Until it Fades

27408566.jpg Until it Fades by K.A. Tucker

**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley.

Summary from Goodreads:

Twenty-four-year-old truck stop waitress and single mother Catherine Wright has simple goals: to give her five-year-old daughter a happy life and to never again be the talk of the town in Balsam, Pennsylvania: population two thousand outside of tourist season.
And then one foggy night, on a lonely road back from another failed attempt at a relationship, Catherine saves a man’s life. It isn’t until after the police have arrived that Catherine realizes exactly who it is she has saved: Brett Madden, hockey icon and media darling.
Catherine has already had her fifteen minutes of fame and the last thing she wants is to have her past dragged back into the spotlight, only this time on a national stage. So she hides her identity. It works.
For a time.
But when she finds the man she saved standing on her doorstep, desperate to thank her, all that changes. What begins as an immediate friendship quickly turns into something neither of them expected. Something that Catherine isn’t sure she can handle; something that Catherine is afraid to trust.
Because how long can an extraordinary man like Brett be interested in an ordinary woman like Catherine…before the spark fades?

My thoughts:

Yet again, K.A. Tucker did not disappoint. I have loved every book I’ve read; in fact, the Ten Tiny Breaths series is one of my favorites ever. I enjoy the romance in these books, but they don’t feel like typical “romance” books either. The characters have much more depth and there’s just more of a story. I really liked Catherine as a character, wanting to be independent and not need others, but learning to accept help and find that she can forgive herself for her past. And Brett? Well, let’s just say I could use one of him in my life! I will be recommending this to friends.

My rating: 5/5

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The Lovely Reckless

27414434.jpg The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia

**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, release date is 10/4/16.

Summary from Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Frankie Devereux would do anything to forget the past. Haunted by the memory of her boyfriend’s death, she lives her life by one dangerous rule: Nothing matters. At least, that’s what Frankie tells herself after a reckless mistake forces her to leave her privileged life in the Heights to move in with her dad—an undercover cop. She transfers to a public high school in the Downs, where fistfights don’t faze anyone and illegal street racing is more popular than football.
Marco Leone is the fastest street racer in the Downs. Tough, sexy, and hypnotic, he makes it impossible for Frankie to ignore him—and how he makes her feel. But the risks Marco takes for his family could have devastating consequences for them both. When Frankie discovers his secret, she has to make a choice. Will she let the pain of the past determine her future? Or will she risk what little she has left to follow her heart?

My thoughts:

Who can resist a good girl meets bad boy story? The writing in this book reminded me a lot of books by KA Tucker and Katie McGarry, which are two authors that I love. I met Kami Garcia at BEA in Chicago last May and got a signed copy of this one as well. I really enjoyed the story and the characters, nothing felt too cheesy and the love story wasn’t too easy. Marco was a great “bad boy” and I can see why he would be someone girls would easily fall for, but he had a lot of good in him too. Frankie had a rough-go in life for a while and her back story was really interesting. I kind of figured out the connection in the story fairly early on, but was still a little surprised to find out I was correct. I also really enjoyed the very minor storyline of the homeless cat because I have a huge soft spot for stray animals. I have already ordered a copy for my school library and will be gladly putting it in the hands of some students next week I hope!

My rating: 5/5

Meeting the author:

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Falling

28110094 Falling by Jane Green

**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, release date 7/19/16.

Summary from Goodreads:

When Emma Montague left the strict confines of upper-crust British life for New York, she felt sure it would make her happy. Away from her parents and expectations, she felt liberated, throwing herself into Manhattan life replete with a high-paying job, a gorgeous apartment, and a string of successful boyfriends. But the cutthroat world of finance and relentless pursuit of more began to take its toll. This wasn’t the life she wanted either.
On the move again, Emma settles in the picturesque waterfront town of Westport, Connecticut, a world apart from both England and Manhattan. It is here that she begins to confront what it is she really wants from her life. With no job, and knowing only one person in town, she channels her passion for creating beautiful spaces into remaking the dilapidated cottage she rents from Dominic, a local handyman who lives next door with his six-year-old son.
Unlike any man Emma has ever known, Dominic is confident, grounded, and committed to being present for his son whose mother fled shortly after he was born. They become friends, and slowly much more, as Emma finds herself feeling at home in a way she never has before.
But just as they start to imagine a life together as a family, fate intervenes in the most shocking of ways. For the first time, Emma has to stay and fight for what she loves, for the truth she has discovered about herself, or risk losing it all.

