March Wrap Up

March felt super bananas to me – I was trying to read as many ARCs as possible so I could do a lot of mood reading in April. UNFORTUNATELY a slump hit me HARD midway through the month, and somehow the only thing I could read was contemporary. It wa s bit of a struggle, but I’m really hoping I can pull it together for next month!

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  1. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling (audio, reread): 
  2. The Shadow Glass by Rin Chupeco (ARC): ★★★★
  3. Never – Contented Things by Sarah Porter (ARC): DNF @ 27%
  4. In Another Life by CC Hunter (ARC): ★★★.5
  5. Last Call At The Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger (Dragons & Tea Book Club): ★★★
  6. Descendant of the Crane by Joan He (ARC): ★★★★.5
  7. Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell (BOTM, audio): ★★★.5
  8. Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott: ★★★.5
  9. This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills: ★★★★
  10. You’d Be Mine by Erin Hahn (ARC): ★★★★.5
  11. In The Neighborhood of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton (ARC): 
  12. Furyborn by Claire Legrand (audio, reread):
  13. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (backreads): CURRENTLY READING

So I guess that technically works out to 12 books since I DNF one and am still currently reading one…definitely a good month for me whenever I hit double digits! What was the best book you read in March? I’m sticking with Descendant of the Crane for this one!

xoxo

Jen

March Haul

Every month I say I’m going to do better at not buying so many books…and every month I fail. It was a little wild again this month, everybody. Let’s dive right in.

BOOK BOXES

Last month I went a little wild and ordered 3 books from BOTM. This month was a small improvement… I only ordered two. My February Fairyloot box came a little late, so it made the list as well!

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  1. A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer (February Fairyloot)
  2. Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams (Book of the Month)
  3. Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Book of the Month)

PUBLISHERS

I was lucky enough to receive a few books from publishers this month, and I always am so so grateful for these opportunities!

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  1. Kingsbane by Claire Legrand – Sourcebooks Fire
  2. When the Light Went Out by Bridget Morrissey – Sourcebooks Fire
  3. The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson – Sourcebooks Fire
  4. Here There Are Monsters by Amelinda Bérubé – Sourcebooks Fire
  5. You’d Be Mine by Erin Hahn – Wednesday Books

MISCELLANEOUS

In addition to all of that, I went a little wild and bought…a lot of books. Someone needs to put me on a budget or something…

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  1. Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills – I HAVE to start out with this one because it was a gift from my wonderful friend Amy @ A Court of Crowns and Quills! I can’t wait to buddy read this with her!
  2. A Heart In A Body In The World by Deb Caletti
  3. Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott
  4. This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills
  5. When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore
  6. The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum
  7. The Near Witch by V.E. Schwab
  8. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
  9. Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare
  10. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
  11. From Here to You by Jamie McGuire
  12. The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

Did you guys have more restraint than I did? Here’s hoping April will be better…but since it’s my birthday month, I really doubt it!

xoxo

Jen

 

ARC Review: Descendant of the Crane

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Title: Descendant of the Crane

Author: Joan He

Release Date: April 9, 2019

Pages 416

Publisher: Albert Whitman Company

Rating: ★★★★.5

Goodreads Synopsis:

Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, dreaming of an unremarkable life. But when her beloved father is found dead, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of a surprisingly unstable kingdom. What’s more, Hesina believes that her father was murdered—and that the killer is someone close to her.

Hesina’s court is packed full of dissemblers and deceivers eager to use the king’s death for political gain, each as plausibly guilty as the next. Her advisers would like her to blame the neighboring kingdom of Kendi’a, whose ruler has been mustering for war. Determined to find her father’s actual killer, Hesina does something desperate: she enlists the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by
death, since magic was outlawed centuries ago.

Using the information provided by the sooth, and uncertain if she can trust her family, Hesina turns to Akira—a brilliant investigator who’s also a convicted criminal with secrets of his own. With the future of Yan at stake, can Hesina find justice for her father? Or will the cost be too high?

