|Pub Date: 8-23-22|
YA - Contemporary
Four for the Road- K.J. Reilly: Asher recently lost his mother to a drunk driver and needless to say, he isn't handling it well. All Asher wants is revenge on the driver let off on a technicality, but since that isn't healthy coping behavior, Asher finds himself joining not one but three different bereavement groups. In these groups, Asher meets 80-year-old Henry and teenagers Will and Sloane, and unexpected friendships form. Asher decides to invite his new friends on a road trip from New Jersey to Graceland, but he leaves out the part about him stealing his dad's car or the real motive behind the trip. Each person has reasonings behind agreeing to the impromptu journey, and as the miles pass, a quest that started as revenge starts to feel more like forgiveness instead.
I knew going into this that it would be emotional, but boy, was it ever. It was almost as if you could feel Asher's grief emanating from the pages. It took me a while to get into the story because the writing was all over the place. Every sentence in every paragraph felt like a stream of consciousness. Like you were inside Asher's mind as he tried to sort through his trauma and make sense of it. It was repetitive and longwinded and felt like a panic attack on paper. It wasn't my favorite writing style, but I admit it worked well given the scope of the story. However, I did enjoy watching these characters, who may seem so different on the outside but are bound together by their grief, find solace and comfort in one another. The whole thing was heartwarming and heartbreaking all at once, and while it didn't totally work for me, I can appreciate how poignant the story was.
|Pub Date: 3-15-22|
Adult - Thriller
The Book of Cold Cases- Simone St. James: Shea Collins is a true crime enthusiast who runs a blog called the Book of Cold Cases. When she was young, Shea managed to escape an abduction attempt, and this encounter sparked a desire within her to investigate old crimes. By chance, Shea crosses paths with Beth Greer, who in 1977 was arrested and acquitted for murder, and asks for an interview. To her shock, Beth agrees. The pair begin to meet at Beth's mansion to discuss the events, but the more time they spend together, the more Shea can't help but feel like something's wrong. The mansion has a sinister feel, and Shea could swear she's seen a girl lurking in the windows. Has Shea willingly spent her time in the company of a murderer, or is there something darker at play?
I've only read one other book by St. James, but I enjoy her style. I like the mix of mystery and supernatural elements. I was a little worried about the flow of this book since it's told in alternating timelines, but it worked very well. I loved getting the whole picture of what happened in the past, and seeing how Shea reacted to it in the present. I liked trying to ferret out clues and figure out what happened alongside her. I also found her friendship and interactions with Beth interesting because they felt similar at times. They both lived through very traumatic experiences, and it bonded them in some way. As for the mystery aspect, there were certain things I was able to guess surrounding Lily, but there were even more twists that threw me for a loop. Overall, it was a slow build-up, but the payoff was worth it.
|Pub Date: 4-5-22|
Adult - Historical Fantasy
Half a Soul- Olivia Atwater: When Theodora "Dora" Ettings was young, she was cursed by a faerie, leaving her with only half of her soul. Dora doesn't process emotions the same way a normal person would. She doesn't feel embarrassment or fear and has often times found herself toeing the line of propriety because of this. Dora doesn't want to risk her cousin's chances of making a successful marriage match during the London Season, so she's content with being a wallflower, but then she meets Lord Sorcier. Elias Wilder is known to many as being brash and abrasive, but his rank keeps him popular amongst the ton. When he discovers Dora's condition, he's intrigued enough to try and assist. But with a sleeping sickness plaguing the poor children of London, Elias and Dora decide to work together to discover the cause instead. Soon, Dora finds herself in the middle of a strange and dangerous faerie plot where she'll have to choose between reuniting with the lost piece of herself or saving innocent lives.
I've seen a lot of talk surrounding this book lately, so I was interested in checking it out. There were a lot of things I enjoyed about this. The setting was fun, and the writing was whimsical. I liked the characters and thought the banter between Dora and Elias was entertaining. Elias was wonderfully grumpy, and I loved when he would get flustered when Dora wouldn't act the way he expected her to. I would've liked to have seen a little more development when it came to their relationship though because it felt like they were bickering in one paragraph, but in love by the next. The same could be said for the plot. While it was interesting, it all felt very flat. The book isn't that long, but it still managed to feel slow because not a lot happens, and it all gets wrapped up rather quickly. Despite that, I still found this enjoyable and will most likely pick up the rest of the series and would recommend it if you're looking for a cozier fantasy.