Books and Socks Rock

Book Reviews, Bookish thoughts, memes and more!

Published by Balzer+Bray in 2017

You know how when you read and get caught up in a book – it’s almost like you have control? Nothing bad will happen to the character if you stop reading. But as you read, their fate unfolds and turning the page doesn’t change it. That was this book. I couldn’t stop, I had to see justice for Khalil. I had to keep reading for Starr and her bravery and finding her voice.
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As it says at the end, this isn’t a fairytale. It’s so different from my own life. I know that this is realistic fiction but too many experience this. They experience racism and hate and nothing changes. It makes me angry too. It’s been over 50 years since MLK and we still haven’t fully realized his dream.
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The riots last June was a start but it’s not over yet. I always wonder what can I do but as we’ve talked about it with my children. I know I’m at least making a small start for change. They’re not growing up to hate.
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I realize I have white privilege and it’s not fair. This book, while fiction, speaks the truth. This story about Khalil happens all the time. For Trayvon, for Breonna and George Floyd and too many others. It’s a story about injustice. About racism.
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It’s a sad story but lots of happy moments too. I loved the family and how they looked out for each other. For teasing each other. They have hopes and dreams and are living too. And living means messy, loud, mistakes. And hugs, and forgiveness.
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I know I can’t do this book justice and that’s the point. I encourage everyone to read it and more own voices. One of the amazing things about books is it teaches empathy. We all need more of that I think and I think it will help build bridges of understanding.
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And this picture doesn’t even show the depth of this book or it’s characters. Starr loves the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Taco Bell is mentioned a few times. She loves basketball and plays on the school team, she’s seen tragedies and she’s seen true and loyal friends. She’s only 16 years old.
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If she and hundreds, thousands and millions of others can be brave and use our voice for change. Imagine what the world will be like!
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Published by Forever Books June 2019

This is like 3.5 stars. This has been on my tbr pile for forever! I listened to the audiobook (I didn’t love the narration but it wasn’t enough to stop me). It kept me interested throughout.
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Kristen makes small dog t-shirts and hires out a carpenter to make ladders for small dogs. It’s a successful business and her boyfriend is in the military and out on a deployment. They’ve dated for 2 years but have only spent a few weeks together. He’s due home soon and will live together and she’s having second thoughts.

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She’s driving her BFF’s fiancé new truck when she gets in a fender bender. The jerk behind her must’ve been on his phone. It couldn’t possibly be her fault or how she spilled her coffee…
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Josh just moved into town and is a fireman/EMT and came out to the city by his friends invitation. The friend also is getting married so it was convenient to be there to help with wedding preparations.
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I really liked Josh, he was steady and knew what he wanted throughout the whole book. Kristen was a mess and her emotions flip flopped all the time. It was getting exhausting and annoying. But I suppose if I had a period and horrible cramps for 3 weeks out of every month I would do the same. 😅
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I appreciated that this book highlights that women have periods 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 and that infertility issues, while a touchy subject, shouldn’t be kept quiet. Lots of women experience miscarriages, endometriosis, etc that can make living life impossible.
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There was drama at the end. Lots. I liked that some was realistic and others…wasn’t and predictable.

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Language, some intimate scenes. And again – trigger warning for infertility. But I still plan to read the next book and the third that coming out soon.

Published Feb 2021 by Wednesday Books

When one of your Bookstagram besties said this is one of her top 2021 books and it’s 10 days into Jan – you know you have to read this book!
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Amelia Unabridged is about Amelia, newly graduated from high school and ready for life to begin. Her BFF Jenna has their whole lives planned out. They’re eagerly awaiting for their FAV author, N E Endsley, to announce his final book at a book conference. Only the overhead speaker announce he’s unable to attend.
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Frustrated and upset, Amelia goes to the bathroom before leaving, when she returns to Jenna, Jenna tells her she spoke to N E Endsley! Amelia can’t even talk to Jenna. Little did they know it would be their last words.
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A mysterious book delivered to Amelia causes her to fly to Michigan seeking out a quirky independent bookstore (I seriously need it in my life!) and the people that live in this little town will change her life.
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I love the title and there’s even a quote, “Or maybe I would focus on the crumpled edges of the removed pages and call it Amelia Abridged.” There is beauty in grief and overcoming it. It’s not something to ignore or to hope to skip through. It changes you and touches everyone differently. Little did Amelia know how she’d change during one week in a small bookstore near Lake Michigan.
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I won this arc and I can’t wait to buy the physical copy! This YA is perfect for any book lovers. With plenty of references to other books, the imagination of living in books but also part of the living world is something I think everyone can relate to and that Amelia doesn’t have her life planned out. She’s a great heroine and Nolan is still something of a mystery but I love him and his story arc and how it’s unfolded.

