Everything,Everything by Nicola Yoon

Book Description:

Published: September 1, 2015

Format: Audio/OverDrive

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Review –

The world outside the home of eighteen year-old Madeline Whittier is filled with threats: viruses, allergens, bacteria, deadly airborne particles. These are all things that Madeline’s compromised immune system can’t handle. She has SCID, or severe combined immunodeficiency, known as “bubble baby disease.” So Madeline is a princess trapped in a castle — except her castle is a spotless, decontaminated house in Los Angeles with white walls, where she lives with her mother, a physician. She hasn’t left the house for 17 years. In order for people to visit (and they don’t; besides her nurse, Carla, Madeline’s only friends are virtual), they would have to endure a thorough physical and spend an hour in a decontamination airlock.

Then one day new neighbors move in next door and suddenly, there’s a boy to marvel over: a boy who wears all black, practices parkour as if he’s weightless and has a window that looks directly onto Madeline’s.

The boy’s name is Oliver but goes by Olly and he is as smitten as she is. the nurse secretly lets him visit after going through  the necessary decontamination and eventually they swap email addresses and so begins their “relationship”.

Olly home life is bad, to say the least. He father is a violent drunk who lashes out at Olly’s mom and sometimes Olly.

Cutting to the chase – Madeline leaves the safety of her home and she and Olly fly to Hawaii for two days so she can “live” only for her to get sick and be turned home by her home who had found out where they were.

A doctor who saw her in Hawaii sends her a letter stating that all her tests where normal  and that what she had was a viral infection ad effected her heart and that it is her opinion that Madeline does not nor has ever had SCID.

There’s a blow up between Madeline and her Mom and she leaves home and flies to New York to see Olly (his family moved shortly after they returned from Hawaii) and there is a HEA.

All that said – I was severely disappointed and had expected the book to be better.  The book seemed rushed and especially the ending. I would have liked a bit more insight into the “new” relationship between Olly and Madeline now that’s it known she is not sick. Oh well …

 

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The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

Book Description:

Published: November 1, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

Review –

Just finished listening to this book and had to get my thoughts down before they become mingled with the next book I plan to listen to/read.

This book basically covers A DAY in the lives of two seventeen years olds, a boy, Daniel, a Korean-American and a girl, Natasha, who came to America  from Jamaica when she was eight.

Everything about day had to fall just right for them to meet. If a second of difference in an occurrence had happened they would have passed by each other without a single glance. But they did meet and for Daniel is was love at first sight. Natasha was a harder sell and Daniel spent the day making her fall in love with him.

Daniel was on his way to a college entrance interview for Yale with plans to become a doctor. He didn’t want to be a doctor or really go to Yale but it was what his parents wanted.

Natasha was trying to stop her family from being deported that night back to Jamaica .

There are many twists and turns but suffice it to say that Daniel is crushed when he learns that she is going to disappear from his life that night and the attorney who had promised to help her dropped the ball by missing an important meeting  with a judge by spending the afternoon in a hotel room with his paralegal. Circumstances have to be just right for things to go right or wrong.

Natasha and her family go back to Jamaica and  she and Daniel keep in touch for a while but then life takes over and they each get on with their lives.  

Do they get back together? I’m not going to tell you but just know that for the last twenty minutes of this audiobook I had tears falling down my face and had trouble breathing.

I give this book  4 1/2 stars because there were a few parts that bogged down with too much information.

This is the second book by author, Nicola Yoon, and now I’m going to go find her first one, Everything Everything and grab more Kleenex.

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

Book Description:

Published: August 2, 2016

SOMETIMES THE ONE WHO LOVES YOU IS THE ONE WHO HURTS YOU THE MOST

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up – she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, and maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily, but Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan – her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

With this bold and deeply personal novel, Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. It Ends With Us is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.

This book contains graphic scenes and very sensitive subject matter.

Review –

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First of all, I want to say that I gave this book five stars ***** and it deserved more.

It got a LOT of hype and some readers didn’t like it and some loved it. I’m in the latter category. It deals with a subject whose depth you can not comprehend unless you are a part of it. Thank my lucky stars, I was not ever, nor do I think I will ever be a part of it. 

I would love to tell you everything about this book but I can’t because it would give too much away and I want you to read it or listen to it. I want everyone to read or listen to it. Men and women.

This book broke my heart because I was rooting for the man I thought was “perfect”, but I guess if something looks perfect it’s too good to be true. Love can hurt and love can heal but one person can’t do both.

The blurb makes it sound like a “love triangle” is involved but it’s not. That is not the point, or the focus. Whatever it is you’re thinking this book is, just trust me — it’s so much bigger than that. Seriously, trust Colleen. I did.

This book is now at my top favorite books of the year. I was unable to stop listening for long periods of time and other times I HAD  to stop listening. My heart couldn’t take it and I needed more Kleenex. I know that this is one of those profoundly beautiful and unforgettable stories that will stay with me for a long time.

I highly recommend it to everyone!

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Wild Reckless (Harper Boys #1) by Ginger Scott

Book Description:

Published: March 17, 2015

Kensington Worth had a vision for her senior year. It involved her best friends, her posh private school in downtown Chicago and time alone with her piano until her audition was perfected, a guaranteed ticket into the best music programs in the world.

Instead, a nightmare took over.

It didn’t happen all at once, but her life unraveled quickly—a tiny thread that evil somehow kept pulling until everything precious was taken from her. She was suddenly living miles away from her old life, trapped in an existence she didn’t choose—one determined to destroy her from the inside, leaving only hate and anger behind. It didn’t help that her neighbor, the one whose eyes held danger, was enjoying every second of her fall.

Owen Harper was trouble, his heart wild and his past the kind that’s spoken about in whispers. And somehow, his path was always intertwined with Kensington’s, every interaction crushing her, ruining her hope for any future better than her now. Sometimes, though, what everyone warns is trouble, is exactly what the heart needs. Owen Harper was consumed with darkness, and it held onto his soul for years. When Kensington looked at him, she saw a boy who’d gotten good at taking others down when they threatened his carefully balanced life. But the more she looked, the more she saw other things too—good things…things to admire.

Things…to love. Things that made her want to be reckless.

And those things…they were the scariest of all.

Review –

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When I started reading this book I thought it was a Young Adult novel, but the more I got into it, I changed my mind. I thought it would fit into the New Adult category, but by the ending I’m sure that it is somewhere in-between.

The plot of this story isn’t new: Girl from the city moves to a small town and right next door to the town’s BAD BOY and at first there is only indifference/hatred between them. But of course we all know that eventually the good girl will fall in love with the bad boy and will do things she knows she shouldn’t. What makes this NOT  young adult book is all the talk of drugs, alcohol and sex throughout the book, but don’t get me wrong, I LOVED IT, but I’m not a YA or a NA, so I can read anything I like. But, I wouldn’t want my teenage daughter (13-17) reading this because it makes sex, drugs and alcohol seem perfectly okay and it’s like no big deal .

The author writes a very steamy and descriptive  first time,Kensi was a virgin, sex scene between Owen and Kensi that is also beautiful. I was listening to it on Audible and it was in Chapter 21.

We learn that Owen has a train trunk full of baggage and why he is the dare-devil that he is. You can’t help but feel sorry for him and more than once I found myself yelling at the book, “Oh, good God, give the boy a break.” Kensi is also troubled but it’s because she learns the move was brought on by her father’s affair with her best friend and a weak mother figure,(most of the time).

As in all good YA or NA books there is a HEA and there isn’t another couple in the fiction world that deserved it more than Owen and Kensi.

Five stars *****

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The Fever by Megan Abbott

Book Description:

Published: June 17, 2014

The panic unleashed by a mysterious contagion threatens the bonds of family and community in a seemingly idyllic suburban community.

The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hockey star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie’s best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community.

As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town’s fragile idea of security.

A chilling story about guilt, family secrets and the lethal power of desire, The Fever affirms Megan Abbot’s reputation as “one of the most exciting and original voices of her generation” (Laura Lippman).

Review –

I’m assuming this is a YA book (I need to do more checking) but the language and some discussions between characters seem inappropriate for young teen readers. That being said, I, not a young teen, loved this book and it was the first time I had read or as in this case listened to anything by Megan Abbott.

It looks like the author is a writer of contemporary thrillers but I don’t know if that is how I would classify this book. It’s exciting, puzzling, fast paced and deals with the complicated friendships of adolescent girls.

