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Smash & Grab – Amy Christine Parker

 

Smash & Grab – Amy Christine ParkerSmash & Grab by Amy Christine Parker
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers on July 19, 2016

 

Smash & Grab by Amy Christine Parker is a fun mash-up of the Ocean’sand Point Break with a little Goodfellas thrown in. And did I mention that it is a YA? It is, and it seems like all of these elements should not work together, but they actually do. Lexi is a spoiled rich girl who only feels alive when she is pushing the limits to get an adrenaline rush. As we meet her, she is BASE jumping off of a skyscraper the same day her father is arrested for embezzlement. At the same time scrappy Christian is scoping out a new bank to rob. He is trying to keep his family safe from the local gang and sees no way out. After a chance encounter, Lexi and Christian team up and plan the heist to end all heists, and hopefully save both of their families at the same time.

 

I liked the plot of Smash & Grab. It was not a typical YA and I really loved that there was no insta-love. The stories of the two main characters felt like they fit together and there was no forcing a relationship. The writing of Amy Christine Parker was funny and sharp. She had a way of writing each character (the chapters alternated narrators) with a distinct voice, I always knew whose chapter it was. The pacing had a few blips where time would jump faster than it had, but it did not harm the story. The world created was interesting. I got much more of a feel for where Christian lived and worked then I did for Lexi. There was a nice emotional overlay to this read. The two teens doing whatever they can to save their families and their futures was one nice layer and then the romance was a great other layer. Now as for the characters, I loved Christian, he was a good kid doing what he felt he needed to do for his family. Lexi however, was pretty much a super spoiled brat. However, she grew during the book and also grew on me.

 

Smash & Grab was a fun read. Sometimes you just need a book that does not take itself too seriously. Like, teen bank robbing gangs are not a normal YA feature. Amy Christine Parker crafted a tale that was a nice change of pace for me and I loved the way she crafted the romance. This is a perfect summer read; a bit of intrigue, a bit of love and a smidgen of blockbuster action.

Favorite lines – Sometimes people who are stuck in a really deep hole don’t see the point in trying to get out. The climb just feels too high. And when you want to escape, they get all freaked out because if you actually manage to get out, they’re stuck in the hole alone.

 

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: http://125pages.com/smash-grab-amy-christine-parker

Paper and Fire – Rachel Caine

Paper and Fire – Rachel CainePaper and Fire by Rachel Caine
Published by NAL on July 5, 2016

 

 

This review, and many more, was originally posted on 125pages.com

 

 bookjockys

 

I am an unabashed Rachel Cain lover. I have enjoyed everything I have read of hers and I was beyond excited to read her latest, Paper and Fire. The first in this series, Ink and Bone was one of my favorite books of 2015 (see my review here) so the wait for this one was torturous and long. Now I love love loved the first book; it was magical and special and I never wanted to stop reading it. I also loved this book, but in a completely different way.

 

Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine is very much a transition book. Where book one was all gorgeous world building and character love, this one was very much a build up book. What I mean by that is there was action, a bit of romance and intrigue, tested loyalties and betrayal, but no real sense of completion. It did, however, perfectly lay the groundwork for book three. We re-join Jess Brightwell as he is serving in the Garda with his heart-broken after the loss of Morgan and his best friend Thomas. His conscription to serve the Great Library and through it the written word is consistently challenged by his own feelings and the fate of those around him.

 

The plot of Paper and Fire was solid. It explained more of the world Jess and his compatriots live in, it carried through the truly vile dealing of the high ups at the Library and it set a fantastic base for the next book. Now, Rachel Caine can write, a fact I am very familiar with. She has a way of being able to say the perfect thing at the exact right moment. Through her the characters and world come to vivid life. The pacing of the story was great. There were no crazy time jumps or super slow periods. The world building was somewhat minimal, as book one accomplished most of that, but the new things revealed were incredible. The through description of the automatons alone made the world that much more complete. The emotions were not as strong in this book, I think because the main emotion was despair and while that came through well, it pushed everything else down a little through its heaviness. I still loved the characters here, but not quite as much as I did in book one. I think because they were setting up for the next section they were more focused on mission and not on the feels, but I still enjoyed them.

 

Now I will say do not go into Paper and Fire expecting Ink and Bone. They are very different but in a good way. Rachel Caine has used this book as a platform for the next and I think she did a great job at it. I will anxiously wait for a whole year for the next, and will happily revisit the world Caine created.

