Watcha Reading Wednesday

Watcha Reading Wednesday

Another week, another Wednesday! This week I’ve slowed down a bit and am only reading one book!

My CR is Sinner’s Playground (The Harlequin Crew #1) by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti.

I had been seeing this book everywhere and added it to my TBR. Instead of picking up one of the many physical books on my TBR, I decided to buy the kindle version of this and dive right in. I can’t stop reading it…I’m enthralled by the story and characters. This Dark Gang Romance has had me turning pages faster than ever before, I’m that interested in what’s happening.

Rogue is back from the dead and here to haunt her past. She’s on a mission and will stop at nothing to get what she wants…enter the Harlequin Boys rom her childhood.

This book has the POV of Rogue, Maverick, Fox, JJ, and Chase and I am living for each of them. I’m about 400 pages in and I may or may not be obsessed with Rogue and am slightly in love with Fox and his overprotective tendencies, as well as JJ’s personality. The sexual tension is *chef’s kiss* and I am waiting for the other shoe to drop. I believe this is a RH, so I’m (im)patiently waiting for Rogue to make her rounds. Le Sigh.

I have a feeling I’ll be on book two by the end of the day!

Synopsis

Here’s the synopsis from amazon…see trigger warnings at the end!

Dead girls don’t feel pain.

But they like the taste of vengeance.

Maybe that’s why I came back to my hometown. Because it sure as hell wasn’t for the surf. But what else was I supposed to do when I found myself in Sunset Cove with twenty bucks to my name, the key to my enemies’ secrets hanging around my neck and a mouth full of grave dirt that wouldn’t wash clean?

I hate the Harlequin boys.

But this is the perfect opportunity to take what they owe me. Because once upon a time, they broke my heart, stole my life and sent me away from everything I’d ever known.

Fox, JJ, Chase and Maverick.

The four names tattooed onto my heart more permanently than any of the ink on my skin. They don’t just live in this town anymore, they rule it. And the view here may be beautiful, but the sun, sea and sand hide dark secrets.

The gangs.
The lies.
The violence.

It all lurks beneath a veil so thin that once you’ve seen through it, you can never close your eyes to the truth again.

But I don’t plan on closing my eyes. I have four devils set in my sights. And this dead girl no longer has anything to lose.

This is an enemies to lovers contemporary series where the girl will end up with multiple love interests and all of the characters are in their late twenties. Trigger warning: this series features gangs, violence, dark romance and jealous/possessive themes.

Wrap-Ups

June 2021 Wrap-Up

June has been a busy, busy month, but I had a great reading month! School ended on the 22nd of June and because of hybrid learning, I had a lot of time to read at work the last few weeks of school. I’ve found that my routine has been work, home, read, nap, read, eat, read, bed. I try to fill all of my free time with reading or crafting…it’s going great so far! I also found out today that I can read while I’m on the bike or treadmill at the gym; or I can listen to an audiobook – another win!

Monthly Stats

  • Books: 18
  • Authors: 5: Jennifer L Armentrout, Katee Robert, Tessa Bailey, Harley Laroux, and Kelly Garrett
  • ReReads: none (I did start a reread but won’t be done by the time June is over)
  • Genres: YA Fantasy, Adult Fantasy, Dark Romance, Mystery
  • Pages Read: about 6,848 give or take a few (kindle books and goodreads have varying pages and I don’t trust the accuracy)
  • Star Break Down: 5 star reads: 6 ; 4 star reads: 11 ; 3 star reads: 1

Books, Ratings, and Brief Thoughts!

