Wednesday, June 12, 2019

My thriller and mystery book recommendations

This post was long overdue but here we are with my top thriller/mystery books. Most of these books I’ve listened to on audible so I will let you know about my audible experience as well. I know a few of these are old but I still wanted to share because they were so good and I know I have a lot of readers who are newly into the thriller genre and these are some good ones to start out with. I will also mention that the pictures are clickable, so if you want to purchase a book, or the audible version you can just click on the picture. In no particular order, here are my favorite reads...

The ruined wife by Marin Montgomery
This psychological thriller was just released in January and it was crazy good! The storyline is a perfect example of why communication in a marriage is very important. Alastair has the perfect life, a lovely daughter, and is financially successful, but as her husband starts becoming distant, thoughts of infidelity start popping in her head. The author unveils the truth in a dramatic way, but before finding out what’s really going on, you will find yourself questioning if Alastair’s husband is really cheating, or is it all a big misunderstanding. I flew through the pages trying to find out what was going to happen and I was not disappointed as this book is jam packed with drama. I can’t give more details without giving away the ending, but I will say that this book had high reviews and if you like psychological thrillers, then you will like this one!
Audible: The audible version was pretty good and got me sucked into the story as soon as I started listening. 

Not her daughter by Rea Frey
This book came out in August 2018 and it was the authors first debut album. Although this book is based on a kidnapping, it’s actually different than any other kidnapping book you’ve probably read! Sarah Walker is a successful business owner who's business requires her to travel a lot. While waiting to board a plane, she witnesses a disturbing scene between a mother and her five-year-old daughter. Amy is clearly upset with her five-year-old daughter Emma however, it still does not justify how hateful, and physically aggressive she is towards her. Sarah feels as though she needs to save this girl from her mother Amy, but doesn’t know exactly how. When a second opportunity presents itself, and Sarah bumps into this family again, Sarah takes action and kidnaps Emma. But is it really kidnapping when you’re saving a child from an unloving family? To the police it is, and this book will have you racing to the end to find out how this will all work out for everyone because newsflash, kidnapping is a crime. The book is told from Sarah-the kidnappers point of view, and Amy-the mothers point of view. I’ve got to admit, I felt bad for the mother Amy at times because as a mother I know that sometimes parenting can be tough, and frustrating, but you need to read this to see what I mean. If you're a mom, then I promise you’ll love this book. 
Audible: There were so many emotions in this book and the narrator did a great job at sounding out all emotions and voices. If reading is not for you then you will enjoy the Audible version.

The kind worth killing by Peter Swanson
This book was a page turner! It was very well written, and the ending was difficult to predict, which I almost always do. The story starts with Ted and Lily chatting at the airport lounge. Ted is upset because he recently found out his wife, Miranda, is cheating on him. Ted is devastated and tells Lily (jokingly) that he would like to kill his wife for cheating on him. Surprisingly, Lily agrees that he should kill his wife…“Truthfully, I don’t think murder is necessarily as bad as people make it out to be. Everyone dies. What difference does it make if a few bad apples get pushed along a little sooner than God intended? And your wife, for example, seems like the kind worth killing.”  Who is really the bad person? The murderer or the victim? You will think you have this story all figured out but I promise you, you will feel played by the author as the story unravels and the plot twists come at you. I finished this book in one sitting, and this is one that I will always recommend.

The woman in the window by A.J. Finn
This book was so hyped up, and when I heard it was also a film in progress I decided to read it before it hits theaters later this year. I will say that this book starts out a bit slow, so if you find yourself bored, don’t give up on it so soon because once it picks up, you will be glued to the pages! The book follows Anna, who a few years back experienced a traumatic life event which resulted in her becoming an alcoholic with severe agoraphobia. Her home is her entire world, and she never ever goes outside. She spends most of her days drinking, and spying on her neighbors from her window. One day as she was spying on her neighbors, she witnesses something crazy, and despite her efforts to get to the bottom of it, she begins to question if what she saw was real or a combination of alcohol, and medication she takes. This one reminds me of the girl on a train, and I am curios to see if the movie is a big hit like the book.
Audible: It took me forever to finish this as I didn’t have time to sit and read so I purchased the audible version and let me just tell you-save your money or audible credit and just read it! The woman who narrates this story on audible sounds like she is falling asleep! Her voice is so dreadful and it was extremely difficult to get into the story. It’s a great book but if you listen to the audible version you will probably hate this book.

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
This was another book that was hyped up and it lived up to all the hype there was about it. It’s actually one of the first psychological thrillers I've read and the reason I got into these types of was that good! Jack and Grace look like the perfect couple with their big mansion, good looks, and elegance. Very early into the story you will start to notice that something is very wrong with their relationship. What goes on behind closed doors is terrorizing, and you will find yourself wishing you could read faster to see how this book ends. I kept thinking about this book days after I finished it because it's actually something that can happen, and does happen in life. You will not be disappointed in this one.

Before we were strangers by Brenda Novak
I love a good mystery book and this one got my attention more so because I live in Texas and the story takes place in a small town in Texas. It was a good read with a plot twist that I did not see coming! I mean the story was coming to and end, I thought it was all settled, and then bam, plot twist! Sloane was only five years old when she couldn't sleep at night thanks to her parents arguing. Then she heard it...a loud thump, before it all went quiet. After that night, she never saw her mother again, and is told that her mom simply had enough and walked away from her family. Fast forward to her twenties, Sloane is a successful model now living away from her family in New York but cannot put the memories behind. She decides to come back to town to find out what really happened that night but this means she has to face her estranged father (who is now the towns mayor), and brother who clearly don't want her back in town for some reason. There is also her ex-boyfriend whom she left behind and is now married to her best friend but is still not quite over her.
Audible: The audible narrator did a great job, which I am so glad for because it just made the story more enjoyable. 

No Exit by Taylor Adams
This is another mystery book I enjoyed as it was packed with action from the very first page. I could definitely see this one be made into a movie, and I hope it does because it was so good! It has a lot of gore so if you're not into that then you might want to skip over those bits but I definitely kept reading to make sure I didn't miss any important details. Darby is on her way home from college when she is forced to stop at a high way rest stop due to a blizzard. She's stranded with four other strangers, with no cell service, and no way to drive away because there is so much snow. While stepping out of the rest stop building in attempts to get cell signal, she sees a little girl locked in a cage in the back of a van. She quickly realizes one of the four strangers in the building is a kidnapper, but which one? and how can she save the little girl if there is no cell service, and no way to just drive off? This book should have came with an oxygen mask because it sure ramped up my anxiety as I got deeper, and deeper into the book. I finished it in one day because I needed to know how it would end. Run to the bookstore, or audible and get this book!!!
Audible: I give the audible version five stars! I love when a good book has a good narrator because the story becomes 100 times better and the audible version did not disappoint.

Let me know if you read any of these books, and your thoughts. Also send me your book recommendations as I am constantly looking for new books to read. Thanks for stopping by! XO

Friday, June 7, 2019

First trimester recap

Today I make 26 weeks pregnant which means I am currently in the second trimester, and will soon share my second trimester update.  I still remember everything from my first trimester, and wanted to share with you all the details. This pregnancy has been so different than my first in so many ways, and I'll be sharing in a Q&A form so here we go...

When did you find out?
I took a pregnancy test on January 7 (the cheap ones that come with the ovulation kit) but because the positive result was very faint, I didn't believe it was a true positive. I kept testing every day that week for four days and still kept getting faint positives. Finally, I went out and bought the Clear Blue digital test and sure enough the word "pregnant" came up. Turns out I was getting faint positives because my pregnancy was so early and I didn't have enough pregnancy hormones to create a strong positive. Looking back at this it makes me feel dumb that I didn't trust those faint positives. I went to medical school a few years back and I should have known I was pregnant from the start lol. You can read more about the beginning of my pregnancy journey here

How did you tell family and friends?
I really wanted to make cute little announcement gifts and surprise our families, however my husband was way too excited and couldn't keep the secret much longer. We ended up telling his side of the family back in February while at my mother in laws birthday party, and they were pretty excited for us. On my side of the family we told my parents, our son, and siblings by showing them the pregnancy test, and later posted on Facebook our announcement photos to let the rest of the family know. We both have big families so making cute gifts and telling each family one by one, would have taken forever lol. Who knows, maybe I'll do something cute for the next baby.

Any weight gain?
From the time I found out I was pregnant to the time I went to my first doctors appointment at seven weeks pregnant, I had gained one pound. Three weeks later I had to go back to my doctor for bloodwork. and another ultrasound, and had gained two more pounds so now it was a total of three pounds gained. By my next appointment I was shocked to have lost the two pounds that I had gained on my previous visit. By my last first trimester appointment, I had gained those two pounds back so if you ask me, I gained a total of three pounds on my first trimester which is completely normal. My goal is to gain less than 30lbs this pregnancy and will be working out as soon as my doctor gives me the "ok" to do so after baby is born.

Physical changes?
Oh yes! Since around week four I was ridiculously bloated. I was surprised that I had only gained one pound by that time because my belly so huge, and I mean like four months pregnant huge and I was only four weeks! I guess it was just my body accommodating to growing a baby because by week seven the bloatedness went away and my belly went back to its normal size. Other than this, I didn't have any other body changes.

*Me at 13 weeks, belly starting to show*

Have you bought maternity clothes?
Like I mentioned in the beginning of the post, I am 26 weeks pregnant or 6 months pregnant, and still fit into most of my regular shirts so I never bought any maternity tops during my first trimester. My jeans on the other hand, started feeling uncomfortable by the end of my first trimester so I did go out and buy one paid of maternity jeans from Ross. If you are expecting I really recommend the maternity section at Ross. They have really cute clothes and all very affordable! My maternity jeans were only $15 and the fit was way better than the expensive jeans from the maternity stores at the mall. Other maternity stores I recommend are: Motherhood Maternity, Old Navy, Asos, H&M, and PinkBlush.

*Here's me at 13 weeks trying out maternity clothes with my teeny tiny bump*

Are you sleeping well?
Sleep was great in the beginning of my first trimester since my bump was tiny. Towards the end of the first trimester I did have to get a body pillow because I started sleeping on my side and needed that extra side support if that makes sense.

Any symptoms?
So to give you a little background,  I didn't actually get any symptoms until I hit 9 weeks as far as morning sickness. Even so, I didn't have morning sickness, but I did experience afternoon sickness. Every day for exactly one month, I got sick after 3pm but it was bearable. I got the worse of it on week 13, and even had to force myself to throw up to see if maybe that would make me feel better (which didn't by the way). Thinking back at this, it wasn't as bad as my first pregnancy, and I am extremely grateful that I didn't get super sick. Another symptom I had was acne, and it was so bad! I had never had a breakout like I did with this pregnancy and not even the best face creams helped. My skin is all better now but the acne did last a good three months. Lastly, something else I experienced that is really not a symptom but I guess you can say more of a discomfort was having a hard time brushing my teeth! I think almost every pregnant woman experiences this and usually lasts all pregnancy. It's crazy how brushing your teeth makes you gag and something throw up acid. Sorry TMI but if you've ever been pregnant then you know what I mean.

Did you have any cravings?
All I wanted was cold fruit especially watermelon. At other times I randomly asked my husband to get me some cake but other than that, I didn't really have any major cravings.

Any food aversions?
I could not eat or smell meat! Even the thought of meat made me sick. There were also a few other foods and snacks that I really loved like pickles, but as soon as they were in my mouth, they instantly tasted foul and I couldn't eat them. I was also a big time water drinker and when my symptoms kicked in, I was no longer able to drink water. Thankfully that went away and I am back drinking water again.

Babys Gender?
Since this pregnancy has been different than my pregnancy with my son, I was starting to think I was now expecting a baby girl. Both mine and my husbands family (with the exception of very few people) all thought it was a boy. All I kept hearing was boy, boy, boy, therefore I convinced myself that I was having a boy. I spent so much time reading on old wives tales and the Chinese gender calendar and kept getting mixed answers. My doctor offered us genetic testing as a courtesy so we said yes and found out the gender at our gender reveal party in March. I will finally be sharing our baby's gender with you guys next week and I cannot wait. 

*This was taken at out gender reveal party on March 31st. I was 16 weeks here. What do you think? Boy or Girl?*

Least favorite moments?
Feeling tired all the time and the short period of evening sickness. Thankfully it all went away phew!

Best pregnancy moment?
Best moment was listening to our baby's heartbeat for the first time. I bought a doppler so the first time we heard baby's heartbeat was at the comfort of our home, and it was such a special moment. Another best moment was seeing our baby for the first time in the ultrasound. At just seven weeks, there was baby, just a tiny little bean but already so loved and we cannot wait for baby to be here.

Something you are looking forward to?
By the end of my first trimester I was really looking forward to feeling my baby move. Feeling the little kicks is my favorite thing about pregnancy with the exception of my ribs being kicked lol. Something else I was looking forward to was getting my energy back. Feeling tired all the time sucked!

Thanks for stopping by! XO