Faithful By Alice Hoffman

Publication Date: November 1, 2016
Publisher: Simon Schuster
Rating: ★★★

Growing up on Long Island, Shelby Richmond is an ordinary girl until one night an extraordinary tragedy changes her fate. Her best friend’s future is destroyed in an accident, while Shelby walks away with the burden of guilt. What happens when a life is turned inside out? When love is something so distant it may as well be a star in the sky? Faithful is the story of a survivor, filled with emotion—from dark suffering to true happiness—a moving portrait of a young woman finding her way in the modern world. A fan of Chinese food, dogs, bookstores, and men she should stay away from, Shelby has to fight her way back to her own future. In New York City she finds a circle of lost and found souls—including an angel who’s been watching over her ever since that fateful icy night. Here is a character you will fall in love with, so believable and real and endearing, that she captures both the ache of loneliness and the joy of finding yourself at last. For anyone who’s ever been a hurt teenager, for every mother of a daughter who has lost her way, Faithful is a roadmap.

Review:

This book was pretty heavy. You learn in the beginning that two friends, Shelby and Helene, are in a car accident. Helene’s life is pretty much over, bedridden and unable to move or speak. Shelby has a lot of survivor’s guilt and treats her life like it’s the worst thing in the world. She wishes it were her instead of Helene, and tries to show everyone, including her parents, that. This book does have a few triggers in it, so be careful of that.

Alice Hoffman wrote a wonderful tale about luck running out, just to be found again. Faithful takes you through Shelby’s life as she learns to how to take care of herself. Sure, there’s a few bumps on the way, but it’s Shelby’s obligation to figure out how to overcome them. The ending of this book was the best part. I didn’t like how slow this book was in the beginning, but it did provide a moving feeling to the reader at the end. This was a powerful book to show how to rise up through tragedy.

 

The Five People You Meet In Heaven Series by Mitch Albom


#1: The Five People You Meet in Heaven
Publication Date: September 23rd, 2003
Publisher: Hyperion
Rating: ★★★★

“Eddie is a wounded war veteran, an old man who has lived, in his mind, an uninspired life. His job is fixing rides at a seaside amusement park. On his 83rd birthday, a tragic accident kills him as he tries to save a little girl from a falling cart. He awakes in the afterlife, where he learns that heaven is not a destination, but an answer. In heaven, five people explain your life to you. Some you knew, others may have been strangers. One by one, from childhood to soldier to old age, Eddie’s five people revisit their connections to him on earth, illuminating the mysteries of his “meaningless” life, and revealing the haunting secret behind the eternal question: “Why was I here?”

Review:

I had to read this book in my freshman year of high school. When I read it for the first time, I feel like I was a little too young to understand what was going on in The Five People You Meet in Heaven. I reread this book my senior year of college. I was 22 and I feel like that age gap of 14-22 really was able to change my perspective on how I read this book. I understood so much more about Eddie and what was happening when I was older because the older you are, the more about life and death you start to understand.

Rereading this book, I was able to see the spirituality that this book provided instead of just “having to read it for a grade”. I was able to see the connection with Eddie and spirituality. The ability to grasp that was almost life-changing for me in that moment. Being so stressed with finals and needing a book to really open my eyes, this novel was able to do that for me.

Mitch Albom has a way with words and does with every book he writes. After reading this novel, you hope to see what is going to happen in your “afterlife”, whatever that may be. The Five People You Meet in Heaven really makes you think and I enjoyed that.

The final thing that I really enjoyed about this novel were the very memorable quotes. Like I said, there were a lot of spiritual moments in this book, and the quotes made it that much better. Mitch Albom was teaching life lessons along with telling his story. It’s very rare when an author can really touch a person’s soul and he did just that.

“Holding anger is a poison. It eats you from inside. We think that hating is a weapon that attacks the person who harmed us. But hatred is a curved blade. And the harm we do, we do to ourselves.”

 

The Next Person You Meet in Heaven


#2: The Next Person You Meet in Heaven
Publication Date: October 9, 2018
Publisher: Harper
Rating: ★★★★

In this enchanting sequel to the number one bestseller The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom tells the story of Eddie’s heavenly reunion with Annie—the little girl he saved on earth—in an unforgettable novel of how our lives and losses intersect.

Fifteen years ago, in Mitch Albom’s beloved novel, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, the world fell in love with Eddie, a grizzled war veteran- turned-amusement park mechanic who died saving the life of a young girl named Annie. Eddie’s journey to heaven taught him that every life matters. Now, in this magical sequel, Mitch Albom reveals Annie’s story.

The accident that killed Eddie left an indelible mark on Annie. It took her left hand, which needed to be surgically reattached. Injured, scarred, and unable to remember why, Annie’s life is forever changed by a guilt-ravaged mother who whisks her away from the world she knew. Bullied by her peers and haunted by something she cannot recall, Annie struggles to find acceptance as she grows. When, as a young woman, she reconnects with Paulo, her childhood love, she believes she has finally  found happiness.

As the novel opens, Annie is marrying Paulo. But when her wedding night day ends in an unimaginable accident, Annie finds herself on her own heavenly journey—and an inevitable reunion with Eddie, one of the five people who will show her how her life mattered in ways she could not have fathomed.

Poignant and beautiful, filled with unexpected twists, The Next Person You Meet in Heaven reminds us that not only does every life matter, but that every ending is also a beginning—we only need to open our eyes to see it.

Review:

In The Five People You Meet in Heaven, we meet Eddie who dies saving a young girl from a certain death from a ferris wheel. We looked at Eddie’s spiritual journey throughout the book to see who he meets in heaven when he gets there.

In The Next Person You Meet in Heaven, we meet Annie who is the little girl that Eddie saved all of those years ago. We learn about Annie, her childhood, her growth and her love-life. When Paulo enters, we learn that Annie and Paulo were childhood sweethearts that reconnected and found themselves getting married. When Paulo and Annie are in a bad accident on their wedding night, we see Annie’s journey through her eyes like we did with Eddie in the first novel of this series.

Just like The Five People You Meet in Heaven, you feel the spirituality running through each page. The stages of life that you feel everyday were definitely felt throughout this book. Again, just like the first in this series, there were many memorable quotes, especially about death and what happens in your afterlife.

“At certain moments, when death is close, the veils pull back between this world and the next. Heaven and Earth overlay. When they do, it is possible to glimpse certain souls already departed. You can see them awaiting your arrival. And they can see you coming.” 

The characters and their development were both incredible throughout both books. Learning about Eddie’s life and why he helped little Annie that day was the perfect set up for a sequel without even realizing it. The sequel did come out 15 years later, but I feel as though there was no time in between. It felt as though one story ran beautifully into the next without any time in between.

Like I stated before, I loved the quotes in the first novel in this series, but I liked them even more in this book. There were so many quotes that I highlighted that I thought I would get bored, but I read them and enjoy them every single time. Mitch Albom really does have a way with words and I hope he keeps blessing us with his wisdom.

“No act done for someone else is ever wasted.”

 

 

Save The Date By Mary Kay Andrews

Publication Date: June 3, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Rating: ★★★★

A wedding florist finds love and trouble in this delightful new novel by the New York Times bestselling author of Ladies’ Night. A Savannah florist is about to score the wedding of a lifetime—one that will solidify her career as the go-to-girl for society nuptials. Ironically, Cara Kryzik doesn’t believe in love, even though she creates beautiful flower arrangements to celebrate them. But when the bride goes missing and the wedding is in jeopardy, Cara must find the bride and figure out what she believes in. Maybe love really does exist outside of fairy tales after all. Told with Mary Kay Andrew’s trademark wit and keen eye for detail, mark your calendars for Save the Date!

Review:

I absolutely adore the premise of this story. It’s something you never really hear of, something that hasn’t been done that much. Cara Kryzik is a florist in downtown Savannah with a cute little flower shop. There’s one thing about Cara to remember: she doesn’t believe in love. She creates these beautiful arrangements for weddings, and it’s the one thing she’s absolutely against.

When her dog Poppy goes missing, she searches around Savannah trying to find him. That’s when she meets Jack, who insists that his dog is actually his dog, Shaz, and not Poppy. Their relationship starts out rough, not liking each other the least bit, but of course (like always), their enemy relationship turns to a loving one. Does Jack change Cara’s mind about love? I loved this book. Absolutely love. Would recommend 100%.

