Dec 5, 2016

November Book Review

Y'all, I have to admit I'm a little worried about meeting my GoodReads Reading Challenge for 2016. I'm currently 10 books away from the goal and 2 books behind schedule. I've gotta start reading! 
November started off rocky. I could not find ANYTHING I wanted to read. Thankfully the slump ended and I read some really good books this month. I can't wait to share them with y'all!

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Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino
From the USA TODAY bestselling author of Sweet Thing and Nowhere But Here comes a love story about a Craigslist “missed connection” post that gives two people a second chance at love fifteen years after they were separated in New York City.

To the Green-eyed Lovebird:

We met fifteen years ago, almost to the day, when I moved my stuff into the NYU dorm room next to yours at Senior House.

You called us fast friends. I like to think it was more.

We lived on nothing but the excitement of finding ourselves through music (you were obsessed with Jeff Buckley), photography (I couldn’t stop taking pictures of you), hanging out in Washington Square Park, and all the weird things we did to make money. I learned more about myself that year than any other.

Yet, somehow, it all fell apart. We lost touch the summer after graduation when I went to South America to work for National Geographic. When I came back, you were gone. A part of me still wonders if I pushed you too hard after the wedding…

I didn’t see you again until a month ago. It was a Wednesday. You were rocking back on your heels, balancing on that thick yellow line that runs along the subway platform, waiting for the F train. I didn’t know it was you until it was too late, and then you were gone. Again. You said my name; I saw it on your lips. I tried to will the train to stop, just so I could say hello.
After seeing you, all of the youthful feelings and memories came flooding back to me, and now I’ve spent the better part of a month wondering what your life is like. I might be totally out of my mind, but would you like to get a drink with me and catch up on the last decade and a half?

This was my second Renee Carlino book and I almost didn't read it. Earlier this year I read Swear on this Life by the same author and wasn't all that impressed. When I first started reading it, I thought it would be one of my favorites, so I quickly ordered another Renee Carlino book. When I finished the first one, I didn't really want to pick up this one. Then the reading slump happened and I was desperate to find anything that remotely held my attention. I'm so glad I ended up reading this one because I liked this one so much better than Swear on this Life. To me, it was much more fast paced and the characters were much more relatable. 

5 Star Rating!

The Futures by Anna Pitoniak
Julia and Evan falls in love as undergraduates at Yale. For Evan, a scholarship student from a Canadian logging town, Yale is a whole new world, and Julia—blonde, beautiful and rich—fits perfectly into the future he’s envisioned for himself. After graduation, and on the eve of the great financial meltdown of 2008, they move together to New York City, where Evan takes a job at a hedge fund. But Julia, who has only known a life of privilege, feels unmoored and increasingly shut out of Evan’s secretive world.

With the market crashing and banks failing, Evan becomes involved in an increasingly high-stakes deal at work—a deal that, despite the assurance of his Machiavellian boss, begins to feel more than slightly suspicious. Meanwhile, Julia reconnects with someone from her past who offers a glimpse of a different kind of life. As Evan and Julia spin apart into their separate orbits, they each find that they are capable of much more—good and bad—that they’d ever dreamed, and that betrayal is easier than they ever imagined.

Rich with suspense and insight, Pitoniak’s thrilling debut reveals the fragile yet enduring nature of our connections to one another and to ourselves. THE FUTURES is a glittering story of a couple coming of age and a tender, searing portrait of what it’s like to be young and full of hope in a city that often seems determined to break us down—but ultimately may be the very thing that saves us.

This one is an ARC, so it doesn't come out until January 17th, but I really enjoyed it! I loved that the characters were my age and the book was told from their lives during the recession of 2008. I graduated from college in 2009 and it was extremely difficult to find a teaching job, so I could definitely relate! I loved seeing how the characters handled the change from college into the work force. It is told from both Julia and Evan's POV and I much preferred Julia's POV. I found the info about investment banking to be boring and Evan was an annoying jerk at times. This and the fact that the book just sort of ends prevented this one from being a 5 star read for me. I still really enjoyed it though! 

4 Star Rating

Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes
When young, pretty Catherine Bailey meets Lee Brightman, she can't believe her luck. Gorgeous, charismatic, and a bit mysterious, Lee seems almost too perfect to be true.