I couldn’t stop listening once I started and was totally hooked and bought into the premise that a horrific epidemic was causing the girls to fall sick and become debilitated. to find out the true cause you’ll have to read it yourself.

I loved it and will definitely be looking for more of her books.

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The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan Philipp Sendker

Book Description:

Published: January 21, 2012

A poignant and inspirational love story set in Burma, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats spans the decades between the 1950s and the present. When a successful New York lawyer suddenly disappears without a trace, neither his wife nor his daughter Julia has any idea where he might be…until they find a love letter he wrote many years ago, to a Burmese woman they have never heard of. Intent on solving the mystery and coming to terms with her father’s past, Julia decides to travel to the village where the woman lived. There she uncovers a tale of unimaginable hardship, resilience, and passion that will reaffirm the reader’s belief in the power of love to move mountains.

Review –

After more than 25-30 years of marriage, a man leaves his family and goes back to Burma to re-unite with his first love. Four years later, his wife finds a love letter he wrote long ago to his Burmese woman and gives it go her daughter and says she can do what she wants but that she, the wife, doesn’t want to know what she finds out.

The daughter travels to Burma and comes upon a man who tells her a long story which is about the life of her father and the woman her loved. As it turns out, her father is dead and so is the woman he loved but the man she has been talking to over a week or more is her brother.

It is a story that makes the reader feel sorry for the man one minute  and hate him the next. The book will pull at your heart-strings and makes a very good Summer read.

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Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Book Description:

Published: September 15, 2015

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

Review –

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This is the best “feel good” book that I have read or listened to (I did both)  that I have experienced in a long time.

Being a girl/woman with a bit of extra chubbiness here and there I can totally identify with Willowdean and I know just how she feels when Bo lets it be known that he “likes” her.  It’s a scary thing, especially at sixteen, and I was so afraid that she was going to let the bullies in the book win, but she didn’t.

When Willowdean entered the pageant, as a confidence builder, three other girls, all with her own physical “flaws”, entered as well and whenever they were in a scene together in the book, it was hilarious and heart warming, as well. Willowdean’s best friend El enters too, and this causes a break in their  friendship that lasts for months. El works at Sweet Sixteen, a dress shop that caters to small sizes and has made new friends there and Willowdean feels totally devastated that her best friend is now sharing secrets with girls other than her.

With the death of her Aunt Lucy, her crazy Beauty Pageant focused Mom, missing her best friend, and going from having never been kissed to having two boys that are interested in her, Willowdean’s life is brimming over with drama.

Fantastic book and I have added Bo Larsen to my Favorites Book Beaus List, (swoon)

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Gone For Good by Harlan Coben

“The ugliest truth, in the end, was still better than the prettiest of lies.” So says Will Klein, whose search for his missing and allegedly murderous brother, Ken, leaves him doubting the actions of everybody he’s ever loved.

Eleven years ago, Ken fled his family’s suburban New Jersey neighborhood after Will’s ex-girlfriend, Julie Miller, was raped and strangled. The Kleins eventually convinced themselves that Ken perished on the lam. But as Will discovers, the facts are not so simple. On her deathbed, his mother tells him that Ken is still alive. Then Will’s girlfriend and “soul mate” disappears too, only to have her fingerprints turn up at a New Mexico homicide scene. How are these tragedies connected? And what’s their relationship to the recent appearance of a contract killer known as the Ghost? With help from an abused ex-hooker, a former white supremacist turned yoga guru, and Julie’s younger sister, Will finds himself in a tightly twisted plot that turns on double identities and misplaced trust and that forces him to dig for the courage he was always sure he lacked.

Although the premise sounds much like that of Harlan Coben’s last book, the acclaimed Tell No One, and the books’ ingenuous protagonists are nearly interchangeable, Gone for Good quickly establishes its separate but equally suspenseful identity. This is a tale of manifold deceptions guaranteed to show its readers up as suckers, and to make them love every moment of the experience. –J. Kingston Pierce

 

Review –

I believe this to be one of Harlan Coben’s best books and I have read several.  The story gets your attention from the beginning and  keeps you on the edge of your seat til the very end and I do mean THE very end.

I highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a fast paced mystery with a twist.