Monday, December 19, 2016

I See You

Author: Molly McAdams
Release Date: November 1, 2016
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Pages: 352
Genre: New Adult, Romance

Summary

Futures are uncertain, unpredictable--like ink spilled across the purest surface. Nearly imperceptible ripples flow until a unique stain is formed. The ink is permanently embedded on the surface...

During one wild night in college, Jentry Michaels is a tidal wave of ink that brands Aurora Wilde's soul. An unparalleled stain she can't forget despite the many months that have passed--and despite the distraction she'd hoped she would find in her new relationship with Declan, the charmer who captured her heart soon after. Jentry has irrevocably touched her soul, and he is intertwined in her present and future in ways she never fathomed. Now Aurora is faced with keeping that night hidden though it feels as if the ink has indelibly etched their story across her skin.

When Declan is confronted with his own personal demons, Aurora must decide if she will continue to hold tight to their relationship and safe, reliable future with him, or if she will turn to Jentry--the guy she can't forget no matter how hard she tries...--Goodreads

The Rundown  

I really enjoy giving myself over to a good love story. I think those of us who are romantics at heart really swoon at the idea of finding that one person that your heart and soul will never be able to let go of, no matter where life take you. 

That's exactly what happened with Aurora and Jentry. I don't think the Goodreads blurb above really does this story justice. It makes Aurora sound like a wishy washy girl who falls for anyone, but that couldn't be more far from the truth. After her night with Jentry, even when he said that that was all he could promise, she couldn't ignore the pull she felt and went back to where she met him hoping for a chance to see him again. She didn't find him, but she did find Declan, a sweetheart who she gradually fell for. 

Fast forward to a year later when Jentry and Aurora are placed back in front of each other with their lives intersecting in ways that neither one ever imagined. They can't fight the way they're drawn to each other, even though choosing to be together could hurt everyone they both care for and love. 

This had just the right amount of drama, twists, and romance to make it a quick, fun read. Complaints: Jentry being all "Yes I want you" in one breath, then pushing Aurora away for like eighty percent of the story. Also the timeline of the story, which alternated between the night Aurora and Jentry met, two months ago, one month ago, and the present day from chapter to chapter was a little annoying as there were many times I'd be flipping back through the story to make sense of it all, pulling me out of the moment. 

If you're looking for a decent NA romance to curl up with for a light, easy read, this is a solid choice!

Rating: 3.5/5 stars. A fun, no mess no fuss read! 

Friday, December 16, 2016

Top Five Favorite YA Books of 2016

via GIPHY

2016 was an amazing year in YA. Historical fiction and quirky contemporary romances galore! Here are my top five favorite teen reads of the year! What were your favorites? Comment below!


1) Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

I talked about this book to anyone who would listen to me. Seriously. My teens. My coworkers. My high school English teacher. Everyone heard me gab about this book. Why? First off, when it comes to historical fiction, you had me at World War Two. This story was everything. Beautiful, tragic, poetic, hopeful, dark...I just couldn't even when I finished. I wept at the end. Even if historical fiction isn't your thing give this one a go anyway. This is a story for all readers and one that will stay with you long after you put it down. 

Click here for my review!

2) Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick

When I read this one back in the spring I remember finishing and going, "Wow. This was exactly what I needed right now." Beautiful literature here guys, and if you're a note taker while reading, be prepared to fill your journal with thought provoking quotes. I could go on and on, but check out my review here and pick this one up today!


3) Front Lines by Michael Grant (Soldier Girl #1)

If you've followed my blog this year, you've caught on that I have a thing for World War Two books. Blame my fourth grade teacher for handing me a copy of Number the Stars by Lois Lowry twenty years ago. This is WWII with a twist: women are eligible for the draft and able to fight and hold positions equally alongside men. I didn't feel that it took away from the history or that it gave the novel a fantasy vibe. This is a WWII book: gritty, real, and honest from boot camp to the deserts of North Africa. Pick this one up soon so you're ready for the sequel, Silver Stars, on January 31, 2017!

Click here to read my review!


4) The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Jennifer L. Armentrout. J.Lynn. Whatever she writes, I read. Period. I had such major book hangover with this one because it was just so good. Don't write this off as another teen romance. Armentrout explores the lasting scars of child abuse and flaws in our foster care system. Mallory has a quiet and sure strength that makes you cheer for her throughout the book, while Rider is a swoon worthy artist that wrestles with rising above what the world has dealt him. A must read for contemporary fans! 

Click here for my review!


5) The Romantics by Leah Konen

Every other book on my list this year had pretty serious themes going on, but are you just looking for a good warm hug of a book? This is the story for you! I laughed and laughed and laughed and loved every minute of this. Seriously if you're a fan of a quality rom com, you won't regret grabbing this one today! I had a blast reading this!

