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My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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MsArdychan's bookshelf: read

I Owe You One
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Love, Hate & Other Filters
The Wartime Sisters
The Belles
The Gilded Wolves
Hey, Kiddo
Blackberry and Wild Rose
Queen of Air and Darkness
Firestarter
The Retribution of Mara Dyer
The Evolution of Mara Dyer


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Thursday, August 6, 2020

Audio ARC Review: Devolution by Max Brooks




Please Note:  I received an advance audio copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions in my review in any way.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

As the ash and chaos from Mount Rainier's eruption swirled and finally settled, the story of the Greenloop massacre has passed unnoticed, unexamined . . . until now.

But the journals of resident Kate Holland, recovered from the town's bloody wreckage, capture a tale too harrowing--and too earth-shattering in its implications--to be forgotten.

In these pages, Max Brooks brings Kate's extraordinary account to light for the first time, faithfully reproducing her words alongside his own extensive investigations into the massacre and the legendary beasts behind it.

Kate's is a tale of unexpected strength and resilience, of humanity's defiance in the face of a terrible predator's gaze, and inevitably, of savagery and death.

Yet it is also far more than that.

Because if what Kate Holland saw in those days is real, then we must accept the impossible. We must accept that the creature known as Bigfoot walks among us--and that it is a beast of terrible strength and ferocity.

Part survival narrative, part bloody horror tale, part scientific journey into the boundaries between truth and fiction, this is a Bigfoot story as only Max Brooks could chronicle it--and like none you've ever read before.

Review:
Normally, I am not a fan of horror.  But Devolution, by Max Brooks, is so riveting, and the audiobook so well produced, that I didn't mind the sleepless nights as I listened to it.

What I Liked:
Audiobook Production:
This is one of the most entertaining audiobooks I have ever listened to!  I know that this is a book of fiction.  But, with a full cast, lead by Judy Grier, sometimes you forget.  The small touches, such as using actual commentators from NPR, bring a level of realism to this book that made me run to Google to double check that this didn't actually happen.

And Judy Grier is so compelling.  She has a conversational voice that makes the listener instantly connect to the characters and situations.

Setting:
The setting is the vast wilderness of Washington state that lies in the shadow of Mt. Ranier.  A small group of smug techies have established a high tech community where the WiFi is swift and anything can be delivered via drone.

But their reliance on electricity and the Internet prove to be their undoing as a natural disaster wipes out their access to the outside world. And this disaster also flushes out a group of legendary creatures...the Sasquatch!

Story:
At first, the story seems like a straight up tale of survival.  The neighbors pool their resources and divvy up tasks such as cleaning off their solar panels.  But things take a wild turn as they start to realize that animal predators are killing the smaller animals.  Could the humans be next? 

Now, most people would think predators would mean bears or bobcats.  Humans can do lots to defend themselves from that.  But what if they are facing predators who are massively strong, and (perhaps) smart, as well?  The humans may not be at the top of the food chain, after all.

What I was Mixed About:
Violence:
I totally get that, in order to really understand how strong these creatures are, there would be scenes of bloodshed.  But there were a few scenes that were, for lack of a better term, Slasher Porn.  Sadly, I was listening to this part of the book in the car on my way to work.  I was so horrified and disturbed, that I almost had to pull over!  As it was, I had my hand over my mouth as I listened to the carnage.  Plus, as I was listening to an audiobook, I could not skip ahead.  Oh the nightmares...

Rating: 


Release Date:  June 16th, 2020

Author:  Max Brooks

Audiobook Publisher:  Penguin Random House Audio

Narrator:  Judy Grier and a full cast

Audiobook Length:  9 hours, 51 minutes

Print Publisher:  Del Rey Books

Print Length:  286 Pages

Source:  Publisher

Format:  Audiobook

Recommendation:
A highly entertaining horror book, particularly in the audiobook format.  This book is very violent, so if you are squeamish, be prepared to have some nightmares.

