2018 Book #45 – The Opposite of Here by Tara Altebrando

51-IuvSNclLTitle: The Opposite of Here
Author: Tara Altebrando
Date finished: 6/2/18
Genre: Young adult, suspense
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Publication Date: June 5 2018
Pages in book: 256
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

There’s no hiding on a cruise ship-not even from yourself. 
Natalie’s parents are taking her and her three best friends on a cruise for her seventeenth birthday. A sail-a-bration, they call it. But it’s only been a few short months since Natalie’s boyfriend died in a tragic accident, and she wants to be anywhere but here.
Then she meets a guy on the first night and sparks fly. After a moonlit conversation on a secluded deck of the ship, Natalie pops down to her cabin to get her swimsuit so they can go for a dip. But when she returns, he’s gone. Something he said makes her think he might have . . . jumped? No, he couldn’t have.
But why do her friends think she’s crazy for wanting to make sure he’s okay? Also, why do they seem to be hiding something from her? And how can she find him when she doesn’t even know his name? Most importantly, why is the captain on the intercom announcing the urgent need for a headcount?
With her signature thrilling storytelling, the author of The Leaving and The Possible explores our vulnerability to the power of suggestion-and the lies we tell others and ourselves-in a twisting, Hitchcock-inspired mystery with high stakes and dark secrets.

My rating:  2.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

The plot for this book on the cover description sounded pretty interesting, so although I didn’t know much about the author I decided to give this one a try. It was a little too teen angst-y for my tastes personally but if that kind of thing doesn’t bother you then this would be a pretty good book for you. The plot line is pretty good and takes some interesting twists and turns. The twist at the end of the book is probably the best one and kind of wrapped up all the plot and the characters into one little circle. And while I liked it, the story overall was still just so very sad. And I felt awful for Natalie, I felt like she was just like a doormat and everyone kind of walked all over her. One of her friends betrayed her pretty badly and the girl barely even apologizes but Natalie’s still fine with it. So anyways, overall I kind of liked the story but I think it would be a better fit for an actual young adult.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2017 Book #75 – Bad Girl Gone by Temple Mathews

41eDiHG-MLLTitle: Bad Girl Gone
Author: Temple Mathews
Date finished: 9/1/17
Genre: Fiction, young adult
Publisher: A Thomas Dunne Book for St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: August 8, 2017
Pages in book: 265
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Sixteen year-old Echo Stone awakens in a cold sweat in a dark room, having no idea where she is or how she got there. But she soon finds out she’s in Middle House, an orphanage filled with mysteriously troubled kids.

There’s just one problem: she’s not an orphan. Her parents are very much alive.

She explains this to everyone, but no one will listen. After befriending a sympathetic (and handsome) boy, Echo is able to escape Middle House and rush home, only to discover it sealed off by crime scene tape and covered in the evidence of a terrible and violent crime. As Echo grapples with this world-shattering information, she spots her parents driving by and rushes to flag them down. Standing in the middle of street, waving her arms to get their attention, her parents’ car drives right through her.

She was right. Her parents are alive—but she’s not.

She’s a ghost, just like all the other denizens of Middle House. Desperate to somehow get her life back and reconnect with her still-alive boyfriend, Echo embarks on a quest to solve her own murder. As the list of suspects grows, the quest evolves into a journey of self-discovery in which she learns she wasn’t quite the girl she thought she was. In a twist of fate, she’s presented with one last chance to reclaim her life and must make a decision which will either haunt her or bless her forever.­­­­

