Genre: Young Adult

Review: You’d be Mine by Erin Hahn

Posted April 10, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: You’d be Mine by Erin HahnReviewer: Rowena
You'd Be Mine by Erin Hahn
Publisher: Macmillan, Wednesday Books
Publication Date: April 2, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 304
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Rowena's 2019 New to Me Challenge
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four-stars

Annie Mathers is America’s sweetheart and heir to a country music legacy full of all the things her Gran warned her about. Superstar Clay Coolidge is most definitely going to end up one of those things.

But unfortunately for Clay, if he can’t convince Annie to join his summer tour, his music label is going to drop him. That’s what happens when your bad boy image turns into bad boy reality. Annie has been avoiding the spotlight after her parents’ tragic death, except on her skyrocketing YouTube channel. Clay’s label wants to land Annie, and Clay has to make it happen.

Swayed by Clay’s undeniable charm and good looks, Annie and her band agree to join the tour. From the start fans want them to be more than just tour mates, and Annie and Clay can’t help but wonder if the fans are right. But if there’s one part of fame Annie wants nothing to do with, it’s a high-profile relationship. She had a front row seat to her parents’ volatile marriage and isn’t interested in repeating history. If only she could convince her heart that Clay, with his painful past and head over heels inducing tenor, isn’t worth the risk.

This book came to my attention while I was browsing Netgalley. I thought it was going to be a fluffy contemporary YA romance and since that’s my YA jam, I requested it. The book was a lot deeper than I was expecting but I thought the entire story was pretty solid and I’m glad that I read it. I enjoyed getting to know both Annie and Clay, seeing their relationship blossom on the road and I just liked it all.

Country Superstar, Clay Coolidge is spiraling out of control. It is obvious from the very beginning that something happened to this guy and he’s not handling it too well. On the verge of losing his summer tour, Clay has to get an unsigned artist that his label is anxious to sign on board to be his opening act if he wants to go on tour. So he flies out to meet Annie Mathers.

Annie’s going through her own shit, dealing with the death of her parents and it’s probably not a good idea to go into the same business that they were in but music is a calling for her and she’s really good so when Clay comes knocking, she goes where the music takes her.

It’s only natural that on a tour, you get close to the people that are on the tour with you. Clay and Annie were drawn to each other and I thought that Hahn handled their relationship well. Clay could come off as such an asshole, an irresponsible one at that but I never wanted to give up on his character. I thought he came into his own in a real and believable way and I really enjoyed getting to know him but I also really enjoyed getting to know Annie too. Their romance was pretty great too. It wasn’t the main focus but I still enjoyed it. I loved seeing them grow together, closer and closer in friendship until he couldn’t survive her just as much as she couldn’t survive him. 🙂

I’m a huge country music fan so I enjoyed this and adored the song “You’d be Mine” too. This book is big on friendships, hardships and growing pains and if you’re into deep contemporary YA’s, I recommend you try this one out because it’s an enjoyable read with great characters, heavy themes with a satisfying ending. Check it out!

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Eyes on Me by Rachel Harris

Posted March 26, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Eyes on Me by Rachel HarrisReviewer: Rowena
Eyes on Me by Rachel Harris
Publisher: Entangled, Entangled Teen
Publication Date: March 26, 2019
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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four-stars

Look up the word “nerd” and you’ll find Lily Bailey’s picture. She’s got one goal: first stop valedictorian, next stop Harvard. Until a stint in the hospital from too much stress lands her in the last place a klutz like her ever expected to be: salsa dance lessons.

Look up the word “popular” and you’ll find Stone Torres’s picture. His life seems perfect—star of the football team, small-town hero, lots of friends. But his family is struggling to make ends meet, so if pitching in at his mom's dance studio helps, he’ll do it.

When Lily’s dad offers Stone extra cash to volunteer as Lily’s permanent dance partner, he can’t refuse. But with each dip and turn, each moment her hand is in his, his side job starts to feel all too real. Lily shows Stone he's more than his impressive football stats, and he introduces her to a world outside of studying. But with the lines blurred, can their relationship survive the secret he's been hiding?

Rachel Harris has been a go-to for contemporary YA romances for me and every time I read one of her books, I enjoy the heck out of them. It took me no time at all to fall into this book and it was another one sitting read about two young students who fall in love with each other and the journey they take to get to that happy for now ending.

Lily is trying to get into Harvard and she’s working her butt off to make sure that she stands a chance of getting in. When she lands herself in the hospital for stressing the hell out, her Dad steps in and tells her that something needs to change. She either needs to give up some of her classes or she needs to take a day off from all things school, at least one day each week to do fun things. Anything that does not have anything to do with school. So to make her Dad happy, she signs up for a salsa class that brings her into contact with Stone Torres, the star football player from school.