 

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Tuesday, August 4, 2020

ARC Review: Paris Never Leaves You by Ellen Feldman



Please Note:  I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions in my review in any way.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Living through WWII working in a Paris bookstore with her young daughter, Vivi, and fighting for her life, Charlotte is no victim, she is a survivor. But can she survive the next chapter of her life?

Alternating between wartime Paris and 1950s New York publishing, Paris Never Leaves You is an extraordinary story of resilience, love, and impossible choices, exploring how survival never comes without a cost.

Review:
I've read many books set during WWII, particularly about the experiences of civilians in Occupied Paris.  It was a time of unthinkable choices, as people weighed their morals against their empty bellies.  While this novel was a unique take on this kind of tale, I was conflicted by some of the twists in this story. 

What I Liked:
Settings:
This story takes place in two place and time periods, Paris during the war itself, and then New York City in the nineteen-fifties.  The author did a wonderful job of using details of foods, smells, and textures to convey a sense of time and place.  All this helps the reader understand how challenging it was to get even basic food during the war, and then how overwhelming the abundance of America must have seemed.

Characters:
I actually didn't like most of the characters, with the exception of one character in the New York portion of the story.  Horace is a WWII veteran who lost the use of his legs during the Japanese fighting in the War.  Horace is fiercely independent and never speaks about his experiences in the war.  He also has a very strained relationship with his wife, Hannah.  Hannah is overly helpful, and rather condescending to Horace.  She seems to enjoy being the nursemaid, and forgets being a wife.  It's heartbreaking to see how their marriage is crumbling.

What I was mixed about:
Characters:
I really couldn't connect to any of the characters.  While I could admire that Charlotte and Julian did what they needed to do to survive, I felt they were both cowards.  Yes, that's harsh.  But what they did was pretty reprehensible. 

Julian, in particular, could have made other choices, but wound up supporting Nazis.  We never find out definitely if Julian actively killed Jews, but he certainly did nothing when people were taken away to the concentration camps.

Charlotte thinks what she does is justified because she has a small child.  But, by lying to make her way to America, she may have displaced a refugee who should have been allowed to immigrate to the United States.  Her actions did have consequences for others.

What I Didn't Like:
Story:
Okay, I usually don't discuss spoilers, but I see no way around this (stop now if you don't want to know) in order to explain why I objected to this book.  I really dislike the notion of the "good" Nazi.  And I became more angry over the course of the novel when Charlotte actually falls in love with the Nazi soldier, Julian.  The twist of what Julian actually is is apparently historically accurate.  But that doesn't make it okay.  This really is over the top.

Rating: 


Release Date:  August 4th, 2020

Author:  Ellen Feldman

Publisher:  St. Martin's Griffin

Genre:  Historical Fiction

Page Length:  368 Pages

Source:  NetGalley

Format:  E-Book

Recommendation:  Although it may be historically accurate, the characters in this book are extremely unlikable, with a story that is quite hard to fathom.



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Friday, July 31, 2020

ARC Review: The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis




Please Note:  I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions in my review in any way.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

It's 1913, and on the surface, Laura Lyons couldn't ask for more out of life--her husband is the superintendent of the New York Public Library, allowing their family to live in an apartment within the grand building, and they are blessed with two children. But headstrong, passionate Laura wants more, and when she takes a leap of faith and applies to the Columbia Journalism School, her world is cracked wide open. As her studies take her all over the city, she finds herself drawn to Greenwich Village's new bohemia, where she discovers the Heterodoxy Club--a radical, all-female group in which women are encouraged to loudly share their opinions on suffrage, birth control, and women's rights. Soon, Laura finds herself questioning her traditional role as wife and mother. But when valuable books are stolen back at the library, threatening the home and institution she loves, she's forced to confront her shifting priorities head on . . . and may just lose everything in the process.

