Publisher: Simon Pulse

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ARC Review: 26 Kisses

August 7, 2016 Reviews, Young Adult 1 ★★★

ARC Review: 26 Kisses26 Kisses by Anna Michels
Published by Simon Pulse on May 24th 2016
Pages: 304
Source: Netgalley
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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.

Kasie West meets Morgan Matson in this hilarious and heartwarming debut about a girl’s summer mission to get over her ex-boyfriend by kissing her way through the alphabet.
Getting dumped by her boyfriend is not how Veda planned on starting her summer. When Mark makes it clear that it’s over between them, Veda is heartbroken and humiliated—but, more importantly, she’s inspired. So she sets out on the love quest of a lifetime: use the summer to forget about Mark, to move on, and move up. All she has to do is kiss twenty-six boys with twenty-six different names—one for each letter of the alphabet.
From the top of the Ferris wheel at her hometown carnival to the sandy dunes of Lake Michigan, Veda takes every opportunity she can to add kisses (and boys) to her list, and soon the break-up doesn’t sting quite as much. But just when Veda thinks she has the whole kissing thing figured out, she meets someone who turns her world upside down.

This was a book that was extremely difficult for me to rate. I found myself constantly going back and forth between a three or a four rating, but ultimately decided to go with a three. This was a really fast paced and cute contemporary read, but it lacked some important things for me as well. The concept is definitely a unique one that I did enjoy, the execution just wasn’t totally what I was expecting. I recommend this one if you’re looking for a summer romance that is relatively on the light side, though not lacking in drama.

26 kisses focuses on Veda, who is going into her senior year of high school, and is completely blindsided when her longtime boyfriend dumps her. This forces her to decide who she wants to be without him, and how she should spend her first summer in a long time as a single girl. I think that Veda was a pretty interesting character, though she didn’t really standout all that much to me as a whole. One thing that I had a major problem with is how she didn’t seem to totally defend the slut shaming that was happening due to her kissing boys. She basically said that though it was no one’s business what she was doing, she was definitely concerned about her new reputation as a “slut” because of the kisses. I guess my point is that I disliked the way she was so preoccupied with what everyone else thought of her, yet she didn’t want to stop the alphabet kissing challenge. It just didn’t match up with the way the character was portrayed for most of the book, in my opinion. She’s not a terrible character, but I certainly wanted to sit her down and have a chat with her about a few things.

Killian was one of my favorite parts of the book for sure. I loved how he was a genuinely good guy, who was intelligent and very opinionated about certain things, which made him a solid debater. There was just so much to like about this character. I found myself wanting to know more and more about him as the book went on. Something super unique about his character was how obsessed he was with pop music. He also drew his favorite pop lyrics on his dashboard and I loved how cheesy yet awesome they all turned out to be. He was a cool character, and I loved that he wasn’t exactly like every other YA love interest out there, he had some new things to bring to the table.

The romance between Killian and Veda was fairly great and interesting, though naturally also filled with some serious complications along the way. I enjoyed that the relationship started out as a friendship, in my opinion, that’s the most realistic kind of relationship out there. I loved watching them banter and debate in the beginning, and then slowly but surely start falling for each other. Veda resists him for an irritatingly long time because she doesn’t want to start a new relationship after just getting out of a rather serious one. However, it’s still pretty obvious that this is an unavoidable romance that’s just bound to happen. Though not my favorite couple ever, they still make a realistic and enjoyable one.

So all and all, this was a fun book to read, just not anything overly memorable to me. I considered giving it a four at times, because it seemed to have such depth and likable characters, but the slut shaming and the drama with her best friends made me go with a three instead. I’m impressed with Anna Michels’s debut novel, and I can’t wait to see what she writes next. It reminded me of a Sarah Dessen or a Kasie West book, which is an extremely high complement. I recommend it if you want something fast paced and on the light side!

three-stars

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The Museum of Heartbreak Review

June 8, 2016 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★

The Museum of Heartbreak ReviewThe Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder
Published by Simon Pulse on June 7th 2016
Pages: 256
Source: Purchased
Reading Challenges: Debut Author Challenge 2016
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three-stars
In this ode to all the things we gain and lose and gain again, seventeen-year-old Penelope Marx curates her own mini-museum to deal with all the heartbreaks of love, friendship, and growing up.
Welcome to the Museum of Heartbreak.
Well, actually, to Penelope Marx’s personal museum. The one she creates after coming face to face with the devastating, lonely-making butt-kicking phenomenon known as heartbreak.
Heartbreak comes in all forms: There’s Keats, the charmingly handsome new guy who couldn’t be more perfect for her. There’s possibly the worst person in the world, Cherisse, whose mission in life is to make Penelope miserable. There’s Penelope’s increasingly distant best friend Audrey. And then there’s Penelope’s other best friend, the equal-parts-infuriating-and-yet-somehow-amazing Eph, who has been all kinds of confusing lately.
But sometimes the biggest heartbreak of all is learning to let go of that wondrous time before you ever knew things could be broken.

I loved the general concept of The Museum of Heartbreak. I feel like that part was very unique and well done. I’ll get into the specifics later on in my review. However, the book as a whole didn’t completely work for me. That being said, I do believe that the author has a lot of potential, this just wasn’t my favorite. But I look forward to seeing what she’s going to write next. I recommend that you pick this book up this summer if you don’t mind a lot of teen angst in your YA books.

At the beginning of the book, we are introduced to Pen’s Museum of Heartbreak, which consists of artifacts that remind her of the person(s) who broke her heart. Basically, all of these artifacts that are in this museum have to do with an event that happens within the novel. Each of the chapters represent an artifact, and we learn more about the event where the artifacts were given. For example, the note that Keats wrote her when he asked her out is in there, and in the chapter, we learn when exactly he gave it to her. Anyway, it works out better than it sounds. The book is also about first loves, friendship, and growing apart from the friends that Pen has had for so long. So the heartbreak comes from so much more than just a relationship, it’s about the end of friendships as well.

