Review | White Lips, Pale Face

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Kindle Price: $3.99

Official Rating: 3/5

Synopsis:

“I broke the surface and gulped in air, running my hands over my face to push the water away. A raindrop splattered on my cheek. He did not rise. Seven more raindrops in quick succession splattered against my skin. And still, he did not rise. The heavens opened and rain fell like a sheet, blanketing me, cutting me off from the rest of the world.

I thought it was the end of everything.

But I was wrong.

Brothers, Ruben and Judah Mitchell, used to be close, but that was before they met Cara Armistead. Once she moved in next door, the brothers grew further and further apart until the tension between them led to an event which left one dead and the other branded by the aftermath.

One year later, after the death of her baby brother destroyed her family, Lennon Donnelly has moved back to her home town of Puruwai. While visiting the cemetery she finds a boy sitting on a gravestone, a boy with secrets in his past, but someone who finally sees her. Accused by the town as a killer, he reaches out to Lennon, but as their relationship deepens, the events of the year before present themselves in a way no one could have imagined.

In this compelling ya romantic mystery, Forever Blue tells of the intertwining relationships of Lennon, Ruben, Judah and Cara. Spanning over two years, Abby Wilder creates a story of intrigue and suspicion that will haunt you long after you turn the final page.

This story contains mild use of strong language and references to underage drinking and smoking.”

My Review:

What…did I just read? I truly have no clue as to what I just read. What??

There’s weird. And then there’s upside-down-turn-around-backwards-sideways-and-insane weird. Forever Blue was the latter.

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Cover Reveal: One Summer with Autumn by Julie Reece

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One Summer with Autumn by Julie Reece
Published by: Swoon Romance
Publication date: October 11th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Seventeen-year-old Autumn Teslow arrives at her father’s job fair knowing she’ll never measure up to the perfect image of daddy’s little girl—her twin sister.

Wearing anger management issues like a second skin won’t help Autumn win her dad’s approval for the big trip she’s been planning—or meet his condition that she successfully complete a summer internship for college.

Autumn’s cool unravels when her sister lectures against disappointing the family again. And when a young, bearded guy steps through the crowd to settle the growing argument between siblings, Autumn lashes out, dubbing him a “Duck Dynasty wannabe.”

At Nineteen, Caden Behr is clueless as to why his man parts are threatened by the fearsome girl before him. He’d only come to find an intern for his recreational equipment company, not break up a girl-fight between two sisters.

Unfortunately, the only candidate left is the girl who just told him off. Without her, he’ll never prove to his CEO mother that he’s ready for more responsibility.

Autumn and Caden agree that if they can keep from killing one another, they can use one another to get what they want and then never have to see each other again. Which is what they want.

Until it isn’t.

Because despite her best efforts to scare him off, and his fading desire to push her into the lake, they’re beginning to enjoy the time they spend together. But pride is a hard habit to break. And if neither will admit their changing feelings, they could lose a whole lot more than one summer.

AUTHOR BIO:
JuliePhoto.jpgAs a child, Julie’s summers were about horseback riding and fishing, while winter brought sledding and ice-skating on frozen ponds. Most of life was magical, but not all. She struggled with multiple learning disabilities, and spent much of her time gazing out windows and daydreaming. In the fourth grade (with the help of one very nice teacher) she fought dyslexia for her right to read and won.

Afterward, she invented stories where powerful heroines kicked bad-guy butt to win the hearts charismatic heroes. And then she wrote one down…

Writing ever since, Julie weaves southern gothic, contemporary, fantasy, and young adult romances. She enjoys sweeping tales of mystery and epic adventure… which must include a really hot guy. Her writing is proof a dream and some hard work can overcome any obstacle.

Author Links:
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Under A Million Stars by Rita Branches: Book Blitz & Giveaway!

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EBOOKLOW.jpgUnder A Million Stars by Rita Branches
Publication date: August 8th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Synopsis:

Can a beating heart bleed from the shattered pieces?

Her heart cracked when her best friend walked away; it completely shattered when she lost her family in a tragic accident.

Now orphaned at seventeen, Charlotte Peterson is forced to live with her former best friend, Jacob Parker. Charlie, a talented pianist, desperately wants their loving friendship back, but something is holding Jake back. The more she spirals into the darkness of depression, the more she needs him.

