Beth's Books

Book worm | Mystery/crime/thriller | Used bookstore lover

Review: Such a Pretty Girl

Such a Pretty Girl - Laura Wiess

The synopsis is vague and after reading it, I figured out why. There was a plot, sure. But not one that could be summed up in the book. There are only about 210 pages, so it’s a relatively short book. I’d say the only thing wrong with the book is that it doesn’t really go anywhere. That doesn’t mean I didn’t love it, don’t get me wrong, but it was only set around about a week so it seemed like not much happened.

While reading the book, I felt like a lot was going on because there was a lot of feelings and flashbacks but after the book I realized that it was just happening and that there wasn’t a big moment where I felt like I NEEDED to finish it right then and there. I loved this book. I’d definitely read it again, but it wasn’t any more intense at one given moment.


The plot: Basically, Meredith’s father is in prison as was supposed to stay in prison for nine years when Meredith would be 18 and away from where her father would be. Unfortunately, he was let out after just three years and she was far too young to get away from him. That happened within the first three pages. The rest of the book was her trying to survive being around the despicable person that was her father. 

Her mother cared more about Meredith and was always on her husband’s side. Even going so far as to let Meredith and her father alone together (big problem and actually against the law.) Basically, her mom didn’t care about what happened and what sent her husband to prison. So it was Meredith against both of her parents. It was sad, heartbreaking, frustrating, and made me so angry for her. 4 stars from me.


The characters: I love Meredith. She’s broken and scared but I could tell that she’s so much stronger than she thinks. She was the perfect character. It’s unfortunate and absolutely heartbreaking that there are real people like her everywhere. It’s also unfortunate there are people like her father. I was terrified of him and he’s just a character. But that’s just it: he’s not just a character. There are thousands of people like him that don’t go to prison at all. The characters were so well written and so real because there are real versions of them.


Then there is Meredith’s best friend, Andy. Andy lives in the apartment complex with her. He’s paralyzed from the waist down and was a good character, but I just didn’t feel the connection with him. I think he’d be a forgettable character and within a few months I may forget his name. Overall, 4.5 stars for me.


The writing: I think this was the strongest part of the book. The writing was fluid. There were flashbacks that seemed to fit perfectly with the story and never went too long. They always left you wondering what happened next and then they would cut off from the flashback.


One thing I commend Laura Wiess for is not going into detail about what happened between her father and her. That can be a very, very hard subject for a lot of people to read and the book never made it uncomfortable for the reading. 5 stars for me.


This book has a heavy subject. There weren’t many times that I laughed. But it’s a book that I think more people need to read because this is real. People need to be aware of things like this.  


You Know You Love Me

You Know You Love Me - Cecily von Ziegesar Pre reading:
Unfortunately I picked up this one before the first one, but I've seen the show so I won't be too confused

Post reading:
It was so bad! By about 70 pages in, I decided I was going to hate every single second of it, so I live blogged my hate reading and deciding I'm going to read the whole series and live blog it. I just can't take it seriously, but at least I got to laugh at how much I hated it and complain about it on Tumblr?

On the plus side, it only took me one day to read so it's not like it took a whole lot of time away from me.

To All the Boys I've Loved Before

To All the Boys I've Loved Before - Jenny Han When I first got done reading this book I loved it. Then I really started thinking about it. I took a few days off to really think about it and came to a conclusion: I don't know if I like Jenny Han or if I don't like this book.

This book is not a romance book and do not let anyone tell you it is. There is no romance in it. If this book were being lauded as a book on how to get over an embarrassing and potentially creepy situation, then it wouldn't be as annoying to me.

Basically, Lara Jean has written "love letters" to every boy she has ever "loved." She never sent them out but oopsies they were sent out to all these boys. And, double oopsies, one of those boys was her sister's ex boyfriend. She then has to lie to her sister's ex boyfriend by fake dating another guy that she sent the letters out to.

That had potential to be good. Like, imagine if she then found out that Other Boy loved her and they live happily ever after? Or what if her and Other Boy become really good friends and he helps her get over this embarrassing situation? There were so many good things that could have happened. But they didn't.

I said there was no romance in this book because there weren't. Sure, we are supposed to think that she ~looooves~ her sister's ex boyfriend, but it just sounds like she has a crush on him. There just is no love and romance and I'm done talking about this.

She was also extremely immature. I'm not sure if Jenny Han wants all of her 16 year old characters to sound 12, but they do. But at least Lara Jean didn't stick her tongue out at people when they upset her.

The one thing that really made me mad was that Lara Jean and her sister are supposed to be really close, but then how did she just never tell her sister she liked her boyfriend? Like even before they started dating? That was a big hole for me that I couldn't look past.

