A Different Blue (Amy Harmon)

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Blue Echohawk doesn’t know who she is. She doesn’t know her real name or when she was born. Abandoned at two and raised by a drifter, she didn’t attend school until she was ten years old. At nineteen, when most kids her age are attending college or moving on with life, she is just a senior in high school. With no mother, no father, no faith, and no future, Blue Echohawk is a difficult student, to say the least. Tough, hard and overtly sexy, she is the complete opposite of the young British teacher who decides he is up for the challenge, and takes the troublemaker under his wing.

This is the story of a nobody who becomes somebody. It is the story of an unlikely friendship, where hope fosters healing and redemption becomes love. But falling in love can be hard when you don’t know who you are. Falling in love with someone who knows exactly who they are and exactly why they can’t love you back might be impossible.

Once upon a time, I picked up A Different Blue, the last of Amy’s books that I hadn’t read yet and surprise, surprise…adored it. Gobbled it up.

Amy Harmon doesn’t write bad books, y’all. I bet she never does either. And the best thing about her books is they’re all so diverse and the messages they all provide is so heartwarming.

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My most favorite thing about Amy is she doesn’t have to have a book chalk full of romance and smut. Better put as: S E X. Amy doesn’t need that detail strung out chapter after chapter. She diligently writes her stories with beautiful words that in turn evokes beautiful feelings. That, to me, is a million times better than full blown romance and sex scene after sex scene.

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The characters in A Different Blue were probably my favorite ones from Amy Harmon to date. Wilson and Blue form such a dynamic bond from the start that I instantly latched onto. And Blue herself was a strong and dominate character. A woman who was growing but wasn’t afraid of the growth she would undergo.

So, for those who are searching and for those who want to be found or for those who are trying to understand…read this book. Read. This. Book.

The Unrequited (Saffron A Kent)

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Layla Robinson is not crazy. She is suffering from unrequited love. But it’s time to move on. No more stalking, no more obsessive calling.

What she needs is a distraction. The blue-eyed guy she keeps seeing around campus could be a great one—only he is the new poetry professor—the married poetry professor.

Thomas Abrams is a stereotypical artist—rude, arrogant, and broody—but his glares and taunts don’t scare Layla. She might be bad at poetry, but she is good at reading between the lines. Beneath his prickly façade, Thomas is lonely, and Layla wants to know why. Obsessively.

Sometimes you do get what you want. Sometimes you end up in the storage room of a bar with your professor and you kiss him. Sometimes he kisses you back like the world is ending and he will never get to kiss you again. He kisses you until you forget the years of unrequited love; you forget all the rules, and you dare to reach for something that is not yours.

A lot of things drive me to read books like this. But the biggest thing with The Unrequited was the authors writing. It was not only neat it was mesmerizing. I couldn’t look away or stop reading it. I had to mentally tell myself to put it down even though it only took me a day to read this book.

I like tropes like this book because they push my anxiety. They make me tense and breathe hard. But it also makes want more. That’s the kind of things I’m looking for when I read a book. I want that WANT and The Unrequited gave me that and so much more.

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Layla and Thomas are not only Unrequited lovers but they’re two very similar people who are looking for the same thing but have many complications along the way. MANY. But hot damn, they’re so worth it.

I really enjoyed this book, it wholly consumed my day and I’m in no way complaining. Four gold crazy stars for you, Layla girl!

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The Butterfly Garden (Dot Hutchison)

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Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.

In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.

When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.

As her story twists and turns, slowly shedding light on life in the Butterfly Garden, Maya reveals old grudges, new saviors, and horrific tales of a man who’d go to any length to hold beauty captive. But the more she shares, the more the agents have to wonder what she’s still hiding…

YIKES. Talk about a crappy ending. And that’s putting it lightly. It kind of makes me want to take back all of the time I spent reading this book. And when I sit down and ponder, one word comes to mind:

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A N T I – C L I M A C T I C

The Butterfly Garden started out so poetically and well written. The author took it’s time with the construction of the story line and details surrounding the book and as a reader I appreciated that. But what the hell…did the author just sit down and let their 7 year old child write the ending? Ugh. What happened? Did they get bored?

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The book had great detail but I still struggled with picturing how the garden looked. I mean…WHAT exactly was it? Someone probably needs to draw me a pretty picture. I’m slow.

I just…the writing was superb. It was really well done. But I wouldn’t consider this a thriller. At all. I honestly don’t know what I would consider it. A bed time story? A story a person tells when they’re bored? I don’t know, either way…the ending was rushed, sloppy, and not delivered in a way that I was happy with.

