Monday, September 26, 2016

Orange: The Complete Collection 1

Orange: The Complete Collection 1
Ichigo Takano
Seven Seas, 2016
Source: Library
Audience: Teens

From Goodreads:
On the day that Naho begins 11th grade, she receives a letter from herself ten years in the future. At first, she writes it off as a prank, but as the letter’s predictions come true one by one, Naho realizes that the letter might be the real deal. Her future self tells Naho that a new transfer student, a boy named Kakeru, will soon join her class. The letter begs Naho to watch over him, saying that only Naho can save Kakeru from a terrible future. Who is this mystery boy, and can Naho save him from his destiny? This is the heart-wrenching sci-fi romance that has over million copies in print in Japan! 

I never read manga.

So Orange was a slow start. Once I understood where the story was going, I enjoyed it. However, the way the characters are going about changing the future isn’t the most realistic or healthy. I suppose since time travel is involved, realistic isn’t necessary. Some of the logistics involved with the letters and time travel don’t make complete sense to me, but as long as I don’t think about that too hard, it’s enjoyable.

I might even read Collection 2!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Curious Minds

Curious Minds
Janet Evanovich
Bantam Dell, 2016
Source: E-Galley, Library
Audience: Older Teens, Adults

From Goodreads:
Emerson Knight is introverted, eccentric, and has little to no sense of social etiquette. Good thing he’s also brilliant, rich, and (some people might say) handsome, or he’d probably be homeless. Riley Moon has just graduated from Harvard Business and Harvard Law. Her aggressive Texas spitfire attitude has helped her land her dream job as a junior analyst with mega-bank Blane-Grunwald. At least Riley Moon thought it was her dream job, until she is given her first assignment: babysitting Emerson Knight.

What starts off as an inquiry about missing bank funds in the Knight account leads to inquiries about a missing man, missing gold, and a life-and-death race across the country. Through the streets of Washington, D.C., and down into the underground vault of the Federal Reserve in New York City, an evil plan is exposed. A plan so sinister that only a megalomaniac could think it up, and only the unlikely duo of the irrepressibly charming Emerson Knight and the tenacious Riley Moon can stop it.

I didn’t like this one, unfortunately. In fact, I almost quit reading it. The storyline just didn’t grab me like Evanovich’s other work usually does, and some of the dialogue reminded me a bit too much of the Plum series. I powered through to the end of the book, and the plot got a bit more interesting... but I still probably won’t read the second one. When I heard it was about gold, I thought “treasure hunt” not “financial scam.” So if readers interested in finance might find Curious Minds more interesting than I did.

Thursday, September 22, 2016


Ally Condie
Dutton Books for Young Readers, 2016
Source: Library/E-Galley
Audience: Children, Younger Teens

From Goodreads:
It's the first real summer since the devastating accident that killed Cedar's father and younger brother, Ben. But now Cedar and what’s left of her family are returning to the town of Iron Creek for the summer. They’re just settling into their new house when a boy named Leo, dressed in costume, rides by on his bike. Intrigued, Cedar follows him to the renowned Summerlost theatre festival. Soon, she not only has a new friend in Leo and a job working concessions at the festival, she finds herself surrounded by mystery. The mystery of the tragic, too-short life of the Hollywood actress who haunts the halls of Summerlost. And the mystery of the strange gifts that keep appearing for Cedar. 

Infused with emotion and rich with understanding, Summerlost is the touching middle grade debut from Ally Condie, the international bestselling author of the Matched series, that highlights the strength of family and personal resilience in the face of tragedy.

My favorite thing about Summerlost was the subtleness of the grief that Cedar experienced. Most books for children and teens take place immediately after their loss, when it hits them the hardest. However, in Summerlost, it was about a year after Cedar’s losses. The writing was not overpowering or gut-wrenching, but instead brought up the grief when Cedar felt it - sometimes when the reader might not expect it. Also, I loved the quirky characters and the trouble they got into. The result was a lighthearted read that also managed to be understanding of hardship in a young person’s life.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Diagnosis Murder: The Waking Nightmare

Diagnosis Murder: The Waking NightmareLee Goldberg
Signet, 2005
Audience: Adults, Older Teens
Source: My Own Bookshelf

From Goodreads:
A new mystery featuring Dr. Mark Sloan. 

Dr. Mark Sloan saves a would-be suicide victim, but her jump from a building ledge has left her in a coma. Obsessed with learning why she attempted suicide, Sloan stumbles into a manhunt for a cop-killer-who may turn his attention to nosy physicians next.

