Category Archives: Books

Trust by Kylie Scott Book Review

Title: Trust34776338

Author: Kylie Scott

Genre: Young/New Adult

Rating: 3/5 Stars




 

Being young is all about the experiences: the first time you skip school, the first time you fall in love…the first time someone holds a gun to your head.

After being held hostage during a robbery at the local convenience store, seventeen-year-old Edie finds her attitude about life shattered. Unwilling to put up with the snobbery and bullying at her private school, she enrolls at the local public high school, crossing paths with John. The boy who risked his life to save hers.

While Edie’s beginning to run wild, however, John’s just starting to settle down. After years of partying and dealing drugs with his older brother, he’s going straight—getting to class on time, and thinking about the future.

An unlikely bond grows between the two as John keeps Edie out of trouble and helps her broaden her horizons. But when he helps her out with another first—losing her virginity—their friendship gets complicated.

Meanwhile, Edie and John are pulled back into the dangerous world they narrowly escaped. They were lucky to survive the first time, but this time they have more to lose—each other.




 

I received an eARC of this book via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Lately, I haven’t been breezing through books, but this one, I did! From the very first chapter, I was drawn in and couldn’t put the novel down. That being said, it wasn’t great writing either. It wasn’t beautifully written like the latest Sarah Dessen and it wasn’t ‘life-changing’, but it was very interesting and I’ll give it a ‘okay’ rating for that.

This wasn’t an insta-romance either, which was surprisingly pleasant since I love that troupe. It was more so, ‘insta-crush’. Edie and John go through a traumatic event together, but they don’t immediately want to date. John tries to protect her from his bad boy image, worried people will judge her for being associated with an ex-drug dealer.

I kind of got tired of hearing about the weight of our main character. In my eyes, she wasn’t fat, I couldn’t tell if she was huge or just a little chubby. I don’t think the weight of our character matters much unless it’s part of the plot like in Dumplin’. I feel like in order to make her weight a bigger deal, more people should have been picking on her for that.

The constant underage partying was also an issue for me. I get high schoolers party on occasion, but it felt like that was all Edie and her friends did. Constant underage drinking, sex, ect… I would classify this book as new adult, rather than young adult, because of these topics.

I loved John in the robbery scene, but he fell short after that. During the robbery, John was so kind and social, but after that, we just got grunt responses from him. He seemed to act like Edie was pesky to him. I know John was going through a lot with his brother, and the robbery, but he changed a lot from the guy he was at the gas station.

I’m  also pretty sure Kylie Scott might be a pen name… possibly Kevin/Hedwig from Split has written this book, with all the etceteras in the beginning….

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Overall, I did like the book, but I felt like it had a lot of issues that still needed to be worked out. I plan on reading more from Kylie Scott in the next few months. Always willing to give an author a second shot!

 

Once and For All by Sarah Dessen Book Review

Title: Once and For All32731231

Author: Sarah Dessen

Genre: Young Adult (though, I’d recommend over the age of 16 to read this one due to some content).

Rating: 5/5 Stars




 

Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that’s why she’s cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm’s length. But Ambrose isn’t about to be discouraged, now that he’s met the one girl he really wants.




 

I thought this was going to be just another lighthearted, summer YA by Dessen, but parts of it had my heart racing with fear. Though I didn’t love some of the content in this novel, there’s no way I could give this book any less than a 5 star rating because of how beautiful Dessen’s writing is.

The mother/daughter dynamic in this novel reminded me a lot of Lorelai and Rory from Gilmore Girls, which I adored. I love when authors remember to keep the parents of a YA novel involved with their child and this one did great at that.

There were also a few side characters that I enjoyed, mostly her best friends brother, Crawford. Though he had few lines, he had me cracking up with his honesty.

And it’s not a Dessen book without the love interest… or shall I say, not so much of a love interest. I was not a fan of Ambrose for the most part, this was the first time I’ve not been interested in the main characters potential suitor. I hated how he was a serial dater and was way too friendly with every woman he met.

And then there’s Ethan… he seemed like the perfect boyfriend but sadly, the unthinkable happened and I just could not handle his storyline. This was probably the most troublesome plot (emotionally) that I remember reading from Dessen.

 

 

Camp NaNoWriMo Recap: July 2017 Session AND July Wrap Up/August TBR

Camp NaNoWriMo Recap

Camp NaNoWriMo didn’t go as awesome as I anticipated. I slacked off…. a ton. Spent many weekends out on the lake or in the mountains (made for some good inspiration) but I didn’t write too much. Weekends are usually big for my writing, always my catch up time but I got lazy. I also got really into the books that I was reading and preferred to spend my time doing that.

I did get some words written though. The main goal I had was to not force the words to come out. I did that during the April session and it was mentally miserable. I didn’t want to write or edit for a month after that.

During July, I tried something new. If I got stuck on a chapter, I’d step away and work on another one that I had outlined. This was nice because I could knock out a couple thousand words immediately instead of being stuck.

My cabin did pretty well too, we kept up with the pace for a little over halfway through camp which is way better than normal. I created a private cabin with a few cabin mates from the first session and other NaNo-ers (that’s so not a word…) that they knew from previous years.

Here’s my stats for the month:

 

By the end of the month, I fell short and gave up. Pretty much going MIA in my cabin. I just got too caught up in reading, which isn’t a bad thing. I also got into taking Barre fitness classes and those took up a decent amount of writing time, I figured my health was more important.

Next Step? Edit what I’ve written so far, fill in some plot holes, and finish the novel.

For the official NaNoWriMo, I’m planning on working on a new piece that I got inspiration for halfway through camp. I’m very excited for it! Check back in November for my prep and recap on Novel Writing Month!

If you do NaNoWriMo, add me on the site! Username: anna.mounce

 

July Wrap Up

 

Bad Penny by Staci Hart– 3/5 Stars. Loved how this book started out, but gradually got tired of the back and forth of ‘I love him, but I don’t want to be in a relationship’. Needed different conflict.

Once and For All by Sarah Dessen– 5/5 Stars. As always, Dessen’s novels are beautifully written. I’d feel bad giving her anything less than four stars. This novel was probably the strongest and saddest subject matter I’ve ever read from her. It’s not your typical fun YA summer read. It haunted me. Once and For All is also the book that has completed my GoodReads challenge goal! I don’t plan on stopping here though! Let’s see how many books I can go over this year!

Trust by Kylie Scott– 3/5 Stars. I received this book via NetGalley in return for an honest review. I loved it toward the beginning but it fell short and the climax seemed very delayed. The beginning and end were amazing! I do plan on trying out more of Kylie Scott’s novels. Full review coming soon!

August TBR

 

 

 

The Engagement Plot by Krista Phillips– This months NetGalley ARC! I don’t know much about this one, but I’m sure it will be a cute read.

Dirty (Book 1) by Kylie Scott- Decided to give her adult romance books a try. And what’s not to like about a tattooed guy on a book cover?

Dearly Departed (Grave Reminders Book 1) by Rachael Rawlings– Plan on starting this series with the arrival of fall just around the corner. It’s a three book series by a local (to me) author.

Wonderlost by Jen Malone- I feel like this one will be a great book to close the summer on!

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon- I probably won’t read more than the first two books mentioned because I should be receiving my own novel back to go over edits but if I do manage to get ahead. This will be the next one I pick up. I’m dying to see the movie, so I have to read this before then!

 

Book Review: Bad Penny by Staci Hart

Title: Bad Penny35109577

Author: Staci Hart

Genre: Romance

Rating: 3/5 Stars




 

Nothing good comes after the third date.

Date three is the crucial point when things get real, which is exactly why I bounce out the door, twiddling my fingers at whatever poor boy I’ve left behind. Because if I stick around, one of three things will happen: he’ll profess his undying love, he’ll get weird and stalky, or I’ll go crazy. Like, Sid and Nancy crazy. Like, chase-him-through-the-streets-begging-him-to-love-me crazy.

Seriously, it’s better for everyone this way.

So when I meet Bodie, I figure it’ll be the same as it ever was. It doesn’t matter that he doesn’t put a single string on me. Doesn’t matter that he’s funny and smart and jacked or that he can play my body like a grand piano. Because even though I’m built for love, love has only carved me up like a Christmas ham.

Resistance is something I can only hang on to for so long, and he has persistence in spades. But my heart isn’t as safe as I want to believe, and neither is his. And the second I ignore my cardinal rule is the second I stand to lose him forever.




 

Sometimes it’s nice to take a break from the norm and ready a fun and easy romance novel. This did just that for me. This book pulls you in with its wit from the very first chapter title, literally, I laughed out loud when I saw it. Penny is an all around happy, independent woman who knows what she wants in life, that is, until she meets Bodie. I’m so used to the tame, girl next door type going after the bad boy in these types of novels, so it was cool to see a badass tatted girl in a novel getting involved with the nerdy gamer (who is also chiseled beyond belief). I admit, I saw the cover and that’s what pulled me in, I don’t think I even looked at the synopsis.

