Monthly Archives:: March 2016

Walk the Edge Review

March 29, 2016 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★★★

Walk the Edge ReviewWalk the Edge (Thunder Road, #2) by Katie McGarry
Published by Harlequin Teen on March 29th 2016
Pages: 384
Source: Netgalley
Also by this author: Nowhere But Here (Thunder Road, #1)
Reading Challenges: Contemporary Romance Challenge
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

One moment of recklessness will change their worlds.
Smart. Responsible. That's seventeen-year-old Breanna's role in her large family, and heaven forbid she put a toe out of line. Until one night of shockingly un-Breanna-like behavior puts her into a vicious cyber-bully's line of fire—and brings fellow senior Thomas "Razor" Turner into her life.
Razor lives for the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, and good girls like Breanna just don't belong. But when he learns she's being blackmailed over a compromising picture of the two of them—a picture that turns one unexpected and beautiful moment into ugliness—he knows it's time to step outside the rules.
And so they make a pact: he'll help her track down her blackmailer, and in return she'll help him seek answers to the mystery that's haunted him—one that not even his club brothers have been willing to discuss. But the more time they spend together, the more their feelings grow. And suddenly they're both walking the edge of discovering who they really are, what they want, and where they're going from here.

Walk the Edge - RWB banner

I’ve read every single Katie McGarry book. So far, I’ve really enjoyed each of them for different reasons. However, none of them have stuck with me the way that Walk the Edge has. It’s the first book of hers that I’ve given five stars to, and I personally think that you need this book in your life. This is the second book in her Thunder Road series, it’s a companion though so you don’t have to read Nowhere but Here. I recommend that you read it because it gives you more insight behind the history of the Reign of Terror. If you’re looking for a quick read with a smart and memorable MC combined with an insanely swoony book boyfriend, this is the story for you.

All of Katie McGarry’s protagonists have something special and likable about them. There’s never been one character that I blatantly disliked, some I have clicked with more than others, but I still feel like each of them have been extremely well written and developed. That being said, I haven’t managed to connect with any of them the way that I did with Breanna. Personally, I definitely don’t have her (nearly) photographic memory, but I can identify with kids trying to take advantage of you and ask you to do their homework for them. All throughout middle school and parts of high school, something similar happened to me. Guys would befriend me just so I would complete homework for them. So this instantly stuck out to me about Breanna and I was able to get her in a surprising and personal way. She’s a strong character, and I really enjoyed seeing her grow as a character throughout the story.

Alright, can I talk about my boy Razor now? Holy crap, if you’ve read any of McGarry’s books you know that she writes totally swoony boys like nobody’s business. I have to say though, Razor has easily taken the top spot as my favorite of McGarry’s boys, and also of all time. What’s so special about him? First of all, he’s a loyal guy, but he’s also a curious one. He wants to know what happened to his mother, and he doesn’t fully trust his brothers from the Reign of Terror to give him answers. I guess what is so great about him is that you immediately want to give him a hug. Seriously, there were so many scenes where Razor was hurting and I just wanted to take that pain away from him. For someone in a motorcycle club, this guy is extremely sensitive and he also cares so deeply for people. I’m not always a fan of the whole bad boy thing, but the author makes his character much deeper than just that, so he isn’t just your stereotypical bad boy. He does everything he possibly can to help out Breanna, even going as far as putting aside his own feelings in order to keep her safe. He’s just an amazing guy all around, alright?

With these two characters being so well developed on their own, obviously, them combined as a couple is downright amazing. I absolutely love Breanna and Razor’s relationship. First and foremost, the two become unlikely friends, and I enjoy seeing the buildup to them becoming an actual couple. There are so many memorable scenes involving the two of them. The first kiss that they have is beyond swoony. There was a great buildup to it happening, and I was very much relieved once it finally did. So they first team up because this jerk is blackmailing Breanna with a picture he took of her and Razor. Honestly, the picture is nothing super scandalous, but it still can be inferred that the two are together due to how close they are to one another. Anyway, through this, we really get to see the first signs of Razor’s protective side, and it’s seriously a wonderful thing to see. He’s not possessive in anyway, but he doesn’t allow anyone to mess with Breanna, and I love seeing that.

Walk the Edge is finally out today and I highly recommend that you go out and buy a copy! Personally, I didn’t think that books that feature motorcycle clubs are really my thing. Even after reading these books, it’s still not something that I think I’ll read a lot of in general. But Katie McGarry is such a fantastic author that she makes it work in a flawless manner. She makes you completely care about each and every character that appears, even the older guys in the club who are simply in supporting roles. They all have stories that need to be told, and I love how invested I got from reading this book. Serious question though, where can I get a boy like Razor?

