book review: listen to your heart by kasie west

goodreads summary:

Talking to other people isn’t Kate Bailey’s favorite activity. She’d much rather be out on the lake, soaking up the solitude and sunshine. So when her best friend, Alana, convinces Kate to join their high school’s podcast, Kate is not expecting to be chosen as the host. Now she’ll have to answer calls and give advice on the air? Impossible.

But to Kate’s surprise, she turns out to be pretty good at the hosting gig. Then the podcast gets in a call from an anonymous guy, asking for advice about his unnamed crush. Kate is pretty sure that the caller is gorgeous Diego Martinez, and even surer that the girl in question is Alana. Kate is excited for her friend . . . until Kate herself starts to develop feelings for Diego. Suddenly, Kate finds that while doling out wisdom to others may be easy, asking for help is tougher than it looks, and following your own advice is even harder.

Kasie West’s adorable story of secrets, love, and friendship is sure to win over hearts everywhere.

my review:

this book was such a delight to read! i can honestly say that i had a huge smile on my face the entire time i was reading it!

prior to reading this book, my reading experience with kasie west’s books had been 50/50. although i own all of her books in some capacity, i had only read two of her books so far, and while i remember loving the first book that i read by her (the fill-in boyfriend), i was not at all a fan of the second book that i read by her (love, life, and the list). so i was a bit hesitant to dive into anything else by her (in all honestly i reallyreally did not like the second book i read by her at all) but seeing as how i did enjoy one of her books, i still wanted to give her another chance, so i decided to download listen to your heart, and i’m so glad i did because i ended up finishing this book within a few hours because i was unable to put it down! this was the perfect lighthearted, fun, summery read, and i really cannot think of anything that i didn’t enjoy about this book.

i loved the main character, kate, and her love for the lake and wanting to be in the water whenever possible. i may not be a fan of summer (autumn girl all the way!) but one aspect of summer i have always enjoyed is swimming (i am a pisces after all!) i loved her big unconventional family, and the chapter with her cousins night put an even bigger smile on my face because it sounded like so much fun! i loved her friendship with alana, and the way in which the love triangle (of sorts?) was handled between them. speaking of love. the romance between kate and her crush was super cute the way in which it developed throughout the book, and was yet another reason i couldn’t stop smiling as i read.

my favorite part of this book was probably the podcasting class though. it just sounded like so much fun! honestly, i wish i would have had cool classes like podcasting back when i was in school (even though i don’t think podcasts even existed back when i was in high school. but still. wow do i feel old) because i’m pretty sure i would have enjoyed high school at least a little bit more than i did it classes like that had been offered! the entire aspect of the podcasting class itself was interesting and unique, and i love how it got kate to step outside of her comfort zone and i really enjoyed the snark between her and her co-host, victoria, as well as everything about their advice podcast in general. i’ve never been one for listening to podcasts, but this book has definitely upped my interest in them!

this book by far exceeded my expectations, and i’m so glad i decided to pick it up on a whim. my faith in kasie west’s books has been restored, as this was exactly what i was looking for when it came to reading her books! i was having a pretty bad day the morning that i started reading this book, but my mood was instantly lifted the moment i started reading. this was definitely one of my favorite books that i have read so far this year, and i highly recommend it to anyone who is in the mood for a fun, lighthearted read this summer! my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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book review: bad romance by heather demetrios

bad romance.jpg

goodreads summary:

Grace wants out. Out of her house, where her stepfather wields fear like a weapon and her mother makes her scrub imaginary dirt off the floors. Out of her California town, too small to contain her big city dreams. Out of her life, and into the role of Parisian artist, New York director—anything but scared and alone.

Enter Gavin: charming, talented, adored. Controlling. Dangerous. When Grace and Gavin fall in love, Grace is sure it’s too good to be true. She has no idea their relationship will become a prison she’s unable to escape.

Deeply affecting and unflinchingly honest, this is a story about spiraling into darkness—and emerging into the light again.

my thoughts:

this was such an incredibly important and moving (not to mention beautifully written) book. i want to shove this book into the hands of every teenager, especially those who are currently in, or have been in, a toxic relationship and feel that they are unworthy of being in a loving, healthy relationship.  this book moved me profoundly, and i found myself tearing up more than once while reading it.

heather demetrios’ writing in this novel was utterly compelling, and i was hooked on the story from the start.  the unique thing about this book is that the story is written like a letter from grace, the novel’s protagonist, to her ex-boyfriend gavin, as she chronicles the details of their destructive love story, as well as other things from her life, from the beginning to the end.  this allows us as the readers to experience it all with her first hand- the difficulties she experienced in her home life, her friendships (FYI her friends were amazing and i want to hug them for being so incredibly supportive of grace no matter what), the way in which she met and fell for gavin, and how that relationship ultimately came to its end.  being able to experience these things through grace’s eyes made her story that much more real and relatable.

grace was such a strong character despite her circumstances, and i was fighting alongside her for every step of the way.  her story is a sad one, as her family life is less than idyllic, and so it is easy to see how she would end up falling for a guy like gavin.  hell, even if she didn’t have the life that she did, it would be easy to be charmed by a guy like gavin (fedora wearing and all). i myself have been charmed by tortured bad boys in need of saving, and understand just how intoxicating it can be to be caught up in such a vicious cycle.  i found myself just as swept away by gavin as grace was, and my heart broke alongside hers when his true nature was revealed and everything began falling apart.

this is an incredibly eye opening and moving book that will break your heart and resonate with you long after you turn the last page. i can honestly say that this was one of my favorite reads of 2017, and grace’s story is one that i won’t be forgetting anytime soon.

HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

book review: a million junes by emily henry

a million junes

goodreads summary:

Romeo and Juliet meets One Hundred Years of Solitude in Emily Henry’s brilliant follow-up to The Love That Split the World, about the daughter and son of two long-feuding families who fall in love while trying to uncover the truth about the strange magic and harrowing curse that has plagued their bloodlines for generations.

In their hometown of Five Fingers, Michigan, the O’Donnells and the Angerts have mythic legacies. But for all the tall tales they weave, both founding families are tight-lipped about what caused the century-old rift between them, except to say it began with a cherry tree.

Eighteen-year-old Jack “June” O’Donnell doesn’t need a better reason than that. She’s an O’Donnell to her core, just like her late father was, and O’Donnells stay away from Angerts. Period.

But when Saul Angert, the son of June’s father’s mortal enemy, returns to town after three mysterious years away, June can’t seem to avoid him. Soon the unthinkable happens: She finds she doesn’t exactly hate the gruff, sarcastic boy she was born to loathe.

Saul’s arrival sparks a chain reaction, and as the magic, ghosts, and coywolves of Five Fingers conspire to reveal the truth about the dark moment that started the feud, June must question everything she knows about her family and the father she adored. And she must decide whether it’s finally time for her—and all of the O’Donnells before her—to let go.

my thoughts:

this book was absolutely fantastic & is, without a doubt, one of my favorite reads of 2017.  i fell in love with the cover the moment i laid eyes on it, & upon reading the synopsis, i just knew this book was going to be something special.  i have to admit, i wasn’t i huge fan of the author’s first book, but this book took my breath away. this book is so very special that i am having a hard time writing this review, as i’m finding it difficult to convey just how very special & meaningful it is. this story held me captivated from the beginning to end, & with each turn of a page, i was completely swept away by the pure magic of it all.

something that i really love about this book is how refreshingly unique it is. seriously, this book is unlike anything i have ever read before.  it’s a fantasy mixed with contemporary (is that a thing?) & the way in which magical realism was woven throughout the story was truly spectacular. i am a big fan of magical realism, & it was done flawlessly in this book.

emily henry’s writing was spellbindingly beautiful & haunting, & i eagerly breathed in each & every word on each & every page. there were so many passages that i found myself rereading several times, just because they resonated with me so much.

this novel explored so many important topics, such as grief, family, friendship, & love, & it was done in such a vivid & unique way.

the angle in which the author tackled the subject of grief was one of my favorite things about this book.  it was just so very real, & the magical elements interwoven with the storyline only helped to bolster just how powerful & consuming grief can be.

there is so much more i want to say about this book (& i will probably add more at some point) but i really feel that it’s best to just go into this story not knowing too much, & allow yourself to be swept away just as i was.

my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

 

book review: you were here by cori mccarthy

youwerehere

goodreads summary:

Grief turned Jaycee into a daredevil, but can she dare to deal with her past?

