Lately, I’ve been searching for series that have a similar feel to Tijan’s Fallen Crest High. I miss the emotion and drama of that series. One of the series that popped up when I went looking was Broken Hill High. Since it was available on KU, I decided to give it a try.
Broken Hill High is the first book in the series. It starts when Tora is a senior in high school. Her parents have left the country to take care of her ill grandmother, and while they’re gone Tora is forced to stay with her parents’ friends. Tora is not excited to stay with these friends because they have two sons who hate her. Nate, another senior, is particularly mean to her. You know what they say about boys who bully girls, though. It turns out there’s a very fine line between love and hate for Nate. Soon Tora’s dating the bad boy of Broken Hill High, and life starts to get even crazier. All of the attention has the people who would like to take Nate down gunning for Tora.
I thought this series started out pretty strongly. I liked Tora. I even liked Nate. The beginning of relationship was actually pretty sweet. That sweetness combined with all the over the top drama was a lot of fun.
Broken Hill Halo is really just more of Broken Hill High. Tora loves being Nate’s girlfriend despite all of the drama that brings. Instead of being meek like she was when Nate tormented her, Tora’s learning to stand up for herself. Being with Nate has given her courage. Instead of standing by and watching, she’s dealing out her own wrath. Tora’s changing in little ways in this book. Some of them I liked, others I didn’t.
Things begin to take a turn for Tora in Broken Hill Hurt. The ramifications of her actions have started piling up. Her parents aren’t so sure Nate is the best influence. Tora’s determined to prove to them that he is. The problem is that Nate agrees with them. Now, Tora has to learn how to deal with everything crashing down around her.
Things have turned toxic pretty quickly for Tora. I felt badly for her, but I actually agreed with her parents. I had respect for Nate. I got what everyone was trying to do and point out to her.
In Broken Hill Hearts, Tora is still learning to live without Nate. He’s there, but he’s not. Tora is determined to make Nate see the errors of his ways. It’s hard when she can’t stay out of trouble or drama, but she’s going to do it. I still felt bad for Tora, but I liked the direction she was headed with this one. I felt like she really grew a spine and figured out what she needed to do for everything in her life to work itself out.
Broken Hill Havoc begins a new chapter in Tora’s life. She’s left Broken Hill High behind and is now at Broken Hill University. The setting may be different, but the drama is still abundant. Tora and Nate have settled into their relationship. It’s not so up and down. That’s okay because Tora’s relationship with Brooke is. Honestly, I couldn’t stand that girl and how she didn’t believe Tora. That was the most frustrating part of this book. I did like how all of the storylines wrapped up. It was also interesting to get a chapter in Nate’s POV. It makes me excited for Broken Hill Honor.
Broken Hill Honor was a novella in mostly Nate’s POV. It was cute and sweet. It wrapped up this series in a great way.
Broken Hill High is a dramatic series filled with over the top teenage drama. There is fighting, love, sex, partying, violence, and relationship troubles. I would classify it as NA romance or very mature YA romance based on the amount of sex and partying involved. Many of the scenes require maturity to read and process.
I liked that the main character, Tora, who start off as quieter, weaker girl and blossomed into a strong young women. Sometimes I wanted to roll my eyes at her actions and reactions, but I did feel like she reacted like a 17-year-old would react. Her relationship with Nate throughout the books progressed well. I liked the ups and downs of it.
Nate was the classic bad boy who ruled the school. He had nasty habits and was a jerk, but he also had redeeming qualities. He was extremely loyal. Once Tora was his, he was incredibly sweet to her. Nate would have done anything to ensure Tora’s safety. I didn’t always love his choices, but I wasn’t supposed it.
Honestly, I wasn’t a big fan of Tora’s friends. They were just kind of there and added a little to the drama. I did really love Nate’s brother Jesse, though. He was a ton of fun. I liked his friendship with Tora. Puck was also another fun friend of Nate’s.
What this book was missing from this series, in my opinion, was emotion. There was emotion written in the book, but I didn’t always feel it myself. I wasn’t consumed by Tora’s feelings. I felt for her not with her. I wanted to feel with her. That’s the only way I can think of explaining it.
