The Third Wish by Carolyn Brown

Published: June 13th, 2017
Publisher: Vintage Publishing

Be careful what you wish for…

When she was eight years old, Jessica found an old bottle on the beach and made three wishes: that she wouldn’t always be the tallest kid in the class, that she would find a big conch shell, and that she would finally meet her father someday. Jessica’s wishes never came true—no other kids ever matched her height and she only ever found a small conch shell at the beach—but twenty years later, when she finds her mother’s old love letters, she has a chance to make the third wish come true.

Jessica travels to Florida to find her father but their reunion is interrupted by his arrogant junior business partner, Rocky Rycroft. Indignant, Jessica goes back to her Texas hometown and is surprised that Rocky follows her home. He explains he’s been sent by her father’s family learn more about Jessica, but all of Jessica’s friends insist his interest is more personal than that.

Jessica was looking for her father, not love. Could she now possibly have both?

Review:

I loved this book from the synopsis. I haven’t heard something like this before, so I thought it would be great. I was unfortunately disappointed with how it was. It wasn’t so much the story, it was the editing and the characters that didn’t do it for me.

I think that this book went too fast. The flying back and forth was a little crazy and confusing. There were also characters that had similar names and qualities and so I couldn’t differentiate who was who.

The editing had me almost stop this book a few times. There were many mistakes with grammar and spelling throughout this short novella. There was one point where the word “here” was spelled like “hear” and I had to stop and put it down. There were some things that I just couldn’t deal with, so I had to drop the rating on this book.

Rating: ★★★★

Less by Andrew Sean Greer

Published: July 18th, 2017
Publisher: Lee Boudreaux Books

Who says you can’t run away from your problems?

You are a failed novelist about to turn fifty. A wedding invitation arrives in the mail: your boyfriend of the past nine years is engaged to someone else. You can’t say yes–it would be too awkward–and you can’t say no–it would look like defeat. On your desk are a series of invitations to half-baked literary events around the world.

QUESTION: How do you arrange to skip town?

ANSWER: You accept them all.

What would possibly go wrong? Arthur Less will almost fall in love in Paris, almost fall to his death in Berlin, barely escape to a Moroccan ski chalet from a Saharan sandstorm, accidentally book himself as the (only) writer-in-residence at a Christian Retreat Center in Southern India, and encounter, on a desert island in the Arabian Sea, the last person on Earth he wants to face. Somewhere in there: he will turn fifty. Through it all, there is his first love. And there is his last.

Because, despite all these mishaps, missteps, misunderstandings and mistakes, LESS is, above all, a love story.

A scintillating satire of the American abroad, a rumination on time and the human heart, a bittersweet romance of chances lost, by an author The New York Times has hailed as “inspired, lyrical,” “elegiac,” “ingenious,” as well as “too sappy by half,” LESS shows a writer at the peak of his talents raising the curtain on our shared human comedy.”

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Lee Bourdreaux Books, and Andrew Sean Greer for providing me an arc in exchange for an honest review. 

I love this book. I could go on and on about the main character, Arthur Less. He was one of the best characters in a book I’ve read in a long time. A failing novelist who can’t find love and deals with it along the way. There’s so many things that could go wrong in life, and Arthur Less is the champion of that happening to him. Above all, this story is about love and how it can bring you down and lift you up.

This book definitely shows heartbreak. I resonate with these kind of books because I’ve seen love fall apart and mend back together. This book is so great because it would stand out to a lot of people for the same reason. So many people have had their hearts broken, whatever their sexual orientation is. Writing about something that so many people can talk about was definitely well done by the author. Andrew Greer really made me feel like he was the heartbroken one himself. He wrote this book so beautifully that it made me feel for Arthur on multiple occasions.

Next, this book was so very quotable. There were many quotes that I will take from this book. I highlighted a lot on my Kindle, and I love when that happens because it shows how quotable a book really was. It seemed that every page had a different theme, but each theme wrapped into one big theme at the end. There was one specific quote I took from this and I think it was written in to each page: “Just for the record: happiness is not bullshit“. And it’s not. Arthur Less proves that through everything he goes through.

