Review | How to Keep Rolling After A Fall – Karole Cozzo

book-review

How to Keep Rolling After A Fall by Karole Cozzo

272 pages
Published: August 2, 2015 by Swoon Reads
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Fiction, Romance

Summary:

After a cyber bullying incident turns her life upside down, a handsome wheelchair rugby player shows a former mean girl that everyone deserves a second chance.

The party was at her house. The photos were posted to her Facebook account. That’s all the evidence anyone needed to condemn Nikki Baylor for a cyberbullying incident that humiliated a classmate and nearly resulted in the girl’s suicide. Now Nikki’s been expelled from her old school, her friends have abandoned her, and even her own parents can’t look her in the eye. With her plans for the future all but destroyed, Nikki resigns herself to being the girl everyone hates – almost as much as she hates herself. But then Nikki meets Pax, a spirited wheelchair rugby player who knows what it’s like when one mistake completely shatters your life. Refusing to judge her because of her past, he shows her that everyone deserves a second chance… and everyone deserves to be loved.

Review:

I was introduced to Karole Cozzo through Netgalley when I read her first book… and I LOVED it! I even went out afterwards to buy it. I was so excited for her next book and immediately bought this when it came out. It took me longer to actually get to it (TBR lists that never end!) BUT I finally did and boy do I regret waiting. I love Cozzo’s writing style and how it elicits so much emotions. I don’t really have anything in common with Nikki, nothing at all really. However, I was able to connect with her. I felt what she felt and understood her. Her situation is tricky because she is caught in the cyber bullying incident. She isn’t directly responsible for it but she didn’t stop it either. However, as you read on, you can tell she really did felt remorse. The outcome of her taking the fall for the cyber bullying was incredibly hard and how she is treated by both her family and her “best friends” was truly heartbreaking.

Enter Pax – who is everything that I would want in a guy. He’s the total opposite of me and of Nikki. He’s very uplifting and positive. He’s charming and funny (wait guys, I’m funny too, so not the TOTAL opposite of me haha). Anyway, he is going through his own challenges and because of some bad choices, he was paralyzed. I like how he has come to terms with what happened but that he also still struggles, especially when it comes to Nikki. I love the way their relationship was weaved together. They definitely bring each other up. At first, it only felt like Pax was helping Nikki out but then you see the synergistic (big fancy word I learned in nutrition lol) effect of their relationship. Basically, they work together to produce a greater effect.

What I love about this book was all the struggles they went through – aye does that make me sound like a sadistic reader? Let me explain. I love their challenges because you get to see how they worked to overcome it. I liked that there wasn’t this simple solution and that it just wasn’t done overnight. They worked hard for it. I mean, it also added the drama, which HELLOOOO! Bring out the tissues! I also liked that it dealt with cyber bullying. I feel like that form of bullying is increasing nowadays with the technology and even though it kind of was like PSA, it didn’t feel like one. There are dangers to cyber bullying and ignoring it or letting it happen doesn’t help the victim. Well, that’s my PSA of that day.

Review | White Hot Kiss – Jennifer L. Armentrout

book-review

White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout

The Dark Elements #1

348 pages
Published: February 25, 2014 by Harlequin Teen
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Summary:

One kiss could be the last.

Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she’s anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses.

Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she’s crushed on since forever.

Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she’s not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn’t an issue, considering Roth has no soul.

But when Layla discovers she’s the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne… it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world.

Review:

To be completely honest, I did not know what to expect with this one. I absolutely love anything and everything from Jennifer L. Armentrout. But I admit, the cover and the title threw me off. It was pre-judgment on my part but who else hasn’t judged a book by it’s cover. I seriously don’t know how she does it! Every. Single. Time. I read her books and she pulls me into the world and makes me addicted. White Hot Kiss is no different! I cannot wait to read more from the series. I was really hesitant at first about the whole gargoyles but hey! It’s a new topic and it was cool.

