Finished Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson. I received a copy for review.
Kate Priddy is interested in starting over after her ex-boyfriend broke into her apartment, terrorized her and then committed suicide. She and her cousin agree to switch apartments for six months. It’s like The Holiday, right?
Almost immediately after she arrives, her next door neighbor is found murdered. And there are signs that maybe her cousin could have done it before hopping on the plane. Although there are ALSO signs that maybe the killer is much, much closer than that.
There are few things I like more than a good thriller and this is an excellent one. Every time I thought I knew what was happening, the story went in a totally different direction.
If you’re in the mood for suspense, choose this. Recommended.
Finished Frostblood by Elly Blake. I received a copy for review.
There are three types of people: firebloods, frostbloods and everyone else. Firebloods hate frostbloods and vice versa. Depending on where they live, the regular people hate one of the two groups, too. (Generally speaking, though, most people hate the firebloods.)
Ruby is a fireblood, though, and rebels have rescued her from a frostblood-ruled prison. They want her to kill the king. Since he’s responsible for basically everything that’s gone wrong in her life, she’s on board for that.
This is a really fun read. I loved Ruby and cheered her on the whole time. Even better, this is the first book in a series, so I’m very excited to see what comes next.
Finished Life in a Fishbowl by Len Vlahos. I received a copy from the publisher for review.
Jared Stone has a brain tumor, a glioblastima multiforme. It will kill him (in four months or less) and leave his wife and two daughters destitute. The Breaking Bad option is out and so he does the next best thing: he agrees to participate in a reality show. The world will get to watch him die (and his family deal with this) and in exchange, they get $5 million. This may seem pretty callous, but (as he points out) he’s going to die anyway.
This is a brilliant and fascinating idea but it works so well because we get to know and love the characters. Without them, this story would absolutely fall apart.
It’s not an easy story to read, but it’s worth it. Highly recommended.
Finished How Will I Know You? by Jessica Treadway. I received a copy for review.
Joy Enright was originally believed to have drowned, an unfortunate accident. We soon learn, though, that the teenager was murdered. We learn the effect it has on her mother, on the man accused of the crime, on several other residents. You can imagine, I’m sure.
What we don’t know (until the end) is what actually happened to Joy.
I was a huge fan of Jessica Treadway’s novel Lacy Eye. Like there, we go back and forth in time, slowly starting to see the big picture. It took me by surprise and also made so much sense.
Jessica Treadway is absolutely one to watch if you like clever suspense. Recommended.
Finished The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti. I received a copy for review.
When Lizzie Lovett goes missing after a camping trip with her boyfriend, Hawthorn becomes obsessed with the mystery. And yes, I know we all can get like that but she takes it to a whole other level. She starts working at the diner where Lizzie worked and starts kind of dating her boyfriend. (It’s weird. They’re mostly friends but there’s this odd vibe about it.) She HAS TO KNOW what happened.
Hawthorn is a hard person to like. She’s quirky, which I generally really approve of, but she acts like the only person in the history of the world to be misunderstood and like everyone else has it figured out while she is thrashing around. And she has a theory about Lizzie’s disappearance that is so ridiculous that I can’t even tell you about it. And I don’t think she means it as a joke or ironically; I think she genuinely believes it.
And yet. She really DOES feel everything really deeply. So it’s hard to like her but it’s harder not to.
I think she’ll get better in college.
Finished Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall. I received a copy for review.
Norah is agoraphobic and has OCD. She’s been more or less housebound for quite a while, and while her life is maybe not ideal, it works. More or less. And then a cute boy moves next door and he spots her trying to get her groceries, which a delivery service left just out of reach from her door.
This is a sweet love story, although I’m not sure agoraphobia is something you overcome if you just try hard enough.
Even so, Norah is fantastic. She’s a bit of a mess but she’s trying and she works to find humor in her situation.
I enjoyed this novel. And even if it’s not 100% realistic, isn’t that the point of fiction?
Finished The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee. I received a copy for review.
Mimosa is an aromateur, one of only two in the world (the other is her mother). They create elixirs to help people fall in love. They’re not really love potions; they can’t MAKE someone love you—but they can sow the seeds of love. Unfortunately, one thing Mim can’t do is fall in love. Except maybe she just did.
This book is absolutely adorable. Mim and her mom are great characters and the idea that everyone has their own unique, undetectable-to-most scent is very clever. I wonder what mine would be (peanut butter? Book pages?).
It’s not quite as great as Outrun the Moon but this book is still an incredibly pleasant diversion. Recommended.
Finished Alterations by Stephanie Scott. I received a copy for review.
Amelia is into fashion. She designs and repurposes her own clothes and posts on Instagram and Pinterest. She wants to be a fashion designer when she grows up and even gets an internship in New York at the prestigious New York Fashion Institute. Except. Her whole life, she’s had a crush on Ethan, the boy next door (complicated by the fact that her family works for his).
This is very Sabrina (which the synopsis even notes) but there’s also some While You Were Sleeping in it. It’s also an absolutely delightful novel in its own right.
Yes, the love story is charming but it’s not the point. The better part is watching Amelia really come into her own. She’s not the shy kid next door. She stops apologizing for her interests, and she really grows up. I love Amelia, and I bet you will, too. (And I like that we get to know the family next door–not just the brothers. This part is more like While You Were Sleeping–the whole family matters.)
Finished Because of the Sun by Jenny Torres Sanchez. I received a copy for review.
Dani’s mom is killed suddenly–she’s mauled by a bear. Dani ends up having to leave Florida to live with her aunt in New Mexico (who she didn’t even know about; her mom was estranged from her family). She meets a guy and learns why her mom was the way she was (and why she never talked about her family).
This is a really odd book. I don’t mean that in a bad way (it’s very beautiful and very sad) but this is not really a straightforward narrative. Dani imagines the bear that killed her mom is coming to kill her too, and so the bear keeps popping up, but it’s rarely scary.
Dani also reads The Stranger, and that’s a decent chunk of the story, too. Initially, she’s just as detached as that main character, which makes for an interesting parallel.
I enjoyed this novel but if you like linear stories where everything is immediately clear and obvious, this is not for you. The reader is expected to do some of the work here.
Finished Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist. I received a copy for review.
Will was born blind (but he doesn’t need or want your pity, thanks; his life is just fine). Then he starts a new school, a mainstream one, and now has friends who can see (his previous school was for people who were blind, so this is all new). And then he meets Cecily. And THEN he learns about a new procedure that could potentially help him see.
I am so in love with this book. And I am even more in love with Will (and Cecily and Will-and-Cecily). There are a lot of discussions we could have about this book–is it OK to have surgery to fix a perceived flaw? Or is it OK to never take risks to potentially improve your life? And is confirming to a standard even an improvement? And honestly, I don’t know any of those things, not for sure.
I do know that this is a smart, sweet, clever, delightful story. And that it’s OK to not have answers all the time. And I know I need to read his other two books, like, NOW.