Book Review | One Day in December by Josie Silver

One Day in December. By Josie Silverman. Broadway Books, 2018. 416 pages. $8.99 (Adult).

Buy it here.

This book was, what I’m going to call, a blind book. What I mean is, I went into this one, with no idea about the plot whatsoever. All I knew is it was a romance novel.

Apparently, I’ve decided to kick the year off with romance novels – don’t ask me why cause I don’t know!!! Regardless, I saw that this was a Book of the Month pick in 2018 and I added it to my TBR (because I’ve yet to be truly disappointed by a BoTM selection). Anyway, the point is, I added this to my TBR because of BoTM.

One day, I was browsing Libby to see if there were any books I would be interested in borrowing for downtime at work. Bam! This was at the top of my available books. So I borrowed it.

I was not prepared.

Laurie encounters the love of her life at a bus stop. But… she doesn’t even know his name. She memorizes his face and recounts his looks to her best friend, Sarah. So begins Lu and Sarah’s quest to find the man they’ve dubbed “bus boy”. The duo spends a literal year looking for this man. Sarah claims she has heard enough about bus boy that she’d be able to find him without Lu’s help. How wrong she is.

Thus begins the nearly decade long journey of Lu realizing and then finding her true love over and over again. It’s a roller coaster of emotional turmoil of the best sort. Is it a little soap-y? Totally. But I. Was. Here. For. It.

The entire time I was reading this book, I was laughing and crying and totally enjoying myself. That’s the mark of a good romance novel, in my opinion.

Here’s the thing though. I love a good smutty book. This was not that. It was totally cutesy and adorable and just quintessentially British. I couldn’t help but feel charmed while reading this. Overall a totally enjoyable read and I would recommend it to anyone doubting that home is not a place; it’s a person.

Book Review | On a Tuesday by Whitney G

On a Tuesday. By Whitney G. WGW Books, LLC, 2017. 228 pages. $2.99 (Ages 18+).

Buy it here.

            What if the best and worst of everything in your life happened on one specific day of the week? For Grayson and Charlotte, that’s exactly how Tuesdays are. Anything and everything happens to the pair on a Tuesday – aptly titling the novel.

            Grayson Connors is the college football player. Likely to be the NFL’s number one draft pick after his graduation from Pitt, everything is looking great for him. There’s just one thing… he doesn’t date. Charlotte Taylor is the perfect student. Set up to go either to art or law school upon her graduation from Pitt, she’s just two courses shy of graduating on time. The only way to make up for her missing credits is to take on a tutoring gig. Her problem comes in the form of one soon-to-be NFL star.

            This love story is really fast paced. Altering between past and present day, we get a glimpse into how quickly Charlotte and Grayson fall in love and just how quickly the tides can turn. Considered a second chance romance, Charlotte and Grayson’s love story definitely had my attention from the beginning.

            While this is not my first Whitney G romance novel I have to say, it was MUCH tamer than I remember her other novels being. This one is a slow build and doesn’t have naughty scenes ever other page like a lot of Kindle books. While I found Grayson to be an egotistical ass most of the time, he grew on me. Charlotte did not really stand out to me much – I actually find that, as I reflect on these characters, that their personalities are more present that what I can remember of their looks. I actually think I can appreciate this more than if I only remembered how they looked…

            What I personally found the most fascinating about this book is the concept of everything happening on one day of the week. I mean, even the main event of this book (a random seven year college reunion) happen on a freakin’ Tuesday. I get that this is a simple reason to be interested in a book, but it’s what kept pushing me through.

            Ultimately, the twist about why the relationship fell apart was pretty surprising to me. In hindsight, it shouldn’t have been… but it was and I was thrilled to be wrong!  Overall, this book kept me on my toes and consumed my thoughts.

Book Review | Shortcake by Lucy Watson

Shortcake. By Lucy Watson. Lucy Watson Books, 2019. 413 pages. $2.99 (Ages 18+).

