Book Review: Us by Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen

New Adult, Romance

Pages: 

328 pages

Part of a Series?:

Him #2

Release Date: 

March 8th, 2016

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

iBooks

Elle’s Website / Sarina’s Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Five months in, NHL forward Ryan Wesley is having a record-breaking rookie season. He’s living his dream of playing pro hockey and coming home every night to the man he loves—Jamie Canning, his longtime best friend turned boyfriend. There’s just one problem: the most important relationship of his life is one he needs to keep hidden, or else face a media storm that will eclipse his success on the ice.

Jamie loves Wes. He really, truly does. But hiding sucks. It’s not the life Jamie envisioned for himself, and the strain of keeping their secret is taking its toll. It doesn’t help that his new job isn’t going as smoothly as he’d hoped, but he knows he can power through it as long as he has Wes. At least apartment 10B is their retreat, where they can always be themselves.

Or can they?

When Wes’s nosiest teammate moves in upstairs, the threads of their carefully woven lie begin to unravel. With the outside world determined to take its best shot at them, can Wes and Jamie develop major-league relationship skills on the fly?

My Review:

I loved this book. I love both Elle and Sarina and I think they both have such a way with romance, especially when it has a hockey element in it, and I loved loved loved this sequel to their first novel, Him.

I just gotta say…the biggest reason why I loved this book so much is because of the realism of it. And there are two parts to that. One…I love that Jamie and Wes don’t just live happily ever after after book one. Relationships are hard work. They aren’t all sunshine and rainbows as much as we wish they were. Some books and movies just paint relationships as so perfect. We never really get to see what happens AFTER the kiss, you know what I mean? The fact that there are struggles in this relationship, and there are ups and downs, and they have to fight for each other, even when they sometimes don’t feel like it, just made the book feel so much more real to me.

And the second part of that is…I’ve only had experience with heterosexual relationships. And I connected with this so much. Which just shows again and again and again how much you can connect with love and friendship and affection and compassion and all of that, whether its a heterosexual and homosexual relationship. I loved every minute of that.

Plus I just adore Jamie and Wes so much. Everything about them is so genuine, so real, and I wish I knew them in real life because I would so want to be friends with them. Except I wouldn’t interrupt them so often like the others… ;)

Also, I just don’t think anyone is as capable as causing my cheeks to go as red during steamy scenes the way these two do! I know that I definitely use them as inspiration when I write my own NA. Those scenes are just so good, and I read a good chunk of this book in public, which was even better, because no one knew what was going on with my red cheeks haha.

Rating: 

4 out of 5 stars

Book Review: Rule by Jay Crownover

Opposites in every way . . . except the one that matters

Shaw Landon loved Rule Archer from the moment she laid eyes on him. Rule is everything a straight-A pre-med student like Shaw shouldn’t want—and the only person she’s never tried to please. She isn’t afraid of his scary piercings and tattoos or his wild attitude. Though she knows that Rule is wrong for her, her heart just won’t listen.

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Book Review: Wait for You by J. Lynn

Traveling thousands of miles from home to enter college is the only way nineteen-year-old Avery Morgansten can escape what happened at the Halloween party five years ago–an event that forever changed her life. All she needs to do is make it to her classes on time, make sure the bracelet on her left wrist stays in place, not draw any attention to herself, and maybe–please God–make a few friends, because surely that would be a nice change of pace. The one thing she didn’t need and never planned on was capturing the attention of the one guy who could shatter the precarious future she’s building for herself.

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Book Review: Unchanged by Jessica Brody

9791910Genre: 

Young Adult, viagra approved Contemporary, Romance

Pages: 

432

Part of a Series?:

The finale in the Unremembered Trilogy

Release Date: 

February 24th, 2015

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

In this mesmerizing conclusion to the Unremembered trilogy, Sera will fight those who have broken her.

After returning to the Diotech compound and receiving a successful memory transplant, Seraphina is now living a happy life with another synthetically engineered human like herself, with whom she is deeply in love. She has no recollection of Zen. But the nagging feeling that something is missing from her life continues to plague her. Diotech’s newest product is about to be revealed—a line of genetic modifications that will allow people to live longer, fight disease, and change any unfavorable physical attribute they desire.

