Tag Archives: book

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.

 

Trusting You and Other Lies Book Review

32441709Title: Trusting You and Other Lies

Author: Nicole Williams

Genre: Young Adult

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Publication Date: June 20, 2017




 

Phoenix can’t imagine anything worse than being shipped off to family summer camp. Her parents have been fighting for the past two years–do they seriously think being crammed in a cabin with Phoenix and her little brother, Harry, will make things better?
On top of that, Phoenix is stuck training with Callum–the head counselor who is seriously cute but a complete know-it-all. His hot-cold attitude means he’s impossible to figure out–and even harder to rely on. But despite her better judgment, Phoenix is attracted to Callum. And he’s promising Phoenix a summer she’ll never forget. Can she trust him? Or is this just another lie?




 

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

This was the cutest book! I loved the characters so much, and didn’t encounter anything that I hated about the book. So why didn’t I give it a perfect rating? I felt like it left me wanting more and a lot more. This book could have been way longer, I really wanted to see Phoenix and Callum’s relationship bloom a bit more and see how Phoenix interacted with other counselors.

This book was too short, I just wanted it to continue! Which, I guess is a good thing but I needed more Callum!

I thought the ‘family camp’ situation would be weird but it actually worked for this book.

By the end, the moral of the story is tied up with a nice bow, pulling the title and the plot together which I thought was fantastic. Also thought it was genius to name the character Phoenix and talk about her rising from the ashes.

Trusting You and Other Lies, is a fantastic read for your summer vacation! And because I’m a sucker for a beautiful cover, look at that one! It’s gorgeous!

 

 

Roommates by Erin Leigh & Tara Brown Book Review

Title: Roommates (#1)27276645

Author: Erin Leigh & Tara Brown

Genre: New Adult Romance

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Overall Emotions: Felt very juvenile, but quick and easy to read. Kind of weirded out by the male perspective.




 

Life is full of expectations.
For Brady Coldwell it’s always been about the game.
Hockey is and always will be, his life.
His family sacrificed everything to get him here and he won’t let them down.
He knows what’s expected of him.
Natalie Banks is no different.
She too knows what it means to have everyone sacrifice for you.
She knows about the debt that’s left owing in the end and the price you pay for making up your own mind.
But when an innocent mistake lands them as roommates, neither of them is prepared for the feelings they have or the consequences of their actions.

How do you negotiate matters of the heart?
How do you say no when it simply feels so right?




 

Review

This book had so much potential but it fell short… very short. The synopsis and the cover make it seem like a very innocent book, so the second there was talk from Brady about screwing the nurse after hockey practice (in great detail by the way), I realized this book is aimed toward an older audience, as in, out of high school. I wouldn’t call it an erotica, there were only about four scenes that were cringe worthy. And Brady’s constant inner dialogue of wanting to have sex with Natalie was a bit weird.

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These characters seemed younger than they were supposed to be also, but then way older at times, but never their actual age. At times I felt like Nat was 17, probably because that’s how her mom treats her. I kind of would have rather heard this story straight from Brady’s POV, I found myself annoyed with Nat most of the time.

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***Spoilers follow….***

And then they finally admit their feelings for each other… weeks after they have sex… they decide to move out only to move back in with each other weeks later! What?!

The only part that I really enjoyed was the ending where instead of an engagement ring, he gives her a key to their new apartment. I felt like the over all plot was too quick and a lot of the hockey play talk was a bit boring. I actually started skimming over those parts because I didn’t know what half of it meant.

I would compare this to Fifty Shades of Grey minus the BDSM because at some points Brady reminded me of Christian, not wanting Nat to drink too much, getting jealous, dating a ton of women…

Was a very easy read though, just what I’m looking for at the end of the year. I’d recommend this to someone who is between New Adult and Adult Romance. There’s only a few in depth sex scenes, but they’re not cringe worthy.

Spooky Halloween Reads!

Even though I’m a huge fan of Halloween, I cannot read horror often! It scares the crap out of me. I can occasionally watch horror movies/shows, but reading is another story! Here’s a handful of the horror books I have read and actually enjoyed! Let me know if you’ve read any of these or what you recommend I read this Halloween!

 

 

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the anna-dressed-in-bloodmurderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

Yet she spares Cas’s life.

Think Supernatural meets Ghost. This has a major creepy factor and there were times this book literally kept me up at night! If you like this one, there’s also a sequel!

