Without Merit (Colleen Hoover)

33280872

The Voss family is anything but normal. They live in a repurposed church, newly baptized Dollar Voss. The once cancer-stricken mother lives in the basement, the father is married to the mother’s former nurse, the little half-brother isn’t allowed to do or eat anything fun, and the eldest siblings are irritatingly perfect. Then, there’s Merit.

Merit Voss collects trophies she hasn’t earned and secrets her family forces her to keep. While browsing the local antiques shop for her next trophy, she finds Sagan. His wit and unapologetic idealism disarm and spark renewed life into her—until she discovers that he’s completely unavailable. Merit retreats deeper into herself, watching her family from the sidelines, when she learns a secret that no trophy in the world can fix.

Fed up with the lies, Merit decides to shatter the happy family illusion that she’s never been a part of before leaving them behind for good. When her escape plan fails, Merit is forced to deal with the staggering consequences of telling the truth and losing the one boy she loves.

Poignant and powerful, Without Merit explores the layers of lies that tie a family together and the power of love and truth.


I feel like this review is a little harder for me to write. Mainly because I have this weird relationship/connection with Merit. I don’t think I liked her too much because I identified with her too much. I saw a lot of myself within Merit. But alas, without Merit (see what I did there) this book wouldn’t have been what it was.

“So many secrets in this house. And yet, the one secret I should have told years ago is the one I’ve kept the quietest.”

The only thing I had a huge issue with was the father. And while I won’t go into details because I don’t roll with spoilers in my reviews, I just don’t like how a lot of the issues were handled by him. But I understand why Colleen wrote it that way. Every family has their issues and their flaws.

Now I will say this, when Colleen says on social media that this is unlike anything she has wrote before, I agree with her. It’s not. Take all of those expectations away because they won’t be exceeded. Maybe this is what happens when Hopeless and Slammed come together and make a cute little baby. And the best part about ALL of it is in true Colleen nature, she brings you through some darkness and rough patches but she is always following through with that wrap around, that good stuff, that happiness.

My favorite part of the entire book is the layers. The layers of Merit, of Honor, Utah, Sagan. ALL of their layers. And Colleen spares no one. All of those said layers are uncovered at a wonderful pace that keeps you turning the pages.

To all of Colleen’s readers, this book will portray something beautiful. Something that every one might be struggling with. You could relate to any of the characters in Without Merit and still come out with a smile on your face. Because hot damn. Colleen knows how to tell one hell of a story.

Advertisements

Bad Girls Don’t Die (Katie Alender)

IMG_2677

Alexis thought she led a typically dysfunctional high school existence. Dysfunctional like her parents’ marriage; her doll-crazy twelve-year-old sister, Kasey; and even her own anti-social, anti-cheerleader attitude. When a family fight results in some tearful sisterly bonding, Alexis realizes that her life is creeping from dysfunction into danger. Kasey is acting stranger than ever: her blue eyes go green sometimes; she uses old-fashioned language; and she even loses track of chunks of time, claiming to know nothing about her strange behavior. Their old house is changing, too. Doors open and close by themselves; water boils on the unlit stove; and an unplugged air conditioner turns the house cold enough to see their breath in.

Alexis wants to think that it’s all in her head, but soon, what she liked to think of as silly parlor tricks are becoming life-threatening–to her, her family, and to her budding relationship with the class president. Alexis knows she’s the only person who can stop Kasey — but what if that green-eyed girl isn’t even Kasey anymore? 


Okay. I did not see this book going in the direction it went. At all. This was not at all what I thought it was going to be. How does that even happen? I do not know but…

I loved it.

IMG_2678

I’m going to write out a whole review about this book and not tell you what it’s about. Not a single thing. That’s fair right? Well wait, let me tell you this about it: it’s creepy and it’s eerie. This type of thing freaks me out in real life. It can happen…I’m sure it HAS happened. Close your doors, lock them, and get under your covers.

