Review: Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig


Synopsis from Good Reads:

Flynn’s girlfriend has disappeared. How can he uncover her secrets without revealing his own?

Flynn’s girlfriend, January, is missing. The cops are asking questions he can’t answer, and her friends are telling stories that don’t add up. All eyes are on Flynn—as January’s boyfriend, he must know something.

But Flynn has a secret of his own. And as he struggles to uncover the truth about January’s disappearance, he must also face the truth about himself.

I received a copy of this title from NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

I went into Last Seen Leaving without knowing anything really about it, other than the synopsis, and I was anticipating great suspense and mystery. I thought maybe Flynn’s big secret involved him being some type of psychopath or somehow directly responsible for whatever happened to January. Unfortunately, I think those expectations made me pretty disappointed in the story I actually got.

We figure out Flynn’s secret pretty quickly (by the second chapter), so I don’t feel it’s a spoiler to tell you what it is, but if you really don’t want to know, stop reading now…His big secret is that he’s gay. Which has nothing whatsoever to do with January’s disappearance. So I figured this was a Coming Out book. Which is a fine book to be, but just not the one I was expecting to be reading. However, as the story went on it still focused on the mystery of January’s disappearance with Flynn coming to terms with his sexuality being the secondary plotline and it ended up working for me. It wasn’t as angsty as I was fearing – in fact it almost seemed a little too easy? But, I thought it was handled pretty well and it made for a “diverse” character who was much more than just the one thing that makes him diverse.

While it did handle the Coming Out plotline well, it lacked on the mystery and suspense front for me. Flynn just kind of kept stumbling upon information and the only time we ever see the police is when they’re pointing fingers at him, which just made them seem kind of inept. Then Flynn would find all these things out and not tell anyone about it. I tried to cut him slack since he is only 15, but he was just so immature and often dumb with how he handled things that I found it really frustrating.

Though he often frustrated me, I did like Flynn and I liked his new friend/love interest Kaz (though the age difference did make me just slightly uncomfortable), but the rest of the characters were pretty underdeveloped or unlikable. Maybe my biggest complaint with the story is January. She was just an awful person and I didn’t really understand how sweet Flynn was such great friends with her. She was very childish and bratty and very dramatic. We also find out as the story goes on about how she misrepresents pretty much everyone in her life to everyone else. She tells Flynn awful things about the people at her new school that aren’t completely true and then she tells her new friend awful lies about Flynn. Other than a desire for drama, there was no explanation for that and it really bugged me.

For a debut, the writing was pretty good, though I did have a few issues with it as well. For the most part Flynn sounded like your average 15 year old boy, but occasionally he would randomly use much more sophisticated vocabulary and it just came across a little odd. Also, instead of saying January’s name whenever she was referred to, the phrase “my ex-girlfriend” was used about 1,000 times. Like, it could be a drinking game.

Overall, Last Seen Leaving was an ok read for me. The pacing was a little slow and the mystery and suspense aspects were not as well done as I would have liked. However, the subplot of Flynn coming to terms with being gay were pretty well done and did not overwhelm the overall plot, which is what I was afraid of when I first figured out what the big “secret” alluded to in the synopsis. I know the official synopsis is not the author’s fault, but I think it does the book a disservice by kind of misrepresenting how Flynn’s “secret” impacts the mystery (because it doesn’t).

Overall Rating (out of 5): 2.5 Stars

Review: The Regulars by Georgia Clark


Synopsis from Good Reads:

A fierce, feisty, and “wonderfully entertaining” (Scott Westerfeld, author of Uglies) debut with a magical twist about three ordinary, regular girls who suddenly have their fantasies come true…or do they?

Best friends Evie, Krista, and Willow are just trying to make it through their mid-twenties in New York. They’re regular girls, with average looks and typical quarter-life crises: making it up the corporate ladder, making sense of online dating, and making rent.

Until they come across Pretty, a magic tincture that makes them, well…gorgeous. Like, supermodel gorgeous. And it’s certainly not their fault if the sudden gift of beauty causes unexpected doors to open for them.

But there’s a dark side to Pretty, too, and as the gloss fades for these modern-day Cinderellas, there’s just one question left:

What would you sacrifice to be Pretty?

