Review: The Sister Pact by Stacie Ramey

Book Title: The Sister Pact
Author: Stacie Ramey
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Published Date: November 3rd, 2015
Genre: YA Contemporary
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads
A suicide pact was supposed to keep them together, but a broken promise tore them apart

Allie is devastated when her older sister commits suicide – and not just because she misses her. Allie feels betrayed. The two made a pact that they’d always be together, in life, and in death, but Leah broke her promise and Allie needs to know why.

Her parents hover. Her friends try to support her. And Nick, sweet Nick, keeps calling and flirting. Their sympathy only intensifies her grief.

But the more she clings to Leah, the more secrets surface. Allie’s not sure which is more distressing: discovering the truth behind her sister’s death or facing her new reality without her.

Disclaimer: I received this book as an e-ARC from Sourcebooks Fire via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Books about sisters are one of many book related things that I love. I love the dynamics that come into play as well as the differences & similarities between the sisters. Books that include some sort of suicide pact are books that I have a morbid fascination with. The idea of a “suicide pact” seems so interesting and bizarre.

Going by the fact that this book had both of those things in it, I should have loved the book. But I didn’t.

First of all, even in death, Leah was a horrible person. A horrible sister who pressured younger sister, Allie, into things she didn’t want to do. Situations that she didn’t want to be in. Among other things, she basically virgin-shamed her little sister.

“You have to grow up. If you can’t with Max, pick someone else. Someone you don’t care about. Then go back to him. Show him you can play with the big boys.”

Apparently losing your virginity proves that you are growing up. Ick. I really don’t like when virginity is tied to respect or maturity levels. That really bothers me and it’s a crappy thing for girls (and guys) to have to worry about.

Leah also had a twisted view of love. Granted neither she or Allie had a good model to look up to. After all, their parents were no longer together thanks to a girl only a few years older than Leah. Their dad had picked this girl, Danielle, over his wife and daughters.

“It’s that nothing matters other than being with this person. Even the things you thought were important, aren’t. Every second you aren’t with this person is like being slowly suffocated.”

That quote worries me. I know so many girls who feel exactly like Leah. So many girls who believe in constant contact and togetherness. That’s not healthy and it worries me that teen girls are reading this.

It’s Leah’s viewpoints on love & sex that get Allie wondering about her own experiences. Is Max really worth all of her thoughts? Is semi-geeky Nick worth more than she initially gives him credit for?

“And I wonder, by giving him what he wants, have I made him want me less?”

That is such a common worry for not only teen girls, but also women as well. We’re told from a very early age that boys want sex. So in the minds of teen girls and some women, once they get sex from you, a guy won’t want you anymore.

Nick tries hard to dispel that worry. He tries hard to make sure that Allie knows how he feels about her and that her decision to have sex with him, has not changed how he feels about her.

And then there’s John Strickland. He turns out to have a connection to Leah that Allie never knew about. Initially, I wasn’t a huge fan of his, but by the time the book ended, I was really liking him and how protective he was towards both Allie and her deceased sister, Leah.

Overall I just wasn’t a huge fan of this book. Some of it I liked, like Nick, John and Allie’s character arc, but a lot of it I didn’t like, like Allie’s parents, Leah, Max and Emery. The pacing was jerky too. Sometimes I would speed through it really quickly and and other times, I’d be reading it very slowly because I was at a part that wasn’t particularly interesting to me. I am giving it 3 stars. The only reason it’s not getting a lower rating is because I enjoyed Allie’s character arc a LOT.

Review: Hold Me Like A Breath (Once Upon A Crime Family #1) by Tiffany Schmidt

Book Title:  Hold Me Like A Breath
Author: Tiffany Schmidt
Published Date: May 19th, 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s USA
Genre: YA Retelling
Series: Book One in Once Upon A Crime Family series
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Penelope Landlow has grown up with the knowledge that almost anything can be bought or sold—including body parts. She’s the daughter of one of the three crime families that control the black market for organ transplants.

