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Greetings from the Librarian's Office!

Hello reader(s), I'm just writing to check in just in case my one subscriber got worried about me. ;-)   I posted a brief introducti...

Thursday, December 8, 2016

WRECKED by Maria Padian

WreckedPublished: October 4th 2016 by Algonquin Young Readers
Read: December 2016
How I Got It: Ebook (approximately 368 pages) from NetGalley 

Haley and Richard know each other from math tutoring, but they soon find out that they are linked in a disturbing way: Richard’s housemate is accused of raping Haley’s roommate. The two struggle to build a relationship with each other while at the same time being sucked into the college’s disciplinary process through supporting their respective friends. These characters were written with strong personalities so as to present opposing viewpoints of the situation through alternating perspectives. The writing to that point in the novel is strong, but the novel also seemed to be an experiment of how many times Padian could use the word “wrecked” throughout the narrative. The references to the title of the novel seemed forced when many other synonyms could have been used as alternatives.

As it’s told from the perspectives of two outsiders, the story offers a fresh viewpoint in the literature about sexual assault. Readers who want an honest view of sexual assault from both male and female perspectives may find this book enlightening. Also it presents the topic through a college environment where as many others are set in high school such as the eloquently written Courtney C. Stevens’s Faking Normal and the ever popular Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak.

*Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with  an advanced electronic copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

THE CABIN by Natasha Preston

30298458Published September 6th 2016 by Sourcebooks Fire 
Read: December 2016
How I Got It: Ebook (approximately 352 pages) from NetGalley 

What should have been an unsupervised, drunken, fun-filled weekend away, ends in tragedy when two teens are brutally murdered. Police find no signs of break in or forced entry to the cabin though, so that means one of the remaining five friends is the killer. Mackenzie Keaton trusts her friends though, so she launches her own investigation. Was there a break-in, was it one of her friends she'd known her whole life, or her new crush who is a relative stranger to the group? This story of deceit and suspense will keep readers guessing until the end.

While the plot is far from original, the strong characterization will keep readers interested. Readers of Preston's other professionally published works will not be disappointed as this is yet another terrifying story. This is a quick read that will leave readers feeling just a little off kilter for days after turning the very last page.

*Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with  an advanced electronic copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


29430013Published: October 4th 2016 by Viking
Read: November 2016
How I Got It: Ebook (approximately 464 pages) from NetGalley 
Series: Dublin Murder Squad- Book 6

Antoinette Conway and Stephen Moran are back in Tana French's most recent Dublin Murder Squad novel. In this novel, readers get the perspective of Conway as she and Moran try to solve a case that seemingly starts out as domestic violence. They'll soon find out that those closest to victim are keeping secrets, and even some of the other detectives are acting strange. Can Conway get to the bottom of this case, even with the squad (of all men) are doing things to try to push her out? 

Tana French (The Secret Place; Broken Harbour; Faithful Place; The Likeness; In the Woods) has created another beautifully written suspense novel. The dialogue is gripping, and readers will obsessively (not unlike some of this novel's characters) tear through the pages of this one. French offers diversions, and she keeps her readers guessing (about multiple plot lines) until the very end. Tana French's devoted fans will view this as a worthy installment to the series, and those new to the Dublin Murder Squad will appreciate this as an introduction. 

*Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with  an advanced electronic copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

LEAVE ME by Gayle Forman

Published: September 6th 2016 by Algonquin Books
Read: November 2016

How I Got It: Ebook (approximately 352 pages) from NetGalley 

Maribeth Klein has it all: a job as editor, a husband, a set of twins, and lots of responsibilities. That’s why, when she has a heart attack, she dismisses the pain. She doesn’t believe that her condition is serious, until it becomes so, and her life is turned upside down. Soon the people she cared for were left to care for her, and not doing a very good job of it. Maribeth decides then to leave; leave her cell phone, her computer, her work, and her family. She starts a new life in a new city, and she tries to figure out who she is in the midst of this big crazy world.

Gayle Forman is an extraordinary writer, so extraordinary in fact that she can make readers fall in love with highly unlikable characters. Maribeth is a character who has done a very taboo thing by leaving her family with nothing but a note as a goodbye, and she makes some bad decisions along her journey as well. However, she is not a bad person, and Forman does a great job of showing all sides to this character. Forman is well known for her YA novels, If I Stay, Where She Went, Just One Day, Just One Year, Where She Went, and Sisters in Sanity, but this adult debut will appeal to both adults and her avid YA readers. 

*Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with  an advanced electronic copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


29492090Published: October 11th 2016 by Thomas Nelson
Read: October 2016
How I Got It: Ebook (approximately 224 pages) from NetGalley. Purchased Hardcover from Premiere Collectibles. 

I’m going to break my own rules and write this review in first person. If Emily Ley taught me anything in the last 224 pages, it’s that perfection doesn’t exist. So who cares if this review looks different from all the rest?

I should start out by thanking NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for allowing me to receive an advanced copy of this book, an advanced copy that I requested only AFTER purchasing two signed copies and watching Emily Ley’s live signing on Premiere Collectibles. I saw this on NetGalley and realized I couldn’t wait for my purchased copy to be shipped, I needed to read it now. Thankfully, NetGalley obliged.

I follow Emily on Instagram, and although I don’t know her and I only found her through a six degrees of separation from other people and companies that I follow that I don’t know, I really liked her story and how open she is about her life. So when she wrote a book, I had to read it. Grace Not Perfection is not only the title of this book, but a way of life. Through the pages, Emily describes ways that women can allow themselves grace. She details through personal anecdotes that perfection doesn’t exist, social media feeds are only highlight reels of life, and “no” is a complete sentence. She explains that being busy for the sake of being busy is a mistake, and that women should slow down and find the joy in life. There are chapters on career, relationships, and motherhood, but there is something in this book for all women to relate to. Emily also speaks about faith and God often as she wonders why God won’t listen to her plans but instead guides her through other avenues.  There are also tips and lists throughout the book of how to find joy and simplify life as well as pictures of Emily and her family. This a book that I will be sharing with friends and family and reading over and again. The message is wonderful, and the pictures of cute children throughout don’t hurt.

My one and only qualm with this book is the ARC formatting which I’m sure is fixed in the finished copy. There were many paragraphs out of place. Adding trying to find where the paragraphs left off and continued to the so many feelings this book made me feel was a struggle. But I know that that is my own fault. If I had only waited for my purchased copy and not let my impatience overwhelm me, I wouldn’t have had that problem. But, I’m glad I got this advanced copy, I pushed through it so fast, and it got me out of a reading slump. Also, Emily mentions that she loves to read. So, be like Emily, read this book.

*Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with  an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

ENTER TITLE HERE by Rahul Kanakia

Publication August 2nd 2016 by Disney-Hyperion
Read: October 2016

How I Got It: Ebook (approximately 352 pages) from NetGalley 

Enter Title Here is a novel within a novel. The novel is being written by a high school senior, Reshma, who is contacted by a literary agent after writing a column for a local publication. Reshma decides that writing a novel and having an agent will help her get into Stanford. Reshma is a selfish cutthroat character that will do anything (something she says often) to get what she wants. When she cannot earn her grades, she results to finding loopholes and suing the school so that she can get the valedictorian spot and in turn attend Stanford.

The meta element of this novel will draw readers in, but putting up with the main character’s annoying personality may take some work. There are some supporting characters that make following through worth it though. Reshma’s friendships and her familial relationships are mentioned, but in going along with Reshma’s point of view as the author and narrator, her selfishness does not allow the reader time to truly enjoy those other characters. Ultimately, readers looking for a diary format YA novel might be better off with the darker subject matter of Anonymous Go Ask Alice or the humorous angst that Louise Rennison presents with Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging. 

*Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with  an advanced electronic copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Monday, September 19, 2016



Published: July 12th 2016 by St. Martin's Press
Read: September 2016

How I Got It: Ebook (approximately 320 pages) from NetGalley 

When Jenny Kramer is raped at a party, she is given a treatment that makes her forget the traumatic experience. But she hasn’t really forgotten. If the Kramer family wants justice, they need for Jenny to remember her rapist. She is sent to a therapist interested in memory recovery, and that is where the suspense unfolds.

All is Not Forgotten is narrated by the therapist who is treating the Kramer family individually. Some other patients are mentioned as well, and the storylines tie together and often jump around in time. While the narrator is omniscient, he keeps things from the reader to reveal at the proper time. He also and often provides first person excerpts from his patients. There are many things throughout that seem misogynistic and unethical, but ultimately, the narrative keeps the reader guessing. Readers of amnesia fiction and psychological thrillers will likely devour this book whether they like the narrator or not. 

*Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with  an advanced electronic copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Greetings from the Librarian's Office!

Hello reader(s),

I'm just writing to check in just in case my one subscriber got worried about me. ;-)
I posted a brief introduction to my book reviews in February, and that post can be found here. I introduced myself as a local community college librarian working at the reference desk. Well, I have recently started working as a Research Services Librarian for a University. It was not local (more than one hundred miles from home), so I relocated, and I'm settling into my new life and librarian role. All of the transitioning is taking some time though, so my book reviews have been put on hold.

I do still plan to review all of the books that I've been approved for by NetGalley and won through Goodreads Giveaways, it's just that they may already be long published by the time I get to read the ARCs. I am a woman of my word though, so I will read them all...eventually.  I still review for Library Journal as well, and, as they have stricter deadlines, those reviews take precedence.

Do you ever feel like there just aren't enough hours in the day?

Until next time, check me out on the University's library blog here.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10 by Ruth Ware

Published July 19th 2016 by Gallery/Scout Press
Read: August 2016

How I Got It: Ebook (approximately 352 pages) from NetGalley 

Ruth Ware, In a Dark, Dark Wood, has again created a dark and misleading novel of suspense. The Woman in Cabin 10 focuses on Lo Blacklock, a travel journalist covering the maiden voyage of the Aurora, a deluxe cruise ship. Lo is in cabin 9, and when she realizes she's out of mascara she decides to knock on the door to the adjoining cabin 10. A woman loans her some mascara and everything is well. Later though when Lo hears a splash and sees a blood smear on the veranda, she suspects the woman may be in trouble. Upon reporting her suspicion, she finds that cabin 10 was never occupied and all of the crew and passengers are accounted for. Who was the woman in cabin 10? And what happened to her?

Told in the first person intermixed with news clippings and online chats, Ware creates a narrative that keeps readers guessing. Ware’s descriptive writing also produces feelings of claustrophobia and seasickness adding to the unease of Lo’s situation.  Much of the story is left to interpretation, but readers will get a satisfying conclusion to this wrong-place-wrong-time mystery on the sea. 

*Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with  an advanced electronic copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

THROW AWAY GIRLS by Jennifer Vaughn

30403578Published July 2nd 2016 by Waldorf Publishing
Read: July 2016
How I Got It: Ebook (approximately 348 pages) from NetGalley 

Jaycee Wilder is a dedicated on-air reporter who gets involved in a story about three murdered women in an underground sex community. She works closely with Detective James Barton to get justice for these girls even going undercover to perform her own investigation. Set in Los Angeles, the scenery becomes part of the story, and Jaycee’s boyfriend is even an actor with several roles on TV crime dramas. It is unknown why Jaycee becomes so attached to these murdered “throw away girls,” but she becomes so closely involved that she may also become a victim.

Throw Away Girls is told in third person perspective often switching between perspectives of multiple characters. This device truly takes away from the story, and it adds to the already poor characterization. The plot is interesting, but the execution does not allow the reader to feel anything for the characters. The progression of the story is also quite predictable, and the mystery and crime aspects lack motive. Dedicated mystery fans should skip this one for more developed crime procedurals, but if readers want a quick emotionless read as a palate cleanser, this is the pick.

*Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with  an advanced electronic copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Monday, July 18, 2016


Published July 5th 2016 by Poisoned Pen Press
Read: July 2016
How I Got It: Ebook (approximately 338 pages) from NetGalley 

What happens when you mix smartphone technology with a deadly game of Tag? Well, you get J.C. Lane's Tag You're Dead. In this debut novel, Lane introduces six teenagers: three Its and three runners. The Its have paid good money to chase...and kill... their runners, but if the runner gets to Home Base first, the game is reversed and It is in danger. Welcome to the Game.  

Upon reading the synopsis for this novel, one might wonder how the technology can be executed for such a game. Lane clearly explains the details: the smart watches that cannot be taken off, the motivation for the runners to play along, and even the skewed logic of the Its. Lane has created a dystopian future where this type of game is possible not unlike Joelle Charbonneau did in Need as well as other authors’ novels such as Jeanne Ryan’s Nerve and even Lauren Oliver’s Panic. Lane's novel is a fast-paced narrative told in the multiple perspectives of the players, and any YA reader can find something to enjoy this dangerous chiller. 

*Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with  an advanced electronic copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

NO LOVE ALLOWED by Kate Evangelista

23288804Published April 19th 2016 by Swoon Reads
Read: July 2016
How I Got It: Paperback (approximately 256 pages) from Swoon Reads via Goodreads Giveaways 
(Note: I entered a Goodreads Giveaway for another book from Fiewel & Friends, but received this book instead. Swoon Reads publishes under Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan). 
Series: Doge Cove (subsequent book to be published October 2016).

Caleb has one rule: no falling in love. As a result, he breaks a lot of hearts. When he breaks up with the daughter of one his hot-shot lawyer father’s clients, it means a summer law internship and attendance at all of the corporate parties. And he can’t go alone, so in order to keep with his rule, he decides to hire a fake girlfriend for the summer.

Didi is a painter and completely opposite from Caleb’s rich-kid crowd. She has a few manic episodes, but they are well-taken care of by her meds. Caleb finds her interesting, and she agrees to his one rule. She decides to immerse herself into Caleb’s world, complete with a high society makeover, simply because she doesn’t have anything else to do with her summer. Will their fake relationship make it through the summer, or will they break the rules?

The novel is in third person switching between the perspectives of Caleb and Didi, but it begins rather bizarrely. The initial point of contact between the two main characters seems forced and inconsistent with how the characters are revealed through the rest of the story. Also, Didi’s mental illness plot line is clichéd as this storyline is popular in current YA releases: manic girls goes off her meds and chaos ensues. Awareness for mental illness is important, but, on that topic, a reader would be better off picking up Emery Lord’s When We Collided. However, readers looking for a quick romantic read will enjoy this novel, they just have to push through the first few chapters. 

*Thank you to Swoon Reads for providing me with  an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


Published: June 7th 2016 by Disney-Hyperion
Read: June 2016 
How I Got It: Ebook (approximately 272 pages) from NetGalley 

The Cresswell family lives by God’s word and the word of their father. They do not live like the rest of society, partly because they believe this life is only temporary. Real life begins in Heaven where the six children, three boys and three girls, will marry one another and live eternally. Their father decides that the time has come for the family to go to Heaven, but Castley Cresswell realizes she may not believe as strongly as her family does. She has started attending public school and hanging out with other teens, and she’s not ready for her Earthly life to be over. Can she convince her brothers and sisters that their father may not be right? And can she do it in time?

The Cresswell Plot was a bit of a paradox. The novel was slow moving and predictable at times, but also, the ending seemed to come too quickly. It was interesting to experience this cult-like family, and see which members of the family would realize first that there may be a different way to live life. Readers who like books about outsiders and overcoming difficulties may like this book. Also, readers who liked Sarah Jude’s The May Queen Murders, about a small village of people living outside the norm, may also be drawn to this novel. 

*Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with  an advanced electronic copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

SECURITY by Gina Wohlsdorf

25810610 Expected Publication  June 7th 2016 by Algonquin Books
Read: June 2016
How I Got It: Ebook (approximately 288 pages) from NetGalley 

The Manderley is the safest hotel. It has the highest security: former Navy SEAL security personnel, countless hidden cameras, and even a secret elevator. However, the tight security can still be breached; The Killer roaming the hotel is proof. Readers get to experience the suspense through the many angles of the security cameras as the unknown (for the majority of the novel) narrator peers through the different lenses. The only people occupying the hotel are staff members as the hotel has not yet opened to the public, but the small cast of characters allows for the reader to become attached to every one of them... and make the deaths even more terrifying.

The format is original, and the jumping around of scenes keeps the reader on edge. The writing is superb; the narration goes from seemingly cold at the beginning to a first person narrative that causes the reader to feel the anxiety of the characters. Horror fans of authors such as Stephen King and Harlan Coben will devour Gina Wohlsdorf’s first novel. 

*Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with  an advanced electronic copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Saturday, June 4, 2016


Published: April 19th 2016 by Razorbill
Read: May 2016 
How I Got It: Hardcover (288 pages) from Uppercase Box* 

Scarlett's favorite TV show gets cancelled, her crush starts dating a popular girl, and things are not looking good. She decides to keep writing fan-fiction for the show despite its cancellation, but she bases her characters off of people that she knows. When others read her stories and deem them judgmental and mean, Scarlett is forced to reevaluate herself and her writing. Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here is laced with some deep issues, but the focus on Scarlett as a writer keeps the story light and engaging.