Excerpt

“I’m here about your mother.” The asshole knows he has me when my eyes snap to his.
“She’s dead.” Like the other times I say the words, a part of me dies along with her.
This guy has green eyes and they soften like he’s apologetic. “I know. I’m sorry. I’ve received some new evidence that may help us discover what caused her death.”
Anger curls within my muscles and my jaw twitches. This overwhelming sense of insanity is what I fight daily. For years, I’ve heard the whispers from the gossips in town, felt the stares of the kids in class, and I’ve sensed the pity of the men in the Reign of Terror I claim as brothers. It’s all accumulated to a black, hissing doubt in my soul.
Suicide.
It’s what everyone in town says happened. It’s in every hushed conversation people have the moment I turn my back. It’s not just from the people I couldn’t give two shits about, but the people who I consider family.
I shove away those thoughts and focus on what my father and the club have told me—what I have chosen to believe. “My mother’s death was an accident.”
He’s shaking his head and I’m fresh out of patience. I’m not doing this. Not with him. Not with anyone. “I’m not interested.”
I push off the railing and I did out the keys to my motorcycle as I bound down the steps. The detective’s behind me. He has a slow steady stride and it irritates me that he follows across the yard and doesn’t stop coming as I swing my leg over my bike.
“What if I told you I don’t think it was an accident,” he says.
Odds are it wasn’t. Odds are every whispered taunt in my direction is true. That my father and the club drove Mom crazy, and I wasn’t enough of a reason for her to choose life.
To drown him out, I start the engine. This guy must be as suicidal as people say Mom was because he eases in front of my bike assuming I won’t run him down.
“Thomas,” he says.
I twist the handle to rev the engine in warning. He raises his chin like he’s finally pissed and his eyes narrow on me. “Razor.”
I let the bike idle. If he’s going to respect me by using my road name, I’ll respect him for a few seconds. “Leave me the fuck alone.”
Damn if the man doesn’t possess balls the size of Montana. He steps closer to me and drops a bomb. “I have reason to believe your mom was murdered.”

 

Walk the Edge - The Boy Everyone Needs

“There’s something about McGarry’s writing that’s totally enthralling. Her characters are vivid, flawed and riveting, making this is a truly amazing read!

~ RT Book Reviews

“Katie McGarry is a master of her craft! Raw emotion, pure grit, I hang on every word. Her characters are real people with real problems and I cheer them every step of the way. Ready for a new addiction? Look no further than Katie McGarry’s books.”

~ Gena Showalter, Bestselling author of Firstlife

“I finished WALK THE EDGE by the amazing Katie McGarry. It was SO good that now I feel bereft. I already miss Razor & Bre – I need to know more! She is by far my #1 favorite author. She paints a picture with the words, puts you IN the story… LOVE.

~ Lori Foster, New York Times Bestselling Author

 

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DON’T MISS THIS AWESOME INCENTIVE OFFER FOR AN EXCLUSIVE ECHO AND NOAH SHORT STORY!

Order WALK THE EDGE, Register your Order by April 1st and receive an exclusive Echo and Noah short story and a chance to be in the next Thunder Road novel! Register at https://offerpop.com/campaign/796530.

 

 

Katie McGarry - author picAbout Katie McGarry:

Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Katie is the author of full length YA novels, PUSHING THE LIMITS, DARE YOU TO, CRASH INTO YOU, TAKE ME ON, BREAKING THE RULES, and NOWHERE BUT HERE and the e-novellas, CROSSING THE LINE and RED AT NIGHT. Her debut YA novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS was a 2012 Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction, a RT Magazine’s 2012 Reviewer’s Choice Awards Nominee for Young Adult Contemporary Novel, a double Rita Finalist, and a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Teen Pick. DARE YOU TO was also a Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction and won RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Young Adult Contemporary fiction in 2013.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Pinterest | Goodreads

 

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five-stars

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Top Ten Tuesday: 10 of My Most Recent 5 Star Reads

March 29, 2016 Features 12

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme/feature hosted by the awesome people at The Broke and the Bookish. This is where you can share all of your bookish related lists with other list loving people! I always look forward to the different themes that are chosen each week. The topic today is ten of your most recent 5 star reads. I’ve been so excited about sharing this list because I love to talk about those books that hit me on such an insane level. I may not be as picky as some when it comes to giving out 5 stars, but I still believe that I am rather selective. I feel like a lot of the following books are ones that I seem to talk about a lot and mention in my lists here. I figured I’d go ahead and share them again anyway! One last thing: some of these haven’t been published yet, so look out for them in the next couple months or so.

1. Girl Against the Universe

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This book doesn’t come out until May, but you need to keep an eye out for it! Honestly though, I understand that it might not be everyone’s cup of tea since it tackles the issue of mental illness. Going into it, I was expecting the book to be a lot darker than it actually was. The mental illness side of things was handled with sensitivity and it’s clear that Paula did careful research on the topic.

Why should you read it?

Sports, swoony book boyfriend, strong female friendships, awesome MC, nice parental figures, and a positive representation of therapy.

2. Undecided

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The first thing I have to mention is that despite the cover, there is NO love triangle in this book. I almost was scared off by the cover and didn’t read it, but I’m so glad that I gave it a shot anyway. This is hands down one of my favorite New Adult books. I think that it’s a great book to start with if this isn’t a genre that you normally read. It comes out in a few weeks so make sure to get a copy then!

Why should you read it?

Real protagonist, athletic love interest that is much more than just a jock, entertaining supporting characters, and a refreshing story that sends the message that it’s totally okay to be in college and not know what the hell you’re doing. I know it sounds like a simple concept that’s been done before, but trust me, it’ll likely blow you away. At least I hope it will!

3. Walk the Edge

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I have never disliked any of Katie McGarry’s books. I’ve found that every single one of them has stuck with me in some way. However, I’ve only ever given them three and four stars. Walk the Edge is the first book of hers that I’ve given out five stars to, and obviously, I highly recommend it. It’s not all that different from her others, but I really am enjoying her new Thunder Road series so far. I think what really stuck with me is my own personal connection to the MC, Breanna. Besides, I honestly think Razor might just be my all time favorite McGarry boy. And if you’ve read any of her previous books, you know how tough of an honor that ultimately is. It’s out today, and you should definitely buy it!

4. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

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I haven’t stopped mentioning this book in these lists and just on my blog in general since I read it for the first time over a month ago. It was a huge reason why I couldn’t give any five stars out for a good month after I read it. It just took quite awhile for me to stop comparing every book I read to this incredible one. I don’t need to provide any reasons to read this because I feel like you should have totally read it by now!

5. The Revenge Playbook

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I’ve talked about this one a lot, but I still feel like it’s a bit underrated. It’s such an amazing book that totally slays with great female friendships, it’s sex positive, and it also takes on the topic of slut shaming in a beautiful and well written way.

6. Wanderlost

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This doesn’t come out until the end of May, but I couldn’t resist reading it long before then. I love the strong summer vibe that the book clearly has. In real life, I’m not sure how well this plot would actually work out. But it’s just such a fun book that it really didn’t bother me at all. Basically, Aubree’s sister Elizabeth gets arrested and can’t go to this huge summer job of leading a senior citizen’s tour bus across Europe. So she has Aubree pretend to be her and guide the seniors. It’s a feel good book that is a quick and engaging read.

Why should you read it?

MC who doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life, incredibly swoony romance, cute and memorable old people, and it’s a book that takes place during the summer, need I say more?

7. The Distance from A to Z

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I’ve talked about this one enough, so I’ll just say that you need to buy it. The ebook is only $1.99, and it’s not a novella, this is a full length book. The romance between Abby and Zeke is ridiculously adorable, prepare to swoon.

8. The Score

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While I do recommend reading the first two books in the Off Campus series first, this is easily my favorite of them. Dean might be portrayed as a manwhore, but we get to see a whole different side to him in this one, and I absolutely love it! I also don’t think I’ve ever read any other book that has easy and natural banter like this one does with Dean and his teammates.

9. Just Visiting

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Dahlia Adler is an author that I’ve been mentioning like crazy here recently. Just Visiting is such a lovely book that deserves even more attention than it’s been receiving. I know many of the books I’ve listed have had incredible female friendships, but this one easily takes the top spot hands down!

10. Something Real

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I was beyond late to the party with this one. I have no excuse as to why it took me so long to get around to reading this book. I had heard nothing but good things about it. I had already read Demetrios’s most recent novel, I’ll Meet You There, and I was completely blown away by it. So yeah, this one is such as amazing as everyone has said that it is. Patrick is such an amazing book boyfriend, I’m not over how great he was with Chloe throughout the book.

So there is my list for the week. What was on your list? I look forward to reading them and hopefully discovering some new recs. I hope you guys have a great rest of the week! 🙂

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Get Up Offa That Slump: My Dream Easter Basket

March 28, 2016 Features 0

Hey guys! It’s hard to believe that it’s already day nine of this blogging extravaganza! If you haven’t yet heard, it’s hosted by Rachel from Beauty and the Bookshelf. This is a three week event to get us back into blogging, and it’s been so much fun. For today, the topic that I chose is what you would include in your dream Easter basket. In my real life Easter basket, I received tons of candy and an Amazon gift card, which I actually wasn’t expecting at all! Obviously, I’m going to buy as many books as I possibly can with it. Though I did love the basket that I got, I still enjoy dreaming big so this was a fun topic to tackle. Like Rachel though, I didn’t want to go too overboard because I’m still a fairly simple person and spending too much money makes me nervous.

Funko POP NFL: Wave 1 - JJ Watt Action Figures

Chbosky - We Accept The Love We Think We Deserve Throw Pillow

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  Ill Give You The Sun quote design Tote Bag

Just an FYI: if you click on the pictures, it’ll take you straight to the products. Just thought I’d leave the links there for you guys just in case you wanted to check some of them out for yourselves. So yes, that’s my dream Easter basket. I thought it was simple enough, but it’s still pretty expensive. Oh well, I’m sadly not actually getting these products right now anyways. I know that the J.J. Watt Funko Pop was beyond random considering all of the other items are book related, but I couldn’t help myself. J.J. Watt is seriously my man, and I knew that I needed this in my life as soon as I saw that such an item really existed. What did you put on your list? Or did you do the other topic for today?

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What You Always Wanted Review

March 28, 2016 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★★

What You Always Wanted ReviewWhat You Always Wanted (If Only . . ., #8) by Kristin Rae
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on March 29th 2016
Pages: 320
Source: Netgalley
Reading Challenges: Contemporary Romance Challenge
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

If Only . . . he was the boy she's been dreaming of. The If Only line continues in this fun high school theater-themed romance!
Drama girl Maddie Brooks has always had high standards for guys. But she has yet to find one who can live up to the romantic, classic Hollywood heartthrobs, especially the dreamy song-and-dance man Gene Kelly. When Maddie begins to carpool with Jesse Morales, her new neighbor and star pitcher of the baseball team, she's struck by his wit, good looks, and love for his family--but a guy so into sports is definitely not her style. Then Maddie discovers that Jesse was raised as a dancer and still practices in the community theater dance studio to keep in shape. Perhaps her perfect dream guy exists after all! But when it becomes clear that baseball--not dance--is Jessie's passion, can Maddie find a way to let her dream guy go and appreciate the charms of the amazing guy in front of her?

Honestly, I feel like I’ve gotten too old to REALLY enjoy some books that I likely would have been blown away by when I was younger. That’s dramatic of me to say since I’m only 19 and haven’t even been out of high school for that long. So with this book, I tried to just set aside all the typical issues I have with particular high school drama/tropes. You guys know what I’m talking about: the mean girl, the jock, the best friend, etc. With What You Always Wanted, I did my best to get lost in the story, and in the end, I really enjoyed it. As soon as I read the description for this, I knew it was my thing since I love books that incorporate theater into the plot. Did it have cliche moments? You bet, but it was still cute. Like the rest of the books in this series, (well I haven’t read them all but I assume based on the ones I have read) this is probably meant for the younger YA crowd. Meaning, middle school and maybe early high school. While not completely memorable, this was still a sweet read that I needed at the time.

Our main character is Maddie, a drama queen who is the new girl in town. Though her dramatic ways might be a bit annoying at times, I found her to be a character that I really related to. I found her obsession with old movies and Gene Kelly to be unique and endearing. I also understood her impossibly high standards regarding boys. I truly did love this character more than I was even expecting to. More than that, she had a rad personality and she was intensely passionate about musicals and being a star. Basically, she was my kind of girl for sure. Maddie was a fascinating character and I loved her sassy and fun voice.

Jesse is the swoony love interest in this lovely little story. This boy is much more complicated than your average popular high school jock. The first main difference is his background with dancing and musicals in general. His mom is the drama teacher at the high school so he became involved with it from an early age. As he got older, he started to love baseball more. My point is, I liked that the author made him have other interests and more to him than just being obsessed with the sport that he plays. Another part of his story that I found interesting was how baseball was a vital part of who he is. You have to read the book to fully get what I mean, but it was something that simply stuck out to me as a reader.

The relationship itself naturally was packed with tons of drama. Maddie did her best to stay away from Jesse in the beginning since he didn’t fit her impossibly high standards for a boyfriend. What Rae does best with these two characters is all the built up tension between them. You keep waiting and waiting for them to finally see that they should be together, but it’s worth the wait in the end. The swoony and precious scenes with them as a couple are just as great as you might imagine it would be. Not going to lie, the last scene hits an all time high of cuteness.

Have you guys read any of the titles in the If Only series from Bloomsbury? Various authors have written books focusing on romances where you want what you can’t have. One of the books that I read in particular from the line didn’t work for me, but luckily this one surprised and impressed me in a great way. I recommend this for those of you who love old movies, musicals, swoony boys, and light romances.

four-stars

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Get Up Offa That Book Slump: Plan a Fictional Trip

March 25, 2016 Features 1

Get Up Offa That Slump is a blogging extravaganza/challenge for those of you that have been struggling to post creative content on your blog. Rachel @ Beauty and the Bookshelf is the fabulous mind behind it all. For today, the topic is to plan a fictional trip. This includes a cool list of fictional places that I’ve read about in books that I would love to visit.

Colby, North Carolina

So this is the place that I have to start off with since I’m clearly a huge Sarah Dessen fan. Rachel also included this on her list because she has great taste in fictional towns. Anyway, I agree with everything that she said about all of the activities to do while you’re there. I particularly look forward to hanging out with Colie, Isabel, and Morgan down at the Last Chance Cafe. It would also be amazing to see my boy Dexter and his band Truth Squad in concert. The possibilities of things to do while in Colby are absolutely endless!

Coastal, North Carolina

So there’s a lot of fictional towns that Nicholas Sparks writes in his books. I have to say that there’s many of them to chose from, and there’s not one specific place that I’d really want to go and visit. However, the main attraction for me going there would be to see the fabulous ocean. I’d also want to go see Allie and Noah’s house, they actually let people go to the house where they filmed the movie which I think would be cool to see. It’d be nice to go eat at the restaurant where the girl worked at in Safe Haven.

Athens, Georgia

So this is clearly a real place, but I want to go and hangout with Simon Spier and his awesome friends. Like how cool would it be to head over to his high school and hangout with the whole theatre department? I would also love to see a musical that Simon and Abby are the leads in. Maybe I could even make it over when the carnival is in town. So I can ride the Tilt-a-Whirl since it turned out to be one of the most adorable moments in the book, despite how nervous poor Blue was about riding it. Anyway, this would just be a great place to hangout with Simon, Leah, Nick, Abby, Bram, Garrett, and whoever else they are hanging out with these days!

Genovia/New York

It seriously broke my heart when I first found out that Genovia wasn’t a real country. Honestly, it took me WAY too long for me to realize it wasn’t, like I was in the seventh grade before I knew. Yeah, this should definitely be a real place because it would be so much fun to visit. Going off of the books here and not the fact that perfect Julie Andrews played the part in the movie, I wouldn’t want to cross paths with Grandmere. But I would like to at least sit in a few times while Mia is having her Princess lessons. Even though I’d really love visiting Genovia, I’d like to be in New York with Mia and her friends for some time as well. It would also be so cool to be on her best friend Lily’s cable show. It’d also be great to see Michael’s band perform. What to do in Genovia? Well, I could go to super cool and classy balls and dress up all fancy and eat weird yet very fancy foods.

There’s not all that many fictional places listed here, but I still had fun making this list! It would be extremely expensive, but good thing that there’s absolutely no budget to speak of here! I can’t believe that we’ve almost reached the end of this blogging extravaganza. It’s been fun to do, even though I’ve missed more of the posts than I probably should have. The posts that I have done however, have been fun to do anyway.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Love But Haven’t Talked About Enough

March 21, 2016 Features 13

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, there is a new topic to center your bookish lists around. It’s such a fun feature and I love doing it whenever I can! The theme for today is about books that you love but feels like you haven’t talked about nearly enough or in awhile. I enjoy this topic because I feel like there are so many books that I don’t push on other people nearly enough. It doesn’t mean I love them any less than the ones I do talk about a lot, they just get shoved to the back of my mind for some reason. So without further ado, here is my list!

1. Thirteen Reasons Why

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This is one of my favorite books of all time! Maybe the reason why I feel like I don’t talk about it enough is because it’s so sad and it makes me sad just thinking about it. However, I do believe that it should definitely be required reading for ALL teenagers. It says so much about the power of our words and how that can change someone’s life forever. It’s certainly a book that will always stay with me.

2. Saint Anything

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I know I talk about Sarah Dessen books in general a lot, but this one in particular is her most recent book and I feel like I don’t give it enough love. In my opinion, it’s just as memorable and powerful as some of her earlier books. This one stuck with me because of how relatable the protagonist is, and even the plot in general was just a little bit different from her other works. If you’re new to Sarah, I would even recommend that you start with this one!

3. I’ll Give You the Sun

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I actually have no clue why I don’t talk about this book more. Jandy Nelson in general is a fabulous writer and this is definitely my favorite of her two books. It’s just so beautifully written all around. There’s also about a million quotes that you could steal from this one and I love that!

4. Flat-Out Love

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Easily one of my favorite NA books of all time! It’s unique and how can you not love Matt? If you feel like New Adult books aren’t really your thing for whatever reason, I recommend that you try this one. It’s just so refreshing and it makes you want to read more books like it.

5. Every Day

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I wouldn’t say that this is my favorite book of all time, but it does have one of the more unique concepts of any book that I’ve ever read. I’m honestly not sure why I don’t talk about it more!

6. On the Fence

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Book with a love interest who is not only the next door neighbor, but also your brother’s best friend? Yes please. All of Kasie West’s books deserve to be talked about again and again. I’m not sure why I don’t talk about it more, maybe because I liked The Fill-In Boyfriend just a little bit more, but I can’t forget how amazing this one is as well.

7. Sloppy Firsts

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The Jessica Darling books are just so epic. Jessica will always be my girl. It took me an embarrassingly long time to read these books, and I actually only ended up reading the first two. I plan on reading the other books at some point. The one thing that needs to be said about this series is: Marcus Flutie. Do I really need to say anything else? He’s more than enough of a reason to read and fall in love with this series.

8. Breathe, Annie, Breathe

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Though I think all of Miranda Kenneally’s books are pretty great in their own special ways, this one is easily my favorite. It’s also the only one of hers that I’ve given five stars to so far. Why does this one standout so much? And why do I not talk about it more? I probably don’t talk about this one specifically enough because I simply talk about all her books in general since she’s such a fabulous writer. I thought this one was so special and memorable because of both the plot and characters. Annie is easily my favorite Kenneally MC and Jeremiah is definitely up there with being one of my favorite love interests of hers. He’s pretty close with Matt from Things I Can’t Forget, but my point is, he’s a totally epic character. I seriously don’t believe that I could love this book any more than I do.

9. Dare You To

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Katie McGarry is yet another author who I’ve read and enjoyed every single one of her books. Though I think that most people love her book Pushing the Limits the most, the second book in this series has always managed to hold a place in my heart. I just feel like I connected with Ryan and Beth’s stories so much and I absolutely loved them as a couple. For some reason, I never reviewed this book or any of the others in the series, but this is one that I believe deserves a lot more credit from me!

10. Golden

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I read this book shortly after reading Kirby’s latest novel, The Things We Know By Heart. I really loved that one, but liked this one even more actually. The plot was like nothing that I’ve ever read before. I was immediately impressed when I read it, but for some reason never reviewed it. I think that I just didn’t have all that much to say because I liked it so much. It’s just one of those books that you feel like you need to tell people to read, but you can’t explain why they should pick it up.

