Monday, May 25, 2015

Book Review: Nowhere But Here

Author: Katie McGarry
ISBN: 0373211422
Book Genre: YA Contemporary
Release Date: May 26th 2015
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Book Source: NetGalley


Goodreads Synopsis:

 McGarry about taking risks, opening your heart and ending up in a place you never imagined possible.
Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she's curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn't mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both. 
Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They're the good guys. They protect people. They're…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club's most respected member—is in town, he's gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it's his shot at his dream. What he doesn't count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down. 
No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.

Review:

Katie McGarry has a thing where she gives you a particular setting with a character so opinionated on a particular topic. The protagonist always has a valid reason for said opinion and presumed truth. But, as the story proceeds, every opinion the reader and the protagonist had are torn into shreds. I kind of love that as well as the creative ways she makes that happen, and the journey you take with the protagonists throughout the story. I anticipated it and was sure there was more to the story than meets the eye. I'm just really happy I didn't see it coming and was surprised by the ending. Not many stories can manage that.

I am so deeply enamored with the "Pushing the Limits" series, and as much as I admire her as an author, and adore everything she's written so far, I have to admit I was a bit wary. I read a bunch of books on gangs and motorcycle clubs before, and they scare me because of the inevitable heartache that comes along with it. I'm not saying her other stories didn't have any heartache, let's face it I bawled like a baby with Pushing the Limits. But here, police can't serve as a justice enforcer as a way to solve the problem. Gangs don't work that way, so I was prepared for the worst.

The story is about Emily, a normal girl with a bunch of fears, living a normal quiet, safe life. She's adopted and loves her dad, but isn't really fond of the moments she had to spend with her biological father. When her parents receive an email informing them that Eli, Emily's biological father, his mother died, which in turn made Emily's mother freak out and want to make her small family go to attend the funeral. But then, insanity ensues as Emily suddenly stumbles into a conflict between two gangs and she's forced to spend time with Eli and his family, as well as be forced to have Oz as her 'babysitter', to make sure she's safe.

Initially, I actually wasn't that big a fan of both Emily and Oz. I found them annoying.  But as the story went on, and I got to know more about them and their stories, I got to learn more about their fears, insecurities, loyalties and the buttons that made them click. I absolutely love the character depth in the story and that I got to learn more about them both.

My nerves were on end throughout the entire story as I was very terrified of what will be happening at the end. It was such an incredible, well rounded story that took me on a very emotional ride. I laughed and cried a lot, which in my book meant that it was a very well written book. I enjoyed following the story as it unravelled, and seeing the characters develop, change, and grow up by the end of the book. I was gripped and had a hard time stopping, I couldn't manage until I was completely done with the story to be honest.

Rating: 5/5!

I can't wait for it to come out and for me to get my own book. Not to mention I need to know what happened with Violet and Chevy, like need to know. It's been messing with my mind wanting to know what happened there.

For now, I've got these cool bookmarks to tide me over!


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Breathe, Annie, Breathe: Review

Title: Breathe, Annie, Breathe
Author: Miranda Kenneally
ISBN: 1492608661 
Book Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Release Date: July 15th 2014
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Book Source: NetGalley


Goodreads Synopsis:

Annie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can’t escape the guilt that if she hadn’t broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race.
But the training is even more grueling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she’s at war with her body, her mind—and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms…and sprint in the opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line.


Review:

I have to be honest, the first time I read the synopsis for this story, I was completely certain I'll hate it. I thought it would be too sad, and just not my kind of story at all. However, once I started reading books by Miranda Kenneally, I fell in love with her style and some part of me thought that maybe I should give this one a chance. I'm so glad I did.

