Review: Punk 57 by Penelope Douglas

Review: Punk 57 by Penelope DouglasPunk 57 by Penelope Douglas
October 21, 2016
Genres: New Adult, Young Adult
Pages: 371
Format: ARC
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Also by this author:
Amazon US
Goodreads

“We were perfect together. Until we met.”

Misha

I can’t help but smile at the words in her letter. She misses me.

In fifth grade, my teacher set us up with pen pals from a different school. Thinking I was a girl, with a name like Misha, the other teacher paired me up with her student, Ryen. My teacher, believing Ryen was a boy like me, agreed.

It didn’t take long for us to figure out the mistake. And in no time at all, we were arguing about everything. The best take-out pizza. Android vs. iPhone. Whether or not Eminem is the greatest rapper ever…

And that was the start. For the next seven years, it was us.

Her letters are always on black paper with silver writing. Sometimes there’s one a week or three in a day, but I need them. She’s the only one who keeps me on track, talks me down, and accepts everything I am.

We only had three rules. No social media, no phone numbers, no pictures. We had a good thing going. Why ruin it?

Until I run across a photo of a girl online. Name’s Ryen, loves Gallo’s pizza, and worships her iPhone. What are the chances?

F*ck it. I need to meet her.

I just don’t expect to hate what I find.

Ryen

He hasn’t written in three months. Something’s wrong. Did he die? Get arrested? Knowing Misha, neither would be a stretch.

Without him around, I’m going crazy. I need to know someone is listening. It’s my own fault. I should’ve gotten his number or picture or something.

He could be gone forever.

Or right under my nose, and I wouldn’t even know it.

Punk 57 delivers exactly what you’ve come to expect from Penelope Douglas. Amazing angst. An exciting and volatile love/hate/love romance. And characters that actually have depth and layers. If there is another author out there writing teenage angst as well as Douglas does, I’ve not found them.

Misha and Ryen are long time pen pals who purposefully never meet in real life. The friendship they’ve developed over the years an important part of each of their lives, for very different reasons. But a chance encounter and a tragic turn, inserts Misha into Ryen’s world and they find out that what they thought they knew of each other on paper might be vastly different than reality. 

The real heart of the story is not the push and pull romance between the two main characters, though. At least, not in my mind. There is quite a deep underlying message to Punk 57, it’s just wrapped up in an steamy romance. The message is one I loved. While I adored Misha and was very rapt by Ryen’s character development, I was in love with Douglas’ theme for this story.  Anyone who didn’t have a stellar high school experience will find something to relate to in this book. 

Punk 57 is very much in the same vein as Bully, but the message is more pronounced. It’s also maybe delivered in a bit of an over the top way. There were a few things I found to be a little too unbelievable and too harsh, that’s what drops my over all rating down a tad.  However, I never found myself focusing on those things while reading the story. Those feelings came later, after I finished the book and really started thinking about my overall feelings for it. There is something to be said about an author who can keep you turning the page like that. 

About Penelope Douglas

Penelope Douglas is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. She dresses for autumn year round, loves anything lemon flavored, and shops at Target almost daily.

Her books include the Fall Away Series (Bully, Until You, Rival, Falling Away, and Aflame), as well as, Corrupt and Misconduct. Please look for Punk 57, coming September 2016 and Next to Never (A Fall Away Novella), coming January 2017.

She lives in Las Vegas with her husband and their daughter.


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RERUN Review: A Matter of Fate by Heather Lyons

RERUN Review: A Matter of Fate by Heather LyonsA Matter of Fate by Heather Lyons
Series: Fate #1
August 25, 2012
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 558
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon US
Goodreads

Chloe Lilywhite struggles with all the normal problems of a typical seventeen-year-old high school student. Only, Chloe isn't a normal teenage girl. She's a Magical, part of a secret race of beings who influence the universe. More importantly, she's a Creator, which means Fate mapped out her destiny long ago, from her college choice, to where she will live, to even her job. While her friends and relatives relish their future roles, Chloe resents the lack of say in her life, especially when she learns she's to be guarded against a vengeful group of beings bent on wiping out her kind. Their number one target? Chloe, of course.

