WE’LL FLY AWAY by Bryan Bliss | Review

Amazon | TBD | Goodreads

Uniquely told through letters from death row and third-person narrative, Bryan Bliss’s hard-hitting third novel expertly unravels the string of events that landed a teenager in jail. Luke feels like he’s been looking after Toby his entire life. He patches Toby up when Toby’s father, a drunk and a petty criminal, beats on him, he gives him a place to stay, and he diffuses the situation at school when wise-cracking Toby inevitably gets into fights. Someday, Luke and Toby will leave this small town, riding the tails of Luke’s wrestling scholarship, and never look back.

But during their senior year, they begin to drift apart. Luke is dealing with his unreliable mother and her new boyfriend. And Toby unwittingly begins to get drawn into his father’s world, and falls for an older woman. All their long-held dreams seem to be unraveling. Tense and emotional, this heartbreaking novel explores family, abuse, sex, love, friendship, and the lengths a person will go to protect the people they love. 


This book is an absolute emotional rollercoaster.

First off, the characters are absolutely brilliant. Bliss is an expert at showing their bond and their impoverished situation that you can’t help but sympathize and find someway to relate to them.

I want to start out talking about the “twist” in the book. I’m here to say that while I feel it is easy for the reader to figure out what is really going on early in the beginning, Bliss wasn’t trying to create this HAHA FOOLED YOU moment, but rather write about the strong bond between two boys towards the end of high school. How hard it is to figure out where you stand in this adult world when you’ve already been forced to be in that situation for so long.

Bliss notes at the end how he felt this was mainly written to make a statement about death row, but I really felt that the story took a step to the back, as Luke and Toby’s characters where just so strong that it really made it about the trials of growing up and the unexpected that can happen with friendship and time.

The prose in this book are very strong, very compelling, and very emotional. I was very surprised when I saw that not many people are talking about it, as this book needs to be read more. I was very moved, and I loved every page.

Rating:


What’s the most emotional book you’ve ever read? Let’s chat in the comments!

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HIDDEN BODIES by Caroline Kepnes | Review

Amazon | TBD | Goodreads

442 Pages

Sequel to You. Joe Goldberg is no stranger to hiding bodies. In the past ten years, this thirty-something has buried four of them, collateral damage in his quest for love. Now he’s heading west to Los Angeles, the city of second chances, determined to put his past behind him.

In Hollywood, Joe blends in effortlessly with the other young upstarts. He eats guac, works in a bookstore, and flirts with a journalist neighbor. But while others seem fixated on their own reflections, Joe can’t stop looking over his shoulder. The problem with hidden bodies is that they don’t always stay that way. They re-emerge, like dark thoughts, multiplying and threatening to destroy what Joe wants most: true love. And when he finds it in a darkened room in Soho House, he’s more desperate than ever to keep his secrets buried. He doesn’t want to hurt his new girlfriend—he wants to be with her forever. But if she ever finds out what he’s done, he may not have a choice…


I felt the ending to You (read my review here) was perfect. When I found out there was a sequel, I was skeptical — was this just a money grab?

FULL DISCLOSURE: This is a review of a SEQUEL; if you haven’t read the first one, be strongly cautioned. While I will try to keep this review entirely spoiler free of the first one, I cannot make any promises.

I’m happy to report, that when I picked this up, I fell into a similar rhythm as I did with You — it was very hard to put down.

On the good notes, Joe is a character you just can never get enough of. He’s a character that you can also really never make your mind up about. He’s pure evil, pure crazy, yet you can’t help but feel sorry for him and want good things to happen to him.

This novel overall was action packed, sexy, and filled with many things that I loved about the first one.

Now onto the reasons why I just can’t give this a full five stars like it’s predecessor.

While there was an overall sense of not being able to put the book down, there were a couple moments and chapters that I felt added absolutely nothing to the main plot. It felt as if Kepnes was trying to figure out where she wanted to go next with Joe, but just wasn’t quite sure.

I also feel that the story, as a whole, was very unplanned, very unrealistic. The one thing that made You so thrilling was that it felt so real. At times, however, some of the situations Joe was finding himself in just seemed so absurd that it pulled from that realness.

As with the people who don’t . . . survive. I felt that in the first one, you built a rage with Joe — that these people deserved their fate, as Joe was just so convincing — made you hate them too. And I just wasn’t getting that with these victims.

