Tag: Young Adult

Review: By Your Side by Kasie West

Posted February 14, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: By Your Side by Kasie WestReviewer: Rowena
By Your Side by Kasie West
Published by Harper Collins, HarperTeen
Publication Date: January 31st 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 352
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three-stars

In this irresistible story, Kasie West explores the timeless question of what to do when you fall for the person you least expect. Witty and romantic, this paperback original from a fan favorite is perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson.

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

Kasie West writes cute, fun and fluffy contemporary young adult romances and this book was no different. This wasn’t my favorite Kasie West story but it was still a solid read.

Autumn Collins got locked in the library. She was also left behind. She had weekend plans with her friends at her best friend’s cabin and those plans went right out the window when she had to pee just as the library was closing and she got locked in the library…for an entire weekend. First off, this was totally unrealistic since I just don’t see this happening in real life but still. I went with it.

Autumn is stuck in the library over the weekend with Dax. The school’s loner who has a reputation for fighting. Nobody really knows Dax but they do know that he was sent to juvie after getting into a fight. Autumn has a crush on Jason and she was looking forward to hanging out with him over at the bonfire that her group of friends was heading over to after leaving the library. When she gets locked in the library, she starts to wonder when her friends will notice that she’s not with them. When the first night goes by and her friend’s don’t come back for her, she covers up what that might mean by trying to get to know the guy she’s locked in the library with…Dax.

Dax hasn’t had an easy go of this life thing. His mother liked drugs more than him, he’s been through a bunch of different foster homes and he’s trying as hard as he can to keep a low profile so that he can stay out of a group home and the minute he turns 18, he’ll be free. If that means that sometimes he’s got to sleep in weird places so that his latest good for nothing foster parents can get their party on, he’ll do it because what Dax wants more than anything in his life is his freedom.

Autumn and Dax develop feelings for each other but after they return to their regular lives, they slide right back into the lives they led before getting locked in the library. There are things that make things that way on Autumn’s side but it was still disappointing. Especially because Dax was disappointed in the way things were with Autumn.

My disappointment in this book stems from Autumn and how long it took for her to get her head out of her ass. The whole thing with Jason and then with Dax pissed me off because she was leading them both on while she took her sweet ass time to make a decision. It didn’t take long for me to read this book, it was really easy to fall into and even though it took me a little bit to warm up to Autumn, I liked Dax from the jump and I didn’t want to stop reading the book but even through all of that, this book isn’t my favorite Kasie West.

Grade: 3 out of 5

three-stars

Guest Review: Defying Gravity by Kendra C. Highley

Posted July 29, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Defying Gravity by Kendra C. HighleyReviewer: Tracy
Defying Gravity by Kendra C. Highley
Series: Finding Perfect #2
Published by Entangled, Crush
Publication Date: July 25th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
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three-half-stars

Zoey Miller lives for her holidays in Aspen. Her time up on the mountain with the Madison brothers, Parker and Luke, is everything. But for the first time, it’s not enough. This time, she’s determined to win one of the brothers’ hearts.

But the brother she has in mind is a renowned player, with hordes of snow-bunnies following him around Snowmass resort. And the other…well, he’s her best friend and knows she deserves better. Namely him. And he’s going to win her heart.

Parker is in love with his best friend. They are both seniors and they grew up together but now Zoey only spends holidays in Aspen where Parker is a permanent resident. He wants to tell her how he feels but he’s just not found a good time. He’s also afraid that he’ll jeopardize their friendship if she doesn’t feel the same way.
Luke is Parker’s older brother by two years and attends college in Arizona. He’s home for the winter break as well. There’s always been a bit of a competition with them but when it comes to Zoey they’ve all just been good friends – until now.

Zoey shows up from Texas thinking that she’s finally going to make a move on Luke, who she’s had a crush on for a couple of years. She even does her hair and make-up – which she never does while on vacation – to impress him. Luke’s got a following of groupies because of his skiing and Zoey’s not sure that she can measure up to them.

Parker sees how Zoey is looking at Luke and it’s pissing him off and breaking his heart. Luke is reacting to her and Parker confronts Luke. Of course Luke decides to make it a bet about who could “win” her first. Parker’s not really thinking about the bet, he just wants Zoey and he wants Luke to leave her alone.

This was a cute story. It was pretty light and airy for the most part and a quick easy read. Parker seemed like such a good guy and it amazed me that Zoey hadn’t seen him for the wonderful man he was – not just a friend – until she saw him killing it at the Terrain Park. I mean, I get it, the girl is confused because she thought she wanted Luke and then realizes that he’s a bit of an ass when it comes to women. She sees Parker in another light and it meshes everything together. Unfortunately, that also made her seem pretty shallow. Yeah, he’s my friend and I love everything about him but now that I see him at the terrain park and see how good he is then now I want him in other ways. Luckily the author worked around that issue pretty well and in the end I was satisfied with the outcome of it all.

