Easy by Tammara Webber
My rating: 4 1/2 of 5 stars
Genre: New Adult/ Mature Young Adult
I LOVED this book. The story is about Jacqueline, a girl who was just dumped by the man she thought she’d marry after following him to college. With the demise of her relationship, she is struggling to figure out who she is, now that she is no longer defined as Kennedy’s girlfriend. Easy is also a book about a tough subject – attempted rape, and it handles it beautifully. It isn’t a glossed over version, but rather one that felt realistic and even though the subject matter at times was heavy, it wasn’t super angsty.
The knight in shining armor, Lucas is just a lovely character. He’s flawed, and his back story is heart wrenching, but together they ultimately heal each other. I dare you not to wish for your very own Lucas. Cause he can save me, any time, any place.
The only reason why this book didn’t get 5 stars from me, is because the end felt a bit rushed. I would have liked to have seen maybe another two days or so into their lives before being thrown into the epilogue. Lovely read regardless, but figured I’d explain that 1/2 star.
I read this book in about a day and a half. If I didn’t have to sleep and take care of my kids, I would have probably polished it off in half a day. It was that good. Don’t blame me if you get sucked into the story and forget all about your real life for a day or so.
I’ll just say, I told you so.
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Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I was privileged enough to receive an ARC copy of this book from Harlequin Teen UK.
This story was a definite page turner for me. I hated to put it down every night, but sometimes you need to sleep.
The book tells the story of two teens who are each struggling to grow up under the weight of their troubled pasts. Echo, a girl who doesn’t remember the tragic day that changed her life forever. Noah is the bad boy, trying to keep his family together after his parents untimely death, separating him and his two brothers in the foster system.
With the help from a clinical social worker, they both are forced into a tutoring relationship, which eventually transforms into something more. They both ultimately need to hear some hard truths about their lives in order to move on from all that they’ve had to endure.
The story is woven between Echo and Noah’s points of view, helping you grasp what each of them are going though. What I loved most about this, was that their stories, along with their relationship, unfolded in a very realistic way and time-frame. They didn’t magically fall in love moments after meeting, which is refreshing for a YA book.
This was one of my favorite books of the year.
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Risking it All
By Jennifer Schmidt
This book felt really familiar. And by familiar, I mean it felt a bit like a P2P fic I’ve read somewhere. For a minute in the middle of book, it actually had a lot of promise, but then the author decided to throw in a few more loops into an already complicated roller coaster of a story and it sort of ruined it for me.
The back and forth between Kennedy & Memphis – was endearing at first, but by the last third of the book, I honestly wanted to bash their skulls in for being so freaking obtuse. Kennedy was wishy-washy and fell flat for me as a character. Memphis, while the author states he’s really popular with women, I didn’t really get that feel from his actions.
Then you throw in Brooks, Kennedy’s busy and highly successful doctor of a boyfriend and it’s supposed to be this crazy love triangle, but Brooks was made out to be this stereotypical antagonist, who you really don’t have any idea why the MC is even with him in the first place. It honestly made Kennedy look even more wimpy in my opinion.
The premise really had a lot of promise, but I just couldn’t get over the overabundance of up and downs of the story. If the author had perhaps taken out one or two of the valleys, I might have enjoyed the ride a bit more.
Lessons Learned by Sydney Logan
Genre: Romance / Suspense
I was extremely fortunate to receive an advanced copy of Lessons Learned from NetGalley.
Lessons Learned is a heart wrenching story about two teachers, each struggling to move on from their respective pasts, and how their pasts help shape them in a way that they could save the life of one of their students.
I will state right off the bat, that I LOVED this book. It is a book that makes you really think about some of the more weighty topics in this world without being preachy or heavy handed about it. The lessons learned by the main characters are also lessons, you as the reader, can take away too.
Sarah Bray has decided to move back to her tiny mountain town of Sycamore Falls after a tragic event in her last school has left her traumatized. Her therapist suggested a change of scenery, and even though she never imagined moving back, she’s craving the comfort and security that sometimes only your hometown can give you.
Lucas Miller. What can I say about Lucas Miller? He too is a teacher looking for a fresh start. He comes to Sycamore Falls, knowing it is about as different from New York City as you can get. When he runs into Sarah Bray at the hardware store, immediately you will feel the connection. He is such a swoony character. He is chivalrous and kind, loving and patient. He is the picture perfect man, and I almost kept waiting for some horrible character trait to come out. Ultimately, he is everything that Sarah Bray needs in her life at exactly the right time.
The story feels honest and all of the characters in the book are relatable in a way that you probably knew someone, at some time in your life, that was like them. The book will make your heart swell, tears fall and your mind work. I absolutely adored this book and urge you to go out and read it.
Kudos to Sydney and I can’t wait to read any of her future work.
The Hate List by Jennifer Brown
The Hate list is more than just a book about a high school shooting – a la Columbine.
The story is told from Valerie’s point of view, who just happens to also be the girlfriend of the guy who shot up the school and then himself. This isn’t a story ABOUT the shooting, but about the aftermath of everyone who is left behind to pick up the pieces.
Valerie is such a complex character. As you read about her struggles with being the school outcast and being bullied by people who called her Sister Death before the shooting, and then the consequences she must deal with in the aftermath, you can relate to it all. Or perhaps that’s just me, who was also an outcast in high school, and while I never created a ‘hate list’ like Valerie and Nick did, I certainly understand why they did it. Valerie is seen by the town as not only an accomplice to the shooting, but also a victim and a hero. Her recovery, both emotional and physical are beautifully told.
The only real reason this didn’t get a five star rating from me is because at times the time jumps between past and current were confusing. I’m not sure if it was just the digital copy that was the problem with not having page breaks or any kind of notation that a shift in time was coming or what.
This book isn’t fluffy or sweet, but it is a compellingly tragic read that I really enjoyed.
Legacy of a Dreamer by Allie Jean
Genre: Paranormal Romance/ Angel
When I picked up this book, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. What I got was an interesting tale about Chantal, an 18 year old who’s just been turned out of the foster system. She’s been plagued by nightmares her whole life and it isn’t until she’s out on her own in New York that we figure out their meaning.
The story has a lot of action in it. It kept me on the edge of my seat wondering how they were going to get out of each new obstacle they faced. And when I say ‘they’ – I mean Chantal and Mathias. From the shadows, Mathias has been watching over Chantal her whole life. He’s swoony, I’m not going to lie. I can’t wait until the next book comes out so I can read more about their adventures.
The only reason I didn’t rate this book a 5 – was at times the epic battles got a little too epic for my taste. I became a little desensitized to it and it lost some of its impact. I found myself wanting to skim over some of these parts.
Overall, a fantastic read.
North of Beautiful by Justine Chen Headly
This story is about Terra, a teenager who was born with a port-wine stain on her cheek, marring her otherwise beautiful face. She’s tried laser surgery and covers it with make up to try and hide it as best she can. This story is about her journey towards finding herself beautiful just as she is.
The story weaves around her dysfunctional family and how she breaks apart from the chains that her father has shackled her with.
I honestly loved this story. It’s a bit slow and hard to read at the beginning because of how verbally abusive her father is to Terra and the rest of her family, but about a third of the way in, things really move and the story entrances you. Her journey doesn’t feel forced or abrupt.
My only complaint was the end left me with wanting more. Not that the end was bad, but I really felt invested in these characters and was sad when it was over and wished to see further into their future.