Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Fated Memories by Joan Carney

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"Adversity builds strength. You just need to trust yourself enough to use it."

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.

Fated Memories is a beautiful story of two girls finding the love of their lives, friendship, and time travel. I was a little nervous at first since I tend to have a hard time really getting into war stories. However, Carney took a twist off the girls' perspective in the hospital. Simon, Kitty, and Maggie struggle to fit in as best as they can. Between trying to prevent any "butterfly effects" and Kitty getting sent to the psych ward because of her potty mouth. Simon goes to work in the Army and the girls busy themselves with the injured trying to adjust to 1861 medicine and not giving away to much modern day medical practices.

The Characters where great! I loved that Carney made Kitty a real bad ass. In the beginning she was coming off very poor me and everyone take care of me and I thought "oh boy this is going to be a long book." But once she made up her mind, everyman knew not to mess with her nor Maggie or they would end up in pain on the ground. Its not very often you see a strong woman as men are so well known for being great protectors. Simon was quite the gentleman, I'm still confused about where his memories came from. Maggie was the best friend and spouse. Even I know that it can be difficult balancing friends and a new relationship but she executed that perfectly -- I'm quite jealous.

In a long string of events - while getting dressed for Kitty's wedding - the girls realize this was always their destiny. Carney wove together a beautiful story and I will definitely be recommending this one!

My rating: 5 out 5 stars

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

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"As I head up from the gym it strikes me how strange people are. You can see them every day - you can think you know them - and then you find out you hardly know them at all"

This book was recommended to me by my stepdaughter -- I guess reading this book was a reminder to me that she is not such a little girl anymore. *tear

Well I knew getting into this story was going to be the same story over and over and over and over. I think Oliver did an ok job of adding little things in for each day so that you kept getting a different piece of everyone and got to feel closer Sam as she discovered more about herself and more about others.

I do fully acknowledge that bullying is a problem so don't attack me for this next statement. I felt like Sam's "bullying" was taken to a whole new extreme and was made unrealistic. Now I know that girls are great at ganging up on each other and one week one girl is getting left out and the next week the table has turned and a different girl is being excluded with rumors flying through the school. Now when I was growing up that happened all the time and we just had to power through (not saying that it was ok). But Oliver draws up this scene with Sam and another girl in the hallway where the girl is asking Sam to talk to the teacher and make it right. I felt like Sam's reaction was way off from what would of happened. When I picture what I would have done or other girls who have ganged up on my stepdaughter would have done, I just see them walking away and rolling their eyes or saying "not my problem" instead, Sam went into all kinds of unlikely conversations bits. And I felt like this was happening throughout the book.

"you can't go home again - isn't necessarily that places change, but that people do. So nothing ever looks the same" I absolutely loved this!! As we get older and mature perspectives change.

I was not expecting the ending. After all her maturing and grasping reality I was convinced that she was eventually going to come out of this very strong. I was speechless about the ending and I think it actually ruined the book for me.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars.

First Offense by Marti Green

"She fervently hoped that the facilities she'd read about were anomalies, a few bad detentions centers out of thousands across the country that worked well. But she expected that wasn't the case. She also suspected that as more and more states moved to private, for profit, prisons, both for juveniles and adults, the abuses would increase."

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review thanks to NetGally.*

So many heart strings have been pulled throughout reading this book. Before being a stay at home mom, I was a Paralegal, so with following Dani through her ambition to help Frankie I was very excited to see where the story was going. However, I was strongly reminded how corrupt the legal system can be. Going through college and working in the environment, my mind always thinks of the legal system screwing over adults and rescuing children from abusive parents or sex trafficking circles. I never envisioned that so much corruption could be destroying childrens' lives as well. I cannot even begin to imagine the amount of pain and frustration Green must have been feeling as she did her research for this great story.

First Offense is about Frankie, 12 years old, getting thrown into the justice system over trying to fit in at a new school once again by flaunting a couple joints of marijuana. His punishment is sever considering its his first offense and he has a history of being a straight A student. After a couple of months in the juvenile detention center, Frankie is beaten so bad he is sent to the hospital and is in such fear of his life... runs. Then begins the grand story of keeping him safe and away from the facility that is full of teenagers who should of never been there thanks to the corrupt judge.

I really enjoyed the plot except I felt like the book was wrapping up and coming to a close about halfway through. Green took too big of a section in the middle of the book to "fill some gaps" that really drug out the story. It was nice to know what happen to the characters but I think the events should have been broken up a bit so it didn't feel like there was a conclusion in the middle of the book.

There was some frustrating parts for me since I have a legal background. I found that the author was trying to discretely explain legal terms: "ACOD. Dani didn't have to explain to Tommy that it meant adjournment in contemplation of dismissal"  I guess it could be nice for readers who don't have any experience in the law or who have never picked up a book that dealt with a courtroom setting -- but I guess that what Google is for too. I tried to be ok with Green explaining terms like this until I came across her explaining to me what FIFA was -- I don't live under a rock.

I found myself acting like a football fan on Football Sunday, yelling at the screen wondering what in the world Frank's first attorney was thinking-- I guess ignorance really is bliss. If I was Frank's mother, he probably would have been sued for negligence. For example, Franky was being accused of starting fights and then getting his butt whooped by the older kids... one look at his knuckles would have easily ruled that out (with a doctor's testimony of course) as there was no physical "damage" done to his knuckles. I felt like this simple explanation would of saved Frankie a lot of trouble - why would this not be brought up? And what attorney watches a BS conviction and then advisees the mother to not continue with an appeal and allow her child to go to juvy, especially after the father has just gone MIA?!?!

Overall I was very drawn into the book. It was well written and I would recommend it to a friend. It is obvious that Green did a lot of research and I love how she brought it to life.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars