Genre: Young Adult

Cover Reveal: The Accidentals by Sarina Bowen

Posted June 8, 2018 by Rowena in Promotions | 2 Comments

Cover Reveal

Earlier this week, I mentioned that Sarina Bowen is bringing her writing talents to the Young Adult genre and I’m super excited about that. Today, we’re participating in the cover reveal of that first YA book of hers, The Accidentals.

Check it out:

Cover Reveal: The Accidentals by Sarina BowenThe Accidentals by Sarina Bowen
Published by Tuxbury Publishing LLC
Publication Date: July 10, 2018
Genres: Young Adult
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Goodreads

Never ask a question unless you’re sure you want the truth.

I’ve been listening to my father sing for my whole life. I carry him in my pocket on my mp3 player. It’s just that we’ve never met face to face.

My mother would never tell me how I came to be, or why my rock star father and I have never met. I thought it was her only secret. I was wrong.

When she dies, he finally appears. Suddenly I have a first class ticket into my father’s exclusive world. A world I don’t want any part of – not at this cost.
Only three things keep me going: my a cappella singing group, a swoony blue-eyed boy named Jake, and the burning questions in my soul. There’s a secret shame that comes from being an unwanted child. It drags me down, and puts distance between me and the boy I love.

My father is the only one alive who knows my history. I need the truth, even if it scares me.

I’m digging this cover and the blurb is fantastic. If you haven’t put this on your TBR list, you should fix that because it’s Sarina Bowen. She always takes care of us!

Pre-Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || GOOGLE || iBOOKS || KOBO

About the Author

Sarina Bowen

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | GOODREADS

Sarina Bowen is the RITA® Award winning author of over two dozen contemporary and LGTB romance novels. She most recently hit the USA Today bestseller’s list in February, with Brooklynaire. Formerly a derivatives trader on Wall Street, Sarina holds a BA in economics from Yale University.

Sarina Bowen is a New Englander whose Vermont ancestors cut timber and farmed the north country since the 1760s. Sarina is grateful for the invention of indoor plumbing and wi-fi during the intervening 250 years. On a few wooded acres, she lives with her husband, two boys, and an ungodly amount of ski and hockey gear.

Sarina’s books are published in a dozen languages on four continents. In 2016, The Romance Writers of America honored HIM by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy with a RITA award for Best Contemporary Romance, Mid-Length.


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Review: Airports, Exes, and Other Things I’d Like to Forget by Shani Petroff

Posted June 5, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Airports, Exes, and Other Things I’d Like to Forget by Shani PetroffReviewer: Rowena
Airports, Exes, and Other Things I'm Over by Shani Petroff
Published by Swoon Reads
Publication Date: May 15, 2018
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 224
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Goodreads
three-half-stars

A bad storm, two canceled flights, stuck in an airport with a hot stranger and the guy who broke her heart... what could go wrong?

After Sari caught her boyfriend Zev cheating on her, their romantic Florida vacation was ruined. She can't get back to NYC soon enough. Unfortunately, mother nature may have different plans. A huge storm is brewing in the Northeast, and flights all over the country are getting canceled—including Sari's. She winds up stuck at the airport for hours. With Zev!

When another stranded passenger (a hot NYU guy) suggests a connecting flight to Boston, Sari jumps at the chance. But when her mom freaks out about her traveling alone, she has no choice—she has to include Zev, and somehow survive being trapped with the guy who broke her heart!

I haven’t read too many books from Swoon Reads but this one caught my eye. It sounded like a cute story about a young girl trying to find herself in the midst of heartbreak. This book was cute but the main character got on my nerves a lot while I was reading this book.

So, the book starts off with our young aspiring musician heroine, Sari at a concert with her best friend. Sari is hoping to one day grace the stage at the very venue she’s at. Plenty of her favorite local musicians got their start here and she’s hoping to be one. The concert she’s at was so good that she’s feeling great. She’s got no complaints about her life right now. She’s hanging with her bestie, listening to her favorite band and she’s got a great boyfriend who adores her. They’re leaving on a week-long vacation together and she is so excited. Or, she was excited until she shows up at the party her boyfriend is at and catches him in a lip-lock with his ex-girlfriend.

Just like that, her plans and her excitement and her world come crumbling down around her. The hurt and the betrayal are huge so she does what any self-respecting young lady would do. She shows up at the airport way earlier than planned and changes her flight so that she doesn’t have to travel with her cheating boyfriend and she does her best to move on. She doesn’t expect to move on immediately but she gives it a try anyway. It’s hard to enjoy a vacation away when your heart is broken and the guy that broke your heart keeps trying to contact you and then shows up at your Grandmother’s house to make amends.

