Monday, June 29, 2015

Reading Rundown

Some Kind of Normal
by: Juliana Stone

Should you read it?: Maybe
...if you want a young adult romance with some unique perspectives.
Category: Young Adult

I really enjoyed this book. I loved that the characters have different backgrounds than in most books you’ve read. The main characters are the daughter of a pastor and a boy who was in a car accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury. She is tutoring him for the summer and it was just a really interesting take on a relationship developing. There were definitely surprises in the story and I found myself pleasantly surprised with the direction everything took. It was enjoyable, but not one of my favorites.

Finished on June 22, 2015
Book 50 for 2015

by: Katy Evans

Should you read it?: Maybe
...if you like MMA fighting love stories.
Category: New Adult

This is about an underground fighter and a girl who is hired to be his sports rehab specialist. This was another one where the backgrounds of the characters was different than what you normally see. I tend to really like books about fighters! I really loved it. It is one of the steamier ones I’ve read, but it had enough character development and good writing that I would give it a yes if you already like New Adult books.

Finished on June 23, 2015
Book 51 for 2015

All Lined Up
by: Cora Carmack

Should you read it?: Maybe
...if you liked Friday Night Lights.
Category: New Adult

This is about the daughter of a football coach and a guy who is the second-string quarterback trying to earn a scholarship and first-string place on the team. It definitely reminded me of Friday Night Lights with all the Texas football and I mean that in the best way. I enjoyed it a lot and am interested in possibly reading more from the series.

Finished on June 24, 2015
Book 52 for 2015

by: Kelly Williams Brown

Should you read it?: Maybe
...if you like lists and want some interesting life tips.
Category: Non-fiction

How to become a grown-up in 468 easy(ish) steps. This book was fun. I definitely found a few parts really helpful - like the basic cleaning supplies you need & a few reminders of what is and isn’t important in relationships in various contexts. There were several parts I wasn’t interested in - like dating - and several parts I didn’t necessarily agree with - like appropriate conversation topics (lol). But overall it was a fun read.

Finished on June 26, 2015
Book 54 for 2015

Love Unscripted

Love Unscripted
by: Tina Reber

Should you read it?: Maybe
...if you have some major reading stamina.
Category: Adult

A movie star and a bar owner from Seaside, Rhode Island develop a relationship while he is in town filming a movie. They both have trust issues and he obviously has major paparazzi issues. Lots of things threatening to tear them apart as they try to be together.

Things I LIked: I definitely enjoyed the story. There was tension, heat, love, lots of character & relationship development. The entire 600+ page book takes place over maybe a 2-3 month period, so there is more character & relationship development than there is in other books.

I appreciated the fact that this one didn’t have them breaking up over & over to deal with everything. I’ve read other books with movie stars & “common folk” and they break up and spend tons of time apart. With this one, they actually committed to working through it and I appreciated that they did that - that the way they developed drama was different than other books with similar topics.

I loved her friends!! Pete, Gary, Tammy, Marie! They were great!! I really enjoyed that side of it and again - I love the relationships!!

Things I Didn’t: First of all, this could have been at least 100 pages shorter and it probably would’ve been better. There came a point where it was just dragging on.

Some of the conflict that was created with the other characters was a little overkill. Especially with the one toward the end (trying to avoid spoilers). I can say that people definitely tried to tear them apart and I just didn’t always understand the motivations behind those things. Some of it felt a little forced.

Overall: Good, very long, story.

Finished on June 28, 2015

Book 55 for 2015

The Mason List

The Mason List
by: SD Hendrickson

Should you read it?: Yes
Category: New Adult

From Amazon: When I was eight, my mother was dying of cancer, my father lost his job, and the bank kicked us out of our house. I was forced to move to the strange town of Arlis, Texas where my father and I slept in our car in the hospital parking lot. Desperate and hopeless, we lived on fumes of our former life.

Then one night, everything changed forever. A knock on the car window brought a family into my life that I only wanted to shut out. I hated charity and I hated the Masons. Well, except one. He made it impossible to hate him.

Jess Mason had the biggest blue eyes and ornery smile of any boy I had ever seen. He was a ray of sunshine in my dark world. A boy full of adventure, dragging me across the meadow of Sprayberry Ranch; a beautiful Texas paradise full of horses and tree houses that got us into more trouble than anyone ever imagined.