The main character is half Gargoyle/”Warden” and half demon. You know with that kind of DNA she is bound to be something special. She lives with Wardens, who protect the world and she is raised into believing that demons are the big bad wolves. (Aren’t they always?) Anyway, her purpose with the Wardens come into question when she meets the demon Roth. Layla is in luuuurve with her best friend Zayne but it’s a huge no-no because she’s half demon (the whole soul sucking thing) and they can’t have kids to increase the Warden population. I loved both Zayne and Roth, for different reasons. They are very different in personality but they are similar in how much they care for Layla and want to protect her … it’s just displayed in a different way.

Other than having amazing characters, the plot was so fantastic! It kept you on the edge. It had romance, friendship, action, and you know lots of drama to keep you glued to the pages. Now there are some frustrating scenes with Zayne but in the end, you can tell how much he does care and love Layla. Now that ending, prepárate! (Get ready/prepare yourself). It’s intense and shocking and it will leave you crying on the floor! It was so surprising. I cried a lot haha.

Review | By Your Side – Kasie West

book-review

By Your Side by Kasie West

346 pages
Published: January 31, 2017 by Harper Teen
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Fiction, Romance

Summary:

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

Review:

Kasie West books are always an auto-buy for me. I fell in love with her contemporaries and her writing style exactly one year ago when I binge read all her published contemporaries. I love the way they made me feel. They were so much fun to read. They are fluffy and light. The same can be said about By Your Side. There’s a lot of reviews that I read about people not enjoying because they we’re expecting a bookworm in a library and that it would be magical. In real-life, we’d all love to be stuck in a library for a weekend and read our lives away, but I mean … how would that translate into a book? But everyone has their opinion. I love West’s books because there’s always something deeper than just the love story. In this book, we have the main character, Autumn, who has an anxiety disorder that she keeps hidden from her friends. Unfortunately, some of her friends think that she’s a flake. Dax, on the other hand, deals with neglect, loneliness, and inability to trust others because of constant moving between foster homes.

They are completely opposite people but I love how they mesh well together. They were so adorable and I love how their relationship develops. I love accepting they are of each other. Autumn opens up a lot more to him than to some of her friends and Dax pretty much gets his first friend in Autumn. I love the progression of the plot. I loved the drama haha. It surprised me actually because I wasn’t expecting it. It gave a good explanation as to why no one was wondering where Autumn was and why no one thought to go back to the library to look for her. Seriously, read this book if you want something easy and fun. The romance is just plain adorable!

Reread Review | Clockwork Prince – Cassandra Clare

book-review

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

The Infernal Devices #2
502 pages
Published: December 6, 2011 by Simon & Schuster, Margaret K. McElderry
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Steam Punk

Summary:

In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street—and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, but her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will—the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?

As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.

Review:

We live and breathe words. …. It was books that made me feel that perhaps I was not completely alone. They could be honest with me, and I with them. Reading your words, what you wrote, how you were lonely sometimes and afraid, but always brave; the way you saw the world, its colors and textures and sounds, I felt–I felt the way you thought, hoped, felt, dreamt. I felt I was dreaming and thinking and feeling with you. I dreamed what you dreamed, wanted what you wanted–and then I realized that truly I just wanted you.

If you know me at all, you know how much I enjoy Clare’s The Infernal Device. This is about the fourth or fifth time I reread the trilogy. I also own like 5 different copies of the books (no judging!). Anyway, I love and I hate whenever I reread this because it’s the book where crap hits the fan. I would say that it’s the most painful book in the trilogy but nothing beats the epilogue of Clockwork Princess – don’t argue with me on this! I still remember the first time I read this, I was dying! I cried so so much. Even after reading it so many times, it still hurts me. Will, Tessa and Jem have become my little babies and I can’t bear to see them in pain.

What I really love about this book is the friendship and love. Clare displays it all so well between the three and even though I do not like the idea of Jem and Tessa, I accept it. I don’t hate it but I mean, I’m 2000% a Wessa shipper. I think I love them more because I see myself in both Will and Tessa, plus Will Herondale is like my fictional boyfriend for life. I really enjoy Clare’s writing style and it makes it that much more enjoyable. This book is definitely tragic and I’m preparing myself for the depression after reading Clockwork Princess.

Review | The Sun Is Also A Star – Nicola Yoon

book-review

The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

348 pages
Published: November 1, 2016 by Delacorte Press
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Fiction, Romance

Summary:

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

Review:

Sorry guys, I don’t know this one wasn’t for me. I was really disappointed because I really loved Everything, Everything. The premise of The Sun is Also a Star sounded so good but in the end, it felt pretentious and unrealistic. I know that it’s just a book but really? Falling in love in less than 24 hours? Come on! Especially when the two characters have nothing in common. I mean they’re both smart and both immigrants. But one’s a poet and very touchy-feely (Daniel) and the other is super scientific and very anti-love (Natasha). And you’re going to tell me that they fall in love in a span of not even 24 hours but more like 12 or so.

I had difficulties connecting to the main characters. I felt like they were extremes … like be normal or something (again this is just me). I honestly thought that they were both so annoying. I rolled my eyes so much with this book, I think I strained it. I don’t remember much about Natasha other than her love of science and Nirvana. She also had a strained relationship with her father because he’s basically the reason why they are being deported. Daniel was really into poetry. He had long hair. His brother was a major douchebag. His parents wanted him to be a doctor. Everything else in between the first page and the last was lost on me.

I love Yoon because she writes diversity and it was great that she was writing a book with immigrants. That’s great. I’m an immigrant. My friend’s an immigrant. Let’s face it, America is filled with immigrants. It wouldn’t be what it is today without immigrants. The whole illegal immigration though … I don’t want to get political because I can’t stand politics but I was triggered, especially with Natasha complaining that she wouldn’t be eligible for scholarships with her stolen social security. I just … speechless. I understand her hardship and I feel for her you know? She’s intelligent and has so much potential and she for sure deserves that scholarship. It was a total cognitive dissonance for me.

Overall, this book and I did not play well together. Diversity was the only thing really working for me. Tee multiple point of views were hit and miss for me. I liked some of the views but mostly, I made the pace really choppy for me. It felt intrusive sometimes. I just wanted to finish the scene and then I get information on hair???? The points of view also served to show just how coincidental every little thing is in this book. No thanks.

Review | What We Saw – Aaron Hartzler

book review

what we saw

What We Saw

Aaron Hartzler
336 pages

Synopsis:

Kate Weston can piece together most of the bash at John Doone’s house: shots with Stacey Stallard, Ben Cody taking her keys and getting her home early—the feeling that maybe he’s becoming more than just the guy she’s known since they were kids.

But when a picture of Stacey passed out over Deacon Mills’s shoulder appears online the next morning, Kate suspects she doesn’t have all the details. When Stacey levels charges against four of Kate’s classmates, the whole town erupts into controversy. Facts that can’t be ignored begin to surface, and every answer Kate finds leads back to the same question: Where was Ben when a terrible crime was committed?

My Review:

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I got into the phase of reading YA novels that surround rape. We live in a world where rape culture is fairly popular and we’re starting to see more and more of it in YA books. I was really excited to read this one because it was inspired by a real life event where a female student was raped by a group of male students who eventually stood in solidarity, along with other members of the community, to not only hide the crime but to blame the victim. Just on that premise alone, you knew that the book would be powerful and emotional. However, I feel like some parts of the book missed its mark. It is such a heavy topic and doing it from another person’s point of view and not the victim is a new way for me. I think that making it that way lessened the emotional value for me.

Kate was a great character and I like how Hartzler made her into this compassionate character. I liked that she was different from everyone else. She wanted to find out the truth. Okay maybe at first it wasn’t for the sake of Stacey, the victim, but because she herself couldn’t remember what exactly happened at the party because she passed out. As things start to unravel and more information, like pictures and the possible idea that her own boyfriend could have been involved, it changes Kate. This book made me so angry because of the ignorance of the town and how quick they were to blame the victim and protect their classmates. I really liked how Kate goes through the struggle of wondering why she was able to escape the fate that Stacey didn’t even though they both passed out drunk.