So there’s my list for this week. Have you guys read any of these books? Which ones are your favorites? Do you recommend/talk about them with other people or do you just seem to keep them to yourself? Be sure to share your lists with me if you made one! I hope you guys have a great rest of the week! 🙂

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The Way I Used to Be Review

March 21, 2016 Reviews, Young Adult 1 ★★★★★

The Way I Used to Be ReviewThe Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on March 22nd 2016
Pages: 384
Source: Edelweiss
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five-stars

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn’t change who she was. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes.
What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she thought she knew to be true, is now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she’s supposed to tell someone what happened but she can’t. So she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be.
Told in four parts—freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year.

I was approved to read this novel on Edelweiss back in November and I figured that I’d wait a little longer to read it since the release date was still a good four months away. Once I started reading the very first page of this, I was instantly hooked. The book begins with some painful (but not overly graphic) details about the rape. It’s such an emotional beginning because you immediately sense the hurt and pain that radiates from Eden as this horrible thing happens to her by a guy that she has always trusted. After reading this, I knew that there was no way that I would stop reading. I had to know how Eden was going to respond and if this awful guy was going to be put away like he deserves. It’s safe to say that rape is an incredibly difficult subject to write about. It requires so much sensitivity and I can see why a survivor of sexual assault would want to stay clear of these kinds of books altogether. With that being said, I still believe that this book is such an important one to read. It tackles the subject with such careful sensitivity, but it still manages to be extremely realistic and honest at the same time. I was blown away by this powerful debut.

As I began this, I immediately had difficulty with it because like Eden, I have an older brother. Over the years, his friends have been nothing but nice to me and I’ve accepted each of them as my older brothers as well. That being said, it was hard for me to fathom that a brother’s best friend could do this. I was lucky that nothing like this happened to me, but I also know that it’s ALL TOO COMMON that this occurs to innocent girls like Eden. Our main character was a quiet and sort of geeky girl at the start of the novel. Once Kevin rapes her, she naturally begins to become a different person. She doesn’t tell anyone about it because he threatened her, and she’s forced to keep it a secret from her family. Yes, it bothered me that she didn’t tell, but I do understand how horrible and terrifying it would be to confess that this kid who has been a presence in the household for so long did something this terrible.

The book itself is split up into four different sections: freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior years. I liked this style because we were able to see her complete growth and changes that came following this traumatizing event. Most stories regarding rape only follow that specific year, so I found this to be particularly distinctive. It gives us more of an opportunity to see how it was still impacting her life and her relationships with the people closest to her years down the line. Eden makes some dramatic changes in her life once she hits high school. Although I didn’t always fully agree with all of her choices on a personal level, I also understand that everyone has different ways of coping with what happened to them. There haven’t been enough POV’s where the victim responded in the way that Eden did. It was a truly painful experience to see her gradually go into a downward spiral. She became angry and started blaming her entire family for what happened to her. This led to the result of all her other relationships being destructive. This included with both boys and in her friendships.

One example of Eden’s behavior is that she becomes more consumed with partying and attempts to forget everything by getting involved with many boys. Her first high school relationship is with a popular athlete named Josh. He’s easily one of my favorite characters in the book. Though he is unaware what Eden went through when they first get together, he knows that something is clearly not right. Instead of pushing her to tell him what’s going on, he’s patient and does his best to simply be what Eden needs. Don’t get me wrong though, this book isn’t about Josh saving Eden in anyway. Eden is the only person who can heal herself and come clean about what happened to her, no one else saves her. That’s another reason why I believe this book is so important. Most of the time, guys aren’t going to save you when something terrible happens to you, so I like that this book sends a different message entirely.

I am so glad that Amber Smith told this beautiful and tragic story about a young girl starting off her freshman year and going through all four years of high school, attempting to forget about her sexual assault. This is by no means a light and fluffy read, it’s at times pretty explicit, the imagery painted by the author just punches you right in the gut. While there’s no possible way that I will ever understand the pain that rape victims have to deal with on a daily basis, I do believe that this book helped strengthen my understanding of how they find a way to just make it through the day. This is a book that I strongly recommend to any and all readers out there. Despite it being months since I read it, it’s one that it still burned into my brain and I don’t see me forgetting it anytime soon.

five-stars

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Get Up Offa That Slump: Book Spine Poetry

March 21, 2016 Features 1

Get Up Offa That Slump is hosted by Rachel @ Beauty and the Bookshelf. For today’s challenge, I decided to make book spine poetry. I did this recently for the Love-a-Thon, but it’s a lot of fun. I was going to read a scene just so I would have a chance to step outside of my comfort zone, but I ultimately ended up chickening out. Can you blame me? I tried reading a super awkward scene but yup, I couldn’t read the dirty scene that I chose with a straight face. Sure, I could have read something a little less sexual, but I feel like that wouldn’t be as funny! So I went back to the book spine poetry idea. Without further ado, here are two poems that I was able to make.

Photo Mar 21, 5 28 17 PM

The Start of Me and You /

That Summer /

The Boy Next Door

unspecified

The Edge of Never /

Just Visiting /

While It Lasts

So there is my challenge for today! These might have not been the best poems, but I did my best. Which challenge did you guys choose? I look forward to looking at your posts!

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ARC Review: Undecided

March 19, 2016 Reviews 1 ★★★★★

ARC Review: UndecidedUndecided by Julianna Keyes
on April 4th, 2016
Source: Netgalley
Also by this author: Undeclared (Burnham College, #2)
Reading Challenges: Contemporary Romance Challenge
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars
four-flames

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

***PRE-ORDER "UNDECIDED" ANY TIME BEFORE APRIL 4, 2016 TO RECEIVE A FREE BONUS PACKAGE OF BEHIND-THE-SCENES INFO & A SNEAK PEEK AT THE FIRST CHAPTER***
Details at www.juliannakeyes.com
Nora Kincaid has one goal for her second year of college: be invisible. Last year’s all-party-no-study strategy resulted in three failed classes and two criminal charges, and if she messes up again she’ll lose her scholarship. But there’s one problem with her plan for invisibility, and his name is Crosbie Lucas: infamous party king, general hellraiser…and her new roommate’s best friend.
Crosbie’s reckless reputation and well-known sexcapades aren’t part of Nora’s studious new strategy, but as she’s quickly learning, her new plan is also really boring. When Crosbie’s unexpected gestures of friendship pull her head out of her books long enough to see past his cocky veneer, she’s surprised to find a flawed and funny guy beneath it all. The muscles don’t hurt, either.
But as Nora starts to fall for Crosbie, the weight of one of last year’s bad decisions grows even heavier. Because three failing grades and two misdemeanors are nothing compared to the one big secret she’s hiding…
Publisher's note: This is not a sweet romance. There is plenty of sex and swearing. Enjoy!

Typically, I do my best to wait until the week or day of a release date to post a review. With Undecided, I have so many positive things to say that I just can’t wait a few more weeks to share my thoughts. A lot of these early reviews coming in for this book have reported that this book has no love triangle. I decided to include this in mine anyway, because it feels so important to note. This is a fabulous book about a seriously realistic college experience. All too often, I feel like these NA books portray college life that would never really happen. I highly recommend checking this book out!

Before I get into more about how great the characters and the plot are, I want to reveal more about the romance. I know that some people want to be aware exactly what the romance is, and this synopsis hints at having some sort of secret that the MC keeps from the love interest. So I’m going to spoil that specific part so you guys who might be suspicious of love triangles can know EXACTLY what happens. Warning: I am including details about some events that happen near the end of the book, don’t read it if you don’t want to be spoiled. If you do choose to read it, I hope that it will convince you to give this book a try!

View Spoiler »

Nora is a fabulous and relatable protagonist. In high school, Nora was under the radar and was what some may consider to be boring. Once she gets to college, she starts to get caught up in going to frat parties with her friend Marcela. After getting arrested, she decides that she needs to get her grades and act together so she can still attend school. She enjoys her identity around Kellan and Crosbie, they view her as being a nerd, and don’t know about her partying past. She’s just an honest and real character to me. One of my favorite things about her is that she doesn’t know what she wants to do with the rest of her life. Her major is still undecided, hence the title. Even better, she doesn’t magically discover what she wants to do next as the book progresses because of Crosbie or anything like that, she still has no clue at the end of the book. I like how the author shows that it’s totally acceptable to not know what you want to do after college. I know there are other NA stories out there with this similar storyline, but I always find it refreshing to see.

You guys, Crosbie is the book boyfriend I’ve been waiting for. Yes, he’s in a fraternity and he has a reputation of hooking up and partying, but there’s so much more to him than just that. This book has no insta-love. I will say there is some instant attraction going on, but there’s still a strong buildup to the relationship. At first, Nora feels like he hardly notices her at all, but gradually it becomes more and more obvious that he notices her a lot more frequently than she thinks. Crosbie is a track star so he clearly has a nice body, which Nora tries and fails not to notice. She believes that he’s a distraction that she doesn’t need while she goes back on the path of trying not to be noticed. One thing that is different about this wonderful boy is that he likes performing magic tricks. Excuse me, he actually calls them illusions. Seriously though, I’ve never come across a love interest that has this hobby. Can more authors please follow Keyes’s lead here? This is a small detail, but I think it shows that he’s more than just an athlete or a frat boy. He’s never been in a real relationship before, but let me tell you, some of the things he says to Nora and the gifts that he gives her will pretty much make you melt.

Honestly, there’s so much to like about this book. I’ve never read anything else by Julianna Keyes, but I did read that this is her first NA book. If I didn’t know that, I would have thought that she’s been writing these stories for quite a long time. She just knows so much about college life. I feel like each character was well developed, even the supporting ones. It’s hard not to love Kellan, even though he’s a complete manwhore. I can’t wait for Keyes to give him a little happily ever after of his own. I also want Marchela and Nate to get a book of their own. Anyway, you guys need to look out for this one when it releases April 4th!

five-stars

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Right of First Refusal Review

March 18, 2016 Reviews 0 ★★★★½

Right of First Refusal ReviewRight of First Refusal (Radleigh University, #2) by Dahlia Adler
Published by Smashwords Edition on March 15th 2016
Pages: 340
Source: Purchased
Also by this author: Just Visiting
Reading Challenges: Contemporary Romance Challenge
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-half-stars
On the lacrosse field, Cait Johannssen gets what she wants. Off the field is another story. Because what she wants is the school's hot new basketball student-coach, Lawrence Mason, who also happens to be the guy who broke her heart in sports camp two years earlier.
But it's Cait's new roommate who's got him.
Cait and Mase agree it's best to keep their past a secret, but she doesn't expect him to completely ignore their history...or how much it'll hurt when he does. So when a friend on the basketball team asks her to pose as his girlfriend for a night, Cait can't turn down the opportunity for distraction. (Okay, and a little spite.) But what starts as an evening of fun turns into a fake relationship with more lies than the usually drama-free Cait can handle, and it's only keeping her from the one truth that's nagged at her for years: Why did Mase cut her out of his life to begin with?
And is it really too late to get him back?

