Author: Riley Sager
Title: Final Girls
Genre(s): Mystery, thriller, suspense; Crime; Murder; Contemporary women
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Review: There is a very good reason why Stephen King gave this novel such high praises. When I read psychological thrillers, I want to basis of the story to be as accurate to a real-life scenario as possible, especially if the author decides to write about real psychological dysfunctions. Sager did an excellent job at creating a horrifying plot that could be reality. This book starts off incredibly fast, which is another thing I look for in thrillers. If think if an author can establish a suspenseful plot development, while maintaining a gripping pace he or she has conquered the difficulties associated with creating a good thriller. Quincy was everything that I looked for in a heroine; she was strong, determined, investigative, and she exhibited growth as her story unfolded. All of the supporting characters were intriguing as well and I think each of them added a really great touch. I hate it when characters are added to a story, but they lack description or major contributions. This is definitely a book that will force you to turn the page. I was constantly second-guessing what would happen and all of the theories of the outcome I had running through my mind were completely off. That is how surprising the ending was for me. To be quite honest, I was so shocked by the ending that I was left speechless, which does not happen often. The only thing I would not recommend regarding this book is to read it alone at night. Sager's descriptions of the crimes and the overall eeriness of Final Girls left me with chills. I cannot recommend this book enough. If you enjoy crime, suspense, or thrillers you have to pick this up! Cheers to Sager for doing an excellent job.
Book Description: "Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout's knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media's attempts, they never meet. Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past. That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy's doorstep. Blowing through Quincy's life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa's death come to light, Quincy's life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam's truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished."
Author: Catherine Lavendar
Title: In Black & White
Genre(s): Romance; Contemporary fiction; Women's fiction
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Review: This book was very touching and emotion evoking. Through the story of Micah learning about her biological father and the overwhelming gift he left her, Lavendar reminds us about the complexities of human relationships and how so many factors play into their success or failure. This book struck home as my own grandfather abandoned my mother and did not reach out to her until later in life. That kind of gesture can be both wonderful and devastating and I think that Micah's experience consisted of both feelings. This book also made me think of how I am living my life and the regrets I do not want to have when my time comes. Although I typically prefer books that take me to another time and place, I also like reading stories that make me think about my own life and how I can make it better. This book definitely makes you think! I really enjoyed the writing style of this novel. Although it was an emotional story, I felt that the words flowed really well making it easier to read.
Book Description: "Micah Winters always knew that she was different. It was the pigment of her skin and the texture of her hair that revealed that she was a woman from biracial parents. For five decades, Micah’s African American mother has remained silent about Micah’s estranged father (Sidney Irving). It is not until after Sidney Irving’s death that Micah learns that she is the daughter of the legendary novelist and screenwriter. Now with her mother’s memory fading away from Alzheimer’s disease, Micah can only rely on a novel that was written from her father years ago to understand her parents past during the time of segregation in the United States. Micah’s once simple life is not so simple anymore as she tries to make sense of an unfamiliar world as she inherits her father’s wealth and private past. With an abandoned heart, Micah must forgive the past in order to discover who she really is."
Author: Michelle Schlicher
Title: Me & Milo the Great
Genre(s): Coming of age; Teen; Literature and fiction
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Review: In just a few words, this novel is heart wrenching, warm, and magical. It has been a while since I have come across a book that truly makes me feel exactly what the characters are feeling. Schlicher has an incredible gift with words in a way that made Holiday and Milo so real for me. Holiday's story is tragic and defeating and in those moments I felt as if I was her. I could feel her depression radiate off the pages. The way her character went through life is a portrait of what someone with depression goes through on a daily basis. In her anxious moments I would begin to feel my own heart race because Schlicher's descriptions were bold and accurate. Until Holiday met Milo I almost felt worried that I wouldn't want to make it through the rest of the book because I was feeling so much for Holiday. However, when Milo was introduced I began to feel better while I was reading; there was light at the end of the tunnel. Once again, Schlicher created a character that made me feel exactly what the character conveyed. He was a ray of sunshine in Holiday's nightmare. I found myself smiling at the thought that sometimes we really do need someone special to pull us away from our devastation. Overall, I think this book is absolutely incredible and would be a dream for anyone who loves to become entrenched in the stories they read. Be prepared to feel what the characters go through!
Book Description: "My name is Holiday Sanchez. I carry a heavy burden. But I'm not the only one. There are others who know what it feels like to remember. Maybe they are the answer. Maybe we can help each other. Maybe I'll finally get past it. Maybe it just takes time—and a little bit of magic."
Author: Beau North
Title: Modern Love
Genre(s): Romance; Bisexual romance; LGBT romance; Multicultrual
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Review: This novel is very different from the typical romance stories that I read, yet it was also very familiar. For some reason, a lot of current romance authors fall trap to the vogue story of a young woman falling in love with a powerful mysterious man. Although Modern Love definitely had some different components from this popular storyline, the gist was essentially the same. I think that there could have been a lot more that North could have added to this story in terms of providing more intimate details of the characters and their troubles. Both Al and Will were extremely dynamic characters and they each had interesting pasts that I wish would have been more developed. The idea of this story was really cool and I enjoyed it as a light read, but I think the readers could have gotten a lot more from the characters and the story if it was longer and more detailed. When I did learn about the characters' pasts, the information was just dropped and not as intertwined within the story as I would have liked it to be. Will and Al also have a connection that I wish would have been developed more, either through more pages or even a second novel. I think there was a lot in the story and I really wanted more from it. Yeah, sure, the main characters are infatuated with one another and there is sexual tension, but when the writing becomes quick and sudden we sometimes lose the gravity of that tension. I wanted the lust to linger a bit more, which is why I think the book would have been a lot better if it was longer. This was especially true for me when it came to Will's chapters. I wanted to be inside of his head more, but the chapters were incredibly brief that it almost seemed pointless to read about his perspective. I ultimately gave this book 4 stars because it was really enjoyable as a quick summer read, and I liked the dynamic of Al being bisexual since I do not typically come across modern novels with various sexual attractions. However, I do wish it were longer because I could have gotten more from the characters and there were also several external references that I had to look up because I was unfamiliar with the individuals that were referenced. After knowing who the references were, it made sense for the characters, but not all readers would take the time to look them up if they did not know who they were. With all of that being said, I recommend this to anyone looking for a great romance novel with a different perspective. The characters were entertaining and will stay with you!
Book Description: "“Love at first sight wasn’t meant for millennials.” - So thinks Alice Aberdeen—art student, recovering addict, David Bowie enthusiast. Alice is among the recently dumped, and just wants to keep her nose down until she finishes her degree. Her sister Emma has other ideas, and sets her up with new-in-town Warinder “Will” Murphy- tall, dark, and aloof. To say it wasn’t love at first sight is an overstatement. He finds her too abrasive, with her sharp tongue and a don’t-screw-with-me attitude. She thinks he’s too reserved, too damn serious. But the more time Alice spends with Will, the more their slow burn begins to thaw her heart. A man of two worlds, half-Irish, half-Indian Will Murphy only feels at home when he’s with Alice. He soon realizes that her tough shell is hiding a lot of scar tissue, from her trials with addiction and recovery, to her spectacularly bad ex-girlfriend Jamie, to the loss of her mother. Modern Love isn’t a story about love at first sight, it’s about learning to love yourself before being able to see the one you love."
Author: Bella Forrest
Title: The Gender Secret
Genre(s): Scienct fiction & fantasy; Science fiction; Dystopian; Teens; Literature & fiction
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Review: When I read a series, I usually look for each installment to have its own mini story that can, in a way, stand on its own. The Gender Secret encompasses this trait that I desire in such a profound way. This book helped the series to move along through adventure, romance, and the addition of exciting characters. It also showed character development of both Violet and Vigo, as well as the development of their relationship and what it means to the story. When I first started listening to this audiobook, I became a little bit nervous that I would be able to easily predict the ending of the book. However, there were so many revelations and intriguing turns that I never saw the ending coming. I gave this book 4.5 stars instead of 5 because there was a great amount of the story that took place in the Green and I feel like the setting could have been developed a little bit further. There were some descriptions of different animals and even the forest that I wish would have been more descriptive because it left the intrigue lacking. Other than that, this installment was full of adventure and I am really excited to listen to the next installment!
Book Description: "Gliding over the treacherous Green in a shaky aircraft that she has no idea how to land, Violet Bates is still in shock. The harrowing events of the previous night play over in her mind as she asks herself question after question. Why did Lee Desmond Bertrand behave the way he did? What is the truth about the mysterious silver egg stowed beneath her seat? What happened to Viggo and where is her brother? Is either of them still alive? When Violet manages to reach the toxic ground alive, she has landed in a world of unimaginable danger. She has barely time to catch her breath before she is sucked into a perilous journey at breakneck speed - to uncover secrets guarded for centuries and find the only two people that matter."
