The Start of Me and You

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

“In friendship we are all debtors. We all owe each other for a thousand small kindnesses, for little moments of grace in the chaos.”

Goodreads’ Description:

Brimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamics The Start of Me and You proves that it’s never too late for second chances.

It’s been a year since it happened—when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her—the perfect way to convince everyone she’s back to normal. Next: Join a club—simple, it’s high school after all. But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?

Review:

This book is EVERYTHING! Honestly. I love it. Emery Lord does it again. It is the perfect teen read with the right mix of friendship, family, love and search for meaning within the terrifying years of adolescence.

Sometimes I struggle with the YA genre as I am a lot older than the target demographic (college grad in her mid twenties rather than a teen in high school) but Emery Lord has this ability to create characters, emotions and storylines that transcend the genre and age level.

Paige is experiencing some hardships and trying to deal with them in the wrong way, however along the way she finds great friends, a potential new love and finds herself. 5/5 Stars.

5 Puple Stars

Her Final Breath

Her Final Breath by Robert Dugoni

“To every man and woman who wears a uniform, carries a badge, and spends their days and nights working in the criminal justice system to keep the rest of us safe. We are often too quick to criticize and too slow to say thank you.”

Homicide detective Tracy Crosswhite has returned to the police force after the sensational retrial of her sister’s killer. Still scarred from that ordeal, Tracy is pulled into an investigation that threatens to end her career, if not her life.

A serial killer known as the Cowboy is killing young women in cheap motels in North Seattle. Even after a stalker leaves a menacing message for Crosswhite, suggesting the killer or a copycat could be targeting her personally, she is charged with bringing the murderer to justice. With clues scarce and more victims dying, Tracy realizes the key to solving the murders may lie in a decade-old homicide investigation that others, including her captain, Johnny Nolasco, would prefer to keep buried. With the Cowboy on the hunt, can Tracy find the evidence to stop him, or will she become his next victim?

Review:

Robert Dugoni’s wonderful breakout thriller, My Sister’s Grave, is the book that got me interested in criminal investigation fiction as it was a masterpiece of pure suspense. Unfortunately, the second book in the series left me feeling very underwhelmed.

I found the police case, and therefore, the plotline of this story to be less interesting or engaging than the first book. The first book just held some much more emotion as Tracy tried to avenge her sister’s murder and I could really feel the pain, this one just wasn’t as powerful.

Tracy is still a captivating and intelligent character, who I found myself rooting for along the way. But by the end of the novel, I just didn’t really care about the serial killer’s’ identity and wasn’t very surprised by the ending. However, I will read the next book and hope Dugoni can end the trilogy with a bang. 2 out of 5 Stars.

2 Purple Stars

Me Before You

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

“I will never, ever regret the things I’ve done. Because most days, all you have are places in your memory that you can go to.”

Goodreads’ Description:

Me Before YouLou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.
What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.

Review:

This is one of the most hyped books in recent years. It is not my usual genre choice, straight romance, but with the movie currently in theaters and my grandma’s strong recommendation I decided to give it a shot.

Lou is one of those once in a lifetime kind of characters. She is so unique, bubbly, strong, kind and inspiring. I really enjoy brave and intelligent female characters but I absolutely love characters that are so beautifully weird that they make me want to embrace my own weirdness. I related to her feelings of unknowing and lack of contentedness with her dull life and I myself feel that nagging feeling of needing more of life, that Will instills within her.

With that being said. The ending bothered me. I wasn’t in love with the writing style. This book was way too over hyped and didn’t make me shed a single tear. 3 out of 5 Stars

3 Purples Stars

 

May/June Wrap Up

Summertime, and the livin’ is easy. We are so happy summer is finally here. Check out the books we read recently in our May/June Wrap Up.

Me Before You by JoJo Moyers – 3 out of 5 Stars

Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura David –  5 out of 5 Stars

The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta – 2.5  out of 5 Stars

The Short Drop

The Short Drop by Matthew FitzSimmons

“Hope is a cancer. One of two things happens. Either you never learn the truth, in which case it gnaws down to the bone until there’s nothing left, or worse, you do, and you go through that windshield at ninety because hope told you it was okay to make the drive without a seat belt.”

Goodreads’ Description:

A decade ago, fourteen-year-old Suzanne Lombard, the daughter of Benjamin Lombard—then a senator, now a powerful vice president running for the presidency—disappeared in the most sensational missing-person case in the nation’s history. Still unsolved, the mystery remains a national obsession.

For legendary hacker and marine Gibson Vaughn, the case is personal—Suzanne Lombard had been like a sister to him. On the tenth anniversary of her disappearance, the former head of Benjamin Lombard’s security asks for Gibson’s help in a covert investigation of the case, with new evidence in hand.

Haunted by tragic memories, he jumps at the chance to uncover what happened all those years ago. Using his military and technical prowess, he soon discovers multiple conspiracies surrounding the Lombard family—and he encounters powerful, ruthless political players who will do anything to silence him and his team. With new information surfacing that could threaten Lombard’s bid for the presidency, Gibson must stay one step ahead as he navigates a dangerous web to get to the truth.

Review:

With the current political climate in the US and around the globe, I needed a political thriller to help me see that things can always be worse. I was ready for a real mystery layered with political turmoil and espionage crime stopping action.

Sadly, I was very disappointed. I instead found a book filled with plot holes, confusing characters and an overall lack of interest on my part. This book was just not my cup of tea. I found it very boring and drawn out with an anticlimactic conclusion. 1 out of 5 Stars.

1 Purple Star

 

The Vacationers

The Vacationers by Emma Straub

“They had chosen to make the leap and, having leapt, were delighted to find that the world was even more beautiful than they’d hoped.”

The Vacationers

Goodreads’ Description:

For the Posts, a two-week trip to the Balearic island of Mallorca with their extended family and friends is a celebration: Franny and Jim are observing their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary, and their daughter, Sylvia, has graduated from high school. The sunlit island, its mountains and beaches, its tapas and tennis courts, also promise an escape from the tensions simmering at home in Manhattan. But all does not go according to plan: over the course of the vacation, secrets come to light, old and new humiliations are experienced, childhood rivalries resurface, and ancient wounds are exacerbated.

This is a story of the sides of ourselves that we choose to show and those we try to conceal, of the ways we tear each other down and build each other up again, and the bonds that ultimately hold us together. With wry humor and tremendous heart, Emma Straub delivers a richly satisfying story of a family in the midst of a maelstrom of change, emerging irrevocably altered yet whole.

Review:

I’ve been on the hunt for some good summer reads and this inviting bright blue cover immediately drew me in. I mean if a huge swimming pool doesn’t say summer, I am not sure what does. I haven’t heard much about this book but it sounded like a contemporary version of the popular young adult book, We Were Liars by E. Lockhart.

The beautiful backdrop of Mallorca serves as the centerpiece of this dysfunctional read full of deep dark secrets and family drama. I happen to really enjoy novels that dive into the depths of family drama and conflict, perhaps as I’ve experienced my share of it in my own family life and therefore tend to relate to the chaos. However, I wasn’t able to connect to any of the characters and frankly didn’t even like any of them, which makes it very difficult to enjoy the novel.

The great premise was there, crazy family and a tropical location, but it didn’t add up and the big secrets were not tantalizing enough to keep my interest. Therefore I give the book, 2 out of 5 stars.

2 Purple Stars

 

 

 

SST: Genius + Giveaway

GENIUS: The Game by Leopoldo Gout

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Goodreads Synposis:

Trust no one. Every camera is an eye. Every microphone an ear. Find me and we can stop him together.

The Game: Get ready for Zero Hour as 200 geniuses from around the world go head to head in a competition hand-devised by India’s youngest CEO and visionary.

The Players:

  • Rex– One of the best programmers/hackers in the world, this 16-year-old Mexican-American is determined to find his missing brother.
  • Tunde-This14-year-old self-taught engineering genius has drawn the attention of a ruthless military warlord by single-handedly bringing electricity and internet to his small Nigerian village.
  • Painted Wolf-One of China’s most respected activist bloggers, this mysterious 16-year-old is being pulled into the spotlight by her father’s new deal with a corrupt Chinese official.

The Stakes: Are higher than you can imagine. Like life and death. Welcome to the revolution. And get ready to run.

My Review:

This book grabs you in immediately and keeps you hooked throughout the whole story. Told through a three-character point of views, it is a intense and a fast-paced story. While this story focuses on coding and computer engineering, I always felt I understood what was going on.

The three main characters are complex, young and enjoyable. While I don’t profess to know anything about computer coding and engineering, these characters are easily relatable.

It’s fast-paced, gripping and at times heart-attack worthy. Gout weaves a complicated world of science, math and every day life into a nail biting story that is hard to put down. I really enjoyed how engaged I was to the book, something I thought would initially be difficult given the amount of coding and hacking he writes about. This isn’t normally a book I would have picked up on my own, but I’m glad I got the opportunity to read it because it was really enjoyable. 4/5 stars.

About the Author:

Leopoldo Gout is the producer behind many films including Days of Grace, which A.O. Scott of the New York Times called “a potent and vigorous film.” He is also a writer, artist, and filmmaker. Leopoldo is currently involved in various film and television projects including major adaptations of the Alex Cross series, with the author James Patterson and the upcoming film adaption of Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life.

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4 Purple Stars

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through SST. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.