Tag Archives: books

Lil Red’s Book Club: Miss Benson’s Beetle By Rachel Joyce Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: Miss Benson’s Beetle By Rachel Joyce Edition

Hi everyone and welcome to a new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, we are going to be discussing the newest book by Rachel Joyce called Miss Benson’s Beetle. I am a huge fan of Rachel Joyce, as she authored one of my favorite books, The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry, so I was very excited to read Miss Benson’s Beetle. Like Harold Fry, it was nothing short of delightful and told the tale of an unlikely duo going on a big adventure. So, without giving any spoilers away, let’s discuss:

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Marjory Benson is a homely woman living in 1950s Britain with a large stature, no remaining family, or any meaningful relationships. She is a teacher of domestic sciences and, more often than not, is the subject of cruel jokes from her students. One day, after a particularly nasty cartoon rendition of her was passed throughout her class, she had enough and marched (Rather, limped) right out of the school. It was a “straw that broke the camel’s back” moment and she was ready for an adventure.

As a child and young adult, Marjory had a fascination with collecting beetles, which sprang from looking through a book of undiscovered creatures with her father. This book included the Golden Beetle that is supposedly found in New Caledonia and it has never left the back of her mind since. Now unemployed, Marjory decides that this is her time to travel across the world, find the beetle, and name it after her father.

Of course, this will be no easy feat and Marjory decided that she needed an assistant to accompany her on her search. Her interviews with potential candidates left a lot to be desired and, in the end, Marjory was stuck with the last option she wanted to go with – a young, flashy woman by the name of Enid Pretty. Enid is everything that Marjory isn’t. She’s talkative, outgoing, fashion forward, and an instant annoyance to Marjory. Despite their differences, Marjory needs an assistant and Enid joins her on the extensive traveling from Britain all the way to the Pacific island of New Caledonia.

Little does Marjory know, her assistant is bringing a lot of baggage along with her and I’m not talking about the traveling kind. Well, that too, actually, considering Enid brought countless suitcases with her! Enid is a woman on the run and a trip across the world is her perfect getaway. Later, in their journey, Enid is named one of Britain’s Most Wanted Criminals with Marjory wanted for association. Can the women continue to evade the law, find the beetle, and salvage some form of friendship? Read Miss Benson’s Beetle and find out!

It has been a long while since I read a book that I would consider “light” as I am drawn to mysteries and psychological thrillers and Miss Benson’s Beetle was like a breath of fresh air. It was such fun to join the odd couple of Marjory and Enid on their adventure and I felt eager to read it every day. From their travels on boats, trains, and a stolen Jeep to them trekking through the New Caledonia rain forests for an undiscovered beetle, I felt like I was with them every step of the way. I laughed when Enid said something silly, cried for their hardships, and felt my heart pounding every time they came in contact with the police.

I loved this book because, at the end of the day, it was a testament to the power of friendship no matter how unlikely. It also gave Marjory Benson, a woman who spent her life wishing she was invisible, a chance in the spotlight. All she needed was the help of Enid to coax her shine out of her. Watching Marjory transform into a confident woman while Enid matured through Marjory’s guidance was a joy. I was rooting for their success the whole time and I just know that you will too.

Miss Benson’s Beetle was one of the best feel good books I’ve read in years and I can’t recommend it enough. I am going to rate it with the prestigious ten out of ten stars for brilliant characters, a unique story line, and the wonderfully descriptive writing of Rachel Joyce. I enjoyed it so much that I wouldn’t mind reading it again and I literally just finished it!

What are you currently reading? Which book should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Hagrid’s Hut Harry Potter LEGO Set

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Hagrid’s Hut Harry Potter LEGO Set

Hi! Johnny and I love to build with LEGO and we were so generously gifted with the Hagrid’s Hut set from Harry Potter for Christmas. Although it was a much smaller set than what we’re used to, it took us a good three and a half hours plus to finish it and it was such fun to be doing something other than watching TV! Just because it was a small set doesn’t mean that it was any less challenging to assemble and there were lots of exciting surprises incorporated throughout the build. I think it turned out awesome! Take a look at the finished product and let’s discuss:

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Johnny and I have wanted to begin expanding our Hogwarts grounds for a while now and Hagrid’s Hut is the perfect set to start with. It has been sitting on our coffee table since its completion and I can’t help but smile every time I look at it because it is so freaking cool! It really is a to the T replica of Chez Hagrid’s in LEGO form and I almost forgot the sense of achievement and the downright fun that comes with building with LEGOs because it has been so long since we got a new set.

I am particularly fond of the pumpkin patch with Buckbeak and his passenger, the Minister of Magic. He is definitely not supposed to be on top of the hippogriff but, hey, whatever works! I am also completely charmed by all of Hagrid’s tools and utensils hanging from the rafters in his sitting room. The piece de resistance of this set, however, has to be the light up brick used to mimic the fire heating up Hagrid’s dragon egg. All you need to do is press on the rooftop above from the fire place and it lights up. It is such an awesome, simple idea and it still delights me every time I light the fire!

I would highly recommend the LEGO Hagrid’s Hut set if you have a Harry Potter LEGO collection, too. It is also a really nice beginner’s set if you have never built with LEGO before. Johnny and I are very eager to keep expanding Hogwarts and this just lit that fire even more… See what I did there?!

Who else enjoys building with LEGO? Did anyone watch the competition show LEGO Masters? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Best Of Friends By Lucinda Berry Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Best Of Friends By Lucinda Berry Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to a new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! After finishing the extremely wordy and fairly lengthy The Sleeping Nymph, I was ready for something short and sweet and I definitely got that with the two hundred and seventy page The Best Of Friends. While Johnny played his video games, I devoured this book in a handful of days and, although it wasn’t my absolute favorite thing I’ve read, I still enjoyed it and would happily read more by the author, Lucinda Berry. So, without giving any spoilers away, let’s discuss:

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Kendra, Lindsey, and Dani spent their childhood imagining the fairy tale adult life. Great husbands, children who could play together, and their best friendships flourishing into old age. Lucky for them, they all got exactly what they wanted. However, picture perfect families and friendships tend to be anything but that in a psychological thriller and The Best Of Friends is a true testament to that. And, when an alcohol and drug fueled incident between Kendra, Lindsey, and Dani’s teenage sons leaves one of them dead, the other comatose, and the last one too traumatized to speak, their picture perfect world begins to disintegrate around them.

The Best Of Friends is written in alternating chapters between the three mothers who are each handling their grief in their own ways on top of the stress of a police investigation of what happened to their boys. Not to mention that some of their relationships with their husbands are hanging on by a thread. Dark secrets from their past and present comes to life as each mother tries to do what they can to make sense of what they thought was a horrible accident. Or was it murder? Read The Best Of Friends to find out!

I can guarantee you that if you read this book, you will fly through it just as quickly as I did. I love books with alternating narrators and, with each chapter being roughly four pages or less, I would knock out forty to fifty pages in one sitting and not even notice it. In fact, I wish it was longer! The Best Of Friends was a riveting whodoneit and, despite being able to work out some of the plot twists on my own, I still did not see the grand reveal coming.

This story line felt like something out of Law & Order and I was so there for it. I will be the first to admit that The Best Of Friends was not the most well written book – or maybe it just felt that way after the highly detailed Sleeping Nymph that I finished previously. Regardless, it was the palette cleanser I needed and I am going to rate it with: seven out of ten stars for the exciting story line, shocking grand reveal, and the fact that I couldn’t put it down if you paid me. I would definitely recommend The Best Of Friends.

What was the last book that you finished? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Sleeping Nymph By Ilaria Tuti Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Sleeping Nymph By Ilaria Tuti Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to a new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Without giving any spoilers away, we are going to be discussing the sequel to Flowers Over The Inferno by Ilaria Tuti called The Sleeping Nymph. Ever since finishing Flowers Over The Inferno in August, I was eagerly awaiting to get my hands on the sequel to see what happens next to Italian police superintendent, Teresa Battaglia, and her team. Despite The Sleeping Nymph not being as good as its predecessor, I still enjoyed it well enough so let’s get to the review:

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In Flowers Over The Inferno, we learned that aging Teresa Battaglia has began suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s and the disease has done nothing but progress. Teresa wears a bracelet reminding her of her name, religiously writes notes in her diary so she doesn’t forget, and has a hard time recognizing people as well as coming up with the names of common objects. Somehow, she still manages to get up every day to help crack cases that are twisted, dark, and to some “unsolvable”. And, in the case of The Sleeping Nymph, Teresa is going to need all of her wits about her more so than ever before.

Our story begins with the discovery of a “missing” portrait in an art gallery painted by Alessio Andrian seventy years ago. The painting it called The Sleeping Nymph and it showcases the great beauty of a young woman – enchanting all who merely glimpse at it. Despite the portrait being so beautiful, it holds a dark secret because, upon testing the red paint that was used, we learn that it is actually blood. What’s more, the tests showed traces of cardiac tissue, meaning it came straight from the heart.

