Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

TornFrom Goodreads: Chloe hasn’t had the best life. With a mother who is gone more often than not, she has had to raise herself. After graduating high school, she leaves to start a new life away at West Virginia University with her best friends Amber and Logan, determined to leave her demons in the past.

On her first day, she meets a stranger who takes her breath away at first sight. Until she met Drake, no one had ever sparked her interest. Now this tattooed and pierced bad boy is all she can think about, no matter how hard she fights it.

Falling for Drake was never part of her plans, but when it happens, things seem to do anything but fall into place.

Dealing with a tragic past, Drake has never cared about anyone else but himself and his band. But when Chloe takes the empty seat next to him in class, things start to change. Instantly drawn to her, he begins to wonder if one girl can take a cold hearted womanizer and change every part of him?

Long hidden feelings are revealed and friendships tested to the brink.


I am so sorry to say that I didn’t care for this novel.  I had high hopes going in, but my own life experiences, values, and beliefs just didn’t mesh with some of the events in this story, and because of that, I personally didn’t fall in love with it, which is okay, but always makes me feel bad.

Unfortunately, I really didn’t care for the characters.  Logan, though his heart is in the right place, is a controlling young man.  His anger gets the better of him on a few occasions, and he’s much too pushy for my liking.  I get that he’s fallen in love with his best friends of four years–that’s the best kind of relationship stepping stone, but

When a person is obviously, obviously drunk, I truly believe you need to take the high road, ignore their pleas, and NOT sleep with them.  I feel like that is taking advantage of a person who isn’t in their right mind, and it rubs me the wrong way–I lost some respect for Logan and Chloe due to their antics, but especially for what they do when one or the other is under the influence of alcohol.

Drake was enticing to me as a reader at first.  I like the bad boy image, but any man who pushes a woman away, tells her to date someone else, and then openly pines for her loses my respect quite quickly.  Let alone that he then sleeps with Chloe on multiple occasions while she’s dating Logan, well–again, I need my characters to take the higher road.  I can understand a one time mistake–passion getting the better of a person, it happens… but after all the guilt, to go ahead and do it again a few months later, well, there is no excuse for that. Not for any of the characters.

Chloe ticked me off more than anything in this novel, and it started when she was nearly raped and refused to report it.  I’m sorry, but this is close to my heart and you have to get over yourself and go to the police.  Ladies, if anyone ever attacks you, you can’t just think about your own embarrassment–you have to think about the potential other victims this man will set his sights on AFTER you.  Do the right thing and report it.  Sure, it’s going to be an awful experience, but so was almost being raped.  Think about the other woman you can save by being the bigger person.  In this instance, Chloe’s decision, and Drake’s for just going along with her decision, turned me off immediately.

From there, I just felt Chloe strung the men in her life along, trying to keep both, eaten up by guilt, refusing to come clean about it all… and as reader, I had no sympathy for her. And I couldn’t believe that there wasn’t really much fall out when everything finally came out into the open.  Chloe is definitely at fault, but in the end the other characters are even more sorry than she, and that just didn’t work for me.

The novel also doesn’t have closure.  I’m used to cliffhangers, but I wouldn’t say this is a cliffhanger, at least, it’s not for me. Instead, it just felt like the novel ended with the appearance of another character we’ve heard little about, and so there truly isn’t an ending, which left me a bit unsatisfied.

I’m sorry to say that this novel just wasn’t for me–it had potential, but the characters and events just weren’t for me. Two stars.

2 stars

In exchange for an honest review, Atria Books has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read this novel via Netgalley.

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TeardropFrom Goodreads: Never, ever cry… Seventeen-year-old Eureka won’t let anyone close enough to feel her pain. After her mother was killed in a freak accident, the things she used to love hold no meaning. She wants to escape, but one thing holds her back: Ander, the boy who is everywhere she goes, whose turquoise eyes are like the ocean. And then Eureka uncovers an ancient tale of romance and heartbreak, about a girl who cried an entire continent into the sea. Suddenly her mother’s death and Ander’s appearance seem connected, and her life takes on dark undercurrents that don’t make sense. Can everything you love be washed away?


This was an interesting fantasy/paranormal/mythology novel, but to be honest, it wasn’t what I expected at all. Having read the prequel, I thought there would be more explanations of Ander and his family, but readers are left with little more knowledge in this full novel than they received in the prequel, and I really wanted to know more, especially since the entire mythology aspect completely floored me.  I wasn’t expecting it, and it didn’t even register in my mind until close to the big reveal, even though there are clues woven throughout the novel.  And yet, some of those clues really left me scratching my head at the time of their revelation.  Perhaps that is because the novel itself is just so secretive.

I knew going in that there were going to be many secrets in this book, but I felt like there were just too many.  I like to have some semblance of what’s going on in my novels, but I didn’t feel like I was any closer to the truth as I read Teardrop because it’s all so secretive.  For instance, the entire story surrounding Eureka’s mother and her instruction to never cry went completely over my head—I remember actually thinking, “why is this here?” as I was reading through the novel; I thought it was a random inclusion and it didn’t make sense to me at the time because it didn’t mesh with anything else happening around the randomly inserted scene.  And then I found out that it was the crux of the entire novel.  I mean, this is called Teardrop, after all, but in this case, I feel like that should have been played up a bit more.  Perhaps I just missed out on the other explanations and clues earlier on in the novel.  It could be reader error, who knows.

Regardless, though, this was a decent read.  Though a bit choppy here and there, by the end of the story I was drawn in and dying to know what would happen next, realistic or not.  While this novel is not on the same par as Kate’s Fallen Series, I will say that it’s a good read for those looking for something completely different.  Just know that not all your questions are going to be answered in this first novel. Three stars.

3 stars

I borrowed this novel from the the public library.

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37781From Goodreads: Things Fall Apart tells two overlapping, intertwining stories, both of which center around Okonkwo, a “strong man” of an Ibo village in Nigeria. The first of these stories traces Okonkwo’s fall from grace with the tribal world in which he lives, and in its classical purity of line and economical beauty it provides us with a powerful fable about the immemorial conflict between the individual and society.

The second story, which is as modern as the first is ancient, and which elevates the book to a tragic plane, concerns the clash of cultures and the destruction of Okonkwo’s world through the arrival of aggressive, proselytizing European missionaries. These twin dramas are perfectly harmonized, and they are modulated by an awareness capable of encompassing at once the life of nature, human history, and the mysterious compulsions of the soul. Things Fall Apart is the most illuminating and permanent monument we have to the modern African experience as seen from within.


I really didn’t like this novel when I was in high school.  But as an adult, I have found that my understanding of the “classics” and my enjoyment of many of them has indeed changed drastically.  Books I hated as a teen are now interesting and hold meaning for me, because I finally get them.  But, this is not the case with Things Fall Apart.  I disliked it as a teen, and I still dislike it now, mainly because it’s written in a way that just doesn’t appeal to me.

While I understand the purpose of this novel—why it’s important and why it’s taught in high school—the execution of the story itself grates my nerves. It’s extremely choppy and to the point, telling the reader in clipped sentences instead of showing the reader through imagery and interesting details.   And though it’s a fairly short novel, the narrative style of the text makes it seem extremely long, and it just didn’t hold my attention.

As events unfold, readers are told what’s happening as if we’re a bird looking in–we aren’t a part of the story, and events jump from one to another so quickly that little import is given to each scene.  And, there is little description to pull me into the story or to make me connect with the characters; instead we’re just told how Okonkwo feels, what he does, and the retaliating actions of the tribe. It is unfortunate, but I have no sympathy for Okonkwo because he is an awful man, beating everyone and refusing, even under the guidance of his tribe, to let things go.  While trying to be the epitome of what he deems a “man” is supposed to be, Okonkwo misses the mark tenfold through his lack of compassion, and even his people see him as wanting in this aspect because he cannot, and will not, change.  It leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth, and though I understand the message, I personally don’t like this book in the least. One star.


I borrowed this book from the school library.

et cetera
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