Penelope’s surrounded by all the suffocating privilege and protection her family can provide, but they can’t protect her from the autoimmune disorder that causes her to bruise so easily.

And in her family’s line of work no one can be safe forever.

All Penelope has ever wanted is freedom and independence. But when she’s caught in the crossfire as rival families scramble for prominence, she learns that her wishes come with casualties, that betrayal hurts worse than bruises, that love is a risk worth taking . . . and maybe she’s not as fragile as everyone thinks.

Disclaimer: I received this ARC from Bloomsbury Children’s in exchange for my honest review.

I fell in love with the cover back in December when I was watching Bloomsbury’s virtual event. It was a cover that stood out to me even days later. The synopsis also stood out to me because organ donation is one of the things I care a lot about and the idea that there is a black market for them is so interesting to me. There is a significant shortage of organ donors, so of course desperate people have to do desperate things.

Like buy a much needed organ off the black market.

That’s where the Landlow’s, Zhu’s & Vickers’ families come in. These three families control the black market.

This story is about Penelope Landlow. I liked her a lot in the beginning of the book. I could tell how frustrated she was with her life and the restrictions placed on her. I would have probably gone crazy myself if I were in her situation. I loved that she was close to her brother Carter, and her brother’s friend Garrett. It was obvious early on that she liked Garrett and that the feeling was mutual.

As the book continued, I was expecting to be pulled deeper and deeper into this world, but I really wasn’t. Things happened and then more things happened and before I knew it Penelope was on her own. I was expecting to keep liking her, but I wasn’t fond of the decisions she was making. I wanted her to reach out to the one guy she claimed she wanted to see, but instead she was waiting on him to find her.

But this guy didn’t know she was alive and she knew that. Was he supposed to just know that she was’t dead?

Making questionable decisions is so common with teenagers that I didn’t fault Penelope. As far as main characters go, I liked her and I was curious to see what would happen next.

It was the insta-love with Char that really drove me insane. I don’t like insta-love, never have and I could not understand why Penelope was so interested in him. He didn’t excite me, there was no chemistry between then. I actually found him to be quite boring and un-swoony. I think that was one of my issues.

Along with not liking Penelope’s love interest, I didn’t feel like the other secondary characters were developed well. I felt like there could have been better character development and I would have enjoyed the book much more than I did. Poor character development can ruin a book for me, and in the case of this book, I think that was my biggest issue.

But the ending was interesting and it left me quite curious as to what was going to happen to these characters next. I have a feeling things are far from over.
Unfortunately I ended up being pretty “meh” on the book overall. I am unsure if I will continue the series, but I most likely will because that ending was very interesting. I was so looking forward to this book and I hate that I was so disappointed in this book overall. I am going to give it 3 stars. It wasn’t a terrible book, it was just a book that didn’t work well for me.

Review: Apple & Rain by Sarah Crossan

Book Title: Apple & Rain
Author: Sarah Crossan
Published Date: May 12th, 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s USA
Genre: YA Contemporary
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads
When Apple’s mother returns after eleven years of absence, Apple feels almost whole again. In order to heal completely, her mother will have to answer one burning question: Why did she abandon her? But just like the stormy Christmas Eve when she left, her mother’s homecoming is bittersweet. It’s only when Apple meets her younger sister, Rain—someone more lost than she is— that she begins to see things for how they really are, allowing Apple to discover something that might help her to feel truly whole again.

From the author of the acclaimed The Weight of Water comes a beautifully-crafted, moving novel about family, betrayal, and the ultimate path to healing.
Disclaimer: I received this ARC from Bloomsbury Children’s USA in exchange for my honest review.

When I first saw the synopsis for Apple & Rain, I was excited and hopeful. Sister stories are some of my favorite things, and I was hoping I’d love the book as much as I loved the cover. Unfortunately I spent the majority of the book metaphorically banging my head against a wall. These characters all frustrated me in varying degrees.

