The Debt by Karina Halle

Published: August 29th, 2016

“Her life changed in an instant.
And he’s the only one who could have prevented it.

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Pact and The Lie comes a new standalone contemporary romance about those McGregor men.

Jessica Charles shouldn’t have even been in London when the unthinkable happened.
She should have been back at home in Edinburgh, perhaps hanging with her boyfriend, having drinks with her sister or doing yoga with her group of friends. She should have been going on in her normal, dependable life as always.
But on that fateful day in August, when a mentally-ill ex-soldier opened fire in public, Jessica’s world changed forever.
Now single and crippled from the gunshot wounds, Jessica finds herself scared and alone, losing faith in herself and humanity with each agonizing moment that passes.
That is until a stranger enters her life. A stranger who makes her live again.
Keir McGregor has always been the strong, silent type. Throw in tall, dark, and handsome and you’ve got pretty much the perfect Scotsman.
Except Keir is anything but perfect. He’s got a past he’s running away from and a guilty conscience he can’t seem to shed. But the more time he spends with Jessica, the more he falls in love with her.
And the more his secret threatens to tear them apart.
He may have been a stranger to her.
But she’s never been a stranger to him.”

Okay so the prologue of this book had me in tears. Karina Halle really made me feel like I was there in Jessica’s shoes living this moment along with her. It was so much in a few pages that it had me very emotional. This book was honestly the quickest I was ever grabbed into a novel. I like true crime novels, and in the beginning, that’s what it felt like, but from the eyes of a witness. I honestly couldn’t believe the twists and turns this book threw at me. It was sad, then happy, then angry, then disappointing, then happy again and this book pulled my emotions in every direction. Jessica feels like one of the strongest characters I’ve ever encountered in a book. She doesn’t take any shit, and I applaud her for that. Keir was also a wonderful character and I’m glad things ended the way they did. I didn’t know that this book was part of a series, so it was a little confusing with the other characters. If you plan on reading this book, I would read the others first to get to know the other family. If not, it was perfect as a standalone as well.

Rating: ★★★★★

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

“A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award finalist, and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

Read it.

And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.”

I liked this book. I did, but there was a little trouble for me getting into it. I first wanted to read this book when it came out, then I found out it was high up on the list for Goodreads’ best of the year award which made me want to read it more. I got 50 pages in..then 100..then 120..and I felt like I was still waiting for something to happen. I didn’t really like the characters other Candance. Her mom was a whole lot of expletives, and her friends weren’t really her friends.. (OR SO I THOUGHT). The ending of this book made the entire thing. The epilogue is absolutely phenomenal and made it completely worth it. I loved it by the end.

Rating: ★★★★

Barley Cross Series by Emma Hart

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Book #1: Being Brooke

Publication Date: December 13th, 2016
Publisher: Self-Published
Rating: ★★★★

“My name is Brooke Barker…

And I’m a freaking disaster.

No, seriously. I’m a college drop-out working a dead-end job, my best friend Carly’s dog gets more action than I do, and I have more bad dates in my diary than there are movie remakes.

Not to mention I’m completely and utterly in love with Cain Elliott.

The problem? He’s in a relationship. With a girl who’s so plastic she makes Barbie cry herself to sleep with jealousy.

The second problem? He’s my best friend.

My shut-up-and-put-on-Harry-Potter, yes-this-is-your-shirt, help-I-have-no-power, crap-I’m-out-of-tampons, kinda best friend.

And that’s all he can be, right?

Right.”

Review:

Brooke Barker. I absolutely adored her and this book that told this romantic story. Falling in love with your best friend? YES PLEASE. It’s such a romantic topic and Emma Hart did a phenomenal job with telling it through the eyes of Brooke.

The chemistry was one of the best things about this book. Cain Elliot and Brooke Barker are a match made in best friend/friend zone/in love but doesn’t want to say it, heaven. This book was a perfect example of a slow burn. It builds up until there’s no where else for the chemistry to go for the two characters. The romance was perfection and I love how deeply Cain and Brooke felt for each other.

I loved Carly, Brooke’s best friend. Their friendship was so relatable that I felt like I was their friend as well. It reminded me of my best friend and I’s friendship. We make jokes and there are times we can’t stop laughing. Carly and Brooke’s nickname for each other were perfect and hilarious. I hope I have more friendships like Brooke and Carly’s in the future.

The only thing that caught me off guard was where it would lose me at some parts. I would have to go back and reread to make sure I got what Brooke was saying. That’s the only reason I knocked a star off. Other than losing me a few times, this book was flawless.

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Book #2: Catching Carly

Publication Date: March 7, 2017
Publisher: Self-Published
Rating: ★★★★★

“Life Goal #1: Forget about my best friend’s brother. (Because Zeke Elliott is a colossal cockwomble.)

From New York Times bestselling author, Emma Hart, comes another hilariously wild romantic comedy about being the third wheel in your friendship and, um, accidentally having sex with your best friend’s brother…”

Review:

Carly gets a book!! I was so excited to read this one. I was definitely not disappointed. This just so happens to be one of those funny cases where I loved the sequel more than the first one. I loved everything about this book. The best part was the fact that it never slowed down for me and I never had to stop to reread this one!

Carly was fantastic in the first book. I loved everything about her character. She was hilarious and witty with a twist of genuineness when it came to her friends. My favorite thing about this story was Carly’s character and how she develops throughout the book. I love that the characters from the first book were included as well. Zeke’s character was exactly how I expected him to be. He was cocky and funny, but it came to romance: swoon.

The chemistry in this book was just as great as the first. The romance was outstanding and something that every reader would dream of. Emma Hart’s romance is just beautiful, sexy, and emotional. Everything about the way Carly and Zeke’s romance was portrayed was amazing.

There was nothing wrong with this book. I went into this book thinking that it was going to be similar to Being Brooke where I was getting a little lost and having to reread some parts. I’m so glad I was wrong. I’d recommend this series to romance lovers who are looking for a juicy, emotional, quick read. These two were perfect.

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

Published: May 3rd, 2016

“I made the wrong choice.”

Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.

But then she is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and even herself.

People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.”

Review:

I love this book. I love this book. I love this book. It starts out with a girl named Lina who’s mother is very ill which sent a shock through her system. During her mother’s treatments, her mother would tell her stories about a man named Howard. Howard lives in Italy where her mom did years of college for photography. After her mother’s passing, Lina was shipped off to Tuscany against her will. There, she meets Howard and his assistant at the cemetery where Lina will be living, and is given her mother’s journal that she kept during that time. This is a tale of a daughter following her mother’s footsteps to uncover secrets not only about her mother’s past, but also her past as well. She meets Ren (Lorenzo) who is Italian in the United States, but American in Italy. He helps Lina by reading the journal as well and taking her to the places that were specified to help uncover the clues that her mother left behind. There is one quote that really stuck out to be in this book:
“You know, people come to Italy for all sorts of reasons, but when they stay, it’s for the same two things.”

“What?”

“Love & Gelato.”

Rating: ★★★★★

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarity

Originally Published: 2009

Alice Love is twenty-nine, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child.

So imagine Alice’s surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym and is whisked off to the hospital where she discovers the honeymoon is truly over — she’s getting divorced, she has three kids and she’s actually 39 years old. Alice must reconstruct the events of a lost decade, and find out whether it’s possible to reconstruct her life at the same time. She has to figure out why her sister hardly talks to her, and how is it that she’s become one of those super skinny moms with really expensive clothes.

Ultimately, Alice must discover whether forgetting is a blessing or a curse, and whether it’s possible to start over.”

I feel like this book took me a while to read. It starts out with Alice waking up from sustaining an injury from hitting her head on a pair of handlebars during cycling class. She’s dreaming of this scene, but she can’t put her finger on where she’s seen it before. When she fully wakes up, she’s in the hospital, shocking everyone by thinking it is 1998 and not 2008. She believes she is pregnant with her first child, and has a wonderful husband named Nick. She was in for the shock of her life when she found out she was actually a mother of 3, and getting a divorce from her loving husband. She has a boyfriend named Dominic that happens to be the principal at her children’s school. Alice can’t believe this is her life, and tries to do everything in her power to change it. I had a hard time pushing through the slow parts, but the ending was awesome. Definitely a good read. This book is in the works to become a movie, so you should read it before it comes out!

Rating: ★★★★

This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

Published: January 5th, 2016

“10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.

Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.”

I should start by saying that this book definitely has some trigger warnings that should be mentioned before reading this. It was a very quick read for me, but it was definitely very hard to get through. The small town of Opportunity, Alabama is shook to the core when an ex-student locks all students and teachers in the auditorium after an assembly and opens fire. The four perspectives that this story is told by is the brother of the girl trapped inside, the girl who is frantically looking for a way out (the sister of the brother mentioned), a track runner who was outside running when she heard the first shot, and lastly, the sister of the shooter. This book shows what is going through the head of a student who needs help, but was never given any by his teachers, friends, or family. It is a very, VERY sad story, so take caution when reading.

Rating: ★★★★★

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Published: July 8th, 2014

“Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble; it has been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems beside the point now.

Maybe that was always beside the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts…

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?”

I finished this book in a day. I couldn’t put it down. Rainbow Rowell switched from her usual young adult type and went to a more adult route. I honestly think this book was one of the best she’s written. Georgie McCool deals with a lot of problems that many adults deal with on a daily basis. This particular story shows the problem of when a person has to choose between work and their home life. Georgie’s husband and children are going to Nebraska for Christmas…without her! As a comedic writer, Georgie wants to hit the deal of a lifetime, but she misses her family. After missing each other on the phone, Georgie tried to call her family from her mom’s landline.  That’s where the story gets interesting. She finally gets a hold of her husband, but not from present day..but from 1998 (the last time he went home for Christmas). The plot of this story is something I’ve personally never heard of before and I think that’s why it made it as good as it was. It was completely unique and had be laughing, but tearing up at the end. Such a great story. I would love to reread this story again and again.