But what begins as flattering attention and spontaneous, passionate sex transforms into raging jealousy, and Catherine soon discovers that Lee's dazzling blue eyes and blond good looks hide a dark, violent nature. Disturbed by his increasingly erratic, controlling behavior, she tries to break it off; turning to her friends for support, she's stunned to find they don't believe her. Increasingly isolated and driven into the darkest corner of her world, a desperate Catherine plans a meticulous escape.

Four years later, Lee is behind bars and Catherine—now Cathy—is trying to build a new life in a new city. Though her body has healed, the trauma of the past still haunts her. Then Stuart Richardson, her attractive new neighbor, moves in. Encouraging her to confront her fears, he sparks unexpected hope and the possibility of love and a normal life.

Until the day the phone rings . . .

I had never heard of this book until I saw a fashion blogger write about it. It sounded good and I needed something to pull me out of the slump. Thrillers are one of my favorite types of books to read, so I ordered it. I really liked this one! I was surprised by the storyline. I didn't predict the backstory at all. I will say this though...I felt like it dragged at times and could have been shorten. Overall, a great read though! 

 4 Star Rating

Full of twists and turns, Everything You Want Me to Bereconstructs a year in the life of a dangerously mesmerizing young woman, during which a small town’s darkest secrets come to the forefront...and she inches closer and closer to her death.

High school senior Hattie Hoffman has spent her whole life playing many parts: the good student, the good daughter, the good citizen. When she’s found brutally stabbed to death on the opening night of her high school play, the tragedy rips through the fabric of her small town community. Local sheriff Del Goodman, a family friend of the Hoffmans, vows to find her killer, but trying to solve her murder yields more questions than answers. It seems that Hattie’s acting talents ran far beyond the stage. Told from three points of view—Del, Hattie, and the new English teacher whose marriage is crumbling—Everything You Want Me to Be weaves the story of Hattie’s last school year and the events that drew her ever closer to her death.

Evocative and razor-sharp, Everything You Want Me to Bechallenges you to test the lines between innocence and culpability, identity and deception. Does love lead to self-discovery—or destruction? 

This one was another ARC and I cannot wait for y'all to have the chance to read this book. Holy cow! What a book! Easily one of my top 5 books this year! You will not be able to put this one down. It's told from a 17 year old, a detective, and an English teacher. I was floored when I discovered what happened at the end of this book. I thought about it for days after finishing it. One of my all time favorites! It comes out January 3rd, so mark your calendars!
5 Stars Ratings
I Wish You Were Mine by Lauren Layne
A year ago, Jackson Burke was married to the love of his life and playing quarterback for the Texas Redhawks. Now he’s retired, courtesy of the car accident that ruined his career—and single, after a nasty scandal torpedoed his marriage. Just as he’s starting to get used to his new life as a health and fitness columnist for Oxford magazine, his unpredictable ex shows up on his doorstep in Manhattan. Jackson should be thrilled. But he can’t stop thinking about the one person who’s always been there for him, the one girl he could never have: her younger sister.

Mollie Carrington can’t say no to Madison. After all, her older sister practically raised her. So when Madison begs for help in winning her ex-husband back, Mollie’s just glad she got over her own crush on Jackson ages ago—or so she thought. Because as Mollie reconnects with Jackson, she quickly forgets all her reasons to stay loyal to her sister. Tempted by Jackson’s mellow drawl and cowboy good looks, Mollie is sick and tired of coming in second place. But she can’t win if she doesn’t play the game.

Whenever I'm tired or having a stressful week, a romance novel is always my go to guilty pleasure and Lauren Layne is one of my favorites! Her Oxford series is wonderful and the 3rd book comes out tomorrow (Dec. 6) so I decided to read the second one this past month so I would be caught up. I like this one, but it wasn't my favorite of hers. I didn't think I would be able to get past the fact that the male lead had been married to the female lead's sister. I ended up looking past that, but I still felt like it was an issue. I loved revisiting all the other characters though and I cannot wait to read Lincoln's story.
4 Star Rating

This month's favorite: Everything You Want Me to Be

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