5 stars
This book is the last in the Titan series and I loved every second of it. I highly rec reading Covenant series (YA series that this is the spinoff of) and then reading this one!
5 stars
This was a highly anticipated release for me and it did not disappoint. I loved the modern day Hades Persephone retelling and the smut in this was *chef’s kiss*.
4 stars
This was a unintentional read. I needed a quick read to cleanse my pallette and I stumbled across this. This was an interesting read, but I somehow enjoyed it. Please check out trigger warnings before reading!
4 stars each
I kept seeing great things about this series on the JLA FB groups I’m in and decided to finally pick it up. Once again, JLA did not disappoint. This is an adult fantasy with Fae (as the enemies!!!) and a fantastic character named Tink! I fell in love with Ren as soon as we met him, but because of the Passionflix movie, all I can see is a young John Travolta…not that it’s a bad thing. I appreciated the story line of this series and sped through it in a few days. Highly recommend!
4 stars each
I was on a JLA streak this month, clearly. I had to dive into this series next because the same FB groups kept mentioning Roth and I was intrigued. I am proud to say I am 100% team Roth and NOT team Zayne. I’m always one for the bad boy with a heart, and in this case, he’s a DEMON! This was a fun, magic filled YA fantasy that I wish was adult…can Roth have his own adult series like Seth or… the sexual tension between Roth and Layla is amazing and I would literally die for Bambi the snake. I want my own familiar…sigh.
Books 1-3: 4 stars, books 4-5: 5 stars
I am beyond obsessed with this series. I am currently rereading book 4 and will probably end up continuing into book 5. I don’t think I can choose which of JLA’s series are my favorite, but Daemon Black is high on my list of book boyfriends (as is Seth, Cas, Roth, Ren…). Again, I wish this series had an adult spinoff, but my imagination is enough. I live for the sexual tension between Kat and Daemon. I want to punch Ash and Andrew in the face; I want to be BFFs with Archer and Dee, and I want some sexy aliens in my life (good or bad…I’m not picky). This series will have you feeling every single emotion possible and may make you lose your sanity in the best way.
5 stars
This is the first three books of the Lux series in Daemon’s POV and I LOVED IT. This isn’t in print because it was almost 1,000 pages, so you can only find his POV in Obsidian in stores. Seeing inside Daemon’s head gave me so much insight to why he was a douche canoe to Kat at the start and it really opened my eyes and made me love him even more (as if that was possible).
5 stars
This is an adult spin-off of the Lux series with a character named Hunter. When I say this book will make you swoon and sweat, I mean it in the best way. Hunter is an Arum, enemy to Daemon’s kind (Luxen) and seeing in his head as the “enemy” was fascinating. JLA really did an amazing job with this one. I so wish this wasn’t a standalone!
4 stars
HOLY MOLY! This book is H O T. Tessa Bailey does a phenomenal job with this story and I loved every steamy minute of it. I am in love with Bowen and need more of him. Again…bad boys with hearts do it for me… 😉
3 stars This was a fun YA Mystery to read. I didn’t love the main character’s attitude/personality, but I enjoyed the plot enough that I continued reading. I recommend this for YA readers that haven’t tried any mystery’s yet. It has a good plot twist at the end and is a great intro to the genre!

Well folks, that was an intense month of reading! I’m going on vacation in July so I doubt it will be as prosperous as June, but never say never!

What was your favorite read of the month?

Personal

Blog Update!

Hi all! I am SO sorry that I’ve been MIA! Work and life has sucked up all of my extra attention. I have been reading, A LOT, but haven’t had time or motivation to blog or do reviews.

I’m currently reading Jennifer L Armentrout’s Lux Series and the main character is a book lover and has her own blog! This character has inspired me to make time for blogging! One of Katy’s videos that she makes is called “My Mailbox Monday” and I am totally going to start doing that, but in written form! I plan to make a post on Mondays about the books I’ve gotten throughout the week (via mail, Little Free Libraries, other means). I also want to start posting more blog posts!

We’re going to Las Vegas and San Diego in July and I looked at the Little Free Library map and there are TONS of them in those places! I may need to bring an empty suitcase just for books. I also want to hit up bookstores in San Diego. I can’t visit a new place and not go to the book places!

I have also almost hit my 75 book goal on GoodReads! I’m two books away!!!!! I’m so excited!

This was short and sweet, but I just wanted you to know that I’m alive and well and will be returning soon!

Have a fabulous day!

