Monday, February 25, 2013

Book Review: Split

Title Split

Author Swati Avasthi

Release Date March 9, 2010

Sixteen-Year-Old Jace Witherspoon arrives at the doorstep of his estranged brother Christian with a re-landscaped face (courtesy of his father’s fist), $3.84, and a secret.

He tries to move on, going for new friends, a new school, and a new job, but all his changes can’t make him forget what he left behind—his mother, who is still trapped with his dad, and his ex-girlfriend, who is keeping his secret.

At least so far.

Worst of all, Jace realizes that if he really wants to move forward, he may first have to do what scares him most: He may have to go back. First-time novelist Swati Avasthi has created a riveting and remarkably nuanced portrait of what happens after. After you’ve said enough, after you’ve run, after you’ve made the split—how do you begin to live again? Readers won’t be able to put this intense page-turner down.

Okay, in case you haven't noticed yet, I like issue books. They're my favorite kind of books to read, nine times out of ten.

Avasthi's debut novel was pretty fantastic. It's raw, emotional, and believable. I enjoyed Avasthi's style of writing.

The thing that I enjoyed most with Split was the fact that it examines what happens *after* a person leaves a violent situation. Most stories are about someone finding the courage and means to leave and that's it. Split was so much more than that. Leaving is only the first step. It's all the things that happen after you leave that really make the difference. Split shows that just because you leave doesn't mean things will be all rainbows and sunshine. There's hope, but there's no sense of false perfection. Avasthi did a wonderful job.


5 out of 5 stars

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Book Review: Ruining You

Title Ruining You

Series Ruining, book 2

Author Nicole Reed

Release Date January 29, 2013

For a girl who dared to tempt death, living is the only promise that matters now.

Jay’s life almost came to a forced end when her darkest secrets were revealed and the one who she chose to give her future to was ripped away. Now, everything she kept hidden is the topic of everyone’s conversation, and not all are sympathetic. Someone wants her horrific past to dictate her future, and another is determined to help her choose a different path.

In conclusion to Ruining Me, Kane and Rhye know that Jay is worth the fight, but waiting for her to find herself may ruin them all.

While I was on the fence about Ruining Me, I'm pretty sure how I feel about Ruining You. It completely missed the mark for me. About halfway through the book, I was ready to give up, but I stuck with it because I wanted to know how it all ended.

I felt like Ruining You moved much slower than Ruining Me. There just wasn't as much to engage me or make me want to continue reading. On top of that, I was absolutely irritated with Jay. Under no circumstances am I saying that I don't understand and respect her struggles with what happened to her. She had been through a lot. But let's get real for a minute, shall me? She does nothing but toy with guys' feelings. Here's a hint, Jay, stop it. Spend time with yourself, figure out all your issues, and then and only then, think about starting a relationship. Throw in the actions of Kane (sticking around for a girl that's playing with your emotions) and Jay's parents (even after everything that Jay went through, they were cool with sending her off on vacation with her older boyfriend alone) and you just get a mix of unbelievable crap. It didn't make for an interesting story for me. It was irritating and ridiculous. Come on. I couldn't even manage to suspend my disbelief for Ruining Me. It was just too much for me.

While many people absolutely love Ruining You (and Ruining Me), it wasn't for me. Personally, my recommendation after reading both books is to pass.


2 out of 5 stars

Friday, February 22, 2013

Book Review: Ruining Me

Title Ruining Me

Series Ruining, book 1

Author Nicole Reed

Release Date September 26, 2012

Eighteen year old Jay Stevenson is living a horrible nightmare.

Two years ago, she had the world in the palm of her hand, but in one moment, it was ruined. Secrets, lies, and the worst imaginable betrayal haunt her new reality. Burying her problems under a cold façade seems to be the only way to cope until it all catches up with her. Soon, she loses control of the lonely world she built around her, and the past, present, and future collide.

Three guys are there when it all comes crashing down: JT, the perfect boyfriend she never wanted to give up; Rhye, the local bad boy “rock star” who made her forget the past; and Kane, the funny and sweet tattooed bartender who wants her future.

Secrets must be kept. Choices must be made. Is it possible to move forward while still chained to the wicked vices of the past?

