Monday, October 30, 2017

How We Love, Expanded Edition: Discover Your Love Style, Enhance Your Marriage by Milan Yerkovich & Kay Yerkovich

Did you know the last fight you had with your spouse began long before you even met?

Are you tired of falling into frustrating relational patterns in your marriage? Do you and your spouse fight about the same things again and again?

Relationship experts Milan and Kay Yerkovich explain why the ways you and your spouse relate to each other go back to before you even met. Drawing on the powerful tool of attachment theory, Milan and Kay explore how your childhood created an "intimacy imprint" that affects your marriage today. Their stories and practical ideas help you:

* identify your personal love style 
* understand how your early life impacts you and your spouse 
* break free from painful patterns that keep you stuck 
* find healing for the source of conflict, not just the symptoms 
* create the close, nourishing relationship you dream about

Revised throughout with all-new material, additional visual diagrams, and a revised accompanying workbook, this expanded edition of How We Love will bring vibrant life to your marriage. Are you ready for a new journey of love?


I went into this one thinking I'd find insight on how to strengthen an already strong marriage. Sadly, this one just opened up old wounds and made me feel cold inside. It had great information, but I think it focused way too much energy on the childhood influence of marriage. I agree and understand that where we come from and how we're raised plays a strong role in relationships, but I was hoping for more of a "now approach". I wanted tips on what works, what doesn't and also tips on how we can spice up the romance and spark up conversation. This one kind of counseled you out of a problem, rather than helping you prevent one....

I think people having troubles in their marriage will appreciate this read, but for me, it just didn't work. I'd still recommend it, but go into it seeking help, not guidance. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

A Short History of the Girl Next Door by Jared Reck

The unrequited love of the girl next door is the centerpiece of this fiercely funny, yet heart-breaking debut novel.

Fifteen-year-old Matt Wainwright is in turmoil. He can’t tell his lifelong best friend, Tabby, how he really feels about her; his promising basketball skills are being overshadowed by his attitude on the court, and the only place he feels normal is in English class, where he can express his inner thoughts in quirky poems and essays. Matt is desperately hoping that Tabby will reciprocate his feelings; but then Tabby starts dating Liam Branson, senior basketball star and all-around great guy. Losing Tabby to Branson is bad enough; but, as Matt soon discovers, he’s close to losing everything that matters most to him. 

Humorous and heart-wrenching, A Short History of the Girl Next Door is perfect for readers who fell in love with All the Bright Places' Finch or Stargirl’s Leo. 



Oh goodness, I'm not even sure how to approach this review. I made assumptions from the cover and short synopsis, but boy was I wrong. This read wasn't at all bright times, it was sad shades of grey with bursts of color. It was shadows with hints of sunlight. It was happiness with secrets and grief.

Marty and Tabby are two of the most well wrote characters I've ever read about. They were developed in such an intricate manner and their relationship was one of a kind. They had a connection that went deeper than high school crushes. They leaned on, confided in, and loved one another. They grew up together and formed a bond like no other. Matt may have felt something different than she did, but both knew that what they had was quite special.

The twist about 3/4 the way through left me a tad bewildered. I'm pretty sure as I read those words, my jaw fell to the ground. I wanted it all to be a dream, but I learned to appreciate it. I saw the inspiration and growth laced within the words and I found myself more immersed in the unknown. I saw the story in a new light and found hope in tragedy.

My initial thoughts were that this was a messy story with wild emotions and teenage jealousy, but looking back I see a rich story with deep characters and awesome life lessons. I definitely recommend it to readers of all ages and genders.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. Maas

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena's world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie... and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for. 

4/5 STARS 

This book was very different than the first one, but I loved it almost as much. It had an eerie feel and exposed sooo many good secrets. I have a feeling the next book will be packed with fantastical magic and I can't wait!

Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios

Grace wants out. Out of her house, where her stepfather wields fear like a weapon and her mother makes her scrub imaginary dirt off the floors. Out of her California town, too small to contain her big city dreams. Out of her life, and into the role of Parisian artist, New York director—anything but scared and alone.

Enter Gavin: charming, talented, adored. Controlling. Dangerous. When Grace and Gavin fall in love, Grace is sure it's too good to be true. She has no idea their relationship will become a prison she's unable to escape.

Deeply affecting and unflinchingly honest, this is a story about spiraling into darkness—and emerging into the light again.


This is one of those books that left me all kinds of twisted. It was lyrical and life changing at times, but overall the concept just drove me crazy. It's so all over the place and yes, I get that that's the idea... it was just too much. I needed more progression and less of the same stuff over and over again.

