Where has this summer gone?! It’s already time for another Reading Lately linkup! Thankfully I got to do a lot of my reading this month while I was camping. I read quite a variety of books this month, which I’m happy about. As always, I’m reviewing several books so I don’t want to bore you with a long intro. Don’t forget to link up your book review posts at the bottom! And check out the Reading Lately group on Facebook.
Lessons in Gravity by Jessica Peterson
We’re back in Spain for another semester abroad, only this time the study abroad romance adventures are told from Maddie’s perspective. Lessons in Gravity begins where Spanish Lessons left off (read my review here), with Maddie coping with her parents divorce and studying abroad in Spain. When she hooks up with Rafa’s uncle, Javier, who is actually more like a cousin being only slightly older, she thinks it’s a one time thing. But the morning after when Javier overhears an emotional phone call between Maddie and her father, he sees a caring, emotional side to her that he can’t get out of his head.
I did notice that the slight overlap in the two books, a part of the dialogue changed. It wasn’t anything major, and I only noticed this because I read this book right after finishing the first. But that’s one of those things that shouldn’t happen in my opinion. Obviously we’ll get a different perspective on things, but the dialogue would’ve been the same.
Again, I love the story and the adventures as the girls study abroad in Spain. It makes me want to travel to Spain, and it again makes me wish I had studied abroad during college. Their relationship is so lust-y, which makes it a bit more believable. But it still tells an important message about taking chances with people. 4/5 stars
A Life Removed by Jason Parent
Aaron Pimental is a small town cop, unhappy with his job and his life. He can feel his girlfriend of eight years distancing herself and he’s losing his best friend to a group of people from church. When he gets called to a murder scene one morning at work, he finds himself in the middle of an investigation for a serial killer. His team races to find the murderer when one of their own is put in danger. Can they find the murderer before it’s too late?
I’m kind of just left unimpressed by this book. It’s an interesting idea on cult behavior. But I found myself not liking any of the characters, even the main character. He was too emotional and depressing, complaining about everything and taking personal offense to everything. I know it’s intentional, but I just couldn’t find myself liking him. It’s a mix between mystery, psychological thriller, and horror. It’s not your typical mystery, because one of the POV’s is the murderer. But it’s still a mystery because you don’t know if they’re going to get caught or happen.
The description of the murders, while a little repetitive, was also pretty graphic and gross for my taste. I also didn’t like the ending, with one of the key characters going missing. And I wasn’t a fan of the twist. Honestly, at about seventy percent into the book, I felt like all my questions had been answered and the book was over. But the twist kept the story going. I just didn’t feel the tension or motivation to continue with the story. While I did finish it, it took me a few days to pick it up.
It was an interesting read, the writing and editing was great, but it just didn’t do it for me. 3/5 stars
Buy it here (free if you have Kindle Unlimited)!
Princess in the Spotlight (Princess Diaries #2) by Meg Cabot
The second book in the Princess Diaries series follows Mia through her high school adventures after finding out she’s the heir to the throne in Genovia. She has to continue her princess lessons and deal with more family drama. Her grandma schedules her for a primetime television interview. And she finds out she has a secret admirer, who she secretly hopes is Michael Moscovitz.
I picked up this book because I was really in the mood for something light and easy to read. After A Life Removed, I was pretty grossed out and just needed something light and fluffy. And I think knowing what to expect with these books made me enjoy it more than I initially enjoyed the first book. So I liked it better than I liked the first book. Plus Michael Moscovitz is such a cute character. It’s again a very quick and easy read. I’m definitely more interested in continuing to read the series just for the fun fluffiness of the series. 4/5 stars
The Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse
Nina McCarrick is living her dream life, happily married to her husband, Finn McCarrick, the owner of a successful construction company. They live a luxurious life, Nina being a stay at home mom to their two boys who attend the elite private school and they spend their family vacations traveling to posh coastal resorts in Europe. But then her fairy-tale life comes crashing down around her. Nina receives a phone call telling her that Finn has been in a terrible accident. Dealing with the grief of his death, she learns that Finn was keeping secrets from her. His successful company has actually fallen apart and amassed 8 million pounds of debt. As her life of luxury falls apart and she loses everything, Nina must find a way to keep her family on their feet. But without any work history or a college degree, Nina struggles…
I really like the take on this idea. I’ve read similar books, but I really liked the way this story was told. It’s not another husband cheating on his wife story. I also found it inspirational, watching a woman overcome her grief and a variety of struggles and obstacles. It’s very easy to read and extremely gripping right from the start. The characters and all their reactions and emotions are very realistic and relatable. I did find some of the dialogue a bit unrealistic at times. And while I found a few typos, I received this book as an uncorrected proof so I’m not taking these into consideration in my review (which I normally do).
