If you like reading about the British Royals, you'll enjoy this book. It is inspired by the "fairy tale romance" of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.If you like reading about the British Royals, you'll enjoy this book. It is inspired by the "fairy tale romance" of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The cover even designed to remind readers of William and Kate. In this fictitious story however Prince Nicholas meets an intriguing American girl at college. They become friends and gradually fall in love. It isn't a fairy tale though as Bex is now under the pressure of paparazzi and the disapproval of the Royal Family as well as the expectations of dating or marrying a royal heir.
Things definitely become darker as Bex realizes what she is in for and I liked that the book portrayed the ups and downs of her relationship with Nick and trying to juggle that with her own dreams and personality. I liked Bex though I think she does make some big mistakes (she could be a little self destructive with alcohol and partying). She has a rough time of adjusting to the spotlight and her relationship with her twin sister Lacey doesn't help matters. I didn't like Lacey as a character. She is the one character who I had a hard time with. She is supposedly smart enough to get into medical school but in my opinion she is portrayed as an empty headed fame seeker. Bex is supposed to be the more sporty one though she is smart enough to attend Oxford through an exchange program.
I thought the authors did a good job of showing the difficulties that Nick faces with the constant pressure of the public eye and the responsibilities of being the heir. He isn't sure he can completely trust any of his friends and even his dating life is complicated. I wasn't always happy with how he treated Bex. The two of them definitely had communication issues. I thought that was a realistic portrayal of their relationship and the struggles they had to overcome.
This was a fun book even though it had some darker moments. It is classified as a "New Adult" novel though it isn't like the kind of book I'd typically consider New Adult. It almost had a chick lit vibe at times. I thought it was a "realistic" portrayal of a love story between a prince and an American commoner. I enjoyed picking up similarities between this fictional couple's story and the real British royals. I think readers who are interested in the British royal family and fans of movies like The Prince and Me will like this book too. ...more
Amber Sterlington is considered the most beautiful girl of the London Season. Any time she enters a room, the men all take notice (as do the jealous yAmber Sterlington is considered the most beautiful girl of the London Season. Any time she enters a room, the men all take notice (as do the jealous young women). She isn't a very kind or sincere person. She continually outshines her younger sister Darra whom she forces to go with her to balls even if Darra isn't feeling well just so she has someone to talk to since she lacks female friendship. This is the person that Thomas Richards first encounters. He finds himself strongly attracted to her but when he witnesses her character, he determines to try to forget her.
Amber is on a path to a successful marriage that would please her status conscious family when she begins to lose her looks. After the truth comes out in a very embarrassing way, she is banished to the countryside with only a maid for company. It is here that Amber realizes the truth about herself and how she has behaved.
I initially found Amber hard to like. Even after her health condition became apparent she still is very class conscious and snobby. Her poor maid Suzanne had to put up with a lot but Suzanne is a kind and caring person and chooses to stick with Amber anyway. Thankfully the time in Yorkshire and her reduced circumstances cause Amber to change her ways. She starts to see Suzanne as a real person and to become a more genuine and kind person herself. When Amber no longer has her looks to hide behind she spends her time developing her character instead.
Thomas Richards is a really kind man. While he is initially drawn to Amber because of her looks, he is also looking for a wife with a good character. When he accidentally finds her living in a cottage near his lands, he decides to befriend her as he sees that she has changed. She is living under an assumed name as a widow, a conceit that allows her to protect her privacy and her family's reputation. She doesn't know that Thomas knows who she really is. It is nice to see them develop a friendship and genuine feelings for each other. She has to let go of her own fears and understand that Thomas could love her as she is even though she no longer finds herself attractive.
I really enjoyed this novel and the way it explored the idea of beauty and acceptance and character versus social standing. Amber grows a lot as a character over the course of the book. She has a lot of lessons to learn about herself and what she has always been taught to believe is important. I also liked all the historical details of the Regency setting. Usually Regency romances focus on the pretty dresses and the balls but because Amber is living in exile in genteel poverty, we get to see the nitty gritty details of daily living, similar to what is described in Longbourn by Jo Baker. The eventual romantic relationship is "clean" and sweet and well developed. While it is not Christian fiction, there are some mentions of God and faith and prayer. I think readers who like Christian historical fiction would enjoy this too as well as those who like Regency romance without any racy scenes.
So many times a romance novel features a stunningly beautiful and physically and internally flawless heroine that it made me take note that Amber is imperfect. She struggled with self esteem issues relating to her looks the same way many women do. I was glad that Josi Kilpack chose to write about a female character who initially had seemingly physical perfection and lots of inner flaws and then develop her into someone with outward "imperfections" and a beautiful heart.
Note: There are some minor spoilers below regarding Amber's condition. Amazon mentions it in their description of the book but Goodreads and Barnes and Noble do not so I chose not to include it in the main part of my review. If you don't mind knowing, read ahead. It isn't kept a secret for long in the book and is part of the reason I really wanted to read it and I hope you will too.
(view spoiler)[I wanted to read this book because I've enjoyed the other titles in the "Proper Romance" line and I found out it dealt with alopecia areata, a kind of hair loss that I also have (but not the same extent that Amber has). I didn't realize there are three different kinds of alopecia areata. The kind I have occurs in circular patches of hair loss. Alopecia totalis is the loss of all hair on the head and alopecia universalis is the loss of all hair on the body.
Modern people have treatments like injections available to them and for me that has helped in the past with some regrowth. Unfortunately for Amber those treatments didn't exist in her day. While hair sometimes grows back, sometimes it doesn't. There is some description of the treatment used in Regency times and it is horrifying. While wigs are a possibility, they aren't perfect.
I liked the portrayal of hair loss and its effects on the protagonist's view of herself. Although Amber is rather conceited about her looks, hair is considered a woman's "crowning glory" and the author explores what it is like to lose that. People may be more understanding in today's society but not necessarily. Amber's parents ship her off to hide so they don't have to face embarrassment themselves and so it won't harm Darra's chances for marriage. Amber herself chooses to stay secluded from her neighbors in Yorkshire. It takes a long time for her to find acceptance within herself and to dare to stop hiding. (hide spoiler)] ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Forget the little green men. For those who are hesitant to pick up this novel because of the dreaded "aliens" or "science fiction" genre, let me reassForget the little green men. For those who are hesitant to pick up this novel because of the dreaded "aliens" or "science fiction" genre, let me reassure you. Alienated is funny and at times reads almost like a contemporary teen novel. In addition to the humor there is also romance and suspense.
Cara is a very smart and spunky protagonist. Before the exchange program she isn't super popular but she does have a popular boyfriend and a best friend she cares about. She is her class valedictorian and a talented member of the debate team. Unfortunately once Aelyx arrives her popularity starts to plummet and even those she thought would stand beside her let her down.
Cara tries her best to make Aelyx feel at home even though his behavior is so reserved and different from what she is used to. Her boyfriend and best friend are against the whole exchange and soon Cara is ostracized because of Aelyx. The town takes sides with more and more people against Aelyx and the L'eihrs.
I liked how Cara was willing to fight for what she believed was right and not stoop to the level of her antagonists. Even though she went through some rough times and painful betrayals she stayed true to herself when it might have been so easy to give in and get her friends back. Her parents are also portrayed as positive and open minded though they do exhibit a lot of embarrassing PDA. It is obvious that Cara comes from a very caring family.
Aelyx at first seems like a jerk to Cara but she keeps reaching out to him and eventually they form a genuine friendship that leads to love even though they come from different worlds. Aelyx makes some bad decisions but he is motivated by how much he cares for the future of his own people even if he is misguided.
The way that Aelyx is treated by the community and school reminded me of the protests of desegregation in the 60s or the way immigrants have been treated with mistrust. The book explores how people have a tendency to react with fear to those they perceive as different. At the beginning of the book, HALO (the anti-L'eihr movement) is just an over the top fringe group but they keep growing in popularity and spreading their message of hate. It was sad to see all the hate and faulty thinking especially in the teens.
The science fiction aspect of this book isn't overpowering. Aelyx has a few devices that he uses and telepathic communication but mostly we just learn about cultural and planetary differences like his aversion to flavorful food and how L'eihr isn't a colorful place. I think the next book will have more of a science fiction feel as it is partially set on L'eihr but I think it will still be "science fiction lite".
Overall I thought this was an excellent book. I loved the characters and couldn't wait to see what happened next in Invaded. I think readers who enjoy teen contemporary fiction would also like this book because it isn't heavy on science fiction elements and it has action, some comedy, and romance....more
I think the best part of this book is the story of Carla Trujilio and her difficult life in Honduras and her struggle to make it to the U.S. where sheI think the best part of this book is the story of Carla Trujilio and her difficult life in Honduras and her struggle to make it to the U.S. where she hopes for a better life for her and her brother. The author does a good job of describing Carla's circumstances and her determination to survive and the horrors of her journey. I felt sympathy for her even though her plan involved breaking the law by illegally immigrating to the States. I wanted to see Carla make it and thrive. I wasn't sure how Alice's story would tie in with Carla's but I thought maybe Alice would take her in and help her.
