Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson | Book Review

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Title: Second Chance Summer

Author: Morgan Matson

Publishing Details: Published May 8th 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Pages: 482 pages

Format: Kobo e-reader


Summary: Taylor Edwards’ family might not be the closest-knit—everyone is a little too busy and over-scheduled—but for the most part, they get along just fine. Then Taylor’s dad gets devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer all together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains.

Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend…and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.

As the summer progresses and the Edwards become more of a family, they’re more aware than ever that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance—with family, with friends, and with love.


Review: This book is just so hyped, even now, after 4 years of publishing which led to me having very very high expectations for it. I’ve never read Morgan Matson books although pretty much all she writes is a big hit.

50% – I’m waiting for something to happen. ANYTHING!
The protagonist, Taylor has no healthy relationship with anyone in the world. We get it. Yet we’re reminded that OVER and OVER again of that and the fact that something really bad happened 5 years ago which changed her life! She was 12 years old. I don’t even remember how I was back then! I don’t understand what could possibly be so terrible to have happened at such a tender age that she just completely changed?! As far as I recalled there was no such traumatic event covered in the book like – suicide, rape, murder, depression? Nothing! Something traumatic does happen, but when she’s 17. Not the same incident.

We’re info dumped about the family and that they visit the Lake house together. But that’s all they do mostly. None of them seems interested in bonding with one another, ignoring each other most of the time, getting annoyed by them, etc. You’d believe that after whatever was happening, they’d do more than just get groceries twice.

I don’t get how Lisa and Henry are still pissed for whatever went down when they were 12. Honestly. Kids don’t hold grudges that long. Henry being her neighbor STILL doesn’t bump into her as often as a normal neighbor would. Its also really irritating how we’re reminded AGAIN and AGAIN that Taylor has no special skills at all and how everyone else is superior that way.

*le sigh*

100% – Now that I know what happened 5 years back, I just feel disappointed. Its so stupid I can’t even. You can’t hate someone for something like this so early in your life. It’s just not how childhood works. Even so, I was so glad things worked out between those three.
The only part I liked about the book was probably the fact that Warren, Taylor’s brother overcame his shyness and was brave enough to face his fears head on with smart decisions, unlike Taylor herself. I feel like her character didn’t much develop throughout, and just did in the last page all of a sudden.

Also, MURPHY! I love him. ❤

*awww*

The book deals with sickness and trauma too. How everyone has a different way of coping with sadness. I especially liked how even though she was not at all close to her mother, who seemed to prefer her sister, in the end it all worked out.

I really liked Henry, and I definitely believe that he deserves much better than Taylor. #NoHate
There’s friendship, loss, family, love, heartbreak. The entire mix needed for a good contemporary. Even so I did not enjoy it as much as other people do. Most of the time I’m not bothered by such tropes, but those were all I could think of during reading this.

I know I’m in the minority here, but I really hope Matson’s other books surprise me and end up on my favorites shelf.


Rating: 3

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2016 Reading Goals

Better late than never!

I read 150 books in 2015, even though a lot were graphic novels. Since its my last year in college along with work, I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to read.

So I put my Goodreads Goal – 100 books.

I really want to finish a series per month, so 12 in total. If I don’t feel like continuing with the same, I might jump on to some other series. Here are the series I’ve chosen as of now:

  • Uglies (1/4 done)
  • A Song of Ice and Fire (hopefully) (1/5 done)
  • Eragon (1/4 done)
  • The Winner’s Curse (1/3 done)
  • The Infernal Devices (0/3 done)
  • Marked (re-read)
  • The Lunar Chronicles (1/5 done)
  • The Raven Boys Quartet (0/4 done)
  • The 5th wave (2/3 done)
  • Half Bad (0/3 done)
  • Daughter of smoke and bone (1/3 done)
  • Lux series (2/5 done)

I’d also like to read more Classics and Literary Fiction novels. I thought I’d do that with the next challenge, cause most of the books will include in both.

The Rory Gilmore Challenge

For those who don’t know what this is, the protagonist from Gilmore Girls is really into reading, and someone made a list of all the books mentioned or seen on the show. There are around 340 in total, but I picked out some I was interested in reading. I’d really like to read at least 15 out of the 25 I picked.

Ze List:

  • Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • Carrie by Stephen King
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
  • Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  • A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  • The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
  • Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Emma by Jane Austen
  • Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Rapunzel by Grimm Brothers
  • The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  • The Shining by Stephen King
  • Snow White and Rose Red by Grimm Brothers
  • Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire
  • The Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum

 

That’s all folks! What are your goals this new year?

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December Book Releases

I had a post earlier about the seven books I was most excited about for the month of October, today I have seven books which I’m excited for/looks interesting for the month of December. Again, its in no particular order.


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#1. The Bishop’s wife by Mette Ivie Harrison

Publishing Date: 30th December 2014

Summary: In the predominantly Mormon city of Draper, Utah, some seemingly perfect families have deadly secrets.

