Review: Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby

Review: Things We Know by Heart by Jessi KirbyThings We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby
on April 21, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads
5 Stars

When Quinn Sullivan meets the recipient of her boyfriend’s donated heart, the two form an unexpected connection.

After Quinn loses her boyfriend, Trent, in an accident their junior year, she reaches out to the recipients of his donated organs in hopes of picking up the pieces of her now-unrecognizable life. She hears back from some of them, but the person who received Trent’s heart has remained silent. The essence of a person, she has always believed, is in the heart. If she finds Trent’s, then maybe she can have peace once and for all.

Risking everything in order to finally lay her memories to rest, Quinn goes outside the system to track down nineteen-year-old Colton Thomas—a guy whose life has been forever changed by this priceless gift. But what starts as an accidental run-in quickly develops into more, sparking an undeniable attraction. She doesn’t want to give in to it—especially since he has no idea how they’re connected—but their time together has made Quinn feel alive again. No matter how hard she’s falling for Colton, each beat of his heart reminds her of all she’s lost…and all that remains at stake.

pireviewTo be completely honest I didn’t think Things We Know by Heart sounded like something I would love. The topic just didn’t speak to me. I’ve loved Jessi Kirby’s other books so I thought I would give this one a shot too. I’m so, so thrilled that I did, because it was a fantastic, heart wrenching read.

I was pulled in so quickly by this book. The story starts over a year after Quinn’s boyfriend was tragically killed. Quinn’s grief felt incredibly realistic, but I never found it depressing. Probably because Colton quickly enters her life and he brought such light and happiness to the story (and to Quinn). Their feelings for each other blossom slowly. I was right there with Quinn feeling her guilt and hope. It was so easy to relate to everything she was feeling.

Things We Know by Heart kind of revolves on a lie…or a really big secret. It could have been easy to dislike Quinn because of the secret, or hold it against her, but Jessi Kirby handles her character so well. While Quinn got herself in such a tough situation, I couldn’t help but root for her and Colton’s happiness.

I guess you can tell that I really loved Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby. I’ll never question reading one of her books again. Definitely add this to your summer reads list or beach bag. It’s perfect for it!

Review: Three Day Summer by Sarvenaz Tash

Review: Three Day Summer by Sarvenaz TashThree Day Summer by Sarvenaz Tash
on May 19, 2015
Genres: Young Adult
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads
4 Stars

Michael is unsure about most things. Go to college? Enlist in the military? Break up with his girlfriend? All big question marks. He is living for the moment and all he wants is a few days at the biggest concert of the summer.

Cora lives in the town hosting the music festival. She’s volunteering in the medical tent. She’s like that, always the good girl. But there is something in the air at this concert and suddenly Cora finds herself wanting to push her own boundaries.

When Michael and Cora meet, sparks fly, hearts race, and all the things songs are written about come true. And all the while, three days of the most epic summer await them…

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I’ve always had a fascination with the 60’s and 70’s. I have often thought I was born in the wrong decade. So when I heard about Three Day Summer by Savenaz Tash it felt like a dream come true. A YA that takes place at Woodstock? I had to read it right away. I’m so very happy to say that it did not disappoint.

Three Day Summer is told from alternating perspectives and I loved that. Cora and Michael are so very different. It was great getting to see the festival through each of their eyes. I felt like their relationship happened realistically. It was sweet watching it unfold. I really enjoyed their chemistry.

A big part of my 60’s love is the music. It was just better then. I was a little worried that the music would just be skimmed over in the book. I didn’t want it to be just a backdrop, and it wasn’t. Michael’s love for music shines on every page and that makes it a huge part of the story. The music, artists, and the feelings it inspires are talked about so much that it feels like you are there with Cora and Michael. That was an incredible feeling.

Three Day Summer is a short, well paced read. It’s prefect for summer and music lovers. This is such a fun debut. I’m looking forward to reading more by Sarvanaz Tash and I recommend you read this one.

pialso

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Blog Tour: Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman–Review & Giveaway

Blog Tour: Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman–Review & GiveawayShadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
on March 10, 2015
Series: Seraphina #2
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
5 Stars

Seraphina took the literary world by storm with 8 starred reviews and numerous “Best of” lists. At last, her eagerly awaited sequel has arrived—and with it comes an epic battle between humans and dragons.

The kingdom of Goredd: a world where humans and dragons share life with an uneasy balance, and those few who are both human and dragon must hide the truth. Seraphina is one of these, part girl, part dragon, who is reluctantly drawn into the politics of her world. When war breaks out between the dragons and humans, she must travel the lands to find those like herself—for she has an inexplicable connection to all of them, and together they will be able to fight the dragons in powerful, magical ways.

As Seraphina gathers this motley crew, she is pursued by humans who want to stop her. But the most terrifying is another half dragon, who can creep into people’s minds and take them over. Until now, Seraphina has kept her mind safe from intruders, but that also means she’s held back her own gift. It is time to make a choice: Cling to the safety of her old life, or embrace a powerful new destiny?

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It’s been such a long time since I was so completely swept up in a story. Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman was the perfect sequel and an all around incredible fantasy novel.

It’s been years since I read Seraphina. I was a bit worried that I would be completely lost for awhile in Shadow Scale but thankfully that was not the case at all. I’ve always wondered why there isn’t recaps at the beginnings of sequels or subsequent books. There was with this one and it was so helpful. I loved that it flowed with the story as well.

The world that Rachel Hartman has created with these books is so unbelievably rich and detailed. I’m in awe just thinking about it again. Shadow Scale was one of those rare books that I forgot I was reading and not living. I mourned the loss of the story when it was over. The writing was beautiful as well. Rachel Hartman is an amazing talent.

Almost all the fantasy novels that I love involve some sort of epic journey. This book was no exception. Seraphina sets out to find all of her fellow half dragons. The history, landscape, and politics you learn about while on this journey are dizzying in their scale.

Shadow Scale delves deep into things that were only mentioned in Seraphina. The danger and villain felt so real that it filled me with dread often. I couldn’t see any way out of the situation they were all in but it was handled wonderfully in the end.

There was one other storyline I was very curious about, the relationship between Seraphina and Kiggs. I was really pleased with every aspect of their story. I loved that the romance wasn’t a huge part of the story but it always a subtle undercurrent. I also loved the unconventional way their story ended.

I really just can’t say enough good things about Shadow Scale. It’s an utterly incredible follow up. I’m so sad that it’s over but Rachel Hartman has earned a fan for life.

Giveaway:

I’m so excited to give two readers a chance to read this book!

Comment below telling me if you’ve read Seraphina and/or your favorite dragon book.
US/Canada only
Must be 13 or older to enter
Prizing courtesy of Random House
Ends April 7th

Review: No More Confessions by Louise Rozett

Review: No More Confessions by Louise RozettNo More Confessions by Louise Rozett
on January 25, 2015
Series: Confessions #3
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Goodreads
4 Stars
For Rose Zarelli, freshman year was about controlling her rage. Sophomore year was about finding her voice. With all that behind her, junior year should be a breeze, right? Nope. When a horrific video surfaces, Rose needs the one person she wants to be done with, the person who has broken her heart twice—Jamie Forta. But as the intensity between them heats up, Rose realizes she isn’t the only one who needs help. The thing is, Jamie doesn’t see it that way—and that could cost them both everything.

pireviewI loved the first two Confessions books so much. I think I could read at least a dozen books about Rose and Jamie, so I was thrilled to see there was a book 3. No More Confessions picks up not long after Confessions of an Almost Girlfriend ends. Rose is in yet another bad place and she turns to Jamie to help her.

 I do think Rose was in a better place than past books, but things outside of her control send her in a bit of a tailspin. Jamie was still swoon-worthy, but I was also pretty frustrated with him in this one. You’ll have to read to find out why, but I still have a lot of love for him.

Once again, I loved all the minor characters so much. I’m almost just as invested in their happenings as Rose and Jamie’s. Louise Rozett has a way of making characters shine off the page. You want to be their friends and to help them, or to give them a good shake.

I was surprised at the ending of No More Confessions. I foolishly thought it was going to be a tidy conclusion, but things were left pretty open. That’s fine with me. As long as Louise Rozett keeps writing Confessions books, I’ll keep reading. It’s a very underrated, but recommended series.

pialso

Review: Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Review: Open Road Summer by Emery LordOpen Road Summer by Emery Lord
on April 15, 2014
Also by this author: The Start of Me and You
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Format: eBook
Source: Gift
Goodreads
3 Stars

After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own. Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts. But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence. This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking. A fresh new voice in contemporary romance, Emery Lord’s gorgeous writing hits all the right notes.

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So I had the prefect first line for this review planned out within the first half of the book. Really, it was a good line, but now I don’t get to use it because I didn’t love the book like I wanted to.

I had high hopes for Open Road Summer. Lots of fellow contemporary lovers adored it so I thought I’d feel the same way. Nope. I did like it, but by the end of it Reagan’s actions just annoyed me.

Open Road Summer is about friendship and learning to trust again. It has a lot of great things going for it. A summer road trip feel, a feel good best friend relationship, and famous people. If I could’ve liked Reagan more I’m sure I would have loved the book. But alas…

I didn’t have much of a problem with Reagan at first. She has that tough girl exterior but I had hopes that it would get cracked. Her friendship with Dee was the best part of the book (and Dee was the best character in the book). That was really the only time you see a softer side of Reagan.

I enjoyed the romance aspects. It was maybe a tad too drawn out but it still kept me interested. Though, by the end of the book I was so disgusted with Reagan’s actions that it ruined it for me. I felt like she didn’t deserve Matt at all. She was immature, stubborn and careless with other people’s feelings. I kinda wanted to strangle her.

That sounds harsh but I honestly did enjoy most of the book. I just wanted to love it so much and obviously that didn’t happen. Don’t let my review put you off! Most people seem to really love Open Road Summer.

Review: The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

Review: The Start of Me and You by Emery LordThe Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
on March 31, 2015
Also by this author: Open Road Summer
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads
3 Stars

Following her pitch-perfect debut Open Road Summer, Emery Lord pens another gorgeous story of best friends, new love, & second chances.

Brimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamics The Start of Me and You proves that it’s never too late for second chances.

It’s been a year since it happened—when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her—the perfect way to convince everyone she’s back to normal. Next: Join a club—simple, it’s high school after all. But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?

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The Start of Me and You sounds fantastic, right? Best friends, nerdy boy, and a wounded girl. All those things usually add up to a great read, but unfortunately I didn’t love it like I wanted to.

Paige was a fun main character. She had a very close nit group of friends and that was probably my favorite part of the story. Emery Lord writes beautiful friendships. Both of Lord’s books have left me hoping for a spin off book about one of the side characters. I’ll keep my fingers crossed on that.

I really enjoyed the romance. I loved that they started out as such good friends. I do wish that it wouldn’t have taken quite so long for the romance to take off, but it did make for a good ending.

There were two things that kept me from completely loving the book. One, the dead boyfriend story line fell a little flat for me. Sure, it was a sad situation but it felt forced. Two, Paige was pretty snobby. She made several comments about nerds that just rubbed me the wrong way.

The Start of Me and You was a good read. While I didn’t love it, I’ll continue to read Emery Lord’s books. They’re nice summery read.

pialso

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Sean Griswold’s Head by Lindsey Leavitt
Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan

 

Reading with Finn: Red Wagon by Renata Liwska

Reading with Finn: Red Wagon by Renata LiwskaRed Wagon by Renata Liwska
Genres: Picture Books
Format: Hardcover
Source: Imagination Library
Goodreads
5 Stars

All Lucy wants to do is play with her brand-new, bright red wagon. But her mother has other plans for her-and the wagon. Lucy must go to the market and buy vegetables for dinner. Lucy doesn’t want to do chores! But she sets off for the market nonetheless, hauling her red wagon with her. Before long, her ordinary trip becomes a high-seas adventure, a ride through outer space, and a day at the circus. As long as she has her red wagon, not even chores can get in the way of Lucy’s fun.

New York Times bestseller Renata Liwska’s most vibrant art ever takes center stage in this imaginative book for the youngest of readers.

pireviewRed Wagon is such a fun and adorable book. The actual story is very simple, Lucy gets a new wagon and uses it to go to the market for her mother. What was a unwanted chore soon turns into a big adventure all thanks to their vivid imagination.

What mom likes:

I love, love, love the illustrations. The are absolutely gorgeous. Each little animal is adorable and has so much personality.

What Finn likes:

Finn really took a liking to this book a couple of months ago. He must like looking at all the vivid pictures, and I don’t blame him. He really loves the scene where the wagon is a train. He happily says ‘choo choo’ as soon as we get to that page every time.

Red Wagon by Renata Liwska is a delightful picture book. We love getting swept up in Lucy’s adventure.

readingwithfinn