Not going to lie, Penelope (or Pen) really got on my nerves at times. I think it’s because I have a lot in common with her. One of her oldest friends gives her a hard time for having such a high expectation for guys because of all the books that she’s read. When she finally gets a boyfriend though, she focuses more on loving the idea of having one instead of actually liking him for him. She overlooked so many obnoxious things about him just because she wanted him to be this perfect guy. The annoying thing about her came when she wasn’t able to see what was right in front of her.

I wasn’t a fan of Keats at all. He’s this ridiculously pretentious kid who talks about his ex-girlfriend an unhealthy amount and is overly obsessed with Jack Kerouac. One of his worst moments was when he thought Pen’s dad was lame. Why would you openly admit to your girlfriend that you felt that way about her father? That’s just not cool at all. In a way, I understood why Pen put up with him at all, but it still made me angry that she just let everything slide so easily. As I already mentioned, he’s her first boyfriend so she was still figuring everything out, but he was basically the worst boyfriend ever.

I thought that Eph (short for Ephraim) was a solid character. However, I didn’t understand some of his actions, and the author never really provided a satisfying explanation for it. Eph and Pen have been best friends for most of their lives. I really loved Eph because he was a huge fan of graphic novels and drawing dinosaurs. I kind of wish the author would have gone into more details about his disability, she hints at him having dyslexia at one point. I thought he was a great friend, and he had some swoony moments too.

A lot of this book does have to do with friendship. One of Pen’s longtime friends was already discussed, but she also has been friends with Audrey for a long time as well. I didn’t like her at all. I related to the fact that Pen and Audrey had seemed to outgrow each other in some ways. In my own experiences, this has previously happened to me, and I’m sure it’s likely happened to you at some point. It’s sad, but some friendships just aren’t meant to last forever. There’s some drama here involving Audrey’s new best friend Cherisse. Audrey wanted Pen and Cherisse to get along, but it still didn’t make sense to me why she just stood there and watched her new friend treat her old one like crap. Truthfully, I think Pen is better off without her, and I like that the author explored other friendships besides just the one with Audrey.

Pen finds a new group of friends when she joins the literary magazine at her school. Grace, Miles, and a few others are in the group, and they all quickly become people who she can depend on and trust. Of course, she doesn’t forget her boy Eph, but it’s still nice for her to find a group filled with those who have similar interests. Grace is a cool, confident, and outspoken girl who has the same feelings as her when it comes to her literary opinions. Miles is Grace’s hilarious best friend, who quickly bonds with Pen. The best part about them is that they don’t have a ton of drama the way that Audrey and Cherisse have. I loved both of these characters!

This was a quick read, I just wouldn’t exactly call this my favorite. I didn’t like that some vital questions ended up going unanswered. I think the book should have been about 100 pages longer to wrap everything up in a much smoother way. I did enjoy the theme regarding friendship, and how sometimes we grow apart from our childhood friends in high school or beyond. I also loved that it took place in New York. The author described the city with such vivid detail that you could feel the magic of it all right alongside the characters. I’m glad that I read this one!

three-stars

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Come Back to Me Review

December 12, 2015 Reviews 2 ★★★★½

Come Back to Me ReviewCome Back to Me by Mila Gray
Published by Simon Pulse on December 8th 2015
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 352
Source: Edelweiss
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four-half-stars
three-half-flames

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.

In this heart-wrenching tale of love and loss, a young Marine and his best friend’s sister plunge into a forbidden love affair while he’s home on leave.
When a Marine Chaplain knocks on her door, Jessa’s heart breaks—someone she loves is dead. Killed in action, but is it Riley or Kit? Her brother or her boyfriend…
Three months earlier, Marine Kit Ryan finds himself back home on leave and dangerously drawn to his best friend Riley’s sister, Jessa—the one girl he can’t have. Exhausted from fighting his feelings, Kit finally gives in, and Jessa isn’t strong enough to resist diving headfirst into a passionate relationship.
But what was just supposed to be a summer romance develops into something far greater than either of them expected. Jessa’s finally found the man of her dreams and Kit’s finally discovered there’s someone he’d sacrifice everything for.
When it’s time for Kit to redeploy, neither one is ready to say goodbye. Jessa vows to wait for him and Kit promises to come home to her. No matter what.
But as Jessa stands waiting for the Marine Chaplain to break her heart, she can’t help but feel that Kit has broken his promise…
Riley or Kit? Kit or Riley? Her brother or her boyfriend? Who’s coming home to her?

Think about this: your older brother and the boy that you love are both serving in the Marines. One day, a Marine Chaplain knocks on her door. Immediately, she’s heartbroken that one person that she loves is dead. Which one is it that is gone forever and which one is still alive? The subject matter was both heartbreaking and also a unique storyline. This is a wonderfully written New Adult book that is very much an emotional roller coaster but a worthwhile one at that.

Personally, I haven’t read many romance books that involve the military. However, there was just something about this book that instantly captured my attention. I think it was the tropes that are found in this story that I loved. Some of these include: the love interest being your brother’s best friend, childhood friendships, and overbearing. While I’m not a huge fan of dysfunctional parents, this was still done in a subtle fashion that didn’t bother me at all. My all time favorite trope is the falling for your older brother’s best friend one. In “Come Back to Me,” this trope is definitely well done to say the least, but I’ll get into that more in the next paragraph.

Kit was beyond swoony and let’s be honest, I don’t blame Jessa at all for falling for him in the first place. As for the relationship itself, it did seem like it moved a little bit too fast. On one page they are completing avoiding the attraction that they feel for each other, then the next they are sneaking out and getting together. The couple did have a ton of chemistry which I did enjoy, but again, I would have liked to see a bit more of a buildup between them. As individual characters, I really enjoyed both Kit and Jessa. The book is split up into dual point of views, which I think worked extremely well and gave us insight into exactly what they both are thinking and feeling along the way. Jessa’s brother Riley was also a likable character and I became really invested into his own story. Getting to know both Kit and Riley made everything so much more difficult considering that we already know that one of them doesn’t make it, so I think that the author did an incredible job at making you love both characters since it wouldn’t work quite as well if you liked one more than the other.

