Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Best of the Year (So Far)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where we discuss bookish topics in the form of lists, which we all love to do.

This week's topic is Top Ten Favourite Books So Far This Year

I've read so many great books in these past six months that this may be a bit hard to do, but here goes:

1. The Stars Never Rise by Rachel Vincent: I'm so glad Rachel has started a new YA series. Her Soul Screamers series is still my top favourite and this one was a great beginning to a new world that she's created.

2. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven: Finch and Violet made me fall in love with them and this book was just so incredible in every way. It certainly deserves all the hype it gets.

3. Mosquitoland by David Arnold: A great road trip story about an odd girl who discovers the world is just as odd as she is. Great writing and such great characters.

4. I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios: Another great contemporary book about a girl who wants to escape and a boy who's seen too much. I loved every minute of it.

5. All Played Out by Cora Carmack: My number one favourite NA author, this third book in the Rusk series was just as good as the rest and so much fun!

6. The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West: Because Kasie can literally do no wrong. Such a cute read with great characters and a plot only Kasie can pull off.

7. Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen: Because it's Sarah Dessen.

8. All The Rage by Courtney Summers: Such an important book that every young woman needs to read and Courtney wrote it in the most amazing way. She is fabulous.

9. Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver: Her prose is beautiful and haunting and this book took such wild turns so quietly that it blew me away.

10. The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord: A great follow up novel after Open Road Summer that perfectly captures high school life, grief and falling in love all over again.

What books you guys have loved this year or what you're most looking forward to!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Review: Right Kind of Wrong

Right Kind of Wrong
Author: Chelsea Fine
Published: March 3rd, 2015
Paperback, 320 pages
4 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

Jenna Lacombe needs complete control, whether it's in the streets... or between the sheets. So when she sets out on a solo road trip to visit her family in New Orleans, she's beyond annoyed that the infuriatingly sexy Jack Oliver wants to hitch a ride with her. Ever since they shared a wild night together last year, he's been trying to strip away her defenses one by one. He claims he's just coming to keep her safe - but what's not safe gor her is prolonged exposure to the tattooed hottie.

Jack can't get Jenna out from under his skin. She makes him feel alive again after his old life nearly destroyed him - and losing her is not an option. Now Jack's troubles are catching up with him, and he's forced to return to his hometown in Louisiana. But when his secrets put them both in harm's way, Jenna will have to figure out how far she's willing to let love in... and how much she already has.

Two characters who pretend to not have feelings for each other even after they've had one night of wild sex together makes for such good drama. Jenna needs to be in control of her life. She's independent, hard core, smart, sexy and witty and without control she can't survive. Enter Jack Oliver, her good friend who she lost control with one drunk night. He's in love with her and continuously tries to show her this, but Jenna doesn't have time for a relationship. She wants to graduate college, open up an art gallery and buy herself a house. Jack isn't part of her plan. When her grandma calls her saying she's sick, Jenna has no choice but to road trip home to New Orleans, a road trip she plans to do solo. But when Jack finds out he also needs to be home in Louisiana, he tags along for the ride, much to Jenna's dismay. Jack thinks this will be the perfect opportunity to tell Jenna how he feels about her, but Jenna will have none of it, hiding her feelings and pushing him away. But how long can she lie to herself, especially when they are sharing hotel rooms along the way.

Oh my god, you guys, this book was fantastic. Jenna is so stand offish and bitchy, and Jack is the sweet guy trying to break away her armour. It's such a great change from the characters you normally see in New Adult books where the guy is the bad boy and the girl just swoons for him. These two have so much history and been friends for a long time. Jenna doesn't want to ruin that and all Jack wants to do is ruin it. She's stubborn and though it takes Jack a long time to get to her, it's worth the wait. I loved his point of view, the way he thinks of her is so sweet and I wanted her to realize he was the right guy for her every page. Jenna's control issues remind me a bit too much of my own and how long it took for me to open my heart to the one I love after so much pain. Their chemistry was fantastic. They bickers, fought and joked around all at once and they were so comfortable with each other until they started getting too close. The nights they slept apart broke my heart and each night I wanted Jenna to just crawl into bed with him.

The families in this played an important part. We find out a lot of Jack's past from his family and it's great how Jenna excepts it and stays to help with the issues they are dealing with. Jenna's family is much more laid back, her grandma is hilarious and even though the parts with them were short, they were full of heart. I'm so happy when I see families in NA books as I know for me, my family is still such a big part of my life even though I'm in my 20s. Parents don't just disappear and we still go to them for advice, so I love it when an author includes that into the plot, even if the characters have to road trip to see them.

One of my favourite things about New Adult series is that each book focuses on different characters that have previously shown up in the other books. This was the perfect ending to a great series about six characters who already know how they really feel and the chance encounters that help them realize it. Just like Pixie and Levi and Kayla and Daren, Jenna and Jack have finally admitted to each thoer that they have feelings for the other and only because Jack forced his way into her road trip. These plot devices were great for this series and I loved reading about characters making fate work for them.

"Love is the absence of control and the presence of faith. And you won't truly be happy until you surrender to it."

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Review: Saint Anything

xSaint Anything
Author: Sarah Dessen
Published: May 5th, 2015
Hardcover, 417 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

Peyton, Sydney's charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion's share of their parents' attention and - lately - concern. When Peyton's increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the firs time.

The uber-popular Sarah Dessen explores her signature themes of family, self-discovery, and change in her twelfth novel, sure to delight her legions of fans.

Sarah Dessen has the gift. Her novels resonate with both teens and adults alike. She knows exactly ho to tell a girl's story as she navigates through life as a teen. I have yet to be disappointed with one of her books and Saint Anything was a great addition to my collection. Sydney has always been out shined by her older brother Peyton, but when he hurts someone while driving drunk and is sentences to jail, suddenly the golden boy isn't so golden. But her parents still think he's perfect and Sydney can't stand that he can do no wrong. As she tries to continue living as her parents stand still, she finds a new hang out at a pizza shop and becomes quick friends with the family that runs it. Mac, the quiet older brother who always seems to be there for Sydney, catches her attention right off the bat and listens to her rant about her family. She falls in quickly with the Chathams, loving the way they live and care for their sick mother. And for the first time, Sydney feels like she's found a place where she belongs.

Sydney starts out as a character who lets others dictate her life. She will pretty much do anything her mother asks her to, constantly gets into situation revolving around Peyton's friends wo makes her super uncomfortable but she's too afraid to tell anyone about it. Her story ARC is great as we see her come out of her shell, thanks to Layla and Mac mostly, and becomes the kind of girl that can speak up for herself and tell people when she's not happy. Her and her mother have an interesting relationship and it was great to see how it evolved throughout the novel, especially when her mother finally accepts that Peyton is in jail. It was strange how she failed to realize the severity of Peyton putting a kid in a wheelchair, but I guess when your child is your prize possession it's hard to see the bad in him. Peyton and Sydney had some things to work on as well. It takes her a long time to finally talk to him while he's in jail and it's a great moment when they finally break that barrier and become siblings.

I think what got me the most about this one was Sydney's relationship with Ames, her brother's friend, was something that I think too many girls find themselves a part of. Because he's her brother's friend and her parents trust him, she is constantly put in situations where she is alone with him and she does not like it. He gave me the creeps(as I'm sure was the point) and I wish Sydney had been able to tell someone about him sooner. I hope that this can give girls the courage to speak up about someone who may be making them uncomfortable, because I know I would have found that hard to do when I was younger.

There were great moments that still stand out to me, like the abandoned carousel in the park and how loving and caring Mac was (a nice change from the bad boy image that seems to float around in YA books). Layla was a great friend to Sydney and I loved that they hung out at the pizza parlor, doing homework and just being around her family. A great friendship is important to me in books because I like it not just be about the guy, although Mac has quickly become one of my new favourite book boyfriends. I loved how this book started. It was so different than her other books that I knew right away it wouldn't be the same story she's written before (as some of them can seen a bit recycled). Peyton has just been sentenced and Sydney is witnessing the whole thing. She grew so brave throughout this book and her character development was very well written. I always get super pumped for more Sarah Dessen after reading one so I'm glad I still have some old ones to read to quench my book thirst as I wait for her to write a new one. Pick this one up if you're a fan of hers or just a fan of great contemporary reads. You won't regret it.

"The future was one thing that could never be broken, because it had not yet had the chance to be anything."

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Review: The Fill-In Boyfriend

The Fill-In Boyfriend
Author: Kasie West
Published: May 5th, 2015
Paperback, 352 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

When Gia Montgomery's boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she's been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend - two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley.

The problem is that days after prom, it's not the real Bradley she's thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn't even know. But tracking him down doesn't mean they're done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend's graduation party - three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.

Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship.

I was so excited the minute I picked this book up. Kasie West has not disappointed me and this book was no exception. She finds a way to devise a plot that's unique and fun  with tons of drama along the way. The Fill-In Boyfriend is the perfect contemporary book with just the fun plot I was looking for. Gia has been dying to prove to her friends that her boyfriend, Bradley, really exists, and prom night is the perfect time for it. But when he breaks up with her in the parking lot of the school, she doesn't know what to do. So she grabs the first guy she can find, a brother waiting for his sister, and convinces him to be her fill-in boyfriend for the evening. He reluctantly agrees and they have a great night together. And who wouldn't fall for the fill-in, a charming guy who follows along with the plan and woos her friends at the same time. Which is why, days later, Gia is still thinking about him instead of Bradley and badly wants to see him again.

This book is full of little white lies, trying to win back exes and moments where those lies mean nothing and the two people involved find truth in their schemes. The more time Gia and fill-in Bradley spend together, the more they realize they like each other. Exes get in the way, Gia's frienemy tries so hard to prove that she's lying, and Gia's afraid to fall after having her heart broken by Bradley. It was a quick read with lots of fun, swoon worthy moments and the kind of ending I'd expect from Kasie West. This was the perfect summer read, a book about the end of the school, the beginning of new things, and finding what you wanted when you least expected it. It's about jumping in and not looking back, falling in love and the problems that come with it. Gia and fill-in Bradley were so cute together. He was perfect for her even though it took awhile for them both to realize it. Gia makes some mistakes along the way and she risks friendships for them, but that's what life is all about, taking risks and dealing with the consequences later. One of my favourite parts was when fill-in Bradley revealed his name. The whole conversation was adorable and yes the anticipation killed me. I devour Kasie's books in one day and this one was just the kind of book to spend an afternoon reading. Seriously, so cute.

"You know what we've succeeded in doing with this game?"
"What's that?"
"Increasing the anticipation."
He laughed. "I know right? Can I just be fill-in Bradley forever?"

Review: The Start of Me and You

The Start of Me and You
Author: Emery Lord
Published: March 31st, 2015
Hardcover, 384 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

Brimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamics, The Start of Me and You proves that it's never too late for second chances.

It's been a year since it happened - when Paige Hancock's first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school... and she has a plan.  First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chases, to date her - the perfect way to convince everyone she's back to normal. Next: Join a club - simple, it's high school after all. But when Ryan's sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?

Emery Lord quickly became an auto buy author after I read her first novel, Open Road Summer, this follow up novel of hers lives up to everything I expected from her. Her characters are real and these girls go through real problems and have real friendships and everything about them falls off the pages and I could only wish to know them in real life. I'm a sucker for stories about a girl who's trying to figure out who she really is after something happens in her life. Paige's first boyfriend, a guy she only dated for a couple of months, died in a accident a year ago, but she feels like she is still known as his girlfriend and she's not sure how to get past that. Paige's journey is so fun to read. Her list is perfection and I love how she goes through it and how nothing ends up being the way she'd hoped it'd be. Paige's infatuation with Ryan Chase is exactly what you'd expect from a teenage girl, I mean I think I had crushes on ten boys at a time at that age. But Max Watson stole the show for me. He's Ryan's nerdy cousin who's into trivia and recruits Paige into the Quiz Bowl, a trivia competition that scares the crap out of her. But Quiz Bowl gives her time to spend with Max and I'll just say that I'd fall for him in a heartbeat.

Paige is your typical high school girl and that makes her totally relatable. She's a bit nerdy, loves her lists, and is a little shy. She doesn't like being known as the "girlfriend". As she pinned away from Ryan Chase, she was oblivious to the fact that Max was into her. She was clearly into Max too, but it took her awhile to see this. I loved the dynamic between them. Their conversations were adorable and even though there were fewer moments where they might have kissed, the moments were fantastic. Another great part of this book were the friendships. Paige had such a great group of girlfriends who have helped her through all the hard times. I had a great group of friends in high school, still do actually, and I love when books focus on the friends as much as the boyfriends. My friends are who got me through high school, not the silly boys I had endless crushes on. Friends are the most important thing for a young girl and I'm glad Paige had a great group of them and they were actually involved in the book.

This is the kind of book we need more of. There isn't any backstabbing, people support each other, and the boys are sweet and adorable.  Every girl deserves a boy who will share his Girl Scout cookie stash with her. And every girl certainly deserves a group of friends who will always be there for her, and a chance to live a life after something awful has happened. This is a book about finding out who you are without someone beside you, and if you happen to meet the guy of your dreams along the way, well there's no problem with that at all, right?

