Category Archives: Books

To Reread or not to reread…

I’ve never reread a book. Ever. *LE GASP* Yes, I buy the physical book and keep it

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shelved in my library with no intention of ever opening it up again but I just love looking at my collection.

But why won’t you reread a book? If it’s your favorite, wouldn’t you want to reread it?

I think the main reason I don’t choose to reread books is because there are so many other books out there that I have yet to read and want to read! I have an ever growing TBR list on my Goodreads page (add me on Goodreads!), books I want to get to but something always comes ahead of them. Literally, I have books on that list that have been there for three or more years, but one of my favorite authors is always putting out another one or I get a recommendation from a friend.

But guess what… I’m currently rereading one of my favorite books…

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This is the very first time! But thinking about it, I’m nervous. Here’s the thing, my favorite book is 99 Days by Katie Cotugno and it got mixed reviews from what I remember. When it first came out, I think I might have been one of the only people who actually enjoyed it (apparently people don’t like teen love triangles anymore).

I’m terrified that rereading it is going to make me not like the book as much as I did two years ago when I first read it. I’ve grown up a little since then, and my style of reading has matured. I’ve gotten more into adult romance. I’m terrified that if I don’t like it as much as I liked it the first time, that I’m not going to want to read the sequel that comes out next month. Which would put me in a bad spot since I bought tickets to Cotugno’s Epic Reads book signing next month as well!

I’ll continue with the reread of 99 Days because I need a refresher before I read the sequel and there will no doubt be a book review up for the sequel.

What about you? Do you reread books? What’s your opinion on the subject? Leave a comment and let me know!

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The Beau & the Belle Book Review

Title: The Beau & the Belle

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Author: R.S. Grey

Genre: YA/NA/Romantic Comedy

Rating: 5/5 stars




 

Beau Fortier starred in most of my cringe-worthy teenage fantasies.

I met him when I was a junior in high school, a time that revolved exclusively around bad hair, failed forays into flirting, and scientific inquiries into which brand of toilet paper worked best for stuffing bras.

That is, until Beau moved into the small guest house just beyond my bedroom window.

A 24-year-old law student at Tulane, Beau was as mysterious to me as second base (both in baseball and in the bedroom). He was older. Intimidating. Hot. Boys my age had chicken legs and chubby cheeks. Beau had calloused hands and a jaw cut from steel. Our interactions were scarce—mostly involving slight stalking on my end—and yet deep down, I desperately hoped he saw me as more of a potential lover than a lovesick loser.

Turns out, I was fooling myself. My fragile ego learned that lesson the hard way.

Now, ten years later, we’re both back in New Orleans, and guess who suddenly can’t take his eyes off little ol’ me.

My old friend, Mr. Fortier.

But things have changed. I’m older now—poised and confident. My ego wears a bulletproof vest. The butterflies that once filled my stomach have all perished.

When I was a teenager, Beau warned me to guard my heart.

Let’s hope he knows how to guard his.

 




 

This was probably the cutest book I’ve read in a very long time. I fell in love with the characters from chapter one and loved watching the change in them after the 10 year time gap. This novel starts out as a YA, Lauren a 16 year old who is very unfamiliar with dating and ends up developing a crush on Beau, the tenant who is renting out her parents apartment.

This love continues to fester for 10 years of ‘what if’s’ until they finally reconnect when Lauren is in her late 20’s and Beau in his 30’s. Once we do the time jump, things get spicier! This is one of those books that it’s been a few days since I’ve read it and I’m still thinking about/ missing the characters. Lauren’s internal monologue had me laughing out loud through the entire book.

With most romantic novels, you expect them to have sex, her move in with him and then get engaged. This novel is realistic and I was so happy to see that! There are a lot of things left open to your imagination but I didn’t feel like there were any cliffhangers whatsoever. This romantic comedy was very enjoyable and I plan on reading more from R.S. Grey.