The mystery in The Waking Nightmare was artfully crafted, but also just too much. Right when I thought it was figured out - surprise - it wasn’t! About four times! Too many twists are never a good thing, and this book was no exception. I did enjoy the creativity involved, but it just wasn’t my favorite.

Monday, September 19, 2016

After You

After You
Jojo Moyes
Penguin, 2015
Source: Library
Audience: Adults, Older Teens

From Goodreads:
How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living?

Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.

Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future. . . .

For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here Jojo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and where both changes and surprises await.

After You is quintessential Jojo Moyes—a novel that will make you laugh, cry, and rejoice at being back in the world she creates. Here she does what few novelists can do—revisits beloved characters and takes them to places neither they nor we ever expected.

I was worried about this book. I loved the first one so much, I read it in no time at all. The stakes were high for After You. Overall, I liked it. It wasn’t the same as the first one, which was good. The twist surprised me, and I liked the new characters and the ending. However, I thought the storyline surrounding Lily was creatively uninspired. It was too easy! I enjoyed reading about her, but seriously. Too convenient. Also, I thought that Lou’s mom’s storyline was a little too similar to Bridget Jones’s mom in Bridget Jones’s Diary. Those things aren’t important in the end, though. What matters is how much people enjoyed reading it, and I must have, because as I write this review I realize that I totally want to read After You again.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Where Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame

Where Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame
Mara Wilson
Penguin Books, 2016
Source: E-Galley
Audience: Adults, Older Teens

From Goodreads:
Mara Wilson has always felt a little young and a little out of place: as the only child on a film set full of adults, the first daughter in a house full of boys, the sole clinically depressed member of the cheerleading squad, a valley girl in New York and a neurotic in California, and one of the few former child actors who has never been in jail or rehab. Tackling everything from how she first learned about sex on the set of Melrose Place, to losing her mother at a young age, to getting her first kiss (or was it kisses?) on a celebrity canoe trip, to not being “cute” enough to make it in Hollywood, these essays tell the story of one young woman’s journey from accidental fame to relative (but happy) obscurity. But they also illuminate a universal struggle: learning to accept yourself, and figuring out who you are and where you belong. Exquisitely crafted, revelatory, and full of the crack comic timing that has made Mara Wilson a sought-after live storyteller and Twitter star, Where Am I Now?introduces a witty, perceptive, and refreshingly candid new literary voice.

I learned more than I expected about Mara Wilson! I was surprised she shared so much personal information about herself. She really went for it, and it worked. A lot of what she wrote about was identifiable to so many women our age. She perfectly articulated how she felt, and I felt like I understood a majority of it. If you were a fan of Mara Wilson movies, like I was, you’ll enjoy reading about her successes and challenges.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo

The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo
Amy Schumer
Gallery Books, 2016
Source: Audio Book, Library
Audience: Adults

From Goodreads:
The Emmy Award-winning comedian, actress, writer, and star of Inside Amy Schumer and the acclaimed film Trainwreck has taken the entertainment world by storm with her winning blend of smart, satirical humor. Now, Amy Schumer has written a refreshingly candid and uproariously funny collection of (extremely) personal and observational essays.

In The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, Amy mines her past for stories about her teenage years, her family, relationships, and sex and shares the experiences that have shaped who she is—a woman with the courage to bare her soul to stand up for what she believes in, all while making us laugh.

Ranging from the raucous to the romantic, the heartfelt to the harrowing, this highly entertaining and universally appealing collection is the literary equivalent of a night out with your best friend—an unforgettable and fun adventure that you wish could last forever. Whether she’s experiencing lust-at-first-sight while in the airport security line, sharing her own views on love and marriage, admitting to being an introvert, or discovering her cross-fit instructor’s secret bad habit, Amy Schumer proves to be a bighearted, brave, and thoughtful storyteller that will leave you nodding your head in recognition, laughing out loud, and sobbing uncontrollably—but only because it’s over.

Warning: If you are not familiar with Amy Schumer, her humor is somewhat raunchy. I went into this audio book thinking it would be just that, and it was - but it was also heartfelt and thoughtful. While Schumer was lighthearted and hilarious, she also was reflective and incredibly sensitive. I loved hearing that she was an introvert, as I am one as well. I learned so much more about her as a person and it was fantastic. I can’t wait to get my book copy so I can see pictures and reread my favorite parts!