Read With ME (207)

I enjoy reading books of a diverse variety and gaining insight and inspiration from the reviews and recommendations of others.

Stalked

Stalked - Elizabeth Heiter I'm a sucker for a good suspense/thriller/mystery - definitely one of my guilty pleasures- so when I saw [b:Stalked|29095400|Stalked (The Profiler #4)|Elizabeth Heiter|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1469409465s/29095400.jpg|49331398]I was totally intrigued and had to indulge. I'm not at all familiar with this author, in fact, I've never read anything by Elizabeth Heiter before and when I picked up Stalked I wasn't aware that it was book four of the Profiler series but I took a risk and read it anyway and this book can absolutely be read as a stand alone. I'm sure that had I read the series in order I would have a better understanding of some of the characters and their backgrounds but I understood what was going on perfectly well and there were no holes in the storyline or missing pieces that I was able to pick up on. I don't want to giveaway much about this because I think it's one of those books you're better off going into without a lot of expectations, if any, and if you like this genre you can already get a feel for what the book will be like without knowing and specific details. Overall this was your typical suspense/thriller/mystery novel with a strong, professional female protagonist and a bit of a romantic interest tied in with some twists and good old edge-of-your-seat reading to make up a really good book. This is one of those books that is fun to read, doesn't require a lot of brain cells and isn't going to improve intellect or stimulate literary development but it's a very entertaining read. It was a quick read although fairly long, nearly 400 pages I believe, but it was fast paced and I got through it in just a couple of days.

I gave this book four out of five stars because I really enjoyed reading it and I look forward to reading more books in this series and by Elizabeth Heiter. I'd definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys this genre and if you like books by
Patricia Cornwall or Tana French definitely check out [b:Stalked|29095400|Stalked (The Profiler #4)|Elizabeth Heiter|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1469409465s/29095400.jpg|49331398] by [a:Elizabeth Heiter|7114626|Elizabeth Heiter|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1380299553p2/7114626.jpg].

Red Queen

Red Queen - Victoria Aveyard This is a book that has been on my TBR shelf forever! So I'm really glad I have now finished book one in this series and I'm pleased to say that I enjoyed it immensely and I can't wait to read #2 sooner rather than later (hopefully). I've heard so much about this book since it's been out, it's still all the rage on Booktube and other social media platforms but I feel like it's one of those books that's better to read if you are told very little about it ahead of time. I read and watched several "spoiler free" reviews and although they didn't come out and give anything specific away I still feel like I had an idea of what to expect and that took away from my overall reading experience so I'm not going to do that in this review. Regardless this was a really fun book to read and I've been on a total ya/fantasy kick as of late and this was certainly no exception. It was your typical ya fantasy novel with a female protagonist that had a bit of a Hunger Games/Divergent feel to it, although the storyline and the characters were totally different and completely unique to this particular novel but nevertheless it had a similar vibe to ya books I'd read, and thoroughly enjoyed, in the past. Following in the tradition of those two other trilogies, I would love to this series adapted to film...fingers crossed!

Again, I don't want to divulge to much, but this is a story about Mare, a teenager who was born and raised in a world divided by two types of humans, Reds and Silvers. Silvers are the dominant race, with special powers and all the advantages and they live comfortably, with complete control of the government, military and all other resources. Reds are inferior by birth, oppressed into basically slavery and sent off to the front lines of a never ending war on behalf of the Silvers when they reach 18 years of age. Mare is a Red by a series of events places her in the "protection" of Silver royalty, "hidden in plain sight" when a group calling themselves the "Scarlet Guard" threatens a rebellion against the Silvers and Mare is caught right in the middle and cannot trust anyone.

I gave this four out of five stars only because there were some chapters that seemed to drag on and I found myself skimming through but for the most part this book had a lot going on and held my attention. It's definitely a high fantasy novel with a bit of a romantic triangle thrown in to thicken the plot a bit and overall a great read that sets you right up for the second book in this series. I recommend to anyone who enjoys high fantasy ya, especially those who liked the Hunger Games and the Divergent trilogies.

The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett

The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett - Chelsea Sedoti Wow! Thank God that's over! I almost gave up on this book when I was at the halfway point because it was so awful and with so many good books out there waiting to be read I had a really hard time justifying making myself suffer through one that I didn't enjoy at all. But I hate leaving any book unfinished, even a bad one, so I stuck with it and luckily the second half was slightly better but still a painful experience. This is a book that I've seen on a lot of reader's TBR shelves and I was really excited to recieve an advanced readers copy since the book doesn't actually come out until January 3rd so I'm thankful I didn't waste my money on purchasing a copy.

The title, [b:The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett|25546710|The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett|Chelsea Sedoti|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1461689083s/25546710.jpg|45339745] is a bit deceitful because the book is actually about a girl who was a couple years younger than the popular Lizzie, named Hawthorne Creely (named for the tree that she was conceived beneath). Hawthorne envied and admired Lizzie and her seemingly perfect life, hoping to be noticed and accepted by her but in reality she was just the little sister of a guy that Lizzie used to date and hardly received a second glance. After graduating high school and moving on with her life Lizzie goes missing when on a camping trip with her boyfriend and Hawthorn becomes somewhat obsessed with her disappearance, determined to solve the mystery of what happened to her. This is where the book loses me and I don't want to give anything away but I will say that Hawthorn's theory is that Lizzie turned into a werewolf and is gallivanting in the woods somewhere, howling at the moon and what not. Seriously? And let me be clear by saying this isn't a ya fantasy where something like that is expected and accepted, it's actually a ya contemporary, so I found it impossible to take seriously from that point on. There were other specific issues I had with this novel but I can't get into those while keeping this review spoiler free but I will say that I didn't enjoy the storyline, it was an incredibly weak plot, the characters were flat and uninteresting and the novel as a whole was really poorly executed and seemed like it had just been thrown together in a hurry, in my humble opinion anyway. I was really disappointed with this book, I didn't enjoy anything about it and I really regret wasting my time by picking it up. Maybe it would appeal to a younger audience although I doubt it and I can't in good faith recommend this book to anyone.

I received an advanced readers copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Woman No. 17

Woman No. 17 - Edan Lepucki I was very intrigued by the title, cover and the synopsis of [b:Woman No. 17|23616719|Woman No. 17|Edan Lepucki|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1471538523s/23616719.jpg|43221950] and it turned out to be a very unique, interesting and well written book describing the complex dynamics of, and the emotions surrounding, the relationships of a woman. I've been very lucky in that a majority of the books I've read lately, particularly ARC's, have been exceptional and most have received 4 or 5 star ratings from me personally, and excellent reviews in general, well this book was no exception. I'll admit that it was a little slow getting started and I really wasn't expecting what I got, partly because I had seen this book classified in the "mystery" genre which I don't think is accurate, but once I started to get to know the characters I quickly became very interested and invested in their stories. The book gravitates around two women, Lady and S (short for Esther), and the chapters alternate between each of them. The book begins when S is employed by Lady as a live in nanny to care for her two year old son and the two woman strike up a friendship and it turns out they both share a common appreciation, and talent, for art. I really loved the way art was incorporated into this story and I was really able to see into the mind of the artist and understand what a particular piece represented and how it connected to the life of the artist on a very personal level.

There is just so much more to this book than I can reveal in a simple review and I know I wouldn't do it justice if I tried, but it's really well written, very personal and raw and honest and was clearly written from a females perspective and Lepucki did a wonderful, beautiful job capturing the emotions and insecurities that women experience. I highly recommend this book to any woman out there who is looking to read a very well written, interesting book with a lot of depth and a lot of insight into the different relationships that women have. This was easily a 5 star book and Edan Lepucki is a talent to be watched!

I received an advanced copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I also received a physical ARC from a Goodreads giveaway.

Woman No. 17

Woman No. 17 - Edan Lepucki I was very intrigued by the title, cover and the synopsis of [b:Woman No. 17|23616719|Woman No. 17|Edan Lepucki|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1471538523s/23616719.jpg|43221950] and it turned out to be a very unique, interesting and well written book describing the complex dynamics of, and the emotions surrounding, the relationships of a woman. I've been very lucky in that a majority of the books I've read lately, particularly ARC's, have been exceptional and most have received 4 or 5 star ratings from me personally, and excellent reviews in general, well this book was no exception. I'll admit that it was a little slow getting started and I really wasn't expecting what I got, partly because I had seen this book classified in the "mystery" genre which I don't think is accurate, but once I started to get to know the characters I quickly became very interested and invested in their stories. The book gravitates around two women, Lady and S (short for Esther), and the chapters alternate between each of them. The book begins when S is employed by Lady as a live in nanny to care for her two year old son and the two woman strike up a friendship and it turns out they both share a common appreciation, and talent, for art. I really loved the way art was incorporated into this story and I was really able to see into the mind of the artist and understand what a particular piece represented and how it connected to the life of the artist on a very personal level.