Top 10 Favorite Books

10. Forever… by Judy Blume

I read this along time ago, but I just remember it being the first romance book that I read that was honest about teens and sex and I loved that! I didn’t really care for the characters, but I did like that this was the first romance book that I had read.

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9. Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino

What I liked most about this was how mature the writing seemed for a YA/NA romance. It wasn’t full of the typical troupes you see in most novels, but it was still romantic and I was rooting for the characters to have a happy ending.

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8. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

I have no shame. This was the very first book that got me into my obsession with books, after a long hiatus of not reading for pleasure after elementary school. I remember devouring this series in about a month. I’m still obsessed. What can I say? I’ll always make room for Twilight on my favorites list.

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7. Teach Me by R.A. Nelson

Wonder what happens behind closed doors of a teacher/student relationship. This one is for you. I think I’m going to reread this one in 2018.

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6. Zac and Mia by AJ Betts

For those who enjoyed The Fault in Our Stars, take a chance on this one. For me, this was way better and more honest than TFiOS. Don’t get me wrong, I loved TFiOS, but this novel has all the raw emotions of what being a cancer patient is really like (and I should know, I went through it).

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5. The Cellar by Natasha Preston

This novel is about a girl who is kidnapped and put in a cellar along with a handful of other women who have been brainwashed by their kidnapper to basically love him because their lives depend on it. I was on the edge of my seat for the entirety of this novel.

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4. Stolen by Lucy Christopher

If you end up enjoying Cellar, you’ll probably like Stolen. It’s along the same lines except our character is taken to the dessert where she tries to find a way to escape, but where can you run to in the dessert?

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3. How to Love by Katie Cotugno

The next two novels were hard for me to rate because I love them both so much. It took me awhile to pick up How to Love, but once I did, I wished I had read it sooner. The synopsis had turned me away from it originally, I loved it and couldn’t put it down.

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2. 99 Days by Katie Cotugno

I just might be one of the only YA readers around who enjoyed the love triangle in 99 Days and I’m not ashamed of that. I can’t wait for the sequel!

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1. November 9 by Colleen Hoover

I didn’t think any book would ever pass up a Katie Cotugno book on my favorites, let alone a Colleen Hoover book. I’ve read a few of her novels, and nothing was ever favorite worthy. That was, until I picked up November 9, on November 9th. It was book fate, haha. This book had me on a rollercoaster of emotions and I was constantly rooting for the couple, until the moment Ben broke my heart, but I still loved him as a fictional boyfriend. This is a must read!

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2017 Goodreads Challenge COMPLETED!

So I completed my 2017 Goodreads Challenge and even went an ‘armful’ of books over! I thought I’d share with you the stats of the books I read over 2017 because it’s fun for me to look back on all the books. Some of them feel like I read them YEARS ago!

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No-where But Here was sooooo good!

 

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Loved Everything, Everything but the movie fell short for me. Of course, my novel was the least ‘popular’ one that I read. And yes, I did read my own novel, a few times actually. Show your support for an indie or local author! It doesn’t even have to be me (but I’d love if you checked my novel out), us small time authors love hearing feedback! The Last July is out in paperback and e-book, the e-book is usually $4.99 but you can sometimes catch it on sale for .99 cents.

Overview of Book Ratings in 2017

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover- 4/5 Stars

Outcast Volume 1 by Robery Kirkman- 4/5 Stars

How to Love by Katie Cotugno- 5/5 Stars

True (#1) by Erin McCarthy- 2/5 Stars

Denton Little’s Still Not Dead by Lance Rubin- 5/5 Stars

Cheater by Rachel Van Dyken- 3/5 Stars

Coming Up For Air by Miranda Kenneally- 2/5 Stars

The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West- 4/5 Stars

Pucked (#1) by Helena Hunting- 3/5 Stars

Say Anything by Sarah Dessen- 3/5 Stars

Trusting You and Other Lies by Nicole Williams- 4/5 Stars

No-Where But Here (Thunder Road #1) by Katie McGarry- 5/5 Stars

Shadowlith (Umbral Blade #1) by Stuart Thaman- 5/5 Stars

Fireworks by Katie Cotugno- 4/5 Stars

Mann Cakes by Mysti Parker- 4/5 Stars

Kingdom Marriage Devotional- I didn’t finish this, but my husband and I read a devotional once a week from it and it’s been a good conversation starter for us.

