Posts Categorized: Reviews

ARC Review: The Hidden Memory of Objects

March 30, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★

ARC Review: The Hidden Memory of ObjectsThe Hidden Memory of Objects by Danielle Mages Amato
Published by Balzer + Bray on March 21st 2017
Pages: 336
Source: Edelweiss
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three-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.

Megan Brown’s brother, Tyler, is dead, but the cops are killing him all over again. They say he died of a drug overdose, potentially suicide—something Megan cannot accept. Determined to figure out what happened in the months before Tyler’s death, Megan turns to the things he left behind. After all, she understands the stories objects can tell—at fifteen, she is a gifted collage artist with a flair for creating found-object pieces. However, she now realizes that her artistic talent has developed into something more: she can see memories attached to some of Tyler’s belongings—and those memories reveal a brother she never knew.
Enlisting the help of an artifact detective who shares her ability and specializes in murderabilia—objects tainted by violence or the deaths of their owners—Megan finds herself drawn into a world of painful personal and national memories. Along with a trusted classmate and her brother's charming friend, she chases down the troubling truth about Tyler across Washington, DC, while reclaiming her own stifled identity with a vengeance.

The cover of The Hidden Memory of Objects is what initially drew me into this book. I wasn’t really sure how I was going to feel about the actual plot going into this though. I’ve tried to steer clear of books about death here lately since I’ve read so many, but I decided to try this one out anyway. Thought it wasn’t completely memorable for me, I’m still glad that I read this. I think readers who like contemporaries combined with a bit of history/mystery/paranormal. If it sounds like your cup of tea, then you should give this a try!

Megan is a decent protagonist. Honestly, there’s not a ton of things about her that really stand out to me. But I did appreciate how brave and bold she was throughout the entire novel. She never backed down from what she believed in, and that’s something that I always like to see. I’ll likely explain this more later on in the review, but I felt like her ability didn’t work at times. It was an interesting and unique thing for the character to have, but it didn’t totally make sense to me as a reader.

The romance isn’t a huge part of the plot, so I’m not going to touch on it all that much. I will say that the love interest is her brother Tyler’s friend that she didn’t know about until Tyler died. Nathan was a charming and sweet guy. I really enjoyed learning more and more about him as the book progressed. I won’t lie, I wanted more romance in the story, but I get that there were obviously more pressing matters. Another character that I wanted to talk about is her friend Eric. Oh man, Eric is absolutely hilarious. When he first learns about the power that Megan has when she touches certain objects, he’s obsessed with discovering her origin story. He might be a bit of a geek, but you can’t help but love him and his story so much.

As mentioned earlier, it’s the elements that go beyond contemporary that lost me somewhat. I can appreciate a good mystery, but the history and paranormal side wasn’t all that strong to me. Specifically, the paranormal element of Megan having the ability to touch objects and instantly be able to see a certain scene that took place. Like she was able to see the assassination of Lincoln and some specific details about that night. It was a unique plot that I’ve never seen done this specific way, but it still didn’t fully make sense to me. I’m a contemporary reader generally, and I like it when things are realistic to at least an extent, so some of this stuff just didn’t belong in my opinion.

If you don’t mind a combination of genres that might not seem to really go together, then you might like this one. I felt like the first half of the novel was very slow paced. In about the middle though, it did pick up speed and I was hardly able to put it down. Though I highly doubt this book will stay with me all that long after reading it, I don’t exactly regret reading it. It had some solid parts to say the least. The characters were all well developed and strong. The romance may haven’t been such an essential part of the plot, it was still sweet. I’m looking forward to the next book that this author writes!

three-stars

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ARC Review: Things I Should Have Known

March 29, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★½

ARC Review: Things I Should Have KnownThings I Should Have Known by Claire LaZebnik
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on March 28th 2017
Source: Netgalley
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three-half-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.

From the author of Epic Fail comes the story of Chloe Mitchell, a Los Angeles girl on a quest to find love for her autistic sister, Ivy. Ethan, from Ivy’s class, seems like the perfect match. It’s unfortunate that his older brother, David, is one of Chloe’s least favorite people, but Chloe can deal, especially when she realizes that David is just as devoted to Ethan as she is to Ivy.
Uncommonly honest and refreshingly funny, this is a story about sisterhood, autism, and first love. Chloe, Ivy, David, and Ethan, who form a quirky and lovable circle, will steal readers’ hearts and remind us all that it’s okay to be a different kind of normal.  

Things I Should Have Known is a fast paced and refreshing story. I’ve never read anything by this author before, but I’m definitely going to look into her other stories now. I was looking for a heartfelt and not overly heavy contemporary read, and that’s exactly what I received here. The plot is a rather unique one, and we need more YA novels that deal with teens caring for their sibling who is autistic. The romance was also realistic, sweet, and charming. I recommend reading this if you want to read something relevant and important, with some swoon thrown in for good measure. I’m happy that I read this!

