Tag: Young Adult

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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Review: Love, Life and the List by Kasie West

Posted December 27, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Love, Life and the List by Kasie WestReviewer: Rowena
Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West
Published by Harper Collins, Harper Teen
Publication Date: December 26th 2017
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 384
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Seventeen-year-old Abby Turner’s summer isn’t going the way she’d planned. She has a not-so-secret but definitely unrequited crush on her best friend, Cooper. She hasn’t been able to manage her mother’s growing issues with anxiety. And now she’s been rejected from an art show because her work “has no heart.” So when she gets another opportunity to show her paintings Abby isn’t going to take any chances.

Which is where the list comes in.

Abby gives herself one month to do ten things, ranging from face a fear (#3) to learn a stranger’s story (#5) to fall in love (#8). She knows that if she can complete the list she’ll become the kind of artist she’s always dreamed of being. But as the deadline approaches, Abby realizes that getting through the list isn’t as straightforward as it seems… and that maybe—just maybe—she can’t change her art if she isn’t first willing to change herself.

This is the first in a set of three standalone books with crossover characters.

I was a bit skeptical to start this book because I have seen a bunch of not so good reviews of it on Goodreads but I should have more faith in Kasie West because this book was fantastic! I enjoyed the heck out of the story, out of getting to know both Abby and Cooper and I thought their romance was a sweet one. Kasie West delivered a fabulous young romance that I took me no time at all to sink my teeth into. There was so much to love about this book that I don’t even know where to begin.

Abby Turner is going to be a senior in high school but it’s summertime and she has plans to try to get into an art show that is put on by the local museum, that she just so happens to work at. She’s got a lot going on but more than anything, she wants a shot at showcasing her art and she’ll do whatever she has to, to get a shot at her dreams. Her home life isn’t the most ideal with a father in the military and overseas, a mother who has anxiety about everything under the sun but at least she’s got her Grandfather. A grandfather who loves and supports her through everything.

On top of everything that she’s got going on, Abby is also dealing with unrequited love. She has been in love with her best friend, Cooper for a while now and is still feeling the rejection he threw her way when she confessed her feelings for him. Not wanting to lose him, Abby played it off and has been stuck in the friend zone ever since. She’s trying to put herself firmly in the friend zone but her heart wants her best friend and being around Cooper isn’t getting any easier.

When Abby gets some bad news about her art and her chances of getting into the art show she was gunning for, a list is born. A list of experiences she feels she needs to have to give her art the heart that her boss is looking for. Since it’s just her and Cooper for the summer, Cooper is roped into helping Abby with the list and the adventure begins!

This was a quick read but Kasie West packs a punch, and it was a punch that I delighted in. I enjoyed Abby’s character a lot more than I’ve enjoyed the last few West protagonists and I was happy about that. Abby was young but she was smart and she was strong and I loved the hell out of her. It was nice to see a young character who was mature for her age but still acted her age if that makes any sense. I was cheering Abby on from the jump and seeing her go through the list and accomplish all of her small goals and then seeing her experience heartache with a boy that just would not leave her heart made for an emotional read. My heart hurt for her and I got a little teary-eyed when she realizes that something has to change or she’ll never be completely happy and gah, it was just a great coming of age story that I connected with on almost every level.

You know, a lot of the early reviews talk smack about the love interest in this book. The reviews that I read weren’t fans of him and that was not me at all. I adored him. Throughout the entire book, you can see that he loves Abby, his actions spoke louder than him not saying anything to Abby and that had a lot to do with why it was hard for Abby to move on. So I liked seeing them fumble around until they finally got it right.

Overall, this book was a good one. I adored pretty much everything about it though there were things here and there that I could have done without. Kasie West continues to shine in my eyes and as always, I’m looking forward to more from her. I definitely recommend this book to those in search of a sweet, contemporary YA romance with heart. This fits the bill, for sure.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5


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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
Published by 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 Perfectly Imperfect Match by Kendra C. Highley

Posted August 29, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Perfectly Imperfect Match by Kendra C. HighleyReviewer: Rowena
The Perfectly Imperfect Match by Kendra C. Highley
Series: Suttonville Sentinels #3
Published by Entangled, Crush
Publication Date: July 10th 2017
Genres: Young Adult
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three-stars

Pitcher Dylan Dennings has his future all mapped out: make the minors straight out of high school, work his way up the farm system, and get called up to the majors by the time he’s twenty-three. The Plan has been his sole focus for years, and if making his dreams come true means instituting a strict “no girls” policy, so be it.

Lucy Foster, needlepoint ninja, big sister to an aspiring pitcher, and chicken advocate, likes a little mayhem. So what if she gets lost taking her brother to baseball camp…at her own high school? The pitching coach, some hotshot high school player, obviously thinks she’s a hot mess. Too bad he’s cute, because he’s so not her type.

Problem is, they keep running into each other, and every interaction sparks hotter than the last. But with Dylan’s future on the line, he has to decide whether some rules are made to be broken…

Disclaimer: This book contains a crazy night of moonlit skinny-dipping, a combustible crush, and kisses swoony enough to unwind even the most Type A athlete.

The Perfectly Imperfect Match is the third book in the Suttonville Sentinels series by Kendra C. Highley. As far as I can tell, the series follows different characters set in the same world that Highley has created for these Suttonville Sentinels.

This book follows the Suttonville High’s star pitcher, Dylan as he meets and falls in love with one of his baseball camp members sisters, Lucy. Lucy and Dylan are not supposed to see each other but sometimes, the right person comes along and they fit so perfectly in your life that you guys find a way to be together.

Dylan Dennings has plans for his future. He’s going to work hard in high school, go to the minors and then work his way up into the Majors. He’s got no time for girls or distractions. His baseball team is holding a camp at his school and he’s coaching young pitchers. He’s got a soft spot for one of his campers and is not at all happy that young Owen’s sister Lucy is always around him. For some reason, Dylan is drawn to Lucy and her quirky personality and even though Owen has requested that Dylan not date his sister, Dylan and Lucy can’t stand away from each other.

Lucy is busy. Her father is in the Army and is stationed overseas. Her mother is busy working at her sewing shop and in between school and work, Lucy is teaching classes at her Mom’s shop and fitting in her own orders. She’s a great seamstress whose work has great detail and she’s gaining a small client list of her own. She also watches after her younger brother Owen who is missing his father something fierce. He misses having a man around so when he meets Dylan, he calls dibs on him. Dylan is his friend so when Dylan and Lucy start getting close, Owen is understandably territorial. He doesn’t want to lose his new friend to his sister.

Dylan tries to respect Owen’s wishes but it’s hard when Lucy is driving him to distraction. The chemistry between them is hard to ignore and their romance was on one hand cute but on the other hand? It was frustrating. They bickered in the beginning and I wasn’t here for that. The dialogue was pure cheese when they were fighting and when they were being school-kids but things certainly picked up as soon as they stopped fighting and began kissing.

Overall, this was a fast read with characters that grew on me. In the beginning, I wanted to throttle everyone but over the course of the story, I softened in my attitude toward everyone. Kendra C. Highley has done a great job with this series and I finished this book, wanting to read the books in this series that came before this one. It’s a good one.

Grade: 3.25 out of 5

three-stars


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Review: Love in the Friend Zone by Molly E. Lee

Posted August 22, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Love in the Friend Zone by Molly E. LeeReviewer: Rowena
Love in the Friend Zone (Grad Night, #1) by Molly E. Lee
Series: Grad Night #1
Published by Entangled, Crush
Publication Date: August 14th 2017
Genres: Young Adult
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four-stars

The only thing worse than not being able to tell your best friend you’re head over heels in love with him? Having to smile and nod when he enlists your help to ensnare the girl of his dreams.

Braylen didn’t even want to go to Lennon Pryor’s epic graduation-night party, but when Fynn begs her to be his “wingwoman,” she can’t deny him. Talking up her BFF—how he’s magic behind a camera, with a killer sense of humor and eyelashes that frame the most gorgeous blue eyes in the history of forever—is easy. Supporting his efforts to woo someone so completely wrong for him? Not so much.

Fynn knows that grad night is his last shot before leaving for college to find true love. And thanks to Bray, he gets his chance with the beautiful Katy Evans. But over the course of the coolest party of their high school careers, he starts to see that perhaps what he really wants has been in front of him all along. Bray’s been his best friend since kindergarten, though, and he’d rather have her in his life as a friend than not at all.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains one epic party, complete with every high-schoolers-gone-bad shenanigan, and two best friends whose sexual chemistry is off the charts…if only they’d succumb to it.

I don’t read very many Entangled books but this one sounded like my kind of romance so I was interested in reading it from the jump. This is another one of those best friends to true love YA romances and I thought it was such a cute story.

Braylen and Fynn are best friends. They’ve been best friends since Fynn stood up for Braylen against a mean boy back in elementary school and Braylen has been in love with Fynn since she kissed him in seventh grade during one of those spin the bottle party games. Fynn hasn’t really delved into his feelings for Braylen, wanting her more as a friend than anything else and not willing to risk their friendship over anything. So they’re getting ready to graduate and Fynn’s trying to land his own girl before time runs out and she goes away to college. Only, he needs Braylen’s help in securing some alone time with Katie….and the perfect time to make that happen is at their friend Lennon’s house party. So Fynn asks Braylen to help him out, play the part of his wingman and talk him up to Katie so that Fynn can seal the deal with her at Lennon’s party.

Braylen is of course completely against this plan because the very last thing she wants to do is help the love of her life hook up with someone that isn’t her…but what choice does she have? She’s never told Fynn has she really feels and he’s her best friend. Helping him secure the girl of his choice is kind of part of her job as his best friend. So, of course, she goes to the party and of course she does her best to help her best friend out even when her heart is breaking at the thought of him making out with someone that isn’t her.

I will admit that the beginning was a little slow but once Braylen and Fynn get to the party, things really pick up and I really started to warm up to pretty much everyone in this book. From Braylen to Fynn to Lennon to all of their friends, they were all great people who added dashes of charm to an already charming story. I thought Molly E. Lee did a great job of bringing Braylen and Fynn together and seeing her try to work up the courage to tell Fynn how she really feels and seeing Fynn get it wrong time after time again, was fun and that can be a hard thing to bring about in books. It would have been so easy for me to be frustrated with Fynn for not seeing what was right in front of his eyes or to want to shake some courage into Bray to finally be honest and up front with Fynn about how she really felt but Lee did a wonderful job of placing the reader in these character’s shoes and having them feel what the characters were feeling. It was easy for me root for Braylen and Fynn because I liked them and I understood what drove them.

This was an enjoyable book with a charming cast that really brought this story to life for me. This will definitely not be the last book that I read by Molly E. Lee and I’m looking forward to see what’s next from this author. This book was fast and it was cute and perfect for a summer read.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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