Review: My Last Summer with Cass

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Rating: ★★★½

 I received an ARC of this book for free from The Novl in exchange for an honest review. 

The strongest part of this book was how it portrayed a complicated friend dynamic. It explored their past as childhood friends, then their last summer together in New York, and then finally revisited them a few years later. It really highlighted the highs and the lows of their friendship well.

Since this is a graphic novel, I have to talk about the artwork. I had an ARC so the art was not in full color. But I did look through the book preview on Amazon and saw it in full color and the coloring was amazing! 

However, I wanted a little bit more from the story. The plot is incredibly basic and I would have liked for it to have been more nuanced. It’s also very fast paced and would have benefited from a slower pace, especially after the main conflict happened. It jumped from the main conflict to three years later so fast. I would have liked to seen the aftermath of it play out more (most of it happened off page), especially in regards to Megan and her parents. 

Overall, I enjoyed this graphic novel, but ultimately was left wanting more. If you like art or are an artist yourself, you may like this one! 


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Review: Good Things Happen to People You Hate

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Rating: ★★★½

I received this book for free free as part of an Instagram tour (TLC Book Tours specifically) I did to promote the book.

This was an interesting collection of personal essays. As with many essay collections, I liked some of them, but didn’t like others. 

This book is a pretty typical account of a millennial woman in New York City so there wasn’t anything ground breaking or new about it. I’ve encountered similar stories before. That being said I did relate to the author quite a few times. 

For example, the essay, “Real Men Will Disappoint You, Date Fictional Men Instead,” was so relatable. I took one look at the tile and went, isn’t that the truth! Also, all the essays had funny titles like these. Another relatable essay was “Sometimes Your Irrational Fears Come True and Fire Destroys Your Home.” That scenario (thankfully) hasn’t happened to me, but I related to her childhood fears. As a kid, I worried a lot over things other kids would never worry about (ex. car accidents, dangerous criminals, etc.) 

The writing style is very blogger like which I enjoyed. It worked well in telling her stories. 

I did feel like some of the essays fell a little short. Like they didn’t quite live up to their potential. Sometimes they just ended when I was expecting her to say a little more.

Overall, this was a quick essay collection with some hits and some misses. I did find it entertaining so if you just want to read something fun, go ahead and read it! 


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Review: The Subway Girl

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received a copy of the book for free from author in exchange for an honest review. 

Omg this was so damn cute! I loved it!

This was my second book by Lisa Becker and once again it was a hit. I love that her books are the perfect blend of sexy and sweet. It’s exactly what you want from a romance. 

I loved the main characters. Ryan was so swoon worthy and precious. Angie really complemented him well. They were so good together and I loved the big city girl with small town boy dynamic. 

I also loved the supporting characters, like Angie’s roommate, Josie. Ryan’s two best friends, Luke and Diego, were also standouts. I particularly loved the bromance between the three of them. I would love to see a spin-off featuring one of them. 

Sprinkled throughout the book were comments from The Subway Girl web series and I thought they were a nice touch. They were really accurate and showcased the range of comments made on the internet. 

Lastly, I loved the little Easter egg nod to her previous novel, Starfish, with the mention of Kings Quarters. Kings Quarters is the band featured in Starfish (I highly recommend that book too). 

Overall, if you’re looking for a good romance to read, then pick this book up! 


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Review: Serene

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Rating: ★★★½

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

This was such an interesting and unique read. I’ve never read anything quite like it before. 

At the beginning I was super into this book. I found it mesmerizing in an odd but good way. I loved the scenes with the parties and New York night life. It had such a cool vibe and was an intriguing blend of fantasy and high society. However, once the book got into the more spiritual stuff it kind of lost me for a bit. Don’t get me wrong, it was interesting but there was just so much of it. The characters were constantly globe trotting from place to place and it got repetitive at times. The cool vibe I got from the beginning was gone.

As for the characters, I loved the love interest, James. His character was so fascinating. Like the way he was described was so beautiful. The book states, “His voice, like a drop of sepia in water, as if he came from several generations of opera singers that had all committed suicide” (pg. 7). I wish he was in it more and that we got to know more about him and his life. It was touched upon but there could have been more. 

Overall, this is a unique read. If you’re looking for something different to read, definitely try this book out. 

Review: How to Leave

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Rating: ★★★

I received an ARC of this book for free through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers.

This book did not start off very strong. I wasn’t really into it at first. I got about 50 pages in and was sort of “eh” about it. Part One consisted of a lot of rambling. There was no focus; just a bunch of random anecdotes that were all over the place. It also seemed like it was trying way too hard to be funny. As the book progressed, it did get better.

Once the author started writing about her new home in Wisconsin, there was more of a focus and some funny parts. For example, I did enjoy the bits about the culture shock.

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I think the book had an interesting goal in mind: a tongue in cheek “guide” on how to leave a big city. However, I didn’t think this actually needed to be a whole book. The book seemed to repeat a lot of the same ideas about moving over and over again. There just wasn’t a lot of actual substance to warrant an actual book. The whole thing could have been consolidated into a couple of chapters in a larger memoir or even as a magazine editorial.

Overall, this was an interesting read that did have its moments, but would have been better off as a shorter work.

Review: Caleb’s Window

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Rating: ★★★★

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

Going into this, I had no idea what to expect since it was a self published book and this type of book can go either way. But luckily I ended up really enjoying it. 

I loved the characters. Cara’s strength, determination, and compassion for others was inspiring. I loved how cheeky Caleb was as a teenager. 

I liked how the story was woven together and started at one point in time but went backwards to show how they got to that point. 

The book was also very well written which made it so easy to read. It took me a while to read this book because I was in the middle of moving, but one night when I wasn’t busy I managed to fly through 100 pages. 

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The one thing I didn’t like was how fast Caleb’s part was. I would have loved for his story to have been fleshed out more and given the same attention and time as Cara’s story because I found his to be just as compelling. His story went by lightning fast and I wanted to spend a little bit more time with him. Additionally, Caleb grew up during a very interesting time period so there would have been a lot to explore. 

This doesn’t have anything to do with the story, but this book probably had the best Acknowledgments page I’ve read recently. The author didn’t thank anyone specifically, but instead gave the reasons why he didn’t. It was subtly hilarious. 

Overall, this was a wonderful historical fiction novel about a mother and her son and the struggles they face in life. 

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Review: Alternative Remedies for Loss

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Rating: ★★★★

I received this book for free as part of an Instagram tour I did to promote the book. 

The author did a fantastic job taking you on a journey with the main character, Olivia, following her mother’s death. You really get an in-depth look into Olivia’s mind and how she feels. Olivia felt very real. Sometimes books that are the “coming of age self discovery” type, end up being excessive and unrealistic. The characters will do crazy things and end up in situations that probably would never happen in real life. Luckily this book did not go down that path. Everything Olivia did made sense and the things that happened to her were not too far fetched. 

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I also really loved the supporting characters. Olivia’s family were a great addition to the story and seeing how they coped with things provided an interesting contrast to Olivia and her situation. It was also nice to see how Olivia’s attitude towards June, her father’s girlfriend, changed throughout the novel. That was excellent character development. 

The writing style was very easy and effortless, making it a pleasure to read. I read this book very quickly. The writing style just made me fly right through it. 

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The reason I gave this 4 stars instead of 5 was because it was missing that spark. I enjoyed the book a lot, but there wasn’t that special something to make me stop and go, “Wow.”

Overall, this was a well written coming of age tale and I look forward to seeing what else the author puts out in the coming years. 

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