Wildly irreverent, blatantly sexy, and observed with pitch-perfect wit, The Regulars is fresh “compulsive reading from a bright new voice” (Brenda Bowen, author of Enchanted August) in fiction, perfect for fans of Jennifer Close and Kevin Kwan.

I received a copy of The Regulars via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

The Regulars will be available August 2, 2016

Addicting writing and short chapters helped make this a quick read, even though it was a little longer than it needed to be. I liked the style and I think the writing is what mostly compelled me to keep reading about these awful girls.

I appreciate a good character-driven story, but to really love one I either need to Love the characters or Love to Hate them. Unfortunately I felt slightly annoyed, but mostly ambivalent towards the characters in this book. While diverse (not all just straight, white girls), they were pretty clichéd – Evie: The Angry, Feminist, Bi-Sexual; Krista: The Good Time Girl that flakes out on all responsibility; Willow: The Artist with a Tortured Soul. I also felt the character growth was pretty much contained to the final chapters and was kind of too little too, late for me.

I was surprised at how Pretty ended up working. I thought it would just enhance their features to a traditionally beautiful level, but it straight up changes their appearance into a new person. Because of this they come up with fake names and ignore their normal lives. It bothered me that there was virtually no consequences whatsoever to this. I also wished that we would have learned a little more about the origin of Pretty and how it works, but it pretty much remains a huge mystery that none of the characters are all that concerned about.

While I like the overall theme of feminism and self-acceptance, it just wasn’t quite executed as well as I wanted it to be. The main characters were pretty selfish and kind of awful people and they didn’t really face any lasting consequences to any of the bad things they did while on Pretty. The ending felt way too easy and they’re only marginally better people than they were before.

Overall, The Regulars was a quick read with some addictive writing, but it’s unlikable characters made the book kind of hard to enjoy at times. I wish that the character growth would have been more pronounced and that they would have had to face some consequences of their poor decisions. This book wasn’t my cup of tea, but I think there are a lot of people who would really enjoy it.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 2.5 Stars

Review: The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Midwives and The Sandcastle Girls comes the spellbinding tale of a party gone horribly wrong: two men lie dead in a suburban living room; two women are on the run from police; and a marriage is ripping apart at the seams.

When Richard Chapman offers to host his younger brother’s bachelor party, he expects a certain amount of debauchery. He sends his wife, Kristin, and young daughter off to his mother-in-law’s for the weekend, and he opens his Westchester home to his brother’s friends and their hired entertainment. What he does not expect is this: bacchanalian drunkenness, a dangerously intimate moment in his guest bedroom, and two naked women stabbing and killing their Russian bodyguards before driving off into the night. In the aftermath, Richard’s life rapidly spirals into a nightmare. The police throw him out of his home, now a crime scene; his investment banking firm puts him on indefinite leave; and his wife finds herself unable to forgive him for the moment he shared with a dark-haired girl in the guest room. But the dark-haired girl, Alexandra, faces a much graver danger. In one breathless, violent night, she is free, running to escape the police who will arrest her and the gangsters who will kill her in a heartbeat. A captivating, chilling story about shame and scandal, The Guest Room is a riveting novel from one of our greatest storytellers.


I received a copy of this title from NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

The Guest Room will be available January 5, 2016.

This book made me really angry, but probably not in the way it was supposed to.

Richard Chapman is a happily married man and father who throws a bachelor party for his younger brother in his home. One of his brother’s friends hired strippers, but they turn out to be more than that. They’re not just prostitutes, either. They are victims of sex trafficking and they use the party as an opportunity to kill and flee their captors.

The story is broken down through the third person POVS of Richard, his wife Kristin, his 9-year-old daughter Melissa, and the first person POV of Alexandra, one of the girls from Richard’s party. I thought that Richard and Kristin’s perspectives were both very well done. I did not appreciate the perspective from Melissa, though. She really sounded nothing like a 9-year-old girl, but a grown man trying to portray a 9-year-old girl. I also didn’t really care for the passages from Alexandra’s POV. Each chapter ended with her and while it was informative and, quite honestly, horrifying, it really messed up the pace of the story. Most of it was backstory and it just didn’t seem to fit with the story of Richard dealing with the aftermath of the party. It really felt like two different books to me at times. I also didn’t like how she was written. The majority of the time she was perfectly well spoken, and then occasionally there would be sentences of broken English, to remind us that it’s not her native language, and it was just jarring. It should have all been written like that, or none at all.

