In Her Wake by K.A. Tucker
**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, it releases on September 1.
I was so excited to be able to read this novella because I am in love with the Ten Tiny Breaths books and I have always been curious about what Trent was like before he met Kasey. Though I could have read a full-length novel about him and his viewpoint, I am glad that this was a novella and it only covered what it needed to in order for you to see why he is the way he is. There is not much more I can say about the plot without giving spoilers for Ten Tiny Breaths, so I will keep this short and sweet and just say—I loved this novella and can’t wait for more from K.A. Tucker. Another title of her’s is coming up soon on my To Be Read list and I am considering skipping ahead. 😉 Thanks for the great stories and writing! I recommend your books all the time to my friends.
My rating: 5/5
Can’t Look Away by Donna Cooner
**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, it released on 8/26.
Can’t Look Away is the story of Torrey Grey, a YouTube star, famous for fashion and beauty advice. Torrey has just moved with her family to a new town after dealing with the tragic death of her little sister. Torrey is struggling with guilt and feeling responsible for what happened to Miranda, all while trying to adjust and create a new normal for herself—a new normal that still includes elements of her old life and fitting into the popular crowd again in a different school. Throughout the story, Torrey is haunted by memories of Miranda and she becomes fascinated with learning about The Day of the Dead after making friends with Luis, the son of the town’s funeral home owners. Luis, though somewhat of an outcast for reasons that Torrey doesn’t yet know, helps her learn more about El dio de los Muertos, which in turn helps her begin to heal. She is also becoming friends with her cousin Raylene, who is not necessarily part of the in-crowd, but also doesn’t care to be. While trying to be accepted by the new popular group, she learns what real friends should be like and begins to worry less about popularity and YouTube fame, and more about being happy. I assume that Can’t Look Away is titled so because Torrey cannot seem to stop thinking about the tragic accident and repeating it over and over in her mind, especially after a video of the moments before Miranda’s death surfaces. I have had Skinny by Donna Cooner on my To-be-read list for quite some time and have yet to get to it, but after reading this title, I am more eager to do so. This is written in a way that teens will be able to easily relate to. While they may not immediately like and care about Torrey, they will see how they could want to be like her and eventually will be able to have compassion for her and begin to like her character. My students love to read realistic fiction that involves some drama, so I am happy to be able to send this one their way.
My rating: 4/5
Who would I recommend to? I will be buying this title for my high school library and recommending it to many, especially those who already like Jennifer Brown’s books, since I feel they are kind of similar writing styles.
Drugs/Alcohol: The character does attend a party or two, but there is no mention of drinking or doing drugs that I can recall.
Sexual Content: Nothing other than a kissing scene or two.
Language: There is nothing to be concerned about here.
The Furies by Natalie Haynes
**This review is based an ARC from Netgalley, this title releases 8/26/14.
When I saw the summary of this book on Netgalley, I immediately wanted to read it. I misinterpreted the part about Greek tragedies thinking it was going to be about Greek Mythology, which I and my students have a high interest in…oops! But, I read it anyway and here is what I thought:
Alex is a young woman who comes back to Edinburgh (after attending college there) from London after tragedy strikes and her fiance is killed in a stabbing incident. She is offered a job at The Unit, an alternative school for students who have been kicked out or removed from other schools in the area for various reasons. She is able to connect with a particularly troubled class of older students in a drama-therapy class by having them read and discuss Greek tragedies. One of her students, Mel, takes a particular interest in the class, the plays, and in Alex herself…maybe too much of an interest. The story is told in what I thought was a pretty confusing manner, at least on Alex’s part. It was easy to determine which parts were from Mel’s point of view because they were italicized and written in diary or letter format; but, Alex jumped from past to present without warning and I had a bit of trouble following the story. We know from the beginning that another something horrible has happened and that lawyers are trying to get Alex to open up to them about it. It is fairly predictable that Mel is somehow involved, but I wasn’t sure just how far it would go.
Overall, I did enjoy the story, but wish it would have been a bit easier to follow. Since I also work with students near this age, I was able to easily relate to Alex when it came to the classroom scenes.
My rating: 3/5
Mean Streak by Sandra Brown
**This review is based on an ARC received from NetGalley, the title releases on 8/19/14.
Mean Streak is about a runner named Dr. Emory Charbonneau that disappears after going for a run in tough terrain in the mountains. Emory wakes from a head injury to find herself in a cabin with a man she does not recognize and she cannot escape, nor be returned to town because of the fog and horrible weather conditions. She cannot decide if she is being held captive or being taken care of. Meanwhile, her cheating husband is very “concerned” and travels to the nearest town to get police to investigate her disappearance. Police, as usual in this kind of case, are suspicious of the husband, Jeff, and question him more than anyone else. Emory tries to resist the temptations that involved being locked in a small cabin with a very manly man while also trying to figure out just who he is and why he has secluded himself from the rest of the world. She knows he has committed some kind of crime, but can’t figure out what it is….he won’t even tell her his name. There is also a nearby family with some rough young men who are causing them trouble. There are many twists and turns before the story comes to an end and I was unsure what to expect all the way through. Who injured Emory in the first place? Was it her captor/caretaker, her husband, a random stranger? For at least the first half of the book, I struggled with even putting it down because I wanted to know what was going to happen to her. I did not find Jeff’s side of the story nearly as intriguing, mostly because I just didn’t like him as a character/person. It was interesting trying to determine on my own if he was at fault though. I have not read many Sandra Brown books, but was excited to get approved for this advanced copy because I know she is such a popular author and this title did not disappoint. I did not see many of the things coming and I like when a story is not easy to figure out or too predictable. Overall, a good and interesting read!
Who would I recommend this to? I have already recommended it to my mom and sister, but will be recommending it to other adults looking for a good read. Since I work with high school students, I will probably not purchase for my particular library.
My rating: 4/5
Channel 20 Something by Amy Patrick
**This was an ARC from Netgalley. The title is releasing August 12, 2014.
I have been reading a lot of New Adult titles lately and was getting a little weary and feeling like they were all the same. While Channel 20 Something does have the themes that are ever-present in New Adult books– sexual tension, some sex scenes, people falling in love even though they don’t want to– it was a good, easy read. The story is about Heidi, a young news reporter trying to work her way up in the news world. Her contract with her current station (also her hometown) is coming to an end and she is determined to find a job in a bigger market. When the weekend sports reporter leaves the station, Aric is brought in as a replacement. He is the typical good-looking, egotistical playboy…or so Heidi thinks. Throughout the story, Heidi struggles to stay away from getting involved with Aric for several reasons while also juggling a previous/kind of current relationship; but, of course, they can’t resist one another. Heidi learns more about the kind of person Aric really is as they develop a romance. I will not spoil the end, so I can’t say much more. I am interested in reading the other books in the series as they release. Overall, I was pleased with the plot and writing style of this book.
My rating: 4/5
Who would I recommend this book to? Though I wouldn’t recommend this to my high school students because of sexual content, I would recommend it to my friends who also enjoy these kinds of stories.
Language: Since it is a New Adult title, there is certainly some language, but it does not stand out to me.
Sexual content: There is lots of sexual tension and, of course, a few sexual scenes are present.
Drugs/Alcohol: There is quite a bit of mention of going out and drinking, but no drug-related content.