Review: All We Can Do Is Wait

All We Can Do Is Wait

 

 

I borrowed this from my library with no knowledge of what it was about and without reading any ratings/reviews. Maybe that was the best way because it allowed me to form my own opinions. However, it seems I agree with a majority of other readers when it comes to this particular story. It was one long “What the heck?” story.

Short recap: A massive tragedy has happened in Boston – a bridge has collapsed in the middle of the day and hundreds, maybe thousands, of people could be hurt or worse. Six teens find themselves in the waiting room of the hospital to find out the fate of their loved ones, and at the same time find out how their own lives intersect.

Here is my big question for this story: What was the actual plot? It seems like such a simple question and also necessary. The entire time I was listening to this story, I kept wondering what the overall plot was. Yes, it was a tragedy that such an event would happen. Yes, it was awful that children were waiting to find out the fate of their parents and loved ones. But what was the actual plot? We know that the bridge collapsed. We know that people are waiting to find out what happened to their loved ones. Outside of those two items, there is no real theme or point to this story. The teens in the waiting room all have a story about someone they are waiting to hear about, but that is it.

As I stated, there are multiple teens which meant the story is told from multiple POVs. The worst part of that is that the voices all sounded the same. What was even worse than that was that one POV was told in SECOND PERSON. What the actual? There was no transition from present to past so I was constantly confused as to when the story was taking place. I cannot go into more detail than that because I cannot remember any of the character names. They did not leave any lasting impression on me at all. They were completely forgettable, just like this story.

I think I know what this book was trying to do but it is hard to actually figure it out. The author missed the mark so bad that all I can do is shake my head and move on. Do I recommend? Not one bit. This was hard enough for me to sit through, I wouldn’t want anyone else to go through that.

 

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ARC Review: Lies You Never Told Me

Lies You Never Told Me

 

HOLY COW. This book was one heck of a thrill ride! I was hooked from the start and sad when it was over. I should have seen the ending coming but I was so engrossed that I was just enjoying the storytelling and mystery. DANG this was good.

Short recap: Gabe is on his way home from spending some time with his girlfriend, Sasha, when he is hit by a car. He has no idea who hit him as the driver is never found. After recovering from his injuries, he realizes that he really is tired of Sasha’s shallow and controlling ways so he breaks up with her. Only Sasha isn’t the type of girl you just break up with. She vows to get Gabe back no matter what. In a parallel story, Elyse has just been given the lead in Romeo and Juliet and she couldn’t be more thrilled! It is the only good thing she has going in her life. Outside of theater, she works nights to pay the bills because her mom is addicted to pain pills and cannot care for herself. Elyse has to be the adult. During one rehearsal for the upcoming play, Elyse rehearses a scene with her teacher and they share a very intimate kiss. This stars these two down a dark and disturbing storyline that really cannot end anywhere good.

There is a lot happening in this book but y’all, it is unputdownable. I could not get enough! I wanted nothing more than to wrap myself in a blanket, shut out the world, and read this book. It sunk it’s hooks into me in a way that was the best. I haven’t had a book do that in a while. I was so involved and captivated with every single character. Gabe had a serious psychopath of an ex-girlfriend to deal with while trying to get to know the new girl, Catherine. Catherine was also in the way of Sasha’s wrath. Catherine had her own demons to deal with and I wanted to know her story so bad. Sasha was clearly messed up in the head. Elyse had some heavy issues to deal with being the adult while her mom chose to stay high on pain pills. Every single character had a story I wanted … no… needed to know more about. It doesn’t seem like these stories have anything in common but they come together in the end and it is perfect. It was done masterfully and I was rendered speechless.

The entire story is told from the POV of Gabe and Elyse. They really do lead very different lives but really do come across as teenagers with their own set of troubles and tribulations. The development of the characters was very well done. They felt completely flushed out and wonderfully flawed. The character I connected with the most and was cheering on the hardest was Gabe. I was so furious that nobody believed him when crazy stuff happened! His parents were always doubting him and siding with Sasha, even after they broke up. They never bothered to even try to find out the truth, they just took her word for it. To be able to invoke that type of emotional reaction from the reader (ME!) proves how great of a writer Donaldson really is.

