Cocky Bastard by Penelope Ward, Vi Keeland

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Blurb: He was someone who belonged in my wildest fantasies instead of a rest stop in the middle of Nebraska.
A sexy, cocky, Australian named Chance was the last person I expected to run into on my cross-country drive.

When my car broke down, we made a deal. Next thing I knew, we were traveling together, spending sexually-tense nights in hotels and taking unplanned detours. 

My ordinary road trip turned into the adventure of a lifetime. It was all fun and games until things got intense.
I wanted him, but Chance wouldn’t make a move. I thought he wanted me too, but something was holding him back. 

I wasn’t supposed to fall for the cocky bastard, especially when I knew we’d be going our separate ways.

All good things must come to an end, right? 

Except our ending was one I didn’t see coming.

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Favorite Quotes: 

“What am I supposed to do?” She eventually whispered. I blew out a heavy stream of air. “Do what’s in your heart, Aubrey. If that’s not being with me—it will suck—I’m not going to lie. But I want you to be happy. That’s how I’m sure I’m in love with you. If the choice is you being happy or me…there is no choice. You come first.”

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3 stars

Eh, I was a bit underwhelmed with this story.  It tested my believability in some scenes.  I actually put this book down after a couple chapters because she mentioned how much of an Adonis he was.  If there is one thing that will make me put a book down fast it is when the FIRST thing that is mentioned is how hot he is.  I mean, I get it, physical attraction is important, but when its the first thing mentioned it just makes my interest level plummet.   

The relationship was pretty fast paced.   I mean, she allowed him to ride with her halfway across the country after knowing him a whopping 20 minutes!  I just couldn’t get past that. That raised a flag for me because in this day and age EVERYONE knows not to pick up strangers. Maybe I just can’t suspend my belief but the situation seemed way to easily manufactured to get them in close quarters for long periods of time.  And I know it’s order for them to form a bond quickly but it was just too convenient for me. It didn’t really impress me.  And it kinda went down hill from there.  

I will say this; The chemistry was pretty hot though.  Like Rose and Jack in the Titanic steamy!  

I didn’t click with Chance’s character.  I found his stalker mannerisms a bit over the top.  I didn’t see how their relationship was that deep to begin with.  He seems more invested in the relationship than she was, especially for all the things he did for her. Frankly I didn’t think she was worth the effort on his part. I would have walked after a week.

Aubrey was a forgettable character.  I honest to god had to look up her name while writing this! That’s how much she didn’t stand out.  Man, reading this back makes me think I should lower my rating even more.  Anyway, I’m glad this isn’t a series so I don’t have to worry about more books.  But hey, not everyone will have the same experience as me. In fact, my co-pilot Lenore happened to love this book.  

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Compete (The Atlantis Grail #2) by Vera Nazarian

26100693Blurb: It’s one thing to Qualify…
But do you have what it takes to Compete?

With Earth about to be destroyed by an extinction level asteroid, teenage nerd, geek, and awkward smart girl Gwen Lark, and a few of her friends and loved ones, barely Qualified for rescue onboard one of the thousands of ark-ships headed to the ancient colony planet Atlantis.

Now faced with a year-long journey in space, life in a wondrously alien environment, and many tough life choices, Gwen must decide who or what she will become. Fleet Cadet or Civilian? Friend or lover? Average or extraordinary?

Can she make new friends? Can she trust the old ones, such as Logan Sangre, her sexy high school crush and an Earth special operative?

Time and time again, Gwen’s uncanny ability to come up with the best answer in a crisis saves her life and others. And now, her unique Logos voice makes her an extremely valuable commodity to the Atlanteans — so much so that her enigmatic commanding officer Aeson Kassiopei, who is also the Imperial Prince of Atlantis, has taken an increasingly personal interest in her.

Before the end of the journey, Gwen must convince him that she has what it takes to compete in the deadly Games of the Atlantis Grail.

It’s becoming apparent — the life of her family and all of Earth depends on it.

