Book Review: Love Lies Beneath

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Source: Atria Books

Synopsis from Simon & Schuster:

Tara is gorgeous, affluent, and forty. She lives in an impeccably restored Russian Hill mansion in San Francisco. Once a widow, twice divorced, she’s a woman with a past she prefers keeping to herself.

Enter Cavin Lattimore. He’s handsome, kind, charming, and the surgeon assigned to Tara following a ski accident in Lake Tahoe. In the weeks it takes her to recover, Cavin sweeps her off her feet and their relationship blossoms into something Tara had never imagined possible. But then she begins to notice some strange things: a van parked outside her home at odd times, a break-in, threatening text messages and emails. She also starts to notice cracks in Cavin’s seemingly perfect personality, like the suppressed rage his conniving teenage son brings out in him, and the discovery that Cavin hired a detective to investigate her immediately after they met.

Now on crutches and housebound, Tara finds herself dependent on the new man in her life—perhaps too much so. She’s handling rocky relationships with her sister and best friend, who are envious of her glamour and freedom; her prickly brother-in-law, who is intimidated by her wealth and power; and her estranged mother. However perfect Tara’s life appears, things are beginning to get messy.

*This book is part of my POPSUGAR 2016 Reading Challenge.*

I absolutely love Ellen Hopkins and there’s only one book of hers I haven’t read yet but I’m hoping to change that soon. Anyway, the point it, when I discovered she had a new book out that was written in prose instead of her typical poetic style was over the moon.

I’m a big fan of Hopkin’s poetic style of writing, which is why when I discovered Love Lies Beneath was written in prose I was shocked but also intrigued because it’s new. And although the book is mainly written in prose we do get a poem every couple of chapters. But if I’m being honest, which I always am, I could’ve done without them because I felt like they took me out the story and didn’t really add anything.

If you don’t know anything about this book (because truthfully I didn’t until I stumbled upon it in the library) it’s Hopkin’s third adult novel and follows Tara, a forty year old woman who’s been divorced three times. And she’s filthy rich.

Tara also comes a pretty tough background. She grew up with just her sister, mom, and whatever boyfriend her mother had the time. Her mother wasn’t the best, to say the least, and all Tara ever wanted to do was leave her mother and past behind, which is exactly what she did.

I really liked this book. It kept me on the edge of my seat to the very end. I never knew what to expect or who to trust. Everyone was suspicious to be and Hopkins still somehow managed to hit me with a big surprise in the end. Unbelievable. Seriously, Hopkins is one of the greatest storytellers I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading and if you haven’t read any books by her yet I definitely recommend this one (and all the others!).

Really, though, this novel was excellent. It was mysterious, sexy, and I couldn’t put it down. Definitely give it a read!

Borrow or Buy: Buy!!!

Stars:

5 stars

Favorite Line:

“Even as a kid I had to be the adult.”

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Book Review: Let It Snow

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Synopsis from Amazon:

A Christmas Eve snowstorm transforms one small town into a romantic haven, the kind you see only in movies. Well, kinda. After all, a cold and wet hike from a stranded train through the middle of nowhere would not normally end with a delicious kiss from a charming stranger. And no one would think that a trip to the Waffle House through four feet of snow would lead to love with an old friend. Or that the way back to true love begins with a painfully early morning shift at Starbucks. Thanks to three of today’s bestselling teen authors—John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle—the magic of the holidays shines on these hilarious and charming interconnected tales of love, romance, and breathtaking kisses.

*This book is part of my POPSUGAR 2016 Reading Challenge.*

Although the holiday season is now over I couldn’t let that stop me from finally reading this book. Therefore, when I got the email from the library saying I got it I couldn’t wait to read it so I just did.

Although each short story is it’s own story they are all interconnected and take place in the town of Gracetown. Due to a massive snow storm Jubilee, the protagonist of the first story by Maureen Johnson, gets stuck in Gracetown, on her way to Florida to be with her grandparents since her parents are in jail. Yeah, it’s a long story.

Jubilee, who had big plans of spending Christmas with her always busy boyfriend, is devastated that she not only won’t be with her boyfriend but she won’t be with her family either. Thankfully, there’s a nice guy from Target with an overbearing mother there to help get her in the holiday spirit.