But, even with those critiques, I still felt it was a strong sequel. Do I really think it was necessary? No. But, it entertained me, and I got to spend more time with a character who I really enjoy.

Rating

Tag | Wonderstruck Book Tag

I was tagged by the amazing Sara about a million years ago! School is finally coming to a slow-down, so I’m trying to do my catch-up game here!

Sara knows just how much I love me some Taylor Swift, so here we go!

  • Link back to the creator (Olivia)
  • Answer as many or as few of the questions as you’d like.
  • Feel free to use any of the graphics in this post. 
  • Tag however many people you’d like at the end!

I tend not read many books that “break my heart,” so I’m going to stray a little for this answer. Hamlet is probably my favorite Shakespeare play out of the right I had to read for university this semester. Hamlet’s character is just so easy to feel sorry for, and the inevitable doom he brings upon himself is just sad.

This book . . . goodness. This book does not get the credit it deserves! It is one of the most, if not the most, psychologically thrilling books I’ve ever read. This is a true, modern-day, literary masterpiece. You can read my review of it here.

To be honest, I wouldn’t care for *any* book to become a movie, because they always seem to mess everything up. But I feel that Ask the Passengers would be a great one — it’s light and coming-of-age. You can read my review here.


I believe this came out my first year in high school, and I just remember thinking of how beautiful it looked! (P.S. This is definitely one of my favorite Ellen Hopkins books, so if you can, check it out! It’s a quick read! She’s definitely an author I don’t see too much on WP!)

I’m going to have to take Sara’s answer for this one. This is one of the very few books I’ve re-read. And this is the ONLY book I’ve re-read more than once. A true masterpiece.

WHY IS NO ONE STILL READING THESE?!?! I was so obsessed with this trilogy when I was younger! Ugh! Sooooo underrated!

Still remains as one of the best fantasies I’ve ever read. The second I picked this up, I couldn’t put it down. Rothfuss manages to just bring you into his world and never let you go.

Refer to “Shake It Off.”

While there was never any defined “romance” in Renegades, I absolutly loved the tension between Nova and Adrian.

This could also fall under the category of “a book I still think about after reading it.” I just wasn’t expecting so much from this, as I’m usually let down by “hyped-up” books. But everything was just done so well in this — it dragged me through all of the emotions.

Eragon is the book that got me into fantasy. Unfortunately, I DNFd Eldest 150 pages in because it bored me to death.


I love tags and Taylor Swift! So, if you love those two things, consider yourself tagged!


What’s a book series where you loved the first book and hated the sequel? Let’s chat in the comments!

TAG | The Liebster Award

School is FINALLY starting to wind down, so now I have little to no excuses to not blog!

Ally nominated me for the Liebster award in February, so THANK YOU AND I’M SO SORRY IT TOOK ME SO LONG OT GET AROUND TO THIS!! Everyone, please go check out her blog!

The Liebster Award Rules

  1. Acknowledge the blog that gave it to you and display the award
  2. Answer 11 questions that the blogger gives you
  3. Give 11 random facts about yourself
  4. Nominate 11 blogs and notify them of their nomination
  5. Give these blogs 11 questions to answer

Questions from Ally

  1. If you could acquire any ability, what would it be?
    • The ability to hoola-hoop! I’ve literally never figured out how, and I’m pretty sure, at this point, it’s witchcraft (the dark kind).
  2. What’s your perfect breakfast?
    • Waffles (preferably chocolate), with two eggs, sunny side up! OR yogurt and toast!
  3. What’s your phone background?
    • My lock screen is my girlfriend and I from Christmas and my home background is me and my cat, Jonas!
  4. Who was your first favourite author?
    • I have several, but if I was forced at gunpoint to pick just one, to keep it fair (since this author is now dead), I’d say J.D. Salinger.
  5. If you could use any spell from Harry Potter, which would it be and why?
    • I have literally never read a HP book in my life . . . sorry (**everyone unfollows)
  6. If you could only name your children (or pets if you don’t want children) after the characters in a book series, which series and names would you choose?
    • Ha! Probably the Thrown of Glass series. I like Dorian, Aelin, and Rowan as names.
  7. What’s something you’ve recently been obsessed with? Gush about it.
    • BAKING! I just LOVE baking, and I try to find a new recipe to make every weekend, though it’s difficult when 1) you’re attempting to eat as healthy as possible 2) you have a college budget and 3) you have little kitchen space
  8. If you could require everyone to read one book, which book would it be?
    • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  9. Hot or iced coffee?
    • Hot
  10. What was your favourite subject in school?
    • Math from Sophomore year below. English Junior and Senior year.
  11. If you could tell your 15-year-old self one thing, what would it be?
    • STOP TAKING EVERYTHING SO SERIOUSLY NO MATTER HOW SERIOUS THEY MAY SEEM!!!!!!!!!

