Friday, March 16, 2018

The Season of You & Me by Robin Constantine - Reshelved Books

Hey Dewey Readers!

Growing up and living in New Jersey, we love books that are based in our home state,  but do you know what we love even more than books that take place in Jersey!?  Books that take place down the shore.  Robin Constantine's novel The Season of You & Me is just that.  It's a young adult Jersey Shore romance that I have now read twice!  

So a bit about the novel.  This novel is told in the alternating perspectives of two main characters, Cassidy and Bryan.  Cassidy has decided to spend her summer down the shore at her father and step-mother's bed and breakfast.  She needs an escape from her home life, especially because she's struggling with and trying to come to terms with her first real heartbreak.   Is she running away from her problems?  Maybe one can say so, but she IS spending time with family in the form of her father, step-mother, and little brother she doesn't get to see that often.  So, I think it's safe to say the change of scenery is welcomed for many reasons.  Plus, I'm a firm believer that the ocean can heal just about anything.

Bryan lives down the shore.  He's recently paralyzed from the waist down after a skateboarding accident, which could have been prevented.  Rather than be bitter about his injuries, he shows acceptance and has a great sense of humor.  That's not to say that he isn't upset that he can't walk.  He is, he's just doing an excellent job of trying to be okay.  Bryan has had some romantic interests with girls that live in his hometown, but nothing has panned out.  Is it because of his injures? Is it because there was just no chemistry?  Maybe it's a mixture of both.  So when Cassidy begins to work at the same summer camp as Bryan during the day, they begin to develop....a friendship.  

More than just a summery young adult beach read that happens to take place down the shore, this novel tackles issues such as heartbreak, disabilities, divorce, family dynamics, friendship, acceptance, and so much more.  I adore this novel to the point where I am going to give it 55 out of 5 Coffee Beans, because I can.  Even my Grandma loved this novel, which just goes to prove how ANYONE of ANY AGE can read and enjoy y.a. fiction.    

I am also super excited, because Robin has agreed to come up to my library for an author visit!  You can check out all of her upcoming events, on her website.   

Now I am craving a trip down the shore.  
Jillian, can we take a day trip to Point Pleasant!? 

Until the next read!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Battle of the Book: The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

Hello all!

For our readers who are here in New Jersey, I hope everyone made it out of Winterstorm Quinn okay. 

I thought I would start a new series.... Battle of the Books. 
Jess and I will both be attending the "Spine Breakers" book club next week.  The book this month was The Lying Game (obviously, lol.)

Last week Jess posted a review on The Lying Game by Ruth Ware. She beat me to posting a new review! Which isn't hard to do when you have a million things going on and you only get sit down in front of your computer once a week.

I know that Jess and I usually read different genres but novels that have the same themes.  I thought though that it would be interesting for you guys to see what I thought of The Lying Game versus what Jess thought of the same book. 

You can check out Jess's review here

Unlike Jess, I hadn't heard much about this book prior to reading it.  I knew of two people (excluding her) who read the book and the opinions there this: one loved the book and the one hated it. 

Ware's story opens when someone finding a body. Very vague. Very creepy. 

The first character that we met is Isa Wilde, a lawyer and a new mother to a 6 month old baby girl, Freya. 

Isa receives a text message a three word text "I need you". It's not only Isa who gets this text, it's also Fatima and Thea.  
The person who sent the text is Kate. 
It's been FIFTEEN YEARS since these four women have spoken to each other. 

Fifteen years ago these four women were in a boarding school together - fifteen years ago these four women participated in something that you could easily say was criminal. 

Lies that they had spun and woven for the fifteen years are falling apart right before their eyes. 

When the girls were completing their fifth year at school, Ambrose Atagon (the art teacher, who is Kate's father) committed suicide.  No one at the time knows why he committed suicide.  What they do know is that private sketches of the girls done by Ambrose ended up in the hands of the head mistress at school. 

The actions from the night that Ambrose died, tied in with the sketches is what ultimately gets the girls kicked out. 

Ware spins a story that follows these 4 women as they navigate the past and their lies.  There are peaks, twists and turns. There is some confusion but the story does come together at the end.

My feelings on this book? I'm feeling neutral on it.  I didn't love it and I didn't hate it.  It was just there. 

I feel like the focus of the book is Isa. 

I did not like Isa. 

I didn't like how she canoodled with Luc! I didn't like how Luc took the baby! I didn't like her character; I left like she was whiny. I was impressed with the way that Ware was able to tie the story together at the end.  I left like there were a lot of different things happening (Luc and Isa is the perfect example!!) I personally don't feel like any strings were left undone....

I also didn't feel like the book was that much of a thriller. I thought it fell both short and flat on that. I wouldn't say that it was easy to figure out right away, but once all of the evidence was presented, you could definitely follow her thought process. 

I give this book 2 coffee beans out of 5 coffee beans. Sadly, there is no conflict between our reviews for our first battle of the book!

Stay tuned to see what next month might bring!

~ Jillian

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

A Million Little Things by Susan Mallery - Reshelved Books

Hello Dewey Readers!

It's snowing here is Jersey and not just a little dusting this time either.  It is snowing HARD.  So what better way is there to spend a day snowed in, than with a book review that takes place near, but not exactly on, the beach?  That's right there is no better way!  It just isn't possible.  

So I picked up a copy of Susan Mallery's A Million Little Things a couple weeks ago at used book store called Footnotes, that specializes in romance novels.  It looked adorable, and as you all know, I absolutely adore the shore.  Perhaps maybe even more than books.... okay maybe not.   I guess what I'm trying to say is that I judged this book based off of the cover, bought it, and brought it home.   

Jillian hasn't read this novel.  In fact, I don't think I even talked to her about it yet, but I think that the two main characters in it our our soul sisters.  The two of us are defiantly equally both of the two characters.  We're semi-insane and definitely quirky.  (Jillian, you can have it after I give it to my Grandma.  Promise.) 

So in this novel, we meet Zoe.  Zoe recently broke up with her boyfriend after she purchased a house thinking that he and his children would move in with her, they'd marry, and have a happily ever after life.  Zoe even quit her job as a teacher, taking a different job that allowed her to work from home so that she could stay home and  theoretically raise her boyfriend's children.  But then, they break up!  And big surprise, the little fantasy that she planned her life around just didn't happen.  The back of the novel says that Zoe "is more than just single - she's alone."  But she's not really alone.  I mean, she does have her cat.  And when Zoe gets stuck inside her windowless attic early on in the novel (the door with the drop down steps got stuck) her cat was stuck with her.....

Now, the other main character we meet in this novel is Zoe's best friend Jen.  Jen has high anxiety.  Her husband is a cop who recently took a promotion as a detective, and her son (I think he's 22 months old?) will not speak.  Jen is constantly worried that something bad will happen to her husband, and is equally, if not more so, worried that there's something wrong with her son.  Everyone tells Jen that there's nothing wrong with her son, but she's so anxious and hypocondriatic that it just makes her even more anxious that no one seems to take her seriously.  Jen needs to come to the crystal shop with us and buy some lavender oil.     

Unlike a lot of romance novels, which can be sappy, cliche, and really sort of dull, Mallery draws the readers into her characters and their actual lives.  Lives that don't primarily revolve around finding and keeping a man, but I guess as one always secretly hopes, does play a role.  So Dewey Readers, I leave you with a rating of 4.5 out of 5 Coffee Beans!

Happy Reading!