 

Spring Fever by Mary Kay Andrews

Publication Date: June 5, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Rating: ★★★★★

Annajane Hudgens truly believes she is over her ex-husband, Mason Bayless.  They’ve been divorced for four years, she’s engaged to a new, terrific guy, and she’s ready to leave the small town where she and Mason had so much history.  She is so over Mason that she has absolutely no problem attending his wedding to the beautiful, intelligent, delightful Celia.  But when fate intervenes and the wedding is called to a halt as the bride is literally walking down the aisle, Annajane begins to realize that maybe she’s been given a second chance.  Maybe everything happens for a reason.  And maybe, just maybe, she wants Mason back.  But there are secrets afoot in this small southern town.  On the peaceful surface of Hideaway Lake, Annajane discovers that the past is never really gone.  Even if there are people determined to keep Annajane from getting what she wants, happiness might be hers for the taking, and the life she once had with Mason in this sleepy lake town might be in her future.

Review:

This is my favorite book ever. I don’t think I’ve read another book that has struck me like this book has. It starts out with Annajane Hudgens at her ex-husband’s wedding. If that doesn’t grab your attention, what can? So many questions flooded my mind immediately. Why are they divorced? Who’s he getting married to? Did someone cheat? Do they have any kids? Who is the new wife? I needed to keep reading to find out. I finished this book in two days. I couldn’t put it down. This story was so angsty and emotional, but showed love in its purest form. I would read this book over and over and over again. Mary Kay Andrews is one of my favorite authors, so I might have a favoritism towards her, but anyone who can read would love this book.

 

Room by Emma Donoghue

Publication Date: September 13, 2010
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Rating: ★★★★★

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits. Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it’s not enough…not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son’s bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work. Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.

Review:

I cried a lot reading this book. I am naturally an emotional mess when something sad happens, but this book was especially heavy in the sense of dread and protectiveness. Jack is a little five year old boy who has never left this little room in his entire life. The same story for the boy’s mother for the last seven years. They eat, sleep, and bathe in this little room. I’ve wanted to kill characters in books before, but oh my god, I never wanted to kill one more in my life than I did him. Jack is Old Nick’s son, and ‘Ma’s’ kidnapper. I can guarantee that you will want to kill him too when you read about the things he has done to this boy’s mother and him.

The story is absolutely beautiful when you get to see Jack’s imagination run wild. He makes light of his situation, and you get to see how beautiful he makes his life in his mind. I would recommend this book to anyone who thinks that they can handle it. It does get very heavy emotionally.


The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

Publication Date: January 10, 2012
Publisher: Dutton Books
Rating: ★★★★★

I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once.” Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten. Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

Review:

Okay, this book had be teary-eyed from start to end. If you are going to read this book, for the love of God, have. tissues. ready. I fell in love with Hazel right from the start. I fell in love with Augustus right from the start. The cigarette metaphor? Sigh. Dreamy.

Watching them go through this journey of love and acceptance was absolutely blissful. When the end happened, I shut the book and legitimately cried for over a half an hour. I couldn’t even imagine what they were going through, and to think that there are teens that go through these things every day, it was enough to put me over the edge into a blubbering mess. I couldn’t even speak for a few days, I was that speechless. I didn’t know what to say or what to do. It felt like I had made two friends in Hazel and Augustus. I read the book before watching the movie, and I can say that they did a wonderful job with both.

 

Darkness by Karen Robards

Publication Date: March 29, 2016
Publisher: Gallery Books
Rating: ★★★★

BOOM. That’s the sound that changes everything for Dr. Gina Sullivan, a renowned ornithologist on a group research grant trip on the remote island of Attu, Alaska. When an everyday outing turns sinister at the onset of one of Attu’s infamous storms, Gina expects thunder and lightning—but what she doesn’t see coming is the small jet plane that drops out of the sky and into the water mere feet from her boat. Even more unprecedented: there’s a sole survivor from the crash, and he needs Gina’s help. But it turns out that rescuing the stranger and getting them both out of the oncoming storm is just the beginning. Because the more Gina learns about James “Cal” Callahan, he of brooding eyes and muscled frame, the more she fears—for herself, and for him. Cal has made a career of trading on government secrets and emerging unscathed—until a routine pickup goes horribly wrong and lands him in ice-cold water. Literally. He knows the plane crash was no accident and that there could very well be an enemy force currently combing the Alaskan island ensuring there were no survivors. Now if only the arrestingly beautiful bird-watcher with the clear-blue gaze would stop watching him, well, like a hawk. Cal convinces Gina to return to base camp and help him covertly get off the island. But when Gina makes it safely back to camp and finds her entire team murdered, all bets are off, and as darkness envelops the island, she must decide: trust a man she barely knows, or go it alone and risk running straight into the arms of a killer?