Review:

ARC provided by the publisher via edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

“What is truth? Scholars seek it. Poets write it. Good kings pay gold to hear it. But in trying times, truth is the first thing we betray.”

Wow, you guys. 4.5 stars to this thing of beauty. I had no idea what to expect from this asian-inspired fantasy, but it completely blew me away. It is part of a series, and you can bet I will be picking up the second installment when it comes out…which is WAY too far away, if you ask me.

This book follows Hesina, the Princess of Yan in the wake of her father’s death. As she and the country reels, it becomes clear that there may be more to his death than meets the eye. While trying to deal with her new role as Queen and stabilize the kingdom, Hesina also embarks on a journey to try and find her father’s killer and bring them to justice.

Unfortunately, lies and betrayal hide in ever corner, and Hesina has no idea who to trust, including her own family. In desperation, she turns to a soothsayer – in the process, committing treason – and enlists the help of a convicted criminal, Akira. As they discover more and more secrets and lies, Hesina has to wonder just how far she’ll go to find justice for her father…and if she’ll lose herself and Yan along the way.

I absolutely adored Hesina as a main character. She was so real and honest and open. She has so many flaws, and makes so many wrong decisions – but who wouldn’t, in her situation? Hers is a coming of age story on a much larger scale. She has to grow up, discover who she is, and decide right from wrong, all in front of the entire nation. And sometimes that means agreeing with her enemies and disagreeing with her family. She’s learning that there is no black and white: no one is wholly good, or wholly evil. Shout out to Joan He for including SO MANY morally grey characters!

“She wasn’t her father, who inspired empathy with his benevolence. She wasn’t her mother, who radiated authority. She wasn’t Sanjing, glowing from another victory, or Caiyan, riveting with his rationale, or Lilian, charming her way into hearts. She was just Hesina … Inadequate as always.”

I also love how the author explores more complex emotions. As Hesina grows into her role, she starts questioning if shunning the sooths was right – if her own father was right. It’s always a startling notion when you first realize that your parents are people too – they make mistakes and have their own flaws. Hesina has to deal with grief, loss, betrayal, and even her first crush, all in the public eye and without her parents. These are some heavy – hitting emotions, and while she tried to handle them with grace, like any teenager, sometimes it was a big swing and a miss.

“‘Tonight, we fell victim to fear. We let it blind us. We thought we were hunting monsters…’ She stared out into the sea of flame-washed faces. It took all her strength not to look away. ‘But we were the monsters.'”

I am throwing major heart eyes at this book for all of the SIBLING RELATIONSHIPS it included! And can I get a hell yes for non-traditional families? I am such a sucker for siblings in any format, and all of these characters were so well-developed and honestly I loved them all. I loved watching all of the dynamics between them, and how Hesina ended up kind of in the middle of it all. I love how they all help her grow in some way, lending her strength and love, advice and wisdom, protection and support – even when she doesn’t want it. No family is perfect, but you know when it comes down to it that they’ll be there for you. I haven’t seen this displayed on paper this well in a long time.

I also want to quickly mention one character who ISN’T a sibling: Akira. Akira is a convicted criminal who Hesina enlists to help her clear her father’s name. He’s brilliant, strong, and I’ll be honest: I was crushing on him hard. I also kind of wanted to put these two in my pocket and just keep them there? To protect them from all the problems around them? While he starts out helping Hesina as part of a bargain they make, he becomes just as loyal to her as her siblings, and maybe even more so. And just like every other character in this book, he’s more complex than he first appears.

“‘Sometimes I lose myself,’ he finally said. ‘I get too focused. Forget that feelings matter. I was raised this way, and I’m still trying to change.'”