Jess was my everything as a kid until we grew up and the rules changed. Instead of living happily ever after with a boy full of love. . . I destroyed it.

Things I Liked: I LOVED seeing the development of their relationship over the course of their lives. It’s not something I need in every single book I read because it did take a lot of time to get through all of it, but it was so great to dive through all that and see how it came to be - how friendship turned to love.

I loved the character of Jess Mason. He is so true to her and such a great friend. He’s also so fun and he works hard and he just was a fun book boyfriend to read about!

Things I Didn’t: Okay, I was a little annoyed by Alex throughout this book. Granted I have never been in her situation, but there were several times when I was just like COME ON!!!! I may have yelled at her a few times…

Overall: Seriously epic.

Finished on June 26, 2015
Book 53 for 2015

The 5 Stages of Falling in Love

The 5 Stages of Falling in Love
by: Rachel Higginson

Should you read it?: Yes
Category: Adult

From Amazon: Elizabeth Carlson is living in the pits of hell- also known as grief. Her husband of eight years, the father of her four children and the love of her life, died from cancer. Grady's prognosis was grim, even from the start, but Liz never gave up hope he would survive. How could she, when he was everything to her?

Six months later, she is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life and get the kids to school on time. Both seem impossible. Everything seems impossible these days.

When Ben Tyler moves in next door, she is drowning in sorrow and pain, her children are acting out, and the house is falling apart. She has no time for curious new friends or unwanted help, but Ben gives her both. And he doesn't just want to help her with yard work or cleaning the gutters. Ben wants more from Liz. More than she's capable of ever giving again.

As Liz mourns her dead husband and works her way through the five stages of grief, she finds there's more of her heart to give than she thought possible. And as new love takes hold, she peels away the guilt and heartache, and discovers there's more to life than death.

Things I Liked: I was really nervous to read this and I did have to start it a couple of times until I could get through the first part, but when I finally got past the first couple of chapters, I became a lot more comfortable reading it than I expected. It actually wrote grief and loss so perfectly without making me totally depressed.

The relationship between Ben and Liz developed so well. I didn’t feel upset with her about it. I was worried I would. I appreciated the way the author did it. It was just really well done.

And Ben!! Oh my goodness he is possibly the perfect male character. He doesn’t push, he is so understanding. he is respectful, responsible, just overall totally perfect for what was going on and what Liz needed. I loved him.

I also really loved the relationship between Liz and her sister. The way they did all the family relationships was just really enjoyable for me. I’ve learned over the last year and a half that one of the major things that determines whether or not I like a book is how the relationships are written. This one was done really well.

Things I Didn’t: I don’t know that there was anything about the book or the writing itself that I didn’t like. I had a hard time with the beginning only because I internalize a little too much and I have a hard time reading about things that I fear happening in my real life. But like I said above, I was fine after the first couple of chapters.

Overall: An excellent insight into grief and new love afterwards.

Finished on June 21, 2015

Book 49 for 2015

Monday, June 15, 2015

Reading Rundown

Summer is here & I'm blowing through some books!!! So here's a bunch I've read lately.

The Truth About Us
by: Janet Gurtler
Should you read it?: Maybe
...if you like coming of age Young Adult.
Category: Young Adult

I loved that this is a different kind of take on the opposites attract idea. The girl is the one getting into trouble and the guy is really good. They meet at a shelter that provides free food & the girl is volunteering (as required by her dad) while the guy is there to get meals. It was definitely a little more unique than a lot of young adult I've read. I definitely enjoyed it.

Finished on June 6, 2015
Book 43 for 2015

Beautiful Sacrifice
by: Jamie McGuire
Should you read it?: Maybe
...if you've read the other Maddox Brothers books.
Category: New Adult

This is the newest Maddox Brothers book by Jamie McGuire. The series started with Beautiful Disaster and so far none of the others even hold a candle to how good that one was, but I still enjoy them all. This one was about Taylor Maddox - one of the twins. There was also plenty of hinting at Tyler Maddox's story, so she better finish it all up with his!! I will say that at this point, I feel super protective of those Maddox boys. I just love them and in this one, I wasn't quite as all about the female lead as I was in other books because I just wasn't sure she was good enough for him. But it was still super enjoyable.