❤ Allison

Book Reviews

Fat Chance, Charlie Vega Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Synopsis

Charlie is a 16 year old, fat, brown girl that is just trying to live her best life. Her best friend is everything everyone else loves in a girl, making Charlie feel like she lives in her shadow. This book takes us through the journey of what it’s like being a fat girl in our current society. We follow Charlie through arguments with her mom, love and heartbreak, and get an inside look at her self-esteem and thoughts about herself. This is beautifully written and is relatable whether you’re 16 or 27!

My Thoughts

I can honestly say that I don’t think I have emotionally related to a character so much in my life before. Charlie is a fat, brown girl living in today’s cruel society with unrealistic expectations. I relate to the fat part, which is mostly what this book focuses on. This story made me time travel back to my high school years and relive all of the crap I went through because I wasn’t meeting the societal standard appearance wise. Like Charlie, I had stunning best friends, had boys talk to me so they could talk to them (or so they could later tell me they would never date someone like me…that happened in 7th grade), dealt with family members constantly ragging on my weight, struggled to shop in “normal” stores, and had really terrible self esteem and self worth. Hell, I just turned 27 and I STILL struggle with body image and not comparing myself to everyone. Like Charlie, I follow all the body positive “fatshion” people, hype them up, think they’re the most beautiful people in the world (they are!) and then look in the mirror and want to rip out my hair because of what I see.

Charlie struggles with herself throughout the book because of how she sees herself and how she thinks others see her. My favorite part is that Charlie didn’t go on a diet and didn’t try and change how she looked because of the pressures around her. By the end of the book, she looked exactly the same, but she was learning to love the skin she was in. I think this is such an important message, especially being a YA book. So many times I’ve read books with “plus size” main characters and in order to be happy or find love, they have to change who they are inside and out, so that they can conform with society. What kind of message is that sending? I appreciate so much how Crystal wrote this story. It made it feel more real to me.

I saw so much of myself in Charlie and wish that I was able to be more loving toward myself at her age. This book really made me open my eyes (I may have also splurged on some hot bathing suits for the summer because the confidence this book instilled in me) and made me see that my size and shape is NOT what defines my happiness. If I want to change something or try to be more healthier, sure I can do that. BUT, I don’t have to change anything to fit the norms of this shitty world. I don’t need to look like the super models (hell, even “plus size models” don’t meet up to what I think is plus size), I don’t need to try every fad diet to be healthy, or go to the gym every day…I just need to take care of me, starting with my mental health!

Seeing Charlie grow throughout the story was beautiful as well. I wanted to punch Cal in the face, and fell in love with Brian. There may have been some tears at some point…maybe a lot. I appreciated the relationship Charlie had with her mother. Relationships with parents are hard and nowhere near perfect. Their relationship, minus a few quirks, reminded me a lot of what I saw with my friends and their moms or dads growing up.

So, thank you to Crystal Maldonado for writing this beautiful piece. I can’t rave enough about your portray of a protagonist fat girl. You made a relatable and wonderful story and I hope high schoolers read this story and can see themselves in Charlie, just like I did. Thank you!

Tags

R.I.P It or Ship It Book Tag

I found this book tag on Dreamland Book Blog and just had to try it!

The Rules

  1. Write down a list of book characters. I wrote down 14.
  2. Put into a container of your choice: I chose a cup…it’s what I had closest to me!
  3. Pick two names at a time.
  4. Decide if you ship the relationship or if you want the relationship to cease existence! Easy enough!

Round One: Ship it!

Couple number 1 is: Castiel from From Blood and Ash and Morana from The Darkverse Series. Honestly…I think I ship this one! Both are badass and would challenge each other in the best ways possible. Morana kind of reminds me of a mob version of Poppy anyway, so I think it would work (at least for a bit anyway!)

Round Two: RIP it!

Couple number two is: Poppy from From Blood and Ash and Aren from The Bridge Kingdom. I can’t see Poppy with anyone but Castiel…I loved Aren, but I don’t know if it would work with them. Aren’s land is kind of secluded and Poppy has been secluded her whole life. I don’t see it being a thing…thank you, NEXT.