I also found Richard to be infuriating much of the time. Yes, he did not actually have sex with Alexandra, but he was close to doing so – and got a lap dance, kissed her, etc. It was almost a case of insta-love in how enamored he was with her and it kind of disgusted me. He’s a forty-year-old married man and father and became kind of obsessed with this nineteen-year-old. Then later in the book, he suddenly starts to describe her with more of a fatherly affection, which kind of made the whole situation more uncomfortable. I just could not feel sorry for him or how his world started to crumble around him. I felt really bad for his wife and for his daughter. And for Sonja and Alexandra as they tried to figure out how to leave the city safely.

Overall, I just really did not care for this book. While the horrors of the sex trafficking industry is given a bit of a voice, it’s not a book that’s going to bring a lot of awareness to the problem. The inclusion of Alexandra’s backstory felt more of an interruption from the actual story instead of adding to it. I found the main character despicable which made it hard to find anything redeeming about the story. While I’m sure there will be plenty of people that would like this book, it just wasn’t for me.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 2 Stars.

2 stars

Review: The Rose Society (The Young Elites #2) by Marie Lu

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

Once upon a time, a girl had a father, a prince, a society of friends. Then they betrayed her, and she destroyed them all.

Adelina Amouteru’s heart has suffered at the hands of both family and friends, turning her down the bitter path of revenge. Now known and feared as the White Wolf, she and her sister flee Kenettra to find other Young Elites in the hopes of building her own army of allies. Her goal: to strike down the Inquisition Axis, the white-cloaked soldiers who nearly killed her.

But Adelina is no heroine. Her powers, fed only by fear and hate, have started to grow beyond her control. She does not trust her newfound Elite friends. Teren Santoro, leader of the Inquisition, wants her dead. And her former friends, Raffaele and the Dagger Society, want to stop her thirst for vengeance. Adelina struggles to cling to the good within her. But how can someone be good, when her very existence depends on darkness?



I completely love how the first chapter ends, which is also in the synopsis, Once upon a time, a girl had a father, a prince, a society of friends. Then they betrayed her, and she destroyed them all.” I felt like it was really going to set the tone for this dark story, but unfortunately the rest of the book does not live up to that one line.

I don’t really feel like a structured review on this, so behold my Spoilery Thoughts:

-While there were several action-packed sequences in the beginning of the book, I was kind of bored. I’m not really sure why, but I just didn’t really care what was happening. I just wanted to get to the meat of the story and I felt it took too long to get there. It took about 200 pages for me to really get into the story.

-I thought we were supposed to get lots of new Elites that were going to join Adelina, but we only got two. I was ok with that, though. I liked Sergio, but he’s not very well developed. He’s just always there to save Adelina when he needs to be. Then there is Magiano who I LOVED. Again, I felt like he could have been a little more developed, but I LOVED him. He’s strong and sarcastic and smart, and a little vulnerable. I ship him and Adelina way more than I did Adelina and Enzo in the first book.

-Since I loved Magiano so much and he brought out the light in Adelina, I became absolutely convinced that he was going to die. However, HE LIVES!!! And I am so, so glad. I don’t think there’s any hope for them as endgame since Adelina is supposed to become a super villain and she has no time for love, but for now, I will just be happy that he’ll still be around.

-I was really looking forward to Enzo coming back from the dead, but the whole storyline just left me disappointed. We find out that it’s not truly Enzo, but some Underworld demon type thing that looks like Enzo and I guess has his memories and stuff? I felt like large portions of it acted like it was the real Enzo, but we are also supposed to believe that it’s Not-Enzo. It was a little confusing. And I just didn’t like the way it played it out. He’s supposed to be linked to Adelina, but he very easily goes against her and goes off with the Daggers. I don’t think we’ll ever see him reach the full potential this character had.

-Speaking of the Daggers, I just didn’t care about them in this book. We get a few chapters from Raffaele’s POV which kept them still in the story, but I don’t know…I just looked forward to getting back to Adelina’s POV when we were with him. None of the Daggers are really developed any further and I didn’t even care when Gemma, who I liked in the first book, died.

-The addition of Maeve wasn’t as interesting as I thought she’d be. She wasn’t as smart or cunning as I thought she was supposed to be. I also thought the Maeve & Lucent relationship just ticked a box on the “Diversity” checklist. We don’t get much more than a chapter to explore their past and their relationship and their possible future. I think it should’ve been much more developed or just left out. As it is, it does not add really anything to the story other than a limited effort to make the characters more diverse.

