Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

EverythingEverythingCoverCan I just tell you to read this book immediately? Seriously, if that was all the advice that I gave you and you followed it, you wouldn’t be disappointed. But since most readers want just a bit more before committing…

Madeleine is a typical seventeen-year-old girl with one exception. She can’t leave her house. In fact, she hasn’t been outside since she was a very small child. She’s allergic to basically everything, and basically everything could potentially end her life. So she’s stuck inside the bubble of her house. And if asked, she’d probably tell you that she’s pretty happy with her life as it is. After all, she’s never known anything different.

But then it happens. New neighbors move in next door. And as Madeleine watches from her upstairs window, her heart skips a beat when she sees Olly for the first time. His life is so different from hers, but he has his own set of troubles. Of course they fall for each other, at first from behind the safety of a computer screen. When that’s not enough, Madeleine realizes that her life wasn’t as happy and complete as she thought it was. All rewards, however, come with a certain amount of risk. And the risks for Madeleine could be her very life.

I’ve never read anything quite like this book. You could call it your typical teenage romance story. Girl finds boy, boy finds girl, they fall for each other, life interferes, and they live either happily ever after or NOT happily ever after. But the author does such an amazing job with this debut novel. It’s familiar and different at the same time. The characters are so real, and they evoke such emotion. Oh, and I won’t even mention the huge twist at the end of this story that I never for the life of me saw coming. This one will easily go down as one of my all-time favorites.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Everything, Everything

Review: Keeper’s Reach (Sharpe & Donovan) by Carla Neggers

  
Emma and Colin are at it again – solving crimes and saving lives – but this time they’re not really doing it together. Emma is supposed to be visiting the sisters at her old convent to get some closure before her wedding. But she gets drawn in to a dangerous situation when Colin’s brother Mike has some ex military contacts visiting. Colin vacillates between rushing in to save the day and keeping his emotions in check and doing a deliberate investigation first. 

I miss the banter Emma and Colin had in book 4 of this series (Read the review here), but I did like their display of trust and protectiveness for each other. Just like in book 4, I was a little confused with the numerous characters. They didn’t all come clear to me until the end, and by that time I think I missed something. 

I always enjoy a good FBI story, and Keeper’s Reach gets extra points for being set in New England and the Cotswalds. I also loved that Neggers continued the stories of art thief Oliver York and secondary character Father Finian. A possible rekindled romance for Mike and Naomi held my interest, too.  

I wish Neggers focused more on action — while maintaining the awesome descriptions of locale that she does so well — instead of describing characters. I get that the ex military pals were supposed to be central, but it’s hard to develop a bunch of new characters for one mystery in one book. 

I hope to see more Sharpe & Donovan capers in the future!

-calliope

Buy KEEPER’S REACH

Review: Restless Waters(Left Drowning #2) by Jessica Park

01 rest My heart has been squeezed and shredded, and glued and mended. Restless Waters is filled with enough emotion to sweep you out to sea, unless you’re holding tight to someone.

“Breathe. Just breathe.”

“There’s no air, Blythe.”

“Reach for me. I won’t let you drown. I’m right here.”

He rubs my back some more and then laughs lightly. “You’re already taken.”

“I have two hands, Sabin. Grab one.”

I have loved Sabin from the very first moment we met him, in Left Drowning. I knew there was more going on inside his head than he let on. I KNEW that his story, however it was told, was going to make me feel. I was so right.

SYNOPSIS
A storm is coming, and with storms come restless waters.

Pulled from the depths of catastrophe and depression, Blythe McGuire has learned to escape from her past while embracing the future. A future now entwined with the Shepherd siblings.

With Chris, she shares a staggering romance that kicks heartbreak’s ass.

With Sabin, she shares an intense friendship, one that’s becoming more complicated than either had expected. A friendship now being put to the test because Sabin’s brutal past still haunts him. Because trauma is the gift that keeps on giving without mercy.

Now Sabin is the one left drowning and struggling to breathe, and his turmoil threatens to send all three into dark currents they cannot escape. Even after going through her own hell, saving Sabin will take much more than Blythe had anticipated. Their connection and their love could help, but getting him to reach for her hand could be Blythe’s biggest challenge ever.

Blythe has found a way to breathe, with the love of Chris and Sabin. Sabin is her best friend. In fact, everyone would count themselves lucky to have a friend like Sabin. He is charismatic and loving, and loyal to a fault. He wants his loved ones to feel no pain. But as they grow closer, she notices that Sabin is falling apart. He wants to be free, but at the same time, he can’t stand being alone. If Blythe isn’t strong enough to save him, she’s going to drown right along with him.

My heart was breaking this entire time. True to the Left Drowning feel, I had to step away from everyone, as I couldn’t contain the sobs that overcame me, at one scene. I was completely caught off guard and my heart squeezed so tight.

I wanted Sabin to be happy. But no matter how loud and crazy he was, there was undercurrent within him, that you felt through the pages. Restless waters is the perfect description of him. He was all over the place. Never settled. He was hurting and helpless. After growing up the crazy household they did, there are bound to be scars that remain below the surface. Healing doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a lot of fierce love and compassion to prevent someone from drowning in sadness and pain.

So hold on. Grab a box of tissues and get cozy. You won’t want to get up until you’ve finished.

~Melpomene

Buy Restless Waters: A Left Drowning Novel (Left Drowning Series Book 2)

Read Left Drowning (Left Drowning Series Book 1) first, to fully understand where Sabin is coming from. This book is in my top 10 of all times. I have much love for this series.

Review – The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara


16126596After two books, Hanya Yanagihara has now been put onto my “blind buy” author list. This is my list of authors that I will gladly buy their new book without knowing anything about it. You may remember my previous review A Little Life and how much I gushed over it.  Well, The People in the Trees is Yanagihara’s first book, and for a debut novel, it is absolutely brilliant!

Now, being a debut novel, you can see where the author is learning their craft, and in Yanagihara’s second novel, she most definitely expands upon that craft.   However, Yanagihara’s themes, and how these themes are presented, is a skill that the author seems to naturally possess.

The best thing about this books are the characters.  The main character, Norton, is complex, certainly not likable, intelligent, egotistical, and most of all… human…  We are not going to resonate with him on a superficial level, but really, we all share very similar qualities, and that’s what drew me in to these characters and their stories.   Human nature, and the perception of human nature, really interests me, and it is explored with finesse in this book.   If one person is evil, can they still be a genuine?  If a person is honest, can they still be a liar? What do you consider reliable vs unreliable?  The dichotomy of labels that we put on people based upon their actions, or indeed, what actions we choose to support or vilify, is a fascinating subject.  When you have a situation of intentions vs consequences, which one ultimately “wins”?   All these garbled and incoherent questions/ramblings are the result of reading this intense piece of fiction.   But you know what?  I bloody love it!

If you want a book that will make you question things you originally had a different opinion on, reinforce some ideas of yours, but maybe make you consider them from a different angle, then pick this book up.  It is not an easy book at all.  You will need to read fluff afterwards, but these type of books don’t come along often, so take a chance.

Pegasus.

The People in the Trees

Review: Wildest Dreams by Robyn Carr

  
Carr’s previous Thunder Point novel impressed me. This one, I’m not so sure. 

As a romance, Wildest Dreams might be a miss. Blake was a great guy and I loved his friendships with Charlie and the other neighbors. But I just didn’t see him falling in love with reserved and cool Lin Su. 

Mainly I don’t think I felt any connection to Lin Su, so it was hard to see her in a romantic light. I believed her as a hard-working mom, fiercely loving her son, but not really as a love interest to an energetic, effusive athlete who pushes boundaries. 

The beginning was more telling than showing, but the dialog and character interaction improved as the book went on. 

As a family drama, Wildest Dreams succeeded. Carr made me cry for Lin Su as a child, not having her real mother, not ever feeling like she belonged. I appreciated the sense of community that Carr built, and addressing the social issues of race and having a baby out of wedlock and adoption and status. 

Robyn Carr is one of my favorite writers, and though it seems she’s moving slightly away from romance in Thunder Point, I will adjust my expectations and look forward to the next novel in the series. 

-calliope

Buy WILDEST DREAMS

Review and Giveaway: In the Dark by Monica Murphy

01 in I remember meeting Gabriel in Fair Game and I was excited to read what his story would be about.

SYNOPSIS
Stuck spending the summer with his screwed up family, Gabriel Walker is bored out of his mind and looking for an adventure. And he seems to find it with the hot girl who lives next door. The attraction between them is instant. Electric. Soon they’re spending every stolen minute together. Talk about the perfect summer fling…

Lucy isn’t what she seems. She doesn’t live next door—she’s the girl who’s been hired to house sit for the summer while the family goes on a worldwide vacation. If Gabe wants to believe she’s a spoiled rich girl looking for some fun, she can go along with that. After the summer, she’ll never see him again.

They don’t count on running into each other at college. Now Lucy must keep up the pretense of being a rich girl—and it’s exhausting. She knows she’s falling in love with Gabe and she’s scared he feels the same. Will he still care about her when he discovers the truth?

The majority of this story takes place on the beach, even though the synopsis doesn’t make it sound like it. That was the best part of their story. I enjoyed seeing Gabe, this super in control, always gets the girl, ladies man, seem unsure of what to do. He sees this gorgeous girl and is intrigued by her, without even knowing a thing about her. And when he finally takes the shot, his world is flipped upside down.

Lucy decides to house sit for one of her mom’s clients, all summer long, in order to help pay for college. She thought she’s be spending it all alone cooped up in the house. She had no intentions of getting out. But then her “neighbor” decides to come over one day, and BAM, her life is flipped also.

This was a sweet story filled with lots of flirting and banter. Lucy is nothing like the girls the Gabe usually goes for, but he likes what he sees and he’s gonna let her know every chance he gets. Lucy is your typical insecure girl who isn’t used to guys liking her for her, so it made my heart happy to have him tell her not to change. But when she sees him in college, the thought of him finding out that she’s not up in his league, was very scary. She thought he was going to be just a summer fling, but that silly heart of hers wouldn’t let her get away with that.

~Melpomene

Buy In The Dark (The Rules Book 2)

Click HERE to enter the giveaway.

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**Credit: WordSmith Publicity**

Review: Below the Water Line: Getting Out, Going Back, and Moving Forward in the Decade After Hurricane Katrina by Lisa Karlin

518K729yxgL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_It’s been ten years since the unforgettable devastation known as Katrina came ashore. Ten years since families were displaced, homes were destroyed, lives were lost. Such a long time ago, but yet not so very long ago. And although I’ve read many different accounts of the tragedy, every new one that comes along immediately catches my eye.

In this newest telling, we are given an insider’s view of what one family encountered in the days leading up to the hurricane as well as their recovery process. This family is somewhat different from what most of us know from television accounts. They’re white, middle class (at least) and living comfortably. Mom is a nurse and dad is a surgeon. Kids one and two are enrolled in private school. They have a nice home in a nice neighborhood. And most importantly, they have the means to evacuate as Katrina bears down on the city.

I’ll admit, I had to sit on this one for a bit after finishing it. I knew that I wanted to write a review, but I wasn’t quite sure in which direction I wanted to go. The author does provide a very real, honest account of her family’s experiences. However, it’s hard to feel much sympathy for someone whose home escaped mostly intact while so many lost everything they owned. And how does a tree in a pool and rotten food compare with the loss of a loved one?

But the more I reflected on it, the more I appreciated this unique perspective on the Karlin family’s experience. Because who am I to determine what an authentic story is? And I give the author much credit for never minimizing the horror of what others went through. In fact, at several points throughout the story she makes a point of noting that so many others had it so much worse than her family did.

Mostly, I admire the hope and passion for New Orleans that is woven throughout this book. The author makes it clear that there’s no love lost for those who were in power ten years ago. Powerful people who, by the way, dropped the ball in a very big way. She also makes it very clear why she and her family made the decision to return to a city that many felt wasn’t deserving of rebuilding efforts. To quote a well-known phrase: “I’m not a native of New Orleans. Although I wasn’t born here, I got here as fast as I could.”

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Below the Water Line: Getting Out, Going Back, and Moving Forward in the Decade After Hurricane Katrina