Photo Review – F*ck Love by Tarryn Fisher

F*ck Love

By Tarryn Fisher

Summary: Helena Conway has fallen in love.

Unwillingly. Unwittingly.

But not unprovoked.

Kit Isley is everything she’s not—unstructured, untethered,

and not even a little bit careful.

It could all be so beautiful … if he wasn’t dating her best friend.

Helena must defy her heart, do the right thing, and think of others.

Until she doesn’t.

Source: I purchased a kindle copy.

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I am always torn about Tarryn’s books. I feel so much, but part of me hates how much angst there is with little pay off. I mean, does anything ever work out? But I’m drawn to her books all the same. This was good, weird, and full of emotion. I kind of hate the whole plot where guys have this girl who is just baggage but never seem to end it type of borderline cheating storylines, though, which is why this gets 3 stars. Man up, communicate! But, there’s something realistic about it so I can’t totally hate on the way her characters act.


Photo Review – Flat Out Love by Jessica Park

Flat Out Love

By Jessica Park

Summary: Flat-Out Love is a warm and witty novel of family love and dysfunction, deep heartache and raw vulnerability, with a bit of mystery and one whopping, knock-you-to-your-knees romance.

It’s not what you know – or when you see – that matters. It’s about a journey.

Something is seriously off in the Watkins home. And Julie Seagle, college freshman, small-town Ohio transplant, and the newest resident of this Boston house, is determined to get to the bottom of it. When Julie’s off-campus housing falls through, her mother’s old college roommate, Erin Watkins, invites her to move in. The parents, Erin and Roger, are welcoming, but emotionally distant and academically driven to eccentric extremes. The middle child, Matt, is an MIT tech geek with a sweet side … and the social skills of a spool of USB cable. The youngest, Celeste, is a frighteningly bright but freakishly fastidious 13-year-old who hauls around a life-sized cardboard cutout of her oldest brother almost everywhere she goes.

And there’s that oldest brother, Finn: funny, gorgeous, smart, sensitive, almost emotionally available. Geographically? Definitely unavailable. That’s because Finn is traveling the world and surfacing only for random Facebook chats, e-mails, and status updates. Before long, through late-night exchanges of disembodied text, he begins to stir something tender and silly and maybe even a little bit sexy in Julie’s suddenly lonesome soul.

To Julie, the emotionally scrambled members of the Watkins family add up to something that … well … doesn’t quite add up. Not until she forces a buried secret to the surface, eliciting a dramatic confrontation that threatens to tear the fragile Watkins family apart, does she get her answer.

Flat-Out Love comes complete with emails, Facebook status updates, and instant messages.

Source: I purchased a kindle copy

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Cute contemporary with a great message and fun romance. It was incredibly predictable, but a good pick if you want light and quick.

Review – Never Tear Us Apart by Monica Murphy


Never Tear Us Apart

By Monica Murphy

SummaryPerfect for readers of Colleen Hoover, Jay Crownover, and K. A. Tucker, the first novel in this darkly sexy contemporary series from bestselling author Monica Murphy kicks off an emotionally powerful two-part tale of forbidden love.

 A long time ago, when I was fifteen and a completely different person, I saved a girl’s life. I spent only a handful of hours with her, but somehow, we connected—and I’ve never been the same. No one understands what we went through. No one knows what it’s like to be us. We survived, yet I don’t feel like I’m really living—until now. Eight years later, I find her. I want to make her mine. I need to make her mine.  But she’ll hate me forever when she finds out who I really am.

Source: I won a lot of books from a giveaway and this was one of them.

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Never Tear Us Apart seemed like a contemporary romance steeped in just enough suspense and darkness to be right up my alley. I love Colleen Hoover and K.A. Tucker, so the synopsis really drew me in.

The book had a great premise that I wanted to see unfold, but it just didn’t capture me the way I’d hoped. The reader already knew Ethan’s identity, but the main character did not. It took basically the entire book for Ethan to come clean and I felt frustrated. I wish that either the reader didn’t know and was on the same page as the heroine OR that Ethan just fessed up sooner so there could be more pages about that whole drama and maybe a dramatic rekindling once all was forgiven. 

As the pages kept turning and she was none the wiser, I wondered if we’d ever get the secret out and then it finally happened and then the book ended. (Spoiler alert, sorry not sorry. It’s better if you just know there’s no resolution before going into it.)

The emotional connections, the push and pull, the dark secret neither character was willing to share with a stranger.. all of it just kind of fell flat for me and felt like it was lacking something.

Star 2


Review – All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All the Bright Places

By Jennifer Niven

SummaryThe Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning!
Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.
Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.
When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.
This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

Source: I purchased a kindle copy

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It’s official. Those quirky contemporary books that everyone else seems to gobble up like candy and rave about all over social media? Not for me. And when the hype gets to me and I’m like “oh, maybe the book IS decent, even for a contemporary issue book with quirky characters” I need to remember where I stand. Because All the Bright Places is just not the book for me. I can’t really say I hated it, but I’m frustrated by it. I can’t tell if maybe it’s just a tired trope or not as well written as I’d hoped or I’m just simply too old for the YA issue books with absent adults and inherently wise teenagers. But whatever the problem is, I just have to keep reminding myself to not let the hype get to me.

I don’t want to sound cold or ill informed when I say that I just didn’t think All the Bright Places captured anything real. I’m sure there are people out there who would vehemently disagree. But I will say that the book didn’t have the kind of writing that sucked me in or characters who found their way into my heart and that made any actual realistic aspects of depression, suicide, bipolar disorder, etc just fall flat. I feel like books should call out to not only those who have suffered from the tough topics they talk about, but to those who haven’t, so they may feel that they walked a mile in someone else’s shoes. If I haven’t felt like it was enlightening or realistic or remotely moving, what was the point?

All the Bright Places was like Paper Towns except the main characters were suffering from an array of mental disorders. Violet was dealing with the loss of her sister and having to face life without her. Finch was bipolar, but he was also from an abusive home and neglectful parents. In this story, he was the girl from Paper Towns, leading Violet on grand adventures. If Violet was the type to try to make herself appear smaller and avoid the spotlight, Finch was the loud and proud class clown who runs around in order to stay in the spotlight. Both characters were not dealing with life in a healthy and stable way and neither of their parents seemed to pay attention to anything. 

The book felt contrived, full of issues, lacked real character depth, and left me feeling frustrated. It announced itself as a suicide book from page one and I knew I was waiting for someone to die. I knew who it would be and I’d hoped for some real emotion along the way. I’d hoped both characters would save each other in some way, even if one of them would die. But I never really connected with the story.

Star 2


Review – Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon


Everything Everything

By Nicola Yoon

SummaryMy disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Source: I purchased a paperback

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I avoided Everything Everything after hearing some criticism about the ending and not really being sure if it was a book I’d enjoy in the first place. A few months ago, I read The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon and it was very good, so I decided I’d amend my decision to not read Everything Everything. It fit a category for my POPSUGAR Reading Challenge and was decently priced at the store.

I devoured the book within a matter of hours. To be fair, that is the norm for me and contemporary novels, but it is still normally a sign that I’ve enjoyed the book.

Everything Everything was written in a way that just sort of sucked me in and I couldn’t get enough. The fact that I knew the twist based on reading other reviews when the “hype” around it was happening did not hinder my enjoyment at all. In fact, knowing how it ended made me pay close attention to some of the dynamics in the book and I appreciated the twist more because it still fit with the story and the behaviors of characters in the story. 

I prefer The Sun is Also a Star because it more closely explored the cultural aspects of both Jamaican and Korean cultures and what it means to be those things and be American, but I think Everything Everything delivered a story with diverse characters as well. My only real complaint is that I wish there was more depth in regards to the medical aspect, though I imagine it would’ve been difficult to incorporate that knowing the story. 

Everything Everything wasn’t realistic, but it wasn’t annoyingly so. I felt like it captured emotions and the essence of falling in love and being a teenager well, even if it wasn’t completely grounded in reality. I definitely recommend the book for a short and sweet contemporary YA read.

Star 4

Review – By Your Side by Kasie West


By Your Side

By Kasie West

SummaryWhen Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side? 

Source: I purchased a kindle copy

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I enjoyed By Your Side. Like other Kasie West novels, it was a fun and short contemporary romance. I loved that it started out in a library and that it was a romance between two people who probably would’ve never crossed paths before. 

Autumn got stuck in a library when she ran into pee before going off with her friends for the weekend. Somehow, it seemed like she got lost in the shuffle because her friends didn’t come back for her. Dax, a guy from her high school ended up locked in the library, too, but he was a lot less freaked out and also had an overnight bag with him. Autumn didn’t know him very well, but just heard rumors about how he was trouble. 

Autumn had anxiety, but none of her friends knew. She was constantly thrown into crazy scenarios and parties with her friends and she found herself escaping to a quiet corner when she could. Probably how she ended up locked in the library without her friends looking for her. They were used to losing track of her. Dax, while he wasn’t very talkative or friendly, didn’t seem to mind that she had anxiety and was freaking out about being trapped in the library. He seemed to know exactly how to talk to her.

I loved By Your Side because it was all about not judging books by their covers and learning to be honest with yourself and your friends.

Star 4

Review – Until It Fades by K.A. Tucker


Until It Fades

By K.A. Tucker

Summary: “Tucker is adept at spinning stories with hot romance, unexpected twists and turns, and a strong, independent female lead who is not afraid to take charge, who is not perfect—which is why she feels so real.” —Toronto Star

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 three thousand outside of tourist season). And then one foggy night, on a lonely road back from another failed date, Catherine saves a man’s life. It isn’t until after the police have arrived that Catherine realizes exactly who it is she has rescued: 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. There’s an immediate connection, and it’s more electric than the bond of two people who endured a traumatic event. It’s something neither of them expected. Something that Catherine isn’t sure she can handle; something she 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?

Source: I preordered a Kindle copy

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K.A. Tucker is one of my favorite contemporary romance authors, so of course I was eagerly awaiting her latest novel. I wasn’t as big of a fan of her last book, He Will Be My Ruin, mostly because it’s hard to bridge the gap between romance and thrillers when I read both and have really high expectations. But Until It Fades was firmly in romance territory, complete with the conflicted heroine with a tough past. Tucker always does an amazing job at creating characters and giving them conflicts and backstories that complicate things in a believable way. Until It Fades was no exception. It was great!

I didn’t read the synopsis because Tucker is an auto-buy author of mine, so I started the book feeling a little hesitant. If there’s one thing I really can’t stand, it’s teacher-student relationships (but I do excuse a few books from this issue because they are so good.) My stomach dropped in the beginning because I really wasn’t in the mood, but fortunately, it wasn’t one of those books. While Catherine’s past did impact her future, the book was not about that particular relationship and was instead focused on her overcoming and finding her place in her judgmental town years after the affair.

I love K.A. Tucker. She creates such amazing characters. This book could’ve totally been another awful NA romance with some hunky sports player with bigger muscles than brains and a heroine falling all over herself over someone famous, but it was nowhere near being one of those novels. Every time I read one of Tucker’s books, I can’t help but want to jump up and down and scream, THIS IS WHAT I WANT IN A NEW ADULT NOVEL! It’s not afraid to talk about the adult things, but it’s not smutty and ridiculous. Her books have depth to them even if hinted romance in the synopsis sounds like it could be a trope filled novel. 

While Catherine had somewhat of a broken past, I have to admit, Until It Fades was definitely one of her “fluffier” books. There wasn’t any of that darkness that Ten Tiny Breaths and the Burying Water series both have. But for the New Adult category, it’s not at all fluffy. 

I highly recommend Until It Fades. I flew through the book and I enjoyed every minute!

Star 4