Tag Archives: young adult

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.

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.

Procrastination

 

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:

 

 

What Light by Jay Asher Book Review

Title: What LightBooks Jay Asher

Author: Jay Asher

Rating: 5/5 Stars




Sierra’s family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon—it’s a bucolic setting for a girl to grow up in, except that every year, they pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other. 

Until this particular Christmas, when Sierra meets Caleb, and one life eclipses the other.

By reputation, Caleb is not your perfect guy: years ago, he made an enormous mistake and has been paying for it ever since. But Sierra sees beyond Caleb’s past and becomes determined to help him find forgiveness and, maybe, redemption. As disapproval, misconceptions, and suspicions swirl around them, Caleb and Sierra discover the one thing that transcends all else: true love.




 

This was probably the coziest YA romance I could have picked up for the month of December. I’ve had it on my TBR since earlier this summer and had been waiting for the holiday season to hit so I could read it (yes, I prefer to read books in whatever season they take place in.)

I loved this novel so much, it wasn’t a life changing, I’m in complete since I finished it like I was with November 9 last month, but it was still super cute and I was totally crushing on Caleb.

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I didn’t find too many issues with the plot in this and I never found the characters annoying or bland. Which was why I gave this novel a perfect rating. The drama was minimal, and was usually quickly resolved.

This is the perfect novel for you to snuggle up to this Christmas! I highly recommend it, no complaints here! Beautiful scenery, plenty of details, wonderful story.

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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.

 

 

Top Ten by Katie Cotugno Book Review

Title: Top TenTopTen_1

Author: Katie Cotugno

Genre: Young Adult

Rating: 3/5 Stars



 

Ryan McCullough and Gabby Hart are the unlikeliest of friends. Introverted, anxious Gabby would rather do literally anything than go to a party. Ryan is a star hockey player who can get any girl he wants—and does, frequently. But against all odds, they became not only friends, but each other’s favorite person. Now, as they face high school graduation, they can’t help but take a moment to reminisce and, in their signature tradition, make a top ten list—counting down the top ten moments of their friendship:

10. Where to begin? Maybe the night we met.
9. Then there was our awkward phase.
8. When you were in love with me but never told me…
7. Those five months we stopped talking were the hardest of my life.
6. Through terrible fights…
5. And emotional makeups.
4. You were there for me when I got my heart broken.
3. …but at times, you were also the one breaking it.
2. Above all, you helped me make sense of the world.
1. Now, as we head off to college—how am I possibly going to live without you?



 

I didn’t think it would happen, but I’ve finally read a book of Katie Cotugno’s that I wasn’t thrilled about. I’ve never given her anything less than a five star until this novel. It won’t stop me from reading her stuff in the future, but I don’t think it was nearly as good as 99 Days of How to Love.

Gabby’s Anxiety

Gabby reminded me so much of myself. She hates being put in social situations, doesn’t want to be in a crowd, hates parties and constantly thinks she makes mistakes and dwells on the past. Literally. Me. There were moments I thought, ‘Shit, Cotugno, how’d you get into my brain and write my anxiety so well?’ She did a great job at the ‘panicers’ and anxiety, but I found myself really annoyed with Gabby for how she treated Ryan and her sisters sometimes. She came off as a total ass and I know she didn’t mean to, but you can only blame the anxiety for so long.

Sexuality

I was also put off my Gabby being bi, I’m not a big fan about ready non-heterosexual romance (I’m not against this, I’m just not a fan of reading something I can’t relate to like that). I feel like if you’re going to make a character bi/gay/trans it needs to be in the synopsis, especially since this played a huge role in the book. I may be the only one who feels this way, and forgive me if I sound ignorant, but that’s how I felt.

Out of Order Plot

How to Love was written in a THEN/NOW alternating chapters, which I loved. This novel however did a countdown that was mixed in some areas. Had it been written their senior year, backwards until you get to when they meet each other, that would have been easier to follow.

 

For Ryan and Gabby being best friends, I feel like they never actually knew how to handle one another, they seemed to constantly be stepping around their feelings for each other. This drove me absolutely nuts! Ryan was always worried about setting off Gabby and Gabby was always worried about pissing off Ryan. It didn’t seem healthy for either of them. And poor Ryan! I felt like Gabby was constantly messing with his emotions!

 

 

 

 

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…

 

 

Everything, Everything Book Review/Movie Comparison

Title: Everything, EverythingEverything,_Everything

Author: Nicola Yoon

Genre: Young Adult

Rating: 5/5 Stars




 

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.




 

Book Review

This book was amazing. I’m not sure how to put how amazing it was, into words. I read it because I saw the movie trailer and I really wanted to watch it but thought the book was worth a try.

I loved Maddy because of how pure and kind she was. She can’t remember a time of ever leaving her house, she literally didn’t understand the concept of traffic. The things we take for granted, are things Maddy was just getting to experience at 18 for the first time. Olly brought out this new person in her and he was so caring and concerned for her.

I’m a huge lover of insta-love in books, so I was kind of worried how this one would play out because the characters don’t get too much interaction together. However, I was not disappointed at all. It was the perfect about of swoony, cute, first love and personal dilemmas with Maddy.

Olly was the perfect image of the boy next door that most girls dream of falling in love with. Enough bad boy vibe, but nothing over the top. Maddy and Olly made one another into better versions of themselves and I think that’s a romance worth looking up to.

I think this may have been my favorite book that I’ve read this year.

The movie, on the other hand, is another story….

Movie Adaptation

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I was so excited to watch the movie adaptation. When I heard this was going to be a movie, I immediately bought a copy to read before it came out. Me being me, I procrastinated all summer and then just waited for it to come out on DVD/BluRay. Sadly, the movie fell way short in my opinion, probably because the book was so fresh on my mind, so I was picking everything they did wrong with it.

I loved these scenes when they were in Hawaii, those were my favorite, but I missed the visit and conversation with Olly’s friend, that seemed like a big part to miss out on, along with the visit with her nurse before she left.

The way they handled the text conversations could have been better. If I hadn’t read the book I would have been really confused. My parents watched this with me and they didn’t understand how one second they were just texting and the next they’re in the diner or library together. However, I did love the astronaut in the background. My favorite part of the whole movie had to be when he was trying to drink his milkshake and he couldn’t because of his helmet. I could not stop laughing!

The casting of Olly and Maddy were fantastic, I felt like these two really pulled off these roles well. I wasn’t too thrilled with the casting for the mother though, correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t she supposed to be Korean and the father African-American?

They should have also stepped out Olly’s father’s drinking and abuse. They hint at it, but not enough.

Overall, I’d give this movie a 2/5 stars. Yeah, I said it, ouch. Was not a fan.