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!

Roar (Stormheart 1)

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