Book Review: Slammed by Colleen Hoover

Goodreads Summary:

Following the unexpected death of her father, 18-year-old Layken is forced to be the rock for both her mother and younger brother. Outwardly, she appears resilient and tenacious, but inwardly, she’s losing hope.

Enter Will Cooper: The attractive, 21-year-old new neighbor with an intriguing passion for slam poetry and a unique sense of humor. Within days of their introduction, Will and Layken form an intense emotional connection, leaving Layken with a renewed sense of hope.

Not long after an intense, heart-stopping first date, they are slammed to the core when a shocking revelation forces their new relationship to a sudden halt. Daily interactions become impossibly painful as they struggle to find a balance between the feelings that pull them together, and the secret that keeps them apart.

Review:

DEBUT. NOVEL.

How the heck is this Hoover’s debut novel. It’s so freaking good. *dead*

Many of you that have been following this blog for a while now know how big of a fan I am of Colleen Hoover. That woman writes masterpiece after masterpiece, making the book community talk about tough topics no one wants to talk about (Ex: It Ends With Us and Ugly Love). In my book this lady is boss!

Alright, I’m going on a tangent… let’s go back to Slammed.

We have Layken (aka Lake) and Will.

Did I mention Will?

Y’all I’m thankful I never had a teacher like him in High School because I would have been a goner like Lake. *Swoons*

The book starts of as Lake is making the move from Texas to Michigan. Her father recently died and her mom is moving everyone to Michigan to begin anew. Then enters Will, the hot boy-next-door who not so long after meeting her asks her out on a date, and of course she says yes. The rest of the book is their journey navigating the discovery of him being her poetry teacher in high school once she finally makes it to school, and many other challenges that come along the way. As I try to keep this as non-spoilery as possible, I appreciate the fact that Hoover kept this as PG 13 as possible, which I’m assuming relates to the sensitive issue of a possible romance between a teacher and a student. Lake is 18, so she is an adult, but the fine print that keeps them apart is that she is still a student… at least for the next year.

My only “ehhh” feelings about Slammed is that the secondary characters didn’t come to life for me except for Eddie. She was amazing and her story is one I hope Hoover expands on one day. And as a last note, I want to talk about the poems within the story. They are profound and moving. I only WISH I could write poetry like Hoover. It even makes me want to go to a poetry slam session. As a writer, I am very jealous of Hoover’s ability, but I do tip my hat to her. Talent like that needs to be recognized.

Slammed is Hoover’s metaphorical mic drop in the publishing world and one can only keep expecting great stories from her.

Rating: 5/5

Check out Colleen Hoover’s other books here:

My Reviews:

Maybe Someday, Maybe Someday (Re-read review), Hopeless, Losing Hope, Finding Cinderella, Confess, Ugly Love

Liz’s Review:

Hopeless, November 9

ARC Review: How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

How to Make a Wish

GoodReads Summary:

All seventeen year-old Grace Glasser wants is her own life. A normal life in which she sleeps in the same bed for longer than three months and doesn’t have to scrounge for spare change to make sure the electric bill is paid. Emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother, Maggie, and the tiny cape on which she lives, she focuses on her best friend, her upcoming audition for a top music school in New York, and surviving Maggie’s latest boyfriend—who happens to be Grace’s own ex-boyfriend’s father.

Her attempts to lay low until she graduates are disrupted when she meets Eva, a girl with her own share of ghosts she’s trying to outrun. Grief-stricken and lonely, Eva pulls Grace into midnight adventures and feelings Grace never planned on. When Eva tells Grace she likes girls, both of their worlds open up. But, united by loss, Eva also shares a connection with Maggie. As Grace’s mother spirals downward, both girls must figure out how to love and how to move on.

My Review:

From the first moment that How to Make a Wish was announced I was incredibly excited to read it. I had read Suffer Love by Ashley Herring Blake and fell in love with her writing style and story telling. And while this review is coming out on the day How to Make a Wish is published, I read this novel over two months ago when I received the ARC.

How to Make a Wish grabbed me from the first sentence. A story of loss, love, acceptance, and future, Ashley weaves an intense tale of two teen girls finding each other at the right moment. Of complex stories that intertwine. Of having to handle that moment of “coming-out” to her family and friends.

I like both character’s right away and their “meet cute” was the perfect way to start their relationship.

With Grace launched into the adult world too soon, having to take care of a mother who is unpredictable, she is resentful that she doesn’t get a normal childhood. She is also looking toward her future, thinking about college, worried about her mother, worried about her best friend, feeling helpless. She is a very well-rounded character.