Alice is a cancer survivor dealing with the sorrow of not being able to have a baby and an adoption that fell through. She has the opportunity to help mentor an inner-city teen which proves to be harder than she thought. I liked how she tried so hard to be there for Evian but I didn't like how she didn't really take her husband's feelings about it into account. She also loses sympathy points by how closed off she is about discussing the loss of the adopted baby with her husband. It's like she feels he doesn't need to grieve. The parts of the story about BBQ and the troubles of the school and community with gang violence kind of seemed to take away from the time that could have been devoted to Carla's story instead or to developing Alice's character more.
Compared to Carla, Alice's life is a walk in the park. The two separate narratives never fully merge into a story that works. Alice and Carla barely cross paths at the very end of the book which was disappointing for me as the description of the book suggests otherwise. Overall I liked this book but it could have been stronger without Alice's story. I would have liked to read more about Carla as she grows up and what her future holds.
For readers looking for more fiction about the immigrant experience, I would suggest The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez....more
All the Rage is a book that really makes readers feel the protagonist's pain and anger. Romy told the truth about what happened to her when Kellan TurAll the Rage is a book that really makes readers feel the protagonist's pain and anger. Romy told the truth about what happened to her when Kellan Turner raped her but her community refuses to believe her and the other kids at school bully her instead. The Turner family is a big deal in Grebe and the sheriff's sons can pretty much get away with anything and so can their friends. I expected Kellan to be a menacing presence in this book but he actually wasn't there in the present day parts but only in flashback or mentioned by other characters. His actions continue to haunt Romy and the way she sees herself and others. His brother Alec is the most popular kid at school and he is dating Romy's former best friend Penny. Alec and his friend/lackey Brock Garrett along with mean girl Tina continue to make Romy's life a living hell. Then Penny goes missing at the big Senior party, the same night that Romy is also missing briefly. Romy is found but Penny is not and the town can't forgive her for that either. Does Romy's missing memory have some clues about what happened to Penny?
The mystery of Penny's disappearance and its possible connection to the Turner family and what happened to Romy are only part of the story. It deeply affects Romy and so does the fact that she can't remember what happened that night. I felt frustrated and angry with Romy because she put herself in dangerous situations around people who hated her guts. She is a broken person and that led her to make some unwise decisions though really it is her classmates who are to blame for the way they treated her. The book is brutal in depicting their hatred and bullying of Romy.
Romy's only source of comfort are her mom and her mom's boyfriend Todd as well as her job at the diner and her coworker Leon that may be more than just a friend. I liked Romy's mom and Todd and how they always support Romy and try to be there for her. Unfortunately Romy doesn't let them in or tell them what is going on at school. In her opinion there is nothing they could do anyway. The Turners rule the town and she doesn't want to make things worse for her family. At the diner, Romy has the friendship of Leon, a boy who doesn't know the truth about her life in Grebe (the diner is outside of town) and this allows her to feel safe even if it means keeping a part of herself from him.
I like how the author explores the aftermath of rape and the reason why some choose not to come forward. The account was certainly reminiscent of real life stories of communities where popular athletes, etc. were accused of rape and how their communities backed them instead of caring about the victims and seeking justice. I think it is also good that the book examines "slut shaming" and will hopefully cause teen readers to think about how they treat each other. The book is similar to Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak in some ways but more raw and gritty. The writing style was also emotionally affecting particularly in the flashback scenes. This is a dark book but I think it is an important one that teens should read. ...more
I love the music of this time period so I was excited to read this book. I hadn't heard of the Brill Building before and it was really interesting toI love the music of this time period so I was excited to read this book. I hadn't heard of the Brill Building before and it was really interesting to learn about the music business and what it was like for people trying to make it in that world. The author was a songwriter in the Brill Building herself during that time period which makes the novel feel more authentic. Although the focus of the book is on the music industry in the early 60s, the author also touches a little on race relations and current events of that time period. I'm Glad I Did is both a "coming of age" story and a mystery.