I didn’t read the first book in this story and didn’t feel like I needed to in order to read this one. Yes, the couple from book one was mentioned and Zoey talks to her friend Paige (who I guess was one of the MC’s from book one). To me, however, it just seemed like she was talking to a friend and frankly I didn’t feel the need to know more about Paige and I didn’t feel like I was missing anything. So overall a pretty cute YA story I enjoyed reading.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

Review: Broken Prince by Erin Watt

Posted July 25, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Broken Prince by Erin WattReviewer: Rowena
Broken Prince by Erin Watt, Jen Frederick, Elle Kennedy
Series: The Royals #2
Also in this series: Paper Princess
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: July 25, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 370
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four-stars

These Royals will ruin you…

From wharf fights and school brawls to crumbling lives inside glittery mansions, one guy tries to save himself.

Reed Royal has it all—looks, status, money. The girls at his elite prep school line up to date him, the guys want to be him, but Reed never gave a damn about anyone but his family until Ella Harper walked into his life.

What started off as burning resentment and the need to make his father’s new ward suffer turned into something else entirely—keep Ella close. Keep Ella safe. But when one foolish mistake drives her out of Reed’s arms and brings chaos to the Royal household, Reed’s entire world begins to fall apart around him.

Ella doesn’t want him anymore. She says they’ll only destroy each other.

She might be right.

Secrets. Betrayal. Enemies. It’s like nothing Reed has ever dealt with before, and if he’s going to win back his princess, he’ll need to prove himself Royally worthy.

Broken Prince is the second book in the Royals series by Erin Watt, the author pen name for Jen Frederick and Elle Kennedy. It’s also the second book by them that has turned me into a bloodthirsty bitch. This is some serious guilty pleasure type shit that I just can’t get enough of.

This book picks up right where the first book left off and I was glad about that. I don’t think I could have handled any more waiting to find out exactly what happened in that bedroom that Ella walked into and ran out of. I needed things to make sense and Watt did a great job with all of that.

The Royals are on a quest to find Ella. She took off and hasn’t been home since she found Reed in a compromising situation that hurt her heart. Reed needs to find her to make things right because everything she feels for him, he feels it too but right now, she doesn’t think he does and she probably won’t believe him but the important thing is getting her back and bringing her home because that’s where she belongs. He’s so wrapped up in finding Ella that things at home and at school have gone to the crapper.

He really couldn’t give a rats ass to be honest. His sole focus is on Ella and when she comes back home (against her will, of course), his focus shifts to fixing his relationship with her. Reed knows that he’s not good enough for Ella but his feelings for her are so strong that he’s not going to let her get away. Winning Ella back is what he wants most in the world and he will do whatever it takes for her forgiveness. It’s not going to be easy but it will be worth it.

There’s so much that goes down in this book from the power shift at school to Ella’s feud with Jordan to fighting at the wharf and don’t even get me started on the shenanigans with Brooke and their father. The adults in this series need a swift kick to the nuts because holy crap, how dumb are all of them? And then that bomb at the end of story? Both of the bombs that are dropped at the end? I just can’t even with this series. There’s so much that pissed me off, so many people that I wanted to choke out but goodness, I loved a lot of them (cough Easton cough)

This book is a roller coaster ride of high drama and a lot of minors doing some really effed up stuff but I couldn’t get enough with Paper Princess and that wasn’t all that different in this book. I still love me some Reed, I still love the other Royals in all of their effed up glory and I cannot freaking wait until I get my hands on Twisted Palace because I have every faith that Jen and Elle are going to pack more punches that will keep me gasping and swooning at every turn but I know that I’m going to love it too. Gah. So good.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars

Review: Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally

Posted July 14, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Defending Taylor by Miranda KenneallyReviewer: Rowena
Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks #7
Published by Sourcebooks
Publication Date: July 5th 2016
Genres: Romance, Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 304
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four-stars

There are no mistakes in love.

Captain of the soccer team, president of the Debate Club, contender for valedictorian: Taylor's always pushed herself to be perfect. After all, that's what is expected of a senator's daughter. But one impulsive decision-one lie to cover for her boyfriend-and Taylor's kicked out of private school. Everything she's worked so hard for is gone, and now she's starting over at Hundred Oaks High.

Soccer has always been Taylor's escape from the pressures of school and family, but it's hard to fit in and play on a team that used to be her rival. The only person who seems to understand all that she's going through is her older brother's best friend, Ezra. Taylor's had a crush on him for as long as she can remember. But it's hard to trust after having been betrayed. Will Taylor repeat her past mistakes or can she score a fresh start?

Praise for Jesse's Girl:"A a fun, sexy, suck-me-in read."-Katie McGarry, author of Nowhere But Here and Pushing the Limits"An absorbing story...highly enjoyable."-Kirkus"Inspires as it entertains."-Publishers Weekly

This is how I felt after reading this book:

Miranda Kenneally wrote another fantastic contemporary YA book that I enjoyed a great deal. If she wanted to write nothing but Hundred Oaks books for the rest of her life, I would be quite happy. I haven’t been reading too many contemporary YA books lately but I can’t seem to stay away from certain authors and series and this author and this series is one of them.

This book follows Taylor Lukems after she was kicked out of her private school and starts school (and her new life) at Hundred Oaks High School. It’s her senior year and having to start all over at a new school is not going easy for her. It’s crazy how one lie could throw her entire life into a tailspin. Her Senator father’s campaign is thrown off course, she’s having trouble fitting in with her new soccer team and everything that could go wrong goes wrong.

The one thing that is different with this book than any of the other books in this series is that I thought the story revolved less around the couple and more around Taylor’s problems. I was totally okay with that though because I was interested in seeing her work through her problems and figure her shit out. She really comes into her own in this book and I was glad to have been a part of her journey. She’s smart and she’s strong and you really see her grow as a character, which I really enjoyed.

As much as I was okay with the romance being in the background (more so than I remember in the other books), it would have been nice to get more Ezra cause I liked him and wanted to know him more. I liked that he had that crush on his best friend’s little sister and I liked the way that he handled going about dating her. I also liked Taylor’s brother’s attitude toward his best friend dating his little sister.

There was much to like about reading this book. I liked Taylor, I liked the friends she made. I liked seeing the old characters again and I’m already looking forward to the next Hundred Oaks book. I can’t wait to dig into that sucker.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars

Guest Review: Put It Out There by D.R. Graham

Posted July 7, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Put It Out There by D.R. GrahamReviewer: Tracy
Put It Out there by D.R. Graham
Series: Britannia Beach #1
Published by HarperCollins, HarperImpulse
Publication Date: July 1st 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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four-stars

Returning home to Britannia Beach a year after her life was shattered is bittersweet for Derian Lafleur. Although some things settle back into place, others don’t click like they used to…especially her friendship with Trevor Maverty.

Derian suddenly wishes the boy next door would see her as more than just a kid sister type. She tries to be everything she thinks he’s looking for―bolder, more experienced. But is that who she wants to be?

With the fate of her family’s historic inn on the line and Trevor making life more complicated by the day, Derian struggles to manage her unexpected feelings, and deal with a past she’s not quite ready to leave behind.

Derian grew up in Britannia Beach with her dad and her maternal grandfather. Her mother and father were married but lived separately – with the mom living in an apartment in Vancouver.  Unfortunately, Derian’s dad got in an accident while driving to see her mother and died.  Derian tried living with her mother for a year but she missed her grandfather and her friends too much.

She’s now back and starting her junior year in high school.  She’s happy to be helping her grandfather with his Inn even though it’s falling down around their heads.  She’s also excited about her next door neighbor, Trevor.  Trevor’s family is like her family so she never really thought of Trevor as anything but a friend but now she sees him and realizes that she loves him.  Derian’s not sure about Trevor’s feelings and in a typical teen fashion tries to get the information from him without actually coming out and asking him.

Derian is a sweet girl and pretty well liked at school.  She’s asked out by Steve who she thinks is cute but she’s not sure how she feels about him. She still ends up going out with him and becoming his girlfriend but she always has Trevor in the back of her mind. Then there’s Mason who is new to the school and she thinks is super cute but she gets tongue-tied around him.  He seems to go out with a lot of girls and has a rep but Derian sees another side to him that others don’t seem to.

Derian’s one confused girl when it comes to boys but she wants nothing more than for Trevor to tell her that he wants to be with her.  When Derian does something that Trevor specifically asked her not to do he’s pissed and it might ruin anything they might have had together.

This was an cute story.  It was definitely in the Young Adult category as it deals mostly with Derian and her high school friends.  Trevor is considered an adult but plays a big part in the story. Trevor confused me at times.  He obviously likes Derian but gives her total mixed signals.  I just wanted to smack him upside the head and say, “Make a decision already!”  Was she a friend or more?  Figure it out!

Derian confused me at times as well.  I couldn’t figure her out as she loves Trevor but still dates Steve and likes Mason as well.  I guess in high school I was the type of person that if I liked someone I didn’t go out with anyone else.  Not so with Derian.  She looked at it as getting life experience so that she could be more mature for Trevor but I thought it made her look a little wishy-washy.

There was also a slight paranormal aspect to the story.  Since Derian was little she’d been having visions.  She would see things happening but couldn’t figure out when they were going to happen.  Trevor tried to help her with this and as the story went on she did seem to be getting better with identifiers in her visions.  I felt horrible for her because she had a vision of the crash that killed her own father but couldn’t do a thing about it.  So sad.

Overall I thought it was a good start to this series.  I’m not normally a big YA reader but I will definitely be reading the other books about Derian.  I think DR Graham has talent for pulling people into her stories (I’ve read her Noir et Bleu MC books and loved them – adult contemporary) and this one was no different.  She’s got me intrigued and I’m curious to see how things pan out.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars