Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.
So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos.
A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another. – Goodreads
Oh hey, guys. Remember me? I read books sometimes and then review them here? Should I reintroduce myself? Hi, I’m Tina and I’m a bad book blogger. (Hi, Tina.)
I’m not sure what made me pick up the book. The summary was intriguing. Death, secrets, a family that doesn’t talk. Unreliable narrators abound. And it sucked me right in. I read half of it in a day. This is the story of the Lee family, and I do mean the entire family, as the narrative will weave in an out of different viewpoints while remaining in the third person POV. Lydia is dead at the beginning of the book, and we very slowly start learning the history of this family and being discovering all their secrets. It’s the 1970s, and women are newly liberated, so to speak, becoming doctors and scientists, but Marilyn Lee is a housewife. It’s a life she never saw for herself, and she struggles, but she makes do by pouring all her effort into showing Lydia she can have a different kind of life. Marilyn does this at the expense of her other children, especially Hannah. James Lee is the son of immigrants, and while he’s young all he wants is to fit in, but when he’s older, he seems to seek out similarity. There aren’t too many Asians in small-town Ohio in the 70s, and people frequently refer to James and his children as “Oriental” or “the Orientals.” Racism abounds in this novel, and even Marilyn had a pretty gross reaction when she first met James. (Oh, a Chinaman. He doesn’t speak like I thought he would. “So solly.” It was awful.) Marilyn’s mother disowns her for marrying James. James’ parents are dead. And these two are not great parents themselves. Pouring everything into one child at the detriment of the others. Hannah’s point of view is particularly sad, like when she goes to reach for her mother’s hand and Marilyn pulls it back, or when Hannah tentatively lays her head on Nath’s shoulder, because whenever she tries to get close, they move away. James is hard to like when thinking about his son, who, at seven years old, is obsessed with space and rockets. James can’t help but be annoyed by this, even hitting him once for it, and makes backhanded comments all the time. These people are kind of awful. They’re hard to like, but easy to empathize with, if you feel you can get past their selfishness.
Lydia is dead and the family is unraveling. James is locking himself in his office at the university, Marilyn is convinced that someone kidnapped Lydia and killed her, Nath is angry, Hannah is silent. They are all coming to terms with Lydia’s death, and they are all realizing that they did not really know her.
This book is about love, suffocating as it might be, loss, loneliness, and anger. Everyone is so angry, and everyone just tamps it down. They don’t ever talk about anything. They keep everything to themselves until it boils over and they self-destruct. More than Lydia’s death, this is a book about discovery. Every character goes through a major character revamp throughout the course of the novel, and I love how Ng gives us little glimpses into the future. This is a great one.
Sam Bennett falls for Hadley St. Clair before he knows her last name. When Sam finds out she is that St. Clair, daughter of the man who destroyed Sam’s family, he has a choice: follow his heart or tell the truth about the scandal that links their families. Funny and passionate, Suffer Love is a story about first love, family dysfunction, and the fickle hand of fate. – Goodreads
From the first page of Suffer Love, my heart was sucked in and left this book a different person. This book has been on my radar since Jen told me I had to read it and I’m so glad she did. Suffer Love is Herring Blake’s debut novel, and it is a star.
Suffer Love is the story of Hadley St. Clair and Sam Bennett, who in theory don’t have much in common. But they actually do, and it’s a life changing event that they have in common. Something that rippled through them a year ago and will continue to ripple through them. It’s the story of love, friendship, family and how things are messy and rarely perfect. Throughout Suffer Love Hadley and Sam make mistakes, they’re teenagers, but most importantly, they’re real.
I wanted to hug them, I wanted to tell them that everything would be okay, but it wasn’t that clear. Herring Blake wrote a novel that kept me on my toes. Suffer Love is a quiet, contemporary novel; however, there is not a clear path to the end. In those moments up to the end, Herring Blake wrote a novel full of small sweet moments that completely captured the mood of the novel. It’s what kept me going when it was almost too much to handle.
Since the moment Hadley found out her father cheated on her mother, she’s lived and extremely lonely life. The tension in her house is almost too much to deal with and no one knows what to do besides acting like everything is okay — when nothing is remotely close to okay.
“I do care, but I don’t know what to do or say anymore. Tell me what to do.” — page 321, ARC.
