This Is Our Story

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Five went in. Four came out.

No one knows what happened that morning at River Point. Five boys went hunting. Four came back. The boys won’t say who fired the shot that killed their friend; the evidence shows it could have been any one of them.

Kate Marino’s senior year internship at the district attorney’s office isn’t exactly glamorous—more like an excuse to leave school early that looks good on college applications. Then the DA hands her boss, Mr. Stone, the biggest case her small town of Belle Terre has ever seen. The River Point Boys are all anyone can talk about. Despite their damning toxicology reports the morning of the accident, the DA wants the boys’ case swept under the rug. He owes his political office to their powerful families.

Kate won’t let that happen. Digging up secrets without revealing her own is a dangerous line to walk; Kate has her own reasons for seeking justice for Grant. As she investigates with Stone, the aging prosecutor relying on Kate to see and hear what he cannot, she realizes that nothing about the case—or the boys—is what it seems. Grant wasn’t who she thought he was, and neither is Stone’s prime suspect. As Kate gets dangerously close to the truth, it becomes clear that the early morning accident might not have been an accident at all—and if Kate doesn’t uncover the true killer, more than one life could be on the line…including her own

Fun story about this – I only showed interest in this book because of the cover and that it was centered on a death caused by a hunting accident. But boy was I hooked!

Here is the intro blurb that got me hooked (It’s a little long):

A ten-point buck and a dead body make the same sound when they hit the forest floor. It’s hard to believe a person could be mistaken for an animal, but it happens more than you know.

We know these woods. We’ve spent as much time here as anywhere else. Every hill and valley, every place the deer forage for food and rest in the heat of the day, is mapped out in our heads. We know exactly where the shot comes from when we hear it. Stealth no longer necessary, we tear in form every direction, each wanting to see the kill first.

But that excitement evaporates at the sight of Grant’s body twisted in odd angles over a downed tree. The impact of the bullet knocked him completely out of his boots, which as still upright several feet away.

We gravitate to one another, standing in a tight pack several yards away from him, momentarily scared to get any closer. One by one, our guns slip through our fingers, thudding softly on the blanket of leaves covering the ground. 

And one by one we move closer to Grant.

Stunned, we stand in a circle around him, our bodies covered in camouflage, each of us blending into the next. 

No one goes near him. No one bends down to check his pulse. There is a small hole in the center of his chest and blood pours out of him and soaks into the ground and there is no question – Grant Perkins is dead.

Two of us drop to our knees, crying; another seems unable to move at all.

But one of us studies the guns piled on the ground.

“That’s not a buckshot wound. He got shot with a rifle.”

All eyes go to the Remington – the only rifle in the group.

Concern for Grant is over quickly; the sorrow turns to panic and every finger quickly points to someone else and shouts of “I didn’t do it!” ring through the air. We all handles that rifle and we know it could point back to any one of us.

The amount of booze and pot and pills still flowing through our systems will guarantee that this is seen as a crime, not just an accident.

We push each other.

We cuss each other.

We threaten each other.

We are imploding.

I watch my friends, who are more like brothers, and know this won’t end well for any of us. 

A buzzing sound on the ground beside Grant quiets everyone. His phone, set on vibrate, rattles in he dead leaves. No one moves to touch it, to answer it, to make it stop. We all just stare at Grant. 

Single file, the ants begin to claim his boy. Birds swoop into the nearby trees, waiting for a clear shot at him. We will look guilty if we wait too long to call for help. We will look guilty no matter what. We need to do something – call someone – but we’re paralyzed.

I study each person in the circle, faces tear-streaked and numb from either the shock or the alcohol or the drugs. Or maybe all three. I weigh strengths and weaknesses. 

Only one us pulled the trigger, but we all played our own part in his death. They will find marks on Grant that don’t fit with an accidental shooting. They will find marks on us that shouldn’t be there either. The last twenty-four hours will have them talking about more than what happened during this  early-morning hunt.

“So no one is is owning up to using the Remington,” one of us says, more a statement than a question.

Do any of us remember which one of us was holding that gun a few minutes ago?

Silence as loud as a freight train fills the space, and we stare at Grant to avoid looking at each other. Or looking guilty. 