Since painting The Sleeping Nymph, Alessio Andrian never spoke a single word again. He is still alive but, clearly, will be of no help to the case so it is up to Teresa and her partner, Massimo Marini, to find out about the origins of the painting on their own. Through their diligent work, they wind up in the Resian Valley where The Sleeping Nymph originated. However, they get a lot more than they bargained for in the Valley when a human heart is found nailed to a tree, thus fast forwarding their case into the present.

Could the killer of the Nymph still be alive and has come back to tie up loose ends? Or is there foul play going on in the Valley? There is even an inkling that these murders might be tied to occult practices. Who murdered The Sleeping Nymph and who is killing now? Read the book to find out!

Now, I didn’t love The Sleeping Nymph but I also didn’t hate it, either. Despite the portrait painted in blood being an “oh my gosh” discovery, it also happened seventy years ago making the immediate sense of urgency you feel about the present day crimes in Flowers Over The Inferno nonexistent. The Sleeping Nymph kind of dragged on while the focus was in the past but promptly picked up about halfway through when they discovered the heart on the tree in modern time.

My other qualm with this book is just how wordy it is. Flowers Over The Inferno was like that too but I suppose I didn’t notice because it was one of my favorite books that I’ve read this year. Because The Sleeping Nymph didn’t immediately captivate me, the vivid and highly detailed descriptions came off as boring and I felt ready for the book to be done about fifty pages in. I have never not finished a book that I started, though, and the four hundred and forty page read felt more like a chore than something I really wanted to do.

The Teresa Battaglia novels are meant to be a trilogy and my only hope is that the third book will be better than the second. I genuinely have no idea how Teresa will be able to solve another case with the progression of her Alzheimer’s but I am very ready to find out!

Overall, I am going to rate The Sleeping Nymph with six out of ten stars. I think it paled in comparison to Flowers Over The Inferno but I still enjoyed portions of the story line as well as the grand reveal. I would still recommend reading the Teresa Battaglia novels and I can’t wait to see how the trilogy ends.

What is the last book that you read? What do you recommend for me to read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Feeling Down? Treat Yoself!

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Feeling Down? Treat Yoself!

Hellooo!! The coronavirus pandemic can induce a plethora of feelings like exhaustion, stress, depression, and anxiety. I have definitely experienced all of these and if you’re taking the virus seriously, then I’m sure you have too. It is hard to get yourself back to baseline when you are feeling so down but there is nothing like a little treat to lift yourself up. How about brushing off the blues with some of the following?

Your favorite drink:

Nothing perks me up literally and metaphorically like my favorite coffee drinks from Starbucks. I live for the holiday season when I can get my Peppermint Mocha fix and the warm fuzzies I feel with a steaming, fragrant cup in my hands. For even more feel good power, pay it forward for the person behind you and see if you can get a chain started. Then, you can make someone else’s day too!

Pizza party:

This past weekend, Johnny and I ordered a pizza and watched Christmas movies together and it was a blast! Our food was delicious and it was so nice to just settle in for the afternoon without worrying about what to make for dinner. It was also a relief to have some entertainment that wasn’t stress inducing with violence or triggering story lines. I highly recommend a viewing of Elf, Jingle All The Way, or The Muppets Christmas Carol to get yourself in the holiday spirit as well as to put a smile on your face. 🙂

Smell goods:

There is nothing better than sinking into a nice, warm bath filled with lush bubbles in your favorite scent. Have a shopping trip online to your favorite bath and body care supplier and order some pampering treats for yourself. How about some bath bombs from Lush? Or some uber lathering body wash and a few candles from Bath & Body Works? My favorite scents of vanilla, orange, and apple always help to relax me – combine that with a long soak in the tub and it is heaven!

A new book:

Take a step away from the craziness of the real world and tuck into a good book. Grab something from the library or Barnes & Noble and settle in for the afternoon in a totally different world. I love to read and I always feel infinitely more relaxed after I knock back a couple of chapters in whatever book I am working on finishing. If you’re not the biggest fan of reading, try a subscription to Audible for some book tapes that you can play while driving or cooking. My Johnny loves having Audible and I definitely recommend it too.

