A poignant exploration of family and the ties that bind, perfect for fans of Far From the Tree, from New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand.
Today Melly had us writing letters to our babies…
Cassandra McMurtrey has the best parents a girl could ask for. They’ve given Cass a life she wouldn’t trade for the world. She has everything she needs—except maybe the one thing she wants. Like, to know who she is. Where she came from. Questions her adoptive parents can’t answer, no matter how much they love her.
But eighteen years ago, someone wrote Cass a series of letters. And they may just hold the answers Cass has been searching for.
Alternating between Cass’s search for answers and letters from the pregnant teen who gave her up for adoption, this voice-driven narrative is the perfect read for fans of Nina LaCour and Jandy Nelson.
How do I put how much I loved this book into words? This story mostly follows Cass throughout her senior year. She’s a lover of theatre and is working on deciding where to college. She also is dealing with her mother being stuck in the hospital waiting for a heart transplant. She’s since turned eighteen and has become curious about her birth mother. No one could replace her parents, but it’s hard not to wonder about the woman who gave birth to her.
In between chapters, we get to read the letter’s that Cass’s birth mother wrote while pregnant. We learn about the relationship between her birth mother and father. I really loved these. It was fascinating to read about a pregnant sixteen-year-old that lived in a school for pregnant teens. Her experiences and thoughts were interesting but also snarky and entertaining. It was realistic and honest. I loved this aspect of the book.
I also loved that we’d read most of the letters by the time that Cass even finds out they exist. I really enjoyed the adoption topic and learning at the end that the author was adopted made it even better. It was clear that this was a really personal subject for her to write about and I loved every page.
There were wonderful friendships. Cass’s best friend, Nyla, was also adopted, but that’s not why their friends. I loved that they support one another and that their friendship was so realistic. They fought and argued, but always apologized and forgave. They were really a great part of this book. I also completely loved Bastien and didn’t pick up on his secret either. I shipped him and Cass so bad.
Overall, I thought this was an incredible book and I really hope others read and love it too. I haven’t seen many people talking about it and I hope that changes. I think it was realistically diverse (not in an obnoxious way). It was a heartbreaking but also heartwarming story. The ending also totally killed me. I think everyone should read this book.
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.
On Christmas Eve five years ago, seventeen-year-old Holly Chase was visited by three Ghosts who showed her how selfish and spoiled she’d become. They tried to convince her to mend her ways. She didn’t. And then she died.
Now she’s stuck working for the top-secret company Project Scrooge—as their latest Ghost of Christmas Past. So far, Holly’s afterlife has been miserable. But this year’s Scrooge is different. This year’s Scrooge might change everything…
The Afterlife of Holly Chase is a witty, poignant, and insightful novel about life, love, and seizing second (or third) chances, perfect for readers who loved Before I Fall or Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares.
I picked this one up before Christmas because I was in the mood for a holiday book. This was only sort of that. I really enjoyed this even though it was a bit ‘Bah Humbug.’
We follow Holly Chase who has died and is now working to help others so that they don’t follow the same path that she did. I really enjoyed the twists on the original story.
I didn’t like Holly at all, but I think that was the point. I was also really not very happy about the romance aspect of this story, but the way the story ended made me a little more okay with it. I liked that there was a happy ending and Holly learned something from her experiences.
I’m going to keep this review short. Overall, I liked this but didn’t love it. It wasn’t the holiday read I wanted, but it was still a good book. I really enjoyed the retelling aspect of it. I thought the writing was well done to make Holly unlikable but somehow still make the reader care about her and her story.
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.
There’s death all around us. We just don’t pay attention. Until we do.
Since her brother, Tyler, committed suicide, Lex has been trying to keep her grief locked away. But memories of Tyler haunt her every step, and there’s a secret she hasn’t told anyone-a text Tyler sent, that could have changed everything.
Lex’s brother is gone. But Lex is about to discover that a ghost doesn’t have to be real to keep you from moving on.
Cynthia Hand is an author I’d heard of in passing but didn’t actually pick up any of her books until The Lady Janies series that she writes with Jodi Meadows and Brodi Ashton. So when I found some of Cynthia Hand’s book on BookOutlet I bought them. I’m glad I picked this one up because it was a beautiful story. Though, I listened to this on audio from my library.
We follow Lex as she tries to deal with the fact that her brother killed himself. This was such a powerful story about grief and what comes after losing someone. I really cannot imagine what it is like to be the surviving sibling. I have three brothers and two sisters and I really cannot even fathom what it would be like to lose a single one of them, let along for one of them to take their own life. So that was hard for me. It was tough to think about, but it makes Lex relatable because she’s sad and essentially stopped doing anything and everything that she loves. She is forever changed. We start off following Lex as she is in therapy. I thought that was really interesting because it’s basically saying that it’s okay to get help and that sometimes you need to talk to someone. I think that Lex developed beautifully. She was realistic with her grief, but also let herself slowly take steps forward to moving on with her life. Part of her wanted to live in her grief and misery, but she knew she shouldn’t and did her best to make those small steps forward.
