Book Review: The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He – An Unsteady, Slow Start Gives Way to a Thrilling and Thematic Story about Sisters on the Brink

Blurb:

Cee awoke on an abandoned island three years ago. With no idea of how she was marooned, she only has a rickety house, an old android, and a single memory: she has a sister, and Cee needs to find her.

STEM prodigy Kasey wants escape from the science and home she once trusted. The eco-city—Earth’s last unpolluted place—is meant to be sanctuary for those commited to planetary protection, but it’s populated by people willing to do anything for refuge, even lie. Now, she’ll have to decide if she’s ready to use science to help humanity, even though it failed the people who mattered most.

I was provided an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

True to its promises, The Ones We’re Meant to Find is indeed twisty and surprising, and the themes explored in this book are one of the most confronting and alarming that I have read in recent memory. (The comparisons to Black Mirror are accurate.) While I liked The Ones We’re Meant to Find well enough and I feel that others should give this book a read, my thoughts about The Ones We’re Meant to Find are multi-faceted and complex – which I will try and do justice in today’s book review.

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Book Review: Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong – An Explosive, Terrifying and Satisfying Conclusion to the Dark Romantic Story of Roma and Juliette

Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong
Blurb:

NOTE: The blurb below contains spoilers to These Violent Delights.

The year is 1927, and Shanghai teeters on the edge of revolution.

After sacrificing her relationship with Roma to protect him from the blood feud, Juliette has been a girl on the warpath. One wrong move, and her cousin will step in to usurp her place as the Scarlet Gang’s heir. The only way to save the boy she loves from the wrath of the Scarlets is to have him want her dead for murdering his best friend in cold blood. If Juliette were actually guilty of the crime Roma believes she committed, his rejection might sting less.

Roma is still reeling from Marshall’s death, and his cousin Benedikt will barely speak to him. Roma knows it’s his fault for letting the ruthless Juliette back into his life, and he’s determined to set things right—even if that means killing the girl he hates and loves with equal measure.

Then a new monstrous danger emerges in the city, and though secrets keep them apart, Juliette must secure Roma’s cooperation if they are to end this threat once and for all. Shanghai is already at a boiling point: The Nationalists are marching in, whispers of civil war brew louder every day, and gangster rule faces complete annihilation. Roma and Juliette must put aside their differences to combat monsters and politics, but they aren’t prepared for the biggest threat of all: protecting their hearts from each other.

I was provided an early copy of the book by the author. This has not influenced my opinions of the book. This book review is based on the early copy, and may differ from the final version.

When I was a few chapters away from finishing Our Violent Ends, I swear, and I say this without hyperbole: I think my feelings actually shut down. I was stressed, I was so tense that I had to get up and pace while reading, and I was literally sweating. By the end, I was a numb and absolutely wrecked mess – but I was also, funnily, a satisfied mess.

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Book Review: You’ve Reached Sam by Dustin Thao – An Evocative and Vulnerable Story about Grief, Connection, and Moving On

Blurb:

Seventeen-year-old Julie has her future all planned out—move out of her small town with her boyfriend Sam, attend college in the city, spend a summer in Japan. But then Sam dies. And everything changes.

Heartbroken, Julie skips his funeral, throws out his things, and tries everything to forget him and the tragic way he died. But a message Sam left behind in her yearbook forces back memories. Desperate to hear his voice one more time, Julie calls Sam’s cellphone just to listen to his voicemail.

And Sam picks up the phone.

In a miraculous turn of events, Julie’s been given a second chance at goodbye. The connection is temporary. But hearing Sam’s voice makes her fall for him all over again, and with each call it becomes harder to let him go. However, keeping her otherworldly calls with Sam a secret isn’t easy, especially when Julie witnesses the suffering Sam’s family is going through. Unable to stand by the sidelines and watch their shared loved ones in pain, Julie is torn between spilling the truth about her calls with Sam and risking their connection and losing him forever.

I was provided an uncorrected bound manuscript from the author. My honest opinions in this book review reflect this version and may be different to the final version of the book.

It’s been two months since I finished You’ve Reached Sam, and it’s a book that has stayed with me since. I think about this book almost every other day. You’ve Reached Sam is a story that confronts grief in its most intense and most painful. And yet, though I was a sobbing, snotty mess by the end of the book, its tender and genuine portrayal of love in its most pure form was also unexpectedly healing.

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Story Time – April Fools: A Spell Goes Terribly Wrong – or Right? – at the Pond!

It’s the first of April today – a new month and a new beginning!

You decide to meet your friends at the Pond today; it’s been awhile since you visited and had a good chat with them. After their silly antics from two years ago (has time really flown so fast?), you wonder whether the Pond friends will be up to today.

You pass through the magical boundary of the Pond – and you immediately feel the magic, warm and fuzzy – but when you come through the other side…

Oh my goodness.

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