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Book Review: Fire and Ice (Warriors #2)

Rating: 4 stars

“Fireheart could hear a roaring around him, like wind in tall trees. The acrid stench of the Thunderpath stung his nostrils, together with a new smell, sharper and more terrifying. Fire!”

Book two of Warriors continues Fireheart’s quest to be a true warrior, when he finds new danger lurking in the woods as the chill of winter sets in.

WindClan is missing, and hostilities between the remaining three clans place all the cats in peril. Illness and tragic accidents weaken the camp, and ThunderClan needs all its warriors to defend itself – but Fireheart suspects that certain cats may not be as loyal as they appear.

I feel like this was an enjoyable sequel to where Into the Wild left off. We continue with Firepaw going by Fireheart due to becoming a warrior of ThunderClan. We also have him along with his friend helping another clan getting back into their territory despite the other clans not wanting them to return. I feel like there was a lot that happened in such a small period of time between the two books, making it enjoyable to find out what was going to happen next.

What I also enjoyed when reading Fire and Ice was seeing Fireheart return to his roots. You see him throughout the story struggling with belonging in the clan because of seeing his sister Princess and thinking about what his home used to be. You see him visit her quite frequently despite the risk and danger of doing so, which I thought was interesting because it made the theme of family a prominent part of this book. I know at times I wondered if Fireheart would end up going back to where he used to be before ThunderClan became such a big part of his life. But then you also see the choice Princess ends up making so that more of their family joins the clan, which I thought was sweet considering the risk involved.

What I also enjoyed with this sequel was being introduced to some of the cats of WindClan as well as meeting more of the cats of RiverClan. Its interesting to see when reading this series the dynamic between all the clans and how they interact with each other throughout the story. I also loved the slowly building romance that started to occur through the story despite the obstacles it presents.

I also love that Fireheart is continuing to investigate the truth of Oakheart and Redtail’s deaths. I know there are going to be a lot of obstacles in his way as the truth of what really happened during that time will cause a divide in the clan when its finally brought to light. But I think it’s great he’s investigating because Tigerclaw is one of my least favorite characters in ThunderClan. The reason being that so many cats in the clan seem to look up to him but he’s hiding things from Bluestar and the rest of the clan. I feel like even though Bluestar doesn’t want to face that truth, I find it telling that she’s told Fireheart how many lives as their leader she has left while Tigerclaw who is her deputy, has no idea.

I also disliked in Fire and Ice how Fireheart’s nephew Cloudkit was treated by their clan when Fireheart brought him in. While I understand the danger of having outsiders joining the clan that aren’t blood, I feel like it reminds me too much of how Fireheart was treated when he first joined ThunderClan. And it bothered me because most of the cats in this series seem to have the mindset that cats born in a clan are superior to cats who aren’t full-blooded warriors. I know it bothered me in Into the Wild with how clan members were with Fireheart, and it bothered me just as much with Cloudkit, maybe even more so because of being a baby kitten and not knowing any better.

But overall, I enjoyed this sequel and can’t wait to continue into the next book in the series Forest of Secrets to find out what happens with ThunderClan and the rest of the clans. This series continues to captivate me so I’m definitely looking forward to the next installment.  

Book Review: Into the Wild (Warriors #1)

Rating: 4 stars

For generations, four Clans of wild cats have shared the forest according to the laws laid down by their warrior ancestors. But the ThunderClan cats are in grave danger, and the sinister ShadowClan grows stronger every day. Noble warriors are dying– and some deaths are more mysterious than others. In the midst of this turmoil appears an ordinary house cat named Rusty … who may turn out to be the bravest warrior of them all.

When I was a child, the Warrior series was apparently a series of books a lot of children enjoyed. However, I never heard about these books until I was an adult, and decided I’d give this series a try. When reading Into the Wild, I realized these books were something I’d enjoy.

Even though this series is supposed to be geared towards children, what I enjoyed about this first book was how it introduced me into the world of cats. As someone who likes cats and animals in general, I found the world of cats and how they interact with each other interesting. The dialogue between all the felines in this book was enjoyable to read as you can tell that you are reading a book about cats.

I also enjoyed reading Into the Wild because of how light of a read it was for me to get through. The characters and dialogue were simple to follow, and the story was enjoyable for me for this book to be considered a children’s book. I found the universe wild cats verses house cats inhabited interesting as the main character the story follows went from becoming a cat who was used to getting fed by humans to a cat who found himself wanting to see what was out in the wild and decided to join a clan of wild cats when he met several of their members. It was also interesting to see all the different names a wild cat was given once they joined the clan as each cat was given a name based on their physical appearance and their hierarchy in the clan. And learning about all of the different clans and where their territory is out in the wild was interesting to me too.

I also loved this book because I felt like I was able to escape into the world between its pages. It was a story that for me I enjoyed because I felt like I was with the warriors and wanted to see what was going to happen to the clan next. It was also just the right of fantasy for my imagination to run wild and continue turning the page.  

The only real issue I had with reading this first book in the Warriors series was the treatment of the main character by other members of ThunderClan for being what they called a kittypet. In these books, house cats are considered cats who don’t have the ability to become warriors because of being born as house cats instead of being born in a clan. So when the main character joins ThunderClan, many of their members don’t like him being in the clan and being trained to become a warrior because of where he was born, which is something beyond his control.

Despite this though, I enjoyed Into the Wild because Rusty/Firepaw doesn’t take what the other cats in the clan think to heart and he develops into a cat ThunderClan can be proud of to have as a member of their clan. I’m enjoying this series so much that I can’t wait to review the second book, Fire and Ice, which I’ve also already finished and am planning on writing a review of very soon.

Have any of you here read any of the books in this series before? If so, what was your experience with this series as a whole? Please leave a comment below because I’d like to hear your thoughts on a series I’ve just started reading that I can’t seem to put down.      

Book Review: The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1)

Rating: 4 stars

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

Really enjoyed The Darkest Minds for several reasons. It was a story that caught my attention from beginning to end. I don’t know if it’s because the plot paralleled what’s been going on in the world lately or because of how dark/dystopian the story could get. The world Ruby lives in isn’t a pleasant one, full of the government trying to keep children with unique powers locked away in camps after surviving when kids their own age died of a disease that was killing children in America.

I couldn’t put this book down but tried my best to read at a slower pace so I could absorb what I was getting into. Watching Ruby’s character develop throughout the story was captivating and loved seeing her abilities and how they impacted her life. I also loved the rest of the kids she ran into when she escaped from her camp and how they were able to help her learn to trust others and be allowed to form friendships.

What I also loved about this book was how dark it could get at times. Ruby’s powers are unique because there are few children in her world that have them. When she and her fellow travelers make it to East River, she meets their leader who’s one of the few people whose classified as an Orange like her. However, he isn’t all who he’s cracked up to be, making this story more intriguing as I read on. Because while he helped her with gaining control of her abilities, he also took advantage of her, which made me dislike him more as the story continued.  

I also felt immense empathy for these kids in The Darkest Minds because I couldn’t imagine what they were going through just because they had powers. Especially when some of the kids own parents turned them into the government because of their abilities. While the powers these kids have at times sounded cool, that they sometimes couldn’t control them made me understand why Ruby felt the way she did about her abilities.  

Despite how much I enjoyed reading this book, there are some things I also didn’t enjoy too.  My biggest criticism of this book for me is the choices Ruby sometimes makes. While I get her life is hard and that some of the decisions she made were for the best of others, she also made some tough but terrible decisions. Especially close to the end of the story when one of her friends is really hurting and she seeks help from someone she shouldn’t have. I also wasn’t too keen on what she did to Liam either because I feel like she really wasn’t helping him. Some of the choices Ruby made I wasn’t at all pleased with because they always ended up hurting others instead of helping them.

But despite those choices, I still loved Ruby’s character and enjoyed reading The Darkest Minds, the first book in a series I’m planning on continuing to read so I can see what happens next. Can’t wait to read the next book in the series, Never Fade, which I’m sure will be just as enjoyable for me as this book. Have any of you ever read a book like this one before? Leave a comment below if there are any books like this one that you’ve read that you’d highly recommend because you think I’d enjoy it just as much.      

Book Review: Suggested Reading

Rating: 3.5 stars

Clara Evans is horrified when she discovers her principal’s “prohibited media” hit list. The iconic books on the list have been pulled from the library and aren’t allowed anywhere on the school’s premises. Students caught with the contraband will be sternly punished.

Many of these stories have changed Clara’s life, so she’s not going to sit back and watch while her draconian principal abuses his power. She’s going to strike back.

So Clara starts an underground library in her locker, doing a shady trade in titles like Speak and The Chocolate War. But when one of the books she loves most is connected to a tragedy she never saw coming, Clara’s forced to face her role in it.

Will she be able to make peace with her conflicting feelings, or is fighting for this noble cause too tough for her to bear?

I really enjoyed reading this book that focused so much on censorship in schools. Even though the story itself told within its pages is fiction, censorship of books in schools is very much a real topic. While I’ve never (to the best of my knowledge at least) experienced having books I’m interested in being censored from me reading them, I know I can’t relate to Clara’s experience other than feeling empathetic towards her and the other characters in this book. I do not understand what any of them are going through, but I feel like I would also react in the same manner as Clara and want to do something so my peers that’re interested in reading can continue reading books they enjoy.

Suggested Reading is an enjoyable book for any bookworm because of the amount of book references within its pages. I love that this book also had at the beginning of its chapters quotes from different books because I felt like they were a good preclude to what was going to happen in that chapter. But I really loved seeing all the book references in this read because many of the books mentioned are books I have heard of before, even if I have not read every single one of them. I did know enough about the books mentioned though to understand why they were being referenced, which made this read that much more enjoyable for me.

What I also enjoyed with reading this book was the characters themselves in the story. While I feel like there was extraordinarily little character development, I enjoyed learning more about Clara and her friends and the world she inhabited while she worked tirelessly to provide her peers with books to read out of her locker. Just even imagining her rebellion with using her locker as a library made me gleeful and cheer her on to thwart authority.

I also appreciate the lack of romance in this story as well. Most young adult books have a little bit of focus on romance, and I appreciate that Suggested Reading did not have any. I do not have an issue with books that have romance. However, I feel like sometimes every young adult literature book has it in some capacity or another, and there are times when I feel like its not needed. This book is one of those instances, and I found I loved this book even more because of it.

However, that does not mean that I do not have any criticism when it comes to this book. While I enjoyed what I was reading, I felt like this book did lack some things. For starters, I felt like the pacing of this story was off. When I first started reading it, the story had a decent pace that felt relaxing to me. But as the story went on, it picked up in a way I was not expecting. It went from Clara making her locker library to her questioning her decision to start her locker library to begin with in the blink of an eye. I understand the author having her question her decision to start this library. However, I did not like the way it was done because it felt sudden to me. Like the events that unfolded to cause this change in Clara and make her see things from the principal’s perspective. While I understand wanting to show another perspective on the censorship issue, I feel like it was not needed for Clara because she did not do anything wrong.

I also feel like this book should have been longer. Not because I did not want the story to end, but I feel like there was a lot missing from the story that should have been there to make everything come together cohesively. Like her getting to know the people she started becoming friends with because of the events in this book.

However, I overall enjoyed reading Suggested Reading. It was a charming read and I feel like it is a story a lot of people will enjoy. Especially anyone who is a book nerd like me that will understand the book references mentioned within its pages. While I have never experienced censorship when it comes to reading, I am curious if anyone here has. If you have, please leave a comment below and share your experience if you feel comfortable doing so.

Book Review: Lucid

Rating: 4 stars

What if you could dream your way into a different life? What if you could choose to live that life forever?

Sloane and Maggie have never met. Sloane is a straight-A student with a big and loving family. Maggie lives a glamorously independent life as an up-and-coming actress in New York. The two girls couldn’t be more different–except for one thing. They share a secret that they can’t tell a soul. At night, they dream that they’re each other.

The deeper they’re pulled into the promise of their own lives, the more their worlds begin to blur dangerously together. Before long, Sloane and Maggie can no longer tell which life is real and which is just a dream. They realize that eventually they will have to choose one life to wake up to, or risk spiraling into insanity. But that means giving up one world, one love, and one self, forever.

