Until it Fades

27408566.jpg Until it Fades by K.A. Tucker

**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley.

Summary from Goodreads:

Twenty-four-year-old truck stop waitress and single mother Catherine Wright has simple goals: to give her five-year-old daughter a happy life and to never again be the talk of the town in Balsam, Pennsylvania: population two thousand outside of tourist season.
And then one foggy night, on a lonely road back from another failed attempt at a relationship, Catherine saves a man’s life. It isn’t until after the police have arrived that Catherine realizes exactly who it is she has saved: Brett Madden, hockey icon and media darling.
Catherine has already had her fifteen minutes of fame and the last thing she wants is to have her past dragged back into the spotlight, only this time on a national stage. So she hides her identity. It works.
For a time.
But when she finds the man she saved standing on her doorstep, desperate to thank her, all that changes. What begins as an immediate friendship quickly turns into something neither of them expected. Something that Catherine isn’t sure she can handle; something that Catherine is afraid to trust.
Because how long can an extraordinary man like Brett be interested in an ordinary woman like Catherine…before the spark fades?

My thoughts:

Yet again, K.A. Tucker did not disappoint. I have loved every book I’ve read; in fact, the Ten Tiny Breaths series is one of my favorites ever. I enjoy the romance in these books, but they don’t feel like typical “romance” books either. The characters have much more depth and there’s just more of a story. I really liked Catherine as a character, wanting to be independent and not need others, but learning to accept help and find that she can forgive herself for her past. And Brett? Well, let’s just say I could use one of him in my life! I will be recommending this to friends.

My rating: 5/5

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29218968.jpg Forever, Again by Victoria Laurie

**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley.

Summary from Goodreads:

Lily Bennett is less than thrilled to be the new kid as she starts her junior year in high school.
But soon after classes begin, she meets a classmate, Cole Drepeau, with whom she forms an immediate and intimate bond. As Cole and Lily grow closer, Lily learns about the murder that divided the town more than thirty years before. In 1985, graduating senior Amber Greeley snapped, killing her boyfriend Ben—Cole’s uncle—and taking her own life.
Lily feels inexplicably linked to Amber, and she can’t help but think that there’s more to the girl’s story. Determined to investigate the truth about Cole’s uncle’s death, Lily and Cole are pulled into a dark mystery—one that shakes the constraints of the world they’ve always believed in.

My thoughts:

I really, really enjoyed this book! I read another title by this author a few years ago and liked it as well, and I thought the synopsis of this one was interesting. I wish I had finished it before the release date, but here I am a little late. From the beginning, the story was entertaining as it flipped back and forth between current day (Lily) and past (Amber). Lily can’t figure out why everything in her new town seems so familiar and why she recognizes people that she couldn’t possible know. She learns about a girl named Amber, who was accused of killing her boyfriend and then herself several years ago. She then meets Cole, and figures out that he is related to Amber’s boyfriend and they set out together to figure out what actually happened all those years ago. I really liked how the stories went together so well…just as Lily was figuring out something to do with the murder, the story would switch back to Amber and what was happening during her time along the same lines. I was excited to go to bed each night and pick this one up, and even though I wasn’t all that surprised at the ending, I still hadn’t quite figured it out until I got there. I will definitely be recommending this one to my high school students. It’s an interesting take on a classic type of mystery. Though I don’t think I really believe in reincarnation, it was fun to read about.

My rating: 5/5

Rush

22011697.jpg Rush by Sara Bennett Wealer

**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, release date 11/15/16.

Summary from Goodreads:

Three girls. One week. One chance to start over.
Maddie dreams of joining Sigma Theta Kappa, Baldwin University’s most powerful sorority, and rising above the people who walked all over her in high school—especially her boyfriend-stealing twin sister. Rush is Maddie’s chance to become the girl she always knew she could be—if she can survive Sigma’s brutal selection process.
Imogen came to Baldwin to escape her wealthy family and launch her dream career as a journalist. But her Sigma legacy might just keep her tied to the past, while her crush on her new editor could upset her plans for the future.
Cass remembers what Sigma was like before her fellow sisters put money and “Must Haves” over true friendship. By the time rush week ends, she’ll either save the sorority or quit Greek life—but first she’ll have to confront her feelings for her anti-Greek best friend Leo. Does he feel the same? Or will Cass’s commitment to Sigma keep them apart?
The week before college is a fresh start—a chance to be your true self and find sisters for life. But rush means making tough decisions and facing rejection along the way. Maddie, Imogen and Cass have until Bid Day to decide whether they’re really meant to “go Greek.” The key, each girl will find, is figuring out who her real friends are.

