Netgalley Review: The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton

Thank you to Negalley for giving me a free copy of this book to read in exchange for my honest review. 

 

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Title: The Perfect Girlfriend

Author: Karen Hamilton

Pages: 352

Publisher: Graydon House

Publication Date: March 26, 2019

Genre: Thriller

Rating: 5/5

YOU’VE NEVER READ A LOVE STORY AS TWISTED AS THIS.

Juliette loves Nate.

She will follow him anywhere. She’s even become a flight attendant for his airline, so she can keep a closer eye on him.

They are meant to be.

The fact that Nate broke up with her six months ago means nothing. Because Juliette has a plan to win him back.

She is the perfect girlfriend. And she’ll make sure no one stops her from getting exactly what she wants.

True love hurts, but Juliette knows it’s worth all the pain…

Goodreads

The main character, Juliette, is such a twisted character but by the end of the book I felt like she was a friend. Which is such a bizarre thing to say about someone who is a stalker and sees nothing wrong with doing whatever it takes to achieve her end goal. Books like this almost make you question yourself because I felt so connected to Juliette even though she was doing these terrible things. So many times throughout the book I just wanted to shake her and tell her not to do it, that it wasn’t worth it, that she could be better. To me this really speaks to what an amazing job the author, Hamilton, did because in any other situation I would have been totally freaked out by someone doing what Juliette does.

There was a couple of moments about a third of the way through that I found myself annoyed with the flashbacks to Juliette’s past. However, I really think that these flashbacks are what cemented in me the way I felt about her character. Also, they do serve a greater purpose because not only is she stalking her ex boyfriend she is also obsessively stalking a girl that she used to go to school with. The more the story unfolded the more I appreciated what the author was doing with the story. And this story has turned into one of the best thrillers that I have read this year.

Juliette is one of the most twisted characters that I have ever read before. She is able to justify every wrong decision and every bad action that she makes. It was entertaining to see her do these things and then normalize it when as the reader you know that she is so out of control. Since the book is told in first person this became a very powerful narrative tool. I think that if the author had chosen to tell this story in a third person narrative that it would have fell flat and ridiculous. The things that Juliette do are so over the top but it works because of the way the story is told. The books that I connect to the most (and probably most people) are ones that feel real even though they aren’t and this easily felt real to me.

This book immediately brought me back to when I read You by Caroline Kepnes. Even though the stories are different they also have a lot of parallels. So if you liked that one than I feel confident that you will enjoy The Perfect Girlfriend. Honestly, I can see myself rereading this book throughout my life which feels unnatural to say about a thriller. So, if you are a fan of thrillers than I believe you will enjoy this and hopefully love it as much as I do.

~Cassie

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

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Title: Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

Author: David Grann

Genre: Non Fiction, Crime

Pages: 359

Publisher: Doubleday

Publication Date: April 18, 2017

Ratings: 5/5

In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian Nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, the Osage rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.

Then, one by one, they began to be killed off. One Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, watched as her family was murdered. Her older sister was shot. Her mother was then slowly poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more Osage began to die under mysterious circumstances.

In this last remnant of the Wild West—where oilmen like J. P. Getty made their fortunes and where desperadoes such as Al Spencer, “the Phantom Terror,” roamed – virtually anyone who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. As the death toll surpassed more than twenty-four Osage, the newly created F.B.I. took up the case, in what became one of the organization’s first major homicide investigations. But the bureau was then notoriously corrupt and initially bungled the case. Eventually the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to try to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including one of the only Native American agents in the bureau. They infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest modern techniques of detection. Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most sinister conspiracies in American history.

A true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history.

Goodreads

David Grann, the author, did a fantastic job writing this book. There is so much information packed into this 350 page book but the story never felt jilted at all. The book flowed so well together even with all the different people, crimes, and the history of everything. The pacing was perfect for me as well. I liked how we first got to see the story unfold from the perspective of the Osage Indians and then it switched to seeing how the story unfolded from the perspective of the FBI. Both of these perspectives were so fascinating to me for different reasons.

My biological grandma is/was a Shoshone Indian but she gave my mom up for adoption when she was born. My mom was raised by a white family and she has no interest in trying to find her birth family. So, although by blood I am part Native American it is a part of me that I don’t know at all culturally so it is not something that I claim. However, I have always wanted to learn more about my background but I also want to respect my mom’s wishes and so I do all of my learning from afar. The Native American culture is so beautiful and it is one of my life goals is to always be learning more. For this reason I was so heartbroken by this book. Although, even without my background this book is heartbreaking. The white man felt that they could do these terrible crimes of poisoning and killing and it didn’t bother them because they considered the Osage animals. It made me so disgusted reading this that people can believe that they are better than anyone because of the color of their skin. Although, it is even more disgusting that more than a hundred years later we are still dealing with the same issue.

I also really liked the FBI aspect of this book. I have mentioned before that I am a true crime junkie so this book really appealed to me. I definitely am on the lookout for a great non fiction book about J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI because the little tastes that I got of it in this book definitely intrigued me. The book mainly focuses on Tom White as he is the main investigator for the FBI. He is such a stand up guy and I really liked learning about his life and how he handled the investigation. It was also interesting to learn about how private investigators got their start and the different techniques that they would use.

This third act of this book deals with the author, Grann, and his research for this book. Which led to him putting together more information that what was done in the original FBI investigation. The whole story is so unbelievably sad and such a dark time in American history. As if what the American government did to Native Americans wasn’t awful enough this happened.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys true crime or anyone interested in the different histories of America. It is so important that we keep telling and reading these stories so we are always cognizant of our past. History is so so important to our lives and to society. We should always be striving to be better than we were.

~Cassie

2019 First Quarter Wrap Up

I thought it would be fun to track my reading quarterly to see if it changes at all with the different seasons. It’s funny to say but it never even crossed my mind to track my reading statistically until booktube. Then I was knee deep in babies and life and I just never took the time to figure it all out. I decided since my youngest (and last baby!) turned 2 in January that now was a good time to start. Before I share my stats I’m going to list all the books I read each month and link to any reviews that I did.

January

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36461454-1 Review (as part of a mini review post)

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38355282 Review

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22471294

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24765311

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February

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35133922

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39873226 Review

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18905474-1 Review (first in a mini review post)

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March

42396951-1 Review

38244389 Review (part of a mini review post)

40969531-1 Review (part of a mini review post)

35054011-1 Review to come on April 16 its book birthday 🙂

28096541 Review

40717447 Review (part of a mini review post)

13220420-2 Review (part of a mini review post)

36269136 Review

32861089 Review

29496076 Review coming ASAP

Book Stats

Books read: 27/100

      January: 10

      February: 7

March: 10

Author

Male: 7

Female: 20

Genre

YA Romance: 1

Non Fiction: 3

YA Contemporary: 4

Mystery: 3

Adult Romance: 2

Cozy Mystery: 1

YA Mystery: 1

YA Fantasy: 1

Thriller: 7

Horror: 2

Sci Fi: 1

Fantasy: 1

Pages Read

1-300: 7

301-500: 17

500+: 3

Pages Read: 9,897

Star Ratings

1: 2

2: 3

3: 4

4: 11

5: 7

Best Book

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Worst Book

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Book Source

Libby Library App: 10

ARC’s: 4

Library: 4

Physical Own: 5

Kindle Own: 4

There you have it. All my book stats for the first three months of the year. I am the most pleased with how many 500+ pages books I have read so far. Especially since I didn’t read any last year! I am the most disappointed in how little I am reading my physically owned books. I have a five shelf bookcase that holds all my unread books and one of the shelves is double stacked. In three months I only managed to take five books off that bookcase which is pretty terrible. Let’s see if I can do better with that in the next three months.

