Review: Slammed by Colleen Hoover


Publishers: Simon and Schuster UK
Published Date: January 5th 2012

From: Bought

My rating: 5 out of 5
Synopsis:
Following the unexpected death of her father, 18-year-old Layken is forced to be the rock for both her mother and younger brother. Outwardly, she appears resilient and tenacious, but inwardly, she's losing hope. Enter Will Cooper: The attractive, 21-year-old new neighbor with an intriguing passion for slam poetry and a unique sense of humor. Within days of their introduction, Will and Layken form an intense emotional connection, leaving Layken with a renewed sense of hope. Not long after an intense, heart-stopping first date, they are slammed to the core when a shocking revelation forces their new relationship to a sudden halt. Daily interactions become impossibly painful as they struggle to find a balance between the feelings that pull them together, and the secret that keeps them apart

Review:
The First 20%
The first time I read this book I was so invested in it the first 20% became 50% before I knew it. Similar with the second time of reading. The story binds you in immediately and once you're in there's no going back!

The Main Characters

Layken moves from Texas to Michigan because of her father's death and mother's need for a job. Layken comes across as a young character that has seen too much of life already. She's experienced the death of her father, had to look after her brother but after six months she's still dealing with his loss. When Will comes along to meet her on her first day they instantly connect. I wouldn't say it was insta-love but they both share something.

When their friendship breaks down she does show off her naivety, we see that even though she's 18 years old her actions are of a hurt, peed off teenager. However, after a few more downers she springs back up and takes everything life throws at her like a trooper. She's resigned to accept that the one thing she wants in life, she can never have.

Will is a sound, solid, mature 21 year old. He's had to grow up unbelievably fast after the death of his parents, especially caring from his 9 year old brother. But everything comes to a standstill when he sees Layken drive up in the hired U-Haul. However, life doesn't play fair and both Will and Layken have huge hurdles to overcome. They work against each other initially but towards the end, when they are lowest of the low, they come together again and help everyone else around them.

The Story
The story was great. What I LOVED was the slam poetry. These moments in the book were very special, such moving words and feelings that youngsters shouldn't have to experience at their age, but each one does. The trials and hardships that Layken and Will face are huge but the person I really loved the most in this story was Eddie. Everyone should have an Eddie as a friend!!

The End?
Sad but resolute. Quietly happy.

Overall
I read this book about 3 months ago but didn't review it. The first time I felt like my heart was being torn out with a fork, and I bawled my eyes out. This time, even though I knew what would happen, a huge amount of sadness hit me but I was strangely calmly happy with the outcome.

-CBx

You can reach Colleen Hoover here:
 Facebook: Page
Goodreads






Review: The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter


The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter

Publishers: Harlequin Teen
Published Date: February 26th 2013
From: NetGalley
My rating:
3 out of 5
Synopsis:

Love or life.
Henry or their child.
The end of her family or the end of the world.
Kate must choose.


During nine months of captivity, Kate Winters has survived a jealous goddess, a vengeful Titan and a pregnancy she never asked for. Now the Queen of the Gods wants her unborn child, and Kate can't stop her--until Cronus offers a deal.

In exchange for her loyalty and devotion, the King of the Titans will spare humanity and let Kate keep her child. Yet even if Kate agrees, he'll destroy Henry, her mother and the rest of the council. And if she refuses, Cronus will tear the world apart until every last god and mortal is dead.

With the fate of everyone she loves resting on her shoulders, Kate must do the impossible: find a way to defeat the most powerful being in existence, even if it costs her everything.

Even if it costs her eternity


Review:
I championed and loved the Goddess Series, and devoured all the in-between books also.

This book completes the series with a full on battle right at the end. Some of our favourite characters make it through, some do not.

I was a little disappointed with this book. I thought the storyline wasn't as strong as previous books. Henry just seemed to arrive on a cloud and attempt to rescue Kate as if it was just another day. He had 9 months to do it, why wait until that moment?

Kate and Henry have settled into marriage like any married couple, was I the only one who was expecting a few more fireworks into the blend? They just became ...average. Nothing sparkled, nothing jumped in me when they came into the story together.

