Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Behind Closed Doors

Book: Behind Closed Doors
Author: BA Paris

Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace: he has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You'd like to get to know Grace better. But it's difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love.

Picture this: a dinner party at their perfect home, the conversation and wine flowing. They appear to be in their element while entertaining. And Grace's friends are eager to reciprocate with lunch the following week. Grace wants to go, but knows she never will. Her friends call—so why doesn't Grace ever answer the phone? And how can she cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim?

And why are there bars on one of the bedroom windows?

The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie?-Goodreads

Review: Grace is in her early 30's and extremely close to her younger sister Millie, who has Downs Syndrome. Their parents never wanted children so Grace has also taken on a 'mother' type role for Millie and plans to be her caregiver when Millie turns 18 in a few years and leaves the boarding school she is at. Grace hasn't had much luck dating until she meets Jack. Jack is a handsome, successful attorney who specializes in domestic violence. In fact, he's never lost a case. Jack is a true gentleman who treats Grace wonderfully and seemingly loves Millie too. After a whirlwind courtship and marriage, things take a drastic turn on their honeymoon. 

**mild spoiler**

Still here? Okay, this isn't a huge spoiler since this happens very early on in the book. On their honeymoon, Jack confiscates Grace's passport and explains to her that he is a sadistic sociopath. I'll refrain from saying why he married her exactly, but he has a specific reason. Now, it was odd that he just lays it out on the table. There is no guessing with Jack, we know what he is and why. Grace ignored a lot of red flags up to this point (who quits their job to be a stay at home wife..when you have no children and aren't even married yet?!) and finds herself trapped. While Grace's day-to-day experiences were a tad boring (and the sadistic part of me was waiting for Jack to be more evil than he was), I could not stop turning the pages and see how it would end. 

When I finished this book I thought I would rate it 2 stars (tad boring in the middle, a lot of suspension of disbelief, I was wanting more "evil" from Jack, good ending) but I can't stop thinking about it and what I would have done in that situation. So, rating upgrade! I will definitely read more from this author. Also, I think this would be a really good movie. 

Grade: 3.5/5

The Deal

Book: The Deal
Series: Off-Campus #1
Author: Elle Kennedy

Hannah Wells has finally found someone who turns her on. But while she might be confident in every other area of her life, she's carting around a full set of baggage when it comes to sex and seduction. If she wants to get her crush's attention, she'll have to step out of her comfort zone and make him take notice...even if it means tutoring the annoying, childish, cocky captain of the hockey team in exchange for a pretend date.

All Garrett Graham has ever wanted is to play professional hockey after graduation, but his plummeting GPA is threatening everything he's worked so hard for. If helping a sarcastic brunette make another guy jealous will help him secure his position on the team, he's all for it. But when one unexpected kiss leads to the wildest sex of both their lives, it doesn't take long for Garrett to realize that pretend isn't going to cut it. Now he just has to convince Hannah that the man she wants looks a lot like him.-Goodreads

Review: This is the best 'New Adult' romance I've read to-date. I loved Hannah and Garrett together and my favorite thing about it....it was funny! If you are looking for a quick, fun read, give this a try. I can't wait to read the rest of the series. 

Grade: 4/5

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Book: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Series: Harry Potter #8
Author: JK Rowling

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places. -Goodreads

Review: After hearing so many passionate responses to this (both positive, negative and a few in the middle of the road), I was almost afraid to read it. Would it impact my love of the previous books if I hated it? I decided that I would be fine with it either way and dived in. 

First and foremost, realize that this is a play and not a detailed book. And for a play, it's pretty short, so it's an extremely fast read. It doesn't seem like book #8 in the series..well, because it really isn't. I wasn't very impressed with adult Harry and Ron's primary role seemed to be for comedic relief, but I can see that working on the stage. Hermione was still the same Hermione I loved. Ginny and Harry's son Albus was an interesting character. He was a loner who did not fit in and dreaded his time at Hogwarts. My favorite characters were adult Malfoy and his son. I loved the friendship between Malfoy and Albus. 

Overall, I'm glad I read this. It was a quick, fun read. 

Grade: 3/5

The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas

Book: The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas
Author: Anand Giridharadas

Anand Giridharadas's deeply moving new work of narrative nonfiction tells the story of Raisuddin Bhuiyan, a former Bangladeshi Air Force officer who comes to America with a dream of starting a new life. That dream falters when, after 9/11, a self-declared "American terrorist" named Mark Stroman walks into the Dallas minimart where Bhuiyan works and shoots him in the face, nearly ending his life. Then, a decade after the shooting, in a remarkable act of mercy, Bhuiyan forgives Stroman and wages a legal battle against Governor Rick Perry, in the name of Shariah law and the U.S. Constitution, attempting to spare from execution the man who tried to kill him. The True American is a story about our love-hate relationship with immigrants, about the meeting of Islam and the West, and about whether we choose who we become or let ourselves be hemmed in by history.-Goodreads

Review: 'The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas' was our book club read for November. Rais is a hard working Bangladeshi working in Dallas when he is shot in the face by Mark Stroman. Stroman is quickly arrested and convicted, but the two men lives are intertwined when Rais works with a team of people to help spare Stroman from the death penalty. 

I've read several true crime novels and this was definitely one of the better ones. Like all authors, Giridharadas injects some of his own disdain (he clearly did not care for Stroman's former boss who helped turn him in) but overall, I think he did a very good job presenting Rais and Stroman. Rais is such a hard working, positive individual I was thoroughly impressed by his attitude and spirit (and my heart absolutely broke for him when his engagement fell apart). I particularly liked how he handled Stroman, primarily by introducing him by court records. I also learned a lot of death row and its inmates (there are pen pal programs, who knew?). I think the oddest part of this book was the last third, which weirdly focused on Mark Stroman's children and their struggles. I feel like this was completely unnecessary and didn't fit in with the rest of the book. 

