Review: Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn

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Book Title: Delicate Monsters
Author: Stephanie Kuehn
Published Date: June 9th, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: Contemporary
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Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads
From the Morris-Award winning author of Charm & Strange, comes a twisted and haunting tale about three teens uncovering dark secrets and even darker truths about themselves.

When nearly killing a classmate gets seventeen-year-old Sadie Su kicked out of her third boarding school in four years, she returns to her family’s California vineyard estate. Here, she’s meant to stay out of trouble. Here, she’s meant to do a lot of things. But it’s hard. She’s bored. And when Sadie’s bored, the only thing she likes is trouble.

Emerson Tate’s a poor boy living in a rich town, with his widowed mother and strange, haunted little brother. All he wants his senior year is to play basketball and make something happen with the girl of his dreams. That’s why Emerson’s not happy Sadie’s back. An old childhood friend, she knows his worst secrets. The things he longs to forget. The things she won’t ever let him.

Haunted is a good word for fifteen-year-old Miles Tate. Miles can see the future, after all. And he knows his vision of tragic violence at his school will come true, because his visions always do. That’s what he tells the new girl in town. The one who listens to him. The one who recognizes the darkness in his past.

But can Miles stop the violence? Or has the future already been written? Maybe tragedy is his destiny. Maybe it’s all of theirs.

Disclaimer: I received this eARC from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Review
I would love to just spend a day in Stephanie Kuehn’s head because she is freaking brilliant and I cannot imagine what it’s like in her head. She manages to come up with captivating characters with fucked up morals. If I ever need a book that will mess me up completely, I’ll reach for Kuehn’s books and do a reread.

Saying I enjoyed this book sounds weird because the book was really dark, but I love dark books and I really did enjoy this one. I was expecting something a bit more gory. Especially given what people had told me about certain parts of the book. There were some disgusting things in the book. There’s one particular scene that made me squeamish, which is strange because I’m normally not squeamish at all.

I was expecting to struggle with the three POV’s this book had. But I didn’t. Sadie, Emerson and Miles were interesting characters. Characters that made some really bad choices (I’m looking at you Emerson) But they were characters that I wanted to know more about and I love that feeling.

Sadie was always angry, always cruel. Even from a small child, she never had anything  nice to say and it was her father that noticed her cruelty. She was very much a sociopath and sociopaths have always interested me. In Delicate Monsters, we learn exactly how messed up she is and I found her so fascinating. In the beginning, I liked her POV the best, but I slowly grew to enjoy the boys’ POV’s.

Emerson seemed normal, but it’s not until about halfway through the book that we start to learn that he’s not normal. in fact, he’s a sick boy with horrifying proclivities. Yet again, I found him fascinating. His family history was interesting. He still cared about his younger, and sickly brother, so there’s SOME kind of humanity there.

Miles was also very interesting. I kept wanting to know why he was so sick all the time. I kept wondering who was responsible for it. My suspicion turned out to be wrong, so apparently, I’m still not good at figuring out any twists. Someone needs to teach me how to figure them out. He had a lot of darkness inside of him, but I still felt like he had some sort of humanity.

I still don’r know if I even understand this book. It’s the most confusing book of Kuehn’s and it’s also my least favorite. I still recommend it, and I still recommend this author because she’s so brilliant. 4 stars to this book that kept me guessing, and made it impossible for me to read anything else that night.

Review: The Crown (The Selection #5) by Kiera Cass

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Book Title: The Crown
Author: Kiera Cass
Publish Date: May 3rd, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Dystopian
Series: Book 5 in The Selection series
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads
When Eadlyn became the first princess of Illéa to hold her own Selection, she didn’t think she would fall in love with any of her thirty-five suitors. She spent the first few weeks of the competition counting down the days until she could send them all home. But as events at the palace force Eadlyn even further into the spotlight, she realizes that she might not be content remaining alone.

Eadlyn still isn’t sure she’ll find the fairytale ending her parents did twenty years ago. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you…and soon Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more impossible—and more important—than she ever imagined.

Disclaimer: I purchased this book.

Review
I gotta admit I am really sorry to see this series end. No it’s not the next literary masterpiece, but it’s book crack and it’s a good escape from reality when it’s needed. And reading the final book in the series was exactly what I needed in order to de-stress. I loved Eadlyn in The Heir and I kept hoping that I’d continue to love her in this book.

