Reviews, ya contemporary, ya romance

ARC Review: One Paris Summer by Denise Grover Swank

One Paris Summer

GoodReads Summary:

Most teens dream of visiting the City of Lights, but it feels more like a nightmare for Sophie Brooks. She and her brother are sent to Paris to spend the summer with their father, who left home a year ago without any explanation. As if his sudden abandonment weren’t betrayal enough, he’s about to remarry, and they’re expected to play nice with his soon-to-be wife and stepdaughter. The stepdaughter, Camille, agrees to show them around the city, but she makes it clear that she will do everything in her power to make Sophie miserable.

Sophie could deal with all the pain and humiliation if only she could practice piano. Her dream is to become a pianist, and she was supposed to spend the summer preparing for a scholarship competition. Even though her father moved to Paris to pursue his own dream, he clearly doesn’t support hers. His promise to provide her with a piano goes unfulfilled.

Still, no one is immune to Paris’s charm. After a few encounters with a gorgeous French boy, Sophie finds herself warming to the city, particularly when she discovers that he can help her practice piano. There’s just one hitch—he’s a friend of Camille’s, and Camille hates Sophie. While the summer Sophie dreaded promises to become best summer of her life, one person could ruin it all.

 My Review:

One Paris Summer is a delightful read full of teen angst, love, heartbreak, and revelations. Denise Grover Swank does a phenomenal job of show how tragedy and heartbreak can take a toll on a person; that when a person leaves you it has lasting effects on your life; that by forgiving them can you then move forward.

Sophie Brooks is forced to spend the summer before her Junior year in Paris. She is forced to live with her father who abandoned Sophie and her brother, Eric, in pursuit of his dream to restore an old Parisian church. She is forced to get to know a new step-mother, and, share a room with an evil step-sister, Camille. But as the summer progresses Sophie is faced with obstacles and has to decide if she can forgive the people who hurt her, and if she can make her dreams come true.

From the start of the novel, the teen angst and anger is at 200%. Sophie and Eric have a difficult time handling the abandonment of their father. They also have a difficult time understanding how their father can marry someone else so quickly, someone else they have never met. It doesn’t have that their father hasn’t talked to them in 10 months. Sophie stews on things in her mind and that gave me anxiety. But I can also related to who she is feeling. To have your whole word ripped apart is devastating and learning how to handle that is overwhelming. So while it did get annoying that Sophie stewed a lot, I understand and could move past it.

Her step-sister Camille on the other hand I wanted to punch in the face. She is rude and inconsiderate from the moment she meets Sophie. She is always trying to humiliate her in an attempt to get to go home- back to South Carolina. And it doesn’t help that she ropes her friends into this plot as well. However, there is a bright spot… or two bright spots as the book moves forward. Her brother, who has shown very little interest in her life, starts to take an active role in their Paris excursions. He stands up for when it is needed and can empathize with the hurt of their father.

The other bright spot is Matthieu. He opens her eyes to dreams she didn’t think possible. He is truly a great guy for her. However, as always, there are secrets and heartbreak. But as with any good YA Contemporary novel… it only lasts for a little while.

Swank’s summer through Paris is wonderful. Not only do we see Sophie’s character arc and growth, but we see secondary character’s growth as well, showing that everyone at any age can learn new things about themselves and others. Acceptance is the big theme throughout the book.

Rating: 4 out of 5

I’d like to thank NetGalley and Zonderkidz-Books for the chance to read this ARC. Receiving this ARC for free does not influence my review in anyway.

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ARC Review: Invincible Summer by Alice Adams

Invincible Summer

GoodReads Summary:

Four friends. Twenty years. One unexpected journey.