Cronos is obviously the main enemy. Kate has an affiliation with him still, he in turn spent time looking after Kate's child, Milo, however I think because of this he wasn't as fearsome an enemy as he'd appeared to be in previous books. Again, we have Hera/Calliope as Queen Bitch. She's throwing all the daggers in Kate's direction again. All of the main characters change roles. We don't know who is on who's side.

Ultimately, this is a good book to finish the series. I wasn't overwhelmed with this one. The strength of the story seemed to fall short a little. But I'm glad it finished how it did.

-CBx
You can reach Aimee Carter here:
 Facebook: Page
Goddess Interrupted ReviewGoddess Test Review
Available from Amazon:

    

Review: Dark Kiss by Michelle Rowen

Dark Kiss by Michelle Rowen

Publishers: Harlequin Teen
Published Date: May 22nd 2012
From: NetGalley
My rating:
2.5 out of 5
Synopsis:

I don't do dangerous.  

Smart, ├╝ber-careful, ordinary Samantha-that's me. But I just couldn't pass up a surprise kiss from my number-one unattainable crush. A kiss that did something to me...something strange. Now I feel hungry all the time, but not for food. It's like part of me is missing-and I don't know if I can get it back.

Then there's Bishop. At first I thought he was just a street kid, but the secrets he's keeping are as intense as his unearthly blue eyes. If he's what I think he is, he may be the only one who can help me. But something terrifying is closing in, and the one chance Bishop and I have to stop it means losing everything I ever wanted and embracing the darkness inside me....



Review:
The First 20%
The first 30% were somewhat interesting - minus Sam constantly drooling over Bishop. We learn most of the story in this section.

The Main Characters

Samantha and Carly have been best friends since Kindergarten. A fact that is told to us no less than 3 times. I got it the first time! Once Sam meets Bishop they have this instant 'got to touch/want to touch/shouldn't touch' thing going on. It got a little sickening after a while that she couldn't think straight or coherently in his presence. For someone who claims later in the book to not really want a romance she certainly acts against her character. I thought her 'quirky' comments were a little forced sometimes and didn't get the impression of a 'natural' person underneath. When the Source suddenly declares that she is in fact Sam's Aunt I was surprised (when I shouldn't have been) that out of the blue Sam has all these fears and doubts about Bishop's quest, and decides to believe this 'so called' Aunt. There is a small back up story about her parents but it all seemed a little vague and flaky.

Bishop is supposed to be the swoony-worthy romantic interest. Honestly he just came over as a little annoying. His dialogue with Kraven was a little weak. Nothing original in their brotherly hatred of each other. One line near the end opens up the reason why they dislike one another but again it was vague. Bishop suffers through most of the book with the 'crazy's' thanks to an angel on the opening end that made him 'Fallen' and gave him a soul.
And I swear the amount of  'shadows' that pass before or behind his eyes - he should be wearing sunshades permanently.

The Story
If I'm honest I think the story could have been crammed into three chapters max. The story hinges on Samantha and her quest to get her soul back. Bishop searches for the Source. But the Source was a little lame. One woman who was always in the same place, easy to be found, if Bishop had looked more closely. And the Source is also Samantha's Aunt.
I got bored of the same conversations that went round and around the characters in big circles. I also got tired of Sam narrating the same things again and again, and then again in later chapters. Editing maybe?
If you check my 'Angel' category, you'll see that I've read quite a few of the leading Angel books. This didn't really come close.


The End?
The ending is satisfactorily plot-finishing. However it does lead into a neat storyline for the next book.

Overall
I downloaded this book about a year ago on NetGalley but didn't get round to reading it. When the next book Wicked Kiss was available I figured I'd better read the first one. I was a little disappointed with the storyline, I thought it weak in places. Too much emphasis on the 'chemistry' between the two main characters which dragged on. I wanted to like this one but it just didn't gel with me. I hate writing bad reviews, it makes me feel guilty, but I must be honest...

Despite all the negative I will be reading the next book for story continuation...

-CBx
 


You can reach Michelle Rowen here:
Web   Twitter  Facebook  Goodreads

Latest Blogs from our Favourite YA Authors - 28th December 2012






Here's a weekly round up of blogs from our favourite YA authors:
x


Is there an author you'd like to see updates from?
Just let us know and we'll add them to our list!
-CB xx

Review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Publishers: Razorbill
Published Date:  January 11th 2011
From: Bought
My rating:
5 out of 5
Synopsis:
A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming


Review:
The First 20%
I've had this book in my TBR pile for so long! I found the story quite difficult to understand from the first few pages. Not the going onto the spaceship and being frozen but the backstory. The Why. Told from two point of views-Amy and Elder-we get to know about Godspeed, it's purpose, and the lies that Elder is being told. He figures out a vital clue right near the beginning just in time to set his-and our-minds working through the truth and lies. The biggest question is who unfroze Amy, and why?

The Main Characters

Amy is quite a young character, a little naive. Born on Earth she comes from a life that we all know. Boyfriend, best friend, school etc. But Godspeed is so far away from anything she's known and right from the start she's confused. Her friendship with Elder isn't an easy one. Her friendship with Harley is better, and its through Harley that we grasp the finer points of life on Godspeed. Once Amy understands the environment and why the workers are they way they are, because of the drugs, she begins to take a stance. But the thing that drives Amy is that soon, one day, she'll be able to unfreeze her parents. She misses them so much, which is one thing that Elder can't understand.


Elder. Well, the whole concept of Elder/Eldest was completely creepy. But in no part of the story did I feel like I couldn't relate to Elder. I felt so sorry for him. He had a good childhood, of sorts, but where we arrive in the story is vital to him. He isn't supposed to question anything, but he finds himself questioning everything. And when he finds Amy all reason falls away. For someone so young, he was a great inspirational character. Only he's still the youngest person on the ship.

Harley really appealed to me. He's happy but then shows a really sad side. He'd amazed at the smallest things. I wondered what Harley would be like without the drugs but he really kept Amy together when she was falling apart. 

The Story
So, most of the occupants of Godspeed are given drugs to keep them compliant. I figured this out before it came up. The constant drug taking was something that didn't sit well, and in the end this factors into the downfall of Godspeed. Eldest has been leading the people for so long, but he hasn't been telling anyone the truth. He constantly lies to everyone, keeps them in order, allows a Season to interfere with his final plan, and constantly tries to bring Elder to heal. He's the ultimate dictator. Amy and Elder, with the help of Harley discover so many secrets that soon they're both on Eldest's list of people he wants to pop off. The creativity behind the story is awe-inspiring. It isn't so much the story itself but the processes that the author has put in place to help us understand life on a busted spaceship. The self-sufficiency, the history of the Plague, the creepy Elder/Eldest thing and the creation of the drugs. All these tiny threads weave a great story together.

The End?
Obviously there's another book after so it can't possibly be the end! However we do resolve a lot of issues in the final few pages.

Overall
I'm a sci-fi fan so this book initially appealed to me. I would say its for a younger Young Adult audience than Mature Teen. But, overall I would definitely recommend it!

-CBx
 

You can reach Beth Revis here:
Web   Twitter  Facebook  Goodreads

Review: The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay












The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

Publishers: Atria Books
Published Date: November 13th 2012
From: NET GALLEY
My rating:
4 out of 5
Synopsis:
I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk.

Former piano prodigy Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone learning about her past and to make the boy who took everything from her—her identity, her spirit, her will to live—pay.

Josh Bennett’s story is no secret: every person he loves has been taken from his life until, at seventeen years old, there is no one left. Now all he wants is be left alone and people allow it because when your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space.

Everyone except Nastya, the mysterious new girl at school who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. But the more he gets to know her, the more of an enigma she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he will ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding—or if he even wants to.

The Sea of Tranquility is a rich, intense, and brilliantly imagined story about a lonely boy, an emotionally fragile girl, and the miracle of second chances.


Review:
The First 20%
From the initial first few pages you get the gist that Nastya's hiding a huge secret. I found it a little difficult to relate to the characters or even find some semblance to piece them together. It actually took me until the teacher announced it in class to realise that Nastya doesn't talk. The narrative is very clever and is told from two point of views, Nastya and Josh's, and at first Josh came over as being a random character with only a few references to the girl who dresses like a russian whore. The incident with the shoe in the pavement was when the threads started coming together.

The Main Characters

Nastya isn't a likeable character in the beginning because she doesn't like herself. She's a complete loner, only wears black, slutty clothes at school and hides away when she's at home. She bakes cakes and biscuits alot and runs around her neighbourhood at nighttime. Gradually we're given sneak-peeks of who she is as a person and you start to grasp that her secret, the reason she puts up such a barrier against the world, is going to be awful. Her relationship with Josh comes along so randomly when she turns up at his house one night. She doesn't talk so can't answer any of his questions. As her barriers fall thanks to good friend Drew I wanted to constantly give her a big hug. In the end, after her self-destructive mechanism she is an absolute heroine in the truest sense.


Josh is someone that we all knew at school. In my head he was such a big, assuming, but quiet character. He didn't take any crap off anyone, he didn't mix well with others for the sake of it either. He was like a thirty-something in a teenagers body. His past constantly drives him and he's so afraid underneath his armour.

Drew, again, is someone we all know. A typical man-whore. Parties, drinks, then sleeps with any girl. Except when you get to know him you realise that its all just a lie. And there's a reason why he keeps his persona so open and out there. There's nothing like being spurned by love. Drew warms to Nastya, even though she gives him no reason to. He tries his moves and fails. But then he's so invested in trying to crack her that he and Josh form a united front and agree to help her.

The Story
The narratives keep the story flowing well. As Nastya becomes bolder around Josh and Drew her ability to keep up her pretence fades and she does become a nicer person. We're drip fed little morsels of Nastya's tragedy. Josh confesses much of his history all at once. But in hindsight it does open the book up once you know why one of them is so screwed up. Josh and Nastya try so hard to not have any physical relationship and when they succumb it ends up ten times worse between them. In fact it backfires completely. But most of the book you just feel so sorry for them and the shitty life hand they've been dealt.

The End?
Of course it has to get worse before it gets better, and it gets a lot worse for Nastya when she finally faces the murderer. I think the story reached its pinnacle but what I loved was Josh and Drew at this point. Their unreserved feelings for Nastya were so heart-warming. And in the final conclusion it ends where it should. A happy place.

Overall
To begin with I thought I wouldn't get on with it. This book is not a happy one. There aren't too many laughs or funny moments. And the premise is actually very dark right from the first page. Two screwed up teenagers who try to get along with life, and no hope of seeing a way out of the dark. The relationships flowed naturally, nothing forced. The family element was pretty special. But they coped so well in the end. It made me glad that they were glad!! Yes, this is a very good story, stick with it!

-CBx
 

You can reach Katja Millay here:
 Twitter  Facebook  Goodreads

That Long?

My last post on here was in October. I'm so ashamed I let it go so long. My mother had a stroke in June and since then my priority has been her. I'm an only child and my father passed away a couple of years ago. I've still be reading, I've got through SOOO many books, but blogging hasn't been possible and I really missed it.
My mum is doing tons better, she has regular carers and I've moved back with my husband. Hopefully mum will make a good recovery, all the doctors say so.
So, Everyone I'm back now! Merry Christmas and here's to a great 2013!
Missed you, Charlotte Black xxx

Review: If I Lie by Corrine Jackson

If I Lie by Corrine Jackson

Publishers: Simon Pulse
Published Date: August 28th 2012
From: Publisher
My rating:
4 out of 5
Synopsis:
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.


Review:
If I lie captures your attention from the start. The first thing you realise is that Quinn is one of the strongest females in the world, and I don't mean of the muscular kind. How she had the courage to get out of bed every morning was startling.

The book takes you through how difficult her life has become after a picture of her was posted onto Facebook, shirtless, kissing a guy who was not her boyfriend. Her boyfriend being the town hero and now currently MIA on his tour of Afghanistan.

In Quinn's case a picture tells a thousand stories, but none of them are the correct one. Carey committed Quinn to a secret days before he left to go on tour and now Quinn is stuck with the backlash.

Jackson got nearly everything right in this book. The school friends all turn on Quinn like a pack. She gets bullied. Her own father is blinkered by the betrayal. Her only saving grace is George, an elderly war veteran.

What I was disappointed with was the portrayal of Blake. Considering he grew up with Carey and Quinn and was effectively the third wheel his character seemed too awkward around Quinn. I would have thought he would have done more to defend her but he stayed away at her asking and didn't question it. I think lots of people would agree that if a friend was suffering such horrible abuse day in day out you would intervene more hastily than he did. Just saying. I know he did his bit but I didn't think it was enough.

Anyway, as the story carries on we get more back story and the eventual reveal (which I guessed way before!). The wrap up clears everything over but leaves us hanging a little at the end. I would have wanted just a little more romance than was promised.

However, all in all this is a very powerful book, a great example of how rumours and gossip and PICTURES can ruin peoples lives if you assume you know the story - never assume you know everything...

-CBx

You can reach Corrine Jackson here:
Web   Twitter  Goodreads


Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass












The Selection by Kiera Cass

Publishers: HarperTeen
Published Date: April 24th 2012
From: NET GALLEY
My rating:
4 out of 5
Synopsis:
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself--and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.


Review:
 A dystopian world where a Prince seeking a Princess chooses a girl from the ordinary people. But America Singer already has a love but has no choice in entering The Selection. The results may or may not be her downfall. Only time and an unexpected friendship can decide.

The storyline for The Selection is nothing new. Quiz shows around the world have at some time featured girls or boys being chosen for dates. It just so happens that this book chooses a Prince for that same task.

The dystopian aspect provides a very different backdrop for America’s expected invitation to join 35 girls of similar age and varied backgrounds on a quest to become Maxon’s bride.

Of course nothing goes to plan. Maxon intervenes when the guards at the palace refuse America access to the gardens. And America gets her first introduction to the Prince before anyone else does.

The storyline whips us through the process for the selection as more and more girls drop out for one reason or another.

Maxon is very charming as the much publicised Prince. His relationship with America is easy, unforced and appears to be perfect for both of them. But America still has feelings for her past love, and when Aspen finds himself working in the palace her mind starts a reverie of complicated thoughts. Does she like Maxon even though she’s told him that she’s unavailable? Can Aspen steal her heart again so easily?

The Selection is an unexpected love story with a cliff-hanger so huge it was hard not to be frustrated at the ending.

-CBx
 

You can reach Kiera Cass  here:
Web   Twitter  Goodreads

Review: Speechless by Hannah Harrington











Speechless by Hannah Harrington

Publishers: Harlequin Teen
Published Date: August 28th 2012
From: NET GALLEY
My rating:
4 out of 5
Synopsis:
Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can't keep a secret.

Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast--and nearly got someone killed.

Now Chelsea's has taken a vow of silence--to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting everyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets if hard, not speaking up when she's ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.

But there's strength in silence, and in new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way. People she never noticed before. A boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she's done. If only she can forgive herself.


Review:
The First 20%
Such a good hook straight into the story. Chelsea is part of the in-crowd and gets noticed. Mainly thanks to her best friend, Kristen, who is the IT girl at school. Chelsea knows the others in the crowd only notice her because of her motor mouth, usually divulging some sort of secret or embarrassing gossip about someone else. But she sees something at a New Years Eve party and, being drunk and without her usual sense of decorum, she announces it to the entire room. She has no regard or care about what she says, and no feelings of who she is about to hurt.

The Main Characters

Chelsea showed her first redeeming quality quite soon into the book. Its not often that you read that. Instantly I knew that Chelsea wasn't really as heartless as she appeared. She told her parents EVERYTHING (I cringe because I don't know how she did it but she did) she takes a vow of silence, after reading about a Buddhist monk. For Chelsea this is her way to atone while self punishing herself at the same time. She sees her flaws instantly, she knows what she is and knows that she's hurt people. But how much she's yet to find out. She takes the harsh cruelty of her so called friends, and brushes off the vandalism to her locker and car. She also tries not to let anyone else get involved knowing that this is her fault. Chelsea changes her point of view gradually throughout the book. Its tough for her but necessary.

Asha is the Indian friend who Chelsea meets in detention. They don't instantly hit it off, but Asha also doesn't point the finger. She's a fun character and very quirky. Her easy friendship with Sam and everyone at Rosie's makes her such a likeable person.

Sam is the gallant knight. Though Chelsea doesn't understand and is confused by his friendly attitude towards her, especially as Sam is the best friend of Noah, she is almost disarmed by the fact that he doesn't want to start any fights or blame her. Throughout the book his calming demeanour keeps her levelled.