That's nothing compared to the boy trouble she's gotten herself into. Because a guy she's literally dreamed of and loved her entire life, one she never knew truly existed, shows up in her math class, and with him comes a twin brother she finds herself inexplicably drawn to.

Chloe's once unyielding path now has a lot more choices than she ever thought possible.

Rerun Reviews features reviews by Debbie, previously published on Keep Calm Read Romance or Talk Supe — and reviews by Ali previously published on GingerRead Reviews.

 

Chloe’s life is a carefully planned out. Every detail from her schooling to her career, from birth she’s been told what she will do, who she will be. She is told it is in Fate’s hands. Now she’s being told who she loves has also been carefully planned out, but her heart isn’t so sure about Fate’s choice.

Chloe met Jonah at a young age, in her dreams. She has spent years growing up with him and loving him, but never believing he is real. A year after he abruptly disappears from her dreamworld, he walks into her math class. She can’t believe he is real and she is terrified of the pain of losing him all over again. The idea of him not knowing her scares her into distance and silence.

Jonah didn’t come to town unaccompanied though, he brought his twin brother Kellan with him. Chloe feels a strange connection with both boys and does not have the same fears where Kellan is involved. Jonah doesn’t attempt to speak to Chloe either, but Kellan does, unleashing a complicated and heated love triangle.

Chloe’s distress over the love cards Fate has dealt her is only one of her problems. She’s slated to become the most powerful magical creature on the Council, the people that run the world. It’s her unique powers that make her the main target for a group determined to take their revenge on all magical creatures.

A Matter of Fate is a modern day twist of magical powers, star crossed love and a dash of mythology. I’m not talking magic the likes of newts eyes and bat wings brewing in a cauldron. I’m talking X-Men type powers. Mystical fireballs, creating lightening storms or earthquakes, inflicting debilitating viruses or emotions; all in the name of taking down your enemies. The fight scenes Lyons wrote were action packed excitement and quite stunning.

On the flip side of all these powers is the good that balances them out. Those that can inflict you with the plague can also heal your wounds. Those that can inflect deep depression can also make you fell pure bliss. If you can destroy you can create. You get the picture. The building of these powers and the world they belong too was enthralling. I love a good dose of paranormal and fantasy and A Matter of Fate has both.

There are so many characters introduced here that some were all together underdeveloped, I’m hoping some of them will take more of a center stage in future titles. However, some were very well developed and I loved them. Kellan and Karl were favorites of mine.

Now, I should probably comment on the love triangle as some of you love them and others loathe them. I am not usually a huge fan of them. I hate love conflicts just for the sake of there being a conflict. I can say that though not all of the aspects of this impossible situation worked for me, other aspects truly did. At the beginning of it I was mentally screaming at Chloe for being so silly and scared but the deeper the story got, the more invested I became in it, the more heartbreaking it became. This is not conflict for the sake of conflict. Even though I saw the true reason for the strife coming pretty early on, it didn’t matter, I was knee deep into wondering how it would be hashed out and honestly was pleased that there was not contrite happy ending. It wouldn’t have done the story justice.

I’m pleased I had a chance to read A Matter of Fate and look forward to finding out what happens with these characters in A Matter of Heart.

About Heather Lyons

Heather Lyons is known for writing epic, heartfelt love stories often with a fantastical twist. From Young Adult to New Adult to Adult novels—one commonality in all her books is the touching, and sometimes heart-wrenching, romance. In addition to writing, she’s also been an archaeologist and a teacher. She and her husband and children live in sunny Southern California and are currently working their way through every cupcakery she can find.


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Review: The Distance From A to Z by Natalie BlittThe Distance From A to Z by Natalie Blitt
Published by Harper Collins January 12, 2016
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Amazon US
Goodreads

This full-length novel by debut author Natalie Blitt is a pitch-perfect blend of Stephanie Perkins and Miranda Kenneally that proves the age-old adage: opposites attract.

Seventeen-year old Abby has only one goal for her summer: to make sure she is fluent in French—well, that, and to get as far away from baseball and her Cubs-obsessed family as possible. A summer of culture and language, with no sports in sight.