The novel is interspersed with Scarlett's fan-fiction as well as chats with Scarlett's online writing group. Breslaw truly brings the reader into Scarlett's world, and it is a hilarious, snarky, sarcastic journey. Scarlett is a highly relatable character, and Breslaw introduces a cast of characters with lots of personality to compliment her and teach her the lessons she needs to learn. Scarlett’s 73 year old neighbor Ruth is especially interesting as she is a feminist, pot-smoker who doesn’t sugarcoat things for Scarlett. Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here is a quick read that will make readers laugh out loud. Every teen and adult can learn something from Scarlett and have a good time while doing it. 

*Uppercase Box is  a Young Adult Monthly Subscription Box (https://www.uppercasebox.com/)

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

WITH ALL THE PIECES by Kasie Ballard

Published March 9th 2016 by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Read: May 2016
How I Got It: Paperback (402 pages) from Amazon

*Disclaimer: I know the author of this book. We were close childhood friends, and we have crossed paths several times as adults. Unfortunately, location and life got in the way of our friendship, but I follow her family's trials and triumphs on her personal Facebook page. 

In her debut novel, Kasie Ballard portrays her trying journey into motherhood. After a stillbirth and a miscarriage, Kasie finds herself pregnant with her son, Alex. It is discovered that something is wrong with Alex, and Kasie has to make many difficult decisions, often against doctors’ suggestions, to advocate for herself and her son. Alex is born breathing, but Kasie knows that is only the first hurdle. Alex is a special needs child with mental and physical delays, and Kasie details what it means to wait for answers (if there are any) and how to deal with ignorant people and dismissive doctors.  She even brings up some difficult emotions that may be taboo yet relatable such as jealousy over her friends’ easy deliveries with living babies and guilt about having another child when already a special needs mom.

Through her family, faith, and ferocity, Kasie is the mother of two thriving boys (and one heavenly guardian angel). The story is moving; it makes readers laugh, cry, and cringe. However, the writing was a bit distracting. There were multiple grammar mistakes such as use of the wrong pronouns and sentences with missing words. Also, much of the story takes place at a hospital “all the way in Richmond” but only once, late in the story, is the actual distance mentioned; readers unfamiliar with the area would not understand this detail.  Ultimately, this story is emotional and well-timed, but the multiple writing errors distract from an otherwise powerful story. 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

BLOOD DEFENSE by Marcia Clark

27207654Published May 1st 2016 by Thomas & Mercer
Read: May 2016
How I Got It: Ebook (approximately 400 pages) from NetGalley 
Series: Samantha Brinkman (subsequent book to be released Nov. 2016)

Samantha Brinkman is a criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles. She doesn’t get many paying clients, she’s behind on her bills, and her office is in gang territory. So when a high profile case comes her way, she can’t turn it down. An LAPD officer has been accused of killing a Hollywood starlet and her roommate. The case soon becomes more personal than Sam could’ve imagined though, and she becomes a crime investigator more than a lawyer. Sam is unsure of the innocence of her client, but she has to prove reasonable doubt- for her client and for herself.

Marcia Clark has experience in the courtroom; she’s best known for her role in the OJ Simpson trial. Clark uses that experience to create a well-timed and believable fictional crime story. The main trial is interspersed with other smaller cases that allowed the reader to really see Sam in action. Also there were just enough personal details spread throughout to keep the reader caring about the characters and the outcomes. However, the reader is kept guessing. There were many twists and turns and a new surprise every few pages. Clark kept the story unpredictable, and the ending is shocking enough to leave the reader craving the sequel. 

*Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with  an advanced electronic copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Saturday, May 7, 2016


26313058Published May 3rd 2016 by Harcourt Brace and Company 
Read: May 2016
How I Got It: Ebook (approximately 288 pages) from NetGalley 

Rowan’s Glen is an isolated farming town that lives by its own traditions. Ivy Templeton loves living in the Glen despite its shady past and its secrets. The May Queen, of the May Day celebration, was murdered many years ago, and legend has it her murderer, Birch Markle, still lurks in the woods. When animals are found all around the Glen brutally slaughtered, the Glen folk believe Markle may be back. When Ivy suspects her cousin, who is also her best friend, Heather, is sneaking around after dark, she becomes worried. Her worry escalates when Heather is crowned the new May Queen, and then subsequently disappears. The town goes on hunts for Markle, but it's Ivy who will find out what really happened to Heather. 