 

Favorite lines - Achievement here at the Library was an altar on which one sacrificed many things . . . friendship being the least of it. To go on up the ranks, knowing what he did now—that would require sacrificing his morals. Ethics. His soul.

 

Biggest cliché - Just because you're paranoid. Don't mean they're not after you.  

 

Have you read Paper and Fire, or added it to your TBR?   

 

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: http://125pages.com/paper-fire-rachel-caine

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

You Want Reviews! I’ve Got 20! (Well 3 Really)The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
Published by Roc Books on June 14, 2016

 

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman intrigued me from the synopsis. I love books set in and around libraries and couldn’t wait to see how they would employ spies. Irene is a Librarian for the shadowy Library, an organization that exists outside of normal time and space. Set between dimensions, it collects books that it deems important from these various realms. Irene is sent into a dangerous version of London, complete with clockwork centipedes and marauding werewolves, to find a specific version of Grimms’ Fairy Tales.

 

So who knew that book collecting is a life or death task? Cogman crafted a tale rich with details and filled with wondrous creations and people. The beginning was a bit jarring to me, as the story almost seemed to pick up right in the middle of a scene. However, as I began to get a grasp on the characters and the settings, I knew why the author began the book in that way. I enjoyed the journey Irene took and wondered right long with her what the end game was. The nuanced setting with zeppelins flying overhead and animatronic beasties skulking about was fantastic. This is a series that has endless possibilities among the varied dimensions and I can’t even imagine where the next in the series will take us.

 

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: http://125pages.com/want-reviews-ive-got-20-well-3-really

Unplugged by Donna Freitas

 

You Want Reviews! I’ve Got 20! (Well 3 Really)Unplugged by Donna Freitas
Published by HarperTeen on June 21, 2016

 

Unplugged by Donna Freitas poses the question of what happens when humans prefer to live in an all digital world. In this version of the future, App World is real and people can chose to be plugged in for their entire lifetime, for a cost of course. The rich are striving to live in a world where they are no longer bound by physical bodies. The “Singles” are children who were plugged in by their families who must work as “Keepers” to maintain the bodies of those plugged in. Risking everything in both worlds is Skye, a teen girl who would give everything to see her mother and sister just one more time.

 

I was impressed by the depth of this tale. I was expecting it to be more of a surface read as the App World is described as glamorous, but was happily surprised by the breadth of the story. Skye is an intriguing main character, as she sees both worlds as special in their own ways. She is struggling to find happiness and is willing to risk everything to do it. I didn’t love some of the supporting cast and the rampant shallowness of some turned me off, but overall this was a very unique read. I loved the cliffhanger ending and am sure book two in the series will not disappoint either.

 

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: http://125pages.com/want-reviews-ive-got-20-well-3-really

The Marked Girl by Lindsey Klingele

You Want Reviews! I’ve Got 20! (Well 3 Really)The Marked Girl by Lindsey Klingele
Published by HarperTeen on June 7, 2016

 

I started The Marked Girl by Lindsey Klingele not knowing too much about it. I knew a group of teens traveled into an alternate dimension and landed in modern day L.A., other than that I went in blind. And I am glad I did. This was such a different take on a YA time travel type read. Cedric, his fiance Kat and his cousin Merek have been fighting the evil Malquin and his band of wraiths in Caelum. During a fight they run for their lives into a portal that pops them into L.A. and into the life of foster kid, Liv. As they struggle to find a way home, Liv ends up being more than she seems and the group must work together to save themselves and both of their worlds.

 

Told primarily from the perspective of Liv and Cedric, this was an interesting fish out of water tale. The trio from Caelum is lost in the modern world and so is Liv but in a very different way. I loved how the two tales intersected to show that all of the teens were adrift in their own ways. There were a few bumps with the pacing and a few people came into the plot a little too easily, but other than that I really enjoyed the tale. Klingele crafted a debut that is a great combination of action and heart, and I am already ready for book two.

 

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: http://125pages.com/want-reviews-ive-got-20-well-3-really

Darkest Torment – Gena Showalter

 

Darkest Torment – Gena ShowalterThe Darkest Torment by Gena Showalter 

Published by Harlequin on May 31, 2016

 

I counted and The Darkest Torment is the 38th book I own by Gena Showalter. So I may have a small problem, but I think admitting it is the first step.

