Review Rendezvous: 7/27/19


No Place Like Here by Christina June
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, contemporary, romance
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 272
Publish date: May 21st, 2019
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & Noble

NPLH

Ashlyn Zanotti has big plans for the summer. She’s just spent a year at boarding school and can’t wait to get home. But when Ashlyn’s father is arrested for tax evasion and her mother enters a rehab facility for “exhaustion,” a.k.a. depression, her life is turned upside down.

The cherry on top? Ashlyn’s father sends her to work with a cousin she doesn’t even know at a rustic team-building retreat center in the middle of nowhere. A self-proclaimed “indoor girl,” not even Ash’s habit of leaving breadcrumb quotes—inspirational sayings she scribbles everywhere—can help her cope.

With a dangerously careless camp manager doling out grunt work, an overbearing father trying to control her even from prison, and more than a little boy drama to struggle with, the summer is full of challenges. And Ashlyn must make the toughest decision of her life: keep quiet and follow her dad’s marching orders, or find the courage to finally stand up to her father to have any hope of finding her way back home.


This book was a lovely read from beginning to end. I highly enjoyed the setting, an outdoor camp up in the mountains. Brought back fun memories from similar camps I’ve been to. The way Ashlyn gets there – dad’s in jail, mom’s in treatment for depression – is not a great situation, but she manages to turn it around into something better.

I loved how there was a lot of focus on family relationships and not as much on romance. Sure, there is definitely romance involved, but at the book explores Ashlyn’s relationships with other people far more.

The contrast between the “rich” life Ashlyn was used to and the camp that she ended up at was intriguing. I like that she didn’t embody the typical spoiled city girl idea, though she still had some of those traits.

Overall, very nice read. This one is a good book for people who are a little burnt out on the typical YA romance-y type and want a change of pace.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:


I am a Book Depository affiliate, click here to purchase books through my link.

Skillshare is an online community full of amazing classes and brilliant teachers. Try out two free months with my code here!

Review Rendezvous: 7/20/19


Little Lovely Things by Maureen Joyce Connolly
Book stats:
Genre(s): Contemporary, thriller, mystery
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 289
Publish date: April 2nd, 2019
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Book Depository

LLT

A mother’s chance decision leads to a twist of fate that is every parent’s worst nightmare.

Claire Rawlings, mother of two and medical resident, will not let the troubling signs of an allergic reaction prevent her from making it in for rounds. But when Claire’s symptoms overpower her while she’s driving into work, her two children in tow, she must pull over. Moments later she wakes up on the floor of a gas station bathroom-her car, and her precious girls have vanished.

The police have no leads and the weight of guilt presses down on Claire as each hour passes with no trace of her girls. All she has to hold on to are her strained marriage, a potentially unreliable witness who emerges days later, and the desperate but unquenchable belief that her daughters are out there somewhere.

Little Lovely Things is the story of a family shattered by an unthinkable tragedy. Played out in multiple narrative voices, the novel explores how the lives of those affected fatefully intersect, and highlights the potential catastrophe of the small decisions we make every day.


This book was quite the interesting read. I can’t say I’ve read a good thriller in a while, but I liked the premise of this one. Having been in the situation where I’ve passed out before, I understand the panic that comes with the feeling right before it happens and could easily see how that leads Claire to this situation.

I also enjoyed the interspersed mentions of Jay, a potential witness to the crime, and his own background as a Native American. He has some skills that help Claire work towards the solution to this horrific event. There was also the balance of Claire’s marriage, which was intriguing. It explored the idea of what happens when something unthinkable happens, and the blame seems to lay on one particular person in the relationship. Could you stay with your own spouse if they got your children kidnapped?

Overall, highly enjoyed the read. Can’t say it’s my favorite in the entire world, but certainly worth the time to delve into this story.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:


I am a Book Depository affiliate, click here to purchase books through my link.

Skillshare is an online community full of amazing classes and brilliant teachers. Try out two free months with my code here!

Review Rendezvous: 7/13/19


The Silence Between Us by Alison Gervais
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, contemporary, romance
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 320
Publish date: August 13th, 2019
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Book Depository

tSBU

Moving halfway across the country to Colorado right before senior year isn’t Maya’s idea of a good time. Leaving behind Pratt School for the Deaf where she’s been a student for years only to attend a hearing school is even worse. Maya has dreams of breaking into the medical field and is determined to get the grades and a college degree to match, and she’s never considered being Deaf a disability. But her teachers and classmates at Engelmann High don’t seem to share her optimism.

And then there’s Beau Watson, Engelmann’s student body president and overachiever. Maya suspects Beau’s got a hidden agenda when he starts learning ASL to converse with her, but she also can’t deny it’s nice to sign with someone amongst all the lip reading she has to do with her hearing teachers and classmates. Maya has always been told that Deaf/hearing relationships never work, and yet she can’t help but be drawn to Beau as they spend more and more time together.

But as much Maya and Beau genuinely start to feel for one another, there are unmistakable differences in their worlds. When Maya passes up a chance to receive a cochlear implant, Beau doesn’t understand why Maya wouldn’t want to hear again. Maya is hurt Beau would want her to be anything but who she is—she’s always been proud to be Deaf, something Beau won’t ever be able to understand. Maya has to figure out whether bridging that gap between the Deaf and hearing worlds will be worth it, or if staying true to herself matters more.


