Review: Only a Breath Apart (Katie McGarry)

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: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

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.

Add it to your Goodreads today!

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Excerpt:

~SCARLETT~

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.

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Katie McGarry’s ONLY A BREATH APART – Review & Excerpt Tour Schedule:

January 21st

@booksniffer7 – Review

Bickering Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Book Ballistic – Excerpt

Book Hoarder Mom – Review

Brittany and Elizabeth’s Book Boutique – Review & Excerpt

Celindareyesblog – Excerpt

Cinta Garcia de la Rosa – Excerpt

Crystal’s Book World – Excerpt

Do You Dog-ear? – Review & Excerpt

Little Shop of Readers – Excerpt

Novel Addiction – Excerpt

Resch Reads & Reviews – Review

Sister Sister Book Blog – Excerpt

This Jabberwocky Eats Books – Excerpt

Writing My Own Fairy Tale – Review

January 22nd

A Book Lovers Playlist – Excerpt

Beware Of The Reader – Excerpt

Beyourselfbebhaltair – Review & Excerpt

Booknerd1107 – Review

CeliaMoontown – Review & Excerpt

Crazy Chaotic Book Babes – Review & Excerpt

Echoing Books – Excerpt

GataLeitora – Excerpt

Its a mun thing – Excerpt

Mean Girls Luv Books – Excerpt

Mythical Books – Excerpt

Read more sleep less – Review

Stellar Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

The Lovely Teacher Addictions – Excerpt

The Romance Reviews – Excerpt

Words Are Life – Review & Excerpt

January 23rd

A Novel Glimpse – Review

Bewitching bibliophile – Review & Excerpt

Book Freak – Review

Books Are My Life – Review & Excerpt

Bookworm Misfit – Excerpt

ClaryNathanWill – Excerpt

Craves the Angst Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Latteandbook – Review & Excerpt

Once Upon a Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Phishbowl’s bookshelf – Review

Red Hot + Blue Reads – Review & Excerpt

Sascha Darlington’s Microcosm Explored – Excerpt

The Book Hammock – Review & Excerpt

The Readdicts Book Blog – Excerpt

Velarisreads – Excerpt

January 24th

A Court of Coffee and Books – Review & Excerpt

Avid Reads – Excerpt

Book Boyfriend Reviews – Review

Bookishly Nerdy – Review & Excerpt

Collector of book boyfriends – Review

Dazzled by Books – Review & Excerpt

Kick Back & Review – Excerpt

Lisa Loves Literature – Excerpt

Milky Way of Books – Review

Star-Crossed Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Sweet Red Reads – Excerpt

Tale Out Loud – Excerpt

The Cover Contessa – Excerpt

The Lovely Books – Excerpt

The Start of Something New – Review & Excerpt

January 25th

A Literary Perusal – Review & Excerpt

Abellafairytale – Excerpt

Book Bite Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Boundless Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Confessions of a Wordaholic – Review & Excerpt

Fandomly Bookish – Excerpt

Girl Plus Books – Review

I Heart Romance & YA – Review

Kaidans Seduction – Excerpt

Short and Sassy Book Blurbs – Excerpt

Tales of dreams and nightmares – Excerpt

The Book Branch – Excerpt

The Book Trollop – Review & Excerpt

VoxLibris – Review & Excerpt

Witchy Richey’s Booktastic Reviews – Excerpt

January 26th

Ali’s Bookshelf – Review & Excerpt

Beauty and Lace – Excerpt

Blunt Book Blog – Excerpt

Book Angel Booktopia – Review & Excerpt

Bookish Intoxication Writes – Review & Excerpt

Confessions of 2 Book Lovers – Review & Excerpt

Crazii Bitches Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Family, Books and Food – Excerpt

Jesssiereads – Excerpt

Little Read Riding Hood – Review & Excerpt

Lovelyreadspublishing – Excerpt

Madison’s Library – Review & Excerpt

Rainy Days and Pajamas – Excerpt

Reese’s Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Southern Vixens Book Obsessions – Excerpt

January 27th

3 degrees of fiction – Excerpt

All Things Dark & Dirty – Excerpt

As the Book Ends – Excerpt

Book Bitches Blog – Review

Books 4 Girls – Review & Excerpt

Bumbles and Fairy-Tales – Review & Excerpt

Chasing Faerytales – Review

Feed Your Fiction Addiction – Review

K&M Sultry Reads – Excerpt

K’s Korner – Excerpt

Less Reality More Books – Review & Excerpt

My Fangirl Chronicles – Excerpt

Poetry law and something more – Review & Excerpt

Roxy’s Reviews – Excerpt

Two Books in a Shelf – Excerpt

January 28th

Aaly and The Books – Review

A Book Fanatic Obsession – Review & Excerpt

BenderDreamerGirl: read.dream.escape – Excerpt

Book Reader Addicts – Review & Excerpt

Bookishly Slytherclaw – Review & Excerpt

Contagious Reads – Review & Excerpt

Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Escape 2 Fiction – Review & Excerpt

Midnight Book Girl – Excerpt

PBC – Excerpt

Rad Babes Read – Review & Excerpt

The Book Hookup – Review & Excerpt

Tween 2 Teen Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt

We Live and Breathe Books – Review & Excerpt

January 29th

A Gingerly Review – Review & Excerpt

A Lovely Book Affair – Excerpt

Bangor belle books – Excerpt

Becky on Books – Review & Excerpt

Books & Tea – Review & Excerpt

Chapter by Chapter – Review & Excerpt

Cupcakesandbookshelves – Excerpt

Desperately Seeking HEA’s Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Echosreviews – Excerpt

GotToReadThoseBooks – Excerpt

Kindle and Me – Review & Excerpt

Lita’s Book Blog – Excerpt

Margay Leah Justice – Excerpt

The Book Maven – Review & Excerpt

The Library of Belle – Excerpt

January 30th

Actin’ Up with Books – Review

Book Reader Chronicles – Review & Excerpt

Bookistry_by_Ashleigh – Excerpt

Buttermybooks – Review

Ficwishes – Review & Excerpt

Geeky Reading – Excerpt

Little Bookworm Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Lo’s Lo-Down on Books – Review & Excerpt

Read. Eat. Love. – Review & Excerpt

Taylor Fenner’s Bookish World – Review

The Butterfly Reads – Excerpt

The Writing Finch – Excerpt

YA Bibliophile – Review & Excerpt

January 31st

Adventures in Writing – Review

Becca’s Bookish Life – Review

BookCrushin – Review & Excerpt

Here’s to Happy Endings – Excerpt

Little Lovely Books – Review & Excerpt

Margaux – Excerpt

Ms. Me28 – Excerpt

Nerdy Soul – Review & Excerpt

Readers Live A Thousand Lives – Review

TBR Book Blog – Excerpt

The Bookish Introvert – Review & Excerpt

True Story Book Blog – Excerpt

February 1st

Alotabooks13 – Review & Excerpt

bad boys and bedtime stories book blog – Review

Caitlin’s World – Review & Excerpt

CJR The Brit – Review

Court of Binge Reading – Excerpt

Hedwig Reads – Excerpt

Literary misfit – Excerpt

Moonlight Rendezvous – Excerpt

Readers Retreats – Excerpt

The Reading Faery – Review

Total Book Geek – Excerpt

Twirling Book Princess – Review & Excerpt

Vera is Reading – Excerpt

Whoo Gives A Hoot – Excerpt

YA/NA Book Divas – Excerpt

  Katie McGarry Bio:

 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.      

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Review: Two Can Keep a Secret (Karen M. McManus)

Two Can Keep a Secret
Author: Karen M. McManus
Publication Date: January 8, 2019
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

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.

Review: On Thin Ice (Julie Cross)

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: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

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.

Series Review: Between the Lines (Tammara Webber)

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.

Review: Get Lucky: A YA Anthology

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

Synopsis:

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!

Mini Reviews: Books on My Kindle Backlist

I have been all about reading books off my Kindle backlist lately. I’ve spent a lot of time sifting through all my downloads deciding which ones to read and which ones to delete forever. Here are reviews for some of the books I chose to read off that list.

The Trouble with Love
Series: Sex, Love & Stiletto, #4
Author: Lauren Layne
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: Loveswept
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

As Lauren Layne’s salacious Sex, Love & Stiletto series returns, a jaded columnist discovers a steamy way to get over an old flame: falling for him all over again.

