One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

 

27189194

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.

Advertisements

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

the girl who fell

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

glass sword

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!

Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

red queen

In the world that eighteen-year-old Mare Barrow lives in, wealth and power belong exclusively to the Silver Elites. They run the country because of the color of their blood and the supernatural abilities that they possess. Mare’s own people, the Reds, are the lowly servants, soldiers, fishermen, and common folk who work tough jobs until their backs break, or until they are killed in the battlefield. For centuries, this has been how their world worked, and no one ever dared defy the rule of the land.

Unlike her younger sister Gisa, who apprentices as a seamstress in the city market and sells her work to Silver merchants and nobles, Mare possesses no special skills. She is, however, quite the gifted petty thief. And this skill has tided her and her family over during the hardest days.

When Mare finds out that her childhood friend, Kilorn Warren, lost his job as a fisherman’s apprentice and has no choice but to be Conscripted, Mare nearly loses it. Conscription requires all eighteen-year-olds without jobs or apprenticeships to enlist in the army and fight in the war. All of Mare’s three brothers are already Conscripted. She will not let another person she loves be corrupted or killed by war.

In a desperate effort to save Kilorn’s life, Mare turns to the local black market and asks their help to smuggle Kilorn out of the Stilts. They agree, but for a fee that will cost Mare dearly.

When things take a different turn, Mare hits the streets again to steal whatever she can. She stumbles upon a mysterious stranger who catches her in the act, but gives her money anyway. The next day, Mare finds herself with a job as a servant at the king’s castle.

It’s the strange events that take place at the king’s castle that convince Mare that she can never trust anybody, and that anyone can betray anyone. It’s also there in the company of powerful Silvers that Mare discovers something about herself that will forever change her life.

This book has been on my to-read list for the longest time, and now I just can’t help wishing I read it sooner. I’m not a big fan of YA fantasy / adventure books, but I figured I had to give this one a shot. And I’m so glad I did because I really enjoyed reading about the world of Reds and Silvers.

Sure, the plot is not anything new, but it still brings something different and exciting to the mix. Red Queen is well-written and well-paced, and it wasn’t difficult to keep track of all the names, locations, and characters. Victoria Aveyard has created a rich and fascinating world that makes readers want to explore all its deep and dark secrets.

I like that the main character is not obsessed with boys. It’s not a romantic book, but it does have its rare romantic moments. (Hello, Prince Maven. Hello, Prince Calore.)

Red Queen is just a peek into the complex but exciting world of Mare Barrow. There’s still so much to know about the Red and Silver bloods, and the uprising that’s slowly taking place. But that’s for us to find out in the sequel. This first installment is filled with exciting twists and unpredictable turns. It’s a decent read that promises quite a few shockers from start to finish.

Burn for Burn Trilogy by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

burnforburntrilogy_n

Lillia Cho is rich, smart, beautiful, and popular. She also knows her childhood best friend, Alex Lind, is in love with her. He’s also rich, smart, handsome, and popular. He’s one of her oldest, most dependable, and most trusted friends. Unfortunately, she just doesn’t feel anything romantic for him. So when Lillia finds out that Alex has his sights set on her younger sister Nadia, and that something went down during one of their many wild parties, Lillia swears he’ll be sorry he ever laid a hand on her sister.

Kat DeBrassio used to be friends with the most popular girls in school, Rennie Holtz and Lillia Cho. They were thick as thieves, and summers were always a blast. Until queen bee Rennie decided to stop being her friend shortly after Kat’s mother died of cancer. Rennie chose Lillia. And if that wasn’t awful enough, Rennie made Kat’s life a living hell from then on. She bullied and spread malicious rumors about her just because she wanted to. One day, Kat decides that she’s had enough. It’s time for Rennie to have a dose of her own medicine.

Mary Zane has been holding on to the humiliation and heartbreak caused by her erstwhile friend Reeve Tabatsky for years. That fateful day at the ferry dock is something that Mary will carry with her for the rest of her life. What hurts the most is that Reeve doesn’t even know how much damage he’s caused. He’s still loved by all, still popular, still good-looking, his life so full of excitement, and his future so filled with promise. But he can’t get away with what he did. It’s time people knew what a horrible person he truly is. And Mary Zane is back to make sure that he pays for what he did. No matter what.

These three girls are brought together by their desire for revenge. They cannot do it on their own, but together, they can plot the sneakiest, juiciest, and most flawless revenge plan.

What can I say? It’s wild, shameless, and fun — I loved it! I wanted to hate it simply because these teenagers are horrible. All they do is drink, party, sleep around, and hate on each other. But those things are what actually make this trilogy such a delicious read. Plenty of booze, boyfriends, bitches, and bestfriendships here. And oh, not to mention revenge plots and ghost stories that will have your heart racing and your hands clammy.

Don’t be quick to hate because there’s more to Lillia, Kat, and Mary than meets the eye. It’s not all about boys and catfights. It’s not all about fun and games, either. It also talks about serious issues like date rape, suicide, sex, and depression. They look like a mindless read, judging from the book covers, but I can’t say that they totally sucked. I enjoyed reading them and didn’t think for one minute I wasted all those hours for nothing.

The ending leaves a lot to be desired, but I can’t really talk about it without spoiling it for you. Now that I’ve finished reading all three books, I actually miss the rich and beautiful people of Jar Island. Especially Kat and Reeve. It really sucks that they’re not real, because in my head, we’re like BFFs. Once again, I’ve managed to crush on a fictional high school quarterback, who’s an asshole most of the time, but really sweet and romantic when nobody’s looking. And once again, I have to break up with these book characters and move on to my next book. Oh, I hurt.