I enjoyed every minute I spent reading this book, wanting to know what I was in for and what was going to happen with these two girls. I wanted to know all about how they came to dream of each other’s lives, and how it would all end. As a result, this book was an enjoyable read for me.

What made this story in Lucid enjoyable to me was reading from Maggie and Sloane’s point of view. While there wasn’t much in the way of character development in the story regarding these two, I didn’t read this story for the purpose of learning more about them anyway. I was more interested in the world they inhabited and how they came to discover they were dreaming each other’s lives. And while I didn’t get an answer, I was so absorbed in their world that it didn’t bother me a bit.

I especially loved seeing the domino effect that took place once Maggie and Sloane had someone they could talk to about their dreams. How they started seeing people from each other’s lives to the point where they had interactions with them even though nobody else could see them. It was page turning to see how telling someone their secret could change the landscape of their world, and lead to the truth of who was really the dreamer.

I also enjoyed reading this novel from a teenager’s perspective. I especially enjoyed whenever Maggie would talk to her therapist Emma about these dreams because of the psychological conversations that would come about as a result. It also made it interesting because she’d explain things to Maggie in a way nobody else did regarding her dreams.

However, what I both enjoyed and have some criticism for when reading Lucid that most people didn’t seem to particularly care for was the ending. I know a lot of people found it confusing, which is understandable. However, I found it fascinating because this book didn’t end at all the way I had expected it to. Yes, I figured we would discover at the end who was dreaming everything, but it happened so quickly that it surprised me.

But at the same time, I also didn’t like the ending. I didn’t like it just because there wasn’t a thorough explanation of why this book ended the way it did with regards to who was dreaming. It made sense because out of the two characters, she was the one who had more family and friends in her life, but the reasoning behind it all didn’t really align. Especially because it was never fully talked about with her character, just implied.

However, I overall enjoyed reading Lucid. I found these two girls dreaming of each other interesting and was sad when I finished this book because I wanted to know more about the dreaming and how it all started. I highly recommend this young adult, paranormal literature to readers interested in a different type of story with an ending that leaves you questioning and thinking about dreams in a whole other way.

If you have any recommendations that sound like this book’s story or know of any other books that left you thinking, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!

Book Review: Tigers, Not Daughters

Rating: 2 stars

The Torres sisters dream of escape. Escape from their needy and despotic widowed father, and from their San Antonio neighborhood, full of old San Antonio families and all the traditions and expectations that go along with them. In the summer after her senior year of high school, Ana, the oldest sister, falls to her death from her bedroom window. A year later, her three younger sisters, Jessica, Iridian, and Rosa, are still consumed by grief and haunted by their sister’s memory. Their dream of leaving Southtown now seems out of reach. But then strange things start happening around the house: mysterious laughter, mysterious shadows, mysterious writing on the walls. The sisters begin to wonder if Ana really is haunting them, trying to send them a message—and what exactly she’s trying to say.

I feel like I’m missing something here because this book wasn’t as haunting and dark as I was expecting it to be. Especially since it seems like a lot of people online enjoyed reading this book. However, I wasn’t at all enchanted by the journey this book attempted to take me on in its pages. But before getting into the meat of why this book didn’t meet any of my expectations, let’s begin with talking about what I enjoyed about it.

Tigers, Not Daughters is definitely a woman’s tale. All the main characters whose perspective we read from are women. The subject matter covered in this book’s pages is issues women deal with, and the story starts off interesting enough to get your attention. When I first started reading this paranormal story, I found myself interested in what I was reading, wanting to find out what happened next to the Torres sisters. The sudden shift in the story between the three sisters Jessica, Iridian, and Rosa didn’t bother me at all. It was interesting to see the three-player tennis match we were in when it came to the storyline going back and forth between these three siblings.

But after a couple chapters, I quickly realized how much of this book truly was a drag to read. Especially when I found myself not caring to hear the story from Iridian’s perspective. She was a character that while I can relate to a lot, I found it annoying when it was her turn to tell me what she was seeing and experiencing. When she had her first paranormal experience, I understood her reaction but simultaneously found myself not feeling very empathetic towards her when it felt like she was traumatized from it.

I felt like this story belonged to Jessica and Rosa, and that Iridian was the Torres sister none of us really cared to hear from. Her chapters provided nothing of context to the story because all she did throughout most of the book was stay in the house and read her book or write in her notebook.

Another criticism of this book I have is the lack of an actual story within its pages. You find out this family lost a sister, and that a year after her death, she’s haunting the house. You’d think after finding this out, we’d get a lot of paranormal activity in the house from Ana. However, that’s not what happened at all in Tigers, Not Daughters. The only time Ana gets seen is whenever she touches the bathroom shower curtain whenever Jessica is in the shower, and when she writes all over the walls in her room.

I also expected there would be some sort of explanation as to why Ana was haunting the home. Instead, she haunts the house without no real explanation that I could see from reading this book. I was also bothered throughout most of this book by Jessica’s actions, which made it difficult for me to read. Her actions bothered me so much that they make me wonder if, during the story, she was being possessed by her dead sister. If she was, that would add an interesting layer to this work of fiction that I didn’t think about. It would also explain some of the choices she makes since Ana’s passing, such as choosing to date Ana’s boyfriend John.

While this paranormal read was interesting at times to read, Tigers Not Daughters was a disappointing story to me. I struggled with reading this book and wasn’t satisfied with how it all came together. So if you decide this is a book you’d like to pursue, read it with caution and be prepared to be disappointed by what you find.

But there’s no possible way I’m the only person who’s read this book that didn’t enjoy it. So if you’re reading my review and found you didn’t enjoy this book, what about it did you not like? Was it some of the same things I’ve mentioned here or something else? And if you haven’t read this book but have a book you’ve recently read that you didn’t enjoy, what book was it and what didn’t you enjoy about it? Please comment below if you’d like to share! Until then, happy reading, and I can’t wait to tell you about my next read!   

Tips for Getting Out of a Reading Rut

As an avid reader, sometimes I find myself having difficulty choosing my next book to read. Or worse yet, I find myself reading a book I don’t particularly enjoy and end up having a difficult time choosing my next read.

Are you an avid reader who also has this experience occasionally? If you are, don’t fret. It happens to all of us readers, especially when you least expect it. For that reason alone, I’d like to provide some tips you can try if you find yourself in a reading rut and are unsure what to do next.

Start With What You Enjoy.

Struggling because you just started a book, but aren’t feeling it and are wondering whether you should put it down? The answer is always yes! If you are reading and find yourself struggling to continue because you just aren’t enjoying what you’re reading, close the book and pick out something else.

But don’t just start with any book. Find something you know/feel like you’ll enjoy. For example, if you have certain genres you know you always gravitate towards, and always find something you enjoy, choose a book from that genre. Or better yet, have a book that you enjoy rereading because it’s one of your favorites? Read that book because chances are you’ll enjoy it and find yourself even more eager for your next read.

Then, Read Something Different.

I know this might seem like bad advice since I just told you to read something you know you’ll enjoy. But bear with me on this. Sometimes after reading a book/genre you know you’ll enjoy, choosing something different can make you even more interested in reading. Why? Because you’re actively choosing to read something different from your usual. And I don’t mean go with something you know you’ll actively not enjoy. I mean choose a book that sounds different from what you typically read, but that has things that you know will interest you within its pages.

For example, before I went to college, I never gave science fiction much of a chance. But after taking a class in school where all me and my peers did was read science fiction and talk about what we read, I realized science fiction was a genre I could enjoy. However, I also realized that I wouldn’t enjoy every science fiction book I’d get my hands on either. That’s because I know there are certain aspects to science fiction I know I wouldn’t enjoy. But when I find something within science fiction that I know I’ll enjoy, I’m willing to give science fiction a shot.

Do the same for genres that you’ve thought about reading but aren’t sure if they are something you’ll enjoy. You never know, you might just find a new genre of books to read that you never thought of exploring before.  

If the Book Doesn’t Interest You, It’s Okay Not to Finish and Read Something Else.

Attempting to read a book but quickly discover it’s not holding your attention? There’s no shame in putting it down and trying something else. Sometimes what you enjoy reading might not be what you should be reading at that moment. I know there have been plenty of times when I thought I was in the mood to read something when I quickly realized I wasn’t interested in what I was reading. It’s okay if that happens to you, even when reading in the realm of books you enjoy. Sometimes reading within your favorite genre can be too repetitive. When you start to feel that way (because reading should always be fun), read something else.

