Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Forget You by Jennifer Echols

Forget You by Jennifer Echols

Goodreads Blurb 

There’s a lot Zoey would like to forget. Like how her father has knocked up his twenty-four-year old girlfriend. Like Zoey’s fear that the whole town will find out about her mom’s nervous breakdown. Like darkly handsome bad boy Doug taunting her at school. Feeling like her life is about to become a complete mess, Zoey fights back the only way she knows how, using her famous attention to detail to make sure she’s the perfect daughter, the perfect student, and the perfect girlfriend to ultra-popular football player Brandon.  But then Zoey is in a car crash, and the next day there’s one thing she can’t remember at all--the entire night before. Did she go parking with Brandon, like she planned? And if so, why does it seem like Brandon is avoiding her? And why is Doug--of all people-- suddenly acting as if something significant happened between the two of them? Zoey dimly remembers Doug pulling her from the wreck, but he keeps referring to what happened that night as if it was more, and it terrifies Zoey to admit how much is a blank to her. Controlled, meticulous Zoey is quickly losing her grip on the all-important details of her life--a life that seems strangely empty of Brandon, and strangely full of Doug.
I've read and loved books by Jennifer Echols before, so I was very excited to read this one.  However, I have to say that I was a little disappointed in Forget You.

As a result of her parents marriage falling apart, Zoey Commander makes a choice that begins and ugly chain reaction.  Her mom is hospitalized after attempting suicide and Zoey begins to question her own sanity.  Unfortunately, her arch nemesis and fellow swim team member, Doug Fox, seems to be around to witness her life falling down around her.

With the help of some key members of her swim team, Zoey begins to slowly piece together the events leading up to her car accident with Mike that broke Doug's leg.  She also begins to realize more and more why Doug was so friendly with her on the day following the wreck.

The "misundrstandings" in this story were very forced and unbelievable.  I wanted to crack Zoey's head into the nearest wall over and over again throughout this book.  The 2 "best friends" were like little yapping Chihuahuas.  Doug's character was likable at times, but he also needed to pull his head out of his rear.

Zoey's father was the only character who lived up to what the author described, but even he had his problems.  The way the character describes her memories of him when she was younger do not jive with his current personality and the change isn't explained.

The step-mom, Ashley, is completely unnecessary.  She added no value either way to the story and was just superfluous.

Zoey's "boyfriend", Brandon, is another character that I just don't understand.  Zoey forgives and overlooks many of Brandon's flaws and then fights and flays anyone else that even attempts to act the same way.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that this just wasn't the story for me.  I still like the author's style and am actually heading off to read another of her books right now.

3 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Don't Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala

Don't Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala

Godreads Blurb
Joy delamere is suffocating.

From asthma, from her parents, and from her boyfriend, Asher, who is smothering her from the inside out. She can take his cruel words, his tender words . . . until the night they go too far.

To escape, Joy sacrifices her suburban life to find the one who offered his help, a homeless boy called Creed. He introduces her to a world of fierce loyalty, to its rules of survival, and to love--a world she won't easily let go.

Set against the backdrop of the streets of Seattle, Holly Cupala's power-ful new novel explores the subtleties of abuse, the secrets we keep, and the ways to redemption. But above all, it is an unflinching story about the extraordinary lengths one girl will go to discover her own strength.

From the outside, Joy's suburban life looks perfect.  Perfect parents working to provide the perfect house and the perfect lifestyle.  Seemingly perfect boyfriend to make sure Joy makes the perfect choices for her perfect life.  Until one day Joy makes a choice to change her life.

Joy leaves her old life behind and runs to the streets of Seattle looking for Creed, a homeless boy who said he knew her problems and that he would help her.  Joy takes only a few necessities with her when she runs.  

On the streets, Joy meets a few unsavory characters right away.  First their is "Stench", who chases her, leering, and she loses him in a store.  Next there is "Mohawk", who has offered his protection and to let her become one of his empty eyed girls.

Joy's meager possessions are lost when Stench catches up to her.  After a struggle, Creed rescues her from Stench and takes her into his "family" of Ave Rats, other homeless teens.  Together they try to use their strengths to survive.

Through a desperate act to save a friend, Joy's life once again spirals out of her control.

Besides the fact that is cover is gorgeous, this book is absolutely amazing.  But WARNING: you better put your big girl panties on before reading.
Joy struggles with severe Asthma, but more importantly, with feelings of invisibility.  These struggles effect her life, causing her to make decisions that I do not understand, but, because of the excellent writing, I am able to sympathize with.

Joy fights against the invisible chains that bind her to her past.  As she learns to survive on the street, she learns to sever each bond individually.  She learns to trust again.  She learns to love.

Joy's story is not all happy but it is honest and it has many moments that are worthy of her name.

5 out of 5 stars.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Answer to Life's Most Important Question

What Should I Read Next?

If you are anything like me, you ask yourself this question at least a few times a week.  Well, 2 years ago I decided to make things easier for myself and joined Goodreads and made use of their to-read list option.  The problem with that is there are now over 1100 books on my to-read list and many good books get overlooked.  There is always something new and shiny to grab my attention.

This week I thought maybe I could come up with a challenge to get through many of the books that have been on my TBR list for a long time.  I put the list in alphabetical order and picked one book from each letter.  There were only two letters that did't fit with my book titles, but I was able to use the last name of authors to work the 'Q' and the 'Z'.

So, without further ado, here is my A to Z reading list.

A  Altered Jennifer Rush
B Bloodlines Richelle Mead
C  Click to Subscribe LM Augustine
D  Don’t Breathe a Word Holly Cupala
E  Emancipating Andie by Priscilla Glenn
F Forget You Jennifer Echols
G  Going Too Far Jennifer Echols
H  How My Summer Went Up in Flames Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
I Invisibility Andrea Cremer
J Just Listen Sarah Dessen
K  Kiss An Angel Susan Elizabeth Phillips
L  The Last Hour Charles Sheehan-Miles
M  My Ex From Hell Tellulah Darling
N   Nevermore Kelly Creagh
O  One Moment Kristina McBride
P  The Pledge Kimberly Derting
Q Sorta Like a Rock Star Matthew Quick
R  Reason to Breathe Rebecca Donovan
S  Sweet Peril Wendy Higgins
T  Touch of Frost Jennifer Estep
U  Unsticky Sarra Manning
V  Virtuosity Jessica Martinez
W  Why Can’t I Be Like You Allie Larkin
X  The Extraordinary Life of Lara Craft (Not Lara Croft) by Lola Salt
Y  Yours Truly Kirsty Greenwood
Z   Poison Bridget Zinn

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Over You by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

Over You by Emma McLaughlin

Goodreads Blurb
"When seventeen-year-old Max got her heart broken, she made it her mission to help other girls get over being dumped, but did she ever really get over her own heartbreak?" 
After the grand explosion of her relationship, seventeen-year-old Max Scott developed what every girl in the history of the world has been waiting for: a way to get over being dumped. Now Max is the go-to guru for heartbroken high-school girls all over NYC. But when her ex unexpectedly shows up in her neighborhood, Max’s carefully controlled world starts to unravel. With her clients’ hearts hanging in the balance, Max will have to do the seemingly impossible: get over him once and for all.
After a devastating ending to a high school romance, Max has decided to dedicate her life to helping others get over their broken hearts and their exes. Along with her two best friends, Zach and Phoebe, Max runs Ex, Inc. with CIA spy-worthy skill. Using what she learned from receiving her own broken heart, Max takes girls through steps to moving on with their lives. 

Things are going well. Max is helping girls, enjoying her work, and meeting new friends. She especially enjoys spending time with her new friend Ben.

Compiling all of her success stories and files, Max sets out to enter NYU on the recommendation of a professor based on the success of her program, but what happens when Max runs into the one who broke her heart. Can she continue to help others when she can't even help herself?

This is a cute story that is often laugh out loud funny and also has you searching your own soul. Some of the situations that Max finds herself in or that are talked about here are unbelievable. However, I think they fit with the whole tone of the book. I don't know that the author ever expected us to believe that this is a real life story, but it's still sweet and fun.
4 out of 5 stars. 

Now Available

Four Summers by Nyrae Dawn

A moment can change everything...

Charlotte Gates is tired of being Charlie Rae. She loves the lake she was raised on, their rental cabins, and spending her nights under the stars…but inside she yearns for more.

After his freshman year, Nathaniel Chase’s family spends their first summer at The Village. From the beginning Charlotte intrigues him. She’s the girl who always says what’s on her mind, wins at night games, and each time she looks through her telescope, gets lost in the sky.

Over the course of four summers together, Charlotte and Nathaniel become best friends, share firsts, mend broken hearts, protect each other’s secrets, overcome tragedies…fall in love. And say goodbye…

Charlie wants out of The Village. Nate wants her to have her stars. And they dream of being able to do it all together. But life isn’t as easy as their summers.

Each summer is told in alternating points of view between Charlie and Nate. Journey with the pair, and their friends, as they share their story about growing up, discovering who they are, making tough choices, and falling in love again and again.

Available  at

Barnes and Noble

Altered by Jennifer Rush

Altered by Jennifer Rush

Goodreads Blurb
When you can’t trust yourself, who can you believe?

Everything about Anna’s life is a secret. Her father works for the Branch at the helm of its latest project: monitoring and administering treatments to the four genetically altered boys in the lab below their farmhouse. There’s Nick, Cas, Trev . . . and Sam, who’s stolen Anna’s heart. When the Branch decides it’s time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape, killing the agents sent to retrieve them. 

Anna is torn between following Sam or staying behind in the safety of her everyday life. But her father pushes her to flee, making Sam promise to keep her away from the Branch, at all costs. There’s just one problem. Sam and the boys don’t remember anything before living in the lab—not even their true identities.

Now on the run, Anna soon discovers that she and Sam are connected in more ways than either of them expected. And if they’re both going to survive, they must piece together the clues of their past before the Branch catches up to them and steals it all away.

Let me just start by saying that there is no way that I will do this one justice.

Four years a go, Anna found out that her father was keeping four boys in their basement.  Turns out, her father works for a company that has done "alterations" on these boys and it is her father's job to observe and test their abilities.  Or at least that's what she's been told.

Anna feels connected to each of the boys, but Sam is the one who holds her heart.  Before she can let him know of her feelings toward him, Sam stages a breakout when agents come to transfer the boys to a new location.  

After killing most of the agents sent to transfer them, Sam is asked by Anna's father to take her with them and to please take care of her.  With tensions running high, the five young people begin a scavenger hunt while fighting for their lives at every turn.

Death of those she has loved and betrayal by the ones she trusts the most force Anna to face the fact that not everything is as it seems.  Not even her own memories.

This book is one giant thrill ride.  You better buckle your seat belt right away because the action starts immediately and doesn't let up until the very last page.  I loved it.

5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Down London Road by Samantha Young

Down London Road (On Dublin Street #2) by Samantha Young

Goodreads Blurb
Johanna Walker is used to taking charge. But she’s about to meet someone who will make her lose control....

It has always been up to Johanna to care for her family, particularly her younger brother, Cole. With an absent father and a useless mother, she’s been making decisions based on what’s best for Cole for as long as she can remember. She even determines what men to date by how much they can provide for her brother and her, not on whatever sparks may—or may not—fly.

But with Cameron MacCabe, the attraction is undeniable. The sexy new bartender at work gives her butterflies every time she looks at him. And for once, Jo is tempted to put her needs first. Cam is just as obsessed with getting to know Jo, but her walls are too solid to let him get close enough to even try.

Then Cam moves into the flat below Jo’s, and their blistering connection becomes impossible to ignore. Especially since Cam is determined to uncover all of Jo’s secrets …even if it means taking apart her defenses piece by piece.

To me, book two of the On Dublin Street series is even better than book one.  

The cast of characters from book one return and include a few new and exciting friends this time around.  Cameron McCabe is a sexy addition to the neighborhood.

Johanna Walker has a responsibility to her family.  She takes her role very seriously and always looks at the men she dates with that in mind.  She looks for stability, financial security, and most of all, safety.  Imagine her surprise when she has an extreme physical reaction to the boyfriend of the artist who's show she is attending.  He's unemployed, homeless, and everything she knows she should avoid.

Cameron has seen her type before.  Always keeping one eye open in case something better comes along.  He feels sorry for the poor sap at Johanna's elbow.  He knows how that relationship will end.

Cam and Jo end up working together and come to an understanding.  They discover that each was wrong about the other and decide that they can be civil to one another.  Hell, they can even be friends.

Jo and her brother Cole have an amazing relationship.  They struggle to hide their alcoholic mother and make ends meet without her help.  Because of Cameron's proximity in their lives, he's one of the few people that actually knows the truth about the situation.  It's touching to see the way Cam insinuates himself into their lives.

While I don't always agree with Jo or Cam's decisions when dealing with one another, but their relationship feels very authentic.  I love that they have trouble and even struggle to work out how to make up.  They are flawed, but perfect for each other.

5 out of 5 stars