Monday, April 1, 2019

BLOG TOUR: What She Gave Away by Catherine RIggs

Title: What She Gave Away
Author: Catherine Riggs
Genre: Suspense/Thriller
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Release Date: September 4, 2018
Acquired: Print copy received for review
Goodreads: ADD

Revenge is anything but sweet in this twisty thriller about two women with very different lives locked in the same deadly game.

Imagining the best way to destroy a person’s happiness is Crystal Love’s favorite game. Devious and unpolished, the plus-sized loan analyst couldn’t be more out of place in her new town of Santa Barbara, where the beautifully manicured women never age and the ocean views stretch farther than the million-dollar lawns. And yet her eye for the power dynamics at play in this tony community is dead accurate.

Kathi Wright, on the other hand, has made it her life’s work to fit in with the plastic people who surround her. But when her husband—a wealthy bank president—dies suddenly, she’s left with nothing. Then the FBI shows up, asking questions she can’t answer and freezing assets she once took for granted.

While Kathi struggles to outrun the mess caused by her husband’s mysterious death, Crystal seems focused on her game. But why? And who are her targets?

Spanning two years and told in Crystal’s and Kathi’s alternating voices, this tautly plotted novel reveals the power of choice and the price of revenge.


There's a lot this book was trying to be, but it unfortunately only managed to be a few of those things. What She Gave Away was readable, and definitely entertaining. I'll admit that I flew through it pretty quickly, was able to maintain satisfaction with the way it wrapped up, but the shock value just wasn't hard-hitting enough for what I've come to expect from my thrillers.

Crystal Love opens this one up with quite the line: "I've targeted the sperm donor". She goes on to detail her weight and the interview for a job we'll see her working in for much of the novel. We then move on to Kathi, the new widow of a wealthy bank owner. What She Gave Away alternates between the perspectives of these two ladies, as well as between the years of 2015 and 2016 (which boded well for about two chapters and then it was a flurry of flipping back and forth to remember what year and month we were hearing from). Their paths cross in an obvious way, but it soon begins an intertwining that isn't so expected.

The pacing was the saving grace for me. What She Gave Away read like the thriller/suspense novel that it was written to be, with the right amount of twists and an ending that was written for the big screen, but it all still felt..lacking. Crystal was too one-dimensional, and Kathi, painted to be slow and dense, would suddenly say something that conflicted heavily with that intent. I could have used more back-story, which simultaneously built character. I never felt more than mild to moderate concern for any character, could have had the story end in a multitude of ways and just shrugged and said: "hmm, okay, cool". 

However, this is a great read to start you off on your spring titles. One to get you ready to just sit out in the sun and do some quick reading while soaking up the rays we've waited all winter for.

Read if you like:  
The Forgetting Place by John Burley
Books by Chevy Stevens, Alafair Burke, or Shari Lapena

Key themes: 
loss, death, family, mental illness, magic realism



credit: (author page)

Catharine Riggs lives and writes on California’s central coast. Before turning to writing fiction, Riggs worked as a business banker, an adjunct college instructor, and a nonprofit executive. What She Never Said is the second novel in her Santa Barbara Suspense series. The first, What She Gave Away, was published by Thomas & Mercer in September of 2018. Riggs is a member of the International Thriller Writers, The Authors Guild, Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.



A huge thank-you to Thomas & Mercer for 
providing a hardcopy of this book for review

Sunday, January 6, 2019

January 2019 Reading (Challenges & TBR)


In order to keep myself on track, I'll be making a monthly post detailing my TBR pile for the month. This will include the books I've chosen for my reading challenges, approved eARCs/review copies, and book club picks.

The reading challenge books I chose will be set in motion by the Pick-A-Theme Reading Challenge by She's Got Books on Her Mind. The theme I pick for each month will need to be present in all of the books for that particular month.


(books will contain a cold-hearted individual as one of the main or secondary characters, will be a non-fiction book detailing cold-hearted acts/people/topics, or be set in a cold climate/have a cold atmosphere)

Thursday, January 3, 2019

43 Highly Anticipated Books of 2019 (Goodreads)


Last year felt like it would never end, and that was made worse by the fact that I had my worst reading year to date. Life most certainly threw me some lemons (amongst other things), and reading, unfortunately, took a backseat to all of that madness. Like most of my fellow obsessive book readers, reading plays the role of an escape, a balm to the trials of life—it can feel like the one thing they can always turn to for some happiness and positivity. At least that's what it's always felt like to me, and I hate that I had forgotten that during my worst and lowest times. But anyway...

I'm BACK! And I'm ready to delve back into the flurry and deliriously satisfying world of reading and reviewing. Of researching new finds, and clearing TBRs of already owned books. Of finishing reading challenges and cheering on my fellow readers on their own journeys! I can't believe I let myself stray so far away from something made me so content *sigh.

To kick off my 2019 posts, I thought I'd list the books I already own and plan to read off of Goodreads' recent post of 43 Highly Anticipated Books of 2019. I also listed the one that I'M most looking forward to from each category.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

REVIEW: The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

Title: The Immortalists
Author: Chloe Benjamin
Genre: Literary/Magic Realism Fiction
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Release Date: January 9, 2018
Acquired: Print copy sent by publisher
Goodreads: ADD

If you were told the date of your death, how would it shape your present?

It's 1969 in New York City's Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children—four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness—sneak out to hear their fortunes.

Their prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in '80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11, hoping to control fate; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

REVIEW: The Beauty that Remains by Ashley Woodfolk

Title: The Beauty that Remains
Author: Ashley Woodfolk
Genre: YA Contemporary/LGTBQ
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Acquired: Print copy sent by publisher
Goodreads: ADD

Music brought Autumn, Shay, and Logan together. Death wants to tear them apart.

Autumn always knew exactly who she was—a talented artist and a loyal friend. Shay was defined by two things: her bond with her twin sister, Sasha, and her love of music. And Logan always turned to writing love songs when his love life was a little less than perfect.

But when tragedy strikes each of them, somehow music is no longer enough. Now Logan can’t stop watching vlogs of his dead ex-boyfriend. Shay is a music blogger struggling to keep it together. And Autumn sends messages that she knows can never be answered.

Despite the odds, one band's music will reunite them and prove that after grief, beauty thrives in the people left behind.