Tag Archives: katie cotugno

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.

 

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Winter Book Haul

 

Every now and then, I’ll go on a book buying craze. I didn’t really do this before I started blogging. I would only buy one book, read it, shelve it, and then buy another. This winter though, I kept buying books. In my defense, most of them were on sale! I know exactly what happened, I was planning out my 2017 Goodreads Reading Challenge and I just wanted to go ahead and have them. So, here are the books I purchased starting in December and going through February.

ARC’s Received via NetGalley

 

 

 

How to Love by Katie Cotugno

I purchased this on my kindle and it was on sale for $4.99, what a deal, right?! I figured I loved her 99 Days, so I wanted to try her other novels. Very interested in reading this one this summer. Love me some Contemporary Romances. I ended up loving this one so much that I bought it in hardback too.

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Oblivion by Kelly Creagh (Book 3 in Nevermore Series)

I already owned the first two books in this series, so I needed to complete the collection. I’m hoping to also get the whole set signed because I live near the author and she’s always doing local events. I’m planning on reading the whole series over because I read the first one a long time ago and don’t remember much of it. Just the cute emo boy, Varen Nethers!

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Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

This was my third attempt at a Hoover book and I loved it, my review was posted a few weeks back if you want to check it out! If you’re going to read a book by this author, this needs to be the one! So many twists!

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Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

I purchased this late in the game because the blurb didn’t strike my fancy but I love Sarah Dessen books so much! After I finished the Twilight series, I ran into Dessen’s books at the library and gobbled them up! Love her YA novels, obviously planning on reading this one over the summer.

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Horror Coloring Book

This was a gift for Christmas from my husband. We love spooky things (we got married on Halloween, of course we love spooky things) and this is killer, pun intended. It’s my third adult coloring book and by far the most detailed. I admit though, I feel like a lunatic when I’m coloring blood on a zombie…

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Metal Cats by Alexandra Crockett

Another Christmas gift from my husband. I love cats. I have three cats. I love tattooed musicians… thus, Metal Cats. It’s literally just a book of guys in metal bands with their kitties! So cute! It’s a great addition to my cat bathroom, yes, I have a cat themed bathroom with cat reading materials.

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Peter Pan by JM Barrie

I already read this on Kindle, but I ended up running into this beautiful copy at Barnes and Noble for only $10. Hardback too! I’m not fond of the front cover, but the back is gorgeous! I love the quote in the silhouette of Peter. I also already have a review of this one up for your reading pleasure. By far my favorite classic book.

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

I purchased this on kindle because it was on sale for $1 and I really want to reread some of Dessen’s books. I believe this was one of the first books I ever read of hers. I prefer the old cover though, this one is kind of boring but I don’t have to look at it since it’s an e-book.

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The Fill In Boyfriend by Kasie West

I got a email from GoodReads, saying this one was on sale for only $1.99 so I figured it was a great price on a kindle book. I wanted to read this years ago, but didn’t get around to it. Interested to see if I enjoy West’s writing.

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Bitter Sweet Love by Michael Faudet

If you have a tumblr or instagram, you’ve probably read some of Michael Faudet’s poetry or Lang Leav’s. I really love their poems and I wanted to be sure to pick up Michael’s new one. Beware though, his poems are a little graphic– sexually. I love them.

 

Unashamed by Christine Caine

I saw a girl on my facebook post about this book and how ‘life-changing’ it was and I figured what the heck, I can’t spend my whole year reading YA and borderline erotica so I chose this one. I think I’m going to pick one non diction book a year to read and get myself amped up for life. Is that cheesy?

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True (True Believers 1) by Erin McCarthy

Speaking of cheesy, this cover is super cheesy. My friend however, recommended this book and because she read the whole series in about a week or two, I figured it had to be good. Plus, I love having people to discuss books with! It’s also by a local author, set locally!

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Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

I saw the movie trailer for this and it looked amazing, so I’m totally going to read this before it comes out! It was actually $2 cheaper to buy the paperback than the kindle book.

