The Marvelous Misadventures of Ingrid Winter by J.S. Drangsholt

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Received a free ebook as a Goodreads giveaway.
The Marvelous Misadventures of Ingrid Winter by J.S. Drangsholt is about a mother, wife and a college employee struggling to find happiness and contentment. Ingrid lives with her three children in a small house with her husband. She seems to be having difficulty with all aspects of her home and work life. Problems and misfortunes pile up and she feels overwhelmed. She mistakenly offers too much money for a house bid, things get crazier at work and little mistakes compound into bigger problems. A story that we can all relate to because sometimes life feels like it’s getting out of hand. 4 stars for this realistic fiction aimed toward an adult audience.

The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Books for the opportunity to read and review The Education of Margot Sanchez. Right off the bat, Margot Sanchez seems and acts like a spoiled brat who is lost and trying to find herself, but so self absorbed that she can’t see that she’s not the only person on earth that matters. She’s being punished for stealing while she was away at an expensive school and, now that’s she’s home for the summer, she has to work at her family’s supermarket to earn the money for what she stole plus enough money to pay for her tuition to attend the same school again in the fall. She feels as though she’s above working there and is embarrassed by her upbringing. During the summer, Margot’s eyes are opened slowly to some things, such as how she treats others, and opened quickly to how dysfunctional her family truly is. Margot matures and learns to value friendship and she begins to find herself and her place in the world. 4 stars for this believable realistic fiction story.

The Boyfriend Whisperer by Linda Budzinski

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The Boyfriend Whisperer by Linda Budzinski is a fun, young adult clean read! Lexi has made a small business of helping young women gain the attention of guys they are interested in. She calls herself The Boyfriend Whisperer and no one knows it’s Lexi, except her assistant Abi. All seems fine until Lindsay hires the boyfriend whisperer to help her get Chris, Lexi’s best friend and long time crush. Lexi questions her matchmaking business, her friendships, her future as a basketball player and even her relationship with Chris. It becomes a roller coaster ride of teen angst and young love. This realistic fiction and romance story is cute and charming with a wide range of characters that keep Lexi on her toes; 5 stars for this enjoyable read!

Beautiful Broken Girls by Kim Savage

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Farrar, Straus and Giroux for the opportunity to read and review Beautiful Broken Girls by Kim Savage. Ben lives next door to the Cillo family, who has recently lost their two daughters, Mira and Francesca. Ben secretly loves Mira and he’s devastated by her death. Mira left notes for Ben to find and to help him understand the mystery of the sisters’ deaths. The book has a confusing story line that jumps back and forth between characters and from past to present, sometimes randomly. For some reason, Francesca has bleeding holes appear in her palms and the causes of Connie’s allergic reaction are never stated. The story is based on possible delusional teens and the consequences when they believe one is a saint and things don’t work out as planned. The writing is well done and the characters feel pain and compassion but the story is just not my type,3 stars.

The Edge of Brilliance by Susan Traugh

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to YA Bound Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review The Edge of Brilliance by Susan Traugh. Amy suffers from bipolar disorder and she’s worried that taking her prescriptions and attending therapy will make people think she’s crazy. The author’s note is touching and genuine and explains how the story is loosely based on true experiences and she gives hope to anyone struggling with mental illness. The story takes us through Amy’s ups and downs and the statistics after the epilogue are eye-opening. 4 stars for this helpful and informative realistic fiction story!

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti

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Thanks to a Goodreads giveaway, I received a paperback advanced reading copy of The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti! I also received a NetGalley arc from Dial Press in exchange for a fair review!
Loo lives with her father Hawley as they travel from place to place without settling down for long in any one town. That is until they go to the town where Loo’s grandmother ( Loo’s mother Lily’s mother) lives. Lily drowned when Loo was quite young, so it’s just her and Hawley. Loo’s grandmother refuses to see or speak to them, but Loo and Hawley decide to buy a house and live in the town anyway. More than anything else, this book made me realize that every person has a story. Each chapter alternates between the present with Hawley and Loo and then to Hawley and his younger past. Each trip into the past explains how Samuel Hawley received another gunshot wound and scar. This story is sad in the fact that Loo and Hawley struggle with belonging and with lasting relationships besides their own. They are both lonely and seem somewhat lost in their presence and their place in the world. Loo tries to befriend others, but she has a temper and becomes physically angry too often. Hawley seems like he is just trying to get through and raise Loo in the best way he knows how. He is very lonely and misses his wife, Lily daily. Loo sees this loneliness. It’s almost like Loo and Hawley are stuck in a never ending cycle of danger and wrong choices. This book left me feeling how life is just a fleeting moment that passes too quickly. 4 stars.

Chameleon by Zoe Kalo

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to YA Bound Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review Chameleon by Zoe Kalo! Paloma is taken to a convent to “repent, grow and become a better person”, as the head nun tells her, even though Paloma feels as though she’s being punished. She is dropped off at the convent by her mother, stepfather and her younger half sister, Sara, who is sad to leave Paloma. The reason Paloma is in trouble is because she tried conducting seances to reach her father, who died when she was young. Paloma becomes part of a group of teenage girls that each have a story of their own. She is unsure who she can trust, any of the girls or even the nuns. The story pulled my attention in from the beginning with its suspense, mystery and a promise of the paranormal. The complex characters and layered mystery kept me on my toes! 5 stars for the twists, turns and the interesting setting of this story!

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

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Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell was a tear-jerking, warms-the-heart book. The short prologue, narrated by Park, brings the feeling of loss into the story and made me wonder what happened to Eleanor. The first page jumps back to 1986 when the story begins. A lot of this story hit home for me – being the new kid at school (I attended 33 schools from 2nd to 11th grade), riding a bus full of rude strangers, not having a place to live or a home where you feel wanted. I had to take a break from the book for a while to get my cheerfulness back. Alternating points of view between Park and Eleanor help the reader understand how each of them are feeling and the struggles they are both dealing with. Park and Eleanor come from different lifestyles and different family dynamics. Eleanor and Park are good for each other and their beautiful relationship left a mark on my heart. 5 stars for this young adult realistic fiction romance!

Salad in a Jar by Anna Helm Baxter

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Ten Speed Press for the opportunity to read and review Salad in a Jar by Anna Helm Baxter. Simple and helpful, this book contains everything needed to make portable salads, except the ingredients. Recipes for salad dressings and many types of salads with common to unique ingredients and even ideas to help you create your own recipes are included. Clean and clear photos of each beautifully layered salad and detailed recipes made me hungry and show how easy it is to make a salad in a jar – 5 stars for this healthy read!

Lessons in Falling by Diana Gallagher

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Spencer Hill Press for the opportunity to read and review Lessons in Falling by Diana Gallagher! A wonderful story of finding what you are capable of and figuring out what you truly want in life AND giving everything you have to accomplish both. Savannah is recovering from a gymnastic injury and trying to figure out how to deal with life without gymnastics. Her life gets fuller and she has to decide on her priorities compared to the people around her. The surrounding characters grew on me and the author’s writing made them feel realistic and the struggles of these characters were dimensional, just like real life. I love this book; 5 stars for a must read realistic fiction!