Eighty years later, in 1993, Sadie Donovan struggles with the legacy of her grandmother, the famous essayist Laura Lyons, especially after she's wrangled her dream job as a curator at the New York Public Library. But the job quickly becomes a nightmare when rare manuscripts, notes, and books for the exhibit Sadie's running begin disappearing from the library's famous Berg Collection. Determined to save both the exhibit and her career, the typically risk-adverse Sadie teams up with a private security expert to uncover the culprit. However, things unexpectedly become personal when the investigation leads Sadie to some unwelcome truths about her own family heritage--truths that shed new light on the biggest tragedy in the library's history.

Review:
I have been a huge fan of author Fiona Davis, having read several of her previous books, including The Masterpiece and The Chelsea Girls.  She has a knack for finding dramatic tension in all kinds of situations.  In The Lions of Fifth Avenue, her latest book, the New York Public Library is the backdrop for a story of the changing roles of women in the early part of the twentieth century.  A mystery involving a stolen book ties the stories of Laura Lyons, a young married woman in 1914, with that of her granddaughter Sadie, a librarian in 1993.

This book was filled with the conflicts of the times, between the traditional roles of women and an awakening to the potential women have to contribute to society.  With strong characters and a story that incorporates a fascinating mystery, this was a wonderful reading experience.

What I Liked:
Social Issues:
The early part of the twentieth century was a time of change.  Millions of immigrants were arriving in America, many settling in New York.  And the traditional roles of women were in question, as the suffragette movement took hold.

The Lions of Fifth Avenue shows the tenements of New York with all the overcrowding, disease, and poverty.  It also shows how many were concerned and took action to alleviate suffering.  The health programs aimed at reducing infant mortality were quite progressive for its time.  And women lead the charge!

Women were also beginning to question why their roles in life were limited to homemaking and child-rearing.  Topics such as birth control were deemed obscene.  Women were dependent on their husbands for their economic well-being.  But women were waking up to the injustices of their situation.

Characters:
Laura, Jack, and Amelia:
In 1914, Laura seems happy with her life.  She is married to a kind man and has two sweet children.  They live in (yes, in) the New York Public Library, in a hidden apartment reserved for the superintendent of the building.  That is her husband, Jack's job.  But he has ambitions to become a published author.

But, as the story progresses, Jack shows that he is a man of his time.  His career goals are all important.  He takes for granted that Laura will support his needs above her own.  In fact, he doesn't seem to register that Laura has any needs beyond being a wife and mother.  I  loved all the layers of their relationship.  Jack is trying to be supportive of Laura.  But how can he really?  His world view is stubbornly anchored in the previous century. Laura is truly attempting to be content, but it's a losing battle.

Then, Laura meets Amelia.  Amelia is a female doctor who's working with tenement families.  Her assertive ways, and independence, helps Laura open her eyes to she's missing out on.   She also awakens a desire in Laura that she never could have imagined.  This was a woman way ahead of her time.

Sadie:
Sadie is Laura's granddaughter and the focus on the part of the story that takes place in 1993.  She is independent, has a career, and lives her life on her own terms.  But she also is a bit of a loner, particularly after her divorce.  While she has a life that Laura would approve of on the surface, Sadie is wary of taking chances and is not happy.  Her challenge is learning how to be comfortable with her choices.

Mystery:
In both stories, rare books are being stolen from the Library.  Laura's husband Jack is the main suspect in 1914, and Sadie (the curator of one of the collections) is suspected in 1993.  With Sadie's reputation on the line, she is determined to find out what is going on.  She learns of the earlier thefts and wonders if there is some connection to the current burglaries.  I like how Sadie uses her skills as a librarian to research everything from the architectural plans of the library, to relics in the library's collection to look for clues.

What I Was Mixed About:
Historical Details:
While the author does a very good job of presenting the social issues of the early part of the twentieth century, some of the smaller details of daily life are lost.  I really cherish these small glimpses into how people lived in bygone times.  I would have loved to know the challenges of being a homemaker (doing the laundry must have been rough!).  This would have provided more context for Laura's discontentment.

