The Fall of Butterflies by Andrea Portes

Publication Date: May 10, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rating: ★★

Willa Parker, 646th and least-popular resident of What Cheer, Iowa, is headed east to start a new life. Did she choose this life? No, because that would be too easy—and nothing in Willa’s life is easy. It’s her famous genius mother’s idea to send her to ultra-expensive, ultra-exclusive Pembroke Prep, and Willa has no intention of fitting in. But when she meets peculiar, glittering Remy Taft, the richest, most mysterious girl on campus, she starts to see a foothold in this foreign world—a place where she could maybe, possibly, sort of fit in. When Willa looks at Remy, she sees a girl who has everything. But for Remy, having everything comes at a price. And as she spirals out of control, Willa can feel Remy spinning right out of her grasp.

Review:

When I read the synopsis and first started this book, I thought it had a lot of promising qualities that really could have me interested. The cover is what really got me. Harper Teen really put out a beautiful cover on this one. As I got in to it, I really had issues with a lot of things going on and I frankly feel like this book failed to deliver. I will say I read this book all the way through to see where it was going to go. I did find that there was a story, but it was in the beginning and then about 60% in and then it fell off again. This one was a struggle.

The main thing I had an issue with about this novel was the writing. The writing was short and to the point, and while that’s not always bad, I felt like I was reading a book that had been transcribed from a reading or audio. There wasn’t much detail, I feel like I was thrown back and forth a little, and I had to restart pages because I was just plain confused. I don’t think that the trope was bad or even that the story was bad, but I think the way that it was explained was a little confusing to me.

On the other hand, I will say that Remy was the most exciting part of this book. I loved every part of her. I was very interested to see where her story was going to lead which is where the book finally started to pick up for me.

I gave this book two stars because Andrea Portes does have some underlying dark tones in her book. I really think she handled them with care. I am someone who really can’t do substance abuse or drug abuse in books, but she did well with this and really took care of her readers when it came to that.

Overall, this wasn’t my favorite YA. I did struggle a lot with the writing and wish it was a little more in-depth instead of short and choppy. I would definitely give Andrea Portes another chance and hopes that the writing is a little different in the next one.

 

 

 

Favorite Reads of the Decade

2010-2019 really flew by, but had some truly amazing debuts for novels, authors, and now we all have our specific favorites! To see the book’s Goodreads page, please click on the picture. Here are my favorite reads of the decade:

Ain't He Precious? (Sex and Sweet Tea, #1)

The Sex & Sweet Tea Series by Juliette Poe
Ain’t He Precious (Book #1) Published: April 11, 2017

This is the pseudonym of popular romance author Sawyer Bennett. This series has five books and takes place in a little town of Whynot, North Carolina. Learning about all of the characters, who they are, who their siblings are, what’s happening around them and who they become in this books were absolutely astounding and I’d recommend this series to anyone who loves romance!
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Room by Emma Donoghue
Published: August 20, 2010

Obviously, this is a favorite for a lot of people. I loved the story, the writing and just the emotions that Room put me through. This book was made into a movie because of the attention that it received and Brie Larson did such a fantastic job portraying one of the main characters. If you haven’t yet, this is one of my favorite fiction reads and I’d recommend any adult to read it. The story is so moving and emotional.

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The Prenup by Lauren Layne
Published: July 11, 2019

The Prenup was the first Lauren Layne novel that I read. After I read this book, I began reading all of her books. I read I want to say… 6 of them back to back, whether in a series or not. Lauren has a spectacular writing style where you get sucked into the angst and romance that she delivers. Romance lovers, pick up Lauren Layne, you will not regret it!

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Skipping a Beat by Sarah Pekkanen
Published: January 1, 2011

Skipping a Beat ripped my heart out of my chest. This book was so powerful and unlike anything I’ve ever read before. The synopsis is enough to have you curious, but when you pick it up and read it, the unexpected things that happen make you cry uncontrollably. I love when a book can make me feel emotion like that and Skipping a Beat really gets you.

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No Exit by Taylor Adams
Published: June 25, 2017

When I picked up No Exit, it was after a bookish friend of mine told me that I needed to stop what I was doing and read it. She was very adamant that it wouldn’t take me more than a day to read and I held her to that. When I tell you I read this book in a few hours, I mean it. I couldn’t put it down and it turned out to be one of my favorites in the thriller/mystery category now.

