Book Review: Strike Me Down, by Mindy Mejia

Strike Me Down, by Mindy Mejia

Strike Me Down by Mindy Mejia

Published by Atria Books on April 7, 2020 (expected)

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, suspense, thriller

Format & Length: e-book, 304

Source: Netgalley

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From the critically acclaimed author of Leave No Trace, the “nail-biting page-turner that grabs you early and never lets go” (The Real Book Spy), comes a visceral thriller following an accountant’s complicated and potentially deadly search for missing money.

Nora Trier catches thieves. As a forensic accountant and partner in her downtown Minneapolis firm, she’s unearthed millions in every corner of the world. She prides herself on her independence, the most essential currency of accounting, until her firm is hired by Strike.

An anti-corporate, feminist athletic empire, Strike is owned by Logan Russo, a brash and legendary kickboxer, and her marketing genius husband, Gregg Abbott. They’re about to host a major kickboxing tournament with twenty million dollars in prize money, and the chance for the champion to become the new face of the company. Gregg suspects his wife already has a new face in mind—a young trainer named Aaden, for whom Logan feels an unexpected connection.

Days before the tournament begins, it’s discovered that the prize money is missing. Gregg hires Nora’s firm to find both the thief and the money but Nora has a secret connection to Strike that threatens her independence. Her partner pressures her into taking the case anyway, hinting he has information about Strike that could change the course of the investigation in a shocking and deadly way.

A tense and unpredictable thriller that will keep you guessing until the very last page, Strike Me Down reveals the remarkable power of Mindy Mejia’s writing which “crosses back and forth between exquisite literary descriptions and thrilleresque escapes and acts of violence” (New York Journal of Books).

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March Reading Wrap Up

March Reading Wrap Up

Well, March was certainly an interesting month. These past few weeks have brought quite a few changes to our current state of affairs. I live in an area that’s been hit particularly hard with COVID-19, with schools closing and moving to online learning mid-March and everything else but necessities following suit soon after. So we’ve been social distancing for a few weeks now.

And yet… my day to day life hasn’t changed much. I’ve been working from home since my maternity leave ended, and between working a few hours a day, time spent with baby and hubby, and the other daily things, I would only leave the house a few times a week. Now instead of going out for errands, we go for walks through our neighborhood and hubby arranges one day for the week when he runs out for groceries and other necessities. I have missed getting together with family and friends but at least now we have the technology to see each other virtually! Unfortunately, we do have friends and colleagues that have been personally affected in ways that I hope most people never have to go through, and my prayers are with everyone through this time.

In an effort to not get caught up in the news cycle and avoid spiraling into panic, I prefer to escape into a good book. So my reading went up this month. I completed all the books on my TBR for March, as well as a few additional books. And I wound up enjoying all of them!

Ready to see what I read and reviewed?

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Book Review: Sin Eater, by Megan Campisi

Sin Eater, by Megan Campisi

Sin Eater by Megan Campisi

Published by Atria Books on April 7, 2020 (expected)

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, historical fiction, fantasy

Format & Length: e-book, 304

Source: Netgalley

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The Handmaid’s Tale meets Alice in Wonderland in this gripping and imaginative historical novel about a shunned orphan girl in 16th-century England who is ensnared in a deadly royal plot and must turn her subjugation into her power.

The Sin Eater walks among us, unseen, unheard
Sins of our flesh become sins of Hers
Following Her to the grave, unseen, unheard
The Sin Eater Walks Among Us.

For the crime of stealing bread, fourteen-year-old May receives a life sentence: she must become a Sin Eater—a shunned woman, brutally marked, whose fate is to hear the final confessions of the dying, eat ritual foods symbolizing their sins as a funeral rite, and thereby shoulder their transgressions to grant their souls access to heaven.

Orphaned and friendless, apprenticed to an older Sin Eater who cannot speak to her, May must make her way in a dangerous and cruel world she barely understands. When a deer heart appears on the coffin of a royal governess who did not confess to the dreadful sin it represents, the older Sin Eater refuses to eat it. She is taken to prison, tortured, and killed. To avenge her death, May must find out who placed the deer heart on the coffin and why.