Finished on June 8, 2015
Book 44 for 2015

Trouble From the Start
by: Rachel Hawthorne
Should you read it?: Maybe
...if you like good girl/bad guy Young Adult.
Category: Young Adult

This was another young adult romance. I enjoyed it, especially the fact that the heroine isn't your typical girl. She's over 6 feet tall & she's very inexperienced in terms of dating. I liked that she was inexperienced, but also not just trying to throw caution to the wind and "explore." She was definitely somebody I respected. I enjoyed this one as well. It was a great, quick summer read.

Finished on June 9, 2015
Book 45 for 2015

Love Story
by: Jennifer Echols
Should you read it?: Yes
Category: Young Adult

Okay, this book. I have thought and thought about what all I want to say about this, but I've decided that less is more. I will say that this cemented the fact that I will be reading as many Jennifer Echols books as I can get my hands on. I loved her character development. I loved the relationship development. I LOVED the fact that the whole premise of this was so different than anything I had read before. She writes young adult, but there was a deeper side to it that was really interesting for me. I am so interested to read more of hers!! If you like young adult, read this.

Finished on June 10, 2015
Book 46 for 2015

Bad Romeo & Broken Juliet
by: Leisa Rayven
Should you read it?: Yes
Category: New Adult

OH MY GOSH. I finished these SO fast. My friend Jennifer had warned me that there is a cliffhanger in the first one that will just kill you and I didn't heed her advice. I finished it at 12:30am and immediately purchased the 2nd on my Kindle and read for another hour. I liked the as much as, if not more than the first! They're just so so good. Now, they're pretty steamy and definitely have quite a bit of language, but as far as character development, interesting/unique storylines and major tension, these are definitely on top of it. If you like New Adult at all, you will LOVE these.

Finished both on June 12, 2015 (finished the first at 12:30am and then finished the 2nd one about 11:00pm that night!)
Book 47 and 48 for 2015

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Eversea & Forever, Jack

Eversea & Forever, Jack
by: Natasha Boyd

Should You Read Them?: Maybe
...if you think you'd like a little more steamy Nicholas Sparks book.
Category: New Adult

From Amazon (Eversea): An orphaned, small-town, southern girl, held hostage by responsibility and self-doubt. A Hollywood A-list mega-star, on the run from his latest scandal and with everything to lose. A chance encounter that leads to an unlikely arrangement and epic love affair that will change them both forever.

Things I Liked: 
For one, I liked that it really did remind me of a Nicholas Sparks book. It takes place near Hilton Head on the beach. I loved that setting and the small town feel of the whole thing.

I am always kind-of intrigued by the big time guys or girls who sweep in for the other person, whether that's a Hollywood star or a billionaire. I did like that this one explored a lot of the reasons why the other person wouldn't want a relationship with that kind of publicity. It was a more realistic take in my opinion.

I liked Keri Ann's independence, even if it did at times annoy me to death. I respected that about her.

Things I Didn't:
Maybe I'm super naive, but I can't imagine that Hollywood is really like what it was depicted as in this - that people would have contracts that require them to stay in a relationship with someone. Is that just me?? It seemed crazy.

I am always super frustrated when someone says they are in love with someone after like 2 weeks. Ridiculous. Somehow I still held on, though to finish both books, so take that for whatever it must mean about them as a whole.

Keri Ann's independence, while totally respectable, also bugged the snot out of me toward the end. Just let it go.

Overall: I liked the 2nd one better than the first, so take them as a set if you're going to read them.

Finished on June 1 & 3, 2015
Book 40 and 42 for 2015

The Fill-In Boyfriend

The Fill-In Boyfriend
by: Kasie West

Should you read it?: Yes
Category: Young Adult

From Amazon: When Gia Montgomery's boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she decides to do the unthinkable…convince the cute guy waiting to pick up his sister to pretend to be her boyfriend for the night. The task is simple: two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. The problem is that days after prom, she can't stop thinking about her fill-in boyfriend. But can Gia turn her fake boyfriend into a real one without exposing her lie and possibly destroying her friendships and her newfound relationship?

Things I Liked: 
I think my favorite thing about all Kasie West books is that they are just exactly why I like Young Adult in the first place. They're all about exploring that transitional time in life and learning things about yourself and those around you as you go. They're awkward and have flawed characters, but not overly flawed like some New Adult books and not ridiculously out of touch like some others.