There is just so much more to this book than I can reveal in a simple review and I know I wouldn't do it justice if I tried, but it's really well written, very personal and raw and honest and was clearly written from a females perspective and Lepucki did a wonderful, beautiful job capturing the emotions and insecurities that women experience. I highly recommend this book to any woman out there who is looking to read a very well written, interesting book with a lot of depth and a lot of insight into the different relationships that women have. This was easily a 5 star book and Edan Lepucki is a talent to be watched!

I received an advanced copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I also received a physical ARC from a Goodreads giveaway.

Dangerous Girls

Dangerous Girls - Abigail Haas, Abby McDonald I've been meaning to read this book for some time now. It was originally published in 2013 so it has been out for a while but recently I've seen several reviews of it on booktube and they were really intriguing so I actually went to my local library, signed out a copy, and read it in less than 24 hours. I was really impressed with everything about this story and frankly I'm kind of surprised there hasn't been more hype around it because I thought it was just that good. I want to be very careful to not say to much to risk spoiling this reading experience for anyone because although I watched a "spoiler free" review of [b:Dangerous Girls|16074758|Dangerous Girls|Abigail Haas|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1356513050s/16074758.jpg|21869436]I think in a way I had an idea of what to expect because of what was said in the review and that took away from my reading experience so I will recommend going into this book knowing as little as possible and just see where it takes you and enjoy the ride!

I will say that although this is considered a YA novel, and the characters in this book are mainly teenagers, it's not one of those PG rated YA books with the squeaky clean Pollyanna types, because honestly, nothing annoys me more then when that happens. On the contrary, these teens were realistic and believable, they drank, partied, had sex, went on spring break in Aruba without parents present - all things that I would expect out of seniors in high school, relatable to my own high school experience and I appreciate that. Haas doesn't sugarcoat and she really captures the dynamics of the relationships and emotions that teens experience when discovering their independence and coming into adulthood (minus finding their BFF stabbed to death, of course).

Along with the authenticity of the characters, I also appreciated the way the story was set up, it's all told from Anna's point of view but it jumps all over the place to different points in time to really give a well rounded account of her perspective and I don't think I've ever read a book that is told in such a way but I think the execution was both brilliant and beautiful. This book is pretty thick but it was a really fast read, the story line kept me guessing and needing to know more and more so I couldn't put it down and overall I just really enjoyed reading this book and I highly recommend it! There is another book by Abigail Haas called [b:Dangerous Boys|19732381|Dangerous Boys|Abigail Haas|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1401967915s/19732381.jpg|27789580] but from what I understand the two books don't go together although I believe that the style of writing is similar in both- but don't quote me on that. Either way I'm very impressed with [b:Dangerous Girls|16074758|Dangerous Girls|Abigail Haas|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1356513050s/16074758.jpg|21869436] and look forward to reading [b:Dangerous Boys|19732381|Dangerous Boys|Abigail Haas|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1401967915s/19732381.jpg|27789580] very soon.

Falling Up

Falling Up - Shel Silverstein Shel Silverstein was one of my favorite authors as a child, he introduced me to poetry and certainly helped significantly in nourishing my love of books and reading. I will always hold fond memories of all of his books very near and dear to my heart and Falling Up is certainly no exception. I was in sixth grade when this book was published and I think it was the last book by Silverstein that I acquired but certainly not the least. After reading through this book again as an adult it brought back so many memories and emotions of my childhood and tween years, with such nostalgia, and I found I could still recite some of his poetry by heart because they were so ingrained upon me. Not only is the writing, in and of itself, fantastic, the illustrations are also absolutely wonderful and provide an excellent visual aid for a developing imagination.

This is just such a wonderful book for children of any age as well as a book that parents can enjoy while reading with their little ones. I think that Falling Up, as well as any publication by Shel Silverstein, is an essential addition to every child's library. It's a timeless classic that they will love and cherish well into adulthood and one day read with their own children, and grandchildren, for years to come.

The Lauras

The Lauras - Sara      Taylor I'm a little bit conflicted on how to rate and review [b:The Lauras|27430360|The Lauras|Sara Taylor|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1463062295s/27430360.jpg|47481757] because, for one thing, I think it's a bit better than a four star rating although not quite a four, if that makes any sense at all, so I guess the right thing to do would be to round up and give it four stars since half a star isn't an option. I really did enjoy this book quite a bit and again, this was a book that I went into without any knowledge of what it was about, if it had received positive ratings and reviews, and I'd never before read anything by this author- all though, I have heard really great things on Goodreads about the debut novel by Sara Taylor, [b:The Shore|23128320|The Shore|Sara Taylor|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1411944689s/23128320.jpg|42676394] so I definitely plan to read that one soon. This was a good book, it held my attention, was well written, I enjoyed the storyline and the characters and it was a quick- less than 24 hr - read, however, I did have a couple issues with this book and was left with unanswered questions upon finishing it and nothing frustrates me more than a stand alone book that leaves me confused and/or hanging. I'll get to that shortly, in this review, but first let me give you a brief summary...
[b:The Lauras|27430360|The Lauras|Sara Taylor|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1463062295s/27430360.jpg|47481757] was about a teenage named Alex whose free spirited Mother takes off in the middle of the night from their family home, leaving her husband and brings Alex along for an extensive road trip around the country. During the trip Alex's mother reveals details about herself and her past and tells the stories of The Laura's" dear friends that she met throughout different points in her childhood and teenage years, all sharing the same name and leaving a major impact. This novel describes the troubles and triumphs of their journey both for Alex as and individual and the relationship between mother and child. It's definitely a coming of age type of novel that illustrates gaining strength from ones struggles and embracing individuality while being true to oneself in the face of diversity. It had a great message and it was raw, unapologetic and realistic to life in this day and age and it touched on issues with parenting, relationships and sexuality that most authors don't go near so I really enjoyed and appreciated that. It's difficult to say a lot more about this book, or express my complaints and questions about the storyline, without including spoilers in this review, something i usually don't do however, in this case I'm going to make an exception so if you haven't read this book yet than stop reading this review now!
**Spoiler Alert**
...One issue I had was that I was continuously trying to figure out if Alex, the main character, was a teenage boy or girl. I assumed because of the way he/she was describing his/her fascination with masturbation that they had to be a male...but I couldn't be sure. Then later on in the book it addressed the issue head on, after dancing around it before, and Alex stated that he/she didn't identify with either gender. Whatever that means. Now I'm an open minded person and I can accept anyone. I'm familiar with plenty of members of the LGBT community but I've never met anyone who doesn't identify with either so this book was a little frustrating to me because regardless of what Alex identifies with and what pronoun Alex uses, Alex was born with anatomy of one gender and I wish the book had at least described which that was. I get that the whole point the author was trying to make was not labeling Alex as either gender, or as both, but I wasn't a big fan of that approach, only because it left me wondering and I never received any answers which is always frustrating for me. The second thing that confused me about this novel was which Laura, from her childhood, did Alex's mother go move in with in the end....or, were all the Laura's she spoke of actually only one girl? I remember when Alex asked his/her mother this very question, which one of the Laura's was it and the mothers response was "if you've been listening you should already know"...well I was listening so maybe it just went right over my head but I didn't catch the answer to that one. If anyone out there knows...please reply in my comments and enlighten me...I'm literally losing sleep!

So anyway, aside from those two issues I really enjoyed this book a lot and I highly recommend it. It would have easily been a four or five star rating were it not for those two minor complaints but I still think the book deserves 3.5 and since that's not an option I'll give four by default. It was a really interesting story with captivating characters and a unique plot

I received a copy of this publication from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Lola: A Novel

Lola: A Novel - Melissa Love I just finished reading [b:Lola|30900212|Lola|Melissa Scrivner Love|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1469403347s/30900212.jpg|51530270] by Melissa Scrivner Love and it wasn't a book or an author that I was at all familiar with so I basically had no preconceived expectations for this book and honestly, I think I prefer it that way because I really get to read a book with an open mind and form my own opinions when there are no outside influences to factor in. I basically was just drawn to the cover, read the synopsis and found that to be intriguing and decided to give this book ago. I guess it's not surprising that I hadn't heard of this book or author considering the book doesn't officially come out until March and this is Love's debut novel. I'm always excited to read an author's first time publication, especially if it turns out to be enjoyable (obviously!) and this particular book didn't disappoint.

