Monday, June 10, 2019

#gretchensbooks2019 - May

I know I said I'd be better about making sure this was written in a timely manner, but alas, we are a third of the way through June and I'm just now clicking the publish button. With the end of school, my road trip, and CMA fest all piled into the last three weeks, I just haven't had the time to sit down with my computer and here is to another month of short and sweet book reviews.

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(Summaries are from Amazon, but all reviews are my own!)

43. The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian (1.5/5 ★)

Cassandra Bowden is no stranger to hungover mornings. She's a binge drinker, her job with the airline making it easy to find adventure, and the occasional blackouts seem to be inevitable. She lives with them, and the accompanying self-loathing. When she awakes in a Dubai hotel room, she tries to piece the previous night back together, counting the minutes until she has to catch her crew shuttle to the airport. She quietly slides out of bed, careful not to aggravate her already pounding head, and looks at the man she spent the night with. She sees his dark hair. His utter stillness. And blood, a slick, still wet pool on the crisp white sheets. Afraid to call the police - she's a single woman alone in a hotel room far from home - Cassie begins to lie. She lies as she joins the other flight attendants and pilots in the van. She lies on the way to Paris as she works the first class cabin. She lies to the FBI agents in New York who meet her at the gate. Soon it's too late to come clean-or face the truth about what really happened back in Dubai. Could she have killed him? If not, who did? 

I listened to this as an audiobook and it took me FOREVER to get through.  I checked this one out form the library on CD instead of using the app, which means I couldn't speed up the narration, which probably contributed to the fact that it took all month to listen to. But also, it was just a really slow story line.  The story was very dull and shallow.  Honestly, there is more suspense in the description of the story than in the actual story. Don't read it. Just don't. If it is already on your TBR list, take it off.

44. It End with Us by Colleen Hoover (4/5 ★)

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up—she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan—her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

Okay I was mildly infuriated in the beginning of this, because I was not about to read a book where the female character is willingly abused, but without giving too much away, the story rectified itself. I'm not usually a love story kind of reader, but Colleen Hoover's stories are quick enough that I don't get bored with them before finished. I've recommended her as an author to anyone looking for easy reads who are into the non-erotica kind of romance stories.

45. Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson (2.5/5 ★)

Orange Is the New Black meets Walter Dean Myer’s Monster in this gritty, twisty, and haunting debut by Tiffany D. Jackson about a girl convicted of murder seeking the truth while surviving life in a group home.
Mary B. Addison killed a baby.
Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: a white baby had died while under the care of a churchgoing black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it?
There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted—and their unborn child—to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary’s fate now lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But does anyone know the real Mary?

I think this one was recommended to me, but I didn't love it.  I kept feeling like I totally missed some major part of the story. I listened to it as an audio book and I LOVE Bahni Turpin as the narrator. 

46. The Girl in the Locked Room by Mary Downing Hahn (5/5 ★)

A family moves into an old, abandoned house. Jules's parents love the house, but Jules is frightened and feels a sense of foreboding. When she sees a pale face in an upstairs window, though, she can't stop wondering about the eerie presence on the top floor—in a room with a locked door. Could it be someone who lived in the house a century earlier?

Her fear replaced by fascination, Jules is determined to make contact with the mysterious figure and help unlock the door. Past and present intersect as she and her ghostly friend discover—and change—the fate of the family who lived in the house all those many years ago.

This is a middle grade novel, but I read Took when it came out a few years ago and enjoyed it, so I wanted to read this one as well! I love Hahn's ghost stories - great stories for kids and kids-at-heart!

47. Confess by Colleen Hoover (3/5 ★)

At age twenty-one, Auburn Reed has already lost everything important to her. In her fight to rebuild her shattered life, she has her goals in sight and there is no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry. 

For once, Auburn takes a chance and puts her heart in control, only to discover that Owen is keeping a major secret from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

To save their relationship, all Owen needs to do is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin.

Another fun Hoover novel! Honestly, her books are all pretty predictable because they're the same story with different characters and a different crisis, but because they're such quick reads I keep devouring them. 

48. Without Merit by Colleen Hoover (4/5 ★)

The Voss family is anything but normal. They live in a repurposed church, newly baptized Dollar Voss. The once cancer-stricken mother lives in the basement, the father is married to the mother’s former nurse, the little half-brother isn’t allowed to do or eat anything fun, and the eldest siblings are irritatingly perfect. Then, there’s Merit.

Merit Voss collects trophies she hasn’t earned and secrets her family forces her to keep. While browsing the local antiques shop for her next trophy, she finds Sagan. His wit and unapologetic idealism disarm and spark renewed life into her—until she discovers that he’s completely unavailable. Merit retreats deeper into herself, watching her family from the sidelines, when she learns a secret that no trophy in the world can fix.

Fed up with the lies, Merit decides to shatter the happy family illusion that she’s never been a part of before leaving them behind for good. When her escape plan fails, Merit is forced to deal with the staggering consequences of telling the truth and losing the one boy she loves.

Poignant and powerful, Without Merit explores the layers of lies that tie a family together and the power of love and truth.

Although mildly predictable, I enjoyed this one. It was a quick read, and entertaining the whole way through. Definitely recommend - would make a perfect pool book!

49. November 9 by Colleen Hoover (4/5 ★)

Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.
Can Ben’s relationship with Fallon—and simultaneously his novel—be considered a love story if it ends in heartbreak?

This is probably my favorite Hoover read thus far. In typical Colleen Hoover fashion, this book went in many directions, which of course all connected at the end. I would recommend not reading this one first, because I don't think the others are as good!

Reading Challenge: 49/50 books read in 2019

You can find previous book reviews here!

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