Rating: ★★★★★

Simon Snow Series by Rainbow Rowell

Book #1: Carry On


Publication Date: October 6th, 2015
Publisher: MacMillan
Rating: ★★★★★

Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story—but far, far more monsters.

Review:

I just want to say to Rainbow Rowell: thank you. You are definitely becoming my favorite author with the way you write. It’s magic. Everything about this book was perfect. I didn’t want it to end. At all.

When I closed the book, I definitely pouted for a good while. Simon was my favorite character. I loved that he was so strong while having this internal battle with himself. In a very close second, Baz was the best. Strong, sarcastic, and witty: the perfect combination. Penny was the smart one that could get them out of any situation.

I couldn’t help compare this book with Harry Potter, and I can gladly say that it held it’s own. Carry On was the perfect book. To the people reading this review: I would say to read Rainbow Rowell’s book Fangirl first. It is about a girl who writes fanfiction based off of a book series about the one and only Simon Snow. This is her fanfiction. It will make more sense. It’s not mandatory, but it might make more sense.

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Book #2: Wayward Son

Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Rating: ★★★★

The story is supposed to be over.

Simon Snow did everything he was supposed to do. He beat the villain. He won the war. He even fell in love. Now comes the good part, right? Now comes the happily ever after…

So why can’t Simon Snow get off the couch?

What he needs, according to his best friend, is a change of scenery. He just needs to see himself in a new light…

That’s how Simon and Penny and Baz end up in a vintage convertible, tearing across the American West.

They find trouble, of course. (Dragons, vampires, skunk-headed things with shotguns.) And they get lost. They get so lost, they start to wonder whether they ever knew where they were headed in the first place…

With Wayward Son, Rainbow Rowell has written a book for everyone who ever wondered what happened to the Chosen One after he saved the day. And a book for everyone who was ever more curious about the second kiss than the first. It’s another helping of sour cherry scones with an absolutely decadent amount of butter.

Come on, Simon Snow. Your hero’s journey might be over – but your life has just begun.

Review: 

The second installment of the Simon Snow series was a fantastic addition to the first. I really enjoyed being able to connect with Penny, Simon and Baz again as I loved them so much in the first book, Carry On.

My favorite thing about Wayward Son was the setting. Watching the three of them take on Western America was hilarious and made me laugh-out-loud multiple times. They get lost and honestly, that probably was my favorite part of this book. I really enjoyed watching them trying to get back to where they needed to be and their dialogue was truly friendship based. How they handled being on foreign land in a crisis is exactly how I would think it would go.

The stories of Penny, Simon and Baz was just another fantastic job done by Rainbow Rowell. I really felt for them, especially for Simon and Baz. You root and root for them to make it through whatever it is that they’re going through and it is definite that Rainbow really pulls on your heart strings. I love when a book can make me feel that type of emotion.

The ending is what got me the most. I was so shocked that there was going to even be a second book. When I reached the end, I actually gasped out loud and could NOT believe my eyes. Any Way the Wind Blows is going to be the third installment of this series and let me just say I cannot wait!

 

The Housekeeper by Suellen Dainty

Publication Date: February 28, 2017
Publisher: Atria Books
Rating: ★

I am the housekeeper, the hired help with a messy past who cleans up other people’s messy lives, the one who protects their messy little secrets.” When Anne Morgan’s successful boyfriend—who also happens to be her boss—leaves her for another woman, Anne finds herself in desperate need of a new job and a quiet place to recover. Meanwhile, her celebrity idol, Emma Helmsley (England’s answer to Martha Stewart), is in need of a housekeeper, an opportunity which seems too good to be true. Through her books, website, and blog, Emma Helmsley advises her devoted followers on how to live a balanced life in a hectic world. Her husband, Rob, is a high profile academic, and her children, Jake and Lily, are well-adjusted teenagers. On the surface, they are the perfect family. But Anne soon finds herself intimately ensconced in the Helmsley’s dirty laundry, both literally and figuratively. Underneath the dust, grime, and whimsical clutter, everyone has a secret to hide and Anne’s own disturbing past threatens to unhinge everything. For fans of Notes on a Scandal and The Woman Upstairs, The Housekeeper is a nuanced and nail-biting psychological thriller about the dark recesses of the human mind and the dangerous consequences of long-buried secrets.

Review:

First, I would like to say thank you to NetGalley and Atria Books for sending me a copy of this book early!

I’m sorry to say but I barely could get through this book. I got stuck multiple times, especially before 50% completed. This book is described as a thriller. I don’t see where or why this could be a thriller.

There are some parts in the beginning that were interesting, but going through I kept dragging and dragging. This book could’ve easily taken me a few days to read, maybe even less. It took me weeks to finish because I couldn’t find the motivation to complete this book with this story line. I didn’t like really any of the characters and it was hard to connect with any of them. I’m sure that if I didn’t have to complete a review of this book, I probably would’ve labeled it as did not finish.