The Story
A high school is not a high school without scandal. Chelsea and her friends relish in it. Bigging themselves up on others peoples misfortunes or indiscretions. Believing themselves to be better than others. But when Chelsea takes a step back and starts to analyse her lifestyle she doesn't like what she sees. It isn't an instant 'I'm going to make everything right', because that just isn't possible. Chelsea's announcement has repercussions that travel along unexpected lines. She needed a wake up call and now she's dealing with it, and its a tough journey. This is a story about self discovery in the worst possible scenario.

The End?
So not all severed lines can be fixed. Not all friendships can go back to the way they were and for Chelsea she doesn't want that life any more. She has a new life with funny genuine people and the chance of a proper boyfriend who is actually quite amazing. A great ending!!

Overall
I enjoyed this book thoroughly. I knew people like Chelsea so I was genuinely interested in what would happen to her. There are no 'stop the story - I'm going to make a speech to everyone' moments. There isn't a great anti-climax where everyone realises how great she really is and they all 'group hug'. But Chelsea's journey is tough and there's some great life lessons to be learned from her indiscretion. The book held my interest all the way to the last page and I was left feeling happy! 


-CBx
 


You can reach Hannah Harrington here:
Web   Twitter  Facebook  Goodreads

Review: Confessions of an Angry Girl by Louise Rozett










Confessions of an Angry Girl by Louise Rozett

Publishers: Harlequin Teen
Published Date: August 28th 2012
From: NET GALLEY
My rating:
4 out of 5
Synopsis:
Rose Zarelli, self-proclaimed word geek and angry girl, has some confessions to make…1. I'm livid all the time. Why? My dad died. My mom barely talks. My brother abandoned us. I think I'm allowed to be irate, don't you?

2. I make people furious regularly. Want an example? I kissed Jamie Forta, a badass guy who might be dating a cheerleader. She is now enraged and out for blood. Mine.

3. High school might as well be Mars. My best friend has been replaced by an alien, and I see red all the time. (Mars is red and "seeing red" means being angry—get it?)

Here are some other vocab words that describe my life: Inadequate. Insufferable. Intolerable.

(Don't know what they mean? Look them up yourself.)

(Sorry. That was rude.


Review:
The First 20%
I don't even remember reading the first 20% because the book drew me in so quickly that I was at 45% and still going. This is a great story and completely believable and addictive. Early on you find out who the good guys and bad guys in Rose's life are. So much that you automatically have feelings good or bad for them too.

The Main Characters

Rose Zarelli is the self-confessed Angry Girl. At no point in this book did I have to question why she was so angry with everyone and every situation that occurred. It all made perfect sense to me too and if I was in the same boat I wouldn't have done much differently. Rose has started her freshman year, she's 14 years old and everyone around her is changing whether it be what friends people choose or what clubs and activities they go for, or what stage they're at with their boyfriends. Rose is certainly not pushing any of the boundaries yet. She's going slowly with everything in her life because she's still dealing with the huge amount of grief after her father’s death three months earlier.

Her best friend is undecided about having sex for the first time and decides to join the cheerleader’s squad. Both of which Rose is against. But when Tracy actually joins the cheerleaders they start dragging her into initiations that again Rose doesn't like. Rose sees her friend change into someone else, someone who's mean and selfish. Rose commits a massive faux pax, but a good one. She almost saves a girls life from alcohol poisoning but this act makes Rose into a social pariah. Soon no one in the 'cool' team want to know her and they ridicule her at school.

Early on Rose develops a crush on Jamie. He's a nice guy but a couple of years older. Jamie does try to keep his distance, aware of the age difference, but its clear that he does like Rose. The only thing is his girlfriend cottons on to the crush and soon Regina starts making Rose's life even more unbearable. Oh, and she's a cheerleader also so manipulates Rose's friendship with Tracy.

The Story
This is a high school story with all the heartache and tragedy that comes with it. As Rose gets through each day and each week we get drawn into all the usual antics such as school dances, who's dating whom, who hates who, who likes you as a friend but wants more, and who's having sex. There is enough angst and bitchiness to keep this book going on forever! Rose also has a difficult home life, and as most teenagers do, believes her mother has no time for her and her brother can no longer be bothered with her.

The End?
I enjoyed Rose's running try-out when she almost flattened Regina. But the consequence left a huge cliff-hanger for the next book. I'm so intrigued now as to what’s going to happen next between Jamie and Rose, and Tracy and Rose, and Regina and Rose.

Overall
I usually try and steer clear of school based YA because I've read so many and they all tend to blur into the same story. Bitchy girls, high school dance let-downs, the hot boy being a jerk. But this book did entice me in and once I got started I couldn't let go. I was completely riveted and even hooted a couple of times for Rose.


-CBx
 

You can reach Louise Rozett here:
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Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry









Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Publishers: Harlequin Teen
Published Date:  July 31st 2012
From: NET GALLEY
My rating:
4 out of 5
Synopsis:
No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again


Review:
The First 20%
The first 20 fills you in on most of the back story. We come straight into Echo's family therapy session and instantly realise why she's acting the way she is. Noah is waiting outside for his own therapy session. We catch up on his own tragic story of how he was once one of the good sporty students but fell through the gaps in the foster family system and decided to let the stereotype stick. Early on we get to learn that these two characters have their own scars - on the outside as well as in - and how a crafty clinical therapist puts them together not realising that they will be each others salvation.

The Main Characters

With an overbearing father who doesn't listen to her opinion and a new step mum - or ex babysitter - who talks of nothing but their unborn baby its no wonder Echo feels like second best to everything in her life right now. A restraining order prevents any contact with her mother and her brother has died in Afghanistan. There is not much more alone that Echo can take. She has horrid and ugly scars on her wrists that have sparked enough rumours around school so she's now unable to appear normal and prefers to keep gloves on and long sleeves down to hide them. Her best friend Lila sticks with her for the most part but the two other best girl-friends have a hard time dealing with their own emotions and feel that Echo brings down their popularity at school and therefore they avoid her and don't discourage the gossip. The worst part of Echo's story is that she has a complete blank on the day and night of her 'accident'. And no matter what she does nothing can bring back her beloved brother.

Noah has seen the rough end of the stick. He lived a normal life with loving parents and two younger brothers but a house fire killed his parents and put him and his two brothers in the care system. His experience in foster families is harrowing. His first 'family' forced him to punch his foster-father who scarred Noah. The second had him defending the natural born son from being parentally attacked. Noah is then treated as a liability. But he seems to have found a small amount of solace when he's placed with another foster kid his age, Isaiah, and the niece of his present foster-family, Beth. The trio keep each other together and defend each other like a proper family, even though the parents only keep them for the monthly checks.

Noah and Echo are an unlikely couple. But pushed together by their therapist they begin to help each other unravel the harshness of their plight. Noah understands Echo's need to keep covered while Echo understands Noah's need to recover his brothers and get his family back at whatever cost. They both need something and they only have each other to help in their task. Echo needs to know the truth of the night of her accident, and Noah needs to find out more information on the carers of his brothers, deeming them incapable from an early encounter.

I liked Echo and understood exactly why she was reticent towards her father and step-mum. The new baby means a replacement to her and her brother. Her father can barely talk to her any more. Echo has a great character though and isn't afraid. She's uncomfortable at school but she still goes every day and gets through it. She needed Noah as much as he needed her.

Noah was a stranger character though. Being as he didn't have a bad upbringing and his desperation to see his brothers, I'm surprised that he sank to a lower expectation of himself. He knows he's a hot guy and can bag any girl he wants - and does frequently - but Noah has built a defence around himself, a wall so strong that he doesn't let anyone in. Until he meets Echo, and soon every reputation he has gets tested. Echo is no pushover, and Noah can't resist her.

The Story
The plot is gripping, compelling and emotionally charged. The pieces of Echo's missing night gradually come back but always at a cost. No matter how much Noah bashes against the walls of the system he doesn't get anywhere until Echo. Without even trying he cleans up his act and begins his arduous task of becoming respectable enough to visit his brothers. Noah and Echo hurt each other, bounce off each other with tears and laughter, trust each other but when things go wrong neither of them have anywhere else to turn.

The End?
The only thing that marred this was that Noah asked Echo a question that was completely left of centre which I didn't really feel was in his character. There were also moments when Echo's characteristics and actions were slightly confusing, as if she was going in too many different directions at the same time. The sporadic-ness was a little unsettling. However we did reach a good satisfying ending.

Overall
A great read. I enjoy books where you realise that even though the characters are flawed in so many ways, it’s really only those characters that can help heal or fix the other person.


-CBx
 

You can reach Katie McGarry here:
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