“If one of us goes down for this, it’ll be as bad as all of us going down for this,” I say. “We can’t let that happen.”

All eyes are on me. One look is blank, like my words are registering, while others are nodding, ready to agree to anything that will keep them out of trouble.

There is only one way out of this, and it has to be together. We all have to agree. 

“This was just an accident. A horrible accident,” one of us mumbles. “Whoever used the Remington should just admit it. There’s no reason to drag us all through this.”

“Even if it was an accident, whoever did this could still go to prison,” another of us says.

Our actions this morning would be viewed no differently than if Grant had died while we’d been driving under the influence.

Negligent homicide.

“Look, I know we’re all scared shitless right now, but wee’ll be fine. There’s no reason for anyone to ruin his whole life over this,” I say.

There’s one person who hasn’t spoken at all, and I realize just how fragile this plan  it. We all have to agree or the whole thing will fall apart. He looks down at Grant and ten back at the rest of us and finally says, “We’re in this together. We stick together.”

I lean forward and the other three do the same. Hovering over poor, dead Grant, I say, “Okay, this is our story…”

Wow.  Like how could I not be intrigued to find out who did it?!

I really enjoyed the setting – it felt very Duck Dynasty to me because of the back woods and hunting (but I love Duck Dynasty so go figure). I loved the court aspect – I lvoe watching shows like Law & Order: SVU. Finally, I loved the writing style. The book begins from the POV of one of the River Point Boys explaining what “happened” that morning. (See above blurb). As you read on, these POV  blurbs from the same boy were at the end of each chapter. The book also weaved interview transcripts, court documents, and other evidence into the story as well. The characters felt realistic. The friendships are complex and their loyalties run deep. I love the small-town feel – my boyfriend is from a small town that neighbors the one we live it, and even with it being so close, I love that small town feeling – even if there isn’t a Target 😉

While, the story centers on the River Point  boys and the accident, they aren’t really “present”. The story is told from Kate’s point of view. Kate is the assistant to the DA on the case, so we learn all the juicy details. PLUS, the DA she works for has a degenerative eye disease, so Kate gets to do sleuthing on her own -which ultimately leads her to solving the nearly impossible case and keeps an innocent boy out of jail.

From the blurbs from the boy POV, I assumed it was each boy telling their part, but in the end we learn it is the boy who was found guilty, explaining the accident, the events during the investigation (aka threatening “the girl” aka Kate), and the final POV excerpt details the boy’s thoughts that day when he killed Grant.

It isn’t a YA novel without some sort of love interest – hello cliche love interest of Kate and one of the River Point Boys. It was a little bit of an insta-love, but still gives me the warm and fuzzies, which was a great way to get a break from the book’s suspense.

As for the killer, I definitely didn’t guess correctly until the final evidence was given. I was back and forth for most of the story.

If you’re looking for a suspenseful  read, pick this book up! Next up will be The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone. Happy reading lovelies!

 

 

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Me Before You: Book vs. Movie

Me Before YouGoodreads Synopsis

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair-bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

AHHH I LOVED THIS BOOK.

It made me laugh.

It made me cry.

It made me believe in true love.

I want Louisa to be my best friend. She is such a beautiful person inside and out, and absolutely hilarious. Her family is a little dysfunctional at times, but they are all really loving and caring. She is a little blindsided when it comes to her boyfriend, Patrick. He’s a complete asshole. I don’t know why she didn’t break up with him in the first place.

Will. What can I say about Will? I love him. He’s hilarious, charismatic, and had me wrapped around his finger. Granted, I did have to warm up to him a little bit, because he was very snarky and uncooperative in the beginning of the book, but it’s understandable. He was a good sport for Lou and her crazy little side trips. He went along with it because he loved Lou, and wanted to make sure she got everything she wanted for him.

In the end, it was devastating, but it was his choice. I understand there has been some controversy regarding ablism, but in the end, it’s a book about a guy who wasn’t happy with the hand he was dealt. His view on his own quality of life is what mattered the most, and in reality, there is no room for us to judge his decision, because we’ve never been dealt the hand he was. It’s sad, but deep down, he wasn’t happy, even after falling in love with Louisa.

Movie time!