The next story is by John Green and although I loved each of these stories, I have to say Green wins it for me. This story follows Tobin and his best friends, the Duke and JP, as they try to make it the Wafflehouse in an effort to spend the night with some cheerleaders. However, due to the massive snow storm this is easier said than done and these three quickly realize sometimes the journey is way more fun than the destination (although the destination is definitely much warmer). Oh, and of course there’s a cute little romance going on as well.

Lastly, is Lauren Myracle’s story, which is the perfect conclusion to the book. Addie is devastated that she’s spending her Christmas alone because she thinks her boyfriend, Jeb, hasn’t forgiven her for the terrible mistake she made. But Addie soon realizes that maybe she hasn’t really been looking at the big picture of what went wrong in their relationship. In an effort to change, Addie tries to step outside herself and care more about the people around her than just her own issues. Also, both couples from the first two stories make an appearance, which is amazingly cute.

Overall, this is the perfect holiday novel to read. Each story is cute, funny, and heartwarming and I’d definitely read it again during the next holiday season.

Borrow or Buy: Buy!

Stars:

5 stars

Favorite Line:

“Christmas is never over,unless you want it to be…Christmas is a state of mind.”

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Book Review: Seven Ways We Lie

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Source: Amulet Books

*I received a free advanced reader’s copy of this book from Amulet Books. This did not influence my review of this book in anyway. This is an honest review of the novel as I saw it. This novel will be on sale on March 8, 2016.*

Synopsis from Amazon:

In Seven Ways We Lie, a chance encounter tangles the lives of seven high school students, each resisting the allure of one of the seven deadly sins, and each telling their story from their seven distinct points of view.

The juniors at Paloma High School all have their secrets, whether it’s the thespian who hides her trust issues onstage, the closeted pansexual who only cares about his drug-dealing profits, or the neurotic genius who’s planted the seed of a school scandal. But it’s Juniper Kipling who has the furthest to fall. No one would argue that Juniper—obedient daughter, salutatorian, natural beauty, and loyal friend—is anything but perfect. Everyone knows she’s a saint, not a sinner; but when love is involved, who is Juniper to resist temptation? When she begins to crave more and more of the one person she can’t have, her charmed life starts to unravel.

Then rumors of a student–teacher affair hit the fan. After Juniper accidentally exposes her secret at a party, her fate falls into the hands of the other six sinners, bringing them into one another’s orbits. All seven are guilty of something. Together, they could save one another from their temptations—or be ruined by them.

When I was first told about this book I was very interested in the concept. Add in the fact that the author, Riley Redgate, is still in college and this book instantly became a must read for me.

Why does the author’s age matter, you ask. It’s simply because I love YA novels that are written by people who are young adults themselves. Don’t get me wrong, adults are great YA authors, obviously. But there’s something so open and genuine about someone who’s a young adult themselves writing about young adults.

Going into this book I didn’t have any expectations other than I liked the concept and I was excited to read it. Therefore when I did read it I got so sucked in that I finished the whole novel in a day.

The novel follows seven high school students: Olivia, Juniper, Matt, Valentine, Lucas, Kate, and Claire. Each of these students represent one of the seven deadly sins in some way. First, I just want to share who I think each one represents and I’d love to hear your opinions once you read the book.

  1. Olivia = Lust
  2. Juniper = Gluttony
  3. Matt = Sloth
  4. Claire = Envy
  5. Kate = Wrath
  6. Lucas = Greed
  7. Valentine = Pride

Honestly, I have no idea if these are correct. Valentine threw me off a bit because he doesn’t seem to represent any of the sins to me. Still, this is my best guess.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the novel. I really enjoyed this story. I liked the mystery of the whole teacher-student sex scandal (you don’t discover who the teacher is until close to the end). Although I guessed correctly pretty early on who it was but it wasn’t so blatantly obvious to me that I was 100 percent sure  and the story behind the scandal was unexpected.

Additionally, I really liked that this book wasn’t all about the scandal. Don’t let the synopsis fool you. For one thing all these characters don’t really come all together until closer to the end of the book. There’s so many things going on before they end up keeping a shared secret.

Olivia, Juniper, and Claire’s friendship is on the rocks because they all have issues and secrets they’re not sharing with each other. Olivia and Kat are twins who are barely speaking and have serious familial troubles. Speaking of familial troubles, Matt’s household isn’t fairing that well either. Lucas has a big secret that could change his whole world if it comes out. And Valentine…well, he was probably my favorite character but he has his own issues as well.

The plot of this novel was well driven and the changing of point of view between the seven characters was very well done. Redgate skillfully changes the voice of each character so they all stand out. This is especially seen in the way she writes Juniper’s POV, which to me read kind of like an Ellen Hopkin’s novel, in that it was less prose and more poetry.

As much as I did enjoy this book, I still had some issues with it. First, unless I missed it, we don’t discover Valentine’s gender until page 110. Up to that point in my head I thought Valentine was a woman and so when it became evident he wasn’t I was a little shocked and had to change my whole perspective.

Secondly, although I liked that each character had their own voice I couldn’t stand the overuse of “like” in Matt’s POV. Also, in his sections all conversations were said in whole paragraphs. For example, rather than splitting up lines of dialogue someone would say, “Hi,” and then I was like, “Hi,” and then he says,”What’s up,” and I’m like, “Nothing. You?”

I don’t know why but that infuriated me. Especially the “likes.” I know we use it in normal conversation but I hated reading it in a book when it wasn’t part of the dialogue. Speaking of dialogue, Matt and Olivia’s use of “Yo,” didn’t sit right with me. It always seemed out of place every time they said it.

Lastly, Claire does something in the novel and we don’t really know if she gets punished for it or not. I wish that could’ve been resolved more. Also, I just genuinely didn’t like Claire as a character and couldn’t muster any sympathy for her.

Still, despite these very small things, I was totally sucked into this novel and couldn’t put it down. I’d say it’s a must read!

Borrow or Buy: Buy!

Stars:

4 stars

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Book Review: The Girlfriend Request

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*I received a free digital advanced reader’s copy of this book from Entangled Publishing via NetGalley. This did not influence my review of this book in anyway. This is an honest review of the novel as I saw it. This novel will be on sale on Jan. 11, 2016.*

Synopsis from Amazon:

Emma has been best friends with Eli since she moved to his neighborhood ten years ago. Tired of being cast in the role of the girl next door, Emma creates a fake Facebook profile in the hopes of starting an online friendship with Eli, which would hopefully lead to more. Like…way more. From friend request to In a Relationship–it all seemed so completely logical when she’d planned it.

Eli can’t figure out what Emma is up to. He’s pretty sure she’s the one behind the Facebook profile, but then again, why would she do something so drastic instead of just admitting she wants to be more than friends? And who the heck is this new guy he saw her with? Eli starts to think that just maybe…he missed his chance with the girl next door.

Two best friends, one outlandish ruse. Their status is about to become way more than It’s Complicated…

I have so many mixed feelings about this book.

First of all, when I read the synopsis I was hesitant because in my head I already knew Emma’s plan was terrible and destined to fail. However, I figured I’ve read a bunch of good books where the protagonist doesn’t have the best plan but that’s what makes it funny and interesting and I was curious how this would all play out.

Before I go into what I didn’t like let me say what I did. I liked how the author, Jodie Andrefski, decided to write this in both Emma and Eli’s point of views. Granted it’s mostly Emma’s point of view but we also get chapters of Eli’s perspective. I thought that was a great way to do it because that allowed this story to go in a different direction than I was expecting.

Moreover, I liked the addition of another love interest for Emma. I thought that was another good twist to an otherwise cut and dry romance novel because, let’s face it, we all know how this story ends based on the blurb.

And that’s about it, unfortunately.

I really wanted to like Emma because I get it. It’s hard to tell someone you’ve been friends with for a while that you have feelings for them and on some crazy level I understood her whole “fake profile” idea. I thought it was a bad idea, but I understood.

But Emma just made way too many mistakes for me to forgive. And then on top of that I was excited to get Eli’s point of view but it turns out I don’t actually like Eli. I don’t understand why Emma went through all this trouble to “take their relationship to the next level” because he’s not that great. He doesn’t handle things with Emma well at all. Instead of being clear about what he wants he’s very cryptic about his feelings and yet somehow expects Emma to just know how he feels.

Truthfully, I liked Emma’s other love interest better until I didn’t because his personality suddenly took a nosedive for what I can only assume to be plot reasons.

