April 28, 2019

Book Review: After by Anna Todd (Spoilers Ahead)

After by Anna Todd
Genre: New Adult Romance
Length: 582 pages
Publisher: Gallery Books
Source: Library
My Rating:
Goodreads Summary: Tessa is a good girl with a sweet, reliable boyfriend back home. She’s got direction, ambition, and a mother who’s intent on keeping her that way. But she’s barely moved into her freshman dorm when she runs into Hardin. With his tousled brown hair, cocky British accent, tattoos, and lip ring, Hardin is cute and different from what she’s used to. But he’s also rude—to the point of cruelty, even. For all his attitude, Tessa should hate Hardin. And she does—until she finds herself alone with him in his room. Something about his dark mood grabs her, and when they kiss it ignites within her a passion she’s never known before. He’ll call her beautiful, then insist he isn't the one for her and disappear again and again. Despite the reckless way he treats her, Tessa is compelled to dig deeper and find the real Hardin beneath all his lies. He pushes her away again and again, yet every time she pushes back, he only pulls her in deeper. Tessa already has the perfect boyfriend. So why is she trying so hard to overcome her own hurt pride and Hardin’s prejudice about nice girls like her? Unless…could this be love?

My Review

**SPOILER WARNING** This review contains spoilers for After by Anna Todd.

I don't get the hype for this one. I know there are a lot of fans of this series, but I can now officially say that I am not one of them. This book was not for me. If you are a fan of this series, that is perfectly fine and I am not saying there is anything wrong with that. I'm just not a fan myself.

After is pretty darn long, and I 'm honestly not sure if anything actually happened in its 582 pages. I chose to read this book via audio and the narrator was great, it's just too bad the characters and story were not. The format for this review is a little different than my normal style. In chronological order, these are the various opinions I had while reading the book. I am usually generous when giving star ratings and rarely harsh in my reviews. I can't say that for this one.

My Thoughts While Reading After:
  • Not a fan of the slut shaming. Come on! Let's not do that. Tessa is very judgmental. 
  • Hardin is pretty much just a straight-up jerk. I don't get the appeal.
  • Tessa cheats on her boyfriend, Noah. Not only am I not a fan of cheating, but she is a really big jerk too. Example: Noah, her actual boyfriend, comes to visit her after she insists/begs him to. Then she takes Noah's car without a good excuse because Hardin "needs" her, and leaves him behind. THEN she stays the night with Hardin instead of going back to her boyfriend who dropped everything and drove two hours to see her!?! Rude much?
  • Hardin tells her how she should dress and act. Ew.
  • Tessa keeps saying this is the "last time" she will talk to Hardin, and then immediately goes back to him and does whatever he says.
  • When Tessa is forced to come clean to her boyfriend, she blames Hardin for everything at first. I just yelled at the book "Tessa, it is called consequences! It takes two to tango!" 
  • Do Tessa and Hardin do anything but fight? I'm thinking no. Oh wait, they make out. That's healthy.
  • She is still dating Noah? Why? To torture him?
  • "Today has been the best time I have ever had with Hardin, despite his multiple outbursts." - Okay.... sure. Sounds like a fun day.
  • These two are giving me a headache. How am I only a little more than halfway done?
  • Hardin keeps grabbing Tessa's wrist/arm when she tries to walk away from him in a fight. Not loving that. He also never seems to understand what NO means. Does he have any redeeming qualities? Still undetermined.
  • This EXACT scene happened earlier in the book. Ah, this is why the book is so long. It is just a whole bunch of repeated scenes.
  • After 11.5 hours of listening to this audiobook, Hardin finally does something nice without being asked. Mind blown.
  • Oh. They have been dating for a hot second and now they are discussing marriage. Of course Hardin doesn't believe in marriage. Come on, Tessa! Are you really surprised?
  • This book is just too much.
  • More fighting. 
  • I have now set the speed to x 1.5 on my audiobook so I can get this book over with faster.
  • Hardin apologized! Whoa. Maybe he is, dare I say, getting some character development?
  • How is there still an hour left in this book? How?
  • Hardin is more than just jealous. He is controlling. He is rude. He is obnoxious. I take back my earlier comment about character development. I spoke too soon.
  • Tessa never told her one of two friends that she moved in with Hardin? Weird.
  • This whole book is basically just these two fighting and then having sex.
  • The author used an old romance trope from the 90s for the climax of this book? It wasn't even a good one, but a super problematic one! AND HE KEPT THE SHEETS FOR PROOF? WTF?!?! NOOOOO!!!!
  • The worst part? I am pretty sure they get back together in book two. I don't get it.
  • No, I won't be reading any more books in this series. Their relationship is toxic, everyone is a jerk, and the plot was surprisingly nonexistent given its length. It was just a whole bunch of the same scenes over and over again.
The Bottom Line: I can't with good conscious recommend this book to a single person. There are better New Adult Romance books out there if that is what you are looking for. This is just reads like a bad 50 Shades fanfic.