My rating:  2.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Echo (Eileen) who wakes up in Middle House, unsure of how she got there. Middle House is an orphanage and Echo is very sure her parents are still alive. Unfortunately when she leaves to prove that, she instead discovers that she was (**SPOILER**) murdered, and Middle House is more of a halfway house where kid ghosts live until they can find and take revenge on their killers/ Echo misses her boyfriend Andy but from the stories we hear from when she was alive, Echo was a pretty shitty person. And now Echo has Cole at Middle House, another dead-o like her. Unfortunately Echo can’t decide between them so she strings both of them along for the next few days, generally making them both miserable. And all the while her new friends are helping her discover who it was that murdered her.
Overall I didn’t particularly care for this book. The premise behind it was just a little too far-fetched for me – the thought that a kid would get to Heaven (the After) only after haunting/killing someone (even if it was their murderer) seems not right to me. Also, Echo as a person/character really was just not at all likable. The plot was not my favorite and I hated how devoted Andy and Cole were considering what a shitty person Echo was. And everything really was just so sad, Echo’s parents lost their only child. And there were many pieces of the plot that just didn’t feel like they really fir to me – the stuff with Mrs. Tourney and thinking Echo is someone else wasn’t necessary in the plot at all and felt superfluous. Overall wasn’t my favorite book but there were some creative thought to it.

The bottom line: Eh this book was ok, it wasn’t my kind of story and it was super sad. If you like ghost-y stories though I would give this one a try, it was kind of interesting.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2017 Book #10 – The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson

61w21a21ol-_sx327_bo1204203200_Title: The Most Dangerous Place on Earth
Author: Lindsey Lee Johnson
Date finished: 2/5/17
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: January 10, 2017
Pages in book: 288
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

An unforgettable cast of characters is unleashed into a realm known for its cruelty—the American high school—in this captivating debut novel.
The wealthy enclaves north of San Francisco are not the paradise they appear to be, and nobody knows this better than the students of a local high school. Despite being raised with all the opportunities money can buy, these vulnerable kids are navigating a treacherous adolescence in which every action, every rumor, every feeling, is potentially postable, shareable, viral.
Lindsey Lee Johnson’s kaleidoscopic narrative exposes at every turn the real human beings beneath the high school stereotypes. Abigail Cress is ticking off the boxes toward the Ivy League when she makes the first impulsive decision of her life: entering into an inappropriate relationship with a teacher. Dave Chu, who knows himself at heart to be a typical B student, takes desperate measures to live up to his parents’ crushing expectations. Emma Fleed, a gifted dancer, balances rigorous rehearsals with wild weekends. Damon Flintov returns from a stint at rehab looking to prove that he’s not an irredeemable screwup. And Calista Broderick, once part of the popular crowd, chooses, for reasons of her own, to become a hippie outcast.
Into this complicated web, an idealistic young English teacher arrives from a poorer, scruffier part of California. Molly Nicoll strives to connect with her students—without understanding the middle school tragedy that played out online and has continued to reverberate in different ways for all of them.
Written with the rare talent capable of turning teenage drama into urgent, adult fiction, The Most Dangerous Place on Earth makes vivid a modern adolescence lived in the gleam of the virtual, but rich with sorrow, passion, and humanity.

My rating:  3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book is about quite a number of people, centering mostly around Miss Molly Nicoll, a new teacher at the high school in Mill Valley, and her junior level English class. Molly is fresh from graduation and eager to make her mark on her impressionable young students’ lives, thinking that she might be able to provide something to these rich and spoiled students that they had been lacking up until now. But Molly doesn’t know the history behind her class, does not know what happened to them in eighth grade that affected each of them in different ways. And while she things she understands her students, she soon finds out that she doesn’t really know them at all. The book tells the story alternating between Molly’s point of view and that of her students. Each student is featured in a chapter where we learn more about their personal life and learn a little more about the story line with each.
Overall I liked this book. The story line was interesting if a little scattered. I liked hearing about the story from the point of view of different characters but at the same time hearing about so many people’s stories left me feeling like none of the story lines were particularly resolved. There were so many bad things that happened to these kids and I just felt so bad for all the mistakes that left them so screwed up. This did a great job of portraying how quickly bullying can get out of hand when its done online. And I also thought the author did a really great job of putting the reader into the shoes of the high school students, making the reader feel that desperation that comes with being a teenager in overcoming each new obstacle. This was a good book and I liked it, I would recommend it.

The bottom line: This book was ok, I found the cast of characters engaging but I didn’t see much point with the story line. And there was a lack of closure with each person’s story since we jump from one character to the next. Overall it was an interesting read though and I would recommend it.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2017 Book #8 – Everything You Want Me To Be by Mindy Mejia

514djmp1kl-_sx329_bo1204203200_Title: Everything You Want Me to Be
Author: Mindy Mejia
Date finished: 1/29/17
Genre: Fiction, suspense/thriller
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Publication Date: January 3, 2017
Pages in book: 352
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Full of twists and turns, Everything You Want Me to Be reconstructs a year in the life of a dangerously mesmerizing young woman, during which a small town’s darkest secrets come to the forefront…and she inches closer and closer to her death.
High school senior Hattie Hoffman has spent her whole life playing many parts: the good student, the good daughter, the good citizen. When she’s found brutally stabbed to death on the opening night of her high school play, the tragedy rips through the fabric of her small town community. Local sheriff Del Goodman, a family friend of the Hoffmans, vows to find her killer, but trying to solve her murder yields more questions than answers. It seems that Hattie’s acting talents ran far beyond the stage. Told from three points of view—Del, Hattie, and the new English teacher whose marriage is crumbling—Everything You Want Me to Be weaves the story of Hattie’s last school year and the events that drew her ever closer to her death.
Evocative and razor-sharp, Everything You Want Me to Be challenges you to test the lines between innocence and culpability, identity and deception. Does love lead to self-discovery—or destruction?

My rating:  4.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book is about the murder of Hattie Hoffman, a high school senior less than two months from graduation who is found murdered in an abandoned barn near a lake in her very small town. The whole town is rocked by this grisly murder, and fearing that there is now a psychotic murder somewhere in their midst the town is demanding answers. Del is the sheriff, and although the mayor is putting a lot of pressure on him to find out what happened Del’s real motivation is his best friend Bud, Hattie’s father. Del is desperate to find out what happened to his friend’s sweet daughter, who he thought he knew well. But it turns out everyone can hide secrets if they’re dark enough, and Hattie’s secret is a doozy. The reader knows that it somehow involves Peter Lund, a teacher from Hattie’s school, before the book even gets going since he has such an important role in the book. And Peter is in fact somehow involved, but the ending, and the murderer, is something that the reader won’t see coming.
Overall this book rocked. I loved the way that the story was presented, with the three separate points of view. The story line itself was riveting and I loved the way the author wrote this book, there were so many passages that stood out to me and really just made me stop and think about how wonderfully this book was written. Hattie as a character jumps off the page and really just comes so alive for the reader. And the murderer really is just not someone that I would have expected at all, I loved the way the ending was done because it keeps the reader guessing until the last minute. The whole thing was just overwhelmingly sad but I loved that the author didn’t shy away from this either. The book includes not only the suspense of what happened and trying to resolve the mystery but also deals with the raw grief that comes from losing a child and of the community that is left to deal with the aftermath of the murder. I loved this book and I would highly recommend it!

Favorite quotes: 
“I took a step closer, compelled beyond reason toward this girl who kept shedding masks like a matryoshka doll, each one more audacious that the last, a psychological striptease that rached me with the need to tear her apart until I found out who or what was inside.” (Peter)

“It wouldn’t matter if I never saw her again, never hugged her. I would cut off my hands and feet just to know her heart was beating.” (Mona, Hattie’s Mom)

The bottom line: This book was awesome, I loved the plot and the way the story was presented with the three points of view. Though jumping back and forth between past and present can be hard to follow at times, I think it was absolutely the best way to present the story. This was a great thriller and I would highly recommend!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2016 Book #112 – Class of ’59 by John A. Heldt

51exjaufawlTitle: Class of ’59
Author: John A. Heldt
Date finished: 11/24/16
Genre: Fiction, Time travel
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: September 1, 2016
Pages in book: 293
Stand alone or series: #4 in American Journey series
Where I got the book from: Author/publisher NOTE: I received this book for free from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

When Mary Beth McIntire settles into a vacation house on June 2, 2017, she anticipates a quiet morning with coffee. Then she hears a noise, peers out a window, and spots a man in 1950s attire standing in the backyard. She panics when the trespasser sees her and enters the house though a door to the basement. She questions her sanity when she cannot find him.
In the same house on March 21, 1959, Mark Ryan finds a letter. Written by the mansion’s original owner in 1900, the letter describes a basement chamber, mysterious crystals, and a formula for time travel. Driven by curiosity, Mark tests the formula twice. On his second trip to 2017, he encounters a beautiful stranger. He meets the woman in the window.
Within hours, Mary Beth and Mark share their secret with her sister and his brother and begin a journey that takes them from the present day to the age of sock hops, drive-ins, and jukeboxes. In CLASS OF ’59, the fourth book in the American Journey series, four young adults find love, danger, and adventure as they navigate the corridors of time and experience Southern California in its storied prime.