I just finished Ruining Me and I'm not really sure how I felt about it.

There were some parts I enjoyed. I liked how the book didn't give everything away all at once or in the beginning of the book. While there was a lot happening overall, you learn of Jay's troubles over the course of the book. It felt more natural than having her spill everything all at once. Even though Jay's issues were spread throughout the book, it was a quick read. There weren't any lulls in the story and the action was pretty nonstop. The ending was intense. While it was sad, it was probably the part of the book I enjoyed most.

But there were also parts that I didn't enjoy. The whole love... square (not two boys, but THREE!) was kind of silly. Okay, maybe it wasn't the fact that it was three boys that was silly to me. I guess it was the fact that Jay had known one of the boys for not even a week before declaring her love for him. Really? What is it with instant love these days? Just because someone is hot and swoon worthy does NOT mean you love them. It does not mean you should give up real love for them! Stop it already. NOW. Okay, sorry. Rant over.

Do I recommend it? Sure, it's a quick and easy read. Despite my ranting, it's a pretty decent book. Will I read the second book, Ruining You? You know I will.


3.5 out of 5 stars

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Book Review: Suicide Note

Title Suicide Note

Author Teresa Mummert

Release Date March 12, 2013

**Disclaimer: This book contains no acts of suicide and it does have a 'Happily Ever After'**

A soldier returning for mid-tour leave decides to stay with a cousin in Maine, after his fiancé leaves him for someone else while he is away at war. His cousin is going through his own devastation and is struggling to pick up the pieces and move on with his family. As they try to help each other through the pain, Shane's path crosses Jenn's and he soon learns that everything happens for a reason.

Wow. This book was wow. I was actually surprised at how good Suicide Note was. I think it had to do with the disclaimer. Yeah, it's great to know that the book has a happily ever after (and I definitely wanted one!), but I guess I assumed it wouldn't be done as nicely as it was. That's what I get for assuming. I'm thoroughly impressed with Suicide Note.

I devoured Suicide Note. I smiled, I laughed, and I cried (the book hits close to home in a few places). The ending was great and I really enjoyed it.

The only thing that I had any issue with was the chapters were labeled as dates. It confused me a little at first, but it wasn't that a big deal at all. It didn't matter much as it was easy to tell what was present day and what was in the past.


4 out of 5 stars

* I received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for a review. Thank you! *

Book Review: The Edge of Never

Title The Edge of Never

Series The Edge of Never, book 1

Author J.A. Redmerski

Release Date November 15, 2012

Twenty-year-old Camryn Bennett had always been one to think out-of-the-box, who knew she wanted something more in life than following the same repetitive patterns and growing old with the same repetitive life story. And she thought that her life was going in the right direction until everything fell apart.

Determined not to dwell on the negative and push forward, Camryn is set to move in with her best friend and plans to start a new job. But after an unexpected night at the hottest club in downtown North Carolina, she makes the ultimate decision to leave the only life she's ever known, far behind.

With a purse, a cell phone and a small bag with a few necessities, Camryn, with absolutely no direction or purpose boards a Greyhound bus alone and sets out to find herself. What she finds is a guy named Andrew Parrish, someone not so very different from her and who harbors his own dark secrets. But Camryn swore never to let down her walls again. And she vowed never to fall in love.

But with Andrew, Camryn finds herself doing a lot of things she never thought she'd do. He shows her what it's really like to live out-of-the-box and to give in to her deepest, darkest desires. On their sporadic road-trip he becomes the center of her exciting and daring new life, pulling love and lust and emotion out of her in ways she never imagined possible. But will Andrew's dark secret push them inseparably together, or tear them completely apart?

Due to sexual content and language, this book is recommended for 17+ – Adult Contemporary Women’s – New Adult Fiction

I'm really digging this new(?) genre, New Adult. We've got all the awesome goodness of Young Adult books with a hint (or more) of spiciness from Adult books. It's the perfect blend of everything I love in a book. I'd say it's definitely my favorite genre currently.

