Review: Girl Out of Water

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Girl Out of Water by: Laura Silverman

Rating: 4 Stars

Anise Sawyer plans to spend every minute of summer with her friends: surfing, chowing down on fish tacos drizzled with wasabi balsamic vinegar, and throwing bonfires that blaze until dawn. But when a serious car wreck leaves her aunt, a single mother of three, with two broken legs, it forces Anise to say goodbye for the first time to Santa Cruz, the waves, her friends, and even a kindling romance, and fly with her dad to Nebraska for the entire summer. Living in Nebraska isn’t easy. Anise spends her days caring for her three younger cousins in the childhood home of her runaway mom, a wild figure who’s been flickering in and out of her life since birth, appearing for weeks at a time and then disappearing again for months, or even years, without a word.

Complicating matters is Lincoln, a one-armed, charismatic skater who pushes Anise to trade her surfboard for a skateboard. As Anise draws closer to Lincoln and takes on the full burden and joy of her cousins, she loses touch with her friends back home – leading her to one terrifying question: will she turn out just like her mom and spend her life leaving behind the ones she loves.

Beware spoilers ahead!

I received this E-ARC via Netgalley and Sourcebooks Fire in exchange for an honest review. I am also participating with the Sunday Street Team to help promote this book. I had heard about this book through GR. I liked the synopsis (mostly because of her cousins mentioned) and when I saw it on Netgalley I immediately requested it. I am happy to say that I quite liked this book!

The book begins with Anise surfing and generally enjoying her summer. Anise and her friends are looking forward to this surfing competition (I think). Anise also has a possible romance blooming with a friend of hers.

This all changes when she goes home. Her dad informs her that Aunt Jackie got into a car accident and broke her legs. Anise is in shock and concerned about her young cousins. Anise asks her father whether or not they (cousins and aunt) will be visiting this summer considering the accident. Her father then informs her that they (Anise and him) will be staying with them for the whole summer. This doesn’t sit well with Anise as she had plans this summer and doesn’t like the idea of traveling. 

Anise then informs her friends about this development via text. All of her friends spend the night together celebrating. As Anise is leaving tomorrow and she likely won’t see all of them when she comes back (some of her friends have graduated and are going to university). Anise and her father fly the next day to take care of her cousins.

Wow this book took me by surprise! I was not expecting to like it as much as I did. This book is written is first person in Anise’s point of view. There are some flashbacks here and there as well as text messages.

My favourite part about the book was without a doubt how family had such a big role in this book. There aren’t a lot of contemporaries where family is a major focus. And I really appreciated that! I felt that Aunt Jackie’s accident was handled well. Everyone’s reactions was realistic and I really felt for all of them.

I really liked Anise’s relationship with her father. They were really close. And both supported each other while Jackie was in the hospital. Anise’s mom also played a huge part of the book. Even though she didn’t actually come in. Her mom really shaped Anise as did her father.

I really enjoyed reading about her cousins! Parker and Nash were adorable as was Emily. I liked reading about their interactions with one-another. And how much they looked up to Anise and her father. Especially Emily. I liked how despite Anise struggling to comfort them and give advice, that she didn’t give up.

The romance between Anise and Lincoln was sweet. I especially loved how it didn’t take over the plot. And for once the male lead didn’t have some horrible dark past. I liked how Lincoln encouraged Anise and helped her with her cousins. I also felt that Lincoln having one arm was handled well. And it was interesting to read about.

Anise’s relationship with her friends was also fun to read about! I especially loved the best friend (whose name I’ve forgotten).  The almost romance was also sweet and sad to read about. 

I liked how the internet played a big part of the book. As the was Anise’s way of contacting her friends. It was also fun to read about surfing and skateboarding. Anise is really competitive and I liked that about her.

I really enjoyed Anise’s character. I liked how she subtlety grew throughout the book. It was really heartbreaking to read about her mother and just how much it shaped her as a person. When she moved she lost contact with her friends in fear that they were moving on without her. It was done well and realistic. I liked how throughout the course of the book that Anise found a way to balance her friends and family. The ending really proves it to you. It was sweet to read about.

