Waterfall Effect (K.K. Allen)

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Lost in the shadows of a tragedy that stripped Aurora June of everything she once loved, she’s back in the small town of Balsam Grove, North Carolina, ready to face all she’s kept locked away for seven years. Or so she thinks.

As one of the victims of a string of mysterious disappearances in the small, picturesque Appalachian Mountain town, darkness has become her home—her safe blanket when the world reveals its true colors. But as the walls of darkness start to move in on her, she knows the only way to free herself from her past is to face it, head-on. She just needs to figure out how.

Upon arrival, Aurora isn’t expecting her first collision to be with the boy she left all those years ago. The boy who betrayed her trust with no regrets. The boy who is no longer a boy, but a man with the same stormy eyes that swept her into his current before she ever learned to swim.

She’d thought he was safe. He’d thought their path was mapped out. Turns out neither of them was ready for the crash at the bottom of the cascade.


I wasn’t completely sure what to expect going into this book. I didn’t read the blurb but the cover was so alluring to me I just had to have it. I needed it. Plus, I have enjoyed many of Allen’s other books, so I knew I would at least like this one. But when I finished the book I was completely satisfied, way more satisfied than I even thought I would be. And by saying that I have to add this: Not knowing what this book was about- intensified my experience in the greatest way.

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“Jaxon has always been the wild rush of the creek barreling by, a force powerful enough to alter even the sturdiest of landscapes. And he halts me with his eyes- icy gray orbs with a stormy finish. Cold, dark, mysterious- alluring.”

This is not just a romance. And for that- I was very thankful. Not that it wouldn’t have been a bad thing, as a reader I have just been wanting more than that here lately. I was so surprised to know that there was so much suspense and even a well thought out twist within this book. I was happy to know that K.K. Allen branched out into something and wrapped it up so neatly. No plot holes to be found. I was a happy reader.

“You came into my life like the fastest river, unsure of where you would end up. And then you leapt- from that rock at Hollow Falls when you were fifteen years old. You leapt and you crashed into my world. Even then, I saw you. I didn’t realize what it meant- I wouldn’t allow myself to figure it out- but I could feel it.”

K.K. Allen’s writing in Waterfall Effect is electrifying and piercing. That is the only way I can put it. When she writes, whether from Jax’s POV or Aurora’s- you feel. You feel so much. Not only was the writing completely engrossing, I loved the metaphors within this story and the way they all related.

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When you read this book, you will see what I’m talking about. It’s hard to miss.
Waterfall Effect was a meaningful read on so many more levels than just romance. I was hooked from the beginning and all of that alone sets this book apart from most of the others that are currently out there.

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Hate List (Jennifer Brown)

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Five months ago, Valerie Leftman’s boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Shot trying to stop him, Valerie inadvertently saved the life of a classmate, but was implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create. A list of people and things she and Nick hated. The list he used to pick his targets.

Now, after a summer of seclusion, Val is forced to confront her guilt as she returns to school to complete her senior year. Haunted by the memory of the boyfriend she still loves and navigating rocky relationships with her family, former friends, and the girl whose life she saved, Val must come to grips with the tragedy that took place and her role in it, in order to make amends and move on with her life.


I feel like Hate List is the type of book I was wanting to experience whenever I read the book This is Where It Ends (don’t even bother, IMO). And I couldn’t help but notice other people saying that too, so that made me feel better. Hate List did such a superb job at going into what it’s really like for school shootings and even what the after math was life. Sort of like when I read We Need to Talk About Kevin. I really crave that with these types of books and have only came across a couple that does so well at going beyond the tragic event. I want to know everything and I want to know how everyone is affected. The author did a fantastic job writing that. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

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“People do it all the time—assume that they “know” what’s going on in someone else’s head. That’s impossible. And to think its possible is a mistake. A really big mistake. A life-ruining one if you’re not careful.”

I truly felt like Valerie was a very well wrote character that I had no problem at all relating to. Seeing it all from her POV, was completely enthralling to me. I never once questioned her feelings or the way she approached things and I felt more for her than I have any other character in this book. My only complaint was that I really wanted to see more of her life “before”. We get some of that in the book, but I still wanted more. I can’t tell you why.

“The truth was most days I couldn’t feel grateful no matter how hard I tried. Most days I couldn’t even pinpoint how I felt. Sometimes sad, sometimes relived, sometimes confused, sometimes misunderstood. And a lot of times angry.”

I cannot stress how much I loved seeing the development for ALL of the characters within this book. Not just Valerie but her classmates, her family, just everyone around her. It was so amazing seeing all of this unfold and seeing them change as the weeks went by. Adjusting, growing, healing. All while still trying to focus on what they needed to focus on. It wasn’t easy, so seeing that made the experience of the book that much better for me.

I didn’t care for the abrupt ending. I kind of just turned the page and bam, it was over. Big pet peeve of mine. Like, WHAT?! Wait, I wasn’t done! Don’t do that to me! Please come back!

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“I knew what she was thinking: Being pretty isn’t everything, but sometimes being ugly is.”

If you are looking for a book that is completely powerful and never stops making you feel something- you need to read Hate List. I don’t think I ever stopped feeling a feeling through out the entire book. If it wasn’t one feeling it was another. That is so much fun to me, feeling different things throughout a story. I like it when a book keeps me on my toes.

Gods and Monsters (Saffron A. Kent)

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He was an artist. She was his muse.

To everyone in town, Abel Adams was the devil’s spawn, a boy who never should have been born. A monster.

To twelve year-old Evie Hart, he was just a boy with golden hair, soft t-shirts and a camera. A boy who loved taking her picture and sneaking her chocolates before dinner. A boy who made her feel special.

Despite her family’s warnings, she loved him in secret for six years. They met in empty classrooms and kissed in darkened church closets. Until they couldn’t.

Until the time came to choose between love and family, and Evie chose Abel.

Because their love was worth the risk. Their love was the stuff of legend.

But the thing about legends is that they are cautionary tales. They are made of choices and mistakes. And for Abel and Evie, the artist and the muse, those mistakes come in the form of lights, camera, sex.


I’m just going to go ahead and strike this up as a book that just plainly isn’t for me. That’s basically it, yeah. Let’s go with that.

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First things first: If any one expects me to read this book and believe that the dialogue in the first part of it is that of a 12 and 13-14 year old they’re absolutely nuts. They spoke in ways that most children don’t. That I didn’t speak like until I was well into my teenage years. It was just highly unbelievable to me.

Also, if I’m off about the ages above, that’s because for the entire first half it’s hardly ever specified as to what their ages are. It’s a guessing game of ages. All I know is that Evie was not of legal age until roughly 55% in. Over half of the book. I must have also missed the entire year these two characters were together and fell in love with each other at the beginning. It’s like I turned the page and boom, they were in love at 12 years old.

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Roughly around 22% I got really confused, actually. Did they age a few years? How old are they? How is this not pointed out to the reader? The reason I say that is because I really feel as though the ages should be pointed out to the reader considering the type of story this was. I really had a hard time accepting that these children spoke so vulgarly and sexually. Underage romance that is detailed the way Evie and Abel’s was just makes me very squeamish. Let the slow burn build, please.

Aside from all of that, I had a hard time distinguishing what the plot of the book was. What was the main focus point? I really didn’t know much except here are these two kids, wanting to be together. A plotless book makes me itchy. Give me some story and meaning.

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Abel’s controlling and co-dependency tendencies turned me off in all measures. Which in turn made me feel zero angst or want towards any of the characters. Which in turn brought me here.

The Smallest Part (Amy Harmon)

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“In the end, only three things matter. How much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.”
– Unknown

It was a big lie. The biggest lie she’d ever told. It reverberated through her head as she said it, ringing eerily, and the girl behind her eyes—the girl who knew the truth—screamed, and her scream echoed along with the lie.
“Are you in love with Noah, Mercedes?” Cora asked. “I mean . . . I know you love him. You’ve been friends forever. We all have. But are you in love with him?”
If it had been anyone else—anyone—Mercedes would have stuck out her chest, folded her skinny arms, and let her feelings be known. She would have claimed him. But it was Cora. Brave, beautiful, broken Cora, and Cora loved Noah too.
So Mercedes lied.
And with that lie, she lost him. With that lie, she sealed her fate.
She was the best friend, the bridesmaid, the godmother, the glue. She was there for the good times and the bad, the ups and the downs, the biggest moments and the smallest parts. And she was there when it all came crashing down.
This is the tale of the girl who didn’t get the guy.


I was really nervous going into this book, I will admit that. Seeing the cover, the three people, I was just not very excited that Amy Harmon wrote a triangle trope book. I was ready to brave it though. For Amy I would do that.

Ya’ll…it is not that. It. Is. Not. That.

It is so much more than that and I feel so foolish for even judging Amy’s cover before even experiencing what she has strategically placed for us in these pages. Stupid, stupid, stupid Talon.

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First I should say this, if you see a book that has Amy Harmon’s name on it: get it. I can guarantee that you will start feeling all sorts of things and you will have no idea on how to make it all stop. I have zero control and a very lose grip on all of my feelings every time I pick up an Amy Harmon book. I’m making that known right now.

My favorite thing in The Smallest Part (besides the obvious- past characters) was the way that the past parts of the chapter opened us up to the present parts and somehow, they all fit together. They were joined in a way that we get to experience with Cora, Mercedes, and Noah. The intricate details were so neat to me. It’s the little things like that that make me happy.

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I didn’t like how a lot of things were left unsolved and unanswered when it came to Cora. I can’t go into much detail but I really wanted to know quite a few things about her and I didn’t ever really get the closure from her presence either.

Basically- you can’t lose with an Amy Harmon book. If you are a huge fan of The Law of Moses and The Song of David you are going to love this heart filled book about these three people. I don’t think Amy has told a story quite like this one before and for that I’m thankful. I’m glad she told it with The Smallest Part. If you don’t love what she did, I just don’t know what to say to you.

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The Night Child (Anna Quinn)

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Nora Brown teaches high school English and lives a quiet life in Seattle with her husband and six-year-old daughter. But one November day, moments after dismissing her class, a girl’s face appears above the students’ desks — ”a wild numinous face with startling blue eyes, a face floating on top of shapeless drapes of purples and blues where arms and legs should have been. Terror rushes through Nora’s body — the kind of raw terror you feel when there’s no way out, when every cell in your body, your entire body, is on fire — when you think you might die.”

Twenty-four hours later, while on Thanksgiving vacation, the face appears again. Shaken and unsteady, Nora meets with neurologists and eventually, a psychiatrist. As the story progresses, a terrible secret is discovered — a secret that pushes Nora toward an even deeper psychological breakdown.

This breathtaking debut novel examines the impact of traumatic childhood experiences and the fragile line between past and present. Exquisitely nuanced and profoundly intimate, The Night Child is a story of resilience, hope, and the capacity of the mind, body, and spirit to save itself despite all odds.


WOW! What a breath-taking read. This writing, this story, this author…just wow.

“He broke into your body and stole your sense of self.”

Anna Quinn is an incredibly brave author for tackling the story line that she did. Let me rephrase that- the TWO elements that she wrote about is huge. Not only that, but she did it so eloquently and very sensitively (if that is at all possible). I can hardly believe this is even her debut novel. It was just heart wrenching.

At times I was very uncomfortable. I worried if I could read it all without skimming but after a couple of tries I successfully did it. It’s not for the weak of stomach. The topic the author touches on is enough to break even my heart in two and it did. The story, the characters, it all just broke my heart.

Mental health is always so intriguing for me so when I read books about them I like for them to be carefully thought out and not just thrown around for dramatic effect. Anna did a fabulous job letting the words just go where they needed to. It wasn’t dramatic and it wasn’t rude or blunt it was just what readers want to experience. Sort of just wrapping you up and making you warm. Her words were what needed to be said.

The Night Child was a touching and at times disturbing story dealing with the upmost heart breaking situations in a very believable way. Not dramatic in any type of way which earns so much respect from me. Bravo, Anna! Great book, great read.

Such Dark Things (Courtney Evan Tate fka Courtney Cole)

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HORRIFIC RECURRING NIGHTMARE IS THREATENING TO STEAL HER SANITY…

Dr. Corinne Cabot is living the American dream. She’s a successful ER physician in Chicago who’s married to a handsome husband. Together they live in a charming house in the suburbs. But appearances can be deceiving—and what no one can see is Corinne’s dark past. Troubling gaps in her memory mean she recalls little about a haunting event in her life years ago that changed everything.

She remembers only being in the house the night two people were found murdered. Her father was there, too. Now her father is in prison; she hasn’t been in contact in years. Repressing that terrifying memory has caused Corinne moments of paranoia and panic. Sometimes she thinks she sees things that aren’t there, hears words that haven’t been spoken. Or have they? She fears she may be losing her mind, unable to determine what’s real and what’s not.

So when she senses her husband’s growing distance, she thinks she’s imagining things. She writes her suspicions off to fatigue, overwork, anything to explain what she can’t accept—that her life really isn’t what it seems.


I want to just say first and foremost: this book that Courtney has written is gut wrenching and gut turning and real and raw. It’s completely UNLIKE anything I have ever read before. It’s real life and it hurts. It hurt me. I was queasy and I was clenching my teeth and fists together throughout most of the book. This is a book about the kinds of things that can happen every single day. When you aren’t even expecting it. The things that most of us (if you are anything like me) might be terrified of.

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I read this book in one sitting. ONE. I didn’t stop until I was done. I couldn’t stop. I WOULDN’T stop. I was a complete masochist with this book because I literally just kept going, kept hurting myself, and kept feeling nauseas. My nerves were SHOT. But did I keep going? HELL YES I DID. Absolutely. And that is what makes this book so wonderful. You don’t want to keep going and experiencing all of this like it is happening to YOU but you do.

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The characters didn’t fall flat in any way for me. Throughout this whole book, Courtney provides us with two different point of views. Two different feelings. And two different secrets. You will relate to one of them, I promise. I over-analyzed everything about my life by the time I was done being in these people’s heads. I questioned a lot of motives and psycho-analyzed every aspect of them.

I know that I say it a lot but I mean it with this book. Go in blind. If you read the blurb, do not let it stop you. It’s hard to give this book a meaningful and worthy enough review due to the fact that I do not want to give away anything that pertains to this story.

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My only request is you go in with an open mind on this one. Open your mind to two different types of people and two different types of inner dialogue and POVs.

*disclaimer: there is cheating in this book. Now, most of the time that is really hard for me. But Courtney wrote it in a way that made me understand that it was bound to happen. I didn’t accept or approve that it happened, but I understood that it was to happen.

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The Idea of You (Robinne Lee)

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When Solène Marchand, the thirty-nine-year-old owner of a prestigious art gallery in Los Angeles, takes her daughter, Isabelle, to meet her favorite boy band, she does so reluctantly and at her ex-husband’s request. The last thing she expects is to make a connection with one of the members of the world-famous August Moon. But Hayes Campbell is clever, winning, confident, and posh, and the attraction is immediate. That he is all of twenty years old further complicates things.

What begins as a series of clandestine trysts quickly evolves into a passionate relationship. It is a journey that spans continents as Solène and Hayes navigate each other’s disparate worlds: from stadium tours to international art fairs to secluded hideaways. And for Solène, it is as much a reclaiming of self, as it is a rediscovery of happiness and love. When their romance becomes a viral sensation, and both she and her daughter become the target of rabid fans and an insatiable media, Solène must face how her new status has impacted not only her life, but the lives of those closest to her.


Unpopular opinion here, I’m sorry. I don’t typically read books about boy bands and mothers. I certainly don’t ever read music-trope books. I certainly don’t ever read those things all together. So I wasn’t really interested in the book for the first part of it.

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Okay, I had a really hard time with the first half of the book actually. I wasn’t hooked and I wasn’t connected to any one so ultimately I really struggled there. I struggled with the clingy boy constantly saying “Hiiiii..” and being very dependent on Solene. I struggled with how Solene’s daughter clearly struggled and cried out for help and was constantly “staying strong” while her mother was off being happy. But once I got past half of it, I felt a pang. I didn’t get connected to Solene though. No, I was connecting with Hayes.

Which is why this book gets four stars. For Hayes. For the vulnerable person that he was and the cliche he was not. He was way more complex to me than Solene was. Why he kept telling Solene she was the complex one was way beyond me. He grew way more than Solene did, in my opinion. He was an open book for her and he was all around a very prominent character in this book that deserves more credit than what he got. For being twenty years old, I felt his feelings. Hard.

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The authors writing is magnificent. I can’t complain about that one bit. The story flowed fast enough where I could read in one sitting and you’ll never hear me complain about that.

Maybe. Maybe if I was older and related to Solene more maybe I would be like every one else who is obsessing with this book. But to the ones who love this book I get it. I do. Because every time that boy cried in that book- my tiny heart chipped away and hurt.

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