Stone is the popular kid at school, the star quarterback that is living the life…only his parents are struggling with money, his girlfriend cheated on him and he’s stuck working at his mother’s dance studio for free when he could be making some actual money to help the family elsewhere. When he becomes Lily Bailey’s permanent dance partner while she’s taking classes at his Mom’s studio, things are looking up and he figures he’s got everything worked out until he starts getting to know Lily, starts liking Lily and then starts dating her. A tangled web of untruths threaten to blow up Stone’s world again and he’s not sure how to come out on top without damaging everything he’s come to hold dear.

There was a lot going on in this book but I thought everything was handled well. I liked seeing Lily and Stone become friends and then work their way toward becoming more. I wanted Stone to come clean about everything much sooner but understood why he didn’t and really, I thought Harris did a great job of showcasing a romance between the nerd and the jock that was sweet, fun and completely believable.

There was much to enjoy in this book outside of the romance between Stone and Lily too. The new friendship that blossomed between Angela, Lily, and Sidney. The potential of romance between Angela and Chase. The family dynamics are strong and overall, the story was just good and solid. There wasn’t much about the book that I didn’t enjoy. I mean, I didn’t like Cameron and Noah but they were such a small part of the story and everything else was great. I’m certainly glad that I picked this one up for review because Rachel Harris shines with these YA contemporary romances. So good!

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry

Posted February 28, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarryReviewer: Rowena
Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry
Publisher: Macmillan, Tor Teen
Publication Date: January 22, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 365
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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four-half-stars

Bestselling author Katie McGarry’s trademark wrong-side-of-the-tracks romance is given a new twist in the gritty YA contemporary novel, Only a Breath Apart.

Jesse Lachlin is cursed.

So the town folklore says, but while Jesse’s had his fair share of tragedy, the only curse he believes is in his grandmother’s will: in order to inherit his family farm he must win the approval of his childhood best friend, the girl he froze out his freshman year, Scarlett Copeland.

Scarlett Copeland is psychic.

Glory Gardner tells Scarlett she has hidden psychic abilities, but Scarlett thinks Glory is delusional. What is real is Scarlett’s father’s irrational fears, controlling attitude, and the dark secrets at home. Scarlett may have a way to escape, but there’s a hitch: she’ll have to rely on the one person she used to trust, the same boy who broke her heart, Jesse Lachlin.

Each midnight meeting pushes Jesse and Scarlett to confront their secrets and their feelings for each other. But as love blooms, the curse rears its ugly head…

Katie McGarry writes really emotional YA books that I have had no trouble falling into in the past. Her Pushing the Limits series is one of my favorite YA series and so I’m always on the lookout for more stuff from her. When this book made it onto my radar, I knew that I wanted it. I also knew that it was probably going to be an emotional read because McGarry does emotion well and I was right. This book made me cry and when I put it down, I was completely satisfied with the story as a whole and loved both Jesse and Scarlett so much.

This book follows two childhood best friends who were ripped apart by betrayal as they come together, years later and realize that their friendship was always meant to be more than friendship.

Jesse Lachlin had a pretty rocky childhood. His mother went from one bad relationship to the next and Jesse was always shipped from wherever his Mom was when things were going good for her to the more stable home at his grandmother’s house when things weren’t good for his Mom. He was no stranger to domestic abuse and he hated that his Mom never found the peace she craved while she was alive. Jesse was a witness to his mother’s murder and carries a lot of trauma and guilt over it. One of the things he remembers most from his Mom was her telling him that their family was cursed and as long as they stayed on their family land in Kentucky, they’d be okay because otherwise, everyone close to them will die.

Scarlett Copeland is planning an escape from her life. She has plans for her future and they do not include staying close to the home that she’s always known where her father is like a ticking bomb, waiting to go off and she vows to be long gone when that finally happens. When her parents informed her that she was not going to college at the University of Kentucky like she wanted but was going to attend the business school in town so that she can stay home instead of live in the dorms on campus, Scarlett knew she was on her own…and that meant letting the boy she called her best friend when she was a kid back into her life because whether she wanted it or not, she needed his help…and he needed hers.

Their journeys were not easy ones and throughout this entire book, both Jesse and Scarlett are put through the wringer. My heart hurt for both of them and all that they went through but boy did I love how they came together in the end. They were stronger together and seeing them want to be strong for each other after their history was just so satisfying. Katie McGarry did her thing with this book. It was packed with compelling characters and an emotional roller coaster that readers will not soon forget. I will say that it took me a little bit to get into the story because the beginning was a little slow but once I got a feel for who the characters were, what they were about, it was so easy for me to fall into the story and I ended up really enjoying it. It’s a good one, guys. I recommend.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Review: Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss by Kasie West

Posted February 11, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss by Kasie WestReviewer: Rowena
Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss by Kasie West
Publisher: Harper Collins, Harper Teen
Publication Date: February 5, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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three-stars

Lacey Barnes has dreamt of being in a movie for as long as she can remember. However, while her dream did include working alongside the hottest actor in Hollywood, it didn’t involve having to finish up her senior year of high school at the same time she was getting her big break. Although that is nothing compared to Donavan, the straight-laced student her father hires to tutor her, who is a full-on nightmare.

