The One & Only

In Emily Giffin’s seventh novel, Shea Rigsby has known one thing  her entire life, and that is the small college town, Walker Texas, that she grew up in and her life revolves around one thing, Walker College football. Shea grew up with her best friend, Lucy, whose father is the head coach of the football team. When Lucy’s mother, Connie dies, it causes Shea to question her life and she starts to wonder, is there more to life than Walker football.

So, for me personally, this book started off slow. I think I had a hard time staying interested at first because of all the football talk and jargon. Don’t get me wrong, I like football but I don’t care about it unless it’s concerning the Houston Texans. While so much of the specific football talked bored me at times, I do like the authenticity it gave the characters.

Speaking of authenticity, Emily Giffin nailed it when it came to describing life in a small Texas town. Football is a way of life in Texas, college football, and high school football even more so. I think my favorite line in the book was the line that said “because everyone knew that there weren’t many things in Texas that barbecued ribs couldn’t fix.” This is a very true statement. Barbecue is a food group in Texas. With living in Texas, I have to say, it was very interesting reading a book that takes place in Texas. Not many books take place in Texas (at least the ones I read).

Something else I really liked about this book was when Shea started dating the Dallas Cowboys quarterback (fictional), Ryan James. Ryan and Shea were friends when they attended Walker together and started hanging out when Shea bumped in to Ryan at a Walker football game. As one of the many girls in Houston who finds the Texans defensive end, J.J Watt, cute, I liked how this story explored what it’s like to be the girlfriend of a player in the NFL. (I’m still dreaming like every other girl in Houston).

This was perhaps my favorite thing about this novel. Emily Giffin beautifully brought a light to domestic violence and how in sports, it’s not really punished. Under no circumstances, is domestic violence in any way shape or from ok. It really pissed me off when a major organization like the NFL has a chance to do something about it, to make a stance and say “no, this is not okay” and they do absolutely nothing.  I love how there is awareness for that raised in this book.

I just want to make a quick note saying that you do not have to be in to football to enjoy this book. Yes, it does talk about football but this isn’t a sports book. Like Emily Giffin’s other books, this book is about relationships. It’s a character driven book and has all the things that you’d expect from one of her books.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book but there were some places that I feel that the story did drag on. Because of that, I give it a four out of five stars.

Have you read this book? Did you like it too? What’s your favorite Emily Giffin book? Tell me!

Much love,

Kate

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The One & Only

Identical

 

IMG_6278Before I get in to talking about the book, let me explain this picture. As you might have figured out from previous posts, my co-blogger, Tina, is a huge Ellen Hopkins fan. I’m always looking for a good book, so when Tina was telling me about Ellen Hopkins, I looked at the summaries of her books on Goodreads and thought that Identical looked really interesting and I added it to my check out cart on amazon. That was several months ago. So when I finally did get around to reading it, I sent her this ridiculous selfie.

Identical is about identical twins, Kaeleigh and Raeanne. Their mother is a politician and their father is a district court judge. They look like the perfect family but in fact, they’re far from it. Kaeleigh and Raeanne both have dark secrets- Kaeleigh is being abused by their father and Raeanne is craving that affection, feeling like she is loosing at the game of Daddy’s favorites. Eventually it gets to a point where Kaeleigh nor Raeanne can handle it on their own and one will have to step up and save the other. But who?

I liked how the twins personalities were different but different in a way so that Kaeleigh and Raeanne complimented each other.

This was hard to read at times for a couple of reasons.

The first reason being, Kaeleigh and Raeanne some pretty dark secrets and demons. Being inside their minds was pretty difficult at times.

The second reason was at times, the story did kind of drag on. I wish the plot and the pace of the story would have moved faster. At times, I felt like I was forcing myself to finish this book.