Round Three: Ship It!

Couple number three is: Bryce from Crescent City and Dex Foray from the Experiment in Terror Series. What personalities these two have! They would give each other a run for their money and the spice in the sheets would be *chef’s kiss*. Both like to have fun and do risky things, so they’re perfect!

Round Four: RIP It!

Couple number four is: Katniss from the Hunger Games and Perry from the Experiment in Terror Series. I don’t know how I feel about Katniss and Perry being together. I love Perry to death, and Katniss is great, but I don’t think they’d make a rockin’ couple. I don’t even know if they would be friends. I think Katniss would annoy Perry and it would get old real fast. Perry is also a lot like me and I don’t think I would enjoy being in a relationship with Katniss so…I’m gonna have to go with NO on this one.

Round Five: RIP It!

Couple number five is: River from Fables and Other Lies and Wrath from Kingdom of the Wicked. River has his own charm, but Wrath is the embodiment of sin (literally…look at his name). There would be a huge power struggle in this relationship, but I think Wrath would end up killing River in the end..so it probably wouldn’t work out. I wouldn’t mind watching them try though…I’ll make the popcorn!

Round Six: I Ship It…but it’s complicated

Couple number six is: Aelin from the Throne of Glass Series and Ryder from the Fae Chronicles. Holy crap. I would LOVE to see this happen. However, Ryder is super dominant and would try to get Aelin to submit and she would take absolutely none of his shit! She’d probably try to get him to submit, which isn’t in his vocabulary, so it would probably a hot mess (emphasis on hot). I think it would be a constant back and forth for power and Aelin would somehow end up on top, as she always does. Ryder would turn into a beast and it would get messy…but it would probably be worth it. Maybe…

Round Seven: Ship It…;)

Couple Number Seven is: Ristan the Demon from the Fae Chronicles and Rhysand from A Court of Thorns and Roses. OH.MY.GOD. What a pairing! These two have such snarky personalities…I would LOVE to see them attempt a relationship. I can’t imagine how funny it would be to be friends with the both of them together. I need it to happen. High Lord of the Night Court and his Demon…we love to see it. Yes, please. The trouble they would get into together…I see lots of sexy adventures that they include all their friends in for…YAS.

That was more fun than I anticipated. I would love to do this with different characters too! I’m glad I stumbled across this tag!

Book Reviews

Fables and Other Lies Book Review

I pity those who can’t get lost in fictional worlds.”

Rating: 4/5 Cups of Tea (Stars)

Back of the Book Synopsis

Do you believe in curses?

I never did.

Not until that fated night, six years ago, when I sat in The Devil’s Chair and made a wish.

Not until it came true.

Not until I met River Caliban himself, heir to a fortune of curses. My fated sworn enemy.

I knew I should have stayed away from him. I should have run the other way when he called out my name, when he flashed that sinful smile of his, but instead, I walked toward him, leaving the light behind. Instead, I go against all reason, against all warning, and attended the gala of the year at his dark, allegedly haunted home at the top of the hill.

The moment I step foot inside I know I’m in trouble, but there’s something about River that magnetizes me, reels me in, and when he asks for the impossible, I find it impossible to turn him away.

My Thoughts

This was one of the last books I bought in 2020 and it was the first book I read of 2021. I was intrigued by the title, the cover, and the length of the book. I hadn’t intended to make it my first read of the year, but I’m glad that I did!

I loved the main character, Penelope (Penny for short). She told the story well and I was interested in the story she had to tell from the beginning of the prologue! Her friends were a fun add to the plot as well, as was the main male character, River Caliban.

The gothic storytelling and use of fables (and other lies) is something I don’t usually dive into. I really enjoyed how two feuding families, a curse, and everything in between played out. We just watched Holes, and it reminded me of the curse and families in the movie…which was ironic and funny. The supernatural aspect of the story was done well also. It wasn’t overwhelming but held enough of the plot to keep us moving through and engaged in the story.

The island that Penny grew up on celebrates Carnival once a year, for a whole week, and that’s when most of the book takes place. I would have liked to have more description of different activities that were happening because it was fun and interesting, but also because Carnival was a large part of the plot. The way the costumes and festivities were described was done very well and I had very vivid images of what was going on in my head.

The main part that left me unfulfilled in this book is the lack of romance. There is some, but it’s slow burn and pretty brief. With the book being a little over 200 pages long, the slow burn doesn’t really work and by the end, I was invested in the relationship and wanted MORE. The romance had so much potential because it was unique, but I was sad when it ended and I didn’t have all the sexy times I anticipated.

Later in the story there are a few chapters that switch POV. However, this switch also changes the writing from first to third person and that was quite jarring for me. The chapters were very short during these switches and I don’t know why the change from first to third happened. I didn’t necessarily feel like anything was gained by doing so, so I’d be interested to find out the author’s reasoning.

Overall, the plot and characters were fabulous. I have never read anything by this author and will definitely be checking out more! It’s an easy and quick read and was worth picking up. I’m happy to be starting 2021 on a high note!

Tags

The Anonymous Bookaholics Tag

Hello! I’ve been a bit MIA lately, and haven’t been reading much because work has started back full swing! That being said, I do have some time to do a fun book tag (we all know I love a good tag)! Thank you to Books are 42 for tagging me – let’s get to it!

  1. What do you like about buying new books?

Everything! I love coming home and finding a spot for them on my shelf. I love admiring the covers and the art word. The thrill of having new books to read is fantastic (yes, the thrill). It’s even more exciting when I buy them from used book stores or thrift shops/flea markets!

2. How often do you buy new books?

Too often…I probably buy a new book (or more) once a week. I went months without giving books a thought, but now they’re all I want to buy; well books and book related merch. I’ve tried to put myself on a book buying ban, but that ended in 30 new books…so I won’t be doing that again!

3. Bookstore or online book shopping: which do you prefer?

I like going to bookstores and physically holding the books, browsing the aisles, and whatnot. Then, when I’m done, if there’s something I didn’t find, I’ll do online shopping. I can typically find books cheaper online that in person, even at used book stores. I just feel like online book shopping isn’t the same, but I do get very excited when the books come in the mail!

4.  Do you have a favourite bookshop?

We have one really good used book store near us, and it’s called Ukazoo! I’ve been going to them for years. They have great prices, a big selection, and I can easily spend hours in there searching for books. I would love to go around and find more used book stores! I have a road trip to PA planned, there’s about five stores within minutes of each other…I just need the time to get to them!

5. Do you pre-order books?

I’ve always loved reading, but quarantine has really made me have a new appreciation (and obsession) with reading. This is the first time I’ve ever pre-ordered books. I have a VE Schwabb book pre-ordered and I pre-ordered ACOSF. I’m also into special edition things now and have a handful of them pre-ordered too…oops!

6. Do you have a monthly buying limit?

I should, but I don’t. I’d never stick to it, so what’s the point?

7. How big is your wishlist?

Fairly large. I have a lot of books that I want to read and a lot that I want to buy. I think I’d be poor if I bought them all.

8. Which three books from your wishlist do you wish to own right now?

Good Girl, Bad Blood; Madhouse, and the Dusty books (I’ve read them but need the physical copies).

If you’re reading this, consider yourself tagged! I’d love to see everyone’s answers!

Book Reviews

With This Heart Book Review

“Love will make you reckless. It can drag out parts of you that common sense and fear usually keep hidden away. Because love is selfless and selfish.”

With This Heart – R.S. Grey
Rating: 5/5 Hearts (stars)

Synopsis:

Abby is a nineteen year old girl that has lived her whole life on death’s doorstep. Two month ago, she got the all clear that she can start doing things healthy people can do. So what does she decide her best option is? A road trip. By some weird fate, when Abby is wandering around a funeral home, looking for the perfect urn, she stumbles across Beck. Then, Beck stumbles his way into Abby’s road trip and falls right into her beating heart. They’re young, reckless, and have nothing to lose, so what a perfect way to get to experience life than on the road with a complete stranger!