Apple wanted her mom to come back. She held her mom up on this pedestal. Even when she did come back and make some extremely questionable decisions, it took a long time for Apple to even realize that just because her mom was back didn’t mean everything was perfect. Apple was a very frustrating character, but she was also the one who had the best character arc. By the time the book ends, she realizes that her mom isn’t perfect and that her grandmother was more of a mom to her than her own mom.

I felt terrible for Rain. Clearly she had a lot of problems and I hated how her mom handled them. Yeah she carried around a baby doll, who she swore was a real baby. Most moms would have been extremely concerned about that and would have done anything to get her the help she needed. Yet, Rain and Apple’s mom didn’t give a crap. All she cared about was her career and the parties she would have (which involved plying her oldest underage daughter with alcohol)

Apple and Rain’s mom, Annie, was incredibly selfish. She didn’t give a crap about how Apple felt about anything. She would randomly pull Apple out of school for the hell of it, or even to babysit Rain while she went on auditions. So instead of being selfless and focusing on what her daughters needed, Annie focused on herself. Her career seemed to be all that mattered to her. It was utterly infuriating.

As for Nan, Egan and Del and the other secondary characters, they were woefully underdeveloped, which bummed me out. I wanted to know more about them, particularly Del. I thought there was a lot more to him than met the eye.

The book definitely improved by the ending, and in fact I was able to bump it up one full star. I was excited about that because I had felt so frustrated by the book so far. I am definitely bummed that this wasn’t an emotional read like I was expecting. I didn’t laugh or cry at all and I think that was simply because I didn’t connect with the characters. I’ll be giving this book 3 stars.

Review: Denton Little’s Deathdate by Lance Rubin

Book Title: Denton Little’s Deathdate
Author: Lance Rubin
Published Date: April 14th, 2015
Publisher: Random House Children’s
Genre: YA, Science Fiction
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Fans of John Green and Matthew Quick: Get ready to die laughing.

Denton Little’s Deathdate takes place in a world exactly like our own except that everyone knows the day they will die. For 17-year-old Denton Little, that’s tomorrow, the day of his senior prom.

Despite his early deathdate, Denton has always wanted to live a normal life, but his final days are filled with dramatic firsts. First hangover. First sex. First love triangle (as the first sex seems to have happened not with his adoring girlfriend, but with his best friend’s hostile sister. Though he’s not totally sure. See: first hangover.) His anxiety builds when he discovers a strange purple rash making its way up his body. Is this what will kill him? And then a strange man shows up at his funeral, claiming to have known Denton’s long-deceased mother, and warning him to beware of suspicious government characters…. Suddenly Denton’s life is filled with mysterious questions and precious little time to find the answers.

Debut author Lance Rubin takes us on a fast, furious, and outrageously funny ride through the last hours of a teenager’s life as he searches for love, meaning, answers, and (just maybe) a way to live on.

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from Random House Children’s via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been morbidly curious about death. I gotta say that if I got to find out when I was going to die, I’d be relieved. I mean as of right now, we don’t know when our time will come. So, in that way, I was envious of everyone living in Denton’s world. They all knew when they’d die.
The beginning of the story started off really interesting. We meet Denton the day before his deathday where he will attend his funeral and then the sitting, where everyone basically sits around and waits for the person to keel over.
Quickly, we realize that there’s a lot of drama going on. Apparently Denton had sex the night before, for the first time. That in itself isn’t drama filled, but the fact that it was with his best friend’s sister is. Denton’s been dating the same girl for awhile, but she isn’t the one he had sex with. So there ya go, typical teenage drama right from the start.
Denton is quirky and unique, but as the book goes on, things continue to go from just odd, to absolutely outrageous, and inconceivable. Normally reading books about how shit hits the fan unexpectedly is at least mildly interesting to me. But this time it was just too much and too fast. I barely got over one surprise in the book before another one showed up. 
I liked Denton, his girlfriend and his best friend, they were usually pretty funny, and to be honest, they saved the book for me. The other characters felt very flat to me, which really bummed me out because that tells me the author didn’t flesh them out enough.
The pacing was very uneven. Sometimes things would be going at a decent pace and then shit would hit the fan and it would speed up, only to slow back down a chapter or two later. I wouldn’t say this was a bad book, but I was overall very indifferent to it. So I’m going to give this book 3 stars. I’m not sure I’d recommend this book.

