“Twenty Boy Summer”—A Book Review

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Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler is a heart wrenchingly good summertime read.

Anna is headed to Zanzibar Bay with her best friend Frankie for the summer. The wild and daring Frankie is determined for Anna to finally have a summer romance and devises a plan that they meet and hang out with one boy each day.

Anna agrees to go along with Frankie’s crazy plan. But what she doesn’t tell her is that she’s already had a sizzling romance…with Frankie’s older brother Matt, who died a year ago. Matt promised he would tell Frankie about them, but died tragically before he had the chance. So for the past year, Anna has had to keep the dear memories of her and Matt’s steamy romance secret.

“But when you’re in the middle of being in love with someone, you just don’t stop to ask, ‘Matt, listen, if you die before you tell your sister about us, should I tell her?’”

Emotionally raw and honest, this novel deals with grief, tragedy, secrets, betrayal, family, steamy romance, and most importantly, learning how to move on and live again. I give this summer time read five out of five stars!

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“Endless Summer”—A Book Review

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Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols is a stupendous summer read! It’s a collection of two summer novels: The Boys Next Door and its sequel Endless Summer.

Lori spends the entire year just waiting for her summers at the lake, where she works at her neighbors’ marina with her older brother. The pluses for working there every summer: 1) Wakeboarding everyday 2) Extra cash 3) Working on her golden summer tan 4) The Vader brothers.

Ever since Lori was a little girl, she’s had a crush on Sean Vader. The downside=he’s two years older than her and sees her as “one of the guys.” Lori has tagged along with her older brother since childhood, just to hang with Sean and Adam Vader. But Lori is determined that this is the summer Sean will notice her. She has a plan!

The plan: First, start acting and dressing more like a girly-girl. Second, start hanging out with the younger of the Vader brothers, Adam, who is her age. The hopeful outcome is that seeing her with Adam all summer will make Sean jealous, thus causing him to sweep Lori off her feet in a fit of jealousy. The fatal flaw in this otherwise brilliant and foolproof plan: Adam has an agenda of his own.

Full of romance, summer sun, and laughs, this two-in-one novel is the perfect poolside read!

I give this fun book five stars!

“Gray”—A Short Story by Sarah Hebert

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Hey fellow booknerds,

Here is another one of my short stories I wrote while attending Louisiana State University that I wanted to share with you. It follows along with the Teen “tough stuff” genre, centering around the aftermath of suicide.

“The Beautiful Between”—A Book Review

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The Beautiful Between by Alyssa B. Sheinmel is a beautifully told story.

Connelly’s dad died when she was two. Her mom won’t tell her how, and because of the icy response got when she was in third grade, she hasn’t asked again since. And ever since that night, her mom has been distant; the nightly ice cream in bed while watching TV snuggles have stopped. These two women just kind of coexist in the same high-rise apartment in the heart of glamorous NYC, having very little actual interaction with each other.

“My mother and I never fight. I can’t remember any major fights or childhood tantrums. She never assigned me a curfew and I never came home late until the other night, after Brent’s party, and then she didn’t ask where I’d been. We get along fine this way.”

And so, having lived this way since she was a little girl, Connelly developed a way of living that helped her cope with life and with the answers she doesn’t have—answers that don’t seem likely she will ever receive. Connelly views her entire life as a fairytale. After that fateful night, as a curious eight-year-old (when she made the wrong decision to ask her mother how her dad died), she created an imaginary fairy godmother to keep her company and to keep her safe. She lied to the kids at school and told them her parents were divorced to make up for the embarrassing lack of information she had about her dad.

And so, Connelly lives in her fairytale world, seeing high school as fairytale kingdom, where Jeremy Cole is the prince, and she is Rapunzel, locked away in a tower. These imaginary scenarios are how Connelly has gotten along for so long that when Jeremy Cole breaks into her life, offering to tutor her in Physics in exchange for SAT vocab help, she almost doesn’t know how to handle life anymore.

It isn’t until she and Jeremy start to become close friends and she sees the way Jeremy interacts with his close, loving family that Connelly even really starts to question her mother. She begins to truly wonder why she has kept any information regarding her dead father away from her for so long—making Connelly afraid to even ask about him.

“Maybe the witch thought she was protecting Rapunzel, not punishing her. Maybe she thought that if Rapunzel was locked away, no one could ever hurt her. Maybe the witch kept Rapunzel because she loved her, because she was scared that if other people could get to Rapunzel, they would hurt her. And maybe Rapunzel didn’t understand the witch; maybe she was angry at her—but maybe she loved her too.”

Over the semester, Connelly finds an unexpected best friend in the most popular boy in school. At first, she continues her fairytale analogies, wondering why the beloved prince would pay attention to the lowly peasant. But the truth soon reveals itself: Jeremy seeks solace in Connelly’s company and perhaps she is the only one that can help him find comfort.

As the duo spend more and more time together, Connelly finds herself living less in her fantasy world and more in the real world:

 “I’ve always fantasized about something or other before I could fall asleep, played a fairy tale in my head to entertain myself. But I haven’t for a while now.”

Stunningly narrated, this book reminds you how important communication is. Things that go unsaid can eat a person up inside. While fantasies can be great, even though it can be harsh at times, the real world is always a better place for truly living.

I give this quick, but thoughtful, coming-of-age story five out of five stars!

“Die For Me”—A Book Review

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“There was something dangerous about him, as there was about all the revenants. Just knowing that a fatal accident could be right around the corner must make humans more cautious, a trait that Vincent and his fellow revenants didn’t possess. Their lack of fear of injury, or even death, gave them a reckless confidence that was both thrilling and terrifying.”

Die For Me by Amy Plum completely plunged me into the romantic world that is Paris: Tiny cafés, the Seine River, The City of Lights. Now just add to that a romance with an otherworldly, dangerous, beautiful guy and you have yourself a recipe for a thrilling, amorous tale!

Both of Kate’s parents have died, leaving her and her older sister Georgia to pack up their New York lives and move to Paris to live with their grandparents. While Georgia deals with her grief by partying and being a social butterfly, Kate closes herself off to everything and everyone, finding solace only through the escape of reading.

“I had begun to feel like I was encased in a layer of ice. I was cold inside. But I clung to the coldness for dear life: Who knew what would happen if I let the ice thaw and actually began to feel things again?”

 “My mom said I was an escapist at heart…that I preferred imaginary worlds to the real one. It’s true that I’ve always been able to yank myself out of this world and plunge myself into another.”

But then, Kate meets Vincent: dark wavy hair, piercing blue eyes, chiseled features all over. As Kate starts to spend time with Vincent, slowly the ice begins to melt. However, when things seem too good to be true, it’s usually because they are.

You see, Vincent isn’t a normal human guy. He and his “family” have a specific destiny they are ordained to fulfill. This particular fate scares the crap out of Kate, and she tries to run from it—tries to wall herself up in the confines of her bedroom. But in the end, she just can’t resist the call to be with Vincent—finally ready to open her heart again.

Will Kate risk it all just to have her heart crushed again? Is letting herself love again worth the risk? You’ll just have to read this book and find out 😉

Four out of Five stars for this intriguing Paranormal Romance with a fascinating new lore.

“The Eternal Ones”—A Book Rant

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The Eternal Ones by Kristen Miller was completely redic. To be honest I can’t even remember a whole lot from this book because it was just a whole bunch of boring nonsense that never really led anywhere.

Basic overview:

Haven has had “visions” ever since she was a little kid, but her grandmother refuses to let her speak of it and sent her to therapy for many years to get her to stop talking about them. Haven keeps seeing herself as another person in a former life with a guy.

Then one day she sees celebrity Iain on TV and is all like, “OMG, I know him from a past life, I must leave my rinky-dink Tennessee town and go to New York to find him!”

With convincing from her gay bf and some weird backwoods pastor, she sets off for NYC. While there, she runs into the movie star, Iain and he instantly recognizes her and is all, “Oh, thank God, you finally found me. I became a movie star in this life hoping that you would see my face and come be in love with me again.”

Haven discovers some secret Ouroboros Society and unravels weird sketchy past secrets about a bunch of people who also keep getting reincarnated. Is Iain lying to her about stuff? Has she been murdered before? Does someone want to murder her now? Did her therapist back in Tennessee sell her out? Did her dead father believe her when she was a kid and was his death an accident?

Seriously…this book was ridiculous…and not in an entertaining kind of way. I got really bored with the back and forth, “I love him! I can’t trust him! I love him! He lied to me! But I love him!”

I give this book one star. I will NOT be reading the sequel.  

#harshtruths