Even though I am gushing about how much I loved this story, there were some parts that were rather hard to read. There were a lot of serious topics covered: drug addiction, inappropriate relationships, and kidnapping to name a few. The way Donaldson handled them was very well done. She did not mention them and then skirt away. Oh no. She introduced them, talked about them, and then showed about how horrible they are to not just that one person but to the people around them. That may not make sense but I’m trying to say she did a wonderful job of incorporating these serious topics into the entire story. She did not glorify them or make light of them, she knew they were serious and portrayed them as serious. They were all very well handled.

I am not going to be able to say enough good things about this book. I am now a Donaldson fan for life. Her ability to write THAT ENDING put her high on my Auto-Buy List. I should have been able to predict what was going to happen but I just didn’t. It blew my mind. The twists and turns and secrets and lies were just so well written that I soaked them up like a sponge. I highly – highly – recommend this to everyone who loves a good page turner of a story. Happy reading!

 

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ARC Review: From Twinkle, With Love

From Twinkle, with Love

 

I should title this “Black Sheep Review” as I did not enjoy this as much as every other reader. I love the author but the story itself just did not work for me. I was not a fan of Dimple but I still went into this book with an open mind.

Short recap: Twinkle wants nothing more than to be a famous Hollywood film maker and she will stop at nothing to become just that. Even though she is still in High School, she is a girl that knows what she wants. She also has her eyes set on the most popular boy in school. She just knows that once they start dating, everything in her life will immediately improve.

It was a little difficult for me to write the recap as this story felt like it was one trope on top of another trope over yet another trope. It was difficult for me to get through but I did read until the very end. What  I did do was roll my eyes a lot at Twinkle’s absurd thoughts: that dating the most popular boy in school would magically fix her social standing; that she had to fix things with her BFF (Maddie) by trying to convenience her why they were friends to begin with (even though we are never told why they stopped being friends to begin with); that her secret admirer just had to be the popular boy in school and he really had feelings for her the entire time.

Twinkle’s character (much like Dimple) was the reason I disliked this story. I did admire her drive to become a filmmaker but there was not much else about her that I liked. She had such a shallow way of thinking about people that it hurt to read. Yes, she was attracted to the popular boy in school but she never so much as struck up a conversation with him. Why would she magically think everything would change and he would profess his undying love for her? It was as if she thought her social standing at school would be fixed and everyone would love her if they started seeing each other. In my eyes, that was the wrong way to look at a relationship or dating someone. I didn’t agree with Twinkle’s way of thinking and therefore it stood out to me. I also did not like how she became a horrible person towards the end. What she wanted to do to the people that thought she was a friend was despicable. She felt rather selfish the entire story. It was always about what she wanted and who cares about who she hurt to get what she wanted. Don’t get me started about how she yelled at her parents. There were much better ways to handle that.

The awkward thing between Twinkle and Maddie did not make a lot of sense. They were best friends and then they weren’t. That is all the information that we were given. Twinkle did almost everything to pull Maddie back to her as if she was the only friend Maddie could ever possibly need. Again, WRONG. That was so wrong to me.

The secret admirer story line felt like too much. It was one story line that did not need to be there. It was painfully obvious who it was but still Twinkle couldn’t see the forest for the trees. Her reactions towards who she thought it was caused more eye rolls.

It was a struggle for me to overlook the obvious and continue with the story because it was no secret how things would turn out. For me the theme circled around what was always so obvious. Nothing felt like a mystery or a struggle, it was clear as the nose on my face. I did not believe the romance. The random blog that the love interest had was also not necessary. He could have just as easily typed that in an email or text to his friends. The blog entries were random. They just did not add anything to the story. I know a lot of people will love this story, I just am not one of them. I wish I could have read the story through your eyes if you did love it but it was just not for me.