I really don't have much to say other then if you can get past the second person pov, and appreciate the drama theme... You will be entertained. If not, I'd pass. The only redeeming part for me was the fact that the Author's writing reached my soul many times. She had a way of wrapping words together to form beautiful, messy sentences that really hit home.

Stealing Snow (Stealing Snow #1) by Danielle Paige

First kisses sometimes wake slumbering princesses, undo spells, and spark happily ever afters.

Mine broke Bale.

Seventeen-year-old Snow has spent her life locked in Whittaker Psychiatric—but she isn’t crazy. And that’s not the worst of it. Her very first kiss proves anything but innocent…when Bale, her only love, turns violent. 

Despite Snow knowing that Bale would never truly hurt her, he is taken away—dashing her last hope for any sort of future in the mental ward she calls home. With nowhere else to turn, Snow finds herself drawn to a strange new orderly who whispers secrets in the night about a mysterious past and a kingdom that’s hers for the taking—if only she can find her way past the iron gates to the Tree that has been haunting her dreams. 

Beyond the Tree lies Algid, a land far away from the real world, frozen by a ruthless king. And there too await the River Witch, a village boy named Kai, the charming thief Jagger, and a prophecy that Snow will save them all. 


This book got mixed reviews, but I actually enjoyed it. The premise was unique and the scenic descriptions and magical elements were quite beautiful. I appreciated all of the twists and while some were predictable others presented quite a shock. The storyline kept me interested and the ending was awesome! 

Things I could have done without.... The kiss with Kai and all of the references to a show I've never heard of... 

All in all, I think this one was great recipe for an epic tale, but just lacked a few key ingredients. It wasn't terrible by any means, but it wasn't a MUST READ. I kind of feel like it was in the middle of the spectrum where many would pass, but few would find it a diamond in the rough. I'd recommend it as a winter read or as a palette cleanser.

Stone Field by Christy Lenzi

In a small town on the brink of the Civil War, Catrina finds a man making strange patterns in her family’s sorghum crop. He’s mad with fever, naked, and strikingly beautiful. He has no memory of who he is or what he’s done before Catrina found him in Stone Field. But that doesn’t bother Catrina because she doesn’t like thinking about the things she’s done before either.

Catrina and Stonefield fall passionately, dangerously, in love. All they want is to live with each other, in harmony with the land and away from Cat’s protective brother, the new fanatical preacher, and the neighbors who are scandalized by their relationship. But Stonefield can’t escape the truth about who he is, and the conflict tearing apart the country demands that everyone take a side before the bloodbath reaches their doorstep.

Inspired by Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights.


This book was achingly beautiful... The words had a way of dancing around, capturing my attention, and making me want to catch them and place them in a jar for later. It was poetic and lyrical and oh so romantic.

Why not five stars then?

Well, the concept and plot was odd. While I LOVED the ending, I found myself lacking interest during the crazy preacher parts. It came off as a bit confusing and a tad overwhelming... Luckily though, those parts were short enough that the overall feel wasn't wrecked by them.

All in all, if you like your books with unique characters, magical woodsy feels, and a lot of lovey scenes, pick this one up. I highly recommend it. Especially, because of the ending... I love me some dark and twisted sadness.

Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She's never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love--even with someone who seems an improbable choice--is more than just a possibility.

Trish Doller writes incredibly real teens, and this searing story of love, betrayal, and how not to lose your mind will resonate with readers who want their stories gritty and utterly true. 

4/5 STARS 

This was the perfect pool read. It had a fun flirty setting with deep rooted emotion. There are triggers so you have been warned! 

Callie is abducted by her own mother... She is used to living alone and fighting her own battles so when she is sent to live with her father and an actual family her world is turned upside down. She has to navigate through her dark past, new love, and endless possibilities. It's not an easy journey, but with a good support system, she learns to live for herself. 

I'm from Florida so I really appreciated the local spots being mentioned and just the beachy vibes. The characters were messy, but in all the right ways. Picture two damaged people coming together to form a beautiful relationship and you have Callie and Alex. Their love was forbidden and a tad tragic. Both had life problems and until they dealt with them, they couldn't truly be together. It was not at all my typical read, but I really enjoyed it!

The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith

In the tradition of Speak, this extraordinary debut novel shares the unforgettable story of a young woman as she struggles to find strength in the aftermath of an assault.

Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn’t change who she was. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes. 

What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she thought she knew to be true, is now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she’s supposed to tell someone what happened but she can’t. So she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be. 

Told in four parts—freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year—this provocative debut reveals the deep cuts of trauma. But it also demonstrates one young woman’s strength as she navigates the disappointment and unbearable pains of adolescence, of first love and first heartbreak, of friendships broken and rebuilt, and while learning to embrace a power of survival she never knew she had hidden within her heart. 

4/5 STARS 

This book is a hard one to digest... While the story line is addicting, it's also quite twisted. Think epic gut punch meets tragically flawed main character. It's an ugly story with a beautiful lesson. 

Eden is raped and from that point on she becomes someone that not even she herself envies. She begins lying, using people, and seeking sex to escape her thoughts. She is a complete mess and it is all due to that one secret that eats her from the inside out. While she has a great group of friends and a loveable boyfriend, that all ends quite abruptly. She speaks mean words and behaves with vulgar actions to push them all away. Her best friend grasps on by her fingertips, but even she has to let go near the end. 

It's a story about chain of events and how one situation can alter your whole life. It shows the importance of facing fear and standing up for yourself. It shows the impact of words and how holding in burdens can only wreck havoc on the keeper. It's a deep read with adult themes, but it's one I recommend to all older teens. I think it's a story that should be felt by all those going through similar situations or even just be used as a guide to know how to spot when something isn't right. It's a story that will stick with me for a long time and Eden is a character that I will continue to loathe even though her story is tragic.

Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

All Samantha wanted was to move back to New York and pursue her music, which was difficult enough being a Chinese girl in Missouri, 1849. Then her fate takes a turn for the worse after a tragic accident leaves her with nothing and she breaks the law in self-defense. With help from Annamae, a runaway slave she met at the scene of her crime, the two flee town for the unknown frontier. 

But life on the Oregon Trail is unsafe for two girls. Disguised as Sammy and Andy, two boys heading for the California gold rush, each search for a link to their past and struggle to avoid any unwanted attention. Until they merge paths with a band of cowboys turned allies, and Samantha can’t stop herself from falling for one. But the law is closing in on them and new setbacks come each day, and the girls will quickly learn there are not many places one can hide on the open trail. 


This book had a strong focus on friendship. It portrayed bravery, loyalty, and strength. It showed that you can't judge a person by the gender, race, or beliefs... and it showed that with friends, anything is possible...

The story is about two girls acting like boys to hide their criminal faces. They find a group of young men and decide to tag along. The men teach them how to be cowboys, save them from danger, and in the end fall in love with them. There are twists and turns throughout the book and suspense in every chapter. It's a wild western meets contemporary ya. It's a fierce read with passion and secrets laced around each word. It's slow paced, but never a bore. I highly recommend it to all historical/Oregon trail fans!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

There will be plenty of time for me to beat him soundly once I’ve gotten what I came for.

Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.

4.5/5 STARS

This was a slow one to get into, but by Chapter 3, I was hooked. Talk about a wild ride packed full of grit, adventure, and sexual tension. The story was unique and the book world was quite magical. 

Alosa is a female pirate and a total bada$$. She is also the daughter of the Pirate King. Growing up with him wasn't easy and she has many emotional and physical scars to show for it. Her rough upbringing has contributed to her fierce persona though and has left her battle ready. When she sets out on a mission to find a missing map, she finds herself in the middle of a ship full of hot blooded pirates with a handsome first mate. It is her intention to seek out the map and be on her way, but she is slowly drug into a world of pretending. She uses her nights to escape and explore and her days to interrogate those around her. She is full of snarky remarks and gives the guys a run for their money. Riden is the only one that is able to crack her tough facade. They share many fights, few kisses, and a couple secrets that lead to them being captured by yet another group of pirates. It is there that they are broke down and exposed. Alosa is forced to show her special skills and Riden is forced to show his true feelings. Together the fight to escape and end up face to face with the Pirate King himself. It is then that Alosa shines and takes control of the situation. She decides who stays and who goes and prepares for what I expect to be an epic journey. 

I really enjoyed the pirate theme, but I NEVER expected the siren twist, and man did it pull me under (pun intended). The scenic descriptions and magical skills really gave this gray story, color. I appreciated the poetic wording and I found the skills to be quite beautiful. I was intrigued by the stories and captivated by the beauty of something so fearful. I don't want to say much, but I will say this... If you love mermaids like me, then you MUST read this one. I highly look forward to the sequel!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Cold Summer by Gwen Cole

Today, he’s a high school dropout with no future. 
Tomorrow, he’s a soldier in World War II.

Kale Jackson has spent years trying to control his time-traveling ability but hasn’t had much luck. One day he lives in 1945, fighting in the war as a sharpshooter and helplessly watching soldiers—friends—die. Then the next day, he’s back in the present, where WWII has bled into his modern life in the form of PTSD, straining his relationship with his father and the few friends he has left. Every day it becomes harder to hide his battle wounds, both physical and mental, from the past.

