Review: Saint Death by Marcus Sedgwick

Saint Death
Author: Marcus Sedgwick
Publication Date: April 25, 2017
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, Thriller

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Synopsis:

A propulsive, compelling, and unsparing novel set in the grimly violent world of the human and drug trade on the US-Mexican border.

On the outskirts of Juarez, Arturo scrapes together a living working odd jobs and staying out of sight. But his friend Faustino is in trouble: he’s stolen money from the narcos to smuggle his girlfriend and her baby into the US, and needs Arturo’s help to get it back. To help his friend, Arturo must face the remorseless world of drug and human traffickers that surrounds him, and contend with a murky past.

Hovering over his story is the unsparing divinity Santa Muerte, Saint Death–and the relentless economic and social inequalities that haunt the border between Mexico and its rich northern neighbor. Crafted with poetry and cinematic pace and narrated with cold fury, Saint Death is a provocative tour de force from three-time Printz Award honoree Marcus Sedgwick.


Before I start my review, I would like to thank Kelly @ Here’s to Happy Endings for giving me the chance to read an ARC of Saint Death. We trade books often, and she’s amazing to trade with. She also runs an awesome YA book blog. Make sure to check it out.

Saint Death is the second book I’ve read by Marcus Sedgwick. I read The Ghosts of Heaven right after it was released, and it blew my mind. When I saw Kelly wanted to trade an ARC of his upcoming release, I had to talk her into trading me. I wanted to see if Saint Death with its creepy title and amazing cover would be just as good.

I can’t compare The Ghosts of Heaven with Saint Death. They’re so different. It’s crazy how different they are. Usually an author’s books at least have a similar writing style. These two don’t. They only similarity they have is the slower pace.

Saint Death is a dark book. Very dark. There’s nothing warm and fuzzy about it. It made me feel sad and unsettled. I can’t say I liked it because I didn’t enjoy reading it. Saint Death may have been fictitious, but I can imagine the life described in it is very real.It was eye opening, though. I hurt for the main character, Artutro. His life was not easy or happy.

I’m honestly not sure what else to say. I may not have enjoyed the Saint Death experience, but I do think it is an important book to read and very relative to everything going on in the world today. It’s worth giving a chance. It definitely made me appreciate the life I live.

Review: The Butterfly Project by Emma Scott

The Butterfly Project
Author: Emma Scott
Publication Date: February 28, 2017
Publisher: CreateSpace
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Note: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

“Where you are is home…”

At age fourteen, Zelda Rossi witnessed the unthinkable, and has spent the last ten years hardening her heart against the guilt and grief. She channels her pain into her art: a dystopian graphic novel where vigilantes travel back in time to stop heinous crimes—like child abduction—before they happen. Zelda pitches her graphic novel to several big-time comic book publishers in New York City, only to have her hopes crash and burn. Circumstances leave her stranded in an unfamiliar city, and in an embarrassing moment of weakness, she meets a guarded young man with a past he’d do anything to change…

Beckett Copeland spent two years in prison for armed robbery, and is now struggling to keep his head above water. A bike messenger by day, he speeds around New York City, riding fast and hard but going nowhere, his criminal record holding him back almost as much as the guilt of his crime.

Zelda and Beckett form a grudging alliance of survival, and in between their stubborn clash of wills, they slowly begin to provide each other with the warmth of forgiveness, healing, and maybe even love. But when Zelda and Beckett come face to face with their pasts, they must choose to hold on to the guilt and regret that bind them, or let go and open their hearts for a shot at happiness.

The Butterfly Project is a novel that reveals the power of forgiveness, and how even the smallest decisions of the heart can—like the flutter of a butterfly’s wings—create currents that strengthen into gale winds, altering the course of a life forever.


The Butterfly Project has been sitting on my Kindle waiting to be read since February. I kept putting off reading it because I knew I was going to be in for an emotional ride. Emma Scott is an amazing author, but she packs a powerful emotional punch in all of her books. I wasn’t sure I was ready for the experience The Butterfly Project was going to give me yet.

I’m so happy I went ahead and started reading it. I loved The Butterfly Project! It was definitely an emotional read, but it immediately drew me and had me invested. I wasn’t willing to put the book down. I stayed up way too late reading it because I needed to know what was going to happen to Zelda and Bennett.