There were a handful of supporting characters that made the story just that much better. So many people care about Lex and do what they can despite her pushing them away. I liked her friends because they just kept trying, while also knowing when to give her space.
The other thing I really enjoyed about this book is the flashbacks. Throughout the story Lex is writing letters about “the last times.” So, while she’s writing these letters, she is essentially telling us about these times in the past in a way that transported the reader there. I really love stories that do this, the time traveling in stories is one of my favorite things. I just love getting to see into the past, while still being in the story if that makes sense.
The Last Time We Say Goodbye was an insightful and thoughtful book about what happens to those that are left behind when someone kills themselves. This book got me thinking, and kept it that way. I think it was wonderfully written. I also really loved the ending. I think the ending was absolutely perfect.
I mentioned that I listened to the audiobook. I think the narrator was absolutely incredible. She kept me interested. She gave distinctly different voices to all the characters. I really loved listening to this story. I wish it was one that was talked about more often.
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.
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Jane has endured years of hardship and misery and is ready to embark on a new life as a governess at Thornfield Hall. She’s rather poor. She’s rather plain. Also, she has terrible taste in men.
Charlotte is an aspiring novelist. (Yes, she’s that Charlotte.) And she’s determined to capture her friend Jane’s story even if it means worming her way into the most epic ghost hunt this side of Wuthering Heights.
Alexander is an agent of the Society for the Relocation of Wayward Spirits. He’s about to discover something very disturbing going on at a little place called Thornfield…
Reader, there will be murder. Mayhem. Conspiracy. And, of course, romance. Prepare for an adventure of Gothic proportions, in which all is not as it seems, and a certain gentleman Mr. Rochester is hiding more than skeletons in his closet
This is the second installment in The Lady Janies series. I absolutely adored the first book, My Lady Jane, you can read my review here. Because I enjoyed the first book I totally thought I would adore this book too. Especially because my bookish twinny (The Bookish Chick) loved it and is the reason I picked up the series in the first place.
I am very sad to say that I didn’t adore this book as much as I did the first. Maybe because this was a retelling rather than historical fiction, I’m not really sure what exactly it was, maybe a few different things.
First, it was a little confusing at times. I started reading this book under the impression that the story was about Jane Eyre. But by the end of the story, I felt like the book was actually more about Charlotte Bronte. I think another reason I didn’t love it was that I ended up preferring Charlotte’s chapters. Jane was almost annoying until closer to the end of the book. She was so determined to just be a governess and it was honestly so annoying. I think part of my annoyance may be due to the fact that I haven’t actually read the original Jane Eyre so I don’t really even know what the story was trying to imitate from that book and what they changed.
I loved Charlotte. She was funny and curious and really just didn’t take no for an answer. She’s a girl with goals and won’t let anyone stand in her way of achieving them. Her part of the love stories seems the more realistic of the two. It seemed to happen more naturally and just was better than Jane’s.
Alexander was interesting. He made me laugh with all of his denials. He was so bent on solving his own personal mystery he couldn’t let anything distract him from that. He didn’t realize the things in his life that really mattered until they were almost lost to him.
I enjoyed the characters interacting with one another, Their personalities were all so different it was funny to see them be around one another all so strong-willed and determined to get their own way.
I think the pace of the story was another thing that wasn’t my favorite. The story didn’t really pull me into where I couldn’t stop until closer to the end of the book. There were definitely interesting parts right from the beginning, but nothing that really sucked me into where I just couldn’t stop reading.
Overall, I liked the story. I liked the characters. I liked this book, but I didn’t love it like so many others did. I’m definitely going to continue the series when the third is finally released. But I definitely preferred the first book of this series.
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.
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You make think you know the story. It goes like this: once upon a time, there was a sixteen-year-old girl named Jane Grey, who was forced to marry a complete stranger (Lord Guildford or Gilford or Gifford-something-or-other), and shortly thereafter found herself ruler of a country. She was queen for nine days. Then she quite literally lost her head.
We have a different tale to tell.
Pay attention. We’ve tweaked some minor details. We’ve completely rearranged major details. Some names have been changed to protect the innocent (or not-so-innocent, or simply because we thought a name was terrible and we liked another name better). And we’ve added a touch of magic to keep things interesting. So really anything could happen.
This is how we think Jane’s story should have gone.
I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book and it’s second that came out this summer (My Plain Jane). My bookish twin, The Bookish Chick (check her out she’s amazing!) ranted and raved about the audiobook and I knew I had to read it. I couldn’t wait for the audiobook to be available through my library so I bought the book when I saw it available on Book Outlet.
