That Night – Chevy Stevens

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That Night – Chevy Stevens (Thriller/Fiction)

Beach Read Pick #3!

Synopsis: At thirty-four, Toni is released from prison for a crime she is adamant that she did not commit. The crime of killing her sister. Even though she knows she is innocent, she decides to try to live as under the radar as she can and move on from the memories (or lack thereof) of that night. Oh and she also has to stay away from her high school sweetheart, Ryan, who was also convicted of the murder and is also now out on parole. Ryan, who isn’t one to really pay attention to the rules, seeks out Toni and demands that she helps to clear their name. Toni, reluctant at first, decides to try, but it is no easy task. The responsible party was quite happy to see someone else go away for their crime, and they are not scared to do it all over again.

Opinion: This is my new favorite Chevy Stevens after Still Missing. When I first started this book (the narrative alternates from present to past), I was annoyed by Toni. She was such a brat! But the Toni of the present wasn’t, so I stuck with it. And I’m glad I did. This novel does not disappoint. I thought I had the ending figured out. But not even close! When I finally got to the twist, I gasped out loud. That’s how unsuspecting I was of the ending. I sped through this book as I’m sure you will too! All in all, a book that asks how far you’d go to clear your name.

PS: I LOVE the dedication of this novel.

Landline – Rainbow Rowell

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Landline – Rainbow Rowell (Fiction)

Beach Read Pick #2!

Synopsis: Georgie McCool is wrapped up in her work – that’s just the way her life has always been. But when she backs out of the family Christmas trip to stay and write her new TV show, she begins to see that she is the cause for the unhappiness in her husband’s life. Desperate to speak to her husband once he left for Omaha with their children, she picks up the landline phone in her childhood bedroom and reaches Neal… but Neal from 1998.

Opinion: I love Rainbow Rowell (Eleanor & Park <3). However, when I read the description of this book, I was leery. A magic phone that dials the future? And it's NOT YA? I dunno about that… sounds a bit too fantastical for me. But I read it, and I loved it. The fantasy element of the phone calls really didn't seem so strange or impossible (I guess that is owed to Rowell's writing skills!). I quickly became interested in the characters, and, when I wasn't reading, found myself wondering aloud It has to end well, right? Right?! And then I'd stop whatever I was doing and read another chapter. This story is one about marriage, and since I am a newlywed (!), I wondered how true or accurate Georgie's advice was (seeing as her marriage wasn't going so great). Either way, I definitely enjoyed this book. All in all, a novel that makes you wonder how much of yourself do you have to give in a relationship… all or just enough?

PS: I received this book as part of Riot Read's book club!

Love Letters to the Dead – Ava Dellaria

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Love Letters to the Dead – Ava Dellaria (YA)

Synopsis: What started out as a high school English project – write a letter to a famous dead person – becomes the only outlet that Laurel has since her sister May’s death. Soon she starts writing letters to all those whose lives were cut short despite all of their potential – Kurt Cobain, River Phoenix, Judy Garland… the list goes on and on. It is through these letters that Laurel is able to tell the story that she cannot say aloud – the story of what happened the night her sister died.

Opinion: This story had the potential to be a great story about grieving. What it turned out to be was the diary of a girl obsessed with a boy who wasn’t able to love her because she wasn’t able to speak to him about what mattered the most. I really struggled with getting through this book, and the only reason I kept on trucking was because I wanted to know if my guess on what happened to May was correct – and it was (it was fairly simple to figure out). There were some well-crafted lines in the novel, some parts that actually affected me – those parts all had to do with the grieving aspect of the novel… which, unfortunately, was only a small snippet of the actual story. All in all, a novel that begs you to not hold back your feelings.

Jellicoe Road – Melina Marchetta

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Jellicoe Road – Melina Marchetta (YA)

Synopsis: Taylor Markham knows what it feels like to be abandoned. She vaguely remembers her father, her mother dropped her off on Jellicoe Road, and now, the one person she believed she could trust – Hannah – has disappeared without a trace. Unfortunately for Taylor, she does not have time to dwell on Hannah’s disappearance because her school is in the middle of the Territory War, and she has been voted the leader. But unfortunately for her school, Taylor does not give a damn about the Territory War and only wants to search for Hannah.

Opinion: Okay… the only reason I read this book was because I read an article on quotes that will make you cry even out of context. Jellicoe Road was quoted and I teared up, so I decided to give it a whirl. If one quote can incite emotion, what could the whole book do?? The descriptions I read about the book were all pretty vague, but the reviews all seemed to say one thing – this book is incredible. And I WHOLEHEARTEDLY agree! What an amazingly wonderful story! Now, if you are going to give this book a shot, you do need to know that the territory wars can be a bit boring, but know that they are important. It seemed to me like there were two separate narratives going on here, and I really wasn’t sure how they were related – other than the obvious territory wars. Once it all came together, I found myself racing to the end, but at the same time slowing down because I didn’t want my time with the characters to end. There’s a lot more to this book than just the territory wars. When it all makes sense, it becomes a beautiful story. One I HIGHLY recommend. One I stayed up all night to finish. And cried like a baby when it was over. All in all, a story about family and the friends that become family.

PS: Book is AKA On the Jellicoe Road

We Were Liars – E. Lockhart

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We Were Liars – E. Lockhart (YA)

Synopsis: Cadence spends every summer on a private island with her family. She mostly spends her time with her cousins and the boy she loves – the group of 4 is better known as the liars. The group of 4 spend their summers in a lazy haze until their 15th summer, when an accident occurs and nothing is what they thought it was.

Opinion: I need to be careful here, because there are NO spoilers in any of the reviews I have read for this book, and I want mine to follow suit. In every review I read, there were inklings of a twist ending, of a sad ending, of a book worth reading. I agree with them all. I wasn’t sure where this book was going for the majority of it – I couldn’t understand why the group was called the liars… but now I get it. The children grow up in a privileged life, but they grow up with their own ideals, and that makes all the difference in this novel. All in all, a novel (a “variation” (Cady’s word) of Shakespeare’s King Lear) that asks if you should always do what you are afraid to do.

The Merciless – Danielle Vega

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The Merciless – Danielle Vega (YA Horror)

Synopsis: Sofia is the new girl in town, and for once in her life, she has a choice of who to befriend. Thinking she made the correct choice, she chooses Riley and her group instead of Brooklyn. When Sofia learns some news about Brooklyn, she immediately tells Riley, thinking it’s the right thing for a friend to do. What she doesn’t expect is Riley’s reaction. Riley thinks Brooklyn has the devil inside of her and that it is their job to exorcise Brooklyn… even if they have to bleed her out.

Opinion: This book was Mean Girls gone wrong… horribly wrong. When I first heard about The Merciless, I knew it was going to be a creepy one. What I didn’t realize was how gruesome parts of it were going to be. On the inside cover (by the way, this book is GORGEOUS), there is a warning that reads: For Mature Audiences Only. Heed that warning if you are not comfortable with blood… lots of blood. I’m not sure I would recommend this book for a beach read, but I do think it’s a great pick if you are into horror. Seems like the ending was left open to make this into a series or at least to have a sequel. This was Vega’s first novel, and I will definitely be looking out for more by her. All in all, a horror novel that makes you wonder how far you would – or should – go to support what you believe.

PS: I had multiple people ask me about this book or pick it up to learn more about it because of how vague and eye-catching the cover is.