On the anniversary of her daredevil brother’s death, Jaycee attempts to break into Jake’s favorite hideout—the petrifying ruins of an insane asylum. Joined by four classmates, each with their own brand of dysfunction, Jaycee discovers a map detailing her brother’s exploration and the unfinished dares he left behind.

As a tribute to Jake, Jaycee vows to complete the dares, no matter how terrifying or dangerous. What she doesn’t bargain on is her eccentric band of friends who challenge her to do the unthinkable: reveal the parts of herself that she buried with her brother.

my thoughts:

you were here was not only my favorite contemporary read of 2016, but it immediately became one of my favorite books ever, period.  it is hard for me to even put into words how much this book means to mean & why.  this was such an emotional and personal read for me, and even just looking at the cover now invokes so much emotion in me.

to put it mildly, this book changed me.  

immediately after reading this book, i reached out to the author & she told me that writing this book was a very cathartic experience for her, & that’s exactly what my reading experience with it was. i have known grief since i was a young girl, & sometimes i am still so consumed by it, to the point where i feel suffocated by it. that’s why books like this, that capture that all encompassing essence of grief so well, speak to me so very loudly.  these type of books bring me so much relief, & i feel like i can breathe again after reading them.

grief is such a strange & unique thing, & this book does an excellent job of showing its many facets, & how all of us an individuals deal with our traumas & losses.  there is no right or wrong way to grieve, just as there is no timeline for how long it is acceptable to grieve for.

this book has multiple characters, all of whom were deeply affected in one way or another by the loss of a daredevil teenager named jake. while it would seem that jaycee, his younger sister, is most traumatized by his death, we learn that the other characters within the story also have deeply rooted emotional scars in relation to his untimely death.  each of these characters had so much depth to them, and to see them all so broken over the loss of one boy really gives such a glimpse into just how much a single loss can change us all in so many different ways.

perhaps one of the best things about this book is the unique & original way in which some of the character’s povs were narrated.  it combines typical storytelling with graphic novel style and art (one of the characters, bishop, is constantly tagging, and his pov is shown through pictures of what he has tagged throughout the story). i have never seen a book written this way, and it was amazing. upon reading the story you will see why it was written this way, and why it makes so much sense. this unique form of storytelling alone is worth picking the book up for.

this is a coming of age story that will shatter you into pieces & stitch you back up little by little just when you’re least expecting it to.  honestly this book is so underrated, & i hope that more people will unearth this hidden gem & find solace in it just as i did.

“that’s what regret does well and grief does better: rips out your energy and leaves you feeling each and every heartbeat.”

my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

book review: the princess saves herself in this one by amanda lovelace

princess 2

goodreads synopsis:

“Ah, life- the thing that happens to us while we’re off somewhere else blowing on dandelions & wishing ourselves into the pages of our favorite fairy tales.”

A poetry collection divided into four different parts: the princess, the damsel, the queen, & you. the princess, the damsel, & the queen piece together the life of the author in three stages, while you serves as a note to the reader & all of humankind. Explores life & all of its love, loss, grief, healing, empowerment, & inspirations.

my thoughts:

the princess saves herself in this one…& reminds us all that we can, too.

this poetry collection is as haunting as it is empowering, & i commend Amanda for having the courage to pour all of her heart & soul into her pen & letting it bleed onto the pages of this book for all of the world to see. it couldn’t have been easy for her to open herself up in such a raw way & entrust her story to us, but in doing so, she reminded all of the princesses of the world that no matter how hard life can be, and no matter how many dragons may stand in our path along the way, we are capable of slaying those dragons and finding the happy endings that we all deserve.

my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️