Buy it here.

Benjamin Crawford and Emelia Anderson are polar opposites. At least, that’s what the author would have readers believing. Turns out, they’re not as different as one might think. They have at least one thing in common – mutual dislike for the other. But is that all?

Love it or hate it, the enemies to lovers trope is here to stay. Shortcake
brings a breath of fresh air to this moderately overdone trope with laugh
out loud funny moments to help counter the heavy dramatics that generally run rampant in romance novels. It’s refreshing to experience a romance novel that isn’t just wild sex every five pages.

Ben and Emmy’s whirlwind romances is kicked into action when Ben’s Grammy Rose passes away – leaving both Ben and Emmy as sole proprietors to her estate. In order to “earn” their inheritance, Ben and Emmy must follow a weirdly specific set of instructions. This, in my opinion, is a really fun way to set up and build upon the romance. The will, and these oddly specific instructions, are what help drive the story… aside from the two main’s mutual hatred of one another.

A serious slow build romance that will keep you on your toes. Toxic
masculinity? Yes. Inordinately hot men? Also yes. Potential for spinoff
romances? Obviously.

A Change | Revamping my Book Reviews

I never thought I’d say this… I’m changing the way I review books.

I am now halfway done with my Master of Library and Information Science and I have a course where I practiced writing librarian reviews in said course. Because of this course, I am revamping the way I write reviews on my blog because I want to get as much practice as I can.

So, the change in question is going to be focused on this blog. Here, you will find my librarian reviews – to get spoiler-y and more in-depth reviews, you’re going to have to head to my YouTube and Goodreads.

Another change?

My librarian reviews are not going to have ratings. Again, to get my rating, you’ll have to check YouTube or Goodreads.

The intent of revamping my blog reviews is to practice. I don’t intend to become a librarian upon completion of my education because I have other career goals in place at this moment in time. But, I still want to keep practicing in case that ever changes… I’m only 29 after all.

Overall, the biggest change is the taking away of ratings on here. I really think that including a short review on here is going to help me achieve my goal of reviewing every book I read. I also really like the idea of having non-biased reviews listed here. (Don’t worry, I’ll leave links to where you can find those in-depth reviews on each post!)

I’m really excited to start sharing these reviews with you all – but I’m not starting until 2020.

Book Review | Night World by LJ Smith

Never have I ever read an LJ Smith novel before… until now. 

Look, I love a good paranormal romance (thanks Twilight) so I don’t know how LJ Smith’s work flew under my radar for so long. Like, I don’t even know how long she’s been writing books, but she’s published at least 20 that I know of. Basically, it’s all thanks to my friend, Becky, that I bought this author’s work. Becky’s the one who turned me on to The Vampire Diaries (television series) hence forcing me to want to read the books to see if they’re any good. 

Wow. Rambling aside… Night World Book One (i.e. Secret Vampire) ended up on my TBR for September by chance. (I decided to randomize my TBR again, for fun). I picked this one up first because my idea was to front load my month with YA so I can read all of the adult books after my classes end. 

This was a doozy. 

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

The diagnosis for Poppy was death. there was no hope–until James, her best friend and secret love, appeared in the hospital. But this was a James she didn’t know. He offered Poppy eternal life. Only he could open the door to the Night World. They’re soulmates–but can she follow him into death and beyond?

Character Development

It’s a yikes for this one, guys. Honestly, the only fully developed character here is Poppy (one of the main characters). I can’t even pretend like James (the other main)  is also fully developed because I don’t feel like there’s enough we learn about him in this short novel. What we learn about James is he knows how to turn people into vampires because he accidentally almost turned someone when he was a child. He can stop aging whenever he wants because he’s a born vampire. He doesn’t have a good relationship with his parents, and he hates his cousin, Ash.

Poppy is more developed in that we get to see into her life before she turns. We know more about her by design. Actually, now that I think of it, I’m not sure if I can consider Poppy fully developed because we don’t actually get to see much of her backstory – just that she and James have been besties since they were five and now she has cancer. 