The Edge of Never was a pretty good book. I won't say it's perfect, though, because that would be a flat-out lie. Let's be honest, the whole main storyline of this book is pretty far-fetched. I mean, who in the right mind (not saying that Camryn or Andrew is necessarily in their right mind) would go on a sporadic road-trip with a complete stranger? If you suspend disbelief, which you're going to need to do in order to fully enjoy this story, it's a pretty good book.

I wonder if this book was originally planned as a stand-alone book (the author has announced a sequel, The Edge of Always, on both her blog and Goodreads). If it was originally meant to be a stand-alone, I'm more willing to accept the rushed ending. If not, then I don't understand why the author didn't wait and expand more on the events that happened within the last 15% or so of the book in the sequel. I feel like it would have been more fulfilling that way. As it is, the ending was rushed and it felt kind of cheap... bad things happen, but it's okay! The story has to have its happy ending. Ugh.

Overall, I'm not like everyone else. I can't justify rave reviews for The Edge of Never, even though I really did like it. I promise I did. Would I recommend it? Yes. Will I read the sequel? Certainly.


4 out of 5 stars

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Book Review: Forbidden

Title Forbidden

Author Tabitha Suzuma

Release Date May 27, 2010

Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As defacto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives--and the way they understand each other so completely--has also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a love this devastating has no happy ending.

Let's go ahead and get it out of the way now. Some people might be inclined to say that Forbidden is a story about incest. I say they're wrong. Forbidden is a story about love. It just so happens that the love is between a brother and a sister. Yes, that is incest. I realize this. To say that Forbidden is only a story about incest, though, wouldn't be doing it justice. Now that we've got that out of the way...

I don't have words to do this book justice. I just don't. There's nothing I can say to make anyone understand how amazing I think this book is. Forbidden blew my mind. I went in with high expectations (after reading such good reviews) and I wasn't disappointed. The writing was superb. The storyline was unbelievable. I fell in love with the characters (well, except for Lochan's and Maya's mother, I hated her).

The most important part of the entire book for me was the fact that you're always aware of the sibling relationship between Lochan and Maya. What's bigger and more important than that, though, is their love. Even though Lochan and Maya are brother and sister, never once did I feel disgusted or repulsed by their love. It's so incredibly hard to explain and I think that's what makes it such an amazing book. Forbidden expertly blurs the lines between what society has deemed right and wrong between a brother and a sister. And it isn't about sex. It's about love, pure love.

This book broke my heart. Absolutely and utterly broke my heart. The ending, oh my gosh. I have no words at all for the ending of Forbidden.

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely, without a single doubt. The only thing I could possibly say, though, is if you decide to read it, please keep an open mind. If you read this book with an open mind, I am sure you will love it just as much as I did.

Side note: A few people on Goodreads have recommended songs to listen with Forbidden. A review that I read recommended Together by Pet Shop Boys. I would agree that this is the song for Lochan and Maya. (Unfortunately, I seem to have lost the review that makes this suggestion, so I am unable to give credit for it. Sorry!)


5 out of 5 stars

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Book Review: If I Lie

Title If I Lie

Author Corrine Jackson

Release Date August 28, 2012

A powerful debut novel about the gray space between truth and perception.

Quinn’s done the unthinkable: she kissed a guy who is not Carey, her boyfriend. And she got caught. Being branded a cheater would be bad enough, but Quinn is deemed a traitor, and shunned by all of her friends. Because Carey’s not just any guy—he’s serving in Afghanistan and revered by everyone in their small, military town.

Quinn could clear her name, but that would mean revealing secrets that she’s vowed to keep—secrets that aren’t hers to share. And when Carey goes MIA, Quinn must decide how far she’ll go to protect her boyfriend…and her promise.

This book was just short of amazing.

The writing was wonderful. The characters were real and had depth. The storyline was strong.

It wasn't perfect, though. While it was a quick read, there were a few parts that seemed to drone on a bit. Sometimes, in my opinion, the author got a bit long-winded with unnecessary detail. There were also a few times were I was irritated with Sophie (Quinn, Q). While I completely understand her reasoning for keeping Carey's secret, I thought the whole martyr act was just a bit too much. She could have opened up to someone, especially George.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. The imperfections aren't big enough to take away from the book's powerfulness. I would read another of Corrine Jackson's books. She's a talented author.


4.5 out of 5 stars