Review: Dead to Me by Mary McCoy

Book Title: Dead to Me
Author: Mary McCoy
Published Date: March 3rd, 2015
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Genre: YA Historical
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
LA Confidential for the YA audience. This alluring noir YA mystery with a Golden Age Hollywood backdrop will keep you guessing until the last page.

“Don’t believe anything they say.”

Those were the last words that Annie spoke to Alice before turning her back on their family and vanishing without a trace. Alice spent four years waiting and wondering when the impossibly glamorous sister she idolized would return to her–and what their Hollywood-insider parents had done to drive her away.

When Annie does turn up, the blond, broken stranger lying in a coma has no answers for her. But Alice isn’t a kid anymore, and this time she won’t let anything stand between her and the truth, no matter how ugly. The search for those who beat Annie and left her for dead leads Alice into a treacherous world of tough-talking private eyes, psychopathic movie stars, and troubled starlets–and onto the trail of a young runaway who is the sole witness to an unspeakable crime. What this girl knows could shut down a criminal syndicate and put Annie’s attacker behind bars–if Alice can find her first. And she isn’t the only one looking

Evoking classic film noir, debut novelist Mary McCoy brings the dangerous glamour of Hollywood’s Golden Age to life, where the most decadent parties can be the deadliest, and no drive into the sunset can erase the crimes of past.
Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from Disney-Hyperion via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
This book intrigued me right from the start. From the moment I saw it on Netgalley, I wanted to read this book. It was kinda out of my comfort zone, but I wanted to give it a shot. It was a quick read, but unfortunately I wasn’t a huge fan of it.
I need to talk about the pacing first because that was my biggest issue with this book. It started off really well. I really liked it and Alice was interesting to me. I wanted to see how things played out with her and her sister. Sister stories are usually some of my favorite things. Especially if they are done well, which I initially felt this one was.
Unfortunately around 25% the pacing slowed down considerably and I started getting really frustrated with what Alice was doing. I started to question everything she was doing because she wasn’t being smart about things. Especially when she started to uncover things about what her sister had been into while she was gone. She was making stupid decisions, and I gotta say that if it was MY sister in the hospital, nothing would have pulled me away from her. 
The pacing sped up a bit around the halfway point of the book, and for the rest of the book, the pace was very jerky. There were fast paced moments here and there, but those were vastly outnumbered by slow paced, boring parts of the book.
There were too many characters to keep track of and I don’t feel like they were fleshed out well at all. I struggled to care about any of them, including Annie. If there had been less characters, I feel like they could have been fleshed out so much better.
So all in all, this book wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t amazing either. I was left feeling kind of meh about it. That really bummed me out as I had high hopes for this book. I’ll be giving this book 3 stars. I am unsure as to whether or not I would recommend it because I seem to be in the minority with this book. So many other people loved it, but not me.

Review: Alex As Well by Alyssa Brugman

Book Title: Alex As Well
Author: Alyssa Brugman
Published Date: January 20th, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Genre: YA Contemporary 
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Alex is ready for things to change, in a big way. Everyone seems to think she’s a boy, but for Alex the whole boy/girl thing isn’t as simple as either/or, and when she decides girl is closer to the truth, no one knows how to react, least of all her parents. Undeterred, Alex begins to create a new identity for herself: ditching one school, enrolling in another, and throwing out most of her clothes. But the other Alex—the boy Alex—has a lot to say about that. Heartbreaking and droll in equal measures, Alex As Well is a brilliantly told story of exploring gender and sexuality, navigating friendships, and finding a place to belong.

