Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Red Rising (Red Rising Saga #1) by Pierce Brown

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 out of 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

"I live for the dream that my children will be born free," she says. "That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them."

"I live for you," I say sadly.

Eo kisses my cheek. "Then you must live for more."

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.

Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity's overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society's ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies... even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

This book was intricately woven and so fast paced that if you blinked you would miss some of the action that took place. I thought that the world building was fascinating. I hope that the author will go into more detail about the different colors that we haven't heard as much about in Red Rising in the next installment. I thought that the duties and station of each color was compelling. I especially liked the violets and the carving that they were able to do. I think that the part where that is introduced was probably one of my favorite parts of the book because it was a chance to be introduced to the type of technology that is common in their society. 
I also enjoyed the battles and I will say that readers aren't kidding when they compare this book to Hunger Games on steroids! There are a lot of battles and duels that take place throughout the book so if you enjoy that as much as I do then this book is for you. The author spends a good amount of time on world building so the action doesn't start right away but once it does there is no let up from it. There is a lot of blood that is shed as well as talk about war strategy. Throughout all of that the author keys the reader into Darrow's internal struggle when dealing with the many obstacles that he must face in order to further his goals. 
I LOVED Darrow! It was an amazing character and if I was a character in the story I like to think that I would have followed him just like some of the other characters in the story. He was flawed but that was part of what I liked about him. Despite what happened in the beginning of the book, I never saw him as a coward. He didn't realize everything that was at stake and just wanted for his family and himself to be safe and content. As the book progressed he made some decisions that I didn't necessarily agree with but I understood why he made them. He was still grieving and that brought out a rage in him that he found hard to temper it. He grew so much during this book and I loved the kind of leader that he became. He wasn't cuddly or caring but fair and just in his approach. 
I'm loving how the author set things in motion for the next installment in the series but I'll have to see how everything pans out. I have heard that Darrow changes and that it wasn't necessarily well received by people who have read the book. 

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Ice Like Fire (Snow Like Ashes #2) by Sara Raasch

🌟🌟🌟 out of 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

It’s been three months since the Winterians were freed and Spring’s king, Angra, disappeared—thanks largely to the help of Cordell.

Meira just wants her people to be safe. When Cordellan debt forces the Winterians to dig their mines for payment, they unearth something powerful and possibly dangerous: Primoria’s lost chasm of magic. Theron sees this find as an opportunity—with this much magic, the world can finally stand against threats like Angra. But Meira fears the danger the chasm poses—the last time the world had access to so much magic, it spawned the Decay. So when the king of Cordell orders the two on a mission across the kingdoms of Primoria to discover the chasm’s secrets, Meira plans to use the trip to garner support to keep the chasm shut and Winter safe—even if it means clashing with Theron. But can she do so without endangering the people she loves?

Mather just wants to be free. The horrors inflicted on the Winterians hang fresh and raw in Januari—leaving Winter vulnerable to Cordell’s growing oppression. When Meira leaves to search for allies, he decides to take Winter’s security into his own hands. Can he rebuild his broken kingdom and protect them from new threats?

As the web of power and deception weaves tighter, Theron fights for magic, Mather fights for freedom—and Meira starts to wonder if she should be fighting not just for Winter, but for the world.

I want to begin this review by saying that I wasn't able to finish the book. I was able to read half of it but kept getting distracted by other books that i wanted to read. Please keep that in mind as you read my review as it does not reflect the book as a whole. 

I wasn't as much of a fan of this book as I was Snow Like Ashes. It felt like a completely different story to me rather than a continuation of the story that began in the first book. I connected more to the characters and story that took place in Snow Like Ashes because the characters are trying to figure out who they are and where they belong. The story revolves around a rag tag group of people fighting for their home and their people. In this story, I felt like those same characters were weakened and caused their own problems that were taking place in Ice Like Fire. I feel like the author completely changed what I loved about some of the main characters. 
The author must not have wanted anyone to like Mather. I had some issues with him in the first book but he was trashed in Ice Like Fire. He says and does some really idiotic things. To be blunt he turns into a whiny child in this book and I have no love for him anymore. He should be more understanding of Meira's position in Ice Like Fire because he was in the exact same position in the first book but instead he complains about not being King, being lied to/Daddy issues, and that Meira doesn't love him. Get over yourself and look at the big picture, idiot! She has a kingdom to save! She can't be all lovey dovey to you when she has a duty to fulfill!
I am also mad a Theron. He doesn't come out this book scot free either. What the heck happened to him!?! He was so awesome in Snow Like Ashes but now he kind of sucks. He seems like a different person. In Snow Like Ashes he tried to make his own way despite having to go through the motions of his duty to the crown. He wanted to use his power for good and he attempts to save Meira for cripes sake! In this book, it is like he forgets that due to his own greed. He doesn't become a complete monster but I was not at all happy with some of the things that he did in this book. He seems to have some Daddy issues himself in Ice Like Fire. 
Meira, however, has some growth in this book. However, I feel like she only grows into her duty as a ruler and forgets her other self from Snow Like Ashes.  I liked her in the first book because even though she had her faults she was strong and cared about her home and her people. Meira was willing to do things most people would not agree with like throwing herself into a battle. I feel like she loses those qualities in Ice Like Fire and instead grows into her title, powers, and relies on other people to do things for her. I did appreciate how she cared more about saving her people than she did about her relationships with Mather and Theron. I would have liked to have seen her rise up against a certain someone in this book but I can understand why she didn't with her kingdom being crippled. 
I thought that the quest for allies/keys to the chasm was interesting because not only do we get to see Meira in action once again but also are introduced to new characters with each kingdom that Meira and Theron travel to. I liked some of the characters that were introduced and some of them I hated but I believe that was the point. I think that the author was trying to show that evil is not always presented as one king or queen trying to take over all of the kingdoms but also the different ways  that they each abuse their magic. They twist it to their advantage such as enslaving people in different ways. I believe that this goes along with the outcome that Meira is struggling with. If the chasm is opened and people have access to the magic within, will results be disastrous? Would it matter if only good, decent people were allowed access to the magic or would the magic turn them into someone different?

Cinderella and the Geek by Christina Phillips

🌟🌟🌟 out of 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

From Christina Phillips a sexy, new romance with a hero you won’t forget…

I'm not looking for love or a Happily-Ever-After because I know how that ends. I just need to concentrate on my degree and look after myself. But there's something about my boss, Harry, I can't resist. It's crazy since he's so hot and smart it should be illegal. And then, just like Cinderella, I have my night at 
the ball and a midnight kiss, and for a week all my sexy daydreams come true. That fake date changes my life in a way I could never imagine. It turns out, Harry wants me too. 

But I’m off to pursue my dreams, and he’s taking his business to the next level. There’s no way this fairytale has a happy ending, but that doesn’t keep me from wishing for it.

*This ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

This book was cute! I loved the whole video game company angle! It made the geek part of the book more believable and funny. The majority of the characters that work at the company are shut ins that have a hard time communicating and Harry is no exception. He was an interesting character in that he understood more about creating games than women and how to be social. He ends up putting his foot in his mouth various times over the course of the book. He was still lovable though. I enjoyed how clueless he was although I wish that he would gave been more aware of Alice's feelings. I feel like Alice was a bit clueless too but she had no experience with the opposite sex whatsoever so it was understandable. Their relationship had an interesting dynamic that was fun to read about! I enjoyed this quick fun romantic comedy

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Gods & Monsters by Saffron A. Kent

🌟🌟🌟🌗 out of 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

He was an artist. She was his muse.

To everyone in town, Abel Adams was the devil's spawn, a boy who never should have been born. A monster.

To twelve year-old Evie Hart, he was just a boy with golden hair, soft t-shirts and a camera. A boy who loved taking her picture and sneaking her chocolates before dinner. A boy who made her feel special.

Despite her family's warnings, she loved him in secret for six years. They met in empty classrooms and kissed in darkened church closets. Until they couldn't.

Until the time came to choose between love and family, and Evie chose Abel.

Because their love was worth the risk. Their love was the stuff of legend.

But the thing about legends is that they are cautionary tales. They are made of choices and mistakes. And for Abel and Evie, the artist and the muse, those mistakes come in the form of lights, camera, sex.

NOTE: This is NOT a paranormal or a priest romance.


*Received this ARC in exchange for an honest review*
I thought that the beginning of the book was interesting. It grabbed my attention right away. I loved the whole storybook tone of Evie talking about what she thought of monsters and how she would deal with them if she was ever confronted by one. This idea seemed to carry on throughout the book as well as who was defined as a monster. I thought that for the voice of a 12-year-old Evie seemed immature and naive. Although, this carried on for quite a while until she was about 18 in the story. It bothered me somewhat but I was able to get over it because the story was so interesting. 
The book had far more depth than I thought that it would. There came a point in the story when I thought that the book would go in the direction that I have seen other books go but it went in a completely different direction. I was pleasantly surprised! I enjoyed the story due to the characters and how unique it was though  I would have shortened how much time was spent on Abel's job. Although, it added a compelling element to their relationship and added issues to it. 
I thought that the author took Abel and Pixie's relationship in interesting directions to provide the reader with an understanding of each of their personalities and how they each reacted to their trials differently. They each coped in similar and different ways but seemed to be separated by how they each chose to move forward. One of them held onto anger and hate while the other chose forgiveness towards the persecutors of their relationship. I appreciated the uniqueness of the characters. I have never read a book where one of the characters comes from such an unusual family background. It made for an intriguing character development and made me question how our society might treat such a person. A theme of the book seemed to be do you damn the children for their parents choices or are they their own person with a fresh start. 

Gods & Monsters Website: http://www.saffronkent.com
Gods & Monsters Pinterest board: https://www.pinterest.com/saffronkent/gods-monsters

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Writer of bad romances. Aspiring Lana Del Rey of the Book World. 

Saffron is a big believer in love (obviously). She believes in happily ever after, the butterflies and the tingling. But she also believes in edgy, rough and gutsy kind of love. She believes in pushing the boundaries, darker (sometimes morally ambiguous) emotions and imperfections.

The kind of love she writes about is flawed just like her characters. And she hopes by the end of it, you’ll come to root for them just as much as she does. Because love, no matter where it comes from, is always pure and beautiful.

She is represented by Meire Dias of Bookcase Agency

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Batman: Nightwalker (DC Icons #2) by Marie Lu

🌟🌟🌟 out of 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Before he was Batman, he was Bruce Wayne. A reckless boy willing to break the rules for a girl who may be his worst enemy.

The Nightwalkers are terrorizing Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is next on their list.
One by one, the city's elites are being executed as their mansions' security systems turn against them, trapping them like prey. Meanwhile, Bruce is turning eighteen and about to inherit his family's fortune, not to mention the keys to Wayne Enterprises and all the tech gadgetry his heart could ever desire. But after a run-in with the police, he's forced to do community service at Arkham Asylum, the infamous prison that holds the city's most brutal criminals.

Madeleine Wallace is a brilliant killer . . . and Bruce's only hope.
In Arkham, Bruce meets Madeleine, a brilliant girl with ties to the Nightwalkers. What is she hiding? And why will she speak only to Bruce? Madeleine is the mystery Bruce must unravel. But is he getting her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees? Bruce will walk the dark line between trust and betrayal as the Nightwalkers circle closer.

I thought that Marie Lu did a respectable job with this book. There have been so many variations of Batman in comics, movies, TV, and books that I believe that it is difficult to do something with him that hasn't been done before. I feel like it is almost impossible to revamp or create a new story which is why I only gave this book 3 stars. It didn't feel like this book was breaking any new ground on the subject matter. I would recommend this book to readers who haven't read many Batman comics and don't know as much about him. 
I like Marie's books because she has a writing style that I appreciate and I feel that she does a wonderful job creating the characters and the worlds in her books. Batman: Nightwalker seemed like it was Marie Lu light. I wanted more than what I received from this book. I found this teenage version of Bruce Wayne to be bland. He didn't offer anything as a character that drew me into the story. I didn't come to care about him like I wanted to. I was far more invested in the villain than I was in him. She was an interesting addition to the story due to her complexities and the lies that she weaved seamlessly in with half truths. I also enjoyed some of the fast paced scenes in the book wherein Bruce shows a few of his skills that he has already acquired in the aftermath of his parents death. 
Sadly, these attributes were not enough for me to rate this book any higher. This book didn't draw me in. It was easy to put it down which I did. I completed a few other books in between reading this one. I was so disappointed because this had all of the makings of a great book but it just fell a bit flat for me.  

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff

🌟🌟🌟🌟 out of 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.

BRIEFING NOTE: Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

Wow! I can't believe how fast I inhaled this book! I had heard the title of this book thrown around before but I didn't realize that Amie Kaufman was one of the authors. I recently read her book Unearthed, another sci-fi book with a sassy girl, and I absolutely loved it!. Once I realized that she was one of the authors, I was even more excited to read Illuminae. I have never read anything from Jay Kristoff, the other author responsible for bringing this story to life, but I have been wanting to read The Nevernight Chronicles for a while now. Taking all of these things into account I hyped up this book in my head so it had big expectations to meet. It met those expectations!

