Review: Broken Hearts, Fences and Other Things to Mend (Broken Hearts & Revenge #1) by Katie Finn

Book Title:  Broken Hearts, Fences and Other Things to Mend
Author: Katie Finn
Published Date: May 13th, 2014
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Genre: YA Contemporary
Series: Book One in Broken Hearts & Revenge trilogy
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Hot sun. Blue waves. New romances. Old secrets.

Gemma had her summer all planned out, but it takes a sharp turn when she gets dumped and finds herself back in the Hamptons after a five-year absence.

Being there puts her at risk of bumping into Hallie, her former best friends (that is, before Gemma ruined her life). But people don’t hold grudges forever. Do they?

Gemma intends on making amends, but a small case of mistaken identity causes the people she knew years ago—including Hallie and her dreamy brother, Josh—to believe she’s someone else. As though the summer wasn’t complicated enough already.

Filled with summer sun, boys, and friendships gone sour, Katie Finn’s first novel in the Broken Hearts and Revenge series sizzles and delights.

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

Okay, so I have a lot of feelings about this book. Mostly good feelings as I really did enjoy the book a lot. Gemma gets dumped by the school’s do-gooder right off the bat. I detested Teddy. I really could not understand how Gemma could have gotten so wrapped up in him that she had forgotten all of her own dreams, goals, interests et cetera.

Suddenly, newly single Gemma is heading out to the Hamptons to stay with her father for the summer. She’s scared she’s going to run into the girl whose life she made hell 5 years ago. She knows she has a lot to atone for and she knows that she was in the wrong, but she wants to make it right.

A lot of people had varying opinions on both Gemma and Hallie and I am no exception. I’m one of the people who actually liked Gemma more than Hallie. I thought Hallie had held onto a grudge for far too long. I mean come ON, it’s been 5 years for goodness sakes! Time to move on Hallie and stop punishing people for mistakes they made in their past. 

I know bullying is not cool, of course I do. I was bullied for many years as a teenager, but even I had to say enough was enough and it infuriated me that Hallie was still holding a grudge. Eleven year olds make mistakes. So I really didn’t have any sympathy for Hallie because I felt she needed to let it go and I was aggravated that she hadn’t yet. 

Gemma! Oh my goodness, sometimes I wanted to slap her, but usually, I just wanted to hug her. She was putting so much pressure on herself to fix things with Hallie. That pressure sometimes made her do stupid things, but she always had one goal in mind and that was, to fix things with Hallie. Should she have just apologized from the get go? Yeah probably, but she didn’t. I think Gemma still carried around a lot of guilt from what she did to Hallie 5 years ago and like with Hallie, I wanted Gemma to let it go. To forgive herself. I think the idea of forgiving herself was foreign and not something she was really familiar with.

I didn’t love the romance between Josh & Gemma. He was cute, sweet and an all around gentleman, but I didn’t feel the spark between him and Gemma which really bummed me out. Even their first kiss didn’t do anything for me. I am hoping for more character development for Josh in book 2.

Overall, this book was great and I really liked it a lot. I don’t know how I am going to be able to wait for the next book, but wait I must. I am giving this book 4 stars. It was the perfect summery, beachy read and it was very drama filled which was exactly what I was looking for.

