Review: The Secret Diamond Sisters (The Secret Diamond Sisters #1) by Michelle Madow

Book Title: The Secret Diamond Sisters
Author: Michelle Madow
Published Date: February 25th, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: YA Contemporary
Series: Book One in The Secret Diamond Sisters series
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Savannah. Courtney. Peyton. 

The three sisters grew up not knowing their father and not quite catching a break. But it looks like their luck is about to change when they find out the secret identity of their long-lost dad—a billionaire Las Vegas hotel owner who wants them to come live in a gorgeous penthouse hotel suite. Suddenly the Strip’s most exclusive clubs are all-access, and with an unlimited credit card each, it should be easier than ever to fit right in. But in a town full of secrets and illusion, fitting in is nothing compared to finding out the truth about their past.

Disclaimer: Library book.

I really really needed to read something fluffy after my last read and I had just rechecked this book out from the library. I really wanted to give this series a shot as the author, Michelle Madow is an absolute sweetheart. 

It was interesting at first to see how these girls reacted about being plucked from their poverty and being thrown into riches and glamour and excitement almost overnight. They never knew their father was a billionare Las Vegas hotel owner. I gotta be honest, I envied that. I had often wished that my biological father, who I never knew, was a billionaire.

I had never been to Las Vegas, but I was still able to picture it perfectly in my imagination. Madow described Las Vegas in a way that I could not only picture it, but imagine myself in it and that right there, is pretty darn awesome. So kudos to Madow for describing Las Vegas so vividly.

Now of the girls, Courtney was my favorite. She really seemed to have her head on straight, and she wasn’t overly distracted by boys and clothes like so many other teenage girls are. With that said though, Peyton is very similar to how I am. Like Peyton, I am outspoken, a night owl, a coffee nut and several other things. It actually felt like I was Peyton a couple of times so that was a wee bit disconcerting. Now Savannah is the least like me. We are complete opposites in basically everything.

I wasn’t into the romances all that much, I thought it added another layer to a confusing summer. An unneeded layer which to be honest bugged me a bit. I did like their soon to be stepbrother, but as a stepbrother, not as a love interest.

I desperately wanted more interaction between the girls and their dad and it bothered me a lot that he didn’t seem to be able to carve out any time for them. I really hope we see more of him in Diamonds in the Rough, because I think there’s a lot he’s not telling the girls and I cannot wait to see what that is. 

I am going to give this book 3.5 stars. It teetered more on the side of enjoying it than on the side of indifference and I am curious enough to continue reading the series.

Review: Kiss of Broken Glass by Madeleine Kuderick

Book Title: Kiss of Broken Glass
Author: Madeleine Kuderick
Published Date: September 9th, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Contemporary
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Madeleine Kuderick’s gripping debut is a darkly beautiful and lyrical novel in verse, perfect for fans of Sonya Sones and Laurie Halse Anderson. Kiss of Broken Glass pulses with emotion and lingers long after the last page.

In the next seventy-two hours, Kenna may lose everything—her friends, her freedom, and maybe even herself. One kiss of the blade was all it took to get her sent to the psych ward for seventy-two hours. There she will face her addiction to cutting, though the outcome is far from certain.

When fifteen-year-old Kenna is found cutting herself in the school bathroom, she is sent to a facility for mandatory psychiatric watch. There, Kenna meets other kids like her—her roommate, Donya, who’s there for her fifth time; the birdlike Skylar; and Jag, a boy cute enough to make her forget her problems . . . for a moment.

Disclaimer: I received this book from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Trigger Warning: Self Harm.

I was really, really nervous about reading this book and it wasn’t because of the subject matter. I actually tend to gravitate towards books that are dark, so the subject matter was kind of right up my alley, as weird and creepy as that sounds. I think teens (mostly girls) cutting themselves is seen as this deep dark secret that they don’t want their parents or teachers to know about because they don’t want to seem crazy.

My trepidation was based on the fact that it was written in verse. I really don’t tend to like books written in verse but I was willing to give it a shot. I was hoping that it would be the book to change my mind about books written in verse. However, my problem with this book in verse turned out to be the same problem I continually have with books in verse.

