Words In Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

Publication Date: June 6th, 2017
Publisher: Knopf Publishing

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Rating: ★★★★

Love lives between the lines.

Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came.

Now Rachel has returned to the city—and to the bookshop—to work alongside the boy she’d rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction, and the escape. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can’t feel anything anymore. She can’t see her future.

Henry’s future isn’t looking too promising, either. His girlfriend dumped him. The bookstore is slipping away. And his family is breaking apart.

As Henry and Rachel work side by side—surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages—they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it’s possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough.”

Review:

There were many things about this book that stood out to me, and one of them kept me from giving this book a 5 star rating. The characters were very well established, and the story was great. On the other hand, one major subject about this book, romance, should have been more prevalent. It seemed almost desperate, and sometimes I think that makes a book. In this case, I didn’t seem to like it as much.

As a library assistant, books about book stores or libraries always seem to get a five star rating from me. I think it’s a personal preference and a hope that a romance like that will happen to me one day. However, the romance in this book threw me for a loop. In this book, there are two main characters, Rachel and Henry. Rachel is in love with Henry. Henry is in love with a girl named Amy. When Rachel leaves, she leaves a note in a book for Henry to read. This is where it kind of shut off for me. Amy is a cold-hearted girl. I would see Henry being so in love with Amy if she was a nice girl, but the way the author wrote about her, I couldn’t like her. Because Henry was so in love with this girl that was terrible, I had a hard time liking Henry.

When Rachel comes back, the story picks up from there. She lost her brother while she was gone, and becomes this cold, distant girl who could use a friend. I sympathized with her and liked her character. The death of her brother had such an impact on her, however, she kept it a secret for a lot of the book. I feel like that should have been a massive part of the story, it kind of was, but keeping a secret until the end was hard as well.

The thing that kept this book at a higher star rating for me was the setting. The author did a phenomenal job with the setting. I felt like I was there with all of the details. Howling Books was the perfect bookstore and I would love to go there and see the books that were described!

When It’s Real by Erin Watt

Publication Date: May 30th, 2017
Publisher: Harlequin Teen

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Rating: ★★★★★

“From #1 New York Times bestselling author duo Erin Watt comes the addictive contemporary tale of a teen rock star in need of an image makeover and the teen girl hired to be his fake girlfriend.

Meet Oakley Ford-teen celebrity, renowned pop star, child of famous movie stars, hottie with millions of fangirls… and restless troublemaker. On the surface he has it all, but with his home life disintegrating, his music well suddenly running dry, and the tabloids having a field day over his outrageous exploits, Oakley’s team decides it’s time for an intervention. The result: an image overhaul, complete with a fake girlfriend meant to show the world he’s settled down.

Enter seventeen-year-old Vaughn Bennett-devoted sister, part-time waitress, the definition of “normal.” Under ordinary circumstances she’d never have taken this gig, but with her family strapped for cash, she doesn’t have much of a choice. And for the money Oakley’s team is paying her, she figures she can put up with outlandish Hollywood parties and a team of publicists watching her every move. So what if she thinks Oakley’s a shallow, self-centered jerk? It’s not like they’re going to fall for each other in real life…right?”

Review:

This book was so, so awesome. There were so many qualities that made this book great. The characters, story, and chemistry made this book absolutely fantastic for me. There were times where I was super excited for what was happening next.

Vaughn Bennett stole my heart right from the beginning. Her character was adorable, smart, and strong. This book resonated with me in many ways, but I really noticed how much how I connected to her character. She is a girl who goes through a lot, but when it meant it the most, she pulled through and showed her strength. The other characters really developed through this book too. I really flip-flopped through this book with the characters, and I enjoyed that a lot!

The story is my favorite, favorite type. I love the whole rock-star celebrity falling for a normal girl narrative. I’ve read this type of story multiple times and I think that this book might just be one of my favorites ever. The way that Erin Watt wrote this had me all over the place with different emotions.

Overall, I loved this book. I’d recommend this book to anyone. It’s good for any age. It might be classified as young-adult, but this book should be read by adults too. It’s a fantastic, quick read.

 

 

 

I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll

Publication Date: October 1st, 2017

“When Ella Longfield overhears two attractive young men flirting with teenage girls on a train, she thinks nothing of it—until she realises they are fresh out of prison and her maternal instinct is put on high alert. But just as she’s decided to call for help, something stops her. The next day, she wakes up to the news that one of the girls—beautiful, green-eyed Anna Ballard—has disappeared.

A year later, Anna is still missing. Ella is wracked with guilt over what she failed to do, and she’s not the only one who can’t forget. Someone is sending her threatening letters—letters that make her fear for her life.

Then an anniversary appeal reveals that Anna’s friends and family might have something to hide. Anna’s best friend, Sarah, hasn’t been telling the whole truth about what really happened that night—and her parents have been keeping secrets of their own.

Someone knows where Anna is—and they’re not telling. But they are watching Ella.”

Review:

Thank you to Kindle First for allowing me to read this book before the publication date in exchange for an honest review. 

This book was not for me. I tried and tried to get into it, but I struggled a lot. I finished it and I feel like I didn’t really even read anything. I was pretty disappointed with all of the things that went on through this story.

First, I had a really hard time with the characters. The characters intrigued me in the beginning with the story and how things were progressing, but as I got further and further in, I couldn’t find a character that I liked or related to. There were so many point-of-views that I found myself confused and having to restart.

Next, I didn’t really find this book to be all that grasping or mysterious. By the end, I was a little confused and the last chapter just tried to bring everything together. The writing definitely wasn’t my favorite thing, but it did have it’s moments.

Lastly, I think this book would have worked better if there was a difference in either the choice of main character or the plot. I think that this book had a lot of different promising qualities. There just wasn’t enough mmph in the characters or plot for me to thoroughly enjoy this book.

Rating: ★★

Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert

Publication Date: August 8th, 2017

When Suzette comes home to Los Angeles from her boarding school in New England, she isn’t sure if she’ll ever want to go back. L.A. is where her friends and family are (along with her crush, Emil). And her stepbrother, Lionel, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, needs her emotional support.

But as she settles into her old life, Suzette finds herself falling for someone new…the same girl her brother is in love with. When Lionel’s disorder spirals out of control, Suzette is forced to confront her past mistakes and find a way to help her brother before he hurts himself–or worse.”

Review:

This book had a lot of promising qualities, but it fell a little short for me. There were so many things going on in this book that went along with things in today’s society, but it didn’t feel like it went above and beyond.

The characters were good. I enjoyed the brother and sister aspect even though they were stepbrother and sister. I really liked how they were an African American family marrying into a white family and how the author talked about how things were shown and how people would stare. It was parts like this that seemed very real.

The main character is bisexual. I was very happy with this because it seems that people think that bisexuality doesn’t exist. There are people out there that are attracted to both men and women. I was glad that the author did bring up another social problem from today’s society.

When it came to the actual story of what was going on, I felt like I kept getting stuck. I kept having to stop because it wasn’t grasping my attention. I flew through this book because it couldn’t really holding me. The story seemed a little flat. There were no twists or turns and it seemed a little boring.

I really liked the ending. The ending is where I felt like it did grab my attention. The problems that were occurring felt very real and could easily happen to anyone in real life. It honestly made my chest tighten and tear up a little. I applaud the author on a great, great ending.

Overall, this book was good, but it wasn’t my favorite. There were things that this book could’ve used with all the different platforms it represented, but I felt like it wasn’t there.

Rating: ★★★

Midnight At the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan

Publication Date: June 13th, 2017

“When a bookshop patron commits suicide, it’s his favorite store clerk who must unravel the puzzle he left behind in this fiendishly clever debut novel from an award-winning short story writer.

Lydia Smith lives her life hiding in plain sight. A clerk at the Bright Ideas bookstore, she keeps a meticulously crafted existence among her beloved books, eccentric colleagues, and the ‘BookFrogs’—the lost and lonely regulars who spend every day marauding the store’s overwhelmed shelves.
But when youngest BookFrog Joey Molina kills himself in the bookstore’s upper level, Lydia’s life comes unglued. Always Joey’s favorite bookseller, Lydia has been bequeathed his meager worldly possessions: Trinkets and books, the detritus of a lonely, uncared-for man. But when Lydia pages through his books, she finds them defaced in ways both disturbing and inexplicable. They reveal the psyche of a young man on the verge of an emotional reckoning. And they seem to contain a hidden message. What did Joey know? And what does it have to do with Lydia?
As Lydia untangles the mystery of Joey’s suicide, she unearths a long buried memory from her own violent childhood. Details from that one bloody night begin to circle back. Her distant father returns to the fold, along with an obsessive local cop and the Hammerman, a murderer who came into Lydia’s life long ago—and never completely left, as she discovers.” 

Review: 

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore was good! I enjoyed this spooky story since Halloween time is coming up! 

Lydia was so awesome. Her character went through so many things in her life and showed that she could be smart and powerful when it came to using her brain! She figured things out that I would never be able to. 

There are a lot of surprises in this book, especially towards the end. Some might say it was predictable, but I didn’t think so at all! It took me until it was right under my nose to understand what happened. 

I really enjoyed this story. It was something that I had never heard of or read before. I love the setting. Bookstores and libraries are my absolute favorite settings! Matthew Sullivan did a great job writing about the details of the bookstore. He wrote things that really grabbed my attention like “The sound of books hitting the floor from the second floor.” 

Overall, this book was spooky and suspenseful. I’d really recommend it to anyone especially those who like mysteries. 