I did have some minor issues with this book, but the biggest is the pacing in the first 40% of the book. While there was a lot of political intrigue going on, I felt like it was really dragged out and I wasn’t super invested. HOWEVER. There comes a point where the pacing flies into high gear, and SO MANY THINGS HAPPEN. I mean it. The last half of this book was so action packed I felt like my jaw was hanging open the entire time. And that ending!! I couldn’t believe how much was happening, and the epilogue completely crushed my soul, especially when I saw how long I was going to have to wait for the sequel.

This book is like Game of Thrones, but faster-paced, with less characters, and set in a Chinese-inspired fantasy world. Oh, and don’t forget that murder investigation. Honestly, this book completely wow’d me, and I cannot wait for the sequel to come out. Do yourself a favor and preorder this book – I already have.

Descendant of the Crane is releasing on April 9, 2019.

*All quotations are taken from an ARC and are subject to change prior to publication.

xoxo

Jen

March Pick: Book of the Month

Hello everybody! Another month, another BOTM box. After I went a little wild in February and picked three books, I figured I’d better scale it back for March…so I only picked two. Whoops. Here’s what I ended up going with:

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Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Goodreads Synopsis:

Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now.

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.

Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.

Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.

The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

Goodreads Synopsis:

Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper, where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle class peers. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong places…including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth.

As Queenie careens from one questionable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, “What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be?”—all of the questions today’s woman must face in a world trying to answer them for her.

With “fresh and honest” (Jojo Moyes) prose, Queenie is a remarkably relatable exploration of what it means to be a modern woman searching for meaning in today’s world.

Why I Picked Them:

I’ll be honest, these were some pretty easy picks for me. I know Daisy Jones has gotten a ton of mixed reviews, but I loved The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo so much that I feel like I owe it to myself to make up my own opinions about any TJR books from here on out. And after reading Queenie‘s description, I knew I HAD to pick it up. It sounds like something I will absolutely adore and make readers ask all the right questions.

Beyond that, two of March’s picks were thrillers, and one was a collection of short stories. I’m not a huge fan of short stories, and I have WAY too many thrillers from BOTM sitting on my shelf. I refuse to fuel my addiction.

What books did you pick from BOTM in March? If you haven’t tried BOTM yet but have been thinking about it, here’s a link that I believe gets you a free book with your first try!

xoxo

Jen

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Audiobooks I’ve Enjoyed So Far

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. Check out her blog for more info!

Happy Tuesday bookworms! I hope everyone’s had a good month so far! Hard to believe it’s almost April. This week, the prompt was an audio freebee, and I decided to go with audiobooks. I just started trying these out towards the end of last year, and I’ve really liked them! I love being able to listen to a book while I’m driving around running errands or walking the dog. Below are 5 audiobooks I’ve found enjoyable so far, and 5 I’m looking forward to trying out in the future!

Audiobooks I’ve Liked

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ONE: Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. Narrator: Jim Dale

Ok, this is easily at the top of the list. Harry Potter was actually my first trip into audiobooks when I was really young – on our long drives up north, my parents used to put the CDs (whoa) in and we would listen the whole way up. Jim Dale is, hands down, the best narrator I’ve ever heard. I’m also currently doing a reread via audio of HP this year!

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TWO: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. Narrator: Steve West

I’ve found audiobooks to be super helpful for rereads – I used it for a Throne of Glass reread before Kingdom of Ash came out, and I used it for Strange the Dreamer in preparation for reading Muse of Nightmares (hopefully next month!). I really enjoyed the narrator, and thought Taylor’s writing was just as beautiful when read outlaid. As far as rereads go, I also really enjoyed The Cruel Prince via audiobook.

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THREE: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. Narrator: Jennifer Ehle

I actually used audiobooks for a lot of Cassy Clare books. I was really struggling with The Mortal Instruments series and stopped after 3 books,  so when I picked it back up at the end of last year I used audio. This made it a lot more tolerable. I then used it all the way through for the Infernal Devices series, and really enjoyed it that way!

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FOUR: The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory. Narrator: Janina Edwards

This was SUPER helpful during Contemporary-A-Thon, so I could be reading literally all the time. The Proposal was a fun one because I really felt like Nik was talking to me – the narrator did a great job of conveying a personality.

FIVE: Then She Was Gone: A Novel by Lisa Jewell. Narrator: Helen Duff

I particularly enjoy mysteries via audiobook – it makes it a little more spooky and suspenseful that way! The narrator of this book did a fabulous job getting all of the view points across.

Audiobooks I Want To Try

SIX: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

When I started getting into audiobooks, this is the #1 book that gets recommended to me. It is on my backlist reads list for 2019, so there’s definitely a chance I’ll try out the audio version.

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SEVEN: You by Caroline Kepnes

Again, another audiobook that comes highly recommended. I read this book earlier this year and have yet to watch the netflix show, but I’d still like to give the audiobook a try. Maybe before I read the sequel?

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EIGHT: Furyborn by Claire Legrand

I am planning on diving into Kingsbane next month before it comes out in May, but I’d love to do a reread of Furyborn beforehand – which is where audiobooks are coming in. I will actually be starting this reread tomorrow!

NINE: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

I feel kind of guilty that I haven’t read this series, and my mom is obsessed with it. She is asking me all the time if I’ve read it yet. Audible ran a sale on the first installment a few months ago, and I picked it up for a few books. Historical fiction isn’t always my thing, but I’m hoping I’ll like it more in audio version?

TEN: Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

Another reread I need to do. I have the second book in this series, and I remember liking the first one…but that’s about all I remember.

Have you tried audiobooks? What’d you think? I’d love to hear any and all of your recommendations!

xoxo

Jen

Review: This Adventure Ends

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Title: This Adventure Ends

Author: Emma Mills

Pages: 320

Rating: ★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

Sloane isn’t expecting to fall in with a group of friends when she moves from New York to Florida—especially not a group of friends so intense, so in love, so all-consuming. Yet that’s exactly what happens.

Sloane becomes closest to Vera, a social-media star who lights up any room, and Gabe, Vera’s twin brother and the most serious person Sloane’s ever met. When a beloved painting by the twins’ late mother goes missing, Sloane takes on the responsibility of tracking it down, a journey that takes her across state lines—and ever deeper into the twins’ lives.

Filled with intense and important friendships, a wonderful warts-and-all family, shiveringly good romantic developments, and sharp, witty dialogue, this story is about finding the people you never knew you needed.

Review:

“We should all find something to be weirdly passionate about, don’t you think?”

This was my first book by Emma Mills, and man did I pick a good one to start with. I buddy read this with Amy @ A Court of Crowns and Quills, and I loved every second of it. It was fast paced and jammed full of feelings – my favorite kind of contemporary.

This Adventure Ends is told from Sloane’s perspective, who’s just moved to Florida with her family. Her father, a famous author, is struggling to come up with his next book, and her parents’ marriage is on rocky ground. Sloane is fully prepared to continue her self-imposed loneliness by not getting close to anyone at her new school, and is doing a fine job of it – until she meets Vera and Gabe. Vera is a social media sensation with a vibrant personality, and Gabe is her twin brother who’s just as serious as she is outgoing. Vera and Gabe have family struggles too, and are somehow able to break through Sloane’s tough outer shell. Along with the twins comes a set of friends full of laughter, loyalty, and secret codes who’ve been to hell and back together. As Sloane finds herself pulled further and further into their circle, she starts to question if going it alone is really the best way to go through life.

As a main character, I really loved Sloane. She was raw and real, and her innermost thoughts often mirrored what I imagine my own would be in her situation. She was definitely selfish at times, and lashed out when she was angry at the people who love her most. But honestly, who hasn’t done that? At times I felt like I was seeing myself on these pages. And Sloane also could be thoughtful and loyal and defends people against bullies. She deflects emotions with witty banter. This girl may be one of my favorite contemporary MC’s up until this point.

