Category Archives: New Adult books

Favorite Books of the Summer

So you remember two months ago when I did a post about all the books I had read but hadn’t yet reviewed and promised I would never let myself get that far behind again?

Yeah, well, that was a lie. So sorry. I really meant to be better at this! I’ve read 12 books since then, and I’ve reviewed half of them on Goodreads. I’m still (mostly) planning to review the other half, but for now I’m going to focus on sharing the ones I’ve already done. Below are my three favorite novels that I’ve read so far this summer. For a longer review of each, click on the picture, and it will take you to my Goodreads review.

I’ve also included links below to the reviews of books I didn’t enjoy that much.

 

  I’ve always known that you shouldn’t throw around words like OCD if you don’t actually have OCD, but I didn’t really get why it was such a big deal until I read this book. It’s a hard story to read at times, as Bea does so many things that don’t make sense to me, but that’s the point. The characters in here were so realistically flawed that I had to keep reading, even when it was hard. If you’re looking for a light, quirky romance, this isn’t for you.

 

I don’t generally like football or stories that involve football players, but Cora Carmack changes that here. For those who still don’t know if New Adult is for them, I recommend this book. There’s romance without it being overpowering, and the characters are great.


This is a great fast-paced read with adorable yet flawed characters. I only meant to read the first page, but it was so hard to put down. The ending was a bit silly, but everything else was so entertaining that I didn’t really care. Great cast of characters!

 

Other Books I’ve Read and Reviewed:

Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn – 2/5

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira – 3/5

Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott – 4/5

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Cover Reveal: ALL BROKE DOWN by Cora Carmack

I am so excited to get to share this cover with everyone! If you read my book reviews, you know how much I absolutely loved Cora Carmack’s first NA series, Losing It. (Seriously, if you still think you hate New Adult, go give her books a shot. They’re amazing!) I was even more excited when I learned that she had another series coming out. The first book’s already out, and the second one is coming out later this year! THE EXCITEMENT! You seriously have no idea.

But enough about me. You’re here to learn more about the book:

 

We are so excited to get to share the cover for Cora Carmack’s ALL BROKE DOWN today! A New Adult Contemporary Romance, and published by William Morrow-an imprint of HarperCollins, this is the second book in her Rusk University Series, and it is set to be released on October 28, 2014! But you can pre-order it NOW! Check out what it’s about and then fall in love with this gorgeous cover!

ABOUT ALL BROKE DOWN:

In this second book in New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cora Carmack’s New Adult, Texas-set Rusk University series, which began with All Lined Up, a young woman discovers that you can’t only fight for what you believe in . . . sometimes you have to fight for what you love

Dylan fights for lost causes. Probably because she used to be one.

Environmental issues, civil rights, corrupt corporations, and politicians—you name it, she’s probably been involved in a protest. When her latest cause lands her in jail overnight, she meets Silas Moore. He’s in for a different kind of fighting. And though he’s arrogant and infuriating, she can’t help being fascinated with him. Yet another lost cause.

Football and trouble are the only things that have ever come naturally to Silas. And it’s trouble that lands him in a cell next to do-gooder Dylan. He’s met girls like her before—fixers, he calls them, desperate to heal the damage and make him into their ideal boyfriend. But he doesn’t think he’s broken, and he definitely doesn’t need a girlfriend trying to change him. Until, that is, his anger issues and rash decisions threaten the only thing he really cares about, his spot on the Rusk University football team. Dylan might just be the perfect girl to help.

Because Silas Moore needs some fixing after all.

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Pre-Order Your Copy Today!

Amazon ** Barnes and Noble ** iTunes

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And don’t forget to grab your copy of ALL LINED UP Today!

Amazon ** Barnes & Noble ** iTunes

HeadshotAbout Cora Carmack:

Cora Carmack is a twenty-something writer who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She’s done a multitude of things in her life– boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too. Her first book, LOSING IT, was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller.

Website ** Twitter ** Facebook

Author Goodreads ** ALL BROKE DOWN Goodreads

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Book Review Catch Up – NA and Adult

I recently posted the links to all the young adult books I’ve read so far this year. Today’s post will feature the new adult and adult books I’ve read, which include classics and nonfiction books. I actually meant to post this, like, a week ago, but I forgot. Apparently I’m still not used to updating this blog regularly. I’ll try to get better at that.  Again, all links take you to my GoodReads reviews.

 

Contemporary (New Adult)

1. Easy by Tammara Webber
Jacqueline’s saved from a sexual assault by a stranger – a stranger who seems to be popping up all over campus. Can she find the strength to move on and fight back?

2. Unteachable by Leah Raeder
Maise is 18 when she starts dating her teacher. Can they keep their relationship a secret? Is Evan hiding something from her? Who can she really trust?

Classic (Adult)

3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Hopefully everyone knows what this is about. Young girl grows up in the South during the 1930s and learns about race and gender relationships as her father tries to show that a black man can receive a fair trial in the South.

4. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
Another story most people probably know – guy and girl fall in love in a single night, get married the next morning, and cause four other deaths before finally killing themselves about four days after they meet.

Nonfiction (Adult)

5. He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut by Jessica Valenti
A look at 50 double standards that women have to live with, along with suggestions for how to change them.

6. Pink Brain, Blue Brain by Lise Eliot
Everyone says boys and girls are different, but most of those differences are very, very small and only get bigger because of the different ways we treat boys and girls.

7. Ace Your Teacher Interview by Anthony D. Fredericks
A list of 149 questions you’re likely to be asked in a teacher interview, along with suggested answers and general tips.

8. 50 Ways to Improve Student Behavior by Annette Breaux
A short book with tips on how to treat students with respect and how to be that teacher with very few behavior problems.

9. The Reading Zone by Nancie Atwell
This book explains why having kids read for fun is the best way we can help them become critical thinkers.

Book review backlog

As I’ve mentioned previously, I had to read 24 books for my YA Literature class. I read all of these in August and September, and then I spent October planning for NaNoWriMo and then November writing for NaNoWriMo, and I never got around to writing all of the reviews for those books. Instead of flooding my blog with book reviews in the last two weeks of the year, I’ve decided to post them all on GoodReads and then just link the reviews here. Once I finish with all the reviews that I’ve neglected to do the past few months, I’ll get back to posting actual reviews on here.

The Iron King by Julie Kigawa – 7/10 (YA fantasy)
Speechless by Hannah Harrington – 9/10 (YA contemporary)
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray – 10/10 (YA humor/adventure/satire)
This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith – 7/10 (YA contemporary)
What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sales – 7/10 (YA contemporary)
A Bottle in the Gaza Sea by Valerie Zenatti – 6/10 (YA contemporary)
45 Pounds by KA Barson – 8/10 (YA contemporary)
This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales – 9/10 (YA contemporary)
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick – 9/10 (YA contemporary)
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell – 7/10 (YA contemporary)
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell -9 /10 (NA contemporary)
Persepolis 2 by Marjane Satrapi – 9/10 (NA historical/autobiography – graphic novel)
Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande – 8/10 (YA contemporary)
Finding It by Cora Carmack – 8/10 (NA contemporary romance)
Looking for Alaska by John Green – 7/10 (YA contemporary)
The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women by Jessica Valenti – 9/10 (Nonfiction)

Book Review: Frigid by Jennifer L. Armentrout

I’ve decided I’m going to start putting the ratings near the end of the reviews. I’ve seen other blogs do this, and I decided I liked it. It lets me explain the reasoning behind the grade before I reveal the grade itself.

Title: Frigid (GoodReads)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout (writing as J. Lynn)
Page Count: 225 (Nook edition)
F/NF: Fiction
Genre: Contemporary NA Romance

Goodreads Summary:
For twenty-one-year-old Sydney, being in love with Kyler isn’t anything new. They’d been best friends ever since he pushed her down on the playground and she made him eat a mud pie. Somewhere over the years, she fell for him and fell hard. The big problem with that? Kyler puts the ‘man’ in man-whore. He’s never stayed with a girl longer than a few nights, and with it being their last year in college, Syd doesn’t want to risk their friendship by declaring her love.

