Book Reviews

Book Review: The Bright Effect by Autumn Doughton and Erica Cope

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If I had to describe The Bright Effect with one word, it would be WOW.

Without warning, this book ripped my heart apart. I felt sadness, anger, and disbelief. Out. Of. Nowhere. All after I spent more than half of the book getting to know and falling in love with three key characters. But then Doughton and Cope did something extraordinary. They slowly put my heart (and one of the characters) back together again.

During the first half, we are introduced to twins Amelia and Daphne Bright. While both girls are popular, Amelia is serious and studious, and Daphne is fun and the life of the party. These characters are so well developed, each with distinctive personalities and mannerisms. I loved both and felt as though I was right there next to them when they joked around and when they shared more tender, sisterly moments. We also get to know Sebastian (Bash), who has taken a step back from the social scene due to responsibilities at home. When Amelia and Bash cross paths, sparks fly. To my delight, their relationship develops slowly, and everything they think and say and do while they get to know each other is sweet and gives me butterflies. Knowing these three characters so well is what makes what happens midway through unbearable in so many ways.

At the beginning of the second part, I had no idea what to expect. And to be honest, the shift in mood was jarring, so I worried that I would not be okay with the ending. Well, it turns out I didn’t need to worry because Doughton and Cope knew exactly what they were doing. Bravo for handling such a sensitive topic with depth and for not glossing over the pain involved.

I should also mention how much I enjoyed the writing style of these two authors. I don’t know who wrote what, but it doesn’t even matter because the style was consistent throughout. The dialogue was great too. It was realistic and flowed beautifully.

There are so many awesome quotes in this book. Here are a few of my favorites:

“Like everyone else, she wants to pry and handle my misery like a coat that she can put on and discard whenever she feels like it.”

“The memories whisper across my arms and back, bringing up goose bumps on my flesh, haunting me like a shadow that I can never outrun.”

“The past is a condemned building we’re being evicted from and the future is nothing but a forwarding address to a place we’ve never been.”

Even though this book might break your heart like it broke mine, it’s a must-read.

GOODREADS

AMAZON

*Many thanks to the authors for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book.

Book Reviews

Book Review: Never Never Part Two by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

Immediately after I finished Never Never part one, I purchased part two. Okay, so maybe it wasn’t immediate. I did spend a few seconds lamenting the fact that it was over and then another few seconds cursing the authors for making me buy the next part to find out WTH is going on, but part two was definitely on my Kindle within 30 seconds. That’s how good part one is.

Here I am, 12 hours later, writing my review. And if I didn’t have kids, I would have written it six hours ago.

Never Never part two picks up exactly where part one leaves off, with Silas as the narrator. Not a beat was skipped–not for us anyway. But for Silas and Charlie, they are pretty much back to square one with trying to figure out why they are suffering from memory loss. They’re also faced with an additional obstacle; they’re separated in this book! (Boooo!) So Silas is forced to work alone to discover more pieces to the puzzle.

I must admit that I was even more miffed when this one ended than I was with part one, partly because I need to buy yet another book to find out what’s going on and partly because I have to wait until next year. 😦

I love these characters (even Charlie who can be kinda bitchy at times), and I’m crossing my fingers hoping for a happily ever after for them.

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AMAZON

Book Reviews

Book Review: Never Never Part One by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

Over the last couple of years, I’ve purchased several Colleen Hoover books for my Kindle. The funny thing is, the more I kept hearing about them, the less urgency I felt to read them. Sometimes I’m just weird like that–not in a hurry to check out whatever is trending. Big mistake this time–HUGE–because this book is brilliant, and I have no doubt I will enjoy the rest of Hoover’s (and Fisher’s) books. Why did I wait so long to jump on the CoHo bandwagon?!

I love a good mystery, so Never Never sucked me in from the get-go. It begins with a disoriented Charlie who has no clue where she is or who she is. She quickly realizes that she’s a high school student and must go about her day gathering info (such as her own name) from fellow classmates in hopes of understanding the haze of confusion she’s under. Things become even more interesting when Charlie realizes she’s not alone. Silas, her apparent boyfriend, seems to be suffering from the same inexplicable memory loss. From that point on, Charlie and Silas know they have to work together to figure out what’s going on.

This story is fast-paced and written in a way that made me feel like I was watching a movie. Now that’s good writing. Pieces of the puzzle are expertly revealed via the alternating perspectives of Charlie and Silas. Not only was I dying to find out what has caused the couple to lose their memories, but I also wanted so badly to know the status of their relationship. You see, they’re a couple, yet they aren’t. What’s even more intriguing is that their relationship seems to be tied to whatever has caused the memory loss.

Now, even if I was one to share spoilers, I wouldn’t be able to in this case because you have to buy parts two and three to find out exactly what’s going on! And that’s the only gripe I have with Never Never. It ends with the worst possible cliffhanger EVER! Or maybe worst isn’t the right word. Maybe I should say best because I one-clicked part 2 immediately.

If you enjoy mystery, suspense and young, rapturous love (and don’t mind cliffhangers that require you to purchase subsequent parts to find out what happens), I highly recommend Never Never.