Linda Wallheim is a devout Mormon, the mother of five boys and the wife of a bishop. But Linda is increasingly troubled by her church’s structure and secrecy, especially as a disturbing situation takes shape in her ward. One cold winter night, a young wife and mother named Carrie Helm disappears, leaving behind everything she owns. Carrie’s husband, Jared, claims his wife has always been unstable and that she has abandoned the family, but Linda doesn’t trust him. As Linda snoops in the Helm family’s circumstances, she becomes convinced that Jared has murdered his wife and painted himself as a wronged husband.

Linda’s husband asks her not to get involved in the unfolding family saga. But Linda has become obsessed with Carrie’s fate, and with the well-being of her vulnerable young daughter. She cannot let the matter rest until she finds out the truth. Is she wrong to go against her husband, the bishop, when her inner convictions are so strong?

Inspired by a chilling true crime and written by a practicing Mormon, The Bishop’s Wife is both a fascinating look at the lives of modern Mormons as well as a grim and cunningly twisted mystery.


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#2. Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay

Publishing Date: 9th December 2014

Summary: Game of Thrones meets the Grimm’s fairy tales in this twisted, fast-paced romantic fantasy-adventure about Sleeping Beauty’s daughter, a warrior princess who must fight to reclaim her throne.

Though she looks like a mere mortal, Princess Aurora is a fairy blessed with enhanced strength, bravery, and mercy yet cursed to destroy the free will of any male who kisses her. Disguised as a boy, she enlists the help of the handsome but also cursed Prince Niklaas to fight legions of evil and free her brother from the ogre queen who stole Aurora’s throne ten years ago.

Will Aurora triumph over evil and reach her brother before it’s too late? Can Aurora and Niklaas break the curses that will otherwise forever keep them from finding their one true love?


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#3. Suspicion by Alexandra Monir

Publishing Date: 9th December 2014

Summary: Mysterious. Magnificent. Creepy. Welcome to Rockford Manor.

“There’s something hidden in the Maze.” Seventeen-year-old Imogen has never forgotten the last words her father said to her seven years ago, before the blazing fire that consumed him, her mother, and the gardens of her family’s English country manor.

Haunted by her parents’ deaths, Imogen moves to New York City with her new guardians. But when a letter arrives with the news of her cousin’s untimely death, revealing that Imogen is now the only heir left to run the estate, she returns to England and warily accepts her role as duchess.

All is not as it seems at Rockford, and Imogen quickly learns that dark secrets lurk behind the mansion’s aristocratic exterior, hinting that the spate of deaths in her family were no accident. And at the center of the mystery is Imogen herself–and Sebastian, the childhood friend she has secretly loved for years. Just what has Imogen walked into?


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#4. Zodiac by Romina Russell

Publishing Date: 9th December 2014

Summary: Things are about to get Wicked in New Orleans.

At the dawn of time, there were 13 Houses in the Zodiac Galaxy. Now only 12 remain….

Rhoma Grace is a 16-year-old student from House Cancer with an unusual way of reading the stars. While her classmates use measurements to make accurate astrological predictions, Rho can’t solve for ‘x’ to save her life—so instead, she looks up at the night sky and makes up stories.

When a violent blast strikes the moons of Cancer, sending its ocean planet off-kilter and killing thousands of citizens—including its beloved Guardian—Rho is more surprised than anyone when she is named the House’s new leader. But, a true Cancerian who loves her home fiercely and will protect her people no matter what, Rho accepts.

Then, when more Houses fall victim to freak weather catastrophes, Rho starts seeing a pattern in the stars. She suspects Ophiuchus—the exiled 13th Guardian of Zodiac legend—has returned to exact his revenge across the Galaxy. Now Rho—along with Hysan Dax, a young envoy from House Libra, and Mathias, her guide and a member of her Royal Guard—must travel through the Zodiac to warn the other Guardians.

But who will believe anything this young novice says? Whom can Rho trust in a universe defined by differences? And how can she convince twelve worlds to unite as one Zodiac?

Embark on a dazzling journey with ZODIAC, the first novel in an epic sci-fi-meets-high-fantasy series set in a galaxy inspired by the astrological signs.


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#5. Wicked by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Publishing Date: 8th December 2014

Summary: Things are about to get Wicked in New Orleans.

Twenty-two year old Ivy Morgan isn’t your average college student. She, and others like her, know humans aren’t the only thing trolling the French Quarter for fun… and for food. Her duty to the Order is her life. After all, four years ago, she lost everything at the hands of the creatures she’d sworn to hunt, tearing her world and her heart apart.

Ren Owens is the last person Ivy expected to enter her rigidly controlled life. He’s six feet and three inches of temptation and swoon-inducing charm. With forest-green eyes and a smile that’s surely left a stream of broken hearts in its wake, he has an uncanny, almost unnatural ability to make her yearn for everything he has to offer. But letting him in is as dangerous as hunting the cold-blooded killers stalking the streets. Losing the boy she loved once before had nearly destroyed her, but the sparking tension that grows between them becomes impossible for Ivy to deny. Deep down, she wants… she needs more than what her duty demands of her, what her past has shaped for her.

