What I Read: October 2017 Book Reviews

Well, October was definitely a better month of books than September. There were still a lot of so/so books that didn’t really spark my undying love, but I did have a few clear winners. As always, I’ll try to keep these reviews brief and you can go back and read my full reviews if you’re interested!

\The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
Rating: 3.5 stars

Lucy and Owen meet by chance in their apartment elevator during the middle of a NYC blackout. They spend one night talking on their roof and then both of their life circumstances change on the next day, moving them apart. They keep in touch by postcards. The theme of the book revolves around how important the right person can be to you, even if you don’t have a solid relational foundation to begin with. I enjoyed the book, but it didn’t resonate that deeply with me. I’d prefer to see my main characters actually together, conversing, interacting. Very little space of this book is dedicated to them actually being in the same place together. Cute concept, but also nothing that special.

Read full review here.

Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker

Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker
Rating: 5 stars

I love the idea of nonfiction books. I’m addicted to finding new ones I want to read. And I usually buy physical copies of nonfiction books, otherwise they’ll get lost in my kindle. It’s pretty rare, however, that I actually start AND finish a nonfiction book in my collection. The fiction world is a pretty hard full for me. This book, though? It’s awesome. Jen has such a strong voice, which I’ve gotten much more familiar with since also listening to her podcast. It’s made me love this book even more. Each chapter is a short essay on a variety of topics about the mess of life and the moxie required to get through it. So many chapters were completely poignant to my own life, and I know they’d be so perfect for other people as well. No matter what stage of life you’re in, if you’re a woman – I think you’d love this book. It’s hilarious, it’ll bring you to tears, and it’ll make you realize that you are not alone.

Read the full review here.

Without Merit by Colleen Hoover

Without Merit by Colleen Hoover
Rating: 5 stars

I think it’s safe to say that Colleen Hoover is my all time favorite author. She’s never written anything that I didn’t fall in love with. Her characters have so much depth and emotional rawness that is hard to ignore. While this book is a little less romance-y than all of her others, I still adored it. The main character, Merit, was not exactly likeable. But I could still relate so strongly to some of the things she was going through. The story is about her and her crazy family and her sister’s boyfriend who she has fallen for. It’s funny, it’s sweet, it’s a little bit heartbreaking. I loved it all. Read this book, and all of her others!!

Read the full review here.

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
Rating: 4 stars

This is a book that will get under your skin. With the appearance of a happily married life, Grace is actually behind held captive by her sickeningly disturbed husband Jack through blackmail and threats. As the book progresses you learn how Jack is able to keep her quiet and why she stops making attempts to flee. You’ll wonder how anyone could continue to hope for a way out when every single chance she’s gotten resulted in such horrible outcomes. It’s truly a fascinating psychological thriller. The ending is quite clever and definitely worth sticking around for.

Read the full review here.

Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle

Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle
Rating: 4 stars

I feel like I keep talking about this, but I made the mistake of reading this book series at the same time as watching the first season of the show and had a hard time separating the two in my mind. But thinking solely about the book! It’s about an unknown actress who is instantly thrown into stardom with two of Hollywood’s hottest actors. She develops feelings for Rainer who helps her through the insanity. And then she meets Jordan and sparks fly. But she feels like she owes her devotion to Rainer for being her comfort and friend from the beginning. I found myself pretty irritated with how Paige couldn’t seem to make up her mind and understand which guy she actually wanted. I couldn’t understand why she would pick Rainer again and again when she SO CLEARLY had much more delightful chemistry with Jordan. But their love triangle is complicated.

I just realized I didn’t write a full review on this. Whoops! Well, I think I summarized it pretty well above. 🙂

Truly Madly Famously by Rebecca Serle

Truly Madly Famously by Rebecca Serle
Rating: 4 stars

The sequel is much the same as the first. Love triangle madness. Paige feels like she needs to keep her fans happy, which means she stays with Rainer. Even though she so clearly wants Jordan. I was annoyed with how self important she felt she was. That she couldn’t have what she wanted because it would disappoint too many fans. I wish she had gone with her heart from the start. But overall, I enjoyed the books. I just HIGHLY recommend either watching the show or reading the books – not both. In the books, Paige’s best friend Jake is a very minor character. Jordan is who she really wants to be with. In the tv show, Jordan is off in his own mess of relationship drama and Jake is THE guy. You will LOVE tv Jake. And you might love tv Paige more than book Paige. So maybe just watch the show. 🙂

Read the full review here.

