Tag Archives: 20 Books of Summer

Review: The One by John Marrs

The One

Instead of swiping left or right to meet your Match, what if you swabbed the inside of your mouth and got paired with the person who is genetically coded as your ideal match?

For the past decade, Match Your DNA has been doing just that, slowly building up a database of potential matches and pairing couples together. And while there has been a rise in successful marriages, there have also been side effects to pairings from discrimination against those who aren’t matched yet to the breaking up of long-term relationships when the results reveal that they aren’t genetically meant to be.

John Marrs’ The One explores the lives of five people who have all recently received their results and the impact — both expected and unexpected — it has on their lives.

Cycling between each character, chapters are short, impactful, and always leave you wanting to come back and find out what will happen next to each character, though I will admit some of the story lines grabbed my attention with more urgency than others. The most intriguing is Christopher, a serial killer who is using another dating app to choose his next victim and working toward thirty victims. Into his life comes Amy, who it turns out is a policewoman investigating the series of murders that Christopher if committing. The give and take as Christopher tries to reach his deadline while balancing his relationship with Amy makes for some of The One‘s most intriguing and compelling moments.

We also meet Nick, who is happily engaged to Sally until his results reveal his match is a man named Alex. Then there’s Elle, a successful businesswoman who hasn’t really connected with anyone in her past but has just paired with a new man who might just sweep her off her feet. There’s also a woman who’s match is dead but she connects with his family, to the point that she’s willing to go to extraordinary lengths to make a connection and the woman who travels across the world to find out her match isn’t what was advertised.

Marrs juggles all of our various characters in a clever, entertaining fashion, giving us one development or revelation per chapter to set the hook and then keep you wanting to come back for more. However, the later the novel goes, some of the twists feel a bit like piling on or having anther twist for the sake of having another one. Of the five stories, I found Christopher and Elle’s the most intriguing and I will give Marrs credit that he doesn’t give in to the temptation to have all these stories intersect at some point.

I also see that this novel has been picked up a series for Netflix. Given the episodic nature of each chapter, adapting it into a compelling series designed for binge-watching should be a straight-forward affair and I have to admit I’m looking forward to seeing it.

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Audiobook Review: Hello Girls by Brittany Cavallero and Emily Henry

Hello GirlsLucille Price and Wynona Olsen met the night they headed to the local police station to turn in various family members for a variety of crimes. Realizing that going to the cops will probably make things far worse than better, the duo decides to head for a local dive-bar that won’t look too closely at their fake IDs for a few G&Ts.

That night a new friendship is born. Each girl has someone (or multiple someones) they want to escape from. Wynona’s is her controlling father, the popular, enigmatic weatherman Stormy Olson. Stormy keeps Wynona on a short leash, saying he’s saving her from becoming like her drug-addicted mother who passed away a decade ago. Stormy cultivates an image of the perfect family and life, all while abusing Wynona and keeping her rich grandfather carefully under his thumb. Continue reading

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Audiobook Review: Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee

Rayne & Delilah's Midnite MatineeDelia’s dad vanished from her life just after her eighth birthday, leaving behind a love of b-grade horror movies and a plethora of nagging questions. He also left stacks of VHS tapes with the horror films.

With her best friend Josie, Delia shares the horror films on their hit public access show, Midnite Matinee using the alter egos Rayne Ravencroft and Deliah Darkwood.

As they graduate from high school, both girls face questions about their future. Josie wants to pursue a career in television but is juggling options from staying in Jackson to do the show with Delia and an internship with the Food Network while attending the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Josie’s also got a new romance with Lawson, a burgeoning MMA fighter who distressingly (to Josie) counts pancakes as his favorite food. Delia struggles with feelings that everyone she loves abandons her and with what to do with the information she’s paid a private investigator to track down about her father.

The solution to many of these problems could come at the annual Shudder-Con in Orlando, Florida if the two can find a way to attend. Continue reading

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July Reading Wrap-Up

We’re in the home-stretch for 2020!  Here’s what I read last month.