~Cassie

 

 

 

 

The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson

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Title: The Most Dangerous Place on Earth

Author: Lindsey Lee Johnson

Pages: 288

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Publisher: Random House

Publication Date: January 10, 2017

Rating: 1/5

A captivating debut novel for readers of Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You and Curtis Sittenfeld’s Prep, The Most Dangerous Place on Earth unleashes an unforgettable cast of characters into a realm known for its cruelty and peril: the American high school.

In an idyllic community of wealthy California families, new teacher Molly Nicoll becomes intrigued by the hidden lives of her privileged students. Unknown to Molly, a middle school tragedy in which they were all complicit continues to reverberate for her kids: Nick, the brilliant scam artist; Emma, the gifted dancer and party girl; Dave, the B student who strives to meet his parents expectations; Calista, the hippie outcast who hides her intelligence for reasons of her own. Theirs is a world in which every action may become public postable, shareable, indelible. With the rare talent that transforms teenage dramas into compelling and urgent fiction, Lindsey Lee Johnson makes vivid a modern adolescence lived in the gleam of the virtual, but rich with the sorrow, passion, and beauty of life in any time, and at any age.

Goodreads

As you can see from my rating I really did not like this book. Fun fact: I have never in my 32 years DNF a book. I have nothing against other people doing it but I always want to know how a book finishes. Until this book. I didn’t DNF it but I really should have. But I told myself to hold out and finish it because then I will probably understand the point of the book. No. It didn’t work. There is no actual point to this book.

I did like the idea behind the formatting of the book and it maybe could have worked if two huge things had been different. This story is told through alternating points of view. One point of view is a teacher at the school, Ms. Nicoll and her story is told every other chapter behind a story dealing with a student. Each student story is like a short story of that specific character. All these short stories even have their own story name for the chapter which further enforced the short story vibe to me. Which is the first thing that I would have changed about this book. It would have worked better to just be a collection of short stories about the students in Mill Valley.  For that to really work though you would have to do the other big change which is to take out the character of Ms. Nicoll. There was no narrative point to her being in the book. She didn’t further the plot at all. Especially since there is no plot which is why a short story collection would have worked so much better. Besides her character being pointless she aggravated me every single time it was her story. She seemed to think her goal as a teacher was for the kids to be her friend. Uh no and she crossed so many lines it was uncomfortable and cringy.

Speaking of uncomfortable and cringy so was pretty much every situation a character was in. There were so many lines crossed in this book that it became overkill and ridiculous. It was way too much for one book. (I feel like putting in trigger warnings here would be spoilers but please check the Goodreads link above to find out what they are. There are a lot of good reviews that list them all.) I’m not sure if this was why the characters were all so unlikeable but they were all either annoying or terrible. Sometimes both. The only character that I felt anything for was Emma.

However, there is some good news in this depressing review that I wrote. This book has won awards. Barnes and Noble and People Magazine have both spotlight it. HBO has bought the rights to turn it into a tv show. (All of this I got from the author’s bio page here). There are obviously a great number of people who enjoy this. Who saw and understood what the author was trying to do. Unfortunately, I am not that person.

~Cassie

What She Knew by Gilly Macmillian

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Title: What She Knew

Author: Gilly Macmillian

Pages: 512

Genre: Mystery, Crime

Publisher: Harpers Collins Publishers

Publication Date: December 1, 2015

Rating: 4/5

Rachel Jenner is walking in a Bristol park with her eight-year-old son, Ben, when he asks if he can run ahead. It’s an ordinary request on an ordinary Sunday afternoon, and Rachel has no reason to worry—until Ben vanishes.

Police are called, search parties go out, and Rachel, already insecure after her recent divorce, feels herself coming undone. As hours and then days pass without a sign of Ben, everyone who knew him is called into question, from Rachel’s newly married ex-husband to her mother-of-the-year sister. Inevitably, media attention focuses on Rachel too, and the public’s attitude toward her begins to shift from sympathy to suspicion. 

As she desperately pieces together the threadbare clues, Rachel realizes that the greatest dangers may lie not in the anonymous strangers of every parent’s nightmares, but behind the familiar smiles of those she trusts the most.