 

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DNF Review: Beasts Made Of Night

Beasts Made of Night

 

This had been on my radar for a while before it became available through my library. Once I started it, I quickly discovered that it was not for me and I DNFd.

Short recap: I’m going to guess here. The MC is a magical person who is able to “eat sins” of people before they die. As a result, they are branded with a tattoo-like image on their skin.

That still sounds like a great premise since this story pulls from Nigerian storytelling and mythology. I just wish I could have connected to it or even gotten into it. Instead it never grabbed my attention. I found my mind wandering as the story continued, zoning out more and more. That is when I decided to DNF and cut my loses. The actual story telling is what caused me to not pay attention. I think I know what the author was trying to accomplish but I’m not entirely sure. The writing style itself lacked a sense of structure. Everything felt choppy and forced, nothing was actually fluid.

I couldn’t figure out the actual plot of the story so how could I force myself to sit through the entire story if I didn’t understand what it was all for. The characters were not explained or properly introduced. I know that the MC is a person named Taj but that is all I really know. I don’t know anything of substance about him and that bothered me.

This will not be a super long DNF review, but you get the idea of why I stopped reading. I tried so hard to listen and absorb what was going on but it didn’t work for me. This story did not work for me. I never connected, the plot and pacing were bad, the characters were nothing more than cardboard cutouts. If you read this story and liked it, please let me know! I am not trying to trash on the book, I’m just pointing out why I walked away from it.

 

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Review: Twelve Steps To Normal

Twelve Steps to Normal

 

I struggled to get through this book. I know some readers will really connect with it and sing praises but I won’t be one of those readers.

Short recap: Kira has been living with her Aunt for almost a year. She was sent to live with her Aunt after her father’s drinking problem escalated and lives were in danger. She moves back in to try to work on fixing the relationship with her dad and get her life back.

Whoa howdy, this was a tough book. I don’t mean “tough book” in that it was emotionally draining and made me cry, I mean “tough book” in that I wanted to smack Kira constant for being a bitch. Her character was horrid. She was self centered, self-absorbed, nasty, negative, whiny, and just all round mean. There was no true redeeming quality to her. Her time in this book was spent plotting ways get her old life back by making a twelve step plan. That felt incredibly insensitive in my eyes. The Twelve Step program addicts go through is incredibly personal and serious, not to be used and mistreated the way Kira did. She spent time trying to get the attention of her ex-boyfriend, who was now dating one of her best friends. What kind of sick person does that?! Kira could not leave it alone! She was the one that broke up with him before she left! She also chose not to keep in touch with her best friends because she was embarrassed that her dad was an alcoholic. This girl was Satan’s spawn or close to it. What a nasty, ungrateful child.

When she wasn’t plotting to get her best friends back and her ex-boyfriend back, she was plotting ways to get her dad’s roommates (who were also recovering alcoholics) kicked out of the house. She never tried to get to know them even though they were nothing but nice and caring towards her. She was always making rude comments about how they needed to get jobs and move out. Apparently, sweetie, you don’t know how adulting or the real life works. Now granted, I will take a step back and say that Kira did not have an easy childhood as she spent most of her time hiding her dad’s drinking problem. Why she was never enrolled in ALANON after she was taken from her father’s care is beyond me. It was clear that she never offered treatment nor did she receive any type of counseling. I do believe that would have helped her tremendously. Instead she chose to be a bitch the entire time thinking she could just take back what was hers before and slide back into her old life.

That being said – told you I had a rant – Kira was the worst character. The other characters were actually pretty enjoyable: her dad’s housemates, her best friends, and former friends. They all tired so hard to look past Kira’s meanness and forgive. Sadly, it was not enough to overshadow a fraction of the mean that came from the MC.

I wish I had DNFd because I was not excited to read this story once I got a clear picture of the MC and her motives. I get that she wanted her dad back but c’mon! I found myself just rolling my eyes a lot and groaning with anger. Don’t be like me – if you feel the need to DNF, stop the book and move on. I wish I had. Just thinking of this book is upsetting me again.