Until it Fades (KA Tucker)

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Twenty-four-year-old truck stop waitress and single mother Catherine Wright has simple goals: to give her five-year-old daughter a happy life and to never again be the talk of the town in Balsam, Pennsylvania: population two thousand outside of tourist season.

And then one foggy night, on a lonely road back from another failed attempt at a relationship, Catherine saves a man’s life. It isn’t until after the police have arrived that Catherine realizes exactly who it is she has saved: Brett Madden, hockey icon and media darling.

Catherine has already had her fifteen minutes of fame and the last thing she wants is to have her past dragged back into the spotlight, only this time on a national stage. So she hides her identity. It works.

For a time.

But when she finds the man she saved standing on her doorstep, desperate to thank her, all that changes. What begins as an immediate friendship quickly turns into something neither of them expected. Something that Catherine isn’t sure she can handle; something that Catherine is afraid to trust.

Because how long can an extraordinary man like Brett be interested in an ordinary woman like Catherine…before the spark fades? 

I have no words. I haven’t had a book hit me in the feels like this from KA Tucker since Ten Tiny Breaths. That’s not me saying her others weren’t good, they were. But this one packed the punch! This was hands down THE BEST slow burn I have read of 2017 thus far. Get that insta love crap out of here because KA has brought it with Until it Fades.

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Brett’s characteristics really stick out to me. He brought this book full circle for me. His involvement in Catherine and Brenna’s life was absolutely incredible to me. Very realistic and mind opening to me as well. Especially that he embraced them both for who they were with no questions asked. He was just an all around great character.

I also want to talk about the dialogue and conversations between the characters. They were all written so diligently and it wasn’t just used as “fillers” within the book. They actually had MEANING, can you believe it? The character interaction basically flowed off of the pages right into my face. That’s the good stuff right there.

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Secondary characters are a huge plus for me in all books that I read and KA absolutely delivers! I can’t pick just one, they all brought a smile to my face at some point in the book. Especially Lou. And Jack. And Keith. SEE! I can’t pick just one.

I’m recommending this to every one. I can’t think of a single person who wouldn’t appreciate this story and fall in love with these characters. And if I find that person they should find a new hobby besides reading.

The Weight of Life (Whitney Barbetti)

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-Mila-
“Don’t let go.” Those were my first words to him, as I hung over the side of a London bridge. The words I would soon say again, in a moment that didn’t involve bridges, but something much more fragile: my heart.

He held onto me for three weeks, in a time when I needed to be held. Needed to connect to someone who understood how loss tunneled unrepentantly through the fabric of your soul.

Although he said he’d stay, we both knew he wouldn’t. I had already survived one loss—I didn’t know if I’d survive another.

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She spun into my life like a tornado of smiles and chatter and everything else I’d long avoided, with a persistence that I admired, albeit begrudgingly. She broke down each neat wall I’d constructed without even trying. Her presence alone caused me to remember what it felt like to smile, to look forward to what the day would bring.

But it was only supposed to last three weeks.

“Don’t let go,” she’d pleaded.

I’d promised her I wouldn’t—but I would. I didn’t have a choice. 

What Whitney did with this book was bring two completely different people from two completely different worlds together and make me believe in them and love them and accept them for all that they are.

In The Weight of Life not only do we have two strangers meeting unconventionally but we have an established connection. And a strong one at that! A connection that Whitney so diligently delivers to readers without forcing it or shoving it into their faces. Without saying “here is Ames. Here is Mila. Love them.” Slowly, Whitney eases us into their lives and their surroundings and it’s an ease and comfortability we never knew we were looking for.

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Ames. Ugh, I couldn’t have asked for a more developed character. Watching his growth from the beginning of the book and to the end and the way he opens up and transforms one chapter at a time was one of my absolute most favorite things in this book. And Mila, she’s so different from Whitney’s other characters but one of my favorites nonetheless. Whitney took a ray of sunshine and gave her so many real feelings that I hurt for her. So many flaws and proof that even the happy ones hurt. Even when she didn’t want her hurt to show.

“Summer.” When I crinkled my brow, he took a sip of his sangria. I could feel his heart calm, the beats slow to a rhythm not unlike my own. “The sun shines the longest in the summer, making the days last longer than the nights. And when I first saw you on the bridge, you looked like summer to me. It made no sense, not at that time of night, on the cusp of fall, that I could look at you and see so much sun. There’s comfort in night, in the dark—a safety that the sun cannot guarantee.”

Not very often do I find books like this. Just…a good love story. Two good people with two good hearts. Two souls and two weights of life. Two stars plus two stars plus one. FIVE!

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The Tutor (K Larsen)

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After a party gone wrong and in desperate need of money for the fall semester of college, twenty-year-old Nora Robertson needs to escape her hometown.

