Source: Library

Review: Night Road by Kristin Hannah

Posted November 10, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 13 Comments

Review:  Night Road by Kristin HannahNight Road by Kristin Hannah
Series: standalone
Published by St. Martin's Press on March 22nd 2011
Genres: Womens Fiction
Pages: 385
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon

For a mother, life comes down to a series of choices. To hold on…To let go..To forget…To forgive…Which road will you take?
For eighteen years, Jude Farraday has put her children’s needs above her own, and it shows--her twins, Mia and Zach, are bright and happy teenagers. When Lexi Baill moves into their small, close knit community, no one is more welcoming than Jude. Lexi, a former foster child with a dark past, quickly becomes Mia’s best friend. Then Zach falls in love with Lexi and the three become inseparable.
Jude does everything to keep her kids safe and on track for college. It has always been easy--until senior year of high school. Suddenly she is at a loss. Nothing feels safe anymore; every time her kids leave the house, she worries about them.
On a hot summer’s night her worst fears come true. One decision will change the course of their lives. In the blink of an eye, the Farraday family will be torn apart and Lexi will lose everything. In the years that follow, each must face the consequences of that single night and find a way to forget…or the courage to forgive.
NIGHT ROAD is vivid, emotionally complex novel that raises profound questions about motherhood, identity, love, and forgiveness. It is a luminous, heartbreaking novel that captures both the exquisite pain of loss and the stunning power of hope. This is Kristin Hannah at her very best, telling an unforgettable story about the longing for family, the resilience of the human heart, and the courage it takes to forgive the people we love.

Night Road follows a woman named Jude, who is a mother to two twins Zach and Mia and Lexi a former foster child with a dark past. Lexi quickly befriends Mia and the two become inseparable even when later, Zach and Lexi fall in love.

Jude is helicopter mother. She does everything she can to keep her twins safe and she makes sure that they are both on track for college.

One night when the twins attend a high school party right before their graduation, Zach – who is suppose to be the DD ends up being mad at his mother and drinking, the other two don’t fare much better. When it came down to going home, they had to make a decision between calling their mother, or driving the one mile towards home. Last time the twins got drunk and called for their mother to pick them up, Jude reacted poorly and punished them, despite the fact that they did the right thing.

Well the kids choose to drive and a terrible accident happens, and leaves one of them dead and the events that follow changes everyone’s lives.

This was my first Kristin Hannah book and I honestly have no idea how to feel.

I had a hard time putting it down, it was engrossing, the plot was super interesting, it was emotional. This is one of those books that really takes you for a ride. We get to know Mia, Zach and Lexi as they grow up for the first half of the book and then this terrible tragedy happens and it’s hard to bear, because we actually got to know the kids before this life changing moment. I got to see them as young kids heading towards a future and for some reason books like these can be way harder to read over books that start with the tragedy because of that attachment.

But the problem for me ended up being that after the tragedy that occurs, I found that the emotion that was most prominent was anger. I found myself angry for the rest of the book. Angry about how the scene at the hospital went, angry at Jude, because if she handled the night that the twins actually called her to get picked up better – than maybe the twins wouldn’t have gotten into the car drunk and instead had called their mother. Angry at the way Jude reacted towards Lexi when there was so many factors and people at fault for the accident. I felt like both Jude, Lexi, Zach and Mia were all at fault one way or another here, but the poor girl with the dark background is the one that gets the short end of the stick.

Lexi is unable to take what she had done and ends up pleading guilty and going to prison as MADD was already trying to make an example out of her and Jude had decided to press charges for Vehicular homicide.

But the problem for me ended up being that after the tragedy that occurs, I found that the emotion that was most prominent was anger. I found myself angry for the rest of the book. Angry about how the scene at the hospital went, angry at Jude, because if she handled the night that the twins actually called her to get picked up better – than maybe the twins wouldn’t have gotten into the car drunk and instead had called their mother. Angry at the way Jude reacted towards Lexi when there was so many factors and people at fault for the accident. I felt like both Jude, Lexi, Zach and Mia were all at fault one way or another here, but the poor girl with the dark background is the one that gets the short end of the stick.

Lexi is unable to take what she had done and ends up pleading guilty and going to prison as MADD was already trying to make an example out of her and Jude had decided to press charges for Vehicular homicide.

I was discussing it with my husband and he asked me, so what is it you don’t like about this book, the fact that it’s realistic? No that is not it, I do believe it is realistic. I think Jude’s reaction is realistic for a mother that lost her child, but at the same time, it felt overwhelming for me. I spend a lot of the book being angry, and the book was a bit on the long side, so I spent a lot of time just trying to get through it. It just felt so emotionally draining that at times I just had a hard time with the book.

It feels like one of those books where the author chooses one character who already has a short end of the stick and keeps throwing punches at that character through the book, to me that is just seriously exhausting. Thought the book was well written and the story was interesting and compelling, I felt like it was also a little too long and it just felt like a little too much? Maybe I would have felt differently if Lexi wasn’t the one who kept taking those punches?

I just had a hard time with Jude at the end, her anger blended with my anger, but I felt like it was all just so unfair. Plus, I did find that Zach’s lack of involvement not very realistic. That night was honestly in part his fault, now Lexi was taking responsibility and he couldn’t even stand up for the girl he loved? He was 18 years old, he should have had a voice.