Review: The Moon & More by Sarah Dessen

Book: The Moon & More
Author: Sarah Dessen
Published Date: June 4th, 2013
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Genre: NA/Contemporary/Romace
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & Noble
This summer is a time for transitions for Emaline and her family. While she prepares to head off to college,other members of her family are experiencing changes of their own. Emaline has been with her boyfriend Luke for as long as she can remember.He is perfect in every way but now Emaline is starting to wonder if perfect is really what she needs. Enter Theo the mysterious stranger.
Theo is everything that Luke is not. Theo is ambitious and he goes for what he wants,every day believing that this day or this experience will be the best ever.He thinks that Emaline is much to smart for the small town of Colby.
Emaline’s mostly absent father agrees with Theo. He believes that Emaline can do much better than Colby but he is not willing or able to actually help her get there. Emaline can’t deny that she is interested in this future that both Theo and her father see for her.She loves her family and her small town and she’s reluctant to break out of her comfort zone.
Emaline wants to have it all but how can she balance where she came from,from where she’s going?
Disclaimer: I purchased this book from Amazon
I know most people are going to focus their reviews on the love triangle aspect of the book but not me. I am going to focus this review on Emaline’s family,most specifically her relationship with her mostly absent father as I related to that one so much. 
Like Emaline, I don’t have much of a relationship with my father. Actually the interaction I have with him is SO much less than what Emaline has with her father.Like Emaline though I do have a relationship with my half siblings. Not much of one but this book inspired me to make more of an effort.
“No you’re my father.I have a dad and right now Benji needs his. Not a lecture.Not fixing because he is not broken. Just your attention and your patience and your time.Just you.” 
Benji was a cute kid and I’m not at all convinced that he didn’t steal the show so to speak in certain parts of the book.I really didn’t like Emaline’s father.Especially towards the end.I began to see just how selfish he was and I hurt so badly for Benji. I wish we had gotten to see more of Emaline’s stepmother Leah. I have a feeling I would have really liked her.
Now Emaline’s nuclear family was great. I loved her grandmother, mom,stepfather and sisters Margo & Amber. They all seemed like a typical family.Close enough to drive each other crazy,but also allowing for autonomy.I can’t blame Emaline for not really minding that her father wasn’t around much.She had a wonderful & supportive family.
Daisy was so sweet and such an awesome friend. I wish I had a friend just like her. I liked her relationship with Morris. I know it seemed like he was a lazy ass and maybe he was,but he made one hell of an effort for Daisy which made me smile.
Oh Ivy,throughout most of the book I kept saying that she was a very high strung woman and just needed to chill for a bit. But by the end of it,I loved her.Yes she was a hard-ass but once I really got to know the character I didn’t mind one iota.She actually grew to be one of my favorite characters in the whole book.
Okay I guess now I have to talk about the two guys. Initially I felt that Luke was too vanilla for Emaline and that Theo was more of a raspberry sorbet type. I liked Theo more for Emaline through a good chunk of it but then I started to realize that he was doing his best to try to change Emaline which drove me bananas. Yes coaxing someone out of their comfort zone could be helpful but he was really pushy.The fact that every day could be the “Best Day Ever” started to really irk me. No day is perfect and there is no such thing as having every day be the best thing ever.
I ended up loving Luke by the end of it. He was sweet and kind and most importantly he cared for Emaline in a way that I don’t think Theo ever did.He didn’t try to change Emaline and he also didn’t push for a reconciliation by the end.
“My point is, I don’t want anymore weirdness between us. Which means honestly not having anything between us.At least not now. All right?” -Luke

There were a few points in the book where it seemed to drag and that really is the reason I’ve giving this book 4 stars.If there hadn’t been any dragging parts,then I would be giving this book the full five stars. As it is,I need to go read some more of Sarah Dessen’s work.

Review: All I Need by Susane Colasanti

Book: All I Need
Author: Susane Colasanti
Published Date: May 21st, 2013
Publisher: Viking Juvenile 
Genre: YA/Romance
Book LinkGoodreads
Purchase Links: Amazon,Barnes & Noble
Skye wants nothing more than to meet the guy of her dreams and when she meets Seth at the beach on her last night there,she thinks she may have met the guy of her dreams. But they part without exchanging contact information and they spend the next year pining for each other but never knowing it.
If they do meet again,is that initial attraction enough to withstand ex issues and the problems that occur with having drastically different backgrounds?
Disclaimer: I won this book from Steph & Kat @ Cuddlebuggery
Well having no internet for a week can definitely help with the reading pile. This book was a very easy read. I finished it in less than 24 hours.It started off really cute and I liked Seth and Skye instantly and I felt the spark between them. After that first meeting,all went to hell in a hand-basket.
One of my biggest issues was how they both moped and pined for the other. Making a romantic partner the only important thing in your life drives me insane. It’s important to have balance in a relationship. Friends and other interests are important too and I don’t think either Skye or Seth seemed to realize that. 
Skye didn’t seem to know how to be fun when she wasn’t with Seth. I found her boring and completely uninteresting. I actually found her friends to be more interesting than her. That’s not a good thing. I did not connect with Skye at all.Probably because I am happy on my own and don’t depend on a guy to make me happy.
I know they attempted to date others before the reconnected the following summer but I don’t think they gave poor Karen or Ben a fair shot. I think they had major tunnel vision and that drove me batty as well. Maybe it’s just that I don’t really like the cornball aspect of this book.
I actually liked Seth better with Karen than with Skye. Karen seemed more confident and sure of herself no matter if she was single or not. Now that’s the kind of character I can get behind.
I did like how there was a dual point-of-view throughout this book. I’m seeing it more and more in YA books and I love it so much. It allows for more depth for the characters as you get two viewpoints. I actually liked reading Seth’s parts the best,maybe because I identified with him the most out of all the characters,you know aside from him being a guy and me being a girl.
The one thing that drove me absolutely BONKERS at the end of the book was Skye’s college decision. You should NEVER pick a school based on where your boyfriend is. Particularly if you aren’t engaged yet. You don’t know what’s going to happen and you could end up single and at a school that isn’t as great as the one you turned down because of how far away it was from your boyfriend.
This book is getting 2 stars from me. Plainly put,I just didn’t like it. Parts of it were better than others,but parts of it made me want to throw the book across the room. Remember ladies,a guy will respect you and love you more if you have your own interests outside of him.Don’t ever make a guy your everything. Don’t ever expect a guy to complete you. You should already be complete and a guy should simply compliment you.