When your book buddy uses the same words to describe a book and it really is!
Published 2020 by Berkley

This was a fun fast read. It reminded me of a mashup between a Regency “She’s All That” and Cinderella. It was full of drama, miscommunication and bodies of water. 😉 I didn’t know how it was going to end!
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Mr. Malcolm, while not titled, has plenty of wealth and prestige that women throw themselves at him. The marriage mart is too wide and full of silly females. He creates a list to make it easier to narrow down the perfect woman for him.
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She must be musical, beautiful, graceful, kind and aware of politics and have genteel relations.
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Julia learns of Mr.Malcolm’s list after learning she didn’t make the cut and is going to make him rue the day he ever made that list. But will her friend Selina play along? Mr.Malcolm has broken hearts along the way, will he get his just desserts and get his broken too?
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I couldn’t put this down! And I could definitely see it play out as a movie and learned they made one! There wasn’t much character growth for Selina but I loved all the characters. Maybe a little less of Lord Cassidy. 😅I was thrown for a loop when Lord Malcolm came and it seemed unnecessary. There wasn’t much insight into characters and almost a comedy of errors because there was lots of scheming.

Book quote from Suzanne Alain, author of “Mr. Malcolm’s List”
Published Oct 2020 by Dial Press

I love Sophie Kinsella and have read all her stand alone books (I haven’t read all of the Shopaholic series but most of it). So I know what to look for in a SK book – funny LOL moments, quirky heroine who sticks to her guns even if there’s tons of pit stops and detours along the way.
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Ava has lots of interests- collecting old furniture and books, learning about aromatherapy and trying her hand at writing a novel. Her time is spent with friends and her crazy rescue beagle Harold. Ava decided to go on a writing retreat in Italy. They’ve left their lives behind, use nicknames and can’t share anything personal of their lives.
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Ava aka Aria at the retreat, meets a handsome man named Dutch. Of course it’s not really his name but they have an idyllic vacation and fall into insta love knowing nothing personal about their lives.
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Back home in London the new couple excitement bubble pops and it seems like they have never in common.
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Seriously I didn’t know how this book would end or how they could stay together. It was rough, harder to fall in love with this book than other SK books. But seriously the end made up for it! And really the friends kept the story interesting for me.
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For the whole book really I didn’t relate to Ava or cheer for her and Matt. I felt like Ava kept trying to change Matt to live life like hers like trying to make him vegetarian. Or how she said no baggage but then kept asking questions about his ex’s. I completely understood Matt’s frustration. Plus being unhappy work really affects your whole outlook on life. But it was crazy that he was all of a sudden chatty and even texting in the app.

Indie published May 2020
Yesterday I totally had butter out softening in preparation to make cookies when I started this book and read this quote. 😆

I’ve read Sarah’s historical books but not her contemporary romance books and I’ve heard great things about it. But it kept going on and I put it off because I was scared that I wouldn’t love it as much as it’s hyped up. Does that ever happen to you?
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Evie has epilepsy and lives on her own with a service dog. Her parents haven’t forgiven her for living their wealthy lifestyle. But Evie can’t stand the manipulation. Can’t her parents just love her for being her? Luckily her life is filled with love in friends and her dog. She gets a lot of satisfaction in her job matching service dogs to children who need them.
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She’s on the way to a coffee shop to meet with a new client. Only he doesn’t want to meet her and insults her. Never mind his steely blue eyes see her as nothing more than an annoying car salesman. She doesn’t need him for commission.
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Jake isn’t normally a jerk but life hasn’t been going his way when his wife left him and their daughter. His daughter was diagnosed with epilepsy and he hasn’t slept well in 6 months. Or that his daughter went behind his back to set up a meeting with someone.
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I’m happy to say that this book lived up to the hype! I couldn’t put it down and loved the depth and emotions of the characters. I even cried a little! This book deals with disabilities and focuses on epilepsy. When I worked at the movie theater as a 20 something (best job ever!!) one of my coworkers had an epileptic episode. It was scary because we didn’t know what to do but they were in a same place. And last year I met with a local volunteer group that trains service dogs. It was so amazing! The things that dogs are trained to do is mind blowing and how the can pick up changes in our body is incomprehensible. So I really loved this book for many of its aspects.
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It was fairly predictable but I didn’t care. And can Jake really be so drop dead gorgeous with a 6 pack if he never sleeps and we never hear of him working out? Sure 😂 That’s something that would totally bug me but I can’t say I’m even upset about it 😂
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Can’t wait to read the next book in the series. And seriously- don’t put off reading this book. 😉

PublishedOct 2018 by Bethany House

I listened to this an audiobook and it was so sweet and full of Christmas hope and love.
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I loved how the stories were connected by the amethyst brooch and the women were related to each other. It starts in England in the early 1800s and through each story, it skips a generation and ends in contemporary time.
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It’s so hard to pick a favorite! Each character and their story was all unique.
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Kristi Ann Hunter’s “Legacy of Love” starts it off where Sarah is a lady’s companion. Through her story of finding love, receiving the brooch and setting off for America.
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Karen Witemeyer “Gift of the Heart” Ruth and her daughter Naomi come out west for a job. Her husband passed away and they needed a fresh start. Only thing is she doesn’t have the funds to pay the first month rent on their cottage. The landlord won’t budge but she offers her brooch as collateral until she can pay it off. The man seemed to cold and unfeeling, not coming to her plight but things change over their acquaintance.
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Sarah Loudin Thomas “A Shot at Love” Fleeta would rather shoot and hunt than learn to be a proper young lady. It start at the annual Thanksgiving Turkey shoot and she has competition of a timber man. Fleeta has the chance to get her own store and uses the brooch as collateral. She doesn’t need it to find love because she doesn’t want to get married.
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Becky Wade “Because of You” Maddie is in love with her best friend’s husband. She always liked him but since that chance meeting where her friend saw him first- her friend passed away in a car accident and it’s been years until seeing each other again. But there’s no way he would be interested in her. He is too busy with work and being a single dad. They help doing Christmas project where they spends a ton of time together. But her mom always tries to throw other single men at her or people mention Leo’s late wife.
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I loved the family history as the stories progressed. It makes me wonder more what my ancestors lives were like.

Published Sept 2019 by Random House

Instagram made me do it. I was seeing the beautiful cover of this book all over so a few months ago I bought it and finally got around to reading. In time for the US election 😂 the irony.
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For starters, I loved the world building that McGee made! Yes it’s our world but so different. The nuances and symbolism of the Revere Guard and their pin, how there’s no White House! All these tiny details. I loved it!
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The book follows four females. Beatrice, the heir and next queen to be! Samantha, the younger sister and “spare”, Sam’s commoner best friend Nina and then Daphne. She once dated the prince and is ambitious enough to want more. She’s dangerous and has too many secrets.
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There was so much drama and betrayal, I definitely see the Gossip Girl vibe that many used to describe it. So many tropes throughout: unrequited love, best friend to brother, Cinderella, forbidden, commoner to royalty, crazy ex-girlfriend, etc. and this is book 1!
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A tad cliche, yes. Am I there for it? Yes! Throughout the book I rooted for different characters, loved them and mourned for them. McGree has enchanted us all at the idea of American Royalty.

1. The Way of Kings

I’ve read the Mistborn series and Elantris and Warbreaker from Sanderson and my husband devours every book of his. So when my husband, very much a non reader tells me to read a book – I take it seriously and so far his recs haven’t disappointed. And neither has this beastly book!

I know I’m late in the game to start this book, it’s size was intimidating and I knew I could read a lot of smaller books in the same time. But if you’ve been putting it off for these same reasons – don’t!

