Lingering Echoes by Erica Kiefer

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Lingering Echoes by Erica Kiefer

*4/5*

She’s broken with guilt. 
He harbors a chilling past. 
It’s safer if they keep their distance… 
But, the echoes that linger connect them. 

Returning to Hidden Pines is the last thing Allie Collins wants to do during her final summer before college. For her, the family cabin she spent her youthful summers in, now holds a dark memory that has haunted her every day for the last year. 

While struggling to forget her past, Allie runs into Damien, a local rebel with secrets of his own. He’s dark, dangerous and he keeps showing up when Allie least expects him to. She has every reason not to trust him. So why does she find herself opening up to him in a way she hasn’t been able to with anyone? 

As pieces of Damien’s identity emerge, answers to a rumored mystery begin to unfold. By the time Allie unearths the secrets of Damien’s past, she realizes just how intricately they are connected. Now she is caught in a dangerous battle that threatens her life and those she loves.

I’m not entirely sure where I want to start with this review. I didn’t love this book, however it was really good and I really enjoyed it.

Despite being about a “broken” but good girl and a boy with a “dangerous past”, it didn’t feel like every other angsty young adult book. It was slightly heartbreaking, I must say! I found Allie likable and a reasonably realistic portrayal of what I imagine someone would be like in her situation. I liked how Allie worked on building relationships with other people not just Damien. You got to see her rebuilding the relationship with her father and with her stepbrother Nick.

There were quite a few things that were frustratingly obvious from the beginning, and I just wanted Allie to find them out and get it over with. However, that didn’t stop there from being a mystery to the story. Did Damien do what he’s believed to have done? Why did it all happen?

There are a few things I would’ve liked from this book that I didn’t get. I think that the relationship was slightly underdeveloped which was a bit disappointing. And towards the beginning there was fortune-telling which I definitely didn’t find necessary to the plot and made me a bit uncomfortable.

Other than that, I don’t really know what else to say. I did think it was good and I would definitely recommend it to people. So if you’re looking for a book where the characters have dealt with tragedy and want to see them recover from it with a hint of mystery, read this!

Southbound Surrender by Raen Smith

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Southbound Surrender by Raen Smith

*2/5*

Five days. Fifty square feet. One last shot at love.

Cash Rowland first laid eyes on the tenacious and irresistible Piper Sullivan when they were both seventeen. He falls for her hard and just when he thinks she’s doing the same, Piper is torn from his life without warning. She leaves no contact information but only a vague promise of fate.

Five years later, their paths unexpectedly cross. When he shows up with his eighteen-wheeler unannounced, Cash persuades Piper to head out on the open road to give him one last shot at love. But what should be a routine delivery across six states suddenly becomes an unforgettable journey when they save a woman with a broken past and discover that second chances are only for the lucky ones.

Short review: This book contains insta-love and I can’t stand insta-love.

Long review: Had I of known that this book contained love-at-first-sight I wouldn’t have read it. I just can’t take books seriously when characters fall in love before they even get to know each other. So, naturally a book where the characters know each other for less than a week before she leaves without giving him any way to contact her and he spends the next five years fawning over her, seems ridiculous to me. There was no slow build up of emotions, it was just snap – love.

I also didn’t like the use of fate and signs from the universe in this book. Again, because I think it’s ridiculous. They kept on seeing people with blue eyes and believing it to be a sign that they needed to be together. Hate to break it to you guys: blue eyes aren’t unusual. And all of the random comments from said blue-eyed strangers about how he should never let her go = weird. I can’t imagine ever saying that to a random couple, it’s odd.

Another thing I didn’t like: Piper. She liked to “exaggerate” things. Personally I don’t get why you would want to be around a habitual liar. It’s annoying to not know whether you can believe someone.

So. If I didn’t like so much about this book, why did I give it two stars not one? Because of Cash. I quite liked his narration. It was quirky and refreshing. I definitely don’t forgive him for being “in love” with someone he doesn’t really know, but the narration did somewhat redeem him.

If you are into books with insta-love, signs from the universe, and you aren’t bothered by liars, go ahead and read it – you might like it. However, unfortunately this one wasn’t for me.

Full Measures by Rebecca Yarros

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Full Measures by Rebecca Yarros

*4/5*

Three knocks can change everything…

“She knew. That’s why Mom hadn’t opened the door. She knew he was dead.”

Twenty years as an army brat and Ember Howard knew, too. The soldiers at the door meant her dad was never coming home. What she didn’t know was how she would find the strength to singlehandedly care for her crumbling family when her mom falls apart. 

Then Josh Walker enters her life. Hockey star, her new next-door neighbor, and not to mention the most delicious hands that insist on saving her over and over again. He has a way of erasing the pain with a single look, a single touch. As much as she wants to turn off her feelings and endure the heartache on her own, she can’t deny their intense attraction.

Until Josh’s secret shatters their world. And Ember must decide if he’s worth the risk that comes with loving a man who could strip her bare.

…….

Ember’s life was perfect. She had a wonderful family, great boyfriend and her life was all planned out. When her father in the army died, all of that unraveled pretty quickly. Josh – her brother’s hockey coach and her high school crush – comes into the picture to help her and be whatever she needs while she puts her and her family’s lives back together.

I have to admit that Full Measures tore my heart out a little bit. Rebecca Yarros had me in tears in the first chapter, and that wasn’t the only time I cried.

What made this book so good was definitely the beginning and the ending. They were so touching, heartbreaking, and amazing. If I were to just judge the beginning and the end it would be an easy 5 stars. But, I found the middle a little bit clichéd. Josh was far too perfect for someone known as known as a major player. And plus, I did get a little bit bored in the middle in some places (that might be because I have read too much of this genre recently). However, I am willing to overlook this and still give it 4 stars because I did truthfully like it.

I admired the protagonist Ember a lot. She wasn’t a pathetic character, she did have strength. When her dad died she carried her family as her mother was not in a good place. She put aside her own grief to help her mum and her siblings often. Because of this I found her very respectable. What made me like her was that she was real. Despite toughening up to help her family, she wasn’t a robot and her feelings came through.

So, yeah. This book was great, I would definitely recommend that people give it a go.

Put Me Back Together by Lola Rooney

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Put Me Back Together by Lola Rooney

*5/5*

You’d Better Watch Yourself, Katie Kat

Katie Archer knows how to lie. After six years, no one really knows what happened That Night. Not even her twin sister. Choosing a college 3,000 miles away from the truth, Katie throws herself into art classes and a love affair with ice cream. Katie’s biggest rule? No boys. Ever.

But there is the little problem of Lucas Matthews. Former basketball star and total campus hottie, Lucas is the stuff girls have naughty dreams about—and he has the reputation to prove it! But that doesn’t stop liquid heat from running through Katie’s veins every time she sees him…

You’ll Never Get Away With It

Letting Lucas in is the hardest thing Katie’s ever had to do. And telling him the truth? Impossible. Then Katie starts to get threatening texts and she realizes Lucas is the least of her problems. Her past has caught up with her and it wants to settle the score.

I’m Coming For You

Now Katie must decide whether she wants to fight for her life, or leave everything—including Lucas—behind her forever…

This was fantastic! Heartbreaking and fantastic!

Lately not many books have made me get that emotional, but this one made me cry! And it’s not because Katie and Lucas had a roller coaster relationship (because they didn’t! Yay!), but because of how horrible Katie’s past was, and the huge weight it put onto her shoulders.

The relationship is cute and Lucas was a sweetheart, but it wasn’t what made this book so brilliant. The element of suspense and the secrecy is what I really enjoyed. As mentioned before, Katie’s past is horrific, and is revealed very slowly and then all at once. I don’t know if I am just bad at predicting things, but I did not expect the secret to be what it was. Nor did I guess the other things that were revealed.

If you are looking for a happy, light, fun read, this isn’t it. However, that definitely doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t read it! Just don’t read it expecting it to be all lovely bubbly.

My only criticism is the cover. I know it doesn’t make a difference to the quality of the book but I just don’t think it’s representative of the story. It doesn’t draw me in or make me want to read it. And that is not what I imagined Lucas to look like!!!

I now have so much love for Lola Rooney! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Thank you for coming up with such an awful (in a good way) secret, thank you for writing it down for us to read! I would 100% recommend this book!

Dusty by YellowBella

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Dusty by YellowBella

*5/5*

Now published as Innocents

She loves him. He loves her crazy. She’s a hopeless romantic. He’s just hopeless. She’s afraid to let go. He won’t let her. A story about a silly girl in love with a foolish boy. Here, forever is a lie. 

TeamBella23 – the realist and YellowGlue – the poet

Isabella Bliss Swan and Anthony Edward Cullen. Bliss and Dusty.

This isn’t the story of a girl who saves a boy. Oh no, no, no. This a heartbreaking story of a boy who is drowning in his addictions and drags his sister’s best friend with him. The story of love between two kids that becomes a terrible secret. If you are looking for a happy tale of two sweet teenagers this isn’t it. This book is dark and realistic.

“She’s created a trio out of our duo, and I hate her. I hate her more than anything else. She’s the other girl, his bitch on the side … she’s the lipstick on his collar. And she makes him so fucking unpredictable.” Who’s the girl you ask? Not a girl: cocaine.

I am probably breaking some unspoken rule by reviewing a fanfic piece on here, but the fact that it is getting published later this year in my mind makes it acceptable. Yes this is a Twilight fanfic, and no I haven’t liked Twilight in years. I can assure you that this is far from being like Twilight. No vampires or anything else supernatural whatsoever.

If you crave flawless character development this one’s for you. I don’t think I have ever read a book with so much wonderful characterisation in it. But its perfect detail does come for what some may see as a price. It is freaking long! Really, really long!

Here’s the Goodreads description for what will be the published version “Innocents”:

Bliss knows all about bad choices but has yet to make them herself. With a heart as innocent as her yellow Popsicle, she searches for freedom and finds it in the delinquent down the hall.

Dusty is a foul-mouthed troublemaker, a tear-maker and heartbreaker. Summer sky-blue eyes know they should stay away, but he can’t resist the girl who made his house a home.

She’s his reason, but he might not catch her when she falls.

She loves him. He loves her crazy. 

This is what happens with a love full of secrets and no promises, only rules.

I am not sure how much (if at all) Dusty will be changed for the published version, so I can’t tell you if it is worth waiting to read it until it is released. I know that I will end up buying “Innocents” anyway because I want my hands on a physical copy of this. But here’s the link to the fanfic: Dusty

Expected Release Date of “Innocents”: 14th July (Dusty’s Birthday! Ha!)

Deeper by Robin York

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Deeper by Robin York

*4/5*

In the New Adult debut from beloved contemporary romance author Ruthie Knox, writing under the pseudonym Robin York, a college student is attacked online and must restore her name—and stay clear of a guy who’s wrong for her, but feels so right.
 
When Caroline Piasecki’s ex-boyfriend posts their sex pictures on the Internet, it destroys her reputation as a nice college girl. Suddenly her once-promising future doesn’t look so bright. Caroline tries to make the pictures disappear, hoping time will bury her shame. Then a guy she barely knows rises to her defense and punches her ex to the ground.
 
West Leavitt is the last person Caroline needs in her life. Everyone knows he’s shady. Still, Caroline is drawn to his confidence and swagger—even after promising her dad she’ll keep her distance. On late, sleepless nights, Caroline starts wandering into the bakery where West works.
 
They hang out, they talk, they listen. Though Caroline and West tell each other they’re “just friends,” their feelings intensify until it becomes impossible to pretend. The more complicated her relationship with West gets, the harder Caroline has to struggle to discover what she wants for herself—and the easier it becomes to find the courage she needs to fight back against the people who would judge her.
 
When all seems lost, sometimes the only place to go is deeper.

There had better be another book and it had better be coming soon. I am not satisfied with this being the last I read of Caroline and West.

There are so many books that handle damaged characters and this one did it really well! Just when I was beginning to think that I was getting really sick of these kinds of stories, this one came along.

When Nate (Caroline’s ex-boyfriend) posts explicit pictures of her along with her name and location all over the internet, Caroline is devastated. Not only does she get hundreds of degrading comments on the pages, but now everyone in her college has seen her naked.

It is shocking that posting revenge porn is legal! Seen as I have never had it happen to me or anyone I am close to I hadn’t ever really thought about it. So in that sense this book was a bit eye-opening.

I thought that the characterisation of West was really well done. What was good about his characterisation was that he wasn’t an asshole with no intentions of ever being a nice guy. He was not given a brilliant hand of cards at birth and was trying to make the best of his life that he could. That being said he most definitely wasn’t perfect and despite what I just said, he was a bit of an asshole. It was the fact that it was clear that he was trying to improve his life even without Caroline which made him likable for me. I admit that outside of Caroline and West there wasn’t that much development of the other characters but in books it can often be underdeveloped supporting cast or underdeveloped and rushed love story (for me I prefer a well-developed love story).

There were a few things that let this book down for me (hence it not getting 5 stars), I wont name them all but one of them was the language used. I really don’t like the c-word especially when used to name anatomy, it makes me cringe.

Release Date: 28th Jan 2014

Where My Heart Breaks by Ivy Sinclair

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Where My Heart Breaks by Ivy Sinclair

3/5

If there were a course in screwing up your life, Kate Spivey would get an A+.

Trust is in short supply for Kate at the start of the summer before her senior year of college. Her parents sentenced her to spend it under the watchful eye of her aunt at the famous Willoughby Inn. It was further proof that she was a prisoner in, and not the decision maker of, her life. Nothing she does is good enough to prove that she learned from the mistakes of her past.

Almost immediately, Kate finds that her new summer home holds another person who understands the unfairness of her situation better than most. Reed Black has had his own share of tragedy and regrets, but instead of trying to fight his reputation, he embraced it.

Sparks fly between Kate and Reed, but his mixed signals remind Kate that she needs to watch her step. He is one temptation she can’t afford to indulge in, no matter how strong her attraction to him. If she isn’t careful, she’ll lose more than her heart.

When I began reading this book I could tell pretty early on that it could go one of two ways; it would annoy the heck out of me or I would really enjoy it. Only now, I can’t decide which way it went. Maybe both?

What I did like about this book, was the book inside the book. I like how it played quite a big role throughout the novel. The book was supposedly a popular romance novel called ‘Where My Heart Breaks’ set in Bleckerville (the town Kate is staying for the summer) and is referenced often during this book. Another thing I liked: there wasn’t heaps of info dumping. For example, Kate’s past. While you never get completely informed on what happened, you just get enough to give you the general idea. In my opinion, Sinclair did a really nice job of telling what you needed to know without telling you too much. She made it clear that while Kate’s past made her who she is, not all of the details of it are necessary to the story. In other words it was refreshing not to get a long and tiresome back story of the troubles of the damaged protagonist.

There a few things however that I wasn’t too fond of. I think some of these things may be a little unfair because they are more what I have come to dislike in novels in general than in this one. Alike most girls I must admit I do have a soft spot for a bad boy… But this whole idea that a guy can magically reform and become wonderful as soon as he meets a specific girl, seems slightly ridiculous to me. The switch around was much too sudden. In fact, we never even really saw this “player bad boy” side of Reed which was frequently discussed. I don’t believe for a second that changing a girl’s car tire is going to inspire dramatic change. Next I have to say that Reed will unfortunately not be joining my ever-growing list of book boyfriends. Even ignoring the whole player thing there wasn’t anything about him that made me swoon. To be honest, there was need for a bit more character development for most of the characters (including Reed).

Despite my negative comments, this was a pretty nice read. Admittedly, had this book not been given to me by NetGalley I wouldn’t have reviewed it as this book didn’t make enough of an impact on me (bad or good).

The Summer I Found You by Jolene Perry

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The Summer I Found You by Jolene Perry

3/5

Jolene Perry’s THE SUMMER I FOUND YOU, about a teenage girl trying to cope with her new diagnosis of type one diabetes and a teenage male veteran who is learning how to embrace his new life after losing an arm, who come together by using each other as an escape, only to discover through love and struggle that your life is what you make of it.

This book would’ve gotten at least 4 stars from me if it wasn’t for the terrible editing (this was an arc copy so I’m not sure what it’s like in the finished copy). I didn’t really want to start on a negative note, but it seems that Perry couldn’t decide if she liked the spelling Aidan or Aiden better. And then there were quite a few grammatical errors and moments where she referred to Aidan’s hands instead of the singular hand. To add to that, I really don’t get the relevance of the title or the book cover. The book was set during the school year and never mentioned it being summer. And I am pretty sure they never went to the beach… I think they anticipated going to the beach but didn’t actually go.

 

Ignoring all of that, I really enjoyed this book. The story was a wonderful idea! There are very few young adult books that take on these issues. Although I have read at least one YA book about a veteran, I don’t think I’ve come across a diabetic character before. Despite these issues, I didn’t find it to be a soul wrenching, heartbreaking book unlike many other YA/NA books, which in my opinion is a good thing. I really wasn’t in the mood for anything too heavy.

 

As for the characters, Kate and Aidan, I liked them. The book was written in dual POV, so I began to feel a connection with both of them. I admit that their love didn’t exactly set my heart on fire, but they were cute. I don’t 100% understand why Aidan was that worried about their age gap which was only two years. And some of the actions made irritated me a little, but I could understand where they were coming from and why they made those decisions. I actually think I liked the book more for what they were dealing with personally than their relationship. You know what else I liked? They didn’t have a poisonous relationship. It wasn’t one of those books about two damaged people who learn to lean only on each other and never deal with their own problems. Yes they start hanging out to distract themselves from what was happening in their lives, but they dealt with their own issues.

 

I really did like this book and I can only hope that the unfortunately very frequent errors aren’t in the finished copy. I would recommend this book though (providing heavy editing is done before the finished edition is published).

Expected publication is: 1st March 2014

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Something Borrowed by Adriana Hunter

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Something Borrowed by Adriana Hunter

1/5

What do you do when the one man you were meant to be with already belongs to another? 

For Dana Marshall, new wedding planner and curvy single, “always the bridesmaid, never the bride” seems to be the story of her life. But when she is assigned to assist popular wedding planner Vienna Saunders in managing a dream wedding for an important client, nothing can prepare her for the face-to-face encounter with the insanely handsome groom, Benjamin Carter. Sparks fly, and the chemistry between them is undeniable. Except he doesn’t belong to Dana. He’s off limits, forbidden and if she ever expects to walk away from the job with her heart still intact she needs to play by the rules. Except as far as true love is concerned, rules are meant to be broken. 

*THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS*
I really did want to like this book. I thought although we’ve seen a similar idea quite a few times, it could be fun.

This book was set over the course of like 2 or 3 days, and that’s where the problems started for me. This book was far too rushed for my liking and had instalove. I mean the book was readable, but the use “love at first sight” just had me shaking my head the whole time. How can you truly love someone when you know zilch about them? Lust at first sight? Yes. Love? No.

I didn’t particularly like Dana either, she felt a bit flat for me. Some of the other characters I think I could have learnt to like, but no one really appeared in the novel enough for me to really form an opinion (aside from Vienna, Claire and Mrs. Latham being obviously horrible). Other than Ben apparently suffering from “white knight syndrome” you don’t learn much about him either despite Dana being “in love” with him.

Another thing that really bothered me, was the lack of remorse both Ben and Dana felt. If Ben was such a stand up guy, he shouldn’t have cheated on his fiance whether he really loved her or not (and Dana shouldn’t have let it happen either). How such an “amazing” guy can cheat on his future wife a day after meeting someone else and still consider continuing with the marriage like nothing was wrong is beyond me.

I apologise for being heavy on the spoilers in this review, but I would only consider recommend this book to someone who likes instalove. This one just didn’t do it for me unfortunately.

Keeping Her (Losing It #1.5) by Cora Carmack

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Keeping Her by Cora Carmack

3/5

Garrick Taylor and Bliss Edwards managed to find their happily-ever-after despite a rather . . . ahem . . . complicated start. By comparison, meeting the parents should be an absolute breeze, right?

But from the moment the pair lands in London, new snags just keep cropping up: a disapproving mother-in-law-to-be, more than one (mostly) minor mishap, and the realization that perhaps they aren’t quite as ready for their future as they thought.

As it turns out, the only thing harder than finding love is keeping it.

Keeping Her is a novella sequel to Losing It. I wouldn’t usually review a sequel without reviewing the first book, but this was given to me by NetGalley.

For those of you who haven’t read the first book I would definitely recommend it. It about a girl who decides to get losing her virginity out of the way by having a one night stand. After finding who she believes to be the perfect candidate, she goes home with him and subsequently freaks out, makes a terrible excuse and leaves. As if that wasn’t horrifying enough, she goes to her first day of college and to her embarrassment finds that the guy she almost had sex with is he professor. My description may leave a lot to be desired, but it actually was good.

Now onto the novella: I really loved Garrick and Bliss and was very eager to read a bit more about them. This novella didn’t disappoint. It was a very cute, quick read.

I have seen quite a few people complaining about Bliss and her endless doubts and insecurities. I can understand what they are saying and it does get slightly annoying, but in my opinion it almost serves to make Garrick even sweeter. He is so lovely to her in a way that makes you crinkle your toes (it can’t be only me that does that in overly adorable moments?).

I have to admit that when I finished it I thought about everything that happened in it and realised that nothing had really changed at all. I don’t want to say too much about what happened because it was so short and the plot line wasn’t very extensive and I don’t want to ruin it. What I am trying to say is that plot wise there isn’t that much going on, but if you love the couple read it.