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Book Review: The Bromance Book Club, by Lyssa Kay Adams

The Bromance Book Club, by Lyssa Kay Adams

The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

Published by Berkley on November 5, 2019

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, contemporary, romance

Format & Length: paperback, 352

Source: library

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The first rule of book club: You don’t talk about book club.

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him.

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.

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Book Review: The Last Human, by Zack Jordan

The Last Human, by Zack Jordan

The Last Human by Zack Jordan

Published by Del Rey on March 24, 2020 (expected)

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, science fiction

Format & Length: e-book, 432

Source: Netgalley

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The last human in the universe must battle unfathomable alien intelligences—and confront the truth about humanity—in this ambitious, galaxy-spanning debut

“A good old-fashioned space opera in a thoroughly fresh package.”—Andy Weir, author of The Martian

“Big ideas and believable science amid a roller-coaster ride of aliens, AI, superintelligence, and the future of humanity.”—Dennis E. Taylor, author of We Are Legion

Most days, Sarya doesn’t feel like the most terrifying creature in the galaxy. Most days, she’s got other things on her mind. Like hiding her identity among the hundreds of alien species roaming the corridors of Watertower Station. Or making sure her adoptive mother doesn’t casually eviscerate one of their neighbors. Again.

And most days, she can almost accept that she’ll never know the truth—that she’ll never know why humanity was deemed too dangerous to exist. Or whether she really is—impossibly—the lone survivor of a species destroyed a millennium ago. That is, until an encounter with a bounty hunter and a miles-long kinetic projectile leaves her life and her perspective shattered.

Thrown into the universe at the helm of a stolen ship—with the dubious assistance of a rebellious spacesuit, an android death enthusiast on his sixtieth lifetime, and a ball of fluff with an IQ in the thousands—Sarya begins to uncover an impossible truth. What if humanity’s death and her own existence are simply two moves in a demented cosmic game, one played out by vast alien intellects? Stranger still, what if these mad gods are offering Sarya a seat at their table—and a second chance for humanity?

The Last Human is a sneakily brilliant, gleefully oddball space-opera debut—a masterful play on perspective, intelligence, and free will, wrapped in a rollicking journey through a strange and crowded galaxy.

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11 Books to Re-Read While You Stay at Home

11 books to re-read while you stay at home

We are living in a crazy time right now. As I write this, restaurants and retail stores are shutting their doors. Schools in my neighborhood have already closed and moved to online learning. And that’s just the beginning of all the precautions being taken due to the spread of COVID-19.

So my family and I (and I’m sure many of you!) are planning to spend most of our time at home for the next few weeks. I’d like to take this time to focus on living life with hubby and baby and enjoy the small day to day things that are usually taken for granted. And also to make the most of having spare time and enjoy an extra book (or two or three!).

If you’ve been around here for a while, you’ll know I’m an avid re-reader. I enjoy picking up a book I know I’ve loved before for a variety of reasons, including comfort. There is just something about diving into a story when I know where it will take me that can be so soothing. And sometimes I even pick up new things along the way! Today I want to share some books that make that list for me. Although my TBR stack is about twenty feet tall, I just might take a dip back into one (or more) of these books in the upcoming weeks.

Ready to see the books?

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Book Review: The Holdout, by Graham Moore

The Holdout, by Graham Moore

The Holdout by Graham Moore

Published by Random House on February 18, 2020

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, mystery, thriller

Format & Length: hardcover, 336

Source: purchased

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In this twisty tale from Moore (The Sherlockian), the Academy Award-winning screenwriter of The Imitation Game, young juror Maya Seale is convinced that African American high school teacher Bobby Nock is innocent of killing the wealthy white female student with whom he appears to have been involved and persuades her fellow jurors likewise. Ten years later, a true-crime docuseries reassembles the jurors, and Maya, now a defense attorney, must prove her own innocence when one of them is found dead in Maya’s room.

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Book Review: The Starless Sea, by Erin Morgenstern

The Starless Sea, by Erin Morgenstern

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Published by Doubleday on November 5, 2019

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, fantasy

Format & Length: e-book, 487

Source: library, purchased

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Far beneath the surface of the earth, upon the shores of the Starless Sea, there is a labyrinthine collection of tunnels and rooms filled with stories. The entryways that lead to this sanctuary are often hidden, sometimes on forest floors, sometimes in private homes, sometimes in plain sight. But those who seek will find. Their doors have been waiting for them.

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is searching for his door, though he does not know it. He follows a silent siren song, an inexplicable knowledge that he is meant for another place. When he discovers a mysterious book in the stacks of his campus library he begins to read, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, lost cities, and nameless acolytes. Suddenly a turn of the page brings Zachary to a story from his own childhood impossibly written in this book that is older than he is.

A bee, a key, and a sword emblazoned on the book lead Zachary to two people who will change the course of his life: Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired painter, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances. These strangers guide Zachary through masquerade party dances and whispered back room stories to the headquarters of a secret society where doorknobs hang from ribbons, and finally through a door conjured from paint to the place he has always yearned for. Amid twisting tunnels filled with books, gilded ballrooms, and wine-dark shores Zachary falls into an intoxicating world soaked in romance and mystery. But a battle is raging over the fate of this place and though there are those who would willingly sacrifice everything to protect it, there are just as many intent on its destruction. As Zachary, Mirabel, and Dorian venture deeper into the space and its histories and myths, searching for answers and each other, a timeless love story unspools, casting a spell of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a Starless Sea.

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Book Review: The Catalyst: How to Change Anyone’s Mind, by Jonah Berger

The Catalyst: How to Change Anyone's Mind, by Jonah Berger

The Catalyst: How to Change Anyone’s Mind by Jonah Berger

Published by Simon & Schuster on March 10, 2020 (expected)

Series: n/a

Genre(s): nonfiction

Format & Length: e-book, 272

Source: Netgalley

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From the author of New York Times bestsellers Contagious and Invisible Influence comes a revolutionary approach to changing anyone’s mind.

Everyone has something they want to change. Marketers want to change their customers’ minds and leaders want to change organizations. Start-ups want to change industries and nonprofits want to change the world. But change is hard. Often, we persuade and pressure and push, but nothing moves. Could there be a better way?

This book takes a different approach. Successful change agents know it’s not about pushing harder, or providing more information, it’s about being a catalyst. Catalysts remove roadblocks and reduce the barriers to change. Instead of asking, “How could I change someone’s mind?” they ask a different question: “Why haven’t they changed already? What’s stopping them?”

The Catalyst identifies the key barriers to change and how to mitigate them. You’ll learn how catalysts change minds in the toughest of situations: how hostage negotiators get people to come out with their hands up and how marketers get new products to catch on, how leaders transform organizational culture and how activists ignite social movements, how substance abuse counselors get addicts to realize they have a problem and how political canvassers change deeply rooted political beliefs.

This book is designed for anyone who wants to catalyze change. It provides a powerful way of thinking and a range of techniques that can lead to extraordinary results. Whether you’re trying to change one person, transform an organization, or shift the way an entire industry does business, this book will teach you how to become a catalyst.

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5 Lighthearted Books to Read for Spring

5 lighthearted books to read for spring

With lengthening days and warmer weather, winter is starting to come to a close. As much as I love cozying up on those chilly winter days, I’m itching for the transition into spring and happy to see it on the horizon. And my reading life is ready for some change, too. I’ll always love a good mystery or thriller, but with this new season I’m eager for some lighthearted fun. But I want my lighthearted books to also have a bit of depth, a little something I can sink my teeth into while offering easy reading. If this sounds like the type of book you’re looking for, this is the list for you!

Ready to see the books?

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