Overall-this was a very good read and sparked a lot of discussion at our book club. The last third should have been edited out, or included as an afterward. 

Grade: 4/5

Letter to a Christian Nation

Book: Letter to a Christian Nation
Author: Sam Harris

In response to The End of Faith, Sam Harris received thousands of letters from Christians excoriating him for not believing in God. Letter to A Christian Nation is his reply. Using rational argument, Harris offers a measured refutation of the beliefs that form the core of fundamentalist Christianity. In the course of his argument, he addresses current topics ranging from intelligent design and stem-cell research to the connections between religion and violence. In Letter to a Christian Nation, Sam Harris boldly challenges the influence that faith has on public life in our nation.-Goodreads

Review: If you are a critic of religion, there is nothing new here. But I like SH's voice and logical response to religious dogma. 

Overall, a quick, short and enjoyable read. 

Grade: 4/5

In a Dark, Dark Wood

Book: In a Dark, Dark Wood
Author: Ruth Ware

In a dark, dark wood

Nora hasn't seen Clare for ten years. Not since Nora walked out of school one day and never went back.

There was a dark, dark house

Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen arrives. Is this a chance for Nora to finally put her past behind her?

And in the dark, dark house there was a dark, dark room

But something goes wrong. Very wrong.

And in the dark, dark room....

Some things can’t stay secret for ever.-Goodreads

Review: I had high hopes for this book. Nora is a 26-year old writer who hasn't spoken to her childhood best friend, Clare, since they were 16. Nor has she spoken to her teenage boyfriend James. When she receives an invitation to Clare's hen (bachelorette) weekend,  she decides to go. Told in alternating timelines, we follow Nora at the hen and Nora after the hen in the hospital, where someone has been killed and she has short-term memory loss. 

This book certainly had me turning the pages. However, I just could not get over the fact that Nora, a 26-year old woman, is still mourning her teenage relationship with James (of course Clare is now engaged to...James). Nora acknowledges that it's ridiculous that she can't get over James but I could not stop rolling my eyes at her (side note: teenage friendships and relationships breaking up and people not getting over them well into their 20s..this seems to be a theme in books recently). Even more ridiculous than Nora, was the killer (who was easy to spot a mile away) whose motivations were also rooted in teenage angst. 

I think this could have been a good book if the events in the past happened in college-that would have make this more believable. 

Overall, not my favorite book but I didn't hate it. I've heard great things about 'The Woman in Cabin 10' and plan to read it. 

Grade: 2/5


Book: RoomHate
Author: Penelope Ward

Sharing a summer house with a hot-as-hell roommate should be a dream come true, right?

Not when it’s Justin…the only person I’d ever loved…who now hates me.

When my grandmother died and left me half of the house on Aquidneck Island, there was a catch: the other half would go to the boy she helped raise.

The same boy who turned into the teenager whose heart I broke years ago.

The same teenager who’s now a man with a hard body and a hardass personality to match.

I hadn’t seen him in years, and now we’re living together because neither one of us is willing to give up the house.

The worst part? He didn’t come alone.

I’d soon realize there’s a thin line between love and hate. I could see through that smug smile. Beneath it all…the boy is still there. So is our connection.

The problem is…now that I can’t have Justin, I’ve never wanted him more.-Goodreads

Review:  Amelia and Justin were childhood best friends until she fled town at age 15. Although she attempted to apologize to Justin a year later, he was not ready to forgive her. Fast forward about 9 years, and they have now inherited her grandmother's house together. Justin still hasn't fully forgiven Amelia, although when it's revealed why she left town...I feel like he should have gotten over it YEARS ago. The tension between the characters was pretty good and I was hoping for a steamy romance..until the big twist (which I didn't see coming) happened about halfway. At that point, this book went from a potentially good romance to a bad Lifetime movie. I found Justin to be very likable while Amelia was rather wooden-a lot of her dialogue didn't seem genuine. 

Overall, it was an okay read. 

Grade: 2/5

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Book: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Series: Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children #1
Author: Ransom Riggs

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.

A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography.-Goodreads

Review: The best thing about this book? The vintage photographs. I found them very creepy and pretty cool. The story itself? I was initially annoyed with Jacob as a character (he epitomizes 'spoiled rich boy') but as the book went on, I found him to be devoid of any personality whatsoever. As for the children's home, I felt like it was a Gothic version of X-Men, with less interesting characters. I didn't find the story creepy or scary. 

Overall-disappointed in this but the photographs are neat. 

Grade: 2/5

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Royally Screwed

Book: Royally Screwed
Series: Royally #1
Author: Emma Chase

Nicholas Arthur Frederick Edward Pembrook, Crowned Prince of Wessco, aka “His Royal Hotness,” is wickedly charming, devastatingly handsome, and unabashedly arrogant―hard not to be when people are constantly bowing down to you.

Then, one snowy night in Manhattan, the prince meets a dark haired beauty who doesn’t bow down. Instead, she throws a pie in his face.

Nicholas wants to find out if she tastes as good as her pie, and this heir apparent is used to getting what he wants.

Dating a prince isn’t what waitress Olivia Hammond ever imagined it would be.
There’s a disapproving queen, a wildly inappropriate spare heir, relentless paparazzi, and brutal public scrutiny. While they’ve traded in horse drawn carriages for Rolls Royces and haven’t chopped anyone’s head off lately―the royals are far from accepting of this commoner.

But to Olivia―Nicholas is worth it.

Nicholas grew up with the whole world watching, and now Marriage Watch is in full force. In the end, Nicholas has to decide who he is and, more importantly, who he wants to be: a King... or the man who gets to love Olivia forever.-Goodreads

Review: Warning, unpopular review!

I love Emma Chase and fully expected to love this Cinderella re-telling (albeit, I was hoping for a sexier, funnier version). What I got was...a predicable love story with boring main characters that failed make me chuckle even once. The book started strong and I loved how Olivia, a 20-something woman busting her tail in her family's coffee shop and Nicholas, a 27-year old prince (or a fake country in the UK) met. He was drunk and rude and she tossed a pie in his face. Unfortunately, there was no cat and mouse with them or sexual tension build up-it was an almost immediate "he's hot/she's hot" let's get it on type of situation. Olivia was also a complete doormat-at one point she hears Nicholas say some extremely crass things about her and she forgives him almost immediately, which was unbelievable. 

Now, the positive. Chase did create some strong side characters. I really liked Olivia's little sister and Nic's younger brother, Prince Henry. The next book in this series is Henry so while I didn't particularly enjoy this, I will be reading the next one and I have high hopes it will be funny. 

*I cannot help mentioning that one of the characters has sisters named Bippity, Boppity and Boo.  While the reason is explained..I just did not find this funny in the least. 

Grade: 2/5

Secret Sins

Book: Secret Sins
Author: CD Reiss

Her name is Cinnamon. Cin for short. Band mates Strat and Indy don’t know anything about her except she’s smart as hell and sexy as heaven. They can’t agree who gets her, so they do the only thing two best friends could do. They declare her off limits to both of them.

Margie, AKA Cinnamon-you-can-call-me-Cin, has a thing or two to tell these guys. Nobody “gets” her. She’ll let them know which one she wants when she can decide between them. Until then, their little pledges and promises aren’t her problem.

Her family is her problem. Her friends. And the world-famous blues rocker who has her cornered. He’s her problem too.

This may be one problem she can’t fix without some help. -Goodreads

Review: If you are a fan of erotic romance and haven't read CD Reiss-please do yourself a favor and try one of her books. Her stories are not just about sex. She has a talent for crafting interesting, multi-dimensional characters and stories. She has been exploring the Drazen family for awhile now (there are 3 complete series for Jonathon, Fiona and Theresa) and this is a stand-alone for the oldest sister, Margie.  

Told in alternating timelines, we follow Margie as a teenager who finds herself involved with best friends and band mates, and present day Margie, a young attorney who reunites with one of the guys. While the 'big reveal' was easy to spot early on, it didn't diminish the read in any way. Margie is a feisty, take-charge personality and I loved everything except the ending. The book ended abruptly with little closure. And as this is a standalone, there isn't going to be more to the story. Boo!

Grade: 4/5

Nefertiti's Heart

Book: Nefertiti's Heart
Series: The Artifact Hunters #1
Author: A.W. Exley

Cara Devon has always suffered curiosity and impetuousness, but tangling with a serial killer might cure that. Permanently.

London, 1861. Impoverished noble Cara has a simple mission after the strange death of her father - sell off his damned collection of priceless artifacts. Her plan goes awry when aristocratic beauties start dying of broken hearts, an eight inch long brass key hammered through their chests. A killer hunts amongst the nobility, searching for a regal beauty and an ancient Egyptian relic rumoured to hold the key to immortality.
Her Majesty's Enforcers are in pursuit of the murderer and they see a connection between the gruesome deaths and Cara. So does she, somewhere in London her father hid Nefertiti's Heart, a fist sized diamond with strange mechanical workings. Adding further complication to her life, notorious crime lord, Viscount Nathaniel Lyons is relentless in his desire to lay his hands on Cara and the priceless artifact. If only she could figure out his motive.

Self-preservation fuels Cara's search for the gem. In a society where everyone wears a mask to hide their true intent, she needs to figure out who to trust, before she makes a fatal mistake. -Goodreads

Review: Interesting story-I was in labor two months ago and decided to start this book (after the epidural had kicked in lol). So, I will remember this book as long as I live! I really liked the heroine, Cara Devon. She has a traumatic backstory and is a sympathetic character. She's also strong, witty and self reliant. I loved the murder mystery surrounding the Egyptian 'Nefertiti's Heart.' There was too much focus on the romance between Cara and Nathaniel (and I couldn't help feeling his pursuit of her was creepy given her background), but otherwise I enjoyed this. I will definitely continue with the series. 

Grade: 3/5

The Faerie War

Book: The Faerie War
Series: Creepy Hollow #3
Author: Rachel Morgan

Violet Fairdale is in big trouble. Her home is gone, her beloved forest lies in ruins, the guy she gave her heart to has deserted her—and she doesn’t remember any of it. The powerful Lord Draven is taking over, brainwashing guardians into fighting for him. No one is safe from the evil spreading throughout the fae world.

As alliances are forged between the remaining free fae, Vi struggles to reclaim her identity and figure out where she belongs in this new world. When someone from her past shows up, life gets even more complicated. He brings with him a long-forgotten weapon and an ancient prophecy that places Vi at the center of the fight against Draven. With the future of the fae world at stake, can Vi carry out the prophecy’s instructions before it’s too late? -Goodreads

Review: Book 1 in this series was good and book 2 was even better. While this book started off very strong, the plot was unable to hold my interest. Violet is a strong, kick ass heroine in the first installments and this time around-she has no memories for the majority of the book. She bonds with new characters who I frankly didn't care much about. And Draven...while it was explained how he became so powerful, I had a hard time believing it. I wish there had been some chapters from his point of view. Once again, I did enjoy the ending with a scene from Ryn's point of view. 

Overall-my least favorite of the series, but I overall enjoyed this world. I will definitely read more from Rachel Morgan. 

Grade: 2/5

The Faerie Prince

Book: The Faerie Prince
Series: Creepy Hollow #2
Author: Rachel Morgan

Guardian trainee Violet Fairdale is just weeks away from one of the most important occasions of her life: graduation. After messing up big time by bringing a human into the fae realm, Vi needs to step up her game and forget about Nate if she hopes to graduate as the top guardian of her year. Everything would be fine if she wasn’t forced to partner with Ryn, her ex-friend, ex-enemy, current ‘sort of friend’. They might be trying to patch up their relationship, but does she really want to spend a week undercover with him for their final assignment? On top of that, the possibly insane Unseelie Prince is still on the loose, free to ‘collect’ as many specially talented faeries as he can find—and Vi is still at the top of his list. Add in faerie queens, enchanted storms, complicated not-just-friends feelings, and a murder within the Guild itself, and graduation is about to become the least of Vi’s problems.-Goodreads
Review: I really enjoyed this one. It was fast paced and I love the dynamic of Violet and Ryn. I also like how the author adds a chapter in at the end that tells a scene from Ryn's point of view. Pure fun!

Grade: 4/5

My Lady Jane

Book: My Lady Jane
Author: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.

At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane is about to become the Queen of England.-Goodreads

Review: If you are looking for a cute and quirky historical tale with a supernatural flare, this book might be for you. Keep in mind that it is not historically accurate but the authors have fun with the narrative. My only disappointment with this is that I didn't laugh or even chuckle when reading it. Overall, cute read. 

Grade: 3/5

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


Book: Tease
Author: Amanda Maciel

Emma Putnam is dead, and it's all Sara Wharton's fault. At least, that's what everyone seems to think. Sara, along with her best friend and three other classmates, has been criminally charged for the bullying and harassment that led to Emma's shocking suicide. Now Sara is the one who's ostracized, already guilty according to her peers, the community, and the media. In the summer before her senior year, in between meetings with lawyers and a court-recommended therapist, Sara is forced to reflect on the events that brought her to this moment—and ultimately consider her own role in an undeniable tragedy. And she'll have to find a way to move forward, even when it feels like her own life is over.-Goodreads

Review:  Bri is the most popular girl in school and Sara is her faithful friend. Bri feels threatened by Emma, the pretty new girl who is hooking up with a lot of different guys, and starts bullying her. Sara quickly joins in on the bullying when Emma goes after her boyfriend. Things spiral out of control and Emma commits suicide. Bri, Sara and a few others are charged for their actions. 

Tease is written in two timelines, both from the POV of Sara. In the older timeframe, she is Bri's dutiful minion with little to no backbone. She willingly does Bri's bidding and it's sad at how she allows herself to get caught up in things. Readers (at least me) are left with a sense that without Bri, she would not have acted in such a malicious manner. In the present timeline, Sara is meeting with her attorneys on her case. Make no mistake-she is not a repentant defendant. If anything, she feels like the victim here. She didn't kill Emma, Emma killed herself. And the bullying? Well, Emma was asking for it after all. And she and Bri were just playing jokes on her, she didn't have to take it so seriously. 

This book's strength is that there are no good and bad characters. Every character (including Bri and Emma) have flaws and reasons for why they behave certain ways. It is difficult to sympathize with our narrator, Sara for most of the book.  I wanted to yell at her repeatedly (make your own decisions! Think about what you are doing!). 

Overall-this was not a pleasurable read per say, but very relevant and thought provoking given the anti-bullying campaigns going on in almost every school across the country. And the sad fact that there are still teens killing themselves over this kind of abuse.  

Grade: 4/5

The Hating Game

Book: The Hating Game
Author: Sally Thorne

Nemesis (n.) 1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.
2) A person’s undoing
3) Joshua Templeman

Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She’s charming and accommodating and prides herself on being loved by everyone at Bexley & Gamin. Everyone except for coldly efficient, impeccably attired, physically intimidating Joshua Templeman. And the feeling is mutual.

Trapped in a shared office together 40 (OK, 50 or 60) hours a week, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, ridiculous never-ending game of one-upmanship. There’s the Staring Game. The Mirror Game. The HR Game. Lucy can’t let Joshua beat her at anything—especially when a huge new promotion goes up for the taking.

If Lucy wins this game, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she suddenly having steamy dreams about Joshua, and dressing for work like she’s got a hot date? After a perfectly innocent elevator ride ends with an earth shattering kiss, Lucy starts to wonder whether she’s got Joshua Templeman all wrong.

Maybe Lucy Hutton doesn’t hate Joshua Templeman. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game. -Goodreads

Review:  Love. Love. LOVE! How much did I love this book? I stayed up late to finish this-which is something you DON'T DO when you have a five-week old infant. This is the story of Lucy and Joshua, executive assistants to co-CEO's of a publishing company. The book is written from Lucy's perspective and she is simply put-very funny. I chuckled throughout the entire book. Yes, it's predictable but it's so much fun. A fantastic debut for Sally Thorne. If you like chick lit or romance, read this. You won't be disappointed. 

Here is an exchange I enjoyed:

“Super. Gonna go get coffee. Can I get you some tea?” He has his heavy black mug in his hand. I hate his mug.

I look down; my hand is already holding my red polka-dot mug. He’d spit in anything he made me. Does he think I’m crazy? “I think I’ll join you.”

We march purposefully toward the kitchen with identical footfalls, left, right, left, right, like prosecutors walking toward the camera in the opening credits of Law & Order. It requires me to almost double my stride. Colleagues break off conversations and look at us with speculative expressions. Joshua and I look at each other and bare our teeth. Time to act civil. Like executives.

Grade: 5/5

Before We Were Strangers

Book: Before We Were Strangers
Author: Renee Carlind

To the Green-eyed Lovebird:

We met fifteen years ago, almost to the day, when I moved my stuff into the NYU dorm room next to yours at Senior House.

You called us fast friends. I like to think it was more.

We lived on nothing but the excitement of finding ourselves through music (you were obsessed with Jeff Buckley), photography (I couldn’t stop taking pictures of you), hanging out in Washington Square Park, and all the weird things we did to make money. I learned more about myself that year than any other.

