The Problem with Forever by Jennifer Armentrout | Broke my Heart and Mended it in +400 Pages

The Problem with Forever by Jennifer Armentrout | Broke my Heart and Mended it in +400 Pages

The Problem with Forever by Jennifer Armentrout | Broke my Heart and Mended it in +400 PagesThe Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published by Harlequin Teen on May 17th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Love & Romance
Pages: 474
Format: Hardcover
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five-stars

For some people, silence is a weapon. For Mallory “Mouse” Dodge, it’s a shield. Growing up, she learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime.

Now, after years of homeschooling with loving adoptive parents, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at public high school. But of all the terrifying and exhilarating scenarios she’s imagined, there’s one she never dreamed of—that she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.

It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet the deeper their bond grows, the more it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with the lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory faces a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants, and the truths that need to be heard.

As anything that Jennifer Armentrout writes is pretty much on my auto-buy list and so The Problem with Forever too found its way to my home. It pretty much inevitable that my Read-Everything-By-Jennifer-Armentrout-Obsession struck again… And boy, what a book! The Problem with Forever definitely won me over (as pretty much every book has done before). It was powerful and moving, and it broke my heart and mended it all within +400 pages.

Mallory was a complex character, sometimes her story was incredibly hard to read, but at the same time she’s relatable and tries so hard that you will root for her every step of the way as she tried to put her past behind her and overcome her fears.  Her character grows SO MUCH throughout the story and has so much depth, it is on of the aspects of the story that made this book shine from beginning to end.

Then there is Rider Stark, who has the whole kinda-bad-boy-with-a-heart-of-gold going on. Rider and Mallory have so much history together and so much chemistry that all the feels and the sparks just fly right off the pages. He’s artistic and kinda (read: a lot) damaged, which is hardly surprising considering the past they share. Again, so much depth and complexity to his character. I dare you to not fall in love with his character (I’m betting you can’t).

The supporting characters were just as good as the main characters: Mallory’s adoptive parents, Rider’s foster family, Mallory’s best friend! Characters usually make or break for me, and The Problem of Forever is a perfect example of how they can make a book unforgettable. That, and the writing, because, as always, Jennifer Armentrout’s writing was beautiful and on point!

The Problem with Forever is an emotional and inspiring book that will break your heart and mend it again. It’s a beautiful story about what it means to be brave and moving past the difficulties of what is in one’s past. It has wonderfully complex characters with tons of depth that you can’t help but root for along the entire way!

five-stars
Grit by Gillian French | Beautiful Writing, Poor Plot

Grit by Gillian French | Beautiful Writing, Poor Plot

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Grit by Gillian French | Beautiful Writing, Poor PlotGrit by Gillian French
Published by HarperTeen on May 16th 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
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two-half-stars

"His presence beside me is like heat, like weight, something I’ve carried around on my back too long"
Raw and moving, this contemporary realistic debut novel will leave readers of E. Lockhart and Gayle Forman breathless as it unflinchingly unfolds the tragic secrets being kept in a small, deceptively idyllic Maine town.

Seventeen-year-old Darcy Prentiss has long held the title of “town slut.” She knows how to have a good time, sure, but she isn’t doing anything all the guys haven’t done. But when you’re a girl with a reputation, every little thing that happens seems to keep people whispering—especially when your ex-best friend goes missing.

But if anyone were to look closer at Darcy, they’d realize there’s a lot more going on beneath the surface. Staying out late, hooking up, and telling lies is what Darcy does to forget. Forget about the mysterious disappearance of her friend. Forget about the dark secret she and her cousin Nell share. Forget about that hazy Fourth of July night. So when someone in town anonymously nominates Darcy to be in the running for Bay Festival Princess—a cruel act only someone with a score to settle would make—all of the things that Darcy wants to keep hidden threaten to erupt in ways she wasn’t prepared to handle…and isn’t sure if she can.

As the title of this post might give away, Grit wasn’t quite what I expected it to be. When I read the synopsis for the first time I expected a mystery or something thriller-ish, and that wasn’t quite what I got. The story was mostly concerned with Darcy, the main character, and the obstacles she has to overcome in the course of the story. Which is fine, just a slight adjustment of expectations, if it wasn’t for the messy plot the first third of the book.

The first third of Grit I felt like tons of things happen, but it doesn’t go anywhere at all. Despite the great writing, beautiful writing even, the first part just fell completely flat for me. This is such a shame because I think it would have been perfect if the plot had been cleaned up a bit. Between the job, the family, the mystery of the Fourth of July night, the pageant, and the budding romance there’s just too much going on to really enjoy the story. The plot felt too busy. All these different aspects just didn’t seem to click for me. I think the story could’ve done without the pageant bit, and instead delve deeper into some other aspects of the plot.

As for the protagonist, Darcy, I really enjoyed the dynamic she had going on with her sister and cousin. I appreciated how important family was to her, and I think she showed a lot of strength and determination with all that’s going on. But (yes there’s a but, I’m sorry) sometimes I just couldn’t connect with her. I felt bad for her because she didn’t deserve all the shit thrown her way just because of something she did in sophomore year (that circulated), but I found myself liking her less and less near the end of the book.

The writing saved this book for me. Gillian French knows how to use similes to her advantage, that’s for sure, and I liked how she portrayed the people inside the town. The second third of the book was done very well, especially the edge between Shea and Darcy. That edge combined with the sisterly love throughout the story made the story more or less enjoyable for me.

I did not know what to do with that ending. It didn’t work for me. I felt like it wasn’t in line with the rest of the story.

I really hate to say it, since I was really really excited about the premise of the book, but Grit was a bit of a disappointment to me. The plot was divided and just too much. I think a bit of cleaning up could turn this book from ‘okay’ possibly into something really good. The writing, the tension, and the sisterly love saved the story in my opinion, and for now, I’ll settle with saying that Grit was an ‘okay’ read.

 

 

 

two-half-stars

Fireworks by Katie Cotugno | Review

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Fireworks by Katie Cotugno | ReviewFireworks by Katie Cotugno
Published by Balzer & Bray on April 18th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Love & Romance
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
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four-stars

From Katie Cotugno, bestselling author of 99 Days, comes Fireworks—about a girl who is competing with her best friend to become the new pop star of the moment—and all the drama and romance that comes with it—set in Orlando during the late-'90s boy-and-girl-band craze.

It was always meant to be Olivia. She was the talented one, the one who had been training to be a star her whole life. Her best friend, Dana, was the level-headed one, always on the sidelines, cheering her best friend along.

But everything changes when Dana tags along with Olivia to Orlando for the weekend, where superproducer Guy Monroe is holding auditions for a new singing group, and Dana is discovered too. Dana, who’s never sung more than Olivia’s backup. Dana, who wasn’t even looking for fame. Next thing she knows, she and Olivia are training to be pop stars, and Dana is falling for Alex, the earnest, endlessly talented boy who’s destined to be the next big thing.

It should be a dream come true, but as the days of grueling practice and constant competition take their toll, things between Olivia and Dana start to shift . . . and there’s only room at the top for one girl. For Olivia, it’s her chance at her dream. For Dana, it’s a chance to escape a future that seems to be closing in on her. And for these lifelong best friends, it’s the adventure of a lifetime—if they can make it through.

Set in evocative 1990s Orlando, New York Times bestselling author Katie Cotugno’s Fireworks brings to life the complexity of friendship, the excitement of first love, and the feeling of being on the verge of greatness.

Fireworks was and wasn’t what I was expecting. Cryptic sentence to open with, I know, but bear with me. Sometimes you just don’t know if the book you’re reading is going to knock your socks off or turn out not to be your thing at all, and such was the case with Fireworks.

So I’m talking about not knowing what I was going to get, but also that this book was and wasn’t what I expected it to be… That’s confusing. Let me break it down for you. What did I expect? I expected clichés. I mean, being discovered as a pop star, fame, a love interest that is destined to be the next big thing, it all screamed cliché to me. Not just cliché, but cliché in a big, bold, flashing neon sign kinda way. And I gotta admit those clichés were present in Fireworks. What didn’t I expect? For Katie Cotugno to work them so flawlessly into the story that I didn’t mind them at all. They were there, but they weren’t the most important aspects of the story.

Friendship and self-discovery were two of the most important aspects in Fireworks. I loved the protagonist, Dana. She was the kind of friend, had the kind of loyalty to her friends, that you can only admire and respect. Especially because as the story progressed it became clearer and clearer that her best friend, Olivia, was holding her back. Dana had to figure out for herself what she wanted to do with her life and she underwent a big transformation throughout the story.

If anything made Fireworks for me, combined with all things I mentioned before, it was that ending. I love how Katie Cotugno blew away all my preconceived notions of how I expected Fireworks to end in a cliché. That ending was anything but cliché and it was the cherry on top of a very enjoyable story.

If you’re looking for a fun and enjoyable contemporary read with a solid message attached, Fireworks is the answer. It’s a very well-written story with a sweet romance that you won’t be able to resist!

four-stars

Rock Chick Reawakening by Kristen Ashley | Book Review

Rock Chick Reawakening by Kristen Ashley | Book ReviewRock Chick Reawakening by Kristen Ashley
Series: Rock Chick #0.5
Published by Self Published on January 3rd 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Love & Romance
Pages: 120
Format: Ebook
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four-stars

From New York Times bestselling author, Kristen Ashley, comes the long-awaited story of Daisy and Marcus, Rock Chick Reawakening. A prequel to Kristen’s Rock Chick series, Rock Chick Reawakening shares the tale of the devastating event that nearly broke Daisy, an event that set Marcus Sloane—one of Denver’s most respected businessmen and one of the Denver underground’s most feared crime bosses—into finally making his move to win the heart of the woman who stole his.

What I thought

Rock Chick Reawakening was a treat! I have been a fan of the Rock Chick books since I discovered Kristen Ashley two years ago (I am so damn late to the party it isn’t even funny) and fell in love with her sassy writing style. Yes, the formula for all of the books in the series is pretty much the same, but sometimes you just need to read a story that will make you believe that fairytales do exist, and the Rock Chick books are just that type of story.

If you’ve read the other books in the Rock Chick series then you’ll be familiar with Daisy. You’ll know she got her happily ever after, after some not so fun times. However, the other books never really went into detail about what those ‘not so fun times’ were, I mean we all had a pretty solid idea of what happened to her, but Rock Chick Reawakening tells the story of Daisy before she met Marcus.

My heart bled for her, as much as my heart bled throughout Sadie’s story. Her story was incredibly hard to take, but what I loved about Rock Chick Reawakening is that, yes it deals with something horrible, but more than anything it focusses on healing. The heavy didn’t overpower the story, it stays a fun and light read regardless of some of the heavy themes. As any of Kristen Ashley’s Rock Chick stories, it focusses on love and healing, and boy did she do a good job, again.

Marcus, on paper, is a bad guy, but it is hard to see him as JUST a bad guy. And although his actions can be bad, he did do a lot of good as well, and it was obvious how much he loved Daisy. As every Kristen Ashley book preaches: not everything is black and white, there’s gray in the middle too.

I loved Rock Chick Reawakening, it was a treat from beginning to end. I teared up, I laughed (believe me, laughing is a given with any book Kristen Ashley has written), and I blushed my way through this book. It was a true rock chick book, with a true rock chick ending.

Final verdict IRISJEXX!For every fan of Kristen Ashley’s writing, Rock Chick Reawakening will be a treat. Daisy and Marcus’s story make for a wonderful addition to the rest of the books and you’ll love learning about how their romance came to be. If you’re looking for a fun and touching story that packs a punch, don’t look any further.

 

four-stars

By Your Side by Kasie West | Book Review

By Your Side by Kasie West | Book ReviewBy Your Side by Kasie West
Published by HarperTeen on January 31st 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Love & Romance
Pages: 346
Format: Ebook
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four-half-stars

In this irresistible story, Kasie West explores the timeless question of what to do when you fall for the person you least expect. Witty and romantic, this paperback original from a fan favorite is perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson.

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

What I thoughtBy Your Side is pure sweetness! Kasie West has once again written an outstanding and magical love story! I do have to admit that I was a bit skeptic at first. Going into this story I expected it to be a tad surrealistic, because how on earth would NO ONE realize that someone (beloved daughter, best friend, whatever) was missing. The whole concept just seemed a little surreal to me. BUT: I should have known not to worry because we’re talking about Kasie West here: queen of contemporary writing!

By Your Side starts off incredibly cute (and a bit of a cliché): boy and girl get trapped in a library for three days in the middle of winter. Initially, they don’t really want anything to do with each other, but then, unavoidably, feelings slowly start blooming between them. And that’s where the cliche’s end. Which, obviously, I am not going to tell you anything about because I don’t want to spoil anything for you.

