Book Reviews

The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan

The Realm of Possibility

Synopsis from Goodreads:

One school. Twenty voices.

Endless possibilities.

There’s the girl who is in love with Holden Caulfield. The boy who wants to be strong who falls for the girl who’s convinced she needs to be weak. The girl who writes love songs for a girl she can’t have. The two boys teetering on the brink of their first anniversary. And everyone in between.

As he did in the highly acclaimed Boy Meets Boy, David Levithan gives us a world of unforgettable voices that readers will want to visit again and again. It’s the realm of possibility open to us all – where love, joy, and the stories we tell will linger.

 

I actually have no idea how I came across this book… but it is basically filled with poetry-styled short stories and song lyrics written by one person but from the point of view of several different people, all who end up being interlinked with one another. It was definitely different from what I normally read, but it was nice to expand outside of my typical genre.

 

Before We Met by Lucie Whitehouse

Before We Met

Goodreads Synopsis:

Hannah, independent, headstrong, and determined not to follow in the footsteps of her bitterly divorced mother, has always avoided commitment. But one hot New York summer she meets Mark Reilly, a fellow Brit, and is swept up in a love affair that changes all her ideas about what marriage might mean.

Now, living in their elegant, expensive London townhouse and adored by her fantastically successful husband, she knows she was right to let down her guard.

But when Mark does not return from a business trip to the U.S. and when the hours of waiting for him stretch into days, the foundations of Hannah’s certainty begin to crack. Why do Mark’s colleagues believe he has gone to Paris not America? Why is there no record of him at his hotel? And who is the mysterious woman who has been telephoning him over the last few weeks?

Hannah begins to dig into her husband’s life, uncovering revelations that throw into doubt everything she has ever believed about him. As her investigation leads her away from their fairytale romance into a place of violence and fear she must decide whether the secrets Mark has been keeping are designed to protect him or protect her . . .

 

Oh my gosh, this book was crazy! But in a good way! I seriously was dying the whole time trying to figure out what in the world was going on with her husband! It’s kind of creepy to think you can be married to someone and then suddenly realize you don’t really know them at all. Hopefully this doesn’t happen to often in real life…

 

The Matchmaker by Elin Hilderbrand

The Matchmaker

Goodreads Synopsis:

Dabney Kimball Beech, the 48-year-old fifth generation Nantucketer, has had a lifelong gift of matchmaking (52 couples still together to her credit). But when Dabney discovers she is dying of pancreatic cancer, she sets out to find matches for a few people very close to home: her husband, celebrated economist John Boxmiller Beech; her lover journalist Clendenin Hughes; and her daughter, Agnes, who is engaged to be married to the wrong man.

As time slips away from Dabney, she is determined to find matches for those she loves most – but at what cost to her own relationships? THE MATCHMAKER is the heartbreaking new novel from Elin Hilderbrand about losing and finding love, even as you’re running out of time.

 

I just finished this one on Saturday and it was another good book by Elin Hilderbrand. I really love how the book switches back and forth between the present day, and then telling stories of all the people the main character, Dabney, “matched.” I don’t want to put any spoilers in here but I do have to say I didn’t looooove how quickly she gave in to a certain temptation and then avoided dealing with it. But again, I’ve definitely never been in that situation! I also really loved Agnes’s love story (Dabney’s daughter) and how the author allowed Agnes to see what was really happening to her with her fiance. Definitely a cute book!

 

Do you feel like you read different books during the summer as opposed to the winter? 

What is the most recent book you read? 

Book Reviews

More book reviews! I keep thinking that I’m getting exhausted by reading and take a break, and then a week later I’m diving into new books! So far I’m keeping up with this whole 100 books in a year idea!

 

Wreckage by Emily Bleeker

Wreckage

Goodreads Synopsis:

Lillian Linden is a liar. On the surface, she looks like a brave survivor of a plane crash. But she’s been lying to her family, her friends, and the whole world since rescue helicopters scooped her and her fellow survivor, Dave Hall, off a deserted island in the South Pacific. Missing for almost two years, the castaways are thrust into the spotlight after their rescue, becoming media darlings overnight. But they can’t tell the real story—so they lie.

The public is fascinated by the castaways’ saga, but Lillian and Dave must return to their lives and their spouses. Genevieve Randall—a hard-nosed journalist and host of a news program—isn’t buying it. She suspects Lillian’s and Dave’s explanations about the other crash survivors aren’t true. And now, Genevieve’s determined to get the real story, no matter how many lives it destroys.

In this intriguing tale of survival, secrets, and redemption, two everyday people thrown together by tragedy must finally face the truth…even if it tears them apart.

 

This was such a good book! Sometimes it can be so easy to judge other people, saying what you would or wouldn’t do when put in a certain situation. This book reminds you that you really don’t know. You don’t understand what it’s really like to go through certain things and to not judge people for the choices that they make, knowing what they know when they make them.

Beyond this overarching lesson, this book was really intriguing – the reader continually gets hints as to what happens on the island, but you find out slowly throughout the book as two characters are telling the story to a reporter. I liked that it kept me guessing and also kept me very interested. I had a hard time putting this one down!

 

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

We Were Liars

Goodreads Synopsis:

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
 
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

 

Whoa. Just, whoa. This is one of those books where when you get to the end, you look back over everything and realized that the truth was there all along, you just couldn’t see it. I enjoyed this book because of the mystery, the intrigue, and the beautiful family and place covering up the hidden, raw and real emotions. I can’t even tell you the one bit I didn’t like or I’ll ruin the whole thing!

This book was beautifully written, switching back and forth between the present time and various memories, all from the viewpoint of a young woman who is trying to piece together a summer that she’d forgotten. Definitely worth the read!

 

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl

Goodreads Synopsis:

From the author of the New York Times bestseller Eleanor & Park.

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind? 

 

YES! I LOVED THIS BOOK! I had heard so many great things about this author’s works that I was disappointed when I finally read Eleanor & Park. But Fangirl is a whole other story. I think one reason I enjoyed it so much is because I could really identify with the narrator – I loved Harry Potter (no where near as much as she likes this “simon snow” character) and I was incredibly socially awkward. Haha, again maybe not like she is, but still.

I just felt like this book was real but at the same time gave me those excited, giggling moments that make you smile and want to keep reading and reading. When I picked up this book I needed something that would pull me, that would make me love the characters and that would give me a happy ending. This was the novel, and I really loved reading it.

 

Were you a Harry Potter fan growing up? 

If you were stuck on an island, who would you pick to be with you? 

Book Reviews

More book reviews! I’ve definitely slowed down with reading novels as I’ve been working a little more behind the scenes on Beachbody and my blog, but I’m still chugging along!

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Still Alice

Goodreads Synopsis:

Alice Howland is proud of the life she worked so hard to build. At fifty years old, she’s a cognitive psychology professor at Harvard and a world-renowned expert in linguistics with a successful husband and three grown children. When she becomes increasingly disoriented and forgetful, a tragic diagnosis changes her life–and her relationship with her family and the world–forever.

I’ve talked about this book before during Thursday Thoughts so I’ll keep this brief, but this was a GREAT book. A must-read, for sure. I haven’t personally known someone with alzheimers so being able to read this book from the point of view of someone with the disease was an incredible way to understand not only what it would feel like to have the disease (or a fraction of!) but also the point of view of the family members and how difficult it really is to handle.

The book was very realistic and well written, and not only was it about alzheimers, but the characters in the story were very well developed. Her husband and each of her children had their own stories and character development and it made the story feel even more real because of their different reactions. I highly recommend this book because it’s a way to understand alzheimers, but through a story rather than more scientific reading.

 

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Northanger Abbey

Goodreads Synopsis:

A wonderfully entertaining coming-of-age story, Northanger Abbey is often referred to as Jane Austen’s “Gothic parody.” Decrepit castles, locked rooms, mysterious chests, cryptic notes, and tyrannical fathers give the story an uncanny air, but one with a decidedly satirical twist.

The story’s unlikely heroine is Catherine Morland, a remarkably innocent seventeen-year-old woman from a country parsonage. While spending a few weeks in Bath with a family friend, Catherine meets and falls in love with Henry Tilney, who invites her to visit his family estate, Northanger Abbey. Once there, Catherine, a great reader of Gothic thrillers, lets the shadowy atmosphere of the old mansion fill her mind with terrible suspicions. What is the mystery surrounding the death of Henry’s mother? Is the family concealing a terrible secret within the elegant rooms of the Abbey? Can she trust Henry, or is he part of an evil conspiracy? Catherine finds dreadful portents in the most prosaic events, until Henry persuades her to see the peril in confusing life with art.

 

I’m a big fan of Jane Austen’s and I was looking forward to reading another book of hers. At first it was hard to get into solely because of the language, however after a while I got used to it and found myself speaking in “old english” in my head… haha that’s when you know you read too much.

I find when I read anything by Jane Austen or anything Jane-Austen-esque I compare it to Pride & Prejudice, which is one of my favorite novels. Haha and this is a little unfair because not only have I read it a couple times but I’ve watched the movie a million times as well as the movie with the director’s commentary… so I know every little nuance in the novel.

BUT back to this one – I can’t say I thought it was as good, but it was a fun book to read. I liked that the main character was a little young, naive and curious, but at the same time surprisingly insightful. I felt the ending was a bit abrupt, but otherwise I liked the pace of the book. Now I’m wondering if it was made into a movie… haha even one of those great BBC ones (which I love…).