When the ex-girl-next-door, Harper, moves back to town, thoughts of what could be if only he had a normal life begin to haunt him. Harper reminds him of the person he was before the PTSD, which helps anchor him to the present. With practice, maybe Kale could remain in the present permanently and never step foot on a battlefield again. Maybe he can have the normal life he craves.

But then Harper finds Kale’s name in a historical article—and he’s listed as a casualty of the war. Kale knows now that he must learn to control his time-traveling ability to save himself and his chance at a life with Harper. Otherwise, he’ll be killed in a time where he doesn’t belong by a bullet that was never meant for him.




I've been in a reading slump for months now so I'm happy to say that this one has pulled me out. I found the passion in reading again and quickly grew fond of diving into the fictional world filled with tragedy and first love.

Time travel was a new subject for me, but I was pleasantly surprised. I found myself so fond of Kale and his multi faceted worlds that I craved more. It was almost as if I could grasp his hand through the pages. I felt the tragedy wearing him down and my heart broke when he found out his future lied within the past. 

Harper brought that fierce heroine feel along with her own struggles. She was always strong for others, quietly burrowing her own problems away. As her and Kale grew closer, my heart ached for their happily ever after, but towards the end, I kind of craved a more devastating twist. Is that wrong? Yes, most likely it is... There's just something about a hero making history and leaving loved ones behind that gives a book that ultimate gut punch. It paints the characters' stories on your mind and leaves you with a feeling of desperation. I wanted to feel lost in the words after the final page, but that's just me. (I LOVE tear jerkers) <- probably the only reader out there that does?

Overall, I highly recommend it to all readers... I had a few problems with the plot flow and I found a lot of editing errors, but the big picture was beautiful and classic. I loved the romance, I was intrigued by the history, and I became addicted to the story quite instantly.

All In Pieces by Suzanne Young

 “Anger-management issues.”

That’s how they classified Savannah Sutton after she stuck a pencil in her ex-boyfriend’s hand because he mocked her little brother, Evan, for being disabled. That’s why they sent her to Brooks Academy—an alternative high school that’s used as a temporary detention center.

The days at Brooks are miserable, but at home, life is far more bleak. Savvy’s struggling to take care of her brother since her mom left years ago, and her alcoholic dad can’t be bothered. Life with Evan is a constant challenge, but he’s also the most important person in the world to Savvy.

Then there’s Cameron, a new student at Brooks with issues of his own, a guy from a perfect family that Savvy thought only existed on TV. Cameron seems determined to break through every one of the walls Savvy’s built around herself—except if she lets herself trust him, it could make everything she’s worked so hard for fall apart in an instant.

And with her aunt seeking custody of her brother and her ex-boyfriend seeking revenge, Savvy’s fighting to hold all the pieces together. But she’s not sure how much tighter she can be pulled before she breaks completely.



I am in awe as I write this review... I basically ripped my heart out and left it between the pages. This emotionally charged book has left me empty. Talk about epic level ya writing. 

Sutton is anything but your ordinary teen. She has anger management issues and rightfully so... Her family life is like a stack of Jenga pieces just waiting to crumble. Her brother was born with a disability and him being special has pushed her mother out the door and her father towards the bottle. It is up to Sutton to care for her brother and it's anything but easy. He often becomes upset and distraught, shining a bright light on their dark situation. She is kicked out school, harassed by an ex boyfriend, and left to battle her aunt for custody. While she knows her little brother's life is anything but desirable, she can't let go of him. When Cameron, the new kid at school, takes an interest in her she is confused as to why. She tries to push him away, but he is quite persistent. Together they weather the storm that is her life. He takes her moodiness, accepts her home life, and makes Evan (the little brother) a priority. He rescues her and eventually gets much deserved revenge.

It's a whirlwind read with so many raw moments. I found myself gasping, cringing, tearing up, and swooning. It's not at all a pretty book, but the overall execution is flawless.

Friday, May 12, 2017


Lock & Key by Sarah Dessen
Ruby, where is your mother?

Ruby knows that the game is up. For the past few months, she's been on her own in the yellow house, managing somehow, knowing that her mother will probably never return.
That's how she comes to live with Cora, the sister she hasn't seen in ten years, and Cora's husband Jamie, whose down-to-earth demeanor makes it hard for Ruby to believe he founded the most popular networking Web site around. A luxurious house, fancy private school, a new wardrobe, the promise of college and a future; it's a dream come true. So why is Ruby such a reluctant Cinderella, wary and defensive? And why is Nate, the genial boy next door with some secrets of his own, unable to accept the help that Ruby is just learning to give?
Best-selling author Sarah Dessen explores the heart of a gutsy, complex girl dealing with unforeseen circumstances and learning to trust again.
My Review: 
4/5 Stars
Sarah Dessen is a mastermind at writing heart felt young adult books. This was my first time reading this one and it quickly became one of my favorites. The content touched on so many real struggles and the emotions ran deep. The words held me captive and the vulnerability had me clinging to the pages. It followed the normal Dessen flow, but brought new flaws into focus. 

Ruby is abandoned by her mother and has to fend for herself. The bills weigh her down and housework becomes her turmoil. When social services takes her away, it's her long lost sister that comes to her rescue. It's all confusing and a tad overwhelming...  Ruby has a hard time adapting to her new life of letting people in and learning to trust. The cute neighbor next door ends up being her undoing. While at first it's a friendship built on secrets, slowly it progresses to a deep rooted relationship that turns into so much more. Together they expose their demons and help one another conquer them. It's a story of family issues, new friendships, and first love.

While most of the book was your average teen read, there was also a strong focus on adult issues that made this book appealing to diverse readers. Being a woman that struggles with infertility, I found the parts about Clara to be really insightful. I felt connected in an emotional sense and comforted by the similar battle. This topic gets overlooked so much... It's always made out that pregnancy is easy, so shining a light on the darkness really made me appreciate the book that much more. I highly recommend it!

Enter for a chance to win one (1) set of Sarah Dessen’s books in paperback (ARV: $132.00).
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on April 17, 2017 and 12:00 AM on May 29, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about June 1, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Meet the Author:
Sarah Dessen is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen novels for teens, which have received numerous awards and rave reviews. Her books have been published in over thirty countries and have sold millions of copies worldwide. She is the recipient of the 2017 Margaret A. Edwards Award from the American Library Association for outstanding contribution to young adult literature for her novels: Keeping the Moon, Dreamland, This Lullaby, The Truth about Forever, Just Listen, Along for the Ride, and What Happened to Goodbye. Her newest novel, Once and for All, will be released in June 2017. An NC native, she currently lives in Chapel Hill with her family.
Be sure to check out Sarah's upcoming release Once and for All. Coming JUNE 6TH, 2017
As bubbly as champagne and delectable as wedding cake, Once and for All, Sarah Dessen's thirteenth novel, is set in the world of wedding planning, where crises are routine. 

Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that's why she's cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm's length. But Ambrose isn't about to be discouraged, now that he's met the one girl he really wants. 

Sarah Dessen’s many, many fans will adore her latest, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story that has everything—humor, romance, and an ending both happy and imperfect, just like life itself.

Friday, April 21, 2017


Dear Divorce Victim or Self Conscious Teen,
Are you looking for a book you can relate to? One that brings light to your dark situation? If so, I highly recommend this Sarah Dessen read! Why you ask? Well... when I was seventeen this tiny book brought a big solace. I found hope within the paragraphs and learned to cope by reading Haven's story. My parents were divorcing, my dad was happy with someone else, and my sister and I were left to navigate the storm. It was a dark time and while many tried to help, nothing seemed to work, so I escaped reality with books. When I stumbled upon That Summer by Sarah Dessen I didn't expect to find answers within the pages, but I did. Hearing about similar flaws and situations helped me to see that I wasn't alone. It talked me off the ledge and made sense of the crazy. I found a connection to the words and by the end the hurt didn't hurt quite as much. Now I'm not saying that this book will fix all of your problems, but after a thorough re-read I can tell you this... That Summer is filled with family struggles, negative body image views, and the truth about not being able to understand the unexpected. It brings a poetic, yet juvenile prose to tough situations. In my opinion, it's the perfect read for any struggling teen. It addresses a lot of issues, but also has a heart warming ending with clear progression. It may not be for everyone, but it helped me and I know it has the ability to help many others. I hope that if you take a chance, you find solace within the words too. -Love from a fellow reader

About the Book:

The more things change. . . 
As far as Haven is concerned, there’s just too much going on.Everything is changing, and she’s not sure where she fits in.Then her sister’s old boyfriend shows up, sparking memories of the summer when they were all happy and everything was perfect. . . .But along the way, Haven realizes that sometimes change is a good thing.