Yet, somehow, it all fell apart. We lost touch the summer after graduation when I went to South America to work for National Geographic. When I came back, you were gone. A part of me still wonders if I pushed you too hard after the wedding…

I didn’t see you again until a month ago. It was a Wednesday. You were rocking back on your heels, balancing on that thick yellow line that runs along the subway platform, waiting for the F train. I didn’t know it was you until it was too late, and then you were gone. Again. You said my name; I saw it on your lips. I tried to will the train to stop, just so I could say hello.

After seeing you, all of the youthful feelings and memories came flooding back to me, and now I’ve spent the better part of a month wondering what your life is like. I might be totally out of my mind, but would you like to get a drink with me and catch up on the last decade and a half?

M -Goodreads

Review: This book started off GREAT. Matt, a divorced National Geographic photographer in his mid-30s, sees his old college girlfriend (they lost touch years before) on a moving subway train. Unable to find her on social media, he places an ad in a local paper where people try to lost connections.

Told in alternating narratives and timelines, we meet Matt and Grace at NYU while they build a friendship that eventually blossoms into more and Matt and Grace in present time trying to create a new normal with each other as adults. I really enjoyed their college timeline. I felt their relationship was very real and sweet. The book wasn't as interesting in the present day timeframe and while I really liked Grace, I was not a fan of Matt. I really did not like how he responded to Grace's "surprise" and I was waiting for him to call out his ex-wife for her actions...and I was not satisfied with how he addressed that. 

Overall, I liked it. 

Grade: 3/5

It Ends With Us

Book: It Ends With Us
Author: Colleen Hoover

Lily hasn't always had it easy, but that's never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She's come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up - she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily's life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, and maybe even a little arrogant. He's also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily, but Ryle's complete aversion to relationships is disturbing.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan - her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

With this bold and deeply personal novel, Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. It Ends With Us is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.

This book contains graphic scenes and very sensitive subject matter.-Goodreads

Review: This is a difficult book to review. On one hand, it's Colleen Hoover-which means it's a page turner and something you want to finish in one reading session. Her books are rarely straight up romances or love stories, there is some other element that drives an emotional punch. This book was no exception. It deals with an important issue that affects a lot of families and for that, I give her a lot of credit. 

I wish I could join in the other glowing 5 star reviews (seriously, my entire Goodreads feed is 5 star reviews for this book) but while I found it very "readable" and think it brings visibility to an important issue, there was something lacking. I expect to finish a Colleen Hoover book in tears with a book hangover but I finished this and literally picked up another book almost immediately. I never fully bought into the relationship of Lily and Ryle (side note-has anyone heard this name before?). Everything was extremely rushed. They barely saw each other for the first several months of their relationship as she was building her business (she buys a building for a floral business with no business plan outlined..but of course it becomes a huge success) and he's in his final year of surgical residency. Before we know it they are married. The course they take was sad but not surprising. 

The strongest part of this book were the journal entries from Lily, which gives insight into her home life as a teenager and her friendship with Altas (another unique name). I found teenage Lily far more developed as a character than adult Lily. Her homelife was tragic and heartbreaking. 

Overall-not my favorite Hoover book (I love the Hopeless series) but I still liked it. 

Grade: 3/5

The Lost Girls

Book: The Lost Girls
Author: Heather Young

In the summer of 1935, six-year-old Emily Evans vanishes from her family’s vacation home on a remote Minnesota lake. Her disappearance destroys her mother, who spends the rest of her life at the lake house, hoping in vain that her favorite daughter will walk out of the woods. Emily’s two older sisters stay, too, each keeping her own private, decades-long vigil for the lost child.

Sixty years later Lucy, the quiet and watchful middle sister, lives in the lake house alone. Before she dies, she writes the story of that devastating summer in a notebook that she leaves, along with the house, to the only person to whom it might matter: her grandniece, Justine.

For Justine, the lake house offers a chance to escape her manipulative boyfriend and give her daughters the stable home she never had. But it’s not the sanctuary she hoped for. The long Minnesota winter has begun. The house is cold and dilapidated, the frozen lake is silent and forbidding, and her only neighbor is a strange old man who seems to know more than he’s telling about the summer of 1935.

Soon Justine’s troubled oldest daughter becomes obsessed with Emily’s disappearance, her mother arrives with designs on her inheritance, and the man she left behind launches a dangerous plan to get her back. In a house steeped in the sorrows of the women who came before her, Justine must overcome their tragic legacy if she hopes to save herself and her children.-Goodreads

Review: Told in alternating timelines, The Lost Girls follows Justine in present day and Lucy in 1935. Justine is a single mother of two girls who has left her controlling boyfriend and takes her children to her great-aunt's Minnesota lake house, which she recently inherited. In 1935, Lucy (Justine's great aunt) details her summer vacation at the lake house, leading up to Emily's (her 6-year old sister) disappearance. 

I'm normally a huge fan of alternating narratives although when there are two distinct time frames, one is typically more enjoyable than the other. In this case...nothing really worked for me. I didn't care for either narrator and both story lines were extremely boring. I think this was well written and the last third of the book certainly picked up the pace, but it was a slow burn that never sparked. 

Grade: 2/5

Sunday, October 2, 2016


Book: Bossman
Author: Vi Keeland

The first time I met Chase Parker, I didn't exactly make a good impression.

I was hiding in the bathroom hallway of a restaurant, leaving a message for my best friend to save me from my awful date.

He overheard and told me I was a bitch, then proceeded to offer me some dating advice.

So I told him to mind his own damn business―his own tall, gorgeous, full-of-himself damn business―and went back to my miserable date.

When he walked by my table, he smirked, and I watched his arrogant, sexy ass walk back to his date.