This was completely unlike anything else I've read in a very long time in terms of characters and setting and plot. Although, several years back I went through a phase where I read a lot of, what my friends and I referred to as, "hood books", although I'm sure there's a more pc term for them...urban fiction perhaps? Books like [b:The Cartel|5953477|The Cartel (The Cartel, #1)|Ashley Antoinette|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1347554867s/5953477.jpg|6126052](series) and [b:The Prada Plan|6251087|The Prada Plan (The Prada Plan, #1)|Ashley Antoinette|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1347578710s/6251087.jpg|6433962] by Ashley Antoinette and JaQuavis Coleman where the characters are usually African American or Hispanic and usually involved in a profession that is not widely accepted by society (not to mention illegal) like selling drugs, gang banging, Pimpin' hoes, to name a few. These books always take place in inner city, high crime areas and often the main characters will start out in the ghetto and work their way up to a very lucrative, albeit illegal, career affording them fancy homes and fast cars in gated communities, or the end up dead or in jail. Very predictable outcome but I found them entertaining, almost like a soap opera would be where you don't take it seriously, you don't admit to enjoying it but sometimes when no ones looking you can't help but indulge in the guilty (shameful) pleasure. They were also very quick, easy reads and I could read one from cover to cover in one setting and again, we're not talking about intellectually stimulating literature by any stretch, just trashy, fun entertainment. I found that [b:Lola|30900212|Lola|Melissa Scrivner Love|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1469403347s/30900212.jpg|51530270] reminded me a lot of those types of books although it was on a much higher literary level, much better written with much more depth and overall content then the typical "hood book" but the tone and the theme along with the characters and the setting was very urban and very street.

[b:Lola|30900212|Lola|Melissa Scrivner Love|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1469403347s/30900212.jpg|51530270] is about a 20 something Hispanic woman, born and raised in South Central Las Angeles who learned from a very young age how to fend for, and protect, herself. Her mother is a heroin addict who would pimp Lola out to drug dealers for a fix and as a teenager Lola caught her mother offering her seven year old brother, Hector, heroin to try for himself. That was the last straw for Lola and she moved herself, and Hector, in with her gangster boyfriend who is the leader of a local street gang that called themselves "The Crenshaw 6". It doesn't take long before Lola earns the respect of the gang members and eventually they come to accept her as their leader although, as far as anyone else knows that title belongs to her boyfriend because as a woman she doesn't have the street credibility or the respect that she would have were she a man.

As the story progresses The Crenshaw 6 and Lola find themselves in conflict with rival gangs, law enforcement, a district attorney, a white drug dealer, and their own family members to name only a few, so there isn't a lack of difficult decisions that could easily mean the death of Lola or those closest to her if she makes the wrong choice of an ally vs. adversary. There is also a five year old girl, Lucy, who is introduced into Lola's life when she runs away from home because she was being abused by her drug addicted mother's boyfriend so Lola takes her in. I loved reading about her relationship with Lola and I think she added a cute dynamic to the story and brought out the softer side of Lola. As did Valentine, the pit bull she rescued from a dog fighting situation and now treats her just like she's Lola's own child which absolutely makes me melt! I am the biggest softie ever for animals, especially dogs, so I loved reading about Lola's and little Lucy's interactions with Valentine.

I think this book stayed very true to its setting and characters and Love did a great job painting a realistic picture of a lifestyle that is so foreign to me while making it believable and in the same time empowering the lead female character who was stuck in a man's world with all its limitations but still found away to overcome the odds and be the head bitch in charge! I loved the way Lola lived what society would call a "bad" life doing "bad" things (like murder and selling drugs) but I was still able to perceive her as a morally good person who was a product of her environment trying to do the best she could with the hand she'd been and never once did she complain or appear to feel sorry for herself. I found Lola to be a very strong, likable character and I enjoyed reading about her struggles and triumphs and gained a great deal of appreciation for her courage and strength. I can't imagine what it would be like to be born into a life predisposed to so many awful things with so much stacked against you at no fault of your own but that was the reality that Love illustrates throughout this novel and, considering the circumstances, I think Lola was pretty remarkable despite her flaws and imperfections. I'll be looking forward to reading more work by Melissa Scrivner Love in the future. I'm rating [b:Lola|30900212|Lola|Melissa Scrivner Love|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1469403347s/30900212.jpg|51530270] with four out of five stars and this is a book I would definitely recommend to anyone.

I received an advanced reading copy of "Lola" from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

The Origins of Benjamin Hackett

The Origins of Benjamin Hackett - Gerald M. O'Connor I just finished reading [b:The Origins of Benjamin Hackett|33136226|The Origins of Benjamin Hackett|Gerald M. O'Connor|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1480252490s/33136226.jpg|53815204] and for such a short book it took me a surprisingly long time to read (almost 4 days!). I just couldn't fully immerse myself into this novel and I found my mind was continuously wandering while I was reading this book so I'd have to go back and reread multiple parts because I just wasn't retaining it the first time which doesn't make for an enjoyable reading experience. I like to be completely captivated by, and fully engaged in, the novels that I read and this one just didn't do it for me, it was almost painfully boring in some parts and so unbelievable and unrealistic in others that it was a struggle for me to finish.

I have to admit that I went into reading this book completely blind with no expectations because I have never heard of this book previously, nor have I ever read any other works by its author, Gerald M. O'Connor, so at least I wasn't incredibly disappointed as far as that goes. The book begins with a young man, Benjamin Hackett, turning 18 years old and finding out, from the couple who he has always thought of as his parents, that he was, in fact, adopted. Let's just say that he doesn't take the news well and has no details about his biological parents so, along with the help of his best mate "JJ", he embarks on a mission to discover the history of his origins (hence the title) with every intention of greeting his biological parents with a punch in the face. The book follows Benjamin in this quest, a coming of age story, if you will but I found a lot of the scenarios he and JJ find themselves in, and some of the characters they encounter along the way, to be completely far fetched and unrealistic to the point where it was almost insulting to the intelligence of the reader and I couldn't take the book seriously as a result.

This book takes place in Ireland, mainly in the city of Cork, and much of the language throughout the novel reflects that, which I actually enjoyed very much. I've always been a big fan of reading British books and picking up on words or phrases they use that differ from those of Americans and this book had several examples of just that, including: the use of "tinnies" which refers to cans of beer, "box" meaning a television, "torch" for flashlight, and "holdall" was the word used to describe a backpack. Luckily I read this book on my Kindle so whenever one of these questionable words was used I was able to look up the definition immediately, a tool I utilized quite a few times while reading this book.

Having said that I have to be honest in that this was definitely not one of my favorites to say the least and with so many excellent books out there waiting to be read I'm quite disappointed that I wasted my time on this not-so-good one and I can't, in good faith, recommend this to anyone else. I'm giving it three stars because it wasn't horrible, the writing wasn't bad but the storyline was just so unbelievable and the characters were really unremarkable and they didn't leave an impression on me one way or the other. If I had to use one word to describe my feelings towards [b:The Origins of Benjamin Hackett|33136226|The Origins of Benjamin Hackett|Gerald M. O'Connor|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1480252490s/33136226.jpg|53815204] it would be "indifferent".

I received an advanced reading copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

The Nix

The Nix - Nathan Hill Wow! That was a long one. Honestly, I was beginning to wonder if it was ever going to end. I listened to the Audio version on Audible and, I mean, it wasn't a bad book but 22 hours of narrative is almost a full day of my life and if I'm going to invest a day of my life, that I'll never get back, listening to a book than it had better be great. I wouldn't classify this one in the category of greatness. It wasn't awful but it was so long, with so many moving parts and characters to keep track of and overall I liked the general plot but I feel it could have been achieved in about half the book. The characters were great, I loved the college girl, Laura, and I loved hearing about Samuel's childhood with Bishop and Bethany and how those relationships played out and affected Samuel as an adult and the whole unfolding of his mothers story was brilliant but there was a lot of in between chatter that I could have done without.

Puppy Steps: Practical Training for Your New Best Friend

Puppy Steps: Practical Training for Your New Best Friend - Libby Rockaway This was a practical, informative book, especially for first time novice dog owners who recently introduced a new puppy into their family. My own "puppies", my two Chihuahuas named Kobe and Lilly, are one and a half and three years old so a lot of the teachings suggested in this book have already been implemented into their daily lives such as sit, lay, speak, roll over and basic manners and going to the bathroom outside, however, there is always room for improvement so I read this book in order to find tips on how to improve their overall well being, manners (especially around new dogs) and to focus on a few basic commands that they don't know or need to improve.

