Book Reviews · Recommendations

A Family of Strangers by Emilie Richards

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A Family of Strangers
By: Emilie Richards

Published: June 2019
Published by: Kindle Edition
Format Read: ARC, Net Galley, eBook, Kindle App
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Mystery

Rating: 3.5/5

NOTE: I was sent a copy of A Family of Strangers by Emilie Richards from the publisher, via Net Galley, in exchange for an honest review.


Could a lifetime of memories…be a lifetime of lies?

All her life Ryan Gracey watched her perfect older sister from afar. Knowing she could never top Wendy’s achievements, she didn’t even try. Instead Ryan forged her own path while her family barely seemed to notice.

Now Wendy shares two little girls with her perfect husband while Ryan mourns the man she lost after a nearly fatal mistake in judgment. The sisters’ choices have taken them in different directions, which is why Ryan is stunned when Wendy calls, begging for her help. There’s been a murder—and Wendy believes she’ll be wrongfully accused.

While Wendy lays low, Ryan moves back to their hometown to care for the nieces she hardly knows. The sleuthing skills she’s refined as a true-crime podcaster quickly rise to the surface as she digs for answers with the help of an unexpected ally. Yet the trail of clues Wendy’s left behind lead to nothing but questions. Blood may be thicker than water, but what does Ryan owe a sister who, with every revelation, becomes more and more a stranger?

Is Wendy, who always seemed so perfect, just a perfect liar—or worse?


My Thoughts

What would you do if your sibling was in trouble and turned to you for help, no questions asked? What if you learned that your loved one wasn’t the person you thought you were? That is exactly what happens to Ryan Gracey, the main character in Emilie Richards novel A Family of Strangers.

Although I found this story to be predictable, reading as the mystery of Ryan’s sister Wendy unfolded, kept my attention.

What fascinated me the most was Ryan’s podcast Out in the Cold and how she explored unsolved crimes. I wish that this would have played more into the overall story. In fact I think that this would have made for an interesting premise for a book on its own. Instead her sluthing skills, she gained in her career assisted her in uncovering the truth behind Wendy’s disappearance.

Although A Family of Strangers wasn’t as thrilling as I hoped, I would still recommend it to fans of the mystery genre.


Lowest Average Goodreads Ratings

I was inspired by Rebel Mommy Book Blog’s post titled “Books I’ve Read with the Lowest Average Goodreads Rating” to make my own post. So here are some books that I’ve read with low average ratings.

The Islands of Doctor Thomas by Franchise Enguehard


Average Rating: 2.00

My Rating: 3.00

My Thoughts: I think the reason why The Islands of Doctor Thomas has such a low average rating on Goodreads, is because it isn’t very well known. In fact it was actually beautifully written and the setting of St. Pierre et Miquelon is one of my to visit bucket list locations.

The Secret Sister by Fotini Tsalikoglou


Average Rating: 2.70
My Rating: 2.00

My Thoughts: I won a copy of The Secret Sister from Goodreads. My low rating for this book connects with the low average due to the confusing style of the writing.

Forty Love by Madeleine Wickham


Average Rating: 2.92
My Rating: 2.50

My Thoughts: I was so disappointed that I didn’t enjoy Forty Love more as it is from an author I enjoy. The tone of the writing and the characters was so different than I have come to expect from this author and it seems as if others had the same problems with this book.

Book Reviews · Recommendations

L.A. Candy (L.A. Candy, #1) by Lauren Conrad

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L.A. Candy
(L.A. Candy, #1)
By: Lauren Conrad

Published: June 2009
Published by: HarperCollins
Format Read: Hardcover
Genre: YA Lit, Contemporary, Romance

Rating: 2.5/5


Los Angeles is all about the sweet life: hot clubs, cute guys, designer…everything. Nineteen-year-old Jane Roberts can’t wait to start living it up. She may be in L.A. for an internship, but Jane plans to play as hard as she works, and has enlisted her BFF Scarlett to join in the fun.

When Jane and Scarlett are approached by a producer who wants them to be on his new series, a “reality version of Sex and the City,” they can hardly believe their luck. Their own show? Yes, please!

Soon Jane is TV’s hottest star. Fame brings more than she ever imagined possible for a girl from Santa Barbara-free designer clothes, the choicest tables at the most exclusive clubs, invites to Hollywood premieres-and she’s lapping up the VIP treatment with her eclectic entourage of new pals. But those same friends who are always up for a wild night are also out for a piece of Jane’s spotlight.

In a city filled with people chasing after their dreams, it’s not long before Jane wakes up to the reality that everyone wants something from her, and nothing is what it seems to be.


My Thoughts

Well.. you know what they say “write what you know”. And former reality television darling, Lauren Conrad did just that. Pulling from her own experiences on the MTV hit series Laguna Beach and The Hills, Lauren writes a “fictional” tale of being plucked from obscurity and put in the spotlight in front of millions of viewers.

As I was a fan of both of those shows in their hay-day, I remember being excited to hear that L.C. (as she was often referred to) had wrote her own book. Unfortunately I didn’t pick it up until ten years after it was released. And that greatly affected my reading experience and in turn resulted in my low rating. Because truth be told, my interests have changed a lot since then. I am no longer captivated by the lifestyles of the rich and famous, like I used to be. Although I once enjoyed watching reality television shows like the fictional L.A. Candy, now I wouldn’t call it my cup of tea. In fact I haven’t even watched a single episode of the recently re-vamped Hills series, nor do I plan to.

Had I read this book back when it was released in 2009, I guarantee that I would have enjoyed it much more. However 32 year old me found it boring. What should have been a quick read was dragged out because I fought to keep myself interested in the story.

L.A. Candy did give a behind the scenes peek into reality T.V, which was informative. Knowing Lauren’s story and how her life was depicted on the shows, it was easy to tell who had influenced her characters and the direction she took the book. Due to a somewhat cliffhanger of an ending, I feel curious to read the second novel in this series.

Even though the writing wasn’t fantastic and it didn’t hold my interest as much as I would have hoped, I would still recommend it to fans of Laguna Beach, The Hills and Lauren Conrad.


Can’t Wait Wednesday: The Spice King

Can’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme featuring our most anticipated releases to come. It is hosted by Tessa at Wishful Endings.

The Spice King
(Hope and Glory, #1)
By: Elizabeth Camden


Expected Publication Date: September 3, 2019


Gray Delacroix has dedicated his life to building a successful global spice empire, but it has come at a cost. Tasked with gaining access to the private Delacroix plant collection, Smithsonian botanist Annabelle Larkin unwittingly steps into a web of dangerous political intrigue and will be forced to choose between her heart and her loyalty to her country.