 

 

we-are-many

For We Are Many by Stuart Thaman

No one believes Fletcher Lee when he says he sees someone lurking in the shadows. Removed from his middle school for frightening the other children, 13 year old Fletcher is forced into psychotherapy where his visions are believed to be the result of a traumatic childhood experience. Pressured into reliving his worst nightmares, Fletcher’s torments grow until they can no longer be written off as mere hallucinations. When Fletcher’s state deteriorates to the point of causing harm to his psychologist, Dr.Kendrick turns away from conventional medicine and discovers a much more troubling, supernatural answer. Without enough time to rescue Fletcher, Dr. Kendrick must make a choice: is she strong enough to risk her soul to find him?

I recommend this book for anyone above the age of 16, the author (my husband) won’t even sell this book to anyone under that age when he goes to book conventions because of some of the content. If you’re into psychological thriller, horror, this is your book. If you’re interested in getting a signed copy, go to his website and order. There’s a sequel in the works!

For the whole month of October, you can find the kindle edition on Amazon for ONLY 99 cents! What a deal! 

 

You by Caroline Kepnes

When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card.41czqbs1jbl-_sx320_bo1204203200_

There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.

As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder.

This was one of the first non-YA books I’ve read and I was very pleased with it. It’s like a train-wreck, you want to stop reading because the way Joe is makes you terrified and worried about the characters future, but you also want to keep reading because Joe has a sort of addicting personality. This thriller shows us the other side of a stalker story.

 

 

Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley

Katie’s got it pretty good. She’s a talented young chef, she runs a successful restaurant, and she has big plans to open an even better one. Then, all at once, progress on the new location bogs down, her charming ex-boyfriend pops up, her fling with another chef goes sour, and her best waitress gets badly hurt. And just like that, Katie’s life goes from pretty good to not so much. What she needs is a second chance. Everybody deserves one, after all—but they don’t come easy. Luckily for Katie, a mysterious girl appsecondsears in the middle of the night with simple instructions for a do-it-yourself do-over:
 
1. Write your mistake
2. Ingest one mushroom
3. Go to sleep
4. Wake anew
 
And just like that, all the bad stuff never happened, and Katie is given another chance to get things right. She’s also got a dresser drawer full of magical mushrooms—and an irresistible urge to make her life not just good, but perfect. Too bad it’s against the rules. But Katie doesn’t care about the rules—and she’s about to discover the
unintended consequences of the best intentions.
 
From the mind and pen behind the acclaimed Scott Pilgrim series comes a madcap new tale of existential angst, everyday obstacles, young love, and ancient spirits that’s sharp-witted and tenderhearted, whimsical and wise.

This graphic novel isn’t scary, but it does have a mysterious girl I would compare to a ghost. If you liked Scott Pilgrim and you’re looking for a not so scary read, this one is for you. You can even read it before bed time and not worry about having nightmares! 🙂

End of 2016 TBR

I can’t believe October is already here! This year flew by! We only have three months left of the year, that’s about 12 weeks of reading left to accomplish my Goodreads 2016 Reading Challenge! I’m ten books behind guys! My goal was to read 30 this year and I’ve only finished 12, I mean, that’s pretty impressive with the schedule I have.

I’ve decided I’m going to try and finish at least five books but I’m going to shoot for the following six. Nanowrimo is coming up next month and I really want to finish my own novel, so we’ll see what happens. There were a few months where I slacked off reading, I just couldn’t get into any of the books I had.

What books are you trying to finish before the year is up? How are you doing on your Goodreads Challenge? Add me on Goodreads so we can follow each other’s challenge progress and stay up to date on what we’re reading!

https://www.goodreads.com/breanna-reads-berks

 

Blue Lily, Lily Blue

There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have untitledbecome hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.

I’m currently reading this one and I can honestly say that it’s my favorite one in the series so far. I’m supposed to be going to Books on the Banks this month and plan on getting Maggie to sign my Shivers series, and I’d like to have this series finished just in case she asks if I read/enjoyed it!

 

The Raven King

Nothing living is safe. Nothing dead is to be trusted.

For years, Gansey has been on a quest to find a lost king. One by one, he’s drawn others into this quest: Ronan, who steals from dreams; Adam, whose life is no longer his own; Noah, whose life is no longer a lie; and Blue, who loves Gansey… and is certain she is destined to kill him.71WosYU7Q8L

Now the endgame has begun. Dreams and nightmares are converging. Love and loss are inseparable. And the quest refuses to be pinned to a path.