Where is Ben? The clock is ticking…

Goodreads

This book had me hooked from the beginning. The prologue starts us off 1 year past Rachel’s son, Ben, going missing. The story is told from Rachel’s perspective and one of the lead investigators Jim. Some of Jim’s story is also told through notes his therapist took. I really love when books are able to play with different formats because when done right it really keeps up the momentum of the story. I read this book on my kindle and I had no idea until I was putting this blog post together that this is 512 pages. It honestly felt like a 300 page book which I really feel like speaks to what a compelling story this is.

I really like the character of Rachel and I quickly connected to her. Ben is a 8 year old boy and my two oldest are 7 and 9 and I couldn’t help but put myself in her shoes. Her son asks if he can run ahead to the car while they are walking the dog and she lets him. When she gets to the car she obviously can’t find him or the dog and this sets off the judgement of people everywhere. Throughout the book there are blog posts and news articles with comments at the end that are filled with so much judgement and hate for Rachel and her decision to let him go ahead. Rachel’s story felt so real to me and I appreciated how flushed out her story felt with all the people in her life. She has to deal with her ex husband and his new wife, her best friend and also her sister, along with Ben’s school. It was interesting to see how people reacted and dealt with Ben missing and all the different dynamics.

The other big part of the book is the police investigation to find Ben. This was a very comprehensive look at how an investigation is run and all the people involved. This was the part of the book that frustrated me the most because it was so irritating some of the stuff they would and wouldn’t do. But I also think that was the point since this is the first book in a series starring Jim. Obviously from the first time we meet Jim we know that things don’t end up to great for him and this is the story of explaining how he got there. It just really rubbed me the wrong way when the cops would get a piece of evidence and then say that it probably wasn’t too important and they will look into after they go down this other avenue of investigation. To be fair though, a lot of that frustration could be due to the fact that I watched the first 3 episodes of the Adnan Syed documentary on HBO while I was reading this. Syed was convicted based on a timeline that the cops forced to fit into their evidence even though it doesn’t hold up once you start looking at it. (Just for the record I’m not saying he did or didn’t do it. I just don’t think a person should spend their life in prison based on a flawed timeline. Our justice system needs to be better than that.) If the evidence is taking you in a different direction you should follow the evidence and not get fixated on the person you think did it. This is obviously quite different than the Syed case where that is a murder and this is a missing kid. You obviously need to find the perpetrator as quickly as possible so you can find the child as soon as possible. But you can still do that while also looking at all the new evidence at the same time.

So now that I have gone on a mini rant about our justice system let me wrap this up by saying that this is a fantastically written mystery and crime fiction novel. I thought for a long time that this would be a five star read but I unfortunately really struggled with the actions of the police. I do plan on continuing on with the series and I am looking forward to seeing Jim handles another investigation and how this first one changed him.

~Cassie

Buzzwordathon Round 3 Wrap Up

I finished three books during the buzzwordathon which isn’t too bad except for the fact that one of the books only took me 20 min. Which to be fair I didn’t know going into it that it was going to be so short and I don’t even know if it really counts. Here are the books I read and links to their Goodreads pages and my review of it.

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Goodreads

Review

Rating: 4/5

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Goodreads

Review (as part of a mini review collection)

Rating: 4/5

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Goodreads

Review (as part of mini review collection)

Rating: 1/5

I just finished the following book today:

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Goodreads

My review for this one will be out on Thursday 🙂

Rating: 4/5

I am roughly over half way through the following book:

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Goodreads

I hope to have this finished and reviewed next week.

Wrap Ups

Everyday of the readathon I did a wrap up on my blog. The first two days I took pictures throughout my day but I wasn’t too happy with what I was putting out. Day 3 I started just summarizing my reading throughout the day and I feel like it was much more effective. I liked talking about my thoughts while I was reading and I will continue doing some sort of reading diary throughout the year.