This book was interesting to say the least. It is not written in a way that was familiar to me because as it says in the synopsis for the book, it is told in files, emails, interviews, and more. Initially, I was concerned about this because I wasn't sure how it would work. All I can say is that it helped me to relate to the characters even more. It gets you into the head space of someone that is in space and separated by other people by not only distance but computer screens and firewalls. I actually ended up enjoying that type of writing style much more than I thought that I would. It promotes a sort of secrecy which makes you wonder who is on the other end of the emails or orders being given. Who can you really trust? It kept the focus on the characters and on the story without the authors having to go into detail about the room in which two people are in while talking. It cut away all the fluff and got straight to the point. It also helped to have the military files on hand so that the reader knows what is really happening while the characters may still have to catch up. Some of the military files also had an impersonal feel to them that I don't think could have been achieved as well through dialogue rather than the messages that they exchanged between the ships. 

I enjoyed all of the characters especially Aiden and Katy. Katy was the type of character that didn't take no for an answer because she didn't even ask the question in the first place. She wasn't really a fighter but was able to "go to war" by hacking into confidential information files, etc. She was extremely brave even in the face of heartache. Aiden also added an interesting element to the book. I'm sure that there are not many readers out there who were rooting for him but I was to a point. I can't go into detail because of spoilers but he makes you question judgement, how far someone will go to survive, and what it really means to save and protect. 

My issue with the story lies with the person behind the curtain. The "big baddie" so to speak. This person was already mentioned during the story and it is hinted at that they are dangerous. However, it was never hinted at or established that the person is in a position of power. I guess I'm just hoping that it will be further explained in the next book because right now I'm sitting back and scratching my head over it. 

Along the Indigo by Elsie Chapman

🌟🌟 out of 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

The town of Glory is famous for two things: businesses that front for seedy, if not illegal, enterprises and the suicides that happen along the Indigo River. Marsden is desperate to escape the “bed-and-breakfast” where her mother works as a prostitute—and where her own fate has been decided—and she wants to give her little sister a better life. But escape means money, which leads Mars to skimming the bodies that show up along the Indigo River. It’s there that she runs into Jude, who has secrets of his own and whose brother’s suicide may be linked to Mars’s own sordid family history. As they grow closer, the two unearth secrets that could allow them to move forward . . . or chain them to the Indigo forever.

*This ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

I feel like this book took a while to get started. It seemed like the main character kept repeating how terrible their town was, that suicides happened frequently, and that she wanted to keep her sister innocent. It got old really fast and I just wanted something to happen else to take place in the book so that it would stop. This book was more of a slow burn so the things that I just mentioned do continue throughout the book. I did think that the premise of this book was really interesting. I don't think that there are any other books out now that have a main character that lives in a brothel. I thought that that element of story was fascinating.  I actually wanted to know more about the women that worked there because I found that they were mysteries I wanted to solve.  I wanted to know more about what brought each of them to the town and why they chose/needed to work there. 

I found it hard to connect with the characters in this book. I found them to be bland which was surprising because each of their backstories were very interesting.  I could appreciate their struggles that they were each dealing with and the sacrifices they each made but it wasn't enough to offset the lack of connection. Their emotions didn't leap out at me from the pages of this book and it may have been due to the writing. I think that the author focused more on the mystery of the suicides rather than the affects of them on the characters. It is easy to tell that Jude and Marsden are upset about the deaths but the book seems to glance over that. 

Frenzy (Frenzy #1) by Casey L. Bond

🌟🌟🌟 out of 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

After the world was ravaged by a viral apocalypse, Blackwater is one of the only colonies that remains. The survivors came together to create this safe haven. Nestled between a fierce river and a city’s flood wall, the well-being of its residents hangs on a long-established treaty with the night-walkers. Sounds simple enough, but lately, the people of Blackwater have been dying, and the humans believe the night-walkers are to blame. 

Porschia Grant starves for more than her parents’ affection. Forced to enter the rotation, she will be given extra food rations in exchange for becoming a vampire’s breakfast and dinner for a week. The rotation has an extra responsibility as well: leave the colony and enter the dangerous forest to hunt for food. A night-walker will protect the hunters from the infected that roam the woods. But with the treaty hanging in the balance and tension between the humans and vampires rising, anything could happen in the darkness.