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Spring Fever by Mary Kay Andrews
Published: June 5, 2012

When I found myself starting to enjoy reading, I was unsure of what genre I’d really get in to. I took a chance with the romance genre and thought that maybe I’d like it, but maybe not because sometimes I think it’s too far fetched. I picked this book up because a woman at the library recommended it to me after looking around for a little while. I wanted something romantic but with a good story. The first few sentences of this book really grabbed me to the point where I needed to know what was going to happen. After reading this, I went on to read most of Mary Kay Andrews’ books because she just has a way with words.

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From Italy with Love Series by Tilly Tennant
Rome is where the Heart is (Book #1) Published: March 9, 2017

If you are a fan of a romantic travel stories, read this series. The first book was adorable and the second book was even better. Tilly Tennant really transports you to Rome and shows the beautiful details about the city. It’s like you can close your eyes and you’re in Rome with the characters. This series hasn’t been read that much according to Goodreads, but I will say that you should really pick this up!

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Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover
Published: August 5, 2014

Ugly Love was put in my top five books of all time. I read her book It’s Ends with Us and immediately was hooked. This book made me just speechless. The journey that Colleen Hoover takes us on throughout this novel is absolutely astonishing and you sit there hoping for the ending you want. You sit there and cry and laugh along with the beautifully developed characters and just wait for the best part. Here’s the catch – the whole book is the best part.

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Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Published: April 14, 2011

This book had a very, very lovable story. I love the premise because it is something I’ve never heard of before. It was extremely creative. I loved the characters especially. The friendships and how they withstand some weird things that go on take the priority in this book. Rainbow Rowell has written quite a bit of adult fiction, but writes young adult as well. I’d recommend Rainbow Rowell and her books to anyone!

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Red, White & Royal Blue
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuinston
Published: May 14, 2019

Okay, but Red, White & Royal Blue was a debut novel for Casey McQuiston in 2019. Casey  came out of absolutely nowhere with this beauty of a book and won two categories of the Goodreads Best of 2019 Awards! It really was a book that you would’ve never expected. The story was unlike any other young adult LGBTQ+ novel I’ve ever read. It was steamy, angsty, enemies-to-lovers and one of my favorite books not only of the year, but of all time.

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The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published: May 17, 2016

The Problem with Forever was extremely emotional. The characters were written perfectly for the story. As an acknowledgement to group homes, these two main characters were portrayed in such a way that made me more curious about what they are like. It had me wondering about what group homes are really like and how they work. I would reread this 100 times over just for the characters.

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Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Published: May 9, 2017

This is one of my favorite books of all time. Eleanor Oliphant’s quirkiness and awkwardness was funny and depressing at the same time. Her story, which you will read about because I don’t want to give any spoilers, was absolutely disturbing, but amazing to read. The struggles that she endures were so heartbreaking, but extremely realistic. Gail Honeyman really did a phenomenal job.

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Simon Snow Series by Rainbow Rowell
Carry On (Book #1) Published: October 6, 2015

Everything about this series is perfect. I didn’t want it to end. At all. When I closed the books, I definitely pouted for a good while. This is a fantasy genre which I never would’ve expected myself to like. I usually don’t even like it, but Carry On really was the exception. It’s pure magic and so was its sequel. The third and final book (as far as we know) in the series, Any Way the Wind Blows, will be out hopefully within the next year.

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The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Published: August 9, 2016

The Hating Game was full of chemistry. Sally Thorne has this specific writing style that really makes you feel their chemistry and how well Lucy and Josh actually work together. Their friendship was angsty, and I am a sucker for some harsh love. Josh and Lucy are one of my favorite book couples of all time. There were so, so many things with this book that made me absolutely swoon.

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Published: February 28, 2017

Astonishing. Riveting. Shocking. Stunning. Breathtaking.

I took my time with this book because I am a very emotional person. If you are a very emotional person like me, I suggest that you have tissues ready because I’m not sure where there was a chapter where I didn’t at least tear up. I full on ugly cried through a few of them. There were so many different emotions displayed through this novel that I felt like I was losing someone myself. The author did a WONDERFUL job showing the seven stages of grief. Prepare yourself for the reality of this book and give it a read if you haven’t already.

