Book Review ~ Thief of Happy Endings

📓 I didn’t know I needed a contemporary, young adult love story set on a horse ranch until Thief of Happy Endings.  📚 😌

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Title: Thief of Happy Endings

Author: Kristen Chandler

Genre: Teen YA

Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group/Viking Books for Young Readers

Date published: June 19th, 2018

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synopsis

Ever since her father moved out, Cassidy feels like her life has been falling apart. So a summer of riding horses at a ranch camp in Wyoming sounds like just what she needs–never mind the fact that she has a paralyzing fear of horses. She’s determined to move past her fear, even if that means taking lessons from the insufferable (yet irresistible) junior wrangler Justin and embarrassing herself in front of the other campers. What follows is a summer of rodeos, complicated friendships, and a wild mustang thief on the loose.

My Review

Thief of Happy Endings calls attention to many important themes such as resilience, friendship, racism, prejudice, bullying, divorce, parenting, mental health, physical abuse, and animal cruelty. After her father moves out, Cassidy is struggling with depression and anxiety. Her parents send her to a horse camp in Wyoming to hopefully help Cassidy overcome her fear of horses.

Cassidy’s character feels credible. Her love interest, Justin, is intriguing, layered, complicated. Cassidy’s roommate, Alice, is probably my favourite character. An amazing friend from the beginning to the end, Alice is reliable, smart, and experiences an enormous amount of personal growth by the end of this story.

The characters are unique with distinctive voices. The story taught me a lot about horses, and in particular the mustang population in western USA. THIS IS NOT AN INSTA-LOVE! Chandler takes the time to let us get to know the characters before introducing a romantic interaction. Drawn into Thief of Happy Endings from page one, I couldn’t put it down, and I can’t think of any dislikes.

Wild, honest, charming, and entertaining. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟!

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion. Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley, for allowing me to review.

 

About the author.jpg

“Kristen Chandler is the author of the award-winning Girls Don’t Fly and Wolves, Boys, and Other Things That Might Kill Me.”

Kristen Chandler Goodreads Author Page

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Final Draft #Bookreview #Netgalley #FinalDraftBook

📓 Final Draft is a Young Adult Contemporary novel written by Riley Redgate. I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion. Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley, for allowing me to review. 📚 😌

35960813

Title: Final Draft

Author: Riley Redgate

Genre: YA Contemporary

Publisher: Amulet Books

Date published: June 12th, 2018

Page Count: 272

🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

 

synopsis

The only sort of risk 18-year-old Laila Piedra enjoys is the peril she writes for the characters in her stories: epic sci-fi worlds full of quests, forbidden love, and robots. Her creative writing teacher has always told her she has a special talent. But three months before her graduation, he’s suddenly replaced—by Nadiya Nazarenko, a Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist who is sadistically critical and perpetually unimpressed.

At first, Nazarenko’s eccentric assignments seem absurd. But before long, Laila grows obsessed with gaining the woman’s approval. Soon Laila is pushing herself far from her comfort zone, discovering the psychedelic highs and perilous lows of nightlife, temporary flings, and instability. Dr. Nazarenko has led Laila to believe that she must choose between perfection and sanity—but rejecting her all-powerful mentor may be the only way for Laila to thrive.” https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35960813-final-draft

My Review

Set in Brooklyn, Final Draft is a third-person story about friendship, grief, mental health, and sexuality, with a DIVERSE cast. The main character, Laila, is a biracial, pansexual, Ecuadorian/French-Canadian teenager. Her inner thoughts remind me of things I said to myself as a teenager. Laila’s soft-spoken teacher, Mr. Madison, reads her stories and encourages her to keep writing. He’s the kind of teacher we’ve probably all had. This is a purposefully slow story that takes place the summer before Laila and her three friends leave for college. I didn’t like Nazarenko’s character, but it didn’t ruin the story for me.

Beautifully introspective. Redgate isn’t afraid to speak the truth, writing about big things like sexual orientation, female sexuality, and racial identity.

 

I was annoyed when descriptions of people mentioned they didn’t look “normal”, or that it was shocking for a larger person to have confidence. Throwing homeopathic remedies and healthy food under-the-bus was also unnecessary. Having a teenager complain about healthy things has been done, and I feel that it’s not authentic.

This would be a great Summer read. Be sure to visit your local bookstore or library and check out this brand new novel.