Chloe is a fierce and great character. She’s not perfect but what teenager is? I really respected her for being able to step up and take care of her sister when her mom isn’t so great at doing it. She’s a seventeen year old girl who has responsibilities that most teens never have to worry about. I wasn’t always a fan of how she didn’t stand up for her sister more when her friends/boyfriend would make rather offensive offhand comments about her. She didn’t want them to think that she was overreacting, which is something that I do understand. She made mistakes, but she was still a solid character as a whole.

The main thing that you need to know about David is that he’s a feminist. Some people may not love him right off the bat (or maybe at all) but I still liked him in the end. He’s a grumpy jerk for basically no reason at all. He doesn’t have some tragic backstory or anything. I ended up liking him so much because as the book progresses, we learn how sensitive and sweet he really is. The fact that he cries is awesome to me. We don’t get the chance to see that side of most love interests in YA books so I thought this was specifically refreshing. He was so sweet to his brother Ethan (who is also autistic) and I loved his relationship with him as well. So just keep in mind that while he has a grumpy exterior in the beginning, he’s a true softy underneath and I truly enjoyed seeing this.

So let’s talk about Chloe’s sister Ivy. As mentioned, she’s autistic and Chloe takes care of her for the most part since her mom is too concerned with her husband to primarily care for her. Anyway, I thought that Ivy was so sweet and brave. I thought that her autism was written in an honest and well researched fashion. The relationship between Chloe and Ivy is pretty much the entire purpose of the book. I felt like it was definitely well written and realistic. I loved the bond that they shared.

If you’re not a fan of hate to love romances, you’ll probably not like this one. There’s A LOT of hate going on. And it’s not like they used to be friends but now they hate each other. Nope, they’ve just always hated each other for whatever reason. There’s also the fact that Chloe has a boyfriend, which I didn’t love. I did appreciate how the relationship between them slowly and realistically progressed. The romance wasn’t my favorite, but it still had a little swoon.

Although it wasn’t exactly perfect, this was still a nice novel. Chloe was a funny, sarcastic, and kind teenager. I know a lot of people who aren’t a fan of some of the themes/tropes like hate to love, mean girls, and a love triangle, so you should probably stay clear if that’s you. If you’re able to overlook this, you get a clever and fairly unique story. I enjoyed this one for the most part. I felt like the author did a decent job at writing realistic teenagers. I’m glad that I had the chance to read this one.

three-half-stars

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Big Little Lies Review

March 27, 2017 Reviews 0 ★★★

Big Little Lies ReviewBig Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Published by Berkley on July 29th 2014
Pages: 460
Source: Library
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three-stars
Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:
Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).
Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.
New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.
Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

Wow, so this wasn’t what I was expecting at all. I figured this would be similar to Girl on the Train or Gone Girl since I thought that the book was about a murder that happened, though we don’t know who died or who did it. However, Big Little Lies centers more on three mothers in a little Australian town who all have children that are in the same first grade class. It’s about their lives, and the secrets that they keep. It’s definitely more Women’s Fiction than I thought it would be. I have no problem with Women’s Fiction, I just wasn’t totally anticipating all of these rather heavy personal problems that went down. This wasn’t a bad book, just pretty underwhelming as a whole for me.

Like I said, the story focuses mainly on three different women. Each of them had very complicated lives and secrets that they kept from each other. These women are Madeline, Celeste, and Jane. Madeline just turned 40 years old, and she has a teenage daughter from a previous marriage in addition to two younger kids from her second. She’s dealing with issues regarding her ex-husband and his new wife, they have a first grader who is in Chloe’s class. Madeline was a seriously entertaining character. She had the lightest story of the three women. Madeline was the most dramatic and loves to start stuff with one particular mom. She’s been friends with Celeste for awhile now, but she also takes in Jane, who is new to the town.

Celeste is a heartbreaking character to say the least. I don’t know what I should or shouldn’t say about Celeste. But we find out rather early on that she’s being abused by her husband. It’s particularly touching and hard to swallow because she often blames herself for hitting him back and believes she deserves it. Although I’ve never personally been in an abusive relationship and don’t know many people who have, a lot of cases that I’ve read about were ones where the victims felt like they provoked their partner and deserved it.

Jane was a really well written character as well. She’s new to town for reasons that aren’t fully revealed until later in the novel. She’s a very young mom at 24, she had Ziggy when she was only 18. The father of the baby is far from being in the picture, he was the result of a one night stand. I think it’s extremely commendable that she’s such a fabulous single mom to her little boy. She also manages to work part time on top of all that. Jane is haunted by her past, and has kept it a secret for a long time now.

As you can tell, I liked the characters. I’ve seen some reviews and articles about the characters being unlikable in the TV show, but I didn’t feel that way at all. So what didn’t I like then? I’m glad that you asked! I thought that the random addition of testimony from the parents to the police was interesting but also a bit scattered. There was just quite a lot of parents, many of which I personally couldn’t keep track of. I thought it could have been better organized as a whole. I felt as if the pace was WAY too slow. I felt like a lot of it seemed to drag on. It was a long book, and some of the details probably weren’t necessary. I was seriously disappointed by the ending. I won’t go into details, but I will just say that I felt like it was weak. I get what the author was trying to do, but I felt like it wasn’t fully effective.

