Quick review for a prolonged read (I had to recheck this book from the library several times because it kept getting holds placed on it, but I finally found a stretch to read it the whole way through). This is my second narrative experience from Robin Talley. “As I Descended” is touted as a retelling/reimaging of Macbeth, centered on two girls (Maria and Lily) at an elite school who enact upon a dastardly scheme to take a scholarship opportunity from a popular queen bee (Delilah), but their plan goes several steps too far and unleashes a downward spiral involving a haunted campus, vengeful spirits, revenge games, and overarching obsession with power. Added bonus: a diverse cast of characters including characters of color and prominent GLBT relationships at the forefront. By the summary/plot promise itself, I was definitely going to pick this up, even excited to have the opportunity to do so.
Quick review for a very quick read. I found this book of affirmations at my local bookstore and picked it up on a whim. Mostly because it had bright colors, peppy illustrations and very memorable adages when I flipped through the work. I read this inside of an hour, but even with it being a brief read, the values and advice within Salmansohn’s narrative is well worth revisiting for many different scenarios (mood changes, life changes, loss, failure, trying something new, etc.) Some dialogues in this book hit more home with me than others and I give it credit for that. Salmansohn’s connections to the experiences is well noted, and I thought the narrative supported a strong connection between sticking to the topics of each section and providing personal feedback. I definitely will find myself returning to this narrative, if even on the measure that illustrations are a big part of that enjoyment/reasoning.
Overall score :3.5/5 stars.
Quick review for a quick read. There were definitely moments in this book where I had second hand embarrassment for the wrong reasons, but ultimately I did like parts of Lisa McMann’s “Crash”, the first in her “Visions” series. The story revolves around a young woman named Jules who’s family runs a pizza shop. Yet she starts having visions of a car crash that kills several people, including her childhood crush and former friend Sawyer. The conflict trades between Jules’ s guilt/working to offset the tragedy and reconcile with Sawyer given his family’s falling out with hers (for several reasons).
I seriously side-eyed this book’s portrayal of mental illness and found myself thrown out of the story at times because of this. Half the time it was very flippant as per the voice of the heroine and trying too hard to be humored, while the times it did find its tone more serious, it didn’t really end up matching with the events that transpired. The narrative also felt a bit long at times because the central conflict kept being put aside where it could’ve benefited from better pacing.
Also, it’s clear to say that Jules was a legit stalker towards Sawyer. I honestly found myself cringing many a time with her efforts to try to keep Sawyer “safe” because of her visions. Like, I wanted to say “Dude, leave the poor boy alone.” Sawyer was very forgiving of certain things that Jules did, and I had a hard time really swallowing those events through the narrative (because it was the source of my cringing and secondhand embarrassment to say the least. I really don’t like stalker love interests in YA, male or female.)
Still, I did honestly like the overarching story and characters here. There were wonderfully harrowing moments of tension when they hit the ground running and while I somewhat predicted the twist at the very end, it makes me want to read more into the series. I also liked the audio narration on the whole. Interesting read with great ideas, but notable flaws that kept it from being more in my experience.
Overall score : 3 / 5 stars.
Initial reaction: Very strong story following the protagonist Katie as it tracks her and her family’s journey to help her talented, athletic daughter reach Olympic athlete status. But in the backdrop of a tragic death, layers upon layers of darkness, deception and secrets hover around their family, which steadily build throughout the story to a nicely established climax. I was glued to the audiobook from the beginning to the end.
Title: Those Girls
Author: Chevy Stevens
Genre: Adult Fiction, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Initial reaction: I’ll admit that as I’m sitting down to write the review on “Those Girls” by Chevy Stevens – I’m a bit at a loss for words. This book was so visceral, intense, and I couldn’t help but feel right in the heart of the anger and hurt for the characters in every step of the horrific abuse they suffered. There were many moments that my hands were shaking as I listened to the audiobook, anticipating what the characters would do and hoping they found some sort of piece of mind as the narrative went on. (Alas, that was far and few between.)
Even with this, the narrative definitely had its slower moments and some threads of the plot that were either convenient in placing, or weren’t really tied up that well. For that, it gets a high 3.5 star rating from me.