From the bestselling author of Twenty Boy Summer, a talented singer loses her ability to speak after a tragic accident, leading her to a postcard-perfect seaside town to find romance.
The youngest of six talented sisters, Elyse d’Abreau was destined for stardom—until a boating accident took everything from her. Now, the most beautiful singer in Tobago can’t sing. She can’t even speak.
Seeking quiet solitude, Elyse accepts a friend’s invitation to Atargatis Cove. Named for the mythical first mermaid, the Oregon seaside town is everything Elyse’s home in the Caribbean isn’t: an ocean too cold for swimming, parties too tame for singing, and people too polite to pry—except for one.
Christian Kane is a notorious playboy—insolent, arrogant, and completely charming. He’s also the only person in Atargatis Cove who doesn’t treat Elyse like a glass statue. He challenges her to express herself, and he admires the way she treats his younger brother, Sebastian, who believes Elyse is the legendary mermaid come to life.
When Christian needs a first mate for the Cove’s high-stakes Pirate Regatta, Elyse reluctantly stows her fear of the sea and climbs aboard. The ocean isn’t the only thing making waves, though—swept up in Christian’s seductive tide and entranced by the Cove’s charms, Elyse begins to wonder if a life of solitude isn’t what she needs. But changing course again means facing her past. It means finding her inner voice. And scariest of all, it means opening her heart to a boy who’s best known for breaking them… – Goodreads
The Summer of Chasing Mermaids has quickly become one of my top books of 2016. It has everything that I enjoy in books: summer, romance, feminism, water. I was not expecting to like the story as much as I did, but I’m so glad that I gave it the chance and it in turn gave me heart eyes.
What I love is that Ockler takes the story of a girl losing her voice and turns it into so much more than that. Because by the end Elyse finds her voice in ways that I was not expecting. Elyse, our main character has a life changing accident in which she can no longer talk. She proceeds to move from her small island, with everything she knows, to a small coastal town in Oregon. Elyse is one of the strongest, supportive characters I’ve read in a long time (and I read a lot). Elyse is in the middle of grieving and while in denial of said grief she is strong and supportive for the loved ones in her life.
Then we have Christian, the town asshole. He’s cocky, but quickly it’s understandable why Elyse falls for him. Ockler wrote a well fleshed out character whose flaws were real and made sense. His younger brother is the cutest thing in the entire world and just wants to be loved for being himself. There honestly was not a single thing about this book that I did not enjoy. As someone who recently read a lot of mermaid books this was by far the best that I read and will happily re-read.
Stay Tonight. Stay Forever.
When Audrey Casella arrives for an unplanned stay at the grand Hotel Ruby, she’s grateful for the detour. Just months after their mother’s death, Audrey and her brother, Daniel, are on their way to live with their grandmother, dumped on the doorstep of a DNA-matched stranger because their father is drowning in his grief.
Audrey and her family only plan to stay the night, but life in the Ruby can be intoxicating, extending their stay as it provides endless distractions—including handsome guest Elias Lange, who sends Audrey’s pulse racing. However, the hotel proves to be as strange as it is beautiful. Nightly fancy affairs in the ballroom are invitation only, and Audrey seems to be the one guest who doesn’t have an invite. Instead, she joins the hotel staff on the rooftop, catching whispers about the hotel’s dark past.
The more Audrey learns about the new people she’s met, the more her curiosity grows. She’s torn in different directions—the pull of her past with its overwhelming loss, the promise of a future that holds little joy, and an in-between life in a place that is so much more than it seems…
Welcome to the Ruby. – Goodreads
Audrey Casella is on her way to her grandmother’s when her father decides to stop and spend the night at the Hotel Ruby. The Hotel Ruby though is far more than meets the eye. It’s creepy, it’s weird, it host mysterious parties where one is required to have an invited–and everyone seems to have an invite but Audrey.
