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Book Review: Valley of the Moon by Bronwyn Archer

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Book Title: Valley of the Moon
Author: Bronwyn Archer
Series: Valley of the Moon #1 (?)
Publication Date: April 13th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, YA
Age Range: 13+ years old
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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There’s just one semester left at the Briar School for Girls in Sonoma, CA. But it will take more than straight As for Lana Goodwin to survive . . .

Senior year is not going well for 17-year-old Lana Goodwin. Her father’s vintage car business is about to crash and burn, the nicest (and cutest) teacher at school was fired under a cloud of scandal, and her hot sort-of boyfriend may or may not have something big to hide.

She’s also totally over being the class pauper. It’s bad enough her dad was briefly married to the head of the board—the rich, cruel, impeccably groomed Ramona Crawford. What’s worse is going to school with her vindictive ex-stepsister, who never misses an opportunity to make her life hell. Not ever.

It also happens to be the tenth anniversary of her mother’s suicide. No one knows why Annie Goodwin jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge the day after Christmas. She didn’t leave a note. She wasn’t sick. Even Lana’s father can’t explain it. Ten years later, someone—or something—starts sending her clues about her mother’s past.

Before Lana can escape to college, she finds herself in a life-or-death race to uncover her mother’s long-buried secrets.

Can she claim her birthright before her future and her life are snatched away?

Valley of the Moon is a modern-day fairy tale with some intense themes.


I received a copy of this book from Xpresso Book Tours (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review.

MY THOUGHTS

I have mixed feelings about this one. I’m not really sure if I like it or not. But I can definitely say that this has more negatives than positives, for me at least.

When I first read the summary, all I could think was how great it sounds. I mean, come on, read this again:

It also happens to be the tenth anniversary of her mother’s suicide. No one knows why Annie Goodwin jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge the day after Christmas. She didn’t leave a note. She wasn’t sick. Even Lana’s father can’t explain it. Ten years later, someone—or something—starts sending her clues about her mother’s past.

Now tell me that that isn’t the least bit interesting. You can imagine how pumped I was to start this book. Unfortunately though, it didn’t quite meet my expectations. The main thing that pulled me into requesting this book is the whole enigma of the clues about Lana’s mother’s past. Not a cheesy (and crappy) romance. The book didn’t provide much depth about her mother’s death. And it focused on the romance for far too long.

While we’re on that topic, let me say that the romance in this book is absolutely cringe worthy, 100% insta-love and not relevant at all. I’m talking about Lana and Caleb’s relationship, of course. They know next to nothing about each other but claims that it’s love plus, I feel like all they do is kiss. I just don’t get why authors feel the need to put romance in every single book even though it ruins the whole reading experience. Or maybe if the romance will make more sense in the sequel, at least make it a bit more believable. I’m not bashing the author, not at all, but the “love story” in this just ruined it for me.

Because I’m such a sucker for mystery novels, and also because the premise of this book still intrigues me despite the problems I encountered while reading, I still pushed through. It took a while for me to get through this because the writing just feels like it doesn’t flow correctly, I feel like it was all over the place, and that kind of put me off. And I got a bit confused with the family tree but I think it’s my fault, really. I read Me Before You alongside of this and when I read two books at once, especially when I prefer the other one much more, some details get jumbled up.

Towards the end, there came a sudden burst of action and it kind of threw me off—but not really in a bad way. Hey, I love action so I’m not complaining, I was just surprised is all. It just feels like Lana can’t catch a break at that time, so it made me feel anxious a lot.

Then, the ending. It’s a cliffhanger, but it’s also anticlimactic (what with all the action that happens beforehand).

Now let’s get to the (few) positives of the book.

If it isn’t obvious in the summary given above, this is kind of like a Cinderella retelling. I like how Ramona’s and Cressida’s characters were depicted in the story. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like them because they make Lana’s life more complicated than it already is. What I mean is that I like how it looks like they’re not just there for the sake of more drama.

I can’t really say too much but the plot twists were good. Not amazing because they didn’t make me gasp or anything. Nevertheless, they’re good because I didn’t see them coming.

Also, why are most fictional characters named Alexander so goddamn swoon-worthy?! Um, I don’t need a whole page of Alexanders on my fictional-boyfriends list, thank you very much.

