Dangerous Lies – Becca Fitzpatrick

20909906Dangerous Lies
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Published: November 10, 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Buy Link:  http://a.co/4zbtAHA

Blurb: A teen is forced to make a fresh start after witnessing a violent crime—but love and danger find her anyway in this novel from Becca Fitzpatrick, the New York Times bestselling author of the Hush, Hush saga.

Stella Gordon is not her real name. Thunder Basin, Nebraska, is not her real home. This is not her real life.

After witnessing a lethal crime, Stella Gordon is sent to the middle of nowhere for her own safety before she testifies against the man she saw kill her mother’s drug dealer.

But Stella was about to start her senior year with the boyfriend she loves. How can she be pulled away from the only life she knows and expected to start a new one in Nebraska? Stella chafes at her protection and is rude to everyone she meets. She’s not planning on staying long, so why be friendly? Then she meets Chet Falconer and it becomes harder to keep her guard up, even as her guilt about having to lie to him grows.

As Stella starts to feel safer, the real threat to her life increases—because her enemies are actually closer than she thinks…

My Review:
I had two audible book credits when I picked up Dangerous Lies.  I’m not sure how I found it, but I have previously really liked Becca Fitzgerald’s books, her Hush,Hush series, but more so Black Ice.  The YA Thrillerish Romance is something I like a lot, actually, and hopefully I can find more of.

What I Loved:  I loved the action scenes, and the moments when you know that the suspense is building.  The knowledge that something is coming, but not exactly sure what it is just yet.

This is going to seem strange, but I was drawn to Stella a bit because I could relate to her on a small level.  Her life is, by far, more dysfunctional than mine was, but I understood her struggle with authority and trust due to her mom being an addict.  When you have a life full of empty promises, it is difficult to believe when people are being sincere.    So even though I would get frustrated at her indignant attitude at times, I also could understand where she was coming from.

The twists of the stories, and especially the scene where Stella and Chet are revealing their secrets.  I feel like this was the most exposed and sincere scene in the entire book.  Though I did feel like Chet was sincere to the degree of being overly intense all the time – this scene sort of finally won me over.

Not So Much:  First and foremost, and I think this is why I may have had a hard time getting into this book…because I did.  I actually started it in October and put it down for a long time before deciding to finish it off this week; I really didn’t feel the chemistry like I wanted between Stella and Chet.  All the right scenes were there and everything seemed like it should have been just right, but something was missing.  I don’t know if it was Stella’s hold on Reed, or what it was – but the relationship kind of fell flat for me all the way up until the end when it finally came together. (And no, it wasn’t because of the fade to black scene – that wasn’t even that great to me, either.)

While I enjoyed all the side stories happening in this book, I also kind of felt it added a lot of unnecessary length.  I really wanted more action and danger I think, when really only a small portion of the book was really thriller.

The Verdict:  I did enjoy Dangerous Lies, but I was really hoping for another Black Ice, I think.  That book was awesome in the ‘edge of your seat’ kind of way, and the blooming romance was a slow heat, while Dangerous Lies was kind of out there and open because of Chet’s nature.  In real life, I would probably fall in love with Chet, hands down.  This book was mostly clean, it had some intense kissing, and as I mentioned, a fade to black scene that was squeaky clean.  I think there was mention of the top of the bathing suit, and that was as graphic as it got.  YA-ok.

Adorkable – Cookie O’Gorman

28791088Adorkable by Cookie O’Gorman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Published March 31st 2016
Buy Link: http://a.co/iMRApZk

Blurb: Adorkable (ah-dor-kuh-bul): Descriptive term meaning to be equal parts dorky and adorable. For reference, see Sally Spitz.

Seventeen-year-old Sally Spitz is done with dating. Or at least, she’s done with the horrible blind dates/hookups/sneak attacks her matchmaking bestie, Hooker, sets her up on. There’s only so much one geek girl and Gryffindor supporter can take.

Her solution: she needs a fake boyfriend. And fast.

Enter Becks, soccer phenom, all-around-hottie, and Sally’s best friend practically since birth. When Sally asks Becks to be her F.B.F. (fake boyfriend), Becks is only too happy to be used. He’d do anything for Sal–even if that means giving her PDA lessons in his bedroom, saying she’s “more than pretty,” and expertly kissing her at parties.

The problem: Sally’s been in love with Becks all her life–and he’s completely clueless.

This book features two best friends, one special edition Yoda snuggie, countless beneath-the-ear kisses and begs the question:

Who wants a real boyfriend when faking it is so much more fun?

This is my second book of a sick-day read-a-thon. This time I went down the list of books I’ve purchased recently and picked the cover/title that appealed to me the most. Adorkable was another great choice on my part, no matter how random.

What I Loved I really enjoyed Sally’s obliviousness to Becks feelings, and likewise Beck’s obliviousness to Sals. It really did make for a fun time for the reader who was able to ‘read between the lines.’ It made Becks’ character even more adorable, because while Sally was the one who struggled the most in this book, for acceptance with herself and others, Becks was hopelessly lost in love and it was plain as day.

The opening of this book was so great, best beginning ever.

Sally as a whole was a great character. I loved the parts of her that were ‘dorky’ and absolutely adored her job reading to the kids. I almost wanted that job too!

Not So Much: I’m sorry, I don’t care how good her intentions were, I would have thrown Hooker to the curb a LONG time ago. No friends who can’t take no for an answer deserves the amount of chances she got. I was really annoyed with her, even if she did provide some entertaining moments. I kind of was aggravated at Sally’s mother for similar reasons. Yes, these things are there to make the story go – they were just so annoying and persistent, it drove me nuts!

The Verdict: While I was annoyed at parts, as a whole I loved watching this story play out. I even kind of enjoyed the torture Sally went through in the fake boyfriend process, knowing that Becks was feeling the same thing. This book is clean and great for Teens young and old.

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Dream Chaser – Angie Stanton

13037321Dream Chaser by Angie Stanton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Published November 4th 2011 by Vanguard Management

Buy Link:  http://a.co/3RraFCA

Blurb: Willow Thomas has a bad habit of running away from things that scare her. And most recently, she quit her high school cheerleading squad after a terrifying fall.

With time on her hands, she auditions for a musical production directed by a Broadway choreographer. Just as things are looking up, Willow discovers she will be performing opposite Eli McAvoy, the best friend she abandoned three years before. To make matters worse, the kids in the musical hate her, her singing sucks, and her dog is sick.

Eli has grown up during their years apart and now possesses confidence and good looks, as well as a giant chip on his shoulder. He is in no hurry to play nice with Willow, but their entwined roles in the musical lead to entwined bodies in the backseat of his car.

Just when Willow finally has her life under control, another surprise is delivered in the form of her greatest challenge yet. Will she run or finally stand and face her fears? And will Eli be there to help or turn his back on her for good?

I picked up Dream Chaser this week due to a recommendation by Lenore over at Celebrity Readers, because while Lenore and I don’t always read the same style books….we usually do. As is probably evident by the [lack of] activity on my blog, I’ve not only been having a difficult time finding moments to read/blog, but I’ve also found myself in one of those inevitable reading slumps where every book you pick up and start gives you that, ‘meh’ feeling. I’ve even been having a difficult time getting into audiobooks recently – and listening to audiobooks while I work is one of my favorite things! Regardless, I think the slump has been broken, because on Saturday November 19th I read not one, but two books in their entirety. Granted, I was also pretty sick and allowed myself to be confined to the couch for the day…but still.

What I Loved: I wouldn’t pick up a book about cheerleaders on my own, not because I have something against cheerleaders, but because most of the ones I have picked up have come off so very cliche in the ‘cheerleader’ personality of the characters. I just couldn’t get into them. Dream Chaser was not a cheerleader book, it was more of a theater book. I’m so glad I allowed myself to read past the beginning to discover this. I adore most theater type books.

Willow was also not the typical ‘over achiever’ character. She WAS an over achiever, apparently single-handedly throwing the cheerleaders into National Championship winner status, and also good enough to be thrown into the leading role of a musical that was already several weeks into practices – so yes, definitely over achiever. However, she struggled with subjects in school, and her self confidence was really pretty low. She was humble and recognized that while she may be good, in both of her activities she realized the important part of being just a part of an entity. She understood the value of practice and hard work, and just work ethic in general.