This was absolutely wonderful to read. It was comforting because it shows that in the end, it will all work out. Arthur Less goes through a myriad of things and he comes out of it okay. It’s a very important message, and it is displayed very well throughout this book on every single page you read.

Overall, a beautiful, dazzling, comforting, heartbreaking read by Andrew Sean Greer and it was magnificent. I will be recommending it to a lot of people.

Rating: ★★★★★

 

Steele by Vicki Green

Published: September 20th, 2014

“Alone. He wants no one, needs no one, but himself. In need of money, Steele Ryker finds a bar in a desolate area in the desert and secures a job as a bartender/bouncer. The biker bar fills him with the fights he craves and the women to fill his lonely nights until…. She walks in.

Kallie Pearson is out for one thing, a good time. She’s bored of all the normal guys, the normal hot spots and finds a bar that holds just wants she’s been longing for…. Danger.

What she doesn’t know is just how much danger it holds.”

Review:

This novella was only 77 pages on IBooks, so I understood that it was supposed to move fast. However, I think it moved too fast.

Steele meets a girl named Kallie while he’s bartending. He is on the road constantly, so he doesn’t really have anyone. Kallie is a girl who just wants to have a little exhilaration in her life. She wants to have fun and do something dangerous.

Basically every bad biker boy romance story ever.

I think I would’ve liked this book better if it didn’t move so fast. It was a good story and a good idea for a story, but I felt like I was jumping into this without any hesitation from either character. In the synopsis, it says how Steele doesn’t need anyone, and I felt like this would’ve been better if that rang true.

Rating: 3.5/5

Melt by Deborah Bladon

Published: January 2nd, 2017
Publisher: Self-Published

“I saw my boss naked.

Actually, most of the women who work at Matiz Cosmetics have. It’s understandable since the pictures went viral almost immediately after being posted online. Ryker Moore and his social media star girlfriend were photographed on a private beach in the Caribbean.

No swimsuits, no hats, and no bad camera angles.

Ryker’s back in New York City and his relationship is over.

The fact that he’s single shouldn’t matter to me, but it does. It’s not because I’ve secretly wanted him since I landed this job. It has absolutely nothing to do with that one kiss we shared under the mistletoe at the holiday party last year.
It matters because of the way he looks at me when he doesn’t think I’m paying attention. That melts my heart but I know enough about Ryker to realize he’s trouble.

He’s the last thing I need, but that has nothing to do with what I want, does it? ”

Review:

This book was great in the beginning. From the synopsis, I thought “Wow, I love that kind of book! Must read now!” I’m glad I felt that way, but, unfortunately, it wasn’t the best.

Things were good in the beginning. I liked the characters and how they were introduced. I like their backstory and how things went down in the past. It makes for this kind of story.

Reading on, I felt like there was some lack of chemistry. It was hard to read through because I just couldn’t see it in my head. It was a little too much for me. It was pretty back and forth, which I usually enjoy, but this time, it was just a lot.

Lastly, I am a stickler for editing issues. I will knock stars off if there is one mess up. There are problems with self-publishing because it sometimes doesn’t get edited. That’s how I felt with this one. I wish it was read a little better.

Overall, I liked the idea of this story. It could’ve been better, and I hope in the future, Deborah Bladon checks the editing some more.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars.

Irresistible Attraction by Brenda Jackson

Published: January 17th, 2017
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

“Sydney Corbain never forgot her explosive encounter with Tyrone Hardcastle at her brother’s wedding. So when she runs into him in New York City on business, they both see this as an opportunity to explore their undeniable attraction. But can a whirlwind of passion turn into long-lasting love?”

Review:

This book was very short, almost like a novella. In this small novel, I really enjoyed everything Brenda Jackson wrote.

