Tag: Harlequin Teen

Review: One Small Thing by Erin Watt

Posted July 17, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: One Small Thing by Erin WattReviewer: Rowena
One Small Thing by Erin Watt
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: June 26, 2018
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 384
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Goodreads
four-stars

Beth’s life hasn’t been the same since her sister died. Her parents try to lock her down, believing they can keep her safe by monitoring her every move. When Beth sneaks out to a party one night and meets the new guy in town, Chase, she’s thrilled to make a secret friend. It seems a small thing, just for her.

Only Beth doesn’t know how big her secret really is…

Fresh out of juvie and determined to start his life over, Chase has demons to face and much to atone for, including his part in the night Beth’s sister died. Beth, who has more reason than anyone to despise him, is willing to give him a second chance. A forbidden romance is the last thing either of them planned for senior year, but the more time they spend together, the deeper their feelings get.

Now Beth has a choice to make—follow the rules, or risk tearing everything apart…again.

One Small Thing is the newest standalone book from Erin Watt and I didn’t know what to expect when opening it up. I was hoping for more When it’s Real and less Twisted Palace and I’m happy to report that I got more of what I wanted from an Erin Watt. This book was more like a romance novel with young characters and I’m a fan of that because at the end of the book, there’s no guessing what happens, there’s just a proper ending.

So this book follows a young woman named Beth who is starting her senior year under the very heavy watchful gaze of her parents. After her sister was killed in a car accident, the shackles are locked around Beth’s wrists by her parents. They’re so bent on keeping her safe that they have no idea how much their protective instincts is choking the life out of her. The harder they hold on to her, the more she wants out. I was really appalled at the heavy-handedness that her parents raised her. The whole college application thing was hella extra and then the door thing?? The more that I read from them, the more I wanted to smack some ever living sense into both of them. They were so focused on not losing Beth that they didn’t see that she was already halfway out the door, never to return.

To make matters even more complicated, the first boy to interest Beth is the one boy that she shouldn’t have anything to do with. The boy responsible for taking her sister’s life. Getting to know the boy that changed his name to Chase after he got out of prison made for an interesting read. There’s a lot of angst and a lot of things going off in this book and I was invested in everything going on.

This wasn’t an easy read, there was plenty of frustrations on my part but I’m super glad that I finished the book because all of the angst and the frustrations pay off in a huge way for me and I was glad with the way that this story ended, with the way that the story was told. Elle Kennedy and Jen Frederick are a fantastic writing duo and they won me over again with this book.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: The Fragile Ordinary by Samantha Young

Posted July 11, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Fragile Ordinary by Samantha YoungReviewer: Rowena
The Fragile Ordinary by Samantha Young
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: June 26, 2018
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 304
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Goodreads
four-stars

I am Comet Caldwell.

And I sort of, kind of, absolutely hate my name.

People expect extraordinary things from a girl named Comet. That she’ll be effortlessly cool and light up a room the way a comet blazes across the sky.

But from the shyness that makes her book-character friends more appealing than real people to the parents whose indifference hurts more than an open wound, Comet has never wanted to be the center of attention. She can’t wait to graduate from her high school in Edinburgh, Scotland, where the only place she ever feels truly herself is on her anonymous poetry blog. But surely that will change once she leaves to attend university somewhere far, far away.

When new student Tobias King blazes in from America and shakes up the school, Comet thinks she’s got the bad boy figured out. Until they’re thrown together for a class assignment and begin to form an unlikely connection. Everything shifts in Comet’s ordinary world. Tobias has a dark past and runs with a tough crowd—and none of them are happy about his interest in Comet. Targeted by bullies and thrown into the spotlight, Comet and Tobias can go their separate ways…or take a risk on something extraordinary.

The Fragile Ordinary is the second YA book that Samantha Young has released and it was just as enjoyable as the first book was. This book follows Comet Caldwell as she starts the new school year sitting next to the cute American transfer. She is a bit of a loner though she has two best friends and things at home are a little tough on her because her parents aren’t the supportive kind of parents that all young kids should have.

