Review: To Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough

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Title: To Catch a Killer
Author: Sheryl Scarborough
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: February 7, 2017
Stars: 4.5/5

Summary (from Goodreads): Erin Blake has one of those names. A name that, like Natalee Holloway or Elizabeth Smart, is inextricably linked to a grisly crime. As a toddler, Erin survived for three days alongside the corpse of her murdered mother, and the case—which remains unsolved—fascinated a nation. Her father’s identity unknown, Erin was taken in by her mother’s best friend and has become a relatively normal teen in spite of the looming questions about her past.

Fourteen years later, Erin is once again at the center of a brutal homicide when she finds the body of her biology teacher. When questioned by the police, Erin tells almost the whole truth, but never voices her suspicions that her mother’s killer has struck again in order to protect the casework she’s secretly doing on her own.

Inspired by her uncle, an FBI agent, Erin has ramped up her forensic hobby into a full-blown cold-case investigation. This new murder makes her certain she’s close to the truth, but when all the evidence starts to point the authorities straight to Erin, she turns to her longtime crush (and fellow suspect) Journey Michaels to help her crack the case before it’s too late.

Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon | iBooks

It’s been a while since I’ve read a thriller, but when I first saw To Catch a Killer, I knew I had to pick it up. This is a fast-paced mystery about a young girl who attempts to solve two murders that are connected. I absolutely adored the use of forensics to crack the case and the main character’s intelligence. I really enjoyed this story and would recommend it, even to those who aren’t big mystery fans.

This book is an action-packed mystery about a girl trying to find the person who killed both her mother and her teacher. I enjoyed the main character’s approach and her group of friends who are able to assist her in solving the murders. There are many diversions and different suspects to keep the reader guessing, even if I did find the ending to be pretty predictable. The novel has everything I hope for in a thriller, and fans of the mystery genre will definitely adore this book as well.

One of the aspects I found to be the most interesting in this story is the use of forensics. I have never seen this before in YA and after reading this, I would love to see more. It is clear that the author really knows her stuff since the techniques that the characters use are described in a way that is so easy to understand. The fact that the main character hunts for evidence to analyze instead of just running around town looking for some sort of vague clue made me enjoy the story so much more. Forensic science has always intrigued me, which is probably why I loved To Catch a Killer so much.

I really enjoyed the main character, Erin. She is so resourceful and uses the tips in her uncle’s book to teach herself how to analyze DNA. Erin has such a captivating voice, and her cleverness makes her so likeable. She also has a very complex backstory which makes her such a developed character. Erin has her moments and makes some questionable decisions, but she is still an engaging character overall.

To Catch a Killer is an epic cliffhanger that features the use of forensics to solve two linked murders. The main character is so likeable and very talented. This story is a perfect mystery, even if it does end on a bit of a cliffhanger.

ARC Review: Treat Yourself! by Jessica Siskin

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I received an e-ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Treat Yourself!: How to Make 93 Ridiculously Fun No-Bake Crispy Rice Treats
Author: Jessica Siskin
Publisher: Workman Publishing Company
Publication Date: August 8, 2017
Stars: 5/5

Summary (from Goodreads): It all began with a giant cheeseburger-shaped rice crispy treat, created on a whim and posted online. Since then, Misterkrisp, aka food artist Jessica Siskin, has become an Instagram sensation with her joy-inducing, pop-culture-inspired treats.

Treat Yourself! is the perfect answer for any cook, crafty food lover, or creative parent looking to make crowd-pleasing and personalized treats for birthdays, holidays, school events, and virtually every other occasion. With no baking required, these playful, visually dazzling sweets are simple enough for anyone to whip up.

Each of the 93 projects, arranged from Apple to Zebra, starts with a single base recipe. There are large, cake-sized treats to share and individual-sized treats perfect for bake sales and goody bags. Step-by-step instructions, vibrant illustrations, and downloadable templates ensure that anyone, with any level of skill, can turn out delicious, eye-catching creations: Lively designs for kids’ parties—Robot, Dinosaur, Crown, Balloons. A Cheeseburger. A Statue of Liberty. A Dancing Lady Emoji. And a sweet centerpiece for your next Super Bowl bash: a Football Stadium filled with sprinkle spectators. It’ll serve the neighborhood!

Treats have never been so much fun or so doable.

Goodreads | Amazon

Having been a long time fan of Rice Krispie squares, I knew that I had to check this book out! There are literally close to 100 different ideas and designs in this book, and it will most likely inspire its readers to create their own treat projects as well. The instructions are relatively easy and the images are absolutely whimsical. Also, Jessica shares her story and how she came to be the iconic Misterkrisp in the introduction to the book, which is an interesting addition to a recipe book.

If you have already discovered Misterkrisp online, you will already have a pretty good idea of what to expect from Treat Yourself! Siskin gives her readers a list of tools and tips on how to achieve the best results from her recipes, as well as a chart that breaks down the ratios of cereal, marshmallow, butter and food colouring each design will require. The book takes on the idea that this is arts and crafts more than cooking and gives the sense that there is no wrong way to create each design. The medium is forgivable and it is easy to correct a mistake with a simple fix.

As the synopsis indicates, Treat Yourself! is a great resource for anyone looking to come up with some interesting, crowd-pleasing treats. The designs range from easy to advanced, with one of the more difficult recipes being a recreation of Van Gogh’s Starry Night! I am not sure if I have the ability to make that one turn out as well as the one in the book, but I think it is something that would be a lot of fun trying to create.

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I have linked this post to Beth Fish Reads Weekend Cooking.

Review: The End of Oz by Danielle Paige

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Warning: Spoilers for the other books in the Dorothy Must Die series below!

Title: The End of Oz
Author: Danielle Paige
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: March 14, 2017
Stars: 3.5/5

Summary (from Goodreads): Ding dong—Dorothy is dead.

I watched as the Emerald Palace crumbled to the ground, burying Dorothy, the Girl Who Rode the Cyclone, under the rubble. And now that the rightful ruler, Ozma, has been restored to the throne…

Oz is finally free.

My name is Amy Gumm. You might remember me as the othergirl from Kansas. When a tornado whisked me away to the magical land of Oz, I was given a mission: Dorothy must die.

But it turns out girls from Kansas are harder to kill than we look.

Now the Road of Yellow Brick is leading me away from Oz to the dark world of Ev, where I have a new, powerful enemy to deal with: the Nome King. And—surprise—he has a gingham-clad bride.

With my magical shoes and a shrinking group of allies, I have one final chance to fulfill my mission, and save not only what’s left of Oz, but Kansas, too. As the line between Good and Wicked blurs even further, I have to find a way to get rid of Dorothy once and for all—without turning into a monster myself.

Dorothy once said there’s no place like home. Can I stop her from destroying mine?

Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon | iBooks

I had been awaiting this final book in the Dorothy Must Die series for such a long time, but this book ended up being a bit disappointing. It keeps the same action as always, but it seemed unnecessary. I enjoyed seeing some old characters redeem themselves, but the new setting isn’t as impressive as the other books. I found myself unsatisfied with the ending, and would have liked one more magical journey to Oz.

This book is so action-packed! This final instalment of the Dorothy Must Die series is full of plot twists and character revelations. Basically, Dorothy is actually alive, but in a different world called Ev where she is about to be married to an even worse enemy called the Nome King. Amy and her friends travel to Ev to prevent the Nome King from stealing Dorothy’s power and destroying Oz. I enjoyed being reunited with all the characters in the book, but I feel like the plot fell a bit flat. The first book in the series was absolutely incredible, but this fourth one doesn’t seem to compare. I found the Nome King’s character to be a little unnecessary, and I feel like this series should have ended as a trilogy.

What I found really interesting about The End of Oz is the fact that a few of the characters that the reader is meant to dislike become likeable. For example, Madison, Amy’s bully from Kansas, joins her, and they actually become friends. I also sympathized a bit with Dorothy, since she is being forced into a dangerous marriage. All of the characters in this book are as sassy as ever, and they each have such dynamic personalities.

One thing that bothered me about this book in particular is the different setting. The End of Oz does not take place in Oz, but Ev, which is more drab and gloomy. I didn’t enjoy reading about this setting as much since I wasn’t as familiar with it, and I would have preferred to be transported to Oz one last time. This land contains some elements, such as scary machines called Diggers, which I found to be intriguing, but Ev just didn’t seem as magical as the other books.

The End of Oz is the final action-packed instalment in the Dorothy Must Die series. Some old characters redeem themselves, and the series gets a new setting. The ending of this book wasn’t as satisfying as I had expected, and I personally think that this series would have been better as a trilogy.

ARC Review: Essential Oils by Neal’s Yard Remedies

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I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Essential Oils
Author: Claire Cross (editor)
Publisher: DK
Publication Date: October 11, 2016
Stars: 4.5/5

Summary (from Goodreads): An introductory guide to essential oils and aromatherapy from the experts at Neal’s Yard Remedies, a trusted source for natural health and beauty products.

Introduce yourself to the world of Essential Oils for treating maladies and improving mental and physical well-being. Featuring comprehensive profiles of 88 essential oils, all-natural remedies for common ailments, aromatic recipes for home and beauty, and helpful guidance for blending, storing, and using essential oils, this introductory guide is packed with authoritative information from the experts at Neal’s Yard Remedies.

Whether you seek natural alternatives to conventional medicines or want to eliminate synthetically produced chemicals from your home and beauty products, simple visual instructions and gorgeous full-color photographs make it easy. An illustrated A to Z reference section helps you identify the most useful oils, while information on application methods, tips on massage techniques, guidance on creating custom blends, and up-to-date safety recommendations help you learn how to use them for maximum benefit.

Essential Oils can help you improve your overall well-being and start you on the path to a more natural you.

Goodreads | Amazon

I have just recently become aware of the benefits of using essential oils, and while I probably will never use them exclusively to treat my own ailments, there are some interesting ideas and tips in Essential Oils. This book really is a great resource for anyone wanting to understand natural medicine and the different ways that essential oils are used. There are tips for your home, health, beauty, and a very descriptive guide about each plant and oil used in these techniques.

If you are like me and have a super sense of smell, the directions for how to make a diffuser or room spray may be of use to you. It does seem like a healthier alternative to use an essential oil to alter the scent of a room. I love a subtle floral aroma in a room and I am going to give the room spray recipe a try. It is a simple mix of vodka, mineral oil, and an essential oil. Seems fairly simple and might just be my new go-to for a quick room deodorizer.

As with most DK books, the book is packed with all sorts of information and really delves deep into the history and science behind using the oils as a benefit to your mind, body, and soul. Each plant and its oil is discussed in depth and if you are at all curious about what a simple lavender oil can do, you will be very surprised.

The section that appeals to me the most in the book is the beauty section. I have just started trying to make my own bath products to save money, and as a hobby. There are a few recipes for making bath bombs and melts that are simple and relatively inexpensive to make. If those amazing store-bought bath bombs are your thing, you may want to check this book out because I was really surprised to discover the simple ingredients in making them. Baking soda, citric acid and essential oils are really all that is required.

This is a perfect guide for anyone interested in learning about essential oils and how they can be used. The book is easy to follow and you will come away with a wealth of information on this hot trend that has been around for centuries. I look forward to trying  a few of them out myself.

 

ARC Review: Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali

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I received an e-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Saints and Misfits
Author: S.K. Ali
Publisher: Salaam Reads / Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: June 13, 2017
Stars: 3/5

Summary (from Goodreads): Saints and Misfits is an unforgettable debut novel that feels like a modern day My So-Called Life…starring a Muslim teen.

How much can you tell about a person just by looking at them?

Janna Yusuf knows a lot of people can’t figure out what to make of her…an Arab Indian-American hijabi teenager who is a Flannery O’Connor obsessed book nerd, aspiring photographer, and sometime graphic novelist is not exactly easy to put into a box.

And Janna suddenly finds herself caring what people think. Or at least what a certain boy named Jeremy thinks. Not that she would ever date him—Muslim girls don’t date. Or they shouldn’t date. Or won’t? Janna is still working all this out.

While her heart might be leading her in one direction, her mind is spinning in others. She is trying to decide what kind of person she wants to be, and what it means to be a saint, a misfit, or a monster. Except she knows a monster…one who happens to be parading around as a saint…Will she be the one to call him out on it? What will people in her tightknit Muslim community think of her then?

Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon | iBooks

Saints and Misfits is a feminist book about a Muslim teen struggling with identity. While I enjoyed the concept and the main character, I found the book’s pacing to be a bit slow. This is an important read, however, and one of very few Muslim YA books that I have seen.

This book is all about the life of a Muslim teen. Janna figures out her own identity while dealing with feelings that slightly go against her religion. She also deals with the recovery process of attempted rape and tries to get the other members of her community to believe that the man is not the saint that they all believe him to be. This is a powerful feminist story that does a great job of explaining Islam in a simple way.

I enjoyed Janna’s character. She is a photographer and a book nerd and is easy to relate to. She is also so sweet and takes care of an old man in her spare time. What I also enjoyed about Janna’s character is the fact that she is so dedicated to her faith. She is sure to follow all the rules to protect both her image and the reputation of her community. Janna’s voice is just so clever and sarcastic, which I love to see in a book.

My main issue with the book is the pacing. The book just seemed to drag on, and I was having trouble focusing on it. I also had no idea that sexual assault would appear in the story, so this is just a heads up to anyone who could be triggered by that. As well, Janna’s family is oblivious to all the hints that Janna was assaulted and the way she acts around her attacker. I didn’t find this very realistic, and I feel like at least one of her friends would have noticed the change in behaviour.

Saints and Misfits is the story of a Muslim teen finding her way through life. I enjoyed the main character and her generous personality, but found the book’s pacing to be too slow for my liking. I would still recommend this book, however, because it tackles some important topics and has some powerful messages.

ARC Review: Amish Guys Don’t Call by Debby Dodds

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Title: Amish Guys Don’t Call
Author: Debby Dodds
Publisher: Blue Moon Publishers
Publication Date: June 13, 2017
Stars: 4/5

Summary (from Goodreads):  Samantha is already facing scrutiny and anxiety at the start of her junior year, as she’s finally been accepted into the popular girls’ clique called “The Sherpas.” But when she realizes that her new boyfriend Zach was raised Amish, Sam must tackle a whole new set of challenges. Zach has chosen not to end his Rumspringa, instigating a potential shunning from his family. Not only that, but Sam’s new friends can’t miss this opportunity to tease and torment her.

Sam has never really come to terms with her parents’ divorce, so when her world crashes down on her in the form of cyberbullying and Zach’s apparent return to the Amish community, she reverts to old, illegal habits. Does Sam even want friends like these? And, will her cross-cultural love with Zach find a way?

Goodreads | Amazon

There is something intriguing about a culture that lives among us, yet is different in so many ways. Amish Guys Don’t Call is a powerful story that explores the Amish way of life, however, it also shows the reader that deep down there is a similar desire in all of us to be accepted by our friends and family. As well, the characters are well-developed and relatable, making this book an enjoyable read.

Having lived near a Mennonite community my whole life, I have an idea of the small town setting of this book from my own experiences. Dodds really takes the time to educate her readers on many aspects of the Amish and their beliefs. The differences between the Amish and Mennonites that are also described surprised me, and I have a new appreciation for the people that I see in horse and buggy on a daily basis.

The budding relationship between Sam and Zach is so sweet. Zach is quite old-fashioned and treats Sam with so much respect. Both of these characters are dealing with feelings of not being accepted by their friends and family. It is so interesting how Dodds shows two different worlds and how they both have this similar issue. It is the forgiveness that is so important in the Amish culture that seems to pulse throughout the novel, and makes it one to learn from.

Sam is a character that is easy to identify with. She has some flaws, yet is also a head strong and intelligent teen that simply wants to fit into this new town she is living in. When things start to go wrong, she discovers that there are many people that she can lean on. This book is truly inspiring for anyone who has dealt with any form of bullying.

Amish Guys Don’t Call is a unique book that explores different cultures and shares it similarities. There are interesting and relatable characters that make the book enjoyable to read. I would highly recommend this novel to anyone wanting to read a contemporary that is a little bit different in concept.

ARC Review: Mexican Ice Cream: Beloved Recipes and Stories by Fany Gerson

I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Title: Mexican Ice Cream: Beloved Recipes and Stories
Author: Fany Gerson
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Publication Date: June 13, 2017
Stars: 4/5

Summary (from Goodreads): A collection of 60+ flavor-packed recipes for ice creams and frozen treats rooted in Mexico’s rich and revered ice cream traditions.
This new offering from the incredibly popular baker and sweets maker Fany Gerson, the powerhouse behind Brooklyn’s La Newyorkina and Dough, showcases the incredibly diverse flavors of Mexican ice cream while exploring the cultural aspects of preparing and consuming ice cream in Mexico. Gerson uses unique ingredients to create exciting and fresh flavors like Red Prickly Pear Ice Cream,
Oaxacan-style Lime Sorbet, Avocado-Chocolate Ice Cream, and Rice-Almond Ice Cream with Cinnamon. All recipes are created with the home cook in mind, and written in Fany’s knowledgeable but accessible voice. Mexican Ice Cream features vibrant location photography and captures the authentic Mexican heladerias that Gerson has been visiting for decades. For anyone looking to up their summer ice cream game, this is the book.