My thoughts:

I had planned on posting this review several days ago. This is normally a book that I could have read in a few days, but I had other things going on that stretched it out quite a bit. This is a good love story though, which managed to keep my interest when not much else was doing so. (I DNF’ed 2 other books right before this, which I rarely do.) I have come to expect these kinds of stories from Jane Green, and I know I can rely on her for a generally good book.

I am not a fan of insta-love in books, so that irritated me a bit; but, at least, there was some questioning and drama to keep it from being too easy. I really liked Emma’s character and that we got a bit of London, but without the story being set there. Dominic was a likable character as well, though I would have liked to know more about his background growing up with lots of domestic issues. How did it affect all of his relationships and how did he keep from turning out the same way? This was addressed a bit, but more would have been nice. One of my favorite characters was Emma’s best friend, Sophie, and I would have liked more of her for sure.

Without any spoilers, I was not a fan of the ending so much, but I can see why it was the way it was. It was necessary for Emma to find out who she really is and what matters most. I felt like things wrapped up a bit too nicely (should be happy about that, right?), but I also can’t offer any critiques on how to change that, so….I can’t really take away from my rating for that. I would recommend this title to family and friends for sure.

My rating: 4/5

You Know Me Well

27158835 You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour & David Levithan

**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, release date 6/7/16.

Summary from Goodreads:

Who knows you well? Your best friend? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? A stranger you meet on a crazy night? No one, really?
Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed.
That is until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way.
When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other — and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.

My thoughts:

I tried to grab this book at BEA a few weeks ago, but failed to do so…too much happening. I did get David Levithan’s other book, sequel about Dash & Lily, but not this one. So, I was pleased to be able to come back and still get to read it on Netgalley. First, let me say, that I would never have known (if I didn’t already know, haha) that this was two different people writing this book. He discussed it some in a panel I attended at BEA and said he wrote one point of view and Nina wrote the other and it was truly seamless. After seeing David speak, I could see his humor come through in this book as well, which was interesting. I have only read one other book by Nina LaCour, but I enjoyed it as well.

I really liked reading from both Mark and Katie’s perspectives in this story, and found it to be a quick and very interesting read. Both of the characters were very entertaining and very lovable. This book focused mostly on LGBT relationships and Pride; which, of course, is really no different than reading about any other romantic relationship. I think this kind of book is an awesome way to expose readers to different kinds of relationships, romantic and friendly, without being intimidating. Some teens, especially, don’t want to check out an obviously LGBT book for various reasons, so this is a great way for them to be able to read what they want. You even see a character in this book that is struggling with coming out to his family and classmates. I have some students who really like David Levithan and I can’t wait to put this book in their hands when school starts again. This was a great read!

My rating: 5/5

Walk the Edge

Walk the Edge (Thunder Road, #2) Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry

**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, release date 3/29/16.

Summary from Goodreads:
Smart. Responsible. That’s seventeen-year-old Breanna’s role in her large family, and heaven forbid she put a toe out of line. Until one night of shockingly un-Breanna-like behavior puts her into a vicious cyber-bully’s line of fire—and brings fellow senior Thomas “Razor” Turner into her life.
Razor lives for the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, and good girls like Breanna just don’t belong. But when he learns she’s being blackmailed over a compromising picture of the two of them—a picture that turns one unexpected and beautiful moment into ugliness—he knows it’s time to step outside the rules.
And so they make a pact: he’ll help her track down her blackmailer, and in return she’ll help him seek answers to the mystery that’s haunted him—one that not even his club brothers have been willing to discuss. But the more time they spend together, the more their feelings grow. And suddenly they’re both walking the edge of discovering who they really are, what they want, and where they’re going from here.

My thoughts:

Before I go any further, let me mention that this is one of my favorite YA authors out there….so if I gush, that’s why! 🙂  Katie McGarry did not disappoint me with this installment of the Thunder Road series. I love that her books are all connected by characters, but can be read as stand-alone titles as well, so I don’t have to make my students wait for a certain one in the series to be returned before reading another. I recommend books by Katie to my high school students all the time, and I have a few who come to me regularly to talk about them. This particular book was about a romantic relationship, but also about some other very real issues that high schoolers have to deal with, like people posting inappropriate pictures, rumors, trying to live up to expectations, etc. I think the characters are very relatable, even if you are not exactly like them. Most of us are not in a motorcycle club, I’m about as far from that as you can get, but I still found parts of Razor’s character that I could relate to and empathize with. Breanna also has talents/smarts that many people would be jealous of, but she finds that those things have a negative impact on her life as well, keeping her from fitting in with most people and feeling like she always has to be perfect. These are all things many high schoolers feel regularly. Katie also addresses sexual situations in a realistic manner, without focusing on the act itself, but the feelings behind it. I have never found those scenes or moments to be inappropriate.

This is definitely I book I will be recommending as soon as it arrives!

My rating: 5/5

Surviving Ice by K.A. Tucker

25110836 Surviving Ice by K.A. Tucker

**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, release date 10/27/15.

Ivy is a rebel tattoo artist that has traveled all over before settling down (temporarily) with her uncle Ned in San Francisco. She works with Ned at his tattoo shop and is the unfortunate witness to what appears to be a robbery and his murder.

Sebastian is a former Navy SEAL, now working for a company called Alliance, doing anonymous jobs that sometimes require him to kill, but only to save the lives of many others. His new assignment is Ivy because her uncle was hiding a secret and threatening to expose some negative things about Alliance. He is now on the hunt for a videotape that Ned claims to have that could do them all in.

While searching for the tape, Sebastian realizes that Ivy has a soft side and he quickly finds himself falling for her. She tries to cover up any emotion that she has for anything, but he can tell that she is feeling the same way.  Will they fall in love? What will happen when his assignment is finished or when she sells her uncle’s shop and decides to move somewhere else?

If you have read my previous posts, you know I love K.A. Tucker books. They just feel so real and I feel like I know the characters, especially the ones that have appeared in other books like Ivy has. I just get wrapped up in them and can’t wait to find out how it all goes down. I am not typically a fan of romance, but that’s usually because of the “insta-love” factor and K.A.’s books do not have that, thank goodness! The characters are real and relatable and have the same kinds of problems with relationships as us normal people. If you haven’t read anything by this author, start anywhere….I highly recommend!

My rating: 5/5

Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner

25205422 Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner

**This review is based on an ARC provided by Netgalley, release date 8/11/15.

Rachel and Andy meet each other as young children in a hospital waiting room, where she is a patient due to heart problems and he shows up with a broken arm without his mother. He is from Philadelphia and the hospital is in Florida where Rachel lives, so it is unlikely that they will ever see each other again. By chance, they meet again years later as teenagers on a trip to help build homes. They realize they still have a connection and decide to keep in touch, developing a strong relationship even over the distance. By college, they are a couple visiting each other as often as possible, though it is difficult because Andy is often traveling for track meets. Rachel becomes what Andy never thought she would, a stuck-up sorority girl who cares only about her beauty and money, while he is living his dream of training for the Olympics. Though they struggle to keep in touch for the next few years, they ultimately go their separate ways and live their own lives.  Much happens to each of them in this time span and they do end up living in the same city, but never seeing each other. Will they be able to rekindle their romance at some point? Will their separate lives allow for that to even be a possibility?

I try to read all new books by Jennifer Weiner as she is one of my go-to authors for good Women’s Fiction. This is one that I enjoyed more than some of the others. It took place over many years and it was fun to go back and read about their time in the 90s especially. Though they each tell their own story, they are woven together in many, many ways. I found myself both loving and disliking the characters at time, which made it so realistic. Even though it was such a long time span, I never found myself bored or hoping to skip ahead. This is a great read that I will be recommending to friends and family.

My rating: 5/5