Broken Hill High was a fun series to read, but I wasn’t in love with it. I did appreciate how addictive it was, and I think readers who like books with a lot of drama will enjoy it.
Series: Tender Hearts, #1
Author: Meagan Brandy
Narrators: CJ Bloom, Alexander Cendese
Publication Date: September 21, 2017
Genre: New Adult, Young Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports
Rating: ★ ★ ½
He’s the persistent playboy who refuses to walk away. I’m the impassive new girl with nothing left to give.
Things are about to get complicated…
After months of refusing, I finally agreed to make the move to Alrick Falls. My family thought it was best – that a new scene would be good for me—and I was sick of having the same conversation.
So here I am, and the plan is simple. Smile through each day and avoid her at all costs.
Until the cocksure quarterback comes into play.
The last thing I want is his crooked grin and dark brown eyes focused on me.
Yet here he is, constantly in my space, pushing me, daring me to care. Telling me what I think and feel, as if he knows.
He doesn’t know anything. And I plan to keep it that way.
Yeah. I’m not where to start with this review, but I’m going to apologize ahead of time if it ends up being a complete rant.
I have to give Meagan Brandy props for her ability to write completely messed up characters. I have read a couple of her books now, and both of them had characters who had been through some rough times. Kalani’s flippant, hard-shelled personality was exactly what I would expect of someone trying to shield herself from the world. I loved how Nate broke down Kalani’s walls and how sweet their relationship was.
Everything else drove me absolutely positively nuts. Despite understanding Kalani’s attitude, I hated it. I hated the way she acted. She had a superiority complex that was insane. She complained others were judgemental, but she was just as judgemental. The way she treated people — Nate included — was not good. Kalani hid things from Nate when she didn’t have a reason to. She kept him at arm’s length even when she swore she loved him. She was a mess and I don’t think she truly got the smack in the face she needed.
I loved Nate. He didn’t hide who he was or what he did. He treated Kalani in a way I didn’t think she deserved. Nate did have a time of stupidity, but I wasn’t shocked by it and he had legit reason to be upset. He could have solved his problems before they started, but I didn’t blame him for his conclusions.
The rest of the characters were crazy, over the top high school students. I never really got a good read on Kalani’s cousin and her boyfriend. Parker was a sweetheart, but I couldn’t figure him out for a while. Things didn’t go where I thought they would with him, so I have to admit that despite not loving this book I will be reading the second. I loved Nate’s parents. Everyone else sucked in that snotty, mean girl/guy way.
Now for one of my biggest complaints about Fumbled Hearts. It was set in high school. HIGH SCHOOL, people! These characters and their actions were more suited for COLLEGE. Kalani had been emancipated for like FOUR YEARS before this book. She was 18. Who gets emancipated at 14? Maybe some kids do, but it seemed crazy when it could have easily have been only a year or two with the storyline. Then, there was all of the drinking and sex. I know this stuff happens in high school, but with the attitudes of the characters it made the whole feel of the book that much older. I kept waiting for someone to show up pregnant with all the talk about sex without a condom at times and pulling out. Seriously, why is this included? Nate’s parents seemed more than happy to let their son have sex under their roof AND didn’t say much when he admitted to not using a condom all of the time. If you’re going to write sex into a YA book, PLEASE advocate safe sex or show the consequences. Finally, there was the ending. It was cheesy and I honestly expected more from it.
I found Fumbling Hearts to be an addictive listen. The narrator did a great job, and I wanted to know what was going to happen to these messed up characters. I just didn’t really enjoy where things went. It was all too problematic for me. 🙁 I’m hoping book 2 is better.
Boys of Brayshaw High
Series: Brayshaw High, #1
Author: Meagan Brandy
Publication Date: January 15, 2019
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Rating: ★ ★ ★
“Girls like you aren’t exactly welcomed at a place like this, so keep your head down and look the other way.”
Those were the exact words of my social worker when she dropped me in my newest hellhole, a place for “troubled teens”.
I didn’t listen, and now I’m on their radar.