As more secrets are revealed, more enemies are uncovered, and the reality of a Diotech-controlled world grows closer every day, Sera and Zen must find a way to destroy the company that created her, or they’ll be separated forever.

My Review:

While this review will not contain spoilers for Unchanged, there will be spoilers for Unremembered and Unforgotten. Please click those titles to read those reviews. 

It took me awhile to review this book only because it took so long for me to recover from this series. I’ve been enjoying it from the very beginning and I’ve enjoyed becoming friends with Jessica, because this is just such a great series and who wouldn’t be stoked to be friends with a cool author? PLUS this series has been inspirational in my own science fiction writing.

Moving on.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to buy this book because I’m kind of broke right now and I can’t afford books right now (I know, it sucks). Luckily, on release day, I got a gift card to Barnes and Noble for my birthday and I knew exactly what I wanted to buy. I bought it, came home and proceeded to read it in about 3 hours.

Zen – I loved the person he’s become. He’s still Zen. He’s still the boy that we’ve fallen in love with from the first two books. But he’s changed a lot, and we see a different side of him because the Sera we get to know in this book is not the Sera of the first two books. She is massively confused by Zen. She’s told to hate him, that he manipulated her, all those sorts of things but she remembers him and their moments and its incredibly confusing for her. And Zen has hardened, and he’s focused and its more than just his love for Sera at this moment. I really like what he’s become in this book.

Sera – When we meet up with Sera again in the novel, she’s been wiped again, so she’s massively in love with Kaelen and completely on the side of Diotech. And you’d think you would be frustrated with her, and that you would just be counting down the minutes until she wasn’t like that anymore. But the more you read it, the depth that you have in her mind, the way they’ve changed her since she left Zen, even her interactions with Zen and Kaelen…I get it. I get it from the beginning to end. Sera is a complicated character. I can’t go more into that without spoilers but she’s complicated. She loves Zen and Kaelen but there’s so much more to that…

Which leaves me to the OMG moment that Jessica does in the book. I honestly didn’t know how this was going to end, or what Sera was going to uncover or anything but when you hit that a-ha moment and everything comes to light, I was just floored. I didn’t see that coming. It made so much sense but it just BLEW my mind. Especially with the end. Its not the end I expected. It certainly wasn’t the end that I was hoping for, or that I think a lot of readers would hope for. But its also the exact ending that makes sense and is so perfect. I had to reread the last twenty pages because it was a whirlwind but I loved every single bit of it. It was so unexpected but I just loved it. I loved that I was able to be SO surprised at the end.

In the past year or so, I’ve read a LOT of series enders. A lot of series have ended, and some of them have ended really well and some have been really disappointing. Reading this book made me incredibly happy. Not only did it wrap up everything that we had been reading in the first two books, but it presented new problems and new information, but it tied it all together in one incredible end. Jessica’s world building is on point, her writing is beautiful and addicting and her story is one that I won’t forget any time soon. Its unique and engaging and absolutely beautiful and it left me breathless and unable to do anything else but sit and my head and just go, “WHOA!” at the end.

Keep writing Jessica, and I’ll keep reading :)

Rating: 

5 out of 5 Stars

Book Review: Kissing Ted Callahan (And Other Guys) ARC by Amy Spalding

18333999This review is based on an advanced reader’s copy of the novel obtained through Edelweiss at the permission of Poppy. This is in no way had an effect on the integrity of my review. Please note that published novel will differ from this ARC.

Genre: 

Young Adult, viagra 60mg Contemporary, Romance

Pages: 

320

Part of a Series?:

Standalone Novel

Release Date: 

April 14th, 2015

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist meets Easy A in this hilariously realistic story of sneaking out, making out, and playing in a band.

After catching their bandmates in a compromising position, sixteen-year-old Los Angelenos Riley and Reid become painfully aware of the romance missing from their own lives. And so a pact is formed: they’ll both try to make something happen with their respective crushes and document the experiences in a shared notebook.

While Reid struggles with the moral dilemma of adopting a dog to win over someone’s heart, Riley tries to make progress with Ted Callahan, who she’s been obsessed with forever-His floppy hair! His undeniable intelligence! But suddenly cute guys are popping up everywhere. How did she never notice them before?! With their love lives going from 0 to 60 in the blink of an eye, Riley and Reid realize the results of their pact may be more than they bargained for.