Comet was one of those main characters that quietly shined throughout her entire story. She was shy and avoided the spotlight at every turn but she was also caring and loving to those she held close to her heart. She worried that her personality didn’t fit with her friends and that it would make her friends realize that they didn’t want to be her friend anymore. She worried that the heartbreak she felt at home with her parents being so indifferent to her would do her in and she very much looked forward to escaping her town and her home to find her own place in the big world.

Comet was an interesting protagonist and I connected with her character, quite a bit. The way that she connected with the characters in her books more than her friends in real life, the way that she hurt at her parent’s distance and then seeing her develop and then nourish a crush on Tobias King made reading this book zip right through.

Everything that Comet felt was so intense and seeing her fall in love with Tobias and then come to care for Stevie despite how different his crowd was from hers made Comet grow up and come out of her shell. There was a lot of stuff happening in Comet’s life and the way that she dealt with the bullying, the shit from her parents, the new relationship with Tobias that came with its own complications, and then there were the insecurities she was dealing with surrounding her friends.

This wasn’t an easy book to read but boy does Samantha Young pack the goodness in this one. The romance between Tobias and Comet was sweet and seeing Comet really come into her own with the Stevie stuff, the friend’s issues and then all of the stuff that goes down with Tobias had me glued to the book. I couldn’t get enough and though there were times that I wanted to strangle Tobias and even Comet, in the end, I loved them both. I loved the resolutions that come forth with her parents and then her friends. I enjoyed Comet’s story and I loved the way that this book ended. Samantha Young is doing the contemporary YA thing right. Lots of feels and strong young characters that are smart and feel real. I definitely recommend this book.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Posted September 21, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. ArmentroutReviewer: Rowena
If There's No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: September 5th 2017
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 480
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four-stars

Lena Wise is always looking forward to tomorrow, especially at the start of her senior year. She's ready to pack in as much friend time as possible, to finish college applications, and to maybe let her childhood best friend Sebastian know how she really feels about him. For Lena, the upcoming year is going to be epic--one of opportunities and chances.

Until one choice, one moment, destroys everything.

Now Lena isn't looking forward to tomorrow. Not when friend time may never be the same. Not when college applications feel all but impossible. Not when Sebastian might never forgive her for what happened.

For what she let happen.

With the guilt growing each day, Lena knows that her only hope is to move on. But how can she move on when she and her friends' entire existences have been redefined? How can she move on when tomorrow isn't even guaranteed?

I need to read more books by Jennifer L. Armentrout because I enjoyed this one. It deals with survivor’s guilt and I thought Armentrout did a fantastic job of showing us not just how Lena was doing, surviving the accident but also showing us how the people in her world were handling the entire incident.

Lena is a senior in high school and like high school kids tend to do, they go to school and they go to parties and they make bad decisions. Lena’s bad choice destroys the senior year that she envisioned for herself. Everything that she used to worry about, don’t matter anymore and Lena struggles to deal with the aftermath of her bad choice.

Lena has been in love with her best friend Sebastian for as long as she can remember and the night everything changed, she was so mad at him. About what? Nothing that matters now. Things are different now and sure, she still loves Sebastian but if he finds out about her bad choice, how can he ever love her back?

Lena’s struggles throughout this book are completely understandable and even though I understood why she felt the way that she did, I was still a bit frustrated with her at times. The push and pull thing she had with Sebastian was a little annoying but I chalked that up to her being young and still allowed to be that frustrating.

I completely adored Sebastian though. Loved the hell out of him and loved the way that he just refused to leave Lena’s side when she wanted him gone. I loved that he knew she shouldn’t be alone and wasn’t overwhelming in his need to be there for his best friend and love his best friend, that there was a balance to him and Lena. He was such a good love interest.

I enjoy Jennifer L. Armentrout’s writing style and after I finished this book, I went out and bought The Problem with Forever. This book was heartbreaking and it was hard to get through but it was a really strong story that I connected with. Lena’s struggles were real. I felt her grief and her guilt. I was wrapped up in this story from beginning to end. This is an important read for young readers and I’m really glad that I picked this up.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: The Impossible Vastness of Us by Samantha Young

Posted July 12, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: The Impossible Vastness of Us by Samantha YoungReviewer: Rowena
The Impossible Vastness of Us by Samantha Young
Publisher: Harlequin, Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: June 27th 2017
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 384
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Goodreads
four-stars

I know how to watch my back. I’m the only one that ever has.

