Blitzed by Alexa Martin

Book cover of Blitzed by Alexa Martin

Book cover of Blitzed by Alexa MartinAlex Martin continues to tell the tales of the wives of the Denver Mustangs in this third entry to the Playbook series. Blitzed by Alexa Martin follows the story of a previously-just-a-plucky-side-character / bar owner Brynn. She’s a serially single lady with a massive crush on Maxwell, an NFL player who has frequented her bar for years. This quiet hovering and eye contact based relationship they had builds up an odd, chemistry driven rapport. Just as Brynn’s ready to make her move, Maxwell inexplicably destroys part of her bar in a fit of rage. While this would be the end to most conventional crushes, this is just the beginning of Brynn and Maxwell’s romance.

According to Brynn Larson, Maxwell Lewis is more trouble than he’s worth. She doesn’t care if he’s a football god with a rock-hard body that brings most women to their knees. After an encounter that ends poorly, she’s not interested in giving him a second chance. The last thing Brynn expects is for him to turn up at her bar months later, hat in hand. It doesn’t matter if he brings more customers to her business–she’s still not going on a date with him.

Maxwell knows he made a mistake. He’d been waiting to make his move on Brynn since the day he laid eyes on her and he was finally ready to go for it until he screwed up. He wishes he could tell her the truth about what happened that night, but he just can’t. He can’t tell anyone, so he’ll make amends and hope she’ll forgive him.

Brynn’s not like other women, though. Playing for the Mustangs doesn’t impress her and gifts make her scoff. Max will have to bring his A game if he hopes to win her over.

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All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Photo of the book All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

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I’m the kind a reader that will put off reading a book until she sees a movie or a TV show coming out about it. I know, I know, not the right reason to read a book, but it’s an easy motivator for me since I’m pretty much staunchly in the camp of read it before you see it. In this case Netflix just recently released the movie adaptation with two of my favorite young actors. All of that added up to enough for me to finally motivate pick up All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven (which I’ve had on my iPad for almost 5 years). While this book started strong, it quickly veered into territory I wasn’t comfortable with, and felt a little too similar to some other popular YA books.

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

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Bachelor Nation by Amy Kaufman

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The Bachelor is my go to guilty pleasure TV – it’s romantic, funny, and dramatic. Plus, I’ve been able to set up a viewing party with my friends, so it’s now become a social habit for me. Naturally, I wanted to find a way to dive deeper into the series and find out how this bizarre TV show is made. Plenty of previous contestants have written tell-all books in the past, but most of them felt like quick cash grabs and a way to hang onto fame. While Bachelor Nation goes a little deeper than the individual contestant books, it still lacks the depth and juicy details that most Bachelor fans would hope for.

For sixteen years and thirty-six seasons, the Bachelor franchise has been a mainstay in American TV viewers’ lives. Since it premiered in 2002, the show’s popularity and relevance have only grown—more than eight million viewers tuned in to see the conclusion of the most recent season of The Bachelor.

Los Angeles Times journalist Amy Kaufman is a proud member of Bachelor Nation and has a long history with the franchise—ABC even banned her from attending show events after her coverage of the program got a little too real for its liking. She has interviewed dozens of producers, contestants, and celebrity fans to give readers never-before-told details of the show’s inner workings: what it’s like to be trapped in the mansion “bubble”; dark, juicy tales of producer manipulation; and revelations about the alcohol-fueled debauchery that occurs long before the Fantasy Suite.

Kaufman also explores what our fascination means, culturally: what the show says about the way we view so-called ideal suitors; our subconscious yearning for fairy-tale romance; and how this enduring television show has shaped society’s feelings about love, marriage, and feminism by appealing to a marriage plot that’s as old as the best of Jane Austen.

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Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Ok – I know that by 2020 you likely already have a pretty set opinion on the Twilight series. Trust me, I read them when they first came out over ten years ago and have a pretty strong opinion on them, but I recently saw them in the library and decided to give them a go again. Why? Because I read them at the height of their popularity, when it was also cool to hate them. So – was Twilight any better than I remember it being? Unfortunately, not.

About three things I was absolutely positive.

First, Edward was a vampire.

Second, there was a part of him—and I didn’t know how dominant that part might be—that thirsted for my blood.

And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.

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Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

I only recently started reading the mystery genre – and the Lovely Bones was one of the biggest books of the 2000s, let alone in the mystery space. I never saw the movie, and before reading this I had no real idea what the book was about. I went into it with fairly high expectations due to its popularity. Unfortunately, this one really fell short for me.

The Lovely Bones is the story of a family devastated by a gruesome murder — a murder recounted by the teenage victim. Upsetting, you say? Remarkably, first-time novelist Alice Sebold takes this difficult material and delivers a compelling and accomplished exploration of a fractured family’s need for peace and closure.

The details of the crime are laid out in the first few pages: from her vantage point in heaven, Susie Salmon describes how she was confronted by the murderer one December afternoon on her way home from school. Lured into an underground hiding place, she was raped and killed. But what the reader knows, her family does not. Anxiously, we keep vigil with Susie, aching for her grieving family, desperate for the killer to be found and punished.

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