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4 stars

I’m quite conflicted on this book, because the beginning was pretty fricking awesome.  I loved hearing about their culture and the cool new world they were heading too.  But then it kinda stuttered with the romance.  I mean, I admit, the romance part is so light in this book as to almost be nonexistent.  But I clung to it hoping it would pick up a bit.  But unfortunately I was disappointed.

I loved  Aeson in the beginning then it’s like he drank some crazy juice or something because his character started to become inconsistent.  He was emotionally immature.  And I expected more from his character than his hot and cold antics.  I felt like I was getting whiplash with it.  And as a woman that shit would irritate the fuck out of me.  Like dude, pick a lane or shut up about it.  I can’t stand when someone can’t commit to their feelings.  Especially without a reasonable explanation.

Now… and this is pretty important I think… take the romance out of the book and you have yourself a pretty great story.  Lark is a great character. She bends and flexes with the upheaval in her life.  She shows growth and perseverance in the face of adversity and she is a huge nerd, which appeals to me.  She’s just an all round bad ass IMO so I felt the book would have been better if we could have just focused on her, without a main love interest.  I know! That’s wild right? Cause I love romance in books, but this one just left me unfulfilled in that aspect.

I do want to know why the ending happened the way it did, so I’m gonna give the story the benefit of the doubt and continue reading it.  Hope the author changes my mind about Aeson.

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Qualify (The Atlantis Grail #1) by Vera Nazarian

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Blurb: You have two options. You die, or you Qualify. 

The year is 2047. An extinction-level asteroid is hurtling toward Earth, and the descendants of ancient Atlantis have returned from the stars in their silver ships to offer humanity help.

But there’s a catch.

They can only take a tiny percent of the Earth’s population back to the colony planet Atlantis. And in order to be chosen, you must be a teen, you must be bright, talented, and athletic, and you must Qualify.

Sixteen-year-old Gwenevere Lark is determined not only to Qualify but to rescue her entire family.

Because there’s a loophole.

If you are good enough to Qualify, you are eligible to compete in the brutal games of the Atlantis Grail, which grants all winners the laurels, high tech luxuries, and full privileges of Atlantis Citizenship. And if you are in the Top Ten, then all your wildest wishes are granted… Such as curing your mother’s cancer.

There is only one problem.

Gwen Lark is known as a klutz and a nerd. While she’s a hotshot in classics, history, science, and languages, the closest she’s come to sports is a backyard pool and a skateboard.

This time she is in over her head, and in for a fight of her life, against impossible odds and world-class competition–including Logan Sangre, the most amazing guy in her school, the one she’s been crushing on, and who doesn’t seem to know she exists.

Because every other teen on Earth has the same idea.

You Qualify or you die 

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4 stars

I really liked how Lark was not perfect.  Not even a little bit.  In fact, I think she messed up more than she succeeded.  But the greatest attribute that I admired about her was the fact that no matter how many times she fell down, she got back up. Every. Time.  And she was always there to offer help, even if the help was shunned.  Those are traits of a heroine that you want to read more about and see succeed right?

So, the colors.  I have been bugging my other friends who read this book to pick their colors.  Now I’m not really gonna go into it because spoilers, but….If I had to choose, I think I’d go Blue or Green.  And I’ll just leave it at that.

Her family support system was super awesome and was a very big part of the story. No token siblings cameo here. No, they all had depth and different personalities that seemed to compliment each other.  My favorite sibling is George.  George was the oldest of the four.  I am the oldest of seven.  So I related to him, like a lot.  He was reliable and if he didn’t have the answer he would damn sure help you find it.   After George my fave is Gordie because he just kinda went with the flow and made the best of every situation he was in.  He was laid back and he loved food!  A boy after my own heart! I am still on the fence with Gracie (you see the pattern here right?).  Maybe its cause she was the youngest at 12 and had an attitude.  I found her to be a brat actually.

You should all go read this book.  Then tell me what you think. J

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Pucked by Helena Hunting

Blurb:
25422262With a famous NHL player for a step-brother, Violet Hall is well acquainted with the playboy reputation many hockey stars come with. She’s smart enough to steer clear of those hot, well-built boys with unparalleled stamina. That is until she meets the legendary team captain—Alex Waters.