Big Little Lies isn’t a bad book and I can see why people enjoyed it. It just wasn’t completely my kind of book. I’m still planning on reading more from this author since I’ve heard such positive things about her work. I decided to read it before I watched the TV show so I’d know what to expect going on. I’m happy that I did. I’m only on episode two right now, but I seriously enjoy it so far, especially the awesome music. I’m glad that I read it, but it wasn’t my favorite.

three-stars

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Fixing Delilah Review

March 20, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 1 ★★★★

Fixing Delilah ReviewFixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler
on December 1st 2010
Pages: 308
Source: Library
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four-stars
Things in Delilah Hannaford's life have a tendency to fall apart.
She used to be a good student, but she can't seem to keep it together anymore. Her "boyfriend" isn't much of a boyfriend. And her mother refuses to discuss the fight that divided their family eight years ago. Falling apart, it seems, is a Hannaford tradition.
Over a summer of new friendships, unexpected romance, and moments that test the complex bonds between mothers and daughters, Delilah must face her family's painful past. Can even her most shattered relationships be pieced together again?
Rich with emotion, Sarah Ockler delivers a powerful story of family, love, and self-discovery.

This is the second book that I’ve read by Sarah Ockler, and I’ve heard nothing but positive things about all of her novels. I have to admit that so far, I haven’t totally loved her books as much as everyone else has, but I do like her so far. Fixing Delilah wasn’t my favorite book by a long, but I still really enjoyed reading it. I thought that it was fast paced and fascinating from the first page. I was completely immersed in the world that Ockler has created here. The characters were all so well rounded, complex, and imperfect. I will admit that Delilah probably wasn’t my favorite, but I loved that she had her flaws and had a lot of character growth as the book progressed. I feel like one of the last people to read this book, I’m still happy that I finally got around to picking it up. Eventually, I’m sure that I’ll manage to read all of Ockler’s books.

As mentioned, Delilah has her flaws, but what teenager doesn’t? I believe that her flaws and imperfections make her all the more complicated, intriguing, and relatable. A lot of what Delilah goes through throughout the novel are many things that myself and other teenage girls also went through, so it’s reassuring and comforting to see this happen here. At the beginning of the novel, Delilah definitely has an attitude problem. Some of her actions did frustrate me at times, but I was also able to understand where she was coming from. She was a lost girl, and she gradually found herself more as the novel went on. Delilah was a beautiful character. I think that a lot of people will really be able to identify with her.

Patrick is seriously my dude. I thought that he was so charming, witty, hilarious, and amazing. He was beyond swoony in literally every single scene that he was in. This dude had very few flaws to him. I loved that he and Delilah shared a history, they were both close were younger and spent their summers together until Delilah was eight. Anyway, he grew into a cute and confident older guy, who is next to impossible to ignore. He’s completely my type: artsy, musician, swoony, he’s basically got it all. I thought he was just such a lovely and fascinating guy. Though I like to think that he’s perfect, he has his flaws as well. At the end of the day though, he’s simply crazy about Delilah and you have to love and respect him for that.

Like I said, the romance between Patrick and Delilah is even more adorable due to the fact that they were friends when they were younger and spent the summers together. Though they spent eight years apart, they’ve come together yet again like no time has passed at all. I found them to be such a great and strong couple. They weren’t perfect, but they were still pretty strong as a whole. I thought that they just somehow worked together. They were able to balance each other out in such a real and relatable way. I wasn’t a fan of all of the drama that went down at the end of the book. I get that there has to be some angst for the couple towards the end, but it still seemed as if this one was out of control and went on about twenty or thirty pages too long.

All in all, I thought that this was a beautiful and well written novel. Was it my favorite? No, it wasn’t. But it still had some beautiful and complicated characters that made me feel such a strong variety of emotions. Although I didn’t have a fabulous experience with Ockler’s book Twenty Boy Summer, I’ve found this one to be pretty great, and plan on reading more from her extremely soon. There was quite a bit of angst in this one, but also a lot of parts that really surprised me and kept me engrossed in the story. I’m so happy that I was able to finally read this one!

four-stars

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Before I Fall Review

March 16, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★½

Before I Fall ReviewBefore I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Published by HarperCollins on October 25th 2010
Pages: 470
Source: Library
Also by this author: Replica (Replica, #1)
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
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three-half-stars
With this stunning debut novel, New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver emerged as one of today's foremost authors of young adult fiction. Like Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why and Gayle Forman's If I Stay, Before I Fall raises thought-provoking questions about love, death, and how one person's life can affect so many others.
For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12—"Cupid Day"—should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is…until she dies in a terrible accident that night.
However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined.
Named to numerous state reading lists, this novel was also recognized as a Best Book of the Year by Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, The Daily Beast, NPR, and Publishers Weekly. It has been optioned for film by Fox 2000 Pictures.
Supports the Common Core State Standards.