And yes, I know one of my photos above has two books in it that I haven’t quite finished yet.   I got a bit too zealous in the photo taking.

Physical Books

  1.  I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara
  2. My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
  3. The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
  4. The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth
  5. The Dilemma by B.A. Paris

Ebooks:

  1.  A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight
  2. Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone
  3. The Wife Who Knew Too Much by Michelle Campbell

Audiobooks:

  1.  Doctor Who: Revelation of the Daleks by Eric Saward
  2. Not That Kind of Guy by Andie J. Christopher
  3. The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen

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Audiobook Review: The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen

The Rest of the StoryEmma Saylor expected the three weeks following her father’s wedding to be filled with lazy days by the pool with one of her best friends, Gretchen, trying to catch the eye of cute twin-brother lifeguards. But a health emergency in Gretchen’s family leaves Emma and her father scrambling to find somewhere she can stay (their new house is under constructions and her Nana’s apartment is being renovated).

The last place Emma Saylor expected to land was North Lake, the area her mother grew up. Divorced from her father a decade ago and then overdose five years later, Emma has always felt a bit of a hole in her life when it comes to knowing who her mother was and where she came from.

Could three weeks give her some answers or possibly begin to fill in The Rest of the Story? Continue reading

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Review: The Dilemma by B.A. Paris

The DilemmaFor her fortieth birthday, Livia is throwing herself the party she never had on her wedding day. Hastily marrying Adam due to an unexpected pregnancy, Livia has been waiting for and anticipating this day for twenty-two years, putting aside money to pay for a lavish party with all her friends and family there.

All of her family except her daughter, Marnie. Marnie is studying abroad and can’t justify the expense or time-off from her studies to come home for the party.

Set the day of the party and unfolding hour-by-hour like an episode of 24, B.A. Paris’ The Dilemma finds storm clouds gathering on the horizon the day of Livia’s big party. Both Livia and Adam know a secret — a secret which could devastate the other if found out and would certainly taint the party and the long-anticipated celebration. But as the day unfolds, can Livia and Adam keep those secrets. And if they do, will keeping them hurt them more in the long run? Continue reading

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Review: I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest

20-books-of-summer-master-image I Am Princess X

At a young age, best friends Libby and May created Princess X together. No ordinary princess, Princess X wore red chucks and wielded a sword. Together, May and Libby created a wide variety of adventures for her as well as adversaries, backstories and side characters. But the entire collection was given to charity when Libby was killed in a car wreck with her mother and her dad donated it.

May was heartbroken by the loss of her friend and sent her parents on an obsessive quest to every charity store in town trying to find the collection. She never succeeded and thought that the saga of Princess X was lost, until years later when she sees a Princess X sticker in downtown Seattle. Digging deeper, May discovers that Princess X is a web comic — but it may be something more. With the help of a hacker, she begins to suspect there is more to the story of Princess X than meets the eye and that her old friend Libby may still be alive and trying to reach out to her.

Cherie Priest has given readers some fantastic stories over the course of her career. And I Am Princess X is no exception to that rule. It’s a fun young adult story that can be read by kids of all ages. I’m sure this will win her new young adult fans and it may even get a few new older readers as well. As an entry point into the fantastic worlds created by Priest, it works extremely well and is a self-contained story (not that I’d mind spending more time with the world, mind you). It’s also a breath of fresh air to find a young adult novel that doesn’t include sparkly vampires or a love triangle with our heroine torn between two brooding guys.

My only drawback with this one was I got an ARC from the Amazon Vine program that didn’t include the final drawn graphic novel panels for much of the book. But instead of turning me off the book, it simply makes me want to seek out a final copy and see what these drawings look like. The ARC includes descriptions and some early drawings in the first few chapters so I could imagine what they might look like.

In the interest of full disclosure, I received an ARC of this book from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review.

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