Violet isn’t interested in his pretty, beat-up face, or his rock-hard six-pack abs. But when Alex inadvertently obliterates Violet’s previous misapprehension regarding the inferior intellect of hockey players, he becomes more than just a hot body with a face to match.

In what can only be considered a complete lapse in judgment, Violet finds out just how good Alex is with the hockey stick in his pants. But what starts out as a one-night stand, quickly turns into something more. Post-night of orgasmic magic, Alex starts to call, and text, and e-mail and send extravagant—and quirky—gifts, making him difficult to ignore, and even more difficult not to like.

The problem is, the media portrays Alex as a total player, and Violet doesn’t want to be part of the game.

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My Review:
3.5 stars — HUGE thanks to my girl Kelly for loaning this book to me!!  I’ve seen this book around quite a bit, and I’ve been so torn on whether to read it or not.  See, I LOVE sports romance.  And I f-ing LOVE hockey romances in particular.  BUT.  And this is a big BUT.  I am NOT a fan of over the top comedy.  It’s not that I don’t understand why others enjoy it, it’s HONESTLY just a personal taste thing.  And I’d heard that this one was pretty OTT, so I was hesitant to pick it up.  And quite honestly, it both surprised me and didn’t.  I DID find the OTT very annoying, and it’s ultimately what has me giving this a 3.5 star and *wanting* to round down.  BUT, unlike other OTT comedies I’ve read (most of which I’ve cringed through and even DNFd) this one had a lot of redeeming qualities to it — and *that* was the surprise (and is what’s making me want to round up…we’ll see what wins).  So even this review will be kind of 2 sided.

So let’s start with the annoyances.  I had heard about the overuse of “Beaver” and “Monster Cock”.  And it was just as bad as I’d been told.  That was a bummer.  It’s funny, b/c I don’t mind crass, I enjoy certain parts of it.  But the overuse was too much.  It was humorous for the first maybe 20%, then it just got tiring.  And cooter?  Really?  I mentioned it to my husband, and he was like “are they 12 year old boys?”  And the way she played with “snuffie” when he was sleeping actually just disturbed me.  That was the side of the humour that *didn’t* mesh with me at all.

The ultimate problem for me with OTT comedies, is that the balance is off.  I guess I don’t really want pure comedies.  I need the heart too.  I WANT both.  I don’t think I’m meant to read about characters that feel like caricatures.  And quite honestly, that was what Violet ended up being for me.  I didn’t see any depth to her character, and I didn’t even really empathize with her as much as I was probably meant to when the big climax/breakdown happened.  I was just annoyed with her…though not majorly annoyed, just minorly annoyed.  Because here’s the thing…there were parts of her that I actually found quite amusing.  Her crass mouth wrt swearing and saying inappropriate things actually *did* work for me.  The moment when Buck first sees them kissing and asks what they’re doing and she says she’s sucking his dick?  And then proceeds to talk about mouth f*ing?  Hilarious to me.  I even embarrassed my husband by explaining the scene when we were on a date at the Melting Pot.  He was wondering how many more times I was going to say f*.  So I guess I can vibe with Violet on that one.  It was the more childish stuff that didn’t work for me with her.  And I was kind of sad with how judgey she was wrt Buck and his intelligence.  Not cool man.

So what worked for me then?  Cause that probably seems like a lot of negative.  Well, while the balance may not have been…well, balanced enough for me, it wasn’t completely one-sided either.  I did get to see some romance between them.  OK, let’s stop joking around.  You know what worked for me?  Alex worked for me.  BIG TIME worked for me.  Like, I’m a beta hero LOVER and while Alex wasn’t strictly a beta hero, he had a lot of beta in him.  Give me an unsure, nerdy/smart, awkward, trying too hard, bumbling guy and I’ll fall in love with him EVERY SINGLE TIME.  The single-minded and purposeful way he pursued her?  The sweet way he checked with her EVERY STEP OF THE WAY during their steamy encounters?  The way he kind of put his heart on the line?  OMG, yes baby, that’s my kind of man.  I even got why he allowed the playboy rep to spread…it was disappointing, but I got it.  And all the Canadiana (Tim Horton’s, The Hip)?  YES!  Love it.  And I loved that he balanced it out with his own bit of pervy boy, I enjoyed how fascinated he was with Violet’s tits, and I loved how grrrr he could be once given the full go ahead.  I mean damn, what a strange combination of aggressive and awkward.  Yup, works for me.