 

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ARC Review: Moonrise

Moonrise

 

**I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review**

 

Do not Sarah Crossan books fool you. They are quick reads as they are written in verse, but holy cow they pack a heck of a punch. I have yet to read one of her books that I walk away from not sobbing. She has done it again with Moonrise.

Short recap: Joe has not had an easy childhood. Everything got worse for him and his sister after their brother, Ed, was sent to Death Row for murder. Ed’s execution date has been sent and Joe realizes that he needs to make up for lost time. Joe packs the few possessions he has and boards a bus for Texas. While in the very small country town, Joe begins to discover more about himself and as much time as he can with his brother that he won’t have for much longer.

This is a quick read of a story but it will absolutely stay with you for a long time after you put the book down. It did that to me. I still have not stopped thinking about it. I did not expect to be so emotionally vested in this story. Crossan did a brilliant job of conveying all of the emotions in so few words so that you can actually feel Joe’s pain, his sadness, his hopelessness. I quickly found myself cheering along with Joe for his brother’s pardon and for things to work out for Joe. I also cheered for him after he was given the chance he needed to acquire a job, something he desperately needed.

Joe was marvelously written. I found myself wanting to reach through the pages and hug him all of the time. I wanted to be able to tell him that he would be okay, everything would work out. He was brutally flawed and complex in a way that made him that much more believable. He only wanted to make things better for him and his family but life kept finding a way to hold him back far enough for things to be out of his read. It was painful and gut-wrenching to read about everything Joe and his siblings went through but life is not always nice and does not always play fair.

I really am trying not to give anything away with this story. As you can see, I am struggling to find the right words to properly describe how much I loved this story. I really want everyone to give this a chance. This is the second Crossan story I’ve ever read and it was just as powerful as the first. I am now a lifetime fan and want everyone to read her books.

 

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ARC Review: Furyborn

Furyborn (Empirium, #1)

 

I have no doubt that you’ve heard of this upcoming gem? A little ditty called Furyborn by the ever talented and always amazing Claire Legrand? If you haven’t heard of it, I’m wondering where you have been. But if you have, then I am here to tell you that this story lives up to the hype. You must realize that if *I* am telling you a high fantasy book is good, that has to mean something, right?

I’m not even going to give a recap because if you know of this book, you know the premise. What I was not prepared for was just how fluid this story would be. I shouldn’t be surprised but to be able to breeze through 500+ pages and wonder where the time went or how the story ended so quickly proves how talented of a writer Legrand is. After I started reading, I found myself wanting to read this all of the time. I had to know what was going to happen! The characters are well developed and flushed out, the world building is spectacular, the pacing is spot on. This book really does have everything.

After the way the story starts, I was immediately hooked. I wanted to know everything about Rielle and Eliana. I was so excited to be able to follow their stories to discovering who they really were. The introduction of elemental magic was masterfully done. Being able to read how Rielle was able to control so many types of elements and bend them to her will was brilliant. Of course, she does have a bit of a snarky attitude that not everyone agrees with but it is just part of her charming personality. The relationship between Rielle, the princess, and betrothed to the princess was a joy to read. They all have a huge role to play in the overall story so it was wonderful to be able to connect with them early on. Let’s not forget Eliana’s story is playing out at the same time as Rielle’s. It is hard to imagine how the two storylines might intersect but believe me – when they do you will need to a moment. You’ll probably put the book down and walk away, I know I did. My head was swimming at how well it was all revealed.

There is romance within this story but Legrand did a wonderful job of not making it the over-powering front and center part of the story. It is there but quietly to the side not taking center stage. The romances.. WHOA. There are some scenes that blew my hair back. No details given but I had to mention them because they were absolutely noteworthy.

Y’all, do you know how hard it is to write a review with little to no exact details? TOUGH! Just know that this story really does live up to the hype. It is a fast-paced, action packed, emotional roller coaster of a ride that you won’t want to end. I was heartbroken when I finished the book because I realized how long I will have to wait to get the next book. I silently sobbed for a while. I will be impatiently waiting for the second book to be released.

 

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