April 22, 2019

ARC Review: The Lovely and the Lost

The Lovely and the Lost by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Genre: YA Contemporary Mystery
Length: 336 pages
Publisher: Freeform
Source: I received a free ARC from the publisher through Netgalley. Thank you! This did NOT affect my honest review.
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
My Rating:
Goodreads Synopsis: Kira Bennett’s earliest memories are of living alone and wild in the woods. She has no idea how long she was on her own or what she had to do to survive, but she remembers the moment that Cady Bennett and one of her search-and-rescue dogs found her perfectly. Adopted into the Bennett family, Kira still struggles with human interaction years later, but she excels at the family business: search-and-rescue. Along with Cady’s son, Jude, and their neighbor, Free, Kira works alongside Cady to train the world’s most elite search-and-rescue dogs. Someday, all three teenagers hope to put their skills to use, finding the lost and bringing them home. But when Cady’s estranged father, the enigmatic Bales Bennett, tracks his daughter down and asks for her help in locating a missing child—one of several visitors who has disappeared in the Sierra Glades National Park in the past twelve months—the teens find themselves on the frontlines sooner than they could have ever expected. As the search through 750,000 acres of unbridled wilderness intensifies, Kira becomes obsessed with finding the missing child. She knows all too well what it’s like to be lost in the wilderness, fighting for survival, alone. But this case isn’t simple. There is more afoot than a single, missing girl, and Kira’s memories threaten to overwhelm her at every turn. As the danger mounts and long-held family secrets come to light, Kira is forced to question everything she thought she knew about her adopted family, her true nature, and her past.

My Review

The Lovely and the Lost in Three Words: Captivating. Dogs. Mysterious.

I don't believe I have quite read a YA book like this one before. Since I don't want to give too much away, and because I want you to actually read this review, I am writing my review in short bullet points.

Reasons why you should read The Lovely and the Lost:
  • It's a unique story
  • There are search and rescue dogs
  • The excellent writing makes for a seamless reading experience
  • Features a solid mystery
  • The main character is extremely compelling
  • Family secrets are abound
  • It's a real page-turner
  • Did I mention the dogs?!

The Bottom Line: If you don't want to buy a copy, although you should, then at least request a copy at your library!

April 14, 2019

ARC Review: Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett

Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett (April 16, 2019)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 432 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: Thanks Simon Pulse for an ARC of Serious Moonlight! This did NOT affect my honest review.
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
My Rating:
Goodreads Synopsis: After an awkward first encounter, Birdie and Daniel are forced to work together in a Seattle hotel where a famous author leads a mysterious and secluded life in this romantic contemporary novel from the author of Alex, Approximately. Mystery-book aficionado Birdie Lindberg has an overactive imagination. Raised in isolation and homeschooled by strict grandparents, she’s cultivated a whimsical fantasy life in which she plays the heroic detective and every stranger is a suspect. But her solitary world expands when she takes a job the summer before college, working the graveyard shift at a historic Seattle hotel. In her new job, Birdie hopes to blossom from introverted dreamer to brave pioneer, and gregarious Daniel Aoki volunteers to be her guide. The hotel’s charismatic young van driver shares the same nocturnal shift and patronizes the waterfront Moonlight Diner where she waits for the early morning ferry after work. Daniel also shares her appetite for intrigue, and he’s stumbled upon a real-life mystery: a famous reclusive writer—never before seen in public—might be secretly meeting someone at the hotel. To uncover the writer’s puzzling identity, Birdie must come out of her shell…discovering that most confounding mystery of all may be her growing feelings for the elusive riddle that is Daniel.

My Review

Mysteries. Pies. Kisses. Oh my! Serious Moonlight is sure to be another contemporary romance hit from author Jenn Bennett.

Birdie Lindberg is relatable and adorable. Birdie is often anxious and awkward, and is always worried about being embarrassed. I totally get where you are coming from, Birdie! She is also kind, unique, a mystery buff, and so much more. She is continually growing and figuring her self out after living a pretty sheltered childhood. We also have Daniel, Birdie's love interest. Daniel is sweet, dorky, outgoing, loves magic, and appears to be the exact opposite of Birdie. Although they are both dealing with some heavy personal stuff, they always seem to be able to have fun together. The romance component of Serious Moonlight was refreshing. I can't say more since I don't want to spoil it, but I can say that it was a nice change of pace compared to the many other romances I have read.

Serious Moonlight was a delight to read! It features a fun mystery, an adorable romance, and reminds you that although life is complex and will throw you curve balls, it can still be manageable. The setting takes place in unique places in Seattle, giving readers a different view of the city. There are also many fun mystery novel references throughout the book. Although the pacing of the book was just fine, I did feel at times like the romance and the mystery aspects of the book were fighting for attention in the spotlight. However, I think that reflects on Birdie's feelings, so I was okay with it.

The Bottom Line: Serious Moonlight is another Jenn Bennett book you won't want to miss. Grab a piece of pie, sit back, and enjoy Birdie's story. A perfect read for a rainy day, Serious Moonlight is in fact, sweet as pie.

Other Fantastic Titles by Jenn Bennett:


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