Rating: ★★★★

The Future She Left Behind by Marin Thomas

Publication Date: September 5th, 2017
Publisher: Berkley Publishing

One woman’s journey home gets derailed by her soon-to-be ex-mother-in-law in a novel filled with humor, small-town charm, rekindled love, and the resilient ties of family.

Cast aside by her cheating husband, Katelyn Chandler is ready to pack it all in and drive home to Little Springs, Texas. She wants a chance to regroup, reconnect with her mother, and get back to her art.

But Shirley Pratt–master manipulator, elitist snob, and Katelyn’s terror of a live-in monster-in-law–has other ideas. Shirley insists on joining Katelyn’s trip after her son tries to pack her off to a retirement community. Katelyn has no choice but to play peacekeeper between the ornery old woman and the proud matrons of Little Springs. Yet the small town seems to be changing Shirley. And as Katelyn weighs the wisdom of picking up where she left off with Jackson Mendoza, the town bad boy and her high school sweetheart, she must find a way to believe in the strength of her dreams.”

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Berkley Publishing, and Marin Thomas for allowing to me have an arc before the publication date. 

This book was adorable! I didn’t know how I would feel after reading the synopsis, but I fell in love with the way Marin Thomas wrote this story.

After being served divorce papers from her husband who is away on business, Katelyn is forced to take her mother-in-law back to Little Springs. Shirley, Katelyn’s mother-in-law, always berates her and makes her feel like she wasn’t ever worth her son. After finding out the reasons why Katelyn and Don’s marriage ended, Shirley and Katelyn started to bond while in Katelyn’s hometown.

The stories that each individual character had were loving, sad, motivational, heartbreaking and more. There was a lot in this book that were extremely realistic. The ending of relationships, returning home to your parents, finding love whether you’re older or starting over, etc. Marin Thomas did a very good job on making it seem realistic.

There were some things in this book that pleasantly surprised me. There were some things that I just weren’t expecting and I think that it made the book better for me.

The characters didn’t shine for me all too much. I really enjoyed Katelyn, but they weren’t all like she was. There were things with the characters that I would change, but not too much that it would change the book drastically.

I think that this book definitely has great potential and I loved the story. I wasn’t really sure in the beginning what to think, but I’m glad I gave this one a try!

Rating: ★★★★

Girl In Snow by Danya Kukafka

Published: August 1st, 2017
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Who Are You When No One Is Watching?

When a beloved high schooler named Lucinda Hayes is found murdered, no one in her sleepy Colorado suburb is untouched—not the boy who loved her too much; not the girl who wanted her perfect life; not the officer assigned to investigate her murder. In the aftermath of the tragedy, these three indelible characters—Cameron, Jade, and Russ—must each confront their darkest secrets in an effort to find solace, the truth, or both.

In crystalline prose, Danya Kukafka offers a brilliant exploration of identity and of the razor-sharp line between love and obsession, between watching and seeing, between truth and memory. Compulsively readable and powerfully moving, Girl in Snow offers an unforgettable reading experience and introduces a singular new talent in Danya Kukafka.”

Review:

First, I want to say thank you to NetGalley, Simon & Schuster, and Danya Kukafka for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

This is a story of how a small town suffers loss as a young girl, Lucinda Hayes, is found murdered at the local park. The story is told between three characters: Cameron, Jade, and Russ. Cameron is a young boy who’s father is an ex-cop who went AWOL, leaving him and his mother behind in this small town in Colorado. Jade is a girl who used to be friends with Lucinda. She used to be a lot of things before she secluded herself to only herself, her home, and her sister. She can barely take those things. Lastly, Russ is a current police officer working in that Colorado town. He watched many things throughout the years, including what happened to Cameron’s father, Lee. The three struggle through the death of Lucinda in their own ways, but intertwine and help each other along the way.

The first thing I want to talk about is the cover. Goodness, it’s beautiful. The cover was the first thing that drew me to this book in the first place. After reading the synopsis, it sounded like a book that I would really enjoy. Originally, this book wasn’t marked as young adult, but personally, I believe it should be classified as such. It’s a high school story that anyone would enjoy.

I want to congratulate Danya Kukafka on having such a beautiful debut novel. She really wrote each character delicately, making sure that they seemed like they were living the lives that she had for them. I appreciate when there is more than one character in a book because it’s easy to forget when there’s only one. With three characters, the going back and forth between them all really kept my attention.

The only thing that saddens me is that I feel like there was just something missing. I think it was towards the end, I was waiting for a certain thing to happen between a few people, and it unfortunately never did. It might be just more of a personal preference of what I wanted to happen, but it fell a little short.

Overall, I gave this book 4 stars because it was a great read. The characters throughout were amazing and I really loved a lot of the scenes that Kukafka had written. I wish I could’ve given this five stars, but there were some things missing for me.

Rating: ★★★★