What would you do if your only chance at survival might kill you?

This book had a lot going on without much of an explanation. There are zombies that apparently came to be through biting and a virus that some people survived and others didn't. Then there are vampires who have formed a treaty with the people from Porschia's village to protect the humans  while they hunt for food in the woods in exchange for blood. The author didn't really give many details pertaining to why the world is the way that it is and how people came to know about vampires and/or interact with them. I suppose the author wanted the reader to know that that is the way that things are. 

I thought that the story was good despite the lack of details that were given and I am interested in reading the next one. The author leaves this book in a cliff hanger which I usually hate but I have a feeling that things will not be as catastrophic as the author would have readers believe. I liked Porschia as a character. She leads an interesting life with a younger brother that feels he must protect her, a bit of an absentee father, and an emotionally abusive mother who criticizes her whenever she gets the chance.  The book begins with her mother telling her that she is a waste of space and that she needs to join the rotation so that the family has more food rations or be forced to live somewhere else. She encounters further issues when she meets the night walkers that will be assisting her and others on the hunt. A few of them take an interest in her which has the potential to be extremely dangerous for her. I will warn anyone that plans on reading this that there is a love triangle or actually it might be a love square. If you are one of those people that can't stand those, I would stay away from this book.  

Monday, February 19, 2018

If I Stay (If I Stay #1) by Gayle Forman, Kirsten Potter (Narrator)

🌟🌟🌟🌟 out of 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Just listen, Adam says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel.

I open my eyes wide now.
I sit up as much as I can.
And I listen.

Stay, he says.

Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?

Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it's the only one that matters.

If I Stay is a heartachingly beautiful book about the power of love, the true meaning of family, and the choices we all make.

This is a beautiful story about life, love, and family. Bring your tissues because there are parts of the book that will have you in tears as family members and friends talk to Mia in an attempt to get her to stay with them or to say that it is okay for her to move on. 

The author gives the reader snippets of memories from Mia's life throughout the story in between present day explanations of how Mia's health is touch and go after a car accident that left her body battered and barely hanging on to life. Though Mia is fighting for her life from a hospital bed where she is unconscious, she still manages to be the narrator of the book through her spirit/ghost. It made for an interesting point of view because she is able to see what everyone is saying and everything that happens with her body. It was interesting how Mia goes back and forth between choosing to move on or stay. I can understand why she would want to be with her parents but also why she might feel that it is a cop out to move on when living would be the harder choice. 

My favorite portions of this book were present day when Mia is fighting for her life in the hospital. It was interesting how the author chose to talk about how the time passes by giving the hour of day periodically over the course of the book. Mia talks about walking around the hospital and listening to her family and friends talk. The emotions eb and flow with there being gut-wrenching moments when her boyfriend is in the room with her and then moments when it feels like Mia is disconnected because she is watching the doctors perform another surgery on her body while she stays in the same place. 

Friday, February 16, 2018

Fix My Fall (The Fix #3) by Carey Heywood

🌟🌟🌟 out of 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟


Abby Thompson’s love life is a disaster. Everyone around her is blissfully falling in love, while she’s busy binge watching anime. The last thing she needs is a walking temptation, in the form of ex-nerd turned dreamy astrophysics professor, Spencer Hill, aka her new client.

It’s her job to find Spencer his dream home, NOT fantasize about a ride on his space rocket. But the sparks between them are impossible to ignore, and soon, Abby is wondering if her losing streak in love could be turning around.

Can she get over her anxiety he’s got her out-brained, and can he let go of the past and the fear that the girl he crushed on in high school is still out of his league?