Overall, I still don’t know how to feel. It’s well done, it really draws some sort of emotion out of you. It’s suppose to be a tearjerker, but at no point in the book did I found myself able to feel that way when it was overtaken by strong anger. I was sad for what happened, it was absolutely heartbreaking and I don’t even want to imagine how that sort of thing feels, I don’t even want to know. I do believe that Jude’s emotion and the lashing out is probably true to form, but she let her grief rule her for so long, that I was honestly surprised her husband continued to stay in that relationship. She also seemed to have forgotten that she still had Zach and he needed a mother, but for years, she couldn’t even do that despite that her whole life was centered on being a mother.

But, the book did its job. It caused a real and a raw emotion and I think it doesn’t matter that it wasn’t tears, the author was able to write a novel that I felt strongly about and I applaud her for it. The writing is emotionally driven, the storytelling was well done and I really enjoyed it. As a mother this kind of a thing is terrifying and it wasn’t an easy read, but it was well worth it.

Rating Report
Plot
4.5 Stars
Characters
3.5 Stars
Writing
4.5 Stars
Pacing
3.5 Stars
Cover
4 Stars
Overall: 4 Stars

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Review: Asylum by Madeleine Roux

Posted October 23, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 10 Comments

Review:  Asylum by Madeleine RouxAsylum by Madeleine Roux
Series: Asylum #1
Published by HarperTeen on August 20th 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Horror
Pages: 317
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars

Asylum is a thrilling and creepy photo-novel perfect for fans of the New York Times bestseller Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.
For sixteen-year-old Dan Crawford, New Hampshire College Prep is more than a summer program—it's a lifeline. An outcast at his high school, Dan is excited to finally make some friends in his last summer before college. But when he arrives at the program, Dan learns that his dorm for the summer used to be a sanatorium, more commonly known as an asylum. And not just any asylum—a last resort for the criminally insane.
As Dan and his new friends, Abby and Jordan, explore the hidden recesses of their creepy summer home, they soon discover it's no coincidence that the three of them ended up here. Because the asylum holds the key to a terrifying past. And there are some secrets that refuse to stay buried.
Featuring found photos of unsettling history and real abandoned asylums and filled with chilling mystery and page-turning suspense, Madeleine Roux's teen debut, Asylum, is a horror story that treads the line between genius and insanity.

Asylum follows a sixteen year old boy named Dan Crawford, who is somewhat an outcast in his high school and doesn’t really have any friends. When he arrives at New Hampshire College for Prep, it is more than just a summer program to him, it is everything. He meets a girl named Abby who is an artist and a boy named Jordan who is extremely smart and loves math. It isn’t long into their stay when Dan discovers that the building in the summer program is stationed is an old Asylum, one that was used as the last resort for the criminally insane. Soon the trio is found sneaking away and looking into the dark secrets of their temporary summer home, but soon find more than they bargained for.

I really, really enjoyed this book. I love mixed media type of books, so the fact that the author incorporated pictures into it made me so giddy with excitement. It was wonderful enough that I felt like the book itself was atmospheric, but the pictures added to it, just bought everything together for me and it was everything I could ever ask for.

Does this book have creepy? Oh yes it does. I loved following Dan and his group of friends as they dug deep into the underbelly of what had transpired at the Asylum when it was open and all its dark and creepy secrets. Secrets that might be linked to them. They also start having these creepy dreams and there is a bit of a drama with the group because they don’t seem to want to admit that the Asylum is effecting them. Then they find there is a killer on the loose and someone is trying to contact Dan, and they are trying to link the killer and what had happened in the past, because the two might be connected.

Despite the fact that this book takes place during summer. This is a perfect read for this time of years because of its creepy atmosphere and the dark mystery.

So why not a higher rating if I enjoyed it so much? There was a lot of build up, this book had me flipping through the pages and before long I devoured it. I didn’t rate it higher because of the ending. I feel like things escalated so much but the ending was quiet a bit quick and the resolution left me wanting more. I soon discovered that the ending sets up book two wonderfully though, despite the fact that I felt it all wrapped up a bit too quickly.

Overall I am loving this series so much that if you are looking for something interesting to try this Halloween that also has creepy pictures to guide your curiosity, I definitely recommend giving this book a shot.

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3 Quick Novella Reviews

Posted October 17, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 16 Comments

3 Quick Novella ReviewsThe Murders of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson
Series: Molly Southbourne #1
Published by Tor.com on October 3rd 2017
Genres: Science Fiction, Horror
Pages: 128
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Every time she bleeds a murderer is born. Experience the horror of Tade Thompson's The Murders of Molly Southbourne.The rule is simple: don't bleed.
For as long as Molly Southbourne can remember, she's been watching herself die. Whenever she bleeds, another molly is born, identical to her in every way and intent on her destruction.
Molly knows every way to kill herself, but she also knows that as long as she survives she'll be hunted. No matter how well she follows the rules, eventually the mollys will find her. Can Molly find a way to stop the tide of blood, or will she meet her end at the hand of a girl who looks just like her?

For as long as Molly can remember, she has been watching herself die. Whenever Molly bleeds, another molly is born and is set on trying to destroy her.

Because of this, Molly lives on a farm with her parents and isn’t allowed to go anywhere. She also has to follow a certain set of rules.

But as Molly gets older, she trains to take care of herself and eventually her parents – although reluctantly – allow Molly to attend college. Unfortunately for Molly, she cannot escape who she is, no matter where she goes.

If you are looking for something bloody for Halloween, this is a good quick novella to pick up. I found the story interesting, albeit a bit on
a stomach turning side, as some of the scenes for me personally were a little much to read.