The story really takes off when she meets a boy close to her age at her Grandmother’s senior living apartment complex. She may not want to jump into a new relationship or even be on board a rebound hookup but she could use a friend and Fitz quickly becomes a friend of hers. When the offer of a lifetime comes through, Sari will do whatever it takes to get home…and that includes riding home with her cheating ex-boyfriend and a bunch of strangers to make her show.

Most of this book takes place at the airport and on her drive home from Boston with three boys. Sari is desperate to get home and she’s trying her best to keep her shit together but being in close proximity to the guy that broke your heart is hard. It’s made even harder when her mother refuses to respect her wishes by not contacting Zev (the cheating ex) but on that end, if she didn’t want her Mom to keep texting Zev then she should have stayed more on top of keeping her parents in the loop on everything going on but since she didn’t…a parent’s got to do what a parent’s got to do.

I really sympathized with Sari’s situation throughout the whole book but far too often, she annoyed me. I was also really annoyed with Zev in that he just refused to go away. I spent far too much of this book rooting for a boy that did everything right but in the end, wasn’t rewarded. Sure, everything is wrapped up nicely in the end but it wasn’t necessarily the ending that I was rooting for. I felt like if we were supposed to be rooting for one boy then there shouldn’t have been so much of the other boy. But also, there shouldn’t have been so much of the other boy for us to love.

I thought that Sari was really lucky to have the support system that she had and while she kind of drove me crazy throughout the book, I did believe the growth in her character and even supported it. So while this book ended well, there were still things that I griped about but got over.

All in all, this book gets a 3.5 out of 5 from me.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

Posted May 8, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene GooReviewer: Rowena
The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo
Published by Farrar Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: May 8, 2018
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 288
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four-stars

From the author of I Believe in a Thing Called Love, a laugh-out-loud story of love, new friendships, and one unique food truck.

Clara Shin lives for pranks and disruption. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck, the KoBra, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. Not the carefree summer Clara had imagined. But maybe Rose isn't so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) crushing on her is pretty cute. Maybe Clara actually feels invested in her dad’s business. What if taking this summer seriously means that Clara has to leave her old self behind?

With Maurene Goo's signature warmth and humor, The Way You Make Me Feel is a relatable story of falling in love and finding yourself in the places you’d never thought to look.

I’ve been in the mood for some diverse characters and am trying to put together a list of romances featuring Polynesian characters but in the midst of putting that list together, I came across this book. A contemporary YA set in LA, featuring an Asian lead? Count me in.

So, this book features Clara Shin who is a junior at Elysian High School in the Echo Park part of Los Angeles County. She’s known at school as a prankster and she’s always at odds with straight-laced Rose Carver. When things go a little too far at junior prom, Rose and Clara are sentenced to working off their fight on Clara’s father’s food truck, called the KoBra where they serve Korean and Brazillian influenced food. Clara is not happy about this as she’s not one for working over the summer but Rose will whatever it takes to not have this on her permanent record so she’s in.

From the very beginning, Rose and Clara butt heads. And they butt heads over everything, big and small, they argue and then fight and Clara’s Dad has had it. He’s going to make sure that they learn their lesson so he trains them and then he leaves them on their own to run the food truck. Being stuck on a food truck with your least favorite person in town is pure hell and continues to be that way for Clara until they start to get to know each other.

Seeing Clara really come into her own and take a hard look at the way that her life has been up until this point was refreshingly honest. I really enjoyed Clara’s character. Her personality was so L.A. and seeing her grow closer and closer to Rose was fun and meeting Hamlet then seeing him and Clara circle each other was great.

This book was well written. Goo’s depiction of Los Angeles was real, authentic and true. There is a huge Asian population in San Gabriel Valley and it didn’t surprise me at all that Hamlet played basketball (Ha, I’ve been to many an Asian League basketball game in SGV and could totally picture Hamlet there). I even pictured Hamlet as one of my daughter’s friends. The way that Hamlet was described fit my daughter’s friend description really well. I was nodding along to pretty much all of the L.A. bits because L.A. is my hometown and I thought all of that stuff was spot on.