Walk the Edge (Thunder Road #2) by Katie McGarry- 4/5 Stars

Long Way Home (Thunder Road #3) by Katie McGarry- 5/5 Stars

Bad Penny by Staci Hart- 3/5 Stars

Wonderlost by Jenny Malone- 2/5 Stars

Once and for All by Sarah Dessen- 5/5 Stars

Trust by Kylie Scott- 3/5 Stars

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon- 5/5 Stars

Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino- 5/5 Stars

The Last July by Breanna Mounce- I’d give it a 5/5 but I wrote it!

Dearly Departed (Grave Reminders #1) by Rachael Rawlings- 4/5 Stars

Dirty by Kylie Scott- 3/5 Stars

Top Ten by Katie Cotugno- 3/5 Stars

Wytches Volume 1 by Scott Snyder- 4/5 Stars

November 9 by Colleen Hoover- 5/5 Stars

Dear Delilah by T Bester- 2/5 Stars

What Light by Jay Asher- 5/5 Stars

 

As for the 2018 Challenge, I set my goal to only 15. This year I want to read more non-fiction, faith based and classic books. I also want to publish two of my own, so I’m going to slow down on my writing a little bit.

 

 

 

Bookish Resolutions for 2018

 

1.) Read IT by Stephen King all the way through. Why is this a battle? Because I’ve never read anything by Stephen King and this book is about 900 pages. My husband started IT two months ago and he’s almost done.

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2.) Read some classic books. I stick to YA and romance most of the time because they’re easy reads, but I’d like to read some classics that I’ve been trying to get around to.

 

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3.) Read without feeling pressured to read. I got into doing a lot of ARC reading last year and I’m going to stay away from that this year. I’m not against ARC’s, but I feel like I have to enjoy them and write a good review for the author.

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4.) Finally finish The Raven Cycle. Yes, I still haven’t read The Raven King yet. It’s on my TBR pile. I swear.

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5.) Publish two of my own novels. I just finished my first set of edits on a novel I’ll be co-authoring with my husband and I just started editing another contemporary YA. Looking forward to getting those done! I just have to kick myself to sit down and complete this.

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4.) Finish reading all the hardback/paperback books I bought in 2017 but didn’t get to. Here’s my current TBR pile of those novels:

 

 

Surviving my first book signing…

 

On December 2nd, I did my very first book signing. I’ve gone along with my husband to various signings and comic-cons, but this was the first time my book would be on the table to purchase.

Now, let me tell you, I was nervous. I was shaking like crazy on the way to the venue and I get this weird voice when I’m going to have to talk to strangers in person, where I sound like I’m going to burst into tears. I’m fairly sure I have a mild case of anxiety that I haven’t been able to shake since middle school, but I refuse to admit it sometimes.

My husband was running late, so it was up to me to get everything ready to go, I’m used to following his lead when we go to shows like this.

When I got to the venue though and set the table up, I felt a lot better. It wasn’t too crowded so there weren’t many people I could make a full of myself in front of. It’s a lot different when you’re trying to sell your own book, versus someone else’s. I was honestly surprised about how confident I was talking to people, the pride I felt for accomplishing something I’ve always wanted to do. But… I did have some trouble finding the words I wanted to say when someone asked me a question. I’m not a good BS’er or salesperson, I’ll admit that right now. I don’t know what to say to convince someone that they must read my book, but honestly, that doesn’t bother me.

I’m not writing for money or fame. Even if only a handful of strangers love my novels and writing style, I’d say I was successful. I write because it’s my passion, I want to write the perfect book boyfriend that you’re going to fall in love with and beg me for a sequel.

