Review: Paper Hearts by Ali Novak

Paper Hearts
Series: The Heartbreaker Chronicles, #2
Author: Ali Novak
Publication Date: July 4, 2017
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

“I’m sorry,” he said, slowly untying the ribbon that held his mask in place. “It’s just-I didn’t want you to think of me any differently.”

Somehow I kept my mouth from falling open. I knew his face, but my mind couldn’t accept that he was the person looking down at me.

“My real name is Alec.”

Felicity has her entire future planned. Ever since her older sister ran away, she’s had the full weight of her mother’s expectations on her shoulders. So she works hard to get straight As and save for college.

Except sometimes the best things in life are unplanned-like when Felicity meets a handsome, masked stranger while she is volunteering at a charity masquerade ball. She never thought he’d flirt with her. And she certainly never thought he’d turn out to be a member of the world-famous Heartbreakers band, Alec.

Then Felicity uncovers a shocking family secret. Suddenly, she, Alec, and her two best friends are off on a road trip to find Felicity’s missing sister. And she’s about to discover that unexpected turns have a peculiar way of landing her right where she needs to be…


If you’re like me, you’ve been waiting for Paper Hearts from the moment you finished The Heartbreakers. I fell in love with the band and couldn’t wait to spend more time with them.

I really enjoyed reading Paper Hearts. Ali Novak’s writing was just as amazing as it was in her first two young adult novels. Paper Hearts was fun, cute, and filled with just the right amount of teenage angst. Being back with the band was exciting, and the new characters introduced fit right in with them.

Paper Hearts was written from Felicity’s point of view. It was really more Felicity’s story than Alec’s. Felicity was a smart young woman who hadn’t recovered from her sister running away four years ago. Her goal in life was to make her mother happy in a way her missing sister couldn’t — even if it meant giving up her own dreams. Felicity was determined to go to Harvard until she met Alec and discovered there was more to her sister’ disappearance than she thought.

I loved seeing the world through Felicity’s eyes. She knew the value of both money and friendship. Felicity took neither for granted. Her coming of age journey was emotional. She was the perfect person for Alec to fall for because she was so down to Earth. His celebrity status didn’t faze her.

Alec seemed like a very sweet young man. I didn’t get to know him as well as I wanted to. He was a little bit of a mystery, which added a great aspect to the story but left me feeling like I didn’t really get to know him. I would have loved to see inside his head.

Felicity and Alex together…Honestly, I’m not sure I can say I loved them together. I didn’t get to see enough of their relationship. It was in the beginning stages during Paper Hearts, and they were still trying to find their footing with each other. They seemed like a good pair based on their initial conversations and their friends’ thoughts. I do have a feeling I would have loved them together if the story included more of their relationship after the book’s ending.

One thing I wish Paper Hearts included was more time with the rest of The Heartbreakers and Stella. When all the band members are together, there’s a magic that happens. Everything becomes fun and exciting. I lived for those moments in Paper Hearts. I loved the way Felicity, along with her friends Boomer and Asha, fit in so well with the members of the band. Every character was cool and fun on their own, but together they were entertainment gold.

Paper Hearts was a great YA contemporary romance. It’s filled with an exciting celebrity romance, crazy friendships, and an exciting and emotional adventure. Fans of The Heartbreakers will love catching up with their favorite boy band.

Review: Broken and Screwed 2 by Tijan

Broken and Screwed 2
Series: Broken and Screwed, #2
Author: Tijan
Narrator: Jillian Macie
Publication Date: July 21, 2015
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Alexandra is pissed about her parents abandoning her. She’s beyond pissed that her friends did the same. She’s enraged because things are unclear about her brother’s death now. So her first stop is at Jesse’s house to demand answers. She wants to know why her brother was friends with the criminal crowd before he died and she knows he holds the answers. But when she sees him, she doesn’t get the answers she expected. Instead, she finds out that their chemistry never faded and soon heats up again! Some habits die hard. Soon Jesse and Alex are back to their ways of sneaking around. He’s a near-celebrity at school and she doesn’t want to deal with the backlash of being his girlfriend. Alex is tired of being hurt so she’s learned the lesson not to confide and lean on others. However, she can’t seem to help herself when it comes to Jesse Hunt. The big question isn’t if she will survive if their relationship goes public, it’s if she will survive when the real truths about her family and brother come out? Or when she learns that Jesse knows more than what he’s told her?


I am officially obsessed with Tijan’s writing. I couldn’t stop listening to this audio book. I found excuses to drive places, stuff to clean, and listened to it instead of music at the gym. I was beyond addicted. Broken and Screwed 2 took over my life.

Broken and Screwed 2 continued Alex’s heartbreaking tale of abandonment. She’s slowly lost everyone she’s ever cared about. She’s bitter, but she’s also ready to move on and start a new life. Alex is going to college. The same college as Jesse. And he’s going to give her the answers she needs about her brother’s death.

Only things aren’t that simple. Alex quickly falls back into her sexual relationship with Jesse, but insists on keeping it a secret. She wants to blend in at college and being seen with THE Jesse Hunt won’t help. Plus, Jesse’s still not giving Alex the answers she needs.

Being in Alex’s head was a little easier in this book than the first one. She still had all of her negative thoughts and pain, but she also made some great discoveries. I liked her more than I did in the first book. I still wanted to throttle her at times for stupid decisions she made, but I liked the growth she went through.

Jesse really redeemed himself in this book. Getting to read more of him, and see him around Alex more made it easier to imagine what he was thinking. I still would have loved his point of view, but I loved the mystery not having it gave Jesse and what he was hiding. I was surprised at what an amazing guy Jesse really was.

Luckily, Angie and Marissa weren’t around much in book 2. Their scenes were minimal, but they played a huge part in the story. I liked that they weren’t around much. Alex made some new college friends who she could be herself around. Beth and Hannah weren’t as annoying, and they added some interesting drama. Plus, there were all of Jesse’s roommates and their girlfriends. I adored those characters. They made the story so much fun. I was especially surprised to find myself liking Chord. I seriously fell in love with that jerk in this book. He was so good to Alex and also to Jesse. Chord needs his own book.

Broken and Screwed 2 was even better than the first book. I loved the college scene and all the life events Alex went through. Tijan knew exactly when to throw in the twists and turns to keep the story going. I was pleasantly surprised how the mystery surrounding Ethan’s death played out.

I’m happy I chose to read Broken and Screwed 2, even though Broken and Screwed left me feeling completely unhinged. I needed this book for Alex and for myself. I highly recommend this series to anyone who likes an angst filled new adult romance. It’s well written and highly addictive.

Now, what Tijan book can I get my hands on next…

Review: Broken and Screwed by Tijan

Broken and Screwed
Series: Broken and Screwed, #1
Author: Tijan
Narrator: Jillian Macie
Publication Date: June 23, 2015
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

When Alexandra’s older brother dies the night of his graduation, it changes everything for her. No longer is she the party girl. No longer does she care about being popular, and no longer is her family the happy unit she always thought existed. The only person who can help her heal is the same person who loved her brother as much as she did, his best friend. She only hopes to keep her heart from breaking when Jesse moves on, and she knows he will. After Ethan dies, Jesse focuses on basketball, partying, and girls. He uses it all to turn his emotions off, but the irony is that Alex is the only person who can do that for him. She helps him forget, but she is the one person he shouldn’t be with, because the secrets he knows could shatter everything. They could shatter her.


Broken and Screwed is an accurate title for this book. Every thing about this book was so messed up, and yet, I couldn’t stop listening to it. This is the first time I’ve read a book by Tijan, but I understand why fans flock to her books. It would be hard not to fall in love with her writing. Every word she writes drips with emotion.

Broken and Screwed is told from Alex’s point of view. Since the death of her older brother, Alex has been slowly drowning. She’s not the person she used to be before. The only thing holding her together is her brother’s best friend, Jesse. The scattered hours Alex spends with Jesse are the only peace either of them have. Alex knows they don’t have a normal relationship. She knows they never will. Alex takes what she can get from Jesse, hoping that when he truly leaves her she won’t be even more broken than she already is.

This book has left me emotionally drained. The entire book was one big ball of angst. Alex was truly broken inside, and keeping up with her feelings was exhausting. I was always looking for the light at the end of the tunnel for her, but I could never see it. The only time I felt comfort for her was when she was finding comfort with Jesse. It felt so messed up because both Alex and I knew she deserved better. She just didn’t want better. It was frustrating, but I got it. Not all relationships are healthy, and sometimes the love you feel for someone overrides everything else.

I didn’t like or dislike Jesse. He had moments of greatness when he was comforting Alex, but was also a jerk. It was hard not knowing what was going on in his mind. I felt like I didn’t really get to know him, and I wanted to.

Alex’s friends were a large part of this book. I hated them. When they were in a scene, I cringed. Neither was truly a great friend to Alex. Marissa was a backstabbing (self-proclaimed) slut. Now, I’m not slut shaming. I have no problem with Marissa hitting the sheets with multiple men. What I didn’t like was the way she disregarded her friends’ feelings and went after guys they liked. She had her moments of goodness, but the bad tended to outweigh the good. And then there was Angie. In some ways, Angie was worse than Marissa. She thought she knew what was best for everyone. Maybe she did, but no one wants to have her friend constantly trying to push a guy who’s not the guy she’s in love with at them. No one wants to have her best friend trash the guy she’s in love with and tell her he’ll never love her. That’s just messed up. Angie did help Alex out in some amazing ways, but I wish she could have been supportive in the way Alex needed the most.

There are two people I hated even more than Alex’s friends: her parents. Grief is a heavy thing, but come on. Alex may have been 18, but she still lived under their roof. I didn’t get the detachment. It was so damn sad.

Broken and Screwed has left my mind in turmoil. It was addicting but uncomfortable to listen to. My heart broke over and over for Alex…and Jesse, too. I knew this book had a cliffhanger at the end, but it was an odd one. There were so many questions left at the end, and I’m in need of the answers. On to book 2.

Sorry, if this review is disjointed. That’s exactly how Broken and Screwed left me feeling.

Review: Last Semester by Corine Mekaouche

Last Semester
Author: Corine Mekaouche
Publication Date: April 21, 2017
Publisher: Corine Mekaouche
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary
Note: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

When Johanna ‘Jo’ Gold, witty college life blogger and senior at Rutan University, decides to move in with three male strangers her last semester of school, her life unexpectedly turns upside down. While dealing with her new roommates, A.J., the pompous rich kid who feels trapped in following his father’s footsteps; Rob, the prematurely engaged former womanizer who tries to force Jo out of the house at all costs; and Drew, the 21-year-old virgin genius whose encounters with women have been more than limited, Jo learns that change isn’t always easy and it’s up to her to learn how to survive the remainder of her time at Rutan the best that she can. Along with searching for her missing mother, figuring out a clever way to pay for school tuition on her own, and dealing with the childish pranks brought on by a certain roommate, Jo’s issues seem more complicated than the average 21-year-old. Can Jo endure the dramatic perils of college while planning for life after graduation?


When I started reading Last Semester, I was expecting it to be a lot like other books I’ve read where a girl or guy moves in with roommates of the opposite sex and falls for one of them. That wasn’t the story line for Last Semester. Last Semester wasn’t a romance, but a mature coming of age story.

In Last Semester, Jo decides she’s ready to make some big changes in her life for her last semester in college. Her first big change is moving out of the dorms. She rents a room in a house close to campus where her new roommates are three guys. The first guy, A.J., is a rich, womanizing manwhore. The second, Rob, is a major prick who proposed to the girlfriend he keeps cheating one. The final roommate is Drew. Drew talks like Sheldon Cooper and has kept his virginity in tact almost as long. Jo thinks she’s prepared to live with three guys, but she had no idea how challenging it would be — especially when her boyfriend Chris isn’t exactly excited about the arrangement. The longer Jo and the boys live together, the more they begin to learn from each other. Each roommate is graduating at the end of the semester, and each has something big to discover before then.

Like I said, this book wasn’t a romance novel. It was a story about four young adults finding their way into adulthood. Each character had a romantic or sexual relationship going on in the story, but those relationships weren’t the main focus. The main focus was on the four roommates’ relationships with each other and the things they discovered about themselves as they prepared for adulthood. I have to admit that I would have loved for Jo to have fallen for one of her roommates, but I respected that she didn’t. It made Last Semester stand out from other new adult novels. It was truly about the connections they made and the friendships they developed.

I really enjoyed the way Last Semester was told. It was written in first person and each of the four roommates narrated. Each voice was distinctive and had so much character. I loved Jo, A.J., Rob and Drew so much! There were also blog posts written by Jo sprinkled throughout the book. I understood their value to Jo’s prospective career as a writer, but there was only one or two entries that stood out to me. They were just an added extra to me.

My favorite thing about this book had to be the hilarious antics that took place. There were so many great moments that had me laughing out loud. Let’s just say there were several times I was happy I wasn’t a roommate at “Menstrual Mansion”. I’m not sure I could have handled everything that went down in that house. It sure made for an entertaining story.

The only big issue I had with Last Semester was the ending. To be more specific, the very end. It felt abrupt. I turned the page and couldn’t believe there wasn’t more. The author left the reader hanging when she could have resolved an important part of the story line. It made me wonder if there would be a sequel, but a sequel would be odd since all the characters are moving on separately with their lives after college.

If you’re looking for a new adult novel that’s not all about romance, Last Semester would be the one to read. It was fun, fresh and contained a ton of character growth.

Review: First & Then by Emma Mills

First & Then
Author: Emma Mills
Publication Date: October 13, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Sports Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Devon Tennyson wouldn’t change a thing. She’s happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon’s cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn’t want them – first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.


First & Then came out almost two years ago. What took me so long to read it? I don’t have a good answer, but evidently finding it for sale on Book Outlet was what finally made it happen. That’s sad because First & Then is such a great book. I loved every minute of this adorable coming of age story.

Devon is a character that just about any teenager can relate to. First, she’s got the whole avoiding the future thing down to a science. The future’s scary to think about until you can actually picture it. Second, who hasn’t crushed on a friend of the opposite sex? We always think we’re good at hiding it, but it’s never the case. Poor Devon’s crush on Cas was pretty classic. Third, who doesn’t have a relationship with their sibling where one moment they’re completely embarrassed by them and the next their standing up for them? I loved how of Devon I could see in my past self. She was such a fun main character.

Devon wasn’t the only remarkable character in First & Then. Every character was special. That’s one of the things I love most about Emma Mills’ novels. She makes the side characters shine. They all have so much personality and stand out. They become as important to the reader as the main character. My favorite Emma Mills’ character will always be Frank Sanger from This Adventure Ends, but Jordan and Foster from this book are both close runners-up. Jordan because he kind of had a Frank Sanger thing going on, and Foster because he was one of the good guys. I was going to stop there, but I can’t leave out Ezra. I loved that guy and his quiet persona.

Everything about First & Then made me happy. It was one of those YA coming of age stories that’s perfect for when you need a little sunshine in your life. I absolutely adored it and highly recommend it. It would be the perfect summer read.

Review: The Queen and the Cure by Amy Harmon

The Queen and the Cure
Series: The Bird and the Sword Chronicles, #2
Author: Amy Harmon
Publication Date: May 9, 2017
Publisher: Amy Harmon
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, New Adult

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

“There will be a battle, and you will need to protect your heart.”

Kjell of Jeru had always known who he was. He’d never envied his brother or wanted to be king. He was the bastard son of the late King Zoltev and a servant girl, and the ignominy of his birth had never bothered him.

But there is more to a man than his parentage. More to a man than his blade, his size, or his skills, and all that Kjell once knew has shifted and changed. He is no longer simply Kjell of Jeru, a warrior defending the crown. Now he is a healer, one of the Gifted, and a man completely at odds with his power.

Called upon to rid the country of the last vestiges of the Volgar, Kjell stumbles upon a woman who has troubling glimpses of the future and no memory of the past. Armed with his unwanted gift and haunted by regret, Kjell becomes a reluctant savior, beset by old enemies and new expectations. With the woman by his side, Kjell embarks upon a journey where the greatest test may be finding the man she believes him to be.


Bravo, Amy Harmon! The Queen and the Cure was a masterpiece. It was an epic, romantic adventure that even someone who does not normally gravitate toward fantasy, like myself, could fall in love with. It was filled with evil villains, internal and external conflicts, magic, and a legendary romance.

The writing and imagery in The Queen and the Cure were just as beautiful as they were in The Bird and the SwordI was immediately pulled back into the world of Jeru and its surrounding kingdoms. It was fun to be back in this world with all its amazing characters and settings. Plus, I was super excited to learn Kjell’s story! His character had so much potential in the first book.

Kjell was just as brutish as I expected him to be. He had the strength and presence his position required. He was also humble and had a sweetness he tried to keep hidden. It was easy for him to do that until he met Sasha. I loved Sasha. She had a quiet strength about her. Sasha created an inner turmoil in Kjell that was fascinating.

Everything about Kjell and Sasha’s story was magical and special. I won’t tell you more about it because there are so many great things to discover for yourself in this book. There are so many surprises and twists in store for the reader! I honestly couldn’t get enough of it, and highly recommend it. The Queen and the Cure was even better than The Bird and the Sword. That’s saying a lot because I absolutely loved that book.

Mini Reviews: Royally Matched, Ready to Fall, Kiss Me in New York

Good morning! Today, I’m going to be doing mini reviews for some of the books I’ve been reading lately. Enjoy!


Royally Matched
Series: Royally, #2
Author: Emma Chase
Publication Date: February 21, 2017
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Narrators: Shane East, Andi Arndt
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Some men are born responsible, some men have responsibility thrust upon them. Henry John Edgar Thomas Pembrook, Prince of Wessco, just got the motherlode of all responsibility dumped in his regal lap.

He’s not handling it well.

Hoping to force her grandson to rise to the occasion, Queen Lenora goes on a much-needed safari holiday—and when the Queen’s away, the Prince will play. After a chance meeting with an American television producer, Henry finally makes a decision all on his own:

Welcome to Matched: Royal Edition.

A reality TV dating game show featuring twenty of the world’s most beautiful blue bloods gathered in the same castle. Only one will win the diamond tiara, only one will capture the handsome prince’s heart.

While Henry revels in the sexy, raunchy antics of the contestants as they fight, literally, for his affection, it’s the quiet, bespectacled girl in the corner—with the voice of an angel and a body that would tempt a saint—who catches his eye.

The more Henry gets to know Sarah Mirabelle Zinnia Von Titebottum, the more enamored he becomes of her simple beauty, her strength, her kind spirit…and her naughty sense of humor.

But Rome wasn’t built in a day—and irresponsible royals aren’t reformed overnight.

As he endeavors to right his wrongs, old words take on whole new meanings for the dashing Prince. Words like, Duty, Honor and most of all—Love.

My review:

Royally Matched might just be my favorite Emma Chase book yet! I absolutely loved this book! The story was amazing. The whole romance reality show was clever and hilarious. All of the characters were so entertaining. I think listening to it made it added even more fun. I adored the narrators’ accents. They brought the story to life. I couldn’t stop listening to it. I was mad when my daughter got home from school and I had to turn it off — I couldn’t let her listen to Henry’s obscene thoughts! Royally Matched was an outstanding romantic comedy filled with tons of great surprises. It’s a book contemporary romance fans aren’t going to want to miss.


Ready to Fall
Series: Wingmen, #1
Author: Daisy Prescott
Publication Date: December 14, 2013
Publisher: Daisy Prescott
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Tall, dark, and handsome is an understatement when it comes to John Day. With rugged good looks, his ever present plaid shirt, and a dog named Babe, John is a modern alpha male lumberjack.

After his favorite neighbor rents out her beach cabin for the winter, John finds himself playing fireman and tour guide to Diane Watson, a beautiful brunette with her own messy past and recent battle scars.

Will he be ready to fall in love? Or will he go back to his old, flirty ways?

Hold onto your heart as John Day tells his story in this male POV contemporary adult romance/romantic comedy.

Ready to Fall is the first novel in the Wingmen series, a spin-off from Modern Love Stories. Each book is a standalone with no cliffhanger.

My review: 

Ready to Fall underwhelmed me. It’s not that it wasn’t a good book. It just didn’t have enough drama or make me feel much. The plot could have been very emotionally investing, but it lacked ups and downs. The character’s big emotional scars didn’t pack any punch. John was the only narrator of the story, and he was pretty bland. The story felt real enough, but maybe that was the problem. It felt like someone’s ordinary life, and I was expecting more.


Kiss Me in New York
Author: Catherine Rider
Publication Date: October 3, 2017
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via Goodreads.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

It’s Christmas Eve at JFK in NYC.

Charlotte is a British student, waiting for a flight home after the worst semester of her life. Anthony is a native New Yorker, surprising his girlfriend at the airport after three months apart. Charlotte has just been dumped, and Anthony is about to be dumped, right in the middle of the holiday crowd.

Charlotte’s flight is canceled when a blizzard blows in, and Anthony can’t bear to go home. So, they set out into the city together, clutching a book Charlotte picks up in the airport gift shop: Ten Easy Steps for Getting Over Your Ex. For this one night, they’ll focus on healing their broken hearts … together.

Step-by-step, the two struggle to put the past behind them. But the snow is so enchanting, and the holiday lights are so beguiling, that soon their shared misery gives way to something else. Soon, they’re not only over their exes — they’re falling for each other.

Then a subway ride splits them up by mistake. Will they reunite before Charlotte’s flight leaves New York forever?

My review:

At just 200 pages, Kiss Me in New York was a quick and cute read. Charlotte and Anthony are are struggling with their own respective breakups when they randomly meet at the airport on Christmas Eve. The two decide to try to get over their exes by completing the steps in Charlotte’s book. The experiences they have trying to complete the steps bring the two strangers closer together than they expected. I thought this was a fun holiday story, but if you’re not into insta-love, you might want to skip this book as almost the entire book takes place in one night. I would have loved this to have been a longer story. I was interested in knowing what came next for Charlotte and Anthony.