March 30, 2017

The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins


How do you live your life if your past is based on a lie? A new novel in both verse and prose from #1 New York Times bestselling author, Ellen Hopkins.

For as long as she can remember, it’s been just Ariel and Dad. Ariel’s mom disappeared when she was a baby. Dad says home is wherever the two of them are, but Ariel is now seventeen and after years of new apartments, new schools, and new faces, all she wants is to put down some roots. Complicating things are Monica and Gabe, both of whom have stirred a different kind of desire.

Maya’s a teenager who’s run from an abusive mother right into the arms of an older man she thinks she can trust. But now she’s isolated with a baby on the way, and life’s getting more complicated than Maya ever could have imagined.

Ariel and Maya’s lives collide unexpectedly when Ariel’s mother shows up out of the blue with wild accusations: Ariel wasn’t abandoned. Her father kidnapped her fourteen years ago.

What is Ariel supposed to believe? Is it possible Dad’s woven her entire history into a tapestry of lies? How can she choose between the mother she’s been taught to mistrust and the father who has taken care of her all these years?

In bestselling author Ellen Hopkins’s deft hands, Ariel’s emotionally charged journey to find out the truth of who she really is balances beautifully with Maya’s story of loss and redemption. This is a memorable portrait of two young women trying to make sense of their lives and coming face to face with themselves—for both the last and the very first time.

It has been a long time since I have finished a novel. I have started quite a few, but I have been in such a slump that I haven’t been able to finish one since last year. I figured if anyone could get me out of it, it would be Ellen Hopkins. Sure enough, here we are.

The story pulled me in right away with its strong characters. Ariel has an interesting inner-monologue as she tries to figure out life. With the strange circumstances she has had to live through, only when she is 17 can she really take time to try to figure out who she is. Or, who she thinks she is.  That is, until someone totally unexpected comes into her life and changes everything around.

The plot is deep as it takes the time to examine, abuse, alcoholism, the military, and LGBT themes. It really was a tough book to read at times, but you end up caring so much about the characters that you have to see what happens. That is one thing that Ellen Hopkins is masterful at. You always end up feeling strongly for her characters one way or the other. This book was no different.

You begin to root for certain relationships, and your opinions about some characters change along the way. There are a lot of twists and turns to this one.

If you are into Ellen Hopkins’s work, or if you are looking for good, new fiction, I highly recommend this one.

5/5 stars

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September 18, 2016

‘H’ is For Homicide by Sue Grafton

After a three-week-long investigation, Kinsey couldn't wait to get home. What she needed most was a few quiet days by herself--but two things happened to change all her plans.

First, she ran into a murder case. Then Kinsey met Bibianna Diaz, and before the night was over they were sharing a prison cell..
This book was. . . different. I didn’t feel like I was reading a Kinsey book because she was undercover for the majority of it. She wasn’t leading her usual bad-ass private investigator life. She was undercover in a life of crime.

It was strange to read, and I didn’t like it. But even though I didn’t like that aspect, I liked the book. The book hooked me and I kept turning the page. I couldn’t put the book down. Because she was around the people she was investigation so much, they became humanized. Usually you can just see them as the bad guy, but there was a human side to them in this book which added more depth.

I was hoping that Kinsey would be able to bust out more of her badass self, but aside from playing her undercover role well, we didn’t get to see it as much.

I am so conflicted on it, but I can say that I did enjoy it. The characters were very well developed and the story was different.

I am excited to read the next book, though. I am hoping it is more of a normal book for her.

4/5 stars

Memorable Quotes: “Life was good. I was female, single, with money in my pocket and enough gas to get home. I had nobody to answer to and no ties to speak of. I was healthy, physically fit, filled with energy.”

“I tried to look like an especially law-abiding citizen instead of the free-lance private investigator with a tendency to fib.”

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September 17, 2016

The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell

Confessions are Rose Baker’s job. A typist for the New York City Police Department, she sits in judgment like a high priestess. Criminals come before her to admit their transgressions, and, with a few strokes of the keys before her, she seals their fate. But while she may hear about shootings, knifings, and crimes of passion, as soon as she leaves the room, she reverts to a dignified and proper lady. Until Odalie joins the typing pool.

As Rose quickly falls under the stylish, coquettish Odalie’s spell, she is lured into a sparkling underworld of speakeasies and jazz. And what starts as simple fascination turns into an obsession from which she may never recover.

This book is so frustrating, yet so intriguing and mysterious. It is hard to keep in mind that this book takes place in the 20’s. The main character, Rose, speaks a lot about femininity and what a woman is supposed to be. It is so wildly different from the culture we live in now.

Part of me wants to smack her at times. Other parts of me just feel bad for her.

Then you think about her fascination with Odalie, and it is all very mysterious. Half way through the book and you still don’t really understand how deep her fascination goes.

It is also hard to figure out whether Rose is into women platonically or whether she is into them in a romantic sense.

This book follows the two of them and then it reaches a peak at the end. All I can say about that is, I am confused.

I was still confused after I read the last line of the book. Yes, it threw a twist at us, but I am not really sure what they twist was.

Maybe I am just being dumb with this one.

I did like the book overall, Rose was a very frustrating character to read about, but it was mysterious and kept me hanging on.

3.5/5 Stars

Memorable Quotes: “A good typist knows her place. She is simply happy, as a woman, to be paid a reasonable income.”

“I am quite skilled at watching people, and I believe this habit has given me something of a true education in the world – perhaps in more ways than one.”

“I wasn’t as sure as Odalie seemed to be about the prospect of my falling in love with what promised to be a group of derelicts posing as intellectuals, but I was becoming increasingly sure I was about to allow myself to be charmed by Odalie herself.”

“There is something darkly thrilling about standing on the balcony of a very tall building and looking over the edge with the silent knowledge that is in one’s own power to jump.”

“You see, doubt is magnificently difficult pest of which to try to rid oneself, and is worse than any other kind of infestation. It can creep in quietly and through the tiniest of cracks, and once inside, it is almost impossible to ever completely remove.” 

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