Sanderson’s genius of world building and magic systems is unparalleled and how he masterly weaves multiple plot lines is insane. Leaving much of the last 200+ pages nonstop reading.

2. The House in the Cerulean Sea

I recently reviewed it but the whimsical and wit plus love and compassion is so heartwarming and just what we need! Be brave like Sal, excited like Chauncey, giving like Linus (it’s okay if you lose a button or two) and be playful like Lucy!

3. Forget Me Not

This long awaited book did NOT disappoint! We got to see the Jonquil family parents – Lucas and Julia in their not so happy arranged marriage. But if you’ve read Eden’s Jonquil series (there’s a lot) then you’ve heard stories of their loving father. So I don’t think anyone expected their marriage to start like this! Plus you got to meet Lucas’ friends, the Gents, which will each have their own story.

4. A Proper Charade

This book is fun and flirty and thriving! 😉😉😎😎 And a perfect read for the new year!
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Patience has made a goal to better herself – plus her annoying older brother said she couldn’t so…she’s got to prove him as much as herself that she can. 👊🏼
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5. American Royals

I saw this going around the ‘gram and knew I had to read it and see what was up! I loved the idea of what if the US had kings and queens. McGee thoughtfully went through US history and made little changes. I love that kind of thinking especially with how the world evolves.

6. I’ve Got Your Number

This isn’t a new read. But like rearward number 5? I seriously can’t go a year without reading a Sophie Kinsella book! They’re fun, relatable and always a fresh breath of air. I’ve Got Your Number has a fun plot where an enemies to lovers share a phone.

7. Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts

I’ve loved Nancy Campbell Allen’s steampunk fairy tale retelling series. This one is my favorite in the series and is a Cinderella retelling. There’s mention of the classic bits but new and unique ones too. Plus it opened up a whole new genre to me! I need to look up more steampunk.

8. Lakeshire Park

This new debut author is quickly making a name for herself with the Proper Romance line. Two sisters will soon be destitute and homeless when a last ditch effort to save themselves lands then at a house party. Amelia needs to make sure her younger sister catches the attention of their host. Only they have competition. Another but fantastically done enemies to lovers.

9. The Last Word

This was such a fun book! Lucinda’s favorite author dies before completing the serial. So Lucinda is on a mad dash to find who might know the rest of the story. Her friend David follows along reluctantly. This is based off of the authoress Elizabeth Gaskell and how she dies before completing “Wives and Daughters”

10. Miracle Creek Christmas

This is a contemporary Christmas story which is new for the Proper Romance line but Krista Jensen has it all – Christmas small town feel, love and hope, forgiveness! This sweet story is more than its characters. There is a lot of repressed grief for Mark Rivers. As a firefighter he proudly does his job to save lives. A bad burn on his face isn’t the only thing scar he has. When the new art teacher moves in, she sees the man and not the burn. Something even Mark isn’t able to do.

These are all books worthy of rereads, can’t put it down – must buy the sequel and any other work this author produces. I hope it gave you some ideas for your tbr. Mine is always out of control and it was so hard picking only 10! But I’ll try to do more compilation posts of books than just a single review post.

Thanks for following along! Happy New Year!

Published Sept 2020 by Bethany House

I love the Ivy Hill series and coming back! It’s been a while though but that’s okay. I think this could be read as a stand-alone.
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Where to start?! A. It’s Julie Klassen and I love her books. 2. It’s a Christmas story and C. A reformed rake trope!
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Richard is a bachelor through and through. He sowed his wild oats earlier in life, writes satirical commentary in the newspaper and is overly fond of his clothes. So much that he takes in a stray dog and puts his terrier in a matching waistcoat. Life is grand until his mother summons him home for Christmas or he’s cut off. Nothing could be worse than that, right? So home he goes.
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His mom tries to match him up with Arabella Awdry but he remembered her from his youth and she giggled nonstop. Being home has him relieving the past, his past regrets and pain. Especially seeing his dear friend Susanna.
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Loved Richard’s growth! And loved that it didn’t wrap up so quickly or as predicted.

I painted Wally