My Review:

Its going to sound pretty silly but when I read this book, and finished it, I stopped and thought, its like Amy knows me or something.

Riley and her friend Reid make a pact to expand their love lives after catching their friends together, and realizing how alone both of them are. So they decide to do something about it. While Reid focuses on one girl, Riley kind of spreads herself around. She has a massive crush on Ted Callahan but she can barely speak in front of him and she doesn’t really know if she likes him. So she meets other guys, who are interested and that feels nice so she goes for it. And its so me, I can’t handle it. Because its always a mess! Its like, she’s unsure if Ted likes her, so she doesn’t want to put all of her eggs in one basket, so to speak, and miss out on other guys that might like her, so she kisses and dates other boys, but really, its just a mess.

And that’s what makes this book SO good. Amy has a way of capturing characters in such a REAL way, even in the ways that can make us kind of silly, immature and even just plain stupid. Riley makes a TON of mistakes in this book: pushing away her best friend, not being honest with the boys she dates, writing down all the details of said love life, etc, and it all sort of blows up in her face, and as weird as it sounds, its kind of fun to watch. Its real and familiar and its nice to see that you’re not the only one that does stupid things like that.

But what I really like is the relationship that builds between Ted and Riley. It has bumps (mountains?) and its so uncertain and scary for both Riley and the reader but that is what makes it so real. They don’t automatically fall in love and have this tragic beautiful romance. There are awkward moments and they both make mistakes and have insecurities and it takes a bit for them to get on the same page and come together, and I think that happens a lot in real life and that’s what makes it such a great story.

Plus Riley is a drummer and is massively obsessed with music and I think that’s totally cool. It really makes her such a fun character to read, besides just the stuff that she goes through. I love characters that have passions and that sort of thing. Makes them more real, makes them fun and memorable.

Also, I love that it takes place in Southern California, around things that are super familiar. I loved the different venues and places they went because I know them and now they feel a little different, in a good way, because I know the things that Riley and the rest experienced while at these places and that’s really awesome.

Rating: 

Book Review: Emily and Oliver (ARC) by Robin Benway

13132816This review is based on an advanced reader’s copy of the novel obtained through snail mail at the permission of HarperTeen. This is in no way had an effect on the integrity of my review. Please note that published novel will differ from this ARC.

Genre: 

Young Adult, viagra Contemporary

Pages: 

352

Part of a Series?:

Standalone Novel

Release Date: 

June 23rd, order 2015

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Emmy’s best friend, pill Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

My Review:

Dear Robin Benway, WHAT DID YOU WRITE HERE?

Okay, so I’ve read Robin Benway’s books before. I loved her books before. She is a friend of mine and she’s awesome. She’s a fantastic writer, a great inspiration and I just adore her. Getting an ARC of Emmy and Oliver made me incredibly excited and I’m even more happy that I got it now that I’ve read it.

Emmy and Oliver is an INCREDIBLE story. Its one of those stories that seems so out there, so incredibly unbelievable, but its TOTALLY believable because things like this happen. Oliver is kidnapped by his father as a child and reappears years later, as a teenager. Its difficult for him, because he was told a different story, raised a different way and then uprooted and returned to the family that he hasn’t seen in years, a family he probably doesn’t really feel like he has a bond with. It brings to mind all these girls that have suddenly been found after decades of being missing. What an incredibly traumatic experience to be kidnapped, but also traumatic to come home as well. This is what Oliver goes through and its hard to imagine.

That’s when you enter Emmy, who fell in love with Oliver as a child and has always wondered where he is, and how he is, especially since his kidnapping had such a profound effect on her parents and her own limitations in her life because of it. So when Oliver returns, that’s an experience for herself. She has no idea how to handle it. She wants to pick up where they left off as kids but she also feels like he’s a stranger, like he’s delicate and she doesn’t quite know how to interact with him.

When you put it all together, its an incredibly emotional and HUMAN story. Both Emmy and Oliver together, watching them figure out their lives and each other, and the people around them is incredibly engaging, familiar and addictive. Even if you can’t relate, you want to. You want to feel close to them and Robin does such a great job at writing these characters that they feel so real. Their stories are real and the romance that builds between them is just awesome. It has ups and downs, and it not easy because of Oliver’s past, and its beautiful to see them try and work.