The side characters almost didn’t even have a need to be in the story. For instance, Phillip (Poppy’s twin brother) was basically only there to help either stop Poppy’s transformation or help move it forward. The part in the story where he threatens to kick James’ ass is laughable. I honestly didn’t see a point for this, or any, side characters. 

Even Ash as a side character was only there to cause chaos. Which brings me to my next point. 

The Plot

Poppy gets a terminal cancer diagnosis and the only way to save her is to turn her. Ok, I’m on board, but that’s a little boring. 

Ok, how about we turn her, but it’s illegal. Even better.

But wait? Who’s going to KNOW it’s illegal? 

Better add in a character to stir the pot. 

This is basically the plot of the novel. It doesn’t reach a boiling point until page 193. How? In this sense, this book was a shorter, less interesting Twilight. I mean, wow. 

The plot of this book had me rolling my eyes so hard I thought they’d get stuck. 

General Thoughts

Would I read more of this series? Probably.

Does this fall into a specific category of book? Yep. Love to Hate. Cringe. Eye Roll worthy. To name a few.

Overall, I can totally see this being a book that a younger version of myself would love. It was easy to get through, cringey, and laugh out loud worthy as an adult. Smith’s writing took only a few chapters for me to get used to and ultimately, I found it enjoyable. 

While I would describe this as eye roll worthy and cringey, I don’t think these are bad traits in books. In fact, these factors almost make the books more enjoyable for me as an adult YA reader. It’s literally why I bought the entire Twilight series as an adult. Books like this are fun to read and talk about. Besides, I want to be a YA librarian, so there’s that…

Rating: 🌟🌟💫

I didn’t hate this, but I also didn’t love it. The plot really was a bit too boring for me to give this a higher rating. I did like Poppy and James though so I guess that’s the saving grace of this book. I’d say someone who’s around 13 would probably really love this book, but it definitely wasn’t for almost 30 year old me. 

Let’s chat! 

Let’s talk about paranormal romance in the comments! Love it? Hate it? You tell me. Don’t forget to let me know why! 

Book Review | Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner

August was a month of firsts.

I created my first ever randomly generated TBR and I read my first piece of crime fiction.

This isn’t the first crime fiction book I’ve read, but that’s because this is a second book in a series. So obviously, I had to read the first book, well, first. I read Missing, Presumed before reaching for this, but I’ll just say this: you don’t need to do this. It helps to understand who Manon’s son is, but you don’t necessarily need to read Missing, Presumed before this.

On to the review!

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

The sequel to Susie Steiner’s bestselling MISSING, PRESUMED

Manon has settled back into life in Cambridgeshire with her adopted son Fly. She’s perfectly happy working on cold cases until a man is stabbed to death just yards from the police station, and both the victim and the prime suspect turn out to be much closer to home than she would like. How well does Manon know her loved ones, and are they capable of murder?

The Writing

I really like Steiner’s writing. It’s engaging and enjoyable. I think she drives her plot with her characters. I don’t need descriptions when it comes to her characters because their personalities really shine through her writing.

For example, the only description of Manon I can remember is she’s not petite. But I don’t need to know that to know Manon is a no-nonsense, take no shit, straight-laced detective. She’s hard and that really shines through how Steiner writes.

This is probably one of the most enjoyable elements of this novel, in my opinion.

The Plot

Okay, the plot for this one was SO MUCH MORE INTERESTING than in Missing, Presumed. I mean, we have one of Manon’s loved ones accused of murdering a man in a park near their house? Obviously, I’m intrigued!

One thing that was hard for me is the mystery element though. I’m so used to reading mystery/thrillers that it was a bit shocking to get so much information up front from side characters. It was interesting to read about the police force trying to solve this murder, but at the same time it was irritating to KNOW who was behind the crime.

However, there was a plot twist toward the end that shook me, so I’m overall pleased with this.