I did still love her, but not as much as I did in the previous book. I did enjoy watching her heart slowly warm up to the possibility of finding a love like her parents had. She had been so reluctant to it before, so seeing her evolve was really awesome to see. Seeing her take on more responsibility was great too.

The book was really short, especially for it being the end of the series. I was hoping that it wouldn’t feel rushed, but unfortunately, in some parts, it did feel rushed and that bothered me because I didn’t want it to feel rushed. I wanted the story to unfold at the same pace the previous books in the story did. The ending was a lot more rushed than I wanted it to be. Really Cass could have spread the ending out over a chapter or two.

I do recommend rereading The Heir before you read The Crown. I really wish I had. Mostly so I could keep the different suitors in my head. I did have a couple standouts in The Heir and they continued to be standouts in this book as well. Several of them, in different ways than I ever expected. I am not going to say who she picked (if she picked anyone) I will say that it was a pretty good ending to a series that so many fellow bloggers call book crack.

Blog Tour: True Born by L. E. Sterling

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true bornBook Title: True Born

Author: L.E. Sterling

Release Date: May 3, 2016

Genre: YA Sci-Fi Fantasy

 

Your fate is in your blood…

 

Welcome to Dominion City.

After the great Plague descended, the world population was decimated…and their genetics damaged beyond repair.

The Lasters wait hopelessly for their genes to self-destruct. The Splicers pay for expensive treatments that might prolong their life. The plague-resistant True Borns are as mysterious as they are feared…

And then there’s Lucy Fox and her identical twin sister, Margot. After endless tests, no one wants to reveal what they are.

When Margot disappears, a desperate Lucy has no choice but to put her faith in the True Borns, led by the charismatic leader, Nolan Storm, and the beautiful but deadly Jared, who tempts her as much as he infuriates her. As Lucy and the True Borns set out to rescue her sister, they stumble upon a vast conspiracy stretching from Dominion’s street preachers to shady Russian tycoons. But why target the Fox sisters

As they say in Dominion, it’s in the blood.

Goodreads Book Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26114621-true-born

Amazon Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/True-Born-L-E-Sterling-ebook/dp/B0166SEV0O

Barnes & Noble Buy Link: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/true-born-le-sterling/1122537957

iBooks Buy Link: https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/book/true-born/id1046533172

Kobo Buy Link: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/true-born

Amazon.co.uk: http://www.amazon.co.uk/True-Born-L-E-Sterling-ebook/dp/B0166SEV0O

Amazon.ca: http://www.amazon.ca/True-Born-L-E-Sterling-ebook/dp/B0166SEV0O

Entangled Publishing: http://www.entangledpublishing.com/true-born/

Copy of TB13

About the Author:

LE Sterling

L.E. Sterling had an early obsession with sci-fi, fantasy and romance to which she remained faithful even through an M.A. in Creative Writing and a PhD in English Literature – where she completed a thesis on magical representation. She is the author of two previous novels, the cult hit Y/A novel The Originals (under pen name L.E. Vollick), dubbed “the Catcher in the Rye of a new generation” by one reviewer, and the urban fantasy Pluto’s Gate.

Originally hailing from Parry Sound, Ontario, L.E. spent most of her summers roaming across Canada in a van with her father, a hippie musician, her brothers and an occasional stray mutt – inspiring her writing career. She currently lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Author Website: le-sterling.com

Author Twitter: @le_sterling

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LESterling22/

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/LESterling

Copy of TB4

Read below for an excerpt from True Born:

“Isn’t it a little weird that we have to do our tests again? Was there some kind of mistake with the first one?” Margot says it innocently enough, a slight twang to her voice to match the nurse’s rabble-like twang.

“Well, hon, sometimes they get mixed signals, you know? Like when you think a boy likes you but then he goes all hot and cold?” She winks. Margot’s fingers tighten on mine.

“Uh huh.” Margot nods. “So there’s a problem with your machines? Or with the staff?”

The nurse frowns. “Not this staff. They’re five-star amazing. Must have just been a bad sample or something. Try not to worry about it, sweetie.” She pats Margot’s arm just before she shoves the needle in my sister’s vein.

I squirm on my seat. The skin on my arm crawls from the sharp pain originating in my sister’s arm. Relaxed beside me, Margot doesn’t move a muscle. She knows what I’m feeling even if she can’t do anything about it. This is just how it is with us.