But as Ivy grows closer to Ren, she realizes she’s not the only one carrying secrets that could shatter the frail bond between them. There’s something he’s not telling her, and one thing is for certain. She’s no longer sure what is more dangerous to her—the ancient beings threatening to take over the town or the man demanding to lay claim to her heart and her soul.


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#6.Top Ten Clues You Are Clueless by Liz Czukas

Publishing Date: 9th December 2014

Summary: Top Five Things That Are Ruining Chloe’s Day

5) Working the 6:30 a.m. shift at GoodFoods Market

4) Crashing a cart into a customer’s car right in front of her snarky coworker Sammi

3) Trying to rock the “drowned rat” look after being caught in a snowstorm

2) Making zero progress with her crush, Tyson (see #3)

1) Being accused—along with her fellow teenage employees—of stealing upwards of $10,000

Chloe would rather be anywhere than locked in work jail (aka the break room) with five of her coworkers . . . even if one of them is Tyson. But if they can band together to clear their names, what looks like a total disaster might just make Chloe’s list of Top Ten Best Moments.


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#7.The Summer I Gave Up Boys: Isaiah’s Story.

Publishing Date: 1st December 2014

Summary: Home for his last summer before graduating college, Isaiah Winters should be focusing on the biggest decision of his life: whether or not to play pro ball.

But basketball is the last thing on his mind after a meeting in the airport with his old archenemy, Kaliyah Simon. Sparks always fly when the two of them start arguing, but little does Kaliyah know the ones on Isaiah’s side are sparks of attraction.

He’s been in love with Kaliyah since high school and this summer, Isaiah is determined to do something about it.

You’ve read Kaliyah’s side. Now hear Isaiah’s.


Which ones are you excited for? I think most of the covers are gorgeous, and the plots are interesting. Sure some are kind of predictable, but that’s not a new thing I guess. 

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Life by Rebecca Belliston

Title:

Life

Author:

Rebecca Belliston

Series/Stand alone:

Citizens Of Logan Pond #1

Pages:

367 pages

Format:

Digital ARC sent by the author.

Published by/on:

September 15th 2014 by Crescent Moon Press.

Summary:

The economy crashed, the country is floundering, and Carrie Ashworth struggles to keep her brother and sister alive. She has two jobs in her newly-formed, newly-outlawed clan: grow crops to feed thirty-six people and maintain contact with Oliver Simmons, their local patrolman. Carrie’s life is almost content when Greg Pierce shows up. A man with the ambition to help them survive. A man determined to hate her.

Greg sets to work devising systems to protect their clan from the new regime, but it doesn’t take long to spot the real reason behind their safety. Patrolman Simmons has fallen for Carrie. When a government raid nearly wipes out the clan, Greg takes it upon himself to give the socially-awkward patrolman what he wants. Only Carrie doesn’t like Greg throwing her in Simmons’ path, especially when Greg’s brusque exterior melts, and she catches a glimpse of the real man underneath.

But back in town, Simmons’ coworkers have grown suspicious. A clan the size of Logan Pond couldn’t have simply ‘slipped’ past his patrols all this time. When their hidden loot goes missing, they want revenge, and the one thread holding Logan Pond together is about to break. Carrie is forced to choose: follow her heart or save her clan.

Life won’t let her choose both.

Review:

This book was so bloody good! I was a bit sad because of the cover, it doesn’t do the book justice. However, I loved the way the story unfolded itself in the form of the dystopian, post economic collapse which shook the United States. The characters were relatable,  and it was amazing to read how they struggled to survive in such a condition without being caught. The things the people had to do to survive were heart-breaking and yet so fascinating to read. Carrie is a very strong main lead and having so many responsibilities along with some duties thrust upon her.

Greg being the dashing shaved hero was annoying at first as he spoke rudely about Carrie, but later he opened his eyes to the sweet caring person she was and ultimately fell for her on matter the consequences and the results.

I think the whole concept of even lying about someone’s feelings for the sake of survival is as bad as it gets, and Carrie had to go through hate she didn’t deserve and was supposed to show affection she didn’t feel at all, and suppress her true feelings as well as be brave for everyone, and not just her family.

I seriously cannot wait for the second book to come out. *fangirls*

p.s – The author herself is such a sweet person, I cannot get over how authors can be the world’s best people in the world and yet create such amazing stories which move us emotionally. If you’re reading this Rebecca, I’m so glad you send me that copy. You seriously deserve much more hype than what I can provide for.

Rating:

5

(If I could give more I would, seriously.)

A quote I love:

Going from the center of their universe,

To the center of no one’s

Was by far the most painful thing

She’d ever experienced.

People say time heals all wounds,

It was a lie.

The longer it went,

The less she could remember.

Their voices,

Their smiles.

The way their hugs felt.

The longer it went, the more it killed.