They expect me to play along in their games of hierarchy, to fall in line in the social order they’ve deemed me fit.
Too bad for them, I don’t follow rules.
Too bad for me, they’re determined to make sure I do.
Inconceivably attractive and treated like kings…these are the boys of Brayshaw High.
And I’m the girl who got in their way.
The Boys of Brayshaw High is a book I picked up solely because Kayla told me it was similar to Fallen Crest High by Tijan. I’m a sucker for that series, so I knew I had to read it. I have to agree that it had a similar feel as FCH, so if you like that series you will most likely like this book. Now for more about this book.
I have some mixed feelings about The Boys of Brayshaw High. You can probably tell that from my 3 star rating. I liked it, but there were some things that made me shake my head. I didn’t always appreciate where the story went. There was one particular cabin incident that had me rolling my eyes and disgusted. Not because I couldn’t handle what was going on, but that it didn’t fit in the way it was supposed to in my opinion. I also found one of the twist’s timelines to be a bit confusing based on the characters’ ages and what year they were in high school. (Oh, and speaking of high school, this book might be YA aged but it was definitely new adult.) My biggest issue was probably that I didn’t connect to Raven for a really long time. I found her interesting, but a little off-putting. Honestly, her attitude sucked. I got why and got used it, but I couldn’t get used to some of the dumb decisions she made.
Now that I have those things off my chest, let me talk about what I loved about The Boys of Brayshaw High. Meagan Brandy’s writing is addictive. It had the perfect amount of angst and the emotions flowed with the story. I found myself completely caught up in all of the drama. That’s one of the things I loved most about this book — the drama. It was all over the place and kept up right until the end. I also enjoyed the twists Ms. Brandy included. I didn’t see most of them coming. I was surprised by the cliffhanger ending — which makes me mad because I didn’t realize this was a newly released book and the rest of the series isn’t out yet. Dang it!
While I didn’t always like Raven, I found her to be a great character. The chip she had on her shoulder was certainly justified. I hurt for what she had been through growing up. I hated how people treated her and slut shamed her based on her mom. (Normally, I would cringe at all the slut-shaming, but it did work with the nature of this story line.) Raven’s relationship with the Brayshaw boys was a lot of fun. I loved the steps she went through to figure out her relationship with them. It was so explosive and gritty.
The Brayshaw Boys were another one of the best things about this book. They were horrible, but also surprisingly appealing characters. I totally got why they had Raven all messed up in the head. Royce was the fun-loving one. He made me smile with his nicknames and antics. Captain was the quiet, sullen one. He had a nice sweet side. Maddoc was…mysterious. He was the leader of the pack. I couldn’t decide if I loved or hated the guy half the time. He was so cruel, and yet he had some tender moments that I couldn’t look past. I loved that he also got a point of view in this book. It would have been enough to have just Raven’s, but his brought something extra special to the mix. One thing I need to say is that I didn’t get enough answers when it came to these guys. I understand that now since two books are still coming in this series, but I’m back to being angry that they aren’t released yet because I can’t stand the mystery!
There is so much more to this book than what I’ve included in this review. It’s really hard to explain all the dynamics and crazy stuff that happens because I don’t want to spoil anything. Just know that if you love a gritty, darker, angst-y romance then you should be right at home with The Boys of Brayshaw High.
Famous in a Small Town
Author: Emma Mills
Publication Date: January 15, 2019
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, Romance
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
For Sophie, small town life has never felt small. With her four best friends—loving, infuriating, and all she could ever ask for—she can weather any storm. But when Sophie’s beloved Acadia High School marching band is selected to march in the upcoming Rose Parade, it’s her job to get them all the way to LA. Her plan? To persuade country singer Megan Pleasant, their Midwestern town’s only claim to fame, to come back to Acadia to headline a fundraising festival.
The only problem is that Megan has very publicly sworn never to return.
What ensues is a journey filled with long-kept secrets, hidden heartbreaks, and revelations that could change everything—along with a possible fifth best friend: a new guy with a magnetic smile and secrets of his own.
Famous in a Small Town is one of those books that is hard to assign a rating to. Emma Mills’ writing is so good. She always keeps me captivated with her words, stories, and characters. I loved reading it, yet there were a few things that bothered me.
The small town setting of Famous in a Small Town was a lot of fun. I loved how I could imagine the businesses and houses as if I was there with the characters. The close-knit but also stifling feel of a small town came across well. I could feel the ups and downs of living somewhere so small in each and every character.
Sophie was a great main character for this book and its setting. She loved living in Acadia. I understood her fear of the future, of leaving home and everything changing. Sophie didn’t want to lose the close connection she had with her friends and family. I loved her, but I also became annoyed with her. Her involvement and dedication to her marching band was something to commend her for, but it was almost too much at times. She became extremely fixated on things, and it took me a very long time to understand it.
As in every one of her books, Emma Mills created a cast of memorable friends for her main character. Brit and Flora complimented Sophie is different ways. Flora was a sweet, simpler friend for Sophie. Brit was the rougher, blatantly honest one. Terrance and Dash were the male counterparts that evened out there group. I loved how they all interacted with each other and the closeness they shared. I do have to admit that there were a couple of times I wanted to throttle Brit. I didn’t feel like she was being the best of friends to Sophie, but I think we all have one of those friends who doesn’t know when to keep their mouth shut.
Then, there was August. August was new to town. Sophie baby-sat for his brother and brought him into her friend group. August and Sophie had an instant connection. They got each other’s humor and had instant chemistry, but they were just friends. I didn’t always love the way August treated Sophie. He abused their friendship at times. Sophie handled it well, but she also was more forgiving than I hope most of us would be. Probably not, but I want to believe so.
But wait? What about Megan, the famous hometown singer? What happens with her and getting her to come back to town? Well, that’s something you will just have to read this book to find out yourself. There are some surprises I didn’t see coming with this part of the story. Actually, there were several things I didn’t see coming that threw me off a bit. I couldn’t decide if I loved them or not.
Overall, Famous in a Small Town was a great YA contemporary read. It had memorable characters, a touching story, and a group of friends I would love to revisit.
Cold Day in the Sun
Author: Sara Biren
Publication Date: March 12, 2019
Publisher: Amulet Books
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction, Sports
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Holland Delviss wants to be known for her talent as a hockey player, not a hockey player who happens to be a girl. But when her school team is selected to be featured and televised as part of HockeyFest, her status as the only girl on the boys’ team makes her the lead story. Not everyone is thrilled with Holland’s new fame, but there’s one person who fiercely supports her, and it’s the last person she expects (and definitely the last person she should be falling for): her bossy team captain, Wes.
The Last Thing You Said is a story that revolves around high school hockey. Our main character, Holland, is the only girl on the varsity boys’ team. She works her butt off every day to prove that she’s worthy of competing with the boys because not everyone believes she deserves to be on the team. The pressure to perform becomes even greater when her hockey team is selected to be spotlighted in HockeyFest. One person who supports Holland is her team captain, Wes. He’s the last person Holland expects to support her. Wes is also the last person Holland thinks would ever be interested in dating her, but he is. Holland shouldn’t be interested in Wes — she has a no dating teammates policy — but she can’t help the attraction that is starting to build between them.
I have been waiting for Sara Biren’s sophomore novel to be released ever since I finished reading her début novel, The Last Thing You Said. Her writing was so emotional and touched me in ways I wanted to experience again.
I found Cold Day in the Sun to be just as emotional and amazing as The Last Thing You Said. I loved the girl on a boys’ team theme. How Holland had to deal with her insecurities of being “the girl” was and all the issues that brought up were relevant to some of the situations going on in society today. The way her relationship with Wes wove into everything she was dealing with was a perfect. It wasn’t just her reactions to everything that made a big impact, but what others did and said about her spot on the team. There was a lot to think about it all — it made me wonder how I would react if my daughter was in the same situation or how I would feel if I was in Holland’s situation. I really loved how everything played out.
Oh, wait! I can’t leave out the music! If you read the blurb, you probably noticed the mention of glam rock. Let me just tell you that if you’re a fan of glam bands like Poison, you’re going to love this book. So many amazing songs are worked into the story in very fun ways. I loved how music was just as important to Holland and Wes’ relationship as hockey was.
Cold Day in the Sun was such a great book. It was one of those books I think everyone would benefit from reading. Sara Biren tackled a tough topic but mixed it with the sweetest romance to make it an emotional and fun read. I highly recommend Cold Day in the Sun. I think fans of Katie McGarry, Julie Cross, Ginger Scott, Sarah Dessen, or Morgan Matson would love this book.
Only a Breath Apart Author: Katie McGarry Publication Date: January 22, 2019 Publisher: Tor Teen Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Jesse Lachlin is cursed.
So the town folklore says, but while Jesse’s had his fair share of tragedy, the only curse he believes is in his grandmother’s will: in order to inherit his family farm he must win the approval of his childhood best friend, the girl he froze out his freshman year, Scarlett Copeland.
Scarlett Copeland is psychic.
Glory Gardner tells Scarlett she has hidden psychic abilities, but Scarlett thinks Glory is delusional. What is real is Scarlett’s father’s irrational fears, controlling attitude, and the dark secrets at home. Scarlett may have a way to escape, but there’s a hitch: she’ll have to rely on the one person she used to trust, the same boy who broke her heart, Jesse Lachlin.
Each midnight meeting pushes Jesse and Scarlett to confront their secrets and their feelings for each other. But as love blooms, the curse rears its ugly head…
There’s something seriously magical about Katie McGarry’s writing. I don’t know how to describe it other than she makes me feel everything she writes. Only a Breath Apart is probably the heaviest book she’s written to date. The characters have to fight hard for themselves. It wasn’t an easy read. I felt every minute of Jesse and Scarlett’s pain, fear, and angst. All the negative emotions I felt didn’t make me love this book any less. It actually made me love it more because, once I got past those hard emotions, there were some other really beautiful ones like love, forgiveness, and determination. Jesse and Scarlet didn’t have it easy, but they had each other to weather the storm with.
Only a Breath Apart is one of those books I want to save and have my daughter read when she’s older. It had some messages that I believe are extremely important for young adults (and adults!) to learn regarding relationships and life in general. I am so happy I got the opportunity to read this book. It is one I will think about for a long time to come.
My entire body seizes. “You’re supposed to give me a ride home.”
Glory ends the call and offers me an apologetic expression. “I forgot I had a phone meeting. I’ll take you home, after the call, but this will be a lengthy session.”
Meaning I won’t be home by curfew. “Reschedule.”
Glory has a thoughtful look as she approaches me. One that makes me feel like I should run. She leans forward and says in my ear, “You felt something when you saw the Chariot.”
The moment she placed that card on the table I felt as if I had sprinted headfirst into a wall. It was a stunned feeling, as if I were lost in a fog, but I won’t admit that. Not to her, not to anybody.
“You’ve been asleep for a very long time,” she whispers. “It’s time to wake up, Scarlett. There’s a whole word of possibility waiting for you.”
I step back from her because this lady is insane. “I need you to take me home.”
“I can’t, but I’m sure Jesse can lead the way.”
Um…no. I spin on my toes, and I’m out the door, down the stairs and I head east for home. Seconds later, the screen door slams shut again, and there are heavy footfalls on the wooden steps.
“Wait up!” Jesse calls out.
Nope. Not going to happen. I enter the tree line and curse the sky above that there’s no moon. This is the country, which means that besides the fading light from Glory’s house, I’m in complete darkness.
“Scarlett!” Jesse tries again. “Wait!”
But I don’t. I walked this land hundreds of times with Jesse, sometimes by myself so I could find him when I needed a friend. I can do this on my own.
“Let me find you so I can walk you home,” Jesse says.
He’s to my right, and I hurry because I don’t want to be found. My pulse pounds in my ears, and my blood tingles with this need to stay hidden, to stay alone.
Once upon a time, Jesse was my best friend, and then one day he froze me out. He stopped answering the door when I knocked, he ran away when he saw me coming across the field and then when we were forced into the same space on the first day of our freshman year, he humiliated me in front of the entire school.
Jesse Lachlin crushed me, and while I feel sorry for him because his grandmother died, I don’t forgive him for leaving a scar on my soul.
“Dammit, Scarlett, stop being so stubborn.”
My jaw clenches, and it takes an immeasurable amount of self-control to not explain to Jesse in a very loud tone that he’s the biggest jerk I’ve ever met. Doing so will inform him where I’m located, and I need him to leave me alone.
I push forward, faster this time, but then my foot snags on a root. My balance is thrown and my arms swing wildly in the air. I attempt to reach for something to break my fall, but my fingers catch air. The sensation is like the first massive hill of a roller coaster as my stomach lifts, and I brace myself for impact with the ground.
I close my eyes, tense my muscles and I’m caught. Strong, warm arms weave around me from behind and then my back is pressed flush against a solid chest. My heart leaps, and my lungs are robbed of air.
“You okay?” Jesse’s mouth is incredibly close to my ear, and his hot breath tickles my skin. I tremble because of the adrenaline or because of this achingly beautiful intimacy, I don’t know.
“Are you okay?” he asks again, and this time his arms tenderly squeeze me as if he’s offering comfort, as if he honestly cares. It’s been so long since anyone has hugged me that a part of me melts into the embrace as if I’m dry ground welcoming a warm rain.
Katie is the author of the PUSHING THE LIMITS series, THUNDER ROAD series, SAY YOU’LL REMEMBER ME, and the upcoming YA novel, ONLY A BREATH APART. Her novels have received starred reviews, critical acclaim and have won multiple awards including being a multiple Goodreads Choice Award Finalist for YA Fiction, multiple RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Award Finalist for Best YA Fiction, including a win in the category, and she was a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Teen Pick.
Two Can Keep a Secret
Author: Karen M. McManus
Publication Date: January 8, 2019
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Fiction
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Echo Ridge is small-town America. Ellery’s never been there, but she’s heard all about it. Her aunt went missing there at age seventeen. And only five years ago, a homecoming queen put the town on the map when she was killed. Now Ellery has to move there to live with a grandmother she barely knows.
The town is picture-perfect, but it’s hiding secrets. And before school even begins for Ellery, someone’s declared open season on homecoming, promising to make it as dangerous as it was five years ago. Then, almost as if to prove it, another girl goes missing.
Ellery knows all about secrets. Her mother has them; her grandmother does too. And the longer she’s in Echo Ridge, the clearer it becomes that everyone there is hiding something. The thing is, secrets are dangerous–and most people aren’t good at keeping them. Which is why in Echo Ridge, it’s safest to keep your secrets to yourself.
Two Can Keep a Secret was one of the 2019 releases that I was most excited to get my hands on. I absolutely loved Karen M. McManus’ debut novel, One of Us is Lying. I was excited to see what her second book had in store.
Karen M. McManus’ writing is utterly addictive. I was sucked into the story from the minute I started reading. I loved the characters and the plot kept me guessing. I had my (correct) suspicions as to who the murderer was, but twists and turns had me all over the place. I truly had no clue where the story was headed half the time. It was so engrossing that I didn’t want to put Two Can Keep a Secret down. I needed to know what was going to happen next!
I’m so happy that I loved this book. It had the same exciting mysterious feel that One of Us is Lying had, but was completely different. Karen M. McManus has now cemented her spot in my mind as one of my go-to mystery authors. This book just came out, but I can’t wait to see what’s next from her.
On Thin Ice
Series: Juniper Falls, #3
Author: Julie Cross
Publication Date: February 26, 2019
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance, Fiction, Sports
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Brooke Parker never expected to find herself in the tiny town of Juniper Falls, Minnesota. Of course, she also never expected to lose her dad. Or for her mom to lose herself. Brooke feels like she’s losing it…until she finds Juniper Falls hockey. Juniper Falls girls’ hockey, that is.