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How to Love by Katie Cotugno Book Review

 

Title: How To Love

Author: Katie Cotugno

Genre: Young Adult meets New Adult?

Overall Emotions: In love, amazed, sad.

Rating: 5/5 Stars




 

Before:
Reena Montero has loved Sawyer LeGrande for as long as she can remember: as natural as breathing, as endless as time. But he’s never seemed to notice that Reena even exists until one day, impossibly, he does. Reena and Sawyer fall in messy, complicated love. But then Sawyer disappears from their humid Florida town without a word, leaving a devastated—and pregnant—Reena behind.

After:
Almost three years have passed, and there’s a new love in Reena’s life: her daughter, Hannah. Reena’s gotten used to being without Sawyer, and she’s finally getting the hang of this strange, unexpected life. But just as swiftly and suddenly as he disappeared, Sawyer turns up again. Reena doesn’t want anything to do with him, though she’d be lying if she said Sawyer’s being back wasn’t stirring something in her. After everything that’s happened, can Reena really let herself love Sawyer LeGrande again?

In this breathtaking debut, Katie Cotugno weaves together the story of one couple falling in love—twice.




 

This book is beautiful, I don’t know why it took me so many years to finally pick it up. I was a huge fan of 99 Days, which I read a year or two ago and I had checked out the synopsis for How to Love but it didn’t interest me at the time. I’m glad I finally read it, I devoured it in three days.

Sereena had a plan to get the hell out of her Florida town and she was going to do it a year early. Nothing was going to stop her, that is, until she found out she was pregnant and the father has left town without even knowing of his unborn child.

I loved how Cotugno interweaved the before and after in alternating chapters and It worked perfectly. We got to see why she had fallen in love with him and why she had this burning hatred for him when he returned out of the blue.

There were so many twists and turns with this book, and I only saw a handful coming. The biggest one being Sawyer’s rock and roll lifestyle. I loved that Reena’s parents were main characters, too often in YA novels, teens do whatever and we only see their parents a scene or two. Seeing her parents, you could tell they still treated her like a silly, naive child.

Even though I loved this book and gave it a perfect score, I did have some issues:

  1. Occasionaly, Reena calls Hannah ‘the baby’. I have to handle the baby, the baby needs a nap. The baby is 14 months (another pet peeve of mine, your baby is one. Just one). It bothered me, it made Hannah seem unwanted sometimes.
  2. I felt like toward the end where the two families are together and Reena explodes in rage around everyone, I didn’t think she got the chance to say everything. Sawyer’s parents literally were non-existent like he was in his daughters life. If I were Reena, I would have made sure to let Sawyer know how they treated her. Or possibly, did Reena just push them away? We never learn that.
  3. Why was she even friends with Allie the shoplifter. Allie had a horrid personality and she wasn’t a great friend to Reena. She talked down to her so much!
  4. The ending. Yes it was happy, but I wasn’t pleased with it.

 

I hope Katie Cotugno can put more novels out like this, I’ve loved everything she’s done so far.

 

 

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26 Favorite YA book quotes (For my 26th Birthday!)

That’s right! It’s my birthday! I wanted to do something book related for my birthday, so this being my first birthday blogging, I thought I would do a blog about my favorite book quotes! Enjoy!

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“There is never a time or place for true love. It happens accidentally, in a heartbeat, in a single flashing, throbbing moment.”  The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

“Google tells me everything about death, except what comes after.” Zac & Mia by A.J. Betts

“You should never be surprised when someone treats you with respect, you should expect it.” Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen

“I didn’t know how to let you go.” 99 Days by Katie Cotugno

“Love, it never dies. It never goes away, it never fades, so long as you hang on to it. Love can make you immortal” If I Stay by Gayle Forman

“This is the thing about life I’ve never really understood until now: we try so hard to control it, but bad things happen anyway. The only real control is an anti-control, a letting go.”    Teach Me by R.A. Nelson

“How do you regret one of the best nights of your entire life? You don’t. You remember every word, every look. Even when it hurts, you still remember.” It’s Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han

