Review: Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

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“I made the wrong choice.”

Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.

But then she is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and even herself.

People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.

PUBLISHER: Simon Pulse

PAGES: 389

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Upon a first glance, this novel sounds like my future autobiography. Alas, it is not. Really disappointing.

Everyone needs a good summer read. Qualifications for a good summer read (in no particular order):

  1. Must look good next to actual sand. On a beach. In the middle of some exotic location.
  2. Keep your mind occupied so you don’t think about the pile of stress you usually carry on your shoulders or the overwhelming debt you still owe to someone… somewhere.
  3. Enjoyable characters. Engaging plot. Exciting twists and turns. Effortless delivery. Basically, a lot of “E” words. Sorry not sorry.

Love and Gelato qualifies as a good summer read. Continue reading

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Review: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

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The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning!
 
Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

PUBLISHER: Knopf

PAGES: 378

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I was almost in the throes of finals when I bought this book at a local bookstore. I remember hearing a lot of hype about this novel a couple years ago as it was released around the time of my book blogging beginnings.

I was a fan of this novel at first, feeling intrigued by the creative banter between Finch and Violet and Niven’s smooth writing. As much as I enjoyed The Fault in our Stars, I found the same fault in Green’s big hit as I found in Niven’s All the Bright Places. They both romanticize some very serious life experiences and I have to comment about it. This review will not contain spoilers, though I am so tempted to include a few. Continue reading

Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

cover-for-everything-everythingMy disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Pages: 310

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I bought this book on a vacation in Alabama upon the prodding of one of my fangirl friends. Not only is the cover of this novel absolutely flawless, but “Everything Everything” is also the name of one of my favorite British pop punk bands. Seriously, check them out. If you need any more motivation to read this book, the movie is coming out May 19 in the US and it features grown up Hunger Games Rue, Amandla Stenberg. Y’all there’s some good stuff here. Continue reading

Review: Only Daughter by Anna Snoekstra

onlydaughterIn this chilling psychological thriller, one woman’s dark past becomes another’s deadly future.

In 2003, sixteen-year-old Rebecca Winter disappeared. 
She’d been enjoying her teenage summer break: working at a fast-food restaurant, crushing on an older boy and shoplifting with her best friend. Mysteriously ominous things began to happen—blood in the bed, periods of blackouts, a feeling of being watched—though Bec remained oblivious of what was to come.
Eleven years later she is replaced.
A young woman, desperate after being arrested, claims to be the decade-missing Bec.
Soon the imposter is living Bec’s life. Sleeping in her bed. Hugging her mother and father. Learning her best friends’ names. Playing with her twin brothers.
But Bec’s welcoming family and enthusiastic friends are not quite as they seem. As the imposter dodges the detective investigating her case, she begins to delve into the life of the real Bec Winter—and soon realizes that whoever took Bec is still at large, and that she is in imminent danger.

Publisher: Mira (a Harlequin imprint)

Pages: 288

Will Be Released: September 20, 2016

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Y’all, it takes a fantastic book like Only Daughter to bring me out of a book blogging hiatus that has lasted over a year. You’ll have to forgive me. I’ve been traveling the world (and not just the world of books like usual). Gosh, I’m such a nerd. I haven’t had much time and book blogging has unfortunately been put on the back burner.

Until this jewel. Continue reading

Review: Pivot Point by Kasie West

11988046Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier . . .

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.

PUBLISHER: HarperTeen

PAGES: 343

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I read this book on a plane to Dallas and finished it in roughly 24 hours. I think I’ve come to the conclusion that two of the most important factors of a novel are the writing and the plot. If the plot is amazing, I can often disregard poor writing. If the writing is amazing, I can often disregard the poor plot. Continue reading

Review: Storm Fall (Rebel Wing #2) by Tracy Banghart

23556036In the action-packed sequel to Rebel Wing, Aris battles for life and love . . . and not everyone will survive.

Aris Haan gave up everything to join the Atalantan Military: her family, her boyfriend, even her identity. In the end, though, it didn’t matter that she was a war hero. When the all-male Military discovered that she was actually a woman, she was sent home and erased from history.

Now she has a chance to go back to the battlefield—as herself. But as hard as it was to be a soldier in disguise, it’s even more difficult now. The men in her unit undermine her at every turn. The Safaran army has spies everywhere, perhaps even on Aris’s stationpoint. And she’s falling for her mysterious superior officer, Milek. But their relationship is forbidden, just stolen moments between training sessions and missions. There’s no room for love in war.

Then Aris discovers that Safara’s leaders have set their sights on her, Atalanta’s hero. And she must find them before they find her . . .

PUBLISHER: Alloy Entertainment

PAGES: 230

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A big thanks to Alloy Entertainment, NetGalley, and Tracy Banghart for a copy of this book so I could write a honest review 🙂

I love seeing the sequels of books that I reviewed at the beginning of my book blog be released… It makes me so excited! I read the first book and reviewed it here (then titled “Shattered Veil”–I love this new cover and title so much more). Tracy Banghart is an emerging voice in YA Fiction and I’m glad that I’ve had the privilege to read her novels. Continue reading

Review: All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes by Betsy St. Amant

love and cupcakesKat inspected rows of the same old cupcakes. They seemed to blink back at her, as if they knew she was capable of so much more.

Kat Varland has had enough of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.

At twenty-six years old, Kat is still living in the shadows of her family in Bayou Bend, Louisiana. Still working shifts at her Aunt Maggie’s bakery. Still wondering what to do with her passion for baking and her business degree. And still single.

But when Lucas Brannen, Kat s best friend, signs her up for a reality TV bake-off on Cupcake Combat, everything Kat ever wanted is suddenly dangled in front of her: creative license as a baker, recognition as a visionary . . . and a job at a famous bakery in New York.

As the competition heats up, Lucas realizes he might have made a huge mistake. As much as he wants the best for Kat, the only thing he wants for himself her is suddenly in danger of slipping away.

The bright lights of reality cooking wars and the chance at a successful career dazzle Kat s senses and Lucas is faced with a difficult choice: help his friend achieve her dreams . . . or sabotage her chances to keep her in Louisiana.

PUBLISHER: Zondervan

PAGES: 320

Will Be Released: September 2, 2014

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First of all, a huge thanks to Zondervan and Betsy St. Amant for giving me a free e-book in exchange for an honest review! I really appreciate it.

Ah, I feel like I’ve been away from this blog for ages, but it’s only been a couple of days! I’ve been living out of my suitcase lately even though I’m technically “home” and haven’t had the opportunity to post. I’ve been lost, but with this review — I am found! 😉

As always, it’s a treat to read a Christian contemporary romance. I love clean romances so I was excited when I was approved for this one. Continue reading