Tag: Sourcebooks Fire

Review: Coming Up for Air by Miranda Kenneally

Posted July 17, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Coming Up for Air by Miranda KenneallyReviewer: Rowena
Coming Up for Air by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks #8
Also in this series: Defending Taylor (Hundred Oaks #7)
Published by Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: July 1st 2017
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 320
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Swim. Eat. Shower. School. Snack. Swim. Swim. Swim. Dinner. Homework. Bed. Repeat.

All of Maggie’s focus and free time is spent swimming. She’s not only striving to earn scholarships—she’s training to qualify for the Olympics. It helps that her best friend, Levi, is also on the team and cheers her on. But Levi’s already earned an Olympic try out, so she feels even more pressure to succeed. And it’s not until Maggie’s away on a college visit that she realizes how much of the “typical” high school experience she’s missed by being in the pool.

Not one to shy away from a challenge, Maggie decides to squeeze the most out of her senior year. First up? Making out with a guy. And Levi could be the perfect candidate. After all, they already spend a lot of time together. But as Maggie slowly starts to uncover new feelings for Levi, how much is she willing to lose to win?

It’s pretty amazing that this book is the eighth book in the Hundred Oaks series and I’m just as invested in these characters, from that high school as I was in the beginning. Sure, I’ve liked some books more than others but I’m still excited to read these books as if I’d read them for the first time.

This book follows Maggie and Levi. Best friends turned more than best friends. They’re competitive swimmers that grew up together, are always in each other’s pockets and with their schedules as jam packed as they are, they don’t really have much time for friends and relationships and what not. Normally that wouldn’t be a problem because Levi finds the time to hook up with girls and Maggie is too tired for anything more than swim and her weekly night out with her best friends. All of that is enough for Maggie until she goes on a college visit trip and becomes curious. She doesn’t have any experience with boys and now that the idea is in her head, she wants to hook up with someone. She wants to kiss and fool around and really, she wants more than just swimming.

Once that is decided, Maggie tries it on her own with disastrous results so she figures that she needs someone she trusts to help her out and who better than her bestie, Levi?

Levi is not excited about delving into this because Maggie is important to him and he doesn’t have the time and doesn’t want to risk what they have over kissing and hooking up. He’s scared of all of the normal things that will happen with other girls, things he doesn’t want to risk with Maggie but because he can’t say no to her, he goes along. He helps her out. They kiss. They make out. They learn from each other until things start to really heat up.

Maggie and Levi were adorable on their own and I really loved their friendship. They had a solid foundation as friends and I was glad that they were able to get back to that friendship once the waters were tested and their bond was shaken a little. Kenneally does a great job of telling both of their sides and helping them figure their stuff out and she does it all so easily. Not once was I bored. Not once was I frustrated with either Maggie or Levi and I really enjoyed seeing them come into their own while not losing what was between them. Sure, it wasn’t easy and their relationship wasn’t perfect but it was still pretty awesome and I really enjoyed being along for their journey.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: You Before Anyone Else by Julie Cross and Mark Perini

Posted August 12, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: You Before Anyone Else by Julie Cross and Mark PeriniReviewer: Rowena
You Before Anyone Else by Julie Cross, Mark Perini
Published by Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: August 2, 2016
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 400
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Model Finley needs someone to help her shed her "good girl" persona, so she'll try Eddie on for size.

New York City model Finley is fed up with hearing the same feedback at castings: she needs to take some serious action to wipe the "good girl" stamp from her resume if she wants to launch to stardom.

Enter Eddie Wells. He's shallow, predictable…and just as lost as Finley feels. Deep down, Finley is drawn to Eddie's bravado, his intensity. Except Eddie is hiding something. A big something. And when it surfaces, both loving and leaving Finley will become so much harder.

I haven’t read too many books by Julie Cross but the ones that I did read, I enjoyed so I looked forward to digging into this one.

Finley is a model who can’t land any big time jobs because she’s too sweet and too cute and fashion designers are booking the edgy models, the hint of bad girl models for their photo shoots and it’s pissing Fin off because she needs work. In an effort to shake her good girl vibe off, she has a one night stand with Eddie Wells who is new to the model scene.

Eddie is supposed to be at Princeton but his pretty looks have landed him with a modeling job, an agent and a life that he needs to spend some time trying to figure out. He’s got a secret that he’s keeping and Fin knows that she should stay away but like I always say, the heart wants what it wants and Eddie and Fin want each other so it’s hard to stay away when you really don’t want to.

Seeing these two try to figure out their futures made for a really interesting read. I was prepared for a lot of shallow characters that smoked too much pot, drank too much of everything and got on my nerves but what I got was people getting their hustle on. Don’t get me wrong, there was plenty of partying going on but Finley and Eddie were too focused on their lives and their jobs to partake in anything offered at any of those parties that all the other models were going to.

