Clarity (Gabbie Duran)

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Her world was shattered and broken.

Damaged … is how she viewed herself.

Untrustworthy … is how she viewed men.

Taylor never expected to open her heart to anyone. Nick is a player, in every sense of the word, but finds himself doing anything to earn her trust — including fighting the demons she harbors inside.

Is he the clarity she’s been seeking, or will her past push him away?


I LOVED the cover on this book. But guess what? It has NOTHING to do with this story. It’s totally irrelevant. Bummer.

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This really could have been a great book of how a girl suffers a tragedy but essentially she comes out a survivor. However, the writing needed a lot of work and the characters needed to be much more developed. The story itself was also very rushed.

Taylor was unbearable to me from the get go. Her attitude and her remarks just weren’t cute in any way. When heroines come off that way to me right off the bat I can’t handle it. I feel like her character alone drug this book way down.

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What drove me batty the most? Taylor mentions how she much she loves and needs coffee a few times TOO many. I get it. You love coffee.

I only lost 4 hours of my time with this one but I don’t foresee myself recommending this one anytime soon.

The Summer Remains (Seth King)

 

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Twenty-four-year-old Summer Johnson knows two things. The first is that due to a quickly worsening medical condition, she faces a risky surgery in three months’ time that may or may not end in her death. The second is that she would like to fall in love before then.

As spring sinks into her namesake season on the Florida coastline, Summer plays the odds and downloads a new dating app – and after one intriguing message from a beautiful surfer named Cooper Nichols, it becomes clear that the story of what may be her last few months under the sun is about to be completely revised. All she has to do now is write something worth reading.

Tender, honest, devastating and triumphant, The Summer Remains explores a very human battle being waged in a very digital age: the search for a love that will outlast this temporary borrowing of bones. In an era when many feel compelled to share and re-share anything about everything, prepare to feel a love so special, you will want to hug it close and make it yours forever.


I was 62% done with this book the instant I knew what I was going to rate this book. The fact that it took me 2 weeks to get through didn’t help with the rating. But, I am fully committed to my reading challenge this year so I pushed through the book. All in all, this book fell way way short for me.

This book has such great reviews and I can see why so many people would rate this so high, especially those that love the young adult genre. With the promise of an “ugly cry,” terminally ill female lead, a perfect male lead, such as Bright Side, those are definitely characteristics of books that most people sink their teeth into. Me including. I LOVE a good healthy cry and the book that is good enough to drag that cry out of me.

Let’s start with the characters. They seemed MUCH younger than they were actually supposed to be. Their relationship was very insta-lovey, and a lot of it was very unbelievable. The protagonist rubbed me the wrong way from the beginning with her attitude and her inner dialogue. Maybe I would have liked this one more if it WASN’T from Summer’s POV. Who knows…?

Like! Oh my GOD. How many times exactly was the word “like” used in this book? 768 TIMES. 7.6.8. I didn’t count, there is a search function. And it wasn’t used for describing things either, it was used in midst of a sentence. Like, how annoying.

Also, has anybody heard of the book The Fault in Our Stars? That’s all I will say. Just wanted to throw that out there.

Missing commas, missing words, incorrectly used colons and semicolons. I am no grammar freak, by any means and I know I am not perfect but come on. If I can catch that why didn’t anyone else?

The author’s note was by far my favorite part of this book.

And I feel denied and stood up, just like my ex boyfriends used to do to me. I didn’t get my ugly cry.

My Time in the Affair (Stylo Fantome)

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 I made a conscious decision to cheat on my husband.

Now, before you judge me, hear my story. Hear how much I’m like you, how similar my thoughts are to your own. Yes, I’m a horrible person. Yes, I’ve done horrible things. Yes, I don’t deserve forgiveness. Yes, bad things happened because of my actions.

But I’m willing to bet I’ve done things that maybe, just maybe, you have thought of doing.

Maybe, just maybe, you’re not as innocent as you’d like to think.

Or maybe I’m not so guilty …


Seriously?…

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I skimmed. A lot.

So first and foremost, this book tackles infidelity which some people don’t like to read so there is my warning, and it was for me for a while too but I put that all aside this year. Sadly, this book didn’t “wow” me at all. Not even the angst.