I will say one thing though: the friendship between Chris and Lara Jean was healthy. There were no Fake Friends or "frenemies" in this book like there were in the Summer series.

All in all, I saw my romance, no character growth, and no plot. I won't be re-reading this book. I also am debating on if I want to read another Jenny Han book.

Maybe Someday

Maybe Someday - Colleen Hoover Colleen Hoover is easily, after two books, becoming one of my favourite authors. I was talking to someone earlier today what I like about her and it’s not something I can pinpoint exactly and say “that is what I like about this author” because with Hoover, it is everything.

Her characters are always interesting and easy to relate to, her plot is always addicting, her character development is top notch. She is a great author and if her other books are half as good as this one, then she will be in my top 5 favourite authors, easily.

This book starts out with Sydney punching her ex-best friend. Seriously. What a way to start a book. We find out that her ex-best friend and now ex-boyfriend had been sleeping together. I couldn’t help but laugh when it clicked with me that her best friend’s name was Tori and her boyfriend’s name was Hunter. Torii Hunter. Anyway, that’s not anything book related so I’m moving on.

We then find out that Sydney has been sitting on her balcony watching Mystery Man play his guitar every night for the last few weeks. She doesn’t know anything about him except that he can play a guitar beautifully. Little does she know that in a few short weeks she’ll be living with him.

I love all the characters relationships in this book. Sydney and Ridge gave me all the feels. Ridge and Brennan made me happy. Sydney and Brennan made me laugh a lot. Ridge and Maggie made me happy.

The twists in this book that make you want to rip the book apart and use the pages as tissues were what makes this book, and other Hoover books, so enjoyable. You never know when you’re going to get punched in the face with emotion. One page everything can be happiness and roses and the next page you’ll be wanting to eat a whole tub of Ben & Jerry’s while simultaneously hate-watching High School Musical (no? maybe just me.)

If I say I love this book, then I should also say things I wasn’t too thrilled with. 1. There is some slut shaming. This really bothers me because it isn’t needed. On one hand I was mad at Hoover for putting it in there. On the other hand I realized why it’s in there. I would be pretty mad if my best friend was sleeping with my boyfriend too. 2. Sydney seems to be the only “good girl” in the book. Tori? She’s a “slut” and a horrible person. Bridgette? She’s a “bitch” and no one likes being around her. The only other girl that was seen as a good person was Maggie she is not really a focal point of the book that often.

These two things really bothered me and it was hard to look past them, but everything else was very strong and it was an easy 5 star rating for me.


Hopeless  - Colleen Hoover I'll hopefully have the review up in a few days. I need a little while to process this first

All You Never Wanted

All You Never Wanted - Adele Griffin Did not finish. When I'm choosing to do everything else in the world BUT read the book and it's taken over three days to get to page 75, then I'm never going to end up finishing it. I wish I liked it and maybe I'll pick it up another time.


V!RG!N - Radhika Sanghani Seriously hilarious. A light fun read that everyone should read. Will write a full review closer to pub date

Before I Go

Before I Go - Colleen Oakley A seriously awesome book. It was promising from the start and I could not have asked for anything better. I will write an actual review closer to the publication date, but I needed to get some of my feelings out about it now.

Then Came You: A Novel

Then Came You: A Novel - Jennifer Weiner This was adorable. I loved all the characters and the complex story that brought them all together. Will write an actual review later

A Wedding in Provence: A Novel

A Wedding in Provence: A Novel - Ellen Sussman Going into this book, I knew that it would be a wedding type book. I knew that it would be set in a beautiful part of France. I knew there would be some drama. I got all of that plus more. I thought that it would be focused on the wedding and less on the character development or the scenery, but I was happily wrong.

I’ve never been to France but Sussman makes it so easy to picture the scenery. Her writing was spectacular in this book. It’s hard to picture a place that you’ve never been without great description and that’s what I got in this book. If I ever thought I didn’t want to go to France, then now I definitely do. Not only did the fabulous writing help the scenery, but it helped with the character development. With timely flashbacks to Pre-Wedding, I got to know more about the characters and see how they ended up at the end. Every character seemed to grow in their own way.

Some characters grew up; some characters grew out; and some characters grew in. Carly grew out. She was always the quiet one, but by the end she was taking up the space she finally saw that she deserved. She became selfish and impulsive. She did what she needed to do. I enjoyed watching her development and growth the most. Nell grew in. She realized it’s not all about her and that she is not the only one hurting. She was always self destructive and raw. By the end, she found out what was important to her and that she needed to work to get it. Jake, Brody’s longtime best friend, didn’t get a huge spot in this book but I definitely think he grew up. He had his moments where I wanted to beat him up and he had his moments where I might have high-fived him.