What Audrey, her dad and her brother don’t expect is the Hotel Ruby to change them. The three of them have been dealing with the death of their mother and wife and the void that she has left. It’s painful and not once does Young hide the feeling that grief hits you in waves and stages. It may not be constant, it may hit you at the most unexpected times and it isn’t always easy.
The Hotel Ruby also showed how grief broke the Casella family because they weren’t handling it well, they broke apart when they needed each other the most. But, if anything the Hotel Ruby brought them closer together. The Hotel Ruby has a dark past of its own, full of its own grief that is painful and hurts. It’s hard to talk about Hotel Ruby without giving too much away, but here’s the thing. It works. Not once was I taken out of the story, the prose and the imagery kept me turning the pages even when I was far too sleepy to stay awake.
At its heart Hotel Ruby is a story about grief and family and it’s a beautiful story. Hotel Ruby is my type of horror novel, it’s more of a mind game then scary scary. It’s also a good mix of Hotel California and The Shinning which left me wanting more in this genre.
Isa, Xavi, Peter, and Finn know that a job at the high-end Waterside Cafe isn’t just about waiting tables. It’s about the gossip, the hook-ups, the after-hours parties and, most of all, it’s about Tips.
Tips–the high-stakes game based on dares. Whoever completes the most dares wins the collected money. A sum that could change a wasted summer into a Summer to Remember.
Isa is the new girl with an embarrassing secret, and as long as she stays on top of her game, she sees no reason why anyone could ever find out.
Xavi will do anything for the money…absolutely anything.
Peter, Xavi’s stepbrother, has been in love with her for years, and he thinks the game is the perfect time to confess his feelings.
Finn is in the game just for the thrill. He has enough tips coming in to keep him happy…even if those tips come with some conditions.
From seduction to stealing to threats, the dares are a complete free-for-all, and only the best can win.
The sophisticated Waterside Cafe is anything but classy behind the scenes…and things are about to get dirty. – Goodreads
After Hours is the story of Isa, Xavi, Peter and Finn who all work at the Waterside Cafe and partake in an after hours game called Tips. And that is where After Hours falls flat for me. Kennedy really never went deep into what Tips is about, while the blurb lead me to believe that After Hours was going to be about Tips it wasn’t. It was about the four characters. I do not mind a character driven novel, not at all; I LOVE THEM! however, because the flap jacket lead me to believe that After Hours was going to be about tips was a bit of a disappointment.
What also didn’t work for me was the multiple POVs. I never was able to get a feel on the characters and quickly they all started to blend together, even though all four characters have extremely different diverse backgrounds.
I wanted to enjoy After Hours, really I did, but After Hours fell extremely flat for me. I feel with the multiple point of views I should have been able to get a better handle on the characters, but I never did. They all blurred together for me and reminded me why I do not enjoy multiple POVs and at 37% I decided to finally quit because I really did have enough.
Once upon a time, Hudson knew exactly what her future looked like. Then a betrayal changed her life, and knocked her dreams to the ground. Now she’s a girl who doesn’t believe in second chances… a girl who stays under the radar by baking cupcakes at her mom’s diner and obsessing over what might have been.
So when things start looking up and she has another shot at her dreams, Hudson is equal parts hopeful and terrified. Of course, this is also the moment a cute, sweet guy walks into her life… and starts serving up some seriously mixed signals. She’s got a lot on her plate, and for a girl who’s been burned before, risking it all is easier said than done.
It’s time for Hudson to ask herself what she really wants, and how much she’s willing to sacrifice to get it. Because in a place where opportunities are fleeting, she knows this chance may very well be her last… – Goodreads
My first Sarah Ockler book did not work out for me well for various reasons, but after seeing how many of my friends enjoyed Bittersweet I was willing to give her a second chance. What I was not expecting was Bittersweet to start out with a C-Cup lacy bra that did not belong to Hudson, or her mother, or how much pain I would feel because Hudson, in the middle of an ice-skating competition was dying. Not literally, but she caught her father cheating and her family is breaking apart.