Jacob vowed to stay away from her—no matter how much he still loved her. Armed with secrets that would have destroyed both of their families, he chose to end their friendship and walk away, which nearly killed him. As he watches the girl he once knew begin to fade away, however, he realizes that their relationship is more important than the truth he’s hiding.

Now it’s up to Jacob to put the pieces of Charlie’s broken heart back together—even if it means revealing the secrets he so desperately wants to protect her from.

Will Jacob find a way to bring back the carefree, talented girl he once knew, or is it too late for both of them?

Buy This Book
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GIVEAWAY! –> Under A Million Stars Giveaway <–

About the Author
Rita Branches is an independent YA (young adult) author who enjoys spending every free moment (when she’s not reading) writing emotional stories.

Author Links:

How to Keep Rolling After a Fall by Karole Cozzo

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Kindle Price: $7.09

Official Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:

“After a cyber bullying incident turns her life upside down, a handsome wheelchair rugby player shows a former mean girl that everyone deserves a second chance in this swoonworthy new novel from the author of How to Say I Love You Out Loud.

The party was at her house. The photos were posted to her Facebook account. That’s all the evidence anyone needed to condemn Nikki Baylor for a cyberbullying incident that humiliated a classmate and nearly resulted in the girl’s suicide. Now Nikki’s been expelled from her old school, her friends have abandoned her, and even her own parents can’t look her in the eye. With her plans for the future all but destroyed, Nikki resigns herself to being the girl everyone hates – almost as much as she hates herself. But then Nikki meets Pax, a spirited wheelchair rugby player who knows what it’s like when one mistake completely shatters your life. Refusing to judge her because of her past, he shows her that everyone deserves a second chance… and everyone deserves to be loved.”

My Review:

Gracious. I haven’t read a romance novel in quite a while (at least at the time I wrote this), but I’m very pleased that How to Keep Rolling After a Fall was the book I read.

Cozzo has an amazing skill in writing. In fact, and please hold your gasps, I found nothing wrong in the book. Isn’t that wild? Me, of all people, not only enjoyed the book but had no complaints.

Let’s talk about Nicole. I actually really liked Nicole. She was funny, down-to-earth, had a rather dark past that was defining her, and she had obvious flaws. I loved it. She was a realistic and enjoyable character and despite everything, I ended up rooting for her. I appreciated that she didn’t feel entitled to things and that she was always respectful, even when people weren’t being fair. There was constant growth within her throughout the book and it was obvious through her thoughts and reactions.

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The Book Love Tag

When I first saw this I was like, “Whaaat! A Book Love Tag!? I LOVE BOOKS!” but it wasn’t what I thought it was.  But it’s still cool!

Thank you Reg @ She Latitude for nominating me to do this! Rarely do I mention my book couples, so this will be a treat.

Your Favorite Book Couple.

Oh my. Oh my. I can’t lie. I KNOW I SAID SOMETHING DIFFERENT WHEN I DID THE SUNSHINE BLOGGER AWARD, BUT, my all time favorite is Hadley Sullivan and Oliver (I don’t know his last name oops!) from The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith. Gosh, I love them. I LOVE YOU GUYS.

10798416This is literally SUCH A CUTE STORY and if you haven’t read it then you SHOULD. I unfortunately can’t review it since I’ve already read it and I don’t review books I’ve already read before, but it’s amazing.

Your Top Three Book Boy/Girlfriends.

Okay:

  • Oliver from The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is in my top three.
  • Cam Cambell from How I Fall by Anne Eliot (which I did review!).
  • The Boy from The Boy with Words by C.E. Wilson (which I also reviewed). He wasn’t really a boyfriend from my perspective, but I wish he was mine.

All three of these guys were super sweet, adorable, patient, and kind and I loved reading about them. There were no “I have a dark and mysterious past that makes me give off red flags. I also punch walls and break things when I’m angry to let you know that I may be abusive later in our relationship.” issues. They were just “regular” amazing men and I love them.

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Sell Out by Tammy L. Gray (Review)

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Kindle Price: $3.99

Official Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

“Like many elite private schools, Madison High has a legacy steeped in traditions, none of which revolve around learning. Survival is simple: keep your head down, don’t say a word, and never question school royalty.