The story was quick and the concept I felt was really good, but it left me with a lot of questions. I know this is part of a short novella series, but I didn’t understand why this isn’t a fully composed book. I really wanted to know why this was happening to Molly, why the molly’s kept coming even if she wasn’t bleeding at some parts, and also why the one molly was different. Plus, why they want to kill her?

Too many whys.

Also, there is a bit of a language translation issue for me. The mother is supposed to speak Russian and Ukranian and keeps calling Molly Dorogoy. This isn’t conjugated properly, as Molly is a female the female version of that endearment would have been Dorogaya. It might not matter to some, but it is suppose to be the feminine version if used correctly.

3 Quick Novella ReviewsGwendy's Button Box by Stephen King, Richard T. Chizmar, Maggie Siff
Series: standalone
Published by Simon Schuster Audio on May 16th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Mystery
Pages: 2 hrs and 42 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

INCLUDES KING'S EDGAR AWARD-NOMINATED STORY "THE MUSIC ROOM" AND A CONVERSATION BETWEEN STEPHEN KING & RICHARD CHIZMAR!
Stephen King teams up with long-time friend and award-winning author Richard Chizmar for the first time in this original, chilling novella that revisits the town of Castle Rock—paired on audio with King’s Edgar Award–nominated story “The Music Room.”
There are three ways up to Castle View from the town of Castle Rock: Route 117, Pleasant Road, and the Suicide Stairs. Every day in the summer of 1974, twelve-year-old Gwendy Peterson has taken the stairs, which are held by strong—if time-rusted—iron bolts and zig-zag up the cliffside.
Then one day when Gwendy gets to the top of Castle View, after catching her breath and hearing the shouts of kids on the playground below, a stranger calls to her. There on a bench in the shade sits a man in black jeans, a black coat, and a white shirt unbuttoned at the top. On his head is a small, neat black hat. The time will come when Gwendy has nightmares about that hat…
The little town of Castle Rock, Maine has witnessed some strange events and unusual visitors over the years, but there is one story that has never been told—until now.

12 years old Gwendy Peterson takes the suicide stairs every day in hopes to eventually lose weight. One day she meets a strange man at the top of the stairs, who offers her a Button Box, insisting that the box belongs to Gwendy. In her gut, Gwendy believes that the Button Box is truly hers and spends years protecting the box, knowing that if fell into the wrong hands it could destroy everything.

This was a great quick listened. I enjoyed the story a tell, reminiscent of Pandora’s Box. Gwendy was an easy character to like and I enjoyed her growth through the years and how her age effected her reaction to the Button Box.

The story is set in Castle Rock and a large part of me was hoping this would be a more atmospheric kind of read.

Overall, the story was quick and enjoyable. I was a bit confused by the ending and it did leave me wanting more. I was expecting a lot more to happen as far as the box was concerned, and I also wanted to know more about the mysterious stranger.

Maggie Stiff did an amazing job narrating the story. I hope she does more audibooks in the future.

3 Quick Novella ReviewsHalloween Carnival Volume 1 by Robert McCammon, Kevin Lucia, John Little, Lisa Morton, Mark Allan Gunnells, Brian James Freeman
Series: standalone
Published by Random House Publishing Group - Hydra on October 3rd 2017
Genres: Short Stories
Pages: 165
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

STRANGE CANDY by Robert McCammonChocolate bars and sour suckers are trick-or-treat staples, but beware the odd sweet at the bottom of your bag. You never know who it’s from—or what it might do to you.
THE RAGE OF ACHILLES by Kevin LuciaFather Ward should have heeded the warnings about hearing confession on All Hallow’s Eve. Because a man is about to tell him a secret more haunting than any he has heard before.
DEMON AIR by John R. LittleFear of flying is not uncommon. But on this transpacific airline, the real danger isn’t the flight itself. It’s whoever—or whatever—is up in the air with you.
LA HACIENDA DE LOS MUERTOS by Lisa MortonTrick McGrew, former cowboy star of the silver screen, has never believed in tall tales. But down in Mexico, the land of La Llorona, he’s about to find out just how real urban legends can be.
#MAKEHALLOWEENSCARYAGAIN by Mark Allan GunnellsSome people will go to any lengths to rack up retweets, likes, and follows on social media, no matter who they end up hurting . . . or even killing.

Not sure I have much to say about this. Some of it was enjoyable. The story about the author and Halloween Murders was interesting, albeit a bit confusing in the end. I wanted the book to be more Halloweenish in it’s feel, but some of the stories were just downright sad. The first story was sad and the story about the father and his son was really sad.

I liked the last story in the book about the Mexican ghost. I thought it was creepy enough to be interesting. Even so, the story had a few problematic concepts.

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3 Quick-Ish Book Reviews

Posted September 30, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 6 Comments

I hope you guys don’t mind these. I have read more books than I can review and not all of them I have much to say about, but this is the easiest way for me to catch up and I still want to review what I read and how I felt.

3 Quick-Ish Book ReviewsThe Fate of Mercy Alban by Wendy Webb
Series: standalone
Published by Hachette Books on February 5th 2013
Genres: Paranormal, Mystery
Pages: 344
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3 Stars

From award-winning novelist Wendy Webb comes a spine-tingling mystery about family secrets set in a big, old haunted house on Lake Superior.
Grace Alban has spent twenty years away from her childhood home, the stately Alban House, for reasons she would rather forget. But when her mother's unexpected death brings Grace and her teen-age daughter home, she finds more haunting the halls and passageways of Alban House than her own personal demons.
Long-buried family secrets, a packet of old love letters and a lost manuscript plunge Grace into a decades-old mystery about a scandalous party at Alban House, when a world-famous author took his own life and Grace's aunt disappeared without a trace. The night has been shrouded in secrecy by the powerful Alban family for all of these years, and Grace realizes her family secrets tangle and twist as darkly as the secret passages of Alban House. Her mother was intending to tell the truth about that night to a reporter on the very day she died - could it have been murder? Or was she a victim of the supposed Alban curse? With the help of the disarmingly kind--and attractive—Reverend Matthew Parker, Grace must uncover the truth about her home and its curse before she and her daughter become the next victims.