That turns out to be impossible, though, because her French partner is the exact kind of boy she was hoping to avoid. Eight weeks. 120 hours of class. 80 hours of conversation practice with someone who seems to exclusively wear baseball caps and jerseys.

But Zeke in French is a different person than Zeke in English. And Abby can’t help but fall for him, hard. As Abby begins to suspect that Zeke is hiding something, she has to decide if bridging the gap between the distance between who she is and who he is, is worth the risk.

Every so often I need to throw in a light, young adult read. A pallet cleanser, if you will.   A read to balance you out when you’re in an adult romance reading rut.  The Distance From A to Z served it’s purpose well.

Abby grew up in the baseball life.  Her family being huge Cubs fans, to the point of cancelling big life moments if there was a game on.  As Abby aged, she realized she didn’t want her life to be only baseball.  She wanted something else, something hers.  She started teaching herself French with the idea of applying to a Paris school for her Senior year of highschool.  This leads her to attending a Summer Instensive French study at a college and meeting Zeke. 

Zeke seems like a typical jock. Exactly what Abby doesn’t want in her life anymore.  However, his interest and knowledge of the French language has her intrigued.  Forced to be partners, Abby and Zeke form a connection. In French. 

When they venture outside of language studies though, the relationship isn’t quite the same.  Zeke is a different person in English. He’s secretive and stand offish.  Abby is also more defensive and guarded.  

I can see how some readers may not like Abby too much.  She was difficult at times.  She’s quite bitter and overly determined to distance herself from her families obsessions.  But, keeping in mind that she is only seventeen and trying to find herself, I gave her a pass. Mostly.

The Distance From A to Z was a cute idea.  At first, I didn’t really love how Abby’s mind threw in random French words.  However, as the story progressed and it took on more of two worlds/ two relationships – I actually began to enjoy it.  It was a first love, coming of age story…in French.

Overall, it was sweat story with just the right amount of cute to wash away all the heaviness of my regular reads.

 

 


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Cover & Sypnosis Reveal: A Thousand Boy Kisses by Tillie Cole

Cover & Sypnosis Reveal: A Thousand Boy Kisses by Tillie ColeA Thousand Boy Kisses by Tillie Cole
March 15, 2016
Genres: Young Adult
Also by this author: Souls Unfractured

One kiss lasts a moment.
But a thousand kisses can last a lifetime.
One boy.
One girl.
A bond that is forged in an instant and cherished for a decade.
A bond that neither time nor distance can break.
A bond that will last forever.
Or so they believe.
When seventeen-year-old Rune Kristiansen returns from his native Norway to the sleepy town of Blossom Grove, Georgia, where he befriended Poppy Litchfield as a child, he has just one thing on his mind. Why did the girl who was one half of his soul, who promised to wait faithfully for his return, cut him off without a word of explanation?
Rune’s heart was broken three years ago when Poppy fell silent. When he discovers the truth, he finds that the greatest heartache is yet to come.
Young Adult Tearjerker Romance.

COVER REVEAL!

Oh my are we excited to help in revealing this pretty little PINK gem!

YA Tearjerker Romance, count us in!

And one more time for good measures because you can never have to much of a good thing.

ATBK Paperback

About Tillie Cole

After years of teaching high school Social Studies and following her Professional Rugby Player husband around Europe, they have settled in Calgary, Alberta where Tillie spends most of her days (and many a late night) lost in a writing euphoria or in her dream of pursuing a dazzling career as a barrel-racing, tasselled-chap, Stetson-wearing cowgirl… Ye-haw!
Tillie Cole is a Northern girl through and through. She originates from a place called Teesside on that little but awesomely sunny (okay I exaggerate) Isle called Great Britain. She was brought up surrounded by her mother — a farmer’s daughter, her crazy Scottish father, a savagely sarcastic sister and a multitude of rescue animals and horses.

Being a scary blend of Scottish and English, Tillie embraces both cultures; her English heritage through her love of HP sauce and freshly made Yorkshire Puddings, and her Scottish, which is mostly demonstrated by her frighteningly foul-mouthed episodes of pure rage and her much loved dirty jokes.