The plot of the May Queen Murders is fresh and intriguing, however the execution is lacking. The dialogue is inconsistent as some dialogue is well articulated but other parts are presented in broken slang and stuttering. Readers will cringe with every stutter or mention of the word “a’int”; these character choices by the author do not add to the story but instead serve to distract the reader. Also, the story is rather slow moving until the reveal in the last several pages. The ending is almost worth working through reading the whole book, but readers would better off skipping this one. Or perhaps, they should watch M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village, the story line isn’t the same at all, but Rowan’s Glen certainly brings that vibe to mind.

*Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with  an advanced electronic copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Friday, April 29, 2016

WINK POPPY MIDNIGHT by April Genevieve Tucholke

Published March 22nd 2016 by Dial Books
Read: April 2016
How I Got It: Purchased Hardcover (256 pages) from Amazon

Midnight had a fling with Poppy, but realized she’s a bully with feelings for someone else. So when he moved two miles away from Poppy (across the street from Wink), he thought he could finally be free of her. But, when he starts to fall for the “strange” girl across the street, Poppy gets jealous. Wink becomes a target for Poppy, and is picked on and plotted against. However, Wink and Midnight decide to turn the tables on Poppy, but at what cost?

The book’s tagline regarding a hero, a villain, and a liar keeps readers guessing and making predictions throughout. However, readers will find that it is not that simple, and a person is never just one thing. The mystery aspect is alluring and admittedly entertaining, and April Genevieve Tucholke’s writing is lyrical and fitting to the world she has created.

The book has been talked about a lot throughout the YA community, but it did not live up to the hype. Wink, Poppy, Midnight made a good effort but was ultimately unsatisfying. Readers would be better off reading the comparisons of E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars or Michelle Hodkin’s The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


25897845Expected Publication April 26th 2016 by HMH Books for Young Readers 
Read: April 2016
How I Got It: Ebook (approximately 288 pages) from NetGalley 

Elsie’s family has not been coping well with the loss of her twin brother, Eddie. Her father has moved out, her mother can’t get out of bed, and her older brother is losing more weight every day.  Elsie thinks she has found solace with the boy she met at the diving club, but even he has secrets. Ultimately, freediving is what will save Elsie from her grief. Eddie drowned five years earlier, and freediving allows Elsie to remember parts of that day previously blocked out from her memory. How deep will Elsie have to dive to get her answers? And will her family, and her relationship, survive what she finds out?

The Art of Not Breathing is a deep (pun intended) novel about grief and what it does to families. Sarah Alexander also captures the intricacies of the emotion that involve guilt, anger, and numbness. The novel keeps the reader intrigued with character’s secrets, and it ends with a twist that will make the reader want to flip back to the first page immediately after finishing.   

*Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with  an advanced electronic copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

FLAWED by Cecelia Ahern

23438288Published April 5th 2016 by Feiwel & Friends 
Read: April 2016
How I Got It: Ebook (approximately 368 pages) from NetGalley 
Series: Flawed (subsequent book to be released in 2017)

Celestine North lives a perfect life… that is, until she doesn’t. No one suspects that Celestine, whose boyfriend is the son of one of the Guild’s most powerful judges, would aid a Flawed, but Celestine’s world of black and white and logic require her to show compassion to sick man no matter his societal status. Because of Celestine’s act she is forced to go on trial so that society can determine whether her act of helping a Flawed man means that she is Flawed as well. People who are found to be Flawed must be branded and forced to live a bland life. The Flawed are mocked, ridiculed, and treated like criminals even though their flaws may have been minimal offenses like infidelity or lying. Celestine’s case may be the turning point for the entire system, however. She will turn into the poster girl for a movement that is trying to overturn some of the rules of the Guild and change a system that is, in itself, flawed.

Cecelia Ahern writes an intriguing story about a dystopian society. The concept of the book is great, however, the execution was lacking. There is so much information introduced, so many characters, and almost too many separate events occurring for Celestine that it’s hard to keep up. It is important to the story to see what Celestine is going through, but there were so many annoying little things to read through as well like Celestine’s reliance on her boyfriend, a flat character that only seems to be written so that Celestine could have a tie to the judge (oh, and he has to be jealous of another character for a minute because what’s YA lit without a love triangle?). Also, after all of that build up, this may be viewed as a spoiler, but there is zero resolution. This book will be a part of a series, but even knowing that fact, the ending of this book was still disappointing. 

Possible Read-Alike: Uninvited by Sophie Jordan (The branding especially is similiar to this dystopian novel about a gene that determines whether a person will become a murderer). 

*Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with  an advanced electronic copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Sunday, April 3, 2016


25663637Expected Publication April 5th 2016 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Read: April 2016
How I Got It: Ebook (approximately 352 pages) from NetGalley 

Emery Lord (The Start of Me and You) has written yet another poignant YA novel. Vivi and Jonah meet at a pottery shop and from that moment on Vivi becomes part of Jonah’s family (along with his five brothers and sisters). Jonah’s family is going through a rough time of loss and financial issues, but Vivi brings life back into them. What isn’t obvious to the family though is that Vivi has her own dark issues that she’s dealing with. Vivi and Jonah create a sweet relationship, but their respective ailments, Jonah’s grief and Vivi’s depression, cause rifts. There are many elements of suspense that make readers wonder not only will Vivi and Jonah’s relationship survive, but will the characters survive the challenging lives they’ve been given?

When We Collided is a beautifully written love story, but, more than that, it is a well-articulated explanation of mental illness. All of the characters have difficulties, and although Vivi states that she cannot properly define her disease, Lord’s writing expresses it very well. In the midst of the seriousness, Lord introduces many quirky “townie” characters, and the town itself, Verona Cove, becomes a character too. It is important to open a dialogue about mental illness, and Lord has done that with her incredibly moving writing. 

*Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with  an advanced electronic copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


26154406Published March 1st 2016 by Simon & Schuster
Read: March 2016
How I Got It: Ebook (approximately 304 pages) from NetGalley 

Tanya Dubois’s husband is dead. It was an accident, but Tanya decides to run anyway. She acquires a new identity (a few actually) and begins a life on the run… on the run from police, hit-men, jealous ex-husbands (not her’s), but ultimately, on the run from an event in her past. Throughout Tanya’s life as a fugitive, she commits or is an accomplice to multiple crimes and she meets some interesting characters including a bartender named Blue and a possible romantic interest- a cop- named Dominic. Throughout the story, the past event is hinted to with old emails and some foreshadowing comments from Tanya’s omniscient narration.

This was a hard story to get into; it had a really long timeline. Because the story takes place over a period of months, Lisa Lutz does more telling rather than showing. The emails and the need to know why Tanya was on the run keeps the reader engaged, but the ending was a bit of a letdown. The event that caused Tanya to run initially did not justify the things she did or the person she became. Lutz succeeded in keeping the reader engaged in the mystery, but if you’re looking for a better written mystery stick to books more like the novels of Gillian Flynn or Tana French. 

*Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with  an advanced electronic copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

FIND HER by Lisa Gardner

25644437Published February 9th 2016 by Dutton
Read: February 2016
How I Got It: Ebook (approximately 416 pages) from NetGalley 
Series: Detective D.D. Warren Series ( # 8)

Flora Dane was kidnapped and forced to live in a pine box. It has been five years since her terrifying final days with her kidnapper, and she is not adjusting well to the life of a survivor. When she hears about the recent abduction of Stacey Summers, she cannot help but turn into a vigilante. This is where her path crosses with Detective D.D. Warren. Just as Flora’s having trouble adjusting, D.D., on restricted duty due to a shoulder injury, doesn’t like being chained to a desk either. Both women take their own paths to find Stacey, but both also have a lot to learn if they are to find her alive.  

Lisa Gardner writes an intriguing mystery that hooks the reader from the very first sentence. Not only is the story a genius concoction of past and present crimes, it is a story that makes the reader feel. Annoyance, fear, and disgust are just a few of the emotions the reader will inhabit while switching between the perspectives of Flora (both past and present) and the detective. Gardner’s writing devices, the perspective switch as well as her repetition of phrases (“nobody wants to be a monster”) work well to add suspense. Readers who love mystery will speed through the pages of D.D. Warren’s latest case. Although this is the eighth novel of Garner’s Detective D.D. Warren series, it works as a standalone, and readers should not shy away from entering D.D.’s world now. 

*Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with  an advanced electronic copy in exchange for an honest review.