Before the Blog #12: Save Yourself

Before the Blog is a weekly blog meme hosted by Karis Jacobstein over @ YA Litwit. It’s an opportunity to showcase books a blogger read and loved prior to starting their blog .  I love this idea because there are so many amazing books I haven’t reviewed on A Novel Glimpse because I read them a long time ago. The only rules to this meme are to answer the following questions about the book chosen to review:

  • Why did you choose this book? 
  • When did you read this book? 
  • Who would you recommend this book to? 

 Save Yourself by Kelly Braffet

Publication Date: August 6, 2013

Publisher: Crown

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Patrick Cusimano is in a bad way. His father is in jail, he works the midnight shift at a grubby convenience store, and his brother’s girlfriend, Caro, has taken their friendship to an uncomfortable new level. On top of all that, he can’t quite shake the attentions of Layla Elshere, a goth teenager who befriends Patrick for reasons he doesn’t understand and doesn’t fully trust. The temptations these two women offer are pushing him to his breaking point.

Meanwhile, Layla’s little sister, Verna, is suffering through her first year of high school. She’s become a prime target for her cruel classmates, not just because of her strange name and her fundamentalist parents: Layla’s bad-girl rep proves to be too huge a shadow for Verna, so she falls in with her sister’s circle of outcasts and misfits whose world is far darker than she ever imagined.

Kelly Braffet’s characters, indelibly portrayed and richly varied, are all on their own twisted paths to finding peace. The result is a novel of unnerving power-darkly compelling, addictively written, and shockingly honest.


My rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Why did you choose this book?

Save Yourself is different than the romances I normally read. It was also the first book I read by Kelly Braffet. I was impressed with her writing and story telling. She took five characters and wove their lives together in a dark and angst-filled way. You know from the beginning there’s not much that could turn their lives around to make them all live happily ever after. What I loved most about Save Yourself was that I wondered the whole time how it was going to all play out. I wanted to know how Ms. Braffet was going to save all her characters.

When did you read this book?

August of 2014

Who would you recommend this book to?

I would recommend it to mature readers that like darker fiction. Also, some readers might be intrigued by the fact that Kelly Braffet is married to Stephen King‘s son, author Owen King.

Before the Blog #11: Belzhar

Before the Blog is a weekly blog meme hosted by Karis Jacobstein over @ YA Litwit. It’s an opportunity to showcase books a blogger read and loved prior to starting their blog .  I love this idea because there are so many amazing books I haven’t reviewed on A Novel Glimpse because I read them a long time ago. The only rules to this meme are to answer the following questions about the book chosen to review:

  • Why did you choose this book? 
  • When did you read this book? 
  • Who would you recommend this book to? 

_________________________________________________________________________

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

Publication Date: January 1, 2014

Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers

Synopsis from Goodreads:

If life were fair, Jam Gallahue would still be at home in New Jersey with her sweet British boyfriend, Reeve Maxfield. She’d be watching old comedy sketches with him. She’d be kissing him in the library stacks.

She certainly wouldn’t be at The Wooden Barn, a therapeutic boarding school in rural Vermont, living with a weird roommate, and signed up for an exclusive, mysterious class called Special Topics in English.

But life isn’t fair, and Reeve Maxfield is dead.

Until a journal-writing assignment leads Jam to Belzhar, where the untainted past is restored, and Jam can feel Reeve’s arms around her once again. But there are hidden truths on Jam’s path to reclaim her loss.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Why did you choose this book?

Belzhar as one of my favorite books I read last year. It was dark. It was mysterious. It was enthralling. It was full of surprises. I didn’t want to put it down. When it was over, I wanted more. I know that I’m going to be telling all of my friends to read it. I really loved it.

When did you read this book?

December of 2014

Who would you recommend this book to?

Readers that like YA fiction with a little but of magic and a bunch of surprises.

ARC Review: Luxe

Luxe by Ashley Antoinette

Publication Date: September 8, 2015

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Synopsis:

Bleu Montclair’s life has been anything but easy growing up in Flint, Michigan. At eighteen, she’s seen and done things that no kid should have. Lucky for her, Bleu has a chance to get out of Michigan and go to college at her dream school, UCLA.

But living her dream is way harder than Bleu expected. Her partial scholarship doesn’t cover enough of her costs. She’s struggling and the only way out is to take an opportunity her roommate gives her to make a lot of money fast. The opportunity will either be her saving grace or her downfall.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I’ve been sitting here trying to think of how to rate and review Luxe. It’s a hard one for me because while I didn’t enjoy the story, the writing was excellent. The book was fast-paced and had my attention from the first paragraph of the prologue. It felt real, raw and gritty.

I want to say it was too dark for me, but that can’t be the case. I’ve read books that are way darker and enjoyed them. I think it was more the hopelessness of the book. It started off with druggie parents, two deaths and a mention of a previous rape. That was all in the first 40 pages. It didn’t slow down from there. Horrendous situation after situation kept pushing Bleu down. Even things that should have been happy like college or a new amazing boyfriend were riddled with devastation. I didn’t see how things could get better. And just when I was starting to get my hopes up — BAM! Cliffhanger.

While there was nothing wrong with Luxe, I can’t say I enjoyed reading it. I needed a little sunlight in the darkness. So, I guess I just have to be honest and say it wasn’t the book for me.

Don’t let that deter you from reading it. Like I said, the writing was very realistic. If you’re a fan of complex characters dealing with drug addiction, violent crimes, etc. this might be the book for you.

**Thank you to Goodreads and St. Martin’s Griffin for the opportunity to read and honestly review an ARC of Luxe.

Before the Blog #8: Vendetta

Before the Blog is a weekly blog meme hosted by Karis Jacobstein over @ YA Litwit. It’s an opportunity to showcase books a blogger read and loved prior to starting their blog .  I love this idea because there are so many amazing books I haven’t reviewed on A Novel Glimpse because I read them a long time ago. The only rules to this meme are to answer the following questions about the book chosen to review:

  • Why did you choose this book? 
  • When did you read this book? 
  • Who would you recommend this book to? 

_________________________________________________________________________

Vendetta (Blood for Blood #1) by Catherine Doyle

Publication Date: February 24, 2015

Publisher: Chicken House Ltd.

Synopsis:

Sophie Gracewell is thrown into a dangerous game of revenge when five brothers move into the long abandoned mansion in her neighborhood. Sophie is drawn to one of the brothers, Nicoli. Their families warn them to stay away from each other, but Sophie and Nicoli can’t help falling for each other. As soon as they do, Sophie will be forced to make decisions she didn’t even know existed.

Why did you choose this book?

Vendetta wasn’t what I was expecting it to be. For some reason, I was expecting a vampire story. (It’s not.) What I got was so much more interesting: a modern day Romeo and Juliet story filled with the mob. I was drawn into Sophie’s world and I honestly think this should be the next big series everyone is talking about.

When did you read this book?

In May of 2015, I saw it displayed on a library shelf. I grabbed the opportunity to read it because I had originally seen the book in BookPage magazine and thought it sounded interesting.

Who would you recommend this book to?

Anyone that enjoys a great YA series –especially with forbidden love or mob stories. So far, there are no love triangles or sex. There is some violence.


Check out my other Before the Blog posts here:

Before the Blog #1: Dear Daughter 

Before the Blog #2: There is No Light in Darkness

Before the Blog #3: The Lace Reader

Before the Blog #4: The Beach Trees

Before the Blog #5: The Raven Boys

Before the Blog #6: Waiting on You

Before the Blog #7: A Little Something Different

ARC Review: Fall for Him

Fall for Him (Forbidden Trilogy #3) by J.C. Valentine

Publication Date: August 25, 2015 (Today!!!)

Publisher: J.C. Valentine

Synopsis:

Life is all about choices. Jo thought she made the right ones, but it turns out she was wrong. She’s lost everyone she ever cared about.

Now, Jo’s going to have to fight for what she wants. She’s going to have to take back control of her life and it’s not going to be easy.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The Forbidden Triology hooked me from the beginning with Dance for Me. I couldn’t help but get wrapped up in college student/stripper Jo’s story. Her “relationship” with HIM was hot, hot, hot! Plus, there were so many twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. The cliffhanger at the end shocked me and I couldn’t wait for Lie to You to be released.

Lie to You (read my review here) continued the fast-paced, intense, scorchingly hot storyline and has some surprises of its own. Of course, there was another great cliffhanger that left me wanting more.

So, I was super excited to be able to read an ARC of Fall for Him. I couldn’t wait to see what was in store for Jo. So much had changed for her since Dance for Me. I couldn’t help but wonder what surprises J.C. Valentine had in store for readers this time.

I loved Fall for Him. I thought it was the perfect ending to Jo’s story. And that’s all I’m saying because I don’t want to ruin the series for anyone that hasn’t read it yet. It’s an amazing series filled with many surprises. Readers that like enjoy erotic romances, like Fifty Shades of Grey or Bared to You, will enjoy this series.

Other books in this series:

  

Mud Vein

 Mud VeinMud Vein by Tarryn Fisher

Publication Date: March 8, 2014

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Synopsis:

What should be a boring thirty-third birthday for Senna Richards is anything but. Instead of waking up in her own bed, the author wakes up in a house she cannot identify. As she explores her surroundings, Senna finds the house sits alone in the middle of an expanse of snow, surrounded by an electrical fence. She’s trapped. There’s no way to escape–unless she can unravel the clues her captor has left.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is the first book I’ve read by Tarryn Fisher. Well, that’s not entirely true. I read Never Never which is a collaboration between Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher. After reading it, I decided to read something by Tarryn Fisher because I liked what I read in Never Never and I’ve already read all of Colleen Hoover‘s books.

Mud Vein is a book that sticks with you long after you’ve finished reading it. It’s dark, twisted and a lot disturbing. Mud Vein is not the book for you if you’re looking for something light and happy. It was mentally exhausting. I actually had to take little breaks while reading it and read a romance at the same time. I needed to let my brain relax. It was just so intense all of the time.

Mud Vein is definitely one of those books that the less you know about it when you begin reading, the better it is. While the story isn’t always fun to read (Like I said, it’s dark and twisted.), it’s beautifully written and well-crafted. It was very thought provoking. If you like dark and disturbing thrillers, this one is for you.

ARC Review: Romancing the Dark in the City of Light

Romancing the Dark in the City of LightRomancing the Dark in the City of Light by Ann Jacobus

Publication Date: October 6, 2015

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Synopsis:

Summer Barnes is stuck in France. She’s living with her mom and redoing her senior year of high school after being kicked out of four boarding schools. Summer really needs to get on the right path and graduate high school, but she can barely make it through the day. If she could just meet the perfect guy, it would be the answer to everything. Her life would be so much better — maybe even worth living.

As she starts her new school and navigates Paris, Summer meets not just one guy but two. They’re very different. Moony is a classmate with problems of his own. He brings out the best parts of Summer, parts she didn’t know existed. Kurt is a handsome older man, but there’s something alarming about him. He takes Summer to places she never thought she wanted to go.

Summer struggles with which version of herself she wants to be. Can she be as good as Moony thinks she is? Or is she stuck being as worthless as she feels when she’s with Kurt?

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Romancing the Dark in the City of Light is a book that kind of snuck up on me. From the description, I thought it was going to be about a troubled girl looking for a guy to fix her. I knew there was going to be depression and suicidal thoughts. What I didn’t expect was a story about a girl coping with not only her father’s death but her own alcohol addiction.

I loved the way Romancing the Dark in the City of Light portrayed Summer’s addiction. Her feelings of helplessness were easy to relate to. While I didn’t necessarily like Summer, I could feel her pain. I wanted her to make healthy decisions and succeed, to rise out of the darkness.

Summer’s two love interests, Moony and Kurt, added another whole dimension to the story. I loved Moony and his determination. It was amazing that he was willing to support Summer when it wasn’t always in his best interest. Kurt was….well, he was different. I hated him, but I liked they way his character had Summer on the edge.

My absolute favorite thing about the entire book is the last 1/4 of the novel. Up until then, I was planning on giving it 4 stars. The writing was beautiful, but it was just so dark and depressing! I wanted at least a glimmer of sunshine somewhere on those pages! But then the last 1/4 of the book happened and I felt like I finally got it. I won’t even hint at what happens, but it was enough to make me add that final star.

Romancing the Dark in the City of Light is truly a beautiful book about teenage substance abuse, suicide and family ties.

I would like to thank Goodreads and St. Martin’s Griffin for the opportunity to read and honestly review Romancing the Dark in the City of Light.