Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

Synopsis: Three girls plot revenge on three popular seniors in an idyllic resort town. Review: Yes, I loved Siobhan Vivian The List and Not That Kind of Girl, and my love affair continues in Burn for Burn. My only problem is that it’s the first in a trilogy and I’m going to have to wait to find out what happens next! Share on Facebook

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The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg

Synopsis: When Edie Middlestein tips over into morbid obesity, her husband leaves her and her grown children don’t really want to pick up the pieces. Review: The Middlesteins is a family melodrama, pure and simple. I definitely got sucked into their unhappiness, but appreciated that I never felt like I was wallowing in it. The Chicago setting came through in a fully realized way, adding another element of depth I liked (as opposed to being the generic suburbs). I didn’t necessarily identify with any of…

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Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian

Synopsis: Student council president Natalie has a lot of pressure on her, and a freshman girl’s provocative behavior starts to unravel the control she’s fought so hard to maintain. Review: In many ways I could relate to Natalie, the first-person narrator of Not That Kind of Girl, to the point of being annoyed with her for being so blind to the feelings of everyone around her. I do get frustrated with stories that revolve around a character who either misses something critical, or who others…

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Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright

Synopsis: A history and exposé of Scientology. Review: Cults and Hollywood–two of my favorite non-fiction topics in one. I was so happy to pay any price to read Going Clear and I was not disappointed. Meticulously researched, extensively detailed, and thoroughly suspensful, I wish it had been twice as long. Crash writer/director Paul Haggis’s story weaves throughout the history of Scientology and it’s an amazing journey that really sheds light on the appeal of Scientology. Tom Cruise and John Travolta are discussed in detail, and…

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Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Synopsis: A bad boy surviving foster care and hoping to get custody of his younger brother falls for a troubled young woman covered with scars and no memory of how she got them. Review: Honestly, I don’t know why I kept readingPushing the Limits. I didn’t think Noah was that great a guy, and Echo’s helplessness really got to me. I didn’t get why her scars were such a huge deal, socially speaking, and it bugged me how contrived some of the conflicts were. Yet…

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The List by Siobhan Vivian

Synopsis: When the annual list of prettiest and ugliest girls in each grade is posted, the named girls face their demons and find out who they really are. Review: The List is my favorite kind of YA–edgy, sharp, and deeply human. I loved the backstories created for all the characters and how it all came together. Share on Facebook

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Thea Gallas Always Gets Her Man by Kristen Panzer

Synopsis: Aspiring lactation consultant Thea just wants to help moms and babies breastfeed, but her knack for observation gets her in over her head when a neighbor goes missing. Review: As an international board-certified lactation consultant and La Leche League Leader myself, I instantly fell for Thea. At last, a protagonist after my own heart. I loved seeing my passion represented by such a feisty, smart woman as Thea and it was so fun to read actual facts about breastfeeding in a mystery novel. And…

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The Neighbors by Ania Ahlborn

Synopsis: When a troubled young man moves into a dilapidated house with his childhood friend, the perfect life of the sexy next door neighbors entices him–and ensnares him. Review: The Neighbors is a creepy little thriller whose twists take the form of character revelation. I was never exactly surprised by the actual plot, but I kept turning the pages because of the complexity of the characters, their backstories, and their relationships. Share on Facebook

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