Read at Your Own Pace.

Reading a book and quickly discover how much you like it? Continue reading it but read at your own pace. I know sometimes as readers, we’ll want to get through the story of a book to find out what happens next. However, you shouldn’t always do that because you might end up finishing it a whole lot faster than you anticipated. While it’s a wonderful feeling at times to find books you enjoy and finish them, I know I sometimes have in the past read books and then been sad I’ve finished the journey I went on.

For me, reading is a journey with each book I read because I never know what I will discover. So I feel like as a reader, we owe ourselves to read something, and if we’re enjoying it, take it at a slower pace. That way, we can continue reading the story and allowing ourselves the time to actually enjoy it.

That’s it for my tips for getting out of a reading rut! Did the advice I provide help in any way? Are there tips that help you out that you didn’t see here? Don’t hesitate to comment below if there are any tips or things that help you out of a reading rut that I didn’t mention.  

Book Review: The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward

Rating: 3.5 stars

Everybody has regrets, Daniel H. Pink explains in The Power of Regret. They’re a universal and healthy part of being human. And understanding how regret works can help us make smarter decisions, perform better at work and school, and bring greater meaning to our lives.

Drawing on research in social psychology, neuroscience, and biology, Pink debunks the myth of the “no regrets” philosophy of life. And using the largest sampling of American attitudes about regret ever conducted as well as his own World Regret Survey–which has collected regrets from more than 15,000 people in 105 countries–he lays out the four core regrets that each of us has. These deep regrets offer compelling insights into how we live and how we can find a better path forward.

As he did in his bestsellers Drive, When, and A Whole New Mind, Pink lays out a dynamic new way of thinking about regret and frames his ideas in ways that are clear, accessible, and pragmatic. Packed with true stories of people’s regrets as well as practical takeaways for reimagining regret as a positive force, The Power of Regret shows how we can live richer, more engaged lives.

This book about regret and its power is an unforgettable read. Jammed full of knowledge that takes more than one sitting to digest, Daniel Pink is very insightful and knowledgeable when it comes to discussing regret in human life and the role each of us must play with it. From discussing the four distinct types of regret we each experience to how to go about turning our regretful actions into a positive direction, Pink uses his research and knowledge to transform regret into a powerfully positive force we can harness to our advantage. As a reader, I found that Pink transformed my understanding of what regret truly is into something that can be more insightful than I initially expected.

I found the way regret was discussed in each chapter insightful. I particularly enjoyed how he brought about discussing all the different types of regret a person can have by providing real-life examples. While most of the examples provided were things I couldn’t particularly relate to, I feel like the context of the regrets discussed made sense to me. The research he used to back up his perspective was interesting to read as it helped tie any potential loose ends together.

What I didn’t enjoy when reading The Power of Regret, however, is that how to deal with your own regrets isn’t fully discussed. Yes, he mentioned a couple helpful pieces of information regarding what you can do when handling a regret you have. However, he never fully explained this information to you as the reader. If anything, this book covers the subject of dealing with your own regrets for a short amount of time in comparison to the discussion had about all the different types of regret you can experience.

I also would’ve loved to have gotten more information with regards to how dealing with your own regrets benefits you. I feel like this would’ve been an interesting topic to have brought up through this book because then as a reader, I can understand how powerful dealing with my own regrets could truly be. Also would’ve loved to see Pink discuss some of his own personal regrets too. Not because I want to know all about his personal life, but to see how he handled some of the biggest regrets in his life using the knowledge he’s shared in this book. Overall, I enjoyed reading The Power of Regret. I found the overall information gleamed within its pages very insightful and something everyone could learn a little bit from. It made me reflect on some of my own life choices I’ve made and think about what would’ve happened if I’d done some things a little differently.

Book Review: The Forgotten Hours

Rating: 2 stars

In this evocative debut novel, Katrin Schumann weaves a riveting story of past and present—and how love can lead us astray.