Rating: 


Release Date:  August 4th, 2020

Author:  Fiona Davis

Publisher:  Dutton Books

Genre:  Historical Fiction

Page Length:  368 Pages

Source: Edelweiss

Format:  E-Book

Recommendation:  Who knew a mystery revolving around a stolen book could be so compelling!  A wonderful historical fiction. 


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Thursday, July 30, 2020

Blog Tour Review: Lobizona by Romina Garber



Please Note:  I received an advance copy of this novel from the publisher as part of a Blog Tour to promote this book.  If I did not enjoy the book, I had the option to not participate.

Synopsis (from the publisher):

Some people ARE illegal.

Lobizonas do NOT exist.

Both of these statements are false.

Manuela Azul has been crammed into an existence that feels too small for her. As an undocumented immigrant who's on the run from her father's Argentine crime-family, Manu is confined to a small apartment and a small life in Miami, Florida.

Until Manu's protective bubble is shattered.

Her surrogate grandmother is attacked, lifelong lies are exposed, and her mother is arrested by ICE. Without a home, without answers, and finally without shackles, Manu investigates the only clue she has about her past—a mysterious "Z" emblem—which leads her to a secret world buried within our own. A world connected to her dead father and his criminal past. A world straight out of Argentine folklore, where the seventh consecutive daughter is born a bruja and the seventh consecutive son is a lobizón, a werewolf. A world where her unusual eyes allow her to belong.

As Manu uncovers her own story and traces her real heritage all the way back to a cursed city in Argentina, she learns it's not just her U.S. residency that's illegal. . . .it’s her entire existence.


Review:

When I read the premise for this book, I was immediately interested. The struggles of undocumented people living in America, is an important topic in these times. But When I saw there were witches, and werewolves in the story, I just had to read this book.


This may seem, at first, to be rip off of Harry Potter. However, where J.K. Rowling uses that book series to explore the dangers of authoritarian governments, author Romina Garber uses the premise to inspect themes of gender norms in Hispanic culture, immigration, and human value. These are important themes for our time wrapped in a highly entertaining YA fantasy novel.


What I Liked:

Settings:

The story begins in Miami in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood. People band together and help each other out. Fear of ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement) raids is a constant threat. Manu, the main character can only see part of the neighborhood because she is in hiding, both from ICE, and from her father's Argentinian family. She is stuck in an illegal status, and waits for a time where she can have legal status. She also has some physical traits that mark her as different...


Later, as Manu finds a hidden world of magic, she discovers a place where she might actually belong.  It's a place filled with natural wonders, brujas (witches), Lobizones (werewolves), and rigid gender roles.  Even with these constraints, it feels like she could make a life for herself in this new world.  But as she is half-human, she realizes she is also considered illegal here as well!  The girl can't win!


Characters:

I really liked Manu, the main character.  All her life, her mom has told her to keep a low profile in order to avoid deportation.  She's been held back, but dreams of the day she'll get legal status so she can finally start living.  When she realizes she's been lied to her whole life, she has to decide what she, herself, really wants, and what she's willing to do to get it.


Manu is strong, but also practical.  She carefully weighs her options and looks to the big picture in deciding what she will do.  Does she draw attention to herself?  Her special abilities would make her famous and start real change for girls in her new culture.  But this could also motivate people to investigate who she really is.  This could get her killed.


Cata and Saysa are girls Manu becomes friends with in her new, magical world.  They represent this friction between keeping things the same (and safe), and trying for change (and risking one's life).  I loved their spirited arguments over the best way to make a difference.  These were wonderful characters who show how challenging it is to enact change.


Story:

As Manu discovers her true heritage, she learns all the positive, and negative aspects of this new, magical culture.  On the plus side, there are strong supports among one's group, large loving families, and mouth-watering food.  But there are very strict gender roles.  Boys are werewolves who play sports and protect brujas (witches).  Brujas are always girls, and have jobs as nurtures, and healers.  Everything from clothing to who you can love is tightly regulated.  What century are we in, people?