Off the bat I need to just say something, if I EVER end up with someone, I want it to be someone exactly like Jeremiah. There, I said it. I'd steal him too if it's possible. Sorry Annie, but I'd definitely keep him. He's incredible, sweet, patient, encouraging and so understanding. I absolutely loved him. Granted, some of his adrenaline junkie ways worry me, but if I'm being honest, I'd love someone to push me into doing those kinds of things. Bungee jumping, Sky diving, all sorts of other crazy things he's hooked up on. I love it.

My favourite part of this story is how both characters are struggling with things, they felt essentially real and I quite enjoyed getting to know both of them. I really loved that Annie was doing this for her dead ex-boyfriend, though there are some things there I wish were addressed by the end of the story, but it was still great. I liked the character development and the struggle of trying to achieve this dream for Kyle. I enjoyed the schedule and the updates every now and then. I liked how it wasn't easy and how the author made it so that we could see how hard it was for Annie and how challenging it was. I'd contemplated doing this so many times myself, but I was honestly never brave enough for it, it sounds like a very vigorous, hard and stressful training routine to up your stamina for a marathon. I applaud her for it, and honestly wish I could do it. I'm also jealous because she had such a great support system in everyone around her, pushing her to do it, fighting with her to keep her on track. Does she not realize how lucky she is?

There's dealing with lost friendships, finding yourself but not letting particular things define you. It's about overcoming your challenges, but also finding ways to forgive people around you and working hard. It's about not giving up. It made me cry, laugh and have a very emotional ride overall.

This was such an incredible story, my absolute favourite in the series, and I loved the character interaction, especially with both Jere and Annie, it was epic. The writing was incredible as well. I can't wait for more from the author.

Some of my favourite quotes:

"A boy should fit into your life - not become it. High school is when you start to define yourself. Don't define yourself as the girl who has a boyfriend and nothing else."

"Maybe you don't have to figure out life at all. Maybe it just is."

"All decisions are different in hindsight. Maybe all we can do is make the best decisions we can in the moment, using the best information we have right then."

Reasons why I LOVED Jeremiah:

"If you don't put yourself out there, if you don't take risks, you can't truly feel."

"You make me feel three times the rush of skydiving or bungee jumping... I felt the biggest rush of my life when you said you loved me."

"I can't. I can't. It hurts."My stomach feels like it got turned inside out. I lean over and get sick again, right in front of him. I clutch my side. He suddenly stands up. I grossed him out.But then I feel him sitting down behind me, stretching his legs to cradle mine. His arms circle my middle. "I've got you. Relax."I lean against his chest, working to catch my breath. [...]Jeremiah whispers in my ear, "You are going to finish this for him. You will."That just makes me cry harder. I blink away my tears, staring at Jeremiah over my shoulder."Kyle's counting on you, Annie."

Rating: 5/5!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Flirting With Scandal : Review

Title: Flirting With Scandal
Author: Chanel Cleeton
ISBN: 0698193601
Book Genre: New Adult Contemporary
Release Date: 19th May 2015
Publisher: Intermix
Book Source: NetGalley


Goodreads Synopsis:

Jackie Gardner knows all about dirty little secrets. The illegitimate daughter of one of the most influential senators in Washington, D.C., she grew up surrounded by the scandals and shadows of politics. Now that she's landed an internship with a powerful political consulting firm, she's determined to launch her career and take this city by storm.
William Andrew Clayton was born for politics. He knows the drill: work hard, play discreetly, and at all costs, avoid scandal. At twenty-six, his campaign for the Virginia State Senate is the first step to cementing his future. It's time for him to settle down, to find the perfect political spouse. He needs a Jackie Kennedy, not a Marilyn... 
When Jackie meets Will in the bar of the Hay-Adams Hotel, sparks fly. But the last thing Will needs is to be caught in a compromising position, and an affair with a political candidate could cost Jackie her career. When what began as one steamy night, becomes a passion neither one of them can walk way from, they must decide if what they have is really love, or just another dirty little secret.