Wow, so I’m honestly not entirely sure how I feel about this book. I took such a long time to read it because I wasn’t really sure if this would be my kind of book. I wasn’t sure what to make of the whole mean girl thing or the concept overall. I ended up picking it up because of the recent movie adaptation. The trailer seemed interesting enough so I wanted to give the book a shot before I saw it in theaters. Anyway, this was definitely a unique book. I’ve seen so many people who absolutely adored the book and felt like it was the best thing ever. I didn’t have the same reaction, though I didn’t exactly dislike it either. I think that Oliver has crafted a beautifully written novel, but it still just wasn’t entirely my type of story. So this book has been out for seven years now and so I’m going to have some serious spoilers. I’m sorry if you haven’t read it, but you can just skip this completely if you don’t want to know major details about the ending.

At the beginning of the book, Sam is a total mean girl. She wasn’t always this way, she used to get made fun of herself, but that all changed when one of the most popular girls wanted to be her friend and her popularity automatically rose. So yeah, she’s extremely difficult to relate to and sympathize with for the first couple hundred pages. As she mentions, no one deserves to die, but I still wasn’t a fan to say the least. Thankfully, she became easier to identify with as the book progressed. By the end, you can’t help but love Sam and hope that she’s able to find a way out of reliving her death and figure out how to save herself. I loved that she was able to see her flaws and be able to change that around for the better. She had some of the best character development that I’ve ever come across. However, I wasn’t sure what to make of her complete attitude change towards the end of the book. Like on day six, she was determined to find a way to save herself and Juliet but then on the last day of her life, she had somehow accepted it all. Maybe I missed something, but I wasn’t sure what to make of that.

The main issue that I had with the novel was the mean girls. Yes, Sam does change in the middle of the story, but her friends sure as hell don’t. I get that Sam didn’t want Lindsay, Elody, and Ally to die in the car accident, but I still don’t understand why she would still be friends with them after all the shit she learned. She discovered that Lindsay hated Juliet now, but she actually used to be best friends with her in elementary school. Then Lindsay peed in her sleeping bag on a Girl Scout trip and blamed it on Juliet, leading everyone to call her a horrible name for years. Juliet has a difficult home life and all the terrible bullying obviously doesn’t help matters, which leads her to attempt suicide. After learning all this, how can Sam even look at Lindsay the same way? Even when Sam confronted her about it, she didn’t seem to show that much remorse, not enough to change anything about herself anyway. Who knows, maybe Sam’s death will make these girls better people.

All in all, this wasn’t a terrible book, but it wasn’t my favorite either. I think maybe my expectations were too high going in since everyone loved it so much. The book was also rather thick considering the fact that it only had seven chapters total. I did really enjoy that even though she relived the same day over and over, it wasn’t repetitive. There was always something new going on and different dialogue happening. I thought this was a nice touch that made it even more enjoyable to read. I thought that Kent was absolutely precious. I wanted more and more from him, and wished that her boyfriend (I honestly already forgot his name) didn’t exist at all. I thought the ending was obviously depressing, but also surprising and refreshing. Regardless of some of my mixed feelings, I can’t deny the fact that this book totally makes you think.

three-half-stars

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ARC Review: Undeclared

March 13, 2017 Reviews 0 ★★★

ARC Review: UndeclaredUndeclared (Burnham College, #2) by Julianna Keyes
Published by Julianna Keyes on February 27th 2017
Pages: 236
Source: Netgalley
Also by this author: Undecided
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
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three-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.

Kellan McVey is Burnham College’s most prolific athlete, partier, and ladies’ man—and that’s just how he likes it. Returning to reign for his third year, he wants nothing to change. Then Andrea Walsh shows up.
It wasn’t too long ago that Andi and Kellan were lifelong friends, mortal enemies, and, for one hot summer, more. Then Kellan left and Andi stayed behind.
Kellan thought he’d moved past that last summer’s heartbreak, but with Andi sitting next to him in class, befriending his friends, and battling for the same once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity, he’s starting to remember why he hated her…and why he loved her.
Kellan has a long list of reasons that falling for Andi again is a terrible idea, though every new moment together challenges that theory. But Andi’s all too familiar with Kellan’s love ’em and leave ’em approach—and she’s found someone else to get serious about.
Burnham’s campus king has never had to fight for a girl, but if he wants Andi to give him another chance, he’ll have to do the one thing he’s never had the nerve to do: admit it.

Undecided was one of my favorite books last year, and easily the best NA book that I read. It was hilarious, easy to relate to, and memorable. I was beyond excited for Kellan’s story, but sadly, I didn’t find him to be as compelling and swoony as Crosbie. Honestly, I was just even more prepared to read Undecided all over again after reading this one. It definitely wasn’t bad, I just didn’t fully relate to it in the way that I was anticipating. This one had a bit more angst to it and a lot more side stories and characters. I would totally read a third book if Keyes decides to continue on, but this wasn’t my favorite. Hopefully I’ll have better luck next time.

Like I said, I didn’t love Kellan as much as my boy Crosbie. I found him intriguing in Undecided and in dire need of a girl to set him straight. I’m never a major fans of big playboys, and that’s exactly what Kellan is. Fortunately though, we don’t see that side of him in this book, he’s now a lot more grounded and less focused on women as a whole. He had his swoony moments, but I just wasn’t blown away by him for the most part. I thought he was a good guy, but not overly memorable. My standards might have been too high to begin with, but they still weren’t met. I’m glad that he received his own story, it just wasn’t exactly what I was expecting.

Andi was Kellan’s love interest. She and Kellan have serious history with each other. I’ll talk more about their relationship and how it started in the next paragraph. So basically I feel like we don’t know enough about Andi. The main thing that we know about her is that she’s a tomboy who is on the volleyball team and loves playing all sports. She also has a strong idea about what she wants to do for the rest of her life. Other than that though, I didn’t feel very connected to her. I wanted to learn more about her personality and interests. Maybe part of it was that we didn’t get her perspective at all, I’m not sure. All I know is that I wanted more information. With what we knew, I wasn’t completely able to relate to her like I did with Nora. She was a good character with a good personality, but not memorable since I didn’t fully understand her and what she was all about as a person.

So as I mentioned, Kellan and Andi have some serious personal history. They were next door neighbors and best friends growing up. They also had a summer fling the summer before Kellan left for college. Andi was the person that the big playboy lost his virginity to. I’m typically a fan of second chance romances. I wasn’t 100% okay with this one because I thought that it was messed up how he knew that Andi was in love with him for so long but he still strung her along and treated her like crap. Sometimes he wasn’t even aware of what we was doing, but he still knew how she felt about him. I thought his past behavior was wrong, he could have handled how things went between them towards the end of their first romance way better. I did think that things between them were pretty steamy. I did like them as a couple once they got everything figured out, it just took them a very long time to finally get there.

Undeclared wasn’t a bad story by any means, but I simply didn’t enjoy it as much as I did Undecided. I’m not sure exactly what it was about it that didn’t completely click with me, I think it might have been the characters and the plot. I felt like some of the plot was a little scattered in how it focused on other characters outside of Andi and Kellan. I know that sounds weird to say, but there was this freshman who Kellan briefly goes out with and I thought it was weird how the plot spent some time on her. In my opinion, that time could have been spent on giving us even more insight into who Andi is and more of her friendship with Kellan. The writing was great, I just didn’t love this one in the end.

three-stars

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Catching Carly Review Blitz

March 8, 2017 Blog Tours, Reviews 0

 

nowavailable

 

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00027]My name is Carly Porter… And I’m really good at bad decisions.

How do I know this, exactly? Well, not including the time I accidentally bleached my eyebrows or sprained my ankle changing a lightbulb…

I had sex with my best friend’s brother.

Zeke Elliott has been a thorn in my side for eleven years. A very sexy, very tempting, very freaking annoying one. With big…hands.

And now my clitoris has a crush on the guy.

Seriously. I can’t look at him without my vagina performing accidental kegels. Which would be fine, but he’s Cain’s brother. I hate him. He’s off limits, right?

Right.

 

AMAZON US | AMAZON UK | AMAZON AU | AMAZON CA | B&N | iBooks

 

CARLY-promo5

REVIEW:

I thought that Being Brooke was a fun and witty story, so I was eager for Brooke’s best friend Carly to get her own story. I also love the fact that her love interest is Zeke, Cain’s cocky brother. This was a sweet and fast paced romantic comedy that I really enjoyed reading. It made me laugh out loud many times, and also cringe at some of the particularly awkward moments. I’m glad that I read this one and I’ll definitely continue reading anything that the awesome Emma Hart writes. I recommend this if you’re looking for a lighthearted and funny romance.

Carly is a hot mess but you have to love her for that. Her life isn’t quite as messy and complicated as Brooke’s was in the last book, but she still doesn’t have her dating life together. She’s hilarious and full of witty comments. She’s also extremely sassy and doesn’t take anyone’s crap. I wouldn’t say that she’s my favorite character, but she was still pretty solid as a whole. It was a little difficult for me to connect with her at times, but she was still a fun person.

Zeke was an awesome character, and he was a little different from your average Emma Hart hero. His personality is cocky and very sexual, but he uses it as a front to cover up his real insecurities from finding out that his fiancee was cheating on him right before he got married. So he has a lot of understandable trust issues and doesn’t open up to others easily. Other than that though, he was still swoony in his own way. He had some really sweet and adorable moments that I liked seeing. The only problem was that some of his swoony scenes just kind of came out of nowhere. He’s the type of guy who expresses his feelings in other ways than just saying it, so it was a bit out of character for him to say these amazing things.

The romance between Zeke and Carly was pretty great for the most part. They start out as being enemies but it gradually becomes a lot more than just that. I liked all of the banter that went down between them. It was hilarious and witty, and I’m always a fan of that. For the most part though, the relationship is built on the physical attraction that they have. I felt like the emotional part wasn’t explored as well as it could have been. I also didn’t really understand why they were enemies in the first place. I won’t lie though, the sex was pretty steamy for the most part.

Catching Carly wasn’t my favorite book by any means, but it was still a pretty decent novel as a whole. The pacing was rather quick, and I wasn’t able to put it down once I started reading it. It’s a quick and light read that doesn’t contain a lot of angst. If you enjoyed Being Brooke, you’ll be happy to know that both Brooke and Cain as well as some of the other characters feature pretty heavily in this one. Emma Hart is such a great author, and is now one of my go to authors when I’m looking for a light romantic comedy.

three-stars

EXCERPT:

I close my eyes and slip one leg out of the window.

Everybody can see my panties.

Not that anyone is here, but I just know everybody can.

This is horrible. And it hurts.

I’m never dating again.

I’m going to buy fifty cats. They’ll never make me climb out of a bathroom window.

“You’re looking at my underwear, aren’t you?” I ask, unfortunately pausing with my legs wide open.

“No.”

“Liar.”

“It’s nice underwear.”

“Oh god.” I swing my other leg down a little too quick.

My dress rides up.

Right over my ass.

And my feet can’t reach the crates.

Zeke chuckles.

“Help me, you pig!”

More laughter.

“I’m gonna be stuck here forever. Oh my god.”

The bathroom door opens.

Can this get any worse?

A fifty-something woman I don’t recognize freezes in the middle of the restroom.

I smile sweetly.

She eyes me suspiciously before shuffling into a cubicle.

“Get me down!” I hiss, kicking my legs. “Now, Ezekiel!”

Something scrapes and knocks together.

“Still so hot when you call me that. Especially when your ass is out.” Thud. “All right, sweetcheeks. I’ve got you.”

“Sweetcheeks? What is wrong with you?”

“Look, you can hang there all night bitchin’ at me if you want, but it’s not my bare ass in the middle of the alley. As much as I’m enjoying the view.”

“Oh my god,” I groan. “You swear you’ll catch me?”

“I swear.” His fingertips brush against my bare legs.

My shudder is disguised by the trembling of my arms as I lower myself down.

Zeke’s fingers trail up the outsides of my thighs until he grasps my waist. “Let go.”

I freeze, tensing up.

“Carly, let go. I have hold of you. I won’t drop you.”

Still tensed, I let go of the window ledge.

My life flashes before my eyes. Seriously. I see everything from my first memory to the moment I let go of the ledge and I squeal because I’m going to die and I know that he’s going to drop me and—

Zeke’s strong grip solidifies when he wraps his arm around my waist and holds me against him. “There,” he says calmly into my ear. “You dropped about six inches. You’re hardly cliff-diving.”

I open my eyes and look down at where his arm is pressed across my stomach. His grip is tight, and the popping veins on his forearm trace tantalizing lines across his skin.

And my dress is still around my hips.

I reach down and tug the material over my upper thighs. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” He releases me, and when he jumps down from the crates, I see a flash of his cocky grin. “Nice thong.”

That explains the grin.

I clear my throat. “Thank you. It took me an hour to pick.”

“From your drawer?”

“No. From Victoria Secret. Have you seen how many panties are on that website?”

Zeke holds his hands out for me to take. “Oh, yeah. I’m wearing a pair right now.”

My lips curve slowly as I step down onto the ground. “Interesting. What type? Brief? Thong? Boy short? V-string?”

He blinks at me when I put my shoes on. “Why do you need so many different types? It’d be much easier if you just wore none at all.”

 

 

 

CATCHING CARLY-teaser4

 

 

 

 

 

 

emma-hart

By day, New York Times and USA Today bestselling New Adult author Emma Hart dons a cape and calls herself Super Mum to two beautiful little monsters. By night, she drops the cape, pours a glass of whatever she fancies—usually wine—and writes books.

Emma is working on Top Secret projects she will share with her followers and fans at every available opportunity. Naturally, all Top Secret projects involve a dashingly hot guy who likes to forget to wear a shirt, a sprinkling (or several) of hold-onto-your-panties hot scenes, and a whole lotta love.

She likes to be busy—unless busy involves doing the dishes, but that seems to be when all the ideas come to life.

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ARC Review: Off the Ice

March 6, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★

ARC Review: Off the IceOff the Ice (Juniper Falls, #1) by Julie Cross
Published by Entangled: Teen on February 28th 2017
Pages: 320
Source: Netgalley
Also by this author: Whatever Life Throws at You, Third Degree, You Before Anyone Else
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
three-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.

All is fair in love and hockey…
Claire O’Connor is back in Juniper Falls, but that doesn’t mean she wants to be. One semester off, that’s what she promised herself. Just long enough to take care of her father and keep the family business—a hockey bar beside the ice rink—afloat. After that, she’s getting the hell out. Again.
Enter Tate Tanley. What happened between them the night before she left town resurfaces the second they lay eyes on each other. But the guy she remembers has been replaced by a total hottie. When Tate is unexpectedly called in to take over for the hockey team’s star goalie, suddenly he’s in the spotlight and on his way to becoming just another egotistical varsity hockey player. And Claire’s sworn off Juniper Falls hockey players for good.
It’s the absolute worst time to fall in love.
For Tate and Claire, hockey isn’t just a game. And they both might not survive a body check to the heart.

I’ve been a fan of Julie Cross since I read Whatever Life Throws at You over a year ago. This is my fourth book that I’ve read of hers so far, and I do plan on reading more from her in the future. However, this one was far from being my favorite. I was hoping since it’s about sports, that would make it automatically amazing, but it unfortunately didn’t for me. It wasn’t a bad book by any means, but it didn’t completely capture my attention because of the somewhat slow pacing and all of the drama. Hopefully some of the other books in this series will be more of my thing.

So Tate is one of our main characters. He is a junior hockey player who is the backup goalie, but winds up starting when the starting goalie quits the team. He’s dealing with A LOT of personal stuff in his life outside of the ice. I felt like his voice was pretty strong for the most part. I wasn’t a major fan of it at times, partially because I didn’t really relate to him and also because I found it somewhat boring. Tate was a character who I did sympathize with, but felt like some of the subject matter was a little too overwhelming at times. It felt like Cross was maybe trying to do too much, and it didn’t totally pay off for me. He wasn’t bad, but not my favorite and didn’t leave a huge impression on me as a whole.

Our other main character is Claire, who I liked but also didn’t love. She was yet another character who didn’t leave a lasting impression on me as a whole. It makes me sad to admit it, but I also found her to be boring at times. I liked that she was into singing and musicals, since that’s something that I also really enjoy. I wanted to see a lot more of that! Like Tate, I realize that she had quite a bit going on in her personal life, but I wanted to see more of her history in musicals and just her singing career as a whole. It might have captured my attention a bit more if the focus was less on her working at the restaurant and more on the signing part.

Claire and Tate were a rather solid couple all around. They weren’t as great as the awesome couple from Whatever Life Throws at You, but they were alright for the most part. I liked that Tate had a crush on Claire for such a long time now, and it was lovely to see that develop into something more this time around. It was a sweet relationship, though some of the petty drama that went down between them was a little off-putting at times. I also enjoyed that it was steamy. One of the things about Julie Cross’s books is that she never shies away from writing sex in YA, which I think is something realistic and nice to include.

Off the Ice was a nice start to Julie Cross’s brand new series. I was hoping that I’d love the hockey part of it, but sadly felt like it drug on at times. I do like that she included details, but found myself getting bored at some of it. I did really like the characters and enjoyed that the story went in different directions and wasn’t your typical stereotypical YA romance. However, the pacing wasn’t my favorite and I wish it would have sped up at times. I’m hoping that this series improves, and I do plan on reading the next book.

three-stars

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ARC Review: The Hot One

March 2, 2017 Reviews 0 ★★★★

ARC Review: The Hot OneThe Hot One by Lauren Blakely
on February 27th 2017
Pages: 300
Source: InkSlinger PR
Also by this author: Mister O, The Sapphire Affair (Jewel, #1), Well Hung, The Sexy One
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

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

A sexy new standalone romance from #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Lauren Blakely...
Ever notice that sometimes a guy will do something really stupid, like let the love of his life slip through his fingers?
Yeah. I'm that guy. But the moment I run into the woman I once loved madly, I’ve got one goal and one goal only—a second chance. The plan? Go big or go home.
Fine, at first glance, stripping naked at my ex-girlfriend's place of work might not seem like the brightest way to win her heart again. But trust me on this count—she always liked me best without any clothes on. And you've got to play to your strengths when you're fighting an uphill battle. As a lawyer, I know how to fight, and I'm prepared to fight hard for her. Because sometimes you need a second chance at first love.
He's the one who got away . . . The nerve of Tyler Nichols to reappear like that at my job, showing off his rock-hard body that drove me wild far too many nights. That man with his knowing grin and mischievous eyes is nothing but a cocky jerk to saunter back into my life. Except, what if he's not . . .? I've tried like hell to forget him, but maybe I'm cursed to remember the guy I fell madly in love with eight years ago. Lord knows I’m not over him, so what's the harm in giving him a week to prove he's changed in the ways that matter?
After all, how do you resist the hot one…

I know I sound like a broken record at this point, but Lauren Blakely isn’t capable of writing a bad book. She constantly writes these absolutely beautiful love stories filled with fierce and memorable characters. Reading her books never gets old to me and I can’t wait for her next releases! I feel like she does such an excellent job at making us care so much about the world that these characters live in. What I mean is that some of these characters might just be featured in a few scenes, but Blakely’s writing causes you to become intrigued and want a story for them. I highly recommend this and any other book by her if you really want to laugh out loud! It’s such a light and humorous novel, which is something that all of us need more of.

Delaney was such a fabulous main character. I loved that she didn’t let Tyler off the hook so easily. She’s a strong and independent woman and I loved that about her. She wasn’t the most memorable character, but she was still interesting and fun. I also really respected that she was able to figure out what she loved before she got stuck in a career that wasn’t meant for her. Delaney also had an amazing friend group that included sweet Penny, who received her own story in The Only One. Anyway, I did like Delaney, I just didn’t exactly love her since she didn’t do much that was memorable or stood out to me.

Tyler is a rather swoony guy. I loved learning about him in previous Blakely books and have been waiting for his story for forever. He didn’t let us down. He was sexy, swoony, and determined to win over Delaney again. I loved how relentless and eager he was to show his affection for her. He wasn’t always smart about his decisions in the past, but I’m glad that he grew up in the end. Tyler is a guy who is just absolutely filled with personality. That’s not to say that her heroes usually aren’t, they are, and that’s something I’ve always enjoyed seeing so I’m glad that Blakely continues this with Tyler. The scene where he strips at Delaney’s work in order to win her back was totally priceless, creative, and hilarious. It truly fit Tyler’s personality in the best way possible.

This was a wonderful second chance romance. Delaney and Tyler were together in college but he broke her heart when he abruptly ended things. Naturally, she made him work for it when he wanted her back years later. Though it takes a little while, it’s definitely beautiful when they get back together. I thought it was very realistic that Delaney didn’t take him back right away, who would? He seriously screwed up, but also he continually showed her that he wasn’t that guy anymore. It’s also extremely hot and chemistry is not an issue between them! They were a strong and beautiful couple all around.

This was yet another beautiful romance from one of my favorite authors. I will read literally anything she writes because she has yet to let me down. Delaney and Tyler were such lovely and pretty fascinating characters on their own, but even better together. I thought they were both cool characters, and I’m glad that they both finally got a happy ending. I can’t recommend Lauren Blakely’s books enough, you need to pick this one up! I can’t wait to read The Wild One next.

four-stars

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ARC Review: The Hate U Give

February 28, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 1 ★★★★★

ARC Review: The Hate U GiveThe Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Published by Balzer + Bray on February 28th 2017
Pages: 464
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
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.

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Angie Thomas’s searing debut about an ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances addresses issues of racism and police violence with intelligence, heart, and unflinching honesty. Soon to be a major motion picture from Fox 2000/Temple Hill Productions.
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Guys, this book is easily the best book that I’ve read so far this year. It’s also the first five star rating that I’ve given this year. The Hate U Give is just a story that you need to read in order to fully understand the greatness of it. There honestly isn’t anything negative to say about it, only very rave and fangirl comments about how amazing it is from start to finish. On page one, it immediately sucks you in until you reach the end. I wasn’t able to put it down once I started reading it. This was such a mesmerizing and beautifully written novel all around filled with memorable and complicated characters. I can’t recommend it to you guys enough, you need to pick this one up!

Starr is seriously my girl. I immediately connected with her right away. She has such a beautiful and relatable personality. Starr is definitely a girl that I want to be best friends with. She’s smart, funny, kind, caring, and passionate. I sympathized with her struggles, the loss of her two best friends, one that happened when she was younger and one that just happened seriously broke my heart. Although I can’t relate to the fact that she lost them both to senseless violence, I also lost a childhood best friend far too young. Anyway, Starr is an extremely passionate person and I absolutely love that about her. She’s not afraid to take a stand for what she believes in. I was so proud of her for not letting her voice be silenced, no matter what the circumstances were.

Even though this book tackles the serious and timely issue of racism and police violence, it’s still surprisingly funny more often than not. A lot of those funny moments come from the hilarious main and supporting characters. Starr honestly has the best family. Her mom, dad, two brothers, Nana, Uncle Carlos, Chris, and DeVante are all fabulous and filled with personality. They might be dysfunctional sometimes, but they are still a great family. I loved how supportive each of them were towards Starr as she goes through this difficult and tragic time in her life. I loved them each so much that I really don’t know which one I liked them best, they all stood out for various reasons.

I don’t believe that Thomas could have tackled these difficult subjects any better than she did. As mentioned earlier, these are unfortunately such timely issues. It surprises me that more people haven’t written YA books on these topics yet, but I’m so happy that Thomas did and I hope that others follow in the future. The shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil is such a tragic event. Although we didn’t get to know him for very long in the book, we learn more and more about his real story that Starr wasn’t totally aware of since they hadn’t been hanging out recently. I believe that it was handled in such a realistic and touching way, similar in some ways to the shootings of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and countless other African American teens who were unarmed. It’s such a devastating thing that will never make sense to me, but I thought that Thomas’s take on making sense of it all was perfection.

The Hate U Give is a book that will stick with me for a long time after reading it. The characters, plot, and writing make it such a complicated and beautiful novel. It’s extremely hard to believe that this is only the author’s debut novel. I can’t wait to see what she writes next. This is such a powerful and memorable novel all the way around. There really isn’t much else to say on the topic other than other fangirl ramblings on it. It’s a difficult thing to make me laugh out loud while reading one page, but then cry on the next page. Somehow The Hate U Give was able to do just that and I can’t recommend it enough.

five-stars

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