The Characters

I didn’t really like Manon in Missing, Presumed – she just seem too brusque for me to enjoy her character. That changed with this one. I think her being pregnant throughout this novel made her much more likable and human.

Side characters in this were super important as you get a lot of information through these characters – particularly Birdie. But my favorite is, and probably always will be, Davy Walker.

Davy was under Manon on the Hind investigation in Missing, Presumed, but in Persons Unknown he is taking the lead. I loved seeing the growth of his character over the course of this book. I hope he makes an appearance in the next installment!

Fly, Ellie, Solly, Harriet, Bryony, Gary, Mark – they’re all important for telling this story, but I especially loved the snippets of the story from Birdie and Angel’s points of view.

Overall Thoughts

I can honestly say I enjoyed this one much more than the first one. The writing improved, the plot was more interesting, and the character growth was incredible.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟💫

I’d recommend it. It was enjoyable, just wasn’t able to read huge chunks at a time!

Let’s chat!

Do you have a favorite crime fiction novelist? Share in the comments!

Book Review | Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines

I’ve never read an Abbi Glines novel before now.

In fact, I’ll be quite honest, I’d never even heard of Abbi Glines before I purchased this novel. I saw it, figured it would fulfill my Friday Night Lights needs, and we’d call it a day.

Nope.

I was roped into something and I see no means of escape.

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

To everyone who knows him, West Ashby has always been that guy: the cocky, popular, way-too-handsome-for-his-own-good football god who led Lawton High to the state championships. But while West may be Big Man on Campus on the outside, on the inside he’s battling the grief that comes with watching his father slowly die of cancer.

Two years ago, Maggie Carleton’s life fell apart when her father murdered her mother. And after she told the police what happened, she stopped speaking and hasn’t spoken since. Even the move to Lawton, Alabama, couldn’t draw Maggie back out. So she stayed quiet, keeping her sorrow and her fractured heart hidden away.

As West’s pain becomes too much to handle, he knows he needs to talk to someone about his father—so in the dark shadows of a post-game party, he opens up to the one girl who he knows won’t tell anyone else.

West expected that talking about his dad would bring some relief, or at least a flood of emotions he couldn’t control. But he never expected the quiet new girl to reply, to reveal a pain even deeper than his own—or for them to form a connection so strong that he couldn’t ever let her go…

Let’s start with the issues (Spoilers Ahead!!)

Okay, straight out the gates, West is NOT like my man Big Tim Riggins (i.e. RIGGO!) as far as I can tell. Honestly, I couldn’t tell you what West looks like. He’s, in my mind, a nondescript white boy. Taylor Kitsch could not play him in the straight to TV movie adaptation of this novel. HOWEVER, where Glines lacked in writing a character description, she certainly made up for it in character traits. West is an arrogant, sad boy. He’s really going through it in this novel and, to be frank, I’m not surprised with his measures of lashing out.

Where Glines lacked in character description for West, she made up for it in her development of our other protagonist. I can vividly picture Maggie in my mind. I actually liked her character a lot, which I found surprising. She’s strong and sweet and has been through hell and back, but still survived. I admire that in characters.

Here’s my biggest issue with this book. It’s kinda… instalovey.

I mean, West basically shoves his tongue down Maggie’s throat on their first encounter and, her being mute for the first quarter of the book, she doesn’t stop him. But from her perspective, she doesn’t want to. I get attraction, but this girl literally makes no move to consent – no gesture that she’s okay with their first (her VERY first) kiss whatsoever. I think this sends the wrong message to young readers – the target audience for this book.

On top of this, I cannot condone the first sex scene either. It’s not that I didn’t find it believable; again, I just don’t like the message it sends young girls. For me, it felt like Maggie and West hooking up in his truck was made okay by the fact that he was hurting. However, I will give this much to Glines; in this scene, Maggie actually does give her consent so I can’t hate too much.

So what did I like?