Review:

This book starts out with the story of Dr. Gina Sullivan and what she has been through in her life. It explains why she’s on this little island of Attu, Alaska studying eagles as they fly by. What Gina doesn’t expect to see is a plane fall out of the sky and into the freezing ocean she was currently sitting on. She races through the wreckage and bares a storm to find James ‘Cal’ Callahan clinging to life. From there, it’s a story of animosity that turns into trust and compassion as Gina and ‘Cal’ fight for their lives versus the elements of surprise.

I liked this book. It was well written, showed true emotion, and was definitely sexy. Karen Robards did a great job with this book. It was a little slow to begin, but once it got started, it definitely picked up. I couldn’t put it down once the real push of finding out what was going to happen occurred. I didn’t have many complaints for this book, other than it was slow in the beginning. Push through the slow part, it definitely gets better.

 

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

Publication Date: August 13, 2013
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Rating: ★★★★★

Today is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol. But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him: his Humphrey Bogart-obsessed next-door neighbor, Walt; his classmate, Baback, a violin virtuoso; Lauren, the Christian homeschooler he has a crush on; and Herr Silverman, who teaches the high school’s class on the Holocaust. Speaking to each in turn, Leonard slowly reveals his secrets as the hours tick by and the moment of truth approaches. In this riveting look at a day in the life of a disturbed teenage boy, acclaimed author Matthew Quick unflinchingly examines the impossible choices that must be made—and the light in us all that never goes out.

Review:

Let’s just start out by saying Matthew Quick is one of my favorite authors. So when I pick up a book of his, I have extremely high expectations. Every single time I have picked up one of his books, I have not been left disappointed. Leonard Peacock is just a young boy with a messed up brain and heart, that needs some help and guidance. His life was never as beautiful as it could have been, and therefore, he wants to kill his former best friend, and himself. I read this book in two days. Maybe even less than that. I couldn’t believe what Leonard had been through, and I wanted to know more.

My favorite characters in this book would have to be Leonard, Walt (Leonard’s neighbor), and Herr Silverman (Leonard’s teacher). They have this unbreakable bond with Leonard, and their bond makes you want to keep reading to find out what happens at the end. Oh, the end, let’s talk about that. The ending of this book will make you freak out. Not so much the final sentence, but maybe the last few chapters. It had me going insane finding out what was going to happen and if things would actually pan out the way you thought. I couldn’t stop reading. I didn’t want to.

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

Publication Date: August 2, 2016
Publisher:
Atria Books
Rating: ★★★★★

Sometimes it is the one who loves you who hurts you the most. Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up—she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true. Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place. As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan—her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened. With this bold and deeply personal novel, Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. Combining a captivating romance with a cast of all-too-human characters, It Ends With Us is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.

Review:

This book had me crying and laughing within a sentence. It Ends With Us was named Goodread’s Best Romance Novel of 2016, and I honestly can see why.

After I finished this book, I sat there for a while and just thought about it. And that ladies and gentlemen, is how you know you’ve got a good book. If it makes you feel all different emotions within a few sentences, it deserves every award.

Lily might be one of my favorite characters in a book ever. She’s got her head on straight, but doesn’t at the same time. I feel like I connected with her in that way. I bet a lot of other people can say the same. Lily has a “I don’t care” attitude, and I feel like that’s really necessary for the things that happen in this book.

I honestly did not want this book to end. I actually got sad when I hit the last chapter, knowing that it would be over soon. The writing was absolutely fantastic and had me hypnotized from page one. This was my first time reading Colleen Hoover, but I can tell you right now, it definitely will not be my last.