2014 Book #65 – Not Always a Saint by Mary Jo Putney

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Title: Not Always a Saint
Author: Mary Jo Putney
Date finished: 6/29/15
Genre:  Historical romance
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Co.
Publication Date: May 2015
Pages in book: 294
Stand alone or series: The Lost Lords series book #7
Where I got the book from: Terryville Public Library

Blurb from the cover:

After the death of his sweetheart when he was at university, Daniel Herbert buried his grief in medical studies and his passion for healing. Viewed as a saint by those who know him, in his own mind he never quite manages to live up to his own high standards.
Most men would be thrilled to learn they’ve inherited a title and estate from a distant relative, but Daniel is appalled because the burden of wealth will interfere with his medical calling.  Warily he accepts that he must enter society and seek a wife—a sensible woman who can oversee his properties, leaving him free to continue his work. He does not expect to become intoxicated by a woman called the Black Widow, who is as mysterious as she is shockingly beautiful…
Jessie Kelham’s looks have always been a curse. Now alone with a young daughter and a perilous secret, she is in need of protection. But dangerously attractive Daniel Herbert is not the kind of husband she has in mind. If he recognizes her, the demons of her past will surely erupt. Yet they cannot keep apart—and soon they are drawn into a union that may bring joy—or shattering danger…

My rating: 3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I have liked the Lost Lords series since the beginning and I was excited to see the next one in the series come out this year. This book is about Daniel Herbert, the brother of Laurel Herbert who is the heroine in the sixth book in the series, Not Quite a Wife. Daniel is a surgeon and has devoted his life to helping people. Basically, he meets Jessie when she is a patient and then runs into her again like 7 years later and they fall in love-ish. She fought it at first obviously because she was looking for an arrangement a bit more mellow but obviously they end up loving each other, its a romance novel.
I thought this book was good and it was a good continuation of the series. Many of the characters from the previous 6 books are included in this story as well, its always nice to see characters again that you became attached to in previous stories. This book had more dark elements included in it than I would have liked though. The heroine has had just the most awful experiences and has pretty much had a miserable life except the last four years but now she’s right back in an awful situation. I just felt like it was too much for one person to take without bowing under the pressure. Other than that though I liked the plot line and while I wasn’t nuts about Jessie’s character I loved Daniel’s character. And Beth was a character!
The bottom line: I would recommend this book and the series as well to historical romance fans.

Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book #64 – Whiskey & Charlie by Annabel Smith

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Title: Whiskey & Charlie
Author: Annabel Smith
Date finished: 6/27/15
Genre:  Fiction
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Publication Date: April 7, 2015
Pages in book: 317
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Terryville Public Library

Blurb from the cover:

A captivating debut novel of brothers who have drifted apart and the accident that will determine their future, by an unforgettable new voice in fiction.
Whiskey and Charlie might have come from the same family, but they’d tell you two completely different stories about growing up. Whiskey is everything Charlie is not – bold, daring, carefree – and Charlie blames his twin brother for always stealing the limelight, always getting everything, always pushing Charlie back. By the time the twins reach adulthood, they are barely even speaking to each other.
When they were just boys, the secret language they whispered back and forth over their crackly walkie-talkies connected them, in a way. The two-way alphabet (alpha, bravo, charlie, delta) became their code, their lifeline. But as the brothers grew up, they grew apart.
When Charlie hears that Whiskey has been in a terrible accident and has slipped into a coma, Charlie can’t make sense of it. Who is he without Whiskey? As days and weeks slip by and the chances of Whiskey recovering grow ever more slim, Charlie is forced to consider that he may never get to say all the things he wants to say. A compelling and unforgettable novel about rivalry and redemption, Whiskey & Charlie is perfect for anyone whose family has ever been less than picture-perfect.