"Ryan Chase was my eight-grade collage, aspirational and wide-eyed. But Max was the first bite of grilled cheese on a snowy day, the easy fit of my favorite jeans, that one old song that made it onto every playlist. Peanut-butter Girl Scout cookies instead of an ornate cake. Not glamorous or idealized or complicated. Just me."

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Review: How To Love

How To Love
Author: Katie Cotugno
Published: October 1st, 2013
Hardcover, 389 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

Reena Montero has loved Sawyer LeGrande for as long as she can remember: as natural as breathing, as endless as time. But he's never seemed to notice that Reena even exists until one day, impossibly, he does. Reena and Sawyer fall in messy, complicated love. But then Sawyer disappears from their humid Florida town without a word, leaving a devastated - and pregnant - Reena behind.

Almost three years have passed, and there's a new love in Reena's life: her daughter, Hannah. Reena's gotten used to being without Sawyer, and she's finally getting the hang of this strange, unexpected life. But then just as swiftly as he disappeared, Sawyer turns up again. Reena doesn't want anything to do with him, though she'd be lying if she said Sawyer's being back wasn't stirring something in her. After everything that's happened, can Reena really let herself love Sawyer LeGrande again?

In this breathtaking debut, Katie Cotugno weaves together the story of one couple falling in love - twice.

It took me a long time to pick up this book and for the life of me I can't figure out why I waited so long. I guess at first the description didn't seem like something I'd be into, but the minute I started reading this, I knew I was in love. Reena and Sawyer have had quite the interesting relationship. She's loved him forever but he was always unavailable, and for a while he was dating her best friend. But one magical night, all that changes and Reena finally has a chance to be with Sawyer and she takes it, not worrying about the consequences. And when Sawyer ups and leaves one day, just as she's about to tell him she's pregnant, she realizes what a huge mistake she made being with him. So when Sawyer shows up to town two years later, Reena isn't ready to forgive him at all. She has a new life, a new daughter, and a good relationship with her best friend's brother. But Sawyer wants to be a part of her life and he'll stop at nothing to make sure she knows how much he regrets leaving. Reena doesn't want to forgive him, but Sawyer has always had a hold on her and it isn't so easy to resist him.

This book is so real it hurts. Every choice that Reena makes could ruin something, but she makes them and deals with the consequences later. She's been raising her daughter Hannah for two years with just her parents' help and working hard as a waitress to try and get out of the town. Her life id semi-okay and she seems happy. She is so cute with her daughter and you can tell she's a good mom. But when she sees Sawyer again, she starts making those kind of decisions she used to make with him and gets herself into situations she shouldn't be in. I could totally see why Reena loved Sawyer, but after what he did to her, it took me a long time to forgive him, just as it did Reena. She had some weak moments around him and everything in this book felt so real and they were in situations that could actually happen with the consequences to deal with. Reena's parents were good characters. Her dad was still angry at Sawyer for leaving and at Reena for getting pregnant but their relationship grew with the book and it was great to read. Reena makes a lot of mistakes, most involving Sawyer, but by the end of the book I wanted her to be with Sawyer too, so I know I would have made some of the same mistakes.

This is a great look at teen pregnancy without it being preachy. Reena makes her choice, keeping the baby, and raises her with the help of her parents and friends. Once Sawyer is back in her life, he wants to spend time with Hannah as well and it was great watching him try to get into the role of a father. This book is about choices and their consequences and Reena doesn't get away with any of the things she does and she gets through life anyway. Told in Before and After, we got to watch Reena and Sawyer fall in love the first time and then try to mend their relationship and fall in love again after everything that's happened. I loved both the past and the present and I dived into this book so much that I didn't want to swim to the surface. Katie has captured the essence of YA Contemporary with a bit of truth and hard decisions. None of us would know what choice we would make at sixteen if we got pregnant and it was nice to read a book about a girl trying to be a good mom while also trying to live her life and go to college. Such a great read and I'm glad I finally picked it up.

 "I think of how it felt to lose him, slow and painful and confusing, and how it felt to wonder if I'd ever really had him at all."

Monday, June 8, 2015

Review: Finding Audrey

Finding Audrey
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Published: June 9th, 2015
Hardcover, 288 pages
4 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Shopaholic series comes a terrific blend of comedy, romance, and psychological recovery in a contemporary YA novel sure to inspire and entertain.

An anxiety disorder disrupted fourteen-year-old Audrey's daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother's gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she's never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.

When you hear the name Sophie Kinsella, you automatically think of super-cute stories with interesting heroines and a nice happily ever after. For the the first time, Sophie has written a book for young adults and though it is quite different from her adult series, it still reads in Sophie fashion. Audrey is a great heroine for young girls. After being bullied by girls in her class, she has developed an anxiety disorder, one that makes her shy away from being around people and hiding behind a dark pair of sunglasses. She finds help in the most unexpected form, her brother's friend Linus, who doesn't treat her differently and who she finds easy to talk to. He helps her find herself again, and in turn, she helps her family deal with everything that she's put on them.

This is a light read with a hint of something deeper. It highlights what happens to someone after they are bullied and it doesn't sugar coat it, but it is written in a way that isn't too harsh for a young girl to deal with. Audrey finds it hard to leave the house and even just small interactions with people outside her family are difficult for her. I think a book like this could really ring true with young girls in a way that will hopefully help them if they feel at all like Audrey does. The family dynamic in this was great. I ind that sometimes parents are absent in YA novels, so I was glad to see Audrey's family play a big part in this one. At the beginning of the book, her mom is shown in a way that makes us think she's a little nuts and maybe overreacts to things, but I think any parent who's been going through this particular situation would act strangely and she was actually pretty funny to read about. Audrey's brother Frank was the kind of older brother most girls have. He enjoyed his video games and their relationship was great. He spent most of his time trying to protect Audrey, even from his best friend.

While the family played a big part in helping Audrey through her illness, so did Linus. The romance between these two was the cutest thing ever. Linus is super understanding of Audrey's anxiety, so he takes it slow by texting her instead of talking to her and being quiet when she didn't want any noise. It developed slowly throughout the book, but fast enough for me to be excited for the two of them. He was just what Audrey needed to get over her anxiety and he pushed her just the right amount to make her do something about it. Audrey was strong enough to succeed on her own, but I was glad to have Linus there on her side, cheering her on from the sidelines and getting her out of the house even if just for a little while.

This had the whimsical feel of all other Kinsella books with the innocence of children. It would be a good book for the younger YA crowd, as Audrey is only fourteen, but it was still fun to read as an adult, so it could certainly be recommended to just about anyone. Perfect for anyone who wants to read something with a tough subject that's written in a fun way. It will make you laugh, cry and maybe even want to pick out a new pair of sunglasses. But don't hide behind them ladies, let the world see you, hear you, and live your life.

"To put you out of your misery, here's the full diagnosis. Social Anxiety Disorder, General Anxiety Disorder and Depressive Episodes. Episodes. Like depression is a sitcom with a fun punchline."

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Review: Perfect Kind of Trouble

Perfect Kind of Trouble
Author: Chelsea Fine
Published: June 17th, 2014
Paperback, 336 pages
4 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

Twenty-one-year-old Kayla Turner has lost everything. after spending most of her life taking care of her ailing mother, she just wants to spot a glimmer of light at the end of tunnel. So when her late father - a man she barely knoew - leaves her an inheritance, she finally breathes a sigh of relief... until she learns the inheritance comes with strings. Strings in the form of handsome playboy Daren Ackwood, her father's protege. To see any of her inheritance, she's forced to team up with him. From his expensive car to those sexy dimples, Kayla's seen his type before. But Daren isn't wo he seems to be...

Struggling to make amends for his family's mistakes, Daren has a life more like Oliver Twist than Richie Rich these days. He's beyond grateful that James Turner included him in his will, but working with Turner's princess of a daughter to fulfill his cryptic last wish is making Daren wonder if being broke is really so bad. Still, she's just as beautiful as she is stubborn, and the more time he spends with Kayla, the less it feels right being without her. Soon Daren and Kayla being to wonder if maybe the best gift Kayla's dad could have let them... was each other.

I love a good story about two people who can't stand each other being thrust into a situation where they need to work together and get over their hang ups in order to accomplish their task. Daren and Kayla certainly proved that sexual tension is a real thing and being hand cuffed to someone is just as alluring as it sounds. Kayla and Daren have both lost everything and Kayla's late father is giving them a chance to get it back. He's left them an inheritance but in order for them to receive it, they must be hand cuffed together and follow a string of clues around town to find it. Kayla knows her father liked playing games, but she's not in the mood to go on a wild goose chase attached to Daren. But she'll do anything to get the money, having run away from the problems her late mother left her. Daren needs the money too. Everyone thinks he's still a rich brat, but he's been picking up his father's mess for a long time and James Turner was more of a dad to him than anyone else. Together they track down the clues, seethe at each other, and realize that they are attracted to each other along the way.

New Adult always has such deep characters. They always have something in their past that makes them stronger and needing to overcome something. Daren and Kayla are no exception. Each of them is fighting their past and struggling to move on with their lives. James has somehow found a way to bring them together in the most uncanny way and it works  out, with a few huddles along the way. The plot of this one was so much fun. I loved the mini adventures the two of them went on, along with the quiet moments they spent together where they allowed themselves to feel the way they were really feeling. I'm so glad we got to see Pixie and Levi and my other favorite characters from Best Kind of Broken, another thing I love about New Adult series. Everyone gets their own story but we still get to sneak peeks at our other favorite characters as they live out their happily ever afters.

This was a really fun book with some steamy scenes, some adventure, and a whole lot of fighting. If you're looking for two characters who at first don't seem like they have anything in common and seem to hate each others guts and realize that they kind of actually do like each other and have more in common than they think, this is the book for you. This series has quickly become a favorite of mine and I can't wait to read more from Chelsea.

"Real love isn't something you plan or earn, it's something that just hits you - like a bolt of lightning - and changes you forever."

Monday, June 1, 2015

Review: All the Rage

All the Rage
Author: Courtney Summers
Published: April 14th, 2015
Hardcover, 321 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

The sheriff's son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything - friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy's only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn't speak up. Nobody believed her the first time - and they certainly won't now - but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear.

With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out, All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women after an act of sexual violence, forcing us to ask ourselves: In a culture that refuses to protect its young girls, how can they survive?

There are important books out there in the world, books that say something in the best way possible and show the world a side of it that some people may not know. Books that need to be talked about. Books that you just want to throw off buildings and shout at people to read because they are so important in what they say, how the say it and who they say it to. This. Is. One. Of. Those. Books. courteny Summers has once again shown us the dark, inner life of a teenager. This is a gritty, real look at the aftermath of sexual violence and the lack of help that young women get when something has happened to them. Romy is ostracized from her community for "accusing" the sheriff's son of raping her. Her friends, family and everyone who knows her avoid her, her safe haven the diner she works at in another town. But when Kellan assaults another girl and someone goes missing, Romy must decide if her silence will make things better or just let more girls experience what she had to endure. What happens to the girl who everyone thought cried wolf suddenly needs to bring it up again?

Courtney's characters are so flawlessly flawed. We only know the After Romy, the Romy who meticulously paints her nails and her lips red, her armor against the rest of the world. We must watch as she tries to move past the act of sexual violence she endured during a party one night a year ago. Romy is essentially dead inside. She feels like she has no voice because society has refused to listen to her. I wanted to get angry with Romy, but instead she just felt like a hollowed out human being, sopast being angry and instead just feeling worthless. She compares herself to all those around her who she feels are better than her. She wonders what it would be like if she were the missing girl and if anyone would actually care if that were the case. She has a thought once she finds out someone is pregnant that she hopes the baby is not a girl. It's a harsh sentence, and it's not the only one. that shows you just how much that one act, that act that Kellan thought nothing about and that society decided wasn't a big deal, changed how she viewed everything in life. I'm so glad Courtney gave Romy a voice because Romy represents every girl, every human, who has ever felt less than themselves because of something someone did to them without their consent. I don't know how these girls feel, but to me Courtney has captured what I can only imagine it feels like, and no one should ever have to feel that way.

I was so happy with how Courtney treated the romance throughout this book. Romy was scared to let anyone close to her and the moments where she did think she could get past everything, those memories would come back to haunt her. It was so important for her to have a guy in her life that didnt want more than she wanted to give. As soon as she said no, he stopped and that was the most important thing to me. To show that difference between consent and non-consent and how someone reacts to those two things is what every young girl needs to be aware of. You have a voice, you're feeling smatter. If you are not comfortable in a situation than you should be able to say no and things should stop. End of story.

This is a dark, gritty and completely realistic novel that doesn't hold anything back. It's ugly, wonderful and scary. This book is so important that I'm just going to keep talking about, continuing to tell people how important it is and hope that everyone reads it. We can change how victims are treated, how girls feel afterwards and hopefully get to a point where no means no and nobody tries to change that. If this book can help anyone, that it has done its job. Go read it. Now.

"My dad used to say makeup was a shallow girl's sport, but it's not. It's armor."

"But just because something starts out sweet doesn't mean it won't push itself so far past anything you could call sweet anymore. And if it all starts like this, how do you see what's coming?"

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