First Life (Everlife #1) by Gena Showalter

Book Description:

Published: February 23, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

ONE CHOICE.
TWO REALMS.
NO SECOND CHANCE.

Tenley “Ten” Lockwood is an average seventeen-year-old girl…who has spent the past thirteen months locked inside the Prynne Asylum. The reason? Not her obsession with numbers, but her refusal to let her parents choose where she’ll live—after she dies.

There is an eternal truth most of the world has come to accept: Firstlife is merely a dress rehearsal, and real life begins after death.

In the Everlife, two realms are in power: Troika and Myriad, longtime enemies and deadly rivals. Both will do anything to recruit Ten, including sending their top Laborers to lure her to their side. Soon, Ten finds herself on the run, caught in a wild tug-of-war between the two realms who will do anything to win the right to her soul. Who can she trust? And what if the realm she’s drawn to isn’t home to the boy she’s falling for? She just has to stay alive long enough to make a decision…

Review –

I have had this book on my TBR list for a long time and had good and bad things about it, so I thought it was time to decide for myself.

Hate it too strong a word to describe how I felt about the book, but comes very very close.

First of all, young adults must be very smart because this book is as confusing as Hell. There is a Firstlife and a Everlife and when you turn 18 you must decide in which realm to spend your time after your Firstlife is over. Troika, which is light and Myriad, which is dark.

I kept listening to the book just so I could finish it and be done but near the end the action picked up (Ten’s crazy Aunt kills her) but she’s saved by both Archer and Killian, who are both trying to recruit her into their realms. They wear shells and don’t get started on them…if they are killed inside the shell before making it out, they die. If they get out in time they are spirit until they get another shell.

Anyway, after Ten is saved a lot of stuff happens but the worst are Archer is killed(really killed) and Killian is a prisoner. Ten, herself, is dies but before she does she pledges herself to Troika and vows to save Killian, who are all intents and purposes is her boyfriend.

Whew!!!!

I rated the book two stars because it did pick up at the end and I’m planning to listen to the second in the series, Lifeblood, but I’ll be in to hurry. I hate cliffhangers, but it will drive me crazy if I don’t find out what happens.

Just a character note: I hated Ten. Though she had a high pain tolerance, I found her whiney and tedious.

I think the cover is fantastic!

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You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott

Book Description:

Published: July 26, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Katie and Eric Knox have dedicated their lives to their fifteen-year-old daughter Devon, a gymnastics prodigy and Olympic hopeful. But when a violent death rocks their close-knit gymnastics community just weeks before an all-important competition, everything the Knoxes have worked so hard for feels suddenly at risk. As rumors swirl among the other parents, revealing hidden plots and allegiances, Katie tries frantically to hold her family together while also finding herself drawn, irresistibly, to the crime itself, and the dark corners it threatens to illuminate.

Review –

At first I didn’t know if I could into this book because it was about gymnasts , but it was sooo much more than that!

Megan Abbott’s novel You Will Know Me takes readers deep into the obsessive, highly structured world of young female gymnasts and the families who help push these athletes to victory. It’s a masterful tale that’s both suspenseful and an eerily accurate portrait of the way teenage and parental cliques operate.

The book’s central characters, Katie and Eric Knox, have overextended themselves emotionally and financially to support their fifteen-year-old daughter, Devon. Ever since Devon was three and began excelling at Tiny Tumblerz, gymnastics has been “the mighty spine of everything for them.” Even the arrival of Drew, Devon’s younger brother, didn’t displace her from the spotlight. Now, Devon is on the brink of possible Olympic greatness, under the expert tutelage of Coach Teddy, “the gymnast whisperer,” who presides over BelStars gym, which has become the Knoxes’ little corner of the universe. The gym’s “booster parties” constitute the extent of their social life; the other girls’ parents are their only friends. Or, “sort of” friends. Because Devon, after all, is the sun and the other girls merely her satellites.

One fateful night, however, that solar system threatens to collapse when a handsome young man named Ryan who works at BelStars is found dead, a victim of an apparent hit-and-run. Perhaps, some suggest, Ryan should have known better. It wasn’t smart to walk alone on a dark country road; it also wasn’t smart to be the lone young man amid a crowd of adolescent female gymnasts, whose natural sexual desires could be sublimated for only so long into soaring vaults and sweaty floor exercises.