Click here for my review!





Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Wrong For Me (Motor City Royals #2)

Author: Jackie Ashenden
Release Date: November 29, 2016
Publisher: Kensington
Pages: 300
Genre: Contemporary Romance

*I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. All opinions are my own. Thanks NetGalley!*

Summary

After eight years in prison, Levi Rush is finally out and back on the gritty streets of Detroit to claim the future he was owed. A future that includes the one woman he's wanted for years--his former best friend Rachel. She's the reason that he went inside and if getting her to do what he wants means buying the building houses her tattoo studio and using it as leverage, then that's what he'll do. Because if there's one thing he learned inside it's that if you want to win, you have to play dirty. 

Rachel Hamilton is a tattoo artist and one hell of a tough girl. Detroit is her home, and she's determined to make it a better place. But her plans are threatened when her old friend Levi returns and gives her an ultimatum: she gives herself to him body and soul, or else she and her business are out on the street. Levi's got no room in his heart for anything but anger and the lust he's been carrying around for so long. But the only thing stronger than the secrets of their shared past is their fiery attraction to each other...--Goodreads

The Rundown

Hmmm...

I requested an ARC of this before I realized that it was the second in a series, but it really didn't take away much or make me feel like I was missing out on anything crucial. 

I realize that you have to give yourself over to a little bit of fantasy with a book like this, but really? A guy she hasn't seen for nearly a decade buys the building where her tattoo studio is, then demands that she move in with him and have sex with him because he's angry with her? 

That's it. That's the whole book. I may have been able to roll with it a little more if either character had been even remotely deep or fascinating, but Rachel and Levi both felt flat to me, and none of the supporting character struck me enough to make me want to read the first or last book in the series. Even what I call the "steam factor" didn't do much to raise my impressions of this book because the arrangement Levi started with Rachel was less passionate and more like a revenge fueled business transaction.

Honestly, the most intriguing part of the story was how gentrification in poorer neighborhoods in large cities is viewed by both locals and investors. I actually found myself doing a little research on the pros and cons of gentrification after I finished this book out of curiosity, so I will thank the author for that.

If you're looking for a steamy, swoon worthy New Adult series to dive into with awesome characters and killer plot lines, start with Jay Crownover's Marked Men series and skip this one altogether. 

Rating: 2/5 Stars. Dull and silly. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Lovely Reckless

Author: Kami Garcia
Release Date: October 4, 2016
Publisher: Imprint
Pages: 384
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance

Summary

Seventeen-year-old Frankie Devereaux would do anything to forget the past. Haunted by the memory of her boyfriend's death, she lives her life by one dangerous rule: Nothing matters. At least, that's what Frankie tells herself after a reckless mistake forces her to leave her privileged life in the Heights to move in with her dad--an undercover cop. She transfers to a public high school in the Downs, where fistfights don't faze anyone and illegal street racing is more popular than football. 

Marco Leone is the fastest street racer in the Downs. Tough, sexy, and hypnotic, he makes it impossible for Frankie to ignore him--and how he makes her feel. But the risks Marco takes for his family could have devastating consequences on them both. When Frankie discovers his secret, she has to make a choice. Will she let the pain of the past determine her future? Or will she risk what little she has left to follow her heart? --Goodreads

The Rundown

I've been reading a ton of New Adult lately and I had to remind myself to shift gears to give this book a fair shake. Things are just a lot more...there are just so many intense feelings when you're a teenager. 

First off, props to Frankie's character that this wasn't another #richwhitegirlwithfirstworldproblems book. She recognizes the advantages she's had by living a privileged life, but recognizes the ugly side of it too. The detachment, the extravagance...it's all too much, especially when she makes friends with kids at her new high school who struggle to help their family make rent or buy groceries. 

I struggled with Marco and Frankie's romance for most of the book. Like I said, I had to remind myself a lot about how big feelings feel when you're seventeen. I'm a romantic and love at first sight is always a sigh worthy thing, but at times this seemed like a bit much. Once I gave myself over the story and stopped shaking my head going "Oh kids really?" I was able to get more into it. 

Between Marco and Frankie's hot and heavy romance, the street racing, the inside look at auto theft rings and the lawmen trying to catch them, and the "parent's just don't understand" vibe, I could totally see this going to the big screen and being a huge PG-13 hit. I promise I'm not making fun at all, quite the opposite. While I didn't think this book was profoundly deep or anything, it was a ton of fun. And who doesn't enjoy a good, fun ride of a book once in a while?

Rating: 3/5 stars. Not earth shattering, but entertaining nonetheless!     

Monday, December 5, 2016

How To Not Let Go

Author: Emily Foster
Release Date: December 27, 2016
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
Pages: 320
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Erotica

*I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. All opinions are my own. Thanks NetGalley!*

Summary

Once upon a time, med student Annie Coffey set out to have a purely physical fling with Charles Douglas, a gorgeous British doctor in her lab. It didn't quite work out that way. Instead, secrets and desires were bared, hearts were broken, and Annie knew she had to leave this complicated, compelling man who remains convinced he can never give her what she needs. Walking away is one thing. Staying away is another. Annie and Charles reunite a London conference, rekindling a friendship they struggle to protect from their intense physical connection. Little by little Annie gets a glimpse into Charles's dark past and his wealthy, dysfunctional family. Soon, she's discovering what it means to have someone claim her, body and soul. And she's learning that once in a lifetime you find love that can make you do anything except let go. -Goodreads

The Rundown 

This book is actually a continuation of How to Not Fall, a book I reviewed in June 2016. (For the link, click here.) Let me tell you, I about fell out of my seat when I saw that NetGalley had approved for me to read an ARC of this because Charles and Annie's story could not simply end where it did in that book. 

If I had to do a one sentence book talk to a library patron, I'd say, "This is erotica and romance for geniuses." You guys, Charles and Annie are so smart. I mean, I think I'm smart, but then I read this book and the dialogue between these two is like whoa. They're doctors. Well Charles is and Annie is in med school and keynotes at international medical conferences. No big deal. It doesn't distract from the romance at all, but it really adds such an admirable depth to both characters that I rarely see in NA/erotica.

The one thing that I just couldn't get into with this book was the rock climbing scenes and jargon. Charles introduced Annie to rock climbing in the first book, a pastime they both still enjoy together as they're trying to figure out how they feel and fit into each other's lives right now. And that's fine and dandy, but I'll admit that I got to the point where I skipped/skimmed those scenes. It was just too much.

For those of you who were a fan of the first book and want to see Annie and Charles Part Two, add this to your reading list! The journey the two take to get to their happy ending is absolutely beautiful. If this review has piqued your interests, read How to Not Fall before reading How to Not Let Go, or nothing will make sense! 

Bonus: If you journal while you read like I do, there are so many great quotes in this book!

Rating: 4/5 Stars.  


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Charged (Saints of Denver #2)

Author: Jay Crownover
Release Date: May 24, 2016
Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 361
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary

Summary

Avett Walker and Quaid Jackson's worlds have no reason to collide. Ever. Quaid is a high powered criminal attorney as slick as he is handsome. Avett is a pink-haired trouble maker with a bad attitude and a history of picking the wrong men. 

When Avett lands in a sea of hot water because of one terrible mistake, the only person who can get her out of it is the insanely sexy lawyer. The last thing on earth she wants to do is rely on the no-nonsense attorney who thinks of her as nothing more than a nuisance. He literally has her fate in his hands. Yet there is something about him that makes her want to convince him to loosen his tie and have a little fun...with her. 

Quaid never takes on clients like the impulsive young woman with a Technicolor dye job. She could stand to learn a hard lesson or two, but something about her and her guileless hazel eyes intrigues him. Still, he's determined to keep their relationship strictly business. But doing so is becoming more impossible with each day he spends with her. 

As they work side-by-side, they'll have to figure out a way to get along and keep their hands off each other--because the chemistry between them is beyond charged. --Goodreads

The Rundown

I wish that I could put my finger on it as to why, but you know how just about every series has that one book that just took you forever to read? In Crownover's Marked Men series, that book was Rome. I think Charged may be my Rome of the Saints of Denver series. 

It's not that it was bad at all, in fact I absolutely loved Quaid and Avett, who we met near the end of the Marked Men series. There was just so much going on with a crazy action packed plot, as well as setting up the romantic interests of the main characters for the last two books in the series, that I savored this book. I probably only read a chapter or two a day for a month because I new I'd have book hangover when I got to the end and I was right. 

I'm such a Crownover groupie that I don't think she can do anything wrong with her words. Her stories and characters are just...ahhh!!! Tattoos, fast cars and bikes, and hot steamy scenes all over the place. Need I say more?

What I loved more than anything about Quaid and Avett's story was seeing a bad girl step up and be her own hero while saving a good guy from thinking he's not good enough. The boys can't always be the one's doing all saving. I mean, where's the fun in that? 

If you like New Adult romances and you're not reading any of Jay Crownover's series...I don't know what you're doing with your life. Seriously.

Rating: 4/5 Stars. Hot. Steamy. Sexy. Action packed. 



Monday, November 28, 2016

Worth Fighting For (Fighting To Be Free #2)

Author: Kirsty Moseley
Release Date: December 6, 2016
Publisher: Forever
Pages: 352
Genre: New Adult, Romance

*I received a copy of this book as a NetGalley ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. All opinions are my own. Thanks NetGalley!*

Summary

It's been years since Jamie Cole's seen Ellie Pearce. He's immersed himself in the life that he'd once fought to leave and taken over his old turf--creating dangerous rivals. He has nothing to lose--until Ellie comes back to town. 