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The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
Published: May 14, 2019

The Unhoneymooners was my third Christina Lauren book that I have read. After finishing this new release, I can surely say that the dynamic duo of Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings is becoming one of my favorite authors. My favorite things in all of the books I’ve read by them is the fact that they write love so well. Do not wait to read this one.

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Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
Published: February 6, 2018

Girl, Wash Your Face was the amazing debut novel of Rachel Hollis. This nonfiction was definitely unlike anything I had ever read before. The personal development and self-help in this book was outstanding to say the least. If you’re kind of in a rut or experiencing some doubt, I’d sincerely recommend this book and her other popular novel, Girl, Stop Apologizing.

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Less by Andrew Sean Greer
Published: July 18, 2017

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.  I could go on and on about the main character, Arthur Less. This was  wonderful to read. It was comforting because it shows that in the end, it will all work out the way that it is supposed to, not necessarily the way that you want it to.

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How to Walk Away by Katherine Center
Published: May 15, 2018

When I started How to Walk Away, I was sucked right in. The characters were so wonderful to read. I felt like I was included in there and was watching everything unfold right in front of my eyes. I could really feel their pain and heartache and felt the inspiration that they all had to achieve their new goals after such a traumatic event. I was tearing up one second and busting out laughing the next. The writing was spectacular and I read Katherine Center’s newest book right after this one because I wanted to see how amazing both were. Katherine really, really has a way with words.

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Regretting You by Colleen Hoover
Published: December 10, 2019

Last but certainly not least. Regretting You was just… I feel almost speechless about it. I started it and from those first few sentences (as always), I was intrigued on how this story was going to turn out. I read and read until I finished it. Within hours. Simply because Colleen Hoover has a way with her words unlike anything I’ve ever read before. The tears that I had, the laughs I had, I felt like I was sharing my own little journey with the characters.

First Star I See Tonight by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Publication Date: August 23rd, 2016
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Rating: ★★★

“A star quarterback and a feisty detective play for keeps in this sporty, sexy, sassy novel—a long-awaited new entry in the beloved, award-winning, New York Times bestselling author’s fan-favorite Chicago Stars football series.

Piper Dove is a woman with a dream—to become the best detective in the city of Chicago. First job? Trail former Chicago Stars quarterback, Cooper Graham. Problem? Graham’s spotted her, and he’s not happy.

Which is why a good detective needs to think on her feet. “The fact is…I’m your stalker. Not full-out barmy. Just…mildly unhinged.”

Piper soon finds herself working for Graham himself, although not as the bodyguard he refuses to admit he so desperately needs. Instead, he’s hired her to keep an eye on the employees at his exclusive new nightclub. But Coop’s life might be in danger, and Piper’s determined to protect him, whether he wants it or not. (Hint: Not!) If only she weren’t also dealing with a bevy of Middle Eastern princesses, a Pakistani servant girl yearning for freedom, a teenager who just wants to fit in, and an elderly neighbor demanding Piper find her very dead husband.

And then there’s Cooper Graham himself, a legendary sports hero who always gets what he wants—even if what he wants is a feisty detective hell bent on proving she’s as tough as he is.

From the bustling streets of Chicago to a windswept lighthouse on Lake Superior to the glistening waters of Biscayne Bay, two people who can’t stand to lose will test themselves and each other to discover what matters most.”

Review:

I have been hearing a lot about Susan Elizabeth Phillips, so I thought I would give her book a try. This book was alright, but it definitely wasn’t my favorite read.

This book definitely grabbed my attention right away. The contemporary romances always seem to have that affect on me, but I really like when one of the main characters plays a sport. After reading the synopsis, I really thought I would like this book.

Once I hit around halfway, it seems that I was losing interest quicker and quicker. The story lost me a little and I just couldn’t get back into it. Everything was a little confusing, and I had to go back and read some parts again. Even when I did that, I still feel like there were parts that completely lost me.

One of the main reasons I finished this book was the woman main character, Piper. She was feisty, and she had a lot of funny one-liners. She created a lot of the chemistry that this book had, and I really enjoyed her.

Overall, I think this book definitely had its moments. There were parts where I laughed, and some parts definitely had me in my feelings! However, there were parts that I just couldn’t get through and fell a little flat. I definitely would be interested in reading more Susan Elizabeth Phillips to see if I like her other ones a little bit more!

