ARC Review: Fortitude Smashed by Taylor Brooke

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Published: September 21st, 2017 by Interlude Press | Series: Camellia Clock Cycle #1 | Length: 312 pages | Genre: NA romance (with some light sci-fi elements) | Source: Received eARC from author/publisher | Content Warning: depression, panic attacks, dissociation, sexual assault – the book includes an author’s note with content warnings for specific chapters

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Summary from Goodreads:

After scientists stumbled across an anomalous human hormone present during moments of emotional intimacy, further research created the ability to harness the direction of living energy and pinpoint when two lines will merge. Personalized chips are now implanted beneath the thumbnails of every infant, where glowing numbers count down to the moment they will meet their soul mate. 

Fate is now a calculation.

But loving someone isn’t.

When Shannon Wurther, the youngest detective in Southern California, finds himself face-to-face with Aiden Maar, the reckless art thief Shannon’s precinct has been chasing for months, they are both stunned. Their Camellia Clocks have timed out, and the men are left with a choice—love one another or defy fate.

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Review: No One Needs to Know by Amanda Grace

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Published: September 8th, 2014 by Flux | Series: N/A | Length: 229 pages | Genre: YA contemporary romance | Source: Library | Possible Triggers: bullying

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Summary from Goodreads:

Sometimes, the cost of love is too steep

Olivia’s twin brother, Liam, has been her best friend her whole life. But when he starts dating, Olivia is left feeling alone, so she tries to drive away Liam’s girlfriends in an effort to get her best friend back.

But she meets her match in Zoey, Liam’s latest fling. A call-it-like-she-sees-it kind of girl, Zoey sees right through Olivia’s tricks. What starts as verbal sparring between the two changes into something different, however, as they share their deepest insecurities and learn they have a lot in common. Olivia falls for Zoey, believing her brother could never get serious with her. But when Liam confesses that he’s in love with Zoey, Olivia has to decide who deserves happiness more: her brother or herself?

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Blog Tour Review: The Truth About Happily Ever After by Karole Cozzo (+ Giveaway!)


Today is my stop on the blog tour for Karole Cozzo’s new release, The Truth About Happily Ever After. The tour kicks off today, so be sure to keep up with the rest of the posts this week!

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ARC Review: Who She Was by Stormy Smith

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Published: May 4th, 2017 by Perfect Storm Publishing (self-published) | Series: N/A | Length: 320 pages | Genre: New adult, romance, contemporary | Source: I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. | Possible Triggers: neglectful/abusive parents, domestic abuse, alcoholism, suicide (none of this happens on the page, but is mentioned)

Amazon (Available with Kindle Unlimited!) | Book Depository | B&N | Goodreads

Summary from Goodreads:

Trevor Adler loathes the music he used to love, but it’s the key to his full-ride scholarship and the ticket away from his dysfunctional parents. To kick off their freshman year, Trevor’s roommate drags him to a frat party, where he ends up face-to-face with his childhood best friend and finds himself entrenched in memories he’d rather forget.

Unable to let Charlie go again without understanding the truth of why she disappeared from his life and chose to become the type of person they always hated, Trevor is relentless in his pursuit of the girl he once knew.

Charlotte (Charlie) Logan is broken. Under her perfectly-crafted exterior are the shards of a shattered heart. A handful of angry words changed her life completely and Charlie’s never been able to forgive herself for the truth she’s hidden from everyone.

While Trevor pushes Charlie to remember the music that lit her soul and the laughter they shared, they find themselves reverting to a banter-filled rhythm that feels all too familiar, yet different now. When Trevor’s own secrets come to light, it becomes clear he and Charlie both must face their tragic pasts if they have any hope at a future together.

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Review of From Gods by Mary Ting

184626431Rating: 4/5

Published: October 7th, 2013, self-published

Length: 380 pages

Source: Received a review copy from Barclay Publicity

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Did you just see a flash of lightning across the sky on a clear sunny day?
Don’t blame Mother Nature.

Skylar Rome can’t wait to spend her last summer before college with her cousin, Kayla. Everything changes when they meet the Grand brothers. Skylar is sure she should stay away from Mason Grand, but their attraction is undeniable. Then Skylar’s life erupts into turmoil. She steps into a world where descendants of ancient gods have super powers, evil beings chase her, and questions arise about her own identity. She is running out of time and running for her life, while trying to unravel the mystery of what they want from her.

Forced into a battle set into motion long before she was born, will Skylar find the answers she seeks, or will she die trying?

I feel like I shouldn’t have liked this book as much as I did, but that doesn’t change the fact that I really, really enjoyed this. It’s definitely not a perfect book, but it was  entertaining and had enough great things about it that I didn’t care very much about the flaws.

Let me talk about the things that I didn’t like first. First of all, I think this definitely could have used a bit more revision. There weren’t many mistakes (meaning there weren’t many grammatical errors), but there were some bits that definitely could have (and should have) been improved. For example, towards the beginning of the book, there’s a part where the same conversation is repeated almost exactly:

“Mason gazed around too, but he mostly stood by the door. ‘Did they take anything?’ he asked. Skylar sniffed and wiped her tears. ‘I don’t know. I’m afraid to go upstairs.’ She turned to Kayla, who was also wiping her tears away. ‘Do you know if they took anything?’ ‘Nothing down here that I can see, but I didn’t go upstairs yet. I’m afraid to.'”

Granted, it is two different people saying that, but it’s very repetitive and I think it could have been changed to make the two conversations more distinct. There was another scene that seemed very “listy” – it came across as “these characters did this, then this, and finally did this.” Not really an error, but definitely something that could have been improved. Luckily though these are the only two sections that really stood out to me as needing improvement, so it’s not as if the whole story is written like that.

That’s all for things that really annoyed me though. There are some things that were kind of in between – they annoyed me a little bit, but I also kind of liked it. For example, Mason is your typical broody male love interest. He’s very hot and cold. He’s nice to Skylar one second, making sure she’s okay and being really sweet to her, and then the next second he’s pushing her away, telling her not to get close to him. I admit I kind of like the “broody love interest” trope so I didn’t mind much, but it did get frustrating at times.

After reading the blurb, it seems like this is your typical fantasy/paranormal story where the protagonist finds out all of a sudden that she’s special and not the boring old human she thought she was. Although this is what happens, trust me when I say it has a little bit of a twist that makes it more unique than you’d expect.

I really liked the incorporation of mythology. I thought it was interesting and was pretty unique, although I would have liked mythology to be a bit more present in the story. It seems that its only real impact on the story was to explain why people had the powers that they had. I don’t know exactly what I would have liked to see with it, but I just wish there had been more of it.

I realize this review ended up sounding pretty negative, but I have to say that I really enjoyed this immensely. I can’t pinpoint exactly what it was about this book that I loved so much. I think I liked this as much as I did simply because it was exactly the kind of book I needed at the moment. It wasn’t perfect yet I had such a hard time putting it down and I genuinely really enjoyed reading it. I will definitely be picking up the other books in the series.

Don’t let my complaints deter you from reading this! It really is a fun book that will have you feeling all kinds of things. You’ll be excited, nervous, happy – you name it. If you like paranormal, fantasy, and/or romance, please give this book a try! It’s included with Kindle Unlimited too, so if you have that you have no excuse not to give it a shot. 🙂

A big thank you to Barclay Publicity for sending me a review copy!

4 stars

Review of City Love by Susane Colasanti

51awi6qnqrl-_sx328_bo1204203200_Rating: 4/5

Release date: April 21, 2015

Length: 336  pages

Buy it on Amazon.

Source: borrowed from the library

In this first book of a captivating new series by bestselling author Susane Colasanti, three girls share a Manhattan apartment the summer before college begins. City Love captures the essence of summer love, self-discovery and sisterhood, a perfect fit for fans of Sarah Dessen, Jenny Han, and Jennifer E. Smith.

This summer will change everything for Sadie, Darcy, and Rosanna. Sadie is all about dreaming big and following her heart, hoping her soul mate is right around the corner. Darcy wants a summer of boy adventures with New York City as her playground. Rosanna is running from dark secrets of her past, desperate to reinvent herself. With no parents, no rules, and an entire city to explore, these three girls are on the verge of the best summer of their lives.

Told from alternating points of view, City Love resonates with the moments when everything is thrilling, amazing, and terrifying all at once…in a way it will never be again.

This is the first YA romance I’ve read in years. When I was in high school, I used to read them all the time. Then I read The Hunger Games and started getting into dystopian, then sci-fi and fantasy and that’s where my reading interests have stayed for the past few years. But I will be receiving an ARC of the sequel to City Love, so I of course had to read this one. And I’m very glad I did.

Sadie, Darcy, and Rosanna are three roommates about to start college and what I really liked about them is that each of them has a distinct personality and a different outlook on love. Sadie believes in soul mates and is searching to find her true love. Darcy’s heart has been broken and so she wants to avoid commitment and hook up with guys instead. Rosanna doesn’t seem to have a very strong opinion on love. She’s more along the lines of “if it happens, it happens” but at the same time, she does have a traumatic history that makes it difficult for her to open to guys. I very much enjoyed seeing how their stories unfolded with these distinct personalities/views influencing how they approach dating and love.

I thought the stories were pretty unique and didn’t really pick up on any overdone cliches, but this is also the first romance I’ve read in years, so I’m probably not the best person to trust on that.

I liked all three of the girls, but I think Rosanna was the most relatable for me. There was definitely a lot that I couldn’t relate to (for example, her traumatic history), but there was so much that I could. Her family is poor and when she moves to college, she has no choice but to pay for things herself and make her own way. While I definitely haven’t faced the same level of poverty that she has, struggling with money is something that I feel like almost everyone can relate to at least somewhat. She also struggles a bit with missing her family, which is absolutely something that I could relate to.

I, of course, enjoyed seeing each of them navigate their love lives, but I also really liked the scenes between the three of them where you get to see them getting to know each other and becoming friends. I know it’s a romance story, but I do wish we had seen even just a tiny bit more of that. I think friendship is something that tends to be sooo under-appreciated in books.

Like I mentioned, I liked seeing their love stories too. Each of their stories are unique. Sadie meets someone who she clicks with right away, Darcy tries to push her feelings aside and just stay friends, and Rosanna tries to figure out whether this guy she’s met is the right kind of person for her to be with. What I really enjoyed about these was trying to figure out if the girls’ doubts about the guys were legitimate or not and whether the guys could be trusted. I found myself going back and forth about whether or not Austin (Sadie’s boyfriend) and D (or Donovan, the guy Rosanna is dating) could be trusted. It added a little extra to the story.

The one thing that annoyed me was that Colasanti tried to make the dialogue and language sound like the characters were young college kids, but at times ended up making them sound like middle schoolers. There was a lot of “slang” (I don’t know if I can even call it that) thrown in, like “adorkable” and “dorktastic” that drove me kind of crazy. I’m 21 years old and can safely say none of my friends talk like that. None of my friends have talked like that since I was around 13. She tried to make it sound kind of quirky, but to me it was just annoying.

Other than that, I did enjoy the story. I think I kind of expected the love stories of each girl to be similar, but Colasanti did a great job of incorporating three different POVs and having each story remain quite different. There were a lot of moments where I found myself smiling at the various cute scenes between the girls and their dates. Sadie and Darcy’s stories leave off with some pretty big cliffhangers that have me desperate for Lost in Love, the sequel, to come out (it’s being released this May). If you’re a fan of YA contemporary and romance, definitely give this a shot. It’s a pretty quick read that I think people will enjoy.  And since you’ve got a couple of months until the sequel comes out, now is a great time to pick it up!

One last note: this story does mention sexual assault/child molestation so please be aware of this if you could be triggered by it!