My thoughts:

I wanted a light read that didn’t make me think too much and this fit the bill. I enjoy reading about things like this and other people’s drama…as long as it’s not my own! I went through part of sorority rush when I started college and decided it wasn’t for me, so I was interested to read about what happens at other schools and the experience of other girls. I liked how the stories were told from different points of view and enjoyed all of the characters that told their stories. Maddie did annoy me a bit because she seemed a little too perfect, but was still relatable in her dream of just fitting in. Imogen was a fun character and Cass was just a normal, slightly insecure girl who just wanted to make things right. I think any girl could a find a character she could relate to in this book. Great, fun read!

My rating: 4/5

First Comes Love

26192467 First Comes Love by Emily Giffin

**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley and from BEA, release date 6/28/16.

Summary from Goodreads:

Growing up, Josie and Meredith Garland shared a loving, if sometimes contentious relationship. Josie was impulsive, spirited, and outgoing; Meredith hardworking, thoughtful, and reserved. When tragedy strikes their family, their different responses to the event splinter their delicate bond.
Fifteen years later, Josie and Meredith are in their late thirties, following very different paths. Josie, a first grade teacher, is single—and this close to swearing off dating for good. What she wants more than the right guy, however, is to become a mother—a feeling that is heightened when her ex-boyfriend’s daughter ends up in her class. Determined to have the future she’s always wanted, Josie decides to take matters into her own hands.
On the outside, Meredith is the model daughter with the perfect life. A successful attorney, she’s married to a wonderful man, and together they’re raising a beautiful four-year-old daughter. Yet lately, Meredith feels dissatisfied and restless, secretly wondering if she chose the life that was expected of her rather than the one she truly desired.
As the anniversary of their tragedy looms and painful secrets from the past begin to surface, Josie and Meredith must not only confront the issues that divide them, but also come to terms with their own choices. In their journey toward understanding and forgiveness, both sisters discover they need each other more than they knew . . . and that in the recipe for true happiness, love always comes first.

My thoughts:
I have read all of Emily Giffin’s books, except the one right before this (going back to it as soon as I get a chance though), and have always enjoyed her writing. I got the chance to meet Emily and get this book signed while at BEA in Chicago, so I was super excited to read and review it.

I really liked this book and found myself excited to get back to it each evening before bed. I found myself really relating to Josie, since I started out as an elementary teacher (before moving to the high school level) and am still single, though not actively searching/needing a man like she thought she did. I have a very similar personality as well, so I found her chapters especially enjoyable. Emily also did her research on teaching (or maybe she has a background I’m not aware of!) and was accurate about the life of a teacher. I also found the dynamic among the two sisters quite entertaining, though Meredith was highly unlikeable for me (because I am pretty much her opposite, like Josie). It is always interesting to read about two sisters so different, as this is certainly the case in real life with my sister and me. Not that my sister is like Meredith either, we are just extremely different from one another.

Meredith is the more uptight, boring sister in this particular story…she has the life that Josie thinks she wants, but she is not happy with it herself. Throughout the book, she is trying to figure out where she went wrong and how she can be happy in the future. It is certainly a struggle, as she knows she has it good in the eyes of most other people. Josie struggles throughout the story for Meredith’s approval, while they both are trying to figure out how to move on from a tragedy that happened 15 years ago.

If you don’t like books with alternating viewpoints, you may not like this format, but I tend to like this style; since a lot of Young Adult books that I read are that way, I have become accustomed to it. I would say that it’s safe to say this is my favorite Emily Giffin book thus far and I have already recommended it to my own sister and mom, and I will be telling friends about it also. If you are looking for a great summer read, and if you enjoy a family story, then pick this one up for sure! I am hoping maybe we will get to read more about these sisters in future books. 🙂

My rating: 5/5

 

All the Missing Girls

23212667 All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, release date 6/28/16.

Summary from Goodreads:

It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. Back again to tie up loose ends and care for her ailing father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne’s case and breaks open old wounds long since stitched.

The decade-old investigation focused on Nic, her brother Daniel, boyfriend Tyler, and Corinne’s boyfriend Jackson. Since then, only Nic has left Cooley Ridge. Daniel and his wife, Laura, are expecting a baby; Jackson works at the town bar; and Tyler is dating Annaleise Carter, Nic’s younger neighbor and the group’s alibi the night Corinne disappeared. Then, within days of Nic’s return, Annaleise goes missing.

Told backwards—Day 15 to Day 1—from the time Annaleise goes missing, Nic works to unravel the truth about her younger neighbor’s disappearance, revealing shocking truths about her friends, her family, and what really happened to Corinne that night ten years ago.

My thoughts:

Obviously, this synopsis got my attention, because I requested this book even though I hadn’t read the author before. I knew she was a young adult author writing this novel for adults, which doesn’t always work out so well…but it was good here. This story made you think all the way through since it is told in reverse. It starts at Day 15 and works back to Day 1. Since you read it this way, you have to remember what the characters know and don’t know yet all the time, which makes for an interesting read. There are also flashbacks thrown in, which can get quite confusing if you aren’t focusing enough. All that being said, the mystery was quite compelling and wasn’t really predictable.

This book was compared to Gone Girl, Girl on a Train, etc. and I have to say that was a pretty fair comparison in my opinion…not nearly as dark as Gone Girl, but still a good mess-with-your-head book. The author did a good job of making the characters very real, some extremely unlikable (Corinne) and some kind of creepy. I wasn’t majorly into it at first, but at about the 60% point, I couldn’t put it down…good thing I’m off work for the summer and can stay up late reading. I was satisfied with the ending, but it wasn’t exactly how I wanted it to work out. I realize this review is pretty vague, but I don’t want to give away any details.

I would recommend this to my friends and family, but probably won’t buy for my school library.

My rating: 4/5

The Leaving

26073074 The Leaving by Tara Altebrando

**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, release date 6/7/16.

Summary from Goodreads:

Eleven years ago, six kindergarteners went missing without a trace. After all that time, the people left behind moved on, or tried to.
Until today. Today five of those kids return. They’re sixteen, and they are . . . fine. Scarlett comes home and finds a mom she barely recognizes, and doesn’t really recognize the person she’s supposed to be, either. But she thinks she remembers Lucas. Lucas remembers Scarlett, too, except they’re entirely unable to recall where they’ve been or what happened to them. Neither of them remember the sixth victim, Max. He doesn’t come back. Everyone wants answers. Most of all Max’s sister Avery, who needs to find her brother–dead or alive–and isn’t buying this whole memory-loss story.

My thoughts:

I wasn’t sure about this one ahead of time and there were mixed reviews on Goodreads from those that had already read ARCs, but I decided to go ahead and give it a try. I almost quit reading about 10% of the way through, because the galley eBook was pretty confusing as far as formatting went. I thought it was an interesting concept though, and it wasn’t super long, so I went ahead and read the whole thing.

I am not super impressed, but also happy that I finished it to find out what happened. I wasn’t sure where this mystery was going and I’m not entirely sure that I’m happy with where it went, but I’m also still kind of processing I think. Perhaps, when I see the finished copy with correct formatting, it will make more sense. The story was told in an interesting way, from a few different viewpoints of those that had different experiences with “the leaving”–Scarlett, Lucas, and Avery mostly– so that kept the pace quick. I read the whole thing in about 2 days and I think a lot of my students would find it to be a fast read as well. I wish we had heard more from some of the other characters, like Kristen for example. I think she would have had some interesting experiences to share. I think this is a stand-alone title, so I’m not sure that will happen, but I would be open to reading it if I had time. I will buy this book for my high school library, and will probably recommend it to those that like mysteries…if I can remember it by the time school starts again. Book nerd problems! 🙂

My rating: 3.5/5