In general I found this book to be very informative and helpful and I agree wholeheartedly with the positive reinforcement approach which encourages teaching your dog by focusing on, and rewarding, positive behaviors while ignoring the negative. There's nothing I find more upsetting or disagreeable than to be at the dog park and see someone yelling at, or physically reprimanding, their dog. I know my little Chihuahuas are the sweetest little things and they would do anything to please me so if they aren't understanding a command then the fault is in my delivery and the last thing I would ever do is raise my voice and get angry or upset with them and I was happy to read that the author shared that view, as would any professional who works with k9's. This book referred to it as "positive-only training, opposed to negative training which can create a dog with lower confidence. All of the basic commands and desired behaviors were covered in this book, anything I could think of that would apply to my dog and they were organized by chapters and paragraphs that included clear, detailed, step by step instructions and real life examples and scenarios of when and how to implement the teachings. It also includes a lot of cartoon illustrations which I wasn't really a big fan of. It was nice to have a picture to reference but I wish they had been actual photographs of real dogs.
As a whole this little book contained A LOT of information and I've only begun working on a few basic things with my dogs, specifically my younger dog who really needs improvement with "stay", "heel" and "come" and with the help of this book I've noticed he's progressing nicely. This is a book that I will keep and reference throughout my dogs lives and although the title is specific to puppies I think it's a handy tool for the owner of dogs of all ages to have.

I received a copy of this publication from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Spring 2016 Debut Fiction Sampler

Sleeping Giants - Sylvain Neuvel This is a difficult publication to review...obviously it's not my typical fiction read but I wanted to include it on my blog all the same because it's a wonderful little reference for readers out there, one that I've grown very fond of and slightly dependent upon. I received this little gem courtesy of Netgalley, and rely on it to gain insight and ideas for what to add to my "to read" shelf and in deciding what to read next. It's made up of a group of different books that were recently released and includes the first couple chapters of each. It's a great way to learn of new releases and get an idea of weather or not a book is going to be enjoyable before purchasing the entire novel. The only problem is when a book starts off so intriguing that I'm frustrated that I don't have the entire publication to enjoy! But I suppose that's a good problem to have.

I received a copy of this publication from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Girl Before: A Novel

The Girl Before: A Novel - JP Delaney I just finished reading this and overall I was very impressed. I'm also excited to learn there will be a movie adaptation coming out, directed by Ron Howard, which is impressive in its own right especially considering the book won't be officially released until next month so apparently someone has faith in its success and I don't disagree.
[b:The Girl Before|28016509|The Girl Before|J.P. Delaney|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1470880789s/28016509.jpg|48027180] was a fast-paced, psychological, thriller that alternates point of view and narration between Jane Cavendish, in present tense, and Emma Matthews, a previous resident of the house Jane is now renting who died tragically at the residence under suspicious circumstances. Both women find common ground at One Folegate Street, an architectural wonder, designed, owned and dictated by Edward Monkford but aside from that and their striking physical resemblance the two women have little in common. Emma is deceitful and manipulative and dishonest to the core, where Jane is good hearted and well meaning, trying to recover from a recent still birth and uncover the history of the home she now lives in and the mysterious deaths of several of its former inhabitants. The home itself comes with many rules and regulations that the renter must agree to and follow under strict supervision of Edward Monkford. In a way this reminds me loosely of Fifty Shades of Grey even though I didn't like the Fifty Shades Trilogy at all and I thorough enjoyed [b:The Girl Before|28016509|The Girl Before|J.P. Delaney|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1470880789s/28016509.jpg|48027180], however there were definitely similarities. The dynamic between Edward and the women in his life for one, his narcissistic personality, his obsessive compulsive tendencies and need for absolute control, to name a few.

I really liked the contrast between Jane and Emma. J.P. Delaney did a great job creating realistic, three dimensional characters and I found it was easy to become invested in them because they were so real, despite their character flaws.

This was an ending that I didn't see coming, in more than one way actually, and that's something that I considered absolutely necessary in a good thriller. I will say that I found myself a bit disappointed at the very end. **spoiler alert** I don't want to say too much but I personally wasn't pleased with the choice Jane made at the very end. Perhaps it was the noble thing to do, however, if Edward had given me the same choice if I were in Jane's shoes I am quite confident I would have gone in the opposite direction then Jane went and I was hoping she'd do the same. I don't want to give to much away so I'll leave it at that.

