Chloe by Design: Balancing Act by Margaret Gurevich

25377547 Balancing Act by Margaret Gurevich

Even though there were lots of issues with this book, I still liked the overall story and concept of this series so I still gave it 3 stars, as opposed to the 2 I was considering. This is the continuation of Chloe’s story after winning a design show in the first book. She is working at her internship at a famous designer in NYC as part of her prize and gets to experience several different departments in the fashion world. This story really focuses on the fashion aspect of her life, there is a touch of romance and some drama, but it is definitely good for fashionistas. I love the full-color illustrations of her different design ideas. It really helps you see what she’s talking about as opposed to just having to use your imagination. Plus, it just makes the book look more interesting.

As I commented on another review, I was not impressed in the least with the repetition that I found to be a major part of this story. I’m hoping that is something that is fixed before the actual book is released. If I had to read one more time about who Leisel McKay was, I was going to throw my iPad across the room. If a reader can’t remember who a character is after the first introduction, then they should just quit reading! Sheesh! We were told at least 5 times that Leisel was a designer that worked as a mentor to Chloe on the design show….oh, and she is Jake’s mom. Who is Jake? Don’t worry, that will be explained a few times too. Sorry if this seems harsh, but I found it seemed like the author felt the reader was too stupid to remember details.

Anyway, this is still a fun story that I will probably purchase for my high school library since I already have the first book and because I know it will appeal to a certain demographic of students. Hopefully, those errors will be resolved by publication.

My rating: 3/5

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Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

16060716 Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, release date is 8/25/15.

I was absolutely obsessed with The Diviners when it came out and have been waiting and waiting and waiting on this second book, it took soooo long! Anyway, Let me give you a little summary and then I will share my thoughts.

The second installment in The Diviners series is based around the dreamworld. We meet a new character, Ling, that is a dream walker like a character from the first book, Henry. Together, they can enter dreams and manipulate things to their liking. We also have some of our favorite characters from the first book–Evie (can read objects), Sam (can put people in a daze), Theta (who doesn’t want people to know about her ability), Memphis (who has been known as the Harlem Healer), Jericho, Mabel, and so on. Sam is focused on trying to find out what his mother was involved in with a government program called Project Buffalo and he enlists the help of Evie while working at her uncle’s museum trying to find clues that may lead him to the answers he seeks. There is also a sleeping sickness spreading quickly through Chinatown that is a mystery to everyone, no one knows the cause or cure. Henry and Ling are doing more and more dreamwalking in order to see those that they have become close with in the dreamworld, which is causing them to become less functional in the real world. Ling eventually discovers what is really going on with the people they are spending time with in their dreams and it is far from what they thought was happening. This team of friends set out to find what/who is causing the sleeping sickness and to eliminate the problem, while putting their own lives in danger.

So, this book had a LOT going on….my summary is just a tiny snippet of it all. While I adored the first book, I only loved this one. Still good! I felt like it had much less of a creepy factor for some reason, though there were still some definite creepy moments. I will always adore the 1920s era, so I love how much research Libba Bray has put into making her characters and settings authentic. They use all the right lingo and I find myself trying to throw some of it into my daily convo while reading these books. 🙂 It seemed like there were several sections that I could have just skipped right over and still wouldn’t have been confused towards the end. It also took a long time to get to the action and suspense. I do appreciate the detail that this author goes into and, again, love all the research she puts into making her story seem genuine. I also love the characters and character building. I loved all the characters in their own way and they each had their own flaws. They seemed like real people as you read through the story. I will still definitely recommend this book to others and I will await anxiously for the next installment.

My rating: 5/5

If you haven’t read either book yet, check out this trailer, it will give you the chills. Amazing!

Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner

25205422 Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner

**This review is based on an ARC provided by Netgalley, release date 8/11/15.

Rachel and Andy meet each other as young children in a hospital waiting room, where she is a patient due to heart problems and he shows up with a broken arm without his mother. He is from Philadelphia and the hospital is in Florida where Rachel lives, so it is unlikely that they will ever see each other again. By chance, they meet again years later as teenagers on a trip to help build homes. They realize they still have a connection and decide to keep in touch, developing a strong relationship even over the distance. By college, they are a couple visiting each other as often as possible, though it is difficult because Andy is often traveling for track meets. Rachel becomes what Andy never thought she would, a stuck-up sorority girl who cares only about her beauty and money, while he is living his dream of training for the Olympics. Though they struggle to keep in touch for the next few years, they ultimately go their separate ways and live their own lives.  Much happens to each of them in this time span and they do end up living in the same city, but never seeing each other. Will they be able to rekindle their romance at some point? Will their separate lives allow for that to even be a possibility?

I try to read all new books by Jennifer Weiner as she is one of my go-to authors for good Women’s Fiction. This is one that I enjoyed more than some of the others. It took place over many years and it was fun to go back and read about their time in the 90s especially. Though they each tell their own story, they are woven together in many, many ways. I found myself both loving and disliking the characters at time, which made it so realistic. Even though it was such a long time span, I never found myself bored or hoping to skip ahead. This is a great read that I will be recommending to friends and family.

My rating: 5/5

Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid

24338298 Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid

**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, release date 8/4/15.

Dave and Julia have been best friends for years and are finally getting ready to graduate high school. While Dave is going through his locker one day, he finds a list of “Nevers” that they wrote as freshmen…things they never wanted to do in high school, cliches that everyone else does (e.g. run for prom king, attend/throw a BEER party, etc.). They decide that now is a great time to go back and do all of those things in their last few months before graduation. One of the items on the list is “Never date your best friend” but little does Julia know, Dave has been in love with her for years. When he finally thinks things might be starting to develop and they are planning on attending prom together, he starts to get to know another girl named Gretchen and realizes that he CAN have feelings for someone else. While going through more Nevers, he becomes more and more conflicted, and Julia realizes that she may have a different kind of feelings for him as well. Will they end up together or can Dave move on and find happiness with someone else?

I have another book by this author in my library and it looked interesting, but I never had time to read it, so I was excited when this one came along as one of my advanced copies. I didn’t know what to expect, but I really like this author’s writing style.  The character’s were funny and likeable, I was really able to feel Dave’s struggles and didn’t know who he should end up with either. I found myself laughing at several different points throughout and thought Julia was hilarious, reminded me of myself as far as sarcasm and wit. I like to think I’m funny! I will be purchasing for my high school library and recommending to students.

My rating: 5/5