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: Aftercare Instructions by Bonnie Pipkin

Aftercare Instructions
Author: Bonnie Pipkin
Publication Date: June 27, 2017
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via Goodreads in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

In the tradition of Jandy Nelson and Rainbow Rowell, a big-hearted journey of furious friendship, crazy love, and unexpected hope after a teen’s decision to end an unwanted pregnancy

“Troubled.” That’s seventeen-year-old Genesis according to her small New Jersey town. She finds refuge and stability in her relationship with her boyfriend, Peter—until he abandons her at a Planned Parenthood clinic during their appointment to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. The betrayal causes Gen to question everything.

As Gen pushes herself forward to find her new identity without Peter, she must also confront her most painful memories. Through the lens of an ongoing four act play within the novel, the fantasy of their undying love unravels line by line, scene by scene. Digging deeper into her past while exploring the underground theater world of New York City, she rediscovers a long-forgotten dream. But it’s when Gen lets go of her history, the one she thinks she knows, that she’s finally able to embrace the complicated, chaotic true story of her life, and take center stage.

This powerfully immersive and format-crushing début follows Gen from dorm rooms to diners to house parties to auditions—and ultimately, right into readers’ hearts.


Reading Aftercare Instructions was a bit of a weird experience for me. I entered a Goodreads giveaway for it without having read the blurb. I know that’s a little weird, but I do it sometimes. When I won and received the book, I still didn’t read the blurb. So when I started reading it, I had no idea what I was in store for. Aftercare Instructions was a really sad story. It wasn’t a bawling my eyes out sad, but more of a depressing sad.

Aftercare Instructions, as the blurb statesis about an almost eighteen-year-old girl who finds herself in the tough position of having an abortion. Gen knows having one is the right decision for herself and her boyfriend, Peter. But when Gen walks out into the waiting room after the procedure and finds Peter gone, she’s not so sure about anything anymore.

I’m going to jump right into my impression of Peter. I don’t care what his reasons for leaving Gen at the clinic by herself were, they weren’t good enough. No one should have to go through what Gen did, and then be left to suffer alone. I hated Peter and wished someone would have kicked the crap out of that kid. For someone who was supposed to be so good, he was pretty horrible. I understand his reasoning and beliefs, but Gen deserved better.

As for Gen, I understood her emotions and rationale. I didn’t always agree with the decisions she was making, but I didn’t fault her for them. She made a very tough, adult decision and the ramifications of it hurt. Gen had every right to be as broken as she was. She had every right to do anything she could to feel better.

One truly great thing about Aftercare Instructions was the bond between friends. Gen had a few people on her side that were willing to do everything they could to make sure Gen was in a safe emotional and physical state. They showed up when she wasn’t expecting and took charge. I applaud the author for showing how friends can support each other when a character can’t reach for a parent.

Another really great thing about this book was the way the title, chapter headings, chapters and story all meshed together. Obviously, the title Aftercare Instructions refers to the guidelines Gen needed to follow after her abortion. Each chapter is headed with one of those instructions. That instruction fit what Gen was going through physically and emotionally at the time. By the end of the book, we can see the way all of these instructions and Gen’s actions led to her moment(s) of healing. This was genius. I also really enjoyed the way the author used a play script as the method of delivering Gen and Peter’s past. That was so unique and cool.

Aftercare Instructions is an important book. Never before have I read a young adult novel that so honestly deals with the topic of abortion. Not only does it cover the emotional aspects of having one, but it details the physical. I’m not just talking what happens the moment of the procedure, but also in the week to come. It’s not romanticized. It’s not over and done. This is a good thing. It gives teenagers (and adults) down and dirty look at life after. I think that’s important. It gives girls/women who have gone through it a book they can identify with. Maybe it will give someone who might be making a similar decision peace or make them re-examine the decision they’re making. I don’t know. Like I said, I think it’s an important book.

I do have to admit I had some problems rating Aftercare Instructions — no matter how important I thought it was. I almost didn’t give it a rating at all. How do you rate a book that’s written so well, but wasn’t a fun experience? Honestly, this book depressed the hell out of me and made me so angry at Peter. Those aren’t fun emotions. I ended up giving it 4 stars because I think it deserves to be read.

Review: The Pieces of Us by Jennifer Loring

The Pieces of Us
Series: The Firebird Trilogy, #3
Author: Jennifer Loring
Publication Date: April 11, 2017
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports Romance
Note:
 I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Aleksandr Volynsky thinks he’s experienced the worst life can throw at him, until the most devastating loss leaves him questioning everything…

One year later, Alex and his daughter, Anya, are still picking up the pieces. In the process, he realizes how far apart their mutual grief has driven them and how lonely he has become—especially when the Buffalo Gladiators’ beautiful anthemist, Hannah Kent, finally introduces herself.

Anya Volynsky is a high-school senior with plans—her father’s plans—to become the first woman on a professional hockey team’s starting roster…

But Anya is toying with the idea of staying in Buffalo and caring for her father rather than accept a scholarship to play hockey at Boston College. Her decision becomes even more difficult when she meets her school’s new athletic trainer, Lucas Donovan. Their experience with similar losses draws them together, and soon their friendship blossoms into a forbidden love that neither of them expected.

With lives torn apart by sorrow, Alex and Anya try to restore their bond, but it’s not that easy…

Alex’s attraction to Hannah keeps growing stronger, and he needs to decide if he’s ready to overcome his pain—but also if he’s willing to do it without Anya’s approval. Anya, on the other hand, is headed for trouble, and while Alex tries to do the right thing in order to protect her, all he manages to do is push her further away.

Can Alex and Anya find the courage to pick up the broken pieces of their lives, or will the heartache of the past ruin their chances at finding happiness again?


I’m a big fan of hockey romances. I’ve read so many of them, and yet, Jennifer Loring’s still stand out. The Firebird Trilogy isn’t filled with bubbly, sexy sports romances. It’s filled with deeper situations and an all-consuming love between the main characters.Alex and Stephany drown in each other, and I can’t help but drown in them, too.

The Pieces of Us is different from the first two books in the series. Alex has lost Stephany for good this time, and he’s not sure how to go on without her. He must learn to heal from the pain and be the father he needs to be to seventeen year-old Anya. Anya isn’t having an easy time either. She’s finally fallen in love, but it’s the forbidden type. She knows it’s wrong to love him, but she’s always been told to follow her heart.

Alex and Anya’s journey was emotional. Alex had so much pain he was dealing with. He couldn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel until he met Hannah. Navigating a new romance was really hard for him, and I felt like Jennifer Loring did an amazing job of capturing what it would be like for someone as devoted as Alex was to Stephany to move on. There were also so many great father-daughter moments between Alex and Anya.

I hate saying this, but I wasn’t a big fan of Anya’s relationship with her athletic trainer. The Student-teacher relationship trope is not one I’m a fan of. Anya’s relationship with Lucas was not quite a student-teacher relationship, but close enough. If it was in college, it wouldn’t have bugged me as much, but she was a seventeen year-old high school student. I didn’t like the line Anya and Lucas crossed. Anya was still so emotionally young. Her actions and thoughts proved it. I didn’t think her relationship with Lucas, who was five years older, was a good thing. I’m happy things worked out for her in the end, but it still wasn’t my favorite storyline.

The Pieces of Us was a story of healing and learning to live life again after a devastating loss. It was a story of finding love again and making mistakes along the way. It was beautifully written, and the perfect conclusion to an amazing trilogy. I highly recommend The Firebird Trilogy to hockey romance fans who like a darker love story filled with heart.

Review: Bad Mommy by Tarryn Fisher

Bad Mommy
Author: Tarryn Fisher
Publication Date: December 24, 2016
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, Suspense

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

When Fig Coxbury buys a house on West Barrett Street, it’s not because she likes the neighborhood, or even because she likes the house. It’s because everything she desires is next door: The husband, the child, and the life that belongs to someone else.


Bad Mommy is a mind$#%^. I don’t know how else to explain it. It was everything I expected from Tarryn Fisher, but nothing like I expected. Every time I thought I had a grasp on what was going on, I would start a new section of the book and become completely disoriented. It was such a trip!

I want to go back and read Bad Mommy a second time. That’s high praise because it’s rare for me to re-read a book. I feel like I would grasp more from the story a second time, and enjoy it even more.

Anyone who loves a great psychologically suspenseful novel will enjoy Bad Mommy. It’s dark, deceitful and will keep you turning the pages long after you should have gone to bed.

And that’s all I’m saying because I’m not going to ruin this book for anyone. 😉

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: Lost Stars by Lisa Selin Davis

Lost Stars
Author: Lisa Selin Davis
Publication Date: October 4, 2016
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Note: I won a copy of this book from Rockstar Book Tours.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Before her older sister, Ginny, died, Carrie was a science nerd, obsessively tracking her beloved Vira comet. But now that Ginny is gone, sixteen-year-old Carrie finds herself within the orbit of Ginny’s friends, a close-knit group of seniors who skip school, obsess over bands (not science), and party hard.

Fed up with Carrie’s behavior, her father enrolls her in a summer work camp at a local state park. Carrie actually likes the days spent in nature. And when she meets Dean, a guy who likes the real Carrie—astrophysics obsessions and all—she starts to get to the heart of who she is and who she wants to be.


Lost Stars is a story about a young woman learning to accept the cards life has dealt her.

Nothing is as it should be in Carrie’s life. Her sister’s dead, her mom’s MIA, and her dad is just plain mean. All that Carrie has left to make her world a decent place are her sister’s friends. They’ve taken her under their wings, and been there when she needed them. Those same friends have helped Carrie discover ways to avoid dealing with her sister’s death. But those ways now have Carrie stuck in a summer work program. It’s not Carrie’s ideal summer, but things start to look brighter when Carrie meets her new neighbor, Dean.

Carrie was one of those characters I wanted to love, but didn’t. I couldn’t connect with her. She acted immature, and her attitude sucked. I understood the way she dealt with her life, but her attitude made her unlikable. I couldn’t see a spark of anything that made me like her until the very end. Not that she didn’t have any good qualities. I loved how smart and into science she was. I wish I would have experienced a more happy Carrie with her focus on that.

I liked Dean and the little bit of mystery behind his character. His acceptance of Carrie from the beginning was really cool. I loved what he brought to the story and the push his presence gave her. I do kind of wish it hadn’t taken a boy to start Carrie in the right direction, though.

What I loved most about Lost Stars was the ability to see the growth Carrie made throughout the story. This book was truly about a girl who lost her way and found it once she was willing to look beyond herself to realize not everything was about her. It’s an important life lesson for young adults to learn, and I liked how it was presented in this story. It’s sure to resonate with many readers.

Review: Unspoken by Jen Frederick

Unspoken
Series: Woodlands, #2
Author: Jen Frederick
Publication Date: September 3, 2013
Publisher: Jen Frederick
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Whore. Slut. Typhoid Mary.

I’ve been called all these at Central College. One drunken night, one act of irresponsible behavior, and my reputation was ruined. Guys labeled me as easy and girls shied away. To cope, I stayed away from Central social life and away from Central men, so why is it that my new biology lab partner is so irresistible to me?

He’s everything I shouldn’t want. A former Marine involved in illegal fighting with a quick trigger temper and an easy smile for all the women. His fists aren’t the danger to me, though, it’s his charm. He’s sliding his way into my heart and I’m afraid that he’s going to be the one to break me.

Impulsive. Unthinking. Hot tempered.

I allow instinct to rule my behavior. If it feels good, do it, has been my motto because if I spend too much time thinking, I’ll begin to remember exactly where I came from. At Central College, I’ve got fighting and I’ve got women and I thought I was satisfied until I met her.

She’s everything I didn’t realize I wanted and the more time I spend with her, the more I want her. But she’s been hurt too much in the past and I don’t want to be the one to break her. I know I should walk away, but I just can’t.


I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I started Unspoken. Undeclared (Woodlands, #1) was good, but it wasn’t as amazing as some of the newer Jen Frederick books I’ve read. I was hoping to connect more to the characters and the story in Unspoken. Happily, I did.

AnnMarie is all about avoiding Central College’s campus for everything except classes. She would rather keep her head down and avoid it all than face the gossipy stares and whispers about what a slut she is. It’s easy to keep her head down until she’s paired up with Bo as a chemistry partner. Bo is everything AnnMarie should avoid, but the sexy ex-Marine doesn’t make it easy. He’s determined to break down her walls and prove he’s worth taking a chance on.

Unspoken was exactly what I like in a new adult romance. It had moments of angst, a swoon worthy romance, and two characters who didn’t just fall in love but also found their inner strength. The first person dual point of view made it easy to connect with the characters. Each one had such a unique voice and experience.

AnnMarie was a tough chick. She was way tougher than she thought she was. I can’t imagine sticking around somewhere you knew you would be taunted. Her restraint around Bo was pretty amazing. I’m not sure I would have been able to hold on quite as long as she did around him. Bo was everything I hoped he would be after reading Undeclared. I loved the alpha male thing he had going on, and the way he went about breaking down AnnMarie’s walls. I loved how he gave her space when she needed it, but didn’t completely abandon her. He did an amazing job of proving himself.

Another thing I liked about Unspoken was the sexiness of it. It was incredibly hot. It was way sexier than the first book. That had a lot to do with the connection AnnMarie and Bo shared. It felt much more intimate and sensual than Noah and Grace’s. I loved it.

Unspoken has made me very excited to continue reading the Woodlands series. I can’t wait to see all of the guys fall in love. Now, if only my library hold of Unraveled would hurry up and come in!