At twenty-four, Katie Gregory feels like life is looking up: she’s snagged a great job in New York City and is falling for a captivating artist—and memories of her traumatic past are finally fading. Katie’s life fell apart almost a decade earlier, during an idyllic summer at her family’s cabin on Eagle Lake when her best friend accused her father of sexual assault. Throughout his trial and imprisonment, Katie insisted on his innocence, dodging reporters, and clinging to memories of the man she adores.

Now he’s getting out. Yet when Katie returns to the shuttered lakeside cabin, details of that fateful night resurface: the chill of the lake, the heat of first love, the terrible sting of jealousy. And as old memories collide with new realities, they call into question everything she thinks she knows about family, friends, and, ultimately, herself. Now, Katie’s choices will be put to the test with life-altering consequences.

This book wasn’t the most enjoyable read to me for a variety of different reasons. However, before I get into all of that, I’d like to discuss what I did like about The Forgotten Hours. The very few things I liked about this book are the subject matter and setting of the overall plot in the story.

What I found enjoyable about this book with regards to the subject matter is how the story doesn’t shy away from talking about sexual assault. Talking about that subject is something that can be quite heavy, and I feel like the way it was discussed was very informative in this story. I think what made it particularly informative was hearing things from the perspective of someone who had a loved one accused of committing such a horrible trauma. In most books, you get the perspective of the traumatized victim when it comes to sexual assault. However, in The Forgotten Hours, the story is told from the perspective of Katie, the daughter of the man who was accused of sexually assaulting her best friend. I found it interesting to hear what she had to say about what happened with her friend because I wasn’t sure what her perspective would be. While I don’t agree with the way she handled the whole situation, I felt sympathetic to her because of the accused being her father and couldn’t imagine how traumatic it must’ve been having to deal with everything that came after.

I also enjoyed the setting of the plot in this book, from the cabin at Eagle Lake where Katie held so many memories to her new life in New York after the trial. I found hearing about the landscape of Eagle Lake very interesting and felt like I was along with her when she was in New York.

But there are so many things about The Forgotten Hours that I don’t like that, unfortunately, overshadow the aspects of the story I did enjoy. While I found it fascinating to read a story that talks about sexual assault from the perspective of an accused’s loved one, I found the way Katie reacted to her best friend’s assault very damaging. While I understand it’s her father that’s accused in the story, I really don’t understand how a character can be so utterly clueless and naive. Throughout the book, she insists on her father’s innocence. But she never once during the time the trial takes place or before he’s set to be released look into what happened. She testifies at his trial yet has no clue who else testified until she goes back to Eagle Lake to get their family cabin straightened out. It isn’t until her father gets released that she begins to question what she thought was true, not years before when the events this story focuses on takes place. While I understand she was dealing with trauma from her best friend accusing her father, I feel like she could’ve handled everything a whole lot better than she did. She sided with her dad without looking into whether he committed the crime he was accused of, which I feel is a very damaging thing to do. Especially since the person traumatized was supposedly her best friend.

Another criticism I have for this book is how bad the overall plot of the story turned. While I enjoyed hearing the perspective of an accused’s loved one, I found Katie herself to be annoying. From the beginning, she insisted on her father’s innocence without so much as looking into what happened that night. And as a reader, you start to believe in him too with the way Katie talks about their relationship. But then when she discovers there’s more to her father that she has no clue about, I find myself not feeling too sorry for her at all. Especially since she never actually pays too close attention to the trial until she goes back to her family’s cabin. And personally, it takes way too long for her to figure out there’s more to the story than what she believes to be true. So when we as readers find out the truth of what happened, it feels sudden. While I expected that to be the case, I didn’t like the direction this story went, and it made me hard to continue reading.

Along with a bad plot, The Forgotten Hours also had bad characters too. Not just character development, but the characters in this book themselves I wasn’t too fond of. I feel like part of the reason for this is because they are very one-dimensional. Even Katie herself didn’t have too many sides to her character in this story other than being naïve about her father and blindly believing in him at the expense of friendship.

As a result, The Forgotten Hours is a book I read that I’m glad I finished so I don’t have to ever pick it up again. It’s a story with a messy plot and forgettable characters that made me wish I never read this book.      

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