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

Advertisements

The Most Dangerous Place on Earth

32737635.jpg The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson

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

Summary from Goodreads:

In an idyllic community of wealthy California families, new teacher Molly Nicoll becomes intrigued by the hidden lives of her privileged students. Unknown to Molly, a middle school tragedy in which they were all complicit continues to reverberate for her kids: Nick, the brilliant scam artist; Emma, the gifted dancer and party girl; Dave, the B student who strives to meet his parents expectations; Calista, the hippie outcast who hides her intelligence for reasons of her own. Theirs is a world in which every action may become public postable, shareable, indelible. With the rare talent that transforms teenage dramas into compelling and urgent fiction, Lindsey Lee Johnson makes vivid a modern adolescence lived in the gleam of the virtual, but rich with the sorrow, passion, and beauty of life in any time, and at any age.

My thoughts:

I had a hard time rating this one, trying to decide between a 3 and a 4, so I will say it’s technically a 3.5. I enjoyed the gossipy aspect of the book and reading about the characters, but it all seemed out of order and a little jumbled up to me. The author did keep me in anticipation of what happened to a previous character while learning about a new one, so she did a good job of keeping me reading.  I feel like adults would enjoy reading about these rich, entitled kids more than teenagers would for some reason. As a high school teacher, I could relate to some of the things with the young, first year teacher: wanting to know about her students, trying to get through to them, etc.; but, she also takes it too far, which is part of the plot. It is an interesting exploration of the student/teacher dynamic and today’s teenagers in general…makes me not want to think about what they are doing outside of school time!

My rating: 3.5/5

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

Small Great Things

28587957 Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, release date 10/11/16.

Summary from Goodreads:

Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?
Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy’s counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other’s trust, and come to see that what they’ve been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.
With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion—and doesn’t offer easy answers. Small Great Things is a remarkable achievement from a writer at the top of her game.

My thoughts:

First, I just HAD to read this and was so excited that Jodi Picoult was at BEA and I was able to get a copy signed by her. I did base my review on the e-ARC from Netgalley though, as I did not want to read the actual signed copy and damage it in any way. 🙂 Anyway, I am rarely disappointed by Jodi Picoult, and the synopsis to this drew me in…it is so timely! After reading only the first few chapters, I sat and thought about how brave Jodi was to write a book that was based on so much controversy. I really enjoyed reading her Author’s Note at the end to get insight into her thoughts and the process of writing this story. I certainly wouldn’t have felt comfortable doing so. I, like Jodi mentions, would never consider myself racist, but it seems sometimes that just being born as a white person makes you blind to what really goes on.

I really liked Ruth as a character and found myself trying to empathize with her, I can’t imagine being told I couldn’t do my job based simply on the color of my skin. Turk was loathsome, of course, and I truly hated him throughout the book, which was the whole point I know. I also found myself relating to Kennedy, wanting to help but then unsure how to exactly do so. I was impressed with her final discovery, as I would have never thought of it.

I gave this 4 stars simply because I felt it did drag on a little too long, some of it felt a bit repetitive I guess. I also felt like the ending was rushed and this might not make sense since I just said the book was too long, but I could have easily read another book based on the last few chapters of this one telling what happened years after the court case. I do highly recommend this book and will be purchasing it for my school library. I commend Jodi for writing about such a tough topic, which she does often, and doing so in such a great way!

My rating: 4/5

The Lovely Reckless

27414434.jpg The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia

**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, release date is 10/4/16.

Summary from Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Frankie Devereux would do anything to forget the past. Haunted by the memory of her boyfriend’s death, she lives her life by one dangerous rule: Nothing matters. At least, that’s what Frankie tells herself after a reckless mistake forces her to leave her privileged life in the Heights to move in with her dad—an undercover cop. She transfers to a public high school in the Downs, where fistfights don’t faze anyone and illegal street racing is more popular than football.
Marco Leone is the fastest street racer in the Downs. Tough, sexy, and hypnotic, he makes it impossible for Frankie to ignore him—and how he makes her feel. But the risks Marco takes for his family could have devastating consequences for them both. When Frankie discovers his secret, she has to make a choice. Will she let the pain of the past determine her future? Or will she risk what little she has left to follow her heart?

My thoughts:

Who can resist a good girl meets bad boy story? The writing in this book reminded me a lot of books by KA Tucker and Katie McGarry, which are two authors that I love. I met Kami Garcia at BEA in Chicago last May and got a signed copy of this one as well. I really enjoyed the story and the characters, nothing felt too cheesy and the love story wasn’t too easy. Marco was a great “bad boy” and I can see why he would be someone girls would easily fall for, but he had a lot of good in him too. Frankie had a rough-go in life for a while and her back story was really interesting. I kind of figured out the connection in the story fairly early on, but was still a little surprised to find out I was correct. I also really enjoyed the very minor storyline of the homeless cat because I have a huge soft spot for stray animals. I have already ordered a copy for my school library and will be gladly putting it in the hands of some students next week I hope!

My rating: 5/5

Meeting the author:

IMG_2976

One Was Lost

28321033.jpg One Was Lost by Natalie D. Richards

**This review is based on an ARC from the publisher (received at BEA) and e-ARC from Netgalley, release date 10/4/16.

Summary from Goodreads:

Murder, justice, and revenge were so not a part of the plan when Sera set out on her senior camping trip. After all, hiking through the woods is supposed to be safe and uneventful.
Then one morning the group wakes up groggy, confused, and with words scrawled on their wrists: Damaged. Deceptive. Dangerous. Darling. Their supplies? Destroyed. Half their group? Gone. Their chaperone? Unconscious. Worst of all, they find four dolls acting out a murder—dolls dressed just like them.
Suddenly it’s clear; they’re being hunted. And with the only positive word on her wrist, Sera falls under suspicion…

My thoughts:

I had read other books by this author and enjoyed them. I was able to meet her at BEA in Chicago this past May and had a talk with her about her books, recommending them to my students, and this title in particular. Natalie was super sweet and easy to talk to, letting me know that this is the kind of book that might keep you at night (in a good way!). 🙂  I was excited to read it and figured it would be a quick read, which it definitely was, thanks to the suspense level. It was pretty unpredictable and kept me on my toes. I kept going back and forth with who was responsible for the stalking/hunting and was surprised at the answer. This is a book I will definitely be able to sell to a lot of readers, reluctant or not, my teen students LOVE suspense so it will be an easy book talk. I will definitely be ordering it this week for my library. I also enjoy the creepy cover, makes it even more appealing.

My rating: 4/5