She accepts a summer long live-in tutoring job for a handsome man and his little sister at a secluded home deep in the mountains.

There is no running water.

No electricity.

No internet or cell service.

When her tutoring job ends she’s hit with a brutal turn of events … she’s not permitted to leave. After months in captivity, she makes a harrowing escape with her student that ends in a car accident on a desolate road. When Nora comes to, her student is missing. In a desperate attempt to find the girl, Nora will have to recount her time held captive.

The good and the bad.

Can Nora and the authorities work together to find the man who took her? Will they rescue the girl Nora tried to save?

Author’s Note: This is a dark romantic suspense.
Trigger warning: all of them. This will not elicit warm fuzzy feelings

We are gonna jump right into it, and when I say it I mean my most favorite thing about this entire book. The POV’s.

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The more POV’s the better for me and The Tutor provided just that. I loved the consistency of them all as well. They weren’t just all thrown together in random places, they were placed in all of the right places and exactly where they needed to be in the story. I imagine this is a hard task for authors to keep straight but props to K. Larsen.

“Only ever you.”

My other favorite thing about The Tutor was Nora and her many layers of psychological struggles. The good ones and the bad ones. She was an ever growing character with internal struggles that I couldn’t look away from as a reader.

My only complaint with this book was that I would have actually preferred MORE details in some of the chapters. They were almost too short for me and there were so many things that I wanted to know MORE about.

Another thing, the twist wasn’t insane or mind blowing like some of the reviews I read, I feel like they were over playing it but it was believable to me. It was realistic and to me that’s better than an over dramatic plot twist. Stockholm syndrome is real, y’all! And I love it.

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This wasn’t the darkest and angsiest read I’ve ever read but it didn’t fall short for me. I was easily pleased. I might have provided the blurb but I always do that because I always read blurbs last. DO NOT READ THIS BLURB! Don’t do it! I mean it.

Puddle Jumping (Amber Johnson)

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When it comes to love there’s no such thing as conventional.

Everyone thinks Colton Neely is special.

Lilly Evans just thinks he’s fascinating.

Once friends when they were younger, their bond is cut short due to her accident prone nature and they go their separate ways. Years later, they meet again and Lilly learns that there is something special about the boy she once knew, but she has no idea what it all means. And she’s not sure if she’s ready to find out.

When he walks through the corridor of her school the first day of her senior year, she knows that it’s time to get to know the real Colton Neely. The more she learns, the deeper she falls.

Their friendship grows into love, even as Colton does not express it in words. But one decision threatens to break down the world that Lilly has tried so hard to integrate into and she must figure out if the relationship can survive if they are apart. 

All of my feelings are gone and out the door. I read this book in one sitting. I didn’t go pee. Or eat. I DEVOURED this book. For so many reasons. Here, let me show you why with just ONE paragraph from Puddle Jumping:

“I don’t believe there’s such a thing as conventional love. Love is bending. Love is breaking. Love is constantly learning about the other person until you go crazy because it will never be perfect, but there’s no fault in trying. I’ve loved a boy who was extraordinary beyond words, in my eyes. I don’t think I’d ever wanted to live an exceptional life before him. A life filled with color and knowledge and feeling beautiful.”

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That is why. Right there. Because Amber Johnson wrote a very overwhelming story about a boy and a girl and it wasn’t your typical boy and girl book. It was so much more than that. It was what we need as readers. It was what we go out and actively search for. Because sometimes we need to pick up a book that makes us feel what we don’t normally feel and understand people we don’t usually encounter.

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Everything about this book enveloped me into this tight ball of emotions and just left me clinging to every single word this author was writing. The cover and the significance of it all and the way it all ties together and Jesus H Christ I can’t even..

Lilly and her patience and kind heart and Colton and his…I can’t even tell you because I don’t want you to know. I could go on and on. But they’re both the most extraordinary characters I have ever read about. Colton might be special to every one else but Lilly was just as special if not more. Two special people I will hold near and dear to my heart.

You know what, read this book. I’ll shut up, just go read the book.

The House (Christina Lauren)

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Gavin tells Delilah he’s hers—completely—but whatever lives inside that house with him disagrees.

After seven years tucked away at an East coast boarding school, Delilah Blue returns to her small Kansas hometown to find that not much has changed. Her parents are still uptight and disinterested, her bedroom is exactly the way she left it, and the outcast Gavin Timothy still looks like he’s crawled out of one of her dark, twisted drawings.

Delilah is instantly smitten.

Gavin has always lived in the strange house: an odd building isolated in a stand of trees where the town gives in to mild wilderness. The house is an irresistible lure for Delilah, but the tall fence surrounding it exists for good reason, and Gavin urges Delilah to be careful. Whatever lives with him there isn’t human, and isn’t afraid of hurting her to keep her away.

As a reader, there is one thing I will always have a hard time understanding. HOW a book gets such a high rating when you struggled so much with it. Granted! I know that everyone reads books differently, I do. And I did the audio on this book so maybe that’s why I struggled so much to like it but this book was just funny to me. Funny and weird. And let me just say this: such a beautiful, gorgeous cover all for…this.

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There is a good and bad thing about not reading blurbs. The bad thing is, you never know what you are going to get yourself into. The good thing is, you never know what you are going to get yourself into. In this case, it was a bad thing.

One of the killers of The House was the dialogue between characters. Now, once again it could be because I listened to the audio but to me it was just off. Cheesy. Over done. Weird. Especially Gavin’s relationship with his house. I didn’t buy it and I most certainly didn’t connect, I laughed.

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Also, was this author trying to relate to the book “Room”? Some of the ways that Gavin spoke about the house was just oddly the same as that book. Which is all good but…not original.

I’m open to recommendations on YA books that I would like, I think I am picking all of the wrong ones. I haven’t met one in a while that I have enjoyed. I do know that when you have to force yourself through the last 40% of a book, it’s not going to end well for you.

The Education of Sebastian (Jane Harvey-Berrick)

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A friendship between the lost and lonely Caroline, and the unhappy Sebastian, leads to an illicit love that threatens them both.
Caroline Wilson is trapped in a cold and loveless marriage with an older man. When her husband finally wins a long sought-after promotion, Caroline feels she has little choice but to follow him to a new home in San Diego. There she meets Sebastian, a young man of 17.
For an all too brief summer, their happiness blooms.
But external pressures begin to bear down, not least from the overbearing David, and Sebastian’s parents begin to suspect that their son has a secret. Even Caroline’s new friend, Donna, realises that dark passions exist below the serene surface.

This is the type of book that desperately needed a dual POV. As a reader, I literally craved Sebastian and his thoughts. And I didn’t ever get them. I didn’t connect with their relationship in the sense of WHY it happened. Sure, I got to see inside of Caroline’s every day life but what was really going on with Sebastian? And his parents? Why was he so lonely? Why was he so dramatic? OH…probably because he was 17.

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I really enjoyed the story line. I truly enjoy the forbidden genres and I will just about anything but the story itself was repetitive. The same thing happened every day and every chapter. And the ending was rushed and sloppy. Almost like the author had a deadline and didn’t have the book finished and she just randomly through together the most predictive and obvious ending.

By the time this book was finished, I felt a huge hole in the character connection. I almost wanted to feel like I did when I read On the Island. THAT is a book where character connection is diligently displayed for the reader to relish in. Or Lolita. Where was that desperate yearning feeling? Sebastian didn’t get it from me and neither did Caroline.

SO! If you like a lot of sex, overly dramatic and sensitive characters for 400 pages, and cliffhangers (yes, that is right!) then this is the book for you!

Possession (A.M. Johnson)

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Paige Simon was the only girl Declan ever loved. The only one capable of silencing his voices, the only person to ever have faith in who he was, until the day her faith turned to doubt and destroyed everything they’d made together.

Declan O ’Connell was the only person Paige could be herself with. The only one she could rely on, until the day she was forced to make a choice that would condemn them both.

They’ve had years apart, and second chances don’t belong to the damned. But when you come face to face with your savior, it’s almost impossible to walk away. In order to move beyond the sins of their past, and forever silence the demons in his head, they’ll have to risk it all.

But with love, there are real reasons to be afraid and, sometimes… your salvation is your damnation.


This book, as a whole, was a good read. It wasn’t terrible but it also didn’t knock my socks (or pants) off. If it snags your attention within the first couple of pages or chapters, it could definitely be read in one sitting. Quick and good read.

My main issue with Possession is Paige’s situation. Not just in the first part of the book or even 75% of the book but the book as a WHOLE. Her “position” she was in. Her “predicament”. I won’t give it all away but the fact that she was still tied to Clark throughout the whole book was an instant turn off for me. Her mind set to be just wreaked of “out of site out of mind”. Girl, call yo lawyer!

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Also, there was way too much religion in the book for me. There, I said it.

My favorite part of the entire story was Declan. The way A.M. Johnson crafted a character like him and the way she wrote him was very refreshing. The writing on his mental illness was fascination but sadly, Paige fell extremely flat for me. But Liam, Liam was someone I was intrigued with! All that pent up anger and angst, where you get that from, boy?

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Like I said at the beginning, if Possession grabs your attention right at the start, it’s a quick read. If you can connect to both Paige and Declan at an emotional level, you’ll be right at home. I am just sad that I didn’t.