Disclaimer: I got this e-ARC from Henry Holt & Co. via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

I was really, really excited about this book and I had high hopes for it, but I ended up being really ambivalent to it which really disappointed me. I wasn’t sure if this would be a straight up transgender story or if it was due to a congenital issue. I could never imagine feeling like I was born in the wrong body so I knew I wouldn’t be able to relate to Alex the way others could, but I really wanted to see how it turned out for him.

Her parents really were crappy. I know it probably wasn’t easy for them when Alex began dressing in women’s clothes and professing that he was a girl, but instead of working to support what their child wanted, they were holding on to the boy that he was made into as an infant. I so wanted his parents to get over it and embrace the child that they did have.

The best part of the book was Alex herself. She was equal parts awesome and brave. She was going through so much and it hurt me that she had no one else she could talk to about this. Belonging is such a big deal, especially in cases like this, and Alex definitely struggled with the desire to belong. She didn’t feel like she belonged anywhere and it was difficult for me to read about that, because I too struggled with not really belonging anywhere.

I am pretty ambivalent about this book. I didn’t love it, but I also didn’t hate it. Unfortunately Alex was not enough for me to enjoy the book. So I’m giving it 3 stars. I think I would recommend it though, as it was an important read for many reasons.

Review: The Memory Key by Liana Liu

Book Title: The Memory Key
Author: Liana Liu
Published Date: March 3rd, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
In a five-minutes-into-the-future world, a bereaved daughter must choose between losing memories of her mother to the haze of time and the reality-distorting, visceral pain of complete, perfect recall.

Lora Mint is determined not to forget.

Though her mother’s been dead for five years, Lora struggles to remember every detail about her—most importantly, the specific events that occurred the night she sped off in her car, never to return.

But in a world ravaged by Vergets disease, a viral form of Alzheimer’s, that isn’t easy. Usually Lora is aided by her memory key, a standard-issue chip embedded in her brain that preserves memories just the way a human brain would. Then a minor accident damages Lora’s key, and her memories go haywire. Suddenly Lora remembers a moment from the night of her mother’s disappearance that indicates her death was no accident. Can she trust these formerly forgotten memories? Or is her ability to remember every painful part of her past driving her slowly mad—burying the truth forever?

Lora’s longing for her lost mother and journey to patch up her broken memories is filled with authentic and poignant emotion. Her race to uncover the truth is a twisty ride. In the end, Liana Liu’s story will spark topical conversations about memory and privacy in a world that is reliant on increasingly invasive forms of technology.

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

This book had a lot of potential to be something truly thought provoking and interesting, and for the most part, I was definitely intrigued and interested in what was going on and what Lora remembered about her mother.

The idea of Verget’s being a viral form of Alzheimer’s was very interesting to me. I wasn’t exactly sure how it would work, but I was definitely fascinated by the possibility of it. We think of Alzheimer’s as something that old people get, and that there’s no real virus or bacteria that causes it. Having Verget’s changes all that.

Lora has never doubted the fact that her mother died in a car crash on her way to work. That’s what she’s always believed and she’s trusted her father and Aunt Austin to have told her the truth about everything. When she gets a minor injury though, things go haywire and suddenly she’s forced to examine the idea that her mother’s death was no accident and that it was probably caused by the people at Keep Corp.

Then the questions continue to fly around her head, and she wonders who she can trust? Can she trust her longtime best friend Wendy and her brother, Tim, who Lora has had a crush on for years. Can she trust the new boy, Raul? Can she even trust her family? As the book continues on, she gets answers questions.

This book really could have been awesome if it weren’t for the very choppy pace of the book. The first 50% I found to be really slow and I nearly decided not to finish it. I was intrigued, but I wasn’t intrigued enough. Now the 2nd half of the book was a little better for me, but it was also increasingly choppy. Some parts were really intriguing and some parts were very boring which lead me to skim the book a little bit.

My feelings about this book are very conflicted. It wasn’t terrible, but I wouldn’t read it again. It was intriguing for a one time read. So I’m going to give it 3 stars. Maybe that’s a bit lazy, but I can’t give it anything else because it doesn’t fit any other rating. I would recommend it because the science fiction parts are interesting, but if you aren’t patient or if you hate books that are very choppy, then I’d skip it.

Review: Every Ugly Word by Aimee L. Salter

Book Title: Every Ugly Word
Author: Aimee L. Salter
Published Date: July 29th, 2014
Publisher: Alloy Entertainment
Genre: YA Contemporary
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Link: Amazon

Synopsis from Goodreads:
 When seventeen-year-old Ashley Watson walks through the halls of her high school bullies taunt and shove her. She can’t go a day without fighting with her mother. And no matter how hard she tries, she can’t make her best friend, Matt, fall in love with her. But Ashley also has something no one else does: a literal glimpse into the future. When Ashley looks into the mirror, she can see her twenty-three-year-old self.

Her older self has been through it all already—she endured the bullying, survived the heartbreak, and heard every ugly word her classmates threw at her. But her older self is also keeping a dark secret: Something terrible is about to happen to Ashley. Something that will change her life forever. Something even her older self is powerless to stop.

Disclaimer: I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

I’m not even sure how I feel about this book. Was I enjoying it and was I excited to pick it back up whenever I could? Yes. Did it confuse me and frustrate me to the point of wanting to yell at the book? Again, that’s a yes. 

This book massively confused me. The timeline would jump from present to past and then back to the present again. I was never sure if Older Me was something Ashley really saw or was she exhibiting symptoms of psychosis that no one caught. I was never really sure if the way her mother treated her was really what happened or if it was just Ashley’s perception. 

I was never really sure about Matt either. He was inconsistent, not swoon-worthy and I never felt romantic sparks between him and Ashley. I actually felt them more with Dex, even though Dex turned out to be a ginormous creep. I didn’t like how Matt continually tried to force Ashley to hang out with his friends, the very friends who tormented Ashley every single day. He didn’t seem to care much about her feelings. He was being selfish and aggravating.

The ending was also confusing. I didn’t know what was happening. I still didn’t know if Older Me was real or a figment of Ashley’s imagination. I didn’t doubt that she went through the incident as she did have the scars to show for it. I really did wish the epilogue was longer as I don’t feel like I got any of my questions answered at all. I’m going to go against my initial instinct and give the book 3 stars. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either. As I reflect on this book, I realize that I was really confused by this entire book.

Review: The Fine Art of Pretending (The Fine Art of Pretending #1) by Rachel Harris

Book Title: The Fine Art of Pretending
Author: Rachel Harris
Published Date: September 30th, 2014
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Series: Book one in The Fine Art of Pretending series.
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
According to the guys at Fairfield Academy, there are two types of girls: the kind you hook up with, and the kind you’re friends with. Seventeen-year-old Alyssa Reed is the second type. And she hates it. With just one year left to change her rank, she devises a plan to become the first type by homecoming, and she sets her sights on the perfect date—Justin Carter, Fairfield Academy’s biggest hottie and most notorious player.

With 57 days until the dance, Aly launches Operation Sex Appeal and sheds her tomboy image. The only thing left is for Justin actually to notice her. Enter best friend Brandon Taylor, the school’s second biggest hottie, and now Aly’s pretend boyfriend. With his help, elevating from “funny friend” to “tempting vixen” is only a matter of time.

But when everything goes according to plan, the inevitable “break up” leaves their friendship in shambles, and Aly and Brandon with feelings they can’t explain. And the fake couple discovers pretending can sometimes cost you the one thing you never expected to want.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Spencer Hill Contemporary via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Okay, so by now you guys should know that I generally don’t do light and fluffy. Light and fluffy normally bores me and I usually need depth to really enjoy the story. However, I had seen this cover awhile back and I fell in love with the cover. So when I saw it up on NetGalley, I decided to give it a shot, hoping desperately that I wouldn’t be disappointed.

Unfortunately, I was disappointed. One of the biggest predictors of whether or not I’ll like a book is how the character development is. If it’s strong and I see a great character arc with tons of growth and I know what makes these characters tick, I’ll like the book. Unfortunately, with this book, the lackuster character development, particularly for Aly, was what ruined the book for me.

