2018 Book #5 – The Safest Lies by Megan Miranda

518u1R1zo6L._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Safest Lies
Author: Megan Miranda
Date finished: 1/14/18
Genre: Young adult, thriller/suspense
Publisher: Ember
Publication Date: May 30, 2017 (Paperback; hardcover was released May 24, 2016)
Pages in book: 357
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: My friend Alex

Blurb from the cover:

Kelsey has lived most of her life in a shadow of suspicion, raised to see danger everywhere. Her mother hasn’t set foot outside their front door in seventeen years, since she escaped from her kidnappers with nothing but her attacker’s baby growing inside her—Kelsey.

Kelsey knows she’s supposed to keep a low profile and stay off the grid for their protection, but that plan is shattered when her dramatic car accident and rescue by volunteer firefighter and classmate Ryan Baker sparks media coverage.

A few days later, she arrives home to find her mother missing. Now, to have a chance at a future, Kelsey will have to face her darkest fears. Because someone is coming for her. And the truth about the past may end up being the most dangerous thing of all.

My rating:  3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review:

What do you do when your worst fears are realized?

Kelsey’s whole life her mother has been subtly training her, giving her the knowledge that she would need to survive. Kelsey always believed that her mother was paranoid because of what she experienced when she was around Kelsey’s age – being abducted and held against her will. But after Kelsey’s mother disappears and Kelsey finds herself in danger, facts start to surface that don’t fit with this story. As Kelsey fought her way to freedom and in the days and interrogations that followed, I found the thought process for the police and for some of the other adults in charge to be a little unrealistic. Overall though I liked this book and found it to be an interesting read. I especially liked how Ryan and Kelsey’s relationship developed through the book, I thought it was really sweet. And I think the part where they were trying to escape the panic room was one of the best parts of the book, I only wished it had been closer to the end since it created such great tension in the story. I thought this was a good 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 #65 – Emerald Coast by Anita Hughes

51BaCBQAllLTitle: Emerald Coast
Author: Anita Hughes
Date finished: 8/1/17
Genre: Fiction, women’s fiction
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date:August 1, 2017
Pages in book: 304
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:

Set on the glamorous Italian island, Emerald Coast is a touching and humorous story about marriage and the difficulty of finding love and happiness at the same time.
Lily Bristol arrives at a luxurious resort in Sardinia for the grand opening of her newest home furnishing store on the Emerald Coast. She’s a successful business woman with an international chain of stores from San Francisco to Milan. Thirty-two and newly divorced, she’s ready to handle things on her own. At least until her private butler, Enzo, escorts her to a beautiful suite where she notices a suspiciously familiar pair of men’s slippers and shaving kit.
Lily is horrified. Her ex-husband Oliver moved out of their restored Connecticut farmhouse six months ago, but they booked this trip when they were trying to save their marriage and never cancelled the reservation. Oliver, a food critic for the New York Times, is here covering Sardinia’s hottest new restaurant. The only other available room is the adjoining suite; and worse, Oliver isn’t alone. He’s brought a twenty-something named Angela with him.
Lily is determined to make do and enlists Enzo to find her a suitable man. But it’s not as easy to find new love as they both expected. When Lily and Oliver find themselves alone on a very important night, they turn to each other. Sparks begin to fly, but can they be together without breaking each other’s hearts?

My rating:  1.0 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 Lily Bristol and her ex-husband Oliver, who through one of those crazy twists of fate end up both trying to use a reservation after their divorce. Oliver brought his new girlfriend (Angela) and Lily ends up hooking up with a guy named Ricky from Sardinia (where they are) but while all this is happening they both also can’t stop thinking about each other and their shared memories.
Overall I did not care for this book. I’m going to try to be honest here without being (a) cruel or (b) overly dramatic. I found Lily’s character to be a complete mockery of a strong and independent woman. She has random conversations with strangers and just is everything that I would hate to become as a women and as a wife. Oliver has some extreme jealousy issues and may be addicted to sex since he can’t seem to stop having it with his new girlfriend. However (**SPOILER ALERT**) he apparently NEVER THINKS TO ASK HIS NEW GF ABOUT BIRTH CONTROL. Sorry the caps were dramatic I just can’t believe that any logical person in this day and age would overlook that in a new relationship. Anyways moving on the characters were irrelevant and unrealistic, the story line was half-hearted and not at all engaging, and I honestly couldn’t even read most of the conversations they were so awkwardly structured. I did not care for this novel. However, all of that being said I know these are popular novels and that some people do like them so that’s fine. Amazon has mostly 4 star reviews. So maybe its just me.

The bottom line: I did not personally enjoy this book. I cannot personally say that I recommend it, though I know many people who enjoy this author’s books so maybe its just me.

Link to author website

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

2016 Book #102 – Faithful by Alice Hoffman

51ol8tqfs5l-_sx329_bo1204203200_Title: Faithful
Author: Alice Hoffman
Date finished: 10/29/16
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: November 1, 2016
Pages in book: 272
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:

Growing up on Long Island, Shelby Richmond is an ordinary girl until one night an extraordinary tragedy changes her fate. Her best friend’s future is destroyed in an accident, while Shelby walks away with the burden of guilt.
What happens when a life is turned inside out? When love is something so distant it may as well be a star in the sky? Faithful is the story of a survivor, filled with emotion—from dark suffering to true happiness—a moving portrait of a young woman finding her way in the modern world. A fan of Chinese food, dogs, bookstores, and men she should stay away from, Shelby has to fight her way back to her own future. In New York City she finds a circle of lost and found souls—including an angel who’s been watching over her ever since that fateful icy night.
Here is a character you will fall in love with, so believable and real and endearing, that she captures both the ache of loneliness and the joy of finding yourself at last. For anyone who’s ever been a hurt teenager, for every mother of a daughter who has lost her way, Faithful is a roadmap.
Alice Hoffman’s “trademark alchemy” (USA TODAY) and her ability to write about the “delicate balance between the everyday world and the extraordinary” (WBUR) make this an unforgettable story. With beautifully crafted prose, Alice Hoffman spins hope from heartbreak in this profoundly moving novel.

My rating:  4.5 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 a girl named Shelby Richmond. The book begins when Shelby has just graduated from high school and follows her life over the next few years. Shelby was driving the car when she and her best friend Helene were involved in an accident and although Helene survived she was irreparably damaged and is now living in a hospital bed at her parents’ house. Shelby blames herself and falls into a deep and violent depression, never wanting to leave her parents’ basement and wishing only to escape from the world. Eventually though she moves to New York City with her boyfriend/drug dealer Ben Kink. From here her life twists down some unexpected paths and somehow she ends up with a comfortable life even though she still feels like she doesn’t deserve happiness.
Overall I just loved this book. I have to be honest though, this one was a hard story for me to get into at first. When the book starts Shelby is so lost in her own grief that it is hard to see past her prickly character. But as the story evolves, the reader becomes connected to Shelby in a deep and intense way. Shelby feels so deeply and is so wounded but as her story progresses and she begins to heal, we fall in love with Shelby and the human being cracking through the shell of her former self. Shelby is so lucky in that there are so many people who care for her, somehow she is able to take her broken life and make something wonderful out of it. I loved her continual dog-napping activities and I loved her relationship with Marvelle and her kids. Shelby may have been a damaged individual but she loved fiercely and was unceasingly loyal. The progression of her character through the story really was just astounding and Hoffman does such a great job of creating a well-rounded character who is nothing if not a survivor. Be warned, this will rip your heart out of your chest, chew it up, and give you back the pieces when its done. I cried the last 1/3 of the book, but it was such a powerful and wonderful story, it was so worth the read! I would definitely recommend this one.

The bottom line: I just loved this book, Shelby as a character was so engaging and it was great to see her character evolve through the story. This was an extremely moving story, definitely keep a box of tissues handy for this one!

Link to author website

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

2016 Book #15 – In Real Life by Jessica Love

41NZ+T0vkHLTitle: In Real Life
Author: Jessica Love
Date finished: 2/24/16
Genre: Fiction, thriller/suspense
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: March 1, 2016
Pages in book: 224
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: The Reading Room 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:

Hannah Cho and Nick Cooper have been best friends since 8th grade. They talk for hours on the phone, regularly shower each other with presents, and know everything there is to know about one another.
There’s just one problem: Hannah and Nick have never actually met.
Hannah has spent her entire life doing what she’s supposed to, but when her senior year spring break plans get ruined by a rule-breaker, she decides to break a rule or two herself. She impulsively decides to road trip to Las Vegas, her older sister and BFF in tow, to surprise Nick and finally declare her more-than-friend feelings for him.
Hannah’s surprise romantic gesture backfires when she gets to Vegas and finds out that Nick has been keeping some major secrets. Hannah knows the real Nick can’t be that different from the online Nick she knows and loves, but now she only has night in Sin City to figure out what her feelings for Nick really are, all while discovering how life can change when you break the rules every now and then.

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 will count towards my “Holiday 2015 Bookish Bingo” reading challenge, marking off the “Blue Cover” square, since it has a blue cover. This book is about a girl named Hannah who decides to start breaking some of her rules. All her life she’s been the good girl and the obedient one. But now she is a senior in high school, she’s on spring break, and she decides that its high time she went to Las Vegas (only 4 hours away from her). Not to gamble but to meet the boy that she’s been talking to (pretty much non-stop) for the past four years. He’s her best friend and possibly more than her friend and she’s going to surprise him by showing up at one of his band performances.Little does she know that she’s the one who is going to be surprised (gasp).
So Hannah, her sister Grace, and her best friend Lo travel to Las Vegas and spend the night with Hannah’s best friend Nick. Along with him they also spend time with Nick’s brother Alex and friends Oscar and Jordy, as well as Frankie, Nick’s girlfriend (double gasp). What ensues is a wild night out on Las Vegas for a girl (Hannah) who is only used to following the rules. Hannah learns how to let lose and have fun and not just do exactly what she’s supposed to do.
Overall I thought this was a cute story. I connected with Hannah a little bit since I too was a goody two-shoes in high school. I have to be honest though, she and I were very different in the teen angst department and I found that piece of the book somewhat frustrating. I was never one to keep my mouth shut when I liked a boy so my angst was always of the “oh he doesn’t like me that sucks, oh wait look there’s some new shiny thing” while Hannah’s angst is more “oh I love this boy to pieces but I’m going to keep it to myself and be sad that he doesn’t know I like him.” I find that angst to be overly frustrating because how are you ever going to know if he likes you back if you don’t say anything. Other than that though the characters were cute, the story line was funny, and it was a quick read. Perfect read for this summer when you’re looking for something light to read on the beach!

The bottom line: This was a quick, light, and cute read. High on the teen angst scale but other than that it is a cute story about a girl taking chances and falling in love.

Link to author website

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