11 Random Facts About Me

  1. I h a t e bacon.
  2. My preferred egg style is sunny-side up or scrambled.
  3. When I first adopted my cat, Jonas, he had an upper-respiratory infection that was not going away, and the vet scared me thinking he might have feline HIV or leukemia. Lots of money and tests later, it was, in fact, just the sniffles. (pictures of Jonas in little form below)
  4. I used to weigh 355 pounds.
  5. I lost over 150+ pounds.
  6. I used to know someone in high school who was afraid of the number nine.
  7. FACT: Dipping your grilled cheese in ketchup is underrated.
  8. I was drum major of our local marching band my senior year in high school.
  9. I used to have an unhealthy obsession with rollercoasters (still kind of do).
  10. Single origin, light-roast coffee is my preferred bean!
  11. Hammonds, currently, is my favorite chocolate brand . . . (huge shoutout to Sara for this)

My Questions for You

  1. Cake or non-cake donut?
  2. What is you preferred milk type (two percent, whole, almond)?
  3. What’s the last book you check out form the library?
  4. Have you ever met anyone famous?
  5. What’s the last thing you’ve cooked or baked from scratch?
  6. Biscuits or bagels?
  7. baby boi or BIG BOI? (refer to and include one above picture)
  8. If you could have dinner with one author that’s alive, who would it be?
  9. What is your most anticipated release of the year?
  10. What’s been your most disappointing read this year, so far?
  11. What was the last song you listened to?

I understand we’re doing an 11 theme here but I don’t think that’s happening! NOMINATIONS:

Sara / Crystal / Jessica / Sahi / Bibi / Robin


Answer a question from one of “my questions for you” in the comments! Let’s chat!

YOU’D BE MINE by Erin Hahn | Review

I was provided a free copy of this by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Release: April 2, 2019

Amazon | Goodreads

302 Pages

Annie Mathers is America’s sweetheart and heir to a country music legacy full of all the things her Gran warned her about. Superstar Clay Coolidge is most definitely going to end up one of those things. 

But unfortunately for Clay, if he can’t convince Annie to join his summer tour, his music label is going to drop him. That’s what happens when your bad boy image turns into bad boy reality. Annie has been avoiding the spotlight after her parents’ tragic death, except on her skyrocketing YouTube channel. Clay’s label wants to land Annie, and Clay has to make it happen. 

Swayed by Clay’s undeniable charm and good looks, Annie and her band agree to join the tour. From the start fans want them to be more than just tour mates, and Annie and Clay can’t help but wonder if the fans are right. But if there’s one part of fame Annie wants nothing to do with, it’s a high-profile relationship. She had a front row seat to her parents’ volatile marriage and isn’t interested in repeating history. If only she could convince her heart that Clay, with his painful past and head over heels inducing tenor, isn’t worth the risk.


I think the first thing that attracted to me to this book, in all honesty, was the cover. So, I’m going to give it major pointers there before we get started. Second, was the premise — I mean, getting to travel along on a dreamy, summer country tour and swoon along the way? I couldn’t resist.

This is Hahn’s debut novel, and let me tell you how impressed I am. This story is so light, so fun, so heart-wrenchingly/warmingly good, that I am so honored I got to be one of the first to read it.

Clay and Annie, the MCs, in this are just absolutely amazing. One thing that really makes a book for me is that the characters need to be so real that I ca almost reach out and touch them, and that’s what Hahn has done here.

One of the things I enjoyed the most about this, was that Clay, while the male love interest, was never described as being anything other than “handsome and broad shouldered”, which is beyond what I coud ask for. In most romance novels, it seems, description of their ‘wash-board abs” and “perfect smile” get in the way, but Hahn knew what she was doing with this one by keeping a lot of the details up to the reader, which really really worked.

I think my all time favorite thing in this, however, wasn’t only the connection between the characters throughout and the how Hahn’s minimalism in graphic description really made for the work, but possibly the songs that Hahn crafts for us. Each of the originals in here that Clay and Annie sing, I can almost hear, can almost picture myself listening to on a stroll to class or with the windows down, driving home to my little town in Tennessee.

Hahn has crafted a beautiful little story here that is so warm that it reminds me of fresh baked apple pie sitting on the windowsill. Give this one a shot. Clay’s and Annie’s stories are sure to win you over and have you melting too.

Rating;


What do you look for in a romance? Let’s chat in the comments!

YOU by Caroline Kepnes | Review

Amazon | TBD | Goodreads

422 Pages

When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card.

There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.

As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder.


I walked by this book in my library, and it managed to catch my eye. I had heard through the grapevine about the show on Netflix and have almost watched it once or twice, so I was very very wary of the book. Every time I seem to pick up a hyped thriller, I always seem to be disappointed (if there are any The Girl on the Train lovers here, I’m sorry).

After about the first page of You, however, I was hooked.

I think, throughout the course of this book, it’s really hard to say there’s a definite protagonist, as the main POV is definitely from someone who you would consider antagonistic. But, I was reading the reviews on the inside cover and one of them mentioned how you can’t help but root or feel sympathy for the main character (who is clearly a “bad” guy), and I cannot help but agree.

I feel this book was a perfect balance for a thriller — there was sex, violence, mystery, and characters you could really dig your teeth into. I could not put this book down, and I read it in an amount of time that I hardly ever experience with my university, now it seems. I just found this book strangely erotic and un-put-downable.

This book is constantly keeping you on your toes, and I felt the ending was exactly the ending I could have academically and unprofessionally hoped for.

(Now, I know there’s a sequel . . . so we’ll see on what we do with that now.)

Nevertheless, if you love Dark Places by Gillian Flynn or any fast-paced thriller, I think you’ll devour this one like I did.

Rating


Have you seen the Netflix show? If you have, what did you think of it? What’s your favorite thriller? Let’s chat in the comments!

IDENTICAL by Ellen Hopkins | Review

Amazon | TBD | Goodreads

565 Pages

Do twins begin in the womb?
Or in a better place?

Kaeleigh and Raeanne are identical down to the dimple. As daughters of a district-court judge father and a politician mother, they are an all-American family—on the surface. Behind the facade each sister has her own dark secret, and that’s where their differences begin.

For Kaeleigh, she’s the misplaced focus of Daddy’s love, intended for a mother whose presence on the campaign trail means absence at home. All that Raeanne sees is Daddy playing a game of favorites—and she is losing. If she has to lose, she will do it on her own terms, so she chooses drugs, alcohol, and sex.

Secrets like the ones the twins are harboring are not meant to be kept—from each other or anyone else. Pretty soon it’s obvious that neither sister can handle it alone, and one sister must step up to save the other, but the question is—who? 


I think one of the hardest things in a book for me to get over in a novel is rape. I feel it’s a very difficult subject to write about without making me put the book down and just scream — what gives you the right? 

I had an experience like this with a novel called Push by Sapphire which infuriated me to no end by describing, in extremely graphic detail, the rape of a child. So, going into this book by one of my favorite authors, I was slightly hesitant. It was one of the only books I hadn’t read by her yet, and I almost wonder if it was because I just never got around to it or because I was nervous I would hate it.

Well, I will say, that I am very happy to report that I, in fact, did not hate this. I feel it handled the topic extremely well.

As with most of her books, this is in verse. I feel it added a certain something to the text and scenario that prose wouldn’t have been able to do. Where we would have normally had great detail of graphic scenes in prose, in fact, we just had Hopkins doing what she does best – creating amazing characters.

Also, as always, I did not see the twist coming in this one. I don’t remember where I was, but it really hits you in the face unexpectedly, in a good way.

The reason I do have to take a star away is that I feel it could have been a good forty pages longer to really explain what happened after, as I felt the ending was very rushed.

Overall, though, I really enjoyed this.

Rating:



How do you feel about novels dealing with subjects such as rape? Have you read any Ellen Hopkins? Let’s chat in the comments!