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Review: Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Review: Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth FlynnFirsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Published by St. Martin's Griffin January 05, 2016
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Amazon US

Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward, fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time- the kind Mercedes never had herself.

Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy- so far. Her absentee mother isn’t home nearly enough to know about Mercedes’ extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won’t even say the word “sex” until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn’t bank on Angela’s boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn- or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.

When Mercedes’ perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her reputation and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, FIRSTS is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.

Mercedes Ayres has a secret. Well, she has more than one and they are all doozies. But it’s her biggest, longest kept secret that leads to her newer, less well kept secrets.  The secrets that involve giving herself over to virgin boyfriends in the hopes of teaching them a trick or two in how to please their loving girlfriends.  You see Mercy had a bad experience with losing her virginity and in her damaged, young mind, she’s rationalized that she is doing something for the greater good.

She’s not trying to steal anyone’s boyfriend. In fact, she’ll go above and beyond teaching them about sex and actually help them plan the perfect nights for their girlfriends.  It was only supposed to be a few times, a few well chosen guys, a little good will and paying it forward.

Until it became something more like a coping mechanism. An escape from her less than satisfying life and from her horrific memories.  Now, it’s become a danger to her safety, to her friendships and to a relationship that could teach her what love really is supposed to be about.

Firsts starts off rather slow and took me a handful of chapters to feel any type of pull from the story. Mercedes…was actually pretty annoying. She’s young and delusional, which was really frustrating for me.  She continually repeats actions and then regrets them and it had me wanting to pull my hair out.

Then there is a shift in the story. Two characters, two friends, become more prominent in the story line and I became invested.  A new friend and a long time fuck buddy turned it around for me.  I think because that was when Mercy felt like a real person to me. Someone with a life that people actually did notice her for who she really is.  She became more than just a shell, she became more than just an empty character.

It’s also when the story becomes more heartbreaking.

Firsts is Flynn’s debut novel and I think it’s a promising one. It’s not perfect in its execution and lacked some real character depth, but it’s a brave story to tell and deals with some very real issues.  It makes you consider the teenage psyche and how tragic and dramatic situations really can take hold and skew your outlook on life.

 


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Review: In Pieces by Gia RileyIn Pieces Published by Gia Riley November 8, 2015
Genres: Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Amazon US
Goodreads

Rhett Taylor has a reputation to live up to. He’s the small town hero everyone expects to lead the team to victory. But looks can be deceiving, and the pressure unbearable – even after he confides in Kinsley West.

She may not have been the obvious choice to others, but he chose her anyway. Thanks to her newfound popularity, Kinsley’s no longer living in the shadow of her older brother. For once, she has an identity of her own.

But what builds quickly, often comes tumbling down. Piece by piece they find out how unpredictable young love can be. Can their love stand the test of time? Or will it be captured, only to be forgotten?

A roll of film sets their story in motion.
Each frame better than the last.

The real test comes when their whirlwind romance forces Kinsley to protect their secret – especially if she wants a future. Only Kinsley isn’t sure she can do it - not if she’s going to be left behind In Pieces.

I love finding good reads by mistake.  I stumbled upon this cover on Instagram and fell in love with the simplicity of it, I was lucky enough to read it early and meet this adorable little crew, even though now the book is released.

All of this may be new to her, but the way she’s looking at me right now isn’t the way she was looking at me when we left school today.  For the first time, I feel like she truly trusts me-that she’s not holding back, or keeping any secrets from me.

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Now there were a few things that put a kink in the reading for me, but not enough to make me stop.

The book opens up in Kinsley West’s POV and early on you learn about some crucial facts that make this young woman the person that she is.  It’s apparent right away that she is an eighteen year old girl aged a few years beyond her time, but for a little while she acts her age and what good that does her…

Rhett Taylor is your All American boy who is the star of the football team and every high school girls obsession.  I mean the boy is so damn cute and swoon-worthy he makes me wish I were eighteen again and riding in his F-150 with him.

She fits next to me like she’s always belonged there, and I realize this game isn’t going to be as easy as I thought it was.

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But this is where I had a little issue, as mentioned the first few chapters were in Kinsley’s POV and she explains their first encounter that sparks the fire to start their relationship and so on and so fourth.  I just wish I had a chapter or two in Rhett’s head to understand how his feelings evolved over time for her and became so intense.  In that aspect I felt a little robbed of the connection they shared.  However a few times I kind of began to  second guess their relationship but then there would be dialogue that redeemed any doubts I had.  Even though dual POV books are very common it doesn’t mean they are all good, but I thought Gia Riley did an amazing job of jumping between voices and keeping me in the moment with both characters.

This story was so freaking cute I couldn’t take it, it just gave me the warm and fuzzes all over and just when I thought things were going in one direction and I could predict how things may end, there was a bit of a twist, and I loved it! Rhett and Kinsley definitely won me over in quite a few ways. I loved how they interact with one another and their young love resonated off the pages for me, I’ll admit I may be in love with an 18-year old Rhett Taylor!

“I was made to love you, Kinsley West. We were always meant to be.”

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Another thing I did love were the surrounding characters, their stories definitely enhanced things instead of taking from it, I didn’t feel overwhelmed with side stories that didn’t belong.  BASICALLY I ENJOYED THIS BOOK. It was super sweet and just brightened up my BLACK HEART. 

 


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DNF Journal: The House by Christina Lauren

DNF Journal: The House by Christina LaurenThe House by Christina Lauren
Published by Simon & Schuster October 6, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Horror
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Also by this author: Beautiful Secret
Amazon US | B&N
Goodreads

Gavin tells Delilah he’s hers—completely—but whatever lives inside that house with him disagrees.

After seven years tucked away at an East coast boarding school, Delilah Blue returns to her small Kansas hometown to find that not much has changed. Her parents are still uptight and disinterested, her bedroom is exactly the way she left it, and the outcast Gavin Timothy still looks like he’s crawled out of one of her dark, twisted drawings.

Delilah is instantly smitten.

Gavin has always lived in the strange house: an odd building isolated in a stand of trees where the town gives in to mild wilderness. The house is an irresistible lure for Delilah, but the tall fence surrounding it exists for good reason, and Gavin urges Delilah to be careful. Whatever lives with him there isn’t human, and isn’t afraid of hurting her to keep her away.

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It truly, truly pains me to do this. I’ve really enjoyed every title I’ve read by the fun and fab duo that is Christina Lauren. Until now.

I made it to just shy of the half way mark in The House, but I struggled up to that point.

The characters, like all Christina Lauren characters, were fun and quirky. They were not my problem.  My problem was the house itself.

At first, it just seemed a little silly. It certainly wasn’t scary or even mildly creepy.  What the house does in regards to Gavin (I’m being vague, as to not give anything away) was over the top, for me. It felt almost middle-grade.

That was were my biggest problem came about. Having an element in the story that was so very young, coupled with a developing relationship between Gavin and Delilah that was quite mature…was a miss for me.  I didn’t get it.  You have two seventeen year old characters, each making suggestive comments and thoughts that are very much in line with how most teens of that age would act, yet they are thrown into this world that didn’t fit. 

I mean, I just can’t go from a character thinking about his girlfriend naked and waiting for him in his bed to the character asking said bed to grow bigger for him…and it doing it, like and enchanted item in Beauty and Beast’s castle.

My brain just doesn’t function the way it needed to in order to enjoy The House. *insert huge sad face here* I was really excited for this one and am, unfortunately, disappointed it didn’t work out. 

Miss Ali - Transparent

About Christina Lauren

NEW YORK TIMES, USA TODAY AND #1 INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING AUTHORS
Christina Lauren is the combined pen name of long-time writing partners/besties/soulmates/brain-twins Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings. The coauthor duo writes both Young Adult and Adult Fiction, and together has produced eleven New York Times bestselling novels including Beautiful Bastard, Beautiful Stranger, Beautiful Player, Sweet Filthy Boy and Dirty Rowdy Thing. Their books have been translated into 25+ languages. (Some of these books have kissing. Some of these books have A LOT of kissing.)


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