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review 2017-03-29 15:01
The Idea of You/Amanda Prowse
The Idea of You - Amanda Prowse

With her fortieth birthday approaching, Lucy Carpenter dares to hope that she finally has it all: a wonderful new husband, Jonah, a successful career and the chance of a precious baby of her own. Life couldn’t be more perfect.

But the reality of becoming parents proves much harder than Lucy and Jonah imagined. Jonah’s love and support is unquestioning, but as Lucy struggles with work and her own failing dreams, the strain on their marriage increases. Suddenly it feels like Lucy is close to losing everything…

Heart-wrenching and poignant, this latest work by bestselling author Amanda Prowse asks the question: what does it mean to be a mother in today’s hectic world? And what if it’s asking too much to want it all?

 

This book just did not do it for me, unfortunately. I found it melodramatic and never became invested.

 

Let me start off by rewriting the blurb for this book: 40-year-old Lucy, recently married to successful car salesman Jonah, is upset when her new stepdaughter moves in for the summer, interrupting her desire to conceive a healthy baby after several miscarriages.

 

By ten percent in, I was bored and wanted to move onto another book. There's a "twist" near to the end of this one that the book builds up to through little asides. I wasn't impressed. I think I was supposed to be more so, but I hadn't realised that there was a mystery, so I was kind of like "oh okay cool."

 

I honestly just could not with Lucy. She makes me feel like a bad person because I should be sympathetic towards her, but I instead thought that she was melodramatic and selfish, always caring about herself. I can in no way relate to the pain of a miscarriage. But her friend could! And when her friend mentioned that she had had a miscarriage, Lucy's like "I don't care." Ugh.

 

Camille was the saving grace of this book and the one thing that made reading this not a complete drag. She's a teenager and she's very true to character. Her background ties into the way she acts, and I loved seeing her change around different people. She's melodramatic, too, just like Jonah and Lucy are, but she owns it. She works it. She is it. Lucy and Jonah are pretending to act like adults while secretly being super melodramatic which was boring.

 

I swear, the author mentioned at least ten times that Jonah likes soft rock and Lucy likes eighties. It was cute the first time. It was cute when Camille then joked about it. It was aggravating the third through tenth times. There were a lot of factors like this (I get it, chicken Kiev is a family joke...), a lot of tropes that were just endless. Poor Lucy, poor Lucy, poor Lucy. I want to see her stand up and appreciate something for once or do something good for the world other than bemoaning her life.

 

If you've been trying for a child or have considered adoption, this might be for you. Maybe even if you're a mother you'll have more of a heart or this than I did. If not, then I don't recommend this.

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review 2017-03-28 20:26
Letters to the Lost/Brigid Kemmerer
Letters to the Lost - Brigid Kemmerer

Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother's death, she leaves letters at her grave. It's the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn't the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he's trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can't resist writing back. Soon, he's opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they're not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.

 

I didn’t find this to be a particularly outstanding YA but it was very sweet and an easy read.

 

The book is predictable in the typical manner of YA romances, though it did have some depth to it. I enjoyed hearing the way that Juliet and Declan challenged each other’s stereotypes and found the way they grew as a result to be heartwarming. Though it does follow the good girl goes for bad guy archetype, it did so enjoyably.

 

The strongest point of this was really their parents—Declan’s relationship with his stepfather evolved in a thoughtful way and their interactions felt extremely real. Similarly, Juliet’s dealing with her grief over her mother and the decisions she had made was insightful. These aspects really made the book a strong read.

 

If you’re looking for an easy read, this is a good choice.

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review 2017-03-27 15:03
The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley/Hannah Tinti
The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley: A Novel - Hannah Tinti

A father protects his daughter from the legacy of his past—and the truth about her mother’s death—in this thrilling new novel from the prize-winning author of The Good Thief.

After years spent living on the run, Samuel Hawley moves with his teenage daughter, Loo, to Olympus, Massachusetts. There, in his late wife’s hometown, Hawley finds work as a fisherman, while Loo struggles to fit in at school and grows curious about her mother’s mysterious death. Haunting them both are twelve scars Hawley carries on his body, from twelve bullets in his criminal past—a past that eventually spills over into his daughter’s present, until together they must face a reckoning yet to come. This father-daughter epic weaves back and forth through time and across America, from Alaska to the Adirondacks. Both a coming-of-age novel and a literary thriller, The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley explores what it means to be a hero, and the cost we pay to protect the people we love most.

 

Eloquently written, this book was lyrical and lovely yet for some reason I was never fully captivated.

 

The web of characters was well twined--from Loo's principal to her grandmother, I felt like they all fit into the web of a greater picture. Each had their own clear motives and intriguing backstories and in my opinion that was the most successful element of this book.

 

The timeline in which it is told works very well, and I had a lot of fun piecing together thoughts from the past and the present and seeing how pieces of the puzzle fittogether. In this regard, it's almost a mystery in that I was guessing while reading about how Hawley had come to be as he was, and about the mysteries of Lily's life.

 

This book contained a lot more action than I normally read, with violence and epic chases and very many guns. The latter was lost on me as I can barely tell a revolver from a shotgun, but the book definitely kept moving with a lot of excitement.

 

I have never had a child, yet I feel like this book was one of few that gave me a glimpse into the all-consuming love that parents have for children. The author portrayed this magnificently throughout various characters--normally I feel as though it is assumed that I understand this love, but this book actually showed me.

 

Yet I was never truly captivated by this book, and I put it down to read others and was easily able to forget about it. It didn't captivate me as much as I thought that it would. I liked the characters, but didn't love them. I was intrigued by the how Hawley had ended up in the present, but not enough that it kept me thinking after I closed the book.

 

I definitely recommend this, even though I failed to fall in love with it.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-03-25 18:47
The Promise Girls/Marie Bostwick
The Promise Girls - Marie Bostwick

Every child prodigy grows up eventually. For the Promise sisters, escaping their mother’s narcissism and the notoriety that came with her bestselling book hasn’t been easy. Minerva Promise claimed that her three “test tube” daughters—gifted pianist Joanie, artistic Meg, and storyteller Avery—were engineered and molded to be geniuses. In adulthood, their modest lives fall far short of her grand ambitions. But now, twenty years after the book’s release, she hopes to redeem herself by taking part in a new documentary.

Meg, who hasn’t picked up a paintbrush in years, adamantly refuses to participate, until a car accident leaves her with crushing medical bills. While she recuperates in Seattle, the three sisters reluctantly meet with filmmaker Hal Seeger, another former prodigy. Like them, he’s familiar with the weight of failed potential. But as he digs deeper, he uncovers secrets they’ve hidden from each other—and a revelation that will challenge their beliefs, even as it spurs them to forge their own extraordinary lives at last.

 

This book had a lot of heart and a lot of spunk and really drew me in.

 

I envisioned this to be a simple but unspectacular read and was surprised by how deeply I felt towards the characters and the extent to which they enveloped me.

 

The plot contained a little bit of a mystery, some strings that hadn't previously been pulled together that eventually came out in a very satisfying way. This increased my intrigue while reading and really kept my interest peaked.

 

Meg suffers from memory loss in her car accident. Usually this medical condition is extremely gimmicky, but Bostwick did a fabulous job of making this poignant and relevant. I loved seeing the way that she was able to revaluate her life and develop new relationships with her daughter and her husband.

 

The documentary that Hal creates adds another lens to the book that really works. Again, this could have been gimmicky, but the layer this contributed was immensely satisfying and I loved viewing the way that he created things.

 

The family dynamics of the book were gorgeous. All the characters were very different, normal but extremely quirky. They were rational and made decisions that for them made sense and I felt like by the end these people were friends I would have in real life--kind of all over the place, but spirited and alive. From the two teenagers and their teenage angst to motherly Joanie and sporadic Avery, I really fell in love with them all.

 

This book was absolutely adorable and I recommend it highly. Definitely going to look for more of Bostwick's books.

 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

 

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review 2017-03-25 17:03
Waking Gods/Sylvain Neuvel
Waking Gods: Book 2 of The Themis Files - Sylvain Neuvel

As a child, Rose Franklin made an astonishing discovery: a giant metallic hand, buried deep within the earth. As an adult, she's dedicated her brilliant scientific career to solving the mystery that began that fateful day: Why was a titanic robot of unknown origin buried in pieces around the world? Years of investigation have produced intriguing answers—and even more perplexing questions. But the truth is closer now than ever before when a second robot, more massive than the first, materializes and lashes out with deadly force.
 
Now humankind faces a nightmare invasion scenario made real, as more colossal machines touch down across the globe. But Rose and her team at the Earth Defense Corps refuse to surrender. They can turn the tide if they can unlock the last secrets of an advanced alien technology. The greatest weapon humanity wields is knowledge in a do-or-die battle to inherit the Earth . . . and maybe even the stars.

 

While I preferred the first book, this was a stunning sequel.

 

I have issues with series. I like to bingeread them. Even with the absolute best series, if I've forgotten the plot, I won't be excited about it. Though I knew I that I'd enjoy this, I put off reading this one because I kept meaning to go back and reread the first, which I loved, but then I found myself on a plane with no WiFi and sick of thrillers, so.

 

This book, however, could be read without the first and stand alone fine. It would be better, of course, to read the two in a row, but it would work. There was only one real act of deus ex machina that ruined the continuity, and, quite frankly, kind of ruined a lot of the believability for me as well as causing me to kind of be less invested or fearful of death.

 

Neuvel's writing style is still gorgeous and it caught me immediately. I enjoy the file aspect still, though I felt that this brought in fewer perspectives than the previous book. There are some points where it can be a tad confusing to follow dialogue without any tags, but I think that the payoff is worth it. When reading about "military squirrel applications" doesn't phase you, you know you have a winner.

 

I have no idea how the end worked. Well, perhaps an idea, but no certain knowledge or comprehension of how it operated. It was extremely exciting to read and I was on my toes throughout, but the actual concept of it went over my head. I'm not sure if that was because of the science aspect or if it just wasn't worth my brainpower.

 

Kara and Vincent are my favourites and are super cute for a science fiction novel. I love the personalities of the characters all the way through and how they deal with family and the idea of bringing kids up in the world.

 

Some of this book was confusing and I'm not exactly sure of how some characters came in, but this worked and was a gripping read.

 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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