 I only had a few problems with this book. I did not like Anise’s reaction to moving at first. After reading more I came to understand her reaction because had it been me I think I would’ve had a similar reaction. I especially did not like her friends contacting her and trying to convince her to come back. Her aunt could’ve died and Anise’s friends know this. There were times that the dialogue was off and left the book feeling slightly dramatic. Nonetheless I slight enjoyed this book!

Overall I really liked this book! I highly recommend this book to contemporary fans. 

Review: Just Listen

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Just Listen by: Sarah Dessen

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Last year, Annabel was “the girl who has everything” — at least that’s the part she played in the television commercial for Kopf’s Department Store.

This year, she’s the girl who has nothing: no best friend because mean-but-exciting Sophie dropped her, no peace at home since her older sister became anorexic, and no one to sit with at lunch. Until she meets Owen Armstrong.

Tall, dark, and music-obsessed, Owen is a reformed bad boy with a commitment to truth-telling. With Owen’s help, maybe Annabel can face what happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends.

Beware spoilers ahead!

Last year I read my very first Sarah Dessen book Saint Anything. I loved it and continued to look for more book by Sarah Dessen! Out of all her books the synopsis of Just Listen appealed to me the most. Which is why I decided to read this before the rest of my Sarah Dessen books. I am happy to say that I enjoyed it!

The book begins with Annabel watching a commercial she was in. She turns off the tv and mentally prepares herself for school. Annabel has been dreading going to school for months now. After the argument with Sophie and avoiding everyone in school she’s not sure what she’ll find when she reaches school.

When Annabel reaches school she sits in her car for a few minutes just to think everything through. As she gets out of her car she and Sophie came face-to-face. Sophie swears at her and leaves. It becomes evident that there is no way to salvage their friendship and for the rest of the year Sophie will consistently pick on her.

The first day goes by in a blur. As Annabel tries to make conversation with other people they don’t talk to her. Last May she wanted nothing to do with other people now she’s getting just what she wanted. During lunch she sits alone. Apparently Emily is choosing to sit with Sophie even though Annabel was friends with her first. Annabel’s former best friend Clarke clearly wants nothing to do with her. And then there’s Owen. Who seems intimidating and closed off. While she’s eating lunch she sees Will Cash pass by. She freezes up and once he leaves she vomits in the bush.

The next weeks continue normally. Sophie will call Annabel names when she least’s expects it. Annabel eats lunch alone and keeps to herself. While Annabel is leaving school Will Cash catches her eye and talks to her. Annabel manages to get away quickly. Sophie confronts Annabel and threaten’s her for talking to Will who is apparently Sophie’s boyfriend. Annabel snaps and pushes Sophie. Annabel runs away and vomits in the bush again. Owen is yet again there to witness and helps Annabel. After that day the two of them become friends.

Wow this was such a good book! In the beginning I thought that it would be a 3 star but as I read on I found myself really enjoying it! This book is written in first person in Annabel’s point of view. There are quite a few flashbacks but it ever became overwhelming.

I loved the family aspect in this book! Annabel’s older sister Whitney was diagnosed with Anorexia. For the past few months it’s been difficult for Whitney and her family. In the beginning Whitney didn’t acknowledge that there was something wrong. That what she was doing wasn’t healthy. She didn’t see it that way.

Their oldest sister Kiersten noticed (they lived together) but Whitney claimed that Kiersten must have been jealous of her as Whitney got more modeling opportunities than Kiersten. Once the family caught on they continued to support and be there for Whitney. The eating disorder was very well done! Whitney didn’t get better in one day she took time but she got there. I liked the entire family in general. My favourite was definitely Kiersten. 

Annabel and Sophie’s relationship was complicated. In a sense it was an abusive relationship. Unhealthy. Sophie spent most of her time bullying Annabel into what she wanted. Annabel gave in because she was scared off crossing her. Plus Sophie was the reason she was popular and gained most of her experiences from. Once they stop being friends Annabel realizes that she shouldn’t have stuck around Sophie. She already lost Clarke and now she wants to make it up by being friends with Owen.

While I haven’t been in the same situation as Annabel I could relate and empathize with her. I understood why she was scared of Sophie and why she kept that night a secret. It didn’t bother me at all. It made perfect sense and was handled well. Annabel lies quite a bit. Not because she enjoys lying but because she’s afraid that if she tells the truth she’ll hurt the people she cares about. It’s her way of maintaining peace in her life.