I like that this brought up some real social media and validation issues that are very real, without being too ridiculous or forced.

I think "Fill-In Bradley" is an absolutely adorably perfect book boyfriend! He's cute & confident, but he's also nerdy! He loves his family, but he also has his own trust issues he has to deal with. Perfectly flawed in the best way. I loved him.

I also liked that it had just as much to do with the friendship issues between Gia, Claire & Jules as it did about Gia & "Fill-in Bradley." It's just overall a coming of age story where she's learning how to treat her friends, how to deal with difficult people, how to address her parents' issues and how to interact with her brother.

Things I Didn't:
I hate saying there wasn't anything I didn't like, but there really wasn't. The only thing that seemed slightly ridiculous was the character of Jules. I just didn't know anybody that vindictive growing up, so it seemed a little out there, but maybe I was just lucky.

Overall: An adorable coming-of-age story!

Finished on June 2, 2015
Book 41 for 2015

Monday, June 1, 2015

The Heir

The Heir
by: Kiera Cass

Should you read it?: Yes
Category: Young Adult

From Amazon: Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won Prince Maxon's heart. Now the time has come for Princess Eadlyn to hold a Selection of her own. Eadlyn doesn't expect her Selection to be anything like her parents' fairy-tale love story...but as the competition begins, she may discover that finding her own happily ever after isn't as impossible as she's always thought.

Things I Liked:
For one, I'm just super stoked that she is continuing this story!! I was nervous to read another one because I was afraid that it wouldn't be as good as the first 3. I was so wrong and so happy to be wrong.

I love reading about a Selection from the selector's standpoint. Getting to see it from Eadlyn's point of view is fun. In The Selection, you are reading everything from America's point of view, so you only really get to know her well and the few girls she gets close to. You don't get to see how it is for Maxon having to eliminate girls and get to know all the girls. This time you get to see Eadlyn struggle through all of it and get to know the different guys. I loved that.

I very much enjoyed being surprised several times. Kiera Cass writes very well and does a great job of making all the guys different and memorable and also interesting.

I enjoyed several of the guys. I can't tell which way it's going to go or who she is leaning towards! I have a few favorites, but it isn't like The Selection series where there is a love triangle. I have about 4 that I'd be happy with her ending up with, all for different reasons!!


Things I Didn't:
At the same time, I did not know there were going to be more, so the fact that it ends with a cliffhanger kind of was so frustrating!!! I thought the whole time that it would wrap up and I kept looking at the number of pages left thinking, "that just isn't enough for everything that needs to happen!" And I was right. Which was both sad and happy.

Overall: This series is one of my absolute favorites.

Finished on May 31, 2015
Book 39 for 2015

Reading Rundown

Catching up before summer, I thought it was time for a little reading rundown. These are all the ones I've read, but haven't really said enough about yet on the blog. I normally read the most in June-August, so I wanted to do a little review-dump. I've organized them a little to help.

Beauty from Pain series 
by Georgia Cates
Should you read it: Maybe...
...if you can deal with some pretty steamy scenes.
I enjoyed these, but they were pretty steamy. I wouldn't recommend them to everyone, but they were okay. I definitely liked the first 2 more than the 3rd one. I felt like by the 3rd one, they were just creating drama out of nowhere. It wasn't my favorite. But I did like how the character's stories ended up.

Marked Men series 
by Jay Crownover
Should you read it: Maybe...
...if you're okay with tattoos & piercings.
These each focus on a different guy in the same friend group. Those kinds of books are usually hit or miss for me in terms of whether or not they can keep my attention through the whole thing. This one did a great job of keeping me engaged the entire time! I loved every single book just as much as all the others, which is truly rare for me. I really enjoyed the characters. I feel like I would hang out with them in real life. They were dynamic and interesting, but again this series is pretty steamy, so I don't recommend it to everyone. Most of the guys - and girls for that matter - are tattooed & pierced & there is some talk about that. Doesn't bother me, but I could see some of my friends not loving it.

