ARC Review: Romancing the Dark in the City of Light

Romancing the Dark in the City of LightRomancing the Dark in the City of Light by Ann Jacobus

Publication Date: October 6, 2015

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Synopsis:

Summer Barnes is stuck in France. She’s living with her mom and redoing her senior year of high school after being kicked out of four boarding schools. Summer really needs to get on the right path and graduate high school, but she can barely make it through the day. If she could just meet the perfect guy, it would be the answer to everything. Her life would be so much better — maybe even worth living.

As she starts her new school and navigates Paris, Summer meets not just one guy but two. They’re very different. Moony is a classmate with problems of his own. He brings out the best parts of Summer, parts she didn’t know existed. Kurt is a handsome older man, but there’s something alarming about him. He takes Summer to places she never thought she wanted to go.

Summer struggles with which version of herself she wants to be. Can she be as good as Moony thinks she is? Or is she stuck being as worthless as she feels when she’s with Kurt?

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Romancing the Dark in the City of Light is a book that kind of snuck up on me. From the description, I thought it was going to be about a troubled girl looking for a guy to fix her. I knew there was going to be depression and suicidal thoughts. What I didn’t expect was a story about a girl coping with not only her father’s death but her own alcohol addiction.

I loved the way Romancing the Dark in the City of Light portrayed Summer’s addiction. Her feelings of helplessness were easy to relate to. While I didn’t necessarily like Summer, I could feel her pain. I wanted her to make healthy decisions and succeed, to rise out of the darkness.

Summer’s two love interests, Moony and Kurt, added another whole dimension to the story. I loved Moony and his determination. It was amazing that he was willing to support Summer when it wasn’t always in his best interest. Kurt was….well, he was different. I hated him, but I liked they way his character had Summer on the edge.

My absolute favorite thing about the entire book is the last 1/4 of the novel. Up until then, I was planning on giving it 4 stars. The writing was beautiful, but it was just so dark and depressing! I wanted at least a glimmer of sunshine somewhere on those pages! But then the last 1/4 of the book happened and I felt like I finally got it. I won’t even hint at what happens, but it was enough to make me add that final star.

Romancing the Dark in the City of Light is truly a beautiful book about teenage substance abuse, suicide and family ties.

I would like to thank Goodreads and St. Martin’s Griffin for the opportunity to read and honestly review Romancing the Dark in the City of Light.

Before the Blog #4: The Beach Trees

Before the Blog is a weekly blog meme hosted by Karis Jacobstein over @ YA Litwit. It’s an opportunity to showcase books a blogger read and loved prior to starting their blog .  I love this idea because there are so many amazing books I haven’t reviewed on A Novel Glimpse because I read them a long time ago. The only rules to this meme are to answer the following questions about the book chosen to review:

  • Why did you choose this book? 
  • When did you read this book? 
  • Who would you recommend this book to? 

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The Beach TreesThe Beach Trees by Karen White

Publication Date: May 3, 2011

Publisher: NAL

Synopsis:

Julie Holt’s sister disappeared when she was twelve years-old. It changed her family forever. They’ve never stopped searching.

As an adult, Julie meets a struggling artist and single mother, Monica. Monica reminds her of her lost sister. They develop a friendship filled with stories of the past. When Julie loses Monica to a heart condition, she is left with Monica’s son. Together, they head to Biloxi, Mississippi to meet Monica’s family. While in Biloxi, Julie discovers a connection to Monica she never knew about before.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Why did you choose this book? 

I love Karen White’s novels. They all combine family, mystery and a love story. The Southern settings she writes are rich in history and beauty. The Beach Trees was the first book I read by Karen White and it’s still my favorite. It cemented her as one of my favorite authors.

When did you read this book?

I must have read it shortly after its release in May of 2011. I used to hang out at Borders Books when my daughter was a baby and my mom would come watch her to give me a break. I would walk around the store reading backs of books and then grab a cup of coffee and read. I remember seeing The Beach Trees on the shelf and picking it up. It was one of the best book decisions I’ve made!

Who would you recommend this book to? 

Anyone that likes books set in the South or a great romantic mystery.

The Truth According to Us

The Truth According to UsThe Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows

Publication Date: June 9, 2015

Publisher: Random House

Synopsis:

Layla Beck lived a privileged life until her wealthy father tired of her actions. Now, Layla’s been sent to work on the Federal Writer’s Project in West Virginia. Her assignment is to write the history of the small town of Macedonia.

Upon arriving in Macedonia, she finds herself boarding with the Romeyn family. The Romeyn family are an interesting bunch. There’s curious 12-year-old Willow, spunky 9-year-old Bird, and their handsome father Felix. There’s also their three aunts: Jottie, Mae and Minerva. As Layla begins to discover the fascinating history of Macedonia, she also starts to unravel the secrets of the Romeyn family.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I was really excited to read The Truth According to Us. Annie Barrows was one of the co-authors of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society and I loved that book. That being said, I had high expectations for The Truth According to Us.

While The Truth According to Us had a very interesting storyline and amazing characters, the book was too long (486 pages). Normally, I wouldn’t complain about the length of a book, but the story was so slow-paced that 486 pages became tedious. It seemed like nothing interesting happened until about half way through. Even then, it wasn’t until page 400 that anything exciting happened.

