Grendel’s Guide to Love and War by A.E. Kaplan

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Tom Grendel and his father, an Army veteran who is struggling with PTSD, are trying to lead a quiet life to allow his father to heal not only from his battle scars, but the loss of his wife and Tom’s mother.  But when a family moves in next door that threatens to upset the quiet neighborhood they all love, adventures ensue as Tom, his best friend Ed, and Tom’s sister vow to end the loud parties that have driven Tom’s dad from their home.  And then there’s Willow…

This book is everything that is right about YA.  I absolutely loved this reworking of Beowulf.  The adventures and plots were fun and crazy, together with the perfect amount of angst, the all important first love, and my new favorite best friend in a YA novel, Ed.  So many laugh out loud moments, but also moments that tugged at your heart and made the characters so easy to relate to and empathize with.  I had more fun with this book than I have in a long time and truly enjoyed every second of it.

The Best of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion

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I was really looking forward to this book as I am a huge fan of “The Rosie” series. “The Best of Adam Sharpe” is definitely a bit different. A story of true love and second chances, the book starts off great, building the story of Adam and Angeline, a love affair over 20 years ago that apparently neither can let go of. The build up of their love is absolutely incredible. Adam is an amateur pianist who enjoys playing at the local bar after work each day. This is when Angelina walks in and changes his life forever. The soundtrack throughout the path of their relationship is beautiful and emotional. Unfortunately her job as an actress and his job as a world traveling IT consultant causes the relationship to end and the two of them to go in opposite directions in life, finding other partners along the way.

An email from Angelina to Adam starts the two of them longing for one another again, and this is where the story takes a turn that ultimately made me dislike both and not want to root for their love anymore. It took all the charm and true love that the book had perfectly built and turned it ultimately into a adulterous mess. The story manages to somewhat redeem the characters in the end, but the damage was done for me at that point. Yes, relationships can be complicated and people are flawed, but from the “lemon tree” scene on, I completely lost interest in the two of them even trying to have a happy ending.