My rating: 3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will be counting towards my goal for the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge 2015 checklist under the “a book set during Christmas” check box since most of the story happens in the space between Thanksgiving and just after New Years. Charlie was close with his brother Whiskey when they were younger but now as adults they barely speak to each other. When Whiskey is involved in a freak accident though and ends up badly injured and in a coma, Charlie wants nothing more than to have more time to make amends with his brother. What follows is a combination of Charlie’s memories from his childhood with Whiskey, stories from Whiskey and Charlie interacting as adults leading up to before Whiskey’s accident, and the agonizing progress of Whiskey’s path to recovery.
One of the things I really liked about this book was the use of the NATO phonetic alphabet and its part in how the story was told. Charlie and Whiskey were given walkie-talkies as children and one of their neighbors taught them the NATO phonetic alphabet. That’s actually why Whiskey is called as such and is not called William by anyone but his mother, even though that is his real name. Anyways, each chapter represented one letter in the NATO phonetic alphabet and the story in that chapter was always somehow connected to the word representing that letter in the alphabet. The Bravo chapter was about their pet dog whose name was Bravo, the India chapter was about a job that Charlie and Whiskey worked on together in India, and so forth. I thought that was an interesting and different way to tell the story. That being said, telling the story in this way caused there to be a bit of jumping around between time frames to tie to whatever letter that chapter was for. The flow of the story wasn’t always easy for me to follow. It didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book but I did notice the issues I was having.
Overall I thought this was a great story. Grief and guilt and forgiveness are major themes in this book and we take an in-depth look at Charlie’s insecurities with the many people in his life. Charlie’s character was a bit frustrating for me because he really did act like he was better than a lot of people in the story, like his feelings were always more important than someone else’s. Other than that though I think this was a good book.
The bottom line: While the subject matter can feel a bit heavy at times, I thought that this was a very true depiction of a family traveling through stages of grief. I would recommend this book.

Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book #63 – The Marriage Season by Linda Lael Miller

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Title: The Marriage Season
Author: Linda Lael Miller
Date finished: 6/22/15
Genre:  Romance
Publisher: HQN Books
Publication Date: May 26, 2015
Pages in book: 254
Stand alone or series: Brides of Bliss County book #3
Where I got the book from: Terryville Public Library

Blurb from the cover:

Since Hadleigh, Melody and Bex—the best of best friends—entered into a marriage pact, two of them have found (and married) the men of their hearts. But Bex doesn’t think she’ll be as fortunate as the others. Her own first love died years ago in a faraway war, and Bex has lost hope for a happy marriage of her own. She concentrates on her business, a successful chain of fitness clubs, instead.
Then, when single father Tate Calder comes to Mustang Creek with his two sons in tow, who befriend Bex’s eight-year-old nephew, she and the handsome, aloof newcomer are constantly thrown together. But is the marriage season over? Or can a man with doubts about love be the right husband for a woman who wants it all?

My rating: 3.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I have been a fan of Linda Lael Miller’s books in the past (there’s just something about those cowboys) so I was excited when the Brides of Bliss County series came out. I had already read the first two in the series and honestly the second one left me a little frustrated so I was eager to get to the third book to try and get some things straightened out. This third book in what I think is a trilogy tells the story of Tate Calder, friend of the guys from the first two books who just moved to Mustang Creek, and Bex Stuart (which I thnk is cool, my nickname is college was Bex) best friend of the girls from the first two books. Now I just have to say that this premise alone is just so highly unrealistic to me. Has there ever really been in real life a set of three guy friends who all within a year decided they loved this set of three girl friends? And two of the sets had known each other like their whole lives. It just always feels far-fetched to me.
Anyways so they’re the last single ones in this six-pack so they fall in love. That’s pretty much the story. Tate has two boys and he’s really sweet with them and Bex has a nephew that she has to take care of for a lot of the book that’s the same age as one of Tate’s boys.
So overall I guess I just had a few issues with this story. The conversations felt stilted and a little rushed, leaving the characters flat and hard to connect with. And the reactions of the characters are just so far from what I would react as. Like they just kind of take everything in stride, nothing is ever really an “issue,” Like when Tara all of a sudden just goes to Denver, Bex is just like oh ok I’m glad she is out of this bad situation then. If that were me I would have been like WHAT ABOUT YOUR SON GROW THE HELL UP YOU ARE A GROWN ASS WOMAN. So some differences in thought processes there I guess. Don’t get me wrong, the book wasn’t bad and it was actually exactly what I needed at this moment in my reading journey. It was a light and somewhat easy read and it was overall pleasant i would say. My complaints here I think tend to be more general, the book was still a good book.
The bottom line: I would recommend this book to anyone who 1) likes books by LLM, 2) has read the other 2 books in the series, or 3) is looking for a nice, light beach read. Otherwise I would say you can probably skip.

Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book #62 – I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

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Title: I’ll Meet You There
Author: Heather Demetrios
Date finished: 6/20/15
Genre:  Young adult – romance-ish, coming of age tale
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Publication Date: February 3, 2015
Pages in book: 379
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Terryville Public Library

Blurb from the cover:

If seventeen-year-old Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straightedge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom–that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she’s ever worked for is on the line.
Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be.
What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise–a quirky motel off California’s dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper.

My rating: 4.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will be counting towards my goal for the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge 2015 checklist under the “a book at the bottom of your to-read list” check box since it wasn’t even really on my to-read list to begin with. I saw this book in a BookPage publication earlier this year and while I thought it sounded interesting, I didnt add it to my TBR list at the time since the list is already just so overwhelmingly long. I did one of those calculator things and it was going ot take me like 15 years to read all the books on my current to-read list. And since I add more books to the list every week than I read and take off the list every week, its pretty much never going to end! But when I saw it at the Terryville Public Library a couple weeks ago I was on a YA rampage (I checked out 5 new YA fiction books that day) I decided to give it a try. And boy am I glad I did because it was excellent.
The main male character of the story was a Marine who was recently injured in combat and is home on leave while he recovers. Josh has always been a bad-boy and a ladies man in Creek View and even though he returns injured from the war, the town doesn’t really expect him to be any different. And Skylar is a straight-edge girl who is set on escaping this small ho-dunk town and plans to go to San Francisco for college in the fall. But these two can’t seem to stay away from each other and over the summer what used to be a casual friendship turns into something more.
Reading this book was an important experience for me. My husband is a Marine and spent some time overseas in Afghanistan, and while thankfully he came back uninjured physically, there are a lot of mental ramifications for experiencing what soldiers have to go through in a war. There were many times during the book during Josh’s point of view when I heard the parts in my husband’s voice, and (while I’ve never experienced what they experience personally and therefore can’t say this with certainty) I think the author did an outstanding job of capturing what it feels like when a soldier all of a sudden isn’t a soldier anymore. Transitioning back into civilian life is difficult and for some impossible. This book was moving and touching and talked about some extremely relevant topics. I think it was a great book and something everyone should read.
The bottom line: I thought this was a great book, I’m not sure if it meant more to me because I’m connected to a Marine but the characters in this story really moved me. I would definitely recommend this book.

Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book #61 – The Anxiety Toolkit by Alice Boyes

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Title: The Anxiety Toolkit
Author: Alice Boyes, PhD
Date finished: 6/20/15
Genre: Non-fiction
Publisher: Perigee Books
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Pages in book: 206
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Terryville Public Library

Blurb from the cover:

Do you overthink before taking action? Are you prone to making negative predictions? Do you worry about the worst that could happen? Do you take negative feedback very hard? Are you self-critical? Does anything less than perfect performance feel like failure?
If any of these issues resonate with you, you’re probably suffering from some degree of anxiety, and you’re not alone. The good news: while reducing your anxiety level to zero isn’t possible or useful (anxiety can actually be helpful!), you can learn to successfully manage symptoms – such as excessive rumination, hesitation, fear of criticism and paralysing perfection.
In The Anxiety Toolkit, Dr. Alice Boyes translates powerful, evidence-based tools used in therapy clinics into tips and tricks you can employ in everyday life. Whether you have an anxiety disorder, or are just anxiety-prone by nature, you’ll discover how anxiety works, strategies to help you cope with common anxiety ‘stuck’ points and a confidence that – anxious or not – you have all the tools you need to succeed in life and work.

My rating: 4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will be counting towards my goal for the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge 2015 checklist under the “a nonfiction book” check box since this was a nonfiction book (duh). I have struggled with anxiety for pretty much my whole life. It isn’t debilitating for me, just annoying sometimes. Its a family trait on my mom’s side and while I do feel like I have a pretty good handle on it, I feel like there is always room for improvement. So when I saw this book at the library I thought it would be a great book to read to try and get a better handle on my issues. I think that the book was pretty helpful, it presented a bunch of helpful tips for overcoming anxiety. I’m glad I read it!
The bottom line: This is a good book for people with anxiety, it has some great tips for how to deal with anxiety issues.

Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book #60 – The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

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Title: The Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Date finished: 6/20/15
Genre: Young Adult – Dystopian/Fantasy
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: February 10, 2015
Pages in book: 383
Stand alone or series: #1 in the Red Queen series (#2 is The Glass Sword and will be released 2/9/16!!!!!)
Where I got the book from: Terryville Public Library

Blurb from the cover:

Graceling meets The Selection in debut novelist Victoria Aveyard’s sweeping tale of seventeen-year-old Mare, a common girl whose once-latent magical power draws her into the dangerous intrigue of the king’s palace. Will her power save her or condemn her?
Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood–those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.
To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard–a growing Red rebellion–even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.

My rating: 4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will be counting towards my goal for the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge 2015 checklist under the “a book with a color in the title” check box since (duh) the title has a color in it. Obviously I’ve heard a lot about this book in the past couple months. This book rocketed up the popularity scale even before it was released, and there are even talks  right now to make it into a movie (Elizabeth Banks is rumored to be looking into producing the movie). With all of the recent dystopian young adult novels, I can understand why this book really caught on. This book tells the story of Mare Barrow, a Red who is sick to death of the Silver’s power. As a slight background, the Reds are the workers, the servants, the slaves and what not. The Silvers are the royalty and the important people, and their blood is actually Silvers. Oh and Silvers have powers. Like telekinesis and making plants grow and water nymphs and stuff like that.
So it turns out that Mare has powers as well. Even though she’s a Red, she can control electricity and can create it too. When the king finds out about this, he convinces Mare to portray to the population that she is a long lost Silver princess who was raised in a Red household. There is a rebellion rising up in the streets though, the Scarlet Guard, and they have a plot to over take the government. The population of Reds of tired of spending their whole lives working so hard to never get ahead and to watch their children and their children’s children toil away their lives in the same manner.
Overall I thought this book was very good. There was enough action to keep you consistently interested and there were enough plot twists to keep you on your toes. The main character (Mare) reminds me a lot of Katniss from Hunger Games. Mare is a very strong character and sometimes overly headstrong and a little tom-boy-ish. It was a solid book but it wasn’t my favorite book ever. Good story line though, I was interested throughout and honestly I didn’t want to put it down.
The bottom line: This was a very good book and I can see why it has gained a lot of popularity since it was released. I would definitely recommend that people give this book a try. It might not be for everyone but I thought it was great.

Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

Book Riot Quarterly Box

So I discovered the coolest thing back in March when I saw on Facebook that one of the pages I follow, Book Riot, does a quarterly shipment of books and book-related items. I’ve heard about a variety of companies that have started doing quarterly shipments, you pay a set fee each quarter and in the mail you get a box of fun surprises. The shipment is technically run through Quarterly Co and they have such a great variety of quarterly shipments you can choose from, like one from Pharrell Williams and gaming, fitness, cooking, hair care, and art. I decided to sign up for the Book Riot Quarterly Shipment to try it at least once and see if I liked it. I am trying to expand my horizons with reading and I thought this would be a fun way to find new books I might like. Each shipment is set to a “theme” and most shipments have 2 books and some extra items, plus there are some lottery items that a certain percentage of all the shipments get as well. So last Friday my shipment came and I was absolutely pumped! I had been looking forward to this since I signed up for the shipments in March and I was not disappointed!

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Isn’t it beautiful!? So the theme for this shipment was technology, the internet, and the future of reading. The shipment comes with a pamphlet describing each item that is included and how it fits with the theme.

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So now I will talk about each item that I got in my shipment. I’ll start with the book-related items and then talk about the books last.

1. A Grid-It Organizer
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This is a handy item for storing all your gadgets. Its got like elastic straps that you can use to hold down the gadgets on this board thing. Could come in handy.

2. Pop Chart Lab Literary Genres Map
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I’ve seen this online before and it is so awesome. Its a map of all the different genres of fiction. I can’t wait to hang this one up in my library (once my library is done being constructed).

3. The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon
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This book sounds super interesting. Its about a time in the future when all print materials are pretty much extinct but one group of people are working to finish the North American Dictionary of the English Language when the editor-in-chief goes missing. I’m excited to give this one a try. This book also came with a bonus item from the author, a special coda that was written exclusively for Book Riot Quarterly subscribers. The events from this occur after the book.

4. Smarter Than You Think by Clive Thompson
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Many people think that technology is making the general population less capable than generations of the past because they end up relying on technology for so many of their tasks through the day. Some have even argues that the over-reliance on technology in the younger generation has made them “dumb.” This book sets out to argue against this idea and prove that technology is improving civilization as a whole. This book also came with a bonus item from the author, an essay for Book Riot Quarterly subscribers about reading War and Peace on his iPhone.

5. Lottery item! Symphony for the City of the Dead by M.T. Anderson
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The lottery items are for lucky randomly selected subscribers (less than 5% of total subscribers). Woo hoo I was one of the lucky ones! This book isn’t even supposed to be released until September so this was a big score! The book is about Leningrad in September 1941 and the true story of a composer that wrote a symphony that would rally the city together.

So that was my shipment. I have to say I was extremely please and I can’t wait for the next shipment to come in September! For anyone who’d like to sign up the receive their own shipment, you can do so here. Book Riot also just came out with a YA Quarterly subscription if you prefer YA books. Details on that subscription can be found here.

Friday Finds (June 19)

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FRIDAY FINDS is hosted by A Daily Rhythm and showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list.  Whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

My finds this week include a historical fiction, a mystery/thriller, a fiction, a fantasy, and a chick-lit:

1. Naked by Eliza Regold
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This book is a retelling of the story of Lady Godiva, who legend tells us rode naked through the streets on horseback. It sounded super interesting and I am looking forward to reading it!

2. The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens
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This book is about a young man that is chronicling the life of a convicted murder as an English writing assignment. Along the way he gets involved in the truth behind what really happened. The story line sounds very interesting.

3. Love and Miss Communication by Elyssa Friedland
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This book is about finding love in this over-technological word. I often find that a lot of our lives end up being taken over by technology and I think that this book about stepping back from the smart phone is a great idea for a book.

4. Uprooted by Naomi Novik
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I’ve been really into the fairy-tale retelling type books lately and this book just sounds like its going to be right up my alley. A wizard dragon who gets a new slave girl every ten years? Yes. I’m on this boat.

5. The Cake Therapist by Judith Fertig
51Z5rHX9bnLThis is about a woman who can “taste” the feelings in her cakes, and she creates custom cakes for each person based on what they need. The description of this book reminded me a lot of The Glass Kitchen by Linda Francis Lee (I can’t say if it is going to be similar but it sounds like it will) and I very much enjoyed that book so I am definitely going to read this one.

So those are my finds this week! Please feel free to share your finds or leave a link to your own “Friday Finds” blog posting below! Happy Friday!

2015 Book #59 – Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

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Title: Vanishing Girls
Author: Lauren Oliver
Date finished: 6/17/15
Genre: Young Adult – Thriller
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: March 10, 2015
Pages in book: 357
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Terryville Public Library

Blurb from the cover:

New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver delivers a gripping story about two sisters inexorably altered by a terrible accident.
Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara’s beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it’s too late.
In this edgy and compelling novel, Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other.

My rating: 3.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book was a little weird. Dara and Nick are supposed to be best friends and sisters and then an accident supposedly marks their separation and they don’t talk to each other for months. Its really what happens right before the accident but you’ll find all that out. Anyway, their supposed to be such good friends but the description of their relationship is awful. Also there is a LOT of underage drinking in this book. Like every person you are introduced with who is in high school is getting drunk on a regular basis. Where are they getting all this alcohol? And do their parents really just not notice that their kids are drunk every weekend? There are a lot of heavy drugs mentioned in connection with Dara as well. I know when parents get divorced they can sometimes become a little more absent in their children’s lives but still, no one besides Nick noticed that there were weird pills in Dara’s room?
Besides the drug thing and the slightly intense sibling rivalry for “best friends,” this book was pretty good. I was hooked fairly quickly, though the first half of the book was a little slower than the second half. I liked the story line and I was interested in what the reason for the accident was and where Madeline Snow was and what the hell was really going on. I can 100% say that I never saw the twist at the end coming and to be honest when it was revealed my first thought was “no way you read that right, better go backwards a little and read it over.” But turns out I read it correctly, it was just a little confusing. The plot twist at the end was a great twist but the way it was done was a little far-reached to me. Still very good though, I usually can see twists coming but I never saw this one coming. 
The bottom line: Eh. It was ok. Not my favorite but wasn’t awful either. There were some things about it that bothered me I little. You could try it I guess.

Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book #58 – The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

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Title: The Wrath & The Dawn
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Date finished: 6/16/15 (12:02am so technically the 16th, lol)
Genre: Young Adult – Fairy tale retelling, romance
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 12, 2015
Pages in book: 388
Stand alone or series: #1 in The Saga of Shahrzad and Khalid

Blurb from the cover:

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.
She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

My rating: 4.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will be counting towards my goal for the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge 2015 checklist under the “a book with a love triangle” check box since there is a love triangle between Shazi and Khalid and Shazi and Tariq. Just as a quick aside, I never understood why its a love triangle. If you think about it, both boys are in love with Shazi but they’re not like in love with each other so why are they technically connected in the last leg of the love triangle? I think it makes more sense just to call it a love angle. I don’t know, this has bothered me. Anyways, I saw this book listed in a few recent publications, including a recent BookPage newsletter, and here and there on listings of books to read this summer or books to look out for. This is the author’s first book and it was just great!
So this book was inspired by A Thousand and One Nights which is a collection of stories and folk tales, also known as the Arabian Nights. I think that these stories are fairly widely heard of, and the premise is well known. The connection between the inspiration and the resulting novel is obvious, though this story is entirely its own and I thought it was very creative. I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever read anything else like this. And not only was it creative but it was beautifully written and the descriptions of the clothing and the scenery and just everything was wonderfully done. I was hooked into the story from the beginning, dying (ha) to know why a bride had to die each morning. I love Shazi’s character and her growth through the novel was easy to follow and enchanting to experience. I really don’t want to talk too much about the plot because I don’t want to give anything away. There are a lot of different pieces in play in this novel and I had no idea that the story was going to continue after this book. I think it was my lack of knowledge that left me feeling overly frustrated in the end, especially since we will have to wait a year for the second book to be released. Overall I really just loved this book though and I will wait patiently (or at least try to) for the next book to come out.
The bottom line: EVERYONE GO READ THIS BOOK RIGHT NOW. I don’t know how I will be able to continue living until the next book comes out NEXT YEAR! I loved this book. Just loved it.

Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page