Review: Until the Last Star Fades by Jacquelyn Middleton

U39727035ntil the Last Star Fades by Jacquelyn Middleton

Published November 8th 2018

Touching, heartfelt and passionate, UNTIL THE LAST STAR FADES blurs the line between slow-burn romance and women’s fiction, and is a must-read for hopeful romantics, devoted daughters, and the moms they cherish. 

COULD YOU BE THE ONE WHO CHANGES EVERYTHING?

In her senior year at NYU, Riley Hope appears to be on top of the world. With a loving mother who makes Lorelai Gilmore look like a parenting slacker, ride-or-die friends, and a long-time boyfriend destined for the National Hockey League, she puts on a smile for the world. But behind it, she’s drowning. Racked with fears for the future, she battles to stay afloat amid life in the shadows of a heartbreaking illness.

And then, Ben Fagan comes crashing into her life. Twenty-three-years-old, British, and alone in the Big Apple after a disastrous pilot season in LA, the struggling actor is looking for an escape: booze, mischief, sex—minimum commitment, maximum fun—anything to avoid returning across the pond. 

As they form an unlikely bond, Riley keeps her reality from Ben so that he remains a happy refuge. But how long can she hold back the truth…and is Ben keeping his own secrets, too?

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I loved the main characters so much and I thought Riley was so relatable. It was so refreshing to read about a character that deals with anxiety and depression, something I definitely relate to but rarely see represented in books.
I was so invested in the story and couldn’t put this book down, which doesn’t happen that often for me. I went out of my way to make time to read this book and it was definitely worth it. Jacquelyn Middleton never fails to write a book that I fall in love with but Until the Last Star Fades is easily one of the best books I’ve read this year.

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Review: Everybody, Always by Bob Goff

36289256Everybody, Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People by Bob Goff
Published April 17th 2018

What happens when we give away love like we’re made of it? 

In his entertaining and inspiring follow-up to the New York Times bestselling phenomenon Love Does, Bob Goff takes readers on a journey into the secret of living without fear, constraint, or worry. The path toward the liberated existence we all long for is found in a truth as simple to say as it is hard to do: love people, even the difficult ones, without distinction and without limits.

Driven by Bob’s trademark storytelling, Everybody, Alwaysreveals the lessons Bob learned–often the hard way–about what it means to love without inhibition, insecurity, or restriction. From finding the right friends to discovering the upside of failure, Everybody, Always points the way to embodying love by doing the unexpected, the intimidating, the seemingly impossible. Whether losing his shoes while skydiving solo or befriending a Ugandan witch doctor, Bob steps into life with a no-limits embrace of others that is as infectious as it is extraordinarily ordinary. Everybody, Always reveals how we can do the same.

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I’ve been searching for around for new Christian books to read and I’ve seen Everybody, Always around a lot and so many people have high praise for it so I knew it had to go at the top on my TBR.

I really liked this book but there was a few things here and there that weren’t my favorite.
I did, of course, love the message of the book. Mr. Goff used each personal story as a lead up for how to become love and really express it, which I really liked. I really enjoyed hearing about his life stories and he’s had some very unique ones.
Sometimes I did feel like the stories weren’t very organized and that the book was more of a memoir, which I didn’t mind but it also wasn’t that I expected when I started reading.
I thought it was interesting how casually Mr. Goff mentioned how upper class his life and activities were through out the book. It’s not something I, or many people, can relate to so I felt a pretty big disconnect. I wasn’t really sure if Mr. Goff really noticed how most of the things he mentions are very privileged. Perhaps it’s just the mild disorganized manner of the stories that unintentionally paints that picture but I’m really not sure.

And I also feel the thing that bothered me the most, was something he mentioned towards the very end of the book. He mentioned how he told witch doctors from Uganda to not kidnap children or he’ll kill them. I was so startled by that and honestly, I haven’t stopped thinking about it. It felt extremely out of place from the message of the book.
I’m obviously not saying it’s okay for those witch doctors to kidnap children but saying “don’t make me kill you” is a very bold statement.

Other than a few things, I did really enjoy the book and I think the message is so important. I definitely took away from very meaningful things and I would recommend checking this book out. I listened to it on audiobook with Mr. Goff narrating and I really loved it so if you get chance to listen to the audiobook, I definitely recommend it.

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Review: The Spring Girls by Anna Todd

36135426The Spring Girls by Anna Todd

Published January 2nd 2018

Four sisters desperately seeking the blueprints to life—the modern-day retelling of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women like only Anna Todd (After, Imagines) could do.

The Spring Girls—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy—are a force of nature on the New Orleans military base where they live. As different as they are, with their father on tour in Iraq and their mother hiding something, their fears are very much the same. Struggling to build lives they can be proud of and that will lift them out of their humble station in life, one year will determine all that their futures can become.

The oldest, Meg, will be an officer’s wife and enter military society like so many of the women she admires. If her passion—and her reputation—don’t derail her.

Beth, the workhorse of the family, is afraid to leave the house, is afraid she’ll never figure out who she really is.

Jo just wants out. Wishing she could skip to graduation, she dreams of a life in New York City and a career in journalism where she can impact the world. Nothing can stop her—not even love.

And Amy, the youngest, is watching all her sisters, learning from how they handle themselves. For better or worse.

With plenty of sass, romance, and drama, The Spring Girls revisits Louisa May Alcott’s classic Little Women, and brings its themes of love, war, class, adolescence, and family into the language of the twenty-first century.

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I’ve tried several times before to enjoy a book by Anna Todd, she seems like such a nice person and I really want to jump on the hype wagon that is her books, but The Spring Girls is no different from her other books.

I felt like the writing was poor and needed better editing, the characters are shallow, boring, and unlikable, and the plot could use a revamp or two.

After about 20%, I decided to speed read through the rest of the book, hoping it would get better towards the end but it didn’t.
I haven’t read Little Women since I was a kid so I don’t remember enough of it to compare to The Spring Girls so I can’t really speak on that aspect of the book. I did think the idea of a modern Little Women was really cool but this book just didn’t do it for me at all.

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And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Published : November 6th, 1939

First, there were ten—a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they’re unwilling to reveal—and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder. One by one they fall prey. Before the weekend is out, there will be none. And only the dead are above suspicion. 


Another book read due to my Habitica guild (Habitica is a great habit tracker and “to-do list app, I HIGHLY recommend it) and this book was the Book of The Month for July. I was a bit apprehensive picking this book up, but I did it and I’m not regretting it. I really enjoyed this “Who dun it?” style mystery.

I only had some issues getting into the plot, the beginning of the book started with throwing a little more than 10 characters at you (the main ones and people who have been involved in their back story) and it confused me a bit but once the main plot started to get in full swing it was actually really enjoyable.

It kept me guessing as to who the murder was and when I thought I knew who it was, I’m telling you, I was sure of who it was. I WAS WRONG. I never read an Agatha Christie book before, but I think I’ll start sprinkling her more and more into my reading list because I really liked the pace, plot and overall experience of this book.

4/5 Stars

The Princess Diarist – Carrie Fisher

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
Published : October 18, 2016

The Princess Diarist is Carrie Fisher’s intimate, hilarious and revealing recollection of what happened behind the scenes on one of the most famous film sets of all time, the first Star Wars movie. 

When Carrie Fisher recently discovered the journals she kept during the filming of the first Star Wars movie, she was astonished to see what they had preserved—plaintive love poems, unbridled musings with youthful naiveté, and a vulnerability that she barely recognized. Today, her fame as an author, actress, and pop-culture icon is indisputable, but in 1977, Carrie Fisher was just a (sort-of) regular teenager. 


I’m not much of a non-fiction reader, but I have a habit tracker that has you join guilds and I joined a reader’s guild and one of the challenges was to read a non-fiction book. So I thought, why not? This seems like a great book, and one of my friends had just wrapped up reading it and said it was super entertaining.  So I downloaded the auidobook for this (Non-Fic books read by the writers seem to keep me entertained more than most other formats).

And my god, this book did not disappoint. Carrie did a wonderful job with narration, her great personality and emotion, bringing you into the emotions of all those years past. This book tended to focus more on her relationship/affair with Harrison Ford. Which I didn’t hate, but I wish I got a bit more insight into what it was like on the set/being a star for a movie franchise that no one thought would make it.

It was a relatively quick read as well, which was great. If you’re a fan of Star Wars and want some witty, and some good Star Wars fun, getting to know the true PLO, pick this one up.

5/5 Stars

Scythe – Neal Shusterman

Scythe by Neal Shusterman
Published : November 22nd 2016

Thou shalt kill.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.


DEAR GOD THIS BOOK. TRULY EPIC.

Ok. I have to admit, this book had me just like…in awe. SUCH a great book! The setting, was great, the characters, their voice, their personalities, and just the overall plot. A true epic adventure. And it was so unique and thought provoking even. The way Shusterman brings up overall thoughts/ideas/talk of mortality and what is just and right, I guess moral would be the word to use. But DEAR GOD.

I also really enjoyed the amount of suspense, action and just overall speed of the book. Every single piece of information had purpose. Nothing was left untied and everything EVERYTHING had meaning.

The setting is UNREAL. Like a true utopia where death is conquered, sickness no longer exists and the only way to control population is through Gleaning (a task of killing people, that Scythes are tasked with). And the omnipresent being that is the Thunderhead which is basically the Internet and literally KNOWS ALL.

The characters were beyond amazing. Rowan being super complex, Citra being just overall badass and I think I enjoyed her the best. and DONT EVEN GET ME STARTED ON THE SCYTHES. Faraday and Curie were AMAZEBALLS. I loved Curie so much. I thought her and Faraday’s relationship and how they worked. And honestly all the the relationship dynamics were SO WELL THOUGHT OUT.

Overall this book was something I couldn’t put down. Literally had me clutching it until the very last word, it made me feel so many things and was such an great adventure, I think I would read it over and over and over again for all time.

If you’re looking for a gripping, fast paced, adventure. Please PLEASE do yourself the favor and pick up Scythe.

5/5 Stars

A Court of Frost and Starlight – Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas
Published: May 1st 2018

Hope warms the coldest night.

Feyre, Rhys, and their close-knit circle of friends are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve. 

Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated–scars that will have far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.


Well…I wish this wasn’t the review I’m going to write but I was pretty disappointed with this book. A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury and A Court of Wings and Ruin were all great! And being a massive Sarah J. Maas fan, I have familiarity with her novellas (*Ahem* The Assassin’s Blade) and I guess I expected more.

The Assassin’s Blade made me FEEL things, I just felt like this was a bunch of mundane just droning to be honest. Like seriously? Just a book about everyone at Christmas time? AND NESTA!? I mean come on, I know Nesta had a hard time turning but let’s be honest, she’s probably the strongest out of everyone will power wise. Personally, I think there was a lot more room for improvement and just overall a better story to be had.

According to goodreads there’s 6 books total, so we’re at the halfway point of the saga, and I hope to god Sarah J. Maas isn’t burnt out on the potential plot points already.

2/5 Stars

Review: Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore

32991569Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore

Published September 19th 2017

If you could change your story, would you?

Jane has lived a mostly ordinary life, raised by her recently deceased aunt Magnolia, whom she counted on to turn life into an adventure. Without Aunt Magnolia, Jane is directionless. Then an old acquaintance, the glamorous and capricious Kiran Thrash, blows back into Jane’s life and invites her to a gala at the Thrashes’ extravagant island mansion called Tu Reviens. Jane remembers her aunt telling her: “If anyone ever invites you to Tu Reviens, promise me that you’ll go.”

What Jane doesn’t know is that at Tu Reviens her story will change; the house will offer her five choices that could ultimately determine the course of her untethered life. But every choice comes with a price. She might fall in love, she might lose her life, she might come face-to-face with herself. At Tu Reviens, anything is possible.

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Unsolicited ARC of this book was sent to me by the publisher

I wanted to like this book so much. I tried and tried to get into this book but it’s just not happening.
I’ve spent months trying to get through this book but the writing style is so odd, it threw me off. I don’t want to say it’s bad writing but… it’s not for me at all. I spent a lot of this book confused, especially the first few chapters, and I actually double checked to make sure this wasn’t a sequel because I felt like I started in the middle of a series.
I couldn’t connect with any of the characters and I struggled to even like any of the characters.
I know some people who really enjoyed this book but for the life of me, I can’t figure out how they managed to get through this book. Jane, Unlimited wasn’t for me at all but maybe you’ll like it more than I did.

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Review: Keepers by Sacha de Black

33297377Keepers by Sacha de Black

Published November 2017 

Eden’s life is balanced…
…until her soul is bound to her enemy.

When her parents are murdered, the realm of Trutinor is threatened. Then a mysterious human arrives and changes everything.

As Eden’s world spirals out of control, she doesn’t need a charismatic Siren from her past returning to complicate life.

Now, saving Trutinor is the last thing on Eden’s mind.


Three boys.
Two murdered parents.
One deadly choice.
 

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I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review

This book is everything I want from a YA fantasy. It has awesome characters, great world building, a well thought out plot, and lots of action.
The world of Trutinor is so creative and such a refreshing change from the majority of YA fantasies I’ve been reading lately. Sacha built such an amazing world and she did it in a way that was easy to understand and I was able to picture everything clearly.
I absolutely loved the main character, Eden. She was so well written and complex.
There is a love triangle but I, hater of all love triangles, didn’t mind it at all. There’s just something about how Sacha wrote it that was so well done.
Overall, I really loved Keepers. It’s one of my favorite books I’ve read this year and I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book. If you’re looking for an action packed YA fantasy, I definitely recommend Keepers by Sacha da Black.

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Review: Haven by Mary Lindsey

Expected publication: November 7th 2017

“We all hold a beast inside. The only difference is what form it takes when freed.”

Rain Ryland has never belonged anywhere, He’s used to people judging him for his rough background, his intimidating size, and now, his orphan status. He’s always been on the outside, looking in, and he’s fine with that. Until he moves to New Wurzburg and meets Friederike Burkhart.

Freddie isn’t like normal teen girls, though. And someone wants her dead for it. Freddie warns he’d better stay far away if he wants to stay alive, but Rain’s never been good at running from trouble. For the first time, Rain has something worth fighting for, worth living for. Worth dying for. 

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I was sent an unsolicited copy of this book from the publisher.

I wasn’t expecting much from this book so I was pleasantly surprised by Haven in a few ways.
I really like that this was a fairly unique take on Beauty and the Beast where the guy isn’t the “beast”. I’ve never seen anyone else do that so major props to Mary Linsey.
However, this book was slow for the first quarter or so. The first few chapters were a struggle to get through and I didn’t start to like the book until much later on.
I couldn’t really connect to the characters and they seemed a little lack luster to me.
The writing was pretty good though. I thought the style was nice and very clear.

Overall, Haven was good read but not quite my cup of tea. Even though I really liked the original spin on a very over done concept, my inability to fall in love with the characters was the downfall of this book. I think if you’re a less critical reader, you’ll enjoy Haven a lot more than I did, especially if you like retellings.

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