Contemporary · Fiction · Young Adult

How to Build a Heart

43212927

Title: How to Build a Heart

Author: Maria Padian

Page Count: 352

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: January 28, 2020 by Algonquin Young Readers

Format: eBook

Review: There are so many things about this book that I love.  It is a very thoughtfully written book and it feels very authentic.  I have very little in common with the main character, but I could totally relate to her.  There was a lot about her that reminded me of myself at her age.

I recently reviewed another book that had very similar themes to this one; a biracial girl navigating grief and struggling to define herself.  I personally felt that this book did a much better job of tackling these topics and I was honestly disappointed when it ended.  This is not to say I wasn’t happy with the ending, I just wanted to follow her life longer! I look forward to reading more books by this author.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Contemporary · Fiction · Young Adult

I’m Not Dying With You Tonight

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Title: I’m Not Dying With You Tonight

Author: Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal

Page Count: 272

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: October 1, 2019 by Sourcebooks Fire

Format: eBook

Review: I was eager to read this book because the two authors have done something that Kym and I have talked about at great length, and that is co-authoring a book from two different character perspectives.  It worked well for this story, and I thought it was appropriate that the two characters were written with very distinct voices.

This book isn’t very long, so it was a quick read.  In fact, the whole story takes place over the course of a single night.  The conflict is established quickly, and the “action” is pretty consistent throughout the story.  I was never bored and I would say this is a pretty timely novel considering our current political climate.

My biggest criticism is that I had hoped for a stronger character arc with both characters, so when the end came, my first thought was, that’s it?  After undergoing such a traumatic experience, I had expected there to be more discussion of the aftermath and what it meant for each of the characters.  I really think this story would have a greater impact on readers if this aspect was more thoroughly explored.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Contemporary · Fiction · Young Adult

Six Goodbyes We Never Said

43178166

Title: Six Goodbyes We Never Said

Author: Candace Ganger

Page Count: 416

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: September 24, 2019 by Wednesday Books

Format: eBook

Review: Loved the cover, loved the title, even loved a couple of the characters *cough Dew and Violet cough cough*, but did not love this book.  The writing felt very disjointed to me, I did not care for one of the main characters (Naima), and the ending just didn’t carry the weight that I thought it should given the subject matter.  There was a lot about this book that confused me, and I am not sure that I liked the way that mental illness is portrayed.  I got the impression that Naima is supposed to be this prickly and guarded, yet lovable individual, but for the most part, I thought she was cruel and hurtful and incredibly selfish.  I tried to like her, I really did, it just didn’t happen.  Maybe this book will really resonate with someone, but that someone wasn’t me.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_Goldhalf star

Fiction · Romance

Unbreak Me

42870109

Title: Unbreak Me

Author: Michelle Hazen

Page Count: 304

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: August 13, 2019 by Berkley

Format: eBook

Review: Reading this book felt like being locked in somebody else’s fantasy.  Despite the serious subject matter in the two characters’ backstories, there was surprising little substance to the storyline.  Pretty much anything worthy of note about the characters is described in the book’s synopsis, and both characters were just too…perfect.  Any perceived “flaws” in their personalities were a direct result of their trauma, and were therefore not really flaws at all.  And of course both were tall, beautiful people with bangin’ bods.  By the end of the book I still knew very little about the characters other than they had both lived through a traumatic experience and loved working with horses.   The sex scenes also seemed wildly unrealistic (this is one of those books where the woman is achieving orgasms almost instantaneously, and of course a double climax at the end!). *insert eye roll here* I’m sure some people can enjoy this type of romance novel, but alas it just wasn’t for me.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_Goldhalf star

Non-fiction

Master Recipes from the Herbal Apothecary

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Title: Master Recipes from the Herbal Apothecary: 375 Tinctures, Salves, Teas, Capsules, Oils, and Washes for Whole-Body Health and Wellness

Author: JJ Pursell

Page Count: 288

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: March 5, 2019 by TimberPress

Format: eBook

Review: I was so impressed with the way this book was laid out.  It satisfies my craving for order (LOVE that the recipes are alphabetical), and it is so aesthetically pleasing.  I can’t speak to how well the remedies actually work, but I feel confident that I could make any of them if I tried.  This is a great reference book for both beginners and people with more expertise on the subject.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Fiction · Romance

The Bride Test

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Title: The Bride Test

Author: Helen Hoang

Page Count: 320

Series: The Kiss Quotient, Book 2

Publishing Date/Publisher: May 7, 2019 by Berkley

Format: eBook

Review: The Kiss Quotient set an impossibly high bar as one of my all-time favorite romance novels.  I was ecstatic when I found out that Helen Hoang would be publishing another love story following a periphery character from her stunning debut.

The story, which follows Michael’s cousin Khai and the delightfully independent Esme, is undeniably sweet, but somehow lacked the same swoon-worthy quality that made the The Kiss Quotient so unforgettable.  It’s hard to say exactly what it lacks, but it just doesn’t have “it”.  The characters were likeable, and the plot was cutesy, but it felt to me like it was just running in a very predictable circle.

I appreciate that this romance is focused on somebody with autism, and if you read the first book, it was nice to see that Khai’s autism isn’t portrayed exactly the same as Stella’s.  There is so much diversity on the spectrum, and it is refreshing to see this represented.

I hope this book is going to be part of a trilogy, and I suspect that if it is, the third book will focus on Khai’s brother, Quan.  He is also a very likable character, and it would be great to follow his story next.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Goldhalf star

Fiction · Science Fiction

The Lightest Object in the Universe

40591948

Title: The Lightest Object in the Universe

Author: Kimi Eisele

Page Count: 336

Series: Unknown

Publishing Date/Publisher: July 9, 2019 by Algonquin Books

Format: eBook

Review: For people who enjoy realistic dystopian fiction, this would be a great book recommendation.  There is nothing unique about this book that sets it apart from other books I have read in this genre, but I did find the setting and backstory to be very plausible.  I also thought it was very romantic to have one character trekking across the United States to be reunited with his faraway love.

There was nothing particularly surprising about this story (no plot twists); however, it kept a steady pace and was a pretty quick read.  I had a little bit of trouble at times following the plot because the formatting was off in my ARC copy (it would switch POV without warning), but I assume this will be fixed when the book goes through its final edits.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold