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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Caraval (#1)

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Remember, it’s only a game…

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.

Long time, no see my lovely readers! I currently have some lag in my busy work schedule, so it’s time for some blogger catch up! First up is the over-anticipated Caraval by Stephanie Garber! I received this book in my February Owlcrate and the theme was Run Away with the Circus! I haven’t really mentioned Owlcrate before, but I LOVE my Owlcrate subscription! I’ve received it for over a year now, and this is the first book I’ve read out of any Owlcrate box (Busy schedule and all).

Here was this wonderful box

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On my Goodreads account, you will see I gave Caraval 5 stars!

LOVED the book.

It was magical, intriguing, whimsical, and a constant mystery.

However, I was not very fond of the main character, Scarlett. Her determination to play and win the game stemmed from her sisterly-love, because she needed to find her missing sister, Tella, but she constantly complained that she needed to get back to their island to get married, or that she was getting married and had no idea who her husband was or what he was like. HELLO, you’ve been writing to Master Legend, the creator of Caraval, your entire life, and as soon as you get an invite you can’t just play the game without focusing all your energy on some person you don’t know – did I mention the prize for winning Caraval was a wish, which can literally be anything, like wishing you could marry whoever your heart desired, but okay. While she wasn’t my favorite character, she did make great progress over the course of the whole book and becomes her own person.

Scarlett and Tella’s father is a giant, jerky, douchebag – excuse my language – but he is! He lays his hands on them for “misbehaving”, threatens to kill them if they try to escape, and basically sold Scarlett to the highest bidder (and wouldn’t introduce them until the day of the wedding). He literally gives me the heeby-jeebies.

Let’s talk about Julian.

Julian is Scarlett’s “unintentional” love interest and knight-in-shining-armor.

All I can say is SWOON. I love Julian – go figure he is definitely book boyfriend worthy. I thought the Julian and Scarlett together worked. His and Scarlett’s actions towards each other spoke louder than words. It made me want to fall in love for the first time all over again in a non-cheesy way.

As for the world of Caraval, things are not as they seem! Once you get to Caraval, you can choose to watch the game or participate, but you don’t get to change your decision! Of course, Scarlett chose to participate since she’s been writing to Legend her entire life. The game itself will literally drive the players mad as they scour the island for clues and the hidden item.

SPOILER ALERT

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Tell as invited to join Scarlett in Caraval too, but she got separated from Scarlett once they got to the island. Turns out, Tella is the item they are looking for in the game.

The book was full of twists and turns, and I definitely could not put it down (unless I had to do something of more importance). I thought it was movie worthy, and guess what?! Supposedly, Fox optioned for the rights for the book – back in June 2015. Hello this book wasn’t even released until January 31, 2017! Like, woah

Here are some of my favorite quotes

Every person has the power to change their fate if they are brave enough to fight for what they desire more than anything.

Even if we don’t lie to others, we often, lie to ourselves.

A wish isn’t something someone can burn. 

I loved following Scarlett and Julian through the world of Caraval and I can’t wait to go back! Next up on the blogger catch up is This is Our Story by Ashley Elston.  Happy reading lovelies!

 

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!

 

Allegiant: Book vs. Movie

17383918Goodreads Synopsis:

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered – fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningliess. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend to complexities of human nature – and of herself – while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Okay, so you all very well know that I always pick book over movie, but this is one of the very rare occasions where the movie was actually better than the book. Although there are definitely things I did not like in either book…

To start, the book is written in dual perspectives, flipping between Tris and Four. In the book, the group ventures outside the outer wall and discover what has been controlling this faction-filled city.

The book as a whole was weird. The ending came too quickly and I am still baffled at how the ending came to be. Don’t get me wrong, I admire their bravery, but I still am confused how the whole thing had come about. I felt like this book was just a bit disappointing.

Now as for the movie, I enjoyed it more than the book – weird, I know. This is how I feel typing those words:

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For me, the book was just too bizarre and literally came out of nowhere. Also, everything in the book happened way too fast – especially the ending. Whereas the movie, decided it wasn’t going to go with the book ending. Oh and by the way, instead of a happily ever after or the book ending, they decided to make it a cliffhanger so they can create a WHOLE OTHER MOVIE. Ascendant, coming to a TV SCREEN near you in June 2017. Yes. You read that right -TV SCREEN. Yay! Not…

The ending to this franchise in both the book and movie was kind of a let down. It also doesn’t make me inclined to watch Ascendant when it gets released, but knowing me, I must know how it ends, so I’ll probably end up watching it anyways. Which meas I’ll probably write a review of it too. Oh, well.

Next up is the the sought after Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I can’t wait to share my opinions with you all. Have a great week bookworms!

Life Update + Insurgent: Book vs. Movie

Hello bookworms! As you can tell I have been on a slight hiatus due to school – it is kicking my butt! On a happy note – my first session of grad school is over and I received a 4.0! So excited! I finally have a break, so I am catching up on all of my blogging from August (sadly only textbooks were read during September and October). Now time to catch up!

11735983Goodreads Synopsis:

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

When I finished Divergent and started Insurgent I tweeted:

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I got addicted to the first two books fast because Insurgent picks up from the exact spot Divergent ended. I do have to say I enjoyed Divergent just a little bit more than Insurgent. Insurgent was full of twists, turns, and completely action packed. The story focuses on Tris and her search for answers to all questions about divergence. We also see her relationship with Four blossom during this difficult time – and it gives you all the feels! Like this:

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And this:

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However, there was another cliff hanger ending – and we all know how I feel about cliffhangers:

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Movie Insurgent had some changes, but didn’t sway from the book too much. I still choose the book over the movie! I love Miles Teller but I hate him in this series. I just want to punch his smug little face in every time his face was on the screen. Also, Theo James is beautiful with his deep, husky voice –> Theo James Speed Dating Questions

That’s all for now. Look for my next blog post on Allegiant! Keep reading bookworms. Have a great Veterans Day weekend!

 

 

 

Divergent: Book vs. Movie

8306857Goodreads Synopsis:

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

I’ve been trying to switch up my reading recently. I felt like I needed something new, but I didn’t know what exactly. I decided it was finally time to read the Divergent Series as it has been sitting on my bookshelf since March of last year. Plus, I felt like it was a very hyped up book, and I didn’t want to be disappointed if it didn’t live up to the hype like others I have read recently.

I was thoroughly surprised when I started reading. This dystopian novel was refreshing. Personally, I didn’t align myself with Tris, but I was extremely attracted to Four, or I prefer to call him, Tobias. He was everything you wanted from a book boyfriend, and the best part was that there was no ever-popular, messy love triangle!

Tobias’s character made me feel very…

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as well as…

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this…

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and finally…

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Even movie Tobias/Four was dreamy – Theo James was an excellent casting. If you don’t know who he is, feel free to observe below.

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I went into this book and series not really knowing what to expect. I hadn’t read any reviews. I hadn’t seen the movies. All I knew was that it was within the dystopian genre and everyone within the bookstagram community was in love with it.

I enjoyed following Tris from her home in Abnegation – a faction that believes selflessness is the way the world should be – to her new home in Dauntless – a faction that believes bravery is the most important thing in the world. She has spent her whole life being conditioned to think selflessly and be selfless. In Dauntless, she can think freely, ask freely, and become her own person. It just goes to show that a change in environment, can drastically change a person and their outlook on the world.

For those who are new to the blog, I am a firm believer in the idea that the book is always better. In the case of Divergent by Veronica Roth, I can say that the book was 10,000x better than the movie. Go figure.

The movie wasn’t bad. There were things added that weren’t in the book while some things in the book weren’t in the movie. I thought the casting was good [see Theo James casting above]. One thing I did not like was Kate Winslet. I am a huge Kate Winslet fan and I absolutely hated seeing her play the worst [as in evil and demented] character in the entire series. It broke my Kate-Winslet-loving heart.

To end my first post on this series, I thought it might be interesting to see which faction I belong in. Here are my results from the Official Divergent Aptitude Test found HERE .

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Next up on the Review To-Do List is Insurgent: Book vs. Movie. Until next time bookworms. Happy reading!

 

Cress

13206828Goodreads synopsis:

Even in the future. there are damsels in distress…

In the third installment of the Lunar chronicles, Cress, having risked everything to warn Cinder of Queen Levana’s evil plan, has a slight problem. She’s been imprisoned on a satellite since childhood and has only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress a great hacker. Unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress involving Cinder, Captain Thorne, Scarlet, and Wolf goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes as a high price. Meanwhile, Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

Hello lovelies! It is finally time for me to finish reading The Lunar Chronicles! I read Cinder and Scarlet last March, so I decided I should finish the series now that it has come to an end. I wish I would have read the books one right after the other, because I had to go back and read my reviews and notes of Cinder and Scarlet to remember what happened.  However, just like Cinder and Scarlet, this book sucked me into it’s world and made me not want to leave.

Cinder’s story continues to weave in more characters – this time Crescent a.k.a. Cress, Winter, and Jacin – while bringing back our favorites – Thorne, Scarlet (for a little bit), IKO!! This book made me LOVE Thorne and Cress. *For those who don’t know: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast & Tangled are my all-time favorite Disney movies. Knowing that, it’s no surprise that Thorne and Cress are now my favorite characters in the story. They are so much like Rapunzel and Flynn Rider from Tangled and I love it. Jacin is OK – hoping to see more personality from him in Fairest or Winter. As for Winter, I don’t really like her so far. She made brief cameos in this book, in which she seemed whiny. I hope this changes seeing as she is the main character of Winter. 

I enjoyed this book much more than Scarlet. There were several plot twists, more action, more comedy and romance, and connections between the characters and the plot start to be revealed. However, I felt like Book 1 of Cress foreshadowed most of what was going to happen later on. There were also some places where the pacing just seemed to drag on – which is bad because I read half of it and then listened to the other half through an audiobook and it. Still. Dragged. On. In those places. I also can’t wait  for these cliffhangers to end!!

Overall, I really enjoyed Cress and it is definitely my favorite in the series so far. Next will be Fairest, so keep an eye out for that! Happy reading lovelies!