Goodreads | Amazon

If that cover doesn’t grab your attention and get you excited for summer and the days of licking endless ice cream cones, the contents of Mexican Ice Cream surely will. When I first saw this book I was intrigued by the concept that there is such a thing as Mexican ice cream. After reading the stories, lusting over the images, and creating my own taste of heaven, I am excited to try more of these interesting recipes.

I have never been to Mexico, or New York for that matter, so this whole new world of flavours really took me by surprise. The author, Fany Gerson, is the owner of La Newyorkina, a little ice cream shop in New York that sells all sorts of Mexican treats and ice cream. This second book that she has written not only contains many different recipes for creating gelato, sorbets and ice cream, it is prefaced with some historical information on how ice cream in Mexico all began. Gerson also tells of her own inspiration in setting up her shop, making this book more than just a book of recipes.

 

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I don’t actually own a fancy ice cream maker, mine is a hobby shop special that you have to shake to create your ice cream. Without the aid of an easier method, I did try creating the Lime Gelato with Chia Seeds recipe and it turned out quite well. The fresh lime zest gives it so much flavour and the chia seeds make for a really interesting texture.

 

If you are a fan of summer treats and ice cream, I highly suggest checking out Mexican Ice Cream. The images are beautiful and you will come away with some interesting facts about this traditional Mexican food. After I give my arms a rest, I am going to give the Spicy Watermelon Sorbet a try!

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I have linked this post to Beth Fish Reads Weekend Cooking.

ARC Review: Internet Famous by Danika Stone

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I received an e-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Internet Famous
Author: Danika Stone
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: June 6, 2017
Stars: 4/5

Summary (from Goodreads): High school senior and internet sensation Madison Nakama seems to have it all: a happy family, good grades, and a massive online following for her pop-culture blog. But when her mother suddenly abandons the family, Madi finds herself struggling to keep up with all of her commitments.

Fandom to the rescue! As her online fans band together to help, an online/offline flirtation sparks with Laurent, a French exchange student. Their internet romance—played out in the comments section of her MadLibs blog—attracts the attention of an internet troll who threatens the separation of Madi’s real and online personas. With her carefully constructed life unraveling, Madi must uncover the hacker’s identity before he can do any more damage, or risk losing the people she loves the most… Laurent included.

Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon | iBooks

Since Internet Famous is the second book I have read by Danika Stone, I had an idea of what to expect. I definitely wasn’t disappointed in this story of a blogger who is struggling with an internet troll. The main character is warmhearted and relatable, and there are actually serious topics discussed in the story. This is a cute and quick read that is perfect for the summer.

This book is all about the life a teen blogger who a huge fanbase. She makes online friends who later become real life friends, but her fame isn’t all sunshine. Madi finds herself getting harassed by an internet troll who is capable of ruining her life, online and offline. Throughout the book, there are text messages, Tumblr posts, tweets, and Snapchats, which I found to be so entertaining. If you are a fan of fandom and internet books, especially Dankia Stone’s previous book, All the Feels, you will definitely enjoy Internet Famous.

I really enjoyed Madi’s character. She is a diligent blogger, a strong online student. and just so relatable. Madi is so caring towards her dad and her autistic sister, and is able to handle a situation when things go wrong. I loved her awkwardness and compassion, and she seemed so real to me. One of my favourite things about Madi is the fact that she actually acts like a teenager. I hate it when a YA character sounds like an old lady, so I’m glad that this book avoided that.

While Internet Famous seems like a light and fluffy read, there are actually serious topics discussed in the book. Cyberbullying plays a big part in this story, and it is so important to understand how to deal with an internet troll when it gets serious. Also, the main character’s sister has autism, and I feel like this book does a good job of portraying the importance of routine and what it is like if drastic changes occur. This book has the perfect balance of sweet and significant content, which I absolutely adored.

Internet Famous is the story of a teen blogger who is awkward and caring. It perfectly balances fluff and important topics, which I admired. I would recommend this to those looking for a good, current read this summer.

ARC Review: Once and for All by Sarah Dessen

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I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Once and for All
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: June 6, 2017
Stars: 4.5/5

Summary (from Goodreads): As bubbly as champagne and delectable as wedding cake, Once and for All, Sarah Dessen’s thirteenth novel, is set in the world of wedding planning, where crises are routine.

Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that’s why she’s cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm’s length. But Ambrose isn’t about to be discouraged, now that he’s met the one girl he really wants.

Sarah Dessen’s many, many fans will adore her latest, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story that has everything—humor, romance, and an ending both happy and imperfect, just like life itself.

Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon | iBooks

I have only recently discovered Sarah Dessen’s books, but I have enjoyed each one that I have picked up. I had high hopes for this one, and I can safely say that I was not let down. This book tells the story of a wedding planner’s daughter and contains a main character who is a real thinker. There are many flashbacks throughout the book, which add a lot of anticipation. Once and for All is a cutesy yet serious book that I am sure will appeal to everyone.

One of the main things that drew me to this book is the originality. The main character is the daughter of a wedding planner, but doesn’t believe in true love herself. I found all the behind-the-scenes wedding aspects to be so fascinating, and I learned that I would never be able to handle the stress of a job like this. The plot thickens as an arrogant rich boy is recruited to work for the wedding company, and I loved the comedic conversations he and the main character have. The way that the staff always predict how long the newlyweds’ marriage will last was also very entertaining. This book is cute and amusing, perfect for the beach.

Louna is a character with such a complex backstory that I wasn’t expecting when the book first began. She is so developed, and I really enjoyed how she is always up for a challenge. Louna is respectful, hardworking, and a great problem-solver, which comes in handy when brides freak out. I found her character to be the perfect narrator for a book like this, and she brought a lot of heart to the book.

I really enjoyed the use of flashbacks in this book. It’s kind of hard to describe without spoiling, but the bit of suspense added to the story really gripped me. This book is a bit slow-paced, so it takes a while to get to the big reveal, so it does kind of lose its thunder. However, I still liked being transported back to Louna’s past for an explanation of her actions.

Once and for All is an adorable contemporary with wedding planning aspects and a logical main character. I loved the use of flashbacks and the suspense that came with them. Whether you are a new or longtime Dessen fan, this book will not disappoint!

Review: Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

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I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Goodbye Days
Author: Jeff Zentner
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 7, 2017
Stars: 5/5

Summary (from Goodreads): What if you could spend one last day with someone you lost?

One day Carver Briggs had it all—three best friends, a supportive family, and a reputation as a talented writer at his high school, Nashville Academy for the Arts.

The next day he lost it all when he sent a simple text to his friend Mars, right before Mars, Eli, and Blake were killed in a car crash.

Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident, and he’s not the only one. Eli’s twin sister is trying to freeze him out of school with her death-ray stare. And Mars’s father, a powerful judge, is pressuring the district attorney to open a criminal investigation into Carver’s actions.

Luckily, Carver has some unexpected allies: Eli’s girlfriend, the only person to stand by him at school; Dr. Mendez, his new therapist; and Blake’s grandmother, who asks Carver to spend a Goodbye Day with her to share their memories and say a proper goodbye to his friend.

Soon the other families are asking for a Goodbye Day with Carver, but he’s unsure of their motives. Will they all be able to make peace with their losses, or will these Goodbye Days bring Carver one step closer to a complete breakdown or—even worse—prison?

Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon | iBooks

Goodbye Days definitely wins for the most emotional book I’ve read this year. This novel is about a teen who loses his three best friends in a car crash and how he recovers from his grief. The main character is so real, and I really sympathized with him. The writing is also absolutely breathtaking, and now I need to check out the author’s first book!

This book honestly wrecked me in the best way possible. Basically, the main character sends a text message to his friends while they are driving. As the driver was replying, a truck hits the car and kills all three teens inside. This story is all about the grieving process and accepting a loved one’s death. I found the concept of a Goodbye Day, a day to honour the life of someone who has passed and to share memories of that person, to be such a good idea. These Goodbye Days seemed to be cathartic for Carver and help him move on. If you’re looking for an emotional and powerful read, this is the perfect book to pick up.

I loved Carver’s character so much. He is a writer who is so realistic. The descriptions of his feelings and actions are so believable, and I was really able to sympathize with him. I mean, he lost his three best friends in a car accident and blames himself. I just wanted to hug him throughout the entire book. Carver is also such a complex character, something I always like to see, which made me love him even more.

Since this was my first time reading a book by Jeff Zentner, I had no idea what to expect. I’m telling the truth when I say that his writing blew me away. This book is filled with metaphors and heartbreaking descriptions that made me have to pause and take a moment to appreciate them. The last sentences in a chapter are also especially thought-provoking. This book is realistic and, although I have no experience with grief like this or anxiety, I feel like it portrays these feelings really well. I will definitely be checking out Zentner’s other books!

Goodbye Days is a heartbreaking story about coming to terms with the death of loved ones. The main character is so realistic, and the writing is absolutely beautiful. I absolutely recommend this book, but be sure to be emotionally prepared before picking it up.