I didn’t sell out at the signing, but my husband and I managed to make back what we paid for the booth and then some. If anything, it was a great learning experience and I found some stuff I want to work on for the next signing. I totally need to improve on my selling pitch and get my next novel out ASAP. It was still fun. I had my very first in person sale to someone who wasn’t a friend or family member! Can’t wait to sign up to do some more next year!

If you want to stay up to date on signings and specials, follow my FB author page.

 

 

Dear Delilah by T Bester Book Review

Title: Dear Delilah35701298__UY2208_SS2208_

Author: T. Bester

Genre: New Adult

Rating: 2/5 Stars

Published: August 2017




 

It has been said that boys and girls can never be ‘just’ friends, and until Nathan Penn barged into my life, I thought it was complete and utter nonsense. But one night changed everything, and what I thought was the defining moment in our friendship turned out to be more than either of us were ready for.
When my boss tasks me with writing the University’s new sex advice column, Dear Delilah, I make it quite clear that I’m the least qualified person for the job – my experience is limited to one sexual encounter that taught me about love and loss all at once.
So what makes me say ‘yes’?
Simple.
A distraction.
Something to take my mind off Nathan.
But once I start, I find myself wanting to be the voice of the girl who’s too afraid to ask for advice, the girl who wants to own her sexuality but doesn’t know how. Sounds easy enough.
Except it isn’t.
It’s complicated, and messy and awkward, and when Nathan offers to help, I’m caught between a rock and his hard place. Literally.
It’s only when my identity is threatened that I realize I might be in over my head. With all of it.




 

I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.

After reading the synopsis for this book, I was really excited to dive right in, thinking it would be a fun book to fly through. I was mistaken. According to my kindle, I only had an hour reading time left and I decided to DNF this book, I cannot finish it. I can’t recall ever reading a book where I didn’t care what happened to the characters in the end, until this one.

The characters were flat. I don’t think they had any loveable traits. If you were to take out the dialogue tags, I couldn’t tell you who might say what because everyone was just that boring. The character development was almost non-existent in this novel. The only character that had any ‘spunk’ was Nathan’s sister and I got really annoyed with her because it seemed like she was pressuring Sav too much to be sexually empowered. She did not sit well with me.

The setting was bland. It really bothered me that it felt like Sav was always just sitting in the room and no one else was around. What do I mean by this? When she went into the newspaper department, I never saw anyone else there but Toby. When I hear talk of a school newspaper, I think of the newspaper from Gilmore Girls where people were always bustling around, trying to meet deadlines, this newspaper just seemed… dead. It was as if Toby, Nathan and Sav were the only staff. I wanted more description. It seemed like Sav and her friends were the only people who existed on campus.

The romance was not swoon-worthy. I love romance, but there really wasn’t any in this novel. Nothing about Nathan seemed to make him good book boyfriend material. I’ve seen more loveable villains.

Why did I not give this one star if I hated it so much? Because I feel like this had the opportunity to be a really good book. From other reviews I’ve read, everyone loved the synopsis, but the writing was lacking. I’m assuming since this was an ARC, there were drastic changes that were made between when I received it a few months back and the actual publication. My copy read more like a first (very) rough draft.

 

Dirty (Dive Bar Book 1) by Kylie Scott Review

Title: Dirty (Dive Bar 1)25671827

Author: Kylie Scott

Genre: Romance

Rating: 3/5 Stars



 

The last thing Vaughan Hewson expects to find when he returns to his childhood home is a broken hearted bride in his shower, let alone the drama and chaos that come with her.

Lydia Green doesn’t know whether to scream or cry in a corner. Discovering the love of your life is having an affair on your wedding day is bad enough. Finding out it’s with his best man is another thing all together.