IMG_2680

For someone Alexis’ age, she was very like-able. I enjoyed reading about her throughout this entire book and never once did I get tired of her drive and her constant strength and determination. The fierceness she showed for her sister was admirable because it’s something I would struggle with had this all happened to me.

Kasey sucked. But, you’ll soon learn why.

IMG_2676

The tone of the book was mysterious enough to keep my eyes glued to the screen of my kindle. It’s probably not the spookiest book you’ve read but for a YA novel I was impressed.

Now, although it took Alexis a while to figure it what I had already figured out was happening, I wasn’t even mad about it. I enjoyed the ride and the story more so than me trying to depict every tiny thing that was going to happen or why it was going to happen.

IMG_2679

Another YA book down for me and this one was very appealing! There isn’t much that I didn’t like and I was glued from the get go. This is also a debut novel from an author I had never heard of and I’m stunned. The word flow and the story line were entwined so vividly I could see it all playing out in my head with zero struggle.

This book is a yes from me!

Fierce Kingdom (Gin Phillips)

IMG_2621

An electrifying novel about the primal and unyielding bond between a mother and her son, and the lengths she’ll go to protect him.

The zoo is nearly empty as Joan and her four-year-old son soak up the last few moments of playtime. They are happy, and the day has been close to perfect. But what Joan sees as she hustles her son toward the exit gate minutes before closing time sends her sprinting back into the zoo, her child in her arms. And for the next three hours—the entire scope of the novel—she keeps on running.

Joan’s intimate knowledge of her son and of the zoo itself—the hidden pathways and under-renovation exhibits, the best spots on the carousel and overstocked snack machines—is all that keeps them a step ahead of danger. 


I liked this book. Genuinely liked this book. As a whole, it was a good read that kept me glued to the pages.

I was so caught up with the story and the events taking place within the zoo that I didn’t even think about how Fierce Kingdom would or could end and I’m very disappointed in myself for that because when I got to the ending I was thoroughly unhappy. Deflated. I was built up and then let down. Not even let down easily.

IMG_2622

The first part of the book was so gripping. I was so wrapped up in Joan and Lincoln that I couldn’t think straight. The middle part of the book I wanted to take a nap. And I probably could have and I wouldn’t have missed anything. Almost to the end I was holding my breath and eager to see what would happen next and then the end of the book I rolled my eyes and said “REALLY?”

Pet peeve #1: Joan, my girl. You had a phone. Good for you for telling your husband but what about the police? Their digits are easy, girl! 911. Give them a holler!

IMG_2623

Another killer for me was the plot holes. Big. Fat. Plot holes. What about the baby? The teacher? Kailynn? Lincoln? Do we just…move on from those? I don’t move on easily. I have to know the things!

The author could have navigated the POVs a little better than what she did. They were kind of sloppy and thrown all over the place. I was confused the first couple of times she switched it on us but was ultimately able to catch back up as the pages went on.

As a mother, this book is just not fathomable to me. My anxiety was through the roof, sure but as a reader I wasn’t satisfied with the ending. This book is the best example on why some books should have an epilogue. A book that should have been crafted a tad bit better throughout so maybe the ending could have delivered.

IMG_2625

 

Speed (BB Easton)

img_2491

Because BB Easton had so much fun writing her bestselling, award-winning memoir, 44 CHAPTERS ABOUT 4 MEN, she decided to give each of her four men his own steamy standalone! SPEED is the second book in the 44 Chapters spin-off series—a gritty, taboo love triangle overflowing with dark humor and tangible teen angst. It is based on a true story.

After her possessive, psychopathic, rage-fueled ex, Knight, joins the Marines, sixteen-year-old BB is left trying, and failing, to pick up the pieces of her shattered heart. It isn’t until she meets Harley James—an easy-going, tattooed mechanic with a face as angelic as his habits are sinful—that she learns how to live again. How to laugh again. But will she learn to love again?

Over Knight’s dead body.


The first thing that I want to say in this post is: I love internal monologue BB! I love her so much I could squeal. Her sarcasm and internal banter with herself is what I live for. I know that even when the moment is going to be a super serious one and my anxiety is going to spike up, internal BB is going to make her way to the top first and make things a little more bearable for my anxiety before anything else.

“For too long I’d left my heart vulnerable to monsters. I’d let them take and take ant take. My innocence, my devotion, my freedom, my control. I would have given on of them my whole future, if he’d ask. But he didn’t. He left instead. He was always leaving. For a year I’d been mourning him, even when he was right in front of me. I’d worked my way from the pits of despair, to the highs of false hope, through the battlefields of anger, and had finally arrived at acceptance. I was resigned to our fates. But the remorse never came.”

I really feel like I liked this book more than I did Skin. I liked Skin because I liked going back in time and I loved BB’s writing. I didn’t like who Knight was in Skin though but in Speed, I FINALLY understood what BB had seen in him and I can see now how his mark was eternally left on BB. In Skin I couldn’t. But that doesn’t mean I was rooting for him either! I feel like between Harley and Knight, I can’t root for any of them. I don’t feel drawn to either of them. But I can sure as hell root for BB. Because I AM drawn to BB. Through everything that raged within her and everything that happened to her, I rooted for her. I was 100% pulling for her and she did it.

IMG_2493

Sidenote: Um, and how awesome was Dave? Because ya girl could use a little novella on some Dave…hint hint.

I don’t sit here and question what BB went through and what she didn’t and if it was true or wasn’t true. We all have those stories for ourselves. I do, however, sit here in awe of her story telling capabilities and her way of captivating readers. She’s the real deal. The adult in me doesn’t approve of A LOT of the things that happened in this book but the teenage me says “girl, I done been there done that too, why didn’t we do this all together?”

IMG_2492

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock (Matthew Quick)

13477676

Today is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol.

But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him: his Humphrey Bogart-obsessed next-door neighbor, Walt; his classmate, Baback, a violin virtuoso; Lauren, the Christian homeschooler he has a crush on; and Herr Silverman, who teaches the high school’s class on the Holocaust. Speaking to each in turn, Leonard slowly reveals his secrets as the hours tick by and the moment of truth approaches.

In this riveting look at a day in the life of a disturbed teenage boy, acclaimed author Matthew Quick unflinchingly examines the impossible choices that must be made—and the light in us all that never goes out.


It’s going to be weird for me to say this but I appreciated this book because I was able to relate to it and it’s going to sound even weirder to admit that out loud. But before anyone makes any crazy assumptions I want to explain why I could relate to Leonard Peacock.

Image result for i can't breathe gif

First we will talk about me and then I will talk about the book. I related to Leonard. I did. I have felt so off-kiltered and “different” and just so alone. So to read a book from his perspective, it really hit me in the chest and it felt really heavy. I still have not decided how that weight made me feel.

“I feel like I’m broken–like I don’t fit together anymore. like there’s no more room for me in the world or something. Like I’ve over-stayed my welcome here on Earth, and everyone’s trying to give me hints about that constantly. Like I should just check out.”

I don’t curse in my reviews but you know what? I fucking get that. I feel that like it punched me straight in my gut. Sucker punched. Like it wanted to hit me so hard.

I loved Leonard. From the second I started reading I welcomed him with open arms and I GOT him. And you know what? I got weapy for him. My eyes blurred. Because do you know how many kids in this world feel the way he does? Too many. And how incredible of this author to write such a book that teens can read, they can relate and see just how to cope, even when they don’t feel like talking about it and I hope that by the end, they get the help that they deserve.

Image result for i can't breathe gif

I read Silver Linings Playbook a while back and I really loved Matthew Quick’s story-telling and his writing and Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock was nothing short of that. The pace in the story is ideal for readers. Hook. Line. And Sinker. No lulls. Just all around GREAT story telling.