With alternating chapters, we get to see both POV’s, which I loved because we got to know that Bodie wasn’t just using Penny like she was using him in the beginning.

If you’re not a fan of ‘insta-romance’, this book isn’t for you because the romance starts off within the first two chapters. There’s no build up at all. If you’re looking for erotica, this book also isn’t for you. The sexual scenes in this novel were very tame in nature, but they did exist.

I rated this lower than my normal reviews only because there wasn’t enough conflict to keep me involved and concerned for the characters. And when there was conflict, it was rather annoying and self-inflicted.

Would love to see a second book in Veronica’s perspective. Who is she dating?!

The ending was perfect, but I feel like the characters (or at least Penny) didn’t act their age throughout the entirety of the novel.

 

What are your favorite adult romance novels? Looking to fill up my kindle with some reads similar to this.

 

 

Book Buying Ban

I have a problem.

I officially have purchased too many books and I’m in over my head with my TBR list. Yikes!

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I heard a ‘booktuber’ the other day mention in a video that they’re currently on a ‘book buying ban’. I thought, huh, it’s possible to stop buying books? I used to not be bad about buying books and not reading them. I would only buy a book, read it and then by another one. Since I’ve started blogging over a year ago, I’ve gone into the habit of buying a book every time I see one that interests me, even if I didn’t have the time to read it.

My name’s Breanna and I’m addicted to buying books.

 

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But some of them are cheap e-books! I protest.

No, I must not buy any more books until I at least finish my hard copy TBR list.

Here are the books that I must read before I can lift my book buying ban (non-e-books). Preferably in this order:

 

 

Wow, that’s a lot of paperbacks/hardback books…

I’ve been piling those up for about a year now. I have read Nevermore, but I’d like to re-read it before I read the rest of the series. I’ll probably marathon those in October.

And here are the books I’ve been stockpiling on my kindle that I need to read. I usually breeze through those because I read quicker on my kindle as opposed to physical copies.

 

Folks, if you didn’t count, that’s 18 books to read before my book buying ban is lifted. That’s a ton in my opinion. I’m also less than five books away from completing my GoodReads challenge! Thanks to my subscribers for pushing me to read more this year! 

Have you considered going on a book buying ban? This is a first for me!

June Wrap Up, July TBR & July Camp NaNoWriMo Prep!

June Wrap Up

 

 

Mann Cakes by Mysti Parker– 4/5 stars. Great beachy summer romance from a local (to me) author. The only thing that I wish was different was that the only POV’s be between Tanner and Paige, instead of all four characters.

Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry– 4/5 stars. I think I ended up liking the second book in this series better than the first book, but they’re still not hitting a perfect score with me. However, I felt more compassion throughout the book for Razor and Breanna, more than I had for Oz and Emily from the first Thunder Road book.

Long Way Home by Katie McGarry– Probably my favorite book out of this series. I feel like all the other books have set us up for Violet and Chevy’s story! Review to come!

I also just realized every book I read in June (and finished) was set in Kentucky! How cool is that? 

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July TBR

July is not going to be a reading month for me since NaNo will be going on, but I am going to try and finish one book that I started in June and read a few chapters from a book I recently purchased.

I’ve been reading chapters here and there on Letters to my Daughters, it’s one of those feel good, faith books. I’ve been trying my best to read up more on my bible and books like LtmD:TAoBaW, it’s just a book that I’m making a habit of pulling out before bed to read and relax.

Once and For All, Sarah Dessen’s latest release, just came out a few weeks ago and I thought this would be a good book to focus on in July during camp NaNo. You’re supposed to read how you want to write, right? I’d love to be as successful of a writer as Dessen. Here’s to hoping.

And I’ll also be reading a romance novel, just to take a break from CAMP and all the other marriage/wedding stuff haha. Sometimes it’s nice to read something sexy! I’ll be at the lake for a weekend, so the romance will be a fun breather.

 

 

 

Camp NaNoWriMo Prep

July Session

Camp-2017-Participant-Twitter-Header

Back in April, I started writing a new summer contemporary YA novel. Since then, I’ve been editing here and there trying to prepare for July’s session of camp. If you’ve been following my blog, you know I struggled the final week of camp in April, especially that final day and I only have a goal of 40k. I’m hoping this month goes a bit smoother, with a goal of 30k. I have a pretty good feeling about this one now, better than anything I’ve written before.

During edits this June, I haven’t had to scrap too much, just the last couple thousand words because they didn’t even fit with the plot. I was just writing to hit the word goal that last day in April. Probably the worst writing month I’ve ever had.

I’m excited for this coming camp NaNo though. I have a great cabin (some people from April’s session and my husband), so I should be pushed to finish. Wish me luck!

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Author Interview: Khardine Gray

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  1. How did you get into writing?

    My earliest memory of writing was when I was about 11 years old. I loved reading books like Sweet Valley High and Nancy Drew. I remembered thinking on one occasion that I wished one of the stories had ended differently. Then it occurred to me that I could try to create my own stories.

That was my light bulb moment and there hasn’t been a day that passed since I didn’t write something. Even if it was for ten minutes.

I have stacks of handwritten books from my childhood and teenage imagination that I plan to revisit one day. In 2015 I thought about trying to get published, so I sent off my manuscript and was completely shocked when it was accepted. My life has changed immensely since then.

2. How can authors develop an emotional connection between their readers and their characters?

I think it’s important to build that connection with my readers. I do newsletters each week so that I can keep in touch. In those I always let my readers know how much I appreciate them and how I love to hear from them. I try to find topics that they like to discuss and encourage them to connect . My husband pointed out once that I’m supposed write for my readers. If I don’t then it would be better to just imagine up my stories in my head and not bother to write them down. He was right. My readers are like gold dust to me and they inspire me to continue doing what I love the most. 51XAYNG4eAL._SY346_

In regards to my characters, I think of them as pieces of my imagination I’ve given life to. They are very much a part of me and are a result of everything I’ve experienced internally, and externally in the world around me.

The same way I love my readers, I love my characters and I do everything to make my characters as real as possible so that emotional connection can be made. I spend a lot of time creating my characters and I go as far as listing down everything about them. That way I know exactly what they would do in different situations. How they feel, what they would say, what effect different things and people would have on them.

My aim is to create memorable characters so that my readers will never forget them. 

  1. What’s the best summer beach read? If you could take that book anywhere in the world, where would you go to read it?

I like Susan Elizabeth Phillips. My favorite book by her is Natural Born Charmer. I’d read that on the beach for sure and I’d love to read it on one of the amazing beaches on Okinawa Island, Japan. I’d be right at home reading there. It’s truly beautiful and has that scenic landscape worthy of a screen saver.

  1. What makes romance your genre of choice? Are any of your characters based on personal experiences?

    I love writing about love and falling in love. I’m one of those people who values love and it fascinates me to create characters who have this intense magical feeling that draws them together.

         I think I identify a lot with my characters in I Only Have Eyes For You. grey 3

        Of all my books that’s probably the one where I’ve mingled a few of my personal experiences with the fiction world I created. I guess I am a lot like my heroine, Savannah too. We love shopping, pizza, our family and friends.

Savannah made this big life change that would allow her to follow her dreams and not just do things because she was good at it. She wanted to do something that made her happy, something that truly represented her. I feel that I did this with my decision to be an author.

 I am good at a lot of things and I have a great academic background, but I felt that I reached a stage in my life where it was time to do what made me happiest. Savannah travelled to Japan and things took off for her from there. I submitted my manuscript to a publisher and that’s when things changed for me.

5. There can sometimes be a bit of stigma surrounding romance readers and writers. Have you ever had any negative experiences resulting from your profession as a romance writer?

I haven’t really had much negativity I think it’s because I tend to share what I do with those who I know will be interested. There was someone though who once said to me that writing romance will never be a stable career. I knew different because I know authors who make six figures a month. gray 1

Aside from that I tend to not worry about what others think of me. I’m definitely in my element when I write and writing romance is a craft that comes from within. I write from my soul, knowing that gives me the strength to deflect any negativity that may come my way.

 

For more from Khardine Gray, check out her website.

Book Review: Fireworks by Katie Cotugno

Title: FireworksFireworks_JKT

Author: Katie Cotugno

Genre: Young Adult

Rating: 4/5 Stars




 

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.




 

Katie Cotugno just released a new book and of course I had it pre-ordered months ago! Fireworks fell a little short for me though, compared to her previous novels How to Love and 99 Days, yet I still devoured this book in a matter of days because Cotugno’s writing is so easy and fun to read.

The characters in Fireworks weren’t as easy for me to love as characters in her previous books. I felt like everyone was unreachable, like they were on a pedestal and I couldn’t relate to them easily. Dana came from a not so well off family, so she should have been easy to relate to, but I wanted to see more of her home life. What did her mother think of her leaving town to become a girl in a pop group? Did her mom even notice she left? And why didn’t she bring a swim suit with her to Orlando?! Don’t Floridians always have swimsuits with them no matter what?!

The romance was just enough in this, I was kind of worried it would be lacking based on the plot, but I was very pleased in the end. I found myself putting a ton of trust in Alex, more trust than I’ve ever put in a male character. He was so kind and patient with Dana while she was going through her problems in Orlando and back home in Jessel.

What I find funny is I never seem to like Cotugno’s main characters best friend. I hated Olivia so much. She came off as a backstabber from the beginning. We don’t see a great conclusion between ‘Dolivia’, but I think it’s the only conclusion that would have worked.

And that cover, Katie, keep doing the polaroid look on your books! Like 99 Days and this, they are so aesthetically pleasing! I’m loving all of her covers so much!

Though Dana doesn’t get a 100% happy ending, I like to believe that she was at least happy with her decisions. And I love that about all three of Cotugno’s books. She leaves them open-ended but without a cliffhanger. You know that the character is going to be all right, but they still have some conflict by the last sentence, just nothing major.

Overall, if you’re going to read anything by Cotugno, I’d read 99 Days or How to Love first. Fireworks doesn’t do Cotugno’s writing justice. However, I am so pumped for her next novel, Top Ten, that’s supposed to come out later this year.

 

May Wrap Up & June TBR

 

May Wrap Up

Shadowlith by Stuart Thaman

If you love fantasy and you’re looking for an up and coming author, you need to check this book out. It’s great for people who are trying to get into reading the fantasy genre and lovers of fantasy already. Check out my review here.

Fireworks by Katie Cotugno

Huge fan of Katie Cotugno’s writing! Sadly, this one fell short for me but it was devoured in about a week because I love her writing so much. If you’re going to read any of her books, my top recommendation is 99 Days. Review coming on my blog June 9th.

June TBR

I want June to be a decent reading month and I think I can manage 4-5 books. I don’t have Camp NaNo until July, so I plan on reading my heart out!

 

Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry- The second book in the Thunder Road series. I meant to finish this one in May but I didn’t feel like reading because I was sick for about a week and a half.

Long Way Home by Katie McGarry- The third book in the Thunder Road series! I’m just going to finish the series this month because I know they’re fun and easy reads.

Once and For All by Sarah Dessen- New Release from Sarah Dessen! This comes out June 6th, and I’m pumped up for this one!

Mann Cakes by Mysti Parker- My husband was at a book signing in April and he brought me home a copy of this from one of his author friends. She managed to sell out of this book! So cool!

Into the Deep by Samantha Young- This one was recommended to me by a friend and I decided to give the series a shot considering they take place in Ireland. I recently got my DNA test results back and found out I’m 24% Irish, so now I’m kind of obsessed with anything related to my ‘home country’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Shadowlith by Stuart Thaman

Title: Shadowlith (Book 1 in The Umbral Blade Series)1490375765404

Author: Stuart Thaman

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: 5/5 Stars




 

Alistair the Fourth was a mighty general from a long-forgotten war. Four hundred years later, Alster Lightbridge is barely a shadow of his legendary namesake. Crippled and confined to his family’s estate, he spends his days dreaming of something larger than himself—something worthy of his name.

Encouraged by his tutor to explore the Lightbridge archive, Alster discovers a magical dagger with the power to cleave shadows from their bodies. Blade in hand, Alster finally understands his purpose, though he needs to find a four-centuries-old grave in order to fulfill it.




 

I don’t read fantasy… at all… but when my husband tells me that he’s putting out a YA fantasy novel, I have to read it! That being said, I’m going to try my best to make this review as unbiased as possible, though I do believe it is well deserving of a perfect 5/5 star review.

What I love to see is writer’s get better as they progress in their novels. This being Thaman’s second fantasy series, I believe it’s a huge step forward in his writing. If you were to compare this novel to his first book, you could tell more time and effort has been put forth.

It’s also an easier read, and there’s less characters to remember than the first fantasy series, The Goblin Wars. I’m used to reading contemporary YA where there are only a handful of characters to follow. Shadowlith has about six main characters to focus on. This allows you to feel more emotions for each character. Elsey was probably my favorite character (that survived) because of the changes she went through during the beginning of a book. She was so excited to get out of the town that she grew up in and go on an adventure with her friend, but then accidents happen and she realizes this adventure to find the Shadow King’s tomb is not for the faint of heart. I really hope in the second book that we see her grow up more and become a super badass female worrier.

Now the ending….

No spoilers ahead! I promise.

I felt like this book closed off on a good note. Let’s say if you didn’t want to read the rest of the books in the series, you could stop (but you don’t want to!) However, Thaman does set our characters up for a huge plot for the next book which I really loved.

Definitely, check this one out. Loved Alster and Elsey.