Lead Me Not (A Meredith Walters)

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Aubrey Duncan understands loss. She knows what rock bottom looks like, and she is determined to crawl back up to the top after the sudden death of her younger sister. She blames herself for her part in the tragedy, convinced that she could have done something, anything, to help her.

In her effort to gain redemption, Aubrey starts fresh at Longwood University and facilitates an addiction support group, hoping she can support someone else in the way she failed her sister. But what she doesn’t count on is an all-consuming fascination with group member Maxx Demelo, a gorgeous, blond, blue-eyed enigma who hides dark secrets behind a carefully constructed mask. He only reveals what he wants others to see. But Aubrey glimpses another Maxx hidden below the surface—a Maxx who is drowning in his own personal hell.

As Aubrey and Maxx develop an attraction too intense to ignore, he pulls her into the dark underbelly of the city club scene, where she is torn by her desire to save him and an inexplicable urge to join him in his downward spiral. Worst of all, she is beginning to love everything she should run away from—a man who threatens to ignite in her a fire that could burn her alive…


Let me list the reasons why I loved this book:

1: teenage angst and drug use
2: boy/girl POVs
3: dysfunctional relationships
4: um did I mention teenage angst and dysfunctional relationships?

HELLO 2012.

That’s what this book was like. Catapulting me straight back to the angst filled year of 2012. Where all of the books I read straight ripped my heart to shreds and then happily popped back into my chest. (Jessica Sorensen, I’m looking at you).

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Just riddle me this: How can someone write such flawed and dysfunctional and ugly characters and STILL have you drooling at the mouth for more? I wouldn’t roll with no Maxx in real life but book world Talon is smitten. I’m just, at awe with him and Aubrey.

“Because she was my nirvana. My quiet in the storm. And what I felt for her was a hell of lot more real than anything I could experience at the sharp end of a needle or through the chalky taste of pills in my throat.”

The coolest part about Lead Me Not was the many emotions I felt. The dread, the stress, the disgust, the love. And that was all due to the writing. I’m not a stranger to this author’s work but every time I pick her books up I’m thoroughly impressed with the work and Lead Me Not was no different!

“Love made us stupid. Love made us blind. Love could incapacitate us and leave us powerless. And love could also make everything better.”

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In this book, A Meredith Walters graciously paints you a picture as to what it is like battling with addiction and battling it with the person you love. You can’t get any more real than that. It’s brutal. And I felt like this book portrayed that all so perfectly. I flipped pages so fast that I didn’t want to put the book down at all. What else ya got for me girl?

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Who Needs Air (Cassie Graham)

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They fell in love at thirteen.
He wrote a book about it at twenty.
She watched him walk away at twenty-three.
And he made the New York Times Best Sellers list at twenty-four.

Campbell ‘Cam’ Potter stood idly by as August Wyatt took over the world one word at a time. Chapter by chapter, people fell in love with the story he created – the events she lived. And now the book was being made into a movie, it was only a matter of time before August was back in their small hometown in Georgia.

The problem was, when August left five years ago, Cam made a promise to herself. The ending in his book would be the conclusion to their story. There was no sequel, no second chance, no possibility of ever seeing him again. He obliterated her heart and she was determined to never let it happen again.

That is, until Cam gets a late night text from the heartbreaker himself.
New chapters are written, fresh storylines are explored and Cam and August find a familiarity in one another.

Sometimes THE END doesn’t mean it’s over.


I feel like the biggest cheese ball in the world for admitting that I liked this book but I have zero shame. I couldn’t put the damn thing down. Between the cover, the writing, and the dialogue I was officially hooked.

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“He’s water and I’m air. So different, yet neither of us can live without the other. We’re deadly, but we’re also life-giving. I’ll drown in him if I allow myself and he might not survive without me.”

Graham’s writing in Who Needs Air was eloquent and full of personality that flowed straight through me. The southern slang sold me too! It might be cheesy to some but these are expression that I head on the daily living where I do. And I think that had the book not been so predictable, I would have rated it five stars.

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It’s been a long time since I have really felt a yearning for two characters to be together and Cam and August were just what I needed. I wanted so much for them. I wanted everything for them. The angst and build up that the author created was strategically placed and well played out.

“He was my favorite song on repeat. I’d listen to it every day, loving the melody, dancing to the rhythmic beat. The months without him, the speakers screamed silence. I’d turn on the radio and hear that maddening buzzing of white noise. I wished, each night before I closed my eyes, that I could play it, just one more time.

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It’s so refreshing to read a book that makes you giggle and swoon. I’m not opposed to another novel about the secondary characters either. And THAT never happens. Bravo, Cassie Graham! Bravo!

 

All the Pretty Things (Edie Wadsworth)

 

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“The night the trailer burned down, I think Daddy was the one who set it on fire. . . . “

For a long time, Edie thought she had escaped. It started in an Appalachian trailer park, where a young girl dreamed of becoming a doctor. But every day, Edie woke up to her reality: a poverty-stricken world where getting out seemed impossible. Where, at twelve years old, she taught herself to drive a truck so she could get her drunk daddy home from the bar. Where the grownups ate while the children went hungry. Where, when the family trailer burned down, she couldn’t be caught squawlin’ over losing her things–she just had to be grateful anyone had remembered to save her at all.