Review:

I'm hopelessly in love with Chanel Cleeton's New Adult books. I was so into the International School series. I remember raving about it on both my blog and my youtube channel. So, I was definitely looking forward to reading this new book, though I was uncertain if I'll like it as much. I did, I might have even loved it more.

I think the most thing I loved about the story was how different it was from Chanel's other work, not just with the premise. It was unique and full of all these interesting and very well- developed characters. I enjoyed seeing their transformations throughout the book. I enjoyed their interactions, and Will in particular was incredible for me, there was something about such an innocent and sweet character that's so different to both Samir and Max that made me absolutely adore him.

I finished the book in less time than I had anticipated and enjoyed every minute reading it. I'm very impatiently waiting for the next book in this series because I'm absolutely in love and jumpy as hell, especially with the chapter sample from the next book. That was torturous. The writing was as great as always, the characters well-rounded, and the book very fun to read.

Rating: 4.5/5!

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Secrets of Attraction Book Review

Author: Robin Constantine
ISBN: 006227953X
Book Genre: YA Contemporary
Release Date: April 28th 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Book Source: Edelweiss


Goodreads Synopsis:

Set in the same world as The Promise of Amazing, this smart, surprising, and romantic follow-up to Robin Constantine's debut novel follows two New Jersey teens as they become friends and fall in love. Perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins, Sarah Mlynowski, and Jennifer E. Smith.
Madison Pryce thinks she's got everything figured out—she's working on a portfolio for a summer art program and hanging with her friends. Plus she has her hot boyfriend, Zach. But then a visit from a family friend turns Maddie's life upside down.
Jesse McMann is still reeling from a breakup that shattered his heart and his band. Then pride (and some goading from his bass player and fellow barista) forces him to find a new drummer—and the inspiration to write music again.
Kismet arrives in the unlikely form of Grayson Barrett, who tries out for Jesse's band, and whose girlfriend is BFFs with the cute girl who orders a chai latte after yoga every Thursday: Maddie. What Jesse and Maddie thought they knew about the secrets of attraction and the rules of romance changes once they start falling for each other.


Review:

I was a huge fan of the first book in this series, The Promise of Amazing, so I was genuinely excited to read this one. I absolutely loved it as well!

 Recently I felt like there's a standard way characters react throughout a book when they're suffering from a break up due to their boyfriend/girlfriend cheating on them, especially when it was with their supposed best friend. Admittedly, I feel like the relationship between Jesse and Duncan wasn't explored more than Jesse saying he was his best friend and that they'd known each other forever being in the same band. So yes, I get why Jesse would kick him out, but I wanted more on their story, their friendship, even if they never got it back. I'm disappointed that didn't happen. However, I'm impressed with the unique take on his character. He didn't slut shame Hannah and hate her, he didn't call her names with his friends and vow to make her miserable. He genuinely cared about her, he was still in love with her and didn't lash out to be mean and show he was over her. He even told her he wanted her to be happy, he just didn't want to see it if it was with Duncan. Jesse was a pretty fabulous guy. The focus of the story was more on him accepting how he was part of the reason it happened, how it feels different when the right person comes into the picture.

With Madison, she's always been close with her mother since it was just the two of them. Which is how she was roped into yoga, but it seems that led to more serious things than she had expected. Madison wasn't big on PDA or sure how to react to big gestures from paramours, she liked being in control, which is why her interest in Jesse threw her for a loop. I like that their love wasn't at first sight, that it grew and simmered until it just happened. I also love that when secrets came out with her mother she had a very mature approach, that she didn't want to run away or get drunk/high to forget about it. She was upset, and yes ignored her mother a little, and yes they fought and didn't speak for a bit, but she never told her mother out loud she hated her. She was struggling with the news, but she knew in her mind that their fight will end, that they're a team and that they'll always be that way, it was just hard to come to terms with this news.

Basically, yes. I loved the book, so much more than the first one even and I can't wait to read more by the author, she's incredible! Also, I kind of want someone like Jesse. 

Rating: 5/5!