Review: The Darkest Corners

Title: The Darkest Corners
Author: Kara Thomas
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Mystery Thriller
Publication Date: April 19, 2016
GoodReads

Synopsis:

There are ghosts around every corner in Fayette, Pennsylvania. Tessa left when she was nine and has been trying ever since not to think about it after what happened there that last summer. Memories of things so dark will burn themselves into your mind if you let them.

Callie never left. She moved to another house, so she doesn’t have to walk those same halls, but then Callie always was the stronger one. She can handle staring into the faces of her demons—and if she parties hard enough, maybe one day they’ll disappear for good.

Tessa and Callie have never talked about what they saw that night. After the trial, Callie drifted and Tessa moved, and childhood friends just have a way of losing touch.

But ever since she left, Tessa has had questions. Things have never quite added up. And now she has to go back to Fayette—to Wyatt Stokes, sitting on death row; to Lori Cawley, Callie’s dead cousin; and to the one other person who may be hiding the truth.

Only the closer Tessa gets to the truth, the closer she gets to a killer—and this time, it won’t be so easy to run away.

Review:

This took a me a long time to review. It’s not that it was a bad book – it was quite good in fact. I think it was because I didn’t know what to do with it. At the end, I had so many questions that didn’t have answers. Here I am, a year later, reflecting on it, and I still say that it’s a pretty great book.

I did like Tessa though. I enjoyed accompanying her on her hunt for clues, even when her curiosity made my stomach clench in fear for her. In the end, I also ended up liking Callie, despite my initial annoyance with her character. She grows up, I think, a lot throughout the novel.

Admittedly, the pacing was a little slow. There was a lot of history of the characters and of the town itself, and a lot of “why me” thoughts. But I felt like the book as a whole was put together well. Nothing was revealed too quickly, and I liked that there were some dead ends. It helped make the story more intriguing and creepy.

I read this book when I was taking a criminal profiling class in uni and I found it fascinating to learn and read about this whole thing simultaneously. While I found that some things made sense, I felt that there were a couple things that were a bit of a stretch. In the end though, I was too surprised to really care much about the couple of things that didn’t really click for me.

The end itself was quite the surprise for me, but at the same time, it left me wondering so many things. I get that there wouldn’t be a second one, but maybe a little more added to the ending would have been eye opening, or it might have ruined it, I don’t know.

The thing I love about Kara is that her books always surprise me. I really enjoyed her Prep School Confidential series, and I loved this books as well. I look forward to diving into her new book, Little Monsters, when it comes out in July!

Plot: 4.5/5
Characters: 4.5/5
World Building: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Pacing: 4/5
Overall: 4.5/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.78/5

eARC obtained via Delacorte Press via Random House Children’s via NetGalley.

Review: Before I Fall

Title: Before I Fall
Author: Lauren Oliver
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: October 25, 2010
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Synopsis:

For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12—”Cupid Day”—should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is…until she dies in a terrible accident that night.

However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined.

I wrote this review for a media class, and I figured I’d post it since a) I already wrote it, and b) the movie just released recently. Let me know if you want more reviews like this in the future. Here it is:

I turned the last page of Before I Fall expecting one more line, a funny quip, or even an epilogue. All I got were the Acknowledgements, and I sat there for a moment stunned. How could it just end like that?

Originally published in 2010, the novel Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver is gaining worldwide attention due to the upcoming release of its movie adaption by the same name. The movie stars Vampire Academy actress Zoey Deutch as Samantha Kingston. According to the synopsis, Sam is popular, has the perfect boyfriend, and dies on Friday, February 12, only to wake up the next morning and relive the day of her death six more times.

I decided to take a chance on the book before watching the movie. As they say, the book is always better.

Without spoiling anything, I have to say that Samantha’s character undergoes a huge transformation throughout the story. Although we only see seven days of her life, her character develops exponentially. Sam plays by the rules of her friend group without really questioning why they do the things they do. As the book progresses, we see Sam become herself, living her life authentically and being more accountable for her actions.

Each relived day is spent differently – the first two are slightly similar, then she spends a couple full of angst, and then another day is spent solely with her family. Each day is a testament to how multifaceted our lives are, and how easily we neglect different aspects of them.

Something I often didn’t think about during high school was that my friends were basically my family. I saw them eight to nine hours a day, spoke to them when I was home, and hung out with them during the weekend. My family was on the backburner. This is true in Sam’s story as well. Her friends have become such a large part of her life that her family is neglected as a result.

That being said, there is more to it than that. With friends, there is the potential for judgment and shame for saying or doing the wrong things. There is also a certain amount of scrutiny that you are under when you are popular. Sam reflects on this as she watches her friends bully people, her boyfriend belittle her, and people’s reactions to her being nice. It is fascinating how much is missed when focusing on oneself.

Before I Fall encourages readers to examine their everyday choices. A couple changes here and there lead Sam to learn things about her friends, family, teachers, and classmates that she would never have known otherwise. Her relationships were superficial, and she drifted through life with ease. When push came to shove, however, she began to see people for who they were and began to challenge the status quo.

Before I Fall is a very easy book to lose yourself in – the plot is well developed, the characters are thoroughly fleshed out, and the story feels real, relevant, and heartbreaking. In the end, I gave Before I Fall four and a half stars of five.

Plot: 4.5/5
Characters: 5/5
World Building: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Cover: 4/5
Overall: 4.5/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.92/5

Review: The Truth She Knew

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Title: The Truth She Knew [Book #1]
Author: J.A. Owenby
Publication Date: Sept 12, 2016
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Mama didn’t want me. In fact, she would’ve traded my soul back for someone different if God would’ve let her, but he didn’t, so she was stuck with me.
For eighteen-year-old Lacey, life at home is a rollercoaster. She doesn’t think she’ll ever be good enough to truly deserve Mama’s love.

But when Lacey enters college and meets Walker, everything starts to change. Suddenly, Lacey is face to face with the realization that maybe what she’s always seen as normal really isn’t. Her entire life—and everything she’s ever believed about herself and her family—is abruptly hanging in midair.

Lacey is left facing two paths, and she has to make a choice. The first means walking away from everything she’s ever known. The other means never really knowing the truth.

I finished this book and wanted to scream like WHAT THE HELL IS THAT ENDING!?!? I can’t even. WHY.

Lacey believes that she is possessed by demons because that’s what her mother says. And she also believes that her mother has a special relationship with God. Lacey believes that God tells her mother what she does when she’s not home, because her mother somehow knows everything.

Enter Walker, normal guy, normal life, relatively normal family. When he meets Lacey, he begins to show her that maybe her family isn’t “normal.”

As a whole, this book was both insanely what-on-earth and yet amazing. Lacey’s belief in her mother’s “relationship” with God is astounding – and it’s sad to think that there are people who live like that. If their family is all they know, they will never be able to tell what’s “normal” and what’s absolutely, totally, insanely wrong. Lacey doesn’t realize that her family is crazy simply because it’s been something that she grew up with, lived with, and has been reinforced through her sister and her mother’s “friend.” There are so many things wrong with Lacey’s perception of the world, and I think this book does a great job of showing how skewed it can be and how much of an impact family can have.

Note: I’m not saying her family is crazy ’cause they’re religious (I mean, I’m Christian, and I’m like 90% sure I’m not crazy…), they’re crazy and dysfunctional for very different reasons…

Lacey grew A LOT throughout this book, and her character grew to be better, stronger, more resilient. Then there’s Walker… Oh man. There’s so much about the second half of the book that I want to just toss out there, but it’ll spoil the book. BUT I WAS SO ANGRY. LIKE… F U R I O U S.

In part, I get why it happened, kind of. But it really flipped some of my initial judgements on their head. I actually got so mad at the end, and then the book was suddenly done. AND I WAS SCREAMING. Ask my roommate.

I mean, it’s one thing to have that happen and for the book to progress, but everything just hits the fan, and the book ends only like 20 pages later.

LIKE WHAT?

YOU CAN’T DO THAT — JHLAKJHFLKAJSDHKAJDH

Anyways, so the book ends – I fly to GoodReads, and I’m both frustrated and relieved to find that this is actually the first book in a series.

Now I’m waiting for the next book to release and am hoping that we see a lot more of Lacey as she tries to navigate the world with her new perspectives (and a few dashed hopes).