It was truly heartbreaking but I couldn’t feel it in a deeper level because it wasn’t told in Stacey’s point of view. I think that this book would have been even more substantial and powerful if we got to read it through Stacey’s POV. I was so very interested in her story. I wanted to know how she found out. I wanted to know if she remembered anything. I wanted to know how she was coping. I wanted to know so much of Stacey’s story and we weren’t really given that. I just really liked that it delves into such a dark topic and it’s very important that it is talked about. Sometimes however, it felt like a PSA for rape. Either way, it was a good, solid read.

xoxo

Review | Things We Know By Heart – Jessi Kirby

book review

Things We Know By Heart

Jessi Kirby
304 pages

Synopsis:

When Quinn Sullivan meets the recipient of her boyfriend’s donated heart, the two form an unexpected connection.

After Quinn loses her boyfriend, Trent, in an accident their junior year, she reaches out to the recipients of his donated organs in hopes of picking up the pieces of her now-unrecognizable life. She hears back from some of them, but the person who received Trent’s heart has remained silent. The essence of a person, she has always believed, is in the heart. If she finds Trent’s, then maybe she can have peace once and for all.

Risking everything in order to finally lay her memories to rest, Quinn goes outside the system to track down nineteen-year-old Colton Thomas—a guy whose life has been forever changed by this priceless gift. But what starts as an accidental run-in quickly develops into more, sparking an undeniable attraction. She doesn’t want to give in to it—especially since he has no idea how they’re connected—but their time together has made Quinn feel alive again. No matter how hard she’s falling for Colton, each beat of his heart reminds her of all she’s lost…and all that remains at stake.

My Review:

5star

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We lie together, quiet, under an endless sky, beside a bottomless ocean, and we don’t talk about how these are all the things that brought us together. We don’t talk about how we wouldn’t change any of them.We don’t have to, because these are the things we know by heart.

I have been wanting to read this book for the longest time. The. Longest. Time. But somehow it kept getting pushed down my TBR list until I finally just sat myself down and read it. I had high expectations for this one because the synopsis really drew me in. I was so not disappointed. If anything, it met and far exceeded my expectations. This book has become one of my favorite ever. It was so wonderfully beautiful yet heartbreaking. It was so easy to fall in love with it and get emotionally attached to the characters. The writing style was just fantastic and very beautiful. It made me feel so many emotions. I was also crying so much. Make sure to have a box sitting near you while you’re reading this.

I really enjoyed the plot. It can be a little predictable at times but what YA contemporary book isn’t. It’s a beautiful story of love and moving on from tragedies. I loved how well it all came together in the story. It’s definitely heart heavy. It starts depressing already, with Quinn seeing her boyfriend’s death. It was indeed traumatic and she starts going through the grieving process. I got very attached to Quinn and it was like whatever she went through, you felt it. There was a scene especially, when she starts to forget how many days have passed since Trent passed away and that scene was just so emotionally draining. She has a breakdown and feels so guilty about moving on, it just breaks your heart. I loved that Quinn had such an amazing support system after the tragedy, especially her sister!

I leave the last paragraph to Colton, the recipient of Trent’s heart. While I was 100% not okay with Quinn wanting to find him against his will, I understood her reasons for wanting to do so. However, them meeting wasn’t a part of a plan and that was sort of an accident, a funny one but an accident. So it wasn’t as bad. But Colton, wow. He was such an amazing character and the life that he leads is something that many people, including myself, wish to live. He’s loving, compassionate, outgoing, kind, and lives everyday like it’s his last day. I loved that we get to know more about his story and his story is just as equally emotionally draining, maybe even more. You will totally fall in love with Colton and this book!

xoxo

Teaser Thursday | A Tangled Web by M.L. Sparrow

teaser thursdayWhen I first started my blog, I never imagined that I would ever get this far. In a month or so, this blog will be running for two years! Along with that, I never thought that I would actually have followers, much less authors or publishers contacting me and asking me to review their books. M.L. Sparrow, author of Ghetto, The Demon Inside, and No Rest for the Wicked, was one of the authors that first contacted me. I am extremely lucky and grateful for her consideration. I have enjoyed all of her books and I am so excited to be giving you all a teaser for another one of her works, this time a short novella called A Tangled Web.


tangled-web

A Tangled Web by M.L Sparrow

Expected Publication: February 1st, 2017

Click here to purchase a copy of A Tangled Web.

SYNOPSIS

Japan, 2011

Taiyo is a normal high-school girl living with her Grandmother in Sendai. She goes to school, partakes in club activities and hangs out with her two best friends, twin brothers Ryuu and Kairi. However, her perfect world is shattered when she begins dating Kairi but quickly discovers she’s already in love with Ryuu.

A tangled web of lies surrounds the pair, but everything is suddenly knocked into perspective on March 11th when they are caught up in a natural disaster that devastates the country and robs thousands of their homes, their possessions and their lives…

atw-teaser-2

EXCERPT:

Everything was perfect until the ground began to shake. There was no warning. The warning system on their mobiles didn’t begin to sound until after it had begun.

Jishin!” people shouted above the low, grumbling roar beneath them. Earthquake.

A red car skidded into a blue one at the top of the road, both of them trembling and bouncing.

Dropping her school bag, she grabbed Ryuu’s hand and tried not to fall. He dropped into a crouch to keep his balance, taking her down with him. She kept thinking it would be over in a minute, but it never seemed to end. Someone screamed and across the street a man lost his footing and fell to his knees. A crack appeared in the pavement, inching towards them. They scrambled away and her heart jumped in her chest as the road split open.

Roof tiles rained down, shattering on the ground and another crack appeared, this time in the wall of a small shop. Dust and plaster billowed from the crack and the wall began to buckle.

Taiyo didn’t know how long it lasted, it must have been minutes at least, but it finally subsided to a shivering tremble before petering off all together. Everyone looked around, holding perfectly still, afraid to move.

“That was a big one,” a lady near them, clutching a little boy, said fearfully, glancing in the direction of the sea, “should we move to higher ground?” Around the coast there was always the risk of a tsunami after an earthquake and they’d learnt about their country’s devastating history with the huge waves in school.

“It’s all right, the seawalls will protect us,” someone else answered.

Taiyo glanced at Ryuu nervously. In turn, he looked around at the locals, many of whom were gathering in little clusters.

Anxiously she bit her lip, her stomach twisting itself into knots; something didn’t feel right. Like all Japanese people, she was used to earthquakes, however, she couldn’t remember ever experiencing one quite like that.

Several people rushed into houses and reappeared with bags, chivvying along children or their elderly parents, before getting into their cars and driving away, but the majority of people remained.

A few houses and shops had crumbled, but looking around no one that she could see appeared to be seriously hurt. One man had been hit by a falling roof tile and was bleeding from a gash to his forehead. Sitting on the pavement, he was being attended to by neighbours.

It looked like the worst was over, but then someone shouted and they all turned to look out over the grey-blue sea. At first Taiyo didn’t know what she was seeing, but then the breath caught in her lungs.

The alarms began to blare.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

sparrow

M L Sparrow is currently the author of four full length novels, a novella and a slew of short stories published in various anthologies. She will write pretty much anything that pops into her head, no matter the genre, and enjoys keeping her readers guessing as to what she will write next, though you can pretty much guarantee that there will be some degree of romance!

As well as writing, she enjoys travelling and has been to some amazing countries, where she never fails to gather inspiration and has an endless supply of ideas for future novels…

Find her on: Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | M.L. Sparrow

Don’t forget to get your copy of A Tangled Web here on February 1st, 2017!

xoxo