August 7, 2019

Friends With ARCs | Things You Save in the Fire + Start Here

pub 8/13/19 by St. Martin's Press
Women's Fiction - Contemporary
Received e-ARC from pub for review
Things You Save in the Fire is my third Katherine Center novel and while I do genuinely like her books, nothing has quite wowed me the way Happiness for Beginners did. I still admire the off-the-beaten path stories she chooses to tell in each one though and this was no exception. Cassie Hanwell is one of the few female firefighters in her Texas firehouse and considered one of, if not, the best. But an unexpected incident paired with her estranged, ailing mother's request that she come home to help her for a year, turns her hard work and life upside down. And her new job at the Boston firehouse is the opposite of everything she's used to – they're out-dated and old-fashioned with no signs of improvement. But Cassie didn't let that stop her from showing these men what a "lady" could do (and do it better), which was my favorite quality about her. Even though at times her antics and speeches felt a bit too PSA for my liking at times, I did appreciate the positive-feminist message overall. But something was missing and I just couldn't connect to Cassie either. The book shined the most when it focus on the interpersonal relationships, whether it was Cassie with her mom, with the rookie firefighter she finds herself attracted to, or little moments with her coworkers. There wasn't enough of that and instead went a bit too crazy, in my opinion, with one huge drama right after another.

Would you relocate for a job and if yes, where? • At this point in my life, no because being near family is a priority (unless they all wanted to move with me too 😂). But if you asked me this right after graduating from college, I would say yes especially if the options were either: London, Paris or California.


pub 8/13/19 by Simon Pulse
Young Adult - Contemporary
Received e-ARC from pub for review
I adore Trish Doller and I've been super excited for Start Here from the moment it was announced, especially since it's a friendship book. Willa, Taylor and Finley made a pact to spend the summer after high school sailing from Ohio to Key West. Except Finley passes away before graduation, but not before leaving behind a list of clues for Willa and Taylor to see certain destinations and making them promise to follow through on this dream of theirs. So they do but it's an uneasy trip from the start because Finley was the glue and really the whole reason why they even hung out. Without her there, what does life and their tentative friendship look like? The book alternates chapters as we see how each girl handles their grief and the trip ahead. But to be honest, I struggled with getting to know and connect to both girls, particularly Taylor who I never completely warmed up to. I definitely sympathized with the situation. Even though I've never lost a friend, I related to trying to find a balance in a friendship group of three very different young women and what it's like to be "the glue". But I feel like I still needed more, I actually wish we had got to know Finley better, like letting her have own chapters that are flashbacks, because it would've given more weight to this final wish of hers and the girls' grief. But the part I ended up really enjoying was the trip itself as a background to the story. I loved that they were sailing on their own, making these random stops and discovering what they each wanted along the way. So while this may not be my favorite Trish Doller book, if you're in the mood for friendship, summer and a bit of wanderlust, I'd recommend borrowing this from the library.

What should our (mine and Alexa's) next trip be? • We always try to do at least one big trip together each year and for our next one, I'm torn between Prince Edward Island or Scotland. (Which Alexa correctly guessed would be my answer!)


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Collaborative feature with Alexa. We read ARCs together and post our reviews on the same date.


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