“we can simultaneously be human and monster—that both of those possibilities are in all of us.”

There is one thing I didn’t like. And I won’t spoil it But it was very hypocritical of Leonard but he was mature enough to admit that so I felt some huge redemption with him. Other than that…I was obsessed.

OMG I JUST READ A YA NOVEL THAT I LOVED. Someone pinch me! This book took me by complete surprise and I love it when that happens. That’s about all that I can say. The topic of very important social issues was so compelling I was completely mesmerized.

But I Love Him (Amanda Grace)

IMG_2402

Sometimes at night, I wake up and stare at the heart for hours. I think of how I collected each piece from the beach, how I glued it all together into one big sculpture. I wonder if Connor realizes what it means, that he’ll always have a piece of me no matter what happens. Each piece of glass is another piece of myself that I gave to him.

It’s too bad I didn’t keep any pieces for myself.

At the beginning of senior year, Ann was a smiling, straight-A student and track star with friends and a future. Then she met a haunted young man named Connor. Only she can heal his emotional scars; only he could make her feel so loved – and needed. Ann can’t recall the pivotal moment it all changed, when she surrendered everything to be with him, but by graduation, her life has become a dangerous high wire act. Just one mistake could trigger Connor’s rage, a senseless storm of cruel words and violence damaging everything – and everyone – in its path.

This evocative slideshow of flashbacks reveals a heartbreaking story of love gone terribly wrong.


Amanda Grace is a literary GENIUS.

The structure of But I Love him is written backwards. Yep, backwards. Completely. You get the ending first and then you go all the way up to the first day and to me, that is spectacular. I liked it because if you start at the beginning, you almost always know how it’s going to end. So, what better way to start at the end and see how it all began?

“It happened in pieces, tiny little turning points. I’ll never figure out when it all turned, because it wasn’t a single moment.”

As you guys know, I enjoy domestic violence books. I’ve been there. I know it. A lot of people have. And I have read some books that just slaughter it. It’s not accurate nor realistic. But then I stumble across books like this one and it displays it perfectly.

IMG_2403

I didn’t like the ending though. It was too open for me. Sometimes that works but in this case, it didn’t work for me. I felt empty and curious and I just don’t like that feeling at the end of some of the books I read.

This is a very good YA novel. One that I would allow a 12-13 year old read. It’s a very realistic book that delves into a very real topic and depicts the chain of events in a superb way. Whether you’re an Ann or you’re a Connor I feel as if you’ll really benefit from this book. And if not, you’ll at least enjoy it.

IMG_2404

Most of All You (Mia Sheridan)

IMG_2340

A broken woman . . .

Crystal learned long ago that love brings only pain. Feeling nothing at all is far better than being hurt again. She guards her wounded heart behind a hard exterior, and carries within her a deep mistrust of men who, in her experience, have only ever used and taken.

A man in need of help . . .

Then Gabriel Dalton walks into her life. Despite the terrible darkness of his past, there’s an undeniable goodness about him. And even though she knows the cost, Crystal finds herself drawn to Gabriel. His quiet strength is wearing down her defenses and his gentle patience is causing her to question everything she thought she knew.

Only love can mend a shattered heart . . .

Crystal and Gabriel never imagined that the world that had stolen everything from them would bring them a deep love like this. Except fate will only take them so far and now the choice is theirs: Harden their hearts once again or find the courage to shed their painful pasts. 


I’m always so excited to read and get my mitts on Mia’s books. And you know that fantastic hurt you got from Archer’s Voice? Yeah…me too. Well, Most of All You will slice ya just like that, so good luck and happy trails!


Mia’s male characters are my absolute favorite. They always have the most depth and complexity that I need in a character while I’m reading. I get the full understanding and insight that I truly need. Mia is truly gifted at that.

Gabriel. You are a rockstar. His character plain engulfed me and consumed me. There’s a serious over whelming feeling when you find a character that you just adore and I found that within him and I’m so happy that I did.


When I think of a good, nice-fashioned, contemporary love story, I think of Mia and her writing and her books. Most of All You was certainly no different than the others I have read. My heart just has a feel good sensation every time I close the cover of a Mia Sheridan book. I just feel so…at peace and at home with myself.

You Will Know Me (Megan Abbott)

IMG_2098

Katie and Eric Knox have dedicated their lives to their fifteen-year-old daughter Devon, a gymnastics prodigy and Olympic hopeful. But when a violent death rocks their close-knit gymnastics community just weeks before an all-important competition, everything the Knoxes have worked so hard for feels suddenly at risk. As rumors swirl among the other parents, revealing hidden plots and allegiances, Katie tries frantically to hold her family together while also finding herself drawn, irresistibly, to the crime itself, and the dark corners it threatens to illuminate. From a writer with “exceptional gifts for making nerves jangle and skin crawl,” (Janet Maslin) You Will Know Me is a breathless rollercoaster of a novel about the desperate limits of desire, jealousy, and ambition.


So, this wasn’t an “OMG I loved it book” and it wasn’t an “OMG why did I even read this” book. It was just…decent. Quick and painless read.

Murder mysteries are usually really dull for me but this one played out really well. Until the end. But up until the last portion of the book I was turning pages very quickly! Especially once the 40% mark came up, I was glued.

IMG_2101

But, I had a really hard time jumping onto the narrative and following along with it. The POV was just too complicated for me. It would have almost been a better story if one of the characters were telling it themselves. Plus, the story was all over the place. I really struggled with knowing what was happening and when it was, timeframe wise. Chapter after chapter I kept saying “okay, was this before or after the incident?”

Um HELLO! 1,492 unanswered questions. No matter how many spoilers I seek out, I’ll never know. How frustrating is that! It’s my pet peeves. Take you plot holes and unanswered questions away from. I’m not smart enough for that!

IMG_2100

Basically, the only thing that kept me sucked into this book was the “WHO DID IT!?” But then you find out who did it and I was bummed. I could have probably guessed it but I couldn’t find the energy to do so. After I found out what happened, I skimmed. I have no shame. The author should have executed the big reveal and the ending a whole lot better than what she did.

Bad Romance (Heather Demetrios)

IMG_1920

Grace wants out. Out of her house, where her stepfather wields fear like a weapon and her mother makes her scrub imaginary dirt off the floors. Out of her California town, too small to contain her big city dreams. Out of her life, and into the role of Parisian artist, New York director—anything but scared and alone.

Enter Gavin: charming, talented, adored. Controlling. Dangerous. When Grace and Gavin fall in love, Grace is sure it’s too good to be true. She has no idea their relationship will become a prison she’s unable to escape.

Deeply affecting and unflinchingly honest, this is a story about spiraling into darkness—and emerging into the light again.

Sucker punched. That is what I am feeling right now. I’m shook. Bad Romance is a book that shows you how domestic abuse begins. And let me just say, it nails it. Every tiny detail, action, THIS is how it happens and Heather gets it ALL right.

“I gave you my heart on a silver fucking platter and you ate it, piece by bloody piece.”

The best part about this whole book? You get to watch it all form and begin. You get to see what’s it like and how it happens. You will have no excuse anymore to say “she’s stupid for staying” because this is real, guys. And this book lays it all out for you. The emotional effect it had on me was no joke at all.

I really love the way the author constructed the story line. The writing, the build up, the anxiety, and tension. It was so real to me. It was so overwhelming in a way that I needed.

“You’re building a wall around us, keeping out every one I know and love. Soon, that wall will be too hard to climb back over.”