Here’s what got me: we didn’t even get a full backstory on why Mischa’s marriage was “so terrible”. We get a chapter. That’s it. We know A) she wasn’t happy and B) she hadn’t had sex in 6 months. Give me more. Validate her infidelity and feelings for me. She was planning the cheating BEFORE the author even told us why.

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I wasn’t very keen on any of the characters. Sure, they had some redeeming moments but to me they were just not realistic at all. It was very difficult for me to empathize with the heroine. I felt like I was force-fed reasons why it’s okay to be unfaithful and when you are unhappy in your failing marriage you just don’t fill your husband in on it first. Throw Mischa’s whininess on top of everything else in this book and it just completely fell BLAH for me.

The dialogue was not for me. First person then third person then this person and blah. I was over it.

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This book wasn’t boring. And I read the whole thing. It was just kind of non-believable to me. It didn’t hold my interest because I was detached from the start.

The Letters (Lesley Jones)

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It’s just a box of letters, right?

Words that were written a long time ago.

From a boy to the girl that he missed. From a man to the woman he loved.

But what if those words carried more impact than anyone realised?

Will they finally give Georgia the closure she needs and lessen the guilt she battles every day?

Or will everything she thought she knew about the boy and man who wrote them and the life they shared be forever altered?

All will be revealed in The Letters.

A story about life, love, and acceptance.


Why couldn’t we have stopped with Marley?

Every one knows how I feel about Georgia and Maca. Everyone. But this one was really unnecessary. If anyone else is like me, they forgot about the letters. And I damn sure didn’t want Cameron being the one to read some of them.
I wanted more letters. I wanted more of that four years they spent apart. But, you don’t always get what you want.

BUT with that ending, Lesley will hook a ton of more readers with these characters. Because I was so lost at that ending.


Loving the White Liar (Kate Stewart)

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I met my true love when I was twenty-seven. He was handsome, charming, witty, and irresistible. Jayden Monroe came along when I was struggling with indecision and made things simple, turned monochrome into vivid color, and forever altered my perspective on life.

I was not naive enough to believe in happily ever after, but with Jayden, it seemed possible . . . until I realized something wasn’t quite right.

You see, I met a man who would be anyone I needed him to be, and after I found out that fact, I knew it would be impossible to walk away. His disorder, however, would change everything I ever thought about love and what it truly meant to accept someone for who they are.

This is not my sob story; this is his success story.

This is an ADHD love story and is for mature audiences only. This book contains explicit sex and strong language.


Moving right along on my list that I have compiled for this year, I can’t even believe I have made it this far. With that being said, I dug this gem up. It wasn’t a very long read and I am definitely glad I had purchased this forever ago.

I felt like this was a very well written story. Everything flowed together and made for a very quick read for me. I really hope people don’t let my three star rating detour them from this book because I very much enjoyed it. The addition of the ADHD in this story is what makes this book so special and so unique. It makes it angsty, gut-wrenching, and emotional all at once.

“This is forever,” he whispered. “No matter how bad we beat the shit out of it. You and me, we are always.”

The characters were all great characters but I feel like the author really did a truly satisfying job with Jayden. He overcame a lot in this book and to me can’t be faulted for most of his actions and all of that is thanks to way the author wrote him. He was an all-around perfectly flawed character (and those are my favorite). He was temperamental, hard-working, loving. He was just great. Hillary kind of just rubbed be the wrong way with all of her ignorance. I felt like she was very immature for her age. I understand that this book wasn’t about her though, so it was all easy to push aside.

This book was hot. Not a cheesy kind of hot either. I thought it was the perfect amount of sexiness and wow-factor. I was reading through some other reviews that said that it focused too much on their sex life but I didn’t feel like it did. Especially since the connection between the two was electrifying.

What made this a three star? INSTA-LOVE. You probably guessed that already. I understand that the author might have been rushed with their relationship so that she could build the story up but it was just too soon. Too soon. The truth of all this is, if this story didn’t include the ADHD it would be just like any other contemporary romance we have read.

All in all, good read for me. I definitely don’t feel like any of my time was wasted with this one. If you are looking for something that is easy and angsty, look this book up. You won’t regret it!

How to Kill a Rockstar (Tiffanie Debartlo) 

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Written in her wonderfully honest, edgy, passionate and often hilarious voice, Tiffanie DeBartolo tells the story of Eliza Caelum, a young music journalist, and Paul Hudson, a talented songwriter and lead singer of the band Bananafish. Eliza’s reverence for rock is equaled only by Paul’s, and the two fall wildly in love. 

When Bananafish is signed by a big corporate label, and Paul is on his way to becoming a major rock star, Eliza must make a heartbreaking decision that leads to Paul’s sudden disappearance and a surprise knock-your-socks-off ending.


Goddamnit.

When I picked up How To Kill a Rock Star, I had NO idea that it was a book told from the perspective of three villains. Yes, to me they are villains. Self-centered, self-destructive, villains. Say what you want but they were. But who says that is a bad thing?

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The very cool thing about this book was the way the writing was styled. For instance: The way Eliza described Paul really sat well with me. There were descriptions about his looks that most romance writers indulge in. Like, his nose that was slightly long and his greasy dark hair and his lanky build; but to me, it was more of the way she described how he made her feel that really brought him to life to me. Most authors these days don’t do that. And I enjoyed knowing what made him a personal Jesus.

“Eliza has the sky in her eyes and I’ve always wanted to touch the goddamn sky.”

Now just because I five starred this doesn’t mean I didn’t have issues. Eliza, you’re lucky you grew on me. I wish I could have slapped you fifty times. You did pulverize my heart with an AK-47. Bastard.

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The secondary characters were down right amazing. They built up the whole story and never drug it down for an instant. This book was laced with so many characters that were just so real and felt like home to me. I found myself cursing decisions that they mad and wanting to shake them so hard and beg them to reconsider their actions. They were all so much more than words on a page to me. I felt like I knew them. Like they were part of me. Like my home.

I almost stopped reading multiple times. I almost couldn’t even bare to progress any more and I was already having a hard time with these feelings I was experiencing. It was very uncomfortable for me. But it was a good uncomfortable none the less.

“Reach out and touch faith.”

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Okay well, I have wrote enough. So much so, my pancreas now hurts.

Over. 

Sins & Needles (Karina Halle)

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Ellie Watt is used to starting over. The daughter of a grifting team, Ellie spent her childhood being used as a pawn in her parents’ latest scam. Now she’s much older, wiser and ready to give her con artist life a rest. But returning to the dry desert town of Palm Valley, California means one more temptation than she bargained for – Camden McQueen. Once known as the high school weirdo, Camden is bigger and badder than the boy he used to be and a talented tattoo artist with his own thriving business. Ellie’s counting on Camden still being in love with her but what she’s not counting on is how easily unrequited love can turn into obsession over time. When Camden discovers Ellie’s plan to con him, he makes her a deal she doesn’t dare refuse, but her freedom comes with a price and it’s one that takes both Ellie and Camden down a dangerous road.


Well, I finally got to it. I read the VERY famous Sins and Needles by Karina Halle and I definitely liked it for the most part. Especially since it was so different than what I’m used to reading. I kind of feel like the odd one out though. Again…

As far as I am concerned, Camden made this story. He built it to be the great story it was to certain people. He’s flawed, yes. and he makes mistakes, yes. But he’s a very relatable character to me. Personally, I felt a lot of empathy towards him. Very understandable character to me.

descriptionA couple of things I liked about this book was the writing. I’ll be the first to say I’m not a big Karina fan. Actually, not at all. But the writing was good, it held my attention. I felt like her writing flowed very smoothly all the way through. Not too much descriptions and not too much thoughts going on at one time. I also enjoyed the storyline. It was a very interesting story that I was very drawn to. And the ending……


The downside? I didn’t care for Ellie. She was obnoxious. Ruthless. Annoying. But did she complete the story? Yes. Naive heroines drive me completely bonkers and she takes the cake. Also, their chemistry didn’t hit at home with me. I didn’t feel that PANG! I just didn’t. I think Ellie just dragged this story to a three star read for me.

“Jesus,” he whispered, gaze lingering everywhere. “I keep forgetting that you’re art already.”

“So what are you going to tattoo on me?”

“Whatever your scars tell me to,” he said…..

After a few minutes,the needle buzzed,alive and waiting to transform me.

I put my sins in his hands.

I did enjoy this book. The story is told in first person from Ellie’s POV and alternates between “Now” and “Then” to offer a better insight into Ellie and Camden’s lives present and past. Which does help tremendously. I didn’t see a lot of plot holes and I was thoroughly intrigued all the way though. I thought that it has a well-paced story, an interesting plot and even a couple OMG moments.

Beautiful Burn (Jamie McGuire)

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Fresh out of college, Ellison Edson has fallen through the cracks of rock bottom. While staying in her family’s vacation home in Colorado, her behavior has finally gained the attention of her parents—but not in the way she hoped. Cut off from the millions she’s always taken for granted, and left alone to fend for herself, Ellie spirals further out of control, making a mistake she can’t take back.

Like his twin brother Taylor, Tyler Maddox is a member of the Alpine Hotshots, fighting wildland fires on the frontline. As arrogant as he is charming, Tyler’s nomadic lifestyle makes it easy to contain his relationships to one night. When he meets Ellie at a local party during off-season, her extreme personality and dismissive attitude fascinates him at first, but as his feelings deepen, Tyler realizes that the crippling inner demons of the woman he loves might be the strongest enemy any Maddox has ever faced. 


Man. I’m one of those people who gets way too excited over a new Maddox brother book. Travis Maddox was my first ever book boyfriend, but these last two books…shake my head. I don’t even know what is happening. Should she stop? Should she had stopped two books ago? Ugh…the struggle.

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Ellie was just terrible. All the way through. I don’t even think she ever got redemption to me. And in turn, Tyler was terrible because of her. By far my least favorite brother. I didn’t spark one single connection or interest to any character in this book. And Paige? Really? I stayed confused and suffering from whiplash for a majority of this book. Ellison was not a character I wanted to read about. I had no desire in her nor did I want to. And that just sucks.

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The story has a huge time span but feels like everything happens way too fast and way too soon. The story didn’t even give me a chance to digest one thing that was happening at the current time before something else was thrown in the mix very sloppily.

When you read books you’re supposed to get lost in them. Lose track of time. I was aware of every single second spent reading this book. Every second.

I’m glad this is done. I’m glad there are no more Maddox brothers books because quite frankly at this rate I don’t know they can get any better.

 

 

Out of Focus (LB Simmons) 

“Shhhh, Cassandra, it’s our little secret.”

Secrets are stubborn things when they refuse to remain hidden. They tear through your soul, clawing and lashing until the pain becomes so unbearable, you’re left no choice but to silently scream your agony. No one hears you, of course. You smile on the outside and drift through life as though your mind is at peace, but all the while, you remain your own tortured prisoner. Sealed inside the darkened, soundproof room of your conscience, deafening cries echo as you plead for someone to unlock the door and release you from your nightmares. And eventually, when no one comes, you find ways to cope. To dull the suffering the only way you know how.

But what happens when you’ve become so numb, when everything around you has become so blurred, that you begin to lose focus on the saving grace standing directly in front of you? When you’ve anesthetized yourself to the point of losing consciousness, forced to watch as his once solid image fades away, lost to your reach in the haze as it smothers you?

What do you do then?

You fight. You heal. Then you bring him back.

Well, my name is Cassie Cooper, and it’s time.

No more secrets.

This is my story.


If you’re anything like me (or if you’re not) you love books that are real. The books that hit you right where you need to snap yourself back to reality. Sometimes you need that push and you need those characters. Sometimes you want to open your eyes. You guys, meet Cassie.

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If you’ve read Under The Influence you’ve met Cassie. You’ve met her but you don’t know her whole story. You’ve also met Grady. But have you met persistent and raw Grady? Probably not because you haven’t read this book. When it’s revealed what Cassie’s story truly is you’re heart will down right break. But in true LB fashion, that stinker puts it right back together. And sends you a quirky “heeheehee” right back at your face. I highlighted a lot with this one. Whether it was about courage or love or fairies and sparks.

Every word LB put down in here hits you right where you need it most. It’s like a loving slap in the face. Like “hey I love you times two, but here…take my words and eat them, chew them up, and swallow them and feel that gnarly burn.”

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Cassie has one powerful and gripping story to tell you. I hope you open your heart and let her in. If you don’t, I hope you still take something away from this story. I hope you find yourself. Love. Courage. Strength. Forgiveness. I hope you find it all. And I hope you are able to write your own kickass epilogue like you deserve.

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LB Simmons brings her characters to life with their flaws and their weaknesses but to me, it makes them that much more beautiful and real. Some old, some new but the same captivating characters they always were. Books like this make me happy to blog. Books like this also make me take a deep look at myself and want to make those improvements I’ve put off for so long.