My rating: 3.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Mary Beth McIntire, a recent college graduate preparing to head to medical school, and her sister Piper, a recent high school graduate. Mary Beth has been through some trauma lately as her long-time sweetheart and fiancee was shot and killed in front of her during a convenience store robbery. Mary Beth has been trying to recover ever since then, so after Piper graduates from high school their parents take them on a vacation to California to stay in a friend’s house, the house of Mr. Geoffrey Bell. Readers of this series would know Geoffrey from previous books, as the tunnel under his house has been used in multiple time-travel adventures. Mary Beth encounters Mark Ryan as he discovers this exact use of the tunnel, and after reconciling the fact that they now have access to a time travel tunnel Mark, Mary Beth, Piper, and Mark’s brother Ben (a senior in high school) decide to have a few fun adventures. With Mary Beth and Piper being from the year 2017 and Mark and Ben from 1959 though, they all certainly never expected to develop deep, long-lasting attachments to each other. But after a month spent in each other’s company that is exactly what happens and the two couples must face this and decide what to do about it. And when their lives come to be in danger from mobsters who’ve figured out their secret, will they even be able to make it out of the past alive?
Overall I liked this book. I have found each book in this series interesting and I love the creative process of creating a time travel tunnel and all that entails. This book didn’t end up being my favorite in the series, mostly because I felt like the ending was a little to convenient and was just a little rushed compared to the rest of the story, it didn’t fit right for me. This didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book, just left me a little unsettled still at the end. I love that in each book the reader learns about a different era/region. It is fun to hear what the different characters in each book decide to do with this opportunity. This would be a great read for those interested in time travel and for anyone looking for a light-hearted adventure.

The bottom line: I overall like the series and the time travel aspect in general is very interesting. This wasn’t my favorite of the series but was still a good read. I would recommend, especially if you’ve enjoyed the other books in the series.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2016 Book #39 – The Art of Not Breathing by Sarah Alexander

51rcOvLvuTL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Art of Not Breathing
Author: Sarah Alexander
Date finished: 4/26/16
Genre: Young adult
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Pages in book: 288
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE:I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Since her twin brother, Eddie, drowned five years ago, sixteen-year-old Elsie Main has tried to remember what really happened that fateful day on the beach. One minute Eddie was there, and the next he was gone. Seventeen-year-old Tay McKenzie is a cute and mysterious boy that Elsie meets in her favorite boathouse hangout. When Tay introduces Elsie to the world of freediving, she vows to find the answers she seeks at the bottom of the sea.

My rating:  3.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Elsie Main. The story mostly centers around the history behind Elsie’s missing brother, Eddie. Eddie was either autistic or mentally challenged and walked off into the ocean at age 9 and hasn’t been seen since. Elsie starts remembering things about that day and when she starts “free-diving” at age 16 she starts having vivid recollections of time that had been missing from her memories of that day. During this time she begins to fall in love with a boy names Tay, who unfortunately is hiding a few things from Elsie.
Overall this was a good book. It was an interesting story and I liked learning about free-diving since I had never heard of it before. I think the story just didn’t really appeal to me and I had some trouble connecting with the characters and the story line. There were some good conflicts within the plot and goo amount of tension between characters, it just wasn’t one of my favorites personally.