Eva on the other side is suffering the death of her mother and mentor. Forced to move to a town and in with a family she doesn’t know. Finding connection with Grace’s erratic mother.

On a deep scale, this book is about relationships; coming to terms with who an individual is, who a person wants to be, acceptance, love, friendship.

My Rating: 5 out of 5

I’d like to thank Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group for providing me with an ARC of this novel. Receiving this novel for free does not sway my review. Blog Signature

Book Review: Come Back To Me by Mila Grey

Goodreads Summary:

Home on leave in sunny California, Marine and local lothario Kit Ryan finds himself dangerously drawn to his best friend’s sister, Jessa – the one girl he can’t have.

But Kit’s not about to let a few obstacles stand in his way and soon Jessa’s falling for his irresistible charms.

What starts out as a summer romance of secret hook-ups and magical first times quickly develops into a passionate love affair that turns both their worlds upside down.

When summer’s over and it’s time for Kit to redeploy, neither Kit nor Jessa are ready to say goodbye. Jessa’s finally following her dreams and Kit’s discovered there’s someone he’d sacrifice everything for.

Jessa’s prepared to wait for Kit no matter what. But when something more than distance and time rips them apart they’re forced to decide whether what they have is really worth fighting for.

A breathtaking, scorchingly hot story about love, friendship, family and finding your way back from the edge of heartbreak.

Review:

Holy freaking crap. That ending. That entire book. Even today that I am writing this the day after, my feels still cannot be contained. I was so wound up last night, I ended up cleaning my entire house.

Jessa and Kit. Jessa… and… Kit. I can’t with them right now. I think we need a gif to explain my feelings.

From the beginning of the book where we are foreshadowed a character’s possible death (This is not spoilery because we are literally foreshadowed that in the first three pages. I. AM. NOT. JOKING.) to the amount of feels and sexual tension between Kit and Jessa at her birthday party you’re in for one hell of a ride.

I really liked how real the book was. As a reader you are able to relate to the characters even though A. You’re not a marine like Kit & B. you’re not even close to being Jessa. Let me give you an example about what I mean.

I can’t count the times I’ve thought about telling Jessa how I feel, but to be honest I’ve never been sure if she’s interested. And admitting something like that to someone is purely a one-time deal. If it’s not reciprocated then not only do you look like a prize fool, but you also lose a friendship. I don’t care so much about the fool part because she probably already figures me one, but I do care about losing Jessa as a friend.

-Kit, Page 19

No one can tell me that they have not been right there in that type of situation at least once in their life. My feels were dying then and it was only the beginning of the book. I had to read the entire book in chunks at a time or I would have been a pool of feels on my apartment floor for at least a week.

I don’t want to give away much of the book, but I do want to say that you need to read it. I had rated it 4 out of 5 stars on goodreads because the Epilogue did not give me what I wanted… but looking back now it really deserves a 5. It’s been a week by now and I’m still not over it. Now that is some impactful writing.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Book Review: The Book of Crows by Sam Meekings

 

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of the review, first I want to talk about the unique way I read this book. I read The Book of Crows on The Pigeonhole. They are a website where you buy a book and read it collectively with other people. You say isn’t that a book club and can’t we do that right now? What guarantees me someone won’t read ahead? Well… the thing about The Pigeonhole is that they release staves approximately each night, so everyone is at the same spot in the book as everyone else. This gives you the opportunity to read the book and discuss it in real time. I thought it was pretty neat and if it weren’t for this format, I most likely would have never read a book like The Book of Crows. 

Summary:

A young girl is kidnapped and taken through the desert to an isolated mountain brothel. Two thousand years later, after a suspicious landslide near Lanzhou, a low-level bureaucrat searches for a missing colleague. A thirteenth-century Franciscan monk, traversing the Silk Road, begins his extraordinary deathbed confession, while five hundred years earlier, a grieving Chinese poet is summoned to the Emperor’s palace.

In a series of delicately interlaced stories, Sam Meekings’ richly poetic and gripping second novel follows the journeys of characters whose lives, separated by millennia, are all in some way touched by the mysterious Book of Crows, a mythical book in which the entire history of the world – past, present and future – is written down.

Review:

Holy Crap. That ending. I didn’t see it coming at all. But… Alright, let’s rewind…

At the beginning of the story we learn about a woman who is now in a whorehouse, and a man on a journey to find his friend. It starts off slow, but picks up quickly and you start piecing the story together. As you continue to read, more characters are brought to light and you start seeing how each character is connected to The Book of Crows. Many want to find it, while others want to destroy it. There is great mystery surrounding the book that has been revered and searched for centuries.

