With a Twist by Staci Hart (2015)
Lily has had a crush on Blane for years, and she finally gets her chance when he and his long-time girlfriend break up. But their relationship isn't everything she dreamed it would be - and maybe the best person for her has been right in front of her all along.
This was a really cute friends-to-lovers romance, although it took most of the book for Lily and her best friend West to get together! Seeing how much of a jerk Blane was to Lily, I was really rooting for Lily and West the whole book. I wanted her to stop giving Blane chances and realize that she and West were perfect together. I loved their big, supportive group of friends, and I also really enjoyed the inside look at Lily's career as a ballerina - she's really committed to her craft. I guess my one issue would be that everyone (besides Blane) seemed just a little too perfect - no one has any bad qualities! 4 stars
Regretting You by Colleen Hoover (2019)
I am quickly becoming a huge Colleen Hoover fan, and this book solidified that for me. Although this book had some tough topics in it, it didn't feel overwhelmingly heavy like some of her previous books. In Regretting You, readers follow a mother and daughter pair as they navigate life after the death of their husband and father.
Clara is at that age where it seems like most teenagers don't get along with their mother, but their problems are further exacerbated by the fact that her father Chris is killed in a car accident, and now her mother seems to be hiding things from her. It was hard to see Clara and her mother Morgan not communicate with each other, but I could understand Morgan's perspective - she didn't want to taint Clara's memories of her father. I loved that the story was told from both Clara and Morgan's POVs, and as always, Hoover's writing is so smooth and readable, I couldn't put this down. 4 stars
No Winter Lasts Forever by Jonathan Epps (2019)
I received this book for free from Goodreads giveaways. After a high school shooting inspires a copycat killer in his community, a man becomes obsessed with finding those responsible. Ugh, such a good premise but ultimately a letdown.
The writing is stilted, with run-on sentences and paragraphs. The story is muddled and not quite sure what it wants to be - a commentary on gun violence, a thriller, a family drama? The main character obviously has anger issues, but his emotions also completely run the gamut, from anger, to depression, to euphoria, so quickly it felt like whiplash. The pacing is poor; there's a lot of action right at the beginning, but then it felt like the main plot was put aside in favor of these random scenes. It ping-pongs from one topic to the next with little connection. 2 stars