Book Tour: Romancing the Bookworm by Kate Evangelista

Title: Romancing the Bookworm 
Author: Kate Evangelista     
Release date: July 9, 2013
Publisher: Omnific Publishing
Genre: New Adult Contemporary romance
Book Information: GoodreadsBook Trailer
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & Noble
Sometimes, even the best-laid plans can unravel.
It’s spring break, and Tamara Winters would rather stay on campus and read romance novels than flaunt her size-fourteen body on a beach. But her best friend, Roni, has other ideas. Against her wishes, Tamara is whisked away to picturesque Maverick Bay, where she’s wrangled into waiting tables with Roni at the Shore Shack for its busy week leading to Maverick’s Surf Invitational. There she meets fellow schoolmate Xavier Solomon, the Invitational’s organizer and campus womanizer by reputation. From the moment Tamara sees him emerging from the waves like a hero in of one of her romance novels, all she wants to do is run away from the feelings he inspires in her.
Little does she know Xavier has been watching her for weeks now. In fact, after failed attempts at asking her out on campus, he’s concocted a crazy plan: fabricating romantic situations straight out of her favorite books. Xavier quickly realizes that if Tamara gets a whiff of his designs, he might as well spell CREEPER across his forehead. Yet as they grow closer, he’s convinced it’s a risk worth taking. What he hasn’t planned on, of course, is his drug-addicted, alcoholic stepbrother, who decides to join the fun and put a wrench in Xavier’s scheme.
Spring break is proving hotter than Tamara expected. Will her romance novels be able to compete?

Disclaimer: I received an advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for my participation in a blog tour.

Review: I was excited to read this book from the minute I saw the synopsis and I was hopeful that the book itself wouldn’t disappoint me. It didn’t disappoint me at all. In fact It felt as though the book was written FOR me in so many ways. I have always preferred the company of books to the company of actual people. I have very little experience with romance much like Tamara.

I fell head over heels for Xavier from the beginning. He was a very dreamy guy. Not just in looks but in personality too. However I knew pretty quickly that he was hiding something and I was hoping that it wasn’t anything too serious like all of his stepbrother’s issues.

Roni was an awesome best friend. Best friends are supposed to be there for you. They are supposed to apologize when they wronged you and Roni did that. Not only that,but she pushed Tamara OUT of her comfort zone. That I loved.She didn’t do it maliciously. She did it out of love for Tamara. I wish we had seen more of Hudson,Roni’s brother. I really liked him.He was a loyal guy to both his best friend Xavier and to Roni.

I know I wasn’t supposed to,but I fell for Zander. Yes he had problems but at the root of it he was a good guy. I truly believe that. No he didn’t handle things well with Roni, or with Xavier for that matter,but underneath all the drugs & alcohol I truly believe he was a good person. He had gone through so much hell and now he was feeling unloved by his family,pushed out by Xavier. Like Xavier admitted near the end,I do believe Zander loved Roni. I am SO hoping the author does another book,this one with Zander & Roni as the focal points.

Xavier and Tamara were so flipping CUTE! Gah I was so hoping that Tamara would cash in her v-card with this guy. I think cashing it in with some guy who she doesn’t know would have really upset her. I also like that they didn’t rush into it and that Xavier allowed her to set the pace. That showed so much respect for her.

I really liked how there were so few characters.It allowed for better character development and it allowed me to care about the five main characters.Sometimes a book can have too many secondary characters that it gets confusing and I get frustrated.

This book really spoke to me and I really adored the entire thing. I am giving it five stars because this book was perfection. From the plot to the characters to the backdrop.

About the Author:

When Kate Evangelista was told she had a knack for writing stories, she did the next best thing: entered medical school. After realizing she wasn’t going to be the next Doogie Howser, M.D., Kate wandered into the Literature department of her university and never looked back. Today, she is in possession of a piece of paper that says to the world she owns a Literature degree. To make matters worse, she took Master’s courses in creative writing. In the end, she realized to be a writer, none of what she had mattered. What really mattered? Writing. Plain and simple, honest to God, sitting in front of her computer, writing. Today, she has four completed Young Adult novels.

You can follow the tour to see reviews, guest posts, and excerpts by clicking the link below.