My first impression of this book is that I highly enjoyed it. It’s not often you get to see disabilities and chronic illness depicted in young adult fiction, and I’m glad to have the opportunity to read this book. Plus there is the fact that this could be considered an Own Voices novel, as the author is hearing impaired herself.

Some people may see Maya’s attitude as off-putting, especially with how short she is with other people when she first gets to her new school. But as a person coming from the other side of the equation, I can completely understand why Maya is characterized as “difficult” or sometimes even a bit short-tempered. There is only so many times you can handle people babying you because they think you can’t do something, or if someone acts without taking the shortest second to consider your feelings as the disabled person, before you kinda just snap at people instead of being “nice”.

I can’t say that I liked the character of Maya’s mom, who seemed kind of irresponsible in how she was treating her kids. She moved them without seeming to think about her son’s condition, and then left them alone for a business trip? Caring for someone with a chronic illness, especially a child, is not something a seventeen-year-old – deaf or not – can handle by herself.

Overall, a very good book, one that I highly recommend you read for a glimpse into a different type of life.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:


I am a Book Depository affiliate, click here to purchase books through my link.

Skillshare is an online community full of amazing classes and brilliant teachers. Try out two free months with my code here!

Review Rendezvous: 3/2/19


My Real Name is Hanna by Tara Lynn Masih
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, historical fiction
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 208
Publish date: September 15th, 2018
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Book Depository

MRNiS

Hanna Slivka is on the cusp of fourteen when Hitler’s army crosses the border into Soviet-occupied Ukraine. Soon, the Gestapo closes in, determined to make the shtetele she lives in “free of Jews.” Until the German occupation, Hanna spent her time exploring Kwasova with her younger siblings, admiring the drawings of the handsome Leon Stadnick, and helping her neighbor dye decorative pysanky eggs. But now she, Leon, and their families are forced to flee and hide in the forest outside their shtetele—and then in the dark caves beneath the rolling meadows, rumored to harbor evil spirits. Underground, they battle sickness and starvation, while the hunt continues above. When Hanna’s father disappears, suddenly it’s up to Hanna to find him—and to find a way to keep the rest of her family, and friends, alive.


This one is tough, mostly because of the topic. I’m not one to read difficult books usually, but showing the minutiae of such horrific events through prose is an important part of keeping history alive, so I applaud Masih in this instance.

Masih brings the story of Hanna to life in such a vibrant and lifelike way. Hanna’s family must flee their home when Hitler’s forces overrun their Ukranian town. I don’t know much about Eastern Europe, so seeing the habits and customs represented in this book was also beautiful.

The depictions of family love and relationships with those outside of the runaway Jews is also beautiful. There is realism and connection evident in each interaction, and it’s one of the reasons that I quite enjoyed reading this.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:


I am a Book Depository affiliate, click here to purchase books through my link.

Skillshare is an online community full of amazing classes and brilliant teachers. Try out two free months with my code here!

Review Rendezvous: 2/23/19


The Secret Life of Mrs. London by Rebecca Rosenberg
Book stats:
Genre(s): Historical fiction
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 348
Publish date: January 30th, 2018
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Book Depository

TSLoML

San Francisco, 1915. As America teeters on the brink of world war, Charmian and her husband, famed novelist Jack London, wrestle with genius and desire, politics and marital competitiveness. Charmian longs to be viewed as an equal partner who put her own career on hold to support her husband, but Jack doesn’t see it that way…until Charmian is pulled from the audience during a magic show by escape artist Harry Houdini, a man enmeshed in his own complicated marriage. Suddenly, charmed by the attention Houdini pays her and entranced by his sexual magnetism, Charmian’s eyes open to a world of possibilities that could be her escape.

As Charmian grapples with her urge to explore the forbidden, Jack’s increasingly reckless behavior threatens her dedication. Now torn between two of history’s most mysterious and charismatic figures, she must find the courage to forge her own path, even as she fears the loss of everything she holds dear.


This is another one where I really like the cover! I love reading books that also make my graphic designer heart happy 🙂

I do like the historical basis of this one, early 20th century is one of my favorite time periods to read about. There’s something about the time just before the first world war that seems like everything is holding its breath. I did notice that the setting as lovely and very detailed, I enjoyed the small nods to what must have been quite a bit of research for this book.

Jack London was by far not my favorite character in the entire world. I think I’ve read maybe one of his books, but you could definitely tell he wouldn’t be much without Charmian supporting him. It was interesting to see the dichotomy between Charmian wanting to be a “liberated woman” of the time but also falling back onto the supportive wife role.

There was quite a bit of sleeping around in this book, which I can’t say I agreed with. But as this seems to have some historical basis, it makes sense that it made it into the prose. Overall, quite the good read. Not my favorite book of all time, but it was certainly entertaining nonetheless.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:


I am a Book Depository affiliate, click here to purchase books through my link.

Skillshare is an online community full of amazing classes and brilliant teachers. Try out two free months with my code here!