Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Hawaii & Beach Reads

Wow January, look at you go! You are seriously flashing before my eyes.

It's been awhile since I've blogged, but I am back from my Hawaii vacation and ready to catch up with you all. Vacation consisted of beaching, reading, eating, drinking, and wedding planning! I am happy to report that Michael and I have set the date for our destination wedding next year. Here's a glimpse of my time on the island:


During my time there, I read four books and just had to recommend to you YA lovers:

Overview: The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now — but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear. 

With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out, All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women after an act of sexual violence, forcing us to ask ourselves: In a culture that refuses to protect its young girls, how can they survive?

Review: This book was recommended by my friend Michella (who is a fabulous book blogger) and I'm so glad I checked it out. I'd rate this a solid 4 due to Summers execution of the story (it read like a mystery to me, but kept the contemporary feel, so I can appreciate the genre blend). This is the kind of book that really sinks its claws into you with its gritty realness, so not for the faint of heart. If you like Thirteen Reasons Why, you may like this one too. It's different in style from Asher's book, but it definitely packs a punch in the gut.

Overview: Climbing to the top of the social ladder is hard—falling from it is even harder.  Regina Afton used to be a member of the Fearsome Fivesome, an all-girl clique both feared and revered by the students at Hallowell High... until vicious rumors about her—and her best friend's boyfriend—start going around.  Now Regina's been frozen out, and her ex-best friends are out for revenge.  If Regina were guilty, it would be one thing, but the rumors are far from the terrifying truth, and the bullying is getting more intense by the day.  She takes solace in the company of Michael Hayden, a misfit with a tragic past whom she herself used to bully.  Friendship doesn't come easily for these onetime enemies, and as Regina works hard to make amends for her past, she realizes Michael could be more than just a friend...if threats from the Fearsome Foursome don't break them both first.

Tensions grow and the abuse worsens, as the final days of senior year march toward an explosive conclusion in this dark new tale from the author of Cracked Up To Be.

Review: Solid 4.5 stars on this one. I could not put this down. I read it in one sitting and was completely riveted by it all. In my opinion, this is Summers at her best. I loved the complexity of the characters all involved, the plot line, and pacing. This is dark and edgy contemporary perfection and is now one of my favorite books.

Overview: Five months ago, Valerie Leftman's boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Shot trying to stop him, Valerie inadvertently saved the life of a classmate, but was implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create. A list of people and things she and Nick hated. The list he used to pick his targets.

Now, after a summer of seclusion, Val is forced to confront her guilt as she returns to school to complete her senior year. Haunted by the memory of the boyfriend she still loves and navigating rocky relationships with her family, former friends and the girl whose life she saved, Val must come to grips with the tragedy that took place and her role in it, in order to make amends and move on with her life.

Review: This was hard to get into after reading Some Girls Are, but I felt like it was a solid read. 3 stars on this one because of the complex nature of the story and how it handled the subject. This one was definitely a character-driven story, so if you're into that you may enjoy it.

Overview: Jo Montfort is beautiful and rich, and soon—like all the girls in her class—she’ll graduate from finishing school and be married off to a wealthy bachelor. Which is the last thing she wants. Jo secretly dreams of becoming a writer—a newspaper reporter like the trailblazing Nellie Bly.

Wild aspirations aside, Jo’s life seems perfect until tragedy strikes: her father is found dead. Charles Montfort accidentally shot himself while cleaning his revolver. One of New York City’s wealthiest men, he owned a newspaper and was partner in a massive shipping firm, and Jo knows he was far too smart to clean a loaded gun.

The more Jo uncovers about her father’s death, the more her suspicions grow. There are too many secrets. And they all seem to be buried in plain sight. Then she meets Eddie—a young, brash, infuriatingly handsome reporter at her father’s newspaper—and it becomes all too clear how much she stands to lose if she keeps searching for the truth. Only now it might be too late to stop.

The past never stays buried forever. Life is dirtier than Jo Montfort could ever have imagined, and the truth is the dirtiest part of all.

Review: I'm 3/4ths done with this, but I will count this in my beach reads post since I started it at the beach. This is a solid four. A great thrilling mystery with feisty characters. The historical aspect is done nicely and I found the writing enjoyable. I'd consider this a 'fun' read if you want something light, but interesting.


  1. Pictures!! I absolutely love pictures of the water. ^_^
    Getting married in Hawaii is going to be awesome, I'm sure!

    I've added the first two books to my TBR list after you told me about Some Girls Are! Looking forward to them! They all sound like pretty crazy reads.

  2. Love the pictures! I just wish I could dive into the water through the screen ;)

    I haven't heard of any of those books yet, but the first one definitely sounds like a good read.