I loved the slowly blooming romance between the two and you can’t help but root for them along the way. Kasie West takes it slow and it gives Autumn and Dax a chance to fall in love with each other beyond the physical attraction. There’s fluff, there’s adorableness, there are moments to swoon at. Totally loved Autumn and Dax together.

Now the big question: does By Your Side go beyond the romance? Does it have depth? I am so glad you asked: YES, It does! Autumn suffers from anxiety attacks and Kasie West has tackled this disorder so well, while still sticking to the light and fluffy feeling that you expect from any contemporary read. I won’t share too much about Dax because I think telling you too much will become spoiler-y. I promise you though that his character has plenty of depth as well. Final verdict IRISJEXX!

By Your Side is a fluffy read with a deeper underlying meaning to it. Highly recommend this read to anyone that wants a cute and fluffy read, but wants a little something ‘more’ added to the story.

four-half-stars

Fire in You by Jennifer Armentrout | Book Review

Fire in You by Jennifer Armentrout | Book ReviewFire in You by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: Wait for You #6
Published by Self Published on November 28th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Love & Romance
Pages: 360
Format: Ebook
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five-stars

From the # 1 New York Times and International bestselling author, Jennifer L. Armentrout writing as J.Lynn, comes a richly moving story about heartbreak and guilt, second chances and hope. Full of familiar, fan-favorite characters and no two people more deserving of a happy ending, Fire In You will burn bright beyond the last page…

Jillian Lima’s whole world was destroyed in a span of a few hours. The same night her childhood love, Brock ‘the Beast’ Mitchell, broke her heart, her life was irrevocably altered by the hand of a stranger with a gun. It takes six years to slowly glue together the shattered pieces of her life, but Jillian is finally ready to stop existing in a past full of pain and regret. She takes a job at her father’s martial arts Academy and she’s going out on her first date since a failed relationship that was more yuck than yum. Jillian is determined to start living.

She just never expected Brock to be a part of her life again. But he’s firmly back in her life before she knows it, and not only is he older, he’s impossibly more handsome, more teasing and more everything. And when he sees Jillian, he’s no longer capable of thinking of her as the little girl who was his shadow growing up or the daughter of the man who gave him a second chance at life. He sees the woman who’d always been there for him, the one person who believed in him no matter what.

Brock knows she’s the one he should’ve made his, and what begins as a tentative friendship quickly turns to red-hot chemistry that sparks a flame that burns brighter than lust. Falling for Brock again risks more than her heart, because when the past sorrow-filled and guilt-ridden past resurfaces, and a web of lies threatens to rip them apart, the fallout could lay waste to everything they’ve fought to build together, and destroy the dreams of those they care most about.

What I thought

I pretty much devoured all the previous books in the Wait for You series and I was beyond excited to find out that Brock and Jillian were getting their own story. I am no stranger to Jennifer Armentrout’s books and I am of humble opinion that this series is a feel-good series, these books will make you laugh, they’ll make you cry, but above all, they’ll make you feel. And who are we kidding? We all need a read like that every now and then. Fire in You was no exception to the rule.

Brock and Jillian’s story is not the easiest, but if there’s anything Jennifer Armentrout has taught me it’s that sometimes the stories hardest to take can have the most beautiful endings! I love how their story is a true friend-to-lovers story, there were a lot of hurdles they had to pass before they could even remotely come close to a functioning relationship, but once they did, SLOWBURNER FOR THE WIN! I’m telling you, all the feels, you’ll be rooting for them from the start. As any guy in the Wait for You series, Brock makes you want to fan your face, laugh out loud, and wonder where the hell you can find one for yourself.

You slowly learn about the history between Jillian and Brock. Of course, they were introduced earlier in the series, but we don’t really know their stories, and as the story progresses flashbacks slowly help you piece the story together. There’s something about a second chance at love that can make a story even more special, and Fire in You definitely had that and more.

Final verdict IRISJEXX!

Fire in You had me laughing, wiping away tears, smiling like a loon, and rooting for the couple in question along the way. It’s a hard story, but beautiful at the same time. I’m very VERY happy to say that Jennifer Armentrout has done it again! As any Jennifer Armentrout book, I wholly recommend it to whoever is willing to listen, join the fan club boys and girls, you won’t regret it!

And because I just can’t not share, I think this might be my favorite quote up to date: “Scars, whether physical or emotional, could be not just a representation of survival but also a story of hope.”

five-stars