This novel is written in verse, meaning it’s in poetry. This didn’t scare me off because when I was in middle school, I loved reading Sonya Sones’s books. Although, it did take some getting used to with how some of the stanzas are aligned left while others might be centered or aligned to the right. I didn’t like this at first but as I continued reading I grew to like it. It really adds to the tension and emotions of the story.

I almost put this book down but I’m really glad I didn’t. The ending was fantastic and I absolutely did not see it coming.

I liked this book but I didn’t absolutely love it, so I gave it 3/5 stars. I’m not going to rush to pick up another Ellen Hopkins book but I wouldn’t be opposed to reading another one. Burned is still on my TBR after reading Tina’s fabulous review of it.

Have you read Identical? Tell me your thoughts about it!

 

Identical

2015 Wrap Up & 2016 Reading Goals

New Year 2015 formed from sparking digits over black backgroundWe can’t believe that it’s already 2016! What? Seriously, where has the time gone? Even though it’s been 2015 for 18 days now, we want to take a second and set our reading goals for 2016 and look back on the awesome reading year that we had in 2015.

2015 Overview:

Tina:

This year I started off strong in the reading game. I definitely read a lot of books towards the beginning of the year and over the summer. College sadly takes time away from reading, as it did towards the end of 2015. However, the books I did read this year were amazing.

Kate:

It’s no big secret that I read a lot in 2015. I think that has a huge part to do with that I went to Teen Book con back in April. I’ve always loved reading and I’ve always loved books but something about going to that convention, reignited my love for reading and books. This year, I ended up reading 37 books. This surpassed the reading challenge I set for myself on Goodreads by 17 books.

2016 Reading Goals:

Tina:

For 2016, I have a pretty generic goal: read more. I have a book or two left in my apartment at school that I have yet to read, and my “to read” list has been growing forever. I finally want to take more time to read, especially while at school because reading is a nice stress relief. There are lots of great places to read in my college town that I want to explore. I think trying to read more will help me achieve these goals (plus help me grow my book collection).

Kate:

This year, i’ve decided to double the books on my Goodreads challenge from 20 books to 40 books but i hope to read way more than that. With in those 40 books, I plan to finish the Harry Potter series by J.K Rolling (I’m on the second book of the seven). I plan to reread/ finish the Gallagher Girls Series by Ally Carter. I started reading this series when it initially came out when I was in like sixth grade and somewhere along the way, I lost track of what book I was on. I’d love to know what happens and how the story concludes. Also, this year, I am going to try reading one nonfiction book a month, like a biography or a memoir.

We hope your 2015 was fabulous and that your 2016 is even better! What was your favorite book that you read in 2015? Tell us about it so that we can read it in 2016!

Much love

Tina & Kate

2015 Wrap Up & 2016 Reading Goals

The Daughters Join the Party

The Daughters Join the Party is the fourth book in the daughters series by Joanna Philbin. This story follows Emma Conway whose father, is a senator in New York. Emma has alway felt like the outcast in her family and when her father tells her of her plans to run for president, this only makes her feel like more of an outcast within her family. Especially with her bother, Remington, who can do no wrong. At an event, Emma accidentally announces that her father is running for president and she is thrown in to the spotlight, and she starts to feel the pressure to be the perfect first daughter.

I was surprised that Joanna Philbin decided to write a fourth book in the daughters series. I remember when the first book came out in the series, The Daughters, there was originally supposed to be three books. The Daughters that followed Lizzie, The Daughters Break the Rules that followed Carina, and The Daughters take the Stage that followed Hudson. These are companion novels, meaning you can read one without having to read the other novels and the story will make since.  I loved the first three books in this series, so when I found out about the fourth, I knew I had to read it- even if it did take me a few years to get to it.

I almost wish that the series would have been left at three books. It’s not that I didn’t like the story, because I did but I just didn’t love it. Maybe it was because I waited too long to read it. I read the first book right when it came out in 2010 and I read the other two stories back to back in the summer of 2012.

