Category Archives: Realistic Fiction

The Roman and the Runaway by AJ Braithwaite

After doing poorly in school and getting in with the wrong crowd, Luke is sent to a boarding school. He is shocked when he learns his next door neighbor, who he has been hiking with all summer, is his new headmaster. Meanwhile, Pagan’s mother’s boyfriend is super creepy, but Pagan doesn’t know how to tell her mom and instead makes plans to run away to a little town. A town that just happens to include Luke’s school, Hawley Lodge.

The Roman and the Runaway is a very pleasant book split into three parts. The first part is about Luke, the Roman, ending just after he meets Pagan, the runaway. The second part picks up a few days before Pagan meets Luke. The third part mixes their stories together. There was a significant plot twist near the end that I most definitely was not expecting. Overall, it’s a very sweet story with an excellent ending. I highly recommend reading it to teens and up!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 95
Pages Read in 2017: 26,732
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Birthstone Bookology (R in RUBY)

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Remaining Me by Ansandra Woodman

Taylor’s life dramatically changes when her mother marries the amazing and rich Chad. It soon becomes clear that Chad is neither amazing nor rich, but, as a narcissist, he certainly makes sure to appear that way to everyone outside of his house. Taylor is his favorite target, refusing to allow her to do things that make her happy while simultaneously telling other people Taylor is difficult and just doesn’t want to do those things anymore. Once it becomes clear her mother will never side with her and feeling completely worthless, Taylor turns to drugs and alcohol until an observant and kind school librarian steps in with help.

The author of Remaining Me clearly has experience with a narcissist. Some of the things Chad said and did are exactly like things a friend’s narcissist ex-husband said and did. The emptiness apparent in Taylor’s mother’s actions is spot on for someone who has been verbally and emotionally beaten down. Taylor’s emotions and pain jump out of the pages making you want to hug her and save her from her horrible home life. The book is the story of Taylor’s young life, told from Taylor’s point of view at 17-years-old as she’s thinking about how she got where she is now. It’s very engaging and sucked me right in. Possibly because I supported my friend through her divorce, the whole thing rang very true and hurt my heart and affected me in ways that likely made the book that much better. The author is certainly an excellent storyteller.

So why didn’t I give it 5 stars? I really, really wanted to. It deserves 5 stars and with some editing, it would be. I debated between 3 and 4 stars because the errors are just that bad, but the story itself is so incredibly good, I went with 4 stars. There are an abundance of grammar mistakes. In many, many places there are words that do not belong. Often, I could figure out how the sentence was written originally because of words left in during the editing process (the final sentences were always better). At least one character’s middle name changed. A couple other details changed as well. Not related to the editing issues, I personally felt the last chapter was completely unnecessary. The second to last chapter had a good, not tied up with a bow everything is happy and awesome, but, rather, hopeful, ending that fit the rest of the book very well. The final chapter kind of tried to do the tying up with a bow and it fell flat because Chad’s abuse will affect Taylor and her mother and her baby brother and sister forever. It’s really unfortunate that the editing errors in the book caused the rating to drop because this is a really excellent story and I highly recommend reading it.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 88
Pages Read in 2017: 24,260
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Birthstone Bookology (R in PEARL)

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An Affair to Dismember by Elise Sax

Gladie has moved in with her grandmother in a quiet little town in order to join the family business of being a matchmaker. Her plans get a little derailed when dead bodies start piling up, there are crazy people across the street, and two hot men are vying for her attention.

Parts of the story were good. Unfortunately, the not so good parts far exceeded the good ones. The writing was a bit juvenile (though the book is clearly for adults). For example, at one point it says she had a mouthful of chili cheese dog in her mouth. Glad the author cleared up for us that her mouthful was actually in her mouth. At times it really needed an editor or better proofreading. In addition to grammar mistakes, there were occasional missing words. Usually, that is not a huge deal and I can overlook it, but one time, the missing word completely changed the meaning of the sentence. A character said she did see the person who threw a frozen knish at her, but the context of the rest of the conversation made it clear that the word not was missing and she actually did not see the person. The timeline was often very strange even though the reader is constantly being reminded of the timeline. Sometimes the action that is packed into a certain amount of time is simply impossible just by adding the times given. The sexy chief of police usually is intelligent, but on one specific occasion, he’s completely dumb. They go to talk to someone and the flowers in her many pots on the porch are dead. Instead of concluding that she is no longer living there, the police chief, Spencer, decides to stake out her house and await her return because there is still furniture inside after all. That stakeout seems to last a few hours, but based on the other things they did and when they returned home that day, it couldn’t have been more than 30 minutes or an hour. Spencer eventually concludes she must not be coming back because the flowers are dead. I’m pretty sure the stakeout was only included to get in a slightly amusing scene of Gladie peeing in the woods with Spencer’s back to her and then to add in Gladie snuggling up to Spencer to take a nap. The book is often all over the place throwing in storylines that it forgets about and then picks up later. It was extremely predictable. I figured out who did it early on and that’s saying something since I tend to be a very trusting reader and rarely figure things out before the big reveal (and the big reveal in this book was incredibly long and tedious). Some random amusing bits are thrown in, but overall it’s just not a very interesting book. It didn’t draw me into the story or make me care about the characters. An Affair to Dismember is the first in a series, but I most definitely won’t be reading any more of them since this first one really was not worth the time it took to read it.

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 87
Pages Read in 2017: 24,025
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Birthstone Bookology (A in PEARL)

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Summer Baby by Beth Labonte

Summer and Graham are finally having a baby! Her parents live nearby and his parents are up from Florida and typical hilarity ensues.

The Summer books are all lots of fun and Summer Baby is no exception. It reads fast and is an excellent mind vacation. I highly recommend reading it!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 83
Pages Read in 2017: 23,265
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: I like the Summer series

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Midian by Andrea Pearson

Dmitri and Kelson have arrived in Gevkan to prepare for the wedding. Arien’s best friend Midian is horrified by Kelson’s behavior and really wants to hate him.

Midian is a novella that tells the story of the first little while after Midian and Kelson met. It’s a short and sweet little background story on how two characters who died before the first Kilenya book and were the parents of two of the Kilenya characters got together. It’s a quick read and adds to the overall enjoyment of the Kilenya series. I recommend it for all Kilenya fans!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 80
Pages Read in 2017: 22,547
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: I like the series

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Samara by Andrea Pearson

Samara meets an awesome guy only to find out he’s her sister’s new boyfriend. Not only that, she now has to spend a week with this hot guy she’s totally attracted to and try to ignore her feelings and how her sister treats him.

Samara is a short and sweet little romance with a couple Kilenya characters thrown in. It gives a nice bit of backstory for a side character I never really even thought much about. I recommend reading this novella to anyone who is a Kilenya fan. It would probably be best after reading at least the first Kilenya book so you already know who the characters are.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 79
Pages Read in 2017: 22,456
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: I like the series

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Entangled by Barbara Ellen Brink

Billie is shocked to learn her uncle has died and left her his vineyard. She spent only a few weeks on vacation there as a little girl, but she doesn’t remember anything about that time. She arrives in California with the intention to sell it and return home to Minnesota, but then she starts remembering things she’d long forgotten.

Entangled was a pretty good book. It took a bit to get into it, though, and there were a few minor editing issues throughout. I was quite surprised at half of the outcome, but had long before guessed the other half. It is the first in a series of books, but I don’t know if I’ll bother to read the others. This one can totally stand on its own as a complete story. I recommend reading Entangled to fans of women’s fiction.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 66
Pages Read in 2017: 19,518
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Birthstone Bookology (E in EMERALD)

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