-Everything I’ve read said this book was going to be DARK and I was looking forward to that. While there were a few moments that I felt fit the bill, for the most part I just still don’t see Adelina as a villain. She comes across more Schizophrenic than Evil. Whenever I feel we were supposed to be getting Dark Alina, I just felt like she was Crazy Alina – and in a really sad way, not the Crazy-and-I-Love-It kind of way. This book is not sunshine and rainbows by any means, but neither did I feel it was the dark book I was promised.

-As I said earlier, it took about 200 pages for me to get into it, but once it got there, I had trouble putting it down. There was lots of plot development and action and I was enjoying it. However, I felt the final chapter was just pretty “meh”. While I know the overall story is not yet finished, I think the storylines of this book wrapped up well and the ending of the book just didn’t make me excited to read the next book. I’ll have no problem waiting for the conclusion of the series to come out.

Overall, I think the idea and intent of The Rose Society and the series in general is interesting and unique. However, I just don’t feel like the actual books deliver. While I did enjoy parts of this book – and absolutely loved the addition of Magiano – it was overall just an ok read for me. I do think people who loved the first book, will also enjoy this one, though.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 2.5 Stars

Review: Confess by Colleen Hoover

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover Owen is keeping major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin…


I don’t like beer. I’m not a big drinker anyways, so it’s not a big deal, but I’ve always felt like I would be more of a Beer Girl than a Girly, Fruity Drink Girl. But no matter how many times I try it, I just don’t like it. I want to. But I don’t. And that’s how I feel about Colleen Hoover books.

Hoover is a good writer, I don’t deny that. Owen and Auburn are both pretty well-developed, sympathetic characters. I liked the idea of the confessions with the art work and wish that would have been a bigger role in the book, instead of just the springboard for the overall theme of confessions. There were also many cute moments between Owen and Auburn that made me smile. That’s unfortunately all I can list for the positives in this book, though.

One of my biggest pet peeves in fiction is lying and miscommunication. While ok in small doses, it drives me crazy when it’s the main plot. When one honest conversation could bring about the conclusion of the whole book within a couple pages, I can’t get behind a couple hundred pages of angst to get there.

I also really wanted to like Owen and in many parts I really did. However, most of the time he gave off kind of a smarmy vibe to be. He lied to Auburn from the very beginning and he kept lying to her. Even when he finally told her the truth about most things, he still kept one very big secret from her and I really hated that. A lot of his time with Auburn seemed manipulative to me and he came off a little controlling even. But it’s supposed to be hot and attractive because he’s hot and attractive and he does care about her. It just rubbed me the wrong way. Yes, he had sweet, redeeming moments. But overall, he was just a little off for me as a romantic lead.

Auburn was a sympathetic character, but kind of drove me crazy most of the time. She put herself into bad situations and despite wanting to change it, was just kind of resigned to her fate. She was very passive in changing her life, despite being supposedly very determined, and made many bad decisions. When she did finally step up, she did so in an underhanded way that made me disappointed.

Overall, Confess was a fast, easy read, but pretty underwhelming. While it did have some cute moments, I felt like it was ruined by all the lying, miscommunication, and poor decisions of the characters. Hoover isn’t a bad writer, but I really just do not understand the obsession with her stories.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 2 Stars

2 stars

Review: Dark Wild Night (Wild Season #3) by Christina Lauren

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
But what didn’t happen in Vegas seems to follow them everywhere.

Lola and Oliver like to congratulate themselves on having the good sense to not consummate their drunken Las Vegas wedding. If they’d doubled-down on that mistake, their Just Friends situation might not be half as great as it is now.

… Or so goes the official line.

In reality, Lola’s wanted Oliver since day one—and over time has only fallen harder for his sexy Aussie accent and easygoing ability to take her as she comes. More at home in her studio than in baring herself to people, Lola’s instinctive comfort around Oliver nearly seems too good to be true. So why ruin a good thing?

Even as geek girls fawn over him, Oliver can’t get his mind off what he didn’t do with Lola when he had the chance. He knows what he wants with her now … and it’s far outside the friend zone. When Lola’s graphic novel starts getting national acclaim—and is then fast-tracked for a major motion picture—Oliver steps up to be there for her whenever she needs him. After all, she’s not the kind of girl who likes all that attention, but maybe she’s the kind who’ll eventually like him.