Be sure to enter to win 
for a chance to win one (1) set of Sarah Dessen’s books in paperback
(ARV: $132.00).
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on April 17, 2017 and 12:00 AM on May 29, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about June 1, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

A Note from the Author:
I've been writing, in one way or another, for as long as I can remember. I was always a big reader, mostly because my parents were. I used to get frustrated with my mom because she bought me books for Christmas when what I really wanted were the gifts my friends got, things like sweaters and jewelry. But I did love to read. When I was eight or nine my parents gave me an old manual typewriter and a little desk in the corner of our den, and I'd sit there and type up my stories. I was the kind of kid that people always sighed over and said, "She has such a wild imagination," which usually meant "I wish Sarah would try to stick to the truth." I have a tendency to embellish: I think it's just a weakness of fiction writers. Once you learn how to make a story better, it's hard not to do it all the time."The books I read when I was teenager, the good ones anyway, have stuck more in my mind than anything since. I still love books, but while I couldn't tell you complete plots of novels I read even six months ago, I do remember even the smallest descriptive details from Lois Lowry's A Summer to Die or Judy Blume's Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. I think it was because back then books were still somewhat new to me, and when I found an author who seemed to say just what I was feeling, it really struck me and resonated. I hope that my books do that for the people who read them: I think it's the best thing to which any writer can aspire. "As far as my other life, my non-writing life, I live in the country with my husband, some lizards, and two dogs who are completely spoiled and rule me completely. I like to work in my garden---although I have not yet perfected the art of keeping everything alive----and, in my weaker moments, shop. I have a bit of an addiction to the Gap clearance rack, to be honest. I have this strange need to buy huge quantities of black pants. How many pairs of black pants does one person need? (Obviously for me, the answer is 11 and counting. But I digress.) What else can I tell you? I love Starbucks mochas but they make me way hyper. I subscribe to too many magazines. I make a mean bean salad. I could go on, but the truth is, my books are much more exciting than I am, and that's a good thing. It's always more fun to make stuff up anyway."

Be sure to come back in a couple weeks to hear my thoughts on a Sarah Dessen book I'm reading for the first time ever!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Ripple by Heather Smith Meloche

When their too-adult lives lead them down self-destructive paths, these broken teens find a way to heal in this YA novel perfect for fans of Ellen Hopkins.

With her impossible-to-please grandmother on her back about college and her disapproving step-dad watching her every move, Tessa would do anything to escape the pressure-cooker she calls home. So she finds a shot of much-needed power and confidence by hooking up with boys, even though it means cheating on her boyfriend. But when she's finally caught red-handed, she’ll do anything she can to cover up what she's done.

Jack is a prankster who bucks the system every chance he gets—each transgression getting riskier and riskier. He loves the thrill, and each adventure allows a little release because his smug smile and suave demeanor in the face of authority doesn’t make life at home with his mom any less tough. He tries to take care of her, but the truth is he's powerless in the face of her fragile mental health. So he copes in his own way, by defacing public property and pulling elaborate pranks, though he knows in the end this’ll only screw up his life even more.

As they both try not to let their self-destructive patterns get the best of them, Tessa and Jack gravitate toward one another, discovering the best parts of themselves in the process. An honest portrayal of the urges that drive us and finding the strength to overcome them.


This was one of those stormy reads with a rainbow'ish ending.... Most of it was dark and gloomy with shocking reveals and painfully flawed characters, but there were tiny slivers of color that brought hope. The plot was pure grit, but the the execution was a flawless piece of art. 

I know this is something I probably shouldn't admit to, but Tessa was like a soul sister. Her pain hit home and I felt so connected to her chapters. The things she did were ugly, but the reasons behind them were real and raw. Often times pain dwindles self worth to the point of no return. It's hard to think positive when you are drowning in negativity. These are the circumstances that she faced daily. You may not like her as a character, but please give her a chance to grow. Her life is anything but easy and the bravery in ink is one every girl should read about. 

I think my only issue was Jack. While I loved his sweet, caring side... His rebel attitude and obnoxious jokes to get out of trouble didn't exactly click with me. I understand why he was the way he was and it was tender and emotional how much he cared for his mom, but cocky and me just don't work. It's not exactly a book flaw, more of a reader flaw. I know Jack had his reasons, but I would have liked to see him crack a little more with the authority to show the vulnerability that I craved. 

All in all, this book is top notch in the ya genre. It brought everything to the table and really pulled out the deep issues I love to read about. I highly recommend it!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Rise of Fire (Reign of Shadows) by Sophie Jordan

The richly suspenseful sequel to Sophie Jordan’s romantic fantasy Reign of Shadows.

Luna and Fowler have escaped the kingdom of Relhok, but they haven’t escaped the darkness. When a battle against the dark dwellers mortally injures Fowler, Luna is faced with a choice: put their fate in the hands of mysterious strangers or risk losing Fowler forever.

Desperate to keep the one bright part of her life alive, Luna accepts the help of soldiers from a nearby kingdom. Lagonia’s castle offers reprieve from the dangerous outside world—until the king discovers both Fowler's and Luna’s true ties to Relhok and their influence over the throne.