“Books are more real when you read them outside.” Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

“I wish you could be kissed, Jane,’ he said. ‘Because I would beg just one off you. Under all this.’ He flailed an arm toward the stars.” The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

“You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world…but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices.” The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

“It takes ten times as long to put yourself back together as it does to fall apart.” Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

“Everything, in the end, comes down to timing. One second, one minute, one hour could make all the difference.” This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

“There is no better taste than this: someone else’s laughter in your mouth.”  Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

“Love is scary: it changes; it can go away. That’s part of the risk.” To All the Boys I Loved Before by Jenny Han

“For her I bend, for you I break.” Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover

“I…will never…regret you.”  Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover

“It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.”  Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

“Why are you going to let people who are hell-bent on not forgiving you keep you from something that could actually be great?”   99 Days by Katie Cotugno

“It’s a total lie to say there’s only one person you’re going to be with for the rest of your life. If you’re lucky – and if you try really hard – there will always be more than one.” Naomi & Ely’s No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn

“Let’s be friends based on mutual hate.” Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O’Malley

“You can’t force love, I realized. It’s there or it isn’t. If it’s not there, you’ve got to be able to admit it. If it is there, you’ve got to do whatever it takes to protect the ones you love.” Frostbite by Richelle Mead

“Just because I wear black and keep a private journal, that doesn’t mean I’m going to blow up the school. Or terrorize mindless cheerleaders, for that matter.” Nevermore by Kelly Creagh

“To live will be an awfully big adventure.” Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

“Too bad real boyfriends aren’t as awesome as book boyfriends.” Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira

“Don’t be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. You don’t need to live forever, you just have to live.” Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

“Leaving was easy. It was everything else that was so damned hard.” Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

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Totally Should’ve Book Tag

Welcome to the very first Book Tag Tuesday! I’m going to try to do three posts a week, Tuesdays being saved for fun book tags and such, let me know if you guys like that idea.




Totally Should’ve Book Tag

1. Totally should’ve gotten a sequel
99 Days by Katie Cotugno

You’ll eventually get sick of me recommending this book haha. But I loved it and felt like the story needed another book. It ended on a cliff hanger, usually I’m content with YA contemporaries ending after one book, but not this one.

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2. Totally should’ve had a spin off series

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. I’m probably the only person who would want a spin off to Twilight. I really just wanted to see Renesmee grow up and how  her relationship with Jacob ended up becoming.

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3. An author who totally should write more books

Jenny Han. I could read her books for the rest of my life if she kept writing.

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4. A character who totally should’ve ended up with someone else

Katniss from Hunger Games. I just don’t think she should have been with Peeta at all. I never really shipped her with anyone. To me she was too strong and independent to be part of a love triangle.

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5. Totally should’ve ended differently

60% of the books I read. Sorry.

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6. Totally should’ve had a movie franchise

Can I go ahead and say The Raven Cycle needs a movie even though I just started the series?

7. Totally should’ve had a TV show

I’m not fond of Book to TV adaptations so I’m going to sit this question out. I just feel like they end up straying too far from the book.

8. Totally should’ve had only one point of view

I actually enjoy all the books with multiple point of views. It’s fun to get inside all the characters minds.

9. Totally should have a cover change

This one, I wanted it to at least be the same dimensions as my Twilight books. I felt like the cover needed more color to step away from the simplicity of the Twilight covers (Twilight covers were perfect).

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10. Totally should’ve kept the original covers

For this, I’m going to go with one of my husbands books. The very first book he ever published went through a book and name change and it’s awful. He knows it, I know it, everyone does. The first cover art was beautiful, the title went over a lot of peoples heads but it’s better than the new title.

11. Totally should’ve stopped at book one

Though I’m a huge Jenny Han fan, I felt like she should have only put out To All The Boys I Loved Before. The second book didn’t please me at all.

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My Top 5 YA Summer Reads

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Ah, summer is almost here! I can see my husbands skin turning into a lobster from the summer sun already, lawnmowers are up and moving, and all the neighborhood kids have come out from their winter hibernation to wreak havoc. Me? I’m where I usually am, avoiding sunlight and the heat. Lying on the couch with my blanket, reading my life away when I’m not required to be at work. It’s perfect. I do recommend you go out and enjoy the nice weather, but if you’re not outdoorsy, here’s some of my favorite young adult summer reads that will make you gush over all the potential fictional boyfriends!

The following are all books that I have read, next month I’ll be posting some books that I want to read this summer!

 

5.) Stolen by Lucy Christopher

In this book, Gemma writes a letter to her kidnapper, Ty who kidnapped her from an airport and takes her out to the middle of a desert in Australia. This isn’t a ‘feel good contemporary romance, but you will ‘feel the heat’ coming from this desert because it’s described so much. I read this a few years ago and this book is still one of my favorites! It deals with Stockholm Syndrome and the idea that you can’t make someone love you. If we were talking about all time favorite books, this would be higher on my list, but since we’re talking YA summer reads, I put it last on my list because it’s not a ‘easy read’. This book brought so many emotions out in me. If you haven’t read this book, pick it up right now!

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4.) Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

Are you not a beach bunny? Do you prefer lakes? Second chance summer is the book for you! Taylor and her family have just received devastating news so they decide they need to spend one last summer at their lake house. The family starts coming closer together and of course Taylor’s old boyfriend from the lake walks back into her life. This one is definitely more up-lifting than Stolen. I’d read this as a pick-me-up after you finish Stolen.

 

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3.) Anything by Sarah Dessen!

Am I the only one who loves Sarah Dessen’s books? I love that she bases them all out of the same cute little beach town, Colby. I couldn’t just pick one to recommend but my favorites were Just Listen, The Truth About Forever and This Lullaby. Colby boys are the greatest! The perfect companions for your summer break!

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2.) The Summer I Turned Pretty Series by Jenny Han

This series is one of the best I have read in YA Contemporary, and my favorite of Han’s. I devoured this series! We follow a girl named Belly who dreams of summer break at the beach house. She’s town between two brothers, Conrad and Jeremiah who are family friends. There are so many twists and turns throughout this book series. If I didn’t have so many books on my TBR, I would read them again.

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1.) 99 Days by Katie Cotugno

My all time favorite summer book and possibly my favorite book period is this one. Not only is the cover and dust jacket beautiful but it’s such a great summer read. I don’t normally 5 star a book, but I did on this one. The book is written in days (which is why it’s called 99 Days, obviously). I’m just going to copy and paste my GoodReads review so you can see how happy I was to read this. So many people have given this book 2 stars or below and that breaks my heart because I loved it so much.

If I died tomorrow, I would die happy with this book being the final one that I read. The dust jacket is adorable and I’m not going to lie, I might have only bought it because of the cat picture inside.

Now, let’s be real. I feel like this book was written for me. There’s not many books that have made me feel that way, but this was one of them. Cotugno, created so many 4-diminsional characters, me relating and understanding all of them. I had this huge hatred for Julia though. I’d describe this If I died tomorrow, I would die happy with this book being the final one that I read. The dust jacket is adorable and I’m not going to lie, I might have only bought it because of the cat picture inside.

Now, let’s be real. I feel like this book was written for me. There’s not many books that have made me feel that way, but this was one of them. Cotugno, created so many 4-diminsional characters, me relating and understanding all of them. I had this huge hatred for Julia though. I’d describe this book as the ‘what happens after a love triangle goes to shit’ book. I’ve read so many young adult love triangles that end with a ‘happily ever after’, but this book… this tells you the messy truth. I wanted to defend Molly Barlow’s actions so much because I’ve been in her shoes. IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO! It wasn’t the ending I was hoping for, but I think it’s the ending the book needed.

This one is going on my favorites shelf.

And Katie Cotugno, if you’re reading this, please write a sequel! I feel like the story of Molly, Gabe and Patrick still needs attention. Thanks for showing me it wasn’t Molly’s fault, and it wasn’t mine either.

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And that concludes my YA Summer Read Recommendations! Read on!

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