This is where the book turns into a “who-dun-it” because the author leads you to believe that several people could have killed Ryan. But why? Each person has their reasons and although I went back and forth on who the killer was, I was pleasantly surprised and ending OMG!!!!!!

To find out who killer Ryan and why you’ll have to read or listen to the book. I highly recommend it.

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The Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher

Book Description:

Published: October 3, 2013

Format: Audio/Library Book

Emily’s dad is accused of murdering a teenage girl, Ashlee Parker. Emily is sure he is innocent, but what happened that night in the woods behind their house where she used to play as a child? Determined to find out, she seeks out Damon Hillary, the enigmatic boyfriend of the murdered girl. He also knows these woods. Maybe they could help each other. But he’s got secrets of his own about games that are played in the dark.

Review –

This book  is told from the alternating points of view of Emily and Damon, either of whom could have everything to lose depending upon the outcome of the mystery.

Emily’s father suffers from PTSD after a horrifying incident during his military service, and is rendered largely unable to assist in his own defense, leaving her to try to prove his innocence. Damon was the last person to see Ashlee alive, but suffered from either a drug- or stress-induced memory loss that evening and doesn’t know what happened. Emily and Damon each feel that the other is the key to finding the answers they need. Their interaction begins with each steadfastly convinced of their side of the story, but as bits and pieces emerge their paths both become clouded with doubt, creating an interesting tension between them–they are drawn to one another as a source of information, though wariness prevails. 

The author does a fantastic job of turning the woods behind Emily’s house into a character in and of itself thus adding more intensity to the plot.

Damon and his friends play a Game( which was never fully explained) in the woods and Ashlee asks to join and so the rules blur and there are sexual fantasies involved as well as drugs and alcohol. I won’t say what happens but there is a hea for some while not for others.

 I enjoyed this book very much and while it is supposedly a YA book but I would recommend it for a very mature young adult.

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Night Road by Kristin Hannah

Book Description:

Published: March 22, 2011

Jude Farraday is a happily married, stay-at-home mom who puts everyone’s needs above her own. Her twins, Mia and Zach, are bright and happy teenagers. When Lexi Baill enters their lives, no one is more supportive than Jude. A former foster child with a dark past, Lexi quickly becomes Mia’s best friend. Then Zach falls in love with Lexi and the three become inseparable. But senior year of high school brings unexpected dangers and one night, Jude’s worst fears are confirmed: there is an accident. In an instant, her idyllic life is shattered and her close-knit community is torn apart. People—and Jude—demand justice, and when the finger of blame is pointed, it lands solely on eighteen-year-old Lexi Baill. In a heartbeat, their love for each other will be shattered, the family broken. Lexi gives up everything that matters to her—the boy she loves, her place in the family, the best friend she ever had—while Jude loses even more.

When Lexi returns, older and wiser, she demands a reckoning. Long buried feelings will rise again, and Jude will finally have to face the woman she has become. She must decide whether to remain broken or try to forgive both Lexi…and herself.

Night Road is a vivid, emotionally complex novel that raises profound questions about motherhood, loss, identity, and forgiveness. It is an exquisite, heartbreaking novel that speaks to women everywhere about the things that matter most.

Review –

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This is a fantastic read/listen ( I had the audio version ) and although it is slow and repetitive in places it grabs your heart-strings and doesn’t let go.

It’s a book to be equally enjoyed by young adults as well as their parents because the issues are presented from both perspectives. The main characters are twins, Mia and Zack  and Jude, their adept but hovering mother and Lexi, a lonely teen living with her aunt.

Mothers will  relate to her parenting skills and worrying. Young adults and teens will relate to the push and pull of finding independence from one’s parents and the necessity of being accepted by peers. It’s layered with issues on family dynamics, teenage angst and romance, first loves, sibling rivalry, friendship, forgiveness, grief and motherhood making it an excellent read.

I felt so sorry for Lexi who just can’t catch a break and so angry at Zack for putting Lexi in a position that  endangered all three of them and ended Mia’s life.

The ending is a bit too much HALLMARK, but I’m glad everything worked out for everyone.

All in all a great book.

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