It was really easy for me to connect with this book because I’m a huge fan of Los Angeles and coming of age stories. Clara was a great lead character and I really loved seeing the friendship blossom between her and Rose. I also really enjoyed the little romance that she had going with Hamlet and the positive parenting thing going on??? YESSSSS!!! Far too often, I see a lot of absent parents in YA books so it was nice to see parents who were involved in their children’s lives and showed genuine love for them. All in all, I really enjoyed Clara’s journey of self-discovery in this book and I will definitely be reading more from Maurene Goo. I recommend this book if you’re in the mood for something cute, sweet and funny. This fits the bill quite nicely.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Love Between Enemies by Molly E. Lee

Posted March 12, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Love Between Enemies by Molly E. LeeReviewer: Rowena
Love Between Enemies (Grad Night, #2) by Molly E. Lee
Series: Grad Night #2
Also in this series: Love in the Friend Zone (Grad Night, #1)
Published by Entangled, Crush
Publication Date: January 8th 2018
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 221
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two-half-stars

Zoey Handler is ready to put an end to her decade-long rivalry with Gordon Meyers. They’ve traded top spot between valedictorian and salutatorian for years, but all that’s over now. Right? But after a crazy graduation speech prank gets out of hand, suddenly their rivalry turns into all-out war. Time to make peace with a little friendly payback.

Step one? Make him believe they’re now friends.

Step two? Show him the time of his life at an epic graduation party.

Step three? Don’t fall for his tricks.

Step four? Absolutely, positively, do not kiss him again.

So what if he’s cute? (Okay, hot.) So what if he’s charming? (Heaven help her, tempting.) So what if he apologizes? (That has to be fake.) She knows the real Gordon. And no matter how much her heart begs her to stop, there’s no turning back.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains one epic party, complete with every high-schoolers-gone-bad shenanigan, and two rivals who discover maybe they could be something much more…if only they’d stop fighting long enough to notice it.

When I read the first book, Love in the Friend Zone, I was curious about Gordon and Zoey. I was curious about them because Gordon was pretty pissed at graduation and I was even more curious about Zoey’s plan of revenge. I wanted to read this book to see what happened to piss Gordon off and to see how it all went down for Zoey.

The day of Graduation, Gordon wakes up to some really devastating news so when he gets to school, he’s hoping for some good news about a scholarship that he applied for. After getting the news that his father’s restaurant isn’t doing so hot, he’s banking on the full ride scholarship for school. He worked really hard for it and needs the money to help ease the financial burden on his Dad. When he gets to the school and the counselor tells him that the scholarship went to someone who doesn’t even need money for school, he is not happy. He’s already emotional because his father is losing the restaurant that was his late mother’s dream, the restaurant that was a second home to him and then the hits keep coming because Zoey told him on the first day of school that she was not going out for the scholarship but she just won it. Needless to say, he’s emotional and he gets a little revenge by embarrassing her at the graduation. Made a total dick move and afterward is completely remorseful.

He plans to apologize at his friend, Lennon’s grad night party but he’s still got a lot on his mind. He’s forming plans to try to save his father’s livelihood and he’s giving up on his dream school because spending that much money on college just isn’t an option right now. He’s got one thing left to look forward to and he’s not ready to give up on that yet.

Meanwhile, in her wealthy family’s house, Zoey is plotting revenge on Gordon’s shenanigans from graduation. She’s going to show him. She brings in a lot of her friends to make this happen and everything is going to go down exactly as she plans. When night time hits, she heads over to Lennon’s for the party to get things rolling.

The entire time that Gordon and Zoey are having fun at the party, I was enjoying their chemistry. It’s so young and so sweet and Zoey was showing a bit of remorse, getting second thoughts on her mystery plan and then I found out what her mystery plan was…and then it wasn’t fun anymore. You see, the thing that can make or break a character’s actions for me is intent.

What Gordon did to Zoey is instantly forgivable because it wasn’t well thought out, it was reactionary and all it did was embarrass Zoey. He immediately felt bad about it and then he sought her out to apologize, face to face. His intent wasn’t to ruin her life.

But Zoey’s intent? Not the same. Sure, her plan was reactionary but she wasn’t out to embarrass Gordon. She was out to ruin him…and rip his future away. Her plan was messed up and had it gone down any other way than how it did, she would have ruined not just Gordon’s future but Gordon’s fathers as well. There could have been dire consequences to her plans and she never called it off. She let her embarrassment lead her to do something pretty fucked up. Let’s not forget that she planned everything out and she meant for Gordon to lose the internship in a spectacularly fucked up way.

I was already annoyed with her for going out for a full ride scholarship while having loaded parents. Her parents were assholes, sure, but it was evident that she was loved and really, her issues about her parents’ money stemmed from what her schoolmates thought, not anything her parents did. So, for her to go out for a scholarship didn’t sit right with me. Her father wasn’t abusive and it wasn’t like she wasn’t planning on going to work for her father in the future anyway…so why not have her father pay for her college and let the scholarship go to someone who actually needed it? Her reasons didn’t match her actions and because she never called off her stupid, ridiculous plan, I didn’t like her and I didn’t care about what she did to make up for it because she shouldn’t have ever done it.