The chemistry between Willow and Eli is what really had me devouring this book. Their history as best friends and former partners really helped to play into the tension that built between them. I loved their director, Tyson’s, little comments regarding this tension, and his role at helping them overcome their past.

Another favorite part is that regardless of how awful Jilly and the rest of Willow’s friends were treating her because of her decision to move on from cheerleading, I’m glad that this wasn’t a transfer from one group of friends to another, and that there was some healing and understanding that started to happen.

Every time I think that I’m done with this section, I remember something else about the story that I love….Willow’s family is AWESOME! I loved their support and understanding. I think that my favorite scene is when they come home and catch Willow and Eli on the couch. 😉

Not So Much: I feel like the gravity of Willow’s cheerleading accident was either overplayed at the beginning, or underplayed throughout the book. She could have easily died, and yet so few of the cast of characters of this book seem to really take that into consideration when dealing with Willow about her decisions or fears. I also think that something like that would take you out of the ‘game’ longer than half a week.

The Verdict: This is everything I could have asked for in a ‘sick day’ book. It was entertaining, passionate, fun and serious at times. I even shed a couple tears… I’m so glad I picked the book up and started reading almost immediately. This book is clean and perfect for your teens!

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Toward a Secret Sky – Heather Maclean

30649331Toward a Secret Sky by Heather Maclean
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Publisher: Blink
Publishing Date: April 4, 2017

Preorder Link: https://amzn.com/0310754747

Blurb: Toward a Secret Sky by New York Times bestselling author Heather Maclean is a new breed of YA novel: an intelligent adventure-quest crossed with a sweeping, forbidden love story. A mix of reality and possibility, this fast-paced thriller will appeal to fans of Stephenie Meyer and Dan Brown as it leads the reader on a breathless flight through the highlands of Scotland, the secret city under London, and history itself.

Shortly after 17-year-old Maren Hamilton is orphaned and sent to live with grandparents she’s never met in Scotland, she receives an encrypted journal from her dead mother that makes her and everyone around her a target. It confirms that her parents were employed by a secret, international organization that’s now intent on recruiting her. As Maren works to unravel the clues left behind by her mother, a murderous madness sweeps through the local population, terrorizing her small town. Maren must decide if she’ll continue her parents’ fight or stay behind to save her friends.

With the help of Gavin, an otherworldly mercenary she’s not supposed to fall in love with, and Graham, a charming aristocrat who is entranced with her, Maren races against the clock and around the country from palatial estates with twisted labyrinths to famous cathedrals with booby-trapped subterranean crypts to stay ahead of the enemy and find a cure. Along the way, she discovers the great truth of love: that laying down your life for another isn’t as hard as watching them sacrifice everything for you.

It was the blurb of this book that drew me to it, very well written blurb that sort of draws you in and makes you ask questions. This book falls right in line with a paranormal/fantasy mixed with reality that is pretty popular now, and I’m always intrigued by them.

What I Loved: I really enjoyed the world building in this book. The story had a good progressive movement, while there is clearly something otherworldly going on, the first few chapters only give you enough to make you want to know more. Even as things are revealed, it’s not all at once, but continues to be done at a slow place. The setting of Scotland is always enjoyable in my opinion, and I’m always down with a good accent (unfortunately this wasn’t via audiobook this time! 😉 ) I found Maren’s character enjoyable, as she was both flawed and strong. She was dealing with some pretty heavy grief, but always was not unwilling to find out more and learn about why her parents were previously estranged from her grandparents. The Illuminate aspect of the book was just sort of intriguing all on its own…apparently my husband is rubbing off on me.

Not So Much: While I loved his Scottish accent and good looks, Gavin’s character was a little too hot to cold to mega-hot jumping into this thing with both feet. It was a bit jarring I think. And then there was the mysterious Graham, who I think needed a lot more play time in the book to establish his obsession with Maren.

I also felt like there were too many individual story-lines happening in this book. We have the arc that had to do with Maren’s mother’s journal, and this huge chunk of the novel dedicated to its mysteries, and then there were some end chapters dealing with the Maren/Gavin/Graham concept, in it’s own mini-story arc. It made the book feel a little segmented I guess. This is a series, and I wonder if it would have better played out if one of these story arcs was extended beyond this book and elaborated on (I already said more time could have been given to Graham’s character, so naturally I’m thinking the latter).

The Verdict: In all this was a great start to a series, one that I think will intrigue many! It was a clean book, perfect for the YA audience!

I received a copy if Toward a Secret Sky from Blink in exchange for an honest review. I have received no other compensation, other than the joy of reading, for my opinion.

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Rainbows and Raindrops – Kelley Lynn & Jenny Morris

29444640Rainbows and Raindrops by Kelley Lynn & Jenny S. Morris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Publisher:  CookieLynn Publishing
Published Date: April 18, 2016

Buy Link:  https://amzn.com/1530954851

Blurb: Before… They are the Musketeers–one for all and all for Rain, or however that saying goes.

Now that Rain’s sixteen, freedom is at her fingertips. Cliff jumping at the lake. Rain’s first tattoo. Spence finally asking her out. With her friends by her side, there’s no reason Rain can’t be happy in a world that constantly tries to extinguish her addictive, carefree spirit.

After… It’s just Rain. No misfits and no Musketeers.

Until Rain pulls up to her new summer job and discovers the two people she’s been hiding from–Spence and Landon– are her new cabin mates. Landon’s determined to help Rain overcome her guilt and remember what once was. As they become closer, he awakens a part of her soul she never thought she’d feel again.

Making Rain wonder if, despite all the mistakes she’s made, it’s worth trying to get back to the girl she used to be.

This is book recommended by one of my favorite authors (Cassie Mae), and when she posted the pre-buy option on the book I one-clicked, because well…I trust her. And she didn’t steer me wrong.

What I Loved: From the onset, I could tell I was going to love this book. Rainbow was such a fun, bright, outgoing and charismatic character, but she had a thirst of adventure and danger, a natural thrill seeker. Perhaps it was because she trying to live up to her name, or perhaps she would have always been that way – but she was a force to be reckoned with, she’s even bright in her clothing and hair color choices. Her three best friends, all boys, are probably all just a little in love with her while at the same time have no idea what to do with her.

When tragedy strikes (come-on, not a spoiler, you can tell from the blurb!) Rain changes too. She is dark and depressed. I think the take-away from her transformation is the fact that she feels guilty and responsible, and turns in on herself, shutting her friends and the world out.

The friendship between the characters is one that I think everyone wishes they had, or reminds them of one that they did or do have. Friends how love each other, and get into trouble with each other and are just basically a single unit. Reading the first couple chapters, I smiled madly at the group and their bond. I love how this bond plays out and grows into something else as the story continues to move forward.

Not So Much: I mentioned that I loved Rainbows character, but I will say she was as little bit cliché in her outward appearance. I think if Rain was dark and depressed as she was written to be, her clothes would not have been all black and thought out, but just thrown together in a mismatch array and a hair color that had faded, washed out and with noticeable roots.  However I loved the imagery so I didn’t let it affect me too much.

I’m always wanting some kind of redeeming factor for bad parents, and I wished the same for Rainbow and her dad. But no, he was a drunk slob who barely served a purpose in the story at all.

The Verdict: This is not my favorite read of the year, but I really did enjoy it. I really would love to see more people get their hands on this book! While it’s dealt out in extremes, there is just enough happiness and excitement to balance out the sad. This is important to me, because I don’t typically seek out books that are overly sad. This is a good YA book, mostly clean.

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The Boy Most Likely To – Huntley Fitzpatrick

24611582The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publisher: Dial Books
Publish Date: August 18, 2015

Buy Link:  https://amzn.com/0147513073

Blurb: Tim Mason was The Boy Most Likely To find the liquor cabinet blindfolded, need a liver transplant, and drive his car into a house

Alice Garrett was The Girl Most Likely To . . . well, not date her little brother’s baggage-burdened best friend, for starters.

For Tim, it wouldn’t be smart to fall for Alice. For Alice, nothing could be scarier than falling for Tim. But Tim has never been known for making the smart choice, and Alice is starting to wonder if the “smart” choice is always the right one. When these two crash into each other, they crash hard.

Told in Tim’s and Alice’s distinctive, disarming, entirely compelling voices, this novel is for readers of The Spectacular Now, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, and Paper Towns.