Of course nothing is that simple. On the other side, we have Sam Bennett, whose mother cheated on his father. While their family was never the happy happy one that Hadley had, it was still a family. Of course, what Hadley and Sam don’t know is that, that pivotal moment in their life set them on track for loneliness, heartache, but ultimately helped them find each other.
What I didn’t expect where the tears that fell from my eyes for these two lonely souls. With a title like Suffer Love you know that it’s not going to be a clean, neat and tidy ending, but it’s real. It’s heart achingly real.
Royal Wedding Disaster (From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess #2) by Meg Cabot
Release Date: May 10, 2016
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Source: ARC provided by publisher
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound
You are invited to a Genovian Royal Wedding in this second book pulled FROM THE NOTEBOOKS OF A MIDDLE SCHOOL PRINCESS, a Princess Diaries spin-off series, written and illustrated by New York Times-bestselling author Meg Cabot.
Olivia Grace Clarisse Mignonette Harrison still finds it hard to believe that she’s a real live PRINCESS OF GENOVIA. Not only does she get to live in an actual palace with her newly discovered family and two fabulous poodles (who all love her and think that she’s anything but ordinary!) but she also gets her very own PONY!
Of course, things aren’t going exactly like she imagined. Her half-sister Mia is very busy learning how to take over the country while trying to plan a wedding and her father is actually getting remarried himself-to Mia’s mother!-and spends most of his time “renovating” the summer palace, although Grandmere says he is just hiding from the wedding preparations. Olivia hardly gets to see either of them.
Fortunately, Grandmere has her own plans for Mia’s wedding, and needs Olivia’s help to pull them off. Just when Olivia starts to think that things are going to work out after all, the palace is invaded by a host of new cousins and other royals who all seem to be angry at Olivia (although Grandmere says they are just jealous).
As the day of the wedding gets closer and closer, Olivia becomes more and more worried. For such a carefully planned event, it seems like a LOT of things are going wrong… Can Olivia keep this royal wedding from becoming a royal disaster? – Goodreads
Meg Cabot’s middle grade books, to me, are like eating a cupcake. There is something lovely and nice to them and Royal Wedding Disaster is no different. Taking place right after Notebook from a Middle School Princess and Royal Wedding. Although one does not need to read Royal Wedding or the original series for this book to make sense. Much like the first book, Notebook from a Middle School Princess stands alone.
In Royal Wedding Disaster Oliva is dealing with multiple new things in her life. From a new school, with a frenemy to dealing with her sister’s wedding Olivia feels like she can’t keep anything together in her life. The stress is understandably getting to her. What Cabot does is use humor and everyday situations to make this work.
- A grandmother butting into wedding business? Check.
- A new school where you feel lost and out of place? Check
- A wedding where you don’t know what to give? Check
Throughout the novel the message is true and that is that Olivia is the same as she was in New Jersey, she just happens to be a princess with princess lessons. Princess lessons that are true life lessons even to the non-princess is all of us.
“The Breakfast Club” gets a modern, high-stakes reboot in this story of four very different teens and a night that changes them forever.
The Rebel: Once popular, Andi is now a dreadlocked, tattooed wild child.
The Bully: York torments everyone who crosses his path, especially his younger brother.
The Geek: Tired of being bullied, Boston is obsessed with getting into an Ivy League college.
The Pariah: Choosing to be invisible has always worked for Sam . . . until tonight.
When Andi, York, Boston, and Sam find themselves hiding in the woods after a party gets busted by the cops, they hop into the nearest car they see and take off—the first decision of many in a night that will change their lives forever. By the light of day, these four would never be caught dead together, but when their getaway takes a dangerously unpredictable turn, sticking together could be the only way to survive.
With cinematic storytelling and compelling emotional depth, critically acclaimed author Erin Jade Lange takes readers on literary thrill ride.– Goodreads
Rebel, Bully, Geek, Pariah is the story of four people from the point of view of the Pariah. I went into the story thinking that it would be a four person point of view novel, but it worked for this story. Lange pulled it off. The only thing was, it was hard to connect with the other three since this story happens in approximately 24 hours.