I couldn't help but sneak hidden glances at the condescending jerk on the other side of the room. Of course, he caught me on more than one occasion, and winked.

When the gorgeous stranger and his equally hot date suddenly appeared at our table, I thought he was going to rat me out.

But instead, he pretended we knew each other and joined us―telling elaborate, embarrassing stories about our fake childhood.

My date suddenly went from boring to bizarrely exciting.

When it was over and we parted ways, I thought about him more than I would ever admit, even though I knew I'd never see him again.

I mean, what were the chances I'd run into him again in a city with eight million people?Then again...

What were the chances a month later he'd wind up being my new sexy boss?-Goodreads

Review: This was a light, funny, romance that I thoroughly enjoyed. It was my first Vi Keeland book and it won't be my last. I really enjoyed Chase and Reese's relationship-if you are looking for a fun romance, check this one out! 

Grade: 4/5


Book: Stoned
Series: Wrecked #1
Author: Mandi Beck

“A rock star with no rhythm is a man with no soul.” – Stone Lockhart
As the lead singer of one of the hottest bands to hit the rock scene, f*cks are free, drugs come easy, and music is life.
For as long as Stone can remember, Willow has been his music – the notes that weave his soul together. His rhythm.
Until he threw her away.
All he has left is a handful of pills and a few lines of powder to make him forget her. And he tries, over and over.
Clean and ready to make things right, he’s faced with the fact that Willow’s moved on. She’s not the same girl he cast aside. Willow’s a woman sure about her purpose in life. Sure about who she’s meant to love.
Stone may be lost without his rhythm, but Willow has found so much more. -Goodreads

Review: This was a free download and I had low expectations. I'm happy to say that I enjoyed this one! Stoned is about Stone Lockhart, a successful and famous musician and his long-time girlfriend, Willow. Together since high school, Willow has stayed by his side despite his downward spiral into drugs and constant cheating. When the book starts, she has finally reached her breaking point and leaves while Stone is in the middle of a tour. When he's done touring, he needs to get his life straight and try to win her back. 

Yes, Willow was a doormat for years so it's hard to think of her as a 'victim' in their whole relationship. But I liked how she tried to move forward with her life and even though there was extremely cheesy language, I thought this was a good romance. I wish there was more 'sexiness' but I will definitely read the next in the series. 

Grade: 3/5

Empire of Storms

Book: Empire of Storms
Series: Throne of Glass #5
Author: Sarah J. Maas

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don't.

As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Aelin's journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?-Goodreads

Review:  I have mixed thoughts on this book but I overall enjoyed it. Oddly enough, my least favorite character is our heroine, Aelin. She continues to be an obnoxious know-it-all who keeps almost everything secret from her 'trusted court.' While her interaction with Darrow did not go as she planned, I actually found myself agreeing with several of the things he was saying (as a side note-I'm still wondering where her military and strategic knowledge has materialized from). I like Rowan and don't mind them together, but too much of the book was spent on their love for each other and I found myself rolling my eyes and skimming these sections. Several of the 'big reveals' about their relationship seemed like de ja vu from A Court of Mist and Fury. 

The MVP's of this book were Lysandra and Manon. Lysandra was simply awesome in this book and I cannot wait to see what happens in the next installment. Manon's story in the first 2/3 of this book was so good I felt like I was strictly reading just so I could get to her sections. Unfortunately, her storyline stalled when she met up with Aelin and too much time was spent on the ridiculous "relationship" with Dorian. Listen, I love romance as much as the next person, but every character does not need to be paired up. Or at least if you are going to pair them up, create some angst. 

Overall-loved Lysandra and Manon, excited for the final book next year. 

Grade: 3/5

Magic Binds

Book: Magic Binds
Series: Kate Daniels #9
Author: Ilona Andrews

Kate and the former Beast Lord Curran Lennart are finally making their relationship official. But there are some steep obstacles standing in the way of their walk to the altar…

Kate’s father, Roland, has kidnapped the demigod Saiman and is slowly bleeding him dry in his never-ending bid for power. A Witch Oracle has predicted that if Kate marries the man she loves, Atlanta will burn and she will lose him forever. And the only person Kate can ask for help is long dead.

The odds are impossible. The future is grim. But Kate Daniels has never been one to play by the rules…-Goodreads

Review: I don't know how the writing duo that is Ilona Andrews continues to do it-but Magic Binds is another winner in the amazing Kate Daniels series. Seriously people-if you are a fan of urban fantasy, please check out this series. Kate is smart, loyal, funny and all-around awesome. I love her relationship with Curran, Julie and the whole crew. While I love Kate and Curran, my favorite scenes were without question those with her father Roland (filled with magical tension and a dash humor) and Roman. Roman is my favorite secondary character in this series and I remember asking the authors (at a book signing a few years ago) if he would get his own book. While this isn't his own book, I loved every scene with him. Christopher also had some great character development in this installment. I only wish there had been more detail in the final scene with Kate and Roland. Overall, great read!

Grade: 5/5

The Rejected Writers' Book Club

Book: The Rejected Writers' Book Club
Series: Southlea Bay #1
Author: Suzanne Kelman

Librarian Janet Johnson is puzzled when she is invited—and practically dragged—to her first meeting of the Rejected Writers’ Book Club. This quirky group of women would much rather celebrate one another’s rejected manuscripts over cups of tea and slices of lemon cake than actually pueblish a book. But good friends are exactly what Janet needs after moving to the small town of Southlea Bay, Washington. Just as the ladies are about to raise a teacup to their five hundredth rejection letter, they receive bad news that could destroy one member’s reputation—and disband the group forever. To save the club, Janet joins her fellow writers on a wild road trip to San Francisco in search of the local publisher who holds the key to a long-buried secret. As they race to the finish line, they’ll face their fears—landslides, haunted houses, handsome strangers, ungrateful children—and have the time of their lives.-Goodreads

Review: 'The Rejected Writers' Book Club' is an extremely "cutesy" book about a bunch of women who band together over their failed attempts at being published. When the Doris, the leader of the group, receives a letter that she will be published, she's devastated that the group will have to be disbanded. She's also concerned that sensitive information is in the manuscript that could ruin someone's reputation. Enter Janet, the local librarian, who Doris deems a 'book person.' Janet allows Doris to talk to her into a road trip to San Francisco to retrieve the manuscript. 