I am a firm believer in the book is always better than the movie, but in this case, I loved them both! The casting was perfect.I fell more in love with the story and surprisingly, the movie was pretty true to the book, which I appreciate. I have watched this movie several times and still fall in love with the story over and over again. Side note: I hated that they casted Matthew Lewis as Louisa’s douchey boyfriend. Excuse me, that is Neville Longbottom, he is not a douchey person!

Me-Before-You-Movie-Review

See, perfect casting!

Lousia’s red dress is to die for! I want one!

If you haven’t checked out eithter the book or movie, do so! It’s a tear-jerker, but also a warm blanket of love.  I haven’t read the sequel yet, but it is in my ever-growing TBR pile.

Next up is Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. Happy reading!

What Light

What LightGoodreads Synopsis:

Sierra’s family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon—it’s a bucolic setting for a girl to grow up in, except that every year, they pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other.

Until this particular Christmas, when Sierra meets Caleb, and one life eclipses the other.

By reputation, Caleb is not your perfect guy: years ago, he made an enormous mistake and has been paying for it ever since. But Sierra sees beyond Caleb’s past and becomes determined to help him find forgiveness and, maybe, redemption. As disapproval, misconceptions, and suspicions swirl around them, Caleb and Sierra discover the one thing that transcends all else: true love.

I picked up this book because I love Christmas – seriously, I DVR all of the Hallmark Channel Christmas movies every year. However, it fell a little short in areas.

I LOVED that the setting was California, but it was unclear where in California – as a California girl, I want to know where they’re at!  Main character, Sierra, reminds me of myself. She’s naive, full of puppy love, but cares about people 110%. Caleb is mysterious and romantic, but sometimes cares too much. I didn’t really care for Sierra’s friend, Heather, I felt like she was a user and didn’t really have Sierra’s best interest all the time. Devon, Heather’s boyfriend, was a completely useless character. I feel like Asher added him, because he need a subplot. Finally, Andrew, a worker on the tree lot, former friend, and in love with Sierra, is part of a useless subplot and is used to just cause drama between Sierra and her parents.

I love a Christmas time love story, but this story was definitely insta-love, which I feel is super overrated. It works for Hallmark, but didn’t work for this book because it bounced all over the place.

The book is short – I read it in a day. It’s cute, but predictable. It’s a fluffy contemporary holiday book. Besides it being centered around Christmas, I picked it up because of the author. I read Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why in middle school and again recently, but I have discovered I am not really a fan of this author – you’ll see in my review of Thirteen Reasons Why. I don’t see myself buying any of his work in the future, maybe just check them out from the library.

Next up is my Me Before You by JoJo Moyes Book vs. Movie review. Happy reading!

 

Dumplin’

DumplinGoodreads Synopsis:

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

Hello bookish friends! Long time, no see. I finally have some time to catch up on my ever-needed blogging, so first up is Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy. If you’ve seen my Goodreads account, you know that I gave this beauty 4 stars.

I loved this book because it is me. I know some of you have been following me for a while now, and you know from my review of 45 Pounds (More or Less) by K.A. Barson (see here), that I have struggled with my weight and body issues for a while now. Reading Dumplin’ made me feel those same things.

I know you’re thinking it. No, I have never competed in a Beauty Pageant because: a.) Stage fright, b.) I don’t have any talents I can perform – reading silently onstage isn’t really a talent, c.) The idea of walking around on stage showing of outfits and answering interview questions, just doesn’t sound fun to me – then again.

Willowdean is me. I know what it’s like to look in the mirror and dislike how I looked, my weight, the way my hair didn’t curl normally, etc. Even now on my current weightloss journey, it is still difficult for me to accept things sometimes. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and a hormone imbalance in February 2016, that I came to accept that losing weight was always going to be difficult for me. Any time I lose weight, I gain it back quickly. This year I’ve given up soda and fast food (very difficult for me, but going strong!), I’ve lost around 7 pounds and have been able to keep it off.

Willowdean’s story reminds me of how I wish stories like this were around when I was in middle school and high school. I think if I had an inspiring story like this, I would have had better self esteem in those years, and probably would have stood up for myself in certain situations that are still in the back of my mind.

