Dr. Strange Beard – Penny Reid

Dr. Strange Beard by Penny Reid
Published July 30, 2018

Hunches, horse races, and heartbreak

Ten years after Simone Payton broke his heart, all Roscoe Winston wants is a doughnut. He’d also like to forget her entirely, but that’s never going to happen. Roscoe remembers everything—every look, every word, every single unrequited second—and the last thing he needs is another memory of Simone.

Unfortunately, after one chance encounter, Simone keeps popping up everywhere he happens to be . . .

Ten years after Roscoe Winston dropped out of her life, all Simone Payton wants is to exploit him. She’d also like some answers from her former best friend about why he ghosted her, but if she never gets those answers, that’s a-okay. Simone let go of the past a long time ago. Seriously, she has. She totally, totally has. She is definitely not still thinking about Roscoe. Nope. She’s more than happy to forget he exists.

But first, she needs just one teeny-tiny favor . . .


So last year I stumbled across these books. The Winston Brothers series by Penny Reid. And oh. my. goodness. was I hooked. I couldn’t stop reading these and I read 4 books one right after the other until I got hit with the “you have to wait for the next book to come out” train. It was so upsetting, and I didn’t keep track of the release of this book, until the beginning of this year, I was in the mood for a quick little romance, so I checked in on the status of the book, and my lord, it was published! So naturally I decided to devour this book.

I did, it took me about a day and a half to get through this and it didn’t disappoint. You don’t get much of Roscoe in the previous books, to be honest, I feel like he and Billy are the two brothers who you don’t really get much info on as a whole through the series, so I was really happy to get to know more about this character.

I usually feel like the books in this series kind of fall flat in terms of plot, and I felt as though this book was the only book that really had an engaging plot/sub-plot throughout the book. And it might just be that side of me that’s obsessed with crime/drama so it totally hit the spot in terms of plot outside of the love interest plot.

If you enjoy reading romance/contemporary romance, and you’re looking for a new series, please pick this series up. It’s really entertaining, I’ve never felt unsatisfied from any of these books and they’re just really fun to read.

Review: The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

13522285 The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
Published: August 27, 2013

Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.

No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.

But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes?

Robyn Schneider’s The Beginning of Everything is a lyrical, witty, and heart-wrenching novel about how difficult it is to play the part that people expect, and how new beginnings can stem from abrupt and tragic endings.


 

I started this book and was enjoying it for the most part, but then it started becoming like every other contemporary I’ve read. Which is super frustrating. I really want to enjoy contemporaries and I feel like the world is against me with these books!

The plot feels super flat, like nothing really dramatic happens and it just feels like a semi-rip off of Paper Towns (figuring out the why this girl you’re dating all of a sudden stops consistently coming to school) and Looking For Alaska (tragic event that ends up looping to a close a the end of the book).

I enjoyed both of those books, but The Beginning of Everything really didn’t have much to offer. Ezra wasn’t that great of a character, and Cassidy was even worse I do believe. I found no common ground or ties to any of the characters and just found the whole book pretty bland.

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Review: Me and Earl and The Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

12700353Me Earl and The Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Published : March 1st, 2012

“Greg Gaines is the last master of high school espionage, able to disappear at will into any social environment. He has only one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time making movies, their own incomprehensible versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics.

Until Greg’s mother forces him to rekindle his childhood friendship with Rachel.

Rachel has been diagnosed with leukemia—-cue extreme adolescent awkwardness—-but a parental mandate has been issued and must be obeyed. When Rachel stops treatment, Greg and Earl decide the thing to do is to make a film for her, which turns into the Worst Film Ever Made and becomes a turning point in each of their lives.

And all at once Greg must abandon invisibility and stand in the spotlight.”

I’ve always wanted to read this book. And I’m kind of annoyed I didn’t read it sooner. I always saw it on the shelf at the store and I thought it was such a beautiful cover buy, but when I heard what it was about I knew I had to get it and I knew that I had to read it.

A good friend of mine from high school passed away from cancer two years after we graduated in 2009. So he passed away the year this book was published, actually, he passed away a month before it was published. So I always try to find books that can embody the feeling of losing someone at that age, in that way.

I never thought I would find a comparison of those feelings in this book. Which surprised me so much. I loved this writing style of seeing everything through Greg’s eyes. How this was his work of “non-fiction” and him really speaking through his feelings. He’d honestly tell the reader how he felt bad about what he said or how it was rude or inconsiderate and I really appreciated that insight into a character.

But I also loved how when it came down to it, it got to the raw feeling of how much it sucks to see your friend just not have any fight left after going through the grueling sickness that is cancer. It made my heart swell with feeling when I read how Greg truly felt about seeing Rachel go through all this. And it just hit a spot within myself where I really appreciate the truth of it. Because when I was 19, that’s how I felt about my friend and his cancer.

So needless to say, I appreciate this work for what it is. I thank Jesse Andrews for the laughter and fun and the swift read that Me and Earl and The Dying Girl is, but I also thank him for making a book that finally grasped what it truly felt like to go through something like that at that age. Probably a top 3 read of 2015 for me so far.

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Review: Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang

18163646Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang
Published : September 9, 2014

Summary: “On the day Liz Emerson tries to die, they had reviewed Newton’s laws of motion in physics class. Then, after school, she put them into practice by running her Mercedes off the road.

Why? Why did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? Vividly told by an unexpected and surprising narrator, this heartbreaking and nonlinear novel pieces together the short and devastating life of Meridian High’s most popular junior girl. Mass, acceleration, momentum, force—Liz didn’t understand it in physics, and even as her Mercedes hurtles toward the tree, she doesn’t understand it now. How do we impact one another? How do our actions reverberate? What does it mean to be a friend? To love someone? To be a daughter? Or a mother? Is life truly more than cause and effect? Amy Zhang’s haunting and universal story will appeal to fans of Lauren Oliver, Gayle Forman, and Jay Asher”

Fist off I’d like to say that I personally, haven’t read If I Stay by Gayle Forman yet, but I’ve heard that if you like that book, that this is something very similar to I recommend it to those people.

I’d also like to start this review with a disclaimer that I’m not the biggest contemporary fan. I picked this book up on a whim from my daily BookBub e-mails that send me e-book deals. So I think I got this book for like 99 cents or something and I didn’t really expect to like it. But holy crap it kind of hooked me from start to finish. I’ve been having a crazy few weeks with moving my boyfriend into his new home, job searching, interviews and just helping out my mom whose recently come home from a five month stay at the hospital. I’ve been in a reading slump/had no time to read.

So last night I thought, well, I’m not in the mood to keep reading The Goblet of Fire, and I’m not really in the mood for Egg & Spoon. So I dove into this hoping for the best.

And Amy Zhang just wrote this is such an interesting way that I couldn’t put it down.  This book is written in a non-linar way (so it doesn’t go chronologically it jumps from past and present). And it’s about this girl Liz who decides to end her life by crashing her car. And her classmate finds her and the book just goes back and forth between Liz’s wrong-doings and her life and relationship between her mother, her friends, her enemies, her classmates, her teachers, and so on and so forth. The book though is written in a narration that isn’t Liz. At first I thought it was her dead father but when they started referencing the dad, I knew it wasn’t him. But the narrator ends up being Liz’s imaginary friend from when she was a child.

I really enjoyed this book because it just kind of made you question how your actions really effect other people. And why do you do the things you do/done. It kind of pushes the limits and had you sit back for a second and just kind of question yourself and what you’ve done and if you have done anything negative, why and how did it effect certain people. I think Zhang wrote this book with a better purpose than just a story and entertainment, and I have to tip my hat to her.

I admit I did shed a few tears towards the end but, overall this book has my good graces and many rounds of applause. The narration was great, the writing was wonderful, light and easy to just breeze through. Almost as though each and every single word was chosen so carefully. Each character was broken down slowly and almost to a point where they were just completely stripped and you knew the ins and outs of everyone and each person was just so different and had their own little world of issues and strengths and weaknesses.

All in all this book was just, pure genius. Complex yet simple, and beautifully thought provoking and heart-wrenching.

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