This story does not disappoint in the least. It’s full of hilarious and loveable characters. I knew I was going to love this book after ten pages. I was cracking up pretty much the entire book.
I adored Jane. A fellow bookworm that’s not afraid to speak her mind. She ends up in all kinds of ridiculous situations and manages to get herself out of them as well. She’s smart and clever, funny and sassy, but also kind and loving. She’s incredibly protective over those that she loves and will do anything in her power to make sure they’re safe. I adored everything about Jane.
Gifford, preferred to be called G, was entertaining, but slightly annoying. He doubted Jane for most of the story and it really bugged me. Instead of just talking to Jane and asking her about the things he was assuming, he just let himself stew and feel bad. Other than this, I liked him. He did what he thought was right. He tried to protect Jane, even if that meant causing her to be ridiculously mad at him.
Edward, King of England, was funny and infuriating. He had some really backward ideas for most of the story. Ideas about men being superior to women and such. I liked Edward only because of the wonderful development he did throughout the story. He met a girl that helped him see how wrong all of his ideas really were. I liked that we got to see this change and development. It’s really what made me like him.
Overall this book was hilarious and I just couldn’t get enough. I don’t know too much about the real story of Lady Jane Grey, but I’m sure it wasn’t nearly as entertaining as this book. If you like historical fiction, you’re going to love this story. The characters were wonderful and kept me wanting to get the rest of their story. I also loved that the narrators kept chiming in with little tidbits. It just made the story that much better. I really liked that the narrators (I don’t know if it’s called the same thing as is it with the movies, but I’m going to go with it) broke the fourth wall and addressed the readers directly. It was a really interesting aspect of the story and just added that little extra. I think all different kinds of readers would love this story. I will for sure be recommending this book to many readers.
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.
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I Heart Characters! is a weekly meme hosted by Dani @ Perspective of a Writer to showcase our book blogger love for characters! Each week she’ll supply a topic and we’ll supply the character. Post on whatever day suits you, about characters from whatever media you love (books, movies, K-dramas, television, manga, anime, webtoons, whatever!) and link up on Thursday so we can all blog hop and share the character love.
This weeks topic is Character Who’d Run into a Fire to _____ (Fill in the blank! The sky is the limit… if they’d run into a fire for any reason then they’re who you want to showcase!)
Amanda- This prompt has me super torn between two characters. So I shall briefly mention them both. The first is Stevie Bell from Maureen Johnson’s new series, Truly Devious. Stevie would run into a fire to solve a case. She’s an aspiring Sherlock Holmes and will do anything (including damage every relationship she has) to get to the bottom of a mystery.
The second character is Lady Jane Grey from My Lady Jane by Jodi Meadows, Brodi Ashton, and Cynthia Hand. Lady Jane Grey would run into a fire to save her books from burning up. She is a true bookworm and is who I thought of first for this prompt because if I were to ever run into a fire it would be to save my husband, baby, dog, and books. Lady Jane would run into a fire to save her horsey husband and her books and I love her for it.
Antonia- I LOVE THIS PROMPT. It has so many amazing possibilities. The first one to pop into my head though was Leo Valdez from The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan. He would run into a fire to freak out people who don’t know he’s fireproof. I can absolutely see him in the flames, screaming like he’s being burned alive. I think it’d fit his goofy sense of humor perfectly.
Hey, bookworms! It’s that day of the week again where we participate in the wonderful bookish post that was formerly hosted by Should be Reading and was recently taken over by Taking on a World of Words. To play along just answer three questions to give an update about what you’re currently reading, going to read next and have read recently. Feel free to leave your answers in the comments or link your post!
What are you currently reading?
Amanda- I’m currently reading My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows. I’ve heard so many good things about it and so far they’re all true. I’m currently listening to Yes Please by Amy Poehler.
Antonia- Technically I haven’t started it yet, but Amanda and I recently received copies of The Gilded King by Josie Jaffrey from the author in exchange for our reviews. I’m really excited to start this dystopian/paranormal; I’d gotten a little sick of dystopians recently because it feels like they keep following the same patterns after awhile but this one sounds so unique (especially when you add in vampires??).
What did you recently finish reading?
Amanda- I recently finished reading Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa. It was super interesting and I liked it very much. Keep an eye out for my review later this month!
Antonia- I just finished The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg. It exceeded my expectations and I’m excited for the rest of the series. My review will post tomorrow.
What do you think you will read next?
Amanda- Next I think I’m going to read Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard. I think I’m also going to start Allies by Bella Forrest on my Kindle in the next few days.
Antonia- I have so many books to read! I think I’ll either start Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones or catch up on The Dragon’s Gift: The Druid series by Linsey Hall.
Thanks for reading the W’s we came up with this week. What are your answers? Feel free to leave them in the comments or leave us a link to your post.