It was not a difficult read. Much like Colleen Hoover’s writing, I found this novel to be un-putdownable. I mean, I did put it down to like, fold laundry and stuff, but it was so interesting. I was invested in the characters and the plot. I liked it enough to stay up late on a Sunday night, KNOWING FULL WELL that Mondays are my nemesis to finish the book.

I also enjoyed the dual POV writing. I don’t normally go for this, but Glines made characters likable enough for me to feel invested in all parties. I wanted to know Maggie’s thoughts as much as I wanted to know what West was thinking. This was a pleasant surprise to me.

I also really liked the plot. It was refreshing to see tragedy dealt with in the manner in which Glines chose. I liked the fresh outtake on having a mute main character. While Tiffany Jackson’s Allegedly discusses the main character being mute, Glines actually shows us the awkwardness of a mute main character. That’s why I consider it fresh. Sure we get her thoughts, but before she actually starts speaking to West, you can feel the tension in the characters who try to communicate with Maggie.

General thoughts

I liked this book. In fact, I’d probably read more of this series (Field Party, this is Book 1). I’d absolutely pick up a Field Party novel on Nash or Brady so Ms. Glines, if you’re reading this… maybe… consider my proposition? 😀

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟💫

It met my needs for a cutesy contemporary. I liked the writing, but my issues with the book are still weighing heavy on my mind… so…

Let’s Chat!

Let’s take a different course of action this time! I loved the show Friday Night Lights. If you’ve watched it, leave me a comment telling me who your favorite character was. Mine is pretty obvious if you’ve read this post 😉

Or if you haven’t watched the show, leave me a comment telling me your favorite sport! (My favorite is hockey! I’m a Pittsburgh fan!)

Book Review | Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

This book. You guys, THIS BOOK was so well written.

While I gather my thoughts, here’s the basic idea…

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Mary B. Addison killed a baby.

Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A white baby had died while under the care of a churchgoing black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it? She wouldn’t say.

Mary survived six years in baby jail before being dumped in a group home. The house isn’t really “home”—no place where you fear for your life can be considered a home. Home is Ted, who she meets on assignment at a nursing home.

There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted—and their unborn child—to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary must find the voice to fight her past. And her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But who really knows the real Mary?

Life according to Mary B. Addison

Let me just explain something really fast. Mary Addison got out of baby jail and is living in a group home in this novel. I have no experience with group homes or even girls who have lived in group homes. The author clearly has done her research to make the young women in this novel come across as real and believable.

I think that’s probably what I liked most. I mean the writing is phenomenal (I can’t believe this is a debut). But honestly, the realness of Jackson’s characters is what kept me coming back for more. This book is heavy. It was HARD to get through, but guess what? I’m glad I read it. Books have the power to change me and this one broke my heart.

Education as a theme

One of the more interesting themes within this book was Mary’s education. Having allegedly killed a baby, Mary’s options are really limited. She goes to a vocational school to learn cosmetology. But she’s driven to far more than this. She wants to go to college. She wants to take the SATs and build a better life for herself and her family. It was wonderful to see education play such an important role in this book.

Speaking on education is important, but equally important are the women who care about Mary.

Important Figures

Ms. Claire and Ms. Cora are really important to the story. You can’t convince me otherwise. My thought process is that without these two incredibly influential women, Mary would not have been convinced to better herself. I mean, we’re talking about a girl who didn’t speak to anyone for 8 months! These women really played an important role in this young woman’s life. Her Momma wasn’t there for her, but these women were. This is something I found so important within the pages of this book.

Overall thoughts

Again, I can’t believe this is a debut novel. Jackson writes like a seasoned author. This was damn near perfect, in my opinion.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

I can’t give it a 5. It’s hard, but the reason is just because I didn’t like how the book ended. I expected growth and progression and for the truth to come out, but I don’t feel like the ending did Mary’s story justice. In short, it wasn’t the ending I hoped for. Granted, I’m not the author and she’s entitled to do whatever she likes with her story – that’s just my opinion on the ending. 😛 Overall though, this was a GREAT (hard) read.

Let’s Chat!

One of my YouTube subscribers left me a comment I’d like to pass along to you all here! When you’re reading contemporary YA do you look for lighthearted fluffy reads or do you prefer more darker content? Let me know in the comments!

Book Review | Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

I don’t doubt for a second you’ve heard of this book. Nor do I doubt you’ve watched the Netflix series. I’m here today to talk a little about both (mostly the book!). 

For August, I decided to randomly generate my TBR. This is the book I was least looking forward to because there’s so much negativity surrounding the content. 

There is a lot that I want to say in regards to this book, so let’s get down to it. 

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

You can’t stop the future. 
You can’t rewind the past.
The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker–his classmate and crush–who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why. 

Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.

Mental Health

Hannah’s mental health is never really properly addressed and I have mixed feelings about this aspect of the novel. She never seeks help. Sorry, I can’t consider her going to the English teacher/guidance counselor as seeking help… Her parents never really question what’s going on with her. The mental health aspect of this book did not live up to what I hoped for. 

Let me be clear about this. I am NOT saying Hannah NEEDED a diagnosis to justify her actions. The tapes were simply a glimpse into her thoughts that lead up to her actions. Honestly, the reviews stating Hannah had no reason to take her own life make me really angry because YOU, angry reviewers, can’t decide what makes the actions of another person worthy. 

So I’m torn because I wish she would have brought her ideations to the attention of someone other than the English teacher/guidance counselor. That man did not have the proper training to intervene with a suicidal teenager. He did not have the proper credentials and that’s the part of this book that makes me so mad.

I understand Hannah was seeking help where she thought she could get help, but it also makes me question her relationship with her parents. My mother was always really perceptive of the mental health of her children, so I wonder what could possibly be more important (sorry, the mall going up wasn’t reason enough for me) than Hannah in her mother’s world. 

Basically, I wanted there to be a message in this book that it’s okay to seek treatment and I was disappointed that it was lacking. 

The Tapes

I’m going to come right out and say I enjoyed reading this format of story telling. I like the idea of hearing the story through the point of view of the person telling their story, while simultaneously reading another character’s POV. It was interesting and engaging. 

The content is another story…  

The Main Idea

Look, it’s really hard to do justice for a book that deals with such heavy topics. Am I doing okay so far? I think I am, but I’m also treading really carefully to not anger readers. This is hard. 

I saw the main idea of this story not as Hannah’s taking of her own life. Instead, I saw the main idea as treating others with respect or at least being mindful of how we interact with other people. I didn’t like that this was almost a placing blame game, but it certainly has made me more mindful of the ways in which I speak to other people. 

I don’t think the author’s main idea for this book centered around placing blame. In fact, I really believe his whole point was to make other people see that the way they treat people can affect them. You don’t get to decide you didn’t hurt someone. That’s what I think Jay Asher was trying to drive home. And I, for one, think he did a hell of a job doing it. I don’t think he could accomplish this without the seriousness that is suicide. 

Overall

I’m not going to sit here and spout praises for this book. I liked the writing, but the content was disturbing. It’s not as deeply disturbing as the show (good God), but still, it’s there. I would not recommend this to everyone, in particular I wouldn’t recommend this to someone struggling with suicide ideation. Nor would I recommend it to someone who is struggling with depression without help. It’s hard to read, but at the same time, the writing is so goddam captivating I couldn’t stop reading. 

One more thing.

I hated the ending. Like, what the fuck. 

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

I thought I was going to have to gift this to the library, but I’m definitely keeping it. 

Let’s Chat!

I don’t always like to read books that are as heavy as this. I have a few in my collection though (trying to be a well-rounded home librarian). What are some books you liked that feature heavy content like this? I’m looking at The Way I Used to Be as my next hard to handle book, but I’m open to other options. Share your thoughts in the comments!