Emma was cool. I liked her spunk and how she wanted to be true to herself, no matter what others thought. Also, she knew of Gwen Stefani in the Return of Saturn era, meaning she’s a No Doubt fan. Loved that reference.

I also liked how this story also managed to bring back Lizzie, Carina and Hudson. I loved reading their stories so much. So it was nice to get an update on how they were doing and what’s going on in their lives.

I had a hard time keeping my interest in this story. There was parts where the story was moving pretty slow and there were a couple of side stories that could have been left out because they didn’t add anything. I also think it would have made the story more interesting if Emma accidentally announce her Dad running for president if it had happened sooner in the book.

I’m giving The Daughters Join the Party 3/5 stars because I liked this story but I just didn’t love it.

Have you read The Daughters Join the Party? Did you read any of the other daughter’s books? I’d love it if you’d share your thoughts with me!

Much love,

Kate

The Daughters Join the Party

What’s Broken Between Us

I was super excited for this book to come out. How excited you might ask? As you might remember, a few weeks ago, I named this book as my most anticipated new release in my Taylor Swift Book Tag. Also, I went to Barnes and Noble the day it was released (December 29th) to buy it. I got to the store right when it opened and it hadn’t been shelved yet.I made the guy working at the information desk go get it out of the back for me. I also felt the need to take a picture (shout out to Allie for taking the picture) outside the bookstore with the book. I am a nerd and I regret nothing.

In Alexis Bass’s sophomore novel, tragedy has struck Amanda Tart’s hometown. Grace Marlamount was killed and Sutton Crane was nearly paralyzed in a drunk driving accident where the driver was Jonathan Tart, Amanda’s older brother. It’s been sixteen months since the accident happened and Jonathan has just been released from prison.  Amanda still loves her bother but everyone else sees him as the monster who killed Grace. And then there’s Henry Crane, Sutton’s younger brother, where he and Amanda were almost a thing, but decided to forget about it, right after the accident happened because things were too complicated.

The best way to describe this novel is the following: it’s a story about rebuilding relationships.

What’s Broken Between Us, was exactly how I like my young adult contemporary novels (really, any novel I read). Character driven, dealing with relationships, difficult heart breaking issues and a little bit of a romantic sub plot. I started this novel December 29th and I finished it December 30th. I loved reading every page of it.

I liked how this story was told from Amanda’s point of view. We get to see Jonathan’s actions and how they affect not only him but how it effects his family, specifically, Amanda. She very much carried guilt about the accident, often thinking about what she would change about the night it happened and how she would have liked for it to play out. Amanda still loves Jonathan and she still see’s the good in him.

I do wish that some of the characters in this novel would have been more developed, specifically Amanda and Jonathan’s parents. I felt like their character’s didn’t serve much purpose in the story other than Amanda being 17 and Jonathan being 19 so they couldn’t be living on their own. They were the basic parent type characters, though part of me thinks this was done on purpose- this is poked fun at in the novel by Amanda calling her Dad “Standard Dad”. I think that if the parents had more development, it really would have added so much to the story.

I also think the character of Amanda’s best friend, Dawn, who is off at college, could have been completely cut out. She and Amanda don’t interact much. I see the purpose that she served, she was the person who Amanda told her feeling too. But, as this story was told in first person, we were already inside Amanda’s head. We already know how she’s feeling, perhaps maybe even better than she does.

I really enjoyed reading this novel. I gave it 4/5 stars and I would recommend it to readers who like Sarah Dessen and Gayle Forman.

I like the way Alexis writes and I think she’s a very talented writer. I wish that this wasn’t only her second novel so that I could read them all back to back. I really do believe that in a couple more years, Alexis Bass will be one of the top names in YA literature and you’ll be hearing it alongside Sarah Dessen, Jenny Han, Gayle Forman and John Green.

Please let me know if you’ve read What’s Broken Between Us in the commits. I’m dying to talk about it with someone!

Much Love,

Kate

What’s Broken Between Us