Kyler has always put Syd on a pedestal that was too high for him to reach. To him, she’s perfect and she’s everything. But the feelings he has for her, he’s always hidden away or focused on any other female. After all, Kyler will always be the poor boy from the wrong side of tracks, and Syd will always be the one girl he can never have.

But when they’re stranded together at a posh ski resort due to a massive Nor’easter, there’s nothing stopping their red-hot feelings for each other from coming to the surface. Can their friendship survive the attraction? Better yet, can they survive at all? Because as the snow falls, someone is stalking them, and this ski trip may be a life-changer in more ways than one.

Opinion:
I guess I should start this review with a confession: this type of story is my guilty pleasure. When I was in high school and the beginning of college, I read a lot of fan fiction, and most of those stories were about two people who loved each other but didn’t confess their feelings because they were both so sure that they would never be good enough for the other. A lot of people hate such stories, but for me – the lonely fat girl with hardly any friends who didn’t get her first kiss until she was a month away from turning 20 – they were amazing. I could relate to the characters, even though they were weak, because I was weak, too.

Of course, those stories also gave me incredibly unrealistic expectations that kept me clinging to the hopes that this guy would like me even though he never would, but that’s beside the point.

The point is that this novel is exactly like those stories, and that is why I loved it. Well, parts of it. Sydney and Kyler are best friends, and neither thinks the other will ever love them. The first half of this book is filled with so many misunderstandings that lead to hurt feelings, and that’s the sort of thing I love reading about. Really, I haven’t felt this emotionally involved in a NA couple since, well, ever. Are they my favorite NA couple? No (that title goes to Max and Cade from Faking It), but I could relate to them. I wanted to see them get together.

That said, once they actually did get together, I stopped really caring. For a while I was afraid the second half of this book would be one sex scene after the other. It wasn’t, and the plot picked up a little bit near the end, but it still didn’t live up to what I enjoyed about the first half. Most of that’s because they were already (mostly) together, and I tend to lose interest at that point. Also, now that I wasn’t wrapped up in how they were going to confess their feelings, I was left with more time to get annoyed by the other elements of the story that I was able to ignore when I was focusing on their insecurities.

Like the subplot about the character who keeps trying to hurt them. The identity of the bad guy was so incredibly easy to figure out, and it was unbelievable that the characters wouldn’t know. The actions of said bad guy were also a bit out there. The motivation made slightly more sense by the end of the novel, but it still seemed a bit unrealistic and contrived to me.

Then there’s some issue with the romance plot. For one thing, we never really see why Kyler and Sydney are friends to begin with, let alone why they’re in love with each other. I sort of projected my own feelings onto the characters to sort of make up reasons, but I eventually realized that I shouldn’t have to do that – the author should show me why they feel that way. Also, Kyler’s sort of a possessive jerk. He doesn’t want Sydney with anyone he deems “not good enough” for her, which isn’t his call and makes me dislike him, not like him. Plus, the second half of the plot revolves around their both not knowing if this is a fling or not and Sydney’s obsessions about whether or not she should tell him she loves him, even though her confession is what started the entire thing. So that was sort of annoying.

I also hated the constant use of the word “baby,” but again – that’s just a personal issue I have for some reason. Although the fact that he calls her that when they’re just friends just seems weird in general, as does the fact that he picks her up and sets her on his lap in the beginning (when they’re just friends) and kisses her on the cheek and stuff. Maybe I’ve just never had a close friendship like that, but that seems really weird and unbelievable to me.

Feminists will probably also take issue with the whole “good, mostly inexperienced Sydney” versus all the “bad, promiscuous girls” that Kyler sleeps with. Part of me was annoyed with the dichotomy, but the other part of me (the part that wasn’t kissed until I was nearly 20) likes that the inexperienced girl was the one he preferred. So, again, I’m torn about how I feel about that.

Overall, I absolutely loved the first half of this book, even though there were some plotting choices and typos that had me questioning the quality. Not all characters can be strong, though – sometimes we need weak people we can cheer for, too, especially when they know they’re being pathetic. Or at least I think so. I guess most people will disagree with me. But whatever. This was a silly escape book for me, and for a few hours I was able to get caught up in someone else’s romantic problems. That said, there were still a lot of issues I had with this book, and those issues kept me from enjoying it as much as I had hoped I would, even given my lowered expectations for this sort of story.

6/10

Recommendations: If you’re looking for a realistic romance and strong characters with a believable plot, this book is probably not for you. If, however, you want a silly contemporary romance between two characters who misunderstand each other all the time, you might enjoy this. I’m happy with the $1.50 I spent on this, but if I had spent more, I probably would have been sort of annoyed.

Book Review: Faking It by Cora Carmack

Title: Faking It (GoodReads)
Author: Cora Carmack
Page Count: 304
F/NF: Fiction
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

Rating: 10/10

Goodreads Summary:
Mackenzie “Max” Miller has a problem. Her parents have arrived in town for a surprise visit, and if they see her dyed hair, tattoos, and piercings, they just might disown her. Even worse, they’re expecting to meet a nice, wholesome boyfriend, not a guy named Mace who has a neck tattoo and plays in a band. All her lies are about to come crashing down around her, but then she meets Cade.

Cade moved to Philadelphia to act and to leave his problems behind in Texas. So far though, he’s kept the problems and had very little opportunity to take the stage. When Max approaches him in a coffee shop with a crazy request to pretend to be her boyfriend, he agrees to play the part. But when Cade plays the role a little too well, they’re forced to keep the ruse going. And the more they fake the relationship, the more real it begins to feel.

Opinion:
Is this the most original storyline in the world? No.

Should you read it anyway? Absolutely!

I wasn’t originally sure if I would like this book, as I didn’t care about Cade all that much in the first book. I was so wrong. I like him and Max so much more than Garrick and Bliss. This novel had so much more depth than the first book had – not that I don’t still love the first book, of course. But I should probably try to write a more organized review and not fan-girl all over the place.

I’ve read a lot of good girl meets bad boy stories lately. This is the first book I’ve seen that’s bad girl meets good boy, and I loved seeing the roles reversed. Max and Cade were such interesting, complex characters, both dealing with grief and loss in completely different ways. I loved watching them get to know each other. This was one relationship that I was really rooting for the entire time.

I hadn’t expected this much depth from Cade after seeing him in Losing It, but I loved learning more about him in this book. There’s a reason he’s such a nice guy all the time, a reason why he tries so hard to be perfect. It’s a reason that I could really relate to, which made this book such a fantastic read. Cade is at that point in his life when he feels like everyone is moving forward without him, and nothing he does seems to be good enough. He’s still trying to figure out what he wants out of life.

Max, on the other hand, knows what she wants: to make music. She just needs to convince her parents to keep supplementing her income, as the two jobs she works aren’t enough to pay her bills and her college loans, which she only has because her parents forced her to go to college in the first place. She tried the perfect thing in the past, and it didn’t work for her. I loved reading about her past, although it made me a bit sad because her relationship with her sister is really similar to one of my character’s relationship with her sister. It sort of sucks reading someone else write your idea way better than you ever could, but it’s also sort of fun.

There were so many awesome lines in this book. There wasn’t quite the same level of awkward as there was in Losing It, since Max isn’t nearly as awkward and self-conscious as Bliss is, but I found myself enjoying it just as much, just in a different way. It’s great seeing characters figure out that what they thought they wanted wasn’t really what they wanted.

There’s really nothing I can think of to complain about this novel. It was funny and silly at times and deep and introspective at others. Cora Carmack is now on my list of authors I will automatically buy from. In fact, I’ve already gone ahead and preordered her next novella and novel. This is my new favorite New Adult novel (although Losing It is obviously still a very close second). You don’t necessarily have to read the first one first, as the only real plot you need to know from the first one is really easy to pick up on in the second, but I would still recommend reading them in order, as you’ll get more out of it.

Book Review: Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire (New Adult Book #4)

This is going to be the longest review ever, assuming you continue reading through the spoilers. You have been warned.

Title: Beautiful Disaster 
Author: Jamie McGuire
Page Count: 285
F/NF: Fiction
Genre: Contemporary New Adult Romance

Goodreads Summary:
Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand.

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby wants—and needs—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.

Rating: 5/10

Opinion:
Question: What do you do when you’re writing a romance novel and the main characters are together and happy less than halfway through the book?

Answer: Come up with the most ridiculous plot twists ever to keep them apart, plot twists that are just as ridiculous as those used to get them together.

This book had a lot of potential. The writing is clear. The characters have the potential to be really interesting. The good girl/bad guy storyline has been done repeatedly, of course, but if done well it’s a cliché that I like. I like reading about guys who find “the one” and eventually grow/mature and end up in a relationship with the girl. I like flawed main characters who don’t always do the right thing but are sympathetic anyway.

That wasn’t true with this book. Travis could have been that sympathetic MMC – he’s a fighter who’s covered in tattoos, he’s never been in a relationship, and he’s troubled by the fact that his mother died when he was a small child – but he’s just not. He’s creepy. I get what the author was trying to do, but I think she failed, at least in my opinion. Travis is extremely violent, especially when drunk. He’s a stalker. He’s controlling. We’re supposed to think he’s sweet, but really he’s terrifying.

And then there’s Abby, the FMC. She’s completely ridiculous. Her back story comes into play halfway through the novel, and it would have been nice to see some of it before she does something stupid. Maybe she would have been more sympathetic in the beginning had we known more about her. Of course, even after I learn about her background, I still don’t like her. She makes ridiculous choices on a regular basis. She’s selfish and stupid.

America and Shepley, the best friends/couple, aren’t much better. Actually, Shepley seems like a decent character, though we hardly ever get to see him. America’s just as ridiculous as Abby. Also, there’s this idea that the girls who sleep with Travis are all whores and sluts, but we’re supposed to like Travis. Obviously he’s supposed to “see the error of his ways,” but I still don’t like the double standard. Really, there are no female characters in this book that we’re supposed to like other than Abby and America. The rest of the girls were just “sluts and whores,” which I didn’t appreciate.

And then, of course, we have the entire storyline, which is just as ridiculous as the characters. In order to fully explain how ridiculous this book is, though, I’m going to have to mention some spoilers. If you don’t want to know what happens, stop reading now. If you don’t care about spoilers, please continue.

1) The Bet.
Travis makes money by fighting, and he says that guys only ever hit him when he lets them. Abby doesn’t believe him, so they make a bet. If the other guy hits Travis, he has to go a month without sex. If, however, Travis can fight without letting the other guy touch him, Abby has to stay in his apartment for a month. Of course Abby loses and has to stay with Travis. But that’s not all. She doesn’t just stay in the apartment. She stays in his room. In his bed. With him. You know, like all girls would do if put in that situation. And let’s not forget the fact that she starts dating another guy WHILE SHE IS SPENDING EVERY NIGHT IN TRAVIS’S BED. Um, really?

2) The Violence.
As I already mentioned, Travis is really violent and controlling. He doesn’t let Abby date other people before they’re dating, at least not really. He doesn’t let her dance with other guys after they’ve broken up. When Abby leaves him, he trashes his apartment, throwing a stereo across the room, punching a mirror, and knocking a door off its hinges. He gets drunk all the time, and gets extremely mad whenever another guy talks to Abby. He smashes his phone into pieces so that he won’t call Abby. He beats the crap out of guys for saying they want to have sex with Abby. He storms into her dorm room and pounds on her door in the middle of the night. He says he’d go to prison if he ever found out that she had sex with another guy (and they weren’t even dating at the time). I could have dealt with all of these things if this had been a story about abusive relationships. I might even have been able to deal with it if it had been acknowledged at all. BUT IT NEVER WAS. This was all considered perfectly normal behavior. Which it’s not.

3) The Confessions.
As soon as they have sex, Travis starts talking about how much he loves Abby and wants to be with her forever and how he wants to put a ring on her finger some day. I’m sorry, but what guy speaks like that? Let me clarify – what reformed womanizer would speak like that after having known a girl for a few months at the most? I could maybe see this happening at the end of the novel, after they’ve slowly fallen in love or something, but not so soon into the book. It’s just so unrealistic.

4) The Breakups (Abby and Travis)
They finally have sex, and Travis admits that he loves her. So, of course, Abby breaks up with him. This is where knowing about her father might have come in handy earlier. It’s stupid, as this whole time she’s been wanting to date him, but I could have dealt with it if this was the only thing. But this happens before page 140. There needs to be something else to keep them apart. So why do they break up next? Because he agrees to fight for a mobster in Vegas, and Abby doesn’t want him to. He doesn’t listen, so they break up. He turns down the mobster, fixing the problem, and they stay broken up. Then she spends Thanksgiving with Travis, wants to get back together, but doesn’t because Travis said he would stop pursuing her. She takes that to mean that he doesn’t want to be with her anymore, which is ridiculous because he freaking said that he just wanted her to be happy, that he was going to stop pursuing her because he thought that was what he wanted. I have the most oblivious boyfriend in the world, and even he could understand. I don’t for one second believe that Abby wouldn’t. McGuire just wanted another reason to keep them apart.

5) The Breakup (America and Shepley)
After Abby breaks up with Travis (for the second time), he goes back to sleeping with random women. Abby gets upset (even though it’s her fault). Shepley defends Travis, pointing out the logical fact that “They’re broken up; he’s just trying to move on,” and so America breaks up with him for several months. Maybe there are people this stupid out there, but if so they’re not worth reading about. I mean, really? Have I mentioned that Travis is Shepley’s cousin and Shepley warned Abby not to sleep with Travis because it would mess up his and America’s relationship? No one listened to him. But now he lost his girlfriend for several months. It was just stupid.

6) The Illogicalness (well, the others, at least)
a. She’s sleeping with Travis in his bed but is dating Parker – and Parker is okay with that. Then there’s a “date party” at the frat house, and she can’t go with Parker because she already promised to go with Travis. So she goes with the guy she’s sharing a bed with, not the guy she’s dating.

b. After she and Travis break up, she and her gay friend have to go to the date party together because America “can’t go alone,” even though she’s going with her boyfriend. It’s stupid.

c. She’s about to have sex with Travis, realizes they don’t have condoms, and does the math in her head to determine that it’s “safe” to have unprotected sex. Yes, because every 19 year old knows when she’s ovulating. Maybe other people know this information, but it just seemed ridiculous to me.

d. Her ex runs a Vegas hotel, knows that she’s underage, and lets her stay until midnight only if she agrees to go to dinner with him the next day. Instead of going to a different casino, she agrees. She’s even thankful and understanding because “he did everything he could” by letting her stay until midnight. Um, no. He didn’t have to tell anyone that he knew she was underage. He could have let her stay until she had enough money to pay the mobster back.

e. And speaking of mobsters – she’s 5k short what her dad owes the guy, but she goes to the guy anyway even though a) she still has another day before the deadline and b) she knows this guy doesn’t take partial payments. The only reason that happened was so that the mob guy could see Travis fight and offer him the job that would destroy their relationship (again).

f. Ethan, the sexual predator, talked to her for like 10 minutes several months ago. So of course, when she runs into him again at a crowded fight, he would not only recognize her but remember the way that night ended. Because rapists are really sentimental like that.

g. Abby almost gets raped at the fight, so of course Travis insists that she still go with him to fights. He’s so controlling about everything else that his requiring her to go with him (albeit with male protection) is out of character.

h. Abby says that she has “literally gone through hell and back.” Um, no. Dante went through hell and back. Abby didn’t. Small point, but it was at the end of the already irritating book, and I had to mention it.

7) The Ending.
While they’re broken up, Travis throws her over his shoulder to keep her from dancing with another guy. She’s screaming that she doesn’t want to go with him, but the designated driver still takes her to Travis’s apartment because Travis threatened to hurt him if he didn’t. And, of course, he doesn’t call the cops or anything. He just takes them. And, of course, Abby’s reaction to this scene? Get mad at first and then kiss him and have sex with him and get back together. Oh, and then she asks him to marry her. And he just happens to have a ring. There might have been time in between the sex and the marriage, but still – it’s ridiculous.