Three years later, Hudson has left competitive skating and is making custom made cupcakes for her mother. She’s harder though, she’s not the girl she was in the prologue. Through bits and pieces of information we learn what has happened to her parents. They got divorced (obviously), her mom went through a deep depression (but is better now!), her father moved to Las Vegas (and is currently with lady of the month as Hudson tells us). Life isn’t exactly easy for Hudson, her mom, and her family, but it is what it is and she’s accepted her new..harder life. Because of this, the last thing Hudson expects is a letter in the mail telling her about a competition. She wants to stay the “cupcake queen” and behind the counter, but not everything works out how you want it to and Bittersweet shows that.
My heart went out for Hudson throughout Bittersweet. As a fully formed, flawed teen girl, I couldn’t help but want to hug her. She isn’t sure who she is supposed to be. Is she the Hudson that her family and friends expect her to be, or the one she wants to be. Does she let go of the past or hold on to it a little more? Does she speak up? Or just hide behind the counter making cupcakes? Of course there are no obvious answers because Hudson has to do her growth herself.
What she also didn’t expect was Josh to collide with her on the ice and start talking to her. Because she’s Hudson and she stays behind the counter. Hudson’s BFF, Dani, however won’t let Hudson get away with this. In part because she reads a lot of paperback romances and wants Hudson to be happy. My heart went out to Hudson a lot, because Hudson just wants to survive. She wants to survive high school, and her job and she really wants her mom to get out of as much debt as she is currently in. It’s honestly impressive that Hudson is able to keep her shit together as long as she did. I would have lost it probably on page one.
Through helping the high school hockey team, we see more about Hudson and the adorable Josh and how they work together. What was unexpected was how Will was also featured throughout the book, which shouldn’t have shocked me as Will is co-captain of the hockey team and Ockler was able to write a realistic story where things aren’t as neat and straight forward as you expect them to be. Because the mundane that so many authors fear writing about are the little, realistic things that are relate-able.
While I enjoyed Hudson’s growth throughout the novel, high school, trying to fit in, family, trying to fit in, herself, and trying to be comfortable in her own skin. Of course, because I am predictable, I loved the love story. It was flawed, painful, but it was real and I loved it. What I loved more than the love story was the friendship aspect of the novel. I am very into teenage girl friendships and this was so authentic to me. It wasn’t perfect, and it was often painful when they had their first blow up of the friendship because I wanted them to be back to having each other’s back and enjoying each other. But Dani sees that Hudson is spreading herself far too thin and wants Hudson back. Hudson though has begun to question, if she hadn’t found that bra a few years ago, where would her life be? Would she still have ended up there? Was it worth putting them all second?
The amount of growth and feels that I felt in this novel was honestly amazing. I enjoyed this book so much. Also, Ockler, you’re so hilariously funny with your book chapter titles with delicious cupcakes that I cannot eat because it is in a book and not in front of me.
In a weird turn of event, I started to DNF books this year. Because of that, I am going to do a round up this month, because maybe you read one and enjoyed one and could tell me WHAT DID I MISSSS?!
Never Mind the Bullocks: One Girl’s 10,000 km Adventure around India in the World’s Cheapest Car by Vanessa Able
Release Date: September 1, 2014
Publisher: Nicholas Brealey Publishing
Reason: DNF at 44%.
I was bored. Didn’t care. Found her to have clear white views on an Eastern country and not owning those views. Dude, you’re a wealthy white woman in a third world country, you had to know things wouldn’t be perfect and while the writing was strong, I was too annoyed to continue on.
Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld
Release Date: September 24, 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Review: DNF at 34%.
I may come back to later. Bored and don’t care. While I was interested in it and everyone in my life seemed to love and adore it, I could not get into it. Afterworlds is two books in one and I struggled to get into both of them. I felt Darcy acted like an idiot (she is a teenager) and the story Darcy wrote never grabbed me.
Romance can be ruff….