Young Adult
My Life Next Door & What I Thought Was True 
by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Should you read it: My Life Next Door - Yes; What I Thought Was True: Maybe...
These are 2 separate standalones, but they're written by the same author. I read My Life Next Door first and I loved it. It's by far my favorite of the two, but I still enjoyed the other as well. I will definitely be on the lookout for more Huntley Fitzpatrick books. They remind me a lot of Kasie West books and I mean that in a really good way.

Love, Lucy 
by April Lindner
Should you read it: Maybe...
...if you're looking for a cute travel story or something easy to read on the beach.
This is just a cute story about a girl spending her summer in Europe and meeting another American guy doing the same. It was fun, cute, a great beach read.

On the Edge 
by Allison van Diepen
Should you read it: Maybe...
...if you liked the Perfect Chemistry series.
This reminded me a LOT of the Perfect Chemistry series by Simone Elkeles. It's another gang-related kind of thing. Seemingly bad guy with a good heart & a good girl. I liked it. Not my absolute favorite, but if you enjoyed the Perfect Chemistry series, you'd like this. (If you haven't read the Perfect Chemistry series, pick it up, too & just give all of them a try!)

Pivot Point 
by Kasie West
Should you read it: Maybe...
...actually, it's a probably, because Kasie West is great.
All the Kasie West books I've read so far have been contemporary young adult romance. This was still a contemporary romance, but with a paranormal kind of twist where the girl has the ability to search out what will happen in her future based on two different choices she could make. It centers around her following 2 possible choices and you get to see both sides throughout the story. I really liked it a lot & I'm looking forward to reading the second one!

Never Never: Part Two 
by Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher
Should you read it: Yes, so fun.
This was the second novella in the novella series. It was just as good as the first. You got a little more info, but were still left with so many questions!! I cannot wait for the next one!!! It's a mystery/suspense one, so definitely a fun one.

New Adult
The Deal 
by Elle Kennedy
Should you read it: Maybe...
...if you're just looking for another New Adult book to pass the time.
This one was pretty good. I am still debating whether or not I will read another in the series as it's one that follows a different character with the next book.

Last Will and Testament 
by Dahlia Adler
Should you read it: No 
I just think there's so many better ones than this.
I just can't decide how I feel about this one. It was okay, had a LOT of typos, which is always so frustrating to me, but sometimes I can get past it if I'm engaged with the story enough. I could not get past it in this one. I also felt that some of the drama was just created for no reason, it didn't flow well. But I liked the end & the resolution of it all. I'm just not sure.

When I'm Gone 
by Abbi Glines
Should you read it: Maybe...
...if you've read the other Rosemary Beach books.
So last summer, I read my first Abbi Glines book & I just wasn't sure about it. I've read a lot since then and while none of them are just my favorites, I do read all of them super quickly & I always get fairly sucked into the characters. I may have to try the Sea Breeze books again since I'm just making my way through these Rosemary Beach ones.

The Longest Ride 
by Nicholas Sparks
Should you read it: Maybe...
...if you like Nicholas Sparks in general.

This was just as good as all the other Nicholas Sparks books, and I mean that in both a good and bad way. I enjoy all of his, but I couldn't read them really close together. I enjoy the fact that there is always a good year or so in between the time I read another one because they're all very similar. Good, but similar. The Notebook as the only one I'd probably consider really great.

May 2015: Month in Review

Number of Books Read: 9

Favorite: The Heir by: Kiera Cass

The Longest Ride by: Nicholas Sparks
Pivot Point by: Kasie West
What I Thought Was True by: Huntley Fitzpatrick
Asa by: Jay Crownover
The Deal by: Elle Kennedy
Last Will and Testament by: Dahlia Adler
Never Never: Part Two by: Collen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher
When I’m Gone by: Abbi Glines

The Heir by: Kiera Cass

I had to read The Longest Ride before seeing the movie. It was a Nicholas Sparks & all that entails. I liked it, but I don't know if any will ever gut me like The Notebook. Pivot Point was unique & an interesting change from Kasie West's normal books. Another Huntley Fitzpatrick was on the list, of course. I read the last Marked Men book & I can't wait for the spinoff series she's writing. The rest were fine, but The Heir was my favorite!! I thought that was going to be a standalone story about America & Maxon's daughter. I was SO wrong and in a total book hangover waiting for the next one in the series! I'm mad I didn't know it would have a cliffhanger, but I'm also SO happy the series isn't over!!!!