Review: Regretting You (Colleen Hoover)

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Author: Colleen Hoover
Publication Date: December 10, 2019
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author of It Ends with Us comes a poignant novel about family, first love, grief, and betrayal that will touch the hearts of both mothers and daughters.

Morgan Grant and her sixteen-year-old daughter, Clara, would like nothing more than to be nothing alike.

Morgan is determined to prevent her daughter from making the same mistakes she did. By getting pregnant and married way too young, Morgan put her own dreams on hold. Clara doesn’t want to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Her predictable mother doesn’t have a spontaneous bone in her body.

With warring personalities and conflicting goals, Morgan and Clara find it increasingly difficult to coexist. The only person who can bring peace to the household is Chris—Morgan’s husband, Clara’s father, and the family anchor. But that peace is shattered when Chris is involved in a tragic and questionable accident. The heartbreaking and long-lasting consequences will reach far beyond just Morgan and Clara.

While struggling to rebuild everything that crashed around them, Morgan finds comfort in the last person she expects to, and Clara turns to the one boy she’s been forbidden to see. With each passing day, new secrets, resentment, and misunderstandings make mother and daughter fall further apart. So far apart, it might be impossible for them to ever fall back together.


I’m always curious as to what Colleen Hoover is going to write next. She always surprises me with the directions and choices she takes. I was excited to hear she was headed back to romance after Verity, but I was curious as to what type of romance she was going to give us. Even after reading Regretting You, I’m still not exactly sure how to describe it to you.

Regretting You is a book that’s hard to put into one book category. It’s kind of like an all-in-one Colleen Hover novel. One point of view is an adult contemporary romance with hints of women’s fiction character growth sprinkled in. The other straddles the line between YA and NA contemporary romance. There’s even a bit mystery involved. The overall effect is a great novel about… Well, a lot of stuff. Stuff you will have to read the book to find out about. 😉

What did I think of Regretting You? I had a lot of thoughts about it. Lame, I know. I just can’t share too many of them without giving too much away. I will say this:

  • Colleen Hoover’s writing always makes me feel something and think hard about the messages she’s giving. I felt a ton of emotions while reading Regretting You and I’m still processing them.
  • I was caught up in the story from the very beginning. There’s a lot of good stuff happening in it. Even when I found it predictable, I still enjoyed it.
  • The mother-teenage daughter dynamic was STRONG in this one, people. I’ve been a teenager and I’ve been a mother, and I can confirm that both POVs delivered were on point. That dynamic… Whew! It was so real and vibrant! Even when I wanted to give Clara or Morgan a good shake, I still loved them.
  • I liked how grief was depicted and dealt with.
  • The love stories were complicated, but easy to swoon over.
  • Like I said, I loved Clara and Morgan, but sometimes Miller, Jonah, and Miller’s grandpa stole the show. They just kind of added an extra something that made this book. Miller especially.
  • The end was one of my favorites I’ve read in a while. It was a great reward for all CoHo put me through while reading this book. After you read this book, I want to gush with you over it!
  • If you’re like me, you’re going to have a few unanswered questions at the end, but you will feel okay with that even though it drives you slightly nuts. LOL

So, yeah. I guess you could say I loved reading Regretting You.

 
Q&A with Author Colleen Hoover
 

You are ‘label-less’ in the fact that you write in several genres. Readers never know what to expect next. If someone asks, how do you label yourself?

When I self-published my first novel I had no idea what genre to put it in. I thought I had written a drama but it turns to that I had written a romance. I’ve learned a lot since then, but I still don’t put a lot of weight in genre when I write. When your best friend is begging you to read a book, it’s not going to matter what genre it is when someone you trust is passionate about the story.

To keep all of your stories and characters straight, you must be very organized.

I’m the most disorganized person you will ever meet! I have no schedule. I can’t wake up before nine in the morning. I probably don’t go to bed until like three in the morning. I usually work about 16 hours a day.

What happens if you get blocked when you are writing?

If I get stuck writing, I go for a drive and play music. Music really helps me plot. I love The Avett Brothers, X Ambassadors, Airborne Toxic Event…I could go on and on.

What can you tell readers about your latest release Regretting You?

I would spoil it if I told you about it! Most of my books are like that. I can’t say what they are about or it spoils it. But I can say that Regretting You is told from a dual point-of-view centered on the inner lives of both a teen and adult protagonist.


Sounds like lots of different types of readers will be interested!

Absolutely. I wanted to write a book that bridged the gap between young adult and contemporary romance so that mothers can read with their daughters. I think it’s exciting to see people sharing reading experiences. 

 
 

Author Biography
 
Colleen Hoover is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of several novels, including the bestselling women’s fiction novel It Ends with Us and the bestselling psychological thriller Verity. She has won the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Romance three years in a row—for Confess (2015), It Ends with Us (2016), and Without Merit (2017). Confess was adapted into a seven-episode online series. In 2015, Hoover and her family founded the Bookworm Box, a bookstore and monthly subscription service that offers signed novels donated by authors. All profits go to various charities each month to help those in need. Hoover lives in Texas with her husband and their three boys. Visit www.colleenhoover.com.
 
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Review: The How & the Why (Cynthia Hand)

The How & the Why
Author: Cynthia Hand
Narrators: Phoebe Strole, Erin Spencer
Publication Date: November 5, 2019
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, Adoption

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

A poignant exploration of family and the ties that bind, perfect for fans of Far From the Tree, from New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand.

Today Melly had us writing letters to our babies…

Cassandra McMurtrey has the best parents a girl could ask for. They’ve given Cass a life she wouldn’t trade for the world. She has everything she needs—except maybe the one thing she wants. Like, to know who she is. Where she came from. Questions her adoptive parents can’t answer, no matter how much they love her.

But eighteen years ago, someone wrote Cass a series of letters. And they may just hold the answers Cass has been searching for.

Alternating between Cass’s search for answers and letters from the pregnant teen who gave her up for adoption, this voice-driven narrative is the perfect read for fans of Nina LaCour and Jandy Nelson.


I am not going to lie. This book made me a MESS. It emotionally impacted me from the minute I started listening to it. I know it probably won’t hit as many readers the way it did me, but man. I kind of wanted to bawl the entire time I was reading it.

The How & the Why (in simple terms) is the story of a teenager navigating life while dealing with feelings about her adoption and searching for her birth mother. Cass’s present day life and struggles are sandwiched by letters her birth mother wrote to her while pregnant.

So why was I so emotional while reading this? 1. I’m an adoptee from a closed adoption. While I have never searched for my birth parents or truly had the urge to, I could relate to and understand Cass’s feelings. I can remember being close to her age and having some of the same questions and feelings. 2. As a mother, I cannot imagine what giving up a child would feel like — whether you wanted to or not. 3. During the listening process, my daughter went through allergy testing due to hives she’s been having over the past few months and it freaks me out a bit that I can’t provide more health background for her. More than you wanted to know in a review, but it had me even more emotional while listening to this book.

Beside my feelings, what did I think of The How & the Why? It was a beautifully written story. If I hadn’t known from the beginning of the book, I probably would have been able to tell this had been written by an adoptee or someone who had been through an adoption in some form. Every emotion and thought that went through Cass’s head felt raw and real. The letters from her birth mom hit me in the heart. There was so much love and thought to this story. It was just really beautiful.

Honestly, parts of this book could have sucked or tanked and I wouldn’t have cared because of how important the entire story was to me. I haven’t felt like this about a book with adoption since I read Robin Benway’s Far From the Tree.

P.S.: The narration was fabulous. I can’t leave that out.

YA Mini Reviews: Girl at Heart & One of the Girls

Today, I’m sharing with you two YA contemporary sports romances I read recently. I put them in this mini review together because while they’re written by two different authors, they are part of the same Roosevelt High School world/series.

Girl at Heart
Author: Kelly Oram
Publication Date: November 4, 2019
Publisher: Bluefields
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

As the daughter of a successful Major League pitcher, Charlie Hastings has baseball in her blood. Unfortunately, being the only girl on her high school baseball team, Charlie has always been just one of the guys.

When her best friend, and secret love of her life, asks another girl to the prom, Charlie is devastated. She’s tired of being overlooked by boys because she’s not like other girls. Suffering a massive identity crisis, she decides to hang up her cleats and finally learn how to be a girl.

But with only two weeks until the state championships, the Roosevelt High Ravens can’t afford to lose their star catcher. Team captain Jace King makes her a deal: Don’t quit the team, and he’ll help her become the girl she’s so desperate to be. After all, he’s got four sisters, one of whom happens to be a cheerleader. He knows a thing or two about girls. (And if he can win her heart in the process, all the better.)

From the bestselling young adult author of Cinder & Ella, V is for Virgin, and the Avery Shaw Experiment comes a new sweet romance that’s sure to leave you with all the feels! Girl at Heart is a clean and wholesome sports romance that will leave you with warm fuzzies and an itch to watch a baseball game.

