She’s shy, she doesn’t know how to handle people. And she becomes very attached to the people that she cares for. She’s a fierce champion for her friends and those she loves and frankly, she is not to be trifled with.
Detective Turner is another one who is out for himself. He just wants to get ahead and make some money on the side by being Centurion for Lethe. He helps them investigate deaths or crimes that might be related to the Houses, but honestly, I didn’t care for him.
The book deals with some pretty deep situations such as frat parties that end in the rape of drugged girls, rape where the victim is believed to just be acting out instead of being a victim, and even victim blaming – although the victim blaming is in connection with a non-sexual attack. I, and the group of book club members who were mostly women, felt that Ms. Bardugo handled these things well, showing in a veiled way how society sees these types of things.
I gave the book 4 out of 5 stars because I felt it was awesome but could use some improvement. There were a couple of blatant editing errors. The ending of the book more than makes up for it, but not enough to give it a full five stars.