About the author.jpg

According to Amazon, Riley Redgate is a graduate of Kenyon College in Ohio. She’s the author of Seven Ways We Lie (2016), Noteworthy (2017), and Final Draft (2018).

Look At Me By Mareike Krügel

📓 Look At Me is an Adult Women’s Fiction novel by German author Mareike Krügel. I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion. Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley, for allowing me to review.📚

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Title: Look At Me

Author: Mareike Krügel

Translated by Imogen Taylor

Genre: Adult Women’s Fiction

Publisher: Text Publishing

Date published: February 2018

Page Count: 288

 

 

synopsis

Katharina’s husband isn’t coming home for the weekend—again—so she’s on her own. When their chaotic daughter Helli has a nosebleed, Kat has to dash off to school to pick her up.

Then their son, Alex, announces he’s bringing his new girlfriend home for the first time. Kat’s best friend from college is coming around tonight too, and she’s wondering if she should try to seduce him—but first she needs to do the shopping, the vacuuming and the laundry, deal with an exploding clothes-dryer, find their neighbour’s severed thumb in the front yard and catch a couple of escaped rodents.

When she’s got all that sorted, perhaps she’ll have time to think about the thing she’s been trying not to think about—the lump she’s just found in her breast. Because you can’t just die and leave a huge mess for someone else to clean up…can you? And wasn’t there supposed to be more to life than this?” https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36484385-look-at-me

My Review

Mareike Krügel has written four novels, Look At Me is the first to be translated from German to English by Imogen Taylor. Told from the perspective of a mom named Katha, the story is about truths, mortality, marriage, motherhood, sexism, and gender roles.

 

Katha is a musicologist who teaches music to Kindergartens. She hasn’t been able to finish her thesis or find a satisfying career due to her daughter Helli, a very busy, impulsive, eleven-year-old who may have ADHD. Katha’s son Alex is “the perfect son”, smart, considerate, and good looking. Katha’s husband Costas accepted a job working away from home after being laid off from his dream job.

We also get to meet Sissi (Katha’s sister), Ann-Brit (Katha’s long time friend), Theo & Heinz (transgender neighbors), and Kilian (Katha’s male friend from school).

I found Katha to be incredibly annoying and had a really hard time caring about her. Helli stole the show for me. She reminded me a lot of my own nine-year-old son.

There are a few moments that come across as unbelievable, but that may be due to the translation. Look At Me is a quirky, funny story with a crazy ending that reminds us to be grateful for what we have and the people who love us.

About the author.jpg

“Mareike Krügel lives in Schleswig-Holstein with her husband and their two children. She has received numerous literary awards, including the Friedrich Hebbel Prize.”

https://www.textpublishing.com.au/books/look-at-me

The Death Of Mrs. Westaway By Ruth Ware #NewBook #Thriller #Mystery #Netgalley

📓 The Death Of Mrs. Westaway is a new atmospheric thriller from best-selling author Ruth Ware. I received an advanced copy in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion. Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley, for allowing me to review. This review is spoiler-free 📚 😌

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Title: The Death Of Mrs. Westaway

Author: Ruth Ware

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press

Date published: May 29, 2018

Page Count: 384

 

 

synopsis

On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.

Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the center of it.

Full of spellbinding menace and told in Ruth Ware’s signature suspenseful style, this is an unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.”

 

My Review

Gypsy Caravan, Tarot Wagon, Seaside

 

The Death Of Mrs. Westaway is a mystery novel about dark family secrets that takes place in England, during November (the perfect dreary weather for a thriller). The story is told from Harriet’s perspective in present day, and by journal entries from the past. After her mother is killed in an accident, Hal takes over the family business reading tarot cards on a pier in Brighton. I became attached to Hal pretty quickly, and found myself hoping she’d be able to pull off the fraud of walking away with someone else’s inheritance. Mrs. Westaway’s family is a loveless group of people who barely have anything to do with each other. I especially enjoyed cranky Mrs. Warren who helped run Mrs. Westaway’s ancient mansion for many years. Her sharp, uninhibited tongue reminded me of Lady Crawley from “Downton Abbey”.

Tarot Cards Magic Fortune Telling Gypsy Es

The setting of the Westaway mansion, Trepassen, is my favorite character. I loved how the five-sense descriptions of the house helped me feel like I was there, causing the creaks and secrets to haunt my dreams after reading late into the night.

I kinda saw the twist coming, but I almost always guess the “surprise ending” for books and movies. The secondary characters were one-dimensional for me. I would have liked to have been given more opportunity to get to know Mrs. Westaway, and Hal’s mother. Mrs. Westaway seems like an entertaining character that would probably make a great protagonist for a prequel 🙂

There was some fact repetition and I feel like one more big edit could have polished this one to a 5 star read for me.

The Death of Mrs. Westaway is a suspenseful thriller that is a slow-burn, however, it will keep you turning the pages. I definitely recommend you pick up this new book by Ruth Ware.

About the author.jpg

“Ruth Ware grew up in Sussex, on the south coast of England. After graduating from Manchester University she moved to Paris, before settling in North London. She has worked as a waitress, a bookseller, a teacher of English as a foreign language and a press officer. She is married with two small children, and In a Dark, Dark Wood is her début thriller.” https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9013543.Ruth_Ware

Find her on twitter at www.twitter.com/ruthwarewriter, on facebook at www.facebook.com/ruthwarewriter or via her website – www.ruthware.com

June TBR [2018]

Monthly TBR: July… | Echoing Books

36373481

Title: The Death of Mrs. Westaway

Author: Ruth Ware

Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press

Date Published: May 29, 2018

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Page Count: 384

Synopsis: “From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of In a Dark, Dark Wood, The Woman in Cabin 10, and The Lying Game comes Ruth Ware’s highly anticipated fourth novel.

On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.

Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the center of it.

Full of spellbinding menace and told in Ruth Ware’s signature suspenseful style, this is an unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.”

36484385

Title: Look At Me

Author: Mareike Krügel

Publisher: Text Publishing

Date Published: December 2018

Genre: Adult, Women’s Fiction, European (German)

Page Count: 288

Synopsis: “Translated by Imogen Taylor

Katharina’s husband isn’t coming home for the weekend—again—so she’s on her own. When their chaotic daughter Helli has a nosebleed, Kat has to dash off to school to pick her up.

Then their son, Alex, announces he’s bringing his new girlfriend home for the first time. Kat’s best friend from college is coming around tonight too, and she’s wondering if she should try to seduce him—but first she needs to do the shopping, the vacuuming and the laundry, deal with an exploding clothes-dryer, find their neighbour’s severed thumb in the front yard and catch a couple of escaped rodents.

When she’s got all that sorted, perhaps she’ll have time to think about the thing she’s been trying not to think about—the lump she’s just found in her breast. Because you can’t just die and leave a huge mess for someone else to clean up…can you? And wasn’t there supposed to be more to life than this?”

35960813

 

Title: Final Draft

Author: Riley Redgate

Publisher: Amulet Books

Expected Date Published: June 12, 2018

Genre: YA Contemporary, LGBT

Page Count: 272

Synopsis: “The only sort of risk 18-year-old Laila Piedra enjoys is the peril she writes for the characters in her stories: epic sci-fi worlds full of quests, forbidden love, and robots. Her creative writing teacher has always told her she has a special talent. But three months before her graduation, he’s suddenly replaced—by Nadiya Nazarenko, a Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist who is sadistically critical and perpetually unimpressed.

At first, Nazarenko’s eccentric assignments seem absurd. But before long, Laila grows obsessed with gaining the woman’s approval. Soon Laila is pushing herself far from her comfort zone, discovering the psychedelic highs and perilous lows of nightlife, temporary flings, and instability. Dr. Nazarenko has led Laila to believe that she must choose between perfection and sanity—but rejecting her all-powerful mentor may be the only way for Laila to thrive.”

38122973

 

Title: Slipper

Author: Hester Velmans

Publisher: Van Horton Books

Date Published: April 2018

Genre: Historical Fiction (Retelling)

Page Count: 371

Synopsis: “Her life is the inspiration for the world’s most famous story.

Lucinda, a penniless English orphan, is abused and exploited as a cinder-sweep by her aristocratic relatives. On receiving her sole inheritance—a pair of glass-beaded slippers—she runs away to France in pursuit of an officer on whom she has a big crush. She joins the baggage train of Louis XIV’s army, survives a terrible massacre, and eventually finds her way to Paris. There she befriends the man who will some day write the world’s most famous fairy tale, Charles Perrault, and tells him her life story.

There is more: a witch hunt, the sorry truth about daydreams, and some truly astonishing revelations, such as the historical facts behind the story of the Emperor’s new clothes, and a perfectly reasonable explanation for the compulsion some young women have to kiss frogs.

This is not the fairy tale you remember.”

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Title: Her Pretty Face

Author: Robyn Harding

Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press

Expected Date Published: July 10, 2018

Genre: Contemporary Suspense

Page Count: 352

Synopsis: “The author of the bestselling novel The Party—lauded as “tense and riveting” by New York Times bestselling author Megan Mirandareturns with a chilling new domestic drama about two women whose deep friendship is threatened by dark, long-buried secrets.

Frances Metcalfe is struggling to stay afloat.

A stay-at-home mom whose troubled son is her full-time job, she thought that the day he got accepted into the elite Forrester Academy would be the day she started living her life. Overweight, insecure, and lonely, she is desperate to fit into Forrester’s world. But after a disturbing incident at the school leads the other children and their families to ostracize the Metcalfes, she feels more alone than ever before.

Until she meets Kate Randolph.

Kate is everything Frances is not: beautiful, wealthy, powerful, and confident. And for some reason, she’s not interested in being friends with any of the other Forrester moms—only Frances. As the two bond over their disdain of the Forrester snobs and the fierce love they have for their sons, a startling secret threatens to tear them apart…because one of these women is not who she seems. Her real name is Amber Kunick. And she’s a murderer.

In her masterful follow-up to The Party, Robyn Harding spins a web of lies, deceit, and betrayal, asking the question: Can people ever change? And even if they can, is it possible to forgive the past?”

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Title: All Your Perfects

Author: Colleen Hoover

Publisher: Atria Books

Expected Date Published: July 17, 2018

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Page Count: 320

Synopsis: “Colleen Hoover delivers a tour de force novel about a troubled marriage and the one old forgotten promise that might be able to save it.

Quinn and Graham’s perfect love is threatened by their imperfect marriage. The memories, mistakes, and secrets that they have built up over the years are now tearing them apart. The one thing that could save them might also be the very thing that pushes their marriage beyond the point of repair.

All Your Perfects is a profound novel about a damaged couple whose potential future hinges on promises made in the past. This is a heartbreaking page-turner that asks: Can a resounding love with a perfect beginning survive a lifetime between two imperfect people?“

May Wrap Up [2018] #reading

I read 6 books in March:
2 Young Adult (Fantasy, Contemporary Romance)
2 Adult (Anthology/Fantasy, Mystery Crime Thriller)
2 Middle Grade (Fantasy Graphic Novels)

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I follow the Goodreads rating suggestions:
🌟= did not like it
🌟🌟= it was ok
🌟🌟🌟= liked it
🌟🌟🌟🌟= really liked it
🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟= it was amazing

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Title: Our Dark Duet

Author: Victoria Schwab

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Date Published: June 2017

Page Count: 510

My Review: 🌟🌟🌟 Our Dark Duet By Victoria Schwab #BookReview

 

 

 

32905900

Title: Some Of The Best From Tor.com

Author: Various

Publisher: Tor.com

Date Published: January 2017

Page Count: 667

My Review: 🌟🌟🌟  Some Of The Best From Tor.com 2016 #BookReview #Free #KOBO

 

 

 

36632316

Title: Find You In The Dark

Author: Nathan Ripley

Publisher: Text Publishing

Date Published: April 2018

Page Count: 352

My Review: 🌟🌟🌟  New Thriller by Canadian Author #Findyouinthedark #Netgalley

 

 

 

10537195

Title: The Last Council (Amulet #4)

Author: Kazu Kibuishi

Publisher: Graphix

Date Published: September 2011

Page Count: 219

My Review: 🌟🌟🌟🌟  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10537195-the-last-council

 

 

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Title: From Twinkle With Love

Author: Sandhya Menon

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Date Published: May 2018

Page Count: 336

My Review: 🌟🌟🌟 New Teen Contemporary Romance #BookReview #Netgalley #FromTwinkleWithLove

 

 

13436384

 

Title: Prince of the Elves (Amulet #5)

Author: Kazu Kibuishi

Publisher: Graphix

Date Published: September 2012

Page Count: 203

My Review: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2400981523?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1