Eva, Benedict, Sylvie and Lucien graduate in 1998, into a world on the brink of the new millennium. Hopelessly in love with playboy Lucien and keen to shrug off the socialist politics of her childhood, Eva breaks away to work at a big bank. Benedict, a budding scientist who’s pined for Eva for years, stays on to do a physics PhD, and siblings Sylvie and Lucien pursue more freewheeling existences–she as an aspiring artist and he as a club promoter and professional partier. But as their dizzying twenties become their thirties, the once close-knit friends, now scattered and struggling to navigate thwarted dreams, lost jobs and broken hearts, find themselves drawn together once again in stunning and unexpected ways. Breathtaking in scope, this is sure to be the book of the summer.

My Review:

Invincible Summer takes place over a 20 year period. Each chapter is a glimpse into Eva, Benedict, Lucien, and Sylvie’s every day lives. When I first read the synopsis for Invincible  Summer it sounded in curious. I have been friends wit people I went to college with, going on 11 years now (whoa!) so a story about their lives felt like the right thing to read. It can be difficult to keep in touch with people, life drives you in different directions. Their growth over the novel mostly felt like small hills, but by the end it is clear that they have grown up, that the events that take place in their lives affected their life trajectory.

I had a difficult time  connecting with the characters. I’m not sure if it was because of the location- London- or the language usage- not American slag- or the fact that this really took place during a time period when I was really only a child. As a twentysomething myself, I understand lost dreams, heartbreak (maybe not so much haha), change, world image, and ultimately happiness. These things change over the course of one’s life and can change one’s life as well. So while I did have a difficult time connecting with the character’s, the themes behind them I could understand. These things change over the course of one’s life and can change one’s life as well.

I will say that these character’s felt very selfish, self-centered, and it was difficult to watch them make choices… maybe that is the point. Not every decision is the right decision. Taking the easy way out can result in unintended consequences. Sometimes you have to fight for what you believe in, to fight for what you want. And what you want you can’t always have or aren’t meant to have.

It’s funny, when I started writing this (and it took several days to gather my thoughts) I had intended to give this novel a 2 out 5 stars. But while writing this review, I finally understood the purpose to the book. So while I may not have connected to the characters directly, their stories are engaging, the themes are responsive, the final product is meant to understand- not move mountains.

Rating: 4 out 5

I’d like to thank NetGalley and Little, Brown and Company for the opportunity to read and review this ARC. Receiving this ARC for free does not sway my review.

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ARC Review: The Sound of Us by Julie Hammerle

The Sound of Us

GoodReads Summary:

Kiki Nichols might not survive music camp.

She’s put her TV-loving, nerdy self aside for one summer to prove she’s got what it takes: she can be cool enough to make friends, she can earn that music scholarship, and she can get into Krause University’s music program.

Except camp has rigid conduct rules—which means her thrilling late-night jam session with the hot drummer can’t happen again, even though they love all the same TV shows, and fifteen minutes making music with him meant more than every aria she’s ever sung.

But when someone starts snitching on rule breakers and getting them kicked out, music camp turns into survival of the fittest. If Kiki’s going to get that scholarship, her chance to make true friends—and her chance with the drummer guy—might cost her the future she wants more than anything.

My Review:

The Sound of Us is an emotional and compelling story about a girl who goes to music camp and finally understands what she wants out of her life.

Kiki Nichols takes the summer between her Junior and Senior year of high school to attend a music camp and attain a scholarship that will help to pay to go to college and study music. While at camp she meets a variety of other talented musicians in her program as well as other programs. She meets a boy to helps to open her eyes, see what really matters. Her parents on the other hand hope she fails so they don’t have to waste money on her education, like they did with her older sister. Through out the novel she learns more about herself and what she wants. She strives for her dreams

Julie Hammerle did an excellent job of making this story and it’s characters very real and very relatable. Not many teens know what they want to study and do for the rest of their lives. Seeing these students really push themselves for their dreams is really engaging. The friendships and challenges Kiki faces are the same ones any teen does. Questioning who you are as a person, what you want, who you want to be friends with are all important during this stage of life. And just as important is love and heartbreak. Knowing that you may love someone, that they could break your heart- whether it’s a boy or your parents- and that you can move past it.

I hope readers come away from this story knowing that they can do anything, that they can reach for the starts, and bring their dreams to life.

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Rating: 5 out of 5

I’d like to thank NetGalley and Entangled Teen for the opportunity to review this ARC. Receiving this ARC for free does not sway my review.

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ARC Review: One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

One True Loves

GoodReads Summary:

In her twenties, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents and the people of their hometown in Massachusetts. They travel the world together, living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity for adventure.

On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever.

Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her thirties, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness.

That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her. With a husband and a fiancé, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants, while trying to protect the ones she loves.

Who is her one true love? What does it mean to love truly?

Emma knows she has to listen to her heart. She’s just not sure what it’s saying.

My Review:

So I know this isn’t a YA novel, but when I read the synopsis I knew I had to have this book. Once I got it, back in February, I put off reading it. I think subconsciously, I wasn’t ready for the heartbreak and loss this book would bring… and it brought it hard and fast.

From the summary, you already know Emma had a husband who died. She eventually moved on, fell in love, and is engaged when news  comes that Jesse, her husband, is alive. It’s quite a shock. And that is really what this novel is about- how to come to terms with your past and your future, recognizing the person you have become. 

Moving through the novel, we experience Emma’s first true love, Jesse. Their relationship is a whirlwind romance. They are high school sweethearts, attend the same college, travel around the world together. You can see that their love could be a forever kind of love. But there comes a moment when Emma questions her future- kids, settling down, etc. And she is not sure of Jesse’s opinion. But in the end it doesn’t matter because he “dies”.

Emma eventually moved back to her home town and is able to move on with her life. Then she meets Sam Kemp. He is her second chance at love and she takes it. They have built a wonder life together, so when Emma gets the call that Jesse is alive, she is thrown for a loop. She now has the opportunity to go back to her travel life with hr first love. But when Jesse does officially come back, it’s different, he’s different, they are different.

When Jesse comes back into the picture, it broke my heart to see Sam believe that Emma would go straight back into her old life, forgetting about him. But Sam was gracious enough to understand that Emma needed sometime to work through her feelings and he gave her that (please go listen to Crash and Burn by Savage Garden– this is Sam and Emma’s song). And I got so mad at Jesse for assuming Emma would drop everything to be back with him, that he thought she shouldn’t have moved on with her life. He was very selfish and didn’t help Emma’s confusion.

Taylor Jenkins Reid does a wonderful job at showing the turmoil a person goes through when they lose someone they love. The book is fast paced, moving through Emma’s life quickly but also showing the most important parts of it. And the transition, that weird gray part of a person’s life right after tragedy strikes, is the most compelling piece of the novel. Reid hits the nail on the head of how the body and mind handles death and destruction. Her words are like a complicated musical, moving from moment to moment, heartache to heartache (please start singing Pat Benatar- love is a battlefield). These in between chapters flow and sway, a slow blooming crescendo to a new life, a new person.

The novel also shows that while tragedy and death do happen, you can move on, you can love again. Heartbreak is not forever.

Everyone should read this book.

Rating: 5 out of 5

I received this ARC from Washington Square Press and Edelweiss. Receiving this ARC for free doesn’t sway my review.

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Book Spotlight, Giveaway, Other, ya contemporary, ya romance

Release Week Blitz: THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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From #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout comes THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER – a young adult title about friendship, survival, and finding your voice. This incredible book is available today! Read more about this stunning new novel below and be sure to order your copy today to receive an amazing FREE fan pack while supplies last!

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Grab your copy of THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER Here:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1WMX5IM

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1SahjLo

iBooks: http://apple.co/1YcdPIf

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1Tr8JDD

Indiebound: http://bit.ly/1q32q1D

 

THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER Synopsis:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout comes a riveting new story about friendship, survival, and finding your voice.

 For some people, silence is a weapon.