“How much are you going to take this time?” My voice shakes as our coltish nurse comes around to me and drives a needle into my arm. It doesn’t hurt nearly as bad as Margot’s did. Our hands stay folded together. There’s a note in our file about letting us. One of the perks of being born us.

“Oh.” For the first time she looks a little dismayed. “I’m sorry, hon. Didn’t they tell you? We gotta go through the whole protocol again. The whole shebang.”

My twin and I did know. We’d been told. Still, it bothers us. A full day’s worth of giving blood, going through tests, having your organs measured and documented. Urine samples, more blood samples, hair samples. We’d already been through this two times in the last two months. We no longer believe they’d gotten “bad” samples—not that we’re going to let on to the nurse.

And funny thing is, each time we come, the Protocols Nurse is new. This is the third we’ve had, each as clueless as the last.

We know better than to ask our parents. The deepening silence and constant rounds of testing and lies must mean the news is the worst. Late at night we lie together, holding hands and whispering under the deep canopy of one or other of our beds. We’ve thought about what it will mean if one of us turns out to be a Laster. We’ve talked until dawn about what we’d want, what we’d do. I tell Margot I’d want to go with her, but she’s against the idea.

“One of us needs to survive,” she said to me, her gray-green eyes as serious as I’ve ever seen them.

“What if it’s not that?” I asked her.

“What do you mean?”

“What if we’re, you know,” the words mere whispers, “True Born?”

Copy of TB7

The Giveaway:

$10 Amazon gift card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

https://countdownsbyerin.com/cd/entangled/true/

Blog Tour: The Girl I Used to Be by April Henry

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The Girl I Used to Be
by April Henry
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Release Date: May 3rd 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Contemporary, Suspense
BOOK LINKS:
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25944786-the-girl-i-used-to-be
Amazon paperbackhttp://amzn.to/1SZZH6u
Barnes & Noble (B&N)http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-girl-i-used-to-be-april-henry/1122142277?ean=9781627793322
Bookdepositoryhttp://www.bookdepository.com/The-Girl-I-Used-Be-April-Henry/9781627793322?ref=grid-view
iTuneshttps://itunes.apple.com/es/book/the-girl-i-used-to-be/id1048550692?mt=11
Kobohttps://store.kobobooks.com/es-es/ebook/the-girl-i-used-to-be

Synopsis:
When Olivia’s mother was killed, everyone suspected her father of murder. But his whereabouts remained a mystery. Fast forward fourteen years. New evidence now proves Olivia’s father was actually murdered on the same fateful day her mother died. That means there’s a killer still at large. It’s up to Olivia to uncover who that may be. But can she do that before the killer tracks her down first?

Review
This book caught my eye long before I read it. I was very interested because of the cover, but I was also a little apprehensive about the book because I had not been a fan of Henry’s previous books. So I was really worried this book would be a letdown. I was worried I wouldn’t like the characters or that I’d figure out the culprit before the main character did.

In fact, I found myself absolutely ENAMORED with Olivia Reinhart. I was enamored with her story from start to finish. Shortly after the book begins we learn that her father was more than likely not the one who murdered her mother fourteen years ago because he too, is dead and has probably been dead this entire time. Olivia was once known by a different name, Ariel Benson, but she doesn’t remember life with her parents.

She remembers life with her grandmother though. She lived with her grandmother for the first 4 years after her mother’s death and her father’s disappearance.  So when she returns to her hometown, she finds out that her grandmother’s house is empty and she wants nothing more than to rent it and try to find out once and for all, what happened to her parents. She also wants to keep her identity a secret.

What she wasn’t counting on was Duncan, who knows more about her previous life than she realizes. Nora, who was her grandmother’s best friend. Samantha who was rumored to  be in love with Ariel’s dad. Jason who was in love with Ariel’s mother. Within days, she’s got a running list of who could be responsible in the small town. Was it a jilted lover, or was it a stranger?

I honestly didn’t know who the murderer was until the very end. I had hints here and there, but all of my theories turned out to be wrong. I like it better that way. That way, I’m surprised when the killer is revealed. Looking back, I can’t think of anything that made it obvious who it was.

I was worried about the pacing because in a book this short that’s also a murder mystery, the pacing has to be really quick, to make sure the reader is hooked in for the entire time. There were no pacing issues with this one. It was quick, without being too quick if that makes any sense.

I think the main reason that I didn’t love it was because of the character development. Olivia/Ariel was nicely developed, but the secondary characters weren’t as well developed as I was hoping. This is one of those times were the plot & pacing made up for the shortcomings in the character development department.

4 stars to this short but compelling book.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
April
I write mysteries and thrillers. I live in Portland, Oregon with my family.

If you’ve read one of my books, I would love to hear from you. Hearing from readers makes me eager to keep writing.

When I was 12, I sent a short story about a six-foot tall frog who loved peanut butter to Roald Dahl, the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He liked it so much he arranged to have it published in an international children’s magazine.

My dream of writing went dormant until I was in my 30s, working at a corporate job, and started writing books on the side. Those first few years are now thankfully a blur. Now I’m very lucky to make a living doing what I love. I have written 13 novels for adults and teens, with more on the way. My books have gotten starred reviews, been picked for Booksense, translated into six languages, been named to state reading lists, and short-listed for the Oregon Book Award.

I also review YA literature and mysteries and thrillers for the Oregonian, and have written articles for both The Writer and Writers Digest.

AUTHOR LINKS:
Website: http://www.aprilhenrymysteries.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/88507.April_Henry
Twitter: https://twitter.com/aprilhenrybooks
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AprilHenry

GIVEAWAY
Prize: Win (1) finished copy of THE GIRL I USED TO BE by April Henry (US/CAN Only)
Direct Link

Tour Schedule: http://fantasticflyingbookclub.blogspot.com/2016/04/tour-schedule-girl-i-used-to-be-by.html

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Book Blitz: Bound by Donielle Tyner

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Bound
Release Date: 10/19/15

Summary from Goodreads:
Bound by Vengeance.Sadie has found the resolve to fight the man who caused so much pain in her life. Her tentative alliance with the HCA underground gives her the resources to train both her body and Talent for when she comes face to face with her grandfather.

Bound by Loss.

Being separated from her friends at St Vincent’s is harder than she could have ever realized and it doesn’t help that Kian has withdrawn from her as well. With help from a new friend, Sadie uncovers more about her past and that someone close to her has been keeping secrets from Sadie her entire life.

Bound by Fear.

Tragedy strikes close to home, giving a longstanding enemy, one desperate and willing to do anything to have Sadie on their side, an opportunity to arise. Allies and friends come together to stand against evil, but at a terrible cost. Sadie’s history and future collide while the world is thrown into chaos.

Sadie must overcome or forever be Bound.

Buy Links:
AmazonBarnes & Noble
Book One:

(cover linked to Goodreads)

Book Playlist:
X Ambassadors – Renegades
I.A. – Bad Girls
Muse – Assassin
Banks – Beggin For Thread
Bastille – Flaws
Alabama Shakes – Don’t Wanna Fight
First Aid Kit – My Silver Lining
Dorothy – Gun In My Hand

 

About the Author

Hello! Donnielle here. I’m a new indie young adult author. When I’m not writing, I spend my time reading, binge watching Netflix, homeschooling my two children, and hanging out with my husband.


Author Links:
 photo iconwebsite-32x32_zps1f477f69.png  photo icongoodreads32_zps60f83491.png  photo icontwitter-32x32_zpsae13e2b2.png  photo iconfacebook-32x32_zps64a79d4a.png

SST: Liars and Losers Like Us by Ami Allen Vath

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Book Link: Goodreads

Synopsis
Keep calm and make it to prom night—without a legit panic attack.

For seventeen-year-old Bree Hughes, it’s easier said than done when gossip, grief, and the opportunity to fail at love are practically high-fiving her in the hallways of Belmont High.

When Bree’s crush, Sean Mills, gives her his phone number, she can’t even leave a voicemail without sounding like a freak. Then she’s asked to be on Prom Court because Maisey Morgan, the school outcast nominated as a joke, declined. She apologizes to Maisey, but it’s too late. After years of torment and an ugly secret shared with their class’s cruel Pageant Queen, Maisey commits suicide. Bree is left with a lot of regret…and a revealing letter with a final request.

With Sean by her side, Bree navigates through her guilt, her parents’ divorce, and all the Prom Court drama. But when a cheating-love-triangle secret hits the fan after a night of sex, drinks, and video games, she’s left with new information about Sean and the class Pageant Queen. Bree must now speak up or stay silent. If she lets fear be her guide, she’ll lose her first love, and head to prom to avenge the death of the school outcast—as a party of one.

Interview
Do you write best at night or in the daytime?
Day or night, I just strongly prefer to be alone. So, daytime if I’m at Starbucks or B&N cafe alone OR at night when my kids are asleep!

When did you know you wanted to be an author?
I’ve always loved writing but never thought I’d be a published author. As a teen and college student, I’d write but never actually finished a complete book. But about 8 years ago, I began writing a book that would later inspire me to write another. One that I finally completed! That book was Liars and Losers Like Us.

Do you write with music or in total silence?
Silence, please. However, I LOVE listening to my book’s “playlist” before and after writing.

What has the debut author experience been like?
It’s been everything. Exciting, stressful, chaotic, surprising, amazing and very humbling. I’ll never, ever forget the past two years.

This book is set around prom night, how was your prom experience?
I went to prom my junior and senior year. To be honest, my junior prom experience was pretty mediocre. I’m grateful for it because it was when I was coming out of a pretty deep depression and it did give me an escape. However, the planning and prep was still high stress! But the guy who asked me was very sweet. I was a hot mess and he still wanted to go with me.

My senior prom was more memorable. I was in love and, sure I had a ton of anxiety, but it was super fun.

In the past 5 years, what books have been your favorites?
I’ve read so many that have been insta-faves but here are a few of the books I still think about. The Fix by Natasha Sinel, Fault Line by Christa Desir, Skyscraping by Cordelia Jensen, Underneath Everything by Marcy Beller Paul, Cut Both Ways by Carrie Mesrobian, Under The Lights by Dahlia Adler, The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Black Iris by Leah Raeder, American Girls by Alison Umminger, The Distance From A to Z by Natalie Blitt, The Chance You Won’t Return by Annie Cardi, Rules For Stealing Stars by Corey Ann Haydu

What has been the most surprising thing to happen since a release date was announced for Liars and Losers Like Us?
The amount of support from the writing community. From the writers I queried with, to already published authors to the book bloggers. Once again, I’m going to using the word humbling–it was totally unexpected and has been sincerely humbling.

What can we expect from you next?
Yay! Good question. I’m finishing up revisions on a book that will hopefully be ready for my agent before the world ends. (It’s taking me a long time!) Please cross your fingers that she’ll be able to sell it because this book has been a labour of blood, sweat, and more sweat. I’d hate to shelve it. ; )

SST

Review: Under the Lights (Daylight Falls #2) by Dahlia Adler

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Book Title: Under the Lights
Author: Dahlia Adler
Published Date: June 30th, 2015
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Genre: YA LGBT
Series: Book 2 in Daylight Falls series
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads
Josh Chester loves being a Hollywood bad boy, coasting on his good looks, his parties, his parents’ wealth, and the occasional modeling gig. But his laid-back lifestyle is about to change. To help out his best friend, Liam, he joins his hit teen TV show,Daylight Falls … opposite Vanessa Park, the one actor immune to his charms. (Not that he’s trying to charm her, of course.) Meanwhile, his drama-queen mother blackmails him into a new family reality TV show, with Josh in the starring role. Now that he’s in the spotlight—on everyone’s terms but his own—Josh has to decide whether a life as a superstar is the one he really wants.

Vanessa Park has always been certain about her path as an actor, despite her parents’ disapproval. But with all her relationships currently in upheaval, she’s painfully uncertain about everything else. When she meets her new career handler, Brianna, Van is relieved to have found someone she can rely on, now that her BFF, Ally, is at college across the country. But as feelings unexpectedly evolve beyond friendship, Van’s life reaches a whole new level of confusing. And she’ll have to choose between the one thing she’s always loved … and the person she never imagined she could.

Disclaimer: I received this book as an e-ARC from Spencer Hill Contemporary via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Review
I don’t know why it took me so long to read this book. If someone wants to figure that out for me, that’d be awesome. This book was utter perfection. Not only was the romance swoon worthy and sexy, but the friendships in here were absolutely awesome as well. Not to mention the diversity.

Josh was a royal pain in the ass initially. He drove me batcrap insane, but at the same time, he’d have me laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe. He had the combination of humor and douche-canoe down pat. At the same time, I loved the friendship that developed between him and Vanessa. We don’t see enough opposite sex friendships in books and that really bugs me. It is possible for a girl & a guy to be friends and I really hate the implication that men & women cannot be friends without there being a ulterior motive.

Vanessa is involved with a boy named Zander. This boy wants things that Vanessa doesn’t want. He wants her to focus on him, and the future with him. He wants that future to include a purity pledge. That’s not what Vanessa really wants and she struggles with that and what that means. He is also intimidated by Josh, yes crude, rude pain in the ass, Josh. He’s convinced that Vanessa is stepping out on him.

Well technically it’s not Josh, Zander should be worried about. It’s Brianna. Brianna who is initially Vanessa’s stand in for Ally, Vanessa’s best friend. Brianna who quickly becomes Vanessa’s confidant and good friend. Brianna talks to Vanessa about the whole purity pledge thing

“You really don’t want to have sex until you’re married?”
“What if I don’t?”
“Then I respect that. If it’s really what you want. Is it?”

First of all, I absolutely LOVE Brianna. Not only does she support a person’s right to wait until marriage to have sex, but she verbalizes that viewpoint. Not very many people would voice that. And that is sad & so depressing. If someone wants to wait to be married to have sex, that’s their choice. Even though Brianna didn’t believe Vanessa, she still respected Vanessa’s choices. That’s important in both a friendship & a relationship.

“I just kissed my first girl. And yeah, I think I might be…”
“Gay?”
“Maybe. Or maybe I’m bisexual. What if I am?”
“What if you are? Like boys all you want Park. It still won’t fix this. I’m bi and I promise you it’s not a fucking light switch. You can’t just set it on ‘boy’ because it’s inconvenient that you like a girl right now. Widening your options doesn’t change the feelings you have.”

This stuck with me for many different reasons, most of them being because it took me four years to admit to anyone that I was bisexual. I struggled with feeling like I had to flip a switch and make sure it stayed on “boy” because it was inconvenient for me to like a girl. I totally related to Vanessa because of this. I remember feeling the same things that she felt.

The sex scene was steamy and sexy and so perfect. I absolutely loved it. There are virtually no LGBT sex scenes in YA, so I was super excited to see Bri & Van get it on and for it not to fade to black like so many other YA’s do. I was so, SO thrilled. I am very pro-sex in my YA and in some ways, even more in the subgenre of YA LGBT because there is such a lack of full on sexy scenes that don’t fade to black.

Van then has to go through the tough process of coming out. Coming out to her friends, her fans & to her family. Josh and Ally handle it perfectly and Josh’s response made me cry.

“So you’re a lesbian K-drama, not an axe murderer. Why do you say that like it’s the most horrible confession on earth?”
“Because it may as well be, and you know it!”

Van handles this whole thing better than I ever could. Especially given the fact that she lives in the public eye. She tells her parents. Her super conservative, Korean parents, and thankfully, she had her friends & Bri to console her when things become rough. I couldn’t help but remember how rough it was for me when I came out. Especially how rough things were between my Catholic relatives and myself. Things are better now, but it took a really long time. So reading about Van’s struggles with her family, really hit home for me.

This book and the friendships and the romance was utter perfection and I cannot recommend this book enough. Adler is amazing, and she captured so many of my thoughts and made them come out of Van. If you need a diverse read with a couple you can root for, then you need to pick up this book.

Blog Tour: Thicker Than Water by Brigid Kemmerer

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Thicker Than Water
by Brigid Kemmerer
Release Date: December 29th 2015
Kensington Books

Summary from Goodreads:
On his own
Thomas Bellweather hasn’t been in town long. Just long enough for his newlywed mother to be murdered, and for his new stepdad’s cop colleagues to decide Thomas is the primary suspect.

Not that there’s any evidence. But before Thomas got to Garretts Mill there had just been one other murder in twenty years.

The only person who believes him is Charlotte Rooker, little sister to three cops and, with her soft hands and sweet curves, straight-up dangerous to Thomas. Her best friend was the other murder vic. And she’d like a couple answers.

Answers that could get them both killed, and reveal a truth Thomas would die to keep hidden…

Add to Goodreads
Buy Links: AmazonBarnes and NobleGoogle Play

Review
I didn’t know much about this book before I sat down to read it. I felt like it had promise and it had so much potential to be awesome. I also tried to avoid other early reviews of this book because I really didn’t want my reading experience to be tainted.

So I dove into this book with an acceptable amount of anticipation and, at first, I was disappointed with it and contemplated DNFing it. I just could not get into it because the pacing was so slow and some of the characters frustrated me. But I wanted this book to be awesome and I could see the potential in the main characters, Charlotte & Tommy.

So I kept reading and it kept getting better. I am SO happy that it improved because it ended up being a captivating read that kept me guessing all the way through.

I know a lot of people had issues with Charlotte and I get why, but I actually really liked her. Yes her family was crazy overprotective and that would have driven me nuts. Given what had happened many years ago to Charlotte’s classmate, I couldn’t totally blame them. She was also very passive and didn’t stand up for herself. That was definitely something that bothered me. But it’s the kind of thing that ALWAYS bothers me about girls (and guys) who are passive & don’t stand up for themselves. Charlotte had a great character arc, so I was able to get over her passivity & pushover-ness.

Tommy’s arc went places I was never expecting it to. I did love the relationship between him and his stepdad and how that unraveled throughout the book. I felt like that was done really well and I was really happy. I was very annoyed with how he was treated initially by the police, investigators etc. That was almost enough to get me to DNF the book, but like I said before, I am really glad I stuck with this book.

I want to talk about more of the book, but I’m not going to spoil things. So all I’ll say, is you need to read this book. It had twists & turns & even some utter mind-fuckery. I am giving this book 4 stars, mostly because of the slow start to this book and the crappy way Tommy was treated by law enforcement.

About the Author
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Brigid Kemmerer was born in Omaha, Nebraska, though her parents quickly moved her all over the United States, from the desert in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to the lakeside in Cleveland, Ohio, and several stops in between, eventually settling near Annapolis, Maryland. Brigid started writing in high school, and her first real “novel” was about four vampire brothers causing a ruckus in the suburbs. Those four brothers are the same boys living in the pages of The Elemental Series, so Brigid likes to say she’s had four teenage boys taking up space in her head for the last seventeen years. (Though sometimes that just makes her sound nuts.)

Brigid writes anywhere she can find a place to sit down (and she’s embarrassed to say a great many pages of The Elemental Series were written while sitting on the floor in the basement of a hotel while she was attending a writers’ conference). Most writers enjoy peace and quiet while writing, but Brigid prefers pandemonium. A good thing, considering she has three boys in the house, ranging in age from an infant to a teenager.

While writing STORM, it’s ironic to note that Brigid’s personal life was plagued by water problems: her basement flooded three times, her roof leaked, her kitchen faucet broke, causing the cabinet underneath to be destroyed by water, the wall in her son’s room had to be torn down because water had crept into the wall, and her bedroom wall recently developed a minor leak. Considering SPARK, book 2 in the series, is about the brother who controls fire, Brigid is currently making sure all the smoke detectors in her house have batteries.

Brigid loves hearing from people, and she probably won’t refer to herself in the third person like this if you actually correspond with her. She has a smartphone surgically attached to her person nearby at all times, and email is the best way to reach her. Her email address is brigidmary@gmail.com.

Author Links:
WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook

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SST: The Love That Split The World by Emily Henry

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TLTSTW
Goodreads

Synopsis (GR):
Natalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves.

Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start…until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.

That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.

Emily Henry’s stunning debut novel is Friday Night Lights meets The Time Traveler’s Wife, and perfectly captures those bittersweet months after high school, when we dream not only of the future, but of all the roads and paths we’ve left untaken.

Review
Guys, if this book is ANY indication of how awesome 2016 releases are gonna be, it’s going to be a GREAT year for books. Not so much for my wallet though.

Now the synopsis hints at something being “off” but I had no idea that it was a time travel book until I started reading. Come to think of it, I don’t think I even really read the synopsis before I started reading. I was thrilled that it was a time travel book because time travel is one of the most fascinating things to me in the world.

Natalie was instantly likeable to me and that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes it takes me awhile to warm up to the main character. But not this time. I also really liked Grandmother, I found her to be fascinating and when Natalie would recount her stories, I found myself excited to keep reading. Normally having a character recount someone else’s stories would bore me, but not this time. Not with Natalie and Grandmother.

I loved that Natalie was adopted and that she was Native American. We don’t get a lot of Native American representation in YA, so this was really awesome to see. YAY for diversity! We definitely need more Native American representation in YA.

I was also worried that this book would focus “too much” on the romance aspect and that would ruin the book for me. I’m not one for the fluffy stuff. Yes this book had a lot of romance in it, but the time travel aspect of it made it much better. It was more compelling and I found myself excited to read and that’s a feeling I haven’t had lately.

I did like the romance between Natalie & Beau, but I didn’t love it. I know several people who mentioned the romance seemed a little insta-lovey. I didn’t see that, but I also felt like Beau’s development wasn’t as strong as it could have been. There were times that he seemed a bit bland to me. He was infinitely better than Natalie’s ex, Matt.

Matt was a piece of crap. Not only did he get physically rough with Natalie, but he also attempted to rape her. We later find out that he has issues, but that’s no excuse for the abhorrent way he treated Natalie.

Alice Chan was one of the side characters who was attempting to help Natalie figure everything out. I loved Alice. She was very fascinating and I found myself hanging on to her every word as she worked to uncover the reason behind Grandmother’s appearances and the reason behind Natalie slipping through time.

The writing was utterly gorgeous and I think that was one of the reasons I fell head over heels for this book.The writing helped pull me into the world that Henry created. The writing  actually made me want to STAY in this world. Well that and the cover. The cover is unique, eye catching and all around perfection. Whoever designed this cover is a freaking GENIUS.

Highly recommend this book. Pre-order it now.

About the Author:
Emily Henry is full-time writer, proofreader, and donut connoisseur. She studied creative writing at Hope College and the New York Center for Art & Media Studies, and now spends most of her time in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the part of Kentucky just beneath it. She tweets @EmilyHenryWrite.

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Review: Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

FIRSTS

Book Title: Firsts
Author: Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Published Date: January 5th, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: YA Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads
Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward, fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time- the kind Mercedes never had herself.

Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy- so far. Her absentee mother isn’t home nearly enough to know about Mercedes’ extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won’t even say the word “sex” until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn’t bank on Angela’s boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn- or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.

When Mercedes’ perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her reputation and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, FIRSTS is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.

Disclaimer: I received an e-ARC of this book from St. Martin’s Griffin via NetGalley.

Review
I think I underestimated the book and it’s importance. Because it is such an important book. It tackles friendships, sexuality and the infuriating truth that are double standards.

Mercedes is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s totally fine. People aren’t going to be okay with the fact that she basically helped these guys cheat on their girlfriends. As someone who has experience with cheating boyfriends, it took me a little while to get my head wrapped around Mercedes’ idea. It was a little uncomfortable to me for awhile, but I pushed through the discomfort because I was so insanely excited for this book.

I was really excited to see strong female friendships, not so much with Mercedes & her friend Angela, but with Mercedes and the new girl, Faye. I actually took to Faye immediately and even though I could tell Mercedes really didn’t want to let anyone else into her life, I was hoping she’d let Faye in. What I wasn’t expecting was the Mercedes/Faye flirtation throughout the book, but oh my god, did I love that.

Tonight was weird. Maybe I’m reading too much into it. This could very well be what regular teenagers do every day. But something was weird. I felt wanted.

What this book also did was explore the rage-inducing double standards that teen girls still experience today. Boys are applauded for having sex, girls are criticized for having sex. Boys are studs and girls are sluts. How does that make any sense? It’s no longer the 1950’s. Big surprise, even girls like sex.

I wasn’t sure how to feel about Angela’s boyfriend Charlie. Alarm bells related to him didn’t go off for a long time. But when they did, they rang like the church bells in The Sound of Music. I started getting a knot in my stomach around 70% through the book, and the knot did not go away through the rest of the book.

I’m torn on the romance aspect. On one hand, I really liked Zach and I loved how good he was to Mercedes. She really needed that. At the same time, I almost feel like the thing with Zach weakened the book for me. Like they were better friends than a couple. I think I’m the only one to feel like this though.

Yes, Mercedes had character flaws, but I think that’s what made me adore her even more. She was flawed, and awesome and I saw quite a bit of myself in her, and that surprised me. I didn’t expect to relate to her, but I did.

“…Nothing you do will make him leave, no matter how many times you push him away. And you’ll never have to be afraid of him.”

This book is so important to all teenagers, both boys and girls. I totally recommend this book to teenagers and adults alike. Give it a shot, it may surprise you like it surprised me.