Overall, I honestly think the concept of this novel isn’t as bad as I’ve seen others make it out to be. Yes it’s crazy but that’s what makes fiction great. Fiction’s allowed to be crazy. If you don’t believe me just read Fake Boyfriend by Kate Brian. That’s a good crazy book.

I was more disappointed in the characters and how they were developed. I also didn’t really believe Eli and Emma’s relationship and found it confusing. Maybe it’s because I’ve never been in love but I can’t understand how Emma believes what she feels for Eli is real love when it’s really just a very long, drawn out infatuation, which at one point she does say but then dismisses the idea entirely.

I wanted to like this book because it seemed like a cute, simple romance. Sadly, although it was simple and took me less than a day to read, it didn’t leave me with the butterflies in my stomach that I have come to expect from a good romance novel.

Borrow or Buy: On the one hand, this book is only $2.99 on the Kindle. On the other hand, you probably won’t be rereading it. Borrow it.

Stars:

2 stars

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Book Review: The Darkest Minds

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

I’ve had this book on my book shelf for so long and I’m so glad I finally got the chance to read it. Dystopian fiction has become one of the hottest genres right now so you’re hard pressed to find a dystopian novel that really stands out but The Darkest Minds does just that.

Alexandra Bracken has crafted a novel that weaves together a rag tag group of characters that in a normal world probably wouldn’t make sense but works perfectly in this dystopian world where children are either dead or outcast. There is Liam, the hopelessly hopeful hero, who just wants to save and protect everyone. He cares for everyone and always looks for the good in people even when it’s not there. He’s optimistic but not in an annoying way.

Of course in a dystopian world where children are being hunted down by the government, bounty hunters (also know as skip tracers) and an anti-government terrorist group, being optimistic isn’t always helpful. That’s where Charlie “Chubs” Meriweather steps in. He’s a realist that’s untrusting of strangers and always guarded. He doesn’t like taking risks and prefers calculated plans. He’s the kind of kid that knows how to cross stitch in case someone needs stitches, which is handy but isn’t something you expect from a kid.

Rounding out the group is little Zu, the youngest and smallest of the group, that everyone wants to protect and keep safe. What’s great about Zu, though, is she doesn’t actually need the group’s protection. If anything they need her. She’s got the strongest ability out of the group, right after Ruby, and can handle her own when need be. The fact that she is mute and afraid of her powers makes her the perfect mirror image for Ruby who has been running scared from her abilities since the age of 10.

Ruby, herself, is the type of heroine that you want to root for. She makes mistakes but they’re mistakes that can be expected of a sixteen year old girl that’s been locked up for almost half her life. What I loved about Ruby is even though she can’t see it herself she is one of the most, if not the most, selfless character in the novel. All she wants to do is protect the people she cares about and she does that in any way she can. Although I didn’t always agree with her choices I respected her for them. I cheered with her when her plans worked and cried when they fell apart.

Following these four on their journey as they tried to find East River, the Promised Land for “freaks”, and everything that happened after I laughed, screamed, had butterflies, went back to reread, and cried. There are so many elements in this novel that you have to be paying attention to keep up. No one can be trusted and nothing is ever as it seems and just when you think you have it all figured out Bracken hits you with another curve ball and you’re floored. It’s brilliant!

If you haven’t checked out The Darkest Minds yet you really need to. Meanwhile, I’m going to get started on the next book.

Favorite Line:

‘The darkest minds tend to hide behind the most unlikely faces.’

Stars: 5 out of 5. No doubt about it.

Borrow or Buy: Buy!!! I’m so glad I own this book!

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Book Review: The Eternity Cure

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*This book is part of my Dystopia Book Challenge*

Synopsis from Amazon:

In Allison Sekemoto’s world, there is one rule left: Blood calls to blood

She has done the unthinkable: died so that she might continue to live. Cast out of Eden and separated from the boy she dared to love, Allie will follow the call of blood to save her creator, Kanin, from the psychotic vampire Sarren. But when the trail leads to Allie’s birthplace in New Covington, what Allie finds there will change the world forever—and possibly end human and vampire existence.

There’s a new plague on the rise, a strain of the Red Lung virus that wiped out most of humanity generations ago—and this strain is deadly to humans and vampires alike. The only hope for a cure lies in the secrets Kanin carries, if Allie can get to him in time.