India Maxwell hasn’t just moved across the country—she’s plummeted to the bottom rung of the social ladder. It’s taken years to cover the mess of her home life with a veneer of popularity. Now she’s living in one of Boston’s wealthiest neighborhoods with her mom’s fiancé and his daughter, Eloise. Thanks to her soon-to-be stepsister’s clique of friends, including Eloise’s gorgeous, arrogant boyfriend Finn, India feels like the one thing she hoped never to be seen as again: trash.

But India’s not alone in struggling to control the secrets of her past. Eloise and Finn, the school’s golden couple, aren’t all they seem to be. In fact, everyone’s life is infinitely more complex than it first appears. And as India grows closer to Finn and befriends Eloise, threatening the facades that hold them together, what’s left are truths that are brutal, beautiful, and big enough to change them forever…

The Impossible Vastness of Us is the first contemporary YA that Samantha Young has written and at first, I wasn’t sure if I was going to read it. Any of her younger stories gives me pause because of my rage after reading Out of the Shallows. I’m scared to try any other NA books by Young because of my experience with Jake and Charlie.

I’m still not quite sure why I picked this book up, other than it’s a Samantha Young and I enjoy most of her books so I caved and boy am I glad that I did because I enjoyed getting to know India, Finn and even Eloise.

India Maxwell is moving across the country, away from her friends and everything she’s ever known because her mother met someone and got engaged. She moved away from her California suburban home to the upper crust of Boston society. She went from being the popular poor girl to a rich newbie that nobody knew and then thanks to her soon to be step-sister, the rich newbie that nobody wanted to get to know. India hasn’t had an easy life. She’s dealing with a bunch of stuff from her past and having to build defenses against a new school and a new life isn’t easy for her. Her mother is happy with her new love and he’s got a daughter that is India’s age but she’s made it very clear that they won’t be besties. So India does what any normal person would do. She keeps her head down and gets on with life.

She has no interest in becoming a part of the family that her Mom is trying to blend. She’s got issues with male figures of authority and her step-sister isn’t an easy person to be around, especially since she’s got a boyfriend that India is way attracted to.

Against India’s better judgement, she becomes entangled in a friendship that can’t go anywhere and she’s put in a situation that she can’t get out of and there’s so much going on in her new life that she starts to flounder a bit and the reader is treated to some real character growth in India. I thought Samantha Young did a great job of showing us just how much India, Finn and Eloise grew from the beginning of the book to the end. They became a unit that I wasn’t prepared for and the secrets they kept were some pretty big secrets.

I came to learn that not everything is as it seems and pain hits everyone, no matter how poor or rich you are. India had her issues that she was working through and so did Finn and Eloise. I thought Samantha Young did a great job of portraying India’s mothers struggles to fix her relationship with India. I loved seeing India really come into her own and accept her new life and deal with her issues with Theo and separating him from her past. India was a great protagonist that wasn’t perfect but was relatable.

Finn and Eloise were great characters in their own right. Sure, they frustrated me from time to time, especially Finn’s hot and cold attitude but once everything is out in the open and they warm up to India (who never deserved their scorn), my attitude toward them changed. Eloise’s situation was a hard one to read about because I just wanted to hug her close and keep her safe from everything but I was really glad with the way that her story wrapped up.

Overall, this was great addition to Samantha Young’s backlist. I really connected with all of the characters, even bitch ass Bryce and I was cheering them all on to get their happy endings. This was an entertaining read from beginning to end and I definitely recommend this book to anyone wanting a fun contemporary YA with characters that are put through the wringer and come out on top in the end. It’s good, I promise!

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry

Posted March 31, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Walk the Edge by Katie McGarryReviewer: Rowena
Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry
Series: Thunder Road #2
Also in this series: Nowhere but Here
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication Date: April 1st 2016
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 304
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Goodreads
three-stars

One moment of recklessness will change their worlds

Smart. Responsible. That's seventeen-year-old Breanna's role in her large family, and heaven forbid she put a toe out of line. Until one night of shockingly un-Breanna-like behavior puts her into a vicious cyberbully's line of fire—and brings fellow senior Thomas "Razor" Turner into her life.

Razor lives for the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, and good girls like Breanna just don't belong. But when he learns she's being blackmailed over a compromising picture of the two of them—a picture that turns one unexpected and beautiful moment into ugliness—he knows it's time to step outside the rules.

And so they make a pact: he'll help her track down her blackmailer, and in return she'll help him seek answers to the mystery that's haunted him—one that not even his club brothers have been willing to discuss. But the more time they spend together, the more their feelings grow. And suddenly they're both walking the edge of discovering who they really are, what they want, and where they're going from here.

Walk the Edge is the second book in McGarry’s Thunder Road series, a series that follows the children of MC brothers. This book follows Thomas “Razor” Turner, the newly patched in brother to the Reign of Terror MC.

Razor hasn’t been the same since his mother died a few years ago. The whole thing seemed off to him and he hasn’t been able to move on from it. When a detective starts sniffing around, planting theories in his head about his Mom’s death and with those theories come a whole lot of doubts that surround the MC. His issues throughout the entire book center on him learning to open himself up to trust those around him that love him. It’s not an easy road, especially when those people that are supposed to love you making it so hard to trust them.

Breanna is #5 of 9 children. She’s stuck in the middle and doesn’t fit in with her older siblings and is too old for her younger siblings. Her parents rely on Breanna to pretty much raise her younger siblings and her older siblings are a bunch of assholes that are too busy to help her. Breanna takes the cake when it comes to being smart. Her brain works in a very special way and it has made her the laughingstock at school. The whispers, the laughing and everything gets pretty bad at school that she has spent a number of years hiding how smart she really is so that she could fit in.

Being laughed at and made to feel like a freak show at school is bad enough but a kid should not have to live with it at home. When Breanna comes across Thomas Turner, known around town as Razor from the Reign of Terror Motorcycle Club, she isn’t expecting the relationship that blossomed between them. Razor wasn’t prepared it either.

Their lives are night and day. His is filled with motorcycles, parties and girls but her life is nothing like that. Her life is filled with kids and obligations and responsibilities that shouldn’t be hers but are anyway. They shouldn’t have been right for each other but they were and I really enjoyed the romance between them. McGarry really shines at writing the complicated romances that will gut you with feelings.

Two completely imperfect characters, young characters at that really get put through the wringer in this book and it was a hell of a ride. The book itself was compelling as I couldn’t put it down but I was frustrated as shit throughout a huge chunk of this book.

There’s a lot tackled in this book and I enjoyed it but more than once I wanted to punch someone’s lights out and it was a different person every time. The MC and their idiotic ways of “protecting” their own. Breanna’s never around parents and her older siblings (Clara especially). The whole blackmailing thing. Everything comes together in a complicated way to end the book but when I closed the book, I was still frustrated with Breanna’s family. I was still frustrated with the whole Kyle thing but the one thing that I absolutely loved was the love between Razor and Breanna. It was the one thing that completely worked for me.

Razor really came into his own in this story and I liked seeing him come to terms with his mother’s death. My heart hurt for him. I wanted to hug him close and never let him go.

Breanna’s story is one that I connected with. It’s something that I understood being one of 9 children myself. Getting lost in a crowd of kids, fighting for attention and more often than not, losing. Where her siblings kept her at arms lengths, my siblings supported me and each other through everything. Dance recitals, soccer games? All of my siblings were there to support me while my parents were busy with work but Breanna didn’t have it like that so my heart hurt for her as well.

I was really glad that Razor and Breanna had each other. I loved seeing them fall for each other because they were there for each other when nobody else was and we all need someone in our corner so I was glad that these two had each other. They were great characters on their own but they were better together and I dug their romance.

It’s saying a lot about McGarry’s writing style that I can still be completely obsessed with this series even after being frustrated with this book. Its saying a lot that I cannot wait for the next book to come out and I hate the heroine right now. I wanted to karate chop her in both this book and Nowhere but Here but damn if I’m not excited to tackle her and Chevy’s book. So while this book wasn’t without its frustrating bits, I still liked it enough to want to continue the series.

3 out of 5

three-stars


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