This all changes when Annabel meets Owen. Owen went to juvie for getting in a fight with a guy in the parking lot. Since then he has had to take Anger Management and vows to be honest in every aspect. Owen is extremely passionate about music and tries to educate Annabel in it. Owen also gets Annabel to be honest with everything she has to say. Surprisingly Annabel does so because it’s easy being honest with Owen. I found Owen to be a refreshing character! I really liked reading about him! The romance is slow burn and it was done well! 

It was nice reading about Annabel’s character development! Being around Owen has made her more confident and honest. She’s actually happy with her life when she wasn’t earlier. Annabel also learns so much from Whitney and admire’s her strength for overcoming everything.

I didn’t have any problems with Just Listen. I simply didn’t love it hence the rating. Note there is abuse in this book. If you are a sensitive reader you might not enjoy this book. I would suggest reading another contemporary.

Overall this was a really good book! I recommend it to fans of the author and contemporary fans. 

Review: All the Feels

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All the Feels by: Danika Stone

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

College freshman Liv is more than just a fangirl: The Starveil movies are her life…and her last tangible connection to her deceased father. Thus, when her favorite character, Captain Matt Spartan, is killed off at the end of the last movie, Liv Just. Can’t. Deal.

Tired of sitting in her room sobbing, Liv decides to launch an online campaign to bring her beloved hero back to life. With the help of her best friend, Xander, actor and steampunk cosplayer extraordinare, she creates #SpartanSurvived, a call that ignites the fandom. But as her online life succeeds beyond her wildest dreams, Liv is forced to balance that with the pressures of school, her (mostly nonexistent and entirely traumatic) romantic life, and her disapproving mother’s new boyfriend. A trip to DragonCon with Xander might be exactly what she needs to get away from it all… and figure out what (and who!) she really wants.

Beware spoilers ahead!

I received this E-ARC via Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I am also participating in the Sunday Street Team for this book. 

I had heard about this book through GR. At the time I didn’t really pay attention to it. Then when I joined the Sunday Street Team for the author’s other book Edge of Wild I noticed that the author was having another book coming out this year. Honestly the first time I read the synopsis I thought I would hate this book because at the time it sounded really dumb. But I decided to give it a shot. There are a lot of books that I now love and at one point I thought I would hate. I am happy to say that I enjoyed this book!

The book begins with explaining us a movie. The only thing you know is that it’s an alien movie. The main character whose name is Spartan is trying to kill the aliens. With him is a little girl who is attempting to help him. When the two reach an escape pod Spartan tells the girl to run while the countdown is going off. The girl is able to reach the pod and escape. Meanwhile Spartan dies in the explosion.

We are then taken to Liv and Xander. The two are both in shock. Although Liv is in much worse shape. Xander gently tells her that they need to leave the theater and guides her out. He goes to get the car meanwhile Liv waits inside. She has an emotional outburst and takes it out on the workers. Eventually she leaves still very upset. The minute she reaches her house she goes to Twitter and tells some of her friends that Spartan died. Spartan could have made it out  as there was one more pod left.

The following week Liv remains depressed. Xander has tried his utmost to help her and get her out of the house. Her mother has tried to same although she doesn’t do it very nicely. Then one day when her mother’s boyfriend comes over and Liv’s mother wakes her up. Liv changes and goes downstairs to find her mother and her boyfriend going out somewhere. Liv’s mom asks her to tag along but Liv declines noticing that Gary (the boyfriend) doesn’t want her to come. They leave and she opens the fortune cookie’s they left her. Taking the fortune as a sign Liv comes up with #SpartanSurvived and enlists Xanders help.

Wow I seriously did not expect to enjoy it that much! The book is written in third person which I found surprising considering it’s a contemporary book. But luckily I liked the writing style! I found that it suited the story. It is divided into two parts. Before Dragon Con and during Dragon Con. There are text messages, twitter conversations, and some fanmade pictures! This was really cool! I’ve never read a book that’s formatted this way. The chapter titles are quotes from things like Harry Potter and Doctor Who. I think that added a nice touch the to overall story.

