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I first heard about this series back in 2014, when it was constantly on the Goodreads First Reads giveaway page. Although I entered those giveaways time and time again, I never won. But then I got an email from BookBub that One Condition was on sale, and despite being up to my eyeballs in schoolwork, I snapped it up. That was a few weeks ago, but I finally read it last night.

Honestly, I don’t understand the love for this series.

Kaidan is not a nice person. He toys with Hayley, and it’s somehow supposed to be sexy. There is nothing sexy about a man who makes his partner feel like she’s constantly competing with his ex. Nothing. I don’t see any of what Hayley saw in this guy. At best he’s ignoring her. At worst? Well, don’t even get me started on that last scene.

Hayley isn’t much better. If this girl would just use her head she wouldn’t have nearly as many problems. Strange men in black SUV’s following you around, waving guns at you and demanding money for a debt you didn’t know you had? Maybe call the police! Don’t go to an ATM and empty out your savings!! Your dad makes some weird condition for you getting your inheritance? Don’t cry about it, get a job like a normal person!

Frustrating. That’s a good one-word review for this book.

Granted, I’ve only read the first installment. It’s only 206 pages. Maybe it gets a lot better. But maybe it doesn’t, so I’m not going to be carrying on with this series.

Sorry.

Final rating: ★★☆☆☆

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I really like books that are real.  And by that, I don’t mean nonfiction or biographies or whatever.  I mean books that show the characters having realistic emotions.  Books where the teenagers don’t talk like they’re fifty years old.  Books where the characters make mistakes and behave realistically (even when that’s not reasonably).  And that’s what we have here.

Finally.  A book about teenagers in which the characters actually act their age.

Aberdeen is going under.  The ground never fully thawed before the spring rains started, so there was nowhere for the water to go.  Homes were destroyed – just washed away with the floods.  The governor is talking about building a dam, relocating the entire town, doing nothing to prevent flooding.  Just letting it happen.

Keeley and her friends have lived in Aberdeen for their entire lives.  Their parents, grandparents, even great-grandparents were born and raised in this small town.  When they hear about the relocation efforts, they don’t really know what to think.  But Keeley’s always been the funny girl, the one who can make light of any situation, the one who makes everybody forget about the bad stuff.  So Keeley feels like she has to keep up that persona.  While her friends are crying, she’s cracking jokes.  She might as well make the most of the time they have left, right?

This attitude causes a lot of problems for Keeley.  Her friends feel like she isn’t taking their problems seriously.  They don’t understand why she’s carrying on like nothing’s changing when literally everything will change in a matter of days.

But her attitude also opens some new doors for her.  Her lifelong crush, Jesse, takes notice.  As one of the biggest jokers in the school, Jesse is known for his pranks and his hilarious videos.  He starts involving Keeley in his plans.  Before long, they’re hanging out one-on-one.  Then they’re dating, sort-of-maybe, in that way that teenagers do.

When I finish reading a book that’s made a big impression on me, I like to scroll through the reviews, both positive and negative, to see what other people thought.  It seems to me that for this book, the overwhelming majority of people who didn’t like it complained about Keeley’s attitude.  It’s funny because that’s one of the things that I liked most about this book.

Keeley’s response to the events in this book could be anybody’s response.  She so clearly does not know how to handle what’s happening that she just defaults to what’s normal for her.  None of these kids have been in this situation before. There’s no handbook for what to do when your town goes underwater. None of them know the right thing to say or do.  They’re all dealing with it in their own way.  I was so happy that these kids acted like kids.  Imagine this book if all these teenagers had known exactly what to say and do – it would have been painfully boring.

I feel like I’ve just done a lot of rambling here about how much I enjoyed this book, but I hope that you’ll take that as a sign that you should read it!

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the free copy!

Final rating: ★★★★☆

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I’ve been reading more memoirs recently, so when Sex in the Museumpopped up on Netgalley, it sounded like something interesting and a little bit different from what I’d been reading. Of course, I happened to get approved for five galleys in the same week, and I also had five library books come in from holds at the same time, too. This all happened as I was starting a new class for the first time in three years, and I was traveling. Needless to say, it was quite a bit going on at the same time, and that’s why I’m a little delayed in getting this review out.

I read the majority of this book in a neuro ICU waiting room in Virginia, and it was a welcome distraction from what was going on around me. I’m not entirely sure what I expected, but it was not this well-written, funny, intelligent book that educates as it goes.

We begin as Sarah takes a job at the Museum of Sex – something she never would have found if her ex hadn’t been wandering around her neighborhood one day. She wasn’t even sure if this would be a good job for her, but she grew into her position and started pumping out awesome exhibit after awesome exhibit. Seriously, there is not one exhibit that she mentions in this book that I wouldn’t want to check out.

Her writing is interesting and charming and feels more like fiction than a memoir. I visit New York pretty frequently, so maybe one of my next trips up, I’ll check out her museum.

Highly recommended!

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the free copy!

Final rating: ★★★★☆

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In Invincible Summer, we follow a group of four good friends – Eva, Benedict, Sylvie, and Lucien – from their college graduation to their late thirties/early forties. This book is written in bits and pieces, snapshots from the lives of these characters as they grow together and apart through the years.

There’s not much here that’s going to shock you. There are no real plot twists, nothing I didn’t see coming from a mile away, but this is not necessarily bad. You might see the words “hopelessly in love” or “pined for years” in the blurb, but don’t delude yourself into thinking that this is a romance. This is a book about friends and the ways in which their lives diverge and come together again over the years.

I think that this is a book that I would not have enjoyed a few years ago. Because, in this book, these very good friends grow apart as life happens. A few years ago, I would have sworn that you can maintain friendships no matter what. If it falls apart, it’s because you’re not trying. But then I moved halfway across the country, and, well, that makes things a little harder.

In this book, a lot happens to these four friends that creates barriers, or even just a sense of weirdness, when they hang out. Some of the characters get married, and their spouses aren’t keen on having them hang out with their single, opposite sex friends. Then come kids, and that creates a definite problem for friends who are used to hanging out at the bar. Characters move to different countries or get wrapped up in work or develop their own problems that they don’t want to share with the group, and things just fall apart. Years go by without them talking.

One of the things I really liked about this book is that these friends always find their way back together, even if it takes awhile. It was reassuring for me, someone who’s been in similar situations.

The plot kind of comes in waves – we’ll get something really interesting followed by some pretty boring filler, but that’s life, I guess.

I enjoyed this one more than I didn’t, so I’ll settle on a solid three stars.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the free copy.

Final rating: ★★★☆☆