Each character’s story you are introduced to throughout the book is in a different time era. I really enjoyed this because the reader is able to see how much intrigue and chaos the book has caused. It’s legacy has lived through many generations.

Overall, I really like the concept, how the story was set up, and how each key part of the story was revealed. I believe that reading it in staves how The Pigeonhole set it up made my reading experience better because you had to hold on and ponder on what you read, adding to the mystery of it all.

I feel like the average YA reader might not like The Book of Crows, but if you are a history lover and/or mystery in itself, you might enjoy it.

 

Rating:  4/5

Disclaimer: I’d like to thank The Pigeonhole for providing me with a copy of The Book of Crows. Receiving this book for free does not influence my opinion in any way.

Book Review: The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L Armentrout

The Problem with Forever

Goodreads Summary:

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 the lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory faces 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.

My Review:

Something I have always loved about Jennifer L. Armentrout is her ability to take mental illness and weave them realistically into lives of her characters. Having seen her a few times in person, she is incredibly passionate about mental illness and being true to them when writing stories. She has previously written two other stories about mental illness, both of which I loved- Scorched and Frigid.

The Problem with Forever is about a Malory who grew up in the foster care system with abusive foster parents. She shared that home with a boy- Rider- whom was like a protector. Eventually Mallory is adopted by a new family, but she still has to deal with the after affects of the abuse and foster care system.

Mallory and Rider are both complex characters, each with their own coping mechanisms. The importance of this story is the acknowledgement  of these complexities and how their family and friends supported them, but also how they supported each other. This novel also sheds light on old “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” idea. All people come from different backgrounds, and, especially given today’s issues, it’s important to not judge before knowing someone.

Rating: 4 out of 5Blog Signature

 

Book Review: The Ending I Want by Samantha Towle

 

The Ending I Want

Goodreads Summary:

From the New York Times Bestselling author of The Mighty Storm, comes a heartfelt new standalone novel…

Taylor Shaw had the perfect life—until she was sixteen. That was when everything changed. From that moment on, life went from bad to worse…to the worst.
After recovering from a brain tumor, months later, she suffers the tragic loss of her whole family.
Since that fateful day, she’s been coasting through life.

Now, the brain tumor has returned, and Taylor decides she’s had enough. She’s going to take her fate into her own hands.
No more hospitals. No more surgeries. No more anything.
She’s going to join her family.
It’s her decision.
What she longs for.
The ending she wants.

She just has a list of things to do before she goes.
First, go to England.
Second, kiss a stranger…

Only, Taylor didn’t expect Liam Hunter, the stranger—with his handsome face, his six-foot-three of gorgeousness, and his oh-so-hot English accent—to change things.
To change her.
To change the ending she wanted.

What is a girl, who is standing on the edge of nothing, to do when offered the chance of everything?

My Review:

As I’m sure you’ve seen through my other review, I generally love everything I read. Even the other book by Samantha Towle I absolutely adored (and then convinced Veronica to read it). However, this books was extremely problematic for me. I think it had more to do with the fact that, while contemporary isn’t my favorite genre, it felt unrealistic.

I had a difficult time with the two main characters, Taylor and Liam. To me their relationship doesn’t make sense. I get wanting to do things for yourself and on your terms. I get that potentially meeting someone can change your plans. But the way Liam and Taylor met, their adventures, it all felt fake. And maybe I am being a skeptic here. I know I’ve read other novels where events and meet cute was just as exaggerated. Sometimes it works really well, other times it doesn’t.

In the end, this felt like a mix between Me Before You and 50 Shades of Grey.

Rating: 2 out of 5Blog Signature

 

 

Book Review: Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas

Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass, #5)

Goodreads Summary:

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those don’t.

As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Aelin’s journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?

My Review:

This series continues to get better and better. Mass’ writing has evolved over time and Empire of Storms is at the top.

As the second to last novel (that we know about because last year we received exciting news about novellas), Empire of Storms picks up right where Queen of Shadows finished. Between the first and the fourth book, Celaena Sardothian has evolved into her true self, Aelin Galathynius. She has used everything she went through to become the true Queen of Terrasen. And in EOS, Aelin must now gather her army and prove she is more than her enemy.

Old friends come back and new faces appear. EoS is a continuous adventure, switching perspectives of several different characters. We learn new back stories. Discover devious plots. Hearts change. Maas weaves secret after secret through the pages and when events happen, it usually blew my mind. And the end completely threw me for a loop. I didn’t see any of it coming.

I would put Sarah J Maas in the same story telling category as JK Rowling and JRR Tolkien. She is a story teller, a world builder.

Rating: 5 out 5Blog Signature