To conclude, this was a seriously enjoyable read and I didn’t want it to end! I really believed in the story and the romance between the two main characters. I loved the writing and I want to read more from this author right away. My only problem is that the next book in the series is a love triangle, but I still enjoyed the writing as a whole. “Come Back to Me” pulls on your heartstrings from the very first page and never lets up until the last one. If you like NA books with a rather steamy romance that also has a lot of emotion, I recommend this fabulous book.

four-half-stars
Rating Report
Plot
four-half-stars
Characters
five-stars
Writing
five-stars
Pacing
four-stars
Cover
four-half-stars
Overall: four-half-stars

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Until The End Review

November 16, 2015 Reviews 0 ★★★★½

Until The End ReviewUntil the End by Abbi Glines
Published by Simon Pulse on November 17th 2015
Pages: 400
Source: Edelweiss
Also by this author: Until Friday Night (The Field Party, #1), Breathe (Sea Breeze, #1), Because of Low (Sea Breeze, #2), Just for Now (Sea Breeze, #4), Misbehaving (Sea Breeze, #6), Bad for You (Sea Breeze, #7)
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four-half-stars
five-flames

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.

The backstory that fans have been clamoring for—how Rock and Trisha fell in love—is the final novel in the Sea Breeze series from New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Abbi Glines.
Trisha Corbin always knew how to hide a bruise. With her momma’s boyfriends unable to keep their hands off her, she had no choice. And as long as it meant the guys wouldn’t go near her little brother, Krit, it was worth it. But her days of dreaming that Prince Charming would ever come rescue her are far, far in the past.
Rock Taylor always had a plan. Through football, he would rise above the life he was born into. A full scholarship to play for a major college team was within his reach—assuming he didn’t let anything get in his way. But scoring a date with the hottest girl in Sea Breeze was proving harder than expected. Trisha Corbin was every man’s walking fantasy, and she wouldn’t even glance his way.
When Rock finally does get Trisha in his truck, it isn’t for a date. It’s because he picks her up on the side of the road, beaten and bruised and trying to get to the local hospital. Before Rock knows it, football is no longer his life. Trisha Corbin is. And he’ll do anything to save her. And keep her.
In addition to Rock and Trisha’s love story, this special conclusion to the Sea Breeze series contains the wrap-up stories of all your favorite Sea Breeze couples: Sadie and Jax, Marcus and Low, Cage and Eva, Preston and Amanda, Jess and Jason, Krit and Blythe, and Dewayne and Sienna. The steamy romance doesn’t stop until the very last page!

So this book has been out since 2014, but Simon Pulse is just now releasing it and I was lucky enough to receive a digital ARC of it so I was excited to finally read it! I have mixed feelings about some of the titles in the Until The End series, but I found the series itself to be addicting reads that I wanted to continue checking out. While these are far from being perfect reads, they are still very much enjoyable. I felt like this was easily the best way to wrap up the series. This might be not only my favorite in the Sea Breeze stories, but my personal favorite of all Abbi Glines’s books to date.

Trisha and Rock are two mature characters that popped up in the previous novels and I was pretty curious to know their back story. Abbi definitely saved one of the best stories for last. Trisha and Rock are by far the most stable couple out of all the couples and had the least amount of drama. Yes, Trisha had a difficult home life, but Rock was insanely supportive of her and he did everything he possibly could to ensure that she got out of the story and moved in with him. That part in particular really melted my heart because it was more obvious how much Rock loved and cared about her. All of the Sea Breeze boys have their swoony moments, but none of them had as many as Rock. He’s an awesome character, and knowing their story helped show why he seems so serious and almost possessive over his girl.

Truthfully, I loved this story so much that I wasn’t ready for it to end. Trisha and Rock are no longer front and center less than halfway through, and I didn’t like that. I feel like they deserved much more time devoted to them considering the fact that every other couple got that. I mean, one character even got two whole books dedicated to his story! Anyway, it did annoy me but it probably happened since they are such a balanced couple, there wasn’t enough drama so I’m glad that the drama was left out and it’s likely that if the story continued, it would get repetitive. So while it did bug me, maybe it was for the best! (I need to get a life)

So what was in the rest of the book? The second half of the book was epilogues for all of the couples. I was expecting maybe a chapter or even less than that since it wasn’t just a few couples, it was seven of them. However, it was quite a few chapters that were broken into sections showing which characters it was focusing on and what book(s) were about them. Personally, I read five of the books, I skipped Cage and Dewayne’s story because both of their books seemed like a lot of drama, plus both ebooks were ridiculously expensive.

Since this is the end of a rather memorable NA series, I decided to make a list of my favorite people and things in Sea Breeze.

Favorite heroine: Jess from Misbehaving

Best book boyfriend: Marcus from Because of Low

Favorite couple: Rock and Trisha

Favorite bad boy: Krit from Bad for You

Best occupation: Jax from Breathe, he was a rock star after all

Girl I wish was my best friend: Blythe from Bad for You

Boy I wish was my best friend: Cage York

Worst occupation: Preston from Just for Now

Favorite female friendship: Amanda and Sadie

Steamiest couple: Amanda and Preston

four-half-stars

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Sea Breeze Series Reviews Part 2