The greatest part about this book for me was that it was more than just a book about a wedding. It was about a family growing together while all of them are going through rough times while they are going through as awesome time. The story, for me, was more about the sisters coming together and being there for each other when they needed it most. It was more about the story of two older people finding love again after losing it before. It’s about changing yourself if you don’t like who you are. I went into this book thinking that it would be a light summery beach read and I got life lesson as well, so I would call that a win.

I also enjoyed that this book was about older people falling in love. Brody and Olivia are in their 50′s and are getting married in France. How perfect is that? My dad is in his late 40′s and is getting married next year so I read this at the perfect time. It’s nice to see a book that focuses on older people that especially older people that are starting over in a way.

Carly reminded me of Lena in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. She’s quiet and reserved and then finally breaks out and becomes who she always wanted to be. Nell reminded me of Bridget in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Lucky for me, those are my two favorite characters. I saw obvious parallels Carly and Lena; and Nell and Bridget.

I would suggest that if you’re going to read this book: have google translate open if you don’t know French. I only know the very basic words and there was some French in this book which I had to look up. Obviously the book is going to have some French because they are in France. I’ve also decided that I want to learn French but I highly doubt it would go well.

Really, this was a fantastic book and I highly plan on looking for more things by Ellen Sussman. She is a great writer and writes awesome characters. This was such a strong book that I could relate to.

We'll Always Have Summer

We'll Always Have Summer - Jenny Han “Conrad. No, Jeremiah. No wait, Conrad. Okay definitely Conrad. Wait, I hate Conrad so Jeremiah. But I don’t like Jeremiah either?? So no one! Wait but Conrad.” -me during the whole book

What I lacked to see “The Summer I Turned Pretty” and somewhat saw in “It’s Not Summer Without You” I finally saw it, fully, in “We’ll Always Have Summer.” I think seeing how this trilogy ended, the first two books make sense. That doesn’t mean I’m a huge fan of them now, but I see why they were how they were.

The biggest changes for me were Belly. She’s much older now and she acts older. She’s not sticking her tongue out at everyone that upsets her. She’s not crying when Steven doesn’t invite her somewhere. Belly is 18 and acts 18. The more I read this book, the more I found parts of myself in Belly and that made me like her a lot more. Belly is a lovable character in this book. I was rooting for her and somewhat rooting for what *I* would want if I were her but that’s beside the point. Her relationship with Taylor has grown a lot as well. They aren’t secretly hating each other and calling the other a slut all the time. It’s refreshing to finally see a healthy girl friendship in a YA book.

The plot was also much easier to find in this book. The Summer I Turned Pretty didn’t really have a plot to me. It was just us learning about Belly and how she felt about Conrad. The second book was setting up her inevitable relationship with Jeremiah. You can’t have a proper love triangle if you’re not going to date both of them, so we all knew that she would end up with Jeremiah in that book. This book was focused on who she would finally be with in the end. I knew that at the end of the book, I would know who she was going to marry. That was why it only took me a day to read this book; because I just needed to know who it was.

Throughout the book, my opinion changed on who she should be with. Sometimes Conrad showed potential and sometimes Jeremiah did. Most of the time neither of them did. Sometimes they both did. It was confusing for me and I felt like I was on an exciting roller coaster ride. I don’t even remember who I ended up wanting her with but I know that I was going to be happy and somewhat disappointed with whoever she chose since I didn’t like either of them.

The only thing that I didn’t like about this book was that Jenny Han switched the characters around to make them liked or hated so there would be more drama. The “awful thing” that Jeremiah does in this book would NEVER be done in the first two books. I was skeptical as to why it was even in the book because it was just not like Conrad at all. It seemed forced and that annoyed me. Han wanted us to cheer for Conrad for a while, so she made us hate Jeremiah by changing his whole personality.

The same with Conrad was done. While we were off hating Jeremiah for something he would never do, Conrad was a loving person that would never hurt Belly and we ~~obviously~~ had to cheer for him because he would never do what Jeremiah did! Conrad was a jerk to Belly the first two books. Broke up with her at prom in the second book and then in the third book he’s this loving guy that she should be with? It didn’t seem genuine to me.

There were some things that I didn’t like about this book, especially the character swap. But I loved the rest and am glad that I have this series a go.

The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath This book is hard to read at times. It's hard to read a book where the protagonist is spiraling down into depression and we, the readers, just sit back and read about it. It's uncomfortable and heartbreaking but beautiful and eloquent. Esther may be one of my favorite characters I've ever had the opportunity to read about. Even if a person has never been depression or had suicidal thoughts, they could easily relate to Esther. We are inside her mind while she's falling deeper and deeper and at times I felt like I was going with her. I felt for Esther so much. I wanted to hug her. I wanted to make her feel like life was worth living. I am SO glad I read this book and plan on reading it again and again.

The Beach Quilt

The Beach Quilt - Holly Chamberlin (I received this on Netgalley from the publisher for an honest review. Nothing that I say in my review is an exact quote from the book, per request from the author/publisher. The book is being published on June 24, 2014)

This book was super cute. It was a light, summery, beach read. While reading it, I longed to be sitting on a beach somewhere drinking a nice lemonade and hanging out with the characters. When I found this book on Netgalley, it sounded so cute and just what I needed to get my mind off sad things in life for a few days. It didn’t disappoint.

The Beach Quilt was written with four perspectives throughout the book. Cindy, Adelaide, Sarah, and Cordelia. Sarah and Cordelia are 16 year old best friends. Adelaide and Cindy are their mothers, respectively. I didn’t know how well this would work. Too many books plot women against each other, but this book did none of that. Throughout the whole book, it was apparent that all four loved and needed each other. Of course there were other characters. Stevie, Sarah’s 13 year old sister; Jack, Cindy’s husband; and Joe, Adelaide’s husband.

It was apparent, though, that the four women were closest group. They would have to be after Sarah found out that she was pregnant. I was intrigued as to how this would play out. I wasn’t sure if she would get talked into having an abortion or adoption or having the baby. Chamberlin wrote about this so well. IT never felt forced. It never felt fake. When talking to my friends that were teenage parents, they said some of the same things that Sarah said.

One thing I loved about The Beach Quilt is that it showed perfectly how when a group of lives are so entwined that one thing can change everyone. Even if that “thing”, pregnancy in this case, is happening to one person. The pregnancy brought some people closer and pushed others apart and it was written realistically. It sheds light on how a pregnancy can affect a whole family and the people closest to them- in good ways and in bad.

I really liked some characters and others I could relate to but I just wasn’t fond of them. I really did feel for Cordelia. I can’t imagine how hard it would be for my best friend to become pregnant and not know how to take care of a child. I’m sure it would be difficult for me too, but I would also not be a spoiled brat about it. Cordelia, at times, made it all about her, her, her. She thought of how the pregnancy was going to change her college plans instead of how it’s going to forever alter Sarah. I had to remind myself that she is only 16 and I shouldn’t expect a 16 year old to be as mature as say a 22 year old.

I think I connected the most with Stevie though. She wasn’t a “main character” per se. She didn’t have her voice heard. But she was real and raw and realistic. Being 13 is hard enough, but now she finds out that her sister is pregnant and everyone is paying attention to her sister and not her. That would be hard. Luckily she had the most hilarious cat in the world. I wish there was more Stevie in the book. I would love a 1.5 in the series (I think this is going to stay a stand alone though) and have it from Stevie’s perspective of after The Beach Quilt ends. I feel like there are some loose ends on her story that I may never get closure with. Maybe that’s okay and maybe it’ll eat me alive. I guess we’ll see.

Since it’s called “The Beach Quilt” I was hoping for more beach and less winter, but it’s Maine so what can I expect? When the nature was talked about, the writing made it sound awesome (which is totally Cordelia’s word) and I now have it on my bucket list to go to Maine one day. This book was very good and cute. Any time I’m looking for a break, I would come back to this book and just relax for a few hours. We all need our vacation books, and this one is mine.

Don't Talk to Strangers (Keye Street #3)

Don't Talk to Strangers (Keye Street #3) - Amanda Kyle Williams (I received a copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review. None of my review is a direct quote from the book per publisher’s request.)

Well I’ve found my newest series to read! Unfortunately, this was the third book in the series. I plan on going back and reading the first two and then reading this one again when it comes out. Since I haven’t read the first book in the series, I was not introduced to Keye as much as she showed up and started doing things. Within the first 20 pages, though, I found out more about her through conversations and off handed comments. Other than not getting a full description of her at first, the book had no flaws for me.

The writing made the book interesting. Even if nothing was really going on, I knew that something would be happening any minute which made it hard to stop reading. I found myself stuck on the story when I wasn’t reading and I will probably be stuck on it until I read the first book in the series. The writing felt like a tease. I felt like I knew who the killer was and then all of a sudden things would change and I would have to change everything that I thought I knew. That kept me reading. When I did find out who the killer was, I was shocked. I had my ideas of who it was but I was not expected who it was. My jaw literally dropped. I was so surprised. So yeah, the writing was A+ 10/10.