The heart of the story is the Pariah, Sam, whose life goal is to stay invisible and survive. Her father isn’t in the picture, her mama is a drug addict who is trying to stay clean and after four years is starting to struggle. Sam knows her life isn’t perfect, but knows if she stays invisible she has a chance at survival.
What she doesn’t expect is to meet, Andie, our Rebel. Andie is clear from the first moment we meet her that she’s an asshole. She has this rough shell, she steals, she’s snarky. She’s the wild child of high school and loves it. She enjoys being this type of center of attention. Once popular always popular.
Then we have the Bully, York, who is a giant asshole, but from an adult point of view is also very clearly working through somethings. Including not being horrible to his brother, Boston, the geek of our story. Boston knows the only way out of this one light town is going to an Ivy League school by working his ass off. Something his brother York doesn’t do.
The four of these characters are the heart of a character driven novel that has twists and turns until the final page. In Lange third novel, she has me clamoring for more.
If only…he was the boy she’s been dreaming of.
Theatre girl Maddie Brooks has always had high standards for guys. But she has yet to find one who can live up to the classic Hollywood heartthrobs, especially the dreamy song-and-dance man Gene Kelly. When Maddie begins to carpool with Jesse Morales, her new neighbor and star pitcher of the baseball team, she’s struck by his wit, good looks, and love for his family—but a guy so into sports is definitely not her style. Then Maddie discovers that Jesse was raised as a dancer and still practices in the community theatre’s dance studio to keep in shape. Perhaps her perfect dream guy exists after all! But when it becomes clear that baseball—not dance—is Jesse’s passion, can Maddie find a way to let her dream guy go and appreciate the charms of the amazing guy in front of her?
This fun, high school theatre romance in the If Only line is for anyone who has ever wished for that impossibly perfect guy.
What You Always Wanted is by far one of the cutest novels that I have read in quite sometime. It was exactly what I wanted in the moment: an effortless contemporary romance that cleansed my palette. Rae tells the quick paced story of Maddie, a lover of drama and theatre whose life has been uprooted from the North to middle of nowhere Texas. Maddie’s head is constantly in the clouds of classic Hollywood and doesn’t understand why her classmates don’t have heart eyes for Gene Kelly like she does. This has lead to some very high standards that she does not plan on budg-ing for. Then we have Jessie, who lives across the street from Maddie, who loves baseball.
What Rae did in this this book was create perfect tension throughout What You Always Wanted. Part of me never wanted this book to end because the magic between Jessie and Maddie was everything I wanted from a book. I mean, yes, you can easily tell what the end of the novel was going to be; however not once did that stop me from enjoying this delightful novel. Maddie is headstrong, she’s feisty, she has things thrown at her that no teenager should have to deal with, and she handles it all in a perfectly Maddie way. And Jessie? Helloooooo Jessie. I was very here for Jessie. I am not a fan of the phrase “book boyfriend” but I got it for Jessie. He was snarky and the perfect counterpart of Maddie.
This book also had one of my all time favorite things: Strong! Female! Friendships! Cannot recommend this book enough.
Enjoy Red Girl, Blue Boy and the other standalone titles in Bloomsbury’s contemporary If Only romance line centered around an impossible problem: you always want what you can’t have!
Sixteen-year-old Katie and Drew really shouldn’t get along. After all, her father is the Republican nominee for President of the United States while his mother is at the top of the Democratic ticket. But when Katie and Drew are thrown together in a joint interview on a morning talk show, they can’t ignore the chemistry between them. With an entire nation tuned into and taking sides in your parents’ fight, and the knowledge that—ultimately—someone has to lose, how can you fall in love with the one person you’re supposed to hate?
This title in the If Only line is a frank and funny romance that shows how sparks fly when opposites attract. – Goodreads
This was a cute story. That’s the best way to put it. There is nothing wrong with it, I just don’t have the interest to ever re-read it. It tells the story of Katie, our Red Girl, and Drew, our Blue Boy. Their parents are currently running for President of the United States, something I found very timely with the election madness that is going on. The problem is I never got the feel of Katie.
Drew was very clear. He wasn’t interested in his mother running for President. He doesn’t care about the fact that they might move to the White House, he just wants to continue to be a teenager who has annoying twin brothers and a father who happened to make millions of dollars. Katie on the other hand eat, drinks, sleeps, and breathes politics. She takes her father’s campaign very seriously and doesn’t understand people who aren’t like her.