This book doesn’t release until summer, but its definitely one that must be on your TBR. I adore Robin, she’s a great friend and she has written a total winner. A year ago, she talked briefly about her book and Oliver and how she wished she could talk to him, and show him a little love because of the things she put him through, and now I totally understand. I’m very excited for the official release of this book and you definitely should be too!

Rating: 

4.5 out of 5 Stars

Book Review: Salt and Stone (ARC) by Victoria Scott

20657437

This review is based on an advanced reader’s copy of the novel obtained through snail mail at the permission of Scholastic Press. This is in no way had an effect on the integrity of my review. Please note that published novel will differ from this ARC.

Genre: 

Young Adult, buy information pills  Dystopian/Science Fiction

Pages: 

320

Part of a Series?:

2nd Novel of the Fire and Flood Series

Release Date: 

February 24th, more about 2015

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author’s Website

GoodReads Summary: 

In Fire & Flood, this site Tella Holloway faced a dangerous trek through the jungle and across the desert, all to remain a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed for a chance at obtaining the Cure for her brother. She can’t quit–she has to win the race, save Cody, and then fight to make sure the race stops before it can claim any more lives. In the next legs of the race, across the ocean and over mountains, Tella will face frostbite, sharks, avalanche, and twisted new rules in the race.

But what if the danger is deeper than that? How do you know who to trust when everyone’s keeping secrets? What do you do when the person you’d relied on most suddenly isn’t there for support? How do you weigh one life against another?

The race is coming to an end, and Tella is running out of time, resources, and strength. At the start of the race there were one hundred twenty-two Contenders. As Tella and her remaining friends start the final part of the race, just forty-one are left–and only one can win.

My Review:

Please be advised that while there will be no spoilers for Salt and Stone, there will be spoilers for Fire and Flood. You can read my review for that book here

When I first read Fire and Flood, I was blown away by it. I had heard some comparisons to other books, in particular, The Hunger Games. And while I can see those comparisons, Victoria’s story and characters stand on their own and I became a staunch supporter of her right away. I’m proud to say I’m part of the V Mafia and I’m eagerly counting down the days (not many of them left) until this book releases and all of you can enjoy it. Fire and Flood was absolutely fantastic and I wasn’t quite sure where the rest of the story was going to take us so when I managed to get my hands on Salt and Stone, I was ready for an adventure of a novel and I was granted just exactly that.

What really gets me about this book, besides the fact that it COMPLETELY TORE OUT MY HEART AND MADE ME SOB INTO MY PILLOW (ahem, ahem), is that she’s not afraid to take it just one more step further, one more step further, one step further. Its incredible. The basis of this series is this: how far are you willing to go in order to save someone you love? How far are you willing to take it? Are you willing to kill? Are you willing to let others be killed? Are you willing to maybe die yourself? Its incredible. Every single person taking part in this…”game” of sorts has volunteered. They weren’t forced. Every action taken, its a choice they made, and its crazy. Some of those choices didn’t feel like choices because they want this cure and they want to win the game and they want all of that, and it feels like they have no choice, and this is getting a little tangent-y but it all boils down to…every single person in this game makes the choices they feel necessary to get them where they need to go.

Which is why this book is so good. Fire and Flood was brutal but when compared to this novel, its child’s play. Tella and the rest of her gang are faced with worse obstacles than they were before, including each other. They are pit against each other over and over again, struggling with the feelings that they have each other, whether its friendship or just plain straight out love, which is something that’s hard to feel when you’re all battling for the same thing, something that you can’t all win. But its also the struggle for Tella and Guy at the same time. Victoria creates such real characters and even when they’re in this completely incredible world…they still feel real to us. You don’t know if you would do any different if it was yours.

The best part of this book is the end. I can’t go into too much detail because spoilers and all that. But she pushes it to the limit at the end, that last sort of thing she makes the contestants go through just…oh my god, it kills me. It breaks my heart. I literally was clutching the pages, wanting to scream at her, how could you do this? It was really pushing the limits. She really takes it to the very tip…really, how much are you really willing to sacrifice in order to get what you want? Its incredible. And the ending just makes me want the next book. The book is brutal and harsh and incredible but I just love it. And I can’t wait for more.

 

Rating: