REVIEW: It Ends With Us by, Colleen Hoover

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~ Synopsis~

Sometimes it is the one who loves you who hurts you the most.

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up – she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan – her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. when Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

With this bold and deeply personal novel, Colleen Hoover delivers a heart – wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. Combining a captivating romance with a cast of all-too-human characters, It Ends With Us is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.

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REVIEW

This book went up for pre-order and I bought it without even a synopsis, or a cover. Because that’s what Colleen Hoover is for me. She’s a one-click – doesn’t matter to me what the story is about, I’ll find out when I crack it open. I never read early reviews because I don’t want the ideas of other people to influence my read. Picking up this book I knew a few things. It was making people cry. It was being praised as Colleen Hoover’s best novel  yet – and it would break me.

Now, that’s saying a lot, considering Hopeless, Losing Hope and Maybe Someday are three of my Top Favorite Books of all time. These books matter to me – and not in the way most people think of a book, “Oh yeah I really enjoyed that.” Or “Sure, it was good.” These.Books.Matter. They’re living breathing things to me –

I didn’t even read the synopsis for this book. I stopped myself from reading anything and everything that was out there – I wanted to dive in head first and experience it all first hand – but I wasn’t prepared for the affect it would have on me. Or the fact that I literally couldn’t concentrate on anything but this story while I read it – work, husband, anniversary…. All went out the window while I lived this story. I met Lily and Ryle – on a rooftop in Boston; where their personalities leaped off the page, like only two strangers meeting for the first time can. Both of them suffering in their own way from the events of their day, ultimately bringing them to this very spot. This rooftop. This time. This conversation that will cement in their minds possibilities neither one of them really wants to admit to themselves. It was just one night. It was just one conversation. But …. it was full of naked truths.

“Fifteen seconds. That’s all it takes to completely change everything about a person. Fifteen.”

I can’t properly describe the emotions I felt reading this novel. I can’t properly describe the emotions I have at this moment writing this review. I had to step away – I had to take a few days to get my mind wrapped around this book. The words – the stages of experiences these characters have, evoked something inside me in a way I was not prepared for. I’ve been emotionally invested in Colleen’s characters in the past, but when I read It Ends With Us?  I have never experienced that level of emotional involvement – In.My.Life.

“I feel like everyone fakes who they really are, when deep down we’re all equal amounts of screwed up. Some of us are just better at hiding it than others.”

We get to experience Lily & Ryle’s relationship from the beginning – we also get a glimpse into her past and the relationship she and Atlas cultivate at an age when everything is so new and intense. Everything you experience at fifteen feels like the beginning of the best thing in your world – or the most devastating thing you ever thought could happen. There is no balance at fifteen. But Lily & Atlas’s lives aren’t necessarily ordinary – their relationship built on the misery of their day to day lives. These two share a bond you can tell, still very much affects Lily – even now in the present.

“Sometimes – not very often at all, actually – a voice will penetrate past my ears and reverberate straight down through my body.” 

It Ends With Us is told through a multitude of layers – from the very beginning. This is one of the hardest reviews I have ever written in the three years I’ve been blogging, because I don’t want to give away anything. This isn’t a second chance romance – this isn’t just a romance book – this isn’t a love triangle. This is a book that will blow your perspective away – leaving you questioning a lot of your own ideals. I felt this book on a whole other level because of my own experiences and once you read the book, you’ll understand that even more. It made me see things from a whole different perspective and I allowed myself to quit second guessing – and to quit making excuses not only for other people, but for myself.

I can’t tell you the amount of people I’ve told to read this – bought this for – talked about this story with. Colleen’s not just given us a novel – she’s given us a part of herself.

It was beautiful – it was ugly – it was funny – and it was real.

“There is no such thing as bad people. We are all just people who do bad things.”

REVIEW: I’d Know You Anywhere by, Laura Lippman

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~ Synopsis ~

Eliza Benedict cherishes her peaceful, ordinary suburban life with her successful husband and children, thirteen-year-old Iso and eight-year-old Albie. But her tranquility is shattered when she receives a letter from the last person she ever expects – or wants – to hear from: Walter Bowman. “There was your photo, in a magazine. Of course, you are old now. Still, i’d know you anywhere.”

In the summer of 1985, when she was fifteen, Eliza was kidnapped by Walter and held hostage for almost six weeks. He had killed at least one girl and Eliza always suspected he had other victims as well. Now on death row in Virginia for the rape and murder of his final victim, Walter seems to be making a heartfelt act of contrition as his execution nears.

Though Eliza wants nothing to do with him, she’s never forgotten that Walter was most unpredictable when ignored. Desperate to shelter her children from this undisclosed trauma in her past, she cautiously makes contact with Walter. She’s always wondered why Walter let her live, and perhaps now he’ll tell her – and share the truth about his other victims.

Yet as Walter presses her for more and deeper contact, it becomes clear that he is after something greater than forgiveness. He wants Eliza to remember what really happened that long-ago summer. He wants her to save his life. And Eliza, who has worked hard for her comfortable, cocooned life, will do anything to protect it — even if it means finally facing the events of that horrifying summer and the terrible truth she’s kept buried inside.

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REVIEW

I’ve been holding onto this book – in hardback no less, for probably 2 1/5 years. I grabbed it one day browsing around Powell’s bookstore in downtown Portland. I was intrigued from the synopsis, but just never got around to reading it. Until now.

I blame The Girl on the Train – I was in the mood for something similar, something with a little suspense, something with a dark plot that will leave me riveted. And I was not disappointed.

This book – though not overly complicated, weaves us through a number of stories. Eliza’s present, Elizabeth’s past – and the relationship she’s cultivated with Walter Bowman in both. Now – an adult, wife and mother she’s obviously leery of anything to do with Walter, after all she spent over a month with him when she was just fifteen years old, she knows what’s he’s capable of, but mostly she’s worried what will happen if she ignores him – even though Walter himself, and everyone involved won’t allow her to.

Eliza has managed to put everything behind her – she’s found a man who loves her, she’s built a beautiful family, the last thing she needs is any reminders of those weeks she was held captive with Walter. But even so, questions from the past come lingering – complicated questions no one should ever have to think of…. the why’s, the how-comes, and something that’s haunted Eliza this entire time…. why didn’t you kill me?

Walter – though written as a fairly simple character is anything but – and it’s frightening how unassuming his characterizations are illustrated. As if the horrible things he’s done is just something anyone would do given the situation. His rationalizations were incredibly telling – and now Eliza is forced to confront all of her past – and perhaps everyone else’s that suffered.

As the story moves between past and present Laura Lippman gives us a detailed view of how just five weeks can change the lives of people – the people you meet, the experiences you share and how those affect everyone involved. It was interesting and at times disturbing. She is brutal in her honest narration. I’d Know You Anywhere left me satisfied, yet disturbed, but only in the best possible way a book can.

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About the Author, Laura Lippman

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Laura Lippman was a reporter for twenty years, including twelve years at The (Baltimore) Sun. She began writing novels while working fulltime and published seven books about “accidental PI” Tess Monaghan before leaving daily journalism in 2001. Her work has been awarded the Edgar ®, the Anthony, the Agatha, the Shamus, the Nero Wolfe, Gumshoe and Barry awards. She also has been nominated for other prizes in the crime fiction field, including the Hammett and the Macavity. She was the first-ever recipient of the Mayor’s Prize for Literary Excellence and the first genre writer recognized as Author of the Year by the Maryland Library Association.

Ms. Lippman grew up in Baltimore and attended city schools through ninth grade. After graduating from Wilde Lake High School in Columbia, Md., Ms. Lippman attended Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Her other newspaper jobs included the Waco Tribune-Herald and the San Antonio Light.

Ms. Lippman returned to Baltimore in 1989 and has lived there since. She is the daughter of Theo Lippman Jr., a Sun editorial writer who retired in 1995 but continues to freelance for several newspapers, and Madeline Mabry Lippman, a former Baltimore City school librarian. Her sister, Susan, is a local bookseller. (via the author’s website)

REVIEW: The Girl on the Train by, Paula Hawkins

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~ Synopsis ~

A debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people’s lives.

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than god?

Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.

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REVIEW

I have been carrying this book around on my Kindle for over a year – I remember grabbing it sometime in 2015 when it hit $1.99 on Amazon …. I just never got around to reading it. But, of course, the second I watch the trailer? I couldn’t stop thinking about it until I got home and nearly devoured this story in one sitting.

Now this book has been compared to Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn so much, and honestly that’s probably one of the reasons I never got around to reading it. Gone Girl was not one of my favorites – I liked it, it was an interesting story – but it just didn’t wow me. The Girl on the Train? I wouldn’t say it was a WOW but definitely a Whoa… (does that even make sense?)

The story hooked me in pretty much from the beginning – and I could not put it down. I was up until nearly 2 am trying to finish it, before I just passed out – dreamt about it and immediately picked it back up when I woke up.

Rachel is unbelievably vulnerable, and it was that vulnerability – regardless of the reasons why…. she hooked me. That character… she is so damaged, confused and still trying to deal with the after affects of her divorce…. and everything that entails. During her daily commute she’s almost haunted by her old life as the train passes her old neighborhood…. her old house…. a house that is now filled with a life she is no longer a part of. She becomes pre-occupied with a couple she see’s from the train. Their house, on the same street as her previous home. She even names them… she recreates what their day to day lives are like. She tries to imagine the passion they share – the love that the feel for one another. Perhaps imagining the love she and her husband once shared. It’s sad… it’s utterly depressing. But it was very real. The emotions that Rachel goes through, though her actions may not be the brightest… they’re still very real. She’s fragile in the most honest way.

But when the woman she’s been watching from the train disappears – the fantasy she’s been building in her mind of this woman, and her husband? Comes crashing down…. all around her and the fantasy doesn’t seem to be enough anymore.

Rachel dives in head first into this story – into these lives. At times you may even wonder if any of it was real or if it’s all in her head? There is nothing more curious than an unreliable narrator; and that is the purest definition of Rachel.

I went into this story with a very open mind – knowing it was a psychological thriller. What I wasn’t prepared for was the mind-fuck it would lead me through and now I can’t even explain it properly without ruining the entire story. Arg! Even my husband wouldn’t let me spoil it for him because he liked the looks of the trailer!

The Girl on the Train is a great suspenseful read – the perspectives it gives are eye opening and at times jaw dropping.

Check it out!

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About the Author, Paula Hawkins

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Paula Hawkins worked as a journalist for fifteen years before turning her hand to fiction. She lives in London. The Girl on the Train is her first thriller. (via the author’s website)

5+ REVIEW: F*ck Love by, Tarryn Fisher

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~ Synopsis ~

Helena Conway has fallen in love.
Unwillingly.
Unwittingly.

But not unprovoked. Kit Isley is everything she’s not—unstructured, untethered, and not even a little bit careful.
It could all be so beautiful…if he wasn’t dating her best friend. Helena must defy her heart, do the right thing, and think of others.
Until she doesn’t.
***
REVIEW
F*ck Love was my first full read of 2016 and what a way to start the new year. This story is very different from Fisher’s other stories, if you’re familiar with her work? Than you know the woman loves a good mind f*ck. And just a few pages in, I was snuggled in and awaiting the inevitable WTF to come…. it did….. and then it didn’t. This story isn’t cut and dry, that’s not her style, but it’s definitely different.
The mood of the story was very fitting for a NYE read, because it’s all about what if’s and what now’s which is the exact thing you’re thinking about as the new year is ringing in and the idea of a fresh start is upon everyone. New hopes of losing weight, finding the one, and saving more money – these aren’t the goals of Helena, but the feeling is there. The feeling you get when you graduate college and are simply meant to adult now – which is udder bullshit. Coming to terms with feelings for someone you probably shouldn’t – like your best friends boyfriend. And this is where Kit comes into the picture.
Helena is in a relationship, but after an experience she can’t quite wrap her head around, she is obsessed with the idea that her life should take another direction – a direction that may or may not involve Kit, depending on how good of a friend she wants to be to Della, her best friends, and Kit’s girlfriend. Not to mention she’s in a relationship herself – with Neil. This could get a little confusing, but the general feeling throughout the book was Helena is lost – not just in her relationships, but simply just lost. Not knowing what to do with herself, having a hard time realizing she should use the accounting degree she worked so hard for, yet she’s secretly cultivating her artistic side.
Tarryn Fisher has this amazing ability of creating characters you’re not sure if you’re suppose to love or hate. Helena, Della, Kit and Neil all fell into this category – and your feelings about them will evolve throughout the story.
I adored this book – read it in nearly one sitting. It maybe different from Fisher’s other stories, but her sense of humor is there – her complex characters are there, and that feeling you get when you read a really amazing book so fast because you’re desperate to find out what happens next? It’s all there – and then some.
***
About the Author, Tarryn Fisher
Tarryn Fisher is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of five novels, and is currently working on two more (Marrow and the second installment of Never Never). She is the co-founder of Clothed Caption, a fashion blog she runs with her friend, Madison Seidler. Tarryn resides in the Seattle area with her family. She loves rainy days, Coke, and thinks Instagram is the new Facebook.  Tarryn is represented by Amy Tannenbaum of the Jane Rotrosen Agency. (via the author’s website)

TOP TEN FAVORITE READS of 2015!!

It is that time a year again – my 2015 favorite reads. 

A few of these may be older books – not released in 2015, but my favorite reads of the year non the less. AND yes, I added multiples from my favorite authors – because sometimes, you can’t pick just one!

#10

Undeniably Chosen (Significance #5) by Shelly Crane

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5++++ REVIEW…………. HERE

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~ Synopsis ~

Ava has watched her parents, Caleb and Maggie live the perfect fairy tale, the perfect love story, played out in front of her eyes her entire life. Her family is love, life and happiness. The Jacobsons are everything a family should be and Ava is loved and well taken care of. But the one thing that’s missing from her life is the one thing she’s waited for every day, the one thing her kind knows will make them complete, the one thing they thought was gone and lost forever; her significant.

Seth has lived with the Watsons his entire life. They’re the only family he knows, but he knows that there are things they keep from him. He knows that they lie and they do unspeakable evil, things from when he was a child that he can barely remember that cling to the edges of his memory. He barely remembers his real mother and all he knows is what he’s told. He doesn’t know what to trust. He wants to believe that the Watsons love and care for him, have his best interests at heart, but he isn’t so sure of that anymore when he finally – after a lifetime of waiting for her – meets his soulmate, and the Watson’s first act is to try to take her away from him.

The Virtuoso worlds collide, hearts are exposed, humans are endangered and the lives of Seth and Ava are changed forever. They’ll have to love without judgement or reservation, they’ll have to be wise and accepting beyond their years, they’ll have to forgive for things before they’ve even happened, they’ll have to trust without seeing, have faith without knowing and they’ll have to light their own way int he dark when everyone else is blind to show them the way. And more than anything…. they’ll fight like hell to keep each other.

~

It felt like I was waiting a VERY long time for this book – after everything that Maggie and Caleb went through in the Significance Series – to be able to see what they’re up to now was awesome, and to see their daughter Ava go through the chaos with Seth was very reminiscent of the first four books – I can’t wait to see what happens next!

#9

Gus (Bright Side #2) by, Kim Holden

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5+++ REVIEW …………….. HERE

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~ Synopsis ~

The journey that began in top-rated, best-selling Bright Side, continues …

This is the story of Gus.
Losing himself.
Finding himself.
And healing along the way.

“ … but the honest-to-God truth is I don’t even know how to function anymore. Bright Side wasn’t only my best friend; she was like my other half … the other half of my brain, the other half of my conscience, the other half of my sense of humor, the other half of my creativity, the other half of my heart. How do you go back to doing what you did before, when half of you is gone forever?”

~

Gus….. good God. This book gutted me. I started at a point this year where I was suffering from one of my worst reading slumps. I had to stop and pick it back up when I could appreciate it. And i’m so glad I did. Apparently I needed a vacation and while I was running around Wales this summer with my husband I picked Gus back up and couldn’t put it down until I was finished with it. It reminded me of how much I missed Kate, and how much I loved Bright Side. 

#8

Fangirl & Eleanor & Park by, Rainbow Rowell

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5+++ REVIEW of Fangirl ………. HERE

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~ Synopsis ~

From the author of the New York Times bestseller Eleanor & Park.

A coming-of-age take of fan fiction, family and first love.

Cath is a Simon Snow Fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan.

But for Cath, being a fan is her life – and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Reading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t leg go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words…. And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?
And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

5++++ REVIEW of Eleanor & Park …….. HERE

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~ Synopsis ~

Bono met his wife in high school, Park says.
So did Jerry Lee Lewis, Eleanor answers.
I’m not kidding, he says.
You should be, she says, we’re 16.
What about Romeo and Juliet?
Shallow, confused, then dead.
I love you, Park says.
Wherefore art thou, Eleanor answers.
I’m not kidding, he says.
You should be.

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love—and just how hard it pulled you under.

~

These two books blew me away this year and I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve re-read them via Audible. Fangirl – Cather…. everything about this story was sweet and beautiful. Eleanor & Park, everything everyone says about it is true. It will remind you what it was like to connect with someone at an age where you don’t think anyone could possibly understand you. The music is pretty bad ass to boot!

Obviously both of these books weren’t published in 2015 – but they were new to me this year. 

#7

The Original Sinners Series , by Tiffany Reisz

Tiffany Reisz - The Red Years

Tiffany Reisz - The White Years

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You can check out my reviews here: The Siren | The Angel | The Prince | The Mistress  (more reviews to come!)

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I have been living in a perpetual state of Tiffany Reisz for many months now – how I’ve not picked these books up until now is beyond me. I grabbed a few paperbacks sifting through thrift stores in Wales and the second I picked up The Siren – not even 1/4 through the book I was downloading book 2 and 4 onto my Kindle. The one thing I can be thankful for is that all books were released by the time I picked up the first. Because this woman LOVES  a cliffhanger – 

These books – these characters – these stories are so intertwined through each book, I was mesmerized by them. I still refer to them as real people when I try to explain the stories to friends. Because they were – and still are very real to me. I feel for them – I feel their pain, their love…. all of it. 

#6

Beautiful Bastard Series & The Wild Seasons Series, by Christina Lauren

Christina Lauren

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You can read my reviews here  – Beautiful Beloved (Beautiful Bastard #3.6) | Beautiful Secret (Beautiful Bastard #4) | Dark Wild Night (Wild Seasons #3)

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There will never be a favorites list that doesn’t include Christina Lauren for me – they’re to of my absolute favorites. Their stories and characters are both sexy and hilarious. Their sense of humor is fantastic – the banter, the sex – everything. Beautiful Beloved we got to see a peek at Sara & Max and their family life now – and dredge deeper into Max’s brother’s life….. Niall Stella in Beautiful Secret. Move over Max, Niall just kicked you out of my favorite brit spot. Good god.

And as much as I loved the two new installments in their Beautiful Bastard series – I was sooooo excited for Lola & Oliver’s story and they did NOT disappoint!

#5

2015 Novels by Alessandra Torre

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You can check out my reviews here: Do Not Disturb (Deanna Madden #2) | Tight | Hollywood Dirt | If You Dare (Deanna Madden #3)

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2015 was a fantastic year for Alessandra Torre and an even better year for her readers as we got not one but FOUR books from her! This year she took a darker turn with the continuation of her Deanna Madden series, and then she brought us something different with Tight and Hollywood Dirt. Tight being something dark and sinister – and Hollywood Dirt a more contemporary story for her. All four books I loved equally for different reasons and there was no way I couldn’t add all of them. 

I make these lists this way, otherwise it would be nothing but Alessandra Torre and CD Reiss

#4

CLEAR: A Death Trippers Novel by, Jessica Park

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5 Star REVIEW………. HERE

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~ Synopsis ~

CLEAR: A Death Trippers Novel

Stella Ford’s grasp on reality is already loose, and it’s about to come undone.

When the college junior flees Chicago and leaves her toxic family behind, she heads to coastal Maine to find the one person who brought her peace years ago: Sam Bishop. But the Sam she once knew now has painful secrets.

Stella is determined to heal them both. Healing, however, is a challenge when the walls of her everyday existence collapse. And when Sam’s best friend is his worst enemy.

When the lines between life and death blurs.

When and end is just a beginning.

When lust and rage rule.

Yet during extraordinary chaos, there can be extraordinary love, even if that love comes with a twist.

Welcome to death tripping.

A triller, a paranormal, and a passionate romance, CLEAR crosses genres and breaks boundaries.

~

Clear is STILL one of the most original stories I’ve read in the last three or four years. It’s everything like the synopsis says – a thriller…. a paranormal and a passionate romance. But above all else, you get that biting narration of Jessica Park – an author that writes a story for you to live in. Not just read – but really live in while you’re experiencing it. And Clear did just that – I felt every single thing about it – the relationships between Stella, Sam and Costa? Do yourself a favor and pick this gem up – if you’re not into paranormal novels? You’re in luck – because this is not your average paranormal. It’s a story unlike anything you’ve read before and you will not be disappointed. 

#3

The ending of her Cocktail Series & The Beginning of her Hudson Valley Series – Alice Clayton

Alice Clayton

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5++++ Star REVIEWS:  Last Call (Cocktail #4.5) | Nuts (Hudson Valley #1)

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Anyone whose read my blog knows I’m a lover of all things Alice Clayton. Last Call – the ending to her Cocktail Series was bittersweet – bitter because it was the end, and sweet because it was the best possible ending of a series I’ve ever read. When I heard she was writing a new series called Hudson Valley? Of course I was on board – but I had no idea how fast and hard I’d fall for her new characters.

Roxie and Leo are not Caroline and Simon – they’re the best kind of humor all on their own – a totally different world and new characters I can’t WAIT to meet!

#2

The Bellator Saga by, Cecilia London

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5+++ REVIEWS: Dissident (Bellator Saga 1) | Conscience (Bellator Saga #2) | Sojourn (Bellator Saga 3)

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The Bellator Saga by Cecilia London has been one of my favorite series of 2915 and looks to be one of my favorites to continue on into 2016 with her upcoming release of Phoenix. This is a series is raw – thrilling and leaves you reading as fast as you can to see what’s going to happen next. A drama – a political thriller and yes, a romance. Caroline and Jack will suck you in and leave you desperate to find out what happens next. 

The characters are three dimensional, the humor – the depth – the feelings…. oh Jesus, the range of emotions Cecilia London has put me through in just the first three books? I’ve cursed her, I’ve laughed at the inside jokes and I’ve shed more tears than I thought possible. This is a six part series and I’m desperate to find out what happens next!

#1

2015 Novels by C.D. Reiss

CD Reiss

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5+++ REVIEWS: Coda (Songs of Submission #9) | Shuttergirl | Rule (Songs of Corruption #3) | Forbidden (Songs of Perdition #3)

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 What an I say? CD Reiss blew me away this year in so many ways. She gave me an ending to three very different stories. Jonathan & Monica, Fiona and of course, Antonio and Theresa. But, she also gave us a new story – something very different from her Drazen family – Shuttergirl, a contemporary romance that hooked it’s fingers in and didn’t let go until the very end. There was no way in hell I could have made a decision on which of these books to pick as number one – although, Fiona has always been my favorite – and the last and final book in the series probably one of the most brutal yet beautiful stories I’ve read all year, there was no way for me to pick just one. I loved them all – all of these stories have stayed with me and will continue to. 

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Here’s to 2016 and the stories to be told!

ARC REVIEW: Are You Still There by, Sarah Lynn Scheerger

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~ Synopsis ~

After her high school is rocked by an anonymous bomb threat, “perfect student” Gabriella Mallory is recruited to work on a secret crisis helpline that may help uncover the would-be bomber’s identity.

Gabriella Mallory, AP Student and perfect-daughter-in-training, stands barefoot on a public toilet for three hours while her school is on lock-down. Someone has planted a bomb and she is hiding. The bomb is defused but the would-be-bomber is still at large. And everyone at Central High School is a suspect. The school starts a top-secret crisis help line and Gabi is invited to join. When she does, she is drawn into a suspenseful game of cat and mouse with the bomber, who has unfinished business. He leaves threatening notes on campus. He makes threatening calls to the help line. And then he begins targeting Gabi directly. Is it because her father is the lead police detective on the case? Is the bomber one of her new friends? Could it be her new boyfriend with his complicated past? As the story unfolds, Gabi knows she is somehow connected to the bomber. Even worse she is part of his plan. Can Gabi reach out and stop him? Or will she be too late?

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REVIEW

I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Are You Still There is a young adult novel about Gabi’s experience through a lock-down of her high school – and the affects it has on the student body as a whole. It’s a horrific experience, and one we see in too many headlines in the news these days. But reading it from Gabi’s first person perspective, while hiding in a bathroom stall – feet on the toilet, hoping she can’t be seen in case the assailant comes in… the sheer panic as she hears footsteps down the hallway…. the fear when the door to the girls bathroom opens and she knows this is it. Luckily – it wasn’t.

But this is just the beginning.

What turns into one of the most scariest experiences of Gabi’s life – turns even sinister as the would-be-bomber starts leaving creepy little clues for Gabi. And like the synopsis says… she has no idea who the bomber is, or why he’s targeting her, but it turns into a very cryptic cat-and-mouse chase for Gabi to figure out who it is, before they have a chance to do something else.

As kids are picked for a secret crisis-line, Gabi starts breaking out of her perfect-student-daughter shell. She’s hanging out with new friends, even meeting boys for the first time in her high school existence. She’s actually taking herself out of the norm and putting herself out there and that’s very brave for a girl her age. Because nothing is more scary when you’re in high school than diverting from your norm. And I loved Gabi for that – she has guts.

I was going through a YA phase when I received this book and it did not disappoint. It’s not the usual theme of YA I’m used too and it was a definitely a great change of pace. There is suspense without being graphic, the story gave me the chills more than once and left me more than a few times with the heebeegeebees (yes that’s a word.)

But it’s not just suspense, behind this cat-and-mouse chase to find out whose responsible for the failed-bombing, and cryptic messages left for Gabi, it’s also about a girl whose finding herself for the first time – letting loose and allowing herself to have a life outside of her studies and volunteer work. To say Gabi is the perfect child is an understatement – and she deserves to enjoy what time she has left in high school before she gets swallowed up into college and adult life.

There are a lot of stories going on throughout this story – from Gabi’s POV and from the would-be-bomber. It’s scary to see things from that perspective and very emotional. To read the pain they’re experiencing…. and hoping someone will notice? It will definitely make you think… and feel.

Check it out!

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About the Author, Sarah Lynn Scheerger

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Sarah lives in Ventura County, California, with her husband and children. She loves cheese pizza and anything that combines chocolate and peanut butter. She still keeps a pair of tap shoes tucked away—just in case. (via the author’s website)

5+++++REVIEW: November 9 by, Colleen Hoover

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~ Synopsis ~

Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day of her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.

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REVIEW

And if you haven’t heard yet? Griffin Peterson wrote a song… EEK! Grab it go! go! GO!

November 9, Griffin Peterson – iTunes

There are very few books out there like November 9. Colleen Hoover has an incredible ability when it comes to creating characters. They’re flawed – they’re real – and sometimes she creates a world for them that will have you laughing and unbearably sobbing. We knows this. It’s her M.O. as an author.

Not since Maybe Someday have I been hit so hard in the feels. And I mean HARD!

I started this book – and did not leave the same spot until I read the very last sentence.

Fallon is leaving Los Angeles – heading to NYC to pursue her dream of acting. She’s 18. During a good-bye lunch with her father she meets Ben. Their meeting is not one you will easily forget, and is definitely not your typical boy-meets-girl scenario. But then Hoover isn’t really known for creating a story that’s already been told is she?

These characters…. Ben & Fallon…. there is soooooo much to say. So much in fact I’ve had to step back and really let this story sink in. I suffered one of the worlds BEST book-hangovers after this story. I didn’t think anything could really hit me as hard as Losing Hope did, or fill me full of those fuzzy feelings I like to not admit I feel like Maybe Someday. Basically I didn’t think Colleen Hoover could wow me like she did with those other stories – make me feel so hard for fictional characters like I did with Sky & Holder or Sydney & Ridge. But Ben & Fallon? Jesus – to say she wrote an amazing story isn’t worthy praise. The words aren’t there for me to even properly describe the feelings I had reading this book.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. Going into a Colleen Hoover book you should be prepared for the following things:

1) You will laugh.

2) You will cry.

3) You will beg and plead for more.

I felt all of those things and so much more.

To take a story about two people who are flawed like we all are – and create such an interesting time line of events. Their lives existing completely outside of November 9th, but the culmination of the time spent apart and how it affects the one day they get to spend together? You can imagine the angst that’s associated. Because no matter how much Ben & Fallon hit it off right from the start, Fallon is still moving to NYC – she’s still going to be living on the opposite side of the country from Ben, and she knows that if they start in contact? Her life will not be her own. She’ll be too pre-occupied with calls, texts, FaceTime and everything about Ben that she won’t be able to focus on her life – like she should be.

It takes guts to admit that – and even more guts to follow through with it. I’ve been in that situation and reading this book made me wish I’d listened to my mother…. (shouldn’t we always?)

Ben & Fallon agree to meet up every year on November 9th until they’re 23. Five years …

Ben promises the novel about their adventures – their lives – their love.

Fallon promises to do everything Ben asks of her while they are apart. To get laughed at at least once a week, to date, to kiss boys, to live in NYC. To find herself and her confidence and run with it.

But life happens – sometimes it’s not pretty and sometimes it’s down right heartbreaking. Other times it’s some of the funniest stuff I’ve read this year. I giggled a lot through this book, I laughed out loud more. I cried like a fucking baby, and yes I did not leave my reading chair until I finished it from beginning to end. Because a story like this hooks it’s claws into you and doesn’t let go until the very end.

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About the Author, Colleen Hoover

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Goodreads

#1 NYT’s Bestselling author of books that make you fee good. And bad. But mostly good. And who loves Diet Pepsi more than all of the things. I also have kids and family and stuff like that.

Founder of The Bookworm Box. (via the author’s website)