And if you could overlook all the beaver and MC comments during EVERY SEX SCENE, then they were actually pretty steamy and enjoyable as well.

So there you have it.  Not my fave heroine, but I didn’t dislike her…she just annoyed me.  Mixed with a total BOOK BOY WIN for me with Alex.  And…yup, going to round up.  Alex is just that worth it for me.  However, I’m not sure I can handle the comedy stylings going forward.  I’m definitely skipping Buck’s book, b/c I read some reviews that pointed out things that will annoy the crap out of me.  Still debating about Randy’s book.  And super intrigued by Lance’s book…that sounds like it might have more of my kind of balance.  Thanks again to Kelly for the loaner!!  I got to indulge in my curiosity without committing to buying.  😉

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Punk 57 by Penelope Douglas


31437918Blurb: 
“We were perfect together. Until we met.”

Misha

I can’t help but smile at the words in her letter. She misses me.

In fifth grade, my teacher set us up with pen pals from a different school. Thinking I was a girl, with a name like Misha, the other teacher paired me up with her student, Ryen. My teacher, believing Ryen was a boy like me, agreed.

It didn’t take long for us to figure out the mistake. And in no time at all, we were arguing about everything. The best take-out pizza. Android vs. iPhone. Whether or not Eminem is the greatest rapper ever…

And that was the start. For the next seven years, it was us.

Her letters are always on black paper with silver writing. Sometimes there’s one a week or three in a day, but I need them. She’s the only one who keeps me on track, talks me down, and accepts everything I am.

We only had three rules. No social media, no phone numbers, no pictures. We had a good thing going. Why ruin it?

Until I run across a photo of a girl online. Name’s Ryen, loves Gallo’s pizza, and worships her iPhone. What are the chances?

F*ck it. I need to meet her.

I just don’t expect to hate what I find.

Ryen

He hasn’t written in three months. Something’s wrong. Did he die? Get arrested? Knowing Misha, neither would be a stretch.

Without him around, I’m going crazy. I need to know someone is listening. It’s my own fault. I should’ve gotten his number or picture or something.

He could be gone forever.

Or right under my nose, and I wouldn’t even know it.

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4 stars

I purchased this book on the recommendation of an author friend that I have. Hi Caylie! I’ve read PD books before, a few times actually.  But there was always something that really kept me from turning into a full fledged superfan.

This book was great and I really liked the penpal aspect of it. It’s actually kind of funny because my daughter has three penpals herself so it was kind of cool how it parallelled my real life.  The only thing that I didn’t like I gotta say was how they went from friends to enemies to lovers. Also, there was a lot of deceit in this book.  This is a bit if a deal breaker for me so I think that’s one of the reasons I can’t five star this. Yet, I keep coming back to her books so obviously it doesn’t ruin the whole story.

If you read her other books you’ll notice a trend with regards to the chemistry between the two main characters.  A lot of their sexual tension is based in very intense, passionate emotions but the emotions are negative.  They’re rooted in fear, anger and hate and I think that if I had to pinpoint something that pulls me back from being a super fan, that would be it. Because I cannot relate to having those feelings and then turning them around into a physical, sexual, love filled relationship.

But again, I keep coming back to her stories. Maybe I’m again glutton for punishment. Her stories always have depth and originality and as long as she keeps those coming, I’ll continue to keep reading them.

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Teasing Destiny (Wishing Well, Texas #1) by Melanie Shawn

teasing-destinyBlurb:  One fateful night four years ago, Destiny Rose Porter gave in to her desires and ended up with a shattered heart. A heart that, with time, learned to heal and guard itself. But when Jefferson James Briggs returns to their small hometown of Wishing Well, Texas, memories of that unforgettable night come back with him….