Katie seems very naive throughout this entire novel, and there is nothing wrong with a naive character, but Katie was confused by a phone with a cord. Has she never seen a movie from the 90s? While she’s never been kissed or never dated (which I completely understood — and believed) there were multiple scenes where I was confused how she survived life until she became a teenager.
I found their love story cute. The two characters really did like each other, they fell in love in a believeable way, there life was just out of the ordinary and instead of that making me fall in love with them it made me meh.
Warm Hawaiian sun. Lazy beach days. Flirty texts with her boyfriend back in Seattle.
These are the things seventeen-year-old Sloane McIntyre pictured when she imagined the summer she’d be spending at her mom’s home in Hawaii with her twin brother, Penn. Instead, after learning an unthinkable secret about her boyfriend, Tyler, and best friend, Mick, all she has is a fractured hand and a completely shattered heart.
Once she arrives in Honolulu, though, Sloane hopes that Hawaii might just be the escape she needs. With beach bonfires, old friends, exotic food, and the wonders of a waterproof cast, there’s no reason Sloane shouldn’t enjoy her summer. And when she meets Finn McAllister, the handsome son of a hotel magnate who doesn’t always play by the rules, she knows he’s the perfect distraction from everything that’s so wrong back home.
But it turns out a measly ocean isn’t nearly enough to stop all the emails, texts, and voicemails from her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend, desperate to explain away their betrayal. And as her casual connection with Finn grows deeper, Sloane’s carefree summer might not be as easy to find as she’d hoped. Weighing years of history with Mick and Tyler against their deception, and the delicate possibility of new love, Sloane must decide when to forgive, and when to live for herself. – Goodreads
It’s hard for me to review this book, because of how much I adored it. Summer of Sloane is that perfect summer contemporary beachy read that I happened to read in the middle of December. Thankfully my winters are not snowy and blustery cold but still, I was swept up by the story that Schnedier produced. From the first line, I was enthralled in the story.
The condom must’ve broke. — 1% eARC
And with that we meet Sloane’s BFF Mick. Sloane’s other half for the past fifteen years who has always been there. Mick fucked up. Mick’s pregnant with Sloane’s boyfriend, Tyler, baby. Within the few pages of Summer of Sloane Schenider makes it clear that shit is going to get real. Sloane’s world is nothing what she thought it was. Mick makes it clear it was just a mistake, but it’s now turned into tangible mistake.
Asthma is bad enough on its own, but I’m the lucky victim of these stupid attacks brought on by my own anxiety — 1% eARC
As someone with anxiety, I understood Sloane. I understand what happens when the world seems like its caving in on you and you have absolutely no control about it. And instead of texting her BFF, she can’t because her BFF is the cause of her world caving in.
My best friend. My boyfriend. It dawns on me that within a matter of minutes I no longer have either. — 5% eARC
Sloane needs to change something and that change involves her visiting her mother in Hawaii. We quickly go from rainy Seattle to sunny Sloane. But right before Sloane heads to Hawaii she breaks her arm punching Tyler. In a glorious moment she punches him and because she didn’t punch properly she messes up her hand and requires a cast. But Sloane doesn’t let that slow her down. She still plans on distance and goes to Hawaii where her mother lives, post separation from Sloane’s father.
Sloane and her mother do not have a good relationship since her mother left Seattle for Hawaii, if anything Sloane feels like her mother is constantly trying to buy her love. Over a short period of time, Sloane deals with a lot of shit. More than just the normal teenage stuff, she is really dealing with a lot. But all of her troubles are relatable and not once did I want to slap her for being “dramatic.” And here’s the thing, even if she was being “dramatic” I wouldn’t have gotten upset with her, because that’s being a teenager! Family! Friends! Being a teeanger in general is exhausting and add everything that Sloane had going on in her life, she deserved a breakdown.
Maybe deep down inside, the betrayal hurts more coming from her, because she knows me better than anyone else. — 29% eARC
The amount of growth that Sloane had in this book was amazing. While she was very much the same character from the first page of the book, she had also completely changed my the last page. While this is Schneider’s first novel, I sure hope it’s not the last. I look forward into seeing what’s next from her.