I read this on IBooks so there were 113 pages. Throughout those pages, the chemistry was definitely felt. It was a weird story about Sydney and Tyrone, and I got confused sometimes, but the chemistry is amazing. Brenda Jackson really wrote this well and it flowed beautifully. I couldn’t stop reading!

I loved the characters and their development as well. They both were great by the end and I’m glad they turned out the way that they did.

Like I said before, this was really short, so there isn’t much I have to say. Overall, this book was very well done, but confused me as some parts. I would read Brenda Jackson again!

Rating: ★★★★.5/5

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

Published: February 14th, 2017
Publisher: Dutton Books

You go through life thinking there’s so much you need…

Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.”

Review:

Wow. This was super, super sad. If you are an emotional reader, I would recommend having a box of tissues nearby. Marin is a girl who lost her mother at a young age. She was being taken care of by her grandfather and she doesn’t know how to cope when he doesn’t return home. Marin deals with grief and confusing feelings for her best friend Mabel. She up and leaves San Francisco to go to New York, leaving everything behind.

Marin is a young girl that shouldn’t have to deal with what she does. She is left alone and even though she has had many different people that loved her, she always felt alone all of the time. When her grandfather never comes home, she packs and heads right to New York, closing everyone off and not letting anyone in. Not even her best friend Mabel. Mabel, who Marin is in love with. Things get really confusing for both girls.

I think that Nina LaCour did a beautiful job writing how Marin goes through grief. There are seven stages, and I think that each stage was represented. Marin needed help and the author really showed her going through what she was. Things were really hard for her, and because they were hard for her, some parts were hard to read.

I feel like there was something missing at the end of the book. I felt like I was waiting for something, but it didn’t really take away from the book. This is my second Nina LaCour book, and I’m really starting to love her as an author. Can’t wait to read more.

Rating: ★★★★

Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

Published: May 2nd, 2017
Publisher: Amulet Books

A cappella just got a makeover.

Jordan Sun is embarking on her junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts, hopeful that this will be her time: the year she finally gets cast in the school musical. But when her low Alto 2 voice gets her shut out for the third straight year—threatening her future at Kensington-Blaine and jeopardizing her college applications—she’s forced to consider nontraditional options.

In Jordan’s case, really nontraditional. A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshipped…revered…all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.

Jordan finds herself enmeshed in a precarious juggling act: making friends, alienating friends, crushing on a guy, crushing on a girl, and navigating decades-old rivalries. With her secret growing heavier every day, Jordan pushes beyond gender norms to confront what it means to be a girl (and a guy) in a male-dominated society, and—most importantly—what it means to be herself.”

Review:

I’m so happy I loved this book as much as I did since it was my 80th book this year and therefore, the end of my Goodreads Reading Challenge for the year! (Of course I’ll continue to read, but yay!). Jordan is a girl who is at a boarding school for performing arts who is struggling to receive parts in the musical for the last three years. Her mom doesn’t want her to be there if she can’t get cast in the musicals. When a spot in the boarding school’s most elite acappella group opens up, she does what she has to in order to get a spot. She dresses up as a boy and it turns out that Jordan, now as Julian, is exactly what the group was looking for. She goes through all of the measures to make sure that this works out. Of course, there are bumps along the way.

Okay but this book was amazing. There were so many great things! This was like Mulan (which is one my favorites) mixed with Glee (another one of my favorites) so it was just amazing to read. Jordan is one of my favorite characters in a book ever. The lengths that she goes through to make sure that she won’t get caught is unfathomable. She is so strong for dealing with so many things on her plate, but she doesn’t let it get to her.

Next, I love the different romances in this book. There were so many and it was awesome to see the straight, bisexual, and gay couples being so well loved. Riley Redgate really wrote these parts wonderfully.

The only thing that I thought could’ve been better were some of the characters. I understand that there are some people who are meant to be background characters and main characters. However, a lot of them were main and then background again, so there were some confusing parts that I had to reread. Other than this, I loved this book a lot. The writing style and story were something that I never really heard of so I was captivated from the start.

Rating: 4.5/5