JJ Briggs knew he had started something he couldn’t finish four years ago. But now, he was back to set it right. The sexy Major League pitcher never forgot about his fiery redhead. The love and passion he felt for his “Pip” never faded.

They say old wounds cut deep…will JJ be able to heal the pain he caused all those years ago? Or will history repeat itself, keeping his Destiny just out of reach?

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Favorite Quotes:

For someone who prided themselves on being honest, I had lies shooting out of my mouth like they were oiled pigs on a greased-up Slip’N Slide.

The energy between us was like Rice Krispies cereal in a bowl full of milk. It was snap, crackle and popping, making it hard for me to remember to breathe.

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3 stars

This was a cute western love story.  If a bit run of the mill for me.  I’ve read many other books with this similar plot line and I enjoy them, I just wasn’t really digging the male MC.

I couldn’t suspend my belief enough to think his intentions were genuine.  JJ never kept her in the loop, only doing what he felt was best without consulting her.  Which in my eyes made him incredibly selfish to me. And even after this was addressed, he still kept things from her.  I mean, dude, fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice… You know how it goes.

Destiny was a cool character, she had dreams and was working her way towards them.  I just found her a bit of a pushover when it came to JJ.  And her personality was kind of bland tasting.

There just wasn’t enough in this story to really stand out to me. But this book is free at the time I posted this review so if you like cute western love stories,  I’d recommend you to check it out.  You literally have nothing to lose.

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King Sized Beds and Happy Trails (Beds #1) by Becca Ann and Tessa Marie

20782774Blurb: Written by authors Cassie Mae and Theresa Paolo under the pen names Becca Ann and Tessa Marie

Lexie Boggs needs out of her house… away from her alcoholic mother and far away from the “white trash” label that’s been smacked across her chest. She’s saved every penny from her multiple jobs so she can dart out of there as soon as she graduates. But there’s something else she wants so badly she’s willing to spend every dime she has. Her senior class trip and the chance to seduce the senior hottie, Sean Dixon.

Ryan Parker knows how much college means to his best friend, Lexie. He also knows Sean is a player on a search for how many girls he can get in his bed. So instead of letting Lexie drain out her piggy bank, he forks out the dough to get her on the senior ski trip. Not only because she’s his best friend, but because he’s face-planted in love with her.

When Ryan and Lexie get jammed in the same cabin, with one king-sized bed and a whole lot of history, Ryan fights to keep his feelings hidden, while Lexie discovers some of hers.

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4 stars

So this is my 10th…Er… 11th book by Cassie Mae AKA Becca Ann I think. It’s a sweet YA love story.  I had a few issues with it though. And I don’t know if its because I’ve read so many of her books that I am familiar with them now or if I just have a stick up my butt.

First off, Ryan was kind of a doormat for me in this book.  I get why he did it but it still irritated me.  Secondly, I found Lexie was a bit too self involved for me.  She didn’t really take anything Ryan had to say in to account.  He is supposed to be her best friend and she disregarded his input.

Other than that, the story was awesome. The setting was romantic and the clumsiness was hilarious.  I especially loved the supporting characters, Nate and Kaylee and her alcoholic mother was a nice touch.  I can totally relate to that. Their love story was solid and gave a deeper look into their lives that I enjoyed.

I found the climax to be a bit overdone but they ARE teenagers so a little over the top was to be expected.  But the make up scenes were THE BEST.  Super hot for a YA.

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Muse by Erin McFadden

Muse.jpgSynopsis: The Brotherhood of the Guardians has existed for thousands of years to serve a single purpose: the protection of Talents, the mortal descendants of the original nine Muses.

Twenty-one year-old Daniel Lyoncourt has trained his entire life to join the Guardians. Daniel is prepared to risk his life in order to keep his Talent safe, but when he’s assigned to nineteen year-old Anna Saint-James, he discovers that his life isn’t the only thing he could lose. Anna has no idea how special she is and knows nothing about her abilities. He must teach her to control her gifts, keep her safe, and hope that he can find a place in her life as something more than just her bodyguard.