And at the center of it all, there was her daddy. She never knew when he would show up; she learned the hard way that she couldn’t count on him to protect her. But it didn’t matter: All she wanted was to make him proud. Against all odds, Edie “made doctor,” achieving everything that had once seemed beyond her reach. But her past caught up with her–and it would take her whole life burning down once again for Edie to be finally able to face the truth about herself, her family, and her relationship with God. Readers of The Glass Castle will treasure this refreshing and raw redemption story, a memoir for anyone who has ever hungered for home, forgiveness, and the safe embrace of a father’s love.


“And so began my life with the most wonderful and heartbreaking man I would ever know.”

I get this book. I relate to it and I understand Edie so well that it hurts me. I too, have a father like Edie did. He was my best friend and he was the best guy that I had ever known for thirteen straight years. Until he drank and did drugs. I too, had and still have a mother who saved me and was there for me every step of the way. So my connection with Edie was not where the struggle laid. I understood every single thought she had and every single step she took.

Ultimately, non-fiction is hard for me to read, this I have come to understand but I felt like this one flowed well enough for me to comprehend and follow. I did struggle with the speed of the book. The timeline once Edie hit a certain age (probably the last half of the book) just ZOOMED right on by that I had a hard time keeping up with what was happening and when. With the timeline going so quick and jumping I got rather confused and had to back track a lot which in turn made me more confused and asking more questions. The narrator was also very vague about a lot of the things that occurred to her which in turns leave a lot more unanswered questions for me.

All in all, I enjoyed this read. I enjoyed the symbolism of the title and o enjoyed Edie’s struggle to adapt and care for her father. Most importantly, having a father like that is so hard. It’s draining and it’s exhausting. But he’s your dad, you wouldn’t change it for anything. Edie did a fantastic job at portraying a daughters devotion to her father.

Through Her Eyes (Ava Harrison)

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One phone call changed me.
Three simple words and I was shattered.
Damaged.
Broken.
Alone.
So I started over.
And my journey of rediscovery led me straight into his arms.
Chase Porter.
The stranger who showed me life from a different perspective.
But we both had secrets…
His would destroy my world.

Cool cover. That’s about it if I’m being honest.

Four weeks. It took these people four weeks to fall madly in love with each other. Like, “I’ll die without you love”. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m not one to judge. But the author didn’t even make it believable. There was nothing that connected me to the characters and made their “love” believable to me.

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My biggest peeve about this book was the dialogue. The characters spoke immaturely and very boringly to each other. Childish, that’s the word that I am looking for.

The characters weren’t my favorite, to say the least. I didn’t like Chase at all. Point blank. He spoke in philosophical quotes that you can find on google or inspirational posters. It was very original and boring. He also really frustrated me when it came to Parker. His lack of compassion and sympathy was a huge turn off from the get go. Aria was dull and complained literally the entire time. Every single page. So, now I’m 0/2 on characters that I don’t like. Uh oh…

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The book was just dull, nothing exciting happens. It was also very predictable. It could not have been over with soon enough.

So Much More (Kim Holden)

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Love is strange. It comes out of nowhere. There’s no logic to it. It’s not methodical. It’s not scientific. It’s pure emotion and passion. And emotion and passion can be dangerous because they fuel love…and hate.

I’m now a reluctant connoisseur of both—an expert through immersion. I know them intimately.

When I fell in love with Miranda, it was swift and blind. She was the person I’d elevated to mythical status in my head, in my dreams.

Here’s the thing about dreams, they’re smoke.

They’re spun as thoughts until they become something we think we want. Something we think we need.

That was Miranda. She was smoke.

I thought I wanted her. I thought I needed her.

Over time reality crept in and slowly dissected and disemboweled my dreams like a predator, leaving behind a rotting carcass.

Reality can be a fierce bitch.

So can Miranda.

And I can be a fool…

who believes in dreams.

And people.

And love.


Um, I’m sorry but can the real Kim Holden please stand up? Because there is no way my sweet, loving, amazing-hug giving Kim wrote a person as awful as Miranda or a book so raw. There is no way. HOW?

“Puzzles don’t work when you only have half of the pieces. Same goes for hearts.”

I was nervous to read this book, I can admit that. I’ve had it for a while. I always am so hesitant when so many people love a book and no one hates it. How do you top All of It and Bright Side and Gus? Does that even happen? I will take back those three sentences and just say that it can be done and it has been done. Kim topped those books.

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Kim’s writing in So Much More was poetic. It was soothing and it was mind blowing. No matter what perspective you were reading from, you were enthralled with the way the words ran across the pages. That’s all I can say about that. I was blown away from the writing alone.

But here is why I liked this book. Romance didn’t over run or dictate this book. This is not a romance book. This is not a smutty, dirty, romance that you would see out there these days. This book is struggle and its hurtful. It’s truthful and blunt. You will hurt. If you don’t, you’re a Miranda. Bottom line.

