the wife between us greer hendricks sarah pekkanen

What I Read This Month: March 2018

First off, Happy Easter! Hope all of you are having a wonderful and blessed Sunday.

I actually am pretty proud of myself for this timely book review seeing as it is April 1st. That being said, I basically read the book I’m about to review in one sitting yesterday. I’ve been trying to read one book a month, so I needed to fulfill my goal. Definitely worth it because the book I chose to read for March was a home run!

I picked up The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen because I saw so many bloggers and other authors reading and recommending it. I knew I had to read it and let me tell you, IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT!

To give you a brief overview, we meet Vanessa who is a shattered middle-aged woman who is divorced and trying to cope with her newly single life. We also meet Nellie, a woman who is young, newly engaged trying to accept the new, luxurious life she’s about to gain. As you read both points of view of these women, you begin to make fair assumptions about their lives, but as GoodReads puts it best, assuming nothing. This is not the book to assume anything because once you think you know what’s going on, you realize you have no clue at all.

The Wife Between Us is every bit suspenseful and mesmerizing. A true page-turner. I read 80% of this book in a matter of hours. It’s not particularly a lengthy story nor is it a difficult read, but the genuine mystery and intrigue will make you not want to put the book down. I literally gasped out loud so many times from shock. I felt like a damn fool when the first twist was revealed because there were hints that if you read carefully you would have known what was really going on vs. what the author wants you to think is going on.

As I write this review, it’s hard to not give away spoilers because there are so many crucial parts of this story that all connect back together in the end. Literally, just when you think you’re done with the final chapter, there’s an epilogue that throws in one final twist that was amazing and made everything come full circle. The authors do a really good job a tieing the past and the present all together. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK! It’s worth the hype. It’s worth wasting a few hours reading it all in one sitting because you’ll get so easily sucked into the story. It needs to be made into a movie!

Get Your Copy of The Wife Between Us: Click Here

Like this blog post if you’ve read The Wife Between Us, too. Or if it’s on your reading list.


What I Read This Month: February 2018

It’s time for my “What I Read This Month” check-in for February. This past month, I chose a book that not only came highly recommended by many other book blogs but genuinely sounded interesting.

“The Couple Next Door” by Shari Lapena

Here is the synopsis from GoodReadsA domestic suspense debut about a young couple and their apparently friendly neighbors–a twisty, rollercoaster ride of lies, betrayal, and the secrets between husbands and wives. . .

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all–a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.

Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they’ve kept for years.

What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family–a chilling tale of deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.

Initially, the synopsis of this book intrigued me. The fact that so many people had read it and had added it their must-read lists, made me want to download it to my library without hesitation.

I’ll admit it, this story drew me in from the beginning as the mystery and suspense were almost instant. I had a hard time putting it down as it was an easy, fast read. Even as the story progressed, it was hard not to be curious about this couple and the details that came to life as the mystery continued behind “the crime”. I had my suspicions from the beginning and there was genuinely a moment while I was reading I gasped out loud and almost threw the book across the room I was that shocked and disgusted. But, as the story progressed, it just became too much. The twists were almost so twisted that it became ridiculous. Just when you think you have it all figured out, another corkscrew was thrown into the mix. It just seemed almost unnecessary, yet necessary to the plot at the same time. And this is why I have mixed emotions about this book.

That all being said, I went back and forth with how I felt about The Couple Next Door. The decision I came to was that while I liked The Couple Next Door, I didn’t love it. It was a fun read and it kept my interest peaked the entire time I read it, but it wasn’t the best book I have ever read either. The characters had a lot of potential with the backgrounds they were given, and yet I was disappointed with them at the same time. I’m all for good plot twists too, but this book had a plot twist that I just did not care for at all.

If I had to give this book a rating it would be 3/5 stars. I definitely understand why there was so much hype behind it and now after I have finished it, I have read mixed reviews so I know I’m not alone.

Read The Couple Next Door here:


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What I Read This Month – January 2018

I’m fully aware that we are eighteen days into February and I’m posting about a book that I had read in January, but better late than never, right? One of my goals for this year is to read more. It’s something I enjoy doing and have not really done enough of in the past year. The goal was to read two books a month, but it seems so far that one book a month is more my pace. While hoping to keep this monthly goal, I want to share the books that I discover and read with you all. I’m going to try and choose different genres so I can appeal to a wide range of readers who are looking for book suggestions. The usual genres that I like are romances and thrillers/mysteries, and this first book that I read definitely falls into the thriller category.