All power comes at a price. Like all Talents, Anna must one day make a choice: lose all of her powers, or ascend to a higher plane, leaving behind everyone she loves.

Order it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Inx9z1

Add it to your TBR lost on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18221489-muse

4 stars

Solid first book by Mrs. McFadden! And I love the cover.

I received this book from the author because she is super nice.  I would categorize this as a YA paranormal romance. It was a great, cute story.  I felt that the romance might have been rushed a little bit for the story within the time frame; but with extreme circumstances come extreme emotions so with that the book was consistent.

Totally appropriate for ages 14 and up I feel. The book had a very easy going flow as I read it and I really like Daniel.  He had this conflict within him where he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps but at the same time he didn’t want to become like his father and he struggled back and forth with that. I liked how she wrote the brotherhood as a bit archaic and old fashioned in that you were grandfathered in and only males were allowed to be guardians.  The reason I like that is because it opens the story up for more changes and development in the future.

Anna was a sweet girl; she didn’t have a mean bone in her body. She was very helpful to others, had great support from her friends and a loving family. The only thing that I found lacking was her self-confidence. But it was endearing, the insecurities that she had. They were normal teenage insecurities that we all have had growing up. Plus, she wasn’t too perfect because of them.

The story was pretty quick; I read it in a day.  A lot of things happened quickly, and there was a lot of violence near the end.  The story took a pretty big turn about 2/3 through so that was cool that I wasn’t able to predict it. I would totally recommend it; I’m probably going to read the next book because I want to know what happens.

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Bright Side by Kim Holden

Bright SideSynopsis: Secrets.
Everyone has one.
Some are bigger than others.
And when secrets are revealed,
Some will heal you …
And some will end you.

Kate Sedgwick’s life has been anything but typical. She’s endured hardship and tragedy, but throughout it all she remains happy and optimistic (there’s a reason her best friend Gus calls her Bright Side). Kate is strong-willed, funny, smart, and musically gifted. She’s also never believed in love. So when Kate leaves San Diego to attend college in the small town of Grant, Minnesota, the last thing she expects is to fall in love with Keller Banks.

They both feel it. But they each have a reason to fight it. They each have a secret.
And when secrets are revealed, Some will heal you … And some will end you.

Get it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1LAIVnU

Find it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22669832-bright-side?ac=1

4 Stars

First off, let me say that I really like this cover. It’s simple and classy.  This was a book recommended to me by some friends, which means I can use it as a challenge book. Yeah for two birds with one stone!  The book started out slow, very slow and to be honest with you I almost didn’t finish it.  It took about halfway before anything really happened. Then, I was blindsided by Keller feelings because they seemed to grow fast throwing me for a loop because the pacing was so slow.   I don’t know if I was in a bad mood when I read it but it rubbed me wrong.

Honestly, I found her character to be immature and lackadaisical.  I didn’t have a bond with her at all. There was nothing for me to latch on to and identify with.  I cared more about what happens to her friends and how her illness affected those around her, not her herself, but the ripples of what happens to her friends because of the illness.

Now, you are probably wondering why I rated it so high if all I have to say are things I didn’t like. Well, allow me to clarify, I’m still ambivalent towards the MC but I think that is what the author’s intention was. To not make the focus about her but how cancer affects those around her.  And in that view, she nailed it. She nailed it so hard that I had to hash it out with my friends for a moment just to clear my head. I cried for a solid 30 minutes, on the BART train, in front of strangers. This author reached into my heart and gave it a purple nurple. I’m positive I have a book sized bruise there. And it won’t go away for a while.  I’ve never read a book before where the mc had no impact on me and yet I find myself liking this book. It’s so weird.

There, you see redemption.

So, if you have the patience to see this one through, you will not be disappointed.

Favorite quote:

I’m not saying you shouldn’t pursue dreams and goals. Just don’t forsake the present for the unknowns of the future.  A lot of happiness is bypassed, overlooked, postponed to a time years from now that may never come.  Don’t bide your time and miss out on this moment for a tomorrow with no guarantee.