Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

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“I’m not prepared for this,” I admit quietly.

“Do you have to prepare for me?”

“If there’s anyone I have to prepare for, it’s you.”

I’ve never read any of Christina Lauren’s books before, but I adore her writing. There’s something soothing, tender, and real about it. It’s so simple but hits you right in the feels.

Although I’ve read too many love stories a lot like this in the past, I still liked the story of love and friendship between the main characters Macy and Elliot.

The story is told in alternating periods: when they were teenagers sharing a reading closet and the books they loved and their favorite words at the moment, and 11 years later when they bump into each other again at a coffee shop.

It tells the story of how they became the best of friends, and how they fearfully but delightfully transitioned to being boyfriend and girlfriend.

It also tells how one simple mistake turned their worlds upside down.

It’s a bit cheesy, but not too cheesy that you’d want to throw the book across the room. But you’d be cheesy, too, if you saw the love of your life all of a sudden after they disappeared from your life for 11 years.

I can already see the Netflix film adaptation of this in my head. LOL, but yes please make it happen.

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Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

Creepy kids are the worst.

But what if the creepy kid is your only daughter that you love so much? And no matter what you do to connect and bond, your daughter simply hates you and wants you dead?

From the outside, Suzette’s family looks perfect. They run a successful company and own a perfect house. She has a very supportive and loving husband who has been there for her every step of the way, even through the worst parts of her Crohn’s disease. They also have a beautiful 7-year-old daughter who’s intellectually ahead.

But Suzette has been struggling with Hanna for years because of her reluctance to speak. She also demonstrates no sense of empathy.

She has been home-schooling her because of the many times Hanna has been kicked out of school for behavioral problems.
She knows that something is seriously wrong with Hanna, and that her life is in danger. But how can she convince her husband that Hanna needs help when she’s daddy’s perfect little angel whenever he’s around?

It’s such an interesting, unsettling, and creepy story. What would you do if your daughter hated you so much that she will do everything to hurt you and kill you?

The story has a good pace that will keep you reading and reading until the last page. Many times you will also wish that hurting children is not crime. There are no monsters and ghosts, but Hanna sure is a crazy and creepy little fothermucker!

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

 

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Emma Blair married her high school love Jesse Lerner. Together they built a life that revolved around their shared love for travel and adventure. They may be living in a crappy apartment, and broke most of the time. But they were together, and doing the things they have always planned on doing together. Ever since that drunken night in high school when he told her how much he hated swimming, and how much she hated working in her parents’ bookstore, Jesse and Emma always knew that they were meant to fall in love, stay together for a long time, and eventually get married. That’s exactly what they did, and life was perfect.

Until one day, it wasn’t. Just a day before their first wedding anniversary, Jesse flew to Alaska for a work assignment. The helicopter he was flying in crashed somewhere in the North Pacific, killing all four people on board. Jesse’s body was never found, and he was tragically presumed dead.

Losing the love of her life nearly drove Emma insane. The pain was nothing she’d ever known. Then she realized that if she let herself hurt every single day, she would waste away the best years of her life. She made the decision to leave California and move back to her hometown of Acton, Massachusetts, to start all over again.

And then just like that, she meets her old friend Sam Kemper. And then just like that, Emma finds herself feeling genuinely happy, alive, and in love again. So happy, alive, and in love that when Sam asked her to marry him, yes was the only possible answer. Sam was perfect, and life was perfect.

Until, again, it wasn’t. Three and half years since that fateful day, Jesse Lerner has been found and was finally on his way back home to her. Forced in an impossible situation, Emma finds herself with two wonderful men she both loves desperately, and who love her back just as much.

Can a person ever really have more than one true love? Should she be with the man that she has loved all her life, or should she be with the man who made her believe in love again? Does she want to be the Emma that Jesse has always known, or does she like this new version of herself that Sam helped her to become?

Like with any Taylor Jenkins Reid novel, this is an emotional tale from start to finish. I love that it’s a quiet and beautiful story, one that you don’t even realize how much it hurts to read and see the whole story unfold. It’s not your typical love triangle wherein you can easily hate one and then love the other. It feels so real, and it will make you wonder what you’ll even do if you were ever in the same situation. It’s enough to drive a girl crazy having two great loves in your life at the same time. But having to make a choice on who stays? How can you even?

There are so many takeaways in this book. I highlighted so many lines, because they are just so simple yet stunning words. Always so deep and emotional, raw and honest. It’s beautiful and sad and happy, with an ending that feels just right. I agree that true love doesn’t always last. Sometimes you only just have to experience it to know that it’s real. Consider yourself really lucky if you end up with your true love, but count yourself even luckier if you find it twice in one lifetime.

Review: The Girl Who Fell by S. M. Parker

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For high school senior Zephyr Doyle, high school life has always been about playing hockey, getting good grades that are Boston College worthy, and spending time with her best friends Gregg and Lizzie. With graduation looming, Zephyr can’t help but feel a major case of separation anxiety, even if leaving her hometown of Sudbury has been on her mind for years.

Home hasn’t exactly been the happiest place on earth ever since Zephyr’s dad upped and left. It’s like walking on eggshells every time her mom is around, even if she puts up a brave front for her. And with the last year of high school finally here, Zephyr feels like she’s losing everything that has kept her sane and happy. Everything is changing, everyone is leaving, and she has never been more terrified of the future.

Until good-looking and enigmatic transfer student Alec enters the picture.

For the first time in a long time, Zephyr cannot get a boy out of her mind. There’s something so sexy and mysterious about Alec that draws her to him. Maybe it’s the fact that he also plays hockey and will be joining Sudbury High’s hockey team as a starting goaltender. Maybe it’s the fact that she forgets to function like a normal girl whenever he’s around. Or maybe it’s the fact that out of all the girls in school, he picked her.

Things with Alec get serious pretty fast, and soon Zephyr finds herself ditching hockey events, cancelling best friend dates with Lizzie, and skipping dinner with her mom. Pretty soon, she is making one stupid decision after another and ignoring all the warning signs.

Until everything starts making sense, and Zephyr finally realizes that Alec may not have the best intentions for her after all.

I give this book two stars. One for trying to address the issue of abusive, manipulative relationships that can happen as early as high school. Another star for trying to be a scary, compelling, and suspenseful read. I just wish I liked Zephyr and hated Alec more. I just wish this book was more believable and more realistic.

I, too, was a high school senior once, but even I wouldn’t be that stupid to throw away my life plans just because of a boy. I couldn’t get past that character flaw, to be honest. Alec wasn’t even that irresistible enough. Come. On.

There were good moments, sure, but overall, it was a predictable tale. The suspense fell short, but this book was successful in its attempt to warn teenage girls that no guy should ever manipulate, terrorize, and abuse you in any way, ever. Ever!

Review: Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

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Glass Sword picks up from the events that happened at the end of the first book, Red Queen. Mare and Prince Cal barely escape with their lives, but now they know this will not be the last time they will face death and destruction at the hands of Maven and his Silver army.

But before their narrow escape, Mare gets ahold of sensitive information about others just like her. She’s not the only Red with Silver abilities. Astonishingly, there are others like her out there. But if she doesn’t move swiftly, Maven will kill them all, one by one, until Mare comes crawling back to him.

It’s a difficult and deadly mission. As Mare and her team race against time, they are able to find and rescue these Newbloods and train them to control their powers. Other times, they are not as fortunate and get to them too late. With the death count steadily climbing, Mare finds herself in a darker and more destructive path that threatens to consume her and turn her into someone that she vowed never to become. Is she strong enough to continue on? Is the cause more important than the lives of all the people who sacrificed theirs?

Well, a good chunk of this book was spent psychoanalyzing Mare Barrow I almost gave up on it. It took me weeks to finish this book, which is a surprise because I breezed through Red Queen and finished it in a day. Glass Sword was dull and dragging.

Why did Mare have to beat herself up over and over, in almost every chapter? I get that it killed her to see people dropping like flies because of her. I get that she’s just a child thrown in the middle of a centuries-old conflict. I get that it’s not easy to move past the betrayal by somebody she trusted. But come on already. There’s a war to be fought, and you don’t win wars by being a drama queen! There are so many things that Mare did here that completely pissed me off. Suffice it to say, this constant self-questioning, self-doubting, and self-loathing got old super fast.

Mare Barrow is not the only character affected by everything that’s happened. The sooner that she realizes this, the better.

But that’s what you get from a trilogy. You have to get past the second book so you can finally get to the final book. You have to go through the drudgery so that you can find the answers to all your questions. You have to take all the Mare Barrow crap in this second book so that you can hopefully get a decent ending in the third book.

I don’t like the fact that the story only started to pick up towards the end. But still, that’s quite an ending. Another frustrating cliffhanger. But I’m still going to read the third book when it comes out. I have a feeling it will be much better than this one. It has to be!