Sometimes seeing what’s right in front of us takes a great leap of faith. And sometimes a dark wild night in Vegas isn’t just the end of a day, but the beginning of a bright new life…


Dark Wild Night is the third book in a series that I haven’t read. From what I gather, a group of friends went to Vegas and all ended up getting drunk and married. Two of the couples (from the first two books) are still married, but the two from this book, Oliver and Lola, only stayed married 12 hours. They are now, however, best friends and each other’s secret crushes.

The book started out pretty cute. Oliver is the owner of a comic book shop and Lola is an author of a graphic novel – which is getting made into a movie. I liked their nerdiness (though it was pretty downplayed). Even though I haven’t read the previous books, I really got invested in Oliver and Lola pretty much right away. Their friendship was great and the tension building up to them becoming a couple was very well done. I couldn’t make myself put the book down.

Where it lost me, though, is around the part where they became more. While there had been some lines in the book that made me roll my eyes a bit leading up to it, it was tolerable. However, it got extremely graphic and at times a little too crude. Sweet, sweet Oliver acted almost like a different person and while a little different I could deal with, I feel like it was taken too far. I also didn’t like that Lola had to get drunk in order to have any type of conversation about their relationship.

While I did like Lola overall, she did annoy me quite a bit. She behaved pretty childish throughout most of the book. While I understand her need for some space to get work done, the way she went about it was very frustrating. While I think Oliver was justifiably hurt, I think the way he responded was a little out of character, too. He knows her so well and could guess that she was going to freak out about things and I wish he would’ve been a little more steady when she did.

Overall, I’m a little torn about this book. I really did like so many of the moments and the relationship between Oliver and Lola. However, I felt that for me, personally, the multiple overly graphic scenes and language just kind of ruined it. If you’re into that kind of thing, though, you will probably really enjoy this book. I don’t think it’s necessary to read the first two books, though the other characters aren’t well developed here and I felt no connection with (or even real interest in) them. There’s also a character called “Not-Joe” that was never really explained. Based on the description of the other books, they sound like they involve a lot of the stuff that I didn’t like about this book, so I probably won’t read them. But…never say never.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 2.5 Stars

Review: P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #2) by Jenny Han



Synopsis from Good Reads:

Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.
She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.
When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

I’ve been looking forward to this book for so long and unfortunately I found it very disappointing!

I haven’t re-read the first book since the first time I read it so I may be remembering wrong, but I thought it was a very cute book and I found Lara Jean’s naiveté kind of charming. That’s not to say I didn’t have some issues with the book, but over all I thought it was adorable.

I feel like P.S. I Still Love You suffered from trying to be too much, without every really defining itself. It acted like a “cause” book for awhile, calling attention to slut shaming and the double standard between males and females when it comes to sex. It had a bit of a love triangle/love square (but not with the person you would expect) and it didn’t take up the majority of the book like I thought it would (not that that’s really a bad thing, though). There were a lot of scenes and dialogue where it almost seemed more like a middle grade or very young end of the YA spectrum book, but then there were other scenes and language that seemed more appropriate for the more mature YA crowd. It made so many parts of the book just seem so awkward. It was kind of the book equivalent of a little girl playing dress up and instead of playing house, plays Sex in the City. They tried very hard to sound grown up, but instead just come across cringe-worthy.

The flow was kind of choppy, as well. There would be really random scenes of Lara Jean and her sisters or Lara Jean and her friends at the nursing home that just didn’t really seem to add anything at all to the story.

The book wasn’t all bad, though. There were still some cute scenes between Lara Jean and Peter, though not as many I would have liked. Her relationship with her sisters is solid again, which is nice to see. The lack of Josh is kind of surprising, but I liked the addition of John.

Overall, I found P.S. I Still Love You to be very underwhelming. It was not at all the book I was expecting it to be. I feel like it could have been much more focused. Perhaps the story was trying to combat the critics of the first book who thought Lara Jean was way too naïve, but unfortunately her “growth” in this book just made for an awkward read. However, fans of Han will probably still enjoy it and if you’ve read the first one, you might enjoy this one, too.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 2. Stars

2 stars