I completely understood where Liv was coming from! While I haven’t been an active member in fandoms I have loved so many tv shows and books, and mourned the characters that died. While I never let it take over my life I can see why some people would.

Liv’s only connection to her father was through the Starveil films and when Spartan died her whole world feel apart. It wasn’t much help from her mother who viewed fandoms to be dumb and also internet friends. She isn’t close to her mother because of this. Xander and his girlfriend Arden helped whenever they could. 

Xander and Liv’s friendship was adorable! He was so sweet to her and understanding. He agrees to help her with #SpartanSurvived and eventually gets sucked into the fandom. This in particular was amusing to read about. I was really glad that for a majority of the book they remained friends. The romance was really slow burn but I liked it.

I thought it was brilliant when Liv came up with #SpartanSurvived and it was awesome watching it grow and become such a big deal to the fans that Liv talked to! I would never have come up something like that. And I absolutely loved reading about Dragon Con! It was amazing and I so need to go there one day!

The author did an excellent job writing about being in a fandom! It was so much fun reading and it reminded me about how I converse with my friends on GR! While Liv loved Starveil Xander loved steampunk and cosplays. The author did a good job fleshing out the two different fandoms.

The characters in this book was realistic! Liv eventually finds the confidence to get out there and explore the real world and try to make friends with people in her classes. Xander was her support system as was the other fans of Starveil. She grew into a strong and likable character! Xander was a doll! I loved how he said things like ‘dearest’. He’s so different than the other male love interests. It was refreshing reading about him.

I only had three problems with this book. I would have liked to see her of Liv and her mothers relationship. When she goes to Dragon Con you’re not shown her mothers reaction and I really wanted to read about that. And when she reached Dragon Con Liv only called her mother once. I’m surprised that her mother never called her. And like most contemporaries Xander and Liv get into a bit of a fight which I didn’t understand. Thankfully it was resolved quickly. While the epilogue was sweet I felt that it was rushed and somewhat unnecessary. Nonetheless I still liked this book!

Overall I enjoyed this book! I recommend it to all fangirls and fanboys. And anyone trying to understand fandoms.   

Review: Shadowland

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Shadowland by: Meg Cabot

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

There’s a hot guy in Susannah Simon’s bedroom. Too bad he’s a ghost.

Suze is a mediator – a liaison between the living and the dead. In other words, she sees dead people. And they won’t leave her alone until she helps them resolve their unfinished business with the living. But Jesse, the hot ghost haunting her bedroom, doesn’t seem to need her help. Which is a relief, because Suze has just moved to sunny California and plans to start fresh, with trips to the mall instead of the cemetery, and surfing instead of spectral visitations.

But the very first day at her new school, Suze realizes it’s not that easy. There’s a ghost with revenge on her mind… and Suze happens to be in the way.

Beware spoilers ahead!

When I was younger I was a fan of Meg Cabot. As far as I was concerned she could do no wrong and that all her books were fantastic! Last year I discovered that it’s not true. I found out that I didn’t like her contemporary books. But I still immensely enjoyed her paranormal/supernatural books. This year I remembered this series and was happy to find that my library has it! I am happy to say that I enjoyed this!

The book begins with Suze mentioning the differences between New York and California. Her mother has gotten remarried and they had to shift to California because Andy her step dad owns a business there. Suze actually likes Andy and she doesn’t mind Dopey, Sleepy, and Doc (her nicknames for her step brothers) but she doesn’t like the fact that they had to move. Suze doesn’t share these thoughts with her mother. Andy makes her mother very happy and Suze is okay with that.

Her new family take her home. On the way there she notices again how different Cali is from New York. While they are talking it comes out that the school she’ll be attending is a very old building. As is there house. After hearing this Suze starts to freak out because she doesn’t like old buildings.

When they get to the house Suze tries to remain calm. Andy has put a lot of work into the house and has tried to make it comfortable for her. Once they reach Suze’s room she sees a guy sitting at her window seat. Only the rest of her family don’t see him. Suze can see ghosts and usually there are more ghosts in old buildings.

I seriously did not expect to enjoy Shadowland this much! It was so much fun! This book is written in first person told in Suze’s point of view. It takes place over the course of a few days.