New home decor:

This is not to say to remodel your living room entirely but you could always purchase some new wall art or a cute knick knack that you can’t live without. Seeing something daily that you find visually appealing is a sure fire way to make you smile. You could also always skip the purchasing process and DIY some decor with your bestie. Every time you see it, you will think of the sweet memory of a craft night – no matter how your art work turns out. 😀

Treating yoself doesn’t have to break your bank. Use the tips above and get the spring back in your step!

How do you like to treat yoself? What makes you smile? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes By Suzanne Collins Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes By Suzanne Collins Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to a new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! This post has been a long time coming because The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes by Suzanne Collins was five hundred and fifteen pages. It took me a while to finish this prequel to The Hunger Games series but it was worth every single page and then some. As always, without giving any spoilers away, let’s discuss:

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For those of you who don’t know, I am a HUGE fan of The Hunger Games. From the books to the movies, I love it all and Katniss is one of my heroes. I am also #teampeta till the day I die, in case you were wondering! ANYWHO, The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes was pre-Katniss times and focuses solely on the future president of Panem, Coriolanus Snow, and his ultimate rise to power.

Young eighteen year old Coriolanus (Coryo to his loved ones) is a Capitol sweetheart despite secretly barely having a penny to his name. He covers his lack of cash with the gift of gab and excels at school. In fact, he excels so much that for the first time in Hunger Games history, students at the Academy are going to be mentors to the tributes and he is chosen to coach none other than Lucy Grey of District 12.

Originally, Coryo was disgusted by his fate because surely a scrawny girl from 12 couldn’t be the victor amid her extremely tough competition. What’s more, sadistic Dr. Gaul who is one of the head scientists of the games is watching his every move and she has plenty of surprises up her sleeves with her genetically mutated animals and love of war.

Despite Coryo’s obvious setbacks for the games, he lives by the motto “Snow lands on top” and he will do anything to win. And, as Lucy Grey proves herself to be a formidable opponent and a huge prize for the winning coach is announced – a full ride to the University, Coryo becomes even more intent on reigning victorious.

The Hunger Games are just the beginning of this wild ride and, sadly, I really can’t give any more away without spoiling a MAJOR plot twist that left me with my chin touching the floor. So, I will say this, The Hunger Games fans will absolutely love this book because it was easily one of my favorite ones of the series.

It was so interesting to read The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes because it tied in beautifully to the other three books. From beloved songs like “The Hanging Tree” and characters like the introduction of Lucky Flickerman, this prequel answers a lot of unanswered questions and it paints a very clear picture of how The Hunger Games began and why they are still happening decades later once Katniss volunteers as tribute.

Jam packed with action, twists, and turns on every page, it was impossible to put this book down. It also leaves you feeling conflicted about Coriolanus Snow who can almost be viewed as a tragic hero in his younger years. Don’t let this fool you, though, because if you have read the series or watched the movies, you will know that he ends up as a president who runs things more like a dictatorship.

Yes, Snow lands on top. But at what cost? Read The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes and find out!

Who else is a fan of The Hunger Games? Are you #teampeta or #teamgale? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Hunting Party By Lucy Foley Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Hunting Party By Lucy Foley Edition

Howdy and welcome to a new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, we are going to be talking about a book called The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley, without giving any spoilers away, of course. Now, this author might sound familiar to you because I actually just finished up another book of hers a few weeks ago. While I enjoyed the last book I read of Lucy Foley’s well enough, The Hunting Party missed the mark severely.

Read on to find out more and find out what star rating this book ends up with:

It’s a New Year’s bash and anyone who is anyone in the posh “inner circle” will be there. A group of the closest friends who, for the most part, all met during their university years at Oxford. Every New Year, couples Giles and Samira, Julian and Miranda, Mark and Emma, Nick and Bo, and odd one out Katie embarks on a mini vacation to celebrate.

They end up somewhere different each time, as it’s always up to a different person to plan it, and this year they find themselves in the Scottish Highlands. Scenic and beautiful, yes, but extremely remote and with a startling lack of WiFi. Each respective couple has their own tiny cabin on the resort but their primary hang out is the rustic chic Lodge with plush rugs and couches, mounted deer heads, and oh yeah… It’s made entirely of glass.

For the most part, this all sounds relatively nice. However, as the booze is poured, celebratory pills are popped, and a downfall of snow threatens to keep them barricaded all of their dark secrets and rivalries begin to bubble to the surface. The Hunting Party covers their entire New Year’s excursion from the moment they board the train to the ghastly murder that concludes their trip. Anyone and everyone is a suspect and it’s up to you to find out who if you read The Hunting Party.

Similarly to Foley’s last book, The Hunting Party is told in an interweaving tale between beautiful Miranda, homely Emma, quiet Katie, as well as the gamekeeper of the property named Doug, and the property manager called Heather. Similarly to Ruth Ware’s In A Dark, Dark Wood, this book revolves around a celebratory weekend gone awry in a remote location in a house made of glass.

Because of both of these identical nods to books that I have already read, it felt really impossible to enjoy this book. It almost felt like I was reading a combination of Ruth Ware and Lucy Foley instead of individual books from each author. Not to mention the fact that I didn’t particularly care for any of the characters. None of them were incredibly relatable in terms of their personalities, professions, and backstory and I never felt like I was getting “in” to the book. Rather, just speed reading to finish it up.

Perhaps, all of these other issues would be less damning had the grand reveal been amazing. Unfortunately, that fell flat too. I figured it out extremely early and every Red Herring introduced was debunked so quickly that there were no real “twists and turns” throughout the book.

I honestly can’t say that I would recommend The Hunting Party to any of you and have to rate it with a zero out of ten stars. The plot was tired and used before, the characters felt like caricatures instead of real people, and the grand reveal was so simple I think that a fifth grader could figure it out. It is not worth your time and definitely wasn’t worth mine. WHOMP WHOMP.

Have you read any lackluster books lately? Do you have a recommendation for what I should read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Family Upstairs By Lisa Jewell Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Family Upstairs By Lisa Jewell Edition

Hello! While I had to take an entire week of work off for being sick, I was able to finish the book I’ve been working on called The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell. Despite enjoying this book very much, it is easy to say that it is not for everyone. Before we discuss (Without spoilers, of course!), I’ll be putting a trigger warning on The Family Upstairs for child abuse and heavy cult activity. Now, let’s get to it:

Libby Jones lives the average life of a freshly turned twenty-five year old. Struggling to make ends meet, constantly attempting to climb the corporate ladder, and trying to figure out just who the heck she is in this world (Ringing more true for her, as she is adopted). But Libby has been somebody to her real family since she’s been born and now it’s time to find out where she came from.

Shortly after Libby’s birthday, a letter arrives claiming that she is the inheritor of a mansion as well as learning about her real parents. Although ramshackle, abandoned, and with a dark history the home is still worth a fortune. A dark history, you say? Well, what else would you call a home in which children have gone missing and a perfectly healthy ten month old baby girl is living among the corpses of three adults in black robes?

This entire story is honestly just weird. But good weird! The mansion Libby inherits was once magnificent with fine furnishings, designer clothes in each closet, and the best of the best or it wouldn’t do. So how in SAM HILL was there nothing left in the home when the baby was found by the police? What was the baby doing there to begin with?!

The baby was not old enough to take care of herself so who was taking care of her? While Libby is searching for herself, there are others hot on her trail. The “baby” has now turned twenty-five and a handful of people have been waiting a quarter of a century for it. Friends? Foes? Family? Read The Family Upstairs to find out!

Told in an interweaving round between Libby and two others who may or may not have lived in the home previously, there are surprises and red herrings during every chapter making it impossible to put down. In fact, just talking about it is almost giving too much away. Life changing secrets are looming in the dark of the once grand home that Libby is now the owner of and each sick twist brings her one step closer to who she was, is, and will be.

Now, if you think my description of this book is intense, then you are in for a wild ride if you actually read it. The Family Upstairs turned and writhed throughout each sentence into a fireworks finale of the grand reveal. It was a great reveal, by the way, but I am proud to say I figured most of it out beforehand, thank you very much! 😀

I highly recommend this book if you can stomach it and am awarding it with an eight and a half out of ten stars. This has been one of the best story lines I’ve read in a long while and each and every character will leave you shocked for good or bad. Tuck into this page turner and enjoy, you won’t regret it.

Which book are you currently working on? Who is your favorite author? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Guest List By Lucy Foley Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Guest List By Lucy Foley Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to a new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, we’re going to be talking about a total dream wedding gone totally wrong in Lucy Foley’s The Guest List. Without giving any spoilers away, of course, let’s discuss. But, first, I will be placing a trigger warning on this book for references to self harm, suicide, and plenty of relationship wrong doings.

Now, let’s get to it:

^^^ Peep how my nails match the title text! 😀

Jules and Will. Will and Jules. The ultimate power couple, as Jules runs her own online magazine and Will is the host of the popular TV show, Survive The Night. Their fast moving relationship resulted in a wedding less than a year later and this should be an event for the ages with both of their celebrity status.

