Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard

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4.5/5 Stars

Summary: “This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.”

A friend of mine suggested this book and it was on sale for really cheap so I quick picked it up and read through it.  If you loved dystopian YA novels like Hunger Games and Divergent, but kind of want to be reading something a little more adult, you are going to love this book!

It kind of has a Game of Thrones feel to it where there are different families, and you don’t know who you are able to trust.  The characters are great and come together to tell an exciting story.  There is a bit of romance to it, which I’m kind of thinking might play a bigger role in the following novels, but it isn’t done in a cheesy YA kind of way.  I think it is easy to forget that the characters are only in their late teens, which to me is a good thing.

You’re going to get hooked early on, but the just you wait until you get towards the end and see what happens because you are going to get that much more into it.  I’m so excited to get my hands on the second book in the series because I need to know where it is going to go next.

I Was Here – Gayle Forman

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4/5 Stars

Summary: “When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.”

If you’re looking for a book that is going to make you feel good and happy, probably better off skipping this.  I Was Here is sad and at times a little depressing, but it is a story that needs to be told and made me want to keep reading any chance that I had.

The characters feel like they could be real people going through these very real situations.  There are a few things that I was like, seriously?  Would someone actually do that?  But not so much to take me out of the story.  It’s got drama, a murder mystery (sort of), and a little bit of romance thrown in.  What more could you ask for?

Since the book heavily deals with suicide, obviously don’t read the book if you like to stay away from that kind of thing.  But if you can, give this book a read because it is one of those stories that wraps itself around you until you finish it.

Yes Please – Amy Poehler

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3.5/5 Stars

Summary: “In Amy Poehler’s highly anticipated first book, Yes Please, she offers up a big juicy stew of personal stories, funny bits on sex and love and friendship and parenthood and real life advice (some useful, some not so much), like when to be funny and when to be serious. Powered by Amy’s charming and hilarious, biting yet wise voice, Yes Please is a book full of words to live by.”

I kept forgetting to write my post on this book, so it’s actually been a while since I finished listening to it…oops.

I picked up Yes Please as something to listen to while at work instead of listening to the same songs over and over again.  It’s a good listen with chapters that will make you laugh out loud—even if you aren’t technically a fan of Amy Poehler.

There are chapters about her life, kids, relationships, and of course Parks and Rec and SNL.  I don’t think I would have actually sat down and read through the entire book, but as something to listen to casually I really enjoyed it.  There are little asides strictly in the audiobook and hearing it in her own voice makes it a little more interesting to someone who hasn’t really followed her career or know much about her, like me.

Pick up the book (audio or not) if you’re a fan of Parks and Rec or if you’ve just seen and liked the comedy movies Amy is known for.

Sisters One, Two, Three – Nancy Star

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2.5/5 Stars

Summary: “After a tragic accident on Martha’s Vineyard, keeping secrets becomes a way of life for the Tangle family. With memories locked away, the sisters take divergent paths. Callie disappears, Mimi keeps so busy she has no time to think, and Ginger develops a lifelong aversion to risk that threatens the relationships she holds most dear.

When a whispered comment overheard by her rebellious teenage daughter forces Ginger to reveal a long-held family secret, the Tangles’ carefully constructed web of lies begins to unravel. Upon the death of Glory, the family’s colorful matriarch, and the return of long-estranged Callie, Ginger resolves to return to Martha’s Vineyard and piece together what really happened on that calamitous day when a shadow fell over four sun-kissed siblings playing at the shore. Along with Ginger’s newfound understanding come the keys to reconciliation: with her mother, with her sisters, and with her daughter.”

I feel like I was reading this book for soooooo long and not really in a good way.

The beginning of the book goes back and forth with a chapter of Ginger’s life in present day where she is dealing with her aging mother and rebellious daughter and then a chapter of her childhood with her 3 siblings.  For a while you are unsure of how the two stories are connected (other than the fact that it’s the same people).

This part of the book was on and off interesting.  I wasn’t hooked enough that I wanted to keep reading every chance I got.  The past storyline then comes to an end at this big moment and some things start to make sense and it connects with what is going on in the present.  At this point I was into the book and wanting to read more, but it still didn’t become what I was hoping it would.

While loose ends were tied up, there were still a lot of questions and parts of the story that were made to seem like a big deal but weren’t really.  The summary for the book makes it sounds dramatic and cool, but the way all the secrets are in this family isn’t really mysterious it’s more like, oh yeah something happened, but oh look at that.  And then no one questions it…I don’t know.

The second half/end of the book does have some great moments, but not enough to make up for the so-so first half.

If you got the book for free from Amazon’s First thingy like I did, it’s not a bad read to give a try, but I’m not sure I would recommend buying this one.

Twelve Days of Dash and Lily – Rachel Cohn

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3.5/5 Stars

Summary: “Dash and Lily have had a tough year since they first fell in love among the shelves of their favorite bookstore. Lily’s beloved grandfather suffered a heart attack, and his difficult road to recovery has taken a major toll on her typically sunny disposition.

With only twelve days left until Christmas—Lily’s favorite time of the year—Dash, Lily’s brother Langston, and their closest friends must take Manhattan by storm to help Lily recapture the unique holiday magic of a glittering, snow-covered New York City in December.”

Why have I never thought of reading a Christmas book before?

When I heard about this one, I knew I had to read it around Christmas time.  Didn’t realize however that it was the second book in a series—good thing it didn’t really seem to matter.

While dealing with some serious topics, it doesn’t take itself too seriously.  It’s a light and quick read, perfect for a wintery day home.  Most people could probably read it in a day or two, I just took forever because that’s how I am.

It’s a cute story and while I wouldn’t call it a classic or anything that I would want to reread, it’s worth adding to your TBR list for next December.

Victoria – Daisy Goodwin

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4/5 Stars

Summary: “In 1837, less than a month after her eighteenth birthday, Alexandrina Victoria – sheltered, small in stature, and female – became Queen of Great Britain and Ireland. Many thought it was preposterous: Alexandrina — Drina to her family — had always been tightly controlled by her mother and her household, and was surely too unprepossessing to hold the throne. Yet from the moment William IV died, the young Queen startled everyone: abandoning her hated first name in favor of Victoria; insisting, for the first time in her life, on sleeping in a room apart from her mother; resolute about meeting with her ministers alone.”

I was really excited when I found out I received an ARC for this book!  I am obsessed with historical dramas and I’ve never seen or read anything on Queen Victoria, and her life sounded interesting.

Right away I was drawn into the story and had to stop myself from actually googling her to find out what was going to happen next quicker.  It’s a looong book, and took me longer than it should have to finish, but it kept my attention the whole way through.

Daisy Goodwin does a great job getting into Victoria’s head and bringing this real person back to life.  She apparently did a lot of research from Victoria’s actual diaries, which I would love to be able to read myself (I don’t know if that’s something people can just do?)

I was a little disappointed by the ending to be honest, which was a bit of a let down.  For how long the book was, the ending felt too quick.  I’m not sure if there is meant to be a sequel, but I’m really hoping that it’s not left there!

I think there either is already or there is going to be a series with the same topic written by the same writer, and I can’t wait!

Everyone who loves books like Outlander or shows like The Crown needs to go get this book.

The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland – Rebekah Crane

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4/5 Stars

Summary: “According to sixteen-year-old Zander Osborne, nowhere is an actual place—and she’s just fine there. But her parents insist that she get out of her head—and her home state—and attend Camp Padua, a summer camp for at-risk teens.”

almost didn’t bother reading this book because it’s about a group of 16 year olds at a camp and I thought it would be too childish (for lack of a better word).  While it is still considered to be a YA novel, it isn’t at all what I worried it was going to be.

The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland is a great book with interesting characters.  It takes serious issues that teens go through but puts it in a lighter, but not too light, tone.  One girl is dealing with an eating disorder while a boy makes up different stories about all details of his life, including his name.

A little predictable at parts, sure, but most importantly this book is a page turner.  It’s cute and fun and might make you shed a tear or two.  Give it a read and let me know what you thought!