If you haven’t read Emma Scott’s Full Tilt duet, you may not know that Zelda was an employee of Theo’s Las Vegas tattoo shop. She’s decided to branch off on her own, and take her comic book to shop publishers in New York. The reception of her comic book is not what she had hoped, and she has to figure out how to spend more time in New York to make the revisions she needs to it. Zelda refuses to give up on the one thing that may help her entire family heal. A chance encounter with Beckett gives her the possibility to stay in New York.

Beckett isn’t super thrilled to have Zelda around. He’s got his own tragedies and regret to deal with. What begins as a partnership, slowly turns into companionship for Beckett. He realizes maybe he’s not as alone as he thought. His friendship with Zelda is the only thing heating up his cold and dreary days.

The more entwined their lives get, the more Zelda and Beckett want more from each other. Before they can truly fall, let will have to decide if they can let go of the past and live in the future.

Zelda and Beckett were really amazing characters. Both were living their lives by the day, trying to make it through. They were emotionally stunted by things they wished they could change in their pasts. The sadness and guilt connected them, but their different outlooks on each other’s situation brought a strength to their friendship. Zelda knew what Beckett needed and Beckett knew what Zelda needed. Their friendship turning into a romantic relationship was inevitable. They got each other and their chemistry was off the charts. I loved every minute of their romance.

All of the secondary characters were magic. Each brought a little bit of something special to the story. I especially loved Zelda and Beckett’s Italian neighbor lady. She cracked me up! I also loved getting a tiny bit of Theo in this story. I had forgotten how much I missed him.

One thing I thought was super cool in this story was the use of the comic book. I liked the glimpses of it I got to see and how the story created helped Zelda and Beckett heal. It was a cool way to connect two characters.

I don’t know what else to say about The Butterfly Project except that I loved it. I would highly recommend it to new adult romance readers. The healing and love in this story is amazing. I’m so happy I finally read it!!!

Review: Wrong Turn, Right Direction by Elle Casey

Wrong Turn, Right Direction
Series: The Bourbon Street Boys, #4
Author: Elle Casey
Publication Date: May 9, 2017
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Synopsis:

Tamika Cleary takes a wrong turn up a one-way street—and straight into Thibault Delacroix’s leg as he steps into the road. But Mika’s in a hurry, and she certainly doesn’t have time for a guy who can’t even look both ways before crossing, even if he does have a cute face, a body to die for, and the darkest, thickest eyelashes she’s ever seen.

Unfortunately for Mika, fate has other ideas. When she’s threatened by her employer, a Russian mafia boss known as “The Thief”, she’s forced to accept Thibault’s help. As the co-owner of the Bourbon Street Boys security firm, he believes he can keep her safe. But Mika has a whole load of trust issues—and the pushier Thibault is about helping, the more stubbornly she tries to resist.

Mika may have taken a wrong turn the day they met, but will she finally let someone steer her in the right direction?


I love Elle Casey’s writing, but The Bourbon Street Boys series has been a little hit or miss for me. Wrong Turn, Right Direction was in the miss category. I wouldn’t say that it was horrible or that I didn’t enjoy reading it, it was just missing something major.

Wrong Turn, Right Direction started out strong.Tamika is trying to get out from under her horribly corrupt boss and ends up in a medical situation that has her turning the wrong way and into Thibault. Thibault wants to do anything he can to help the beautiful and tentative Tamika get on the right side of the law, but first he has to get her to trust him. Tamika’s background and current situation were very interesting and I wanted to know more about them. They made the plot of this story entertaining. I liked how Tamika’s involvement with her boss worked meshed with the Bourbon Street gang.

Where the story lost me was the romance between Tamika and Thibault. I didn’t feel any sort of connection between them at all. I know Thibault was there for Tamika during the most personal experience of her life, but I didn’t feel an emotional connection made at that moment. Nor did I feel one later on as they got to know each other. Tamika was too reserved and kept too much from Thibault. I didn’t understand how he could fall for someone he knew was constantly hiding something. She was so standoff-ish. Their relationship just didn’t make sense to me. I didn’t believe it. That was where this story failed for me. I wanted a stronger relationship for Thibault.

Despite not falling in love with Thibault and Tamika’s relationship, I did enjoy the twists and turns of the story. I also loved seeing the rest of the Bourbon Street gang and hearing what they were up to. So, overall, Wrong Turn, Right Direction was a good read.

Blog Tour Review: Maybe Never by Sadie Allen

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Welcome to the blog tour for Maybe Never by Sadie Allen! I am so excited to share this sexy contemporary romance with you! Be sure to check it out and follow the blog tour!

Maybe Never Cover

Title: Maybe Never
Author: Sadie Allen
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

 About Maybe Never:

One golden boy…

Judd Jackson had it all—star football player with a college scholarship, perfect family, tons of friends, and a beautiful girlfriend. He was the most popular guy in town … until a family secret burned it all to the ground. Now, he’s the object of scorn and ridicule, and the only thing he has left is his scholarship and counting down the days until he can leave town.

One goal-oriented girl…

Sunny Blackfox was alone in the world, but she had big plans and big dreams to keep her occupied. She didn’t have time for anyone in her life. That was, until she came to the rescue of the boy she always had a thing for.

They have everything going against them, but maybe, if they are lucky, they will make it out of town after graduation together … or maybe never.

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My Review:

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Note: I received an ARC from Inkslinger PR in exchange for an unbiased review.

Some books scream new adult the moment you pick them up. They just have a certain new adult feel to them. They’re a little bit dark, a little bit angst-y and the characters are struggling through their world. Maybe Never was one of those books.

Maybe Never is set in a small town where anyone different from the social norm is considered a pariah. Judd Jackson learned that you didn’t even have to be the one different to be excluded. The people at his high school he once thought were his friends are now the enemy, waiting to pounce on his ever move. Sunny Blackfox has never been on the right side of the tracks. Her social status has never bothered her. All Sunny cares about is making it through high school so she can move on to better things.

When Sunny and Judd are partnered up in class, they realize they have more in common than they thought. There’s a spark between them that might just make surviving until the end of high school better — that is if those against them don’t ruin things first.

Maybe Never is one of those books that pulls you in with the story of the characters’ hardships.There was so much drama in this book. It didn’t feel overdone, though. The drama popped up at all the right times, and I enjoyed reading about what was happening through both Sunny and Judd’s eyes.

I loved the characters in this story. Sunny was trying to survive an abusive parent and the loss of her beloved grandmother. She wanted to leave her trailer park home life behind and make something of herself. My favorite thing about Sunny was her strength and grit. She didn’t really care what others thought. She knew who she was inside and that was all that mattered. Judd wasn’t as secure with himself. He was dealing with his dad leaving his family and all that entailed. Judd didn’t quite have the same type of strength Sunny did. He was able to avoid, but not confront his problems. I loved how he was with Sunny. I’m sorry for everything he went through, but it lead him to a beautiful person. Their romance was adorable.

As much as I hated some of the secondary characters, they were a great part of the story. The twins were horribly perfect. I wouldn’t have wanted to live in the same town as them. It made me happy that there were supportive characters like Sally around to hep Sunny and Judd out.

Overall, I really enjoyed Maybe Never. I thought it fit the new adult genre well and had characters it was easy to fall in love with.

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About Sadie:

Sadie Allen lives in Texas with her family and her dog Penny. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, catching up on her favorite shows, or chasing her family around the house.

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Review: The Storm by R.J. Prescott

The Storm
Series: The Hurricane, #3
Author: R.J. Prescott
Publication Date: March 21, 2017
Genre: New Adult, Sports Romance, Contemporary

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Marie Kelly is a survivor who doesn’t know when to quit. Against all odds, she’s living a life she never dreamed she could have. It was enough… until a stubborn boxer makes her want more.

Irish charmer Kieran Doherty has been a fighter at Driscoll’s Gym for most of his life. He’s been content to let his best friend take the spotlight, now it’s his turn to make a name for himself in the world of heavy weight champions. Falling in love is the one thing he vowed never to do, but meeting Marie changed everything.

It’s easy to imagine a happy-ever-after when the sun is shining. But when the storm comes, and all hope seems lost, they both learn that if you want something badly enough, you have to be willing to fight for it.

The Storm is a full length boxing romance with a happily ever after, no cliffhanger and no cheating. Mature content means that it is intended for readers aged 18+


I cannot believe that I did not know The Storm was going to be released last week! I am so ashamed of myself! I absolutely loved The Hurricane series by R.J. Prescott, and I’ve been waiting for her to release the next book. I needed to get to know more of the Driscoll boys better. I am so happy the boys are back in The Storm! It’s been too long since I’ve been graced with their presence.

The Storm features Con’s (“The Hurricane”) best friend, Kieran. Kieran gets his chance at a boxing title and love in this book. Unfortunately for Kieran, his sights are set on Marie. Marie isn’t exactly eager to jump into a relationship with the hot boxer. Her past dictates her future, and Marie knows love isn’t in the cards for her. Kieran isn’t one to give up easily, though. He’s determined to make Marie change her mind.

R.J. Prescott included a little bit of everything in The Storm. It could have easily been overly angst filled, but she included just the right amount of wit to make this love story fun. There was also actual boxing in the story. I know a lot of romance novels are labeled sports romances without any mention of the actual sport being played. The Storm gave a look at what it’s like to be in the ring, or watching the one you love in it.

I loved, loved, loved being back in the world of Driscoll’s. I was immediately pulled back into the camaraderie and friendships of the boxers. I also adored seeing all of my favorite characters again. I was so happy that this was Kieran’s story. He’s always been one of my favorite characters of the series, and I was so excited for him to fall for someone as sweet as Marie. Kieran was everything I hoped he would be. He was a big, alpha male with a super sweet side. Marie was sweet, but wasn’t one to be taken advantage of. There was a lot of strength in her tiny frame.

Kieran and Marie were perfect together. Their personalities perfectly balanced each other. They had a connection that was so primal and intense. As sweet as their love for each was, their story was a complicated one filled with health issues, crazy exes and many surprises. Kieran and Marie had a lot to overcome, and their journey to happily ever after was so worth it.

Obviously, I absolutely adored The Storm. I had so much fun reading it that I didn’t even put it down. My only regret about reading it in one sitting is that now I have to wait for the next book. I really, really want Tommy’s story!

My reviews for the rest of The Hurricane series:

The Hurricane (The Hurricane, #1)
The Aftermath (The Hurricane, #2)

Review: Holding by Mignon Mykel

Holding
Series: Playmaker Duet, #2; Prescott Family, #5
Author: Mignon Mykel
Publication Date: March 28, 2017
Publisher: Mignon Mykel
Genre: New Adult, Sports Romance, Contemporary
Note: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Sometimes holding on, impedes moving on.

First comes love, then comes marriage…
But before the ceremony could start, Porter’s world was knocked off it’s axis.
He fought for years to break down Asher’s walls, to see past her ghosts…but some ghosts may be too hard to fight.

Asher knew better than to believe she could keep her past in the past,
Keep the filth of who she was, from touching the Prescott family.
But as badly as she wants to keep Porter away
…she needs his family more.

What you see is what you get…
And even the most astute eyes can’t see the biggest ghost.

But sometimes holding on is the only choice you have.

Note: This is book two in a duet. Book one, Altercation, MUST be read prior to Holding.


Before I begin my review, I’m going to give you a little bit of background on the Playmaker Duet. It’s a duet, but it really contains four books. The first two books are prequel novellas. Trouble Maker is the first novella that introduces us to Porter. Asher’s novella is Breakaway. Both novellas provide information on Porter and Asher’s pasts and set up their introduction. The first book in the series, Altercation, is the beginning of their love story. Holding is second book and the conclusion of Asher and Porter’s romance. If you’re interested in reading the duet, you really need to read the first two novellas. The duet is also part of a larger series called Prescott Family. You don’t have to read the books in that series to read the duet, but they’re great books as well. Now, onto my review.

After finishing the first book in the Playmaker Duet I could not wait to read Holding. The cliffhanger at the end of Altercation shook me. I was on edge wondering what was next for Porter and Asher. I knew it was going to be a rough ride towards happily ever after for them, but I had no idea how much this book would break me.

Holding was absolutely heartbreaking. No character was left untouched. I felt horrible for both Asher and Porter. Their world was rocked in ways that destroyed them. I could empathize with both of them. Asher was struggling to accept what happened. Porter was trying to hold on to the life they had before. Their struggle felt so real and raw. I hated their moments of pain, but they made for a beautiful story of healing. And that’s what Holding was. It was a story of overcoming the past, accepting what was, and moving on. It was a story of letting go and trusting in love.

I loved every moment of Holding and all of the other books in the Playmaker DuetI highly recommend reading them all. Mignon Mykel has quickly become one of the authors I’m waiting on new releases from. I love her writing style and the characters she creates. Her books make me feel so many things. I cannot wait to see what she has in store for the next Prescott family member.

You can find my reviews for the rest of the Playmaker Duet here:

Troublemaker (Playmaker Duet, #0.5; Prescott Family, #2)
Breakaway (Playmaker Duet, #0.6; Prescott Family, #3)
Altercation (Playmaker Duet, #1; Prescott Family, #4)

Review: Altercation by Mignon Mykel

Altercation
Series: Playmaker Duet, #1
Author: Mignon Mykel
Publication Date: March 21, 2017
Genre: New Adult, Sports Romance, Contemporary
Note: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Sometimes it’s the fight that proves your worth.

Porter Prescott spent years fighting to be his own person.
His goal of playing for a hockey club not associated with the Prescott name finally comes true.
But just as he’s leaving for the next chapter in his life, he meets her.

Asher Spence spent a lifetime learning she was worthless and unwanted.
She learned that sometimes the only person you can count on is yourself, and even then, you can fail.

What starts out as picture perfect can only come crumbling down.
No one listened to her pleas before,
Why should they listen to them now that she’s found a place to finally call home?

But sometimes, it’s the fight that takes you out of the game.

Note: This is book 1 of 2 in the Porter and Asher story. This does end with a cliffhanger that will be resolved in book 2, Holding.


I’ve been waiting to read Altercation ever since I finished its prequels, Troublemaker and Breakaway. (Click on the titles of the prequels for my reviews.) Getting to know Porter and Asher’s pasts was both heartbreaking and addicting. Their stories made me hunger for a happy ending for them both. I couldn’t wait to find out how Mignon Mykel was going to navigate their struggles and make them wind up together.

Altercation begins where the prequels end with Porter and Asher meeting. There’s an instant attraction between them, especially for Porter. He immediately picks up on the fact that Asher is more complicated than she’s letting on. That (along with the fact that he’s moving to another state for his hockey career) should deter the nineteen year old’s interested in her, but it instead makes him want to know more about Asher.

Asher is just as attracted to Porter, but she knows nothing will come of her attraction. She’s found a temporary family within Porter’s and she’s not willing to give up her newfound happiness and safety. Nor does Asher think she’ll be able to have the relationship with Porter he would expect. Despite her reservations, it doesn’t take long for Porter to convince Asher to give him a chance.

With each book I read from Mignon Mykel, I fall further and further in love with her writing and the love stories she crafts. Her first person dual points of view was amazing in Altercation. Porter and Asher had two very distinctive voices and their histories melded so well together. I also loved getting to see a little bit more of the large Prescott family — I hope I get books about each sibling!

Porter surprised me a lot in this book. I knew he was a great guy, but I wasn’t expecting the patience he had for a young man. He truly cared about Asher’s well-being and it made me love him even more. Porter created a slow burn romance with Asher and controlled himself better than any book boyfriend I’ve ever read. He was almost a saint.

Asher was the more complicated of the characters. Her story broke my heart, but I loved that it was Porter who helped her restore faith in life and love. Their relationship was adorable. I loved how Mignon Mykel made it span not just weeks or months, but years. It was the perfect progression for Asher and Porter’s love story.

Altercation was just as good as I was expecting it to be. Watching Porter and Asher falling in love was so sweet and satisfying. I loved the twists and turns to their story. I was shocked by the cliffhanger at the end, even though I knew it was coming. I can’t wait to find out what’s next for Porter and Asher in Holding.