Do dream weddings always end happily ever after, though? Told in a back and forth style between Jules, Will, the bridesmaid (Jules’ little sister, Olivia), the best man (Will’s “best friend”, Johnno), the plus one (Hannah, wife of Jules’ best friend), and the wedding planner named Aoife we learn that not everyone is who we think they are.

Everyone in this wedding party is seemingly connected and you must finish the book to find out how. As the cover says, it’s an event so big and posh that you would “kill to be in on it”.

I really enjoyed The Guest List for several reasons. I loved the back and forth between the five main characters and it was cool how each chapter filled in a blank piece that was missing before. This build up made for tension so thick you could cut it with a butter knife and I had to make myself put it down so many times just so I could get to bed!

The grand reveal was also one which I didn’t see coming – a rarity as I like to consider myself a bit of a sleuth! Although some of the characters were absolutely horrendous in their past and current actions, there were others that shined like beacons and it’s up to you to figure out which bad seed ruined this whole bunch.

I am going to rate The Guest List with an eight out of ten stars. I have never read anything by Lucy Foley before and this was an excellent introduction. The unputdownable story line combined with a startling location and unique characters left for a “put you on the edge of your seat” thriller and I can’t wait to read more from Foley!

Which book are you reading? Have you finished anything good recently? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Boy From The Woods By Harlan Coben Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Boy From The Woods By Harlan Coben Edition

Hi there and welcome to a new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, we are going to be talking about a book that I enjoyed very much by Harlan Coben called The Boy From The Woods. I devoured this three hundred and seventy page thriller in about a week and I would definitely put it under the “un-put-down-able” category. Bold and interesting characters mixed with a modern story line as well as a nod to the unsettling political times we are in made for an exciting read. So, without giving any spoilers away, let’s discuss:

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The Boy From The Woods is an interweaving tale between Hester Crimstein, seventy something criminal attorney with her own TV show and Wilde. Simply Wilde with no last name because he doesn’t have one. Wilde was found living in the woods, all alone but somewhat thriving as he learned how to read and talk through breaking into homes and watching TV and instructional videos. Wilde’s first and best friend was Hester’s now deceased son, David, and they played in the woods together before Wilde was even discovered.

Wilde remains a “family figure” in Hester’s world because he is the godfather to David’s son, Matthew, and lover to his widow, Laila. All is going well in Wilde’s world, until a distressed Matthew asks him for a favor. Find Naomi Pine. Who is she? A bullied classmate who spent her school life in torment and has been missing for a week.

Hester and Wilde team up to find Naomi, using Hester’s TV platform and connections to help the cause. When a second child goes missing from Naomi and Matthew’s high school is when things start to get a lot more complicated. Cue uber rich TV producer moguls Dash and Delia Maynard and their son, Crash. The only difference between Crash and Naomi? A ransom note was delivered for Crash, with a promise for his release if and only if damning tapes of megalomaniac politician Rusty Eggers are turned in.

Dash Maynard found fame through documentaries and used to record everything back in the day. And by everything, I mean everything. Him and Delia supposedly have tapes that would destroy Rusty’s potential presidency and someone wants them back. But who? Could Crash and Naomi’s disappearances be connected? Are they together right now? And what dark secrets are connecting this cast of characters to a final shocking conclusion? Read The Boy From The Woods to find out!

What I absolutely loved about this story line was the extremely modern take they had on, well, everything. I wonder which politician Rusty Eggers reminds me of (lol) and Naomi’s troubled life was a sad but very fresh take on your traditional high school student drama. The Boy From The Woods also embraced the media through texting, videos, apps, and Hester’s TV show. It almost felt like I was watching a movie in my head as I read because of the graphic and somewhat flashy descriptions of showbiz, baby.

The best thing about The Boy From The Woods, though? The grand reveal! The brilliance of this book is that Every. Single. Red. Herring. was hidden in plain sight and I thought that was really cool. The books I am used to reading involve a lot of guesswork and intuition to figure out the reveal before it’s… revealed. So, I was using that mentality to figure this book out and I couldn’t.

The grand reveal left me in absolute shock and when all of the clues were divvied up, I couldn’t believe I didn’t see it sooner. I haven’t read a book that threw me for this big of a loop in a long time and for that reason I am giving The Boy From The Woods an eight out of ten stars. I highly, highly recommend it!

What are you reading right now? Have you read anything good lately? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah