Wednesday, October 4, 2017

A Short History of the Girl Next Door by Jared Reck

The unrequited love of the girl next door is the centerpiece of this fiercely funny, yet heart-breaking debut novel.

Fifteen-year-old Matt Wainwright is in turmoil. He can’t tell his lifelong best friend, Tabby, how he really feels about her; his promising basketball skills are being overshadowed by his attitude on the court, and the only place he feels normal is in English class, where he can express his inner thoughts in quirky poems and essays. Matt is desperately hoping that Tabby will reciprocate his feelings; but then Tabby starts dating Liam Branson, senior basketball star and all-around great guy. Losing Tabby to Branson is bad enough; but, as Matt soon discovers, he’s close to losing everything that matters most to him. 

Humorous and heart-wrenching, A Short History of the Girl Next Door is perfect for readers who fell in love with All the Bright Places' Finch or Stargirl’s Leo. 

AMAZON LINK- http://amzn.to/2fSORmN 

MY THOUGHTS:
4/5 STARS

Oh goodness, I'm not even sure how to approach this review. I made assumptions from the cover and short synopsis, but boy was I wrong. This read wasn't at all bright times, it was sad shades of grey with bursts of color. It was shadows with hints of sunlight. It was happiness with secrets and grief.

Marty and Tabby are two of the most well wrote characters I've ever read about. They were developed in such an intricate manner and their relationship was one of a kind. They had a connection that went deeper than high school crushes. They leaned on, confided in, and loved one another. They grew up together and formed a bond like no other. Matt may have felt something different than she did, but both knew that what they had was quite special.

The twist about 3/4 the way through left me a tad bewildered. I'm pretty sure as I read those words, my jaw fell to the ground. I wanted it all to be a dream, but I learned to appreciate it. I saw the inspiration and growth laced within the words and I found myself more immersed in the unknown. I saw the story in a new light and found hope in tragedy.

My initial thoughts were that this was a messy story with wild emotions and teenage jealousy, but looking back I see a rich story with deep characters and awesome life lessons. I definitely recommend it to readers of all ages and genders.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. Maas

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena's world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie... and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for. 

MY REVIEW: 
4/5 STARS 

This book was very different than the first one, but I loved it almost as much. It had an eerie feel and exposed sooo many good secrets. I have a feeling the next book will be packed with fantastical magic and I can't wait!

Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios


Grace wants out. Out of her house, where her stepfather wields fear like a weapon and her mother makes her scrub imaginary dirt off the floors. Out of her California town, too small to contain her big city dreams. Out of her life, and into the role of Parisian artist, New York director—anything but scared and alone.

Enter Gavin: charming, talented, adored. Controlling. Dangerous. When Grace and Gavin fall in love, Grace is sure it's too good to be true. She has no idea their relationship will become a prison she's unable to escape.

Deeply affecting and unflinchingly honest, this is a story about spiraling into darkness—and emerging into the light again.
AMAZON- http://amzn.to/2x3V6eC

MY REVIEW:
3/5 STARS


This is one of those books that left me all kinds of twisted. It was lyrical and life changing at times, but overall the concept just drove me crazy. It's so all over the place and yes, I get that that's the idea... it was just too much. I needed more progression and less of the same stuff over and over again.

I really don't have much to say other then if you can get past the second person pov, and appreciate the drama theme... You will be entertained. If not, I'd pass. The only redeeming part for me was the fact that the Author's writing reached my soul many times. She had a way of wrapping words together to form beautiful, messy sentences that really hit home.

Stealing Snow (Stealing Snow #1) by Danielle Paige


First kisses sometimes wake slumbering princesses, undo spells, and spark happily ever afters.

Mine broke Bale.

Seventeen-year-old Snow has spent her life locked in Whittaker Psychiatric—but she isn’t crazy. And that’s not the worst of it. Her very first kiss proves anything but innocent…when Bale, her only love, turns violent. 

Despite Snow knowing that Bale would never truly hurt her, he is taken away—dashing her last hope for any sort of future in the mental ward she calls home. With nowhere else to turn, Snow finds herself drawn to a strange new orderly who whispers secrets in the night about a mysterious past and a kingdom that’s hers for the taking—if only she can find her way past the iron gates to the Tree that has been haunting her dreams. 

Beyond the Tree lies Algid, a land far away from the real world, frozen by a ruthless king. And there too await the River Witch, a village boy named Kai, the charming thief Jagger, and a prophecy that Snow will save them all. 

MY REVIEW:
3/5 STARS

This book got mixed reviews, but I actually enjoyed it. The premise was unique and the scenic descriptions and magical elements were quite beautiful. I appreciated all of the twists and while some were predictable others presented quite a shock. The storyline kept me interested and the ending was awesome! 

Things I could have done without.... The kiss with Kai and all of the references to a show I've never heard of... 

All in all, I think this one was great recipe for an epic tale, but just lacked a few key ingredients. It wasn't terrible by any means, but it wasn't a MUST READ. I kind of feel like it was in the middle of the spectrum where many would pass, but few would find it a diamond in the rough. I'd recommend it as a winter read or as a palette cleanser.

Stone Field by Christy Lenzi


In a small town on the brink of the Civil War, Catrina finds a man making strange patterns in her family’s sorghum crop. He’s mad with fever, naked, and strikingly beautiful. He has no memory of who he is or what he’s done before Catrina found him in Stone Field. But that doesn’t bother Catrina because she doesn’t like thinking about the things she’s done before either.

Catrina and Stonefield fall passionately, dangerously, in love. All they want is to live with each other, in harmony with the land and away from Cat’s protective brother, the new fanatical preacher, and the neighbors who are scandalized by their relationship. But Stonefield can’t escape the truth about who he is, and the conflict tearing apart the country demands that everyone take a side before the bloodbath reaches their doorstep.

Inspired by Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights.
AMAZON- http://amzn.to/2yfkcaI

MY REVIEW:
4/5 STARS


This book was achingly beautiful... The words had a way of dancing around, capturing my attention, and making me want to catch them and place them in a jar for later. It was poetic and lyrical and oh so romantic.

Why not five stars then?

Well, the concept and plot was odd. While I LOVED the ending, I found myself lacking interest during the crazy preacher parts. It came off as a bit confusing and a tad overwhelming... Luckily though, those parts were short enough that the overall feel wasn't wrecked by them.

All in all, if you like your books with unique characters, magical woodsy feels, and a lot of lovey scenes, pick this one up. I highly recommend it. Especially, because of the ending... I love me some dark and twisted sadness.

Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller


Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She's never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love--even with someone who seems an improbable choice--is more than just a possibility.

Trish Doller writes incredibly real teens, and this searing story of love, betrayal, and how not to lose your mind will resonate with readers who want their stories gritty and utterly true. 

MY REVIEW: 
4/5 STARS 

This was the perfect pool read. It had a fun flirty setting with deep rooted emotion. There are triggers so you have been warned! 

Callie is abducted by her own mother... She is used to living alone and fighting her own battles so when she is sent to live with her father and an actual family her world is turned upside down. She has to navigate through her dark past, new love, and endless possibilities. It's not an easy journey, but with a good support system, she learns to live for herself. 

I'm from Florida so I really appreciated the local spots being mentioned and just the beachy vibes. The characters were messy, but in all the right ways. Picture two damaged people coming together to form a beautiful relationship and you have Callie and Alex. Their love was forbidden and a tad tragic. Both had life problems and until they dealt with them, they couldn't truly be together. It was not at all my typical read, but I really enjoyed it!


The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith

In the tradition of Speak, this extraordinary debut novel shares the unforgettable story of a young woman as she struggles to find strength in the aftermath of an assault.

Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn’t change who she was. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes. 

What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she thought she knew to be true, is now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she’s supposed to tell someone what happened but she can’t. So she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be. 

Told in four parts—freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year—this provocative debut reveals the deep cuts of trauma. But it also demonstrates one young woman’s strength as she navigates the disappointment and unbearable pains of adolescence, of first love and first heartbreak, of friendships broken and rebuilt, and while learning to embrace a power of survival she never knew she had hidden within her heart. 

MY REVIEW: 
4/5 STARS 

This book is a hard one to digest... While the story line is addicting, it's also quite twisted. Think epic gut punch meets tragically flawed main character. It's an ugly story with a beautiful lesson. 

Eden is raped and from that point on she becomes someone that not even she herself envies. She begins lying, using people, and seeking sex to escape her thoughts. She is a complete mess and it is all due to that one secret that eats her from the inside out. While she has a great group of friends and a loveable boyfriend, that all ends quite abruptly. She speaks mean words and behaves with vulgar actions to push them all away. Her best friend grasps on by her fingertips, but even she has to let go near the end. 

It's a story about chain of events and how one situation can alter your whole life. It shows the importance of facing fear and standing up for yourself. It shows the impact of words and how holding in burdens can only wreck havoc on the keeper. It's a deep read with adult themes, but it's one I recommend to all older teens. I think it's a story that should be felt by all those going through similar situations or even just be used as a guide to know how to spot when something isn't right. It's a story that will stick with me for a long time and Eden is a character that I will continue to loathe even though her story is tragic.