 For Mallory “Mouse” Dodge, it’s a shield.

Growing up, she learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime.

Now, after years of homeschooling with loving adoptive parents, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at public high school. But of all the terrifying and exhilarating scenarios she’s imagined, there’s one she never dreamed of—that she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.

It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet the deeper their bond grows, the more it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory must make a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants, and the truths that need to be heard.

Add it to your Goodreads Now!

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JUST FILL OUT THE FORM HERE> http://bit.ly/24awVFw

EXCERPT:

Prologue

              Dusty, empty shoe boxes, stacked taller and wider than her slim body, wobbled as she pressed her back against them, tucking her bony knees into her chest.

              Breathe. Just Breathe. Breathe.

              Wedged in the back of the dingy closet, she didn’t dare make a sound as she sucked her lower lip between her teeth. Focusing on forcing every grimy breath into her lungs, she felt tears well in her eyes.

              Oh gosh, she’d made such a big mistake, and Miss Becky was right. She was a bad girl.

              She’d reached for the dirty and stained cookie jar earlier, the one shaped like a teddy bear that hid cookies that tasted funny. She wasn’t supposed to get cookies or any food by herself, but she’d just been so hungry that her tummy hurt, and Miss Becky was sick again, napping on the couch. She hadn’t meant to knock the ashtray off the counter, shattering it into tiny pieces. Some were shaped like icicles that clung to the roof during the winter. Others were no bigger than chips.

              All she’d wanted was a cookie.

              TPWFquote4Her slender shoulders jerked at the sound of the all cracking on the other side of the closet. She bit down harder on her lip. A metallic taste burst into her mouth. Tomorrow there would be a hold the size of Mr. Henry’s big hand in the plaster, and Miss Becky would cry and she’d get sick again.

              The soft creak of the closet door was like a crack of thunder to her ears.

              Oh no, no, no…

              He wasn’t supposed to find her in here. This was her safe place whenever Mr. Henry was angry or when he—

              She tensed, eyes peeling wide as a body taller and broader than hers slipped inside and then knelt in front of her. In the dark, she couldn’t make out much of his features, but she knew in her belly and her chest who it was.

              “I’m sorry,” she gasped.

              “I know.” A hand settled on her shoulder, the weight reassuring. He was the only person she felt okay with when he touched her. “I need you to stay in here, ‘kay?”

              Miss Becky had said once that he was only six months older than her six years, but he always seemed so much bigger, older than her, because in her eyes, he took up her entire world.

              She nodded.

              “Don’t come out,” he said, and then he pressed into her hands the redheaded doll she’d dropped in the kitchen after she broke the ashtray and rushed into the closet. Too frightened to retrieve her, she’d left Velvet where she had fallen, and she’d been so upset because the doll had been a gift from him many, many months before. She had no idea how he’d gotten Velvet, but one day he’d simply shown up with her, and she was hers, only hers.

              “You stay in here. No matter what.”

              Holding the doll close, clenched between her knees and chest, she nodded again.

              He shifted, stiffening as an angry shout rattled the walls around them. It was her name that dripped ice down her spine; her name that was shouted so furiously.

              A small whimper parted her lips and she whispered, “I just wanted a cookie.”

              TPWFquote5“It’s okay. Remember? I promised I’d keep you safe forever. Just don’t make a sound.” He squeezed her shoulder. “Just stay quiet, and when I…when I get back, I’ll read to you, ‘kay? All about the stupid rabbit.”

              All she could do was nod again, because there had been times when she hadn’t stayed quiet and she’d never forgotten those consequences. But if she stayed quiet, she knew what was coming. He wouldn’t be able to read to her tonight. Tomorrow he would miss school and he wouldn’t be okay even though he would tell her he was.

              He lingered for a moment and then he eased out of the closet. The bedroom door shut with a smack, and she lifted the doll, pressing her tearstained face into it. A button on Velvet’s chest poked at her cheek.

              Don’t make a sound.

              Mr. Henry started to yell.

              Don’t make a sound.

              Footsteps punched down the hall.

              Don’t make a sound.

              Flesh smacked. Something hit the floor, and Miss Becky must have been feeling better, because she was suddenly shouting, but in the closet the only sound that mattered was the fleshy whack that came over and over. She opened her mouth, screaming silently into the doll.

              Don’t make a sound.

Praise for THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER:

 “The intensity between Mouse and Rider is palpably sizzling… romance aficionados [will] lose themselves in Mouse and Rider’s smoldering glances and steamy kisses.” –Kirkus

 “Armentrout’s effort to gradually coax her protagonist from her shell via a supportive, loving community succeeds, and readers looking for an inspirational comeback story will find Mallory’s to be satisfying and hopeful” –Publishers Weekly

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About Jennifer L. Armentrout:

#1 New York Times and #1 International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA.

She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

Links:

Website: http://jenniferlarmentrout.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jlarmentrout

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JenniferLArmentrout

Jennifer L. Armentrout Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4476934.Jennifer_L_Armentrout

THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26721568-the-problem-with-forever

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Reviews, Special Review

ARC Review: Recoil by Joanne Macgregor

Recoil

Goodreads Summary:

When a skilled gamer gets recruited as a sniper in the war against a terrorist-produced pandemic, she discovers there’s more than one enemy and more than one war. The Game is real.

Three years after a series of terrorist attacks flooded the US with a lethal plague, society has changed radically.

Sixteen year-old Jinxy James spends her days trapped at home – immersed in virtual reality, worrying about the plague and longing for freedom. Then she wins a war simulation game and is recruited into a top-secret organisation where talented teenagers are trained to become agents in the war on terror. Eager to escape her mother’s over-protectiveness and to serve her country, Jinxy enlists and becomes an expert sniper of infected mutant rats.

She’s immediately drawn to Quinn O’Riley, a charming and subversive intelligence analyst who knows more about the new order of government and society than he is telling. Then a shocking revelation forces Jinxy to make an impossible decision, and she risks losing everything.

Recoil is the first book in a Young Adult dystopian romance trilogy, and makes great reading for lovers of Rick Yancey (The Fifth Wave), Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games), and Veronica Roth (Divergent).

My Review:

Recoil is the most recent work by Joanne Macgregor. It takes place in modern day United States, three years after a terrorist attack used biological chemicals to unleash a plague. The story is very realistic dystopian fiction. It’s full of elements that terrorist attacks cause- hyper-awareness of foreign residents, larger defense industry, mass media reporting on threats, politician comments about terrorists.

Jinxy starts out naive, playing a game that eventually leads to recruitment with the military. She takes the words of the media, politicians, and her unit commander Sarge for face value- believes they have the people’s best interests at heart. At 16, it makes sense that she would trust those older than her. It isn’t until Jinxy meets Quinn that she starts to question her missions, especially when he finds out she is a sniper. Jinxy understands why she needs to shoot the infected rats, but when she is required to shoot other animals, and eventually is given more classified missions, she has a difficult time, trying to reconcile herself and her values with the values of her unit and the military. Macgregor does an excellent job of showing Jinxy’s progression from being naive to doubting herself and her missions to taking matters into her own hands, making her own educated decisions.

Quinn is a fascinating character. He is also super hot with an Irish accent (swoon). He does what is required of him, but also has his own secrets that are kept from Jinxy. He helps Jinxy open her eyes and understand that her missions are not what she is being told. There is a strong attraction between them, but her missions separate them- pit on against the other. I will say I had a difficult time with the start  of their relationship. It just sort of happens and I couldn’t figure out what drew them to each other. But by the end Macgregor had me rooting for their relationship. And the way the book ends, I just need to know what happens next.

There is a quote in the book- “We’ve repatriated hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions, of foreign residents, refugees, and workers. We’ve insulated ourselves, sealed our boarders against immigrants and imports and competition… And as a nation we’ve channeled billions into a defense industry that was sitting idle after the last wars fizzled out.” It is scary how closely it describes our current country. We have a presidential candidate who wants to build a wall on the US/Mexican boarder to keep illegal immigrants out; we have alienated anyone who looks middle eastern and have grouped all those who practice Islam into the terrorist stereo type. This novel is so realistic I can see something like this possibly happening.

If you enjoy dystopian settings, this is a great start to a fascinating realistic series.

Rating: 4 out of 5

I’d like to thank Joanne Macgregor for providing me with an ARC. Receiving this ARC for free does not influence my opinion in any way.

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ARC Review: Summer of Sloan by Erin L. Schneider

Summer of Sloane

GoodReads Summary:

Warm Hawaiian sun. Lazy beach days. Flirty texts with her boyfriend back in Seattle.

These are the things seventeen-year-old Sloane McIntyre pictured when she imagined the summer she’d be spending at her mom’s home in Hawaii with her twin brother, Penn. Instead, after learning an unthinkable secret about her boyfriend, Tyler, and best friend, Mick, all she has is a fractured hand and a completely shattered heart.

Once she arrives in Honolulu, though, Sloane hopes that Hawaii might just be the escape she needs. With beach bonfires, old friends, exotic food, and the wonders of a waterproof cast, there’s no reason Sloane shouldn’t enjoy her summer. And when she meets Finn McAllister, the handsome son of a hotel magnate who doesn’t always play by the rules, she knows he’s the perfect distraction from everything that’s so wrong back home.

But it turns out a measly ocean isn’t nearly enough to stop all the emails, texts, and voicemails from her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend, desperate to explain away their betrayal. And as her casual connection with Finn grows deeper, Sloane’s carefree summer might not be as easy to find as she’d hoped. Weighing years of history with Mick and Tyler against their deception, and the delicate possibility of new love, Sloane must decide when to forgive, and when to live for herself.

Review:

I really enjoyed reading Summer of Sloane. It’s en excellent light summer read, but still deals with real life situations that, sadly, happen more frequently then we would like to think.

I was impressed with the main character Sloane. Her maturity in handling the situation between her best friend and boyfriend is remarkable. Yes it is a terrible situation, one in which the most mature of adults doesn’t handle well. So Sloane takes off to Hawaii for the summer where she learns a lot about herself, how much she can and can’t handle, and truths that she didn’t see.

While in Hawaii, Sloane meets hunky Finn who helps her just have fun. He doesn’t press her with questions of what happened; he is patient and kind, waiting for Sloane to confide in him. The romance between them is a spark that ignites from the moment they meet. They don’t set any expectations- just each others company, seeing where the summer leads.

By the end of the novel, Sloane has mature a great deal more and is able to come to terms with events taking place between many different characters. This shows a great deal of insight into Sloane and her understanding of the world.

Rating:

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Book Review: The Crown by Kiera Cass

The Crown (The Selection #5)

GoodReads Summary:

In The Heir, a new era dawned in the world of The Selection. Twenty years have passed since America Singer and Prince Maxon fell in love, and their daughter is the first princess to hold a Selection of her own.

Eadlyn didn’t think she would find a real partner among the Selection’s thirty-five suitors, let alone true love. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you…and now Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more difficult—and more important—than she ever expected.

My Review:

I have to say that I really The Selection Series and was excited to have an extension of that series with new characters. The Heir was pleasing and engaging; The Crown was nothing less than clever.

The Crown picks up right where The Heir left off. Eadlyn has narrowed the Selection down to the Elite- six guys remaining including country favorites Hale and Kile. As the novel moves, you watch Eadlyn go on dates with the guys all while handling being Queen Regent due to her mother’s heart attack and her father’s need to be at America’s side.

I was rooting the entire time for one particular male in the Selection, but as I finished the  book it became clear that someone else has Eadlyn’s heart… it was painfully obvious. But I will say the choice she made is one of the heart; I will never say that her decision was wrong.

The overall story felt rushed and was lacking in detail. It felt like Marid Illea was a side plot randomly thrown in. I wish there was more between Eadlyn and the guy she picked to be her husband, because while I did see it coming, it felt rushed as well. The epilogue left me wanting more. It too felt rushed and was much too short for my liking. I wanted a glimpse at Eadlyn’s wedding day or something of her and her husband.

While I do have issues, I still really enjoyed the story, so much so I finished the book in a few hours. That is why I am giving it 4 out of 5 stars. Because, honestly, I would read it again…

Rating: 4 out of 5

Adult Fantasy, Reviews, Special Review, ya romance

Book Review: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)

Goodreads Summary:

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court–but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms–and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future–and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

My Review:

A Court of Mist and Fury is passionate, heart-breaking, breath-taking, deeply-emotional, illustrative, immortal.

A Court of Mist and Fury is Sarah J. Maas’ follow-up to her A Court of Thorns and Roses. I adored the first novel in this series and the second blew my mind to pieces. Maas’ world building is enchanting. Every aspect is so detailed. It makes settling into the story that much easier.

At the start of the novel Feyre is heart breaking; she has such a difficult time accepting her actions Under the Mountain- living with killing innocent fae. In this rescued world, Feyre has to now handle being Tamlin’s consort, planning a wedding, parties, holidays. But, having faced and defeated Amarantha, Feyre is not the same person. For one, she is an immortal now. For two, she wants to help rebuild the Spring Court and Prythian. But she wasn’t the only one to out broken and battered. Tamlin is having his own nightmares and they revolve around losing Feyre again. So when Rhysand, High Lord of the Night Court, comes to claim the bargain he and Feyre made, Tamlin loses it.

But that bargain between Feyre and Rhysand may be the only thing to save Feyre.

I loved, loved, loved the Night Court. It is so well built and protected. Within the Night Court, there are two separate courts- The Court of Nightmares and the Court of Dreams. Each is spectacular in their own right. Each is very different from other courts. And I unquestionably savored getting to know Rhysand and his inner circle- Cassian, Amren, Mor, and Azriel. They are the complete opposite of Lucien- Tamlin’s lap dog.

The relationship between Feyre and Rhysand is one of passion and power, but also one of respect and equality. When Feyre visits the Night Court, Rhysand doesn’t hold her captive, like Tamlin tried to do. Rhysand understands what Feyre needs to heal her heart and soul. And he doesn’t hold back. When she wants to help, he allows her, trains her, shows her that she is not a pet or pawn to be used willfully.

“No one was my master- but I might master of everything, if I wished. If I dared.”

This story captured my heart and soul. I couldn’t have asked for anything better and there is nothing I would rewrite. RATING: 6 OUT OF 5.

P.S. If you haven’t been to Target to read the exclusive story, go and read. It makes the story that much more juicy… and explains some things between two characters I now ship so hard.

***SPOILERS***

I do want to talk in depth about somethings. So if you haven’t read the novel, please don’t read below this.

***SPOILERS***

I had no clue that Rhysand and Feyre were mates and it blew my mind when the Suriel stated so. I could feel the passion building between them, the teasing and taunting, and I waited for the dam to break. (And if I am being honest, which I am, I shipped them so hard from the moment Rhys saved Feyre during the wedding to Tamlin- who wouldn’t fall in love with him). It took 75% of the book to do this. And when it did- WHOA. I know this book is advertised as Young Adult, but it definitely boarders on New Adult with the descriptive sexual scenes.

I also came to hate Tamlin by the end of the novel. And for good reason. He did nothing to help her while Under the Mountain. Rhys is completely correct, when Tamlin had the chance to help Feyre, he just kissed her in the shadows; he sat and Amarantha’s side idel, while Rhys had been her whore for 50 years and was doing everything in his power to get Feyre out. Knowing that they are mates makes the bargain even better now, while he couldn’t tell Feyre he loved her, he showed her in helping her win. Maas did an unbelievable job making me hate Tamlin more than I already did before Feyre was rescued at the beginning.