I read a lot of books from this genre and I can honestly say this one can hold its own amongst the vast competition out there and I'd definitely recommend it and look forward to seeing the movie version when it comes out.

White Fur

White Fur - Jardine Libaire I just finished [b:White Fur|32025142|White Fur|Jardine Libaire|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1481903804s/32025142.jpg|52666279] now, at 4am, so I'm trying to process my thoughts and feelings so I can give an accurate review. I have to admit this wasn't what I expected. I was really looking forward to an ARC of this title because there's been a bit of buzz about it lately and what I've read, mostly the reviews of others, has intrigued me very much. However, once I obtained a copy and began reading it myself, my initial impression was that I wasn't going to like it. I think the first half of the book really dragged slowly for me but in hindsight it might have been necessary to really give the characters depth and dimension, and the second half picked right up and it was one thing right after another until the end.

[b:White Fur|32025142|White Fur|Jardine Libaire|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1481903804s/32025142.jpg|52666279] is a Romeo and Juliet type of story where two young adults from different worlds are brought together by fate and circumstances and are basically forced to go to war with the world in order to defend their relationship. It was really a touching and beautiful story, very well written, and honest and heartbreaking. It really makes you recognize the vast divide between social classes, keeping segregation alive and well when children are taught from a young age that they are either better than, or less than, building the foundation of their image and ideas about themselves and others. This was the case for Jayme who was born to a prominent family with a silver spoon in his mouth. He was attending Yale with a promising career and a bright and lucrative future mapped out before him and image and reputation meant everything to everyone he surrounded himself, especially his "lilywhite" father. Then there was Elise, a biracial, high school dropout from the wrong side of the track who lived every day like it was her last without giving second thought to her image or her future. The two begin seeing each other and try to figure out how they can fit into each other's world when their lives are so fundamentally different and they soon learn that it won't be without sacrifice and compromise. I don't want to get to in depth with this review and give anything away that would spoil another's enjoyment of this wonderful story but I will say that this is a book worth reading, and sticking with even if it starts out slow. It picks up quickly in the second half and so many things happen, it's such a beautiful journey these two good hearted, well meaning, star crossed lovers embark on and I enjoyed it so much I was sorry it had to end.

I'm rating [b:White Fur|32025142|White Fur|Jardine Libaire|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1481903804s/32025142.jpg|52666279] with four out of five stars and the only reason I'm not giving all five is because I did think the beginning was a little slow. But seriously, this is a great book! Definitely worth the read and I highly recommend it.

I received an advanced copy of White Fur from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

The Roanoke Girls: A Novel

The Roanoke Girls: A Novel - Amy Engel Wow... I don't even know where to begin with this book. It was controversial and edgy but I have to admit I found it extremely entertaining and enjoyable. It revolved around several topics including relationships within dysfunctional families, incest, and overcoming, escaping, or at least making peace with the past. I almost feel guilty for enjoying this book as much as I did but it appealed to the morbidly intrigued and curious side of me on one level, as well as the side that enjoys a good suspenseful mystery with plenty of tension, more than one red herring, and a unique story line that hasn't been exhausted by every author out there who writes in this genre.

The story is told in away that every chapter alternates characters, all from the point of view of the Roanoke girls (most of whom are deceased), but it revolves mainly around Lane, who has returned to her grandparents home in Kansas after eleven years when her cousin, Allegra, goes missing and it switches narrative from present day Lane as she searches to find her cousin, to back when Allegra and she were teenagers, revealing the secrets and tragedy that all the Roanoke girls share. The main character, Lane, reminded me a bit of the main character in The Girl on the Train, in that she was well meaning and good hearted, albeit misguided, flawed and reckless with an edgy and ironic streak but overall she was a likable and complex character who desperately wanted to do the right thing despite the hand she'd been dealt and the odds stacked against her.

This is the first book I've read by Amy Engel and the first book she has written for adult readers although she has published a couple ya books that I now fully intend to read along with anything else she publishes in the future. This wasn't a very long book, I finished within 24 hours, but it was very well written and very good. This is a strong 4 stars for me and leaning heavily towards 5 and I highly recommend it to other readers.

I received an advanced reading copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

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