Plot: 4.5/5
Characters: 4.5/5
World: 5/5
Writing: 4.5/5
Cover: 4/5
Overall: 4.5/5
GoodReads Rating: 4.46/5

eARC obtained through Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Kisses on a Paper Airplane

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Title: Kisses on a Paper Airplane
Author: Sarah Vance Tompkins
Publication Date: May 14, 2016
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Drama student Hannah Evans isn’t kissing any frogs on her path to find Prince Charming. She’s determined to share the perfect first kiss — with the perfect boy — in the perfect place — or she’s not kissing anyone at all. When Hannah meets a cute ginger-haired boy in first class lounge in the London airport, she knows he’s ‘The One.’

Pop star Theo Callahan is on the road to get as far away as possible from his back-stabbing best friend, and his supermodel girlfriend who broke his heart. Until one shy smile from Hannah has him rethinking all of his travel plans.

Theo is smitten, but he’s worried she’s just a groupie in search of the ultimate selfie. Can Theo learn to trust Hannah in time to share one perfect first kiss, or will Hannah be forced to kiss a frog?

Kisses on a Paper Airplane is a quick, simple read, but I honestly did not enjoy it.

Hannah Evans is travelling home to attend her mother’s wedding. Her step-father-to-be got her a first class ticket from London, and during her time in the first-class lounge, she catches the interest of a good looking pop star AND FAINTS BECAUSE HE’S SO BEAUTIFUL.

There’s instalove and there’s over dramatics. How many people do you know see a good looking person and pass out. Like, I’m sorry, what?

Once conscious, she captures Theo’s heart and they get massages together, they sit with each other on the plane, and then become besties on the verge of an instalove relationship during the like three days of travel and 5 minutes of her mother’s wedding.

On top of the absolutely unbelievable story line, she talks like a fourteen year old. She’s in college/university now, and she keeps talking about “the one” and saying like “is he my frog prince?” “Maybe I have to kiss a bunch of frogs to get my frog prince.” I don’t know if this book was supposed to be a kind of retelling of the Princess and the Frog, but it was so overplayed and the language was trying way too hard to be “relevant” and “cutesy”.

Overall, probably wouldn’t recommend this to anyone, unless you like fluff language and instalove…

Plot: 2/5
Characters: 2/5
World Building: 4/5
Writing: 1/5
Cover: 3.5/5
Overall: 1/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.71/5

eARC obtained via Inkspell Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

Review: Not Quite So Short Stories

27857855Title: Not Quite So Stories
Author: David S. Atkinson
Publication Date: March 1, 2016
Genre: Short Stories Fiction
GoodReads

Synopsis:

The traditional explanation for myth (including such works as the relatively modern Just so Stories by Rudyard Kiping) is an attempt by humans to explain and demystify the world. That’s crap. We may be able to come to terms with small pieces, but existence as a whole is beyond our grasp. Life is absurd, ultimately beyond our comprehension. The best we can do is to proceed on with our lives in the face of that. The stories in this collection proceed from this idea, examining how the different characters manage (and/or fail) to do this.

Not Quite So Stories was one of the oddest books I’ve ever read, in the best possible way.

Let me try to break it down for you – have you ever seen those twitter trends where tweets take a twist in the 140 characters allowed? Well this book is like that except with short stories. Each story was unique, and each story had me absolutely confounded by the end – some due to awe at how deep the short story got, some due to absolute confusion as to why it was even a thing, and some due to annoyance ’cause I really wanted an explanation to why it was a thing (even though the synopsis states clearly that that’s literally the reason why is was written).

I enjoyed about 90% of the stories in this books, the other 10% were okay, but just didn’t appeal to me. Something that was hard to work out for me was taking the work as it was. Often times, I’d flip back pages to figure out if I missed something, when I didn’t, it’s just that the “weird” part of it all wasn’t explained. This both added and detracted from my reading experience.

On one had it was really interesting to read the stories and think, “Hey, that’s really weird and funny” or “I see what you did there, interesting”, while other times I’d be like, “What??”, and then re-read the story from the beginning – leaving it no less confused than when I had read it the first time.

Overall, definitely would recommend. The stories get you thinking about everyday life, as well as get your spirits up. This isn’t a book you have to sit down for a while to read either – each story gives you a dose of happy! My top three stories talk about rolling oranges, toilet paper, and disappearing houses, haha. Check it out – I think there’s something in this book for everyone!

Plot: 4.5/5
Characters: 4/5
World Building: 4.5/5
Writing: 4/5
Cover
: 3/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
GoodReads Rating: 4.48/5

eBook obtained via Roger Charlie in exchange for an honest review.