But, that is the point.  While it probably is comforting to cling to traditions, this society isn't thriving.  Every culture evolves over time, or dies out.


Rating: 






Release Date: August 4th, 2020


Author:  Romina Garber


Publisher:  Wednesday Books


Genre:  YA Fantasy


Page Length:  400 Pages


Source:  Publisher Blog Tour


Format:  E-book


Recommendation:  A very entertaining fantasy with Hispanic culture.  Very relevant to our times.






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Tuesday, July 28, 2020

ARC Review: A Star is Bored by Byron Lane




Please Note:  I received an advance copy of this novel from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions in my review in any way.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

A hilariously heartfelt novel about living life at full force, and discovering family when you least expect it, influenced in part by the author’s time as Carrie Fisher’s beloved assistant.

Charlie Besson is about to have an insane job interview. His car is idling, like his life, outside the Hollywood mansion of Kathi Kannon. THE Kathi Kannon, star of stage and screen and People magazine’s worst dressed list. She needs an assistant. He needs a hero.

Kathi is an icon, bestselling author, and an award winning actress, most known for her role as Priestess Talara in the iconic blockbuster sci-fi film. She’s also known for another role: crazy Hollywood royalty. Admittedly so. Famously so. Fabulously so.

Charlie gets the job, and embarks on an odyssey filled with late night shopping sprees, last minute trips to see the aurora borealis, and an initiation to that most sacred of Hollywood tribes: the personal assistant. But Kathi becomes much more than a boss, and as their friendship grows, Charlie must make a choice. Will he always be on the sidelines of life, assisting the great forces that be, or can he step into his own leading role?

Laugh-out-loud funny, and searingly poignant, Byron Lane's A Star is Bored is a novel that, like the star at its center, is enchanting and joyous, heartbreaking and hopeful.

Review:
I love books that show an inside look at Hollywood.  And what could be more insider than what the personal assistants to the Stars witness!  Although this is a work of fiction, one can tell this novel is greatly influenced by the author's experiences as Carrie Fisher's PA.  While it is full of the wild excesses of pampered stars, it is also a story of the main character's search for meaning in a superficial society.  This is the Must Read book of the summer!

What I Liked:
Premise:
I have always wondered what a personal assistant does.  These PA's manage every aspect of a busy stars lives.  It's hard to imagine why one would need that much help (I can't even fathom someone cleaning my house)!

Characters:
Charlie:
Charlie, the main character, stumbles into becoming a PA in order to escape a boring, night shift job as a television news writer.  But while this new job isn't boring, might it be equally soul-crushing?

Charlie also has many issues with his parents.   He tries to fill that void by seeing his employer as a substitute parent.  He desperately craves her approval, which makes it impossible to objectively do his job.

Kathy:
Kathy is the big star who is modeled after Carrie Fisher.  Her fame is fading as she moves slowly into old age.  But she still has loads of cash, and many rabid fans.  This, along with her uncontrolled mental illnesses and addictions, fuels Kathy's wild behavior. 

I really like that, through it all, Kathy is not a target of ridicule.  But she is not to be envied.  Here's a person who is set up to be dependent.  With a lifetime of caretakers and hangers on, she has never been alone in her entire life.  She seriously can't take care of herself.

Story:
Aside from Kathy's antics, Charlie learns all about the power of money.  Whenever he gets a little too comfortable, feeling like Kathy is his friend, he will be rudely reminded that Kathy is his boss, and he is not one of the glittering elite.  This keeps Charlie constantly off balance.  Until he finds his own self-worth, Kathy's approval is all he's got going for him.

Charlie's relationship with his dad is one of pain and is difficult to read about, at times.  While his dad's abuse would be hard to forgive, Charlie does begin to see how his dad's behavior came about.  Eventually he does find a way to make peace with who his dad is.  This gives the story a weight that makes this something that we all can relate to. 

How do we find meaning in our lives?  Is it through our jobs, our relationships, our passions?  This really is the central question of this novel.  This book a so entertaining and yet makes me think of all these bigger themes.  That's the magic of this well written book!