As Lacey struggles to juggle her burgeoning career, some on-set sabotage, and an off-screen romance with the unlikeliest of leading men, she quickly learns that sometimes the best stories happen when you go off script.

If you read Love, Life, and the List, then you’ll remember Lacey because Lacey and Abby were friends. In this book, Kasie West revisits these characters with a story that features Lacey front and center. I was really looking forward to reading this book because I adored Love, Life, and the List and was looking for more of that kind of action and I’m not sure if it was a mood or what but there were quite a few times when I thought this book dragged and in the end, that messed with my enjoyment of the overall story being told.

So Lacey is an actress who is about to get her big break on a zombie movie. She should be over the moon about that but she’s not connecting with her heartthrob co-star and she’s having to finish her senior year with a tutor that her father hired to help her pass her classes. She’d be able to handle all of that if her tutor wasn’t a nightmare named Donovan. She’s dealing with a bunch of stuff and having to juggle it all is low key getting to her.

I did like Lacey’s personality and thought she was super adorable but I didn’t completely connect with her and Donovan, the way that I did with Abby and Cooper. I can’t completely tell you guys why because on the surface, they were fine. Their bickering was cute and seeing them grow together was fine but for some reason, it was really easy for me to put the book down and do something, really anything else.

This was a light, really fluffy read and most of the time, that works for me. I’m all about the light and fluffy. So while I was happy that Lacey gets her guy in the end, the repetitiveness of her days on set, and the obvious on set drama didn’t spark my usual joy for Kasie West books and that surprised me so this one gets a 3 out of 5 stars from me.

Grade: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Review: Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills

Posted January 10, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Famous in a Small Town by Emma MillsReviewer: Rowena
Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co
Publication Date: January 15, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars

For Sophie, small town life has never felt small. With her four best friends—loving, infuriating, and all she could ever ask for—she can weather any storm. But when Sophie’s beloved Acadia High School marching band is selected to march in the upcoming Rose Parade, it’s her job to get them all the way to LA. Her plan? To persuade country singer Megan Pleasant, their Midwestern town’s only claim to fame, to come back to Acadia to headline a fundraising festival.

The only problem is that Megan has very publicly sworn never to return.

What ensues is a journey filled with long-kept secrets, hidden heartbreaks, and revelations that could change everything—along with a possible fifth best friend: a new guy with a magnetic smile and secrets of his own.

I used to read a lot of YA but in the last couple of years, my interest in them cooled off some but it seems to be back because this is the second YA book that I read in the last few weeks and I have another on my TBR pile. I tried to read Emma Mills when my interest in YA books was dimming and because of that, I wasn’t in the mood to read the book. I feel like I should go back and give that book another go because I really enjoyed this one.

Sophie is in her high school band and she’s in charge of the fundraising for the next school year. Her band won a slot in a huge competition at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California so it’s going to be expensive to try to raise money to send all 100+ band members to California from their small town in Illinois. Sophie gets the idea of trying to locate and procure one of the country’s biggest country stars who just so happens to be from her same hometown to come back home to do a concert that will help their band raise the necessary funds they need for their trip. It’s not going to be easy because Sophie has no idea where to start to try to lock down Megan Pleasant but she turns to her friends for help and grudgingly, they help.

Sophie is a very busy young woman. She has multiple jobs, one of them being a babysitter and she babysits for Kyle and Heather once a week. When Kyle’s younger brother comes to live with him, Sophie reaches out to him and invites him along with her and her friends so that he knows people when they start their senior year together in the fall. Sophie is attracted to Kyle’s brother, August, but he keeps putting out that this stay in town is temporary and he’s not trying to form any close attachments so anything developing between him and Sophie needs to stop. But the heart wants what it wants and Sophie and August burst onto the scene and Sophie hopes for the best.

I think fans of Sarah Dessen, Kasie West, and Meg Cabot will enjoy this book because it’s such a sweetly written book about a young woman who loves big time and wants to help everyone that she could. Sophie was the kind of young adult protagonist that I adore. She was kind, honest, and strong. She lived her life with heart and my heart hurt for her with everything that she had working against her. From her issues with trying to locate Megan Pleasant, to her text messages with her mystery friend and then all of the stuff she went through with August, I just loved her more and more with each turn of the page. She really shined in this book and I’m glad that I read this one.

I’m definitely going to read more by Emma Mills. She won me over with this one.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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