When I was in Jr High, there was this boy I went to school with. This boy was short and kind of crazy, and….well, he was a brat, to say the least. He was a trouble maker, a clown, he threw temper tantrums and always felt like things should always go his way. But there was something about this boy that made me think that his life wasn’t easy and he had a reason for the way he was acting. While I always maintained my distance from this boy, because no one wants to get caught up in that much drama, I always wanted things to sort of work out for him. Flash forward three to four years, the boy was still short, a little less wild, now a couple grade below me, and in with the wrong crowd. He was drinking, doing drugs and mis-adventures followed him around. Still, I remember wondering about his home life, and how he was treated and his attitude. There always seemed like there was more to the story than what one could see on the outside.

A really good story would end in overcoming and achievement…finding your place in the world. Unfortunately, here I am over 15 years graduated, and recently the boy’s name came up on Facebook among mutual friends. I’m not “friends” with this person, as I never was in real life either…just always an observer…but it seems that his life hasn’t gotten any better. There’s still just as much drama and temper tantruming, and probably substance abuse as well. I was a little disappointed to find out he never really found his way…however (getting to the point) that boy I knew from back when reminded me a bit of Tim, from The Boy Most Likely.

What I Loved: The difference between my story and the one told by Mrs. Fitzpatrick is that Tim did find is his way, he found a place to hang on and…hung on. I’ve been around addiction enough to feel very uplifted and empowered by Tim’s story. Any addiction is hard to shake, and you really have to want to do it before it can be successful. I love that Tim’s wasn’t this perfect linear progression, but he had his moments of weakness and failure. This is real.

Tim’s sarcastic way of dealing with life was simultaneously funny and sad. I hated how hard he was on himself. At times, I also hated how hard Alice was on him as well, however I loved who she was for him, and her way of helping him figure things out. Jace too, he was there in the moments when he was really needed. That seems to be the Garrett way overall actually.

Not So Much: And while it sounds like this is completely Tim’s story, Alice had her own troubles too. And the book dealt with them, but in some ways I felt like it didn’t deal with them enough. First Alice’s crazy ex really needed more than what he got. Then I kind of felt a little brushed off when the weight of responsibility was crushing Alice, but when her father finally addressed it, it seemed like it was done.

The Verdict: Another great read in this series. I can say that I loved My Life Next Door just a smidge better than I loved this one, but I really just love the Garret Family and these books are so hopeful. This is semi-clean; there are no details though sex is present, and there is cussing. Obviously there is drug and alcohol talk, but it’s real – there is no glamorization..it’s the down and dirty truth about what can happen, which we need more of rather than random drinking and sex at parties because that’s what high schoolers do type stuff. Anyway, I’d say reserve this for the older YA’s of the bunch.

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Book Review: Until Friday Night – Abbi Glines

22522202Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Published Date: August 25, 2015

Buy Link: https://amzn.com/1481438840

Blurb: To everyone who knows him, West Ashby has always been that guy: the cocky, popular, way-too-handsome-for-his-own-good football god who led Lawton High to the state championships. But while West may be Big Man on Campus on the outside, on the inside he’s battling the grief that comes with watching his father slowly die of cancer.

Two years ago, Maggie Carleton’s life fell apart when her father murdered her mother. And after she told the police what happened, she stopped speaking and hasn’t spoken since. Even the move to Lawton, Alabama, couldn’t draw Maggie back out. So she stayed quiet, keeping her sorrow and her fractured heart hidden away.

As West’s pain becomes too much to handle, he knows he needs to talk to someone about his father—so in the dark shadows of a post-game party, he opens up to the one girl who he knows won’t tell anyone else.

West expected that talking about his dad would bring some relief, or at least a flood of emotions he couldn’t control. But he never expected the quiet new girl to reply, to reveal a pain even deeper than his own—or for them to form a connection so strong that he couldn’t ever let her go…

My Review:
Two teenagers dealing with more baggage than any typical teenager would carry, both dealing with their hardships in their own way – finding each other in the process. Add football, mean girls and good friends, and you’ve got a pretty decent YA.

What I Loved: The chemistry between West and Maggie was off the charts hot. And I knew it would be from the moment I hit play. West is an intense character, a bit more so than I am used to finding in a YA book. He’s a bit broody, and in some way a bit stereo-typical too (but he makes up for that eventually). I do love how much he loves and respects his family though, that sort of helped me through the first few chapters at least.

Maggie isn’t complicated at all, she is very much a typical teenage girl, she just doesn’t really talk. She is very caring and understanding of people around her, even toward her cousin and Aunt and Uncle. Mostly, I love how she is there for West and helps him deal.

I kind of fell in love with West, and Brady (Maggie’s cousin) and the rest of their circle of friends. Sometimes it’s the friend dynamic that really makes a book a little extra special to me.

Not So Much: This book started to feel long toward the end. Typically when you read a book there is a pretty clear arc in the story line, you reach a climax and things start to come back down. This book seemed to be more of a linear progression. There was progress made, for sure. The characters had issues they all worked through and there was a resolution, however there never seemed to be this grand moment/turning point in the book. I don’t think this is “wrong” but I do think that it might be why it felt a bit long after a while. More than once I thought things were getting ready to wrap up in the story (I was listening via Audio, and I don’t exactly watch the progress on where I am in the book) but then something more would start happening, and I would be like, ‘oh, we’re going to do this now…’

I already mentioned Maggie was caring and understanding and just had a good personality in general, however sometimes she came off as a pushover, while other times she stood her ground, then the next minute she was cowering. I get she’s a complicated person with a very, very complicated recent past, however I kind of felt like her character was a little inconsistent.

So the biggest issue in this book for me is a spoiler. I’m going to go ahead and …spoil…if you will, but you must scroll past the rest of the review to read it.

The Verdict: I don’t even remember what made me pick up this book. I think I saw a promotion for the next book in the series – and decided to check the books out. I really did enjoy most of the story, I enjoyed the characters a lot. This book, however, is not clean. There is sex, and while it’s not overly descriptive, it is descriptive enough. There is a lot of foul language as well. So, not my typical read – but I did enjoy it otherwise.

WARNING, SPOILER AHEAD…

(view spoiler)

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Book Review: It Started With Goodbye – Christina June

It Started With Goodbye by Christina June
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Publishing: May 9, 2017
Publisher: Blink/HarperCollins
Pre-Order: https://amzn.com/B01HAKH5LY


A beautiful cover, a blurb that boasts a modern Cinderella story; is it any surprise that I was drawn to It Started With Goodbye right away?

What I Loved: I adore the fact that, for the first time since Cinder and Ella (yet, another Cinderella story) I was sucked into a story so deeply that it took me less than 24 hours to read it. …well, it isn’t a 500 page book, so there’s that, but you get my point. It feels like it’s been a while since I was plunged into a book like that.

I enjoyed Tatum’s character a lot, and watching how she was going to handle and come through her particular predicament. She was being blamed for something that wasn’t her fault, and being punished rather harshly at that. I enjoyed how she came up with ways of overcoming this punishment, sometimes with just a positive attitude. Then even when there were times when she was being rebellious, she still managed to be honorable in her thoughts, and ultimately her actions as well. It made me like her that much more.

Of course there has to be a Prince Charming! True to the Cinderella story, we don’t really ‘see’ him too much, but I did enjoy how their relationship formed and bloomed throughout the story.

Throughout the book there was an overlying theme of misconceptions and hurts – you can trace it back through several of the characters. It was nice to see how some of these things played out and when the truth was revealed or the characters let go of their own hurt to view things from another perspective, things were made right.

Not So Much: I think one of the things I wish would have worked out a bit differently was the end when Tatum finally got to really talk to her parents. I felt like this was glossed over a bit. There seemed to be a lot of long lasting hurt feelings, however only the surface was scratched on the depth of the rejection and loneliness that Tate was going through.

The Verdict: It is always fun to read modernized fairytales. They are predictable, of course, but I love being swept up into the story while at the same time knowing how things are probably going to end anyway. It Started With Goodbye had me hooked from the very beginning. I recommend this book for teenager of all ages, and again I have suggested to my 11 year old daughter that she may like the book – so you know it’s clean!

I received a copy if It Started With Goodbye from Blink in exchange for an honest review. I have received no other compensation, other than the joy of reading, for my opinion.

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Book Review: My Lady Jane – Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Published: June 7, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Buy Link:  https://amzn.com/B015CYCHNQ

Another winner that I got from Owlcrate – which if you’ve never heard of I encourage you to look up! Owlcrate is one of those monthly boxes where not only do you get a book every month, but also book related goodies in the form of things like jewelry, art, and/or bookmarks. I purchased two, myself, and loved both of them. The boxes are $30 each, plus shipping, and are a lovely treat if you’re able to do it!

What I Loved: This book was full of humor, both from the characters as well as the narrators, aka the authors, who interject their commentary now and then. It is a very light hearted read, but also an entertaining story. My favorite character is probably King Edward’s grandma – who had wonderfully witty, elder-ish type things to say. The entire cast was perfect though.

The relationship between Jane and Gifford was so fun! They had a rocky start full of miscommunication and half-truths, however they always fell back to their friendly, if not flirtatious, banter and self consciousness (from both sides).

All humor aspects of this book aside (and there is plenty…I mean, many of these characters turn into animals…so yeah), there is a great story-line here too. Just like any book involving the royal court, there are game players, and tyrant leaders, and of course kingdoms usurpers.

Not so Much: I loved this story, but I do kind of wish there were a few surprises sprinkled in. I was pretty much able to predict, or make a pretty logical guess about what was going to happen the entire way through. It did take me a while to finish this book – MOSTLY because I’m busy, and the kids are going back to school, etc., etc., but partly I think it also had to do with not being completely sucked in – no mystery or something like that.

The Verdict: I’ve given this book 5 stars. It was very well written, and entertaining. Extremely age appropriate. In fact, I’ve recommended that my 11 year old daughter pick it up, as I believe she will really enjoy it (even if they use the word “consummate” **gasp** 😉 ).

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Book Review: Will the Real Prince Charming Please Stand Up – Ella Martin

Will the Real Prince Charming Please Stand Up? by Ella Martin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Published Date: June 30, 2014
Publisher: Astraea Press Publishing, LLC
Buy Link: https://amzn.com/B00LF5W9I0

There is just something that draws me to these ‘brother’s best friend’ novels, I love the kind of taboo, ‘I’m not supposed to like you,’ scenario, and usually it’s mixed with having known said best friend for many years. They are always pretty sweet. The cover of Will the Real Prince Charming Please Stand Up? is also eye catching – so it’s no wonder I decided it was a good use of an Audible credit.

What I Loved: Honestly, I really loved the relationship between Bianca, and her brother. They were the perfect mix of that annoying relationship most siblings have, and family who love and support one another. Even though there were hints of it, there wasn’t really a lot of “I’m big brother, stay away from sister” kind of thing going on, until it became apparently necessary. Bianca’s friends were pretty awesome too, they were a great group of friends who knew each other inside and out, the kind of friends I dreamed of having when I was in High School myself.

Bianca was actually a solid character, with the normal flaws you would find with a typical 15 year old High Schooler. She had her own mind, and knew what things in her life were important. As she was dating Dante, she would often say things like, “you expect me to choose you over my friends of xx years?” Though she was trapped in the idea of having her first boyfriend, someone whom girls fell over themselves to date – she did have some reasoning skills. I do think that this book did a good job of showing how just a few words or actions can open you up to manipulation, and worse, how easily girls can be manipulated. Especially when it comes to things like self esteem, just a few words can cause many girls to doubt themselves. I think this is real, and the book does serve as a good warning against that.

Not So Much: I really didn’t care for the narrator of this story. Bianca and her friends were typical high schoolers, and used slang that is popular now, however while I was listening to the book, they (Bianca especially) came off as extremely whiney. As I think back on the book, I’m really not sure that this was the author’s intention…and as a mother, I CAN.NOT.STAND the whining voice! It took me an extra long time to listen to this book, and I nearly gave up on it because of the narration. That would have been unfortunate, because I did love how this story wrapped up.

The Verdict: I do not recommend the Audiobook of Will the Real Prince Charming Please Stand Up, however I do recommend reading it. This is very age appropriate, and can actually help empower girls who might find themselves stuck in a manipulative relationship see things from a different perspective. Maybe. The book is clean.

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