Allison thought that immortality was forever. But now, with eternity itself hanging in the balance, the lines between human and monster will blur even further, and Allie must face another choice she could never have imagined having to make.

*This review will contain spoilers. You’ve been warned!*

For some reason (probably school) it took me way to long to read this book. I loved The Immortal Rules but somehow I think I loved this sequel even more. There was no annoying Jeb or that girl that was in love with Zeke. It was just Allie, Zeke, and Jackal most of the book. And then Kanin who I love. The most annoying character was Stick and I was not at all upset when he finally died.

The book began with Allie looking for her sire, Kanin, but instead of finding Kanin she friends her vamp brother Jackal, the jerk face that killed Zeke’s adopted father and most of his friends/family. Despite her better judgment Allie decides to team up with her brother and they go forward to find and save Kanin from the crazy vamp, Sarren.

Allie gets way more than she bargained for, however, when she discovers:

A) She has to go back to her hometown, New Covington.

B) She finds Zeke, the human she’s in love with but knows she can’t be with, also in New Covington.

C) Sarren has unleashed some crazy new virus that makes humans crazy and makes vamps decay.

Yeah, talk about a hot mess. Despite mutual animosity Zeke joins the Allie/Jackal team and they’re off to save the world. There’s of course some tension between Allie and Zeke (both sexual and just the regular kind) but thankfully they push through it and become the cutest vamp/human couple known to man. Although I have no idea how this could possibly work out I ship it.

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The trio work together to find Kanin only to discover Prince Salazar’s holding him captive and working with Sarren. Oh, and Stick is working for Salazar. Talk about a hot mess. Thankfully, Sarren quickly shows his true colors when he attempts to kill Salazar and the Prince joins team Allie. Well, sort of. He then agrees to give them Kanin but not before he sticks him with the virus. No better way to make sure he gets the cure than to make Kanin sick, am I right?

With that motivation Allie is more than ready to do whatever it takes to get the cure. Even so, she’s given even more unneeded motivation when a rabid human bites Zeke, giving him the virus. Julie Kagawa, pull my heart out why don’t you?

With all the odds stacked against them Jackal, in typical Jackal fashion, bails, leaving Kanin, Allie, and Zeke on their own. Too bad Allie’s the only left that’s still remotely healthy. Looks like she’s taking Sarren on all on her own.

After having to leave a too sick to fight Zeke behind it’s just Allie and Kanin, who’s in real bad shape, against crazy Sarren. Well until they get to Sarren’s lab and discover … Jackal!

Betrayal

Yep. Classic Jackal. Sarren deciding he’s done with Kanin goes after Allie and just when I think I’m going to have stop reading because things are going to get real gross Jackal steps up and helps Allie. Though he ends up not being that helpful Zeke suddenly appears and saves the day. Turns out he took an experimental cure while at Eden and he’s all good. Hooray! Using Zeke’s blood they’re also able to cure Kanin. And the day is saved. Except not quite.

Although they all give Sarren a good beating he’s still able to escape and of course it’s not the last we see of him. Thanks to Stick, Sarren is able to kidnap Zeke and get the location of Eden out of him. Sarren seemingly kills Zeke but in the epilogue Kagawa saves me from a heart attack by revealing Zeke isn’t dead just yet. But what will happen next?

Kagawa put me on an emotional roller coaster this entire novel. I fell more in love with Zeke and Allie’s relationship in this novel and I was heartbroken when the novel ended with them being separated yet again. If they don’t end up together by the end of this trilogy I will be outraged. I can’t wait to read what happens next.

Favorite Line:

“For the rest of my existence, if I lived to see the end of this world, there would never be another Ezekiel Crosse. There would never be another soul as bright as his. And that both terrified me and made me savagely – and maybe selfishly – determined to keep him. Zeke was mine now. Forever.”
Stars: 5 out of 5. I want to reread this book many times. Or just the scenes of Allie and Zeke. Although Jackal’s hilarious so I also want to read those parts. And I love Kanin. Okay so I’m going to need to read this whole book again. Yeah, it’s that good.
Borrow or Buy: Buy! I may have to buy this book just so I can reread it all the time. For reals, you’ll want this on your shelf.
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