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Friday, June 30, 2017

Once She Dreamed Duology Review

Once She Dreamed by Abbi Glines

Part One - Published October 10, 2016

# of pages: 107
Average Rating: 3.6/5
My Rating: 4/5

Part Two - Published December 8, 2016

# of pages: 99
Average Rating: 3.72/5
My Rating: 2/5

Summary According to Goodreads

Everyone in the small country town where Sammy Jo Knox had been born and raised, never left. They made their life there. Got married, had kids, lived in the same houses that were always there along the streets that never changed. The whole white picket fence and tree swing might look good on greeting cards but in real life it was boring, at least to Sammy Jo.
When Sammy Jo was a little girl she began dreaming of something bigger. Brighter. Something that wasn’t her town. She wanted to see the world and experience it all. Just how she was going to do that she had no idea. Because if her momma had her way, she’d marry one of the boys in town and be spitting out babies and going to church on Sunday with them all lined up in a row.

The day Hale Christopher Jude III walked into the bakery she worked at, she knew he was it. That part of life she was missing. He smelled of foreign places and exciting things. He represented all the bright lights she dreamed of and simply put, she hoped he was her way out of this place.

What Sammy Jo didn’t realize was things that appear perfect… aren’t. And chasing her dreams could lead to something very different.

My Thoughts

I am a huge Abbi Glines fan, but these weren't some of her best works. It was overall very problematic for me, and I ended up enjoying the first part more than the second.

In the first part I loved reading about our main character Sammy's friends and family, but I didn't connect so much with her. She had huge aspirations and seemed like a strong character, but she was very naive, and very easy to manipulate. She continually talked about her dreams and how everything was coming true but she never had to do anything to get there. A rich guy found her attractive and willing, and she was blinded enough by his attention, and followed him like a puppy. I had been hoping to see more character growth and development in the second part, but she didn't learn much at all. 

The general of the plot had potential to be successful, but I think it was too rushed to peak. The second part took on a completely different tone from the first, and although it fit with a "twist" in characterization, I didn't enjoy it. I am a huge New York lover and a big dreamer myself, but even I wouldn't make the kinds of decisions that she did. It is so important to emphasize hard work and passion, something she didn't find even at the end.

Speaking of the end, that epilogue was pointless. I understand the need for it, but it wasn't done in a way to give justice and closure. It felt random and rushed, and could have been developed a bit more. I had to read those pages a couple of times just to be sure I understood what had happened.

Overall, I was really disappointed with this duology overall, and although I generally recommend Abbi Glines novels, I would skip these ones. 

One of Us is Lying | Book Review

One of Us is Lying

Written by Karen McManus
# of Pages: 360

Average Rating: 4.07/5 stars
My Rating: 5/5 stars

Published: May 30, 2017
Read in June 2017

Summary According to Goodreads

The story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention. Brownyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule. Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess. Nate, the criminal, is already of probation for dealing. Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher. And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High's notorious gossip app.

Only Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon's dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn't an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he'd planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes them all suspects in his murder.

Everyone has secrets right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

My Thoughts

This novel is one that was high on my "Most Anticipated" releases of 2017, and I was not disappointed! I read this novel over the course of a couple days, but each time I put it down I craved picking it back up. Eventually I had to sit and finish the last 100 pages in one go just to find out who the killer was!

There are four suspects in this novel, and it is written in a way that gives us each of their perspectives across the timeline of the investigation. These were such ordinary characters (a brain, a beauty, a jock, and a troublemaker), but the author was able to make them so unique while still keeping them relatable. One of my favourite things about this novel was how anyone could read this and find some part of themselves in a character. Was it racially diverse? Not completely, but there was diversity there. I think I personally related to Addy the most, going through a tough-time in order to come out of her shell and stand on her own. There was a lot of character development, and it was very well done.

This novel covered so many themes: friendship, betrayal, romance / young-love, family, drug abuse, and more. Nothing specifically felt like an add-on and instead it all came together to form a cohesive plot. I found all of their secrets rather interesting to discover, some more surprising than others but all, again, realistic to current high school students.

Reading this novel I was so nostalgic to my own high school career, and can't imagine being in the position these four were. I did guess who was behind Simon's death, but more in a "what if" scenario than being completely convinced.

I gushed so hard over the romance in this novel, because it would seem so random but it actually felt so real. It was frustrating at times but came together enough that once I finished reading, all I could say was "AWE!" Overall this was such a fast-paced, interesting thriller that you should look into reading! An exciting new release from a debut author that I will be reading more from in the future!