Cody James, a former victim of Madison’s vicious brand of hazing, wants nothing more than to graduate without breaking the unspoken rules that could land him back in social exile. Cody has breached the elusive inner circle, and he has no intention of losing his hard-earned security. But a beautiful new student shakes up his plan to coast by and causes him question his role as sidekick to the king of the school.

As the only daughter of rock legend Donnie Wyld, Skylar has been homeschooled her entire life. Now she wants normal, and she hopes that Madison High will offer her an escape from her father’s deteriorating health. She never intended on catching the eye of the school’s self-elected king or falling for his confusing best friend. But one look at Cody James, and she is drawn in by his guarded vulnerability.

When an average Friday night party turns into a nightmare, Cody is forced to make a decision—fight or follow. But standing up for the bullied and broken means facing a past he’s long buried and risking the future he’s worked so hard to achieve.”

My Review:

Ahhh. I really liked Sell Out. It was a delightful book that wrestled with deep issues like bullying/hazing. I’m still trying to steer away from heavy books, but Gray made it possible to understand how serious bullying is while not drowning me in depression.

I liked Cody the most. Skylar wasn’t so bad, but Cody had my heart. In this book, there is no subtle growth for Cody, if it’s in his face, it’s in your face. Gray took great care in making sure that you understood, first hand, the demons that Cody wrestled with. I loved it. There was no “I AM A MAN AND I HAVE NO FEELINGS” theme, but instead it was “I have feelings and a painful past that I try to forget.” and that’s so important. In so many books, the male character has a painful past just to spice things up or to make him seem dark and dangerous. This was not so for Cody. Cody’s painful past was raw and it broke my heart for him, but I loved seeing him overcome it. He had to listen to advice from people he trusted and from himself to tackle his problems head on and it wasn’t just because of Skylar. It was because that’s what Cody needed to progress in his life. Excellent.

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The Lake by AnnaLisa Grant (Review)

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Kindle Price: Free!

Official Rating: 1/5

Synopsis:

At 17, Layla Weston is already starting over. Having lost both her parents and grandparents, and with nowhere else to go, Layla is moving from Florida to a small town in North Carolina to live with the only family she has left: her estranged uncle and aunt.

The last five years of Layla’s life were spent appeasing her lessthan-loving grandmother, followed by being her grandfather’s caretaker. Growing old before her time, Layla lost her identity. Now she must learn how to allow herself to be the one cared for and loved.

Life takes an unexpected turn when Layla meets Will Meyer. His breathtaking good looks are enough to catch her eye, but his sincerity and passion are everything she needs to find the strength and confidence she lost — and lead her into love.

When tragedy once again strikes Layla’s life, her hope is all but completely crushed. Through it all, Layla learns what it means to truly love and be loved.”

My Review:

I have read many books in my lifetime. And I have read many books just in the (almost) year and a half that I’ve had this blog. I’ve encountered great books, awful books, mediocre books. I’ve met complex characters and simple characters…but never have I met such an awful character as Layla Weston. It isn’t just her either…this whole book was just bad.

I’ve got to talk about Layla first. I hated her. At first, I felt kinda bad. She’s had a hard life, not too many rays of sunshine came her way, but she was still pushing on. Then, it all went downhill.
Her grandparents die, which isn’t a spoiler, it’s in the synopsis. Layla goes to live with her aunt and uncle, who she calls Claire and Luke, without the “aunt” and “uncle” prefix, respectively. The reason for this wasn’t disrespectful, as Layla explains to Will, but just that it would feel weird to call them Aunt and Uncle when there’s really no real relationship among them. That wasn’t my issue. My issue with Layla is that she is the most selfish, most disgusting, most annoying character in this entire book and quite possibly in all the books I’ve read so far.

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The Boy with Words by C.E. Wilson (Review)

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Kindle Price: $4.99

Official Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:

“White Frost has only ever known the darkness. Everything outside of her closed society is The Unknown – a strange and dangerous place accessible to only a chosen few. White’s only glimpse of the world beyond comes from her beloved cousin in the form of mysterious collections of words that hint at astonishing wonders. When an accident upends her simple existence, she’s given an unlikely chance to see the truth for herself. What she finds is greater and more terrible than she could have imagined, and before long she is forced to make the most important choice of her life: does she accept her safe, limited world that she’s known or take a desperate gamble in a world not meant for her with the Boy with Words?”

My Review:

The Boy with Words wasn’t what I expected it to be. I wanted to know what the backstory behind the title was, if this was going to be some bad cheesy love story, if White was going to lead some major rebellion or not…so many questions, all of them answered.

Wilson presented our world in a new light and I love how she did it. I was gently caught off guard and pleasantly surprised with her writing ability, the characters she created, and the plot that she wove. For once, there is no huge rebellion led by a severely under-qualified cardboard cut-out heroine. For once, one teenaged girl hasn’t held all the knowledge since she was born. For once, she isn’t unbearably decisive between two love interests. Gosh, what a masterpiece this was.

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Truths and Dares by Amity Hope (Review)

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Kindle Price: $2.99

Official Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis:


~*~*~Young Adult Romance~*~*~

Somewhere in between playing in the sandbox and starting high school, Harper Monroe fell in love with her best friend. Seth Ryerson was the boy who lived next door. He was the boy who dared to give her her first kiss. He was the boy she cried over when her mother decided to uproot her from her hometown. He’s also the boy with a secret.

When Seth finds out that Harper is coming back to town halfway through their senior year, he hates that he can’t be happy about it. Because Harper is the one person who knows the truth. And as far as Seth is concerned, the truth really doesn’t set you free.”

My Review:

TRIGGER WARNING: CHILD ABUSE

WARNING: Entire review is based on a spoiler, it could not be helped.

 

It angers me, no, infuriates me to no end, when an author has the audacity to not include a trigger warning on the synopsis of their book. What I’m about to say is a spoiler, a huge one actually, because it’s the foundation of the entire book, but it’s important to expose it.

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Valley of the Moon by Bronwyn Archer (ARC Review)

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Kindle Price: $2.99

Official Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

“There’s just one semester left at the Briar School for Girls in Sonoma, CA. But it will take more than straight As for Lana Goodwin to survive . . .

***
Senior year is not going well for 17-year-old Lana Goodwin. Her father’s vintage car business is about to crash and burn, the nicest (and cutest) teacher at school was fired under a cloud of scandal, and her hot sort-of boyfriend may or may not have something big to hide.

She’s also totally over being the class pauper. It’s bad enough her dad was briefly married to the head of the board—the rich, cruel, impeccably groomed Ramona Crawford. What’s worse is going to school with her vindictive ex-stepsister, who never misses an opportunity to make her life hell. Not ever.

It also happens to be the tenth anniversary of her mother’s suicide. No one knows why Annie Goodwin jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge the day after Christmas. She didn’t leave a note. She wasn’t sick. Even Lana’s father can’t explain it. Ten years later, someone—or something—starts sending her clues about her mother’s past.

Before Lana can escape to college, she finds herself in a life-or-death race to uncover her mother’s long-buried secrets.

Can she claim her birthright before her future and her life are snatched away?

Valley of the Moon is a modern-day fairy tale with some intense themes.

A contemporary YA romantic mystery for ages 14 and up.”

My Review:

TRIGGER WARNING: Mention of rape and child abuse

 

I did not like Valley of the Moon. “But wait, Paige. You gave it 4 stars?” Yes, I did. The reason for the rating is quite simple. Even though I didn’t like it, the book still was written well.

The writing was excellent. I loved the similes Archer included like, “His face blurred, like a wet photograph smeared by a thumb…” and “The sound of her heels was like a metronome in the quiet showroom. TICK TICK TICK TICK.” Archer’s writing style is sound and keeps a steady pace. I could see the different reactions of characters and imagine the details provided as if I was watching a movie. The dialogue was great too with realistic responses that varied from character to character.

Of all the characters, I liked Lana the best. I felt that she was strong, even though life had beat her like eggs, put her in a frying pan, and then scrambled her. I didn’t agree with some of the choices she’d made, or the way she would ignore obvious issues, but she was still a good character. I can’t say I can relate to her, but I’m sure some people can.

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