“Loneliness was a kind of wanting, but it was also this incredible freedom. Not having to rely on anyone or have anyone rely on her. No one to disappoint or be disappointed by. Alone was good and comforting and dependable.”

Hands-down, my all time favorite thing about this book was the friendships. I am such a sucker for found families, and this was such a fantastic one. This group of friends had a lot of history, but still welcomed Sloane with open arms. Individually, they’re all flawed in their own way. But together, they have so much love and loyalty for one another, no matter what they’ve been through in the past. These are the types of friendships that I sincerely hope everyone has the opportunity to find. Despite all the intense things going on at home, these kids always had each other back, helped each other up, and gave each other hope. And if you ask me, we all need a little bit more of that.

“Everyone should have punched-in-the-face-for kinds of friends. Everyone should have…you know. Like the people you call when you need to hide the body.”

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t crazy about the fan-fic aspect of the story, although I did appreciate it for the plot device that it was (not that fan fictions isn’t great, it just isn’t my thing!) The pacing was also a little slow for me starting out, but once I hit the 50% mark I wasn’t able to put the book down. I become so invested in this group of friends, and only wanted the best for them. I especially loved how Emma Mills wrapped up this story – I couldn’t imagine a more beautiful ending to the book.

“Dreams don’t have to be realistic – that’s why they’re dreams. You have to make them happen. Or else they would just be… realties.”

I really enjoyed this read. It was such a beautiful tale of friendship, and tackled such hard topics: dealing with grief and family struggles, first love, first breakups, and hard apologies. Each topic was handled with such grace and so realistically. This was my first book by Emma Mills, but it certainly won’t be my last.

xoxo

Jen

Review: Then She Was Gone

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Title: Then She Was Gone

Author: Lisa Jewell

Pages: 359

Rating: ★★★.5

Goodreads Synopsis:

THEN
She was fifteen, her mother’s golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her. And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone.

NOW
It’s been ten years since Ellie disappeared, but Laurel has never given up hope of finding her daughter.

And then one day a charming and charismatic stranger called Floyd walks into a café and sweeps Laurel off her feet.

Before too long she’s staying the night at this house and being introduced to his nine year old daughter.

Poppy is precocious and pretty – and meeting her completely takes Laurel’s breath away.

Because Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie when she was that age. And now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back.

What happened to Ellie? Where did she go?

Who still has secrets to hide?

Review:

“If she could rewind the timeline, untwist it and roll it back the other way like a ball of wool, she’d see the knots in the yarn, the warning signs. Looking at it backward it was obvious all along.”

Then She Was Gone was the book of the month book I chose to read for March. I hadn’t read anything by Lisa Jewell before, and I was really looking forward to it! It was an easy read and I really did appreciate how things came together. I ended up giving it 3.5 stars.

This book follows Laurel Mack, who’s daughter Ellie disappeared without a trace ten years ago. When her bones are found, it feels like Laurel can finally move on, find some closure, and try to put her family back together. When she meets Floyd in a cafe, it seems almost like fate – especially when she meets his daughter Poppy, who looks just like Ellie. As the two get closer and closer, Laurel has more and more questions. What really happened ten years ago? And who’s still hiding something?

“The blame game could make you lose your mind … all the infinitesimal outcomes, each path breaking up into a million other paths every time you heedlessly chose one, taking you on a journey that you’d never find your way back from.”

This book bounces back in-between points of view – Laurel is the main POV, but you also get some flash backs from Ellie and a few others. I can’t say much more without giving anything away! I love shifting POVs, and I really think these added to the story and helped fill in some gaps. I will say that for me, there was no big WOW moment. It felt pretty predictable, and I was able to guess most of the major twists before they happened. The pacing was great for the first third and last third of the book, and I could barely put the book down! The middle did lag a bit for me, and kind of dragged out a little long, but I really did love how the author wrapped everything up, even if I was hoping for a different ending – it felt like it gave the main characters, and the reader, closure.

“‘Stories,’ she says, ‘are the only thing in this world that are real. Everything else is just a dream.'”

I can’t really go deeper into it without spoiling anything, so you’ll just have to read it for yourself! I loved the characters and the twists and the way the author told the story. I should also mention I listened to this via audiobook, and really enjoyed the narrator! I hope you love it too.

xoxo

Jen

Down the TBR Hole #27

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Down the TBR Hole was created by Lost in a Story. Its purpose is to help narrow down your TBR list on Goodreads by selecting 5 titles each week and deciding if you want to keep it on your TBR or get rid of it! I was inspired by Melanie @ Meltotheany and Amy @ A Court of Crowns and Quills to start this series. If you haven’t checked out any of these lovely blogs, do it NOW!

How it works:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Here’s what’s on the chopping block this week:

ONE: The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

I already have this book sitting on my shelf, and it’s been there for about a year. The synopsis still sounds super intriguing, and I’ve heard really good things about it. I’ll probably get to it eventually.

VERDICT: KEEP

TWO: Grist Mill Road by Christopher J. Yates

Yikes I’m not actually sure when I added this, but the synopsis isn’t really catching my attention and isn’t sounding like something I’d enjoy. Pass.

VERDICT: DELETE

THREE: Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

I see this book EVERYWHERE and I’m surprised I haven’t picked it up yet. I’m sure I will before I see the movie.

VERDICT: KEEP

FOUR: The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

I LOVED An Anonymous Girl by this duo, and I cannot wait to read their prior novel. In fact, it’s already sitting on my bookshelf.

VERDICT: KEEP

FIVE: The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

I loved Big Little Lies, and fully intend on picking up all of this author’s other works. Including this one. Eventually.

VERDICT: KEEP

Oh man. Another week where I only ditched one book. Help me out: are any of these not worth my time? Let me know!

xoxo

Jen

BLOG TOUR: In Another Life

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for In Another Life by C. C. Hunter! Thanks so much to St. Martin’s Press and Wednesday books for asking me to participate.

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Title: In Another Life

Author: C. C. Hunter

Publisher: St Martin’s Press – Wednesday Books

Pages: 352

Release Date: March 26, 2019

My Rating: ★★★.5

Goodreads Synopsis:

Chloe was three years old when she became Chloe Holden, but her adoption didn’t scar her, and she’s had a great life. Now, fourteen years later, her loving parents’ marriage has fallen apart and her mom has moved them to Joyful, Texas. Starting twelfth grade as the new kid at school, everything Chloe loved about her life is gone. And feelings of déjà vu from her early childhood start haunting her.

When Chloe meets Cash Colton she feels drawn to him, as though they’re kindred spirits. Until Cash tells her the real reason he sought her out: Chloe looks exactly like the daughter his foster parents lost years ago, and he’s determined to figure out the truth.

As Chloe and Cash delve deeper into her adoption, the more things don’t add up, and the more strange things start happening. Why is Chloe’s adoption a secret that people would kill for?

Review:

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

“Maybe wounded people are subconsciously drawn to each other.”

That’s how Chloe feels when she meets Cash. Having to start your senior year at a new school is no picnic, but when these two bump into each other – literally – things begin to look up. But things aren’t always what they seem, and when Chloe learns the real reason Cash wanted to get to know her, things start to spiral out of control. Surrounded by mysteries and lies, the only thing Chloe and Cash can depend on is each other as they try to get to the bottom of Chloe’s past.

This was my first book by C.C. Hunter, and I really enjoyed it! I’m always a little apprehensive of YA mysteries, but this one was such a fun, fast-paced read from start to finish. The mystery was intriguing and kept me engaged, and the romance was sweet in a “girl-next-door” meets “bad boy” kind of way. Overall, I gave it 3.5 stars. This book is told in alternating points of view:

Chloe Holden: Chloe was adopted at the age of 3 to two loving parents. But now those parents have gone through a divorce, her mom got cancer, and Chloe’s left to pick up the pieces. With her mom continuing to struggle with depression and her dad moving in with his new girlfriend, Chloe’s relationship with both parents is pretty strained. What with all that and moving to a new school for her senior year, she’s having a pretty tough time of it.

“I wonder if that’s all life really is, just smears of color. A collage of sweeping moments in different shades and hues of emotions. Times when you’re happy, sad, angry, scared, and when you’re just faking it.”

Cash Colton: Cash is a foster kid, and has been living with the Fullers for the past 3 years. Seen as the town’s resident ‘bad boy’, while Cash is a little rough around the edges, he’s got a good heart, despite his harsh childhood. When he meets Chloe, she looks just like the Fullers missing daughter, Emily – who’s been missing since she was 3. Determined to protect the Fullers, Cash sets out to find out if Chloe is running a con…and ends up discovering so much more.

“You get so angry because people judge you, but then you judge yourself harsher than anyone.”

Cash, I loved from the get-go. He’s your typical bad boy with a troubled past who has a heart of gold, and I was all mushy for him from page one. It’s obvious he loves the Fullers but doesn’t feel like he deserves their kindness – but he’s still willing to do whatever it takes to protect them. I also loved the way his relationship blossomed with Chloe – I loved these two together. I feel like they really brought out the best in each other, and I thought it was such a heart-warming and realistic portrayal of experiencing your first love.

Chloe and her parents, I had more issues with. Chloe has been essentially acting as the adult in this family. She was her mother’s sole caretaker throughout her cancer treatments, even while dealing with her father’s infidelity, and her father never really seemed to see why she’d be upset about this. Her mother couldn’t hold back nasty comments about her father in front of Chloe, essentially fueling Chloe’s anger with her own father. So I recognize that Chloe, as a high school senior, is dealing with way too much. BUT. Chloe also annoyed me slightly. I think her attitude towards her mother’s illness and depression is part of what got me. Although in reality, this is probably how a high schooler would actually feel when put in her situation.

“Hands full, chest heavy, I leave my onetime superhero and my broken heart scattered on the sidewalk.”

The way her mother’s depression was portrayed kind of irritated me as well. Chloe was expecting a pill and a walk a day to just magically give her mother back…which in the book, it did. I completely understand Chloe wishing her mother could be the way she was before – after all, Chloe’s the child in this situation, but she doesn’t get to act like it. But there’s no quick fix for depression, and I was a little uncomfortable that it felt like there was one in this situation.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and I read it pretty much in one sitting. The mystery was super captivating and I adored the romance between Cash and Chloe. There’s no big WOW moment, but I felt like the ending wrapped up this story in such a satisfying way, and I honestly loved it. If you like YA mysteries with a sweet romance, this is such an entertaining and quick read, and I will definitely be reading more by Hunter in the future!

[I do also want to add one caveat: I read this in an eARC format, and the formatting was really distracting. There was no break between changes in POV – you would just kind of have to figure out that now Cash was talking instead of Chloe. I tried not to let this effect my overall rating, but no promises. This is why I have become a little apprehensive about electronic ARCS – if the formatting is bad, it definitely effects my reading experience.]

In Another Life is releasing on March 26, 2019.

*Quotes have been taken from an ARC and are subject to change prior to publication.

Review: Five Feet Apart

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Title: Five Feet Apart

Author: Rachel Lippincott with Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis

Pages: 288

Rating: ★★★.5

Goodreads Synopsis:

Can you love someone you can never touch?

Stella Grant likes to be in control—even though her totally out of control lungs have sent her in and out of the hospital most of her life. At this point, what Stella needs to control most is keeping herself away from anyone or anything that might pass along an infection and jeopardize the possibility of a lung transplant. Six feet apart. No exceptions.

The only thing Will Newman wants to be in control of is getting out of this hospital. He couldn’t care less about his treatments, or a fancy new clinical drug trial. Soon, he’ll turn eighteen and then he’ll be able to unplug all these machines and actually go see the world, not just its hospitals.

