Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read and review The Heartbreak Cure by Amanda Ashby! Cat is trying to move on after being humiliated by Bennet, who dated Cat as a challenge and not because he liked her. Then he told everyone about it by putting it online in the form of a YouTube video, humiliating her even more. Alex is Cat’s friend and has been for years. He’s dealing with his family problems but wants to help Cat. The two of them make an agreement to pose as girlfriend/boyfriend to soften any blow that will surely happen when school starts up again. Alex feels as though he’s hiding his true self from everyone he cares about and he’s afraid to share a secret that’s been tearing him apart since the day his mom and siblings died in a car accident years ago. Cat and Alex are realistic and lovable characters that build this story into more than just a romantic tale. The two of them, along with the dynamic and interesting side characters, make this young adult realistic fiction fun! 5 stars for the complexity and realism of the characters!
The Sweetheart Sham by Danielle Ellison. I’m immediately drawn into the story because of the lovable two main characters, best friends Will and Georgie. Georgie is protecting Will’s secret. She will do anything to help him and when an old beau returns to town, the secret and Georgie’s loyalty are challenged. I love how the author approaches Will’s secret and the different points of view in the small southern town. This realistic situation with all of the stresses and anxiety rings true. One of my favorite scenes of the book is the escape of Georgie from Beau when they run into each other in Charleston while she’s supposedly on a date with Will; classic fun! The author brings a poignant story into our hearts and gives readers food for thought with the friendship, loyalty and honesty of wonderful and complicated characters. Young adult romance worth 5 stars!
Thanks to NetGalley and Philomel Books for the opportunity to read and review Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao. Xifeng lives with and under the control of her Aunt Guma in a poverty-stricken kingdom where the king forces young women to be his concubines. Guma uses magic that makes others suspicious and cautious. She’s reading cards for Xifeng’s future and the cards state that Xifeng is going to be Empress someday. Xifeng and her boyfriend Wei leave the village for their freedom and their futures. They each discover something new about themselves and each other. This debut novel contains unique elements. The protagonist also seems to be the antagonist and as the story unfolds the theme seems to change. I’m fascinated with Xifeng and her reasoning with all of her actions as well as the beautiful relationship she has with Wei. An impressive, entertaining first novel by Julie C. Dao! 5 stars!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary consideration.
Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled: Crush for the opportunity to read and review The First Kiss Hypothesis by Christina Mandelski! Nora has a sound scientific hypothesis that she created based on her loving grandparents, their wonderful marriage and a kissing booth where they first met and kissed for the first time. Nora has a huge crush on Eli and he’s also her best friend and neighbor. She tried testing her hypothesis once on Eli but he had just taken a big gulp of soda, so it didn’t turn out well. Now she’s even more determined to prove her first kiss theory. The ups and downs of the relationship between Nora and Eli are funny, frustrating and everything in between. The story is fun, cute and romantic with entertaining secondary characters and main characters that are impossible not to root for. 5 star worthy!
I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary consideration!
The Mortician’s Daughter: One Foot in the Grave by CC Hunter- Riley lost her mother when she was four years old. She lives with her father who is a mortician. She’s been attending her new school for less than two weeks and knows only a few people. They have moved twice lately due to her father losing his jobs. Riley is worrying about whether or not he’s an alcoholic or depressed. Riley gets visits from ghosts of the people her father has helped prepare for burial. The visitors need Riley’s help and until she helps them they keep visiting. I have a soft spot for Ford Mustangs and it’s cool that Riley has a Mustang and deals with the car’s maintenance and mechanical issues with her dad. The more I read, the more I realized how complicated Riley’s life is. I don’t want to give anything away, but the story just kept getting better and better. The dynamic characters are interesting and the suspense grows in intensity and I was on the edge of my seat as the story ended! I want the sequel now!!! 5 stars for pure supernatural entertainment!
Saving Brad by Siobhan Davis is the fifth book in the Kennedy Boys series. The author brings the reader up to speed with perfection and the complex storyline continues with the characters returning to their sophomore year at Harvard. Rachel and Brad deal with their tumultuous relationship among both of their families’ problems. They realize that they’re becoming friends after they both finally let their guard down. Suspense filled storyline and dynamic characters are Siobhan Davis’ mark and make this book another highly recommended new adult read. 5 stars!
I voluntarily reviewed an advance complimentary copy of this book.
Dark breaks the dawn by Sara B. Larson is a fairytale retelling of Swan Lake. It’s Princess Evelayn’s 18th birthday and she’s gotten her full powers like she’s supposed to. They are more amazing than she expected. She is happy when her mother, Queen Ilaria, makes it home on the night of her birthday. Only too soon, her mother leaves for battle once again. When the queen is struck down in battle, the kingdom is devastated. Evelayn vows to do whatever it takes to restore peace to her people. The complex world building and character descriptions are amazing and beautiful. I love the colors of skin, hair and eyes and the endless combinations of those attributes on the people of the kingdoms. I was rooting for Evelayn and Tanvir throughout the whole book. An adventure fantasy and a fairytale retelling all in one. 5 stars!
Loving Kalvin by Siobhan Davis- Kalvin was accused of raping his girlfriend, Lana, and is scheduled for court. Eleven months later they are both attending the same college and run into each other by accident. Lana is hiding something from Kalvin and she’s reluctant to tell him about it. The story contains graphic language and graphic sexual content and fits in the new adult genre. The characters are more vulgar and arrogant than in the Kyler Kennedy books. Lana was a contradiction of confidence and lack of self esteem, so I questioned her sincerity at times. She also wavered between mature decisions and immature actions. 4 stars for this addition to the Kennedy Boys series.
I read a complimentary advance copy of this book which I have voluntarily reviewed.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of Hearts Are Like Balloons by Candace Robinson! The story begins with May in her teen years helping her mom take care of her cancer stricken father. The story continues on with May and her mother trying to deal with the loss of their loved one, after her father took his own life. They handle things differently and in their own ways but eventually they move forward with their lives, still keeping him close to their hearts. This book is about relationships, tragedy, friendship and love and is a tear-jerking read; both sad and happy tears. It’s also a soothing balm to help heal wounds and sadness. I love Hearts are like Balloons with its humor and strong characters. 5 stars for this realistic fiction, romance story!
I voluntarily read and reviewed Keeping Kyler by Siobhan Davis. Just when I thought there couldn’t be any more surprises, more pop up in this book, the third installment in The Kennedy Boys series! As the story is opening, Kyler runs in anger and doesn’t even tell Faye where he’s going. He won’t respond to her texts, frustrating and worrying her even more. This leaves Faye to deal with her own surprises without him, so they are both alone in their struggles. Kyler meets his biological father and turns away with complete disbelief and disgust. And the surprises keep coming, loaded with twists and turns. The relationship between Kyler and Faye is cute, sometimes cheesy, to the annoyance of everyone around them. They are mature for their age and I suppose it’s because of the difficult experiences they have lived through, which makes their lives anything but dull. 5 stars for this new-adult romance and mystery story!