Ellie has moved on. She met a man in London--a man she's marrying. She hardly allows herself to remember the boy who broke her heart at 18. But when tragedy strikes, Ellie's forced to return to New York. She thought she could handle seeing Jamie again, but she can't deny he's still a part of her. Now amidst threats from Jamie's enemies and fighting to keep her sister safe, Ellie must decide to return to her fiance or surrender to the fire that still burns with Jamie. --Goodreads

The Rundown

Gah! When I read Fighting To Be Free earlier this year, the ending had me slamming my hands down on my desk practically shouting "NOOOOOO!!! You can't leave them like this!!!" Thankfully, Kirsty Moseley must have heard my shouts because a sequel was quickly in the works and landing an ARC of this felt like an early Christmas present.

Moseley did not disappoint with this follow up, set three years after the ending of the first book. This story is packed with a ton of action, heartache, tension, and steamy romance to keep the pages turning. It was such a treat seeing Ellie grow into herself, heal, and repair what was an especially strained relationship with her mother in the first book while adding strength and depth to her relationship with her younger sister. And Jamie...wow. It was such a journey to see him live in near darkness when he felt he had nothing good to live for without a family, and without Ellie, to becoming the man he was well on his way to being for Ellie all of those years ago. 

Set against the backdrop of a seedier NYC, complete with the car thefts, drug deals, and gang turf wars that is Jamie's new world and shifting to the suburban manicured lawns of Ellie's old life will have reader's feeling like they're first row for a summer blockbuster action movie. Moseley threw out so many twists and curves (and a hot hot hot romance rekindled) that I finished this book in a few hours. 

My only critique, much like the first book, is at times the dialogue was heavy on the cheesy side. I get that it's an action filled new adult romance, but come on. If a boy tells me I'll "Be so happy that I'll crap rainbows" that would basically throw an automatic kill switch to whatever steamy scene was taking place. I'm also not one for pet names in real life or stories, and I rolled my eyes every time Jamie called Ellie "little girl." Just...yuck. 

That aside, this story will tug at your heart, especially when it comes to that age old question of does your first, real, passionate love ever lose their space in your heart? It was no doubt by the end of Fighting To Be Free that Ellie and Jamie shared a deep, loving connection, but are they still meant to be after a lot of time and heartbreak? Grab a copy of Worth Fighting For when it hits shelves to find out!

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars. Great action, hot romance!



Monday, November 21, 2016

The Romantics

Author: Leah Konen
Release Date: November 1, 2016
Publisher: Amulet Books
Pages: 336
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Comedy

*I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. All opinions are my own. Thanks NetGalley!*

Summary

Perfect for fans of Lauren Myracle and Rainbow Rowell, The Romantics will charm readers of all ages. Gael Brennan is about to have his heart broken when his first big relationship crumbles on the heels of his parents' painful separation. Love intervenes with the intention of setting things right--but she doesn't anticipate the intrusion of her dreaded nemesis: The Rebound. Love's plans for Gael are sidetracked by Cara, Gael's hot-sauce-wielding "dream girl." The move Love meddles, the further Gael drifts from the one girl who can help him mend his heart. Soon Love starts breaking all her own rules--and in order to set Gael's fate back on course, she has to make some tough decisions about what it truly means to care. -Goodreads

The Rundown

I needed this book in my life so much while I was reading it. Seriously. This was a fun, quirky, touching romantic comedy! And Love was the narrator. Love herself telling a love story. Can a book be any more fun???

I loved Gael right from the beginning and was majorly rooting for him. Who doesn't cheer for the cool band geek (I mean in marching band hierarchy the only people cooler than saxophonists are percussionists, right?) to get the girl? Here you have a kid rolling along through his senior year, adjusting to separating parents, taking AP classes, and having who he thinks is the perfect girlfriend when she hits him with the ultimate betrayal: seeing his best friend behind his back. He gets angry, decks his best friend, and goes home to drown his sorrows in miniature Snickers bars and Netflix. If you didn't have a similar day in high school, I'm pretty sure you didn't go to high school.

In steps Love with her wisdom and unique view of the world to put Gael on the path toward the girl who is going to bring out all of the very best in him, but even Love makes mistakes and so begins the hilarity that is The Romantics. This book reads like the hit rom com that opens on Valentine's Day weekend, and let's be honest, sometimes we all need a book like that. We know who needs to end up together and see it way before the characters do, but the journey they take to get there is so fun that we ride it out with them. 

Another bonus is the unique narration of a love story being told by Love. Other then The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak I can't remember reading another YA book with such an interesting point of view. 

Do you love Love? Do you love laughing? Do you like watching good souls come together? Pick up The Romantics today!!

Rating: 4/5 Stars. Too cute! 

Friday, November 4, 2016

Top Five Things About Me & NaNoWriMo

I feel like a failed blogger. I haven't posted in nearly two weeks because of Halloween, Halloween programming, slacking off on reading as I do NaNoWriMo prep work, and having this tiny version of me that takes up a lot of my free time (aka my almost two year old daughter). 

As many of you know, November is National Novel Writing Month (break it down to the super fun to say NaNoWriMo). I won't even tell you how many years I've started NaNoWriMo or NaNoWriMo Camp and been on a roll for maybe a week if I'm lucky, and then something will come up and I'll miss a day or things will get crazy with Thanksgiving and before I know it, everything else is hitting their 50,000 words and I'm over here with 8,000. Every. Time.

But this, 2016, is my NaNoWriMo year! Even if my novel lives on a flash drive forever, it's still one I finished. Here are some fun facts about me and my NaNoWriMo 2016 project (with funny GIFs mostly for my own amusement)! Are you doing NaNoWriMo? I'd love to hear how you're doing so far!

1) Genre: New Adult Romance



via GIPHY

Because who doesn't love a good love story? I have been a fan of NA ever since I picked up "Losing It" by Cora Carmack. From that moment on I knew if I ever wrote a novel, it'd be New Adult.


2) Meet River O'Neal. 



via GIPHY

I watch a lot of Peaky Blinders. River O'Neal may not be a 1920s British gangster like Cillian Murphey's character, but he's just so pretty. River happens to be smart, a talented photographer, extremely funny, and a genuinely nice guy. You're welcome ladies.



3) So. Many. Feelings




via GIPHY

River and Camryn were close friends for just a year in high school before life took them down different paths that ultimately led them both back to their hometown after college. Camryn was able to get help for the traumatic abuse she endured as a child, but when returning home puts her in front of River, she has to find the strength to break down her own walls and let him in. River never understood why Camryn pushed him away that night all of those years ago. River often thought of Camryn, but his choices took him down a path he's not proud of. In front of her now, will he ever be good enough? Second chances at love while owning up to your past and embracing your future. 

Very tentative synopsis. Subject to change :)

So many feelings.

4) Theme Song: Existentialism on Prom Night by Straylight Run

Let's be real. So much music is influencing my project. But this song is the one I keep coming back to. It's so beautiful and I find myself listening to it a lot when I'm trying to nudge River and Camryn to trust each other again. 

Have listen here!

Favorite line: Sing me something soft. Sad and delicate. Or loud and out of key. Sing me anything. We're glad for what we've got. Done with what we've lost. Our whole lives laid out right in front of us. 


5) Thank You Coffee


via GIPHY

The past three days since NaNoWriMo started, I've gotten the majority of my writing in after my daughter goes to bed. And the dishes are done. And dinner is put away. And lunches are packed. And laundry is folded. I've punched in my word count just before midnight and my day starts just before six in the morning. Bless you coffee. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Daylight Follows

Author: Michelle Dare
Release Date: September 12, 2016
Publisher: Michelle Dare
Pages: 184 (Kindle edition)
Genre: New Adult, Romance

*I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. All opinions are my own. Thanks NetGalley!*

Summary

Direction and a sense of purpose for her life evaded Daniella Archer. She was in college, but her classes didn't hold her interest. She had a boyfriend, but never got butterflies when he was near. Her two best friends were her lifelines, the ones who always stood by her. Then tragedy shattered her world and she sunk into a deep depression. She watched helplessly as the rainy sky mimicked her tears and the dark clouds, her mood.

Garrett Ramsey secretly loved Daniella throughout their high school years. When he moved away, he finally put those feelings behind him and moved on with his life, or so he thought. Just seeing Dani again brought all of the feelings he thought were long dead, straight to the surface again. She never saw him as more than a friend, so he didn't tell her how he truly felt. 

Two people, two paths, both missing something significant. Storms swirled all around and the blackness of night seemed to last forever. They dared to hope daylight would follow. -Goodreads

The Rundown

Is there anything better than a good love story? I know I sound like a cheese ball Hallmark card, but there is something so comforting and hopeful in watching two people who were just meant to be together work through all of the mess and joy and pain of life to fall and fight to stay in love. 

Garrett and Daniella's story was just that, and it was great! 

I love when New Adult authors really just knock it out of the park when writing about characters in their early twenties. I know when I was a teenager I thought I'd have it all figured out by the time I was 22. I'd be a college graduate and land my dream job and plan my wedding.