Review for “Dark Matter” by Blake Crouch:

Honestly, such a fascinating story. Dark Matter is a science fiction thriller based in Chicago that follows Jason Dessen, a less than content college professor, physicist, father, and husband. One night he’s enjoying a drink with a friend and the next his life is turned upside down, or more appropriate for this story “an unrecognizable parallel”.

(Read the synopsis here)

I don’t remember how I came across this book, but I’m really glad I did. It had me so captivated with its constant suspense, detailed scenery, and thought-provoking ideas. The question that this story really harps on is: are we happy with the life that we live? What does happiness mean to one specific person? I like that the main character is stripped of his happiness and essentially everything in order to understand what truly makes him happy. How it’s stripped from him and how he goes about discovering it is insane, but what makes this story fun.

I’m the type of person that really dives into a book. If I like the story enough, I get into the character’s mindset and feel the emotions that they are portraying. Dark Matter played on my emotions brilliantly with the notion of what if this happened to me, what if this was possible, how would I cope with such intense and overwhelming knowledge of the idea of “what if”. I’m all for the bizarre when it comes to storytelling because it makes it all the more interesting and this story does not disappoint in the bizarro department.

The one thing that at times I wasn’t a huge fan of was the scientific jargon and explanations. Science plays a big role in this story, however, with the scientific terms and talk, everything that was mentioned was always explained in simpler terms for us non-science folk. I think this is so important for an author to do especially with content that can be so complex sometimes.

Up until the final chapter, I honestly had no idea how this story was going to end. It wasn’t predictable. Even aspects of the story were shocking because I would have never thought of something in the way Blake Crouch did. And I will say this without giving away anything, the finale was the perfect ending to this book. It just tied everything in together so wonderfully.

10/10 would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good thriller and a page-turner.

Start reading Dark Matter today!


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My Honest Fifty Shades Freed Review

Saw the film today (Saturday, Feb. 10th). I will be honest, I had spoiled some of the film for myself. It was hard not to with so many spoilers going around the past week from screenings and it being released a few days before seeing it. However, it didn’t make me feel any less excited. There is a VERY big difference experiencing something on the big screen vs. off.

To start off, let me get the few cons about the film out of the way. (These are my opinions. You don’t have to agree. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion especially when it comes to films. I respect that.) So, that being said…

The film was totally rushed. This has been a popular opinion I’ve seen and I agree. It moved so fast and skipped so many details. One minute the movie started and the next it ended. That’s how fast it felt like the movie went for me. Also, the flow was a bit choppy at times. It was clear that scenes were edited out for time restraints and sometimes it was very noticeable. It will be interesting to see if the flow is better if a extended, unrated version gets released.

This really was my only complaint. Otherwise, I enjoyed the film for what it was so much! The final installment was done beautifully and despite details being left out, they hit all the major points that I was hoping would be included.

(Ok, so I promised no spoilers, but remember this was a book before the film and I’m hoping most people who plan to see it have read the books. Things I may mention aren’t truly spoilers if you have read Freed. If you haven’t, then I suggest you stop reading this review.)

While this film is very sexy at times, I loved all the action, drama, and thrill, too. I don’t feel like there was more sex scenes in this one. It got hyped up that way, but it seemed well spaced out with the drama of Jack threatening Christian and Ana’s lives, along with their ups and downs of marriage. However, the few sex scenes we got did not disappoint. All I’m going to say is the Ben and Jerry’s scene was my favorite! Like holy Christian Grey!

And speaking of Christian, he was a bundle of emotions in this film and it was great to see that side of him. Angry Christian. Loving Christian. Clueless Christian. Scared Christian. Singing Christian. Dominant Christian. And even drunk Christian! When he comes home after drinking was hilarious. Might be one of my favorite scenes of the film.

As for the drama, there was definitely a lot of it. Seeing Christian and Ana deal with issues that I would hope most couples would talk about prior to getting married was interesting, intense, and even heartbreaking at times. Being in a relationship isn’t easy and I like that we saw their relationship beyond the sex and Red Room so much more.

Jamie and Dakota were brilliant a third time around. It’s crazy how different they are from FSOG to FSF. Jamie’s American accent was ten times better and he really embodied Christian. Dakota killed it as Ana. Ana is so sassy in Freed and she definitely brought that to the character. The scene when Ana yells at Christian for seeing Elena was great! Like damn right Christian fucked up and even he couldn’t fully understand what he did, but Ana didn’t hold back. Dakota was amazing in that scene!

If you haven’t seen it yet, just know the end will make you emotional. Maybe the whole movie will because the whole thing is a roller coaster of emotions. But, what really got me wasn’t just the storyline at the end, but there is a special scene that pays homage to the whole series and it made me sad that it has now come to and end. Ugh! Cue Fifty Shades if Depression.

To wrap this up, if you have enjoyed the books and films for what they are, I think you’ll love Freed. These movies were always made for the fans and not for outsiders aka critics who have never read the books. Not everyone is going to enjoy this story, but then again, this series was never meant to appeal to everyone. But for those of who do find the appeal, enjoy the final ride.

PS. The soundtrack for Freed is fire! Now knowing what songs are in what scene makes it even better, too!

The Best Damn Concert: Garth Brooks Tour 

I have not had a post-concert high in a long time and I am loving it! 

Last night, in the spur of the moment, my fiancé and I bought tickets to see Garth Brooks. We were both talking about how we haven’t been to a concert in a while and randomly I went on StubHub to see if there were any reasonable resale tickets. Sure enough, there were two seats that were selling for a more than reasonable price. I felt like it couldn’t be true, but I jumped on it and snatched them up before anyone else could. I won’t disclose how much we spent, but it was a steal. I would have been willing to pay more, but this was a deal I was not about to pass up. And no, these weren’t the best seats in the house, but they were decent seats in my opinion for what we paid.

We got to the venue around 5:45 pm. This was about the same time the previous show (five sold out shows in total for the weekend) had just got out. Thankfully, the sun was beginning to go down so it standing in line for about an hour wasn’t horribly unpleasant. Once inside, we took our seats and realized the section we were in was going to be impossible to get out of once the show started, which was fine because once it did I had no desire to go to concessions or need the bathroom.

Mitchel Rossellini, the opening act, did a four song set. He was actually really good for just him and his guitar belting out song after song. Definitely check him out! (And ladies, he’s got the looks, too.) Then Garth Brooks took the stage at 8 pm and the everyone went nuts. 

From the moment he took the stage, Garth was full of energy, singing his heart out and jamming out, and oozing with appreciation for how much the crowd loved him. It’s hard not to love him. He truly made it known that this show was for the fans. He played all the old songs that gave him the amazing career he has today. He told funny stories and really relished in how much the crowd loved every single thing he did. Some artists that I have seen in the past take the stage, go through the motions of their set list, and when the last song has ended they are done. I’m not saying other artists aren’t good live or aren’t appreciative of their fans, but Garth seemed genuine his entire show. Sure, some of it’s a gimmick, but he made it feel like he honestly, whole heartedly loved what he was doing and let the fans know it.

There was not a dull moment in his show. Sometimes there can be at concerts aka the bathroom breaks, but there really wasn’t. I lost count how many songs he played (and there were a lot). He played for two and a half hours with a minor break in his set so his wife, Trisha Yearwood could come out and sing a few of her songs. Girl has still got it, too! Even when we thought the show was over, he came our easily for another twenty minute set of just him and his guitar and played fan favorites that he hadn’t played yet and threw in a few covers. I’m not going to lie. I lost it when he played, Piano Man by Billy Joel. 

For anyone who is debating whether to go see him, or hasn’t seen him since he went on tour last, or are seeing him for the first time like I did, just go! He’s worth every penny. You won’t find a better artist (unless you’re really not a country fan) out there. 

Share your Garth Brooks concert experience with me in the comments below. I loved to hear about it. Or give this blog a like if you’re a Garth fan! 

Beauty and the Beast: Movie Review

The moment I found out that this movie was being made into a live action version, my inner child squealed! Beauty and the Beast is THE Disney movie I grew up on and is and will forever be my all time favorite. After watching it tonight in a packed theater, I think fell in love with it even more than I already am.

Beauty and the Beast was everything I had hoped it to be and more. The casting was spot on! Emma Watson was beautiful and brilliant as Belle. There was not a single actor in this film that I did not like. The in-depth to the storyline that highlighted the mystery of Belle’s mother was truly touching and interesting. The quick and witty humor of Lumierre and Cogsworth (and even Lefou) had me laughing more than I thought they would. The new songs, especially Evermore, were nice touches. The imagery was intense and stimulating. Be Our Guest was by far my favorite with all the colors and lights. 

(Side Note: I kept waiting for the delicious smell from Mickey’s Philharmagic in Disney World to be piped through the theater during Be Our Guest. Anyone else feel this way?)

There were some things I wasn’t keen on was at times it felt like some of the scenery lacked depth. I know, I just said I loved the imagery, but there were parts that were very movie set-esque. An example is when Belle is singing the Belle (Reprise) in the meadow. It was a little too obvious to me that it was on a set with digitally added scenery in the background. Also, the auto tune. I know that adjusting sound for songs can be necessary but Belle aka Emma Watson’s signing didn’t sound super natural at times. These are all things I can look past though because there were so many pros vs cons.

I’m literally on a post movie high from this film. I will say someone literally must have been chopping onions in the theater this entire movie because my eyes were constantly watering. I don’t know how one can see this film and not get a little emotional. There are a few scenes that really got me. I won’t say which so I don’t spoil too much.

But in all honesty, if you loved the animated version than you will love this one. It’s that good. I’m ready for round two!

fifty shades darker movie review

Fifty Shades Darker: Movie Review

Well, well, well, Mr. Grey is back and better than ever!

Fifty Shades Darker was my favorite book from the trilogy, so I had high hopes for the film adaptation. After watching the first film, I felt like, as a fan of the books, it just didn’t live up to the hype that the books created. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy the first movie, but I had just wished for more. That being said, Darker definitely brought more! More character development, more plot, and way more sex than the first movie. (This one was raunchy! I seriously was not prepared for the almost NC-17 rating that this film could have received if they had taken it any further than they already had. Yeah, it was that MUCH.)

fifty shades darker

Jamie Dornan knocked Christian Grey out of the park. This time around he seemed to understand Grey better than he did in Fifty Shades of Grey. He brought more intensity, humor, a range of emotions, and a whole lot more shirtless scenes! Christian genuinely smiles in this film and it happens more than once. Dakota Johnson I thought did a great job as Anastasia Steele. It was very apparent that the two of them felt more comfortable with their characters and interacting with one another than the first time around. Their personalities shined through and it was fun to watch them bring Christian and Ana to life.

Honestly, if you are a fan of the books, you’ll like the film. There are just a lot of little moments (unexpected humor) throughout that make it great along with the pivotal moments (the proposal and Christian dominating Leila), too. Don’t go see this movie thinking every scene will be exactly like the book. There were a few subtle changes, a few things left out, but it was still great in my opinion. I would share with you my favorite scene, but I haven’t been able to pinpoint which one that is. So much happens in this second film (book) that it’s a bit overwhelming.

My only complaints with this film were that it moved a bit fast and lacked to give depth to a few things. It felt like they just skimmed the surface at times. I was a little disappointed with the scene where Christian becomes the submissive. This was a scene I was looking forward to a lot. It was a huge moment in the book and while the scene leading up to that moment was perfection, it just lacked something for me. That’s just my opinion though.


And can we just talk about the soundtrack for this film? The music was amazing! It set the mood for  so many of scenes in so many ways. Helium by Sia is hands down my favorite. It’s really beautiful, plus I am a big Sia fan. She’s super talented. Her song is featured when Ana sees Christian with Leila and feels like she isn’t enough for him. See the film, listen to the song, and you will have major feels!

Despite the negative reviews it is receiving, this film was made with the fans in my mind. If you’re not one, than I wouldn’t recommend it. That being said, and being a fan, Fifty Shades Darker exceeded my expectations. It is definitely worth seeing (maybe even more than once just to stare at Jamie Dornan for two hours) if you enjoyed the books.