My thoughts:

First, can I just love on this cover? The colors are all so pretty together and it’s just so adorable. It fits the book so well. As for what’s inside the book… I loved every minute of Girl at Heart. It’s the story of a girl who is on the high school boys’ baseball team. She’s always been “just one of the guys”, but Charlie wants to be seen as a girl. Girl at Heart is a really sweet story about Charlie finding herself and falling in love. I was surprised by the emotions I felt while reading it (I teared up and had to stop myself from sobbing, guys.) and the way things played out. It was more than I expected it to be. That shouldn’t have been a shock since I’ve read and loved Oram’s books before, but it was. I loved it so much that when I saw there was another book set in this world with characters I recognized, I knew I needed to read that book, too.

One of the Girls
Author: Robin Daniels
Publication Date: June 20, 2019
Publisher: Bluefields
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

FROM ENDZONE TO FRIENDZONE…

Senior Nick Moody is the second string quarterback on Roosevelt High School’s championship football team. He’s crushed on Mia for years, but she doesn’t know he exists. It’s time to come off the bench and into the game. Nick refuses to graduate without getting the girl or the glory.

Mia Ashlock is the remarkably kind cheer captain. She’s a yes girl, and her penchant for people pleasing always leads to bad relationships. After being humiliated in a very public dumping, her teammates decide to break her bad habit with a ban on boyfriends.

When Nick sees a poster, advertising cheer tryouts, he has a crazy idea: quit football and become a cheerleader. It’s perfect! He can get close to Mia and steal the spotlight, using his true and hidden talent—gymnastics. Nick and Mia have instant chemistry, but it does him little good. If Mia’s zero dating rule weren’t bad enough, the team treats him less like boyfriend material and more like one of the girls. Breaching the friendzone will be much harder than he thought.

Content: This book contains kissing along with limited/mild swearing and minimal inuendo/crude humor. No explicit language or references to sex.

My thoughts:

Like I said above, this book is connected to Oram’s by the setting and some characters. It actually came out first, but it doesn’t matter which order you read them in. I had never read a book by Robin Daniels before, but I want to read more of them now. I loved One of the Girls just as much as Girl at Heart. This book was opposite that one as it was a boy joining the cheerleading squad. Nick was joined to use his gymnastics skills and to win cheerleading captain Mia’s heart. It was so sweet and definitely a feel good story.

I really, really hope there are more books to come set at Roosevelt High. Whether they’re from Daniels, Oram, or another author, I would happily read them.

Review: Lucky Caller (Emma Mills)

Lucky Caller
Author: Emma Mills
Publication Date: January 14, 2019
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

With the warmth, wit, intimate friendships, and heart-melting romance she brings to all her books, Emma Mills crafts a story about believing in yourself, owning your mistakes, and trusting in human connection in Lucky Caller.

When Nina decides to take a radio broadcasting class her senior year, she expects it to be a walk in the park. Instead, it’s a complete disaster.

The members of Nina’s haphazardly formed radio team have approximately nothing in common. And to maximize the awkwardness her group includes Jamie, a childhood friend she’d hoped to basically avoid for the rest of her life.

The show is a mess, internet rumors threaten to bring the wrath of two fandoms down on their heads, and to top it all off Nina’s family is on the brink of some major upheaval.

Everything feels like it’s spiraling out of control―but maybe control is overrated?


Lucky Caller is one of those books that I just want to scream, “I loved it! I loved it! I loved it!” and be done with the review. The whole thing was just so darn good and I loved everything about it. I mean, you don’t really need to know anything else right? Don’t worry. I won’t do that to you. Instead, I’m going to give you a list of what makes Lucky Caller so freaking fabulous.

What I loved:

  • Once again, Emma Mills’s writing excelled. She made me fall in love with everything about this book.
  • I loved Nina. I could find pieces of my teenage self in her.
  • Nina’s relationship with her family was perfect. It wasn’t all fun times and feel good moments, but it felt like a true family navigating the changes that come with divorce, remarriage, and sisterhood.
  • If you’ve read an Emma Mills’s novel, you know she excels at writing friendship groups. I’m happy to say she didn’t leave us hanging in this aspect. This time, instead of giving us an already established group of friends, she gave us one that developed over the course of the book. It was cool to see the get to know each other and forge friendships.
  • Jamie was someone from Nina’s past and I loved how he worked into her present. I loved how their friendship proved that even when you have a falling out, you can come back together with a little truth and humility.
  • I loved the glimpses of Nina’s dad’s radio persona.
  • Plus, Jamie made for a sweet love story. A really, really, really, really slow burn love story. The slowness may frustrate some, but I loved it. I felt right for the story AND it made the focus more on Nina and her relationships with the entire cast of characters.
  • The radio show was a great idea! I’ve only read a couple of books with a similar setting and they add such a unique way to tell a story. I loved how it tied into the friendships and family relationships. It was so much fun to read about!
  • The ending was PERFECTION! I loved how everything was all tied up in such a pretty, cool bow. (Blink and you might miss why the book is called Lucky Caller.)

The only things that could have made me love Lucky Caller more (if that’s even possible):

  • Frank Sanger. I know, I know. He’s from a completely different Emma Mills’s book, but everything is better with Frank Sanger. 😉 I would have been down with a cameo. Just saying.
  • I love the cover, but I do miss that it doesn’t look like all of Emma Mills’s other covers. Those stand out so much and are so beautiful. They’re hard to top.

If you love YA contemporaries and you haven’t picked up a book by Emma Mills, you’re missing out. BIG TIME. She’s easily established herself as one of my favorite writers in this genre because her words make me happy. She puts so much heart into her stories. I honestly haven’t met an Emma Mills book I haven’t liked, and I’ve read all of them.

YA Mini Reviews: Eyes on Me & I Know You Remember

Eyes on Me
Author: Rachel Harris
Publication Date: March 26, 2019
Published: Entangled: Teen
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Look up the word “nerd” and you’ll find Lily Bailey’s picture. She’s got one goal: first stop valedictorian, next stop Harvard. Until a stint in the hospital from too much stress lands her in the last place a klutz like her ever expected to be: salsa dance lessons.

Look up the word “popular” and you’ll find Stone Torres’s picture. His life seems perfect—star of the football team, small-town hero, lots of friends. But his family is struggling to make ends meet, so if pitching in at his mom’s dance studio helps, he’ll do it.

When Lily’s dad offers Stone extra cash to volunteer as Lily’s permanent dance partner, he can’t refuse. But with each dip and turn, each moment her hand is in his, his side job starts to feel all too real. Lily shows Stone he’s more than his impressive football stats, and he introduces her to a world outside of studying. But with the lines blurred, can their relationship survive the secret he’s been hiding?

My thoughts:

I have had my eye on Eyes on Me since I read Lenore at Celebrity Reader’s review of it. It just sounded like such a fun and cute read. I am happy to report it totally was! There were so many great things about it. I loved the characters and their story. Lily and Stone were two very different, complex characters. They had issues like anxiety, stress, money problems, and living up to expectations. Despite those tough topics, the story was still able to be light and fun in the way I love YA contemporaries to be. My only little issue with it was that at one point it slowed down a bit for me. No worries, though. It picked right back up for a swoon worthy ending.

I Know You Remember
Author: Jennifer Donaldson
Publication Date: October 8, 2019
Publisher: Razorbill
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Jennifer Donaldson is back with another twisted thriller perfect for fans of One of Us Is Lying and Gone Girl.

Zahra Gaines is missing.

After three long years away, Ruthie Hayden arrives in her hometown of Anchorage, Alaska to this devastating news. Zahra was Ruthie’s best friend–the only person who ever really understood her–and she vows to do whatever it takes to find her.

Zahra vanished from a party just days before Ruthie’s return, but the more people she talks to, the more she realizes that the Zahra she knew disappeared long before that fateful night. Gone is the whimsical, artistic girl who loved books and knew Ruthie’s every secret. In her place is an athlete, a partier, a girl with secrets of her own. Darker still are the rumors that something happened to Zahra while Ruthie was gone, something that changed her forever…

As Ruthie desperately tries to piece together the truth, she falls deeper and deeper into her friend’s new world, circling closer to a dangerous revelation about what Zahra experienced in the days before her disappearance–one that might be better off buried.

In her stunning follow-up to Lies You Never Told Me, Jennifer Donaldson once again delivers a propulsive thriller with a masterful twist, skillfully creating a world where nothing is quite as it seems.

My thoughts:

I loved Jennifer Donaldson’s début novel, Lies You Never Told Me, so I was super excited to read I Know You Remember. I Know You Remember was a great YA thriller. It was complex in the way that an adult thriller would be with twists, turns, and things to make me question if my ideas were right or wrong. Even the suspicions I had that were right still managed to throw me for a loop. Stuff happened that I wasn’t expecting and it was awesome. Overall, it was a great YA thriller.

Mini Reviews: Reign of Brayshaw, I Knead You Tonight, & The Simple Wild

Reign of Brayshaw
Series: Brayshaw, #3
Author: Meagan Brandy
Publication Date: October 1, 2019
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Young Adult?

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

“Trust only those who earn it.”

A sentiment I follow without direction but holds more consequence than ever before.

One decision, five lives, three futures.
This is what’s at stake.

One night, one choice, four broken Brayshaws.
That is where we’re headed.

Unless I stop it.
I 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 to stop it.

I have to remind him of what he’s chosen to forget.

My town. My choice. 𝘔𝘺 ending.


This is the third book in the Brayshaw Series, and the conclusion of Maddoc and Raven’s story.

My thoughts:

I don’t know, you guys… This series has been a solid 3 star for me the entire way through. Sometimes I love the crazy, over the top drama. Other times, I’m just not into it — it’s too crazy. Reign at Brayshaw straddled the line towards too crazy. There were some great shocking moments. Some of them rubbed me wrong, some made me happy. What it comes down to is that a lot of what happened made me slightly uncomfortable since it takes place in a high school world. None of it was believable or even okay for KIDS who hadn’t even graduated from high school yet. Maybe college, but high school no. Some things were way too romanticized and I would be having a big talk with my teen about some of it if I knew they were reading this book. I do have to say the unraveling of all the mysterious stuff was fascinating, though.


I Knead You Tonight
Series: Slice, #2
Author: Teagan Hunter
Publication Date: October 17, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

I hate Drew Woods, and she hates me.

Even so, I’m not the cold jerk most make me out to be, and I have no problem moving the single mom and her baby into my home. I do, however, draw a line when it comes to acting on the way her loose lips make me feel.

Alive.

She’s too mouthy, too prying, and her curves are way too distracting.

I might have lost my way after a nearly fatal car accident, but I’m not stupid. Giving in to Drew would be a short-lived fix for this pain I’m saddled with, and I knead something permanent.

I’d be insane to think what we have could be anything other than temporary…right?

My thoughts:

I freaking loved this I Knead You Tonight. Dare I say that it could possibly be my new favorite Teagan Hunter book? Yes, I would. That’s a big deal because I adored Let’s Get Textual. There was just something about this book, though. The enemies to lovers aspect was spot on. Drew and Winston had some of the best banter. I loved the way they hated each other. 😉 I was completely shocked by Winston’ character. There was definitely more than I thought going on with that dude from the previous book, and he proved himself in some of the best ways. I couldn’t get enough of this romantic comedy, and I need Teagan Hunter to hurry up and release the next book in this series. I need it NOW.


The Simple Wild
Series: Wild, #1
Author: K.A. Tucker
Publication Date: August 7, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Calla Fletcher wasn’t even two when her mother took her and fled the Alaskan wild, unable to handle the isolation of the extreme, rural lifestyle, leaving behind Calla’s father, Wren Fletcher, in the process. Calla never looked back, and at twenty-six, a busy life in Toronto is all she knows. But when Calla learns that Wren’s days may be numbered, she knows that it’s time to make the long trip back to the remote frontier town where she was born.

She braves the roaming wildlife, the odd daylight hours, the exorbitant prices, and even the occasional—dear God—outhouse, all for the chance to connect with her father: a man who, despite his many faults, she can’t help but care for. While she struggles to adjust to this rugged environment, Jonah—the unkempt, obnoxious, and proud Alaskan pilot who helps keep her father’s charter plane company operational—can’t imagine calling anywhere else home. And he’s clearly waiting with one hand on the throttle to fly this city girl back to where she belongs, convinced that she’s too pampered to handle the wild.

Jonah is probably right, but Calla is determined to prove him wrong. Soon, she finds herself forming an unexpected bond with the burly pilot. As his undercurrent of disapproval dwindles, it’s replaced by friendship—or perhaps something deeper? But Calla is not in Alaska to stay and Jonah will never leave. It would be foolish of her to kindle a romance, to take the same path her parents tried—and failed at—years ago. It’s a simple truth that turns out to be not so simple after all.

My thoughts:

I’m kicking myself right now because The Simple Wild has been sitting on my bookshelf for almost a year now. I’ve wanted to read it, but I shied away from actually picking it up. I wish I wouldn’t have. It’s hands down one of my favorite books I have read in 2019. I loved everything about it: the writing, the setting, the characters, the plot, the romance, the emotions…just everything. The Simple Wild was just so dang beautiful. I was sad when it ended because I wanted to be lost in its world for a lot longer.

Review: Making a Play (Abbi Glines)

Making a Play
Series: Field Party, #5
Author: Abbi Glines
Narrators: Ali Andre Ali, Caitlin Davies
Publication Date: August 20, 2019
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Ryker Lee is finally enjoying his senior year—he has great friends, hangs out with hot girls, and is on track to get a football scholarship that will set him up for college. Despite this, a small part of him wonders if there’s more to life than parties and meaningless hookups—and if football even means as much to him as it does to his fellow teammates. And when he meets the new girl at school, his world totally changes…

Aurora McClay is new to Lawton. She’s grateful that her twin brother, Hunter, is star of the football team and can help her adjust to her new school, but she’s not grateful at how overprotective he is over every person she meets. Just because she is deaf does not mean people have to treat her differently. When she meets Ryker Lee, the two of them spark an instant and intense chemistry, one that proves to be controversial not only because of Ryker’s reputation as a player, but also because of Aurora and Hunter’s father’s bigoted views about who Aurora can and can’t date.

Aurora and Ryker know in their hearts that they are meant for each other. But can their relationship endure the turmoil of rumors and prejudice?


There’s something about the Field Party series that keeps bringing me back to it despite the fact that each book isn’t as good as the one before it. It’s the small town, Friday Night Lights vibe of it and wanting to know what happens to the characters I love from the previous books. Making a Play is my least favorite book in the series so far. I didn’t completely dislike it, but I had a few issues with it that kept it from being great.

Let’s talk about the things I loved first.

  • The narrators did a great job bringing this book to life. It was a quick listen and I was instantly pulled in.
  • Aurora was deaf and I enjoyed reading about how she lived her life to compensate for not being able to hear. I loved how her confidence grew in this book relating to that.
  • Aurora and Hunter had a great twin relationship. I loved the dynamics of it in their family.
  • I didn’t think I would like Ryker as much as I did. He has definitely grown up some. I loved how he treated Aurora and the things he did for her and their relationship.
  • Nash and Tallulah were adorable.
  • Aurora is white and Ryker is black. Aurora’s dad did not want his daughter dating a black boy. I was impressed that Abbi Glines tacked racism in this book.

All of that was great, but…

  • Most of the stuff happens within a matter of a couple of weeks. Weeks. It just wasn’t believable. I loved how Ryker fell for Aurora, but I wish it had been over months rather than weeks. It was insta-love and not the good kind.
  • Remember how I liked that racism was tackled? Well, it wasn’t done as well as it should have been. Aurora’s dad got over his prejudices a little too quickly in my opinion. Again, if this book had taken place over months rather than weeks maybe changes in his beliefs would have been believable. It just wasn’t.

Even though Making a Play wasn’t my favorite book in this series, I still enjoyed listening to it. It brought me back to a town and group of characters I love. Anyone who has read and loved the previous books in the Field Party series will want to read it. I’m curious whether there will be more books in this series because I would like to read a book about Hunter.

Mini Reviews: YA Contemporaries

Summer has put me in YA contemporary romance reading mood. I love that because it’s given me the opportunity to read some books off my TBR that I hadn’t been in the mood for. Here are three short reviews for a few of the YA contemporaries I’ve read recently.

The Stand-In Boyfriend
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

My thoughts:

The Stand-In Boyfriend is one if those fun YA fake relationship books. Popular soccer star Chase gets Livy to be his fake girlfriend so he can keep an ex away and she can make her best friend / crush notice her. Chase isn’t exactly truthful in his pact with Livy, though, and as days go by their fake relationship starts to feel real. It was cute, but pretty angsty. Livy’s feelings for Jessie drove me nuts when I saw how he treated her. Chase’s dishonesty with Livy drove me crazy because he was such a great guy. I wanted to whack Livy over the head a couple of times because of the decisions she made. Even though it all drove me a little nuts, I was completely invested. I adored Livy and Chase together and was rooting for this fake relationship to become real. The end of the story made up for all the frustration I felt. I’m really excited to read more from this series. (Thanks to Stephanie for recommending this book!)

Fake It Till You Break It
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

My thoughts:

Another fake relationship.. I picked up Fake It Till You Break It on my quick visit to Powell’s City of Books in Portland, OR. I loved Jenn P. Nguyen’s The Way to Game the Walk of Shame, so I knew I wanted to read her sophomore novel. It was just as cute as that first book. I loved how Mia and Jake’s relationship went from enemies who were forced to play nice to fake relationship to maybe more. It was such a fun, quick read. It was perfect for summer.

Second Chance Summer
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

My thoughts:

I hate to admit it, but Second Chance Summer is one of the books that has been on my Goodreads TBR the longest. Everyone always says how emotional it is and to have tissues ready. That put me off for a long time. I wanted to be in the right frame of mind. When I finished Nguyen’s book, I wanted to keep my YA binge going so I immediately dived into this one without giving it a second thought. There were definitely sad vibes throughout and it had me sobbing at the end. It also had an air of mystery revolving around Taylor’s past…which I loved but thought was weird because could she did at 12 years old that would be this lasting? Overall, it was a deeply touching read.

Review: Finding Me (Kelly Gunderman)

Finding Me
Author: Kelly Gunderman
Publication Date: July 30, 2019
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Can you ever truly love someone who robbed you of everything?

Sixteen-year-old Claire Williams spends most of her days feeling angry and alone. After a car accident took her mother and Claire’s ability to walk, life in a wheelchair is the new normal.
When she’s sent to live with her grandmother, away from school and friends, Claire has a chance for a fresh start. Just when Claire thinks she can handle things, she runs into Todd – the son of the man who caused the car accident.

At first, Claire wants nothing to do with him, but the more time they spend together, the more she hates to admit her feelings. She’s slowly falling in love with Todd.

Now, Claire’s father wants to move and take Claire with him. But she can’t go. Not now when everything is falling into place, and she’s just now finding herself. Claire’s defiant. She won’t leave Greenwood, her new friends, her grandmother, or Todd.

Can Claire find the strength to let her dad go on with his life while leaving her behind to live hers, or will she allow the guilt and shame of surviving the accident pull her back under?


When I first started blogging, one of my first blogger friends was Kelly from Here’s to Happy Endings. When she mentioned she was publishing a book, I was excited to read it. Her book reviews are always so eloquent. I imagined the writing I enjoyed in them would transfer well to a book. Even so, I have to admit I was a little nervous before reading Finding Me since I personally know the author.

Claire is a sixteen year old who lost both the use of her legs and her mother in a car accident. She’s forced to change schools when her father dumps her on her grandmother’s doorstep. Starting a new school and making friends is hard enough without the added pressure of being around Todd, the son of the man who put Claire in a wheelchair and killed her mother. Claire’s just made friends and figured out that she might have more in common with Todd than she thought when her father reappears and wants her to move away with him. It’s all more than Claire thinks she can handle.

Claire’s story was emotionally packed. Her world had completely crumbled two years ago, and she was already having to rebuild it a second time since then. All of her relationships were changing. Some were in a good way, others in a bad one. Throughout everything, Claire had this quiet strength. She didn’t always hold it together, but she grew and fought for herself. She was a lot stronger that she thought she was. I loved the progression of her character.

I have to go back to that first comment I made about Claire’s story being emotionally packed. Finding Me was filled with emotion. Moments in Claire’s story brought tears to my eyes. I feel that it’s important to mention this because that doesn’t happen often. I was pleasantly surprised Kelly was able to do that with her first book.

As for the rest of the characters, they were perfect for this story. I loved Claire’s new friends Lisa, Mark, and Dillon. I also liked Todd and how he fit into the forgiveness aspect of Claire’s story. I adored Claire’s close relationship with her grandmother. I even found myself liking bubbly Sara. The only person I didn’t like was Claire’s dad. My dislike for him surprised me because his character was someone I didn’t expect.

The one thing that made me think a bit when reading this book was Claire being in a wheelchair. I had to remind myself that she had been in one for a couple of years now, so maybe some of the daily details of her life in the wheelchair wouldn’t be a big deal to her anymore. There were some mentions of the things that had to be accommodated for, but I guess I thought there would be more frustration or emotional reaction to them.

Finding Me was a great début novel. I was impressed with the writing. Sometimes the writing in a début novel can rely a lot on telling instead of showing, but that wasn’t the case here. It was as good as I was expecting it to be. There was plenty of dialog, the writing moved at a pace I liked, and I was completely pulled into Claire’s world. I can’t wait to see what Kelly writes next.

Review: Drummer Girl (Ginger Scott)

Drummer Girl
Author: Ginger Scott
Publication Date:
Genre: Mature Young Adult, New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC from WordSmith Publicity and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

He was the words.
She was the rhythm.
Together, the told one hell of a story.

Drummer Girl is a mature YA/New Adult romance by Ginger Scott. This book
features garage bands, drug use, sexual situations, and honest talk
about mental health. Full blurb to come.


I like to read Ginger Scott’s books because I never know what she’s going to throw at me. Each book is something new and completely different. Her writing is always amazing, but it’s her stories that hit me hard.

Drummer Girl surprised me in more than one way. I knew it was going to be about music, but I didn’t realize it was going to deal with mental health. The combination of the two made for an explosive story. I liked the narrative Ginger Scott created around it. Some parts were brutally honest, while others almost secretive. There were things I didn’t see coming, but probably should have.

I have to admit that while I really liked Drummer Girl, I wasn’t 100% sold on Jesse and Arizona’s relationship. I wasn’t sure whether or not it was a healthy relationship for either of them. I was surprised by how accepting their parents were of it. That being said, I loved how they communicated. They didn’t hold back. Plus, they truly supported each other.

One of my favorite things about Drummer Girl were the friendships. Ari and her best friend reminded me a bit of the relationship I had with one of my closest growing up. We were different in some of the same ways, but had that same close connection. I also really liked Jesse’s friendship with Rag. Rag had Jesse’s back when others wouldn’t have.

Another great thing about this book was that both Jesse and Arizona’s parents were involved. Since this story was in Arizona’s POV, we mostly saw her parents. I didn’t like how they were at first. I understood their protectiveness, but thought they were a little too overbearing. By the end, they had won me over — especially her dad.

Drummer Girl is one of those books I like even more the longer I think about it. When I was wrapped up in the story, I felt a little off-balance and not sure what to think about it. Having finished it, I know that was the genius of Ginger Scott’s writing. She made me feel Arizona’s feelings and I didn’t always realize it right away.

EXCERPT:

Drummer Girl, Copyright Ginger Scott 2019

“That’s the first time I’ve played that song. I like it. We should add it to our set,” he says, pulling the strap from around his neck before setting his guitar at the foot of his bed. “What do you think?”

He twists so our knees are touching and our shoulders are squared.
“I think you’re a showoff, one. And two…I totally think we should close with that at our gig. People love retro shit like that at shows.” I don’t really know what people like at shows because the only kinds I’ve ever been to have been for high school marching nerds or jazz geeks. I probably don’t even deserve to utter the word gig yet. I’m a gig virgin. I do know movies, though, and if this life was a movie, our band would close with that.
Jesse’s eyes linger on my face, making me warm.
“Okay then,” he says, finally. “And I’m not a showoff.”
His lips pucker with his smirk and mine follow suit until a laugh seeps through.
“You so are!” I shove at him playfully, and his hands wrap around my wrists and shove back gently but don’t let go.
“No, I’m a great example. That’s a totally different thing,” he says, pulling me toward his chest until my fingertips meet the hard surface of his pecs under a well-worn white T-shirt.
“I’m pretty sure it’s just a synonym for showoff how you’re using it. In fact, now you’re just being arrogant!” I gripe back through laughter, a wry smile playing at one side of my mouth. Jesse remains quiet, though. His head leaned a tick to the right. My lips vibrate with this sudden change in atmosphere, and without even helping myself, I bite my bottom lip. There is just enough light in the room to see these small things we’re doing, these…signs. At least, I’m giving a sign. I hope I’m not imagining Jesse’s.
At least three full breaths pass between us without words. I count mine, and I guess how many he takes because really, I can’t see much beyond the dark centers of his eyes and the top curl of his lip. I wait for him. Even though I’m dizzy and happy and excited, I don’t want to be eager and desperate. I wait for him to move closer…to do something.
I wish for him.
“Would it be okay if I kissed you now?”

About the Author:

Ginger Scott is an Amazon-bestselling and Goodreads Choice Award-nominated author of several young and new adult romances, including Waiting on the Sidelines, Going Long, Blindness, How We Deal With Gravity, This Is Falling, You and Everything After, The Girl I Was Before, Wild Reckless, Wicked Restless, In Your Dreams, The Hard Count, Hold My Breath, and A Boy Like You.

A sucker for a good romance, Ginger’s other passion is sports, and she often blends the two in her stories. (She’s also a sucker for a hot quarterback, catcher, pitcher, point guard…the list goes on.) Ginger has been writing and editing for newspapers, magazines and blogs for more than 15 years. She has told the stories of Olympians, politicians, actors, scientists, cowboys, criminals and towns. For more on her and her work, visit her website at http://www.littlemisswrite.com.

When she’s not writing, the odds are high that she’s somewhere near a baseball diamond, either watching her son field pop flies like Bryce Harper or cheering on her favorite baseball team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ginger lives in Arizona and is married to her college sweetheart whom she met at ASU (fork ’em, Devils).

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