Rating: 

Release Date:  July 28th, 2020

Author:  Byron Lane

Publisher:  Henry Holt & Co.

Genre:  Contemporary Fiction

Page Length:  352 Pages

Source:  NetGalley

Format:  E-Book

Recommendations:  A highly entertaining read!

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Thursday, July 23, 2020

Audio Book Review: The Damned by Renee Ahdieh



Please Note:  I received an advance audiobook copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions in my review in any way.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Following the events of The Beautiful, Sébastien Saint Germain is now cursed and forever changed. The treaty between the Fallen and the Brotherhood has been broken, and war between the immortals seems imminent. The price of loving Celine was costly. But Celine has also paid a high price for loving Bastien.

Still recovering from injuries sustained during a night she can’t quite remember, her dreams are troubled. And she doesn’t know she has inadvertently set into motion a chain of events that could lead to her demise and unveil a truth about herself she’s not quite ready to learn.

Forces hiding in the shadows have been patiently waiting for this moment for centuries. And just as Bastien and Celine begin to uncover the danger around them, they learn their love could tear them apart.

Review:
I had such high hopes for this book, as I loved the first book in this series, The Beautiful.  What's not to like:  1800's New Orleans, vampires, werewolves, forbidden lust and love.  It was amazing!  But The Damned, book two in this series, is an utter disappointment.  There is no action until almost the end of the book.  It hardly has New Orleans in it, and it introduces so many different mythologies into the mix that it lost me.

What I Liked:
Narration:
Although I was disappointed in the story, the narrator, Lauren Ezzo does a commendable job.  There are many different accents (most notably French), but she makes certain that we know who is who.  It made this book easy to hear. 

Characters:
I still love Selene.  She is fierce and strong-willed, and won't take no for an answer.  I also like that she wasn't shy about being a sexual person.  She knows she is powerfully attracted to Bastien, and doesn't hesitate in making her needs known.  Their love scenes were super sexy without resorting to porn.

What I didn't Like:
Settings:
One of the most charming things about the first book was the late 1800's New Orleans setting, especially the restaurant that was the headquarters of the vampires.  There is barely any of this in The Damned.  Instead, the story moves to Asia, and then to a Fae realm.  There are very few details, so you never get a real sense of where they are.

Action:
The beginning of the book (at least one-third) is all about Bastien being angry about turning into a vampire, and Selene being angry about losing her memories.  Very angsty.  Very boring!  When the action does happen, it's not very well thought out.  There are hints of what's about to happen, but often nothing comes to fruition.  I was also really surprised that Bastien's uncle (who was so scary in the first book) is barely utilized in this one.  And the few times he appears, his tame manner is out of character.  It was a lost opportunity.

Confusing Mythologies:
In The Beautiful, the world is populated with vampires and werewolves.  But in The Damned, a new mythology emerges with the Fae?  It's not well defined. There are mentions of the summer and winter courts which I know, from my extensive reading of Holly Black, are references to Fae mythologies.  This felt like it was tacked on to elevate Selene to a status on par with the vampires.  This was unnecessary, undercutting the main conflict of the first book between the mortal and immortal world.

Rating: 


Release Date:  July 7th, 2020

Author:  Renee Ahdeih

Genre:  YA Fantasy

Narrator:  Lauren Ezzo

Publisher:  Listening Library

Audiobook Length:  12 hours, 21 minutes

Print Publisher:  Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers

Page Length:  456 pages

Source:  Publisher

Format:  Audiobook

Recommendation:  A disappointment.  I don't feel this is worth a read.
 


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Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Blog Tour Review: More Than Maybe by Erin Hahn




Please Note:  I received an advance copy of this novel from the publisher as part of a Blog Tour to promote this book.  This did not influence the opinions in my review in any way.  I had the option to not participate if I did not like this book.