I liked both Eddie and Finley. I liked them individually but I also really liked them together. I loved that Eddie didn’t kid himself when he would think about Finley. He kept track of how many times he accidentally (not even remotely accidental) bumped into Finley in their apartment building and I loved how much Finley cared about everything and everyone. She was a nurturer and I loved seeing her with her family. I also really liked seeing Eddie fit himself into Finley’s family too because his family sucked big donkey balls.

I loved how he went from having on support system in his life to having Fin and her brothers and her Dad. His problems made my heart hurt and I loved how him and Fin became a team and tackled their individual problems together. The love that blossomed between them was too cute for words. I loved how they supported each other in the big things but even in the small things. I just loved them to pieces.

I was a bit bummed with the way that things worked out in the end because they didn’t end the way that I was expecting it to end but still, this was a great story about two models finding themselves and love in New York City. It was a hit for me.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Did I Mention I Love You? by Estelle Maskame

Posted January 13, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Did I Mention I Love You? by Estelle MaskameReviewer: Rowena
Did I Mention I Love You? by Estelle Maskame
Published by Sourcebooks
Publication Date: December 1st 2015
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 416
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
one-star

Love is everything but expected.

Eden Monro came to California for a summer of sun, sand and celebrities what better way to forget about the drama back home? Until she meets her new family of strangers: a dad she hasn't seen in three years, a stepmonster and three stepbrothers.

Eden gets her own room in her dad's fancy house in Santa Monica. A room right next door to her oldest stepbrother, Tyler Bruce. Whom she cannot stand. He's got angry green eyes and ego bigger than a Beverly Hills mansion. She's never felt such intense dislike for someone. But the two are constantly thrown together as his group of friends pull her into their world of rule-breaking, partying and pier-hanging.

And the more she tries to understand what makes Tyler burn hotter than the California sun, the more Eden finds herself falling for the one person she shouldn't...

Did I Mention I Love You? is the addictive first book in Wattpad sensation Estelle Maskame's DIMILY trilogy: three unforgettable summers of secrets, heartbreak and forbidden romance.

My first thought upon finishing this book was, “Finally”. I started giving this book almost 3 stars but the more I thought about it, the more I disliked this book. I wanted to read this book because it’s set in Santa Monica, which isn’t too far from me but I barely paid any attention to the setting because the characters drove me absolutely bonkers.

I was not a fan of either Eden or Tyler.

Eden reminded me of Bella Swan. She was a normal teenaged girl but for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what was so special about her. I didn’t connect with her on any kind of level and when all was said and done, I still felt nothing for her. She was a follower, she did whatever those around her did. Not necessarily because she wanted to but because everyone else was doing it. She didn’t really have any kind of drive to blaze her own path and if I’m going to invest my time in a character, I’d like the protagonist to stand for something. I didn’t feel like I got that from Eden. I didn’t understand why everyone thought she was so special. I just didn’t see it.

Eden’s father left years ago and she hasn’t seen him since. She had no interest in seeing him until she finds out that he lives in Santa Monica, California and because she’s interested in seeing where he lives, she agrees to spend the summer with him. Her father has a new wife, who came with three sons.

One of those sons is Tyler. He’s the oldest of her father’s step-sons and ugh. Just ugh. For a huge chunk of this book, Tyler is a total douche-wad. I couldn’t stand him. He was so mean, mean-spirited and just a complete asshole that I didn’t think I’d ever warm up to him. Yeah, he comes around and finally gets the help he needed but he wasn’t any kind of book boyfriend material for me. I spent too much time not liking him and thinking that he had no business sniffing around Eden that I was glad to finally be done with the book at the end.

There was a lot of casual teen behavior. Lots of drinking, drugs, sex and ugh. Just, ugh. I can’t think of a single thing that I liked about this book. I used to love reading YA books but I’m finding that the YA books that interest me, don’t win me over when I read them so I’m probably not going to read very many new to me YA authors this year.

Grade: 1 out of 5

one-star


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Review: Jesse’s Girl by Miranda Kenneally

Posted July 7, 2015 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

jesses girl
Rowena’s review of Jesse’s Girl (Hundred Oaks #6) by Miranda Kenneally.

Practice Makes Perfect.

Everyone at Hundred Oaks High knows that career mentoring day is a joke. So when Maya Henry said she wanted to be a rock star, she never imagined she’d get to shadow the Jesse Scott, Nashville’s teen idol.

But spending the day with Jesse is far from a dream come true. He’s as gorgeous as his music, but seeing all that he’s accomplished is just a reminder of everything Maya’s lost: her trust, her boyfriend, their band, and any chance to play the music she craves. Not to mention that Jesse’s pushy and opinionated. He made it on his own, and he thinks Maya’s playing back up to other people’s dreams. Does she have what it takes to follow her heart—and go solo?

This series is one of those series that I will probably read until the very last book (and there’s two more books coming, woot!). These books are comfort stories for me. They’re about characters with real problems and real dreams and Miranda Kenneally does a great job of telling stories that readers can enjoy and introducing characters that they’ll can connect with.

Jesse’s Girl follows Mya Henry, Sam Henry’s younger sister (Sam in the love interest in Book 1) as she meets and falls in with Country Music Superstar, Jesse Scott. For some reason, I was thinking of Hunter Hayes as Jesse Scott when I was reading this book.

Anyway, it’s time for career mentoring at Hundred Oaks High School and Mya Henry wants to be a musician. She thought she would spend time at like a record store but when she finds out that she’ll be shadowing country music star Jesse Scott, she’s excited…until she meets him, finds out he’s kind of a douche and walks out. Jesse of course thinks that Mya is probably another groupie, only around to use him to get famous or whatever so when he finds out that Mya is a legit musician, he grudgingly agrees to help Mya out. Oh, the link between the big superstar celebrity and Hundred Oaks High School is Jesse’s uncle is the principal at Mya’s school. He’s doing this as a favor to his uncle.

Both characters are surprised at how well their career mentoring has gone. Mya wants a real shadow day, filled with anything and everything Jesse can teach her about music and crafting her music to make something of herself in the business. Jesse isn’t sure what he wants at first but over the course of the book, you realize that he needs a friend. Someone that likes him without any strings attached. You see him struggle with trying to accept that Mya can be that person for him, if he’ll let her.

I really enjoyed this book. I thought Kenneally did a great job of making me fall in love with these two young kids that are just starting to dream and reach for the stars. Jesse wants things money can’t buy and Mya’s dreams are too expensive to reach for but with a little bit of hope and a lot of hard work, you really see these two grow into themselves.

My favorite part of this book was probably Mya. I enjoyed seeing her grow into that girl in the end. She’s a survivor. She survived betrayal, the paparazzi, crazy Jesse Scott fangirls, money woes and she came out on top in the end. I really liked seeing her with Jesse, with her best friend Dave and with her family. She may not have been rich but she led a rich life. I liked that she knew she was lucky to have the love of family and I really liked that she wanted to share all of that with Jesse.

Jesse was hard to take at first because he was so suspicious of everyone. I understood why he was the way that he was, I mean, I can’t imagine that it would be easy to live your life under a microscope but I really liked the young man he grew into as the story progressed. I really liked the young man he came to be for Mya. Once he let go of the worries and the drama, I liked the way he was with Mya. Their romance was sweet and it rang true and it was everything that I have come to love about this series. I can’t wait for more!

Grade: 4 out of 5

This book is available from Sourcebooks Fire. You can purchase it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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Review: Dangerous Destiny by Melanie & Suzanne Brockmann

Posted December 16, 2014 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Genres: Paranormal Romance

dangerous destiny
Rowena’s review of Dangerous Destiny (Night Sky #.5) by Melanie & Suzanne Brockmann.

See how it all begins…

In this pulse-pounding prequel to the Night Sky series by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Suzanne Brockmann and her daughter Melanie Brockmann, Skylar has her first brush with Destiny. She’s about to meet a boy who will change her life—and a girl who wants to end it.

I know her.
Know her from inside the dreams. Inside those terrible, murderous, bloody dreams. I’ve heard her-screaming, her voice mixing in an awful chorus with all those other girls. Little girls.

Please, God.
That’s what one of the little girls keeps saying, in the dream that is not just a dream. Please, God.
But I know better. There’s no escaping this fate. This is destiny.
I must kill Skylar.

Skylar Reid is the new girl at school. Her mom just moved them to Florida—aka The Land of the Living Dead where the average age of her new neighbors was seventy-five—to start over. Skylar is not a fan of the change or her total lack of friends. Until she meets Calvin, a funny, sarcastic boy who doesn’t let being in a wheelchair stop him from verbally shredding their preppy classmates. Skylar’s just about to decide her new school’s not a total loss when an odd girl wearing an oversized trench coat in the murderous Southern heat declares, “You’re one of us.” And then tries to kill her.

This is the prequel to Night Sky, the new series by Suzanne Brockmann and her daughter, Melanie. Suzanne Brockmann has written one of my favorite series so when I heard she was writing a paranormal YA with her daughter, I was intrigued.

This novella introduces Skylar Reid, the new girl in school. She’s struggling to fit in and make new friends but when she makes friends with the school outcast, Calvin, things are looking up until lives are threatened and Skylar tries to keep things from going to shit.

I thought this short story did a great job of introducing Brockmann’s new series and it was filled with everything that makes a great suspense novel, great. Skylar shows a lot of promise, something that I’m looking forward to reading about in the coming books. I think this is a great new avenue to get some Brockmann goodness and like always, she delivers a compelling story with a cast of characters that aren’t easy to forget. I’m definitely intrigued for more and am looking forward to reading more.

Grade: 4 out of 5

This book is available from Sourcebooks Fire. You can purchase it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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