This week was all about the ARCs. I read three books I received from Net Galley: two YA and one adult. I related to the YA much more than the adult book, partly because of the age of the MCs (yes, I know I’m in my 30s but I don’t care!) but also because of the writing style. There’s just something about YA that speaks to me in exactly the right way. And with these books, the adult one seemed to be missing some spark that let me connect with the MC so I never really got into the story, where the two YA sucked me in from page one.
Everyone has a lot to say about Alice Franklin, and it’s stopped mattering whether it’s true. The rumors started at a party when Alice supposedly had sex with two guys in one night. When school starts everyone almost forgets about Alice until one of those guys, super-popular Brandon, dies in a car wreck that was allegedly all Alice’s fault. Now the only friend she has is a boy who may be the only other person who knows the truth, but is too afraid to admit it. Told from the perspectives of popular girl Elaine, football star Josh, former outcast Kelsie, and shy genius Kurt, we see how everyone has a motive to bring – and keep – Alice down.
The truth about Alice is that she is pretty damn amazing. And so is the book. I was really impressed with how distinct the four narrators’ voices were. I always knew whose head I was in while reading, which is not always the case with multiple POVs. And each person brought a different perspective and insight into the rumors about Alice so each chapter built on the one before until the full truth was revealed. As for the truth, it wasn’t what I expected. Without giving anything away, I just expected something more, something darker. I was a little let down by how quiet the book was, especially after all of the buzz about the story. I still enjoyed it and felt deeply for Alice and all she endured—and endured with so much damn maturity. It was a beautifully put together book about the harsh realities of being a girl in the spotlight for something she “maybe/probably” did with a boy, who was glorified by his peers for his part in it all while she was vilified and shunned by those same people.
I received an ARC of this book from Net Galley and Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group/Roaring Brook Press for an honest review.
Ruby Jewell knows flowers. In her twenty years as a florist she has stood behind the counter at the Flower Shoppe with her faithful dog, Clementine, resting at her feet. A customer can walk in, and with just a glance or a few words, Ruby can throw together the perfect arrangement for any occasion.
Whether intended to rekindle a romance, mark a celebration, offer sympathy, or heal a broken heart, her expressive floral designs mark the moments and milestones in the lives of her neighbors. It’s as though she knows just what they want to say, just what they need.
Yet Ruby’s own heart’s desires have gone ignored since the death of her beloved sister. It will take an invitation from a man who’s flown to the moon, the arrival of a unique little boy, and concern from a charming veterinarian to reawaken her wounded spirit. Any life can be derailed, but the healing power of community can put it right again.
I really, really wanted to like The Art of Arranging Flowers. The description reminded me of one of my favorite books, incorporating quirky characters and a hint of magic to help the main character get over a loss. But I just couldn’t connect with any of these characters. Too much of the story happened off of the page and then was remembered or discussed instead of letting me live through the experiences with Ruby. And the writing involved too much telling and way too little showing, which kept me from fully feeling the story or really seeing what was happening. It’s like Ruby was talking at me instead of weaving a story to pull me in. I really wanted to love these characters and care about what happened to them in the story, but by the time it was over, I still didn’t feel like I knew them and some of the things that happened at the very end seemed forced just to make a happy ending, not because the story logically ended there.
I received an ARC of this book from Berkley Trade and Net Galley for an honest review.
If high school is all about social status, Indigo Blackwood has it made. Sure, her quirky mom owns an occult shop, and a nerd just won’t stop trying to be her friend, but Indie is a popular cheerleader with a football-star boyfriend and a social circle powerful enough to ruin everyone at school. Who wouldn’t want to be her?
Then a guy dies right before her eyes. And the dusty old family Bible her mom is freakishly possessive of is stolen. But it’s when a frustratingly sexy stranger named Bishop enters Indie’s world that she learns her destiny involves a lot more than pom-poms and parties. If she doesn’t get the Bible back, every witch on the planet will die. And that’s seriously bad news for Indie, because according to Bishop, she’s a witch too.
Suddenly forced into a centuries-old war between witches and sorcerers, Indie’s about to uncover the many dark truths about her life—and a future unlike any she ever imagined on top of the cheer pyramid.
I know Michelle Krys online through a pitch contest she hosted last summer. She picked me, well my YA entry, to be on her team and that’s when I first heard about Hexed. It’s been on my TBR list ever since. So when I saw it up on Net Galley, I jumped at the chance to read it.
This book was a lot of fun. It’s a fast-paced, quick read that kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. And right from the start, Indigo had such a strong voice/personality it immediately drew me in. Yes, she’s a little snotty. Yes, she the stereotypical mean girl who seems to value popularity over being a decent person. But she’s also a vulnerable character who grows up a ton during the course of the book, which is only about 2-3 weeks. There were times I wanted Indigo to be more forceful, more kickass. But I get that not every cheerleader-turned-supernatural-being can be Buffy. And books would be pretty damn boring if every character was the same. The emotional twists in the book are what really made me fall in love with it. Things happened I didn’t expect, and the way Indigo handled them felt so real and honest it made it a little easier to forgive her better-than-everyone attitude. And let’s not forget about Bishop. Aside from his name, which holds a very special place in my heart being my maiden name and all, he is tattooed and sarcastic and sexy as hell. He is so my type of book boyfriend. I will definitely be reading the rest of this series when the books come out.
I received an ARC of this book from Net Galley and Random House Children’s/Delacorte Press for an honest review.