Review: How Many Letters Are In Goodbye?

26404153Title: How Many Letters Are In Goodbye?
Author: Yvonne Cassidy
Publication Date: March 8, 2016
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
GoodReads

Synopsis:

It’s been almost eleven years since Rhea Farrell last wrote to her mother.

It was a Friday night ritual – until Rhea’s father decided it was stupid to write letters to a dead person. That was the summer before the accident. The summer before Rhea began to keep her first secret.

Now about to turn eighteen, Rhea finds herself alone on the streets of New York with nobody to talk to about the future, or the past. So, just like she used to do as a little girl, she begins a letter with the words ‘Dear Mum’ and tells her mother the things she can’t tell anyone else.

In the city where Allison Farrell was born, her daughter begins to delve into her past. And as she uncovers more about who her mother truly was, Rhea starts to figure out exactly who she herself wants to be. And that sometimes it takes longer than you think to say goodbye…

Did I pick this book up because of its intriguing cover? Maybe… But did I stay for the story? Definitely.

I saw this book and thought of 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson, and thought I’d give it a shot. To be perfectly honest with you, the beginning of this book took me about two weeks to get through. It was difficult getting into the story – Rhea begins as a curious, but fairly bitter character – she’s an orphan and has been scorned by the only family she has left, it makes sense. However, this is probably where the story loses a few points for me. As it was so hard for me to get into, a fair amount of the first third of the book was something I had to push myself through.

That being said, as time went on – as she met new people, gained better influences, and got back into the world – Rhea really began to grow on me as a character – I actually began to like her!

This book really depicts how people can change people – given the right opportunities and the right support, anyone can come back from the darkness they’ve shrouded themselves in. This book was a roller coaster of emotion. It made me love her family, and then hate them for backstabbing her. Then I loved a few of the other characters, and again trust was broken. Scorned, betray, distrustful – I understood all these emotions through Rhea and I felt for her – as new characters began popping up, I approached them with the same distrust she did. It’s hard to be let down so many times without becoming jaded.

The story unfolds slowly, but very well. While I believe the pacing could have been better (i.e. this book could have been a lot shorter), I liked that I got to know Rhea so well. I liked that they really dug into her history and what made her her, but also put focus on the future – who she was, how she could grow, and who she could become one day.

Of the novel, there was one point in particular that surprised me – mainly because it wasn’t advertised, and it was done so well – it was so subtle that I felt it was natural. Of course that was it, of course that happened – why wouldn’t it?

As a whole, How Many Letters Are In Goodbye was very well crafted and very well done.

Plot: 3.5/5
Characters: 4/5
World Building: 4.5/5
Writing: 4/5
Cover: 5/5
Overall: 3.5/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.46/5

eARC obtained via Flux via NetGalley

Review: Every Last Word

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Title: Every Last Word
Author: Tamara Ireland Stone
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: June 16, 2015
GoodReads

Synopsis:

If you could read my mind, you wouldn’t be smiling.

Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off.

Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn’t help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she’d be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam’s weekly visits to her psychiatrist.

Caroline introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more “normal” than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.

First thing’s first. I cannot attest to the legitimacy of the portrayal of OCD or anxiety in this novel. I know nothing about either disorder or its effect on a person’s way of thinking or acting.

That being said, this books spun out a wonderful story about healing and self-discovery. Sam wove a web of secrets for herself, keeping her condition hidden, but also her new friend and locker neighbour Caroline. However, she spent a great amount of time trying to ensure that her acceptance in the popular circle was secure.

That being said, when she discovers the Poet’s Corner, she learns that there are people out there who are having a hard time with life too. She begins writing and finds that it helps her keep her brain in check.

I really liked the poetry aspects of this novel. It reminded me a little bit of Collen Hoover’s Slammed, with a little more camaraderie and a little less teacher x student love haha. As I’ve said in the past, poetry really gets to the heart of things and expresses feelings and aspects of characters that you’d have never known about otherwise. It’s so hard to see into the heads of those around you, but poetry helps lay it all out there for the world to see. The poetry is probably was what sold me on the book, but it wasn’t all perfect.

One thing I didn’t quite understand about this book is how she was able to keep her OCD so hidden. While I’m no expert in it, I’ve read other books where the repetitiveness of a task is clear and overpowering. Sam’s wasn’t quite that. There were just enough scenes to ensure that readers never forgot she had the condition, but it never overpowered her, especially since it sounded like her diagnosis was quite extreme. She just seemed like a normal girl with a couple hangups, like her need for the speedometer to read a certain way. While there were intrusive thoughts and some aspects that showed the difficulties with the condition, it just didn’t seem like a prominent aspect of the book to me, like it was addressed, but then moved away from after a moment.

The end of the novel was a real twist. I don’t know if this is supposed to be some kind of paranormal thing, or if this is actually possible, but the end of the book definitely surprised me. Again, I’m not an expert in this subject in any way. This is just what I think, and I thought it was a really interesting end to the novel.

Overall, I think this novel is a good one to read. It has an great story line that had me sobbing at some points, and a lot of insightful poetry and characters that have their own unique voices.

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
World Building: 3.5/5
Writing: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5
GoodReads: 4.18/5

eARC obtained via Disney-Hyperion via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Uprooted

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Title: Uprooted
Author: Naomi Novik
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publication Date: May 19, 2015
GoodReads

Synopsis:

“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

This whole entire novel was not about what I had expected it to be about. The synopsis is extremely vague and to be honest only reveals what’s in the first 2-3 chapters. This entire novel was like inhaling a trilogy of books, without the painful year long waiting between parts. There are so many sub-plots within the plot and history within these pages. It’s honestly one of my favourite fantasy novels of this year, and maybe ever.

It is honestly so hard to describe how amazing this book was without spoiling anything. Ahh!

The story set up is absolutely perfect. We start in Agnieszka’s village, move to the Dragon’s tower (note, he is not in fact a scaly creature), then into the Wood, then into the Capital city, back to the tower, back to the Wood. There’s so many changes in setting and characters that the book keeps you entertained throughout. While each setting is sectioned out, so are the character introductions – we meet the main character’s family and friends in her village, then history of the Dragon in his tower, then other characters depending on where the story takes us next. The fact that the setting and characters are presented in such digestible tidbits made the whole book more enjoyable as it was easier to follow where people were going and what was happening in the novel.

I read this novel as an ARC, and I’ve found the response interesting. A lot of people rage on and on about the “kidnapping” not really being a kidnapping, because the MC gets to live in a tower and get nice clothes, etc. However, something that they miss is that it is horrifying. Said tribute is taken away from her home, her friends, her family – torn from her community and culture. She is placed with a less than amiable wizard, and honestly, I don’t know how people see becoming refined as a gift and not a ten year long social redevelopment project. The response to this element of the novel has really made me think about it. Sure, the outcome isn’t bad, but there is a large negative aspect to it that nearly mimics real life in some ways… just food for thought for those who have yet to read it (this is all revealed in the first 20 pages, no spoilers, I promise!).

I think my favourite part of the novel was the antagonist. It wasn’t a specific person, per say, but a thing. A terrifying thing that consumes a person from the outside in – first their body, then their soul. The Wood was likely one of the more interesting antagonists as it’s so evil without any conscious thought. Honestly, the scenes set in it freaked me out haha. Further, the story behind it was extremely interesting and actually moving. This aspect of the novel was built well.

One thing I wish had been better is the Dragon’s personality. There’s so much there to pull at, and I feel like we missed a lot of history in his lack of emotional and overall character exposure. Also, the MC was a little dense at times, but otherwise quite a strong female lead for this novel!

Overall, this was an extremely intricate book, and it truly captured my heart. It’s quite long, and the beginning isn’t as interesting as it could be, but in the end I thought the entire experience was well worth the effort. A beautifully constructed novel that really gets you thinking about suffering, revenge, and friendship.

Characters: 4/5
Plot: 5/5
World Building: 4.5/5
Writing: 4.5/5
Cover: 5/5
Overall: 5/5
GoodReads Rating: 4.2/5

eARC obtained via Random House Publishing Group via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Breakaway

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Title: Breakaway
Author: Kat Spears
Publication Date: September 15, 2015
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
GoodReads

Synopsis:

When Jason Marshall’s younger sister passes away, he knows he can count on his three best friends and soccer teammates—Mario, Jordie, and Chick—to be there for him. With a grief-crippled mother and a father who’s not in the picture, he needs them more than ever. But when Mario starts hanging out with a rough group of friends and Jordie finally lands the girl of his dreams, Jason is left to fend for himself while maintaining a strained relationship with troubled and quiet Chick. Then Jason meets Raine, a girl he thinks is out of his league but who sees him for everything he wants to be, and he finds himself pulled between building a healthy and stable relationship with a girl he might be falling in love with, grieving for his sister, and trying to hold onto the friendships he has always relied on.

This book was a surprise. I’m one of those “judge a book by their cover” type people. I did not expect this book to be as intense or as heartbreaking as it was, based on this cover. Honestly, I kind of wish they would change it a little, simply because I can’t see any of the guys I know, or knew, reading this in public. They probably wouldn’t even pick it up to see what it’s about, let alone purchase it and read it, even though this is a book that needs to be read.

When I first cracked the covers, I didn’t like it. The language at the beginning tried a little too hard to be “gangster” or “slang” filled, and it didn’t work well for me. It gave me the impression that the book would be a mission to read. I didn’t give up though, since I’m stubborn like that, and kept going. As the book went on, you could really see the characters starting to open up and reveal themselves to you.

The main character, Jason, really grows up throughout the novel. He starts out hating everything – the people at school who are “mourning” over his sister, his mother’s withdrawal, this one girl who thinks hooking up is the same as mourning – and it drives his character throughout the first bit of the book. As he slowly gets over his loss, he turns his thoughts to other things – his friends, a girl who’s caught his eye, his mother’s health, his need to distract himself.

While there is romance in this book, there’s also pain and loss, friendship and family, obligation and want. Even though there wasn’t really a climax in this novel, or any revelation that changes the world and the school, and how I look at the world, it was a wonderful read. It was just life, the nitty gritty parts of reality that we often forget about, or wish that we could forget about. It shows us that it’s the little things that change who we are and how we see one another and ourselves. This book is slow to develop, but once it starts the experience is 100% worth it. Honestly, I had no clue what I was getting myself into when I read this novel, but I loved it, and I think that people should give it a shot.

Plot: 4.5/5
Characters: 5/5
World Building: 4/5
Writing: 5/5
Cover: 3/5
Overall: 5/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.92/5

eARC obtained via St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Confess

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Title: Confess
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publication Date: March 10, 2015
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover Owen is keeping major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin…

HOLY MOTHER OF TEARS. That hurt. Like good hurt. For the most part.

The prologue tore my heart to pieces ’cause it was beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. However, the book couldn’t make me love it.

The romance, first of all, was too easy. It was too instant, and too much all at once. When I finished, I thought about it and realized that the two only actually knew each other for about a week, max. Sure, it was a week that got split up across a longer timeline, but essentially it was a week. We actually saw more of the antagonist than the protagonist’s love interest and that annoyed me, especially since they were basically declaring their eternal love for each other by the end of the novel. Like please. No.

That being said, I LOVED the concept behind Owen’s studio. It breaks my heart that every single confession in this book is real and was submitted by actual people, who actually experienced these things, or are still experiencing these things. Yes, some of them were beautiful, lovely, and cute, but others were heartbreaking and awful to read, but at the same time, gave the book something real to hold onto. And the art was fantastic. I love Hoover’s need to put a unique spin on all her books – the was spoken word poetry, a deaf artist, journal entries of the past, etc., and now art. This concept was amazing, and I think it was awesome of Hoover to have her fans participate in this.

Auburn was a fine character. She was quite whiny at times, but overall, my feelings towards her a neutral. She didn’t bore me to tears, but at the same time, my heart didn’t fall to pieces when she told her story. Same with Owen. I couldn’t make myself care about his character, especially since much of the novel could have been solved if he had told Auburn the truth, or the police the truth. Either or would have worked really.

That being said, I really hated the antagonists in this novel. They were annoying to read, and I even wanted to punch them a couple of times based on what they said. Even then, however, Auburn never made a huge comeback for me. She was tossed to the ground so often that I wanted to kick those who tortured her, but at the same time, she was so passive about it all that she made me almost not care about the situation, thus dampening the impact of the story on me. She never fought back until the very end, and even then it was only half-way to what I had wanted.

Overall, a fantastic concept, but the overall execution left something to be desired.

Plot: 3.5/5
Characters: 4/5
World Building: 5/5
Writing: 4.5/5
Cover: 5/5
Overall: 4/5
GoodReads Rating: 4.33/5

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