JJ is a bright and spunky girl whose family expects her to be a lawyer like they are. JJ has a gift for music though and her dream is to be a songwriter. The story starts with her trying to get an internship at the Brill Building despite her family's disapproval. Finally her mom relents and agrees that JJ can take the internship just to get her love of music out of her system. If she can land a record deal for one of her songs by the end of the summer, then she can pursue her dreams with their blessing. This may be a tough challenge for JJ until by chance she meets Luke Silver and former singer Dulcie Brown.
I really liked JJ and how she followed her dreams even though it didn't match with her family's expectations and she knew it was a long shot to get a record deal. JJ has a big heart and I thought she was brave both in her career choices and her personal life. She loves her family so it is hard for her to keep secrets from them or to go against them. I liked how she was willing to give her uncle a chance even though her mom thought he wasn't that great of a person.
Luke Silver is JJ's friend, music partner and love interest in the novel. Luke has a gift for writing lyrics while JJ's gift is for composing music. He is also the son of George Silver, the late business partner of JJ's uncle. JJ is attracted to Luke from the moment she meets him but it isn't until she accidentally stumbles upon a song he wrote that they connect. I liked the way their relationship developed though it is one more secret that JJ has to keep from her parents.
I liked the secondary characters like Dulcie and JJ's Uncle Bernie, the black sheep music mogul who may or may not be a little crooked. Dulcie is a warm person who JJ likes instantly and she encourages JJ in her dreams even as her own dreams have been damaged by poor life choices. Uncle Bernie also helps JJ out in her fledgling career but her mom wouldn't approve if she knew that JJ was in touch with him.
While I wanted her parents to be supportive of her dreams instead of just pushing her into their mold, I loved the fact that JJ's mom is a successful lawyer and that both parents want their daughter to have a career as a lawyer too. They may not be open to music as a career but they were definitely a liberal family in their views of women in the workplace.
I have never watched Mad Men but from what I've heard read about it, it is pretty gritty in terms of content. While this book does mention drug use and affairs, the main characters are not involved in that and the story is not really gritty or violent. It reminded me more of the TV show American Dreams. I think the only way this book is like Mad Men is the time period and the way women were treated. JJ is lucky to have a chance at song writing thanks to her connections.
Although there are a few coincidences in this story that seem far fetched and the resolution is a little too easy I really liked this debut novel. JJ is a fun character and I loved the setting and trying to figure out the mystery. I think this book would appeal to readers who like a little mystery, teen romance and the 1960s setting. ...more
The Dress Shop of Dreams combines magic, mystery, and romance into a charming if slightly flawed story. While the novel has been compared to the worksThe Dress Shop of Dreams combines magic, mystery, and romance into a charming if slightly flawed story. While the novel has been compared to the works of Sarah Addison Allen I would say that the magical element may be similar but there is a lack of the description that makes the Southern setting a living breathing character in Allen's novels. We may get plenty of clothing descriptions and the shop's walls may change color according to season but the setting never gripped me the way the Waverley house (and garden) does in Garden Spells and First Frost. This book is set in Cambridge and Oxford but I missed that in the description and it took me awhile to even realize I was reading a book set in England. That's how little the setting made an impact on me.
The setting may not be as detailed as I wished but the characters were definitely memorable. Etta has her magical gift and a prescience given by the dresses of how to help women. Walt has an almost magical voice when he reads aloud that touches listeners, bringing memories alive. Henry, a minor character, can always tell when people are lying. Cora is scientific and almost cold emotionally except where her grandmother is concerned. She seems to have shut down after the tragic death of her parents, only caring about her research and her desire to "save the world" and realize her parents' dream.
I had a hard time relating to Cora. Even after Etta unlocks or awaken's Cora's heart with her magic thread and Cora begins to feel again I just never warmed up to her. Walt's feelings for her felt real but her eventual realization of her love for Walt didn't seem believable. I still enjoyed the journey that both characters went on and I was definitely hoping Walt would get a happy ending. Walt, Etta, Millie and Dylan all provided a nice contrast to Cora with their ways of seeing the world and their feelings about love. I do think that Cora changed by the end of the story and seeing things in a less scientific way.
The mystery in the novel concerns the death of Cora's parents. Was the fire an accident or like Etta believes was there another cause? When Cora starts to remember the fire, Etta voices her concerns and Cora begins to investigate. I think it was important to Cora's growth that she dealt with her emotions about her parents' loss but this storyline felt a little too much. It also brought an extra set of characters from outside of Cambridge with their own baggage and issues. I love mystery usually but it didn't quite work here. It would have been nice to just focus on character development and the various romances already introduced.
Overall I liked this book. It wasn't as good as Sarah Addison Allen's books but there were definitely some enjoyable moments and I cared about even the minor characters like Millie and Dylan (and Henry though he is part of that extraneous mystery plot). I also loved the way the author included literature throughout the book and the references to Jane Austen. I think readers who like Sarah Addison Allen's books would like The Dress Shop of Dreams. Fans of Sarah Jio may also appreciate the romantic themes, especially the second chance love story....more
Before I Go is the story of a young woman who has just been handed a terrible diagnosis and the decisions she must make about how to spend the rest ofBefore I Go is the story of a young woman who has just been handed a terrible diagnosis and the decisions she must make about how to spend the rest of her time. Daisy believes her husband will be lost without her so she sets about looking for her replacement. This project is her way of handling her diagnosis and all the things she'll never get to do like finishing her degree or having a baby. In a way I was reminded of Hazel Grace Lancaster, the heroine of The Fault in Our Stars, who is obsessed with finding out what happens after the teenage protagonist of her favorite novel dies. Hazel wants to know that life goes on beyond Anna's death because she herself wants reassurance that her parents will be okay when she is gone. In the same way, Daisy is looking for some kind of peace by planning a future for her husband without her in it.
Jack's way of handling the cancer news is initially to reach out to Daisy but she keeps pushing him away so he buries himself in his work. What made me really sad was not just that Daisy's life would be cut short but that her marriage was also struggling under the weight of the diagnosis and the way she and Jack were growing apart.
Fortunately the author balances the sadness with some humor especially with Daisy's best friend Kayleigh. I liked Kayleigh and her matter-of-fact way of looking at things. She is great support for Daisy but she calls her out on things when she needs to. Daisy's mom is also trying to be there for her but it is hard for Daisy because her mom fell apart when her dad left so Daisy had to take care of her mom while she was a young teen. Now that her mom wants to take care of her it isn't so easy for Daisy.
Overall I liked Before I Go. It was sad at times but I felt more angry while reading the book as I saw things falling apart between Daisy and Jack and I kind of got annoyed with her plan to find Jack a new wife when I thought she should be reaching out to him instead of pushing him away. I guess it was an honest portrayal of the way two people react to difficult news in different ways. In the end I thought the story was touching but I didn't feel as emotional as I thought I would. I think readers who liked PS, I Love You, The Promise of Stardust or Me Before You would like Before I Go though I liked those books more. Nicholas Sparks fans should also consider giving this book a try. I could see it being made into a movie....more
Johanna Von Arlo has grown up believing that she is just a storyspinner and the daughter of a talented tightrope walker and singer. She has no idea whJohanna Von Arlo has grown up believing that she is just a storyspinner and the daughter of a talented tightrope walker and singer. She has no idea what secrets her father kept or why anyone would want her dead. After tragedy strikes and her family is thrown out of their troupe, Johanna is offered the job of a lifetime to perform at the home of a duke, Lord Rafael DeSilva. Unfortunately this only puts her in greater danger. There are those who believe that the lost princess is alive and that it might be her.
Jacaré is a Keeper and High Captain of the Guard. He strikes out on an unauthorized mission with his sister and friends to find the lost princess and bring her back to Donovan's Wall, which needs the princess's power to maintain the barrier between worlds. It is a race against time as the princess's enemies are also trying to track her down and killing those that look like her.
Sometimes a book doesn't live up to its description or to the expectations the reader has when they pick it up. Thankfully that is not the case in The Storyspinner where the story more than exceeds my expectations and the cover copy doesn't quite do it justice.
When I read a fantasy novel, I am looking for particular things: a setting that captures my attention, excellent world building, characters I care about, intrigue, a little romance and magic. The Storyspinner delivered on all of these elements.
The Storyspinner has great world building with the seemingly ordinary Medieval-like setting combined with the magical details from the Keepers and their world of Olinda though we only see it briefly. There is a lot of political intrigue with the rivalries between the dukes and the secrets surrounding the death of the King and supposed death of the princess.
The book is told through multiple viewpoints from the perspective of Johanna, Rafael, Jacaré, his sister Pira and Leão, a young Keeper. In a way this helps to both move the action of the story and to help readers get to know the cast of characters better though five is a lot of view points. I would have liked it more if it was written through just the eyes of Johanna, Rafael and Jacaré.
Johanna and Rafael are both strong but flawed protagonists. Johanna in particular is stubborn and she initially refuses to believe she is in any danger despite Rafael's warnings. Rafael has had to adapt to becoming a duke after the death of his father and he feels like he isn't worthy to fill those shoes yet. Both characters have burdens thrust on them. Johanna has to look after her younger siblings and help provide for her family since her mother is inebriated most of the time. I liked how both characters grew during the book. Their relationship gets off to a rocky start but it gradually develops into respect and then romantic interest though there are lots of stumbling blocks.
The secondary characters, the Keepers, are very interesting. They have magical abilities and in Santarem, the nonmagical world where Johanna and Rafael live, they are revered as gods who once walked the earth many years ago. The people of Santarem would get quite a shock if they found out that the Keepers were still around north of the Wall. The dynamics between Jacaré, Pira, and Leão reminded me of the relationships between the Arrow, his sister Thea and Roy from the TV show Arrow for some reason. I had thought that I would be impatient to get back to the parts of the story about Johanna and Rafael but I really liked the Keepers and wanted to find out more about them and their secrets. There are also some really creepy villains with a secret agenda that I think we've only seen a little of in this book.
Overall I thought this was a fantastic debut. I like the way it has a historical feel and it reminded me favorably of books like The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Falling Kingdoms, The Kiss of Deception and Grave Mercy. It is one of my favorites of the year so far. If you like YA fantasy with a historical feel, intrigue and some romance, give The Storyspinner a try. I am looking forward to finding out what happens next! ...more
All Fall Down is the first book in Ally Carter's new Embassy Row series. I am a big fan of the Gallagher Girls series and I also liked her Heist SocieAll Fall Down is the first book in Ally Carter's new Embassy Row series. I am a big fan of the Gallagher Girls series and I also liked her Heist Society novels. Both series featured a brave and smart heroine with spunk and alongside the action and mystery there was a nice touch of humor. The first Gallagher Girls books were lighter on the suspense and heavier on the humor in fact. All Fall Down is much darker and reminded me more of Out of Sight, Out of Time with the main character's memory loss issues and how others won't believe them.
When she was 13, Grace witnessed her mom's death and while the official story is that it was an accident, Grace insists that her mother was shot by a man with a scarred face. Three years later, she is back where it all happened in the (fictional) country of Adria where her grandfather is the U.S. Ambassador. The new Grace is prickly and defensive. She expects other people to look at her like she is crazy and she feels betrayed by the people she thought she could trust, namely her grandfather. She is also trying to be "good" and toe the line to avoid starting an international incident while secretly looking into her mother's death. Being in Adria triggers traumatic flashbacks for Grace which she tries to keep hidden. This makes it hard for her to appear "normal". The flashbacks give the readers clues to what happened but can we trust Grace's memory?
I felt sorry for Grace because she seems so alone even when she is with other people. It was frustrating at times that hardly anyone believes her. At the same time I sometimes found Grace to be irritating and immature. Where Kat Bishop (Heist Society) and Cammie Morgan (Gallagher Girls) were smart girls who sometimes made mistakes, I thought Grace could be thoughtless and she didn't really consider the consequences of her actions. She wants to solve her mom's murder and find the guy who did it but it feels like she is more motivated to vindicate herself rather than to find justice for her mom. She wants to prove to her grandfather and her former friends that she isn't crazy and she is right and they are wrong. She also didn't want to accept any help but eventually her new friends wear her down which is a good thing since she really does need their help.
I liked Grace's friends (with the exception of Alexei) and they kind of helped save the book from being too dark. I would have liked to get to know them better but this book is pretty action packed which didn't leave a lot of time for that. I wasn't sure what to make of Grace's grandfather though it is apparent that he cares about her. He is a little too protective perhaps and it is sad that Grace is made to feel like he doesn't support her.
The suspense kept the story going as I tried to figure out what happened to Grace's mom and who the mysterious people were who were having secret meetings all over the place. There is a surprise twist which I have mixed feelings about and there is a mystery left unresolved at the end of the book which I think will be the setup for the sequel.
Overall I would say that I liked this book but I didn't love it like the author's previous series. I think that is because I was expecting All Fall Down to be similar. I also struggled to connect with Grace. From the start of the book she has a chip on her shoulder and while I did feel sorry for her I didn't like her at times. Perhaps my expectations were too high. I think this series and the character has room to grow and with the way this book ended I think I will like Grace more in the sequel. ...more