Jake Hammond, current prince of Juniper Falls, captain of the hockey team, and player with the best chance of scoring it big, is on top of the world. Until one hazing ritual gone wrong lands him injured, sitting on the sidelines, and―shocking even to him―finding himself enjoying his “punishment” as assistant coach for the girls’ team.
As Jake and Brooke grow closer, he finds the quiet new girl is hiding a persona full of life, ideas, and experiences bigger and broader than anything he’s ever known. But to Jake, hockey’s never just been a game. It’s his whole life. And leveraging the game for a shot at their future might be more than he can give.
Can I just start by saying how disappointed I am in myself for not reading a book by Julie Cross until now? I have seen several rave reviews for her Juniper Falls series in the past. I always wanted to read one of those books, but never did. Shame on me! I absolutely adored On Thin Ice. On Thin Ice is one of those young adult novels that digs deep, but leaves you feeling all happy and bubbly inside. Or at least that is how it made me feel.
Brooke is a quiet sophomore new to Juniper Falls. She’s had a rough couple of years, and she longs to take back her life in a new town. On a calculated whim, she joins the new high school girls’ hockey team. Joining the team puts Brooke in direct contact with the boys’ teams hockey star, Jake. Being around the cute and charismatic senior is tough enough as it is, but the two share a secret. The more the two get to know each other, the harder it is to stay away from each other and the truths they have to deal with.
Brooke and Jake were characters I couldn’t help but love. Brooke was intense and sweet. She was also a mess. Jake was strong and had the best of intentions, but he was also a mess. Somehow their individuals messes faded when they were together. They were the support system the other needed to make the big, important changes in their lives. I loved them as a couple and as individuals.
I greatly respected where Julie Cross took this story when it came to the hazing incident. There have been so many gone wrong in the news in the past couple of years, and it’s never close to home until it is. On Thin Ice tackled it in a way that gave young readers options to look at if they ever encounter a similar situation. I liked that it wasn’t a quick and easy decision or fix for the characters.
I have a feeling Julie Cross is going to be joining my list of go-to YA authors like Kasie West, Katie McGarry, Emery Lord, and Morgan Matson (just to name a few). I am so excited to go back and read the rest of the Juniper Falls series.
Once again, I’m working on my backlist. Between the Lines is a series I’ve wanted to read since I fell in love with Tammara Webber’s Contours of the Heart series. I was excited to finally get around to reading it. Here are my thoughts on each of the four books in the series.
Between the Lines (#1) – ★ ★ ★
I didn’t love this book, but I didn’t dislike it either. Between the Lines is told in two perspectives. The first was Emma’s. She was an almost eighteen year old who was cast in a movie along side Reid, one of the hottest young stars of the moment. I liked Emma a lot. She seemed like a teenager trying to figure life out. The other perspective was Reid’s. I hated Reid. He was a tool and a jerk. It was really hard reading his thoughts and choices. He is what made me not love this book — along with the fact that there is a third player in this story. Emma also has a developing “friendship” with another actor names Graham that makes a love triangle out of this book. As this book comes to an end, big secrets are exposed and the triangle is sorted out. I’m glad it didn’t leave me hanging. In the end, this one felt a big set up for the rest of the series to me. I am going to keep reading because I’m curious and have the rest of the books.
Where You Are (#2) – ★ ★ ★
The Reid – Emma – Graham triangle continues! Well, it becomes a love square as Brooke jumps in on the action and increases the drama. I still hated Reid, but he did do one thing I respected. I loved Emma. Graham turned out to be a total sweetheart. Brooke…I loved her last book, but now I feel as good about her as I do Reid. Where you Are was a wild ride.
Good for You (#3) – ★ ★ ★
I really, really didn’t want a book about Reid falling in love. I mean, the guy is a total turd. I didn’t want it to be a woman who changed him because that wouldn’t be real life. I wanted him to change himself. That being said, I liked who Reid became. He grew up. It was refreshing to see him come to some conclusions about himself. Dori was okay. I liked all the stuff she had to go through.
Here Without You (#4) – ★ ★ ★ ★
This, in my opinion, was the best book of the series. Everything came full circle for the remaining cast of characters. I loved how it was done. I also really loved how Tammara Webber wrote River. This ended up being an interesting celebrity coming of age series. It’s worth a read if you’re a fan of the author.
Get Lucky: A YA Anthology
Authors: Ali Dean, Kristin Kehoe, Cassie Mae, Tessa Marie, Theresa Paolo, Kelly Oram
Publication Date: March 17, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance, Fiction
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
A YA anthology featuring some of today’s hottest Young Adult authors!
Doubles Love by Ali Dean – Mackenzie Bell loves two things: tennis and the Kendrick family. She doesn’t want to be anything like her mother, who hops from one husband to the next. It’s one of many reasons why she’s never dated. The other reason? She’s in love with her best friend’s older brother, Jesse Kendrick.
She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not by Kristen Kehoe – Kennedy Russo has had it rough. She’s become a pro at being invisible. But when she’s paired up for a 5 week assignment with golden boy, Gage, she starts to realize that anonymity may not always be the best option. Gage is on a mission to make her his friend, but will their tentative friendship bloom into something more?
Stroke of Luck by Cassie Mae – Jensen is well on his way to the PGA, if only he could focus. Getting stuck with his best friend as co-counselor at the golf camp will help—Penny’s always been one to push him. But when their alone time turns romantic, Jensen wonders if she’ll just be another distraction.
Someone I Used to Know by Tessa Marie – Charlotte was not looking forward to Spring Break. No technology and a boy she can’t stand. But when she realizes the boy is actually a hot guy now, and wants to hang out with her (!) she cant help but think this break may turn into something pretty awesome. But, is he harboring a secret that will challenge their budding relationship?
16 Kisses by Kelly Oram- All Cassie Caldwell wants for her sixteenth birthday is to finally be kissed. When Cassie’s older brother and his best friend—the lovable, sexy cowboy, Jared—discover her secret, Jared takes it upon himself to make sure her birthday wish comes true.
Four Letter Words by Ginger Scott – Dakota Wright has been making Jace Padgett look good for years…and she’s tired of it. What started as a favor has turned into a habit—one that she’s justified in her mind because Jace also happens to be six feet of gorgeous hunky quarterback, green eyes and a smile that can swing a girl to the moon. But the last favor she did for him may have finally tipped the scales, and Dakota’s ready to call it quits. One small hiccup—her heart can’t seem to let her. And when Jace starts to share pieces of the real him, Dakota begins to think her heart might just be smarter than her head after all.
I bought this anthology back when it was released because there was a Ginger Scott and Kelly Oram novella in it. I have no idea why I hadn’t read it yet. I am so mad at myself because it was really good! I even found some new YA authors to read more of. Here are my thoughts on each novella.
Doubles Love by Ali Dean – ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This was the first time I had read anything by Ali Dean and I absolutely adored it! The characters and plot was so much fun. The feel of the story was a little NA angst-y. It almost had a Tijan vibe going on. I really, really want to read more of her stuff.
She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not by Kristen Kehoe – ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not was another big winner in my book. I was really touched by Kennedy and Gage’s romance. It was cute, fun, and emotional. I need to read more of this author, too!
Stroke of Luck by Cassie Mae – ★ ★ ★
Sadly, Stroke of Luck wasn’t my thing. I am not a big golf fan, so it was hard for me to become quickly interested in the story or the characters. It had it’s cute moments, though.
Someone I Used to Know by Tessa Marie – ★ ★ ★
I was excited to read this novella because I had read a previous book by Tessa Marie and loved it. I wasn’t a huge fan of Someone I Used to Know. I liked it, but I didn’t really connect with the characters like I wanted to.
16 Kisses by Kelly Oram – ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
It had been a while since I had read a book by Kelly Oram. 16 Kisses reminded me just how much I love her writing. This one might have been my favorite book in the series simply because it was the most fun and cutest.
Four Letter Words by Ginger Scott – ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Four Letter Word was exactly what I’ve come to expect from Ginger Scott. She isn’t afraid to tackle tough topics. I really enjoyed this novella. I just wish it would have been a full length book!