Again, trying to finish these last two books in the series before I see Maggie again! Hoping this series ends better than a sad ending since we know one of the boys is going to die!

 

 

 

The Walking Dead Book 5

book five I started this one a few months ago, but honestly, I’m finding it hard to finish the comics when I’ve already seen the show. I do that with all books, which is why I still have never read Harry Potter.

 

 

 

 

Outcast Volume 1

NEW HORROR SERIES FROM THE WALKING DEAD CREATOR ROBERT KIRKMAN! Kyle outcastvol1_coverBarnes has been plagued by demonic possession all his life and now he needs answers. Unfortunately, what he uncovers along the way could bring about the end of life on Earth as we know it. Collects OUTCAST BY KIRKMAN & AZACETA #1-6.

My husband got me this for my birthday last month, so I figured it would make a good Halloween read! Can’t wait to see if I enjoy this comic series! Has anyone else read it?

 

 

Tuck Everlasting

Doomed to – or blessed with – eternal life after drinking from a magic spring, the Tuck family wanders about trying to live as inconspicuously and comfortably as they can. When ten-year-old 9781250059291Winnie Foster stumbles on their secret, the Tucks take her home and explain why living forever at one age is less a blessing that it might seem. Complications arise when Winnie is followed by a stranger who wants to market the spring water for a fortune.

This is one of those books where I watched the movie first and I loved the movie! Figured this would make a good cozy winter read. I’m trying to read a hand full of ‘classics’ every year now and this might be the perfect one. And holy crap, I didn’t realize how young the main character was supposed to be!

 

 

Bookishly Ever After

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 In a perfect world, sixteen-year-old Phoebe Martins’ life would be a book. Preferably a YA novel with magic and a hot paranormal love interest. Unfortunately, her life probably wouldn’t even qualify for a quiet contemporary.

But when Phoebe finds out that Dev, the hottest guy in the clarinet section, might actually have a crush on her, she turns to her favorite books for advice. Phoebe overhauls her personality to become as awesome as her favorite heroines and win Dev’s heart. But if her plan fails, can she go back to her happy world of fictional boys after falling for the real thing?

I already started this one, but so far it’s not as good as I thought it would be. This will probably be a book I choose to read after The Raven Boys series, just to relax and enjoy a good Contemporary YA.

Discussion: Hardcover VS Paperback

Welcome back to another weekend discussion post! I’m so glad you’ve stuck around! If this is my first post that you’re reading, welcome! Follow me for book reviews, book tags and other fun discussions!

This weekend, I want to talk about hardcover versus paperback books. We’ve already discussed e-books vs hardcopies so now I’d like us to look into hardback and paperback. Everyone has his or her preference in what type of book they have. Some people refuse to buy paperback books, while others will wait for a recently released book to come out in paperback.

Me personally, I don’t really care but I do have my preferences. My big issue is having part of a series in paperback and the rest in hardback. Some readers like this because it shows when they caught up in a series. I’m not too fond of that. A current example of this would be my Raven Cycle. I have the first two in paperback and the last two in hardback. They look so goofy on my shelf together! There’s no turning back on those though, considering all four are signed. I don’t want to give up any signed books!

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Hardback Books

Pros:

  • They get less damaged, you can take off the dust jacket and pretty much never hurt your book while reading!
  • They look amazing on a bookshelf!
  • Art for your eyes, wait, that’s just art…
  • When you take of the dust jacket, it’s fun to see what the actual book looks like.

Cons:

  • They’re a bit pricy sometimes.
  • Take up more room than a paperback
  • Heavier, if you’re like me and you carry a book on you at all times, hardbacks weigh a decent bit more than paperbacks.
  • Your bookshelf takes a beating from the weight of hardback books (if yours are cheap like mine, they start to buckle under the weight).

Paperback Books

Pros: 

  • Easier to carry around, since they’re smaller, they weigh less in your bag.
  • Cheaper if you’re on a budget.
  • I personally worry less about lending out paperbacks. I hate lending out hardback books because I feel like they are a bigger investment.
  • You can carry two or three books in your bag and not feel like you’re carrying around a brick.

Cons:

  • They can get damaged easier, the cover corns get bent, they never go back to the original feel (as in the spine is easier to bend).

 

What about you? Would you add anything onto my list? These are just the things I like and dislike about both forms. I’d say my books are spit evenly in hardback and paperback.