The Truth About Goodbye by Russell Ricard – Review

I want to get one thing straight right off the bat. I did end up enjoying The Truth About Goodbye in the end, but it might have been a case of too little, too late, for me. So I’m going to do what they say you should do in presentations and make a sandwich of my feelings about this novel.

We’re going to talk about some good, some bad, and then some good again.

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The Only Child by Andrew Pyper – Review

Holy hell, what a ride.

I don’t remember where I first heard about The Only Child or how it ended up in my Overdrive account, but I went into the novel blind. I didn’t know anything about it. Would it be a family drama? A murder mystery?

After a couple pages, I was sure I knew what was going to come of this. It would be a murder mystery and our main character, Lily would find love or something along the way. I should have learned my lesson from underestimating The Girl On The Train last summer. Instead of the competent, but unmemorable novel I was expecting, I was blown away by how deep this rabbit hole went.

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As You Wish by Chelsea Sedoti – Review

[I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley in return for an honest review.]

Imagine a town named Madison in the desert where everyone gets one wish. On the night that they turn eighteen, they’re allowed to make one wish for almost anything they want. There are only a couple rules. One is that no one can know about the town, so you can’t wish to become the next international superstar. The other rules are basically the same as the Genie’s from Aladdin. No wishing for more wishes and you can’t bring someone back from the dead.

Already my mind went to some terrifying conclusions with this, conclusions that (to be fair) As You Wish doesn’t shy away from.

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Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch – Review

I’m going to level with you right now. My first instinct was to call shout from the heavens that I’ve found Eat, Pray, Love for young adults, but… I haven’t read Eat, Pray, Love and I only have the loosest idea of what it’s all about (I do know that Julia Roberts was in the movie though, so that’s something). So let’s not be disingenuous or misleading and instead look at Love & Gelato it’s own merits.

The title is apt and I guess what I wasn’t expecting out of this was the interesting dynamic between all the main characters. Normally parents in young adult novels play strictly supporting roles. They’re there to smile, help out, and then possibly die when the stakes need to be ramped up in a hurry.

Not so with Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch. Kind of… It’s complicated.

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Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of Unruly Women by Anne Helen Petersen – Review

[A copy of this book was provided to me by Netgalley in return for an unbiased review.]

There’s no denying that when it comes to the way that women are perceived in the modern media, there’s a specific way that women are supposed to look/act. Usually, that specific way translates to “whatever men desire”, but in a President Trump world, society feels like it has taken a step backward or perhaps a giant leap when it comes to gender politics. In Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman, Anne Helen Petersen outlines the different ways that women are criticized or ostracized. The features that tend to be focused on are ones that males would not be criticized for (or at least would be treated more mildly for).

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Empty Mansions by Bill Dedman, Paul Clark Newell, Jr. – Review

I feel like we’re all hardwired to be suckers for good mysteries. It doesn’t have to be murder all the time (although my podcast lineup would beg to disagree), but when there’s something unknown, human nature drives to to try and figure it out. If there was the chance of foul play, especially with a huge fortune on the line, it can be hard to shrug your shoulders and walk away.

Empty Mansions feels a bit like a non-fiction carnival that has a little bit of everything, or perhaps it would be better described as an eclectic museum that has strange exhibits that you wouldn’t think were connected to each other at all. What does political corruption, Japanese paintings, dollhouses made to scale, running around the wild west, and ornate empty mansions have in common? If you were to walk into a museum and see these exhibits in place, they would probably seem bizarre.

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Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon – Review

Everyone is afraid of death. It’s one of those universal truths that we all live with and while we may feel like we’re invincible when we’re teenagers, there’s always been fiction which undercuts that. Were you into fiction that was set in our world? There are books that will satisfy your young adult death craving such as John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars or Nicholas Sparks’ A Walk to Remember. Want to be more fanciful? Harry Potter and the Hunger Games have you covered.

There’s an allure to reading about death. At first, I was puzzled about why there were so many deaths in Young Adult fiction before I looked over at my bookshelf and saw all of the true crime that was waiting for me there. Death fascinates us all and when written well (like it was in Everything, Everything), for the purpose of telling a good story rather than simply trying to write porn for emotions, the death of teens can be incredibly cathartic to read about.

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A Nameless Witch by A. Lee Martinez – Review

There are beautiful accidents in the world and this was one of them. I was in the library and let someone pick out a book for me. Normally, I tend to stay away from the witchy side of things. It’s been done to death and it would just mean either a really ugly woman or a disgustingly sexy vixen who left drooling men in her wake. Neither of them would really interest me so I was ready to dismiss the novel out of hand. Then I saw the tagline:

“A tale of vengeance, true love, and cannibalism”

How on earth can you go wrong with that?

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The Chimes by Anna Smaill – Review

Imagine a world where music is more than something you listen to, where music is the way that you find your way to places. Maps don’t exist and even if they did, would you remember how to read them without music to remind you how? Instead of moving quickly, you move presto. If time seems to slow, time goes lente. The world moves to the music in the most literal way that a society can manage.

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