This honestly would be perfect for fall, but I found the book fell a little short for me.

Grace Alban moves back into her childhood home after her mother dies and a strange woman that might be related to her shows up at the funeral. Grace thinks it’s her aunt who disappeared from Alban House years ago. Lot’s of town people think the family is cursed due to all the tragedies that happened at the house that is now a historical place.

The mystery was interesting if not frustrating. It’s obvious the caretakers of the house know what is going on, but every time they are about to tell Grace what happened, they are like “Oh Miss Grace I will tell you everything, but first I must feed you” and then they forget to tell her. It just felt annoying and like everything could have been avoided, all the danger, if people would just tell her what’s up. Especially since all of them were obviously in danger.

There is a missing book manuscript.

At one point you are reading a book about a man who was writing a book, in a book.

Oh, and the awkward relationship between Grace and her pastor, who she apparently beds after only knowing for a little while. Not very realistic.

Good concept, but poorly executed. I still do recommend it for a fall read because the concept was interesting enough.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
3 Quick-Ish Book ReviewsThe Untouchable Earl by Amy Sandas
Series: Fallen Ladies #2
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on November 1st 2016
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 416
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 2 Stars
Heat:three-half-flames

He's a reclusive Earl with a painful secret that's kept him from knowing a lover's touch. She's a sheltered debutante tired of living by society's rules. But when she's forced from the ballroom to the brothel, Lily discovers the dark thrill of falling from grace...and into the arms of a man who could destroy her as easily as he saved her.
Lily Chadwick has spent her life playing the respectable debutante. But when an unscrupulous moneylender snatches her off the street and puts her up for auction at a pleasure house, she finds herself in the possession of a man who fills her with breathless terror and impossible yearning.
Though the Earl of Harte claimed Lily with the highest bid, he hides a painful secret―one that has kept him from knowing the pleasure of a lover's touch. Even the barest brush of skin brings him physical pain, and he's spent his life keeping the world at arm's length. But there's something about Lily that maddens him, bewitches him, compels him...and drives him toward the one woman brave and kind enough to heal his troubled heart.

When Lily get’s kidnapped and sold to the brothel in order for her family debt to get paid off, she is rescued by the cold and brooding Earl of Harte. Not wanting to marry off just anyone, Lily asks the Earl if she can be his mistress as soon as he rescues her, but the Earl holds a secret, one that might not allow her to get too close to him.

Okay, I loved the first book of the series, but this one felt like it was written by a completely different person.

The first one actually had a story, depth and focus on character building and relationship. This was one sex and… sex.

Which was fine… If that is all you are prepared to read despite such a strong first book. I wasn’t. I definitely did not see the shy, sweet Lily as anyone who would want to be involved in being a mistress, especially since she felt so innocent. I mean, for freaks sake the woman was just kidnapped and was being sold as a virgin in a brothel and all the sudden she is like oh, I want to sleep with you. How could you not have any sort of bad reaction?

I did like the Earl of Harte, his condition was interesting, but that is about it.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
3 Quick-Ish Book ReviewsWild Ride Cowboy by Maisey Yates
Series: Copper Ridge #9
Published by Harlequin Books on August 29th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 2 Stars
Heat:three-flames

He's come back to Copper Ridge, Oregon, to keep a promise—even if it means losing his heart…
Putting down roots in Copper Ridge was never Alex Donnelly's intention. But if there's one thing the ex-military man knows, it's that life rarely unfolds as expected. If it did, his best friend and brother-in-arms would still be alive. And Alex wouldn't have inherited a ranch or responsibility for his late comrade's sister—a woman who, despite her inexperience, can bring tough-as-iron Alex to his knees.
Clara Campbell didn't ask for a hero to ride in and fix her ranch and her life. All she wants is the one thing stubborn, honorable Alex is reluctant to give: a chance to explore their intense chemistry. But Clara has a few lessons to teach him, too…about trusting his heart and his instincts, and letting love take him on the wildest adventure of all.

My first Yates book. I love cowboys and really wanted to give her a shot, but it just did not work for me.

I love that there were characters with an age difference. Alex was Clara’s brother’s friend in the service and her brother died in service and gave the ranch for a year to Alex so he can get Clara on track and then leave the rest to her.

Clara ends up attracted to Alex so they start a physical relationship.

I loved that these two were both kind of damaged characters and needed each other.

Not much happens. I was BORED for 90% of the book. Also, they had these lengthy monologue conversations pointing out each others problems that felt like just one bad therapy session that really numbed my brain cells.

I started skimming through the sex scenes. I wanted more tension and relationship building.

Alex just felt years mature over Clara, who despite claiming that she is not a child, felt too childish.

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3 Mini Book Reviews

Posted September 14, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 14 Comments

3 Mini Book ReviewsWesley James Ruined My Life by Jennifer Honeybourn
Series: standalone
Published by Swoon Reads on July 18th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 256
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3 Stars

Sixteen-year-old Quinn Hardwick’s having a rough summer. Her beloved grandmother has been put into a home, her dad’s gambling addiction has flared back up and now her worst enemy is back in town: Wesley James, former childhood friend—until he ruined her life, that is.
So when Wesley is hired to work with her at Tudor Tymes, a medieval England themed restaurant, the last thing Quinn’s going to do is forgive and forget. She’s determined to remove him from her life and even the score all at once—by getting him fired.
But getting rid of Wesley isn’t as easy as she’d hoped. When Quinn finds herself falling for him, she has to decide what she wants more: to get even, or to just get over it.

A cute Young Adult Contemporary romance about a girl named Quinn Hardwick, who is having it kind of rough. Her grandmother is having Alzheimer and is put into a home. Her father’s gambling addiction seems worse than ever and she has a trip to London with her band that she needs to afford because it has always been her dream to go there. To top things off, Wesley James is back in town and he has ruined her life.

This was a cute read… I flew through it fast, but it was quite a bit frustrating. First, Quinn is 16 years old and Wesley James had an incident like 5 years ago when he was just a little kid, he said something and Quinn automatically accuses him of ripping apart her family. Uh, she is 16 years old and still blames him for something that happened at like 11? Come on Quinn, grow up. Every time her friend pointed out that there was no way it was Welsey’s fault she wouldn’t hear it.

So attraction grew, but I found Quinn frustrating and immature. There wasn’t much character growth here as she didn’t realize her mistakes till like 90% of the book and it was because her mother finally decided to say something after 5 years? Yea, not very believable.

3 Mini Book ReviewsHello, Sunshine by Leila Howland
Series: standalone
Published by Disney-Hyperion on July 11th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 368
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3 Stars

A Prep School Girl with a Hollywood Dream
Becca Harrington is a reject. After being rebuffed by every college on her list, she needs a fresh start, so she packs up everything and moves to LA, giving herself one year to land an acting gig or kill herself trying.
Unfortunately, not everything turns out as planned, and after a few grueling months, LA is looking like the worst idea ever. As hard as she tries, Becca can’t land an agent, she's running out of cash, and her mom is hounding her to apply to more schools. In an act of desperation, Becca and her friend Marisol start posting short videos online—with the help of their adorable filmmaker neighbor, Raj—and the videos catch the attention of a TV producer. Could this be it? Her big break? Or will she have to move back home with nothing but some bad head shots and a monstrous credit-card bill?
Becca may not get the Hollywood ending she was hoping for, but perhaps she’ll learn there’s more than one way to achieve her dream.
Readers will love every page of this funny, romantic, aspirational, and ultimately triumphant novel about a girl who just wants to make it on her own.

Becca Harrington feels like a reject after being rejected by all the colleges on her list, so she drops everything and moves to LA where she gives herself a year to land a gig as an actress. To make matters worse, Becca ends up being dumped by her high school sweetheart after he drops her off at LA and ends up living in a small one room apartment as she struggles to get an agent to notice her.

Umm… I found this interesting, apparently, because I kept reading it. The book did take me a while to get through. I did not understand how Becca was so naive the entire time.

She shows up in the city and has every door slammed in her face because she does not know what she is doing and has no formal training. They kept saying she was a good actress, but I found it hard to believe. She shows up in LA thinking she can just walk into an office and get an agent to see her. No real history of acting, no head shot, just show up. Right.. no

The romance was weird. There was Raj who was in love with her and lived in her building and befriended her. Becca is still heartbroken over her ex boyfriend, but then she meets a fellow actor during one of her shoes and sleeps with him – thinking they can be the next big Hollywood couple. Ah! But wait, he warned her before they slept that he wasn’t looking for anything with her. So Becca flies off irrationally when he acts like she was just a one night stand the next morning because she was picturing them as a couple already. Raj is put on a second burner.. Not okay, I did not feel she deserved him and honestly wished he sent her packing.

Overall, okay read – but Becca keeps being frustrating the entire time because despite everything she still does not seem to get it even 90% into the book. Same mistakes, just as naive.

3 Mini Book ReviewsThe Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall by Katie Alender
Series: standalone
Published by Point on August 25th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
Pages: 329
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars

In this asylum, your mind plays tricks on you all the time…
Delia’s new house isn’t just a house. Long ago, it was the Piven Institute for the Care and Correction of Troubled Females—an insane asylum nicknamed “Hysteria Hall.” However, many of the inmates were not insane, just defiant and strong willed. Kind of like Delia herself.
But the house still wants to keep “troubled” girls locked away. So, in the most horrifying way, Delia gets trapped.
And that’s when she learns that the house is also haunted.
Ghost girls wander the halls in their old-fashioned nightgowns. A handsome ghost boy named Theo roams the grounds. Delia finds that all the spirits are unsettled and full of dark secrets. The house, as well, harbors shocking truths within its walls—truths that only Delia can uncover, and that may set her free.
But she’ll need to act quickly, before the house’s power overtakes everything she loves.
From master of suspense Katie Alender comes a riveting tale of twisted memories and betrayals, and the meaning of madness.

I think it’s safe to say at this point I have read everything this woman has ever written.

This book was fun and creepy and just what I wanted, ghosts.

Delia inherits her grandmother’s house, and her parents take both her and her sister during the summer to help them fix the house. Delia is also in trouble because she tried to sneak out on a trip without her parents knowing and lied to them, now they don’t trust her.

After finding something strange in the house and trying to get out, Delia’s parent’s don’t believe her, lock her up and she dies.

Now Delia is stuck in the house unable to move on because something is keeping her and the other girls of Hysteria Hall trapped and she must find out who and why.

Interesting story, I was glued to the pages. There is another strange sibling relationship here that is rocky at the beginning (seems to be typical for this author) but ends up being resolved at the end as Delia’s tries to save her sister from the house claiming her as another soul.

Creepy, interesting, atmospheric and perfect for fall. A bit slow going, now much has been happening for a while, but overall, a good read.

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Review: Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

Posted May 6, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 10 Comments

Review:  Sleeping Giants by Sylvain NeuvelSleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
Published by Del Rey on April 26th 2016
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 304
Format: Hardcover, Audiobook, Kindle Edition
Source: Library, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

I received this book for free from Library, Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.
Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved—its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Its carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected.
But some can never stop searching for answers.
Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the provenance of the relic. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling history’s most perplexing discovery—and figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result prove to be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?
An inventive debut in the tradition of World War Z and The Martian, told in interviews, journal entries, transcripts, and news articles, Sleeping Giants is a thriller fueled by a quest for truth—and a fight for control of earthshaking power.

I think this is one of those books I have a hard time reviewing. I got the book from the library, saw the format and went to look for an audiobook. Despite the fact that it took me a very long time to finish the audiobook, I was absolutely right in picking it up. The audiobook, was amazing. If you like audiobooks with multiple narratives and a story that listens and feels like an old radio show, this was fantastic for that. I thought the actors in this audiobook did a great job with it and I was never really bored.

The format of the book itself is done in interviews. The basis of the story is about a giant hand that get’s found by a little girl named Rose, who falls through the Earth and lands onto its palm. She then grows up and basically dedicates her entire life on this project trying to figure out where the hand came from and is put in charge of putting this thing together as they uncover more pieces around the world.
I thought this was so interesting. I know a lot of people have an issue with the fact that the book is done as an interview so they felt like the book lacked something. I personally had a lot of fun with this and I felt like I was listening to these people tell a real story of their experience and the actors did a great job with portraying emotions through it. It felt personal and kind of real.

The book has a lot going for it. It’s a science fiction, but it almost doesn’t read like it. A lot of this book focuses on finding this giant robot and the political effects of it, since the robot is found in places outside of the USA. So there’s government conspiracy, political power struggle, and the possibility of a giant alien robot and who might have made this and why is it being uncovered now.

I found it interesting, exciting, I liked the format, it was super easy to get into and it’s one of those science fiction books that does not deal with a lot of science fiction jargon I guess, so it wasn’t hard to follow. The characters because of the interview style really grew on me and for that I will be continuing the next book in audio format as well.

This is the first book I completed in audiobook, but I did follow along with a physical book as well a lot of times to keep my mind from drifting. Also, if I missed something it was just easier to reread it in the book. I don’t typically like audiobooks, but I found that I just really liked this one, especially with the multiple narratives.

 

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3 Mini Book Reviews

Posted May 1, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 17 Comments

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
3 Mini Book ReviewsA Wedding for Christmas by Lori Wilde
Series: Twilight, Texas #7
Published by Avon on October 25th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Holiday
Pages: 384
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 2 Stars
Heat:three-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The whole town is ready for the holidays: The Cookie Club is baking, Main Street glitters with lights, the carolers sing . . .There’s even a Christmas wedding.
When bodyguard Ryder Southerland sees his best friend’s sister Katie at an L.A. Christmas party, he mistakes the slinky blonde for a celebrity stalker and tackles her. Then they tackle each other . . . at his place. The next morning, Katie’s gone, and Ryder tells himself it’s for the best. It isn’t. Now, one Christmas later, Ryder’s falling for the woman he’s been missing in the town he hasn’t missed at all . . .
Katie Cheek’s outgrown the romantic fantasies she had about Ryder when she was fifteen. Katie’s packed their hot night away in a box labeled “fling”—or tried to. But Twilight’s bad boy is the best man in her brother’s wedding. And up-close and personal, Ryder’s impossible to ignore. So Katie can either go into hiding—or surrender to Christmas magic.

This book is kind of a follow up to what happens in the last book when two women from two different worlds exchange houses for Christmas. It can however be read as a standalone.
I did not like this one as much as I liked the one before. I do feel like this was Wilde’s weaker book in this series.
I really liked Ryder, I thought he was swoon worthy. He did come with some packages. He left town when his best friends sister kissed him and it freaked him out, especially since he always pictured their family as his, after living in their house for a while due to his own family issues. His father blames him as a kid for his mother’s death, that was very unfortunate and very sad. I hated his father for what he put the kid through, especially since Ryder already blamed himself.
I hated Katie, she destroyed this book for me. She goes to LA, has sex with Ryder and disappears. When he shows up in town for his best friends wedding, it gets complicated. Ryder went to the military, he grew up, he changed, but Katie keeps making him pay for his past. I hated her stupid treatment of him and her stupid rules. I never felt that he deserved the way she handled things.

3 Mini Book ReviewsIf You Only Knew by Kristan Higgins
Series: standalone
Published by HQN Books on August 25th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Chick-Lit
Pages: 411
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Heat:one-flame

Sisterhood in all its drama, hilarity and tears is at the heart of New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins's thoroughly captivating new novel, featuring the wit and romance that readers have come to expect from the much-loved creator of the Blue Heron series...
Wedding-dress designer Jenny Tate understands the happily-ever-after business, yet somehow she's still involved in her ex-husband's life. In fact, Owen's new wife may—inexplicably—be Jenny's new best friend. Sensing this, well, relationship isn't helping her move on, Jenny trades the Manhattan skyline for her hometown up the Hudson, where she'll be able to bask in her sister Rachel's picture-perfect family life…and hopefully make one of her own.
Her timing couldn't be more perfect, since Rachel will need her younger sister. Her idyllic marriage has just fallen to pieces in spectacular fashion after she discovers her husband sexting with one of his colleagues. Second chances aren't in Rachel's nature, but the desire for an intact family has her rethinking her stance on adultery, much to Jenny's surprise. Rachel points to their parents' "perfect" marriage as a shining example, but to protect her sister Jenny may have to tarnish that memory—and their relationship­—and reveal a secret about their family she's been keeping since childhood.
During this summer of secrets and lies, temptation and revelation, Jenny and Rachel will rely on each other to find the humor in their personal catastrophes, the joy in their triumphs…and the strength to keep hanging on.