Alana loves her dog-walking job, but it blows her mind to see how pampered these pooches are. Her newest clients actually feed their poodle steak and treat her to massages at a doggie spa! Alana can’t make heads or tails of why anyone would do this—or why she complains to hunky handyman Connor and not her boyfriend, Sammy.
When Sammy starts keeping her on an awfully tight leash, Alana wonders whether Connor might be a better match for her. But Alana’s puppy love comes to a screeching halt when she learns that Connor isn’t who she thought he was. Is Alana barking up the wrong tree with him, too? – Goodreads
In a weird turn of events, I have decided to start reading what I own. I understand this is a crazy concept as I, too, am confused by this. But, this is book two in this trend of where I stuck my hand in my one bookshelf and pulled out a book and decided I was going to read it. After I pulled it I noticed it was part of a series done by Simon Pulse a few year ago. Thankfully the series can be read in any order!
Puppy Love is the story of Alana, a senior who lives in New York City and has a boyfriend who is a college freshman. It is very clear to the reader that the two are growing apart, quickly; however, it is not clear to Alana. Quickly though, the more she hangs out with her boyfriend she notices things are changing he’s turning into someone that she doesn’t fully agree with and they decide to break up. Although it’s a blow to Alana she quickly realizes that life will go on with the help of friends, family and her dog walking business.
And you know what: life goes on. She continues to live, walks crazy dogs and has friends that support her. There is a cute fellow dog walker who she kisses and realizes there is absolutely no spark with, which becomes a chemistry joke later on. While the book was a quick read for me, there was parts of it that dragged for me and when the love interest Connor was introduced I figured out the twist before it was hinted that there was a twist.
All of that being said, I would still recommend Puppy Love to anyone that is looking for a quick, YA clean read.
After narrowly surviving two harrowing tragedies, Jules now fully understands the importance of the visions that she and people around her are experiencing. She’s convinced that if the visions passed from her to Sawyer after she saved him, then they must now have passed from Sawyer to one of the people he saved.
That means it’s up to Jules to figure out which of the school shooting survivors is now suffering from visions of another crisis. And once she realizes who it is, she has to convince that survivor that this isn’t all crazy—that the images are of something real. Something imminent.
As the danger escalates more than ever before in the conclusion to the Visions series, Jules wonders if she’ll finally find out why and how this is happening—before it’s too late to prevent disaster.– Goodreads
Gasp picks up right after Bang, everyone is facing the aftermath of the shooting. Jules and Sawyer, while being teenagers in love, are also struggling to see who the vision has been passed on to. This is of course easier said than done. There are numerous options and how do you really ask someone if they have visions without sounding like you haven’t completely lost it?
It’s next to impossible.
That being said, the group does figure out a way to find the next person who has the visions, but in the meantime things continue to happen in Jules life that make it harder to deal with. Nothing has been easy for Jules and this pattern continues on throughout Gasp and it’s painful. My heart went out to Jules numerous times in this book. I wanted to hug her and tell her things would be okay, even though I had no idea. I never do with McMann’s writing. There is always the chance that something could happens that I don’t want to face because that’s real life. She continues to make me face feelings I don’t want to face.
There’s pain. There’s heartbreak. But there is also love and hope. Usually feelings I don’t want to face, but McMann does it in such a way, you devour the book because you want to make sure everything ends up okay. While I cannot tell you if everything ends up okay (because that’s really in the mind of the reader) I did enjoy this book and the end to this series. Although I want more of Jules and Sawyer, and their happiness, I understand why McMann ended the book where she did. Who wants to read about two teens in love and being happy? Actually I do. But I understand I’m a rare creature in the YA reading world.
McMann is also a master at having things that occur in the first book, come back in the third, but it’s so beautifully done, not once do you feel like you are being strung along. It seems that it was always supposed to be this way and it works and makes you want more.
Gasp is the third and final book in the Visions trilogy and it was, in my opinion, the perfect ending. While it’s not the ideal perfect ending where it is tied with a bow, it is perfect for the characters and it is a classic McMann ending: it’s hopeful.