I loved Suze. She is definitely my favourite Meg Cabot character! She was smart and a bit of a hot-head. She was tough and could handle a fight just fine.It was interesting to read about her experience with ghosts. And how the mediator stuff works. Throughout this book Suze trying to help people ends up being a bit reckless. She never accepts anyone’s help she goes solo. Throughout the book she decides to work with other and that it isn’t so bad.

The relationships were awesome! I loved how close Suze was with her mother and that she didn’t mind her step father. It’s nice to read about a good step parent. While Suze isn’t close to any of her brothers in the beginning of the book she does develop a good relationship with Doc. It was so sweet reading about! It wasn’t always rainbows and sunshine but they were there for each other.

The little I read about Cece and Adam was nice. I liked Father Dom and Jesse. Father Dom is the principle (and a priest) of the school that Suze attends. Much to her surprise he is also a mediator and does offer to train her. He was a nice mentor. Jesse was a bit clueless but sweet. This does take place in a few days so there isn’t really any romance. Suze does consider Jesse good looking but at the moment they’re just friends.

The plot was pretty good. Heather was realistic. There are definitely girls like her. It was also nice to for a change that Suze didn’t like her powers. But that didn’t mean that she was rude to people she still did all her ghostly duty without a lot of complaints. I admire her for that.

I only had two problems with Shadowland. There were times when Suze would talk about how good looking Jesse that it would become annoying. And while I understood why she did so there were times when I felt it wasn’t necessary. Also I find it very weird that in a matter of a day Suze is very popular. Yes she did save one of the students and threaten to break another students fingers, I don’t think it’s possible to get popular that fast. Nonetheless I enjoyed this!

Overall this was a really good book! I recommend this series to anyone looking for a completed fantasy that it more focused on the character development.  

Review: The Way Back to You

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The Way Back to You by: Michelle Andreani and Mindi Scott

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

In this witty, heart-tugging novel, two teens take a spontaneous road trip across the Southwest to meet three strangers who received the life-saving organs of their late best friend—charting a journey of loss, hope, and love along the way.

Six months ago, Ashlyn Montiel died in a bike accident.

Her best friend Cloudy is keeping it together, at least on the outside. Cloudy’s insides are a different story: tangled, confused, heartbroken.

Kyle is falling apart, and everyone can tell. Ashlyn was his girlfriend, and when she died, a part of him went with her. Maybe the only part he cares about anymore.

As the two people who loved Ashlyn best, Cloudy and Kyle should be able to lean on each other. But after a terrible mistake last year, they’re barely speaking. So when Cloudy discovers that Ashlyn’s organs were donated after her death and the Montiel family has been in touch with three of the recipients, she does something a little bit crazy and a lot of out character: she steals the letters and convinces Kyle to go on a winter break road trip with her, from Oregon to California to Arizona to Nevada. Maybe if they see the recipients—the people whose lives were saved by Ashlyn’s death—the world will open up again. Or maybe it will be a huge mistake.

With hundreds of miles in front of them, a stowaway kitten, and a list of people who are alive because of Ashlyn, Cloudy and Kyle just may find their way to back to her…and to each other.

Beware spoilers ahead!

I had heard about this book through GR. I was hesitant about read it. But when I read the sample I was sold. I am happy to say that I enjoyed it!

The book begins with Ashlyn’s mother’s note to the organ recipients. We are then taken to the first chapter which is in Cloudy’s point of view. It’s been four months since Ashlyn died in a bike accident. It’s been pretty hard on Cloudy as she was Ashlyn’s best friend. Today her school is having a cheer thing going on. Her little sister Zoe has successfully forced her way into Cloudy’s life by becoming cheer captain. Before getting ready to perform Cloudy turns around to talk to Ashlyn. But then remembers that Ashlyn is dead. She escapes to get water.

She runs into Matty her ex-boyfriend and Kyle’s cousin. The two talk for a bit then Kyle comes. Cloudy says hello to him and he replies then he leaves. Cloudy asks Matty how Kyle has been. Matty replies that Kyle has been alright and that he’ll be making a speech for the baseball tryouts. Once the cheerleaders have done their thing the announcements begin. Much to Cloudy’s surprise Kyle ditches the assembly and Matty makes the announcement.