*Received this ARC in exchange for an honest review*
I have read a few things from Carey Heywood before and enjoyed them and thought that this book sounded different from the ones that I had read before. Fix My Fall was more of a light-hearted romance that did not have much angst or drama which I enjoyed. I also enjoyed that it wasn't overly sexual which helped me to believe that the characters had a strong relationship. It was different than the norm in that regard. 
My favorite part of this book by far was Spencer. He was adorably awkward. He seemed like he was stuck in the head space of his teenage self wherein he couldn't imagine someone that he felt was out of his league in high school could possibly have a romantic interest in him now. Spencer was not a love interest that always said or did the right thing because he was a bit clueless when it came to women and relationships. He didn't even realize when some women were interested or flirting with him. Ask the man about space and he could talk for hours but tell him to ask someone out and he will have some trouble. I enjoyed how intelligent and passionate Spencer was about his work. He also ended up being very romantic and a great love interest when it came down to it. 
I thought that Abby was the typical girl next door which I didn't mind. It made her a good match for Spencer because I feel like he needed someone that was sweet and down to earth. I thought that the issue that she faces with regards to her relationship with Spencer was believable and I could understand how she would feel that way. My only issue with her was a point in the story when she does something for a character that has treated her poorly. I didn't feel that this was that believable unless the woman was a saint. I don't know anyone that would do something like that. 
Overall, I thought that the story was pleasant. I would have liked there to be a more to it than there was but I enjoyed how the relationship formed and progressed between Spencer and Abby. They were both sweet characters. I also loved the relationship that the author portrayed between Abby and her family. It was fun to see them all interact with each other and with Spencer. 

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#1 Fix Her Up
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#2 Fix Me Not
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New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author. She was born and raised in 
Alexandria, Virginia. Supporting her all the way are her husband, three sometimes-adorable children, a mischievous black cat, German Shepherd rescue puppy, and their nine-pound attack Yorkie.

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Without Merit by Colleen Hoover

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 out of 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Not every mistake deserves a consequence. Sometimes the only thing it deserves is forgiveness.

The Voss family is anything but normal. They live in a repurposed church, newly baptized Dollar Voss. The once cancer-stricken mother lives in the basement, the father is married to the mother’s former nurse, the little half-brother isn’t allowed to do or eat anything fun, and the eldest siblings are irritatingly perfect. Then, there’s Merit.

Merit Voss collects trophies she hasn’t earned and secrets her family forces her to keep. While browsing the local antiques shop for her next trophy, she finds Sagan. His wit and unapologetic idealism disarm and spark renewed life into her—until she discovers that he’s completely unavailable. Merit retreats deeper into herself, watching her family from the sidelines when she learns a secret that no trophy in the world can fix.

Fed up with the lies, Merit decides to shatter the happy family illusion that she’s never been a part of before leaving them behind for good. When her escape plan fails, Merit is forced to deal with the staggering consequences of telling the truth and losing the one boy she loves.

It feels like I have waited forever to read this book. I'm so glad that it finally became available at my local library because I felt like I was going crazy waiting to read it. I have read all of Colleen Hoover's other books and loved each and every one of them. The woman is a freak of nature! She is incapable of writing a bad book! She is easily one of my favorite authors so I automatically want to read anything new that she comes out with and Without Merit was no exception. If anything, I got more excited about this book because it seemed different from Colleen's other books. A family that lives in a church? A girl who collects trophies? Sign me up!  The only worry that I had going into this book was that it might usurp my favorite, Maybe Someday. (Without Merit did not end up usurping my favorite  Maybe Someday but it is easily my second favorite book from Colleen Hoover!)

I have no issues whatsoever about anything pertaining to this book. Well...that's not completely true. I wanted it to be longer. I ended up loving all of the characters and formed some kind of connection with all of them by the end of the story. All I will say is reserve judgement of each of the characters until the end because there is a side to every story and Colleen Hoover gives the reader each and every one. I will say that I connected with Merit the most. I saw so much of myself in her as a teenager. There were many times where I felt unnoticed, left out, or forgotten when I was younger within my family and while at school. I really felt for her as the story progressed because I could tell that although she was angry and struggling that she was trying so hard. She bottled up so much inside of herself and there was nowhere for those feelings/secrets to go. She was also a bit of an odd duck and I don't think  that anyone who has been around me would say that I am "normal" so I found that aspect of her to be refreshing. 

The story itself was so profoundly beautiful! There were moments where it was just gut-wrenching and I felt like my body was shaking. It was like the author took pieces of me and portions of my life and stuck them in this book. Then there were moments in the book that I found uplifting. There were a few times where Merit is having conversations with members of her family and Sagan when I thought that Colleen Hoover would make a great therapist is she ever quit being a writer. Some of the statements that are made in the book are things that I or others have said as a counselor. This book is not so much a love story as it is a story about what it means to love yourself and what it means to be a family. I would urge anyone that is struggling in a similar way to Merit or wants to understand people that have issues with depression to read this book. Yes, it is a work of fiction but I think that it can help readers to see that you are not alone in feeling that way or to give a better understanding of what it is like to be in the shoes of someone dealing with it.