Just when this runaway bride has nowhere left to turn, a handsome stranger offers her a broad, muscular shoulder to cry on. Vaughan is the exact opposite of the picture perfect, respected businessmen she’s normally drawn to. This former musician-turned-bartender is rough around the edges and is facing his own crossroads. But Lydia’s already tried Mr. Right and discovered he’s all wrong–maybe it’s time to give Mr. Right Now a chance.

After all, what’s wrong with getting dirty?



 

After I read Trust by Scott, I was really excited to check out some of her other books. I was a little let down by this one, it wasn’t as good as Trust was and I felt like things moved way too quickly. The ‘instalove’ was VERY instant in this novel. It started out hilarious, I mean, what would you do if you found a porn of your soon-to-be husband having sex with his groomsmen? Talk about dodging a bullet.

One thing I’m not a fan of in Kylie Scott’s books is how she makes her characters self-conscious of their body weight. Unless it has to do with the plot, which it didn’t in this novel, don’t make it part of the story. I feel like she’s only writing overweight characters in order to get a target audience. Not into that.

This novel takes place over one week… as I mentioned before about the instant love between these two characters, I wasn’t lying. Even Lydia says at the end of the book that they moved too fast.

With all that said, I might still read book two in the series (Twist) just to see if it’s any better.

 

October Wrap Up & Preparing For NaNoWriMo

 

October Wrap Up/ Halloween Read-a-thon

 

If you’re interested in checking out my Halloween Read-A-Thon post, click here.

 

Dearly Departed by Rachael Rawlings- 4/5 Stars. This is an amazing story but it’s a bit slow moving until the final chapter. I felt like Eli/Thomas was only in love with Thea because he felt like he owed her something. I would have loved to see more romance between the two. Rawlings, however, does set this up for the sequel pretty well. This did complete one of my Read-A-Thon challenges for the month of October, this was my read 7 books. First one off the list!

Dirty (Dive Bar Novel) by Kylie Scott- 3/5 Stars. Wasn’t the best, but it was a cute story. If you’re looking for a romance novel with tatted up guys, minimal sexy scenes (for this type of novel anyway), and a fast paced plot, this one is for you. This also completed two of my readathon challenges, reading 7 books and trick or treat which was a free pick from any genre.

The Engagement Plot by Krista Phillips-   I received this via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. DNF. Great plot but the formatting on my kindle edition was horrible and I couldn’t stand to read past chapter 5 of this. I’m sure they have the kinks out of it by now, so if you’re into cutesy, romance novels, check this one out.

Top Ten by Katie Cotugno- 3/5 Stars I totally forgot this one was coming out in October! It fell very short for me though. Full review coming in two weeks.

Wytches Volume 1 by Scott Snyder- This was extremely creepy! Started it just in time for the week leading up to Halloween. Loved the art, but at times it was tough to follow who was walking and what was going on. Very dark art. I haven’t finished it, but thought it should be included since it was the only creepy thing I read during October.

 

 

 

Honorable Mention: I did start reading IT by Stephen King, this will be my first ever It_1990_Promotional_PosterStephen King book. Obviously, I didn’t finish it yet since it’s over 900 pages but IT’s okay so far. I wish it had the kids in it more like in the movies. Only 3% into IT so far. Loved the movie remake so much that I ended up naming the new kitten we rescued, Pennywise and I got this sick new tattoo…

 

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Halloween/Horror Movies I Watched in October

 

  • Stephen King’s It (Original)- Was not a fan of the original!
  • Hocus Pocus– A tradition for me, watch this movie as many times as possible in the month of October.
  • Tucker and Dale VS Evil– Another favorite of mine. A comedy horror about teenagers who keep killing themselves on a hillbilly’s property.
  • Sleepy Hollow- I’m a sucker for Johnny Depp Halloween movies. Plus, one of our cats is named Ichabod, so of course I had to watch this.
  • The Babysitter- This is a Netflix horror comedy with just enough gore and humor to make it onto my favorite movie list.
  • Friday the 13th (remake)- One of the very first horror movies I ever watched. I forgot half the plot line since I first saw it when it came out in 2009, so I jumped, many, many times.  
  • Corpse Bride- A classic that’s always on my list to watch. Sometimes you have to take a break from the gore and horror.
  • Don’t BreathThis had a great plot, but I found so many issues with it that I was kind of annoyed with the movie by the time the credits rolled. There were a few interests WTF moments though, and those almost made up for it.
  • Mama- When this movie first came out, I said I would NEVER watch it. It looked scary as hell! I ended up watching this one morning by myself (during daylight, it’s easier for me to watch horror movies) and I loved it. Not nearly as scary as I thought it would be, but the mama figure was one of the creepiest creatures I’ve ever seen in a horror movie.