 

 

The Razvak Hunter by Arel B. Grant

Published: February 28th 2016
Publisher: 
BZN Writing House

“Before…
Aelwyd has worked hard to become strong. As the Fairest One of Vallenthar, her power is formidable. Years of battle honed her into a fearsome warrior who never falters in front of an enemy.
However, there are shadows that when they come, they can swallow you whole.
After a hundred years of praying against it, the minute she walks into the chilling scene of death in front of her, she knows her personal nightmare is back.
He nearly destroyed her once, but she isn’t a victim anymore. This time, she will stop him, or she will die trying.

Now…
Dalbran knows nothing of friends, joy, or mischief. The orphaned ward of a ruthless warrior woman, she’s never showed him love or affection. Instead she fills his days with learning the art of battle, savage teachings of how to survive in their harsh world. Days are filled with pain and exhaustion, but nighttime used to be his own. Even that is now lost, though, for something lurks in the shadows of sleep, clawing at him the moment his eyes close. He tells himself it’s okay, that he can handle it. However daunting the voices may be, however cold the hand that chokes him in the darkness, as long as it stays within the nightmare, everything will be all right.

As long as it stays within the nightmare…”

Review:

I received this book in exchange for a review! Thank you again Arel!

There were many things that I liked about this book. I usually don’t read a lot of fantasy, but when I do, it has to keep my attention. This book certainly did!

The first thing that I liked was how the book switched from before and now. I love when a book does that because it makes you have to think about what happened from a few chapters ago, and it really keeps your attention moving back and forth. I loved looking back and seeing how each world was connected.

I liked the main characters and their stories as well. I especially liked Dalbran. He was very well written. Also, I loved that there was a lot of dialogue. I love when I can picture their conversation happening and I could do that a lot in this book.

There were some parts where I was a little confused and had to go back to read it again. Also, I felt like the characters could’ve gone more into depth about their cultures and how they were. There wasn’t much to describe a lot of the characters and that is where it lost some points for me. However, this does say it is the first in the series, so more might come out in the sequel.

Overall, if you are a YA fantasy reader, I would definitely encourage you to read this book. There were so many elements that were great and I am definitely looking forward to the sequel!

Rating: ★★★★

Bitter Rivals by Winter Renshaw

Published: April 30th, 2016

“First it was love. Then it was war.

XAVIER

Work hard, play harder.

All I wanted was a weekend in the Hamptons, but what I got was forty-eight hours of quality time with my former business partner. My ex best friend. The girl who walked away without so much as an explanation the second sh*t got real.

I’m going to make her sorry she was never mine.

MAGNOLIA

Work hard, forget the rest.

All I wanted was a peaceful weekend alone at my boss’ Hamptons manse, but what I got was forty-eight hours with the guy who convinced me to fall in love with him and then did the unthinkable.

He broke my heart once, and I’ll be damned if I let him anywhere near it ever again”

Review:

This was a novella so there wasn’t really much to analyze. If there’s anything I love in this world, it’s the rivals-to-lovers story. Something happens in their lives where they are arch-nemeses. Once they spend some time with each other, they see that it’s not all bad. It’s all the same, but I still love it every single time.

Xavier and Magnolia worked at the same company. They went on a retreat together years ago, and things escalate quickly (wink). However, the next morning, something happens and causes Magnolia to loathe Xavier.

Now, they have to spend 48 hours together in their bosses Hampton home. It’s pretty clear what happens, only it’s not what you expect. The author put a little bit of a different spin on it, and I really liked that. Overall, there were some parts where I was confused, but it was a refreshing rivals-to-lovers story.

Rating: ★★★★

The Romantics by Leah Konen

Published: November 1st, 2016

“Perfect for fans of Lauren Myracle and Rainbow Rowell, The Romantics will charm readers of all ages. Gael Brennan is about to have his heart broken when his first big relationship crumbles on the heels of his parents’ painful separation. Love intervenes with the intention of setting things right—but she doesn’t anticipate the intrusion of her dreaded nemesis: the Rebound. Love’s plans for Gael are sidetracked by Cara, Gael’s hot-sauce-wielding “dream girl.” The more Love meddles, the further Gael drifts from the one girl who can help him mend his heart. Soon Love starts breaking all her own rules—and in order to set Gael’s fate back on course, she has to make some tough decisions about what it means to truly care.”

Review:

Let’s start off with the narrator of this story: “Love”. This was the cutest idea I’ve seen in a long time when it comes to narration. Love is basically a emotion that makes things happen throughout the book. Whether it’s a chair getting pushed closer together or making one of them think about something, it’s her and it’s adorable.

Gael’s life is hard. He has this big relationship that ends in the worst possible way. His parents are divorcing. He doesn’t know if he has a best friend anymore. Things are really hard at the moment. On the way from leaving his own birthday dinner, his life gets even weirder when he meets Cara by smacking into her bike. Gael and Cara aren’t really that good for each other, but it seems that they really are into each other. What can Love do to stop it?

The story flowed very well and it was such an interesting concept to learn about. I’ve never read another book with a narrator like that. It’s like Love was a person and an emotion. Super great read. By the end of the book, I loved it, but overall I felt like there was just one thing missing, and it kept me from giving this book a five star rating. I’d recommend this book to anyone!

Rating: ★★★★

 

Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

Published: June 21st, 2016

“Kate Battista feels stuck. How did she end up running house and home for her eccentric scientist father and uppity, pretty younger sister Bunny? Plus, she’s always in trouble at work – her pre-school charges adore her, but their parents don’t always appreciate her unusual opinions and forthright manner.

Dr. Battista has other problems. After years out in the academic wilderness, he is on the verge of a breakthrough. His research could help millions. There’s only one problem: his brilliant young lab assistant, Pyotr, is about to be deported. And without Pyotr, all would be lost.

When Dr. Battista cooks up an outrageous plan that will enable Pyotr to stay in the country, he’s relying – as usual – on Kate to help him. Kate is furious: this time he’s really asking too much. But will she be able to resist the two men’s touchingly ludicrous campaign to bring her around?”

Review:

This book was …interesting. Confusing, but interesting. It’s a book that you’ve never really heard of this specific story being told before.

In the beginning of this book, my attention was not grabbed. I didn’t really find anything that captivated me from the beginning. I pretty much felt the same throughout the book. I felt like I read the same chapter over and over even though the pages were ascending.

I ended up giving this book a higher rating than I originally thought I would based on the ending. The ending was totally unexpected for me and I felt like it had me questioning about the whole book from the beginning. Overall, it was short and quick, but confusing and not that captivating at all.

Rating: ★★★

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman

Published: November 1st, 2016

“From the New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry, and Britt-Marie Was Here comes an exquisitely moving portrait of an elderly man’s struggle to hold on to his most precious memories, and his family’s efforts to care for him even as they must find a way to let go.

“Isn’t that the best of all life’s ages, an old man thinks as he looks at his grandchild, when a boy is just big enough to know how the world works but still young enough to refuse to accept it.”

Grandpa and Noah are sitting on a bench in a square that keeps getting smaller every day. The square is strange but also familiar, full of the odds and ends that have made up their lives: Grandpa’s work desk, the stuffed dragon that Grandpa once gave to Noah, the sweet-smelling hyacinths that Grandma loved to grow in her garden.

As they wait together on the bench, they tell jokes and discuss their shared love of mathematics. Grandpa recalls what it was like to fall in love with his wife, what it was like to lose her. She’s as real to him now as the first day he met her, but he dreads the day when he won’t remember her.

Sometimes Grandpa sits on the bench next to Ted, Noah’s father—Ted who never liked math, prefers writing and playing guitar, and has waited his entire life for his father to have time for him, to accept him. But in their love of Noah, they have found a common bond.

Grandpa, Grandma, Ted, and Noah all meet here, in this peculiar space that is growing dimmer and more confusing all the time. And here is where they will learn to say goodbye, the scent of hyacinths in the air, nothing to fear. This little book with a big message is certain to be treasured for generations to come.”

Review:

A novella based on the lifestyle of Alzheimer’s disease: very hard to read. I can’t imagine someone going through that.

This was very short and sad. However, I think that Fredrik Backman did a beautiful job of portraying what it is actually like to have this awful disease. He switched things up and sometimes it was a little confusing to keep up with, but the story was amazingly written.

Rating: ★★★★