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.

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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.

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.

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!

The Girl Before – JP Delaney

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4/5 Stars

Summary: “Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.

The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.”

Another ARC, yay!

No books, nothing on the walls, wipe down the shower every time you use it, and those are only a few of the long list of rules attached to the house Emma and Jane (separately) agreed to live in.

This book had me wanting to come back to it and read more.  It’s more of a slow burn, luring you in and weaving different possibilities of what really happened throughout the story.  If you’re looking for action packed, thriller sort of stuff, this might not be the book for you.

I enjoyed the ride though.  I liked how it was told from two different perspectives allowing you to see the differences and similarities in their lives.  At first, the fact that Emma’s story is told all without quotation marks around the dialogue really bothered me, but I got used to it and now I understand why it was done—at least I think.

It’s a fairly quick read and will leave you trying to figure out what really happened until the very end.  While the long version of the summary tries to compare The Girl Before to The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl (enough with girl in the title!), I’d have to disagree.  Those books are more focused on their plot twists, while I think this one is about the journey.

This book isn’t set to come out until January 24th, so add it to your TBR list and let me know what you think when you get to it!

A Hole in the Universe – Mary McGarry Morris

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2.5/5 Stars

Summary: “Gordon Loomis returns to a changed world after twenty-five years in prison. His old neighborhood is blighted by drug dealers; his brother is eager to help but is too caught up in his own life; his loyal friend Delores makes him realize that he’s just as afraid of relationships as he is of going back to jail; and his inherent decency draws the attention of a hungry child whose survival threatens the fragile balance that is Gordon’s freedom.”

From that summary, I thought I’d really enjoy this book.  It has a lot of interesting elements to it: a guy who just got out a jail, a kid who is dealing with her drug addicted mother, and a woman who does more for others than for herself, but the story never really takes off.

I kept reading the book hoping it was going to get better.  Thinking, something had to happen soon, something that was going to change the direction things were going in.  And when it did (sort of), the big thing didn’t really mean anything.  No one knew it had happened for a while and then when they did, the consequences were all blown through so quickly since it was basically the end of the book.

If you’ve read The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling, A Hole in the Universe kind of had that same feel to it where we’re just following the lives of a handful of characters where little things are going on that will seemingly add up to something.  By the end of The Casual Vacancy, I was satisfied by how it all came together.  With this book, though, I didn’t like the ending at all.

There were very few answers to questions that I had from the beginning of the story and the last chapter really just bothers me.  I’ve read some other reviews and people who have enjoyed the book talk about how realistic the characters and situations are, and to me that is where the problem is.  Real life doesn’t always make a great story.  Someone reading book wants a build up to something big happening and a satisfying, at least in some way, end.

Just not for me, I guess.  If you’ve read it and liked it, let me know why in the comments!

The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving – Jonathan Evison

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3.5/5 Stars

Summary: “Jonathan Evison has crafted a novel of the heart, a novel of unlikely heroes traveling through a grand American landscape, and most of all, a story that offers a profound look into what it takes to truly care for another person. Bursting with energy and filled with moments of absolute beauty, this bighearted and inspired novel ponders life’s terrible surprises as well as its immeasurable rewards.”

A couple months ago I watched The Fundamentals of Caring on Netflix and absolutely loved it, so of course I had to read the book.  I couldn’t believe how different they were!  This is the rare case where I actually enjoyed the movie way more than the book.  I kind of feel like if I hadn’t seen the movie first, the book wouldn’t have done that much for me.

Everyone knows that when a book is turned into a movie or show, there are going to be differences.  Usually they leave out your favorite bits and maybe make a few random changes.  With The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, they changed what I felt was a pretty big part of the plot.  While the book is told from the perspective of Ben, the movie gives you a little more into what Trev gets up to.  Plus the movie is a lot funnier.  I feel like if I had read and loved the book first, the movie would’ve been disappointing as an adaptation.

I would say it is a decent book, but I would 100% suggest the movie over it.