The bottom line: I thought that the free-diving information in this story was interesting but other than that I had trouble connecting to the characters. Was a good story, just wasn’t one of my favorites. I would still recommend though!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2016 Book #2 – Too Close to Home by Susan Lewis

518p6FZfawLTitle: Too Close to Home
Author: Susan Lewis
Date finished: 1/5/16
Genre: Fiction, thriller, women’s fiction
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: December 15, 2015
Pages in book: 512
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Jenna Moore finally feels that she and her family are exactly where they should be. Leaving busy London behind, they’ve moved to the beautiful, serene Welsh coast. There Jenna, her husband, Jack, and the couple’s four children have found a little slice of heaven. In the house of their dreams, Jenna and Jack are ramping up for the launch of their new publishing business, and the kids are happier than they’ve ever been, wandering the wild, grassy moors that meet white sand beaches and wide ocean.

But a fissure cracks open. The once open and honest Jack suddenly seems to be keeping secrets, spinning intricate lies. And fifteen-year-old Paige has become withdrawn, isolating herself from her family and her new friends. Frightened of the darkness enveloping her family, Jenna struggles to hold her loved ones together. But a cruel disturbance has insinuated itself into her home, threatening to take away everything she holds dear.

My rating:  4.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book will count towards my “Holiday 2015 Bookish Bingo” reading challenge, marking off the “2015 Release You Missed” square, since I was supposed to read this book for its 2015 release on NetGalley and fell a little behind therefore I missed it. This book tells the story of Jenna Moore, her husband Jack, and her four children (from oldest to youngest) Paige, Josh, Wills and Flora (twins). Paige is fifteen now and even though they just moved from London to Wales, she is making lots of new friends at her new school and she is thriving in her new school environment. She is working on a film project for school with the help of her step-father Jack and she was also given a lead role in an upcoming school play.
Jenna is happy with her family’s move and is looking forward to the business she is building with her husband. Though Jenna has already published a couple novels, she is currently experiencing some writer’s block and has fallen behind with her agent on her deadline for her next book. Other than that though things seem to be going along well. And then all of a sudden things start falling apart. Jenna starts noticing that her husband Jack is disappearing a lot. And his stories about where he’s been aren’t really adding up. Jenna starts to suspect that something awful may be brewing, but she isn’t prepared when Jack finally decides to reveal the truth. Also Paige has been distant, withdrawn, and downright mean lately to her family and Jenna can’t figure out why (though to be fair she doesn’t try overly hard to figure it out). What Jenna doesn’t realize is that Paige is dealing with her own demons, ones that she really needs help with but has no idea who or how to ask. And if Jenna isn’t careful, she may lose her firstborn to these events.
It is hard for me to say that overall I liked this book but I did. Obviously no one likes the story matter of this book, these are tough items to deal with. Divorce and bullying can make anyone’s stomach turn but even though these are hard topics to read about, they are so important. This book had an extremely important message about bullying and the trauma it can cause. The raw emotion in this book was just astounding to me, as a reader I was filled with tension and anxiety and apprehension for most of the book. I was on the edge of my seat with my stomach in flutters getting ready for the next fight. If you as a reader connect emotionally with the story then this may be a tough one because you will feel pain and desperation and frustration like you’ve never felt before in a book. I didn’t like this book because there was a happy ending, I liked this book so much because it was powerful. It had a powerful message that it delivered with powerful emotions through well developed characters. I think this is a book that everyone should read, if only to see the pain that bullying can cause.

The bottom line: I would recommend this book, it was riveting and heart-breaking and tension filled. Just be forewarned that if you are a reader who gets emotionally involved in the stories, this one may be a tough one to get through. Definitely recommend it though! Powerful stuff.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book #94 – The Space Between Heartbeats by Melissa Pearl

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Title: The Space Between Heartbeats
Author: Melissa Pearl
Date finished: 9/5/15
Genre: Young adult
Publisher: Alloy Entertainment
Publication Date: September 15, 2015 (originally published November 1, 2012
Pages in book: 286
Stand alone or series: Betwixt series?
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Nicole Tepper has it all—beauty, popularity, and the perfect boyfriend. But after a party she can’t remember, she wakes up in a ghostly state, trapped between life and death. Nicole’s injured body is lying in a wooded area, but she has no idea where—or how long she has left to live.
Only one person can hear her now: Dale Finnegan, a loner classmate that Nicole has relentlessly bullied. Dale’s the last person in school who would want to help her, but he sets their tangled history aside to try to save her life. As they dig into what happened at the party, they discover her boyfriend isn’t as perfect as he seems—and neither are her friends. With the clock ticking down and her life slipping away, Nicole must face a hard truth: Was what happened to her a terrible accident? Or does someone want her dead?

My rating: 4.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Nicole Tepper. After her sister died a couple years ago, her family pretty much fell apart and she worked hard to fill her life with people she could keep at a distance. She liked her boyfriend Trent because he doesn’t see past her bad girl attitude and accepts her at face value. She has her group of friends for the same reason. After a wild party one night she wakes up and no one will talk to her or even respond to her questions. It isn’t until her hand slides right through another person that she realizes something horrible, she’s a ghost. Later on her spirit ends up drifting back into her body and Nicole discovers she isn’t dead as she thought but just in and out of consciousness from the injuries she sustained and she is in unbelievable pain.
As she wanders through her daily routine, trying to make sure of everything and her presence in the spiritual world, she discovers one of her classmates can hear her even though she’s a ghost. Dale is someone she’s always made fun of to assert her popularity. But it turns out he’s the only one who can help her now. She doesn’t have any idea where her body is but she knows she doesn’t have much longer to live. And so Nicole and Dale race to figure out what happened that night and where her boy now lays before its too late.
Overall I very much liked this book. The characters were well developed and the plot line was honestly just riveting. I couldn’t put this book down once I started it, it was so good! I would definitely recommend.

The bottom line: I thought this was a great book! Would definitely recommend.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book #74 – Atlantis Rising by Gloria Craw

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Title: Atlantis Rising
Author: Gloria Craw
Date finished: 7/19/15 (12:20am)
Genre:  Young adult
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Publication Date: January 6, 2015
Pages in book: 295
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Terryville Public Library

Blurb from Amazon:

I am different. I have always been different, but no one can know or my life will be in danger. So I hide in plain sight, wearing drab clothes and thick glasses and trying to be invisible. I’m so good at hiding, no one has ever noticed me. Until Ian…the mysterious and oh-so-cute boy I know I need to avoid.
Now I have been seen. And more terrifying still, I am wanted–by those who would protect me and those who would destroy everything and everyone I love. But if they’re all terrified about who I am, wait until they see what I can do…

My rating: 3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I really tend to enjoy books with supernatural elements but I haven’t really read anything before about the children of Atlantis. So when I saw this book recently, I definitely wanted to read it. So this book is about Alison McKye, a senior at Fillmore High School. She’s adopted and when she was fourteen, someone at a playground noticed she was using her “thoughtmaking” abilities on her brother. This random stranger told her that she is one of the children of Atlantis and that her ability is both very powerful and very sought after and that if she wanted to protect her human family, she must do everything in her power to go through the rest of her life unnoticed.
Cut forward to her senior year of high school and she’s done what she thinks is a decent job of remaining invisible. One of the helpful points is that even though she is dewing (the name for the children of Atlantis) since she was raised by humans she doesn’t give off the same vibrations as other dewing I guess so its easier for her to stay incognito. A lot of people are trying to find her though (for various reasons) and since she hasn’t actually done a great job of hiding in plain sight, she’s going to be found out. Luckily, she makes some friends who are going to help her.
I really liked this book. I thought Alison was great and the tension between her and her love interest (not spoiling it for you!!) is palpable and felt real. I thought the plot line was good but the climactic action scenes felt a bit short. Also I’m curious what happened to Nikki? Is there going to be a sequel? Usually when something ends kind of abruptly like that I at least like to know that yes the author realizes there are unanswered questions and is writing a sequel as we speak. But I couldn’t find anything online so I guess fingers crossed. Good book overall though and not a topic that I see a lot so it was different, which I liked.
The bottom line: I thought this was a good book, I would recommend it! Definitely interesting and unusual, the story line was great.
Link to author website
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2015 Book #69 – Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

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Title: Luckiest Girl Alive
Author: Jessica Knoll
Date finished: 7/8/15
Genre:  Fiction/Suspense
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: May 12, 2015
Pages in book: 338
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Terryville Public Library

Blurb from the cover:

HER PERFECT LIFE IS A PERFECT LIE.
As a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School, Ani FaNelli endured a shocking, public humiliation that left her desperate to reinvent herself. Now, with a glamorous job, expensive wardrobe, and handsome blue blood fiancé, she’s this close to living the perfect life she’s worked so hard to achieve.
But Ani has a secret.
There’s something else buried in her past that still haunts her, something private and painful that threatens to bubble to the surface and destroy everything.
With a singular voice and twists you won’t see coming, Luckiest Girl Alive explores the unbearable pressure that so many women feel to “have it all” and introduces a heroine whose sharp edges and cutthroat ambition have been protecting a scandalous truth, and a heart that’s bigger than it first appears.
The question remains: will breaking her silence destroy all that she has worked for—or, will it at long last, set Ani free?

My rating: 4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I feel like I have seen this book everywhere over the last few months. Every couple months now I feel like a book will come out and everyone says its the next “Gone Girl” but its nothing like Gone Girl. And that’s pretty much what happened with this one. It even says right on the front of the book “With the cunning and verve of Gillian Flynn” (Gone Girl author), leading readers to believe this will fill the hole in them that Gone Girl left behind. I think its unfair in most cases to compare one book to another because each is its own little magical portal and while you may find similarities in them, they really aren’t comparable. And to be honest I saw more parallels to Gone Girl in The Daylight Marriage than I did in this book.
Anyways, so this book is about TifAni FaNelli, who grew up far too quickly when she transferred from a Catholic girls school to an upper class private school almost an hour away from her house. She was expelled from the Catholic school for an incident that had to do with pot, but I thought the whole thing was odd since she didn’t get the pot in the first place. So she ends up going to this hoity toity private school with a bunch of rich kids whose parents don’t ever supervise them so they end up spending all their time getting drunk and doing drugs. She makes friends with the popular kids eventually but then an “incident” causes her to fall out of favor with them. I don’t want to say too much about what else happens with the high school stuff because it is a bit of a twist. The book alternates between her remembering these events from her childhood/high school experience and her at twenty-nine when she is getting ready for her wedding in a few weeks and having a lot of second thoughts. Due to the trauma she dealt with in high school, she has a lot of undealt-with issues as an adult that she has trouble dealing with on a day-to-day basis. She also kind of has a selfish, thought-less fiance who doesn’t see anything past the surface with her and I don’t know how she wasn’t screaming in frustration all the time at him.
There were a lot of other things too that frustrated me about this book. I will say that TifAni is raped while in high school and when her mother finds out her reaction is “You don’t have a body like TifAni’s and go to a party with all boys and drink too much and not know exactly what you’re doing there.” Honestly I had to put the book down for a moment I was so mad. I can’t even imagine a mother so callous. I’m sure a fourteen year old girl who had never drank before (and therefore had no idea where she should limit herself while drinking) had no intention of going to a party and getting so drunk that when a boy found her drunk on the floor he decided to have sex with her unconscious body. WHAT MOTHER THINKS THAT IS HER DAUGHTER’S FAULT. Maybe if she weren’t such a desperate to climb the social ladder wanna-be then her daughter wouldn’t be in this situation. Rant over.
So like I was saying, there were a lot of things about this book that frustrated me. Not in a “this book is awful” way but more in a “these characters are frustrating but that’s a piece of the story” way. I’ve never experienced a character in any other book before that I was able to hate, pity, and admire all at the same time. Ani ends up having a crap ton of issues that kind of make her into a bitch (excuse the language) but through the book you see past the layers of bitch to the scared little girl that just wants to find somewhere she can feel safe again. And she has survived and dealt with so much and went on to find a job she loves and thrives at and its hard not to admire how much she’s managed to accomplish. I thought the ending was a little odd and vague but other than that I thought this was a good book. Not one of my all-time favorites but quite good.
The bottom line: Eh, I think I would recommend this book, probably not universally though. I would recommend it if I knew the person liked suspense fiction.
Link to author website
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