Nostalgic Book Haul (June)

 

Sweet Valley University #40 – Private Jessica“Jessica Wakefield is rocking everyone’s world at the Florida Specialized Security Academy. The only person she can’t impress is her drill sergeant, Vanessa T. Pruitt. Jessica is tired of scrubbing toilets and getting stuck on night watch. Can she cook up a plan wicked enough to give Sergeant Pruitt a taste of her own cruelty? Elizabeth Wakefield’s off-Broadway dreams are turning into nightmares faster than she can say “Bravo!” Her co-producers are pretentious snobs. Her lead actress couldn’t act her way out of a shopping bag. And Tom Watt’s failure to get a job–any job–is driving her crazy! Is Elizabeth’s final curtain call coming sooner than she expected?”
 
Sweet Valley University #41 – Escape To New York“Jessica Wakefield is on the loose in the city that never sleeps! Her horrible memories of boot camp disappear when she’s shopping at exclusive Madison Avenue boutiques and partying at wild downtown nightclubs. But will she give up the high life in order to help her sister. With the off-Broadway debut of her play just around the corner, Elizabeth Wakefield hasn’t a nail left to chew–because her lead actress is a disaster! Can she convince Jessica to step in for opening night? Tom Watts has finally found the journalism job he’s been dying for. But now his boss wants him to review Elizabeth’s play! Will Tom find a way to give it a thumbs-up? Or will he be forced to report the cold, hard facts?”
 
Sweet Valley University #56 – Dropping Out“Todd thought dropping out of school meant full-time fun at work… so why are his co-workers giving him the cold shoulder? Sam can’t let Elizabeth know that their kiss meant anything… but pretending it didn’t isn’t easy. Nina used to be a straight-A student… but partying has its price. Neil and Jessica are best friends… until she turns on him.”

June TBR

 

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse – “Half-hidden by forest and overshadowed by threatening peaks, Le Sommet has always been a sinister place. Long plagued by troubling rumors, the former abandoned sanatorium has since been renovated into a five-star minimalist hotel. An imposing, isolated getaway spot high up in the Swiss Alps is the last place Elin Warner wants to be. But Elin’s taken time off from her job as a detective, so when her estranged brother, Isaac, and his fiancée, Laure, invite her to celebrate their engagement at the hotel, Elin really has no reason not to accept. Arriving in the midst of a threatening storm, Elin immediately feels on edge–there’s something about the hotel that makes her nervous. And when they wake the following morning to discover Laure is missing, Elin must trust her instincts if they hope to find her. With the storm closing off all access to the hotel, the longer Laure stays missing, the more the remaining guests start to panic. Elin is under pressure to find Laure, but no one has realized yet that another woman has gone missing. And she’s the only one who could have warned them just how much danger they are all in…”
 
The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel – “Vincent is the beautiful bartender at the Hotel Caiette, a five-star glass-and-cedar palace on the northernmost tip of Vancouver Island. New York financier Jonathan Alkaitis owns the hotel. When he passes Vincent his card with a tip, it’s the beginning of their life together. That same day, a hooded figure scrawls a note on the windowed wall of the hotel: ‘Why don’t you swallow broken glass.’ Leon Prevant, a shipping executive for a company called Neptune-Avramidis, sees the note from the hotel bar and is shaken to his core. Thirteen years later, just after a massive Ponzi scheme implodes in New York, Vincent mysteriously disappears from the deck of a Neptune-Avramidis ship.”
 
Nightingale by Amy Lukavics – “June Hardie is everything a young woman in 1951 shouldn’t be–independent, rebellious, a dreamer. June longs to travel, to attend college and to write the dark science fiction stories that consume her waking hours. But her parents only care about making June a better young woman. Her mother grooms her to be a perfect little homemaker while her father pushes her to marry his business partner’s domineering son. When June resists, her whole world is shattered–suburbia isn’t the only prison for different women… June’s parents commit her to Burrow Place Asylum, aka the Institution. With its sickening conditions, terrifying staff and brutal “medical treatments,” the Institution preys on June’s darkest secrets and deepest fears. And she’s not alone. The Institution terrorizes June’s fragile roommate, Eleanor, and the other women locked away within its crumbling walls. Those who dare speak up disappear… or worse. Trapped between a gruesome reality and increasingly sinister hallucinations, June isn’t sure where her nightmares end and real life begins. But she does know one thing: in order to survive, she must destroy the Institution before it finally claims them all.”
 
Your Life Is Mine by Nathan Ripley – “Blanche Potter never expected to face her past again–but she can’t escape it. Blanche, an up-and-coming filmmaker, has distanced herself in every way she can from her father, the notorious killer and cult leader, Chuck Varner. In 1996, when she was a small child, he went on a shooting spree before turning the gun on himself. Now, Blanche learns that her mother has been murdered. She returns to her childhood home, where she soon discovers there’s more to the death than police are willing to reveal. The officer who’s handling the case is holding information back, and a journalist who’s nosing around the investigation is taking an unusual interest in Blanche’s family. Blanche begins to suspect that Chuck Varner’s cult has found a new life, and that her mother’s murder was just the beginning of the cult’s next chapter. Then another killing occurs.”

May TBR (Nostalgic Reads)

 

Sweet Valley High #24 – Memories“The Wakefield twins’ older brother, Steven, hasn’t dated anyone since his girlfriend died of leukaemia. He can’t even look at another girl without thinking of his beloved Tricia. But Steven is drawn to Cara Walker. Sweet Valley’s biggest flirt and gossip has changed. Her parents have divorced, and her father and brother have moved away. Cara understands the pain of losing someone. When Tricia’s sister Betsy sees Steven and Cara dancing together at a party, she accuses Steven of forgetting about Tricia. Steven is torn by Betsy’s bitter accusation. He can’t deny his attraction to Cara. But how can he ever love another girl after Tricia?”
 
Sweet Valley High #25 – Nowhere to Run“Elizabeth Wakefield is surprised when Emily Mayer tells her she wants to join the school newspaper. After all, Emily’s a musician, not a writer. Why would The Droids’ crack drummer turn to writing, especially when the band is so popular? Emily confides to Elizabeth that she’s having problems at home. Her stepmother has imposed a strict curfew and gets annoyed whenever Emily practices her drumming. What’s worse, Emily’s father seems to agree with his new wife. Emily’s certain her stepmother is out to get her – and she’s succeeding. Can Elizabeth help Emily before the situation at the Mayer home reaches the breaking point?”
 
Sweet Valley University #21 – For the Love of Ryan“Ryan Taylor is a hunk with an attitude. He’s learned about life the hard way, and now no ties can hold him down – especially the emotional kind. But will his troubled past keep him from the Wakefield twin he secretly desires? Jessica Wakefield always gets what she wants. And now she wants head lifeguard Ryan Taylor. Can Jessica beat the competition and swim her way into Ryan’s heart? Elizabeth Wakefield can’t do anything right! And if she messes up one more time, she won’t make lifeguard this year. Elizabeth needs to prove she can work harder than anyone else. But if gorgeous Ryan Taylor doesn’t cut her a break soon, she may drown in the attempt.”
 
Sweet Valley University – Super Thriller #4 – The House of Death“Lila Fowler is trapped in a collapsed building. When she emerges from a coma, will a brilliant young psychiatrist help her build a new life – or turn her dreams to rubble? Porter Davis is thrilled to have Lila under his spell. And the more deeply he controls her mind, the more villainous his plans for her become. Bruce Patman knows Porter Davis is bad news, but Lila refuses to heed Bruce’s warnings. Can Bruce make Lila see through Porter’s perfect facade before it’s too late? Jessica Wakefield feels bad that Tom Watts lost his dorm room in the earthquake – but that doesn’t mean she wants him for a roommate. Will Jessica make Elizabeth choose between her boyfriend and her twin sister?”

Winter Book Haul

 

The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay – “Seven-year-old Wen and her parents, Eric and Andrew, are vacationing at a remote cabin on a quiet New Hampshire lake. Their closest neighbors are more than two miles in either direction along a rutted dirt road. One afternoon, as Wen catches grasshoppers in the front yard, a stranger unexpectedly appears in the driveway. Leonard is the largest man Wen has ever seen but he is young, friendly, and he wins her over almost instantly. Leonard and Wen talk and play until Leonard abruptly apologizes and tells Wen, “None of what’s going to happen is your fault”. Three more strangers then arrive at the cabin carrying unidentifiable, menacing objects. As Wen sprints inside to warn her parents, Leonard calls out: ‘Your dads won’t want to let us in, Wen. But they have to. We need your help to save the world.'”
 
The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse – “Half-hidden by forest and overshadowed by threatening peaks, Le Sommet has always been a sinister place. Long plagued by troubling rumors, the former abandoned sanatorium has since been renovated into a five-star minimalist hotel. An imposing, isolated getaway spot high up in the Swiss Alps is the last place Elin Warner wants to be. But Elin’s taken time off from her job as a detective, so when her estranged brother, Isaac, and his fiancée, Laure, invite her to celebrate their engagement at the hotel, Elin really has no reason not to accept. Arriving in the midst of a threatening storm, Elin immediately feels on edge–there’s something about the hotel that makes her nervous. And when they wake the following morning to discover Laure is missing, Elin must trust her instincts if they hope to find her. With the storm closing off all access to the hotel, the longer Laure stays missing, the more the remaining guests start to panic. Elin is under pressure to find Laure, but no one has realized yet that another woman has gone missing. And she’s the only one who could have warned them just how much danger they are all in…”
 
Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff – “Every story has two sides. Every relationship has two perspectives. And sometimes, it turns out, the key to a great marriage is not its truths but its secrets. At the core of this rich, expansive, layered novel, Lauren Groff presents the story of one such marriage over the course of twenty-four years. At age twenty-two, Lotto and Mathilde are tall, glamorous, madly in love, and destined for greatness. A decade later, their marriage is still the envy of their friends, but with an electric thrill we understand that things are even more complicated and remarkable than they have seemed.”
 
The Survivors by Jane Harper – “Kieran Elliott’s life changed forever on a single day when a reckless mistake led to devastating consequences. The guilt that haunts him still resurfaces during a visit with his young family to the small coastal town he once called home. Kieran’s parents are struggling in a community which is bound, for better or worse, to the sea that is both a lifeline and a threat. Between them all is his absent brother Finn. When a body is discovered on the beach, long-held secrets threaten to emerge in the murder investigation that follows. A sunken wreck, a missing girl and questions that have never washed away…”

April Wrap Up – TV Shows

 

Mad Men [ season 2 ] – This show was so consistently good that I can’t think of a specific season that stands out above the rest. This season was no exception, it was beautiful from start to finish. One highlight this season for me was being able to watch Peggy come out of her shell all over again. Knowing what’s to come in her character arc makes it more enjoyable seeing her development from the beginning.
 
The West Wing [ season 2 ] – This is another show that felt consistently good throughout the entirety of the series, and this was another strong season with a powerful finale.
 
RuPaul’s Drag Race UK [ season 2 ] – This was such a fun season and the cast this year was full of a lot of memorable Queens. I did not see that ending coming though, and was quite disappointed with who was crowned the winner this season. Despite that, it was a great season overall and often made me laugh out loud. Such a good balm for the soul.