I think Gabi had the right idea here. She was the only sensible girl who insisted on questioning Aly’s reasons for doing it. Gabi knew that changing your whole look just so guys will see you in a different light was insane. Yet Aly had been so sick of watching the boys pass her over for some other hottie, that Gabi’s words didn’t sink in like they should have.

Look, I’m not hating on Aly. Really, I’m not. I remember how it felt in high school to have all the boys see you as just a friend. It was incredibly hard and it does do a number on your self esteem when you see all the hot girls having dates constantly and no guy will even look your way. It sucks. I think it was just hard for me to relate to her as I would have never changed myself for a guy. When I was in high school (10+ years ago) I was definitely a tomboy and boys generally didn’t look my way. Was it hard? Yes, of course it was, but it never occurred to me to change myself just so boys would like me.

I never really felt “it” between Aly and Brandon. They didn’t sizzle off my Kindle like I was hoping they would. In romance books, chemistry is key and I just never felt like Aly and Brandon really had chemistry. I did like the tension between them, but I definitely felt like the chemistry was lacking between the two of them. Now friendship chemistry was absolutely there and I felt like they would have made better friends than romantic partners.

All in all, this book wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t one I enjoyed either. I’m pretty indifferent to it actually, which really bums me out. The lackluster character development and the romantic chemistry were both major disappointments to me. For these reasons, I have to give the book 3 stars. I would recommend this book to a younger reader. I think the tone of this book is for a younger reader. I was never able to connect with it.

Review: Never Knowing by Chevy Stevens

Book Title: Never Knowing
Author: Chevy Stevens
Publish Date: July 5th, 2011
Publisher: St. Martins Press
Genre: Adult Mystery
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
The second novel by Chevy Stevens, author of bestseller STILL MISSING.

At thirty-three Sara Gallagher is finally happy. Her antique furniture restoration business is taking off and she’s engaged to a wonderful man. But there’s one big question that still haunts her — who are her birth parents? Sara is finally ready to find out. 

Sara’s birth mother rejects her—again. Then she discovers her biological father is an infamous killer who’s been hunting women every summer for almost forty years. Sara tries to come to terms with her horrifying parentage — and her fears that she’s inherited more than his looks — with her therapist, Nadine, who we first met in “Still Missing.” But soon Sara realizes the only thing worse than finding out your father is a killer is him finding out about you. 

Some questions are better left unanswered. 

“Never knowing” is a complex and compelling portrayal of one woman’s quest to understand where she comes from. That is, if she can survive…

Disclaimer: I got this book from the library.

I was really excited about this book when I first started it, but that excitement waned as I read the book which really bummed me out. I was excited about this book because I love stories about adoption. Plus I knew very little about my own father so I wanted to see how Sara’s story played out.

I feel like I’ve said this multiple times recently, but I don’t have to like the characters in order to like the book. However, Sara was obnoxious. I get wanting to know about your biological parents. I get wanting to know where you came from, but clearly Sara’s birth-mother didn’t want to talk to her and after finding out that her father was the infamous Campsite Killer, Sara should have just dropped it. 

I found her to be very selfish and I completely agreed with Evan, her fiance, the entire book. She didn’t know how to just let it go. She put her fiance in danger, she put her daughter in danger. Not cool and she definitely was not protecting Ally even though she swore up and down that protecting Ally was her priority.

The character development was lacking pretty much across the board, which bummed me out.  as I put very high emphasis on wanting well developed characters. The most well developed character I thought was Ally. It’s hard for children to be well developed characters in books, but that was one thing that Stevens did well in this book.

The pacing was great and I did enjoy the ending of the book. It was exactly how I would have ended the book if I were Stevens. However the character development and most specifically, Sara’s actions throughout the entire book really ruined the book for me. So that is why I am going to have to give the book 3 stars.I didn’t hate it, but I also didn’t love it.