My Showalter Shelf

I have Everlife and then all of her Angels of the Dark, Otherworld Assassins, Alien Huntress (adult and YA), Intertwined,Tales of An Extraordinary Girl, Atlantis, and of course Lords of the Underworldbooks. I even had an in-depth conversation with one of the Harlequin staffers at BEA on how I needed to get this book so that my life was fulfilled. That conversation morphed into how romance is in every type of book in some way so LotU can really inspire. With that kindof build up, of course I had to read it as soon as it came out. Who needs sleep when your Kindle is set to download right around midnight? I basically stayed up till dawn reading this one and am happy I did. While normally a 500+ page book is not a one sitting read, I made this into one. I suffered the next day but am not sad about it one bit. The Darkest Torment had everything that makes Showalter such an impressive writer; action, romance, the people around you that make up your family and an intrinsic force that just pulls a reader in and does not let go until the final page.

At first I was bummed as this was not William’s book. Those who read the series will probably agree (just check out the Goodreads for this and see the outcry of despair that this was not his book) and I was grudgingly okay with reading about Baden. Baden is the former host of the demon Distrust and he has just now been yanked out of purgatory after centuries alone. He is now attached to Hades and is at his bidding, a situation Baden is less than thrilled with. Then an assignment for the underworld puts him in the path of Katrina, a women beaten down by family obligations and married to her enemy. Baden grabs Katrina to use her as a pawn, but fate is a cruel mistress and he soon finds that he needs her in more ways than one.

“There are three ways to look at the glass. Half empty, half full, and why are you eyeing my glass, bitch?” —Gwendolyn the Timid, Harpy from Clan Skyhawk

The plot of The Darkest Torment is standard LotU. Host of evil demon/powers struggles against them, finds a mate that is not wanted, fighting, sex, some more fighting, realization of that love and then lots of build up for the next story. Now this may seem standard and even a bit repetitive and boring, but that is where Gena Showalter comes in. Her writing makes each of these tales distinct and gripping. Even though I know the basic framework, each character is unique and they way they reach their HEA is special to them. The action is fast and nothing lags in her stories. The world building is not vital to these tales, as at number 12 the world is set. There is a wide array of emotions in each of her books and this was no exception. I found my self tearing up, angry and excited, and sometimes all in the same chapter. The characters are like old friends at this point and I love that I learn a bit more about each one with each book. Baden was a happy surprise as he has been mentioned in the earlier books, but you never really got to know him and he really was the perfect tormented by his past leading man. I was not a huge fan of Katrina in the beginning. A dog trainer who prized her pooches above almost everything else, she was a bit flat to me. However as the story progressed she really grew on me. She was smart and sassy and just wanted to be free to be herself for the first time in her life.

“The definition of marriage? When a woman adopts an overgrown man-child who cannot be handled by his parents any longer.” —Olivia, fallen Sent One

The Darkest Torment was a needed addition to the LotU series. It was a great bridge to the next set of stories (seriously, William’s cannot come soon enough!) and I am very intrigued to see where the series is going to go next. Gena Showalter has a way of writing that just makes me happy and I am glad she continues this series. I think there are certain authors that just fit us as readers. Everyone has them, the people they turn to when they just need a good read. Showalter is that for me, and I glad I discovered her as she is happiness to me in book form.

 

Favorite lines – True power was friendship—strength in numbers. True power was love—a willingness to sacrifice for others. Love often ran red. True power was hope for a better tomorrow—which he no longer had. True power didn’t have to spring from violence, he realized. It could be as gentle as a woman’s touch.

 

Source: http://125pages.com/darkest-torment-gena-showalter

The Leaving by Tara Altebrando

How About Some 4 Star Mini-ReviewsThe Leaving by Tara Altebrando
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on June 7, 2016

 

I was unsure what to expect with The Leaving by Tara Altebrando. The hype for it was everywhere and I was intrigued by the unique plot. Six kidnapped kindergartners, eleven years pass and five kids return with no memories of the time away; sounds interesting right? And it was. Told in alternating voices, some like Avery whose brother Max was taken and some taken like Scarlett who can’t figure out why her home doesn’t feel like home anymore.

 

One of the key story lines is of Avery, whose brother is the only one of the six to not return yet. Her story weaves throughout the others and provides a strong voice that helps balance out some of the intended confusion. I also liked how strong Scarlett and Lucas were, they provided a nice contrast and I enjoyed seeing them reach the conclusion.

