Review: Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider

EMBook Title: Extraordinary Means
Author: Robyn Schneider
Published Date: May 26th, 2015
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: YA Contemporary
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads

From the author of The Beginning of Everything: two teens with a deadly disease fall in love on the brink of a cure.

At seventeen, overachieving Lane finds himself at Latham House, a sanatorium for teens suffering from an incurable strain of tuberculosis. Part hospital and part boarding school, Latham is a place of endless rules and confusing rituals, where it’s easier to fail breakfast than it is to flunk French.

There, Lane encounters a girl he knew years ago. Instead of the shy loner he remembers, Sadie has transformed. At Latham, she is sarcastic, fearless, and utterly compelling. Her friends, a group of eccentric troublemakers, fascinate Lane, who has never stepped out of bounds his whole life. And as he gradually becomes one of them, Sadie shows him their secrets: how to steal internet, how to sneak into town, and how to disable the med sensors they must wear at all times.

But there are consequences to having secrets, particularly at Latham House. And as Lane and Sadie begin to fall in love and their group begins to fall sicker, their insular world threatens to come crashing down.

Told in alternating points of view, Extraordinary Means is a darkly funny story about doomed friendships, first love, and the rare miracle of second chances.

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from Katherine Tegen Books via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

I needed something amazing, something that would blow me away. Given how I felt about The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider, I was worried that I wouldn’t love this book. Especially seeing as it looked like something I was going to love.

Thankfully, I did love it.

Sadie was very much like me. She was sarcastic, fearless and fascinating. I loved her as a character because she reminded me so much of myself. I live life fearlessly, and so often, the girls I read about don’t live life fearlessly so I don’t always connect to them the way I want to. Sadie knows she’s sick, but she’s bound and determined not to let her illness hold her back. That kind of fearlessness and willingness to fight the drug resistant strain of TB that the entirety of Latham House has.

Lane, on the other hand was very much like me in the overachiever department. He reminded me a lot of myself when I was in high school. He was so focused on his life plan that in some ways, he really didn’t start living life until he was at Latham House. He had been so focused on school, getting into Stanford, that he never really took time out for fun. He probably couldn’t even give an example of it if someone asked him to.

Lane and Sadie were adorable together. I loved them together, and my favorite moment between them is when they kiss for the first time. I adored that part and I found myself grinning like a crazy person.

Books that are very character centered are usually some of my favorite books. This book was very character centered, and the characters were all fleshed out well. Even the secondary characters like Charlie, Marina and Nick were well developed. I love when that happens.

This book destroyed my feels in the best possible way. I love books that make me feel, and boy this one did just that. It brought the feels in a big way. I absolutely loved this book and am giving it 5 stars.

Review: Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill

Book Title: Being Sloane Jacobs
Author: Lauren Morrill
Release Date: January 7th, 2014
Publisher: Delacorte
Genre: YA
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Link: AmazonBarnes & Noble
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Meet Sloane Emily Jacobs: a seriously stressed-out figure-skater from Washington, D.C., who choked during junior nationals and isn’t sure she’s ready for a comeback. What she does know is that she’d give anything to escape the mass of misery that is her life.

Now meet Sloane Devon Jacobs, a spunky ice hockey player from Philly who’s been suspended from her team for too many aggressive hip checks. Her punishment? Hockey camp, now, when she’s playing the worst she’s ever played. If she messes up? Her life will be over.

When the two Sloanes meet by chance in Montreal and decide to trade places for the summer, each girl thinks she’s the lucky one: no strangers to judge or laugh at Sloane Emily, no scouts expecting Sloane Devon to be a hero. But it didn’t occur to Sloane E. that while avoiding sequins and axels she might meet a hockey hottie—and Sloane D. never expected to run into a familiar (and very good-looking) face from home. It’s not long before the Sloanes discover that convincing people you’re someone else might be more difficult than being yourself.

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

This book title had been floating around my fellow book bloggers since shortly after I became a part of the book blogger community. I had seen the synopsis and I was truly excited for it although I knew my chances of getting an ARC of it were pretty slim. Imagine my surprise when I got the email from NetGalley a few months ago, in October.

I downloaded it instantly but wasn’t able to get to it until recently.It was well worth the wait. It made me cry, laugh and have all the feels in between. This isn’t a fluffy Parent Trap-esque book. The romance happens for the girls, not the parents.Happily, the romance wasn’t the main plot point. It was a subplot to the main plot of two stressed out athletes needing a month away from their families. 

Sloane Emily’s family is a mess. She walked in on her father having an affair with his assistant, and suddenly that assistant is everywhere-even in Sloane Emily’s thoughts. Her mother is clueless about the affair and Emily isn’t about to clue her in on it. Her brother, James is working with the political party, who their father is NOT affiliated with.

Sloane Devon’s family is a mess too. Her mother is a raging alcoholic, who is in rehab, her father is trying to parent her as a single father but is failing big time. Add that to Sloane Devon’s temper and there’s a recipe for disaster.
A lot of people are going to take issue with the fact that it seemed like they had no problems with switching and that they seemed to do well in sports that they weren’t previously focused on.I don’t find that as much of an issue mostly because they do have the background of being on the ice. They just have to get used to using different equipment. For Sloane Emily, that’s pucks and hockey sticks and lots of body armor. For Sloane Devon, that’s ice skates.
Nando and Matt were two good additions to the story. I did prefer Matt, mostly because I didn’t feel it between Sloane Devon and Nando. I did feel major sparks between Matt and Sloane Emily though. They were completely adorable.Matt was so determined to prove that he was no longer a playboy like he had been in the past.
There always has to be some sort of rival in books like this but I was bored with Melody. I fully expected her to pull some crazy stuff like Ivy did.Yet, she didn’t and that kind of bored me.Melody just seemed like the typical ultra-competitive player who talked a big talk but when it came right down to it, she was not going to risk her place at camp to go after Sloane Emily.
Alternating POV’s was great and overall I preferred Sloane Devon’s. There were many times that I busted out laughing so hard I was crying while reading her POV. 
“And as much as the thought of Ivy finding a mouse in her bed thrills me, I really should just open the box and eat the brownies.” Sloane Devon

She was everything that I could want in a likable character. She was laugh out loud funny, which was one of my favorite things about her.

“The only thing that’s keeping me from smothering Ivy in her sleep is that I’m convinced that she would haunt me if I did.” Sloane Devon

I do think that Sloane Emily was the one who changed the most by the end of the book.I ended up liking her a whole lot more than I had initially.Yet it was Sloane Devon’s family that made the most changes to themselves by the end of the book and that alone made me cry quite a bit at the end.
All in all, I really enjoyed this book, loved the characters a lot. I would love to give this book a full five stars but I didn’t get many feels while reading this, which bummed me out. I also didn’t feel like I got to see enough of Sloane Emily’s personality. If I had gotten to see more of her personality, I think I would have liked her more.So this book will be getting 4 stars.

About the Author:

Lauren Elizabeth Morrill is many things, including, but not limited to, a writer, an educator, a badass roller derby skater, a former band nerd, an aggressive driver, and a die-hard Mac person. She also watches a lot of TV, eats a lot of junk food, and drinks a lot of Coke. It’s a wonder her brain and teeth haven’t rotted out of her head.

Connect with the author:
Facebook Author Page

Review: Pushing The Limits (Pushing The Limits #1) by Katie McGarry

Book Title: Pushing The Limits (Pushing The Limits #1)
Author: Katie McGarry
Release Date: June 1st, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: YA/Contemporary
Series: Book 1 in Pushing The Limits series
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with “freaky” scars on her arms. Even Echo can’t remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo’s world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she’ll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

Disclaimer: This was a personal purchase.

I am growing to absolutely love YA Contemporaries. Before recently I was never really into them but since I have read quite a few in the past few weeks, I’ve grown to love the sub-genre.I wanted to read Pushing The Limits and the second book in the series, Dare You To before I read my e-ARC of Crash Into You. Thankfully I snapped up some great e-book deals a few days before Thanksgiving.

Echo appears much stronger than she actually is. She feels like she needs to be strong and she desperately wants to keep up that facade of strength as she struggles to regain some sense of normalcy after the events of one night, 2 years ago. She doesn’t remember anything, but the scars on her arms prove to her that something had happened. Echo chooses to wear long sleeves year round so she doesn’t have to see the scars and so no one else has to see the scars.

Her former nanny is now her stepmother and her stepmother is now heavily pregnant. I felt bad for Ashley. I know that I wasn’t supposed to, but Echo held a lot of resentment towards Ashley. As the story continues, it becomes clear that Echo has held her mother up on a pedestal and that means that Ashley gets ragged on. Unfairly, in my opinion.Echo wants to blame Ashley for the events that happened that night. Initially Echo refuses to acknowledge that her father was responsible for his own actions.

Initially, I thought that Echo’s dad was a total asshole, but then I realized that he was trying to do his absolute best to make sure that Echo didn’t turn into her mother.In his own bizare way, Owen Emerson is trying his hardest to protect his daughter. Protect her like he wasn’t able to protect his son, Aires. 

Aires died in Afghanistan and ever since then, Echo has fought to feel safe. She is terrified to sleep although the reasoning for that was not revealed until the end.All we know is that Aires made her feel safe.

Never in her wildest dreams did Echo expect Noah Hutchins to become her safe place. She knew his reputation. She knew that he preferred to have sex with a girl and then that was it. He never seemed to develop any sort of attachment to anyone. Yet inexplicably he sees something in her. Echo knows she’s broken and she feels beyond repair. Noah doesn’t seem to care.

Several years ago Noah, along with his two younger brothers, lost their parents in a house fire. Ever since then, Noah has worked hard to try and keep his brothers with him. Ever since he punched his first foster father, that goal doesn’t seem to be any closer to achievement. His brothers’ foster parents are trying to adopt them and Noah is convinced that they are unfit parents.

I felt bad for Carrie and Joe. Noah was so desperate to keep his family together that he didn’t realize that his brothers were happy and were living with two great people who loved the boys and could give them things that Noah could not give them.He was convinced that they were unfit parents because he had had some crappy foster parents. He is very distrustful of basically all authority figures.

That’s where Mrs. Collins comes in. I liked her and the dynamic that she had with both Echo and Noah. She was Echo’s “safe space” and she was also the first adult that Noah realized he could trust.

I loved Isaiah and Beth in this one and I cannot wait to see more of them as the series continues. Echo really only had one best friend. Lila was a perfect best friend. I was so glad that Echo had her. Natalie was okay, but Grace was beyond redemption. Luke was a total asshole. I was relieved when she dumped him.

The end of the book brought Echo a lot of healing which I’ll be honest, I pretty much sobbed while reading about. It was beautifully done.The bits with her mother and then with her father and Ashley. I think Echo realized a lot of things. Things that she may not have been willing or ready to admit.

Honestly I was not expecting to love this book as much as I did, but I loved it. Wonderfully real characters. All of them had their own journey to take and while some journey’s were small, others were big journey’s filled with a lot of self-discovery. I will be giving this book 5 stars. I don’t know how Dare You To and Crash Into You will measure up to this one, but I cannot wait to find out.