The Fifth Letter

Finished The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty. I received a copy for review. 

Joni, Trina, Deb and Eden have been best friends since they were children. Now they are older, all married and most with at least one kid–and it’s harder to stay as close as they used to be. So when they do get together for a few days, they decide to do a sort of bonding exercise. Each types up a letter with a secret, one the others don’t know. Except there’s a fifth letter, one almost destroyed (but still legible enough to share some pretty disturbing sentences). So who wrote the fifth letter?

You guys, this book is insanely fun. It’s smart and creepy and just excellent. 

I also have friends I’ve had essentially forever (some I’m still really close to; some that have become more just FB friends) and this has me wondering how well I know any of them. 

If you’re in the mood for a bit of suspense and a lot of fun, this is for you. Recommended. 

The You I’ve Never Known

Finished The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins. I received a copy for review. 

The official synopsis contains a big spoiler, one that’s revealed over 50% in. If it’s not already too late, avoid that. 

Ariel lives with her dad. They’ve moved around a lot, but have settled in a small California town. They don’t have much money but she finally has friends. Her best friend (Monica) may even become something more. Ariel doesn’t discuss that with her dad, though; since her mom left them to be with a woman, he’s extremely homophobic. 

Like all of Ellen Hopkins’ novels, this one is intense and hard to read at times. Ariel’s life is incredibly hard (much harder than it has to be) and most of her problems aren’t her fault. 

She’s a survivor though and it’s pretty clear that, while her life won’t be perfect, it’s about to get a lot better. 

Highly recommended. 

The Wicked City

Finished The Wicked City by Beatriz Williams. I received a copy for review. 

This is impossible to describe but I’ll do my best. This book takes place in two time periods: present day (Ella left her husband after he cheated on her and moved into a building that may or may not be haunted) and Prohibition-era (Gen has moved to New York to escape her stepfather, who’s a bootlegger; she may or may not be the only person capable of bringing him down). The bulk of the novel is about Gen; she is FANTASTIC. 

I am a huge fan of Prohibition-era stories, probably for a mix of the excitement of speakeasies, the fun slang and the fact that the women are all complete badasses. 

This is only my second Beatriz Williams story and I want to read them all. The two I’ve read are quite different but they’re also both ridiculously entertaining. 


History Is All You Left Me

Finished History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera. I received a copy for review. 

Griffin and Theo were in love and then they split up. Griffin will tell you it’s for a good reason (Theo’s off in California, going to college) and that they’re still endgame. But then Theo starts dating a new guy. Not ideal but still something that can be overcome. 

But then Theo dies. 

This novel goes back and forth in time, showing us their relationship, the aftermath of their breakup and then present day, post-Theo. Except, as anyone who’s ever grieved will tell you, it’s never really post-someone you love. 

This book is gorgeous but it will break you. It’s worth it–Adam Silvera is an actual genius, I think–but it hurts. But it’s also perfect. 

Highly recommended. 

A Night In With Grace Kelly (mini-review)

Finished A Night in with Grace Kelly by Lucy Holliday. I received a copy for review. 

This is the third and probably final book in the Libby Lomax series. I’m really going to miss Libby (and the sofa, with its tendency to produce Hollywood stars) but have loved all three books. 

If you are a fan of romantic comedies or old Hollywood, check them out. 

A Night in with Marilyn Monroe

Finished A Night in with Marilyn Monroe by Lucy Holliday. I received a copy for review. 

Libby still has her magical sofa, the one that brought Audrey Hepburn into her apartment. This time, it brings Marilyn Monroe to her. Also back: her best friend Ollie, her occasional boyfriend Dillon, Bogdan (we can’t even describe him) and her completely insane family. 

I love this trilogy and can’t wait to get to the third book (my next read). Libby is basically Bridget Jones for the modern era, and this book only cements that. 

It’s definitely setting up Libby and Ollie to be endgame but seeing them get there is a great time. 


A List of Cages

Finished A List of Cages by Robin Roe. I received a copy for review. 

High school senior Adam is assigned a troubled freshman to monitor and it turns out to be Julian, his former foster brother. Julian has a learning disability and tends to be sick a lot but it turns out there’s a lot more going on. 

This book is absolutely wrenching. Learning about what Julian has to deal with completely broke my heart. You should know that going in. 

But there’s also a lot more here. It’s about bravery and friendship and family. It’s about survival. 

This book is amazing. Yes, you’ll cry. But you’ll never feel emotionally manipulated or preached at. 

This is the kind of book you remember and pass on to others. Recommended. 

The Sleepwalker

Finished The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian. I received a copy for review. 

Lianna’s mom has gone missing. It’s scary anyway, but here’s what’s even scarier: she has a history of sleepwalking. Sometimes she even leaves the house. This time, a scrap of cloth from her pajamas was found by the river. 

I know that doesn’t tell you much about the story but really, all you need to know is that this is by Chris Bohjalian and, like all his books, this is excellent. 

This is a book about uncertainty and the way that you can still continue living even if there are major questions. Like most people, I think I’m happiest with absolutes. I prefer knowing things FOR SURE but that’s not always possible. This book is about gray spaces. 

This is the first must-read 2017 release. Highly recommended. 

The Trump Survival Guide

Finished The Trump Survival Guide by Gene Stone. I received a copy for review. 

It would be easy to dismiss this as whining and handwringing. That’s not accurate, however. Instead, this book breaks down several issues (including the environment, reproductive rights, LGBT rights and the environment), gives a brief background and shares what President Obama did for said issue. Then it explains what President-elect Trump could do, THEN gives ways to fight back and gives a few books to read for further education. 

This is such a valuable resource. I know a lot of people (including myself) who have felt helpless since the election. It’s been really good to see that we do still have options and that while the next few years may still be awful, we can certainly mitigate that if we stay involved.

Highly recommended. 

The Most Dangerous Place on Earth

Finished The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson. I received a copy for review. 

When they were in eighth grade, a boy named Tristan wrote a girl named Calista a love letter. He was a weird kid and she freaked out and shared it with her friends. They all teased him to the point that he committed suicide. 

Now Cally and her friends are in high school. The bulk of the story takes place in junior year and then it ends with senior year. The kids are not OK. 

This is a hard book to review because so much of it is a spoiler. It’s also a hard book to love. It’s written beautifully but it’s a hard book. A REALLY hard book. It’s bleak and hopeful in equal measure. (OK, mostly bleak; I lied.) 

This book is definitely not for everyone. But it’s worth it.