My absolute favorite part of the whole book? The narrative. Just like Caroline Kepnes’ book YOU, the second person (past tense) narrative brings light and perspective to the reader that you might now get in a first or third person POV. Brilliant choice, Heather.

Heather wrote this book to open eyes. To show people the things they don’t want to see. And I am 100% behind it. This is what it’s like and it happens before you even know it.

This is real, you guys. And it’s happening every single day. There are Grace’s out there. There are Gavin’s out there. Every. Single. Day.

“When you’re a stupid girl in love, it’s almost impossible to see the red flags. It’s so easy to pretend they’re not there, to pretend that everything is perfect.”

I want to hug Heather for writing this. I want to hug her for showing so much light on issues that don’t get enough light. Because im this book she got it right. She didn’t romanticize it. She made it real and hurtful. Just like real life.

Bad Romance is an important and powerful read that every one needs to experience.

Wish You Were Here (Renee Carlino)

32620360

Charlotte has spent her twenties adrift, floating from interest to interest, job to job, and guy to guy, searching for a spark but never quite finding it. All she knows is that she won’t discover it working as a waitress at a pies-and-fries joint in Los Angeles or living with her fun but aimless best friend in a tiny apartment in the Arts District.

Then Charlotte collides with Adam, a gorgeous and soulful painter who seems just as lost as she feels. Their instant connection turns into a midnight drink… and a whirlwind night of champagne, Chinese food, and the kind of conversation that only happens in romantic comedies. But the next morning, Adam gives Charlotte the cold shoulder, leaving her confused and hurt—and wondering if the few odd moments between them the night before were red flags in disguise.

Months later, Charlotte hasn’t been able to shake Adam, so she decides to find out what happened the morning after their magical night together. This fateful decision rewrites their wild love story, but what Charlotte doesn’t know yet is that the ending has already been written.


Why do I feel as if I’m the only person three starring this book? Did I read it wrong? What’s wrong with me? What made you love this book?

Image result for scratch head gif

First of all, I want to be sure to point out how much I respect Renee as not only a writer but a person as well. She is a very special person to me. But…I have never read a Renee Carlino book that I didn’t just absolutely LOVE. So this is a little tricky for me to write.

“I promise to love you forever. As long as there is love in this world, we will be a part of it.”

I feel like the way Renee wanted this story to go could have been executed wonderfully and a huge hit with a lot of readers if it wasn’t for Charlotte. I couldn’t get on board with her or find the reasons that Adam and Seth did to even like her. I wanted to see the Charlotte that Seth and Adam seen. The way they described her, I wanted to see that but I didn’t. Another thing was how all over the place the entire book was. I guess maybe it wasn’t so much that the book was all over the place but Charlotte was all over the place and I really had to sit back and realize that because of that, the story is going to jump all over the place.

*cough* Insta-love. *cough*

Image result for dramatic eye roll gif

Also, I really wanted to see more growth throughout the book in Charlotte and I didn’t get that. A lot of the others book I have read that are like Wish You Were Here showed tremendous character growth (i.e. Me Before You) but Charlotte was stuck I feel like for 80% of the book and then it was like Renee just wrote in a whole different character at the beginning of the next chapter to show some sort of transition for Charlotte.

So lets talk about the good and when I say the good I mean Adam. His characteristic and mannerisms are the type that I cling to in real people that I seek friendships with every day. His spunk and his wit had my eyes glued on the page and I just wanted to keep reading more and more about him. But I will say that I didn’t get the history and backstory that I wanted on him. It was vaguely spoken about here and there but I feel like a huge part of the story could have been brought to life with the “history of Adam”.

Image result for swoon gif

I don’t consider 3 stars to be bad. I enjoyed the book, I truly did. I just couldn’t get on the same level with Charlotte that Seth and Adam were on. As much as I tried to get into her head and understand from her POV I just couldn’t and to me that is where a reader struggles. If you don’t connect with the main character or like them in the least bit then you will have a hard time enjoying the book you are reading.