Overall:  This was a horrible book. I ranked it as high as I did because it eventually got funny how bad it was, and I enjoyed reading it simply because I liked laughing at its ridiculousness. This novel could have been good. Jamie McGuire is good at putting words on the page; I just wish that the story the words formed was better. This novel reads like the outline was written by a 12 year old and an adult wrote the novel based on the outline. If you enjoy reading horrible books and laughing at them, you might enjoy this. If you enjoy books with violent/controlling male love interests, you’ll definitely like this book. If you only like quality books, though, I wouldn’t recommend this one.

Cover Reveal: Dead Run by Vanessa Booke

I’ve never been part of a cover reveal before, but I’m excited to be a part of this one. Vanessa ( @V_Bogie) leads a critique group that I used to be a part of, and I knew I had to help get the word out about her new novel, Dead Run. If you’re a fan of zombie novels and/or New Adult novels (and even if you aren’t), you should definitely read on!

First, a bit of background on the novel:

Carly

Carly Rios was supposed to go to college, forget about her first love, and live a normal life. That was the plan until the whole world went to hell and the dead started becoming…not so dead.

Forced to live in the same quarantine as her abusive stepfather, Carly is hanging on to life by a thread, as she dreams of a normal world outside of the community. But when tragedy strikes home, Carly has no choice but to try and escape with her brother Michael. On the night that Carly plans to leave the community, chaos erupts, causing her plans to backfire, unleashing the undead inside.

Now, Carly must reach out to Joshua Tremell, a man from her past, and the one who left her heart in pieces. Trusting Joshua is one of the hardest things she’ll ever have to do, but without his help it’s only a matter of time until Carly loses her brother Michael to the undead.

Joshua

Two months after returning from fighting over seas and coming home to face a world overtaken by the undead, Joshua Tremell is accustomed to death and losing the ones he loves. But when fate brings him back to his childhood sweetheart Carly Rios, Joshua realizes there are some things still worth fighting for.

Carly is the last person Joshua thought he’d ever see again, let alone in the same quarantine. Facing off shufflers isn’t easy, but the thought of losing the only girl he’s ever loved again, is even worse.

With a second chance at redemption, Joshua would give anything to save Carly and help her get her little brother back, but Joshua has more secrets than he can tell, and his past mistakes are bound to collide with the future he’s dying to earn.

For Carly and Joshua, crossing the wasteland is just the beginning…

*Mature Content Warning: 17+ for language, intense violence against the undead and adult situations.

 

So what do you think? Sound like the sort of book you’d want to read?

 

If you’re still not convinced (although, really, you should be), here’s the book trailer.

Hopefully, this sounds like the sort of book you’d like to read. If so, you can add it to Goodreads here!

 

And, of course, here’s the promised cover:

Book Review: A Midsummer’s Nightmare by Kody Keplinger

Title: A Midsummer’s Nightmare
Author: Kody Keplinger
Page Count: 291
F/NF: Fiction
Genre: Contemporary NA (Since Whitley has graduated high school, I’m counting this as book #3 in my NA challenge)

Rating: 9/10

Goodreads Summary:
Whitley Johnson’s dream summer with her divorcé dad has turned into a nightmare. She’s just met his new fiancée and her kids. The fiancée’s son? Whitley’s one-night stand from graduation night. Just freakin’ great.

Worse, she totally doesn’t fit in with her dad’s perfect new country-club family. So Whitley acts out. She parties. Hard. So hard she doesn’t even notice the good things right under her nose: a sweet little future stepsister who is just about the only person she’s ever liked, a best friend (even though Whitley swears she doesn’t “do” friends), and a smoking-hot guy who isn’t her stepbrother…at least, not yet. It will take all three of them to help Whitley get through her anger and begin to put the pieces of her family together.

Filled with authenticity and raw emotion, Whitley is Kody Keplinger’s most compelling character to date: a cynical Holden Caulfield-esque girl you will wholly care about.

Opinion:
This is the second book I’ve read by Kody Keplinger, and I liked this one even more than the first one (The DUFF). This book didn’t have to overcome anything in order for me to enjoy reading it. I was hooked from the first sentence. I felt vaguely like I was reading the first Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants book at first, but Keplinger manages to take a similar situation and make it completely her own. I loved it.

Whitley was such a great character to read about. I sort of wanted to smack her at the beginning of the book for hating her mother so much while she adored her father who was clearly the one at fault, but overall I enjoyed reading about her. She’s definitely flawed, but you can’t help but feel for her. The more we got to know her, the more I wanted someone to give her a hug.

The rest of the characters in this book were just as well-rounded and realistic. Bailey was adorable, acting like a real teenager who’s just starting to branch out and become her own person. Nathan was a great love interest. A basketball player who’s handsome and also a nerd – a little bit of something for everyone without feeling fake. I wish we had seen a bit more of Whitley’s mother, but her father and Sylvia definitely played important roles, and I was happy to watch them transform as the novel progressed.

I was also really excited to see some familiar faces in this novel. Harrison, the gay best friend who embraces some stereotypes and shatters others, was great. We met him in The DUFF, but he was definitely more of a side character there. He becomes a real person in this novel, and he was a great addition to the cast. Wesley and Bianca, the stars of The DUFF, had a brief appearance in this novel, which was awesome. I really enjoyed watching Whitley react to Bianca. This book makes sense if you haven’t read The DUFF, but that whole scene is even more amusing if you already know Wesley and Bianca.

This book is a cute, fast read that also deals with some real issues. There’s been a lot of talk in the news recently about the rape culture in America, and this book definitely calls out slut-shaming and (hopefully) makes people question the way they treat other people, although it never comes across as overly preachy or anything. I think this is a great book for teenagers and adults to read. The step-sibling thing is sort of weird, but I couldn’t help rooting for them anyway.

Book Review: Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

Most people seem to label this book as young adult, but Bria has graduated high school and is trying to figure out what to do with her life, so I consider this more New Adult. As such, I am also counting this as Book 2 of my New Adult reading challenge.

Title: Wanderlove
Author: Kirsten Hubbard
Page Count: 335
F/NF: Fiction
Genre: Contemporary YA/NA

Rating: 9/10

Goodreads Summary:
It all begins with a stupid question:  Are you a Global Vagabond?

No, but 18-year-old Bria Sandoval wants to be. In a quest for independence, her neglected art, and no-strings-attached hookups, she signs up for a guided tour of Central America—the wrong one. Middle-aged tourists with fanny packs are hardly the key to self-rediscovery. When Bria meets Rowan, devoted backpacker and dive instructor, and his outspokenly humanitarian sister Starling, she seizes the chance to ditch her group and join them off the beaten path.

Bria’s a good girl trying to go bad. Rowan’s a bad boy trying to stay good. As they travel across a panorama of Mayan villages, remote Belizean islands, and hostels plagued with jungle beasties, they discover what they’ve got in common: both seek to leave behind the old versions of themselves. And the secret to escaping the past, Rowan’s found, is to keep moving forward.

But Bria comes to realize she can’t run forever, no matter what Rowan says. If she ever wants the courage to fall for someone worthwhile, she has to start looking back.

Opinion:
If you’ve ever considered going backpacking through unfamiliar countries, you should definitely read this book. If you haven’t, you should still read it, as it opens your mind to a host of new ideas and places. I’ve never really been much of a traveler, but this book makes me understand the appeal. The places Bria visits sound so beautiful, even though I know that I would have been even more freaked out at Bria at some of the things she had to deal with.

I also really enjoyed all the characters in this one. The only characters who weren’t all that three-dimensional were her friends from back home, whom we never meet. Everyone that Bria actually interacts with in this novel feels like a real person, not a caricature of a person. I definitely liked Rowan, and I can completely understand why people are so drawn to him. I didn’t really like him at first, but he grew on me the more we got to know him.

The most interesting person of all, though, was Bria herself. I enjoyed slowly getting to know more about her past and understanding why she acts the way that she did. She made a lot of stupid mistakes when it came to Toby, her ex-boyfriend, but I could still understand why she made those stupid choices. I can completely relate to the knowledge that you messed up your future for a boy, and I can definitely understand the anger that comes with that realization.

I really, really enjoyed this book. I read half of it at work and then stayed up late last night finishing it. I kept telling myself that I would stop reading after one more chapter, but that never happened, at least not until I finished the last chapter. 🙂