Author: Julieann Dove
Title: Searching for Sarah
Genre(s): Literature and fiction; Women's fiction; Contemporary women
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Review: This book is absolutely adorable. I instantly fell in love with Sarah Keller and her quirky personality. Dove did such an amazing job at creating Sarah's character and making her incredibly distinct from any other character I've ever encountered through my readings. I genuinely felt a connection to her, as though she was a real life friend. I think that she is relatable in so many ways, especially how she has major trouble figuring out what she wants to do for a career. I also think her search for that perfect relationship is something that all women can relate to. And I liked how Sarah had a hard time seeing what was right in front of her face because I think that tends to happen in real life. Sophie and Sam made such an imprint on my heart as well, however, I was really shocked to learn more about their situation later in the book. This revelation definitely added a lot more drama to a light read. There were so many relationships that played into the plot and I think that Dove was able to write them out beautifully. Although I enjoyed this book immensely, I gave it 4 stars for two reasons. The first reason is that there were certain points throughout the book where the scene changed instantly and it was hard to keep up how it happened. I found myself re-reading paragraphs to figure out where the scene changed. The second reason is that the ending felt incredibly abrupt and I am not a huge fan of cliff hangers even if the book is in a series. I think that the ending could have involved more description and feeling since the entire rest of the book was written that way. Those two things aside, I would definitely recommend this book! It was really charming and enjoyable.
Book Description: "Sarah Keller is convinced that her Mr. Right is stuck in traffic…in another country…on another planet. ‘Thirty-one and still single’ isn’t how she wants to be introduced by her dad. That’s why she’s on five dating websites, posing as anything from an avid gardener to a crazed thrill seeker. Sam Turner is a single dad, workaholic, who owns his own company. Long-term relationships have never worked out for him. That’s why he needs a nanny. When a mutual friend suggests Sarah take the job temporarily, everything changes for them both. Sarah begins falling for the man who meets almost none of her online criteria. And when strange things start happening—things that jeopardize the safety of Sarah, Sam is the last person she would imagine is hiding something."
Author: Fern Ronay
Title: Better in the Morning
Genre(s): Contemporary women; Women's fiction; Literature and fiction
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Review: As a reader, every now and then I come across stories that touch my soul in a way that leaves an everlasting imprint. Better in the Morning did exactly that. This story is captivating, charming, and elegantly written. In the midst of my own chaotic life, I couldn't put this book down. Veronica is the essence of so many young women who make life choices for reasons that do not truly reflect their honest desires. She is incredibly witty and charismatic, but as you first get to know Veronica, her light is dulled due to the misery she is experiencing. I really enjoyed being witness to her journey of fighting through trial and error to get to the place that she always was destined to be. Ronay's way of integrating Veronica's relationship with her grandparents into the story was incredibly unique and unlike anything I have ever read before. Their relationship added a heartfelt aspect to the novel that left me feeling envious. This book really conveyed the dynamic of life and how easy it is for us to get stuck in a routine that leaves us feeling drowned and unfulfilled. It also revealed that when we take a step back and let what feels right unfold, life can become exactly what we need it to be. Better in the Morning will make you laugh out loud and shed a few tears! I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a great story with awesome character development and a few life lessons.
Book Description: "Veronica Buccino has a plan: marry John DelMonico and quit her soul-sucking job as a lawyer. And when he tells her he has big news, she's certain he'll pop the question. But instead of proposing, John informs her that he's moving to London. Heartbroken, Veronica feels lost. Salvatore and Antoinette, her dead grandparents, begin to visit her dreams in an attempt to steer her in the right direction. At their suggestion, Veronica takes a news reporting class, which leads to a challenging freelance assignment covering a conspiracy trial. She also begins dating an unlikely suitor: creative Syd Blackman. Just when her love life and career are looking up, Veronica is tossed back to square one by an event that makes her question all her new choices."