I found the entire premise of this book to be ridiculous. I understand women banding together over failure. I have a hard time understanding their devastation when one of them actually has success. Janet was a total doormat and allowed Doris to walk all over her. Janet's relationship with her daughter was very odd, the raccoon situation dragged on way too long and I  didn't care to hear about the soap opera. I will say that there were a few funny moments on the road trip. 

Overall-I didn't hate this book, it is extremely "cutesy" and might appeal to an older demographic. 

Grade: 2/5

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape

Book: Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape
Author: Peggy Orenstein

With casual hookups and campus rape relentlessly in the news, parents can be forgiven for feeling anxious about their young daughters. They’re also fearful about opening up a dialog. Not Orenstein. A contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine and the New York Times best-selling author of books like Cinderella Ate My Daughter, Orenstein spoke to psychologists, academics, and other experts in the field and yes, 70 young women, to offer an in-depth picture of “girls and sex” today.-Goodreads

Review: This was a book club read from a few months ago that I finally got to and I really wish I had been able to read it sooner and attend the meeting, because this is a good book to spark conversation. I went to middle school and high school in upstate NY in the mid-90s. I've never thought of my hometown as particularly liberal by any stretch, but we did had sex education starting in 6th grade and it went through high school. I'm not sure what is taught now, but I understood how my body worked, what sex was, std's, etc. From the girls interviewed in this book, I was shocked at their lack of sex education. I would say my primary takeaways were:
*there is a major lack of sex education in school and rarely open dialogue at home
*teens are going online to learn about their bodies and sex, which apparently means watching a lot of porn
*girls are giving a lot of blow jobs while they are rarely on the receiving of oral play
*the definition of 'sex' and 'virgin' are not clear
*girls have been so ingrained to be 'people pleasers' many partake in activities they aren't even interested in to make guys happy

I have an eight year old daughter and another one on the way (due today and late...arg) so this book definitely made me think about our communication and how to handle certain situations when they are teenagers. I also have spoken to several friends after reading this to discuss what kind of education they received and their experiences. We've had some interesting discussions to say the least. 

Now, a two major things that bothered me about this book were the lack of references. Yes, there is a huge list at the end but it would have been nice if studies were footnoted when statistics were thrown out there. Next, in several cases Orenstein often seemed to take one person's story and use that to generalize a whole topic with a broad stroke. I also wish she had focused more on the consent chapter. 

 Overall-an interesting yet alarming book. Parents of teens should def read it. 

Grade: 3.5/5

Lilac Girls

Book: Lilac Girls
Author: Martha Hall Kelly

New York socialite Caroline Ferriday has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new love on the horizon. But Caroline’s world is forever changed when Hitler’s army invades Poland in September 1939—and then sets its sights on France.

An ocean away from Caroline, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager, senses her carefree youth disappearing as she is drawn deeper into her role as courier for the underground resistance movement. In a tense atmosphere of watchful eyes and suspecting neighbors, one false move can have dire consequences.

For the ambitious young German doctor, Herta Oberheuser, an ad for a government medical position seems her ticket out of a desolate life. Once hired, though, she finds herself trapped in a male-dominated realm of Nazi secrets and power.

The lives of these three women are set on a collision course when the unthinkable happens and Kasia is sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious Nazi concentration camp for women. Their stories cross continents—from New York to Paris, Germany, and Poland—as Caroline and Kasia strive to bring justice to those whom history has forgotten. -Goodreads

Review: Lilac Girls is a WWII historical fiction novel which follows three women: Caroline Ferriday, a retired actress and NY socialite who does a lot of work for French orphans, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teen working with the resistance movement and Herta Oberheuser, the only female Nazi medical doctor. Kasia eventually finds herself imprisoned at Ravensbruck where she becomes a 'rabbit.' Rabbits were subjected to horrifying surgeries in the name of medical research, while Herta was one of the doctors within the camp. 

I read another book that incorporated the abject horror of what the rabbits were subjected to and it was no less horrifying here. While I found all of the narratives interesting and the book well written, I felt no emotional connection to any of the characters (there were no tears shed). Upon finishing the book, I read the author's note and was shocked to find out that Caroline Ferriday and Herta Oberheuser were real people. And the character of Kasia was based off of a real rabbit, Nina Ivanska. This lead me to pull up articles on the actual people and read up on them. 

Overall-this was a well written, interesting and horrifying read yet I lacked a connection to the characters. 

Grade: 3/5

The Knife of Never Letting Go

Book: The Knife of Never Letting Go
Series: Chaos Walking #1
Author: Patrick Ness

Prentisstown isn't like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee -- whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not -- stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden -- a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.-Goodreads

Review: I absolutely loved A Monster Calls (loved loved loved, cannot recommend that book enough) so I was really expecting to love this. The world itself is interesting here-humans have gone to a new planet and find that the men can hear each other's thoughts (this includes animals as well). Clearly, this makes life difficult. The main protagonist is Todd, the youngest boy in town who is a month away from being 'a man.' His life changes quickly when he finds himself on the run with his loyal dog and a young girl. 

This book is narrated from Todd's point of view and written without proper punctuation or spelling. It was incredibly annoying at first but I did get used to it. While I like the 'idea' of this book, the execution didn't work for me. The villains were one dimensional and so over-the top ridiculously evil (for example, Brother Aaron). There was no nuance and the 'reasoning' for their behavior was frankly stupid. The 'big reveal' about Prentisstown was clear very early on in the story. This book was also so repetitive, I feel like at least 100+ pages could have been edited out. 

Overall-I didn't enjoy this read but I did enjoy Manchee the dog, which earns this 1 extra star. 

Grade: 2/5

Three Wishes

Book: Three Wishes
Author: Liane Moriarty

Lyn, Cat, and Gemma Kettle, beautiful thirty-three-year-old triplets, seem to attract attention everywhere they go. Together, laughter, drama, and mayhem seem to follow them. But apart, each is dealing with her own share of ups and downs. Lyn has organized her life into one big checklist, Cat has just learned a startling secret about her marriage, and Gemma, who bolts every time a relationship hits the six-month mark, holds out hope for lasting love. In this wise, witty, and hilarious novel, we follow the Kettle sisters through their tumultuous thirty-third year as they deal with sibling rivalry and secrets, revelations and relationships, unfaithful husbands and unthinkable decisions, and the fabulous, frustrating life of forever being part of a trio.-Goodreads

Review: Similar to Big Little Lies, Three Wishes opens with a 'scene' and then goes back in time working toward the event. Unlike BLL, the event here wasn't as shocking as a murder. It was a set of triplets fighting at a birthday celebration. The book basically follows a set of triplets as they navigate family, friendship and life. Moriarty is a skilled writer and definitely kept me engaged and interested in the story. While I was interested in the triplets, I couldn't help feeling like that plot itself was a little thin. 

Overall-this was a fun read and would be perfect for the beach or vacation. 

Grade: 3/5

The Sword of Summer

Book: The Sword of Summer
Series: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1
Author: Rick Riodan

Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.

One day, he’s tracked down by a man he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.

The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.

When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision.

Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . -Goodreads

Review:  I'm sorry friends-this is another book that everyone loved and I didn't. For a book about Viking myths, goods and epic adventures I found this to be incredibly boring. I actually considered not finishing it, but pushed through and finally did after a month. A month! For a middle grade book which I should have finished in a night or two. 

Not my cup of tea but many readers will probably love it. Be warned though-Magnus Chase and Percy Jackson could almost be the same person. 

Grade: 2/5

Broken Prince

Book: Broken Prince

Series: The Royals #2
Author: Erin Watt

These Royals will ruin you…

From wharf fights and school brawls to crumbling lives inside glittery mansions, one guy tries to save himself.

Reed Royal has it all—looks, status, money. The girls at his elite prep school line up to date him, the guys want to be him, but Reed never gave a damn about anyone but his family until Ella Harper walked into his life.

What started off as burning resentment and the need to make his father’s new ward suffer turned into something else entirely—keep Ella close. Keep Ella safe. But when one foolish mistake drives her out of Reed’s arms and brings chaos to the Royal household, Reed’s entire world begins to fall apart around him.

Ella doesn’t want him anymore. She says they’ll only destroy each other.

She might be right.

Secrets. Betrayal. Enemies. It’s like nothing Reed has ever dealt with before, and if he’s going to win back his princess, he’ll need to prove himself Royally worthy.-Goodreads

Review: You may be thinking-if you didn't love the first book, why did you read the next one? Well, I happened to buy them together so I felt like I had to read it. I also rarely ever buy books (I get 99% of them from the library) so I wanted my $$ worth (glutton for punishment). This book started right up where the last one ended. We do get some of Reed's perspective which made him a tad more sympathetic, but ultimately a lot of this book was also filled with teenage angst and high school shenanigans. It was a very fast read and once again a page turner, but I just can't muster my emotion toward any of the characters or plot lines. 

Grade: 2/5

Paper Princess

Book: Paper Princess
Series: The Royals #1
Author: Erin Watt

From strip clubs and truck stops to southern coast mansions and prep schools, one girl tries to stay true to herself.

These Royals will ruin you…

Ella Harper is a survivor—a pragmatic optimist. She’s spent her whole life moving from town to town with her flighty mother, struggling to make ends meet and believing that someday she’ll climb out of the gutter. After her mother’s death, Ella is truly alone.

Until Callum Royal appears, plucking Ella out of poverty and tossing her into his posh mansion among his five sons who all hate her. Each Royal boy is more magnetic than the last, but none as captivating as Reed Royal, the boy who is determined to send her back to the slums she came from.

Reed doesn’t want her. He says she doesn’t belong with the Royals.

He might be right.

Wealth. Excess. Deception. It’s like nothing Ella has ever experienced, and if she’s going to survive her time in the Royal palace, she’ll need to learn to issue her own Royal decrees.-Goodreads

Review:  Okay, let me first apologize to all my Goodreads friends because I've read a lot of books that people rated highly in the last month and I don't think I loved any of them. It may be because I'm 9-months pregnant, tired and constantly sick-and thus find myself way more picky than usual. 

So-here we go. First things first-even though the main characters are high school students, this book is new adult, not young adult. I would not recommend this for young teens or tweens. Ella Harper is high school student secretly working as a stripper to make ends meet and wait for it....of course she is sexually inexperienced and a virgin. A man shows up one day telling her he's her legal guardian and she finds herself living in his mansion with his asshole sons who treat her like dirt. Not surprisingly, she falls for one of these assholes. I found her feelings and reactions to him actually very true and 'real.' The asshole in question, Reed, did absolutely nothing for me. I just could not get behind them as a couple. I'll refrain from spoilers, but there was a scene between the two of them, after something happened at a party, that didn't sit well with me. This book also had a lot of teenage drama at school with stereotypical mean kids and I just had to skim those parts, I just didn't find it believable that the queen bee at the school would feel threatened by Ella. 

Now-all that being said, this book is very 'readable' and sucks you in. It's a page turner. 

Grade: 2/5