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: No Such Thing by A.M. Arthur

Book Title: No Such Thing
Author: A.M. Arthur
Release Date: February 17th, 2014
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: NA/LGBT/Romance
Series: Book 1
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links:  AmazonBarnes & Noble
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Twenty-two-year-old Alessandro Silva knows that returning to tiny Perch Creek to help his foster mother was the right thing to do. With no degree and a delinquent’s reputation, he’s lucky to have landed a job waiting tables. But not everyone is happy he’s back, and the only thing keeping his move home from being a total bust is his boss’s hot brother.

Jaime Winters spent most of his life watching the world go by, first from a series of hospitals and then from behind big stacks of textbooks. Studying is easier than facing the fact that years of heart failure means he’s still a virgin at twenty-three. Until the new waiter in his sister’s diner awakens desires he’d long ago given up on.

The last thing Alessandro wants is to fall for someone as fragile as Jaime. And Jaime may have a new heart, but he’s scared of what giving it to another person would mean. Their no-strings-attached, instructional approach to sex keeps emotion safely at bay, until a secret from Alessandro’s past forces them to confront their feelings in the present…

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from Carina Press via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

When I read the synopsis, I just knew I had to read this book. Like Jamie I spent years of my life in and out of the hospital.Like Jamie I dealt with poor health due to my heart problems. Unlike Jamie I haven’t needed a transplant (knock on wood) Being ill with a chronic illness causes you to grow up fast in some ways but you are basically assured an immature social life.I related to Jamie big time in this book. He sought comfort in his books and school much like I did.

Jamie didn’t know how to suddenly emerge into the dating world because he had spent so much of his teenage years, sick and lacking the energy to do much. I know that feeling. I also know the feeling of feeling like everyone is lightyears ahead of you in personal milestones. Marriage, kids, owning a home etc.

Jamie wasn’t out to anyone except for his sister Shannon, who I loved. She was a total sweetheart but she also was willing to open up a can of whoop-ass on whoever hurt or even threatened to hurt her baby brother. Fiercely protective she was.

That’s why I was happy to see how she warmed up to Alessandro. From the beginning the attraction between Jamie & Alessandro was evident. Shannon herself noticed how her brother and her new employee looked at each other but aside from inquiring about how they were doing as a couple, she stayed out of it.

Oh Alessandro, I loved that you returned to help your former foster mom out. His devotion to family was so nice to see. His former foster father had recently died, so Alessandro was back to help Eunice and her two foster kids Tony & Molly.Tony needed a stable male influence around as he was easily swayed by older and cooler kids.Molly was a little shyer but she was a sweetheart underneath all of her fears.

This book was weird as I loved the relationship between Alessandro and Jamie but through a decent chunk of the book it was straight up erotica. Now I don’t mind erotica at all but I think that there was too much of it and it detracted from the story arcs for Jamie & Alessandro. 

Jamie’s arc was his growing confidence and his refusal to stay in the closet any longer. He also allowed himself to believe that he was worthy of love and that the vertical scar that ran down his chest as a mark of how far he had come. Alessandro’s arc was learning to allow someone into his heart and allowing him to lean on Jamie as he faced demons from his past.

At about 70% through it I was getting frustrated with the sexy scenes. But then something happened that totally turned the book around for me. It was at this point that I shed tears. I was heartbroken for Jamie and Alessandro and scared for them both throughout the rest of the book.
I am really conflicted on what to rate this book. I don’t think removing two whole stars is okay just because of the excess sex scenes, but I don’t know. Will I read the next book in the series? Yes. Did I enjoy the book outside of the sex scenes? Yes. I wouldn’t continue the series if it was a 3 star rating because a three star rating means (to me) that I am indifferent on the book. But I’m not. indifferent. So I’ll give this book 4 stars. I am excited to see where the series goes next.