After reading On Second Thought, I really wanted to read the other book related to this town and found If You Only Knew.

This follows Jenny and Rachel. Jenny is divorced, but remains friends with her ex-husband and his new wife. At the beginning of the book she is in her replacements baby shower and ends up delivering the baby.

I found that I really liked this book and the authors writing and the people, but I did not love this one. It is the weaker of the two.

I had a problem with the way Jenny treated Loki the dog and all her stupid remarks about him being old and when is he going to kick the bucket? She had this inner fantasy dialog that I found irritating and desperate at times. She really wanted to get married.

Rachel story was kind of heart breaking, but also on the annoying side. Her husband cheats on her and she keeps forgiving him until she finally has enough. When Jenny stands up to him, Rachel takes the losers side.

There was a bit of slut shaming in this book aimed at the woman who had the affair with Rachel’s loser husband.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
3 Mini Book ReviewsShadow Falling by Rebecca Zanetti
Series: The Scorpius Syndrome #2
Published by Zebra on August 30th 2016
Genres: Post- Apocalyptic, Dystopia
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3 Stars
Heat:three-flames

Before the Scorpius Syndrome tore through North America and nearly wiped out the population, Vivienne Wellington was the FBI’s best profiler. The bacteria got her anyway. But she survived. She recovered. And when she woke up from a drug-nightmare of captivity, her skills as a hunter of men had gone from merely brilliant to full-on uncanny. Her mysterious rescuer wants her to put them to the test. But no matter how tempting he is, with his angel’s eyes and devil’s tongue, Vinnie knows she shouldn’t trust him.
If the FBI were still around they would rate Raze Shadow as one of the bad guys. His military training can’t wipe out his association with the Mercenaries, the most feared gang in a thousand miles. His loyalties are compromised. He won’t even tell Vinnie his real name. But there’s no FBI in the new America of fear and firepower, only instinct and risk.
And the way his arms wrap around Vinnie tells its own story. Whatever else Raze is concealing, he can’t hide his desire . . .

This book continues with the events happening in book 1, I do not suggest to read this series out of order or a standalone because it has an ongoing story and conflict that keeps growing.

This was Raze’s story, but as much as I was excited about it – I found it to be a bit on the disappointing side.

Raze needed Vivienne Wellington in order to exchange her to the mercenaries for his sister. Despite the fact that he knew about his sister’s life being in trouble and what he had to do it did not stop Raze from sleeping with this woman and getting attached fairly quickly.

I found that stupid, reckless and made me think that they should have not gotten together in that kind of circumstances. Also, makes me really thankful that I do not have a brother to screw me over like that if god forbid something like this happened. Cause Raze only thought with his penis to begin with and not his loyalty to his family.

Also, just the whole set up, if I closed my eyes and listened to the book and ignored the names Vivvy and Raze – the set up and the personalities (including the spanking?) were pretty much exactly like the last two characters in book one.

I liked this because I loved the background conflict, but as far as the love story in this, I did not like it at all. Which was a shame, since I loved Raze in book 1, but did not think he would lead with his penis. I was hoping for a more back and forth, tug and pull and not straight to bed kind of thing.

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Review: Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Posted April 28, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 15 Comments

Review:  Alex, Approximately by Jenn BennettAlex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett
Series: standalone
Published by Simon Pulse on April 4th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 391
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Heat:one-half-flames

The one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.
Classic movie fan Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online as Alex. Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.
Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new archnemesis. But life is whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever it is she’s starting to feel for Porter.
And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.

If you guys are looking for a fun summer young adult read, look no further because Alex, Approximately might just be the right book for you.

It follows a girl named Bailey who is a completely classics movie buff. She meets a boy nicknamed ‘Alex’ online on a movie forum and they share a lot of things in common. Alex wants her to travel to California because they are going to have this big movie festival during summer and there is a movie he wants her to see, plus because they click so much, he wants to meet her. When her mother’s relationship ends up on the rocks with her current husband, Bailey feels like she has had enough drama and moves to California to live with her dad.

It just happens that Alex, also lives in the same city as her dad.

Bailey get’s cold feet and never tells ‘Alex’ that she is in town in hopes of scoping out the boy first, in case he is a creepy old man, and with her past she has every right to be careful.

Unfortunately the search for Alex hits home a lot closer than she thinks.

Can I just say I absolutely loved and adored this book. As far as romances go, this is like one of my top five favorites of this year so far. I had so much fun with this, with Bailey and Porter. I adored them.

When the two first meet at work, it’s a bit rocky. Porter comes off like an ass and Bailey does not want to cower in front of him.

In fact, right from the start he really pisses her off. The two end up arguing a lot, but when they don’t fight, sparks fly and magic happens. It turns out, Porter actually really likes her.

I just loved this I really did. I needed something light after reading a dark book and this helped a lot. Lately I’ve also been enjoying Young Adult Contemporary because I haven’t read a lot of them. Plus, it helps with the Adult Romance rot I am currently feeling.

Bailey and Porter were great together. Not only did I love their relationship. I enjoyed the positive family relationships as well as friendships that developed in this book.

I absolutely adored how everything unfolded and that Porter is actually Alex and how the two clicked offline, without actually knowing who the two really are. (This is not a spoiler, it’s in the blurb y’all)

There wasn’t much that I disliked about this book except for the part where Bailey felt a bit thick when it came to the big reveal. Porter kind of put the two and two together first and his reaction made me a bit grumpy, but I just couldn’t understand how Bailey did not see the missing puzzle piece when everything was sitting in front of her. Honestly, she should have put the two together a lot more quickly.

Also, the Davy storyline in this was a little rough and a bit weirdly unnecessary.

Overall, this was a great read – currently top 5 romance favorites this year. It was well written, with a wonderful storyline, great characters, positive relationships with friends, family and between Bailey and Porter.

I loved Porter, I really did. He really made the story for me.

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Review: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Posted April 3, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 17 Comments

Review: Dark Matter by Blake CrouchDark Matter by Blake Crouch
Series: standalone
Published by Crown on July 26th 2016
Genres: Science Fiction, Thriller
Pages: 342
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Heat:one-half-flames

“Are you happy with your life?”
Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.
Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.
Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”
In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.
Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.
From the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy, Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human—a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.

I can’t believe it took me this long to pick this book up. I actually bought this for my dad about a month ago and after he finished, he told me “Lily, you got to read this.” I was a bit busy, had a lot on my plate, and did not get a chance to. I went to the library and behold, they had a copy available and I snatched it up.

Guys! I could NOT, put this book down. It was…Wow.

What is so great about this? Uh… Everything. It’s a science fiction, but it doesn’t completely read like one. I admit, there had been parts that made my head swim a little, but who cares? Crouch is a fabulous writer. The man knows how to suck you in from the very first page and it just never really lets you go. I lost sleep because of this, for reals. But who needs sleep, right?

This book never had a dull moment for me, I was eating up the pages eager for the end, wanting to know how it all turns out. Quite the roller coaster ride.

Don’t ask me to explain what this is about, I might literally explode. Read the blurb, that is the gist of it, the rest you pretty much have to experience on your own.

This book grabbed me from page one and never really let me go. My eyes are burning me, I am tired, but I am so glad I got to finish this. Crouch is really such a great storyteller.

Does most of this book make sense? No, it’s a science fiction. But, it’s interesting, it’s different, it’s compelling and it’s the first book in over a month that has me so damn giddy. I wasn’t coming into this willing it to make sense. I just wanted fun, excitement, something different.

Different it was. I LOVED the concept, the idea of multiverse. How our lives branch out. How there is a possibility of like everything that we could do in a critical moment in our life. The characters were just so raw, so real, the main character especially. I couldn’t help but feel the connection, I felt his love, pain, his loss and the need to come back home.

It was just so good. Crouch to me is a master in storytelling, he succeeded in everything for me. I felt it. I enjoyed it.

I took away half a star because in the end, I felt the ending to be a little weak. A LITTLE BIT. After everything, I felt like maybe it could have used a few more pages. But I get it. The characters were tired.

It is a bit open ended, it is. BUT, but, you guys in this case, given the structure of the book – it does not annoy me. It felt almost perfect. I couldn’t have asked for anything better. It totally made sense following the events, so, go read it if you have not yet. The science fiction part of it is light, but it’s science fiction, don’t go into it thinking it has to make sense, just be open and enjoy every moment.

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Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, Siobhan Dowd (Conception), Jim Kay (Illustrator)

Posted April 1, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 21 Comments

Review:  A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, Siobhan Dowd (Conception), Jim Kay (Illustrator)A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, Siobhan Dowd, Jim Kay
Series: standalone
Published by Candlewick Press on March 12th 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magical Realism
Pages: 206
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

An unflinching, darkly funny, and deeply moving story of a boy, his seriously ill mother, and an unexpected monstrous visitor.
At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting-- he's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It's ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth. From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd-- whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself-- Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.

Guys, I am going to be honest here. I picked this book up because a ton of people asked me if I read it, with the movie out, I finally stumbled upon this book in the library and decided to give it a shot.

I went into this blindly. I never read the blurb or asked people what it was about and stayed away from detailed reviews. I was told when it comes to this book, that was the best way to go about it anyway. So I am having a hard time writing the review. I am going to keep it short and sweet and basically tell you that if you had not read it yet, read it. Don’t just pick up the ebook either. Go to your local library if you have to and get the physical book because the drawing in the book really add to the experience.

The actual idea of this book came from Siobhan Dowd, but it was Patrick Ness, who brought her vision to life after she was taken too soon by cancer. Patrick Ness did a beautiful job bringing her beloved characters to life, leaving us with a book that I will think span generations. When I read the book last night, I was rocked with emotion, but it wasn’t until the day after that I got to sit down, let it sink in and truly experience its effect.

The story is about a boy named Conor and his ill mother. It is haunting, it is beautiful, atmospheric and downright emotional. If you have dealt with loss, it’s grief and pain, I strongly suggest you read this. Even if you haven’t experienced loss yet, I strongly suggest you read this. But I think it’s safe to say most of us did at one point or another and this book just captures most of what we go through so well.

I expect this book will have a different experience and effect on everyone. Which is okay. I believe that’s the whole point anyway, as we each experience the monster and its interpretation differently in the moments of weakness and hopelessness.

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