Are you a big fan of female athletes in New Adult books? Do you like books with strong female friendships? Do you like seeing a diverse love interest? If so, I’m almost certain that you will love Right of First Refusal. I’m a major sucker for a second chance romance and this story just delivers on all fronts. There are very few NA books out there that I’ve found as refreshing and unique as this. Dahlia Adler is an auto-buy author for me. Not only is she an awesome person and someone that you can go to when you want to find a good YA or NA rec, but she’s a terrific writer. Her stories are never typical or cliche, she’s always bringing something new to the table.

This is the second book in the Radleigh University series. You don’t have to read the first book, but I recommend it. A lot of the same characters appear and you get to see the main couple for the first book many times. The series follows three best friends as they make their way through college and find love in unexpected places. The friendship between Cait, Lizzie, and Frankie is one of the main themes of the book. No matter what is going on in their personal lives, the girls are always looking out for each other. In a genre that unfortunately has a lot of slut shaming and drama, it’s nice to see a positive portrayal of this. One of my favorite things about the friendship was how supportive the girls were of each other’s sex life and sexuality. Frankie is pansexual, and the girls are completely supportive and accepting of who she is, which is so important to see.

Not going to lie, the synopsis made me a bit nervous with how much drama it seems to be hinting at having. However, Adler handles this extremely well and it actually doesn’t feel like much drama at all. I think the key to this is that the problems were realistic ones. They never felt far fetched or unrealistic to me. So while I personally liked the characters more than the plot, both stand out to me. Honestly, there’s a lot going on in this book, but Adler can handle it all so you don’t get confused or feel like she didn’t spend enough time on one part. The part that I was afraid would cause too much drama going in was the whole fake boyfriend thing. I won’t spoil it even though it actually happens pretty early on in the story, but it basically isn’t what you think it is. Meaning, the fake boyfriend definitely isn’t in love with the MC or anything even close to that. There’s a lot of drama going on with her dad, but it felt real to me and only made me like Cait even more than I already did.

Cait is a badass lacrosse player who I liked in Last Will and Testament, but loved here. So yeah, how many NA books feature this sport, let alone have a female MC who plays it? As far as I know, this is the only one. I actually think that I liked Cait even more than Lizzie. The awesome thing about Cait is how determined and confident she is. She worked hard to get where she is on the lacrosse team, and she has no plans to let anyone stop her from helping her team get to the championship and become captain next year. At the end of the day, lacrosse isn’t just a game to Cait and I love how competitive she is because it feels honest. Cait has flaws, but that’s what makes her more relatable.

On the other hand, we have Lawrence Mason, or Mase as Cait called him back when they were at summer camp. Two years ago when Cait knew him, he was on his way to becoming a star basketball player in college, and had dreams of making it to the NBA. Now, he’s arrived at Radleigh to be the student coach for the basketball team. One of the first things that I have to note about Mase is that he’s a diverse hero. He’s black and I love that Adler doesn’t make it a big deal. This is so important because we live in a diverse world and having one in NA is all too rare. He’s an intense guy and not overly swoony to an unrealistic degree. You guys know what I mean, those love interests who always say the right things that easily steal the heroine’s breath away. Nope, Mase isn’t like that, but he does bring some swoon in his own special way. Was he my all time favorite book boyfriend? No, I wouldn’t go that far, but he’s still a character that was unique and one that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.

The romance is one that’s a little different from your average NA book as well. I would have liked to see a few more romantic scenes between the couple, but I understand that there was a lot more going on in the story outside of the romance. Let me just say that the scenes that we do get definitely don’t disappoint. There’s a good amount of steam in it, not too much, but just enough. As an actual couple though, the relationship is obviously complicated between Cait and Mase from the start. They were in love two years ago and Cait still feels heartbroken over him pretty much abandoning her once he goes off to college. Then once he shows up and is introduced as her new roommates boyfriend, well, things end up getting rather complicated. I always like it when the couples have a clear history, there’s a lot of sexual tension and memories that rise from that.

This was a seriously fabulous read. As I’ve said already, Dahlia Adler never lets me down and she certainly hasn’t started doing so here. As much as I love her YA books, her NA books are just as incredible to me. It’s been a long wait for this one considering the fact that it’s been over a year since Last Will and Testament was published. In the end though, I’ll be the first to admit that this wait was well worth it. This book has pretty much every trope that I love seeing and it also brings some new things to this genre, which I always love to see. This is a quick read, almost too quick if you ask me. You fall in love with these characters and the story and before you know it, you’ve reached the end. Anyway, I highly recommend this book and the series in general!

four-half-stars

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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