Author: Bella Forrest
Title: The Gender Game
Genre(s): Romance; Action and adventure; Teen and young adult; Mysteries and thrillers; Science fiction and fantasy
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Review: I am so incredibly thankful that this book is part of a series, because I am obsessed with it! Normally, I listen to my audiobooks during my drives, but I was so engrossed in this book that I couldn't stop listening to it. I think the idea of splitting the U.S. into two areas (Matrus and Patrus) is a really cool concept. I think it shows the importance of understanding how the ruling of one gender (no matter which one) would be detrimental to the country's citizens in one way or another. Aside from the world that Forrest created, Violet's character is captivating, strong, and vulnerable. She has so many aspects to her personality and I enjoyed seeing each facet pull through during different parts of the story. Despite her growing up as an orphan in Matrus, Violet was able to mold herself to fulfill a duty while she was sent to Patrus. Lee's character was really interesting as well. Not to give anything away, but I never felt like I really believed his story. Something always felt off when Lee was talking about his mission. The third main character, Viggo, is the essence of masculinity. I loved his character and the relationship he had with Violet. I think both of their histories and personalities made their connection even stronger. Obviously based on the star rating, I highly recommend this book. I think it would be a fun read for teens, young adults, and adults who like science fiction, action, and mild romance.
Book Description: "A toxic river divides nineteen-year-old Violet Bates's world by gender.
Women rule the East. Men rule the West. Welcome to the lands of Matrus and Patrus. Ever since the disappearance of her beloved younger brother, Violet's life has been consumed by an anger she struggles to control. Already a prisoner to her own nation, now she has been sentenced to death for her crimes. But one decision could save her life. To enter the kingdom of Patrus, where men rule and women submit. Everything about the patriarchy is dangerous for a rebellious girl like Violet. She cannot break the rules if she wishes to stay alive. But abiding by rules has never been her strong suit, and when she is thrust into more danger than she could have ever predicted, Violet is forced to sacrifice many things in the forbidden kingdom ... including forbidden love. In a world divided by gender, only the strongest survive..."
Author: Emily Maynard
Title: I Said Yes
Genre(s): Biographies and memoirs; Arts and literature; Religious; Actors and entertainer
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Review: I think that Emily is incredibly brave to have written this book and have it published. In this biography, Emily takes us through her difficult times and her happiest of times. At a few points, she talks about her battle with suicide. This is one of those topics that may come across as taboo to talk about, but Emily made her experience incredibly relatable. As I was watching the Bachelor and Bachelorette, I felt like I wanted to get to know Emily on a deeper level. This book let all of her fans do exactly that and even more so by helping her come across as more than just a reality TV star. I enjoyed learning about her relationship with Ricky Hendricks and how her relationship with her baby girl changed her life after the devastation of losing her fiancee. Disclosure: I am not a particularly religious person, but I think that Emily's journey of finding herself through her belief in God was really cool to read about. Emily also wrote about her experience on the Bachelor and the Bachelorette, which cleared up a lot of mystery for her fans. Emily has been engaged four times and its curious how she got to that point. Emily's book is extremely vulnerable and raw and a really good read for anyone who is interested in her story or just a heartfelt story of a woman on her life's journey.
Book Description: "Millions know Emily Maynard Johnson from her unprecedented double appearances on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. Millions also know that neither of the relationships from those shows lasted much longer than a commercial break. Overcome with embarrassment following her nationally televised failures at romance, Emily finally committed her heart to the only one she knew would never leave her empty and alone. Abandoning her desire to be chosen by men and finding peace in the fact that she was already chosen by God, Emily found the joy she had been looking for in serving God. In I Said Yes, Emily tells the story of her life before and after reality TV fame, describing the profound new reality she discovered when she forsook fame in favor of the Lord. At the end of a long, fruitless search for a man, this courageous young woman found the truest love of all waiting right in front of her. To that love, Emily said yes."
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Title: Glass Sword
Genre(s): Teens; Romance; Science fiction and dystopian; Fantasy
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Review: This book was such an extreme disappointment after reading Red Queen. Ultimately, I felt like not much happened in this book and it could have been watered down to fit into either Red Queen or King's Cage. The story kept going around in circles and it seemed like there were very few things that the plot accomplished even though it was a fairly long book. The plot was not the only thing that was stuck in this book. I felt like Mare did very little growing of developing in this book of the series. There was very little self-discovery and that was very frustrating as a reader who loved the first novel. There were some important issues that came up that were relevant to the plot, but there could have been a lot more depth added to those issues. Instead everything came across as superficial almost as if this book was a pit stop between Red Queen and King's Cage. I am honestly really saddened by how frustrated this book made me because I am hesitant to read the King's Cage in fear of being disappointed again. Honestly, I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read King's Cage, and needs the information from this book for the third one to make sense.
Book Description: "The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they've always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul. Mare Barrow's blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control. The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind. Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors. But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?"