We are then taken to Kyle’s point of view. Today is Kyle and Ashlyn’s one year anniversary. Had Ashlyn been alive she would’ve found some way to celebrate. But she’s gone and Kyle’s on his own. From all the movies that Kyle has watched the characters go to Church and find some great sign. So far the Church he’s currently sitting in is the fourth Church. Thus far there haven’t been any signs of sorts.

While listening to some music Kyle hears a commotion. Much to his surprise he finds Matty with one of the cheerleaders. Realizing that no such sign has come he, Matty, and the cheerleader leave. Outside they find a kitten in Kyle’s car engine. Said kitten is known for curling up and sleeping in warm car engines. When Kyle gets a good look at the kitten he realizes that the kitten has the same eye color as Ashlyn. Kyle thinks that this the sign he is looking for and takes the kitten to his home.

Zoe and Cloudy’s parents are cruising to Mexico. They were in dire need of a vacation so they decided to take it. For dinner Zoe and Cloudy are going over to Ashlyn’s house where her parents will make them dinner. Cloudy is not looking forward to going. She doesn’t think that she’ll be able to bear it. The inevitable comes and they have dinner with Ashlyn’s family. Ashlyn’s mother mentions that she has been in contact with three of the organ recipients. She also mentions that one of them will be having a wedding but they won’t be able to go.

Cloudy feels likes she’s been suffocated. Ashlyn’s mother mentions that she left something in her husbands office. Cloudy offers to get it wanting more than anything to escape this conversation. She gets the paper Ashlyn’s mother wants. While picking up the paper her hand slips and the computer screen comes to life. The email with the wedding invitation is open. Cloudy decides to print all the emails hoping that they’ll give her some closure.

Back home Cloudy decides to go over to Kyle’s house and show him the emails. She’s hoping that by reading them he’ll be at peace and closer to closure. Zoe catches her and Cloudy explains that she printed the emails in hopes that Kyle would feel better. Zoe mentions that the recipients have probably met each other and that they don’t live far. Cloudy decides to visit them with Kyle.

I honestly did not expect to enjoy it this much! I was predicating a 3 star rating. The book is divided into parts based on where Cloudy and Kyle road trip to. The point of view switches between Cloudy and Kyle and is written in first person.

Kyle has no idea what to do about the fact that Ashlyn’s dead. He doesn’t believe in God so he has a hard time believing people when they that Ashlyn is in a better place. It’s pretty obvious that Kyle’s a mess. At some point he decides to quit baseball because he doesn’t see any point to it. His father and cousin are very supportive of him and do help whenever they can. Despite the support from his family there are times where he misses his mother who ditched him years ago. When he comes across the kitten whom he names Arm (after Ashlyn’s initials) his life starts to improve. Throughout the whole book he starts to open up to Cloudy about Ashlyn. He starts to become more open about everything and is happy in his own skin.

Cloudy is managing to hold up. Only because she bottles up all the pain. Mostly to obtain a perfect reputation so that she can show others that she’s moved on with her life. Anytime any mention of Ashlyn comes up she shuts other people out and switches the subject. When the road trip takes place Cloudy doesn’t tell Kyle the real reason she’s road tripping. She’s quite secretive and she does lie a lot. Unlike Kyle, Cloudy is very guarded and won’t really talk about herself. Throughout the book she grows quite a bit. At some point she decides to work on really moving on with her friends and family. She grows very attached to Arm. And her relationships with her sister Zoe and her friend Jade improve. She also has Matty in her life who is also very supportive.

The journey to see the organ recipients was well done! It was so interesting to read about the journey and the recipients. While they didn’t really do any sight seeing I enjoyed reading about the road trip!

The pain all the characters felt was realistic. The characters were fun to read about and they were realistic. The character development and their relationships was beautiful to read about! I actually liked all the characters. 

The romance is slow burn. Cloudy and Kyle do have a bit of history aside from Ashlyn. When they start taking their journey their is a lot of tension between the two of them. Which came from a misunderstanding. Throughout the book they become closer to each other. And do start developing feelings for each other. I liked how their feelings for each other doesn’t happen right away but rather towards the end of the book.

I had only one problem with The Way Back to You. Towards the middle when Cloudy and Kyle took a break I felt that it started to drag a bit. I’m not saying that they shouldn’t take a break but I did start to become bored. Luckily the book starts to pick up again. 

Overall this was a really good book! I recommend it to contemporary fans.  

Review: The Lies About Truth

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The Lies About Truth by: Courtney C. Stevens

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Sadie Kingston, is a girl living in the aftermath. A year after surviving a car accident that killed her friend Trent and left her body and face scarred, she can’t move forward. The only person who seems to understand her is Trent’s brother, Max.

As Sadie begins to fall for Max, she’s unsure if she is truly healed enough to be with him — even if Max is able to look at her scars and not shy away. But when the truth about the accident and subsequent events comes to light, Sadie has to decide if she can embrace the future or if she’ll always be trapped in the past.

Beware spoilers ahead!

I had heard about this book through Twitter. There was a giveaway going on and I entered. Now I didn’t win the giveaway but this book was always in the back of my mind. After reading several reviews I decided to buy it. I am happy to say that I enjoyed it!

The book begins with Sadie walking to the beach. Going to the beach in shorts is apart of Sadie’s list of goals that she made with her therapist Fletcher. So far she’s managed to do it until she sees whose on the beach. Gina who is her former best friend calls her over. Seeing no other choice Sadie follows suite and the two talk. Their conversation goes as it normally does. Gina tries to get Sadie to keep in touch, she apologizes profusely, and assures her that Gray (Sadie’s ex boyfriend) and her aren’t dating.

Gray joins the conversation and it just goes south from there. He can’t look Sadie in the eye. She has a few scars from the accident and he simply cannot bear to look at her because it reminds him of their best friend dying. Sadie takes that as her cue to leave. Once her old friends are out of sight she writes in the sand her goal list. Then she jogs back home.

At home her mother gives her a letter that came for her in the mail. Noticing Sadie’s expression she asks what happened. Sadie tells her that she ran into Gray and Gina and that it didn’t really go well. Her mother then mentions that she was talking with Sadie’s dad and they have decided to put Sadie back in school in the fall. She further explains that they found homeschooling necessary because of the therapy sessions and surgery. But now Sadie is better and should go back to school. Sadie argues but her mother points out that Sadie isn’t happy at home and that she can’t spend the rest of her life avoiding people.

Sadie says that she’ll think about it and her mother leaves. She decides to open the letter. It has no return address just her name typed up. Once she has it open she is shocked at what she reads. It was something she wrote years ago. Sadie has this blue ostrich toy. Trent had won it for her and they named it Big. Her mother then pointed out to her that there was a hole in the bottom of the toy. Trent then suggested that Sadie put papers in Big. Much to Sadie’s surprise the words on the letter are one of the papers she put in Big years ago.

Sadie thinks that her parents are behind this and confronts them. It becomes obvious that her parents aren’t behind it. Her father brings up going to school again and Sadie storms off to her bedroom. She immediately checks Big for the paper and finds it. Sadie doesn’t have any idea who is doing this and how the person even got the paper, but she intends to find out.

I honestly did not expect to enjoy this book! When I started reading it I thought that I rate it 3 stars. But as I continued to read on I found myself enjoying it immensely! The book is written in first person all in Sadie’s point of view. There are letters, emails and flashbacks that come in this book.

A year prior to The Lies About Truth Sadie, Max, Gina, Trent, and Gray were in a car crash. Trent was killed. Sadie who had forgotten to put her seat belt on went flying out of the window. Sadie has some scars on her and she went through several surgeries to look somewhat the same. Max’s vocal chords are not what they used to be. He has a hard time speaking and it usually comes out as horse. While Gina and Gray didn’t have physical injuries they were scarred as well.

Max’s family moved to El Salvador for a year (his family comes back in the beginning of the book). Sadie stopped keeping with Gina and Gray. After she saw Gray (her boyfriend at the time) kiss Gina. Sadie kept up with Max through emails. Sadie pretty much stopped getting out of her house. She’s very conscious about her scars and she now has social anxiety. So she can’t be in a crowd. Sadie’s parent decide to put Sadie through a Social Experiment. To get her ready for school. At first Sadie does not want to participate but it becomes very obvious that she has no choice and decides to go along with it.

I liked how the author showed the readers the aftermath of the car crash. It’s true that there isn’t only injuries especially if you lose a loved one. The grief was messy and dealt with very well. I understood Sadie’s need to forgive Gina and Gray but at the same time she couldn’t bring herself to do it. It was realistic. The relationship between all four of them was also dealt with well. There were a lot of Before and After’s which was to be expected.

I liked reading about Max and Sadie. They had a nice relationship and it was sweet to see it unfold with the emails. I also liked reading about Sadie and her parents. They were an amazing support system! I also liked reading about her therapist Fletcher and the goals she set for herself. A lot of the people Sadie met were nice and supportive. This is probably one of the most realistic contemporaries I have ever read.

I liked how there was a strong focus on forgiveness and finding the strength to move on. The flashbacks were also sweet. You saw what all the characters were like before the accident including Trent. The mystery aspect wasn’t that great. But it didn’t bother me and I understood why the person did not. What is nice about this book is that I got to relax and turn off my brain and just enjoyed the ride. I also liked how everything came to a full circle at the end. 

I did have one problem with The Lies About Truth. I couldn’t relate to the characters. I felt that they were defined by their lies, regrets, and mistakes. Sadie was defined by the relationships she had with the people around her. I didn’t know any one of the characters. I honestly thought that because of this I wouldn’t rate it higher than 3 stars. But much to my surprise the plot sneaked up on me. I’m not sure when this happened but it did.

Note this is a really slow contemporary. This didn’t bother me but it might bother some readers. It takes a very long time for anything to really happen. Including the mystery with the letters. It also deals with a lot of grief so if you don’t like that I would skip this book.

Overall this was a fun ride. I recommend it to fans of contemporary and people who like reading books dealing with grief.  

Review: Infinite Repeat

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Infinite Repeat by: Paula Stokes

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Seventeen-year-old Micah Foster is looking forward to the return of his girlfriend, Amber, who’s been away in Los Angeles recording an EP with her band. But when Amber returns home on the anniversary of Micah’s dad’s death, something feels different and Micah pushes her away.

Over the next week, as Micah tries to repair his relationship with Amber, he relives the events of the past few years and recognizes a pattern. His friends and family are right–he self-destructs every April, right around the time his dad died, hurting people he cares about in the process. Will Amber be this year’s casualty? Or can Micah escape his past in time to fix his present?

Beware spoilers ahead!

I heard about this book through GR. After finishing The Art of Lainey I decided to read Infinite Repeat so that I could get to know Micah more. I am happy to say that I enjoyed this!

The book begins with Micah noticing that Amber has come back. Micah feels odd because today is when his dad was killed. He greets Amber but continues to feel off. They spend some time together but after Micah realizes that he still feels weird he sends Amber off.

Deciding to go for a drive he rummages through his room for his car keys. Trinity comes in brandishes his keys and asks where he wanted to go. He says that he doesn’t know but promises not to have a repeat of last year. When he got arrested and sent to juvie. Instead the two of them spend some time together.

After a few days Amber brings up that she and her band are going to be having a concert in Chicago. Amber asks Micah to come but Micah declines saying he can’t afford the fare and he has to work. Eventually Amber has found a way to pay for the fare and asks Micah again. After some thinking Micah agrees. And he ends up going to the concert.

Upon reaching there Micah finds out that Amber is now a very different person. She lets her people dictate what she does and what she wears. She even puts up with her creepy manager who treats her like a thing. Micah realizes that there may not be a way to save their relationship.

This was a short novella. I was surprised by how much I liked it! Usually I rate novella’s 3 stars but surprisingly this was a 4 star. This is written in first person all in Micah’s point of view. With a few flashbacks here-and-there.

I liked getting to know the coworkers at the coffee shop, Amber, and his family. You get to see what happened between Amber and Micah and some of his interactions with his coworkers. Lainey makes a few appearances as well. Kendall and Jason come in as cameo’s. You also get to read about what happened to the day Micah’s father was murdered. I felt quiet bad for him and I definitely enjoyed read about the flashbacks.

Overall this was a really good novella! I recommend it to fans of The Art of Lainey and Micah fans.