Now pawns in each kingdom’s political game, Luna and Fowler are more determined than ever to escape and build the life they’ve been dreaming of. But their own pasts have a tight hold on their hearts and their destinies. Luna must embrace the darkness and fire within her before she loses not only Fowler, but the power she was destined to inherit.


I don't know if it's the fast pace, interesting plot, or abundance of dialogue, but this series stands out among other fantasies. The premise is so dark and eerie, yet the passion within the pages is fire! There are monsters of human and creature form and there are secrets hidden in every corner...
This sequel picks up where book one left off... Luna and Fowler are separated and it's up to Luna to fight the dwellers for Fowler's safety. When she finds him underground though, it is a tad too late. He needs medical attention which leads them both to a new kingdom full of controlling people and hate. When their secrets are revealed the King does everything in his power to betroth them and unite kingdoms. Enter Chasan: The cocky, yet sumptuous prince that favors Luna. I felt so guilty, but I actually REALLY liked him like A LOT. His exterior may have been hard, but beneath the tough layer, was kindness. Luna and Fowler play the King's games for a while, but their ultimate goal is to escape. When they finally break free it's not at all what you expect. HOLY CRAP, Luna is a BADA$$ and that ending!... Just one more reason to love this series.
Why 4 stars you ask? Well book one set the standards too high... In <i>Reign</i> we met new characters, found out secrets, and explored a new creepy world. It's pages of firsts and I don't think any sequel could live up to that kind of perfect. I'm not sure if the Author plans to write a book 3, but I'm pretty sure I'd read infinite books about these characters. It's a fantastic, unique world. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .
Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.
This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

This book can only be described one way, a classic. It's words were like a literary hug... Each one surrounded me, embraced, and slowly seeped into my blood stream. Their impact pulled me in with turmoil and surrounded me with tragedy. It wasn't an easy book to read, but it's one I will never forget.
Liesel may just be my favorite heroine of all time. Her gentleness and immaturity grew into raw bravery and her ugly journey was full of hope. Her story starts with her brother dying and her mother giving her away. She ends up with adoptive parents and a world full of questions. The aggravating boy next door becomes her best friend/first love and a jew moves into her basement. One thing ties all of these things together... Words. The simple, yet complex act of reading brings her family and friends closer. Her papa teaches her love through ink on pages and in the end she returns the favor. Stealing books becomes her thing and what a thing it is...
My heart was filled to the brim while reading this book. It's a different type of historical with a new take on the enemy side. I found myself confused, angry, and sad, but most importantly... overwhelmed by how educated I felt once I finished. The narrator was a unique twist and helped pack the hard punch the story needed. I don't want to say I loved it because to love a story so full of tragedy is a tad morbid, but I did love the overall execution and grit that lined the pages. I loved the love between the characters and I loved the bittersweet ending.

The Forbidden Wish (The Forbidden Wish #1) by Jessica Khoury

She is the most powerful Jinni of all. He is a boy from the streets. Their love will shake the world. . . .
 When Aladdin discovers Zahra's jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn't seen in hundreds of years--a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra's very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes. 


But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity--only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?
As time unravels and her enemies close in, Zahra finds herself suspended between danger and desire in this dazzling retelling of the Aladdin story from acclaimed author Jessica Khoury.

I found myself consumed by the intricate world and overwhelmed by the unique plot... There is just one word to describe it and that word is magical.
It started out slow, but once Aladdin came along, the pace picked up and so did my heart beats. He was such a gorgeously flawed character. I swooned hard and fell more in love as the story progressed. If nothing else, you will love the love story. It's not exactly insta love because there is playful banter, but it's definitely a deep rooted thing that feels hundreds of year aged. It's gorgeous and tragic and just so many words wrapped into one.
I had a few minor issues with the plot, but the scenic descriptions and setting overshadowed those. The book world seriously stole my breath. I could see smoke billowing, darkness falling, and bright colors blooming. Each chapter painted a new picture on my mind and I was entranced to say the least. There were shape shifting Jinns... I mean need I say more? It was a crazy whirlwind adventure that mysteriously found a happily ever after.
I recommend it to middle eastern and retelling readers. The writing is seriously top notch.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.
But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.
Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.