The story is very sweet, inspirational, and well written. It had me in tears within the first 20 minutes and several other times throughout the story. Definitely have tissues ready. Highly recommend! 4/5 stars!
Buy it here (free if you have Kindle Unlimited)!
Run Away Charlotte by H.M. Shander
Charlotte harbours a troubled, disturbing past. Sparks instantly fly when she meets her coworker, Andrew. Keeping her guard up, she pushes him away thinking no one will possibly stick around after learning about her past. When she finds herself in a threatening situation, the only person she can think to call is Andrew. When he helps her and proves he won’t run away, she lets him in.
But Andrew has a full plate managing work, school, and family, and struggles to find the time for Charlotte. Feeling uncertain about their future, Charlotte asks Andrew whether he sees her in his future forever. Andrew has no answer, other than he’s too young to thing about marriage. Disappointed, Charlotte ends things with him to protect her heart from being led on. While nursing her broken heart, Charlotte meets a coworkers friend and starts dating him. As things get more serious, Andrew comes asking for a second chance. But does Charlotte choose the man her heart wants or the one who gave her everything Andrew couldn’t?
I honestly really struggled with this book. I also had a lot of issues with Charlotte. She is a weak and dependent girl. Someone is always carrying Charlotte to bed or babying her. There also was a lot of crazy, dramatic, and dangerous things that happen to Charlotte. It just seemed over the top. And the story seems to take forever to progress. I found typos throughout the novel and a character was called by a different name (Lloyd is called Larry). The majority of the story revolves around her relationship with Andrew, which got a little boring. Only the last 10% involve another guy and her deciding between the two. I disliked Andrew’s character, he seemed aggressive or jealous right from the start. Maybe possessive? 2.5/5 stars
DO NOT read this if you don’t like reading about abuse – rape, abusive parents, and drug abuse are all present in this novel. Also, some things that really bugged me about the novel and characters. After being raped, Charlotte continues to push Andrew away and instead starts dating someone else who gets her pregnant. And when Charlotte finally wants to be with Andrew, he only spends time with her when it’s convenient for him. Then they end up just being friends with benefits. I know I should’ve sympathized more with Charlotte, but I found her weak and stupid.
Buy it here – other people seem to really like this novel, so maybe it just wasn’t for me.
Secrets of the A-List (Episode 1 of 12) by Joss Wood
Harrison Marshall and his family are part of the A-list society, they are extremely wealthy and successful. Mariella gathers at the hospital with her three children, Luc, Rafe, and Elana, and her nephew Gabe, after Harrison is in a nearly fatal car accident. Suffering from serious injuries, tensions run high between his children. And then Harrison is transferred to a private hospital without their consent. They learn about his secret business and that someone else is now calling the shots for his empire. As his wife and business partner, Mariella can’t believe that she isn’t in control. Someone known as The Fixer is now calling the shots.
It’s definitely an intriguing story with an interesting glimpse at family relationships and the A-list society. I like the drama of it all – sex, affairs, money, and mysterious people. But there is a lot to take in right from the start, which I found confusing and overwhelming. And while I like that it was such a quick read, I don’t like how it ends in the middle of the story. It feels more like an episode of a tv show, ending on a dramatic note to keep you intrigued for next week’s episode. I felt a little cheated that this happened after 60 pages, it just seems too short. Right when things are starting to make sense, it’s over. I think people might be impatient to wait to read the rest of the story, or forget about it as they wait for the rest of the series to come out.
Next, each episode in the series is written by a different author. I’m curious to see how that works out and if this will change the feel of the story. I like a consistent voice across a series and that’s not possible with different authors – everyone has a different voice. 3.5/5 stars
Pre-order it here (It’s free)!
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