Buzzwordathon Day 1

Buzzwordathon Day 2

Buzzwordathon Day 3

Buzzwordathon Day 4

Buzzwordathon Day 5

Buzzwordathon Day 6

Buzzwordathon Day 7

My husband and I are working our way through Game of Thrones and that definitely hindered my productivity this readathon. I know I brought it up a lot during my wrap ups but I love that show and I can’t wait for the new season to start. So it was definitely a worthwhile investment to spend that time with my husband. I usually do the majority of my reading at night when my kids are sleeping so it was interesting trying to fit it in during my day. Overall, I had a good time and I love doing anything related to books so it was a total win in my book. I do wish that I had been able to hit my four book goal but I am choosing to be ok with it.

~Cassie

 

Buzzwordathon Day 7

We made it! The final day of the readathon. I did not read four books like I wanted to but I am really enjoying the last two books that I started for the readathon.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

I only finished the chapter that I started on Saturday but that was all that I read of this one. Since I’m watching Game of Thrones with my husband at night I am not able to read for long periods of time which is really hindering my progress with this book. I usually read a chapter here and there throughout the day and it’s just not working for me with this book. I have sort of come to a stand still with this one.

What She Knew by Gilly Macmillian

On Saturday I read 11% of this and on Sunday I got all the way to 46%. There has been some unexpected stuff happening and I still have an idea of what I want to happen but honesty this story could go anywhere. It is becoming more of a difficult read though the more we get into the investigation. Ben is a missing 8 year old and I have a 9 and a 7 year old. I can’t help but put myself in Rachel’s position and it is a heartbreaking situation.

Books Completed: 3

Check back tomorrow to find out my thoughts on the readathon as a whole. And thanks for coming on this journey with me ❤

~Cassie

Buzzwordathon Day 6

I contemplated all day if I should post this because day 6 was a complete fail :< It was a thunderstorm and hail kind of a day which just puts me into the mood to lay on the couch and watch tv all day. Although, instead of doing that I got sucked into a Reddit vortex instead. Which is also irritating because if I was going to be reading I should have been reading my readathon books. I don’t often have lazy days though so I’m trying to not beat myself up too much about it. That does mean that I’m probably only going to finish the 3 books that I have already read earlier since I have lots of stuff planned for Sunday.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

I read a whole 6 pages of this. I think this book is superbly written and I have so many thoughts on this but I feel like they are half formed because I only know a little more than half the story. I definitely feel like you could administer a personality test based on who you think the baby belongs to. Ng does an incredible job of not taking sides and just leaving it up the reader to decide. I’m also really annoyed at the character of Izzy. I don’t understand her intense rudeness to others. Well, her mom I understand but not the way she talks to strangers and family friends. I also can’t believe this book was written in 2017 and yet perfectly captures 1997.

What She Knew by Gilly Macmillian

I only read 4% more of this book. I remember hearing this book has a great ending and I have an idea of what I want to happen and I can’t wait to see if I’m right. I don’t want to say what it is in case I’m right or close to right and accidentally spoil someone. I will say at 11% into this that I can’t imagine anyone who enjoys thrillers not liking this book.

Books Completed: 3

My new goal is to hopefully have these two books finished by the time I post my readathon wrap up on Tuesday. Hopefully day 7 is a much better reading day.

~Cassie

Buzzwordathon Day 5

This was a pretty productive reading day for me. I’m pretty happy with my progress so far in the readathon. I have two days left and I hope to finish out strong.

What Happened In Vegas by Sylvia Day

I was scrolling through the Libby app seeing if there were books that piqued my interest that had a buzzword in the title and I found this terrible book. The only plus side to this read was how insanely short it is. I have now technically finished 3 books but this book was basically a chapter long. I have already reviewed this along with some other books and you can check out my full thoughts on this book here. Long story short it was a 1 star read for me. I would rather have read another chapter of the book I started after this one.

What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan

I have wanted to read this book since it first came out in 2015 and I have no idea why I kept putting it off. I am only 7% into the story and I am hooked. I want to find out all the things and I can’t wait for the story to unfold. The reason I am so invested already is because of the way the story is told. The prologue is told from 1 year after Rachael’s son Ben went missing. The book is told from Rachel’s point of view and also the lead detective, Jim and his perspective is, I think, mainly told through reports he is writing to his therapist. Um yes please. It is starting off so strong and I am predicting that this will be a five star read for me. I recently read and reviewed (the last book in a collection of mini reviews) her newest release I Know You Know and I gave it four stars.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

I think on Day 4 I was on page 76 and now I’m on page 140 so I made a lot of good progress on this. I’m roughly half way through and we have finally gotten to the adoption part of the story. I don’t know why I’m so hung up on when that finally happened because I am really liking this book a lot. I just get so caught up on what the synopsis says that I thought the adoption would be a bigger part of the story. This would be so much better described as a book about family dynamics centering around mother daughter relationships. If I had to rate it right now I would probably give it 4.5 stars and I think it will be interesting to see what I give it once I finish it.

Books Completed: 3(ish)

~Cassie

 

Mini Reviews #5

I am lacking the motivation to do anything today and I have tried three different times to take a nap but it just keeps getting interrupted. I have given up on trying to make the nap happen so I am here to talk about some of the books I have recently read.

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It happened in Vegas…

A sizzling encounter that turned into a scorching biweekly affair. How he’d ended up in bed with a woman like Robin was still a mystery to Paul. One minute they were riding the same elevator and the next he was riding her, the attraction so fierce and immediate he couldn’t remember how they reached his room or even shed their clothes. But when Robin suggested they take their relationship to the next level, Paul panicked, prompting her to walk out on him with her head held high and his heart in her hands. Four months later, he’s got her in an elevator again, ready and willing, but with her emotions tucked safely away. He’s got one shot to prove that what happened in Vegas can happen anywhere in the world, for the rest of their lives.

(includes the bonus short story, Salacious Robinson)

Goodreads

NO. Just no to this “book”. I found this on the Libby app and I thought it would be the perfect quick read for the buzzwordathon. Well quick was right because this is the shortest short story ever. No I take that back. The bonus short story at the end is the shortest ever. I don’t even feel like I can really rate this because there is no substance to this at all! I will read a smutty book every now and again and this does not do that genre any kind of justice. It was so short that the “sexy” scenes were ruined because the author decided to give us the couples backstory while they were having sex. Like what?! I don’t understand why the story couldn’t have been like ten pages longer and framed better. It was just a hot mess. If you read the Goodreads synopsis that is above this review than you have pretty much read the whole book. Also the short story at the end was just so cringe inducing awful. This book probably takes 20 min to read and I don’t suggest you do it. You will never get those minutes back.

Rating: 1/5

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All Willow Wells wanted was a fresh start. After a divorce that left her a dog trainer with no dogs to train, inheriting her Aunt’s property (complete with a downtrodden dog gym) seemed like the answer to her prayers. That is until the first day of excavation uncovers a dead local real estate mogul, and pins her current contractor as the lead suspect.

With his funds frozen, and with no way to return Willow’s money, contractor Griffin Maynard has no choice but to join forces with his high school crush who also happens to be his current client—new arrival Willow Wells. Together they must find the real murderer and get construction back underway before both of their businesses go bottom up.

But as they follow the trail of town gossip, Willow and Griffin discover more buried secrets than they first thought, and time is running out to solve this murder before they lose everything.

Goodreads

This was such a fun light hearted read. I really liked Willow and her dog Telescope. Cozy mysteries are one of my favorite genres to read and this is such a good one. I know that this is the beginning of the series but it did annoy me that they kept alluding to something that caused Willow to leave town after high school and then never really said what it was. Maybe if it had only been brought up once it wouldn’t have annoyed me so much but it kept being mentioned. I also didn’t really like the change in the story format halfway through. The first half is only Willow narrating the story and then it all of a sudden switches to being told through other people. I know it was done so the reader could gain more knowledge of the mystery but it is a weak stylistic choice. Either have it be multi perspective from the beginning or just don’t the whole way through. Unless it serves a purpose to the plot I personally don’t think the format of a story should suddenly change. Overall though this is a solid book and I will definitely be continuing on with the series.