Synopsis (from the publisher):

Growing up under his punk rocker dad’s spotlight, eighteen-year-old Luke Greenly knows fame and wants nothing to do with it. His real love isn’t in front of a crowd, it’s on the page. Hiding his gift and secretly hoarding songs in his bedroom at night, he prefers the anonymous comfort of the locally popular podcast he co-hosts with his outgoing and meddling, far-too-jealousy-inspiringly-happy-with-his-long-term-boyfriend twin brother, Cullen. But that’s not Luke’s only secret. He also has a major un-requited crush on music blogger, Vada Carsewell. 

Vada’s got a five year plan: secure a job at the Loud Lizard to learn from local legend (and her mom’s boyfriend) Phil Josephs (check), take over Phil’s music blog (double check), get accepted into Berkeley’s prestigious music journalism program (check, check, check), manage Ann Arbor’s summer concert series and secure a Rolling Stoneinternship. Luke Greenly is most definitely NOT on the list. So what if his self-deprecating charm and out of this world music knowledge makes her dizzy? Or his brother just released a bootleg recording of Luke singing about some mystery girl on their podcast and she really, really wishes it was her?

In More Than Maybe, Erin Hahn’s swooniest book yet, Luke and Vada must decide how deep their feelings run and what it would mean to give love a try.

Review:
I read Erin Hahn's first book, You'd Be Mine, last year and loved it for the inside view of rising stars in the music industry. More Than Maybe is also set in the music world, but with characters who have already risen, and descended, in fame and influence.

I loved the characters and relationships in this book. I found them so charming, but realistic. This book also had lots of music references that had me jumping on Youtube to look up all the bands mentioned in the story. This was a simply joyous book.

What I Liked:

Characters:
Vada is a girl with so much going on. As a senior in high school, she has been accepted into college, but needs to find a way to pay for it (no wealthy parents here). Her whole life is centered around figuring out what she'll do. Even with after school jobs, and possible scholarships, she's falling short. She really needs her bio-dad to step up and help pay for college. But he's got a new family and doesn't feel it's his responsibility. I can totally relate to the stress and anger she feels. I loved that she never gives up. Her journey moves from anger and helplessness to acceptance and embracing all the positive things (and people) in her life.

Luke's dad has already had a successful music career in England. You can tell his dad really misses the fame and power he had. Luke knows that he has the talent to follow in his dad's footsteps, but wants no part of the notoriety that comes with fame. He would much rather work in the background, composing music, than performing it. I liked that Luke knew what he wanted and would not be persuaded from his own goals.

Parents:
I loved that these were not just stereotypes of parents, but a variety of realistic people. Luke's parents have a longer-term marriage, and his dad is projecting his own aspirations onto his kids. This happens so much! Vada's parents are divorced and now with other partners. Her dad is a total jerk, wanting his daughter's respect, but not helping her out in any way.

But the most wonderful adult in this book was Phil, Vada's boss who is also dating her mom. While he's an anchor for Vada and her mom. he is not there to save them. I thought that showed a great deal of respect for them.

Music:
There is so much wonderful music in this book that I can't possibly list them all. I enjoyed how the characters connected to the music. There is already a playlist on Spotify!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

 

ERIN HAHN is the author of You'd Be Mine and More Than Maybe. She teaches elementary, would rather be outside and makes a lot of playlists. So many playlists in fact, that she decided to write books to match them! She married her very own YA love interest who she met on her first day of college and has two kids who are much, much cooler than she ever was at their age. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, aka the greenest place on earth and has a cat named Gus who plays fetch and a dog named June who doesn’t.

 


Buy this book: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250231642 


Author website: https://www.erinphahn.com/

Author Twitter: @erinhahn_author

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17130322.Erin_Hahn 

Author Instagram: @erinhahn_author



Rating:

Release Date: July 21st, 2020

Author: Erin Hahn

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Genre: YA Contemporary

Page Length: 336 Pages

Source: Blog Tour Publisher

Format: E-Book

Recommendation: A charming YA filled with music and loving relationships.

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MsArdychan has read 2 books toward her goal of 120 books.
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