Mini Reviews #6 – Mini Mini Reviews

Mini Reviews #6 – Mini Mini ReviewsThe Last Thing You Said by Sara Biren
Published by Harry N. Abrams
on April 4th 2017
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Amazon, Goodreads

Last summer, Lucy’s and Ben’s lives changed in an instant. One moment, they were shyly flirting on a lake raft, finally about to admit their feelings to each other after years of yearning. In the next, Trixie—Lucy’s best friend and Ben’s sister—was gone, her heart giving out during a routine swim. And just like that, the idyllic world they knew turned upside down, and the would-be couple drifted apart, swallowed up by their grief. Now it’s a year later in their small lake town, and as the anniversary of Trixie’s death looms, Lucy and Ben’s undeniable connection pulls them back together. They can’t change what happened the day they lost Trixie, but the summer might finally bring them closer to healing—and to each other.

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I have mixed feelings on The Last Thing You Said. I’m not really sure what it is. Honestly I loved some parts of it. I loved the part where both Lucy and Ben were dealing with their grief in vastly different ways. I loved the setting of the beach. I loved Lucy’s friend. But there was also a lot I was confused by. Honestly I hated how Ben treated Lucy and how Lucy let him treat her. I hated a lot of the things that Lucy did. I do admit the grief of Ben and Lucy and how much they missed Trixie was done really well. That was the one part of the story I felt and understood. But everything else was sadly just not for me.

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Mini Reviews #6 – Mini Mini ReviewsBy Your Side by Kasie West
Published by Harper Teen
on January 31st 2017
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon, Goodreads

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This book. Oh this book. The more I am away from my read of it the more I realize just how much I didn’t really like it. This was strange for me because I have never not loved a Kasie West book. But By Your Side just didn’t do it for me. It had all the ingredients, library [check]; trapped [check]; opposites attract [check]; cute boy [check, check, check] but all of those ingredients just didn’t pan out. The library was 100% not used to its best ability and because of that I felt duped into the book we did end up getting. It was like once Dax and Autumn got out of the library I was reading a whole new book, and it was a book I never saw coming. In the end I just didn’t feel like I got what I signed up for and I was left disappointed.

 

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Mini Reviews #6 – Mini Mini ReviewsThe One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr
Published by Penguin Teen
on May 2nd 2017
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Amazon, Goodreads

Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. She lives under the careful watch of her parents, in a town she is familiar with, among people who are equally familiar with her story. She has not been able to recall any part of her past since she was ten, when the tumor that was removed from her brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend's boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. She lives under the careful watch of her parents, in a town she is familiar with, among people who are equally familiar with her story. She has not been able to recall any part of her past since she was ten, when the tumor that was removed from her brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend's boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Miraculously, this singular memory pierces Flora's fractured mind, and sticks. Flora is convinced that Drake and their shared kiss are responsible for restoring her memory and making her whole again. So when an encouraging email from Drake suggests she meet him on the other side of the world, Flora knows with certainty that this is the first step in reclaiming her life.

With little more than the tattoo "be brave" inked into her skin, and written reminders of who she is, how old, where she lives, and why her memory is so limited, Flora sets off on an impossible journey to the land of the midnight sun--Svalbard, Norway. There she is determined to find Drake, and to explore the romantic possibilities and hopeful future that their reunion promises her. But from the moment she arrives in the arctic, nothing is quite as it seems, and Flora must "be brave" if she is ever to learn the truth about herself, and to make it safely home.

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I’m not gonna lie, I struggled with this book. I didn’t struggle because it wasn’t good but I struggled because I was frustrated. And I felt terrible about being frustrated by it because I could only imagine what Flora was actually going through. But the truth is I had a hard time because this book was super repetitive. And believe me, I understand why it was, but it just kind of pulled me out of the story because I felt like I was reading the same page over and over. Really though, Flora had an incredible journey finding out how brave and strong she truly was and there was one part that I didn’t see coming until much later into the book. When all is said and done though, this book just wasn’t right for me. I do feel like it would have been a fun movie.

 

 

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Review: Words in Deep Blue – Cath Crowley

Review: Words in Deep Blue – Cath CrowleyWords in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers
on June 6th 2017
Format: Paperback
Source: Borrowed
Amazon, Goodreads

Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came.

Now Rachel has returned to the city—and to the bookshop—to work alongside the boy she’d rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can’t feel anything anymore.

As Henry and Rachel work side by side—surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages—they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it’s possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough.

Confession: The subject matter for Words in Deep Blue made me cringe when I read the description. People writing in books? SAY WHAT??!!?? That sounds blasphemous.  But actually it was the perfect complement to Cath Crowley’s book about putting yourself back together when you think you will be broken forever.

I guess that was the beauty of Words in Deep Blue. Rachel was completely broken. She was gutted after the loss of her brother and doesn’t really know how she fits in the world anymore. All of a sudden she finds herself back in the past she left behind and around the guy that broke her heart, Henry, her best friend. Slowly Rachel starts to put her fragmented heart and soul together with the help of people that were once so important to her and I just loved that. I loved seeing her and Henry get back to a place that was theirs and figure out what the actually mean to each other.

And I have to say I loved the humor Henry brought to the story. Straight up, he was an idiot. He was just so stupid about so many things and it killed me. But not in an annoying way. He was just so clueless about Rachel and things he knew nothing about. He was sweet and charming and sincere. I loved him. But man oh man he was so so clueless.  He was Rachel’s perfect counterpart.

Really I can’t say anything else about this book other than it is fantastic. There has to be something in the water in Australia. I mean there is no way Aussie authors can be this good right?? Words in Deep Blue is my 3rd Cath Crowley 5 star book and every time I finish one of her masterpieces I wonder just how she does it. Make sure this gem is on your TBR.

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Review: The Names They Gave Us – Emery Lord

Review: The Names They Gave Us – Emery LordThe Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
on May 16th 2017
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Amazon, Goodreads

Lucy Hansson was ready for a perfect summer with her boyfriend, working at her childhood Bible camp on the lake and spending quality time with her parents. But when her mom's cancer reappears, Lucy falters-in her faith and in her ability to cope. When her boyfriend "pauses" their relationship and her summer job switches to a different camp-one for troubled kids-Lucy isn't sure how much more she can handle. Attempting to accept a new normal, Lucy slowly regains footing among her vibrant, diverse coworkers, Sundays with her mom, and a crush on a fellow counselor. But when long-hidden family secrets emerge, can Lucy set aside her problems and discover what grace really means?

Emotionally-charged and unforgettable, Emery Lord's storytelling shines with the promise of new love and true friendship, even in the face of life's biggest challenges.

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Sometimes you read a book and you just don’t even know what to say about it. It is pretty much perfect in all the ways that surprise you yet don’t surprise you at all. It will make you feel things as you read, make you cry, make you laugh, make you swoon. That is what The Names They Gave Us did to me. In typically Emery Lord fashion I was blown away by this book’s beauty and realness.

I’m not really sure how to describe what I felt and loved about this book. First and foremost I feel like I should say that this is what you would call a “cancer book” or even a “religion book”. Sure those are huge parts of Lucy’s story, parts of who Lucy is, but I don’t think those are the two things that end up defining her. What ends up defining Lucy is Lucy. She decides to open her mind and heart to new experiences and to new people. And Lucy decides it is okay to not trust in her faith, to be angry at the hand she has been dealt. To me that is really what The Names They Gave Us is all about, finding out who you are and want to be and being okay with it. Don’t get me wrong, Lucy’s mother having cancer is a major part of this story and truly broke my heart for Lucy, but that is just the beginning of her story. With the help of a new camp, new friends and a boy to mend her broken heart a new, stronger Lucy is born and that is the heart of the whole story. Well that and the friends Lucy makes

Lucy’s friends at the new camp are truly amazing and inspiring. They are all dealing with something whether it is anxiety or illness or abuse. They all have some kind of baggage but they also don’t carry that baggage alone. They let each other help and they rely on one another for support. It is the definition of a true friendship. And they willing, okay, some more than others, take Lucy into their fold which is something she needed desperately without even knowing it.  And this isn’t even talking about the beauty that is Henry and what he adds to the change in Lucy. Gah. I’m smiling just thinking about Lucy and Henry.

Truth, I’m not convinced Emery Lord is human. Okay well I know she is because I have met her, but still. The Names They Gave Us is Emery’s 4th book (I’ve been a massive fan since Open Road Summer) and her 4th book to completely blow me away. Every time I read a book by her I think her next one can’t be better and then I read the next one. It’s unfathomable yet she manages to do it every time. There is something just so magical about her books. I swear if you are not a fan yet you will be as soon as you read something with her name on it. Make sure you add The Names They Gave Us to your TBR.

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Review: When Dimple Met Rishi – Sandhya Menon

Review: When Dimple Met Rishi – Sandhya MenonWhen Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Published by Simon Pulse
on May 30th 2017
Format: ARC
Source: Borrowed
Amazon, Goodreads

A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.
The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

Originally, When Dimple Met Rishi wasn’t on my radar. To be honest I hadn’t even heard of the book. Somehow it managed to slip right past my contemporary romance love detector. Luckily I have a very kind friend that read it, told me about it, and lent it to me. And let me tell you, thank goodness for this friend because without her I would have missed a really great book with a fantastic group of characters and a story to back it all up.