This book was literally everything, everything I hoped for. It was John Green tragic with a quirkiness that left me smiling. Now normally... sarcasm is not for me, but with this book, each playful sentence had a deep rooted meaning. Each word punched you in the gut in the best way possible. I swooned at the epic first love and felt for the characters in a way that I can't quite describe. To say I was hooked is an understatement. I literally could not put it down. I kept saying one more chapter and ended up finishing it the same night.
It's a story about a girl that was raised with a sickness that kept her locked away in her room (a bit like Rapunzel in her tower). What she knows is what she reads and white is her safety zone. When a boy moves in next door though ... she starts seeing in vivid color, bright neons, and soft pastels. Olly, the parkour loving jokester tempts her in all the right ways. Their connection starts via window writing, progresses to emails, and ends with earth shattering, soul connecting touches. Maddy learns that love can overcome fear and that it can also make dying feel worth while. She starts to brave a new world with big ideas and eventually gets urges to feel the earth beneath her toes. Her mother is determined to keep her trapped though so deception is the only way to feel free. One big lie and an epic adventure later and her glass house is shattered.
I was obsessed and still am long after the final page. If you want a fast paced unique read, please go buy this one. I promise you won't be disappointed!
*Filled with family problems, growing up struggles, and control that is out of your hands....

Poison's Kiss (Poison's Kiss #1) by Breeana Shields

A teenage assassin kills with a single kiss until she is ordered to kill the one boy she loves. This commercial YA fantasy is romantic and addictive like-- a poison kiss-- and will thrill fans of Sarah J. Maas and Victoria Aveyard.
Marinda has kissed dozens of boys. They all die afterward. It's a miserable life, but being a visha kanya, a poison maiden, is what she was created to do. Marinda serves the Raja by dispatching his enemies with only her lips as a weapon.

Until now, the men she was ordered to kiss have been strangers, enemies of the kingdom. Then she receives orders to kiss Deven, a boy she knows too well to be convinced he needs to die. She begins to question who she s really working for. And that is a thread that, once pulled, will unravel more than she can afford to lose.

This rich, surprising, and accessible debut is based in Indian folklore and delivers a story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

As far as folklore and fantasy go... This one was top of the line. I found myself instantly sucked into the story and held captive by the twisty plot. The Author's words danced in my mind and the intricate story weaved it's way into my soul.

When Marinda was a child, she was fed on and poisoned by snakes to become immune. Her kisses were made to kill... Growing up she always believed her missions were for the greater good, but when she is given a mission she can't complete, she is forced to pump the brakes and look into her life. Horrific secrets are slowly revealed and when she tries to flee, her brother is taken by the snake king. Together her and the love interest, Deven, embark on a trip to visit the Raja in hopes of help. Help isn't exactly what they find though... Marinda ends up behind bars with a young boy as her only companion. She is determined to save her brother though and in the end, makes a great sacrifice to do so.

Poison's kiss was well written, fast paced, and for the most part, a very likable book. The anticipation kept me on the edge of my seat and the unique plot kept me turning the pages. I did however have a couple of minor issues... One, I needed more romance or at least a better build up to make the romance passionate and believable. Two, I felt the twists were a tad predictable. I knew in Chapter 2 what the next mission would be and I was slight bummed... However, the negative feels were slowly swept under the flawless book world.
The scenic execution was spot on. The pages truly painted vivid pictures in my mind. If I had to guess, I'd say this Author will slowly rise to the top of the fiction world. I look forward to seeing what's next.

The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter

Cassie O’Malley has been trying to keep her head above water—literally and metaphorically—since birth. It’s been two and a half years since Cassie’s mother dumped her in a mental institution against her will, and now, at eighteen, Cassie is finally able to reclaim her life and enter the world on her own terms.
But freedom is a poor match against a lifetime of psychological damage. As Cassie plumbs the depths of her new surroundings, the startling truths she uncovers about her own family narrative make it impossible to cut the tethers of a tumultuous past. And when the unhealthy mother-daughter relationship that defined Cassie’s childhood and adolescence threatens to pull her under once again, Cassie must decide: whose version of history is real? And more important, whose life must she save?

A bold, literary story about the fragile complexities of mothers and daughters and learning to love oneself, The First Time She Drowned reminds us that we must dive deep into our pasts if we are ever to move forward.

This book wrecked me multiple times on multiple levels. Tears filled my eyes and butterflies danced in my stomach... It pulled me in with it's lyrical prose and kept me hooked with the tragic details...

It's a story about an unloved girl trying to make it in her own world. Cass has survived family hatred, abandonment, and years in a mental hospital... When she gets a chance at normalcy (college, friends, classes etc.), it's not exactly as easy as one might think. Actually, it feels as though she is just continuing her never ending tread to keep her head above water... She nearly drowns, is pulled back into her mothers web, and slowly remembers horrors from the past. She wants a new friend and a new love, but can't help but push them away in fear of being used or abandoned again. It takes time, hard work, and a little self exploration, but eventually she finds the key to staying afloat.

This was seriously one of the best books I've ever read. It was gritty and real and everything I love about YA contemporary. There were flaws in the characters and hurt in the words, but the progression throughout the book was a beautiful transformation of pure bravery and ultimate survival. I loved it and highly recommend that readers of all ages read it!