The characters were interesting. I love books that never use the adjective “perfect” for a character. I want characters to have something that I don’t like. I want characters to have flaws. I want characters to make me miserable. I want characters that make me happy. I want characters that make me feel. I had that in this book. Even characters that aren’t main characters but do show up once in a while. Characters that in a few months I will remember how they made me feel but I won’t remember their names. So many characters made me feel something, whether it be anger, happiness, sadness, nervousness. When the characters are written like they are people, I get a lot more out of this book. I got a lot out of this book. Keye is a great main character. A great person to see the book through. She has her faults, and we never forget about them, but she is still a likable character. I’m excited to read more books with Keye.

The plot was very promising from the start and didn’t break the promise. It’s a sad story and it was hard to read at times, but it was intense and had so many possibilities. Of course with a plot these this, there might be holes where nothing is happening and the book gets a tad bit boring, but Don’t Talk To Strangers never bored me. I was never skimming or wondering when a “good part” was coming because the whole book was a good part.

All the things that I look for in a book were here and exceeded what I expected of it. The writing was spectacular and gripping. The characters were real and relate able. The plot was exciting and executed well.

The only tip I would give someone wanting to read this book is to read the first two beforehand. As I mentioned, I did not and they do mention parts of the first two books. There were no spoilers, but it was a tad confusing at first. I do highly recommend this book. I’m very excited to read the first two and I hope there is a fourth.

(Again, this was giving to me through Netgalley by the publisher for an honest review. None of my review was a direct quote from the book.)

Run for your life

Run for your life - James Patterson The first 100 pages or show I wasn't sure if I was thrilled with it. I wasn't hooked with it the way I was with the first book. I am glad that I didn't set it aside though. Quickly it sped up and the last 100 pages were intense and gripping. A very good read.

Cop Town: A Novel

Cop Town: A Novel - Karin Slaughter (*This book is an ARC from Netgalley and does not come out until June 24, 2014. I received an advanced copy for an honest review. None of what I say will be direct quotes from the book per request from publisher.)

This is my first Karin Slaughter novel and I know it’s not going to be my last. I was hooked from the first chapter and am still stuck in the book 12 hours after finishing it. Everything that I like in books (plot, characters, and writing) were beyond what I expected.

For me, there were two plots in this book. The first and more noticeable one is to find who the cop killer was. The second and equally important plot was women trying to make it into the police force in the 1970s. The book focuses on Maggie Lawson who grew up with a whole family of male cops and Kate Murphy, a beautiful, born rich woman who has hardly met any cops in her life. Both women had different reasons for joining the force, but both still had a lot of difficulty getting the job and even more difficulty being respected in the job. These two plots worked well together and I truly don’t think that they could work well without the other. Both women were trying to make a name for herself in the force by solving the cop killer crime. The cop killer crime was a way for the women to show they deserve respect. The plot to find the cop killer was twisted and turned all over the place. There were so many times that I thought I solved it just to find that I was way off or I thought I was piecing it together just for something else to come in and it ruined everything I thought I knew. Cop Town was unpredictable which made it for such a good read.

I recently said that I wanted more characters like in Gillian Flynn’s books- female characters that are never described as perfect. Female characters that are people. Slaughter gave me that. Maggie and Kate are nowhere near perfect. They made mistakes and they pissed me off at times. I loved them. I wanted to hug them when they were having a rough day at work. I wanted to protect them from the men on the force. They were people to me because they were written as people. Every character in this book was a person. Everyone had flaws, some more than others, but no one hid their flaws and that’s what I like in a novel. There were some characters that I absolutely hated but that’s because we were supposed to hate them. Every character had their nice moments, but they weren’t enough to sway my opinion. I think that we, as the readers, are supposed to have it ingrained in our brains by the end of the book that in the 1970s racism, sexism, etc were still rampant. We, as the readers, never forget that in the book and I think it’s important to never let us forget that.

The writing was spectacular. As I mentioned the twists and turns in the plot. The characters were written well. The dialogue between any characters was never confusing and it never seemed forced. Cop Town is a gruesome book. If you don’t have a strong stomach, you may have trouble reading this book. The writing made all the gruesome parts vivid in my mind. When I can picture everything that is happening in my mind then that shows me the writing is strong. I think this book was planning on being a standalone, but I would love to see this as a series as well. It has potential to be an awesome series.

Cop Town is everything I look for in a mystery/thriller and I’m going to be buying this as soon as it comes out. (And all of her other books as well)

(Again, this is an ARC and I did not post any direct quotes from the book per request of the publisher.)

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