Will’s exactly what Stella needs to stay away from. If he so much as breathes on Stella she could lose her spot on the transplant list. Either one of them could die. The only way to stay alive is to stay apart. But suddenly six feet doesn’t feel like safety. It feels like punishment.

What if they could steal back just a little bit of the space their broken lungs have stolen from them? Would five feet apart really be so dangerous if it stops their hearts from breaking too?

Review:

“After all CF has stolen from me – from us – I’m stealing something back…three hundred and four point eight millimeters. Twelve whole inches. One fucking foot of space, distance, length. Cystic fibrosis will steal no more from me.”

When I saw this cover, I knew I was going to pick it up eventually. When I saw the movie was coming out, and Cole Sprouse was in it, I knew I was going to pick it up soon. I cracked the spine as soon as I brought it home (a huge rarity) and finished it within 48 hours. This was a fast rollercoaster of a read, but I really enjoyed it. I ended up giving it 3.5 stars.

Five Feet Apart bounces back and forth between two POV’s: Stella and Will. Both high schoolers, both with Cystic Fibrosis. Will has the added component of having B. Cepacia, a bacteria that makes him unable to receive lung transplants. He’s in the hospital participating in a clinical trial – mostly because his mom is making him. Will’s spent his life in hospitals, but he’d rather be out seeing the world trying to actually live his life before it ends. I really liked Will – he’s got that cynical, sarcastic, jackass type of humor that I love. Did he sometimes take things a little too far? Sure. Was he a little self-absorbed most of the time? Definitely. But I liked his narratives the best.

“‘Lighten up, Stella,’ I say, sauntering to the door. ‘It’s just life. It’ll be over before we know it.'”

Stella is Will’s complete opposite, obsessed with to-do lists and completing her CF regimen perfectly. As her parents have recently divorced and are struggling with another tragedy, Stella is just trying to hold them – and her health – together as best she can. But try as she might, it’s impossible to protect everyone around her. And while a lung transplant will give her more time, it won’t save her life.

“When you have CF, you sort of get used to the idea of dying young. No, I’m terrified for my parents. And what will become of them if the worst does happen, now that they don’t have each other.”

If you’ve read any other YA book ever, you can already see where this is going. However, their CF complicates things. Stella and Will – or anyone with CF, actually – are unable to get any closer than 6 feet apart. And while their friendship (and maybe a little more) grows, that rule gets harder and harder to follow.

“For the first time I feel the weight of every single inch, every millimeter of the six feet between us. I pull my sweat shirt closer to my body, looking away at the pile of yoga mats in the corner, trying to ignore the fact that that open space? It will always be there.”

I liked this book a whole lot more than I thought I would. Poe, Stella’s best friend, definitely stole the show for me. Hispanic, gay, and another CF-er, he’s been Stella’s best friend since they were little, and I wish he’d gotten his own POV so much. I just want to put him in my pocket and keep him there, because he is the REAL star of this story.

I can’t really speak to the accuracy of the CF information in this book, but it’s always nice to see rep of any chronic illness. I thought this book did a great job of shining a light on how fatiguing and wearing it can be on both the patient and the family. HOWEVER, know that not every case is created equal – Stella and Will are in very advanced stages of CF, where a lung transplant is the only option. This is not the case for everyone.

There is definite insta-love, which I knew going in, so I handled it a little bit better than I normally do. I did roll my eyes at a few points, and I will say this: girls acting foolish about major, life-changing decisions because of a guy is a HUGE pet peeve of mine…and that unfortunately happened. For the most part though, I really liked these two’s chemistry. I thought they brought out the best in each other, and really showed how intense that first love can feel when you’re in high school.

If you were a fan of The Fault in Our Stars, this book is for you. It’s a quick, easy read and will definitely tug at your heart strings. Be warned, though – keep your kleenex close!

xoxo

Jen