Part of the problem was the three points of view in the novel: Layla, Willa and Jottie. Willa’s POV was in first person, while Layla and Jottie’s were in third. I usually like multiple points of view, but it didn’t work for me in this book. Other than Willa’s POV, it would take a me a paragraph or so to figure out who was narrating because there was no chapter header to say who was narrating. Narrators also changed mid-chapter, which was confusing. It would have flowed better had the chapters rotated between the characters and if they were all in first or third person.

Otherwise, I enjoyed the story. It had a good mystery and each character was well developed. It just needed to faster-paced or a little shorter.

Thank you to Random House for the opportunity to and honestly review an ARC of The Truth According to Us.

Before the Blog #3: The Lace Reader

Before the Blog is a weekly blog meme hosted by Karis Jacobstein over @ YA Litwit. It’s an opportunity to showcase books a blogger read and loved prior to starting their blog .  I love this idea because there are so many amazing books I haven’t reviewed on A Novel Glimpse because I read them a long time ago. The only rules to this meme are to answer the following questions about the book chosen to review:

  • Why did you choose this book? 
  • When did you read this book? 
  • Who would you recommend this book to? 

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The Lace ReaderThe Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry

Publication Date: July 31, 2007

Publisher: Flap Jacket Press

Synopsis:

Like all of the Whitney women, Towner Whitney can read the future in lace. Towner no longer read lace, though. The last time she did, it killed her sister. But now Towner’s Great Aunt Eva, the original Salem Lace Reader, is missing. Towner desperately wants to find her beloved aunt and she’s tempted to go looking at the future.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Why did you choose this book? 

The Lace Reader is the very first psychological thriller I read. I remember getting to the end of the book and being like, “WHAT?!?!” I actually went back and read it a second time. Later, I read it a third time. It’s the only book I’ve read more than twice. Each time I read it I find something new.

When did you read this book?

I’m not exactly sure of the exact date I read The Lace Reader. The first time was probably in 2010 or 2011. I read it for a book group I was in. My sister actually picked the book. I hadn’t even read the blurb on the back of the book before I started reading it. I kept thinking, why did my sister pick this book? It’s not that great…but it was.

Who would you recommend this book to?

Anyone that likes psychological thrillers, unreliable narrators or fiction in general. I highly recommend reading as little about this book as you can before reading it. The less you know, the better in this case.

ARC Review: Unshakable

Unshakable (Wayward Fighters, #4)Unshakableby J.C. Valentine 

Publication Date: July 28, 2015

Publisher:  Malachite Publishing LLC

*Unshakable is included in the Red Hot Candy Boxed Set and it’s out today!

Synopsis:

Don Freyer lost both his wife and his fighting career to cancer. He was a bitter old man until Jami came into his life. Jami’s the son Don never had. Don knows Jami’s life was rough growing up and he wants to ensure Jami and his wife can provide stability for the baby they are about to have. Don’s about to make that happen for them when life throws another hurdle his way.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Unshakable is the epilogue to the Wayward Fighters series. It’s a short story told in Don and Jami’s POV’s. In order to understand the characters, it’s best to have read the previous novels.

I love that J.C. Valentine gave us one last glimpse into the lives of the Wayward Fighters family. It was short and sweet and really wrapped up the entire series in a great way. Fans of the series will love it.

Thank you to J.C. Valentine for the opportunity to read and review an ARC of Unshakable. 

Other books in this series:

Knockout (Wayward Fighters, #1)  Tapout (Wayward Fighters, #2)  unDefeated (Wayward Fighters, #3)

Run You Down

Run You DownRun You Down (Rebekah Roberts #2) by Julia Dahl

Publication Date: June 30, 2015

Publisher: Minotaur Books

Synopsis:

Rebekah Roberts’ Hasidic Jewish mother, Aviva, abandoned her as a baby. After college, Rebekah left her father and her hometown of Orlando, FL to move to New York to become a journalist and (maybe) find her mother.

While working for the Tribune, Rebekah receives a call from a man who would like the murder of his Hasidic Jewish wife looked into. He has reason to believe she may have been murdered. As Rebekah begins to investigate the story, she discovers Aviva’s brother, Sam, knew the dead woman. The more she uncovers, the more Rebekah starts to question Sam’s connections and involvement in the crime. She sees the need to learn more about Sam as an excuse to finally contact the mother walked out on her.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Run You Down was written from two points of view: Rebekah’s and Aviva’s. Rebekah’s POV was present day.  Aviva’s was more of a running letter or explanation of the events in her life to Rebekah. I liked Aviva’s chapters more than I liked Rebekah’s. Her story was more interesting to me. Rebekah’s chapters felt darker. I’m wondering if I would have felt different had I read the first book, Invisible CityI felt like I was missing information on some of the traumatic events in Rebekah’s life. Not that you can’t read Run You Down without reading Invisible City. I could completely follow the story without having read the first book. There were just little comments here and there that made me feel like I was missing something.

The mystery surrounding the dead Hasidic Jewish woman and Aviva’s brother, Sam, was very interesting and kept me guessing. I learned things about a culture I’m not sure I even knew existed. It was cool how Julia Dahl tied real news event into the story, too. It made the events in the book more relatable.

I would have liked to have read more about Sam’s life from his POV. I also wish the story hadn’t wrapped up so quickly. It would have been nice to know more about Rebekah’s life immediately following the book. I’m sure there will probably be a Rebekah #3, but I wanted a little more now.

Run You Down was a really great mystery/thriller. I would suggest it to readers that enjoyed Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train.

Thank you to Minotaur Books for the opportunity to read and honestly review Run You Down.

Other books in this series:

Invisible City