 

Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand

Silver Girl

Goodreads Synopsis:

Meredith Martin Delinn just lost everything: her friends, her homes, her social standing – because her husband Freddy cheated rich investors out of billions of dollars.

Desperate and facing homelessness, Meredith receives a call from her old best friend, Constance Flute. Connie’s had recent worries of her own, and the two depart for a summer on Nantucket in an attempt to heal. But the island can’t offer complete escape, and they’re plagued by new and old troubles alike. When Connie’s brother Toby – Meredith’s high school boyfriend – arrives, Meredith must reconcile the differences between the life she is leading and the life she could have had.

Set against the backdrop of a Nantucket summer, Elin Hilderbrand delivers a suspenseful story of the power of friendship, the pull of love, and the beauty of forgiveness.

 

I was really expecting this book to be more of a fluffy beach read, but boy was I wrong! I was so impressed with how the author would write flashbacks into Meredith’s past to not only tell us about the history of the characters, but also as a way for Meredith to realize through hindsight that her relationship with her husband wasn’t what she thought it was at the time. I felt like Meredith and her friend Connie’s thoughts and emotions were raw and real – nothing was held back and nothing felt fake. All the characters felt well developed, and the story kept me interested and wanting more the whole way through the novel. I definitely recommend this book!

 

Do you ever read books written before the 1900’s? 

Weird question, but is there any disease you wish you knew more about? 

Book Reviews

SO MANY BOOK REVIEWS! Don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll lose steam on this whole reading thing someday…

 

Ticker by Lisa Mantchey

Ticker

Synopsis from Goodreads:

When Penny Farthing nearly dies, brilliant surgeon Calvin Warwick manages to implant a brass “Ticker” in her chest, transforming her into the first of the Augmented. But soon it’s discovered that Warwick killed dozens of people as he strove to perfect another improved Ticker for Penny, and he’s put on trial for mass murder.

On the last day of Warwick’s trial, the Farthings’ factory is bombed, Penny’s parents disappear, and Penny and her brother, Nic, receive a ransom note demanding all of their Augmentation research if they want to see their parents again. Is someone trying to destroy the Farthings…or is the motive more sinister?

Desperate to reunite their family and rescue their research, Penny and her brother recruit fiery baker Violet Nesselrode, gentleman-about-town Sebastian Stirling, and Marcus Kingsley, a young army general who has his own reasons for wanting to lift the veil between this world and the next. Wagers are placed, friends are lost, romance stages an ambush, and time is running out for the girl with the clockwork heart.

 

I had a pretty hard time starting this book, but once I sat myself down (on the bus…) and really focused in on it, it turned out to be a good, inventive story. One thing I will say is there is zero set up for the world that they live in. You just dive straight into the book without understanding anything about the characters or why so many things are made out of machinery. Some of this is revealed throughout the story, but even then not a lot. If you can keep up your suspension of belief, however, you can really get into the story line. The romance is pretty straightforward and obvious, but beyond that I really enjoyed the twists and the turns that the main character, Penny, takes throughout the novel. It also ends in a way that the story can either stop there, or she could add a sequel. I actually like how the story ended because not everything was perfectly wrapped up, which is how life is. I’d pick this up if you’re into dystopic novels!

 

The One & Only by Emily Giffin

The One & Only

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Thirty-three-year-old Shea Rigsby has spent her entire life in Walker, Texas—a small college town that lives and dies by football, a passion she unabashedly shares. Raised alongside her best friend, Lucy, the daughter of Walker’s legendary head coach, Clive Carr, Shea was too devoted to her hometown team to leave. Instead she stayed in Walker for college, even taking a job in the university athletic department after graduation, where she has remained for more than a decade.

But when an unexpected tragedy strikes the tight-knit Walker community, Shea’s comfortable world is upended, and she begins to wonder if the life she’s chosen is really enough for her. As she finally gives up her safety net to set out on an unexpected path, Shea discovers unsettling truths about the people and things she has always trusted most—and is forced to confront her deepest desires, fears, and secrets.

Thoughtful, funny, and brilliantly observed, The One & Only is a luminous novel about finding your passion, following your heart, and, most of all, believing in something bigger than yourself . . . the one and only thing that truly makes life worth living.

 

Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Nope. I rarely write a bad book review, but nope. Nope. Couldn’t even finish it. I practically skimmed the second half of the book because I was so creeped out by the direction the story was going. Maybe that’s just me, but I just kept thinking about my friends’ dads… Aaaaanyway, the story started out well, setting up an interesting friendship/family dynamic. There was a lot of football talk, which I know other Goodreads reviewers didn’t like, but I didn’t mind at all (I love football). The main character just seemed so lost and would do just about anything she was told to do, especially by “Coach.” She just didn’t seem to have much of a spine and was always doubting herself. Not worth your time.

 

The Fever by Meg Abbott

The Fever

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hockey star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie’s best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community.

As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town’s fragile idea of security.

A chilling story about guilt, family secrets and the lethal power of desire,The Fever affirms Megan Abbot’s reputation as “one of the most exciting and original voices of her generation” (Laura Lippman).

 

I ended up reading this book really quickly – all within one Sunday. Haha I’m not sure what that says about how I spend my weekends… The story surrounds a group of good friends, narrated by one of the girls. The author adds some mystery to the story by the narrator trying to figure out what is happening to the girls at school, why it hasn’t happened to her, and who is to blame. I actually really enjoyed the dynamic between many of the characters, and how ones that seem less important become critical later in the story. I also have to say that I did NOT see the ending coming ;). If you’re looking for a quick read and don’t mind a story centering around High School girls, give this one a try!

 

What are you reading right now? 

Do you ever choose books by how the cover looks? 

Book Reviews

I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella

I've Got Your Number

Synopsis from Goodreads:

I’ve lost it. :( The only thing in the world I wasn’t supposed to lose. My engagement ring. It’s been in Magnus’s family for three generations. And now the very same day his parents are coming, I’ve lost it. The very same day! Do not hyperventilate, Poppy. Stay positive :) !!
 
Poppy Wyatt has never felt luckier. She is about to marry her ideal man, Magnus Tavish, but in one afternoon her “happily ever after” begins to fall apart. Not only has she lost her engagement ring in a hotel fire drill but in the panic that follows, her phone is stolen. As she paces shakily around the lobby, she spots an abandoned phone in a trash can. Finders keepers! Now she can leave a number for the hotel to contact her when they find her ring. Perfect!
 
Well, perfect except that the phone’s owner, businessman Sam Roxton, doesn’t agree. He wants his phone back and doesn’t appreciate Poppy reading his messages and wading into his personal life.
 
What ensues is a hilarious and unpredictable turn of events as Poppy and Sam increasingly upend each other’s lives through emails and text messages. As Poppy juggles wedding preparations, mysterious phone calls, and hiding her left hand from Magnus and his parents . . . she soon realizes that she is in for the biggest surprise of her life.

 

I’d always been a fan of Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series so when I saw she had a book that I hadn’t read I snagged it up from the library (ebook). This was EXACTLY the book I needed at the moment – something light, romantic and with a great ending. Yes, I pretty much knew who would end up with who before even beginning the book, but I really enjoyed reading this story. Although it ended how I expected, it definitely had a surprise here and there and really kept my attention – I finished in less than two days! I just couldn’t put it down. I loved it. It was sweet, romantic and brought a smile to my face. You’ve got to love a book that makes you laugh out loud every once in a while.

 

The Dead Key by D.M. Pulley

The Dead Key

Synopsis from Goodreads:

It’s 1998, and for years the old First Bank of Cleveland has sat abandoned, perfectly preserved, its secrets only speculated on by the outside world.

Twenty years before, amid strange staff disappearances and allegations of fraud, panicked investors sold Cleveland’s largest bank in the middle of the night, locking out customers and employees, and thwarting a looming federal investigation. In the confusion that followed, the keys to the vault’s safe-deposit boxes were lost.

In the years since, Cleveland’s wealthy businessmen kept the truth buried in the abandoned high-rise. The ransacked offices and forgotten safe-deposit boxes remain locked in time, until young engineer Iris Latch stumbles upon them during a renovation survey. What begins as a welcome break from her cubicle becomes an obsession as Iris unravels the bank’s sordid past. With each haunting revelation, Iris follows the looming shadow of the past deeper into the vault—and soon realizes that the key to the mystery comes at an astonishing price.

 

Oh. My. Gosh. This book kept me RIVETED. I absolutely love history and historical buildings so a book about a mystery that’s been sealed up in an old 15-story bank for 20 years was right down my alley. It definitely moved a little too slowly at certain points for me (I just WANTED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED!) but I was kept hooked on the story throughout the book. I also loved how the author told the story from two points of view, and yet the two women were incredibly similar. There were a few times when I thought “really? would that reaaaalllly happen?” but I just pushed those thoughts to the side and got back into the story. If you love old, unsolved mysteries, this one is for you.

 

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1)

Synopsis from Goodreads:

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

 

I picked this book because it was $1.99 and it is the new Book Club read on Lauren Conrad’s blog. Although the main character was a high schooler, I still found the book cute and somewhat relatable. I pretty much had an idea of where it was going to go, but nevertheless I enjoyed reading the story. This was another book I finished in one weekend and definitely recommend it as a fun, light read.