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren
Rating: 3 stars

I’ve read a lot of raving reviews for this book since it came out a month ago. I was hoping I’d love it as much as everyone else, but it fell a little flat for me. I think the storyline revolved way too much about the LDS church and how strongly they are against homosexuality. Which is probably true and a very important topic. I just wasn’t super interested in reading a whole book about it. But I loved the main character Tanner and how supportive and wonderful his family was of his own sexuality. The story was interesting, it just didn’t really grip me the way I had hoped.

Read the full review here.

Warcross by Marie Lu

Warcross by Marie Lu
Rating: 3.5 stars

This is a YA sci-fi/dystopian type novel about how most people in the world connect through a virtual reality network. I really liked the main character, Emika and how she learned to trust people and let them in, after a lifetime of fending for herself. But the overall arc of video game type stuff, just really isn’t my thing. It was very well written and I liked it, but I also had a hard time actually wanting to keep reading it.

Read the full review here.

The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld

The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld
Rating: 5 stars

I loved this book! It’s obviously a very serious topic – hunting down children that are missing. Most of the book is told from the perspective of Naomi, the child finder, and Madison, one of the girls who was taken. It’s quite the page turner. I forgot to write this in my original review, but it’s worth mentioning. This book is so beautifully written. Denfeld has a lyrical way of writing prose that I haven’t come across in quite awhile. Multiple times in the book I stopped to re-read a sentence and just revel in how acutely she phrased something. As a bit of a writer, I really appreciated it. Overall, I highly recommend this one.

Read the full review here.

Book Review: The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld

The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld

The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld
Rating: 5 stars

Naomi is well known among parents of missing children as “the child finder.” As a lost child herself, with no memory of what happened the first nine years of her life before she was found, she has an innate ability to get into the mindsets of the children that are gone and more often than not, is able to find them. Sometimes she finds them in time, and sometimes it’s too late. But she’s incredible at what she does. She’s optimistic and full of hope when looking for the lost children, but has a deeply hard time trusting and loving people that want to be close to her.

In The Child FinderNaomi is hired to look for Madison Culver, a child who mysteriously disappeared in the northern Oregon woods three years ago at age five. It seems impossible that she would have survived a day, let alone three years, but her mother refuses to believe Madison dead. Soon after the book begins, you find that Madison did indeed survive, thanks to a rescue from a deaf and mute old man named B. Mr. B nurses Madison back to life and keeps her captive for his own comfort and pleasure. Madison learns how to keep him from getting angry by being whatever he needs from her. She doesn’t talk because seeing her lips form words makes him extremely angry. She starts to call herself “The Snow Girl” and constantly makes up stories and fairy tales in her mind to separate that persona from Madison, the girl she used to be.

This book is definitely a page turner. If you’re highly sensitive, you should know that Mr. B does use Madison for sex, but it’s never described and she does not seem truly aware of it happening, thanks to the imaginative nature of her mind. I did have a little bit of a hard time believing that a five year old could be as mature and intuitive as Madison became in the three years she was held captive. If she were a few years older to begin with it wouldn’t have felt like such a stretch to me. But at any rate, it was an excellent story. It’s the first book I abandoned all else for so I could keep reading in quite awhile. I really didn’t want it to end. I highly recommend it!

Book Review: Warcross by Marie Lu

Warcross by Marie Lu

Warcross by Marie Lu
Rating: 3.5 stars

Emika is a penniless, orphaned bounty hunter. Days away from being evicted from her apartment, she desperately hacks her way into a worldwide virtual reality game called Warcross and is instantly famous. She is immediately whisked away to Tokyo to meet with Hideo, the billionaire creator of Warcross who inspired her to make something of herself when her dad died seven years earlier. Hideo asks Emika to join the Warcross games with the additional duty of finding out who else has been hacking into their elaborate security systems. She is recruited to a team with members she does not fully trust. She struggles to learn how to work in that team, while also having feelings for Hideo.

Much of this book takes place in a virtual world. In that regard, it’s very similar to Ready Player OneWhich really isn’t my genre. Lu does it well, but I also read through the intricately laid out scenes wishing it’s something I could just see on a screen, instead of trying to visualize everything. When people are constantly seeing each other and interacting through virtual reality, I can never stop thinking about what’s going on with their real life bodies in the meantime. At any rate, this also comes across as a bit of a dystopian novel, which I do like reading about. It was all done very well, and ends with a little twist that leaves you hanging for the second book.

Overall, I’d recommend this book to anybody who enjoys young adult dystopian/sci-fi fiction. The storyline is interesting and the characters are intriguing. I like how Emika’s teammates come through to help her in the end, even though she wasn’t much of a team player herself before that point. I like seeing her learn to trust people, despite how hard her childhood has been. I greatly look forward to the sequel coming next year to get some closure on where the characters are left at the end of Warcross.