My Thoughts!

(May have some small spoilers, proceed with caution).

I didn’t expect to love this book as much as I did. I love me a good strangers to lovers story, but I did not like how Beck and Abby started off. Meeting someone and then inviting yourself on their trip after minutes of knowing them? Then, agreeing for said stranger to accompany you?!?!? My mind was blown and turned off from the plot until I really got to know Beck and Abby. Then, there was no turning back because I was 100% invested.

Characters:

  • When I found out what was going on with Abby and her health, my mind was racing and freaking out, a lot like her mother was described. How could she go on a road trip when she has weekly appointments to go to?????? But, then I fell in love with her character and was more so thinking “you’re a badass that knows your body, you live your life girl!”
  • Beck is perfect, almost too perfect. He was caring, smart, knew what he wanted, determined, and a bunch of other fabulous qualities. He was a little creepy and stalkerish at first, but when Abby described him as having dimples and a sexy smirk, I was done for. I was waiting for him to turn into some serial killer or something terrible, but that moment never came.
  • It may just be because I’m a huge Vampire Diaries fan, but when I read anything about Caroline, all I could picture was Caroline Forbes from VD. Caroline is an amazing friend and really helped Abby come out of her shell. I appreciated Caroline’s character and wish that we had seen more of her throughout the progression of the story. However, being on a road trip, phone calls/texts were the best that we could get.

Plot:

  • Like I said above, the plot made me unsure of the book in the first handful of pages. Then I got over it and fell in love with what was going on.
  • Abby has lived her life in and out of hospitals since she was little. She didn’t get to do things that heathy children and teens got to do. So, when she’s cleared to live her best life, she does, and I love that for her. I also love an idea of a road trip because I feel like I’m able to visualize things I’ve never seen or heard of. This particular trip takes the characters around Texas, a state I’ve never been to, and I enjoyed seeing everything through Abby’s eyes.
  • One thing that confused me was how did Abby’s parents not realize she was on a road trip sooner? For parents that literally talked to their daughter multiple times a day and visited her daily, they sure fell off the face of the earth for a few days. That thought was always lingering in the back of my head during the road trip.

Writing

  • Grey’s writing style had a nice flow and thoughts transitioned pretty seamlessly. I’ve read a few books recently where the writing was choppy and it was a hard story to follow, solely because of the writing. For this book, that is not the case! The writing moves the story along nicely and I never found myself confused or wondering what was happening.
  • Grey also took a difficult topic, cancer, and wrote about it in a meaningful way, while still allowing the character to have fun and crack jokes about things that were going on. It was tasteful in my opinion!

Overall, the chemistry between characters, the plot, and the writing all led to me having ALL of the feels for this story, hence the 5/5 hearts (stars) that I gave this book! If you want a contemporary, new adult romance to read, this is the perfect place to start. It’ll capture your heart and make you fall in love with the characters, while still throwing in a bit of the best parts of romance in the mix! If you happen to have read this, or pick it up to read, let me know your thoughts!

If you’d like to purchase this book, you can find it here!

My Instagram and Twitter links can be found under the profile image at the top of the page!

Book Reviews

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder Book Review

“Pit bull,” Pip said. “It’s pit bulls that don’t let things go.”

Holly Jackson – a Good Girl’s Guide to Murder
Picture by me!
Rating: 5/5 tacks! (stars).

Synopsis

Pippa is a high school student that has chosen to work on a closed kidnapping/murder case, in her hometown, her senior capstone project. Everyone knows what happened five years ago, but Pip isn’t so sure. As she digs deeper and deeper into the case, she slowly uncovers different clues that just aren’t adding up to what the town believes happened. Pip makes it her goal to discover what actually happened in her town all those years ago, no matter what it takes!

My Thoughts (Spoiler Free)

Characters:

  • I love, love, love Pippa! She is such a strong , dedicated character and she is just perfect! She’s hard-working and when she sets her mind on something, she works hard to reach it! She’s funny and sarcastic, but kind and loving to her friends and family. Her dedication to solving this mystery is one of the aspects that had me not wanting to put this book down! Normally, a character with these traits would bore me, but it worked very well for Pippa and the plot of this book.
  • Ravi is a close second to favorite character! He’s hilarious and, despite, his family’s circumstances, makes light of situations. He and Pippa have great chemistry together and work well as friends.
  • Pippa’s Family: Love them! Her mom, step-dad, and brother have such a great dynamic. It’s not often book’s portray families in the way that Holly Jackson did. The family is diverse, loving, and doesn’t have significant drama going on. A lot of books I read, the parents are separated and only one is in the picture, a parent is dead, a parent is abusive, and so on. Not in this family! It was a breath of fresh air to read about the Fitz-Amobi family!
  • The Bell Family: This is the family of Andie, the girl that was murdered five years ago. This family rubs me the wrong way. They went through something tragic, but the way Jackson describes them, especially the dad, just poses them as creepy and not quite right.
  • The Ward Family: This is like a second family to Pippa. She’s known Mr. Ward and his two daughters FOREVER; so long that she is treated as one of their own. I, personally, loved this dynamic as well. I loved the relationship that the Ward sisters had with Pippa and how they just seemed like extended family that lived in a different home.
  • There are some other characters that I’m not going to get into! These are the ones that left the biggest impact on me (enough to want to write about anyway!).

Plot/Writing

  • I don’t really like contemporary novels as much, but I like a good mystery! I had zero clue what to expect when I read the title of this book. However, it did not disappoint! I really appreciated the mixed media format of this book. It made me feel like I was Pippa writing my own capstone project! It was fun to see how she wrote her log entries and interviews, because they were in first person. Then, when it was present timing, the story was written in third person.
  • The topic was unique. I had a billion different theories (all wrong…sigh) building up from the first few pages of the book. Jackson did a nice job investing me, the reader, in the story from the very beginning. Using Pippa’s capstone project as a way to bring back this case was creative and intriguing, especially because it was a high schooler working on it!
  • Jackson did a great job leading the reader on one path but then taking the story in a different path. I thought I had the mystery solved and then Pippa would discover something else and I’d have to start from scratch. It was fun to try and keep track of everything.

Overall:

  • I can’t recommend this book enough! It’s easy to read and follow, and will have you wanting to solve the mystery ASAP! Even if this isn’t usually a book genre you gravitate toward, give it a try!

If you don’t want to read any spoilers, stop here! If you’ve read this book, I’d love to talk about your thoughts and theories with you! It’s always fun to see what others think!

STOP: Spoilers from here on out!

Content/Trigger Warnings for this book: Murder, Suicide, Self-Harm, Adult/Minor Relationships, Sexual Assault, Rape of a Minor, drugs/alcohol, Racism, Verbal/Mental Abuse

My Theories of What Happened in 2014…

I made notes as I read this book, writing out different theories I had as I went. They were all wrong, but at least I tried! Like I said above, Holly Jackson did a great job leading me in one direction and then introducing 5 more ways that the story could go!

Theory 1: Andie faked her death and had her older lover kill Sal so that she could be with the older person. Andie then was alive and living somewhere that no one knew about her.

Theory 2: Andie’s dad killed her. I didn’t have a reason. He was described as a sketchy character and Pippa had me believing it could have been him.

Theory 3: Mr. Ward killed killed Andie. Then, I changed my thoughts to he was in love with her and he thought he saved her, but it was actually the girl that she bullied, that looked a lot like Andie. Then, Andie was impersonating that girl back in their hometown (this one is crazy).

Theory 4: For a hot minute I was worried Ravi may have played some part, but luckily it didn’t take that turn.

Theory 5: The cop killed Andie. She had slept with him and bullied his sister. He had reason to do so, especially since he would know how to hide it better than someone that wasn’t a cop.

Again…all of my theories were VERY wrong, but it was fun trying to piece it all together. I would make a horrible detective and shouldn’t quit my day job…there goes my dreams (kidding). I would love to hear your thoughts on this book if you’ve read it! Let’s talk about theories!

Book Reviews

Forget Me Not Book Review

“Wouldn’t talking about something make it better understood?”

Ellie Terry – Forget Me Not
4/5 Stars

The school I work at had the whole 7th grade reading this book together every other week. We got about 50% of the way through before quarantine happened. The students LOVED the book…mind you, these are kids that HATE reading! I took a copy home and finished it, enjoying it every step of the way (I also needed closure). I wish our kids were able to finish this book because it was something they could all understand and relate to.

Synopsis

Calliope June is a seventh grader that just so happens to have Tourette syndrome. She sometimes makes faces or noises that she doesn’t mean to make, drawing unwanted attention to herself. Calli lives with her mom and they are constantly moving. After the most recent move, Calli decides that she wants to try and hide her TS. It doesn’t take the kids at her new school to realize that Calli isn’t like them. The only person that knows about her TS is her neighbor, Jinsong, who is also the student body president at school. Jinsong sees Calli for who she is, but isn’t always the greatest friend, especially when other classmates are around. With everything going on at school and with her mom always wanted to move for a man, will Calli ever be able to truly grasp who she really is?

Writing:

  • Ellie Terry wrote the book beautifully. Calliope’s perspective was written in verse, where Jinsong’s perspective was written prose. This was a creative way to separate the two characters and really let their personalities shine.
  • The thoughts of these two middle schoolers were relatable to what really goes on in middle school, especially for someone that is seen as different.
  • Looking at this from a preteen perspective, it was easy to read and understand. The verse vs. prose writing style broke the text up into obtainable chunks that my students really need. It’s not overwhelming, even Jinsong’s chapters are short and sweet.
  • I would love to see more authors attempt this style of writing.
  • Terry illustrates life with Tourette Syndrome tactfully and truthfully. Calliope had a mild case, but it brought a sense of understanding to those that don’t know what it’s like at all.

Characters:

  • Calliope was a strong female lead that has been through a lot in a little amount of time. The way she handled the situations presented to her were beautifully illustrated in her verse style thoughts. I enjoyed reading her pages and seeing into her mind.
  • Jinsong wasn’t my favorite solely based on his actions. He was not a good friend to Calli for good stretches of the text, and I wish he had acted differently. However, it was very true to middle school form, thus making it relatable for that age range. His thoughts weren’t as lyrical as Calliope’s, but again, his were written in prose.
  • Calli’s mom is awful. She’s embarrassed by Calli and is constantly uprooting their lives over men. Calli is at a critical age in her life and the lack of stability is really challenging and damaging. I feel for Calli and wish she could have had a more stable mother figure.
  • The other minor characters in the book added nice touches to support and move the plot forward. There were some I wanted to shake some sense into, especially the cruel middle school characters, but sadly, they embodied the true personalities of a lot of middle schoolers today!

Plot:

  • Being geared toward pre-teens, the plot is relatable and understandable. If I were to read this from a middle schooler’s perspective, I would completely feel like I could relate to the main characters and to the story line – especially if looking through the lens of the children I teach. Life isn’t all ice-cream and cake; it’s hard and throws a lot of curve balls at you whether you want them or not. I think that teens can read this book and see what it’s like to live with a disability, just as I think adults can read this and see what it’s like to be a 12 or 13 year old.

Overall:

  • Overall, I loved this book and, if I had a pre-teen of my own, I would definitely encourage them to read it! Ellie Terry, as stated above, does a beautiful job telling the bittersweet story of Calliope and Jinsong. The array of emotions that I felt throughout the read were vast, and my heart really felt for Calli. I think it’s important for this given audience to have female characters that overcome turmoil and do what’s best for them, and that’s what Calli does.

If you’ve read this book, I would LOVE to hear your thoughts! Find me at one of the links on the top of this blog and let your thoughts flow!

Buy Forget Me Not on Amazon here OR see if you can find it in your locally owned bookstore or thrift shop! Shop small first!