Book Review:

In Hope of Memories
In the Hope of Memories
By Olivia Rivers
E-Book March 2016
Available Here

Hope is dying.

Hope Jackson has lived her short life to the fullest, but her four closest friends are dangling on the brink of disaster. Right before dying of a rare heart condition, Hope sets up a scavenger hunt across New York City using her graffiti art. The directions she leaves her friends are simple: Solve the clues hidden in her art, and they’ll solve the problems haunting their lives.

Hope is dead.

Two days after her heart fails, Hope’s friends are thrown together:

Aiden, her best friend, whose plans to attend college have been scattered by his OCD.
Kali, her foster sister, whose last ties to sanity are as razor-thin as her anorexic waistline.
Erik, her high school crush, whose success as an athlete is based on a lie with no end in sight.
And Sam, her online pen-pal, whose perfect life exploded into chaos in the aftermath of a school bombing.

Together, the four teens take to the streets of New York to complete Hope’s scavenger hunt and fulfill her dying wishes. But in order to unravel the clues hidden in Hope’s graffiti, her friends will need to confront their personal demons head on.

Hope is within reach.

The Good:

-OK first we have to talk about the cover. I love the colors and the multi-surface effect. The picture within the picture is awesome and honestly the cover alone had my attention so I was definitely going to read it regardless of the subject.
-I love the characters all of them (ok there was 1 that I found sort of problematic but we’ll get to that later). Aiden was sweet and always had good intentions even if he came off as robotic at times, Erik had that awesome bad boy vibe even though he was all soft and squishy inside, Kali was the tough girl who was really really broken, and Sam was the friend Hope had never met in person but they still had a strong bond. All in all there 4 unique voices that made this story truly exceptional.
-The scavenger hunt. I love books with the scavenger hunts and I don’t know why but it makes the perfect summer read for me.
-The ending was sweet and not so over the top happy that it worked for me and made sense for the characters.
-There was no romance well for the most part. There was a romance between Erik and Hope but since she was dead there wasn’t any over the top insta-love.
-The author mastered a plot and character driven plot perfectly. We got to see a ton of growth from all the characters and the plot was never bogged down.
-There were actually parents in the book!! And they were good for parents for the most part which is a nice change from the usual YA book so kudos for that.
-There was a lot of tough subject matters (eating disorders, mental health, grief, sexuality issues) and all were handled with grace and executed extremely well.

The Bad:

I said there was one character I had a hard time connecting with and that would be Hope. To me she seemed more of a symbol than a character. I didn’t find her as fleshed out as I had hoped for considering she’s the thread that brings these 4 together. She was a little too perfect and with 4 other characters who are so amazingly un-perfect she ended up falling flat for me.
-The clues are all done in Hope’s graffiti art and it would have been amazing to see some of it come to life on the pages.

The Rating:
5 Stars

This book was amazing. I laughed, I cried, I shook my head in frustration (sometimes it was all within one chapter). This book executed multiple POV’s flawlessly you were never confused with who was narrating and all of their stories played perfectly off one another. The book ended on a hopeful yet realistic note and for me that’s the mark of a great contemporary read. I’ve never read anything by this author but I definitely implore you to pick this book up ASAP you will not regret it.

(I received this book for free in exchange for a review from Netgalley).

So, yes I am totally a day behind and I’m not reviewing the book I intended to review (way to already be breaking my goals hahaha). Alas, I am a mood reader and I couldn’t get this book off my mind once I received it so I had to read it and I’m so happy I did. What are you reading this week? I’m not sure what I’m in the mood for right now so I’m going to start a couple different books and see what grabs me. 

XOXO,
Mary

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Review: Wink, Poppy, Midnight

WinkPoppyMidnight
Wink, Poppy, Midnight
April Genevieve Tucholke
Hardcover Pub. March 2016
Available Here

Every story needs a hero.
Every story needs a villain.
Every story needs a secret.

Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous.

What really happened?
Someone knows.
Someone is lying.

The Good:
-The writing. The writing definitely falls into the category of phenomenal.
-After it ends it stays with you. I found myself thinking about this for days (weeks) after finishing it
-The character of Poppy I love me a well-written villain, if she can even be considered the villain in this.
-Multiple view points. I love getting inside the heads of multiple characters and I think all 3 MC’s had very distinct voices so there was no chance of getting confused.

The Bad:
-There wasn’t much of a plot at least not until almost 2/3 through the book and by that point it’s almost too little too late
-I really enjoy character-driven books but we were a little beaten over the head with the same reveals about the characters like Poppy smells like jasmine and Wink has curly red hair and freckles
-I couldn’t stand Wink she annoyed me to no end. She just felt too unreal for me to really connect to. And I couldn’t figure out why Midnight was so impressed with her. Also, what was so amazing about Midnight?
-At the end I sort of felt myself wondering what exactly was the point of this?

Overall, this is a hard book to peg in any category. It’s sort of magical realism but not and it’s sort of a mystery but not. I think I would have enjoyed it significantly more had the action started earlier. We would have been given much stronger character arcs for all 3 characters and that would add to the reader engagement. I would definitely read more books by the author though because it mastery of words is just amazing. In the end, I am giving this title 3 stars.

Have you read this book? Are there any books that totally capture you based on the blurb and when you close the cover it sadly didn’t live up to your expectations?

XOXO,
Mary