Memorable Quotes:

“Her eyes are like two open books and I suddenly want to devour every page.”

“It’s strange how money seems to silence a neighborhood.”

GOODREADS

AMAZON

Book Reviews

Book Review: I Zombie by Jo Michaels

I Zombie surprised me. From my experience, zombie books are typically filled with thrills, chills and LOTS of gore, but Jo Michaels offers a different experience.

First of all, there’s more emphasis on the storyline as opposed to violence and gory details. Don’t get me wrong, there are some cringe-worthy moments, but nothing beyond PG-13. I should also mention that a specific cause for the outbreak is identified, which is an aspect that is often underdeveloped in zombie books.

Second, the zombie/human dynamic in this story is very unique; the infected are actually harmless while a large majority of the uninfected are hellbent on destroying anyone with zombie-like symptoms. Seeing this role reversal actually made me think of discrimination in the real world, which is something I’ve never reflected on while reading a zombie novel!

Trixie, the main (zombie) character was very likable. I especially loved the fact that she has a special ability, which is another unique aspect of this book. What a cool twist! In fact, the ending had me feeling a bit upset until Trixie’s ability fixed things for me. Phew. (You’ll have to read it all the way to the end to find out what I mean!)

If you are a fan of YA fiction and zombie novels and are interested in checking out something that strays from the expected norm, I recommend this book.

GOODREADS

AMAZON

Book Reviews

Book Review: My Life Before Me by Norah McClintock

My Life Before Me is a gripping YA mystery that takes place in 1964. I absolutely adored the orphaned teen narrator, Cady Andrews, an aspiring journalist on a mission to discover her origins. Right before Cady embarks on her journey, she receives an envelope that contains a clue about where she’s from.

This story involves murder, racism (with historic references), classism and buried secrets. There are also quite a few twists and turns, but McClintock did a superb job of laying the plot points out in an easy-to-follow manner. Even though this book covers several mature themes (all presented tastefully, in my opinion), I think it would be a wonderful addition to any middle or high school library.

I read My Life Before Me out loud to my husband while we were on a road trip. We were bummed when we had to stop reading in order to eat dinner. During dinner, we discussed possible outcomes for the mystery Cady was trying to solve. Then, we finished reading as soon as we got settled into our hotel room for the night. My husband and I both loved Cady’s story!

GOODREADS

AMAZON

 

A big thank you to Orca Book Publishers for providing me with an ARC via LibraryThing!

Book Reviews

Book Review: Skinniness is Next to Goddessness? Lacey’s Story by Julia Keanini

This is a good YA novel that touches on eating disorders, body image, bullying, cliquishness, and suicide. The way the characters spoke and behaved was spot-on for a teen audience.

I really liked Lacey and felt that I got to know her well enough to sympathize with her struggles. However, I didn’t feel as though I really got to know the secondary characters as well (with the exception of Tuck), as there were so many of them.

The eating disorder storyline (such an important topic) had so much potential. I just wish it had been covered more thoroughly. Instead, several side stories were touched on.

Overall, a good, clean YA novel. I’ll likely read more from this author.

GOODREADS

AMAZON

Book Reviews

Book Review: In Between by Jenny B. Jones

I immediately fell in love with Katie Parker, a sixteen year old who has traveled from foster home to foster home, finally ending up with Millie and Joseph (a pastor) in the small town of In Between. Her insecurities about not really having anyone and fears about being shipped off to the next foster home are conveyed loud and clear through her sarcastic inner dialogue, which is very funny but overdone at times. About halfway through the book this sarcasm dies down a bit and is replaced with hope and introspection about her self-worth and the existence of God. I’m not so sure how realistic Katie’s drastic self-discovery is, but that’s okay because I was rooting for her from the beginning, and I love the positivity of this book.

In Between is full of unique, well-developed characters. I thoroughly enjoyed outrageous Grandma Maxine, and the drill-instructor-like gym teacher provided several chuckle-worthy moments. Frances, a classmate Katie can’t stand at first, is another memorable character who helps Katie learn to value herself and trust others.

FREE on AMAZON!

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Don't Call Me Kit Kat

Cover Reveal: Don’t Call Me Kit Kat

DOntCallMeKitKat

Available May 15

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00074]

Description:

Junior high is where things really start to happen. Cliques form and break apart. Couples are made and destroyed. And a reputation is solidified that you won’t ever be able to escape. Everything you do and say, and everyone you spend your time with, matters.

Katie Mills knows that. She gets it. That’s why she tried so hard to get in with the cool girls at school. And why she was so devastated when those efforts found her detained for shoplifting and laughed out of cheer squad tryouts.

But Katie has more to worry about than just fitting in. Her parents are divorced and always fighting. Her sister never has time for her. And her friends all seem to be drifting apart. Even worse? The boy she has a crush on is dating the mean girl at school.

Everything is a mess, and Katie doesn’t feel like she has control over any of it. Certainly not over her weight, which has always topped out at slightly pudgier than normal—at least, according to her mother.

So when she happens to catch one of the popular girls throwing up in the bathroom one day, it sparks an idea. A match that quickly engulfs her life in flames.

Is there any going back once she gets started down this path?

And would she even want to if she could?

Add it on Goodreads.