I didn’t connect to Kenna, and I didn’t feel like I got a sense of who she was outside of the cutting. I got that she was in a group of teens who made a competition  out of cutting. Of course I found that to be very classless. Cutting is serious and making it into a competition was awful and sickening. I think if it had been written in a more straightforward way, I would have gotten to know Kenna better.

I do feel like the ending was rushed, which I didn’t enjoy. At all. I ended up liking it a little bit more by the end, which is why I am giving it 3.5 stars. It was definitely better than I was expecting it to be. I would recommend this book if you like books in verse because despite my issues with it, I felt like it was an important book.

Review: Crash Into You (Pushing The Limits #3) by Katie McGarry

Book Title: Crash Into You (Pushing The Limits #3)
Author: Katie McGarry
Release Date: November 26th, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: YA/Contemporary
Series: Pushing The Limits Book 3
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
From acclaimed author Katie McGarry comes an explosive new tale of a good girl with a reckless streak, a street-smart guy with nothing to lose, and a romance forged in the fast lane. 

The girl with straight As, designer clothes and the perfect life-that’s who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private-school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy parents and overbearing brothers…and she’s just added two more to the list. One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker-a guy she has no business even talking to. But when the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can’t get him out of her mind. 

Isaiah has secrets, too. About where he lives, and how he really feels about Rachel. The last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks-no matter how angelic she might look. 

But when their shared love of street racing puts both their lives in jeopardy, they have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they’ll go to save each other.

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from Edelweiss and Harlequin Teen in exchange for my honest review.

I swear I didn’t plan to have Katie McGarry’s books reviewed all in a row on my blog. It just happened like that. Over the past few days I have reviewed both Pushing The Limits and Dare You To. I had heard that Crash Into You was amazing so after I binge read the first two books in the series, I went to my e-ARC of Crash Into You. I was excited to read Isaiah’s story as he had been a major player in the first two books.
Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I was hoping to.I found Isaiah to be controlling and while some might call it protective, I saw a young man who hadn’t been able to control much in his life and lo and behold comes Rachel. She is young,naive and in my opinion, a doormat.
Rachel’s family dynamics were interesting. After a family tragedy happened before Rachel was born she must now step in and be the daughter and sister that her parents and brothers lost.Her willingness to do this infuriated me. She just agreed to whatever her parents wanted. If it had to do with the daughter they lost, Rachel bent over backwards. She should have just been herself and made them deal with it. Instead, her parents (well mostly her mom) leaves a shrine to the lost daughter and sister and Rachel allows her parents to decorate her room in a color she hates,she accompanies her mom to the malls and she reads her mom’s fashion magazines.
Personally, I would not have stood for it. I would have shut it down a long time ago. I was really kind of pissed that it took a guy for Rachel to stand up to her parents.Her self-esteem had been shot down while she dealt with the panic attacks but it’s only Isaiah who is able to raise her self-esteem. I’m sorry but seriously? Where is the confident, self assured woman that Rachel should have blossomed into?
Isaiah bugged me too. However I did like the story with his mom. I had wondered what had happened to land his butt in foster care and it was really interesting to see him come face to face with his mom. Yet I finished that part of the book a little unsatisfied.It felt like this story could have continued just a little more.
All the car stuff really bored me. Big time. I am not a car person, so I got bored preeeety quickly.The one thing that came out of the car thing was Abby. I loooooved Abby. She seemed like a softer version of Beth (who I also love) I loved the friendship that developed between Abby and Rachel.
I loved seeing Ryan, Beth, Echo and Noah again too. It was good to see that they played their parts in this book. The scenes near the end with Beth and Isaiah were perfectly written and I may have let a few tears fall. I loved how Ryan’s friend Logan played a big part in this book. Watching the friendship grow between Isaiah and Logan was totally awesome.
Let’s get to the romance part of the story. I didn’t feel the same chemistry with Isaiah and Rachel that I felt with Noah & Echo, Beth & Ryan. I didn’t root for the couple at all. And no it’s not because I was secretly dreaming that Isaiah and Beth would come to their senses because it wasn’t. Beth clearly chose right with Ryan.
I think a lot of it had to do with the insta-love as well as the cheesy nicknames that Isaiah called her. Angel,really? It was almost as cheesy as Noah’s Siren talk in Pushing The Limits.The only reason that Noah’s nicknames for Echo didn’t bug me was because the back-stories for Noah and Echo were super strong.
The ending was pretty good and it raised the rating a half star. It was scary and no one knew what was going to happen. I love how all of the couple’s friends came together to help. It showed that friendship is a very strong theme in this book which I love.Friendships are very often underrated and not given the attention that they deserve. Katie McGarry changes that in her books, which is awesome.
It kills me to give this one 3.5 stars but I have to. It wasn’t as strong as the previous two were and Rachel & Isaiah drove me bananas.Plus I didn’t feel the chemistry between them. However i am excited to read the next book in the series which is West’s story.

Review: Forever Innocent by Deanna Roy

Book Title: Forever Innocent
Author: Deanna Roy
Published Date: October 1st, 2013
Publisher: Casey Shay Press
Genre: NA/Romance/Contemporary
Series: Book 1
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & Noble
Synopsis from Goodreads: 
“Our baby died on prom night, and nothing was ever the same again.”

Corabelle doesn’t feel like any of the other college girls. On what should have been one of the happiest nights of her life, she and her boyfriend Gavin watched a nurse disconnect the ventilator from their seven-day-old baby. During the funeral two days later, Gavin walked out and never returned.

Since then, her life has been a spiral of disasters. The only thing that has helped is her ability to black out whenever the pain gets too hard to bear, a habit that has become an addiction.

When Gavin shows up in her astronomy class four years later, he is hell-bent on getting her back, insisting she forgive him. Corabelle knows she can’t resist the touch that fills the empty ache that has haunted her since he left. But if he learns what she has done, if he follows the trail back through her past, her secrets will destroy their love completely. And once again, she’ll lose the only person who always believed she was innocent.

Disclaimer: I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

This is a book that I will have to divide into parts that I really loved and parts that I really didn’t like much. The crazy part is those break down into practically half and half. Half of the book I loved and half of the book I really didn’t like.This book took me on a roller coaster. Thankfully I love roller coasters, but this was a brutal ride.

Let’s start with what I did love about the book. I loved the backstory of how long Gavin and Corabelle had known each other and how they had found themselves preparing to be teen parents to a baby. 

Reading about Finn’s short life just about unraveled me. It was heartbreaking and I loved knowing that the author had taken things from her personal life and threaded it into the book.Since the author had experienced the loss of a baby,she was able to bring a different tone to this book.A more personal and emotional tone.

On a personal note, when the book first started to mention that Finn had had something wrong with his heart, I got really curious. I was born with heart problems myself so I was curious to see if the author would handle the defect correctly or not. Well the options Gavin and Corabelle were given were correct but the statement that “heart defects are mostly genetic” drove me bananas because the truth is 95% of heart defects are considered to be flukes or random incidences. So that showed a lack of research on the author’s part and that really disappointed me.

I loved that Corabelle let Jenny into her life more and more as the book progressed. Seeing how closed off Corabelle had been at the beginning of the book, it showed a lot of emotional growth in Corabelle that she was willing to let Jenny in on the part of her life that included Finn.

Corabelle’s own journey of grief was amazing and beautiful to watch.She would always miss Finn and love him and wish he was here with her, but she was slowly coming out of the haze of grief. Something that had taken her four long years to do.She had spent 4 years pushing people away because she was afraid that she would get too close,too attached and then the person would leave or even die like Finn did.

Now onto the parts that I didn’t love so much. Corabelle and Gavin jumped into the sack way too soon. They had each changed in those 4 years they were apart and there wasn’t even a discussion about that. It was much too soon and that drove me nuts. Gavin’s behavior was also too crazy. He needed to back off when she told him to. Texting and calling and stopping by her home AND her place of work was not only being disrespectful, it was stalking. For crying out loud Gavin, leave her alone. I was absolutely livid that he wasn’t being respectful.

 What was worse, was that, despite her friends’ efforts to do what Corabelle wanted, the minute he finally got to see her again he started in with the “I know we can make it work” crap. Well I was just pissed off that he could be so sure of that when he didn’t know what she had done in those past 4 years and he didn’t even have the balls to be honest with her about what had done.

This book will be getting 3.5 stars. Parts of it I really loved, but the parts of it that included Gavin’s pushy-ness and Corabelle’s lack of restraint are forcing me to lower the rating.I am so glad that the book featured a baby with a heart defect, as there aren’t that many books that do. I just wish the one fact that had been in the book was correct.