Swear On This Life by Renee Carlino

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When a bestselling debut novel from mysterious author J.Colby becomes the literary event of the year, Emiline reads it reluctantly. As an adjunct writing instructor at UC San Diego with her own stalled literary career and a bumpy long-term relationship, Emiline isn’t thrilled to celebrate the accomplishments of a young and gifted writer.

Yet from the very first page, Emiline is entranced by the story of Emerson and Jackson, two childhood best friends who fall in love and dream of a better life beyond the long dirt road that winds through their impoverished town in rural Ohio.

That’s because the novel is patterned on Emiline’s own dark and desperate childhood, which means that “J. Colby” must be Jase: the best friend and first love she hasn’t seen in over a decade. Far from being flattered that he wrote the novel from her perspective, Emiline is furious that he co-opted her painful past and took some dramatic creative liberties with the ending.

The only way she can put her mind at ease is to find and confront “J. Colby,” but is she prepared to learn the truth behind the fiction? 


I needed this book. I did. I feel like my whole life is now changed. What a breath of fresh air. With books by published authors I tend to wait until hype dies down. Mainly because I like going in blind. I don’t like tarnished ideas and thoughts. I don’t like to read the teasers or early reviews. So I’m a little late to the game for this one but you know the saying. Better late than never. Make sure you go read the damn thing too!

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“Come let me love you.”

You know what? Feelings suck. They do. But when a book provokes them, it’s the best kind of vulnerability there is. This book drug it all out of me. The being lost. The fate. The yearning. The questioning. The hurt. The love. Whatever. I felt it. And it was weird to me and now I’m a mumbling mess. I swear Renee summons all of these emotions out of her readers with ease. Like, it’s her second job or something.

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The opening paragraph for me was hook, line, and sinker. I was a goner. When does that ever happen? Let me answer that for you. Never. It doesn’t. And you know what? There wasn’t a heart-wrenching twist. No, this book didn’t need that forced or added shock effect. It was just raw and unnerving. It moved me and I felt this story to my core and that’s scary to me. So I embraced it.

I JUST LOVED IT OKAY!?

I couldn’t decide which story I wanted to stay in. I couldn’t decide what character I loved the most or even hated the most. I couldn’t decide why Renee would want to make feel such things. What did I ever do to her? The writing is so poignant and it flows right off the pages. There is no lulls. There is no skimming. I devoured this book.

So Renee, come let me love you, baby cakes.

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In Ruins (Danielle Pearl)

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She wanted to start again. To be someone—anyone—different . . .

Freedom. When Carleigh Stanger thought of college, that was the word that came to mind. Freedom from her unhappy home life. Freedom from high school mistakes. Freedom from the memory of that terrible morning. Only instead of bringing a sweet escape, Carleigh’s first campus party traps her in the scornful gaze of the last person she wants to see, Tucker Green.

It wasn’t long ago that being close to Carleigh was everything Tucker wanted. But that was before he realized she was just another scheming girl who’d do whatever it took to get her way. Even lie to the guy she claimed to love. Unfortunately while Tucker’s brain remembers the pain Carleigh caused, his body only remembers the pleasure.


SEX.

That is literally all this book was about. Well, and some thrown in drama that was completely random but nothing that really kept me reeling. And not just adult sex but a lot of 17 & 18 year old sex. Like, to me the hero just makes the heroine mad so that he can have some rowdy sex. I’m not put off by that by all means but I think this should have almost been a YA novel.

I’m a huge fan of Danielle’s Something More series. Rory and Cap were some of my favorite characters of 2015 but this book just fell really short for me.

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The twist. It was okay. It was the best part of the book for me because I had no idea what was gonna happen. But then I was instantly turned off because the twist was ridiculously silly. Another thing I wasn’t drawn to was the reason why Tuck and Carl weren’t together. It was silly. Petty.

There was just so much going on in the story that I never had an opportunity to connect with any of the characters. I was already worried about that in the beginning because I wasn’t necessarily drawn to Carl in the first three books in Danielle’s other series.

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I was however excited to see that Bits was getting her own book. I think I wanted that more than I wanted Carl’s. But all in all, it was a quick and easy read with writing that didn’t make me want to stab my eyeballs out.

The Silent Waters (Brittainy Cherry)

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Moments.

Our lives are a collection of moments. Some utterly painful and full of yesterday’s hurts. Some beautifully hopeful and full of tomorrow’s promises.

I’ve had many moments in my lifetime, moments that changed me, challenged me. Moments that scared me and engulfed me. However, the biggest ones—the most heartbreaking and breathtaking ones—all included him.

I was eight years old when I lost my voice. A piece of me was stolen away, and the only person who could truly hear my silence was Brooks Griffin. He was the light during my dark days, the promise of tomorrow, until tragedy found him. Tragedy that eventually drowned him in a sea of memories.

This is the story of a boy and girl who loved each other, but didn’t love themselves. A story of life and death. Of love and broken promises.

Of moments.


No, Brittainy. The world keeps spinning because YOUR heartbeats exist. Your books exist. You exist.

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Life is all about moments. Well, I had a lot of “moments” with this book. Big moments, little moments, meh moments, aggravating moments, and some very hard-to-grasp moments. Basically, this book is a book chalk full of you guessed it, moments. Ones that really make you appreciate the kind of author that Brittainy Cherry really is. How far out of the “norm” her books are. Moments that make you appreciate every minute of anger or sadness you felt towards a character and/or a situation was actually completely worth it all in the end.

“A person never reads an outstanding book twice and walks away with the same beliefs. An outstanding book always surprises you, and awakens you to new ideas, new ways of looking at the world, no matter how many times the words have been read.”

There’s nothing better than a book that makes us feel. Isn’t that what we are all wanting when we pick a book up? We want that raw, vulnerability to the characters and the plot that the author crafts for us. I got that with The Silent Waters. That’s why I read. For those feelings. Duh.

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With this book, I have learned that it is possible to love a book despite having mixed feelings about one of the characters. And that’s okay. Brittainy writes in an extraordinary way that moves you and changes you. A character you might have hated at the beginning will end up being one of your favorites. Like, at one part my eyes actually got glossy. I swear she is the only person who gets me all choked up. It’s so rude.

“Love didn’t come with guidelines. It flowed into a person with only hope as its current. There wasn’t a list of rules to follow, making sure you cared for it correctly. It didn’t give you instructions to keep it pure. It simply showed up quietly, praying you wouldn’t let it slip away.”

I wanted to touch on the characters in the book in this review for sure. Mainly because they were a huge part of this story. Another great thing about Brittainy is she always has these characters that aren’t shallow like a shower. They’re deep. They support the main characters and help them not only with their growths but with their inner troubles. And they aren’t forgotten at the end of the story. Their progress is just as important as the main characters. And that’s special to me.

So if you want the escape, this is perfect. I’m serious. I rambled a lot but I’m being dead serious when I say if you want to just escape for a while in a world where there is love, friendship, struggle, hurt, and growth, one click it. Buy it. Tell Brittainy you love it. She loves it when you yell at her for making you have feelings.

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Kyland (Mia Sheridan)

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Dirt poor. Hillbilly. Backwoods hick. Mountain folk.

Tenleigh Falyn struggles each day to survive in a small, poverty-stricken, coal mining town where she lives with her sister and mentally ill mother. Her dream of winning the college scholarship given to one student by the local coal company and escaping the harshness of her life, keeps her going.

Kyland Barrett lives in the hills, too, and has worked tirelessly—through near starvation, through deep loneliness, against all odds—to win the Tyton Coal Scholarship and leave the town that is full of so much pain.

They’re both determined not to form any attachments, but one moment changes everything. What happens when only one person gets to win? When only one person gets to leave? And what happens to the one left behind?

ALL OF THE LAVENDER.

Two very important things here to begin with:

A N G S T
F R I E N D S-TO-L O V E R S

I’m being very serious about the angst by the way. That hollow feeling in my gut? It was painful. I was so frustrated with part of this book but at the same time I was swooning. Majorly. I was yearning for some release of my emotions. Something. But I didn’t cry. I groaned and yelled though. Oh my god, FEELINGS!

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“I had thought once, that I had lost myself because of love. But the opposite was true. I’d found myself when I’d given my heart to Tenleigh, found what was important to me, what really mattered.”

Nothing about this story was rushed or skimmed over in any way, shape, or form by me as a reader. In fact, every aspect of the relationship that slowly formed between Tenleigh and Kyland was given equal care, giving me the opportunity to get to know them and understand them and feel so many stupid emotions in your stupid sappy heart.

One of the cool parts of Kyland was the dual POV. Kyland’s and Tenleigh’s (I love that name by the way). I had a bunch of conflicting feelings in the beginning towards Kyland and how shady he was but that SOB grew on me. I wanted him around all of the time. I wanted to keep reading about him.

“I do go to hell. Every day. For you.”

Shut the front door Kyland and take my broken, tiny, miserable heart with you.

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The REAL question here is this: does Mia Sheridan write a bad book? So far…no. She doesn’t.

So, there we have it. Another fantastic read for me. Kyland is a book that drowns you in all of its heartache just as much as it blinds you with all of its wonderful beauty. The inner strength and the dynamic nature and drive of these characters is what made this story so compelling. Mia made it to where you just can’t help but fall in love with Tenleigh and Kyland from the get go and travel this tension filled journey with them. And maybe throw your kindle…I wouldn’t know…maybe.

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The Good Girl (Mary Kubica)

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“I’ve been following her for the past few days. I know where she buys her groceries, where she works. I don’t know the color of her eyes or what they look like when she’s scared. But I will.”

One night, Mia Dennett enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn’t show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. At first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia’s life.

When Colin decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota instead of delivering her to his employers, Mia’s mother, Eve, and detective Gabe Hoffman will stop at nothing to find them. But no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that eventually cause this family’s world to shatter.

An addictively suspenseful and tautly written thriller, The Good Girl is a propulsive debut that reveals how even in the perfect family, nothing is as it seems.

Stockholm syndrome. You either hate it or love it. Period. (And no that’s not a spoiler. If you read the blurb you’ll assume it.) But yet, I always love it. It’s like I’m a sucker for it. Drawn to it. Captivated by it. (Pun intended)

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For a debut novel I’m very impressed. Genuinely. And for the twist I can honestly say I didn’t guess it. What is that line, “I DIDNT SEE THAT COMING!” I wouldnt consider The Good Girl “suspense” though but it was definitely twisty. It was more a “character study” book. How well you focus and depict people.

The POV’s were wonderful and definitely a strong point of The Good Girl. You had Gabe’s POV, Eve’s POV, and Colin Thatcher POV. All of which were greatly executed. They were told in “before” and “after”-s but it told the story so much more smoothly. I feel like it was almost better off to be told the way the author wrote it. I don’t think I would have liked it the same if it was told “in order”.

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My pet peeve here recently though? STOP saying every single book is “the next Gone Girl”. Personally, I didn’t like Gone Girl. I liked this one. So let’s stop with that. Thanks.

So, to sum up my feelings, this book was a plethora of intelligent plotting, strategically placed clues, a “bad guy” you can’t help but swoon over, and some emotional moments that made me glad to be reading outside of the modern day romance genre. I’m glad I took a break from my usual books to read this one.

The Space in Between (Brittainy Cherry)

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She’s scarred by her past.

Andrea Evans is traumatized and guilt-ridden by the death of her fiancée. Tired of the gossiping small town, she travels to New York City to pursue her dream of dance.

He’s uncertain of his future.

Cooper Davidson is a famous photographer and reality television star trying to flee from his own life filled with paparazzi, mental health clinics, and a cheating wife who is pregnant.

When Andrea and Cooper’s paths cross, they realize how damaged and in need of escapism they both are. The two create an arrangement to explore the space in between chaos and order with one another. The rules are simple—no emotional connections, no talking about the past, no speaking of the future, and when one finds order, the other walks away.

All is well until Cooper accidentally falls in love with Andrea.

4.5 soda pops please.

Surprise surprise. Brittainy has yet another book that I liked. What is she now, 5 for 5? Who knows, I’m not counting I’m just going to keep one clicking. Click. Click. Click.

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The Space in Between was Brittainy’s first book. Now, I am just going to say that it’s very obvious that it was her first book but that didn’t take away from what I felt for the plot and the characters inside of this book. Every single character in The Space in Between is beyond developed. Even the secondary ones. You’re there with them. You experience what they do and you get to watch every single one of these characters grow and expand into who they are meant to be.

Let me just add: The cover of this book was perfect. It wasn’t over done, the colors are very nice, and it was just a very warm and welcoming cover.

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Brittainy’s “first book writing” might be obvious but it doesn’t keep you from staying 100% invested in the story line and the characters. It actually makes you feel much more than you would ever anticipate especially when you don’t read the blurb and you go in 100% blind.

One word: LADASHA. Come on, Brittainy. I need a book for her. I need it okay just give it to me I won’t tell any one.

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All in all, this book was so diverse from the other books in its genre. With an interesting cast of characters who are so very realistic and have REAL flaws and have so much going for them that we can relate to them as individuals and entertaining dialogue and dramatic interactions with humor and angst and basically this book is just great and you’ll finish it with a big fat smile on your face and goosebumps on your arm. Okay? Jeez. Go read it.

Burnt Edges (Dana Leipold)

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Abuse or an uncertain future. This is Laurel Lee Page’s choice when she is faced with an unplanned pregnancy at 19. Born into a broken family, all she has ever known is guilt and shame. No matter what she does or who she meets, Laurel appears to be living a condemned life but she is determined to find independence and freedom in spite of her family’s legacy of hatred and self-contempt. Can Laurel see that she is in a powerful position, poised to break the cycle of abuse? Set in Southern California during the tumultuous 1960s era, Burnt Edges is based on true events and proves that strength can be found even in the most horrific situations

Not bad. Truly not bad at all. I’m only upset because I got to the ending and I felt like there is not even a second book even though it says there is. So needless to say, there is a lot of unfinished business left at the end of this book.

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“But God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. He’ll put us through the fire a few times, so we get a little burnt around the edges, but all in all, we come out fine.”

Burnt Edges has a bit of taboo in it which I don’t mind one bit. I like cringing. I fricking love it when authors touch on sensitive subjects such as rape, abuse, incest, etc. Say what you will but it speaks volumes about an author when they can execute topics and stories that pertain to that sort of stuff and Leipold did an excellent job.

I didn’t necessarily connect with any of the characters but I definitely connected with the story line and concept of the book. It was decent.

With saying that, this author tackled a tough subject and came out with a decently written book but with it only being 190 pages it was just too short for the amount of information and plots this author was wanting to portray. And where is the second book? It’s so frustrating to me. Where is the follow up?

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