 

This definitely did not seem like a book over 400 pages as it was so fast paced. I did not love the big twist ending, as I felt that it did not quite fit the intrigue of the rest of the book. It seemed like it was wrapped up very quickly and I wanted a little more tension. Other than that thought, this was a very engaging read and I loved how unique the plot really was.

 

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: http://125pages.com/4-star-mini-reviews

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

How About Some 4 Star Mini-ReviewsOne True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Published by Washington Square Press on June 7, 2016

 

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid sounded like the book version of Move Over, Darling which was cute, so I figured it would be a sappy rom-com book. I was wrong and I am glad I was. Emma lost her first husband, Jesse, in a tragic helicopter accident on their first anniversary. After moving back home and trying to heal she runs into an old family friend Sam. Sam helps Emma come back into her own and they fall in love. Cue the engagement, the celebration and the return of the long-lost husband.

 

First of all, the plot line about the husband lost at sea; there is no way that that is believable right? Wrong! It made so much sense in the scope of the story. I must applaud the author as to make such an outlandish scenario ring true take talent. Second, you will pick a team, it will just happen. There is Jesse the high school sweetheart who is presumed dead and there is Sam the sweet man who picked up the pieces of Emma’s grief. You will root for one and cheer when it seems as if the story is headed down your path. Then, if you picked the same team I did, you will be sad, then angry, then accepting but slightly disgruntled when your team loses.

 

Third, this was a really good read. I enjoyed the drama and the love that infused the book in equal measures. What seemed outlandish actually made the story more powerful and each moment fed very well into the others. Even though I was cranky as Emma picked the wrong man, I loved the path she took to get there.

 

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: http://125pages.com/4-star-mini-reviews

The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder

How About Some 4 Star Mini-ReviewsThe Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder
Published by Simon Pulse on June 7, 2016

 

The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder was a sweet look at first love and what can happen when it does not end up like expected. Penelope (Pen) has had the same two best friends since elementary school. Eph the boy who has always been there for her and Audrey her other half. Pen does not need anyone else in her life but then the charming new guy Keats appears.

I really enjoyed Leder’s style of writing, she was able to merge friendship, romance, heartbreak, family issues and more in a cohesive story that never seemed dumbed down. I also loved the graphics of the “museum” items that accompanied the chapters. They were vague enough that you could not quite guess the ending but specific enough that you knew something was coming. The world created was also vivid and the descriptions top notch. I could picture the players well and visualize where they were placed.

 

Pen was alternately charming and frustrating and I really enjoyed reading her journey. There were a few moments that made me want to shake her as it seemed like she deliberately went down the wrong path, but hey there needs to be drama somewhere. For the most part though this was a very cute read that I really appreciated. First love and first heartbreak is never easy, but Leder made it enjoyable.

 

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: http://125pages.com/4-star-mini-reviews

How to Disappear by Ann Redisch Stampler

Get Your 4.5 Star Mini-Reviews Here!How to Disappear by Ann Redisch Stampler
Published by Simon Pulse on June 14, 2016

 

How to Disappear by Ann Redisch Stampler was twisty and turny and so much fun to read. Nicolette is a sixteen year-old on the run. A murder near her home has her fleeing small town Ohio and hitting the road with a pocketful of fake names and a bag full of hair dye. Jack is the opposite of his family, smart, and on a straight path, he displays none of his family’s murderous traits. Until a threat to his mother’s life convinces him to join the family business for just one job. Find Nicolette and end her before she can escape.

 

Told from both Jack and Nicolette’s perspective in alternating chapters, it was an engrossing read watching them creep closer and closer together. Then, unexpected attraction turns a cat and mouse game into a deadly fight to keep love and themselves alive. The pacing was constantly moving forward and I loved how there was very little down time in the action. I also liked the character motivation. It never felt hokey to have Jack hunting down Nicolette and the way their stories crisscrossed only enhanced the tension.

 

The thing I enjoyed most about this read was the ending. Until the last few chapters this was a good book and I was enjoying it. However the ending made it and the epilogue sealed the deal. It was so well plotted that I never saw it coming and the way a lot of tiny things were buried in the story that you could only see a the end made it so good. And back to the epilogue, holy crapsticks it changed the entire book! I had thought I knew where everyone’s motivations came from and their true actions and then bam, everything changed. It was such an inventive way to tell the story that I had to go back and re-read passages to see them in the light of the new information. How to Disappear by Ann Redisch Stampler was definitely a winner of a thriller for me.