And finally- the end. I was stunned. The revelation that Feyre is the High Lady of the Night Court was shocking. The fact that no one new, that Hybern only removed the left glove, she was able to pretend to break their bond and go back to the Spring Court to bring Tamlin and the King of Hybern down is marvelous. Also shocking, was Elain being Lucien’s mate; now he has a higher stake in the war. He knows Feyre is lying about the bond, but at this point, he isn’t willing to risk Elain’s life- even if she is immortal now. And the fact that Elain and Nesta are immortal now changes a lot. My Nesta-Cassian ship can sail, sail, sail.

I could really gush forever about this book, but I’ll stop here. If you want to chat about spoilery things, let me know in the comments and we can email- booksinmybed@gmail.com, or find and DM on twitter- Liz_Anne_B.

Predictions for the third book:

  1. My Nesta-Cassian ship will sail
  2. Lucien will betray Tamlin to save and be with Elain
  3. There will be a war
  4. While I didn’t talk about the priestess above, Ianthe will die
  5. Tamlin will either die or be put in the Prythian version of jail
  6. Hybern will die
  7. Amren will be released
  8. I am worried that Cassian, Mor, or Azriel will die
  9. Rhys and Feyre will have children (in an epilogue probably- hopefully)

Rating: 6 out of 5

Reviews

ARC Review: Suffer Love by Ashley Herring Bake

Suffer Love

GoodReads Summary:

Hadley St. Clair’s life changed the day she came home to a front door covered in slips of paper, each of them revealing the ugly truth about her father. Now as her family falls apart in the wake of his year-long affair, Hadley wants everyone-her dad most of all-to leave her alone.

Then she meets Sam Bennett, a cute new boy who inexplicably “feels like home” to Hadley. Hadley and Sam’s connection is undeniable, but Sam has a secret about his family that could ruin everything.

Funny and passionate, Suffer Love is a story about first love, family dysfunction, and the fickle hand of fate.

My Review:

I started and finished Suffer Love in less than a day. I couldn’t put it down. Ashley Herring Blake’s take on first love and family dysfunction is the realest I’ve read in a while. She held nothing back and gave Hadley and Sam everything.

From the start Sam and Hadley are twisted character’s, unable to feel emotion, unable to care about things they used to love, moving day to day, like a plastic bag in the wind, aimlessly. When they are assigned an English project together, their lives take interesting twists and turns, drawing them together in their already unintended intertwined universes. The feelings they have they try to deny until  they literally say “fuck it”.

People handle tragedy and loss different. Suffer Love shows these difference and presents it in a realistic way. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. When someone breaks your trust, like Hadley’s father did, it’s hard to get that back, and to trust other people. And learning to trust someone takes time.

The relationship between Hadley, her parents, Sam, his sister Livy, and his parents is written so well. When tragedy strikes a family, and this case, self-inflicted tragedy, it’s hard to move past and start fresh. Hadley hates that her father is trying to move forward, while her mom is stuck on repeat. She can’t forgive her father and can’t move past his betrayal. Sam’s mother blames him for the affair falling apart. She is trying to move forward with her life, but having Sam around brings back terrible memories. It’s a vicious circle of blaming the kids- the parent’s have a difficult time accepting their circumstances, or they don’t accept it at all, like Sam’s mother.

I truly loved reading this novel, the story of Sam and Hadley. I can empathize with their family dysfunction, trust issues, and love issues. They move through their relationship like they would in real life, which makes the story that much easier to read and relate to. Ashley Herring Blake did a remarkable job bringing Sam and Hadley’s story together.

Rating: 4 out of 5

I’d like to thank NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group for the opportunity to read Suffer Love. Receipt of this ARC does not effect my review.

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