 

 

National Novel Writing Month Preparations & Goals

 

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So since I published my first novel, I’m bound and determined to have my second one out by May next year. What does this mean? I have to finish the novel I’ve been working on during both Camp NaNo sessions this summer.

As of right now, I have 53,486 words written on this novel, so I’d like to write 22k more words in November to finish it up.

What I’m first going to do is go through and edit what I have the first week of NaNoWriMo. That way I know what I have to work with and I can get a refresher on my characters. Hopefully after some edits, I’ll have a bit more added into the story, sensory details and what not.

Then I’m going to finish the ending. I have most of it already written down in a notebook so as long as nothing major changes in the plot, I’ll be AOK.

I’m still working on the title. It’s currently called ‘On Lake Time’ which I think is super cheesy and I don’t like it at all. I feel like it’s too adult romance and I need something fun since it’s YA. The novel follows a girl who gets in trouble the last few weeks of her senior year at Catholic school, so her parents’ punishment is for her to go work all summer down at their lake house. She ends up meeting a family who shows her what love really is and she gets very close to their son, who is in a band. That’s about all I can say without spoiling anything. Any suggestions for a title? Leave them in a comment!

Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino Book Review

Title: Before We Were Strangers23309634

Author: Renee Carlino

Genre: New Adult/Adult

Rating: 5/5 Stars




 

To the Green-eyed Lovebird:

We met fifteen years ago, almost to the day, when I moved my stuff into the NYU dorm room next to yours at Senior House.

You called us fast friends. I like to think it was more.

We lived on nothing but the excitement of finding ourselves through music (you were obsessed with Jeff Buckley), photography (I couldn’t stop taking pictures of you), hanging out in Washington Square Park, and all the weird things we did to make money. I learned more about myself that year than any other.

Yet, somehow, it all fell apart. We lost touch the summer after graduation when I went to South America to work for National Geographic. When I came back, you were gone. A part of me still wonders if I pushed you too hard after the wedding…

I didn’t see you again until a month ago. It was a Wednesday. You were rocking back on your heels, balancing on that thick yellow line that runs along the subway platform, waiting for the F train. I didn’t know it was you until it was too late, and then you were gone. Again. You said my name; I saw it on your lips. I tried to will the train to stop, just so I could say hello.

After seeing you, all of the youthful feelings and memories came flooding back to me, and now I’ve spent the better part of a month wondering what your life is like. I might be totally out of my mind, but would you like to get a drink with me and catch up on the last decade and a half?

M




 

Before We Were Strangers is a story of friendship, love, loss and finding your way. This novel is beautifully written and deserves nothing less than 5 stars. I was taken on an emotional roller coaster while reading the story of Matt and Grace, I devoured this book in one weekend. It was with me everywhere I went.

Matt and Gracie try their best to be just friends, but they can’t fight the chemistry. Have you ever felt like you’re just meant to be with someone, because Matt and Grace know they should be together forever, the only problem with these quick moving relationships is that they can come crashing down.

I felt this horrible feeling throughout the book that there would be no happy ending for Grace and Matt. Carlino did such an amazing job establishing that fear along with the setting and characters.

Carlino gives these subtle hints throughout the novel of what’s going to happen in the end and they’re easily forgotten or read right over, but once you get to the end, all those things come rushing back to you! This novel was brilliant.

You have to read this one…