As Stiletto magazine’s authority on all things breakup-and-heartache, Emma Sinclair writes from personal experience. Five years ago, Emma was Charlotte, North Carolina’s darling debutante and a blushing bride-to-be. Now she’s the ice queen of the Manhattan dating scene. Emma left her sultry Southern drawl behind, but not even her closest friends know that with it she left her heart. Now Emma’s latest article forces her to face her demons—namely, the devilishly sexy guy who ditched her at the altar.

After giving up everything for a pro-soccer career, Alex Cassidy watches his dreams crumble as a knee injury sidelines him for good. Now he’s hanging up his cleats and giving journalism a shot. It’s just a coincidence that he happens to pick a job in the same field, and the same city, as his former fiancée . . . right? But when Emma moves in next door, it’s no accident. It’s research. And Alex can’t help wondering what might have been. Unlike the innocent girl he remembers, this Emma is chic, sophisticated, and assertive—and she wants absolutely nothing to do with him. The trouble is, Alex has never wanted her more.

My review:

Why oh why did I wait so long to read The Trouble with Love? This book has been on my Kindle FOREVER — probably as long as I have been a Lauren Layne fan. I’m so happy I finally stopped being stupid and read it. The Trouble with Love is now one of my favorite all time second change romance books. Emma and Cassidy’s story was everything I could have wanted it to be. They had such a cool, mysterious past. I loved how the story unraveled and how they rebuilt their relationship. This is my favorite book in the series.


Anti-Stepbrother
Author: Tijan
Publication Date: August 22, 2016
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

He told me to ‘settle, girl.’
He asked if ‘something was wrong with me?’
He said I was an ‘easy target.’
That was within minutes when I first met Caden Banks.
I labeled him an *sshole, but he was more than that. Arrogant. Smug. Alpha.

He was also to-die-for gorgeous, and my stepbrother’s fraternity brother.

Okay, yes I was a little naive, a tad bit socially awkward, and the smallest amount of stalker-ish, but if Caden Banks thought he could tell me what to do, he had another thing coming.

I came to college with daydreams about being with my stepbrother, but what if I fell for the anti-stepbrother instead?

My review:

I love Tijan’s books, but I admit I have been putting off reading Anti-Stepbrother because of the title. I should have read the blurb more closely. This wasn’t a step-brother romance like I feared it was. There was a stepbrother in the book, but Caden was not him. Summer and Caden’s relationship was a fun one. It started out with a friendship that turned to more. It wasn’t quite as dramatic as some of Tijan’s other books, and the romance between Summer and Caden was surprisingly sweet. I’m so happy I finally read this one! I loved Anti-Stepbrother!


The Unbelievable, Inconceivable, Unforeseeable Truth About Ethan Wilder
Author: Cookie O’Gorman
Publication Date: April 5, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Mystery, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

In the south, everyone has a secret–and murder is served with sweet tea.

The word’s out: Ethan Wilder’s coming back to town, and the people of Bowie, Georgia are in a southern tizzy. Everyone knows the story. He shot and killed his sister four years ago, and people say his father, Jim Wilder, the biggest holy roller this side of the Mississippi, sent him packing for just that reason. Even if her death was unofficially ruled a suicide, Ethan’s return has everybody talking.

Seventeen-year-old Delilah Doherty can’t go anywhere without hearing his name. Born and raised in Bowie, Delilah knows firsthand about the gossipmongers and how they love a good scandal. The daughter of a wild child and niece of the local psychic, she’s also the only one who doubts Ethan’s guilt.

After Ethan saves her life, the two start a slow and steady burn neither can deny. But when Bowie’s spiritual leader is nearly murdered, it rocks the small southern town to its core. Delilah and Ethan are caught in the crossfire, their relationship threatened before it’s even begun. Someone has it out for Ethan’s family. With everyone convinced of Ethan’s guilt, it’s up to Delilah to unravel the mystery before someone else gets hurt or worse…dead.

My review:

One of the things I love about Cookie O’Gorman’s books is that they’re all different. This one had more of a mystery than her first two books. That mystery kept me guessing. I totally wasn’t expecting it to end how it did. I really liked all of the characters in this book. I was especially fond of Delilah’s family. The only thing I wanted more of from this book was actually more about Delilah’s family history. It’s talked about a lot by secondary characters, but I would have liked to have gotten the real story from Delilah or her family members. Overall, this was a fun YA read.

Series Review: Kiss and Make Up by Sara Ney

Kissing in Cars
Series: Kiss and Make Up, #1
Author: Sara Ney
Publication Date: January 26, 2014
Publisher: CreateSpace
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Will she, or won’t she…

Studious and (mostly) sensible, the only thing Molly Wakefield wants to do is get through Senior Year and graduate. Well, that and hit the beach in her spare time. Okay, fine – and go shopping every once in a while for a new dress… (and who could blame her?)

And things are going according to plan – until the day she spies Weston McGrath, handsome star athlete and scholar, spying on her in study hall.

A tad creepy? Maybe.
Thrilling? Absolutely.

You see, Weston McGrath happens to be one guy no one can get close to.

Despite her best efforts to avoid it (because let’s face it – the guy isn’t exactly “boyfriend material”) Mollly and Weston form a friendship.
And more….
Sort of.
But it’s a friendship that comes with a price – because Weston just cannot seem to stop screwing things up. Or saying all the wrong things. Possibly in that order…
And who has time for an 18 year old “fixer-upper” that should know better?
Not Molly.
Or does she?

Review:

Oh my goodness.This book was so dang cute! Molly and Weston were just too adorable. I loved how everything went down between them. All the embarrassing, does he/she or doesn’t he/she like me moments were true the high school crush experience. It was cringe worthy, but sweet. Kissing in Cars was just so much fun to read. I felt like I was back in high school myself. I cannot wait to read the second book in this series!


He Kissed Me First
Series:
Kiss and Make Up, #2
Author: Sara Ney
Publication Date: November 27, 2014
Publisher: CreateSpace
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

“Trust me – If there’s one thing I’m not attracted to, it’s an arrogant, selfish and foul-mouth hockey player. I know what I want, and Matthew Wakefield isn’t it.” – Cecelia Carter

From the first moment they laid eyes on each other, all Cecelia Carter and Matthew Wakefield do is bicker. Fight. Even though he is her roommates brother, Cece just can’t stand the sight of him, and Matthew – well. He could never resist a challenge…

That can’t be a good combination, can it?
But sometimes, love happens when you least expect it.

Review:

I have mixed feelings about He Kissed Me First. On one hand, I loved Cecelia and Matthew’s banter. I loved what an idiot he was when it came to relationships and how everyone could see what he couldn’t. I loved how Molly and Weston from Kissing in Cars fit into the story and all of the new characters.

All of that was a lot of fun, but there were some things I wasn’t a big fan of. I didn’t really get Cecelia nor did I connect with her. She felt like a contradiction. Cecelia seemed liked the chick who didn’t care what she looked like, but then she had this uptight thing going on too. It just didn’t mesh well together. She had a major reaction to something Matthew said, but it wasn’t ever really explained and I didn’t get her reasoning. She just felt like this big mess while you knew what you were getting with Matthew.

Overall, He Kissed Me First was a fun read. I just expected a little more from it.


A Kiss Like This
Series: Kiss and Make Up, #3
Author: Sara Ney
Publication Date: May 31, 2015
Publisher: Sara Ney LLC
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

ABIGAIL DARLINGTON IS AWKWARD…

She will never be “that” girl. You know the one: that girl on campus, confident in her own skin. Always saying the right things. Putting herself out there. Knows how to talk to a guy without stammering.

Nope. Shy but clever, and easily embarrassed, Abby is fine being the wallflower in her circle of outgoing, beautiful friends; she would rather read about a sexy book boyfriend than actually have a live, breathing one.

…BUT CALEB LOCKHART IS WORSE.

Star goaltender for the University’s hockey team, Caleb is quiet and broody, preferring the solitude of his orderly, regimented life. He doesn’t like, or need people—and plans to keep it that way. One more year left of hockey and he’ll be long gone.

AWKWARD NEVER LOOKED SO GOOD.

Both their lives change the day that Abigail falls for Caleb. Well, falls directly on top of him, to be accurate. Because sometimes we don’t settle into love.

We fall there.

Review:

As you can see above, this series so far has been a little hit or miss for me. A Kiss Like This was giant hit for me. I absolutely ADORED this book. Sara Ney’s writing feels more timeless and current in this book. I can really see how her writing evolved to what it is today. I loved it.

A Kiss Like This was awkwardly sweet and romantic. Caleb and Abigail were just too dang cute for words. Neither of them knew what the heck they were doing when it came to a relationship and it was romance gold. I can’t even…I just want to keep going on and on about how freaking adorable and amazing this book was. A Kiss Like This was such a great, classic NA romance. I absolutely loved it!

Review: Crew by Tijan

Crew
Series: Crew, #1
Author: Tijan
Publication Date: August 27, 2018
Genre: (Mature) Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

To survive where I live, you have two options.

You can be a Normal—a cheerleader, jock, member of the debate team, or on the yearbook committee. You pretend everything is normal.

Or you can be crew.
You insult us? We hurt you.
You hurt us? We really hurt you.
And if you f*ck with us, we will end you.

My name is Bren.
I’m the only female in the Wolf Crew—the best, fiercest, and most dangerous crew there is—and we have a rule: There’s no falling in love.

Well… too late.


Holy moly, people!

I have been a fan of Tijan’s writing since I found Broken & Screwed and then the Fallen Crest High series. Her YA books are my guilty pleasure. They straddle the line between YA and NA, and are like a good teenage TV drama. I was excited to hear Tijan was heading back to the YA realm with Crew. Despite that, I was a tad bit hesitant to start reading it. I had this feeling that it was going to hit hard emotionally. I admit I was slightly scared of where it might take me. I wasn’t sure I was ready.  I knew it was going to be special, though.

Crew was EPIC. I was utterly addicted to it from beginning to end. Crew was classic Tijan mature YA. If you have read Fallen Crest High, Broken & Screwed, or Ryan’s Bed, you will know what I’m talking about it. Crew was all about different relationships, drama, and angst. There were friendships, alliances, romances, enemies, family. You name it, it was involved. I loved being in the world of Crew.

Crew, like all of Tijan’s books, had a strong but emotionally damaged female main character. Bren’s life was filled with a lot of darkness and a little bit of light. She embraced life with the Wolf Crew. The crew wasn’t just something she belonged to, it was her family. It was her way of life. Bren was crew. How that affected her life and choices was fascinating.

The whole story was fascinating! I loved the all the surprises Tijan threw in. I was shocked by how much the crew thing interested me. It opened my eyes to some things and I didn’t expect that. I really loved the dynamic between Bren and the rest of the crew. I specifically loved the impact the crew had on her love life. She had a very special connection with someone and I adored this relationship. Her man was my favorite character in this story. His strength was different from hers, and how he used it was very cool.

There’s so, so much I want to say about Crew! I can’t, though. My lips are sealed. I won’t be spoiling this book for you. If you loved any of those other Tijan books I mentioned earlier in this review, you MUST read Crew. You will LOVE it. Whatever I thought Crew was going to be before reading it was right, but it was also MORE. You’re going to love that more. I did.

**Full-length novel. First book in a YA Series. This is 100% a new series from TIJAN. All new characters in the Tijanverse and is intended for mature audiences only. This book is dark, violent, and not for the faint of heart.** 

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Paperback:

Tijan’s Reader group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/TijansFanPage/

*Kindle Unlimited is a subscription that allows you to access a large selection of titles from the Kindle Store. … You can keep up to ten titles to read on any Amazon device or Kindle reading app and there are no due dates.

Review: If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout

If There’s No Tomorrow
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Narrator: Jorjeana Marie
Publication Date: September 5, 2017
Publisher: Harlequin Audio
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Lena Wise is always looking forward to tomorrow, especially at the start of her senior year. She’s ready to pack in as much friend time as possible, to finish college applications, and to maybe let her childhood best friend Sebastian know how she really feels about him. For Lena, the upcoming year is going to be one of opportunities and chances.Until one choice, one moment, destroys everything.Now Lena isn’t looking forward to tomorrow. Not when friend time may never be the same. Not when college applications feel all but impossible. Not when Sebastian could never forgive her for what happened.For what she let happen.With the guilt growing each day, Lena knows that her only hope is to move on. But how can she move on when tomorrow isn’t even guaranteed?


If There’s No Tomorrow is the first book I’ve read / listened to by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I’ve seen her books around and thought they probably weren’t my thing. For some reason, I thought all of her books had fantasy elements in them. To be completely honest, the only reason I requested this audio book was because Stephanie told me I should consider this author for my fantasy NA bingo checklist. I chose this one because it was available from library. It wasn’t a fantasy at all. I couldn’t find any reason to be disappointed in that other than it didn’t check off that box because I loved this book. It was a great introduction to Jennifer L. Armentrout’s writing and it made me actually interested in her fantasy novels.

Keeping with the whole honesty thing I have going on in this review, I have to warn readers that this book was slow going. I’m not sure if that was just because I was listening to it and the narrator had a slow and somber way of delivering the text or if it was actually a slow read. At first, this kind of bugged me because I wanted to yell at her to get on with the story. As the story progressed, it made sense with Lena’s thoughts and feelings. She was so in her head, and the narrator did an excellent job portraying that.

As for the story, I loved it. There were so many different emotions that went along with it. Lena was such a complex character. Her thoughts and feelings about everything and everyone were so well written. She’s a character I was easily frustrated by but completely understood. It was uncomfortable being in her head, but it paid off in the end. Her story was one that needs to be shared. It truly showed how one bad decision can change everything — especially when it comes to drinking and driving. I also felt it did a great job at portraying survivors guilt. I’ve never been in the position to have that type of guilt, but I felt it through Lena.

Overall, I felt that If There’s No Tomorrow is an important, timeless read. It’s geared to young adults, but I think adults would benefit from reading it as well.

Review: Losing the Field by Abbi Glines

Losing the Field
Series: The Field Party, #4
Author: Abbi Glines
Publication Date: August 21, 2018
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: YA, Sports, Contemporary, Fiction, Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Losing his dream, his ultimate plan, and his future- Nash Lee never expected to be facing a life without football. One wrong move and it had all changed. Going back to school for his senior year no longer appealed to him. He’d rather not leave his house. Walking back into Lawton High School, seeing pity in everyone’s eyes was just another reality in his nightmare.

Revenge wasn’t a pretty thing. Tallulah Liddell had found it was rather controlling. The way you looked at life changed completely when you clung to the ugly notion. But she’d done it anyway. From the last day of her junior year when Ryker Lee had made a fat joke about her and Nash laughed with him, she’d been driven by pain. It wasn’t like no one had made fun of her weight before. She was used to that. What had hurt so deeply was Nash’s laughter. He’d always been the one person to notice her, include her, not treat her differently. But that one moment had changed it all. From the time she walked out of the school building to the moment she returned for her senior year Tallulah had been determined to lose weight and finally be the size her peers considered acceptable.

What she wasn’t expecting on her return was to find a broken Nash Lee who no longer smiled, rarely spoke, and didn’t care about anything or anyone around him. He was just existing. But the pain in his eyes she understood all too well. He was alone. He no longer fit into the perfect package.


I don’t know… I have some mixed feeling about Losing the Field. In order to keep my thoughts straight, I’m going to bullet point this review with what worked for me and what didn’t.

What worked:

  • I flew through it. I read it in one sitting and it had my attention the entire time.
  • I liked Tallulah. Her wanting to be outside of the spotlight was understandable. I liked that she didn’t really change with losing weight. I could identify with some of Tallulah’s feelings on being overweight and also losing a lot of weight. I understood how one person’s comments — especially someone you like — could influence you to lose weight.
  • I liked Nash. He was a decent guy — even when he wasn’t the nicest. Nash’s rage and attitude was easy to understand. I liked how connecting with Tallulah helped him overcome some of his issues.
  • Nash and Tallulah together. They were a cute couple.

What didn’t work:

  • Coach Dace. Everything involving him was just…ick. I wasn’t actually upset with where his character took the story, only what became of the situation and the reactions to it.
  • Haegan. That whole scenario just felt weird. I didn’t get why it really needed to be in this book with how it all worked out.
  • The two things I just listed combined with all the slut and fat shaming were just too much for one book. There was just too much going on for one book.

When it comes down to it, I guess I just expected more from Losing the Field. I still enjoyed reading it, but it’s probably my least favorite book a series that I’ve really enjoyed.