That’s the gist of why I just couldn’t like this book. Sure, it was a quick read and I didn’t lose a lot of time reading it but I was annoyed the whole time, first about the scholarship and then about Zoey’s plan. Her actions didn’t deserve a speedy forgiveness. I’m sorry, but no. It didn’t and I know that this book was written for a younger audience but ugh. Just no.

Gordon, on the other hand, proved to be a fantastic lead in this book. I loved how hard he worked, how much love he had for his father and the restaurant. I loved how he faced his problems head-on and he was mature enough to own up to his mistakes and make them right. The right way. He didn’t deserve what Zoey planned for him and he let her off the hook far too soon. He was everything that was right in this story and had it not been for him, I would have DNF’d this book real quick. So would I recommend this one? Nope. Gordon, his father and seeing everyone again was good but Zoey and the rest of everything else?? Nope. Not at all.

Grade: 2 out of 5

Grad Night Series

Grade: 2 out of 5

two-half-stars


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Review: Breaking the Ice by Julie Cross

Posted February 7, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Breaking the Ice by Julie CrossReviewer: Rowena
Breaking the Ice (Juniper Falls, #2) by Julie Cross
Series: Juniper Falls #2
Also in this series: Off the Ice (Juniper Falls #1)
Published by Entangled, Entangled Teen
Publication Date: December 26th 2017
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 300
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four-half-stars

The second book in the Juniper Falls series from NY Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Julie Cross, perfect for fans of Miranda Kenneally and Abbi Glines.

Haley Stevenson seems like she’s got it all together: cheer captain, “Princess” of Juniper Falls, and voted Most Likely to Get Things Done. But below the surface, she’s struggling with a less-than-stellar GPA and still reeling from the loss of her first love. Repeating her Civics class during summer school is her chance to Get Things Done, not angst over boys. In fact, she’s sworn them off completely until college.

Fletcher Scott is happy to keep a low profile around Juniper Falls. He’s always been the invisible guy, warming the bench on the hockey team and moonlighting at a job that would make his grandma blush. Suddenly, though, he’s finding he wants more: more time on the ice, and more time with his infuriatingly perfect summer-school study partner.

But leave it to a girl who requires perfection to shake up a boy who’s ready to break all the rules.

Breaking the Ice is the second book in Julie Cross’s Juniper Falls series. It follows Haley Stevenson as she tries to come to terms with who she was and who she wants to be. She doesn’t have time for boys and after the disastrous way her last relationship ended, she’s swearing off boys until college…too bad, Fletcher Scott comes into her life and changes of all her well thought out plans.

Fletcher Scott keeps to himself and doesn’t want to socialize with anyone. He keeps to himself and lives his life. He has a job that makes good money, gets good grades and doesn’t have a problem getting girls but when he takes a Civics class in the summer and Haley Stevenson sits in front of him, things get really interesting. More interesting than he knows how to deal with.

Haley and Fletch are from two totally different worlds and the more time they spend together, the more they feel for each other. Their romance was complicated because there were things about Fletch that Haley didn’t know, things that could hurt Fletch and trying to get to know him was like trying to break out of prison because he was a steel vault. Fletch doesn’t trust easy and he’s got his reasons. Finding common ground where they both get what they want was hard but staying apart was never going to work either.

What a fantastic book this was. From beginning to end, I was locked into Fletch and Haley’s story. I read this book in a day because I couldn’t put it down. Between Haley’s issues and then Fletcher’s, seeing them battle their attraction, knowing that they wanted different things and just everything. It was such a well written, drama-filled young adult romance that hit me with feels at every single turn.

My heart completely melted for Fletcher, seeing him deal with all of the changes that Haley was bringing into his life and not wanting the change but not wanting to be without Haley. Sure, he was an asshole but he was an asshole for reasons that broke my heart. My heart soared for him when he started letting more and more people into his life. Gah, his whole life had me in tears and I was soooo happy for him when Haley proves to be one of the good ones.

Haley really came into her own in this book and it was great to see. To see her come to terms with the end of her and Tate and then reflect on the person she used to be and try to be the kind of person she wanted to be, it made for some great reading. I was super proud of her by the end of the book and when she realized that if she wanted any kind of life with Fletcher, she had to make some drastic changes to her lifestyle, I just loved it to pieces.

I enjoyed the first book in this series but Julie Cross knocked me on my ass with this one so this book is my favorite book of the series so far and I’m pretty stoked to see who will get their story told next. I really enjoyed Jamie, Leo, Mike and the others. The way that they rallied behind Fletch was so sweet. I seriously loved this book. If you’re into first love stories with younger characters than you should definitely read this book because, ahhhh, the feels…you’ll have them.

Juniper Falls Series

Grade: 5 out of 5

four-half-stars


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