Rating: 4/5

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Long ago, following a cataclysm called “The Rupture,” the world was shattered into many floating celestial islands. Known now as Arks, each has developed in distinct ways; each seems to possess its own unique relationship to time, such that nowadays vastly different worlds exist, together but apart. And over all of the Arks the spirit of an omnipotent ancestor abides.

Ophelia lives on Anima, an ark where objects have souls. Beneath her worn scarf and thick glasses, the young girl hides the ability to read and communicate with the souls of objects, and the power to travel through mirrors. Her peaceful existence on the Ark of Anima is disrupted when she is promised in marriage to Thorn, from the powerful Dragon clan. Ophelia must leave her family and follow her fiancée to the floating capital on the distant Ark of the Pole. Why has she been chosen? Why must she hide her true identity? Though she doesn’t know it yet, she has become a pawn in a deadly plot.

Goodreads

I was so fascinated by the world in this fantasy. I love the idea of it and I wish that the book had been more about the world and less about Ophelia and Thorn. This book is almost five hundred pages and looking back on it not much really happened. It would have probably gotten a higher rating from me if it had been shorter since it would have made the pacing pick up. I also feel like Ophelia is the exact same person that she was at the beginning of the book as she is at the end even though the story tries to convince us otherwise. This is just an average fantasy with the potential for so much more. The second book comes out May 7 and I hope that my library gets a copy. I’m am interested to see more of the world in the remaining books of the series. There are four so I would hope by the end that it is a well rounded story. Also, the covers of these books are absolutely gorgeous!

Rating: 3/5

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When everything has been taken from you, what else is there to do but run?

So that’s what Annabelle does—she runs from Seattle to Washington, DC, through mountain passes and suburban landscapes, from long lonely roads to college towns. She’s not ready to think about the why yet, just the how—muscles burning, heart pumping, feet pounding the earth. But no matter how hard she tries, she can’t outrun the tragedy from the past year, or the person—The Taker—that haunts her.

Followed by Grandpa Ed in his RV and backed by her brother and two friends (her self-appointed publicity team), Annabelle becomes a reluctant activist as people connect her journey to the trauma from her past. Her cross-country run gains media attention and she is cheered on as she crosses state borders, and is even thrown a block party and given gifts. The support would be nice, if Annabelle could escape the guilt and the shame from what happened back home. They say it isn’t her fault, but she can’t feel the truth of that.

Through welcome and unwelcome distractions, she just keeps running, to the destination that awaits her. There, she’ll finally face what lies behind her—the miles and love and loss…and what is to come.

Goodreads

I wanted to like this so much more than I did. My favorite thing about this book is the way the author talks about how girls are conditioned to always be nice. Be nice to everyone (specifically boys) even when that person makes us uncomfortable. Even when our boundaries are being stepped on. Even when all of our instincts are telling us this is not ok. We need to be empowering the women of the world to speak up. We do not have to be so nice all the time. Also when we speak our minds we are not being bitches. We have a right to stand up for ourselves. I have been so guilty of this. I always want to be nice to people but in some circumstances it is ok to tell people to back off. To stop. To leave us alone. These reasons are why I still think that this is an important book to read even though there were things that I wish hadn’t been a part of this powerful story. Like the preachiness at the end of the book came out of nowhere and one of my biggest pet peeves in a book is when I feel preached at. Even if I agree or disagree with what is being said there are ways to get your point across without lecturing. Show the reader through your story what you want to convey. Also, this might be a spoiler so stop reading now…. There should have been no romance in this story. It just felt so inappropriate considering the whole reason that Annabelle is doing the run. Just because something is YA does not mean it needs to have a romance in it. It was completely unnecessary.

Rating: 3/5

I’m actually feeling much more awake now that I have been ranting and raving about these books. So I’m going to go get some stuff done and enjoy the rest of my weekend. I hope you do the same 🙂

~Cassie