November 14, 2015 Reviews 0 ★★½

Sea Breeze Series Reviews Part 2Just for Now (Sea Breeze, #4) by Abbi Glines
Published by Simon Pulse on October 30th 2012
Genres: New Adult, Romance
Pages: 337
Also by this author: Until Friday Night (The Field Party, #1), Breathe (Sea Breeze, #1), Because of Low (Sea Breeze, #2), Until the End
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two-half-stars
four-flames
An insatiable attraction heats to the boiling point in this steamy book set in the shore town of Sea Breeze from the author of the white-hot The Vincent Boys.
Preston is one bad boy. And Amanda has harbored a crush on him for forever. When she finally makes her move on him, it does not end well. But still, she can’t resist him. Especially now that he seems to be pursuing her, too.
No one wants wants them to be together. Not Amanda’s brother Marcus, who is on the verge of his marriage to Low, and definitely not any of Preston’s buddies. They know way too much about Preston’s dark side. Even Preston realizes he’s not good enough for someone like her.
But Amanda believes there is more to Preston than his bad boy persona, and she is determined to unearth what he’s hiding behind his seductive blue eyes—secrets that could explain his actions. Secrets Amanda might not be able to forgive.
Yet the dangerous attraction persists...and neither Preston nor Amanda is going to deny it.

Here is a link to my review of the first two books in the series. Even though the series has been out for quite awhile now, this is still an incredibly popular series that people still often talk about. While I personally have mixed feelings about these books as a whole, I can’t deny the fact that this is an addicting series. Out of the books that I read, I devoured each of these in less than a day. So anyway, I’m excited to share my reviews of three more Sea Breeze books.

I’m not so sure how I feel about Just For Now, which is the fourth book in the series. I was personally surprised by how many people seem to absolutely adore this book. I just wasn’t all that into the story itself because I feel like it followed the typical Abbi Glines formula. This isn’t a bad thing for those who are used to it and enjoy reading it anyways. Sometimes I find that the bad boy in her novels sometimes work for me, and sometimes I feel like the guy comes across as a douchebag and that there’s nothing swoony about him. I’m also not a huge fan of the sweet and innocent female protagonist. I can’t stand it because the girl can do no wrong, besides typically having “loose” female friends. Another reason why I hate these characters is because they can literally never stand up for themselves against the guy. This is a trope that desperately needs to go.

The story has its moments, but it definitely ranks towards the bottom when it comes to ranking the Sea Breeze novels. Despite the bashing that I did earlier, I did like Amanda more than I expected. She was a very good friend to Sadie, and that alone kind of breaks my whole “loose” friends statement, but I did still like this friendship a lot. Amanda was also amazing with Preston’s siblings, who had a seriously difficult time due to their lack of parent involvement. I did feel for Preston and felt like he stepped up in order to provide for his brothers and sisters. This was a quick read even if they are far from being my favorite or even the most memorable couple of the group.

Sea Breeze Series Reviews Part 2Misbehaving (Sea Breeze, #6) by Abbi Glines
Published by Simon Pulse on April 29th 2014
Pages: 352
Also by this author: Until Friday Night (The Field Party, #1), Breathe (Sea Breeze, #1), Because of Low (Sea Breeze, #2), Until the End
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three-stars
four-half-flames
An unexpected affair leads to mind-blowing harmony in this Sea Breeze novel from New York Times bestselling author Abbi Glines.
Jason is sick of living in his rock star brother’s shadow. So when he ships off to Sea Breeze, Alabama, he’s looking for a much deserved escape and a chance to blow off some envious steam. Falling for the local bad girl was definitely not the plan. But as the new duo enjoys some naughty fun in the Alabama sun, Jason learns that even though Jax is the musician in the family, he’s not the only brother who can rock someone’s world.

If I was basing my rating solely on the female protagonist, Misbehaving would easily score a five rating. However, the drama and the fact that I didn’t really believe the relationship as a reader, this ended up scoring lower. As a whole, it isn’t a bad book and I really enjoyed it while I was reading it, but the flaws are much more clear to me the more that I reflect on the plot. While I think that this is one of the only Abbi Glines’s book that really challenges her typical formula, there was just a lot of pointless drama which ended up not working so well.

So one of my favorite parts in the book is when Jess’s mom makes a Gilmore Girls reference and says that Jess is Rory, and Jason is her Logan. I loved this because Gilmore Girls is my all time favorite show and any mention of it in a book that I’m reading automatically scores major points in my mind. I think what really bugged me about the story was the lust that the main characters believed was love. After having sex, Jason thinks that the world pretty much revolves around Jess and he’s crazy “in love with her.” That’s definitely not love and so it just seemed out of place when the book took a turn as being a serious relationship when neither of them seemed like they should be in one.

Sea Breeze Series Reviews Part 2Bad for You (Sea Breeze, #7) by Abbi Glines
Published by Simon Pulse on April 1st 2014
Pages: 320
Also by this author: Until Friday Night (The Field Party, #1), Breathe (Sea Breeze, #1), Because of Low (Sea Breeze, #2), Until the End
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Goodreads
four-half-stars
five-flames

Innocence was never meant for the addictive…

Addiction was something Krit Corbin accepted as part of his nature a long time ago. He decided to embrace it and flip his finger at the rules. Women had always been the number one thing on his list of addictions. He couldn’t get enough. Being the lead singer in a rock band had only made access to his favorite addiction that much easier.
Being alone was the only thing Blythe Denton understood. The small town minister’s family that raised her hadn’t accepted her as their own. The minister’s wife had always made sure Blythe understood just how unworthy she was of love. When Blythe is sent away to college and given a chance to finally be free of living as an unwanted burden, she looks forward to having peace in her life. Being alone isn’t something that bothers her. She escapes reality in the stories she writes.
However, the ridiculously sexy tattooed guy who keeps throwing parties in the apartment above hers is driving her crazy. For starters, he doesn’t treat her like she would expect a guy with a different woman always hanging on his arm to treat someone as uninteresting as her. She looks nothing like the gorgeous women she sees parading in and out of his apartment, but for some strange reason he keeps showing up at her door.
During a party at his apartment, Krit’s new neighbor comes to the door with her long brown hair pulled up in a messy knot and a pair of glasses perched on her cute little nose. She wants him to turn down the music, but he convinces her to stay.

Krit Corbin may have just found his biggest addiction yet. And Blythe Denton realizes too late that she’s finally been claimed.

This is quite possibly my favorite Sea Breeze book. I think the best part about it was the slow build from being just friends to being more. Blythe and Krit encountered their fair share of difficulties during their relationship, but it was still an extremely real one. While the story still had it’s typical formula and the cliché bad boy and innocent girl, there was still some refreshing and unexpected twists to the plot. I enjoyed this story and feel like Abbi Glines did a great job with Bad For You.

I seriously sympathized with Blythe, it was heartbreaking how she viewed herself due to the emotional abuse she suffered from in the sheltered home she grew up in. I feel like Krit didn’t exactly save her the way that some of the previous male leads have saved the heroine, I feel like she needed someone to believe in and love, which is what he gave her. I’m not going to lie, I did like Krit and was intrigued about his story when we first saw him losing Jess to Jason in Misbehaving. However, his “addiction” to women did seem a little creepy at times considering how innocent Blythe was. But the slow moving pace between them made the relationship more believable to me. Was this a perfect book? No, but I do believe that it was one that I found fun to read and seeing the supporting characters never gets old to me.

two-half-stars

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Consent Book Blitz

November 10, 2015 Blog Tours, Features, Reviews 0 ★★★

Consent Book Blitz

Consent Book BlitzConsent by Nancy Ohlin
Published by Simon Pulse on November 10th 2015
Pages: 288
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.

In this sexy and intriguing novel, an intense—and passionate—bond between a high school senior and her music teacher becomes a public scandal that threatens the reputation of both.
Bea has a secret.
Actually, she has more than one. There’s her dream for the future that she can’t tell anyone—not her father and not even her best friend, Plum.
And now there’s Dane Rossi. Dane is hot, he shares Bea’s love of piano, and he believes in her.
He’s also Bea’s teacher.
When their passion for music crosses into passion for each other, Bea finds herself falling completely for Dane. She’s never felt so wanted, so understood, so known to her core. But the risk of discovery carries unexpected surprises that could shake Bea entirely. Bea must piece together what is and isn’t true about Dane, herself, and the most intense relationship she’s ever experienced in this absorbing novel from Nancy Ohlin, the author of Beauty.

I’m thrilled to be apart of this release week blitz for the book Consent, which is hosted by Barclay Publicity. This was an intriguing and action packed story that definitely captured my attention. Truthfully, I have mixed feelings about teacher/student relationships. On one hand, I think it makes for a fascinating sort of fairytale, but I also believe that it’s romanticized and unrealistic at times. Consent is different from other books I’ve read that also tackled this complicated subject. Nancy Ohlin did a really great job with creating the characters of Dane and Bea. They are both complex and layered, and the journey between them was obviously a difficult one. This is an edgy YA read, but one that I personally believe will certainly intrigue readers.

While I’ve never played an instrument before, Bea’s passion for playing the piano felt super authentic to me. Her general attitude reminded me of Mia from If I Stay. I know that they play different instruments, but both characters are quiet and focused on playing their respective instrument. Dane is a complicated character to say the least. One particular thing that I enjoyed about him was how he helped lead Bea to pursue music in college. Those close to her, such as her own parents, are unaware about how serious she is about the piano. I like that she was able to be encourage by Dane, someone who went to a performing arts college and can give her helpful advice. As the novel goes on, things about the characters (particularly Dane) become more unclear and troubling. That’s all I’m going to say about that, but I will urge you to read the story!

I can’t completely reveal why this book became a little bit off the mark for me. It has to do with how things end, I was just expecting more resolution. I was also expecting it to be darker than it was. Maybe I should lower my expectations, but some things that we learn about Dane towards the end did make extremely weary. All in all, this was a solid read that I do think those who love YA stories that go against the grain will enjoy.

Release Week Blitz for Consent by Nancy Ohlin!

In this sexy and intriguing novel, an intense—and passionate—bond between a high school senior and her music teacher becomes a public scandal that threatens the reputation of both. CONSENT by Nancy Ohlin is a dark, edgy love story wrapped around the complex and controversial subject of sexual consent laws. Fans of THE LUCY VARIATIONS by Sara Zarr and IF I STAY by Gayle Forman will enjoy CONSENT from Simon Pulse.
Follow the blitz and enter to win great prizes!

3 grand prize winners will receive an autographed/personalized copy of CONSENT, an autographed/personalized blank journal, a CD of the Schumann Fantasy (which is the music that brings Bea and Dane together), and a SWAG goody bag!

10 runner-ups will receive a SWAG goody bag that includes a CONSENT button, an autographed CONSENT bookmark, and an autographed/personalized bookplate
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11/9/2015
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Also look for reviews on release day from:
Her Book Thoughts!
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Read. Write. Game.

Praise for CONSENT:
“Consent is as delicate, as profound and as subtle as the music that gifted young pianist Beatrice plays in moments of near-mystical inspiration. Nancy Ohlin tackles a very delicate subject with so much wisdom, so much clear-eyed honesty, and such a deft touch that I was blown away. A quick read you can’t put down.” – Michael Grant, New York Times bestselling author of the Gone series

… a layered and thoughtful contemporary novel. The push and pull between what is perceived and what is true throughout the narrative adds another dimension to the unreliable first-person narration as readers and Bea contemplate Rossi’s agenda. …Ohlin delivers an open-ended novel ripe for discussion as readers follow the plot’s twists and turns.” – School Library Journal
“A compassionate but clearsighted look at student-teacher liaisons.” – Kirkus

Read an Excerpt from CONSENT

“May I?”
Without waiting for my answer, Mr. Rossi sits down next to me at the piano and pushes the quilted cover aside. As he does, his tweed jacket grazes my bare arm. My skin tingles from the contact, and I want him to do that again: accidentally-on-purpose touch me. Although it was likely just an accident, and I really need to cut this out already.
He raises and lowers his elbows, then closes his eyes. He smells like his handkerchief, except warmer, sultrier. He launches into the first movement—initially at tempo, then more slowly, then with a series of fits and starts in the form of ritardandos and accelerandos. His interpretation is decidedly more measured and melancholy than mine, and more passionate, too.
He stops just before the shift to the second movement and turns to face me.
“So . . . what do you think?” he asks me.
Our legs are almost touching. Should I inch away? Or stay where I am?
“Beatrice?”
He knows my name. After just the one class. I should correct him and tell him that everyone calls me “Bea.” But I love the way he says “Beatrice”—like a poem, and with that dreamy accent.
Oh, right, I need to respond. “Yes! Sorry! That was wonderful! Really deep and intense and tormented.”
“Schumann was in a great deal of torment when he wrote this part.”
“What was the matter with poor old Schumann?”
“Poor young Schumann. He was twenty-something at the time. He was in love with his piano teacher’s daughter, Clara Wieck. But Mr. Wieck wouldn’t let them be together. Schumann wrote a song for Clara called ‘Ruines’ because he felt that his life was in ruins without her. That song became the beginning of the Fantasy.”
Oh my God, how romantic. But I probably shouldn’t say that to a teacher. “That’s insanely interesting. How do you know this?” I ask instead.
“Conservatory. You’ll see for yourself, next year.”
Conservatory. I drop my gaze and study my nails.
“At Juilliard or Curtis or wherever you decide to go, you’ll learn everything there is to know about the lives of the composers. Who was in love with whom, who died of syphilis at age thirty-one, who had a morbid fear of the number thirteen . . .” Mr. Rossi hesitates, apparently noticing that I’ve checked out on this conversation. “You are a senior, right? That’s what it said on my class roster: ‘Beatrice Kim, senior.’ ”
I nod.
“Sorry . . . I simply assumed . . . So you’re not applying to conservatory, then?”
“Nope.”
“It’s just that I don’t run across people your age who can play the Schumann Fantasy like that. Or at all. You have ‘piano performance major’ written all over you.”
“Thanks. Actually, I was thinking more along the lines of . . . um . . .” Quick, make something up. “Pre-law.”
“Pre-law?”
My phone buzzes. I glance at the screen. It’s a text from Plum: I’m done. Where are you? Meet me out front.
“I have to go,” I say, rising to my feet.
Mr. Rossi glances at his watch. “Actually, so do I. I’m due at a meeting that starts—started—five minutes ago. It’s probably not good to keep Principal Oberdorfer waiting.”
“See you in class, then.”
“Yes. See you in class,” he replies. “Beatrice?”
“Yes?”
“The rest of the Schumann. Could I hear you play it sometime?” He sounds shy and hesitant, like he’s asking me out. My heart feels hot and fluttery.
“I’m still working on it,” I murmur.
“Good. I can offer you more unwanted advice, then.” He smiles, and I have no idea if he’s joking or not.
I’d better start working extra hard on that last movement.

About Nancy Ohlin:

Nancy_Ohlin_Author_Photo-1-cropped

Nancy Ohlin is the author of CONSENT, ALWAYS, FOREVER, and BEAUTY. She has also collaborated on several celebrity novels, including a New York Times bestselling YA trilogy. She received a BA in English from the University of Chicago. Born in Tokyo, Japan, she lives in Ithaca, New York with her family.
Connect with Nancy: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon
Photo Credit: Emma Dodge Hanson

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three-stars

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Sea Breeze Series Book Reviews Part 1

November 9, 2015 Reviews 1 ★★

Sea Breeze Series Book Reviews Part 1Breathe (Sea Breeze, #1) by Abbi Glines
Published by Simon Pulse on June 4th 2013
Pages: 352
Also by this author: Until Friday Night (The Field Party, #1), Just for Now (Sea Breeze, #4), Misbehaving (Sea Breeze, #6), Bad for You (Sea Breeze, #7), Until the End
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two-stars
three-flames
In the shore town of Sea Breeze, Sadie discovers that fame is nothing in the face of passion. A steamy read from bestselling author Abbi Glines.
Sadie White’s summer job is at the beach, but she won’t be working as a lifeguard. Since her mom is pregnant and refuses to work, Sadie will be taking over as a domestic servant for a wealthy family on a nearby island.
When the family arrives at their summer getaway, Sadie is surprised to learn that the owner of the house is Jax Stone, one of the hottest teen rockers in the world. If Sadie were normal—if she hadn’t spent her life raising her mother and taking care of the house—maybe she’d be excited about working for a rock star. But she’s not.
Even though Sadie isn’t impressed by Jax’s fame, he is drawn to her. Everything about Sadie fascinates Jax, but he fights his attraction: Relationships never work in his world, and as badly as he wants Sadie, he believes she deserves more. Yet as the summer stretches on, Jax’s passion leaves him breathless—and Sadie feels like the only source of oxygen.
Can their love overcome the disparity in their lifestyles? One breath at a time, they’re going to find out…

So since Simon Pulse is publishing their own version of “Until The End,” which is the last novel in Abbi Glines’s “Sea Breeze Series,” I’ve decided to write reviews of some of the previous novels. I’m only going to talk about five of the eight, because I skipped those ones. Just because I skipped it though doesn’t mean that you should, definitely give it a try if you like her previous novels! Anyway, I’m going to be posting two parts, the first one will be reviews of the first two books, and the other three (the numbers skip around) will be talked about in part two.

Alright, I’m not going to lie, I don’t have much to say about Breathe. I read it back in August and I honestly tried to just forget about it. It wasn’t the worst novel, but it wasn’t very good, in my opinion. It was filled with so much drama and also very predictable cliches that got old really fast. I think that this wasn’t well written in terms of the plot and the characters were not developed at all.

I know I’m being harsh, but this is definitely not the best Abbi Glines book. One major problem that I have with her books is that the female protagonist is a perfect and pure angel. The male character is literally always a man whore, even if he is kind of a gentleman, he got around at some point. This is really where that trend of the good virgin girl being corrupted by the bad and sexy male who she also manages to tame, really all begins. Jax just came off as being an immature douche rocker. He didn’t have many layers to him, and I kept waiting for that to happen and it sadly never did. If you enjoy a good New Adult series, this one might intrigue you, but I’d recommend skipping this one.

Sea Breeze Series Book Reviews Part 1Because of Low (Sea Breeze, #2) by Abbi Glines
Published by Simon Pulse on October 6th 2012
Pages: 321
Also by this author: Until Friday Night (The Field Party, #1), Just for Now (Sea Breeze, #4), Misbehaving (Sea Breeze, #6), Bad for You (Sea Breeze, #7), Until the End
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
three-half-stars
four-flames

It’s steamy in the Gulf town of Sea Breeze. Physical attraction is the only way to beat the heat in this start to a series from bestselling, previously self-published author Abbi Glines.
Playboy Cage owns the apartment, and he hosts a revolving door of people, in and out, at all times. Most of them are long-legged hot girls who are never there more than a night or two. When Cage’s new roommate, Marcus, enters the picture, he’s just looking to nurse a broken heart. But there’s one particular semi-frequent regular who catches his eye.
Willow—“Low”—is the one Cage wants to marry. But the two of them are night and day, and Marcus can’t see how Low puts up with all of Cage’s womanizing. What she really needs is a real man....like good-looking and sensible Marcus. But that’s going to get real complicated and real messy—real fast.

For me personally, this book worked a lot better than the first one. I think the thing that stuck here was that it was more realistic. Marcus and Low both had to deal with real issues and they weren’t perfect people either. Was this book flawless? Not by a long shot, but I felt like it was a pretty big improvement from the first book. This one made me want to continue reading (the majority of it anyway) the rest of the series. This also is a story where we become more familiar and intrigued by the supporting characters, and become more anxious to see who’s story we get to read about next.

Marcus was a much more romantic and fascinating love interest than Jax was in Breathe, in my opinion. Marcus was caring and a true gentlemen all around. Low was portrayed as being a pretty pure and innocent person, which I’m not a fan of. She wasn’t my favorite character, but she was a sweet girl. I just wish she had a bit more of a real personality. I mean, how many 19-year-olds are sweet all the time? The one thing I didn’t like about Marcus’s character was how his personality flipped completely out of the blue. There was a great deal of miscommunication going on in this story. My point is, Marcus was nothing but kind and charming to Low from the start, but all of the sudden, one huge thing happens and Marcus doesn’t even try to hear her side of the story, he just shuts her out.

I’m glad that we got to know more about Marcus’s story and I felt like Low was a perfect match for him. I felt like they balanced each other out in the best way. I also was pleasantly surprised by how likable Cage was. Although he was initially shown as being a total man whore, he also had a soft spot for Low, which was unexpected. This had the potential to turn into a serious love triangle, but I’m glad that it didn’t go down that road. Cage deserves his own love story. I didn’t read the two books that have him as the main character, mostly because I couldn’t read it for read. But I heard that it was good and I might read it eventually, but for now I am fine with getting to see him as a supporting character! Anyway, if the Sea Breeze series seems to be something you’d like, go for this steamy novel.

two-stars

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Waiting On Wednesday: The Year We Fell Apart

October 21, 2015 Features 1

Waiting On Wednesday: The Year We Fell ApartThe Year We Fell Apart by Emily Martin
Published by Simon Pulse on January 26th 2016
Pages: 320
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In the tradition of Sarah Dessen, this powerful debut novel is a compelling portrait of a young girl coping with her mother’s cancer as she figures out how to learn from—and fix—her past.
Few things come as naturally to Harper as epic mistakes. In the past year she was kicked off the swim team, earned a reputation as Carson High’s easiest hook-up, and officially became the black sheep of her family. But her worst mistake was destroying her relationship with her best friend, Declan.
Now, after two semesters of silence, Declan is home from boarding school for the summer. Everything about him is different—he’s taller, stronger…more handsome. Harper has changed, too, especially in the wake of her mom’s cancer diagnosis.
While Declan wants nothing to do with Harper, he’s still Declan, her Declan, and the only person she wants to talk to about what’s really going on. But he’s also the one person she’s lost the right to seek comfort from.
As their mutual friends and shared histories draw them together again, Harper and Declan must decide which parts of their past are still salvageable, and which parts they’ll have to let go of once and for all.
In this honest and affecting tale of friendship and first love, Emily Martin brings to vivid life the trials and struggles of high school and the ability to learn from past mistakes over the course of one steamy North Carolina summer.

New-WoW3Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking The Spine. It’s where we share our most anticipated upcoming releases each week. I love doing this and seeing what everyone else comes up with as well!

The book had me at “in the style of Sarah Dessen” but the pretty cover also managed to get my attention too. Based on the description, I can tell that this is my kind of book. I love YA books like this, and so I’m eagerly awaiting the release of this one! Debut novels are also always exciting so that’s an added bonus for me.

That’s my WOW for the week, be sure to share yours with me! I’d love to see what book you’re most looking forward to.

 

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Biggest Flirts Review

September 13, 2015 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★½

Biggest Flirts ReviewBiggest Flirts (Superlatives, #1) by Jennifer Echols
Published by Simon Pulse on May 20th 2014
Pages: 336
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one-half-stars
Tia and Will’s lives get flipped upside down when they’re voted Yearbook’s Biggest Flirts in this sassy novel from the author of Endless Summer and The One That I Want.
Tia just wants to have fun. She’s worked hard to earn her reputation as the life of the party, and she’s ready for a carefree senior year of hanging out with friends and hooking up with cute boys. And her first order of business? New guy Will. She can’t get enough of his Midwestern accent and laidback swagger.
As the sparks start to fly, Will wants to get serious. Tia’s seen how caring too much has left her sisters heartbroken, and she isn’t interested in commitment. But pushing Will away drives him into the arms of another girl. Tia tells herself it’s no big deal…until the yearbook elections are announced. Getting voted Biggest Flirts with Will is, well, awkward. They may just be friends, but their chemistry is beginning to jeopardize Will’s new relationship—and causing Tia to reconsider her true feelings. What started as a lighthearted fling is about to get very complicated…

I think I’m just too old for this book. This is really weird because the book has mature content, including sexual content from pretty much the first chapter. I mean, it’s nothing totally graphic, but it just seemed weird since I had the impression that this was supposed to be meant for like middle grade/freshman in high school. The drama that fills the pages from the first page fully maintains it’s speed until the last. If young adult contemporary romance is your kind of thing, you might give this one a shot. I typically enjoy the genre and still found that this one wasn’t for me, but Jennifer Echols is still a decent writer, maybe you’ll personally enjoy her style.

Tia is just about to start her senior year of high school and has decided that she has no time for relationships. She only looks for casual hookups, nothing more than that. She’s never had a real boyfriend because of her fear from seeing what happened to her sisters who got seriously involved with boys and subsequently were knocked up by them. At one of the last parties of the summer, she meets the new kid from Minnesota, Will Matthews. Things immediately heat up between the two on that first night, but Tia takes a step back when she realizes that he wants more than just a casual hook up. After she turns him down, he decides to ask out somebody else. Everything gets even more awkward between Tia and Will when the pair are both voted Biggest Flirts of their senior class.

I wasn’t a fan of Tia. I felt like their just wasn’t enough growth involved with her character. She was constantly changing her mind and looking to pick a fight with Will, which never failed to annoy me. Will wasn’t much better though. I didn’t find him to be all that swoonworthy. Honestly, I actually liked Sawyer, the boy who friends with benefits with Tia better. I’m glad that he’s going to have his own story though because he and Tia aren’t a good match for each, but I just liked his character better than Will’s all around. Will had just been through a pretty bad breakup, the girl he loved from back home cheated on him with his best friend and he found out through pictures. With that being said, it didn’t make any sense to me why he would be rushing to get into a new relationship if he had just had his heart stomped on. Not to mention the fact that Tia and Will are constantly arguing about everything from competing for being the captain of the drum team, to about what boy Tia is flirting with. It was simply exhausting how much drama they started with one another. Having two unlikable main characters obviously results in a disaster for me personally.

To be honest, I ended up skimming through a lot of it because I was so ready for it to be over. I know that probably sounds harsh, but this wasn’t a realistic book about high school in my opinion. I’ve read many great ones, but this one missed the mark by quite a bit. I didn’t know anybody in high school who acted the way that these kids did. There was a lot of relationship drama of course, but never at this type of level.

one-half-stars

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Mini Review: Until Friday Night

August 20, 2015 Reviews, Young Adult 2 ★½

Mini Review: Until Friday NightUntil Friday Night (The Field Party, #1) by Abbi Glines
Published by Simon Pulse on August 25th 2015
Pages: 352
Source: Edelweiss
Also by this author: Breathe (Sea Breeze, #1), Because of Low (Sea Breeze, #2), Just for Now (Sea Breeze, #4), Misbehaving (Sea Breeze, #6), Bad for You (Sea Breeze, #7), Until the End
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
one-half-stars
To everyone who knows him, West Ashby has always been that guy: the cocky, popular, way-too-handsome-for-his-own-good football god who led Lawton High to the state championships. But while West may be Big Man on Campus on the outside, on the inside he’s battling the grief that comes with watching his father slowly die of cancer.
Two years ago, Maggie Carleton’s life fell apart when her father murdered her mother. And after she told the police what happened, she stopped speaking and hasn’t spoken since. Even the move to Lawton, Alabama, couldn’t draw Maggie back out. So she stayed quiet, keeping her sorrow and her fractured heart hidden away.
As West’s pain becomes too much to handle, he knows he needs to talk to someone about his father—so in the dark shadows of a post-game party, he opens up to the one girl who he knows won’t tell anyone else.
West expected that talking about his dad would bring some relief, or at least a flood of emotions he couldn’t control. But he never expected the quiet new girl to reply, to reveal a pain even deeper than his own—or for them to form a connection so strong that he couldn’t ever let her go…

This isn’t going to be a full length review, that’s going to be posted on The Young Folks on the release day next week. But I have a lot to say about this book so I figured I might as well post a mini review now just to sort of preview my thoughts.

If you’ve read any of my other reviews on here, you can probably tell that I typically don’t give such low ratings. This one is an exception because of some of the pretty major issues I had with the main characters. If I dislike one of the main characters, the rating is going to automatically be no higher than a 3 for me. In this case, I disliked both of the characters at some point in the novel. I did sympathize with the female character Maggie, but I also felt that she was just as judgmental of the girls at school as the guys. For example, the guys called the girls “sluts” and “whores” constantly and Maggie wasn’t much better.

West is probably one of the most unlikable love interests I’ve ever seen in a YA book. On one hand, I did feel bad that his dad was sick, but it still didn’t make sense to me why he was allowed to behave in such a destructive and offputting manner and not get put in his place. I would have much preferred Maggie to overcome her personal trauma and instantly giving West sass and not excusing his behavior.

I found the majority of these characters to be unrelatable and I couldn’t connect with them at all. My favorite part of the book was easily when West was called out on his possessive behavior over Maggie. It made me so happy that at least one character wasn’t letting him get away with his terrible attitude.

I’m sure handling my rant about this book in mini form is probably easier to handle than the rant in my full length review. Anyway, feel free to check out that review when it’s posted. It’s going to touch more on the characters and what went wrong for me personally. I’m sure people who enjoy Abbi Glines’s New Adult books will likely enjoy this one, but it was just too much for me.
one-half-stars

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