“Everything wilts. Emotions, organs, thoughts, memories, hope…it all wilts. Like a leaf wilts due to lack of water or sunlight, they all turn in upon themselves until the edges are curled grotesquely and shriveled into something unrecognizable.”

Characters. Boy, did this book have a broad range of them. We will start with Seamus. The good. His character wasn’t much of an effect on me but it was nice to read a man’s perspective. I always enjoy their POV’s and their thoughts and his were no exception. Miranda. She was so interesting to me. She is the kind of character you hate, but you want to know SO MUCH MORE about her. I want to know all of the things. What makes her tick? Why? She was interesting, toxic, and poisoning but it was nice reading that. Especially coming from Kim. What place did she have to go to to write THAT!? Faith. She is Kim. I just know it. Her good vibes just spread and radiate everywhere, just like Kim’s. I hurt for her and I wanted to take her up on her free hugs every time she offered them. That says a lot coming from a person who likes to avoid physical contact LOL.

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I see online where a lot of people are always “scared” to read Bright Side. And that’s okay! My recommendation to you is that if you are afraid to read Bright Side, you should read So Much More. You should get Kim’s words into your system any way that you can. Have a blessed day.

Turtles All the Way Down (John Green)

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Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.


Truth be told, I hadn’t really been interested in picking up any more of John Green’s books since I read Looking for Alaska. I just didn’t necessarily care for that book or the style of it so I had just assumed I was finally “over” John Green. I didn’t plan on even buying this book but in all actuality, I am glad that I did.

Well, I’ll tell you right here first: I’m obviously not over him. And I am so happy that I continued to read what he put out because Turtles All the Way Down was so incredible.

“I like short poems with weird rhyme schemes, because that’s what life is like.”
“That’s what life is like?” I was trying to get his meaning.
“Yeah. It rhymes, but not in a way you expect.”

I am Aza. I have so much of Aza inside of me and I seen so much of myself inside of her. BUT, by saying that, I have a Daisy and a Davis. I have those understanding, patient, and protective friends/husband in my life. And John Green nailed that. Honestly, he did. We all need those type of friends. No matter how much you want to be alone and no matter how much you get lost, we all need to have those friends to help keep us grounded and where we need to be.

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The writing in this book was way above par for me and what I’m usually used to getting from John. It was much more readable to me and the use of metaphors all throughout the book was in-genius. Especially when I am a huge love of books that contain USEFUL and realistic metaphors.

“You remember your first love because they show you, prove to you, that you can love and be loved, and that nothing in this world is deserves except for love, that love it both how you become a person, and why.”

Aza’s mother. I think she was my favorite. Her involvement and constant protectiveness over Aza is just what kids need and as a parent that is what we should be doing for our children. Asking how Aza is feeling, asking about her life, if she’s feeling anxious. Children need to be heard. Even us, as adults, need to be heard. And Aza’s mother takes the time to let her daughter be heard. Every child should have that. Every PERSON should have that.

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All in all, Aza’s character seemed very realistic to me, yes, but so did the others in the book. The character dynamics and growth felt personal and to me I just really enjoyed that. I think everyone will relate to Turtles All the Way Down on some sort of level because the story grapples with the types of realizations we all face while growing up and even what some of us grapple with as adults. So to read a book, and not feel alone, is an overwhelming and wonderful feeling.

If He Had Been With Me (Laura Nowlin)

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If he had been with me everything would have been different…

I wasn’t with Finn on that August night. But I should’ve been. It was raining, of course. And he and Sylvie were arguing as he drove down the slick road. No one ever says what they were arguing about. Other people think it’s not important. They do not know there is another story. The story that lurks between the facts. What they do not know—the cause of the argument—is crucial.

So let me tell you…

I think I could could have really loved this book, but some of the things just didn’t sit right with me. A few of the characters actions, the ending, then inconsistencies just to name a few.

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If He Had Been With Me was a story full of what ifs and regrets and unfinished business. It’s terribly sad. It’s a SAD book. The tone is sad, it’s all just sad. The title gives you an idea of what happens, but while you’re reading the story so much is going on that you completely forget about that. And then you’re just sad again.

The story was enjoyable, the characters were decent, but things didn’t start picking up for me until about 70%. The beginning of the book is terribly slow.

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And then the ending happened. I didn’t like it. All of that reading for THAT. The author took the easy way out to end this book and then threw the reader a bone afterwards and practically said “there, take that and be happy with what you got because that’s it.”

My favorite part about the whole book was the authors writing. For a YA I quite enjoyed it and I typically don’t say that. It flowed very easily and it was nice to be in Autumn’s head to see what was going on in her life. Finny’s POV would have been MUCH appreciated though. Maybe some of my unanswered questions would have gotten answers.

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There is just a lot of things going on to take in while reading this book. There are so many things going on with so many characters and it’s not very consistent. It’s almost sloppy. The reader is left out of many important things which in turn leaves me with a lot of unanswered questions. And not the good kinds. Nonetheless it was an emotional read that I’m glad that I finished.