Jokes! (Truth: I'm still figuring out this whole adulting thing)

I could totally relate to Daniella, probably more so than any character I've met recently. Going through life not really sure of much and kind of just waiting on something to click, then a tragic accident spins her into a depression from which she feels she'll never be able to climb out of. The only person who brings her any sort of peace through the storm is Garrett, an old friend that the tragedy brought back into her life. But Garrett, who has kept so many emotions buried deep down for so long, knows being Daniella's shelter will never be enough. He loves her and can't give himself fully over to her until she feels it too.

Sigh. Still need more motivation to grab this one for your next romance read? Garrett is a hot mechanic...like ridiculously hot in my mind. I'll agree with Daniella: there is just something about a guy who works with his hands all day. Yes indeed.

I'd recommend this one to fans of Colleen Hoover or Abbi Glines for sure!

Rating: 3.5 stars. I liked it! 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Top Five Spooky YA Reads

     Nick and I had a Halloween 1 & 2 marathon the past two nights. The good John Carpenter ones. Don't even get me started on that Rob Zombie mess. Even though these movies have gone beyond scaring me for days like they did when I was a teenager to being just downright comforting this time of year, I still get a little tense when I see Michael Myers's face slowly come out of the shadows. And the way he cocks his head? Shudders. 

     Anyway, maybe scary movies aren't your thing, but you're looking for a good spooky read to get you in the mood for the Halloween season. Here are my top five YA spooky reads to get the party started!



Yes, I could probably find a way to work this book into just about any top five list. But guys it's seriously that good! The first time I ever read this one I still lived by myself and some scenes had me flipping every light on in my apartment! 1920s NYC with an otherworldly serial killer on the loose? Yes please!



This paranormal thriller set in modern London sees boarding school student Rory attempting to track down the man she believes is the culprit behind a recent string of serial killings...killings copying those of Jack the Ripper. How can Rory catch a man it seems only she can see? This one is a read during the day it's so creepy page turner!



What do you do when you find out that your the college prep boarding school in New England that you just started at used to an asylum for the criminally insane? Explore. When Dan finds out that his ending up there along with his new friends Abby and Jordan wasn't a coincidence, the thrilling and creepy ride begins. If you liked the way old photographs were blended into Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, grab this one today! 



This book will have you seriously rethinking every time you played Bloody Mary at a sleepover as a kid. It's one that has a little bit of everything: ghosts, horror, and a retelling of the legend we all thought we knew. Seriously spooky!



Another retelling of Jack the Ripper, but who gets tired of those? I think the thrill behind those killings so long ago on the gas lit streets of London give us all a chill because we still don't know (despite hundreds of theories) who Jack the Ripper really was. As the ghosts of the Ripper victims haunt Evelyn's dreams her nightmares become reality when she sets to solve the mystery. 







Thursday, October 13, 2016

When Stars Collide (Light in the Dark #2)

Author: Micalea Smeltzer
Release Date: August 30, 2016
Publisher: Smashwords
Pages: 270 (eBook)
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance

*I received this book as a NetGalley ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. All opinions are my own. Thanks NetGalley!*

Summary

We were like two stars orbiting each other--dancing around the possibility that one day we might collide. When we finally did, we opened up a black hole, obliterating everything around us. 

No one would be the same.

Least of all, us. 

Waking up in Vegas married to the guy of your dreams sounds like a good thing, right? Not when you're Thea Montgomery and said guy is your brother's best friend. 

Thea and Xander have always avoided the connection between them because her brother would never approve. Now, they're married--the strongest bond you can have as a couple--and they're not even a real couple...unless they want to be. 

Thea wants an annulment immediately, but Xander's waited too long to see her become his and he won't let her go easily.

If she wants a divorce, fine, but he wants the summer to convince her that he's the one. If at the end of the summer she still wants to end their marriage he'll sign the papers, but until then...

All is not fair in love and war. -Goodreads

The Rundown

Did I just find my next New Adult fix when I'm in between releases from Jay Crownover and Cora Carmack (my faves!)?!?! YUP!!!

I requested this ARC before realizing that it was the second in the series (the first is Rae of Sunshine), but it didn't keep me from diving right into Thea and Xander's story right away and being totally hooked. I liked this story so much that I'm absolutely gonig to have to go back to read Cade and Rae's story that kick's off this series. 

I absolutely love a good romance. I didn't think I could get behind the whole "woke up in Vegas married but let's make this work" plot, but Smeltzer developed these characters so well that it just worked. I could really feel the love and friendship that Xander and Thea had been building on their whole lives, and by the end of the book, I really felt like maybe a wild night in Vegas was what those two kids needed to get everything out there and make it happen.

Don't get me wrong, it's no walk in the park for either of them while they deal with deep family issues, parental abuse, finding their stride as newlyweds (oh yeah and dropping the bomb to their family and friends that they're husband and wife), all while trying to figure out the best path to take together. Thea's trying to figure out her passion and a career as she prepares to finish college, and Xander has secretly landed his dream job but does't want to let anyone down by pursuing it.

Smeltzer has really nailed what makes a good New Adult novel by giving us characters juggling love, family, school, careers, and this whole adulting thing while still giving us some steamy (and I mean STEAMY) moments. 

Can't wait to start Rae of Sunshine!

Rating: 4/5 Stars! This was such a good one for NA fans!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Useless Bay

Author: M.J. Beaufrand
Release Date: October 18, 2016
Publisher: Amulet Books
Pages: 240
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller

*I received this book as a NetGalley ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. All opinions are my own. Thanks NetGalley!*

Summary

A gritty, psychological thriller about a mythic set of sixteen-year-old quintuplets searching for a young boy.

On Whidbey Island, the Gray quintuplets are the stuff of legend. Pixie and her brothers have always been bigger and blonder than their neighbors, as if they were birthed from the island itself. Together, they serve as an unofficial search-and-rescue team for the island, saving tourists and locals alike from the forces of the wind and sea. But, when a young boy goes missing, the mysteries start to pile up. While searching for him, they find his mother's dead body instead--and realize that something more sinister is in their midst. Edgar-nominated author M.J. Beaufrand has crafted another atmospheric thriller with a touch of magical realism that fans of mystery and true crime will devour. -Goodreads

The Rundown

Ummmm....hmmm....

Hmmm....

I wanted to like this book, but the pitched summary above isn't really what you're getting. It's definitely not a psychological thriller. It's actually not even that thrilling, and the killer is painfully obvious. I want Pacific Northwest Gothic to totally be a thing, but this book just didn't do that for me.

In fact, I'm still trying to make heads and tails of it. It's definitely plot driven and fast paced (I finished this in just under four hours), but don't even try to understand the characters, least of all the two POVs: Pixie and Henry (the older brother of the missing boy). 

I feel like the plot jumped around too much, and the twists were more confusing than big "AHA!" or "Whoa! Didn't see that coming!" moments. The big "show down" with confronting and bringing the killer to justice was a combination of poor/weird/silly decisions on the character's part and extremely anti-climatic. 

The "magic" of the island and the way Pixie and her four brothers worked and connected with each other was odd. It felt like all of these random things were being thrown out to the reader without any explanation. I love magic in a story, especially one where magic helps catch a killer, but explain the magic. Make me see & understand it or it's not believable and takes away any awe and wonder of "Are there people who really can do that?"

Sigh. I'd skip this one all together guys. If you like true crime, try Barry Lyga's I Hunt Killers series. If you're into a murder mystery with some magic, grab Libba Bray's The Diviners series or William Ritter's Jackaby series. All are way better than this!

Rating: 2 stars. Just meh. 


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Movie Version

Author: Emma Wunsch
Release Date: October 11, 2016
Publisher: Amulet Books
Pages: 368
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mental Illness

*I received this book as a NetGalley ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. All opinions are my own. Thanks NetGalley!*

Summary

In the movie version of Amelia's life, the roles have always been clear. Her older brother, Toby: definitely the Star. As popular with the stoners as he is with the cheerleaders, Toby is someone you'd pay ten bucks to watch sweep Battle of the Bands and build a "beach party" in the bathroom. As for Amelia? She's Toby Anderson's Younger Sister. She's perfectly happy to watch Toby's hijinks from the sidelines, when she's not engrossed in one of her elaborately themed Netflix movie marathon. 

But recently Toby's been acting in a very non-movie-version way. He's stopped hanging out with his horde of friends and started obsessively journaling and disappearing for days at a time. Amelia doesn't know what's happened to her awesome older brother, or who this strange actor is that's taken his place. And there's someone else pulling at her attention: a smart, cute, new boyfriend who wants to know the real Amelia--not Toby's sidekick. Amelia feels adrift without her star, but to best help Toby--and herself--it might be time to cast a new role: Amelia Anderson, leading lady. -Goodreads 

The Rundown

This was just an all around good book. Seriously! Is it possible for a book to feel like a hug? Because this book is one big, funny, loving, life-may-be-hard-now-but-it-will-get-better hug. 

I've never started off describing a book as a hug before, but it fits this book perfectly. 

Warning: Slight spoiler coming. It's not a huge revelation and one you might even be able to guess from the summary above, but if you just want to know that this book reads like a hug and find out everything for yourself, stop reading now and get this book in your life. But if you're curious about the rest of my review, it's only a tiny spoiler.




The book, much like Amelia's life, is divided into "Before" and "After." Haven't we all had some life event just like that? For Amelia, there's before Toby's diagnosis of mental illness (that's the spoiler) and after. 

Before, she was Amelia Anderson, little sister to ultra cool Toby Anderson. Amelia Anderson, falling in love with Epstein, the adorably cute, sweet, and insanely smart red headed guy she met over the summer. Amelia Anderson, idolizing Toby while she rides shotgun in the movie version of her life.

By the way, I geek/fangirled all of the great movie references in this book. If Netflix had been a thing when I was a teenager I basically would have been Amelia. Except she comes up with way better movie marathon themes than I ever could have. 

The After in Amelia's life starts with a phone call interrupting her weekend with Epstein. Toby is sick and in the hospital, but it's not a sick that you're ever cured from. It's a sick that you and your family will spend the rest of your lives learning to live with, learning to deal. 

Even though it's heartbreaking to watch Amelia, her family, Toby, and their friends learn to live with the hell that mental illness can bring, it's also great to watch her pull herself up and start learning who she is as the star in her own life. And Amelia Jane Anderson is beyond cool herself. 

She learns all over again how to be Amelia Anderson: sister, friend, girlfriend, and daughter. And by the end I wanted her to be real so I could give her a hug!

My only request: I want to know what's next with Amelia & Epstein! Sequel???

Rating: 4 stars! I really really really liked this one guys!





Monday, October 3, 2016

It Ends With Us

Author: Colleen Hoover
Release Date: August 2, 2016
Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 373
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Abuse

Summary

Lily hasn't always had it easy, but that's never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She's come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up--she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily's life suddenly seems almost too good to be true. 

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, and maybe even a little arrogant. He's also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn't hurt. Lily can't get him out of her head. But Ryle's complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his "no dating" rule, she can't help but wonder what made him that way in the first place. 

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan-- her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

The Rundown

I spent the whole summer counting down the days till I could get my hands on this book. I absolutely love Colleen Hoover!

I think it took me so long to finish this book (almost a month which is like unheard of for me) because at times the deep pain that these characters were going through seeped into me and I had to put it down and breathe for a day or two. Talk about great writing all around!

Another thing that kept me going with this novel was almost the mystery about what was really going on in these character's lives. Pre-release hype for this novel was so great because Hoover really discouraged spoilers and instead stressed how deeply personal this novel was for her, going so far as to encourage readers to wait to read the author's note at the end when they'd finished the novel and asking reviewers to warn of spoilers. 

That said, it makes writing a review for my blog a little more difficult because I want to tell you everything, but more than me wanting to run my mouth, I want you to read it for yourself! I laughed, I cried, and felt pretty much every wave of emotion as I went through the joys and deep pains of life with these extremely real characters.

If you're a fan of overwhelmingly emotional and passionate contemporary romance, this absolutely has to be your next read. And that's all I have to say about that.

Rating: 4 Stars! Great book!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Top Five Favorite Halloween Movies

September 30 to me is really October Eve! Just a whole month of all of my favorite things: Halloween, pumpkin everything, haunted houses, caramel apples, hay rides, bonfires, and movies! I am a child of the 90s and I can say without a doubt that we had THE BEST Halloween movies. Seriously. Here are my top five movies I always watch multiple times in October! What are yours?

PS-Look out for special spooky editions of the Top Five Friday countdowns all of October!


1) The Nightmare Before Christmas

Favorite Line: We can live like Jack and Sally if we want. Where you can always find me. And we'll have Halloween on Christmas. And in the night we'll wish this never ends.

Okay wait that's the line from a Blink 182 song, but perfectly sums up the dark weird love between Jack and Sally. And I'd love to live where the whole year revolves around Halloween.


2) Casper

Favorite Line: Can I keep you?

If you are of a certain age you can probably pinpoint your sexual awakening to a young Devon Sawa (as live Casper) whispering "Can I keep you?" to Kat while they slow danced and floated above the floor at the Halloween dance (in Kat's epically eccentric haunted seaside mansion).


3) The Addam's Family

Favorite Line: I'm a homicidal maniac. They look just like everyone else.

Yet another creepy, spooky, magically weird house I so badly wanted to live in as a child (and still do!).


4) Sleepy Hollow

Okay so this one isn't exactly one with a classic line, but if this isn't a feel good spooky movie I don't know what is. Late 18th century, upstate New York, and the Legend of the Headless Horseman. Oh and Johnny Depp. 


5) Halloween (1978. Don't you come at me with that Rob Zombie nonsense)

Once again, not one that's got a famous line. But probably the most iconic serial killer theme music! This movie used to scare me to death as a teenager, but now it's become the ultimate comfort Halloween movie. Plus there's a scene where two of the girls are driving around town and listening to "Don't Fear the Reaper" by Blue Oyster Cult. 













Roar (Stormheart 1)

Author: Cora Carmack Release Date: June 13, 2017 Publisher: Tor Teen Pages: 352 Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy *I received this bo...