I’m not going to pretend I know a lot of Dimple and Rishi’s culture, arranged marriages, family obligations. I truly don’t, and that is part of what drew me to the book to begin with. I love learning more about those things while reading a truly great contemporary romance.  And Sandhya Menon did exactly that. She let me see a little but about a culture that is very different from my own and made me understand a little more about the arranged marriage tradition that I didn’t understand before. Seeing it through the eyes of two teens, on opposite sides of the matter, really was a great way to do it.

Because honestly Rishi and Dimple couldn’t have been any more different. They were 100% the other’s opposite. Rishi was all for tradition and family obligations while Dimple wanted to be free and make her own choices and not be weighed down by something she felt was out of her control. But as the story progressed and Dimple and Rishi got to know each other something amazing happened. They both started to grow-up and think about compromise and what was important to them and if they could both have what they wanted. They learned about being an adult from one another and the choices they were making for their future and I LOVED that. I loved that there was no right or wrong answer and that they learned that.

Honestly there isn’t much I didn’t love about When Dimple Met Rishi. I thought all the extra side stories were a little distracting and just that, extra. But I truly did enjoy this story of two people deciding what was right for them even if it went against everything they believed to be true. It was truly swoony to watch these two get to know each other and learn what it is like to be with someone. That is what When Dimple Met Rishi was to me, an amazing story of growing up. Definitely pick this book up. It will become a fave.

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Review: The Adjustment – Suzanne Young

Review: The Adjustment – Suzanne YoungThe Adjustment by Suzanne Young
Series: The Program #3
Published by Simon Pulse
on April 18, 2017
Format: ARC
Source: ALA
Amazon, Goodreads

How do you go back to a life you can’t remember? Find out in this follow up to the New York Times bestselling The Program and The Treatment.

Tatum Masterson never went through The Program. She never had her memory stripped, never had to fight to remain herself. But when Weston, her longtime boyfriend and love of her life, was taken by handlers, she hoped he’d remember her somehow—that their love would be strong enough.
It wasn’t.

Like all returners, Weston came back a blank canvas. The years he and Tatum spent together were forgotten, as well as the week when he mysteriously disappeared before The Program came for him.

Regardless of his memory loss, Tatum fights to get Weston to remember her. And just as they start to build a new love, they hear about the Adjustment—a new therapy that implants memories from a donor. Despite the risks, Tatum and Weston agree to go through the process. Tatum donates her memories from their time together.

But the problem with memories is that they are all a matter of perspective. So although Weston can now remember dating Tatum, his emotions don’t match the experiences. And this discrepancy is slowly starting to unravel him, worse than anything The Program could have done.

And as the truth of their life together becomes clear, Tatum will have to decide if she loves Weston enough to let him go, or to continue to live the lie they’d build together.

Prepare for your Adjustment.

I received this book for free from ALA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I feel like I say this all the time, but Suzanne Young is a master. She amazes me every time I read a new book in The Program series with the genius way she writes the books and connects them. She has this ability to take a detail you don’t even think is important and making it into something you never expected in this series. She did it in all 4 of the other books I have read, and The Adjustment is no different.

It’s hard to really talk about Tatum and Weston’s stories without giving too much away. The Adjustment takes place after The Treatment (book 2) ended so The Program is no more and Tatum is now living in a world of after. No one knows what the effects of The Program are and how to actually go back to life before The Epidemic. It’s an uncertain time where people are scared about the effects from The Program. Returners are different. Their memories are gone and some are acting out. Because of this The Adjustment is created. The Adjustment is a way for returners to get their memories back and to start to feel connections to the people that were once taken from them. It is a program that is created with bits and pieces from Suzanne’s other books in the series and ties everything together nicely.

This is what I love about Suzanne’s writing and these books in particular. She manages to connect everything is a way you don’t really expect. She brings you back to the beginning, to everything you know and makes it all work together flawlessly. It is like the Godfather trilogy in a way. The movies weren’t released chronologically so you find out the after before you see the before. But when watched as a whole it all makes sense. That is what Suzanne has done with The Adjustment. She has made all the stories and couples that I know and love and made them all intersect in some strange way that just works.

Like I said, I can’t say too much about the actual book without giving away previous books and the important parts of The Adjustment. Just know that Suzanne does what she always does and your stomach is in your throat by the end and you are left wanting to know everything and needing the next book.

In case you were wondering this is how you should read this series:

The Program
The Treatment
The Remedy
The Epidemic
The Adjustment
The Complication (out 2018)

Basically add this series to your TBR.

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