Overall, this is a mostly okay read. Has more negatives than positives but it doesn’t feel right if I rate it a 2 out of 5 because I still did enjoy this. It has potential but it didn’t deliver quite well. I’m not sure if I’ll be reading the sequel when it comes out.

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21

Tag: Burn, Rewrite, Reread Tag

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Welcome to the first ever book tag I’m posting on this blog! Although admittedly, not the first one I’ve done as I sometimes answer book tags in my spare time. They’re just so fun, I wonder why it took me this long to post one. Anyway, no one actually tagged me to do this one, I just saw Melia’s post at The Immortal Readers (do yourself a favor and check it out) and thought I’d do it to.

  • Randomly choose 3 books. (You can use the “random” option on your Goodreads read shelf but I didn’t do that, I let my sister pick randomly instead.)
  • For each group, decide which book to burn, which one to rewrite, and which to reread. (Who in their right minds would let me rewrite these books?! But let’s just pretend I’m an amazing writer for the sake of the tag.)
  • Repeat until you completed three rounds. (I’m gonna do five just because I can, plus it’s really fun.)

No books were harmed in the making of this blog post.


ROUND 1

Ooh, this one’s quite easy!

BURN: My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga – I pick this one for “burn” simply because I got bored halfway through the book. The 45%-ish of the book is interesting but after that, my attention was completely gone. I was so disappointed.
REWRITE: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – As I said earlier, I am by no means a decent writer, much less an amazing one who would rewrite a Rainbow Rowell book. So let’s just pretend, folks. I enjoyed this book so much, but I would like to give it a bit more plot.
REREAD: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – I actually reread this book quite a lot. This is by far my favorite book in the contemporary romance genre. Every time I read this, I instantly brighten up a lot more. This is my go-to book whenever I’m stressed, in a bad mood or just wants to feel loved (even though it’s not directed at me, if that makes sense). I highly recommend this one.

ROUND 2

BURN: Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler – This I would burn because I’ve encountered multiple problems while reading this. I gave this a rating of 2/5 stars because I only enjoyed the parts wherein Matt was still alive (I promise that’s not a spoiler).
REWRITE: Because I Love You by Tori Rigby – Although I absolutely loved this one, I’ll have to “rewrite” this to lessen the problems that Andrea Hamilton is juggling. As much as I believe that she’s strong enough to handle the dilemmas thrown at her, I’ll feel more comfortable about myself if I do poor Andie a favor.
REREAD: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – This is a favorite of mine. I’ve read this fairly recently but I’ll be no doubt rereading this multiple times in the future. This is such a lovely story and such lovely characters and such lovely writing. If you haven’t yet, I recommend reading this one because this is one of those books that speak to you (well, at least to me it did).

ROUND 3

I think my sister purposely chose these books she knew I love to see me suffer.

BURN: The Distance Between Us by Kasie West – I’m so sorry for this. I seriously never would have thought that I’d put this book in the “burn” category. I love this book to pieces! Caymen! Alexander! NOOOOOO! Okay, I may be getting carried away, but I really do adore this book. The only reason why I’d put this as burn is because I know that I’m not gonna be actually burning it I’d be reading more books by Kasie West. And I’ll buy another copy!
REWRITE: Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins  I really want this to be rewritten purely because I wanted more action for bad-ass Harper Price.
REREAD: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken1000000% reread. If that’s not enough zeroes for you to think that this is one, if not the only one, of my favorite dystopian series of all time, here’s some more: 100000000000000000000000%. I can’t express enough how much I love The Darkest Minds trilogy. Maybe I can, but that would take ages so you would have to do with those digits I left you.

ROUND 4

BURN: Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik  I gave this 4/5 stars—I can’t remember why because I currently think this deserves only 3 or, 3.5 tops. But I would burn this instead of rewrite it (I don’t want to!) because I see more potential in the other one. Read below.
REWRITE: Reboot by Amy Tintera – This I would rewrite because, as I said, I see potential. I only gave this a 2 out of 5 because I couldn’t bring myself to care for the most part. The first part of the book really got me going, but it fell through for me starting from the middle-ish part.
REREAD: Untethered by Katie Hayoz – This one, although I would’ve like several aspects to be altered, I would still gladly reread this.

 

ROUND 5

BURN: Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson  When I saw that this book is included in the group that was randomly picked, I knew right away that I had to burn it (not literally). The book was just too problematic for me. I didn’t like the main character, not one bit. And that’s one of my bookish pet peeves, not liking the main character/the person narrating.
REWRITE: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey – I actually really liked this book but I’d like to rewrite it for a couple of reasons. First is to fucking put a reminder of some sort of whose POV I’m reading because I got so confused. And the other is to discard of the cringey romance.
REREAD: Now May You Weep by Deborah Crombie – Another 5 star read for me. I am a huge mystery/crime novel fan. This book really thrilled me, although there were some parts wherein all they talk about is whiskey which I’m not a fan of, but I don’t see that as a problem of the book. Basically, this is just really great. And it takes place in Scotland’s Highlands!


So there we go. This was so much fun to do. Thanks again to Melia @ The Immortal Readers for introducing me to this tag. Do you agree with my choices? Why or why not? Let’s talk, leave a comment below! 😀

Book cover photos are taken from Goodreads.

 

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Waiting On Wednesday: Change Places with Me by Lois Metzger

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

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This week’s book:

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Book Title: Change Places with Me
Author: Lois Metzger
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date:
 June 14th 2016
Genres: Mystery, Fiction, YA
Age Range: 14+ years old

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Rose has changed. She still lives in the same neighborhood with her stepmother and goes to the same high school with the same group of kids, but when she woke up today, something was just a little different than it was before. The dogs who live upstairs are no longer a terror. Her hair and her clothes all feel brand-new. She wants to throw a party—this from a girl who hardly ever spoke to her classmates before. There is no more sadness in her life; she is bursting with happiness.

But something still feels wrong to Rose. Because, until very recently, Rose was an entirely different person—a person who is still there inside her, just beneath the thinnest layer of skin.


Yet another mystery book featured in my W.O.W. post. The summary sounds fantastic, right?

What are you waiting on this week? Leave a comment or send me a link to you own post. Thanks for stopping by!

All book cover photos and summaries are taken from Goodreads.

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Waiting On Wednesday: The Leaving by Tara Altebrando

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

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This week’s book:

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Book Title: The Leaving
Author: Tara Altebrando
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publication Date: June 7th 2016
Genres: Mystery, Contemporary, Thriller, Fiction, YA
Age Range: 13-17 years old

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Six were taken. Eleven years later, five come back–with no idea of where they’ve been.

Eleven years ago, six kindergarteners went missing without a trace. After all that time, the people left behind moved on, or tried to.

Until today. Today five of those kids return. They’re sixteen, and they are . . . fine. Scarlett comes home and finds a mom she barely recognizes, and doesn’t really recognize the person she’s supposed to be, either. But she thinks she remembers Lucas. Lucas remembers Scarlett, too, except they’re entirely unable to recall where they’ve been or what happened to them. Neither of them remember the sixth victim, Max. He doesn’t come back. Everyone wants answers. Most of all Max’s sister Avery, who needs to find her brother–dead or alive–and isn’t buying this whole memory-loss story.


I cannot contain myself. I must get a copy of this as soon as possible. It just sounds so good!

What are you waiting on this week? Leave a comment below or give me a link to your own Waiting On Wednesday post. Thanks for stopping by!

All book cover photos and summaries are taken from Goodreads.

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Book Review: Now May You Weep by Deborah Crombie

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Book Title: Now May You Weep
Author: Deborah Crombie
Series: Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James #9
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: September 28th 2004
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Crime, Fiction
Age Range: 15+ years old
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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Newly appointed Detective Inspector Gemma James has never thought to question her friend Hazel Cavendish about her past. So it is quite a shock when Gemma learns that their holiday retreat to a hotel in the Scottish Highlands is, in fact, Hazel’s homecoming — and that fellow guest Donald Brodie was once Hazel’s lover, despite a vicious, long-standing feud between their rival, fine whiskey distilling families. And the fires of a fierce and passionate affair may not have burned out completely — on Brodie’s part at least, since he’s prepared to destroy Hazel’s marriage to win back his “Juliet.” But when a sudden, brutal murder unleashes a slew of sinister secrets and long-seething hatreds, putting Hazel’s life in peril, Gemma knows she will need help unraveling this very bloody knot — and calls for the one man she trusts more than any other, Duncan Kincaid, to join her far from home … and in harm’s way.

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