Dumplin’ is a story for anyone who has ever felt fat, insecure, anxious, and all around not good enough. We are good enough. We are all beautiful. Other people’s opinion’s don’t determine your worth, so don’t even waste your time thinking about them.

This book is positive, funny, enlightening, and deals with realistic everyday issues besides body image, such as complex/dysfunctional families and friends in unlikely places. In the words of Willowdean, “I think maybe it’s the things we don’t want to talk about that are the things people most want to hear.”

Apparently, this is just book 1 in a series of some sort. I haven’t heard anything on a sequel, but I will definitely be checking it out when it comes out!

Next on the #BloggingCatchUp is What Light by Jay Asher.

Happy reading bookworms.

Just Listen

51738Goodreads synopsis:

Last year, Annabel was “the girl who has everything” — at least that’s the part she played in the television commercial for Kopf’s Department Store.

This year, she’s the girl who has nothing: no best friend because mean-but-exciting Sophie dropped her, no peace at home since her older sister became anorexic, and no one to sit with at lunch. Until she meets Owen Armstrong.

Tall, dark, and music-obsessed, Owen is a reformed bad boy with a commitment to truth-telling. With Owen’s help, maybe Annabel can face what happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends

Okay, you guys have my deepest apologies for not posting sooner! I finished Just Listen  at the end of June and I have finally had time to take a brain break to post!

One thing I absolutely love as I get deeper into the #SarahDessenMarathon is how much her stories intertwine! There’s mention of former characters, bands, places, activities, and her stories are based in two cities – Lakeview or Colby. It’s just a fun reminder of previous stories and how in life we are always running into familiar things and how we’re all connected.

I think the pairing of Annabel and Owen was adorable. Yes he was a “reformed bad boy” but he literally had a heart of gold unlike Rogerson from Dessen’s Dreamland, while she was model, former popular girl, and had a sister with an eating disorder. Annabel was constantly fighting to figure out how to make everyone happy, while being true to herself. She hated modeling, but didn’t want to hurt her mother’s feelings; she was called out as a slut when her best friend”s boyfriend attempted to rape her; and she didn’t know how to include her sister Whitney in her life without feeling like she was throwing her modeling career down her throat. Owen was simple. He didn’t need popularity, he just needed to be plugged into music because sometimes silence is just SO LOUD. Together, the pairing was unusual, but it worked.

This book made me realize a few things:

  • Sometimes when people who say they’re fine, actually aren’t fine.
  • People seem to always be afraid of asking for help, but if you need the help then ask for it, and don’t stop until you get the help you need.
  • People like to keep others out of their life because they don’t want to complicate their life, but guess what! Sometimes that is how you get help!
  • It’s hard to speak the truth, but if you don’t speak up, they’ll never know, and keeping it to yourself or telling them what they want to hear is not doing them any favors.

My favorite quotes from the book:

There comes a time in every life when the world gets quiet and the only thing left is your own heart. So you’d better learn to know the sound of it. Otherwise you’ll never understand what it’s saying.”

~Annabel

 

Don’t think or judge. Just listen.

~Annabel

I have to agree – silence is s freaking loud that I have to have some sort of background noise whether it’s the TV or music or the fan. If it’s dead silent and then noise comes in, I’m suddenly aware of every little sound in the room and it gets really distracting. In case you were wondering, while writing this post I have been listening  (and dancing/headbanging/singing) to the following songs on Spotify:

  • Five More Hours — Deorro and Chris Brown
  • Tell That Mick He Just Made My List of Things To Do — Fall Out Boy
  • There’s Only One Way to Rock — Sammy Hagar
  • Come Back to Me — Vanessa Hudgens
  • Summer Of ’69 — Bryan Adams
  • Shots & Squats — Vigiland and Tham Sway
  • Smack That — Akon and Eminem
  • Fine by Me — Andy Grammar
  • Sweet Emotion — Aerosmith
  • Fragile — 2Cellos
  • I’ve Done Everything For You — Sammy Hagar

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I know, quite a mix, but I never really know what music mood I’m in until I turn my music on, and this was a mix!

#SarahDessenMarathon is almost finished – Hallelujah! But for now look forward to my post about Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen – coming soon hopefully if life doesn’t get in the way! Happy reading lovelies!