 

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: http://125pages.com/get-4-5-star-mini-reviews

Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh

Get Your 4.5 Star Mini-Reviews Here!Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh
Published by HarperTeen on June 14, 2016

 

Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh was such a surprising read in the best of ways. I would not have thought that a pre-historic love story would be so gripping. Kol and his family live a simple life; hunting and fishing and trying to forge their clan’s future. A small issue is that with only 24 people in the clan there are no girls of marrying age. Fate intervenes when Mya and her family arrive from the south and Lo and her clan arrive from the north. However, fate is a cruel mistress and past betrayals lead to current conflict and some may not make it through.

 

Wow, was this ever a rich and detailed book. I could picture the icy river and see the smoke rising from the cook-fires. I loved how I felt truly pulled into the past with every nuance of the descriptions. The characters were also equally detailed. Each person was very distinct and had their own quirks and personalities. The action abounded, from mammoth hunting to running from saber-toothed cats to canoeing down frozen waterways. This was such a different type of YA read and it is hard to liken it to anything else. The time period alone made it unique then a distinct creation myth for each clan was added and then the varying ways of everyday life for each clan stood out. The romance in it was also very fresh. There was no insta-love here and each time the characters grew closer a battle had to be fought to gain the small ground.

 

Ivory and Bone is Julie Eshbaugh’s début and what a winner it is. She has a very fresh voice and I can imagine that whatever time period she sets her stories will be different that the normal read. This is one that I can see myself returning to in the future as I have a feeling with each read I will discover more in this world to love.

 

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: http://125pages.com/get-4-5-star-mini-reviews

Working It by Leah Marie Brown

I Have 3 Mini-Reviews For YouWorking It by Leah Marie Brown
Published by Lyrical Shine on June 7, 2016

 

I was excited to read Working It by Leah Marie Brown as I really enjoyed the second book in this series Finding ItThis story features the bestie from the previous book, Stephanie Moreau, basically losing her shit one night, tanking her coveted high fashion job and running off to Alaska to try to find her true purpose. Sounds super cute and I was really looking forward to it. The story was cute and I loved the plot, however I disliked the main character. A couple of things drove me crazy; one she goes by Fanny. Seriously, a fashionable French woman being called another name for a rear-end? Drove me nuts. Also she called her best friend Vivian because her real name, Vivia, isn’t glamorous for her, but she was fine with being called Butt the whole time. Also if a person did not live up to her high standards, Booty, dismissed them offhand. I know these are small things but in the scope of a 224 page book, they really hampered my enjoyment. I did like the leading man, Calder, and enjoyed how he brought Tushie out of her shell. This was a read where you know exactly what is going to happen and are still fine with it as the story line is sweet. I just could not get over my active dislike of Rump.

 

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: http://125pages.com/3-mini-reviews

How It Feels to Fly by Kathryn Holmes

I Have 3 Mini-Reviews For YouHow It Feels to Fly by Kathryn Holmes
Published by HarperTeen on June 14, 2016

 

How It Feels to Fly by Kathryn Holmes is a story set in a summer camp for high performing teens with anxiety issues. The story follows Sam, a ballerina with body hate issues, as she has gained 14 pounds and now feels like she is losing herself. I was very interested to read this story as my high school best friend was a ballerina and when we lived together when we were twenty, I saw how deep these issues can run. While this had a great message, I quickly tired of the whiny tone used by the teens in the story. I understand they were all at the camp for issues, but the way they were portrayed erred more to bratty than to anxious. There was also a slight “romance” story line that I actively disliked as it was more harmful than anything and just turned me off, add in the awful obligatory YA parents and this was just an okay read for me. There were some fantastic moments, don’t get me wrong, and I loved Sam’s roommate as the girl who felt she did not need any help, she was a snarky delight. However the total outcome was less than stellar for me.

 

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: http://125pages.com/3-mini-reviews

This Is Not My Beautiful Life: A Memoir by Victoria Fedden

I Have 3 Mini-Reviews For YouThis Is Not My Beautiful Life: A Memoir by Victoria Fedden
Published by Picador on June 7, 2016

 

This Is Not My Beautiful Life by Victoria Fedden is a memoir touted as “hilariously funny and unexpectedly moving”. The true life tale of the daughter dealing with her parent’s indictment for fraud and their penchant for picking the most sketchy of all the sketchy characters around as friends; this was an interesting read but while I did find the tales amusing, hilarious it was not. It was almost as if the author was trying to show just how wacky her life was and in doing so took a lot of the emotion out of the story. Dealing with the Feds knocking on the door while you are a few weeks shy of delivering your first baby should have read like an emotion roller coaster, but instead was more like “poor me”. With her parents paying for her extravagant lifestyle, it seemed as if Fedden was more sorry to be losing her things than what her family did to others, and she put her family before her marriage and then wondered why her husband was upset. There were a few moments that I did really love, most notably when she spoke about the difficulties she had with depression after her daughter was born. These moments were raw and honest and I wish the whole book had followed this path. There were a few plot points that also were never finished and that drives me nuts, but it matched with the rest of the book having me excited to find something out and then slightly let down by how it played out

 

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: http://125pages.com/3-mini-reviews

American Girls by Alison Umminger

American Girls – Alison UmmingerAmerican Girls by Alison Umminger
Published by Flatiron Books on June 7, 2016

 

American Girls by Alison Umminger starts as a tale of a whiny teen girl who stole her step-mom’s credit card and flew across the country to LA to stay with her struggling actress sister. In the beginning I was turned off by Anna as I thought she was just a typical bratty spoiled teen. But as the story progressed I was drawn into her world and I realized that Anna may not have had the best reaction, but her reasons were deeper than even she may have realized.

 

American Girls started as a typical YA read. Girl is pissed at her parents and skips town to stay with her sister in LA., but the plot had way more depth than that. Anna should have felt protected by the adults around her and instead she was treated as an after thought. Even her summer job, researching the Manson girls, was pressed on her by an adult and was not something she should have been exposed to. Alison Umminger wrote an extraordinary story and had a very lyrical style of story telling. I really enjoyed the way she was able to splice together some very disparate themes and make them all work. The pacing had some wonky moments but I was able to pick the story back up quickly. I enjoyed the world built. Anna had a unique way of looking at the places around her and that was conveyed well. There were plenty of emotions in the tale and while there was some teen drama that was a bit over the top, it all worked well. Out of the entire cast of characters, I only liked Anna. Everyone else was so focused on themselves they were almost awful. Anna though, made every second of dealing with the other characters worth it.

 

American Girls is a very different YA read. The depth of the story and the underlying focus on a horrific series of events made for such an interesting read. The fish out of water looking in at what should be glamor was also very intriguing. This is Alison Umminger’s debut, and if this is her first, I can only imagine how good her second will be. She is definitely an author to keep an eye on, as there is a lot of talent there.

 

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: http://125pages.com/american-girls-alison-umminger

The Girls in the Garden – Lisa Jewell

The Girls in the Garden – Lisa JewellThe Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell
Published by Atria Books on June 7, 2016

 

The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewel is an interesting look at what happens when trust is given openly and what happens when a community no longer feels that trust. Peoples’ pasts and motives are dissected and everyone many not be who they seem. In a neighborhood that backs onto a private park everyone trusts that their children are safe and that their neighbors mean them no harm. Then a thirteen-year-old girl is found unconscious after a block party and everyone is a suspect.

 

The Girls in the Garden has a very interesting plot. A peaceful community where the secrets are hidden deep and start to come to light after a young girl is attacked. Everyone becomes a suspect and life in this idyllic location will never be the same. Lisa Jewell has a way of writing that can suck you deep into the story. She is able to convey a true glimpse of many characters at the same time, which is not easy to do. I did have some issues with the pacing. At times the story moved at a great pace that kept me super engaged, but then it would slow way down and it was a bit jolting. The world created felt vast even though it was contained to just the homes surrounding the garden. The emotions ran high and I liked that there were deep emotions coming through. I liked the characters but did not love any of them. Everyone was an integral part of the community and had a place in the story, but with such a large cast it made it difficult to connect with any one person.

 

The Girls in the Garden was an interesting read. I really enjoyed the community based structure of the story and the tension that created. I also liked the deep dive into the residents pasts and the way they all tied together. I was not a huge fan of the ending but it did make sense in the scope of the story. Lisa Jewell created a story that was both intriguing and engaging and I thoroughly enjoyed the read.

 

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: http://125pages.com/the-girls-in-the-garden-lisa-jewell