From the Wreckage (From the Wreckage #1) by Michele G. Miller

From the wreckageBlurb: “In a matter of minutes on a Friday night, I lost my school, my identity, the security of my first love, the personality of my sweet fearless brother, my best friend, my town, everything as I knew it. Everything changed.”

“Minutes – that’s all it takes to change your entire life. How do you deal with that?”

For high school senior Jules Blacklin surviving the storm is only the beginning. Faced with the new reality of her life, she must find a way to rise From The Wreckage and answer the question – how do you get back to normal, when everything that was normal is gone?

 

 

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5 stars

I absolutely LOVED this story!  I only wish it was not a series.  Gosh it just made me feel so much!  Talk about intense.  My heart was beating hard throughout the entire book. 

The tornado was a great catalyst for the love story! I mean, wow, totally impressed with the writing.  The way the characters were changed and yet struggled to come back to a new normal was written brilliantly!

I could totally identify with their conflicted emotions.  I liked how mature they were, they realized that nothing is guaranteed and used that in a positive manner.  For instance when they realized their feelings for each other, they didn’t jump right in but both were open and honest with each other about why they felt this way and talked about if it was just because of the trauma they shared.  It added an additional layer to their already deep characters. 

And they didn’t leave the families out in the cold in this book either.  They were three dimensional characters, which I totally dug because most YA’s tend to forget to fully build the parents and siblings, instead choosing to put more into the MC in the book. Something I’m not really a fan of in this genre but I deal with it.  It was just nice to have a well rounded novel that was more than just your typical teenage romance.  

I will definitely be checking out more from this author in the future.  

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Play With Me (Grover Beach Team #1) by Piper Shelly

play with meBlurb: What if you had to do the one thing you hated most to get the guy you loved to notice you?

Ryan Hunter’s parties are legend. And tonight she’s going to be there.

Lisa Matthews anticipates the return of her best friend and only love since kindergarten from soccer camp. But when Tony finally shows up, his mind is more focused on another girl. And worse, she’s a soccer player. Fighting for the attention Lisa craves, she’s just a hairbreadth away from making a very stupid decision. But when extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, she’s prepared to play ball to get her man.

The tryouts are hell, the first match ends bloody, and the morning after the selection party she wakes up in the worst place possible—in the arms of the captain of the soccer team. The hottest guy in school… Ryan Hunter.

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5 stars

This was a great YA story.  I loved how quickly we got to the reasons.  And how there was no long drawn out misunderstandings with regards to their feelings.  I mean, it was a little bit built up but for the most part the unrequited love wasn’t the main focus like I thought it was gonna be.  Don’t get me wrong, I do love a good unrequited love story but this one went a totally different direction and it was a nice change of pace for this genre.  

Ryan Hunter is seriously a smooth guy.  He didn’t try to pretend he didn’t care while at the same time he wasn’t like over the top about his feelings either.  When I usually read about popular guy’s in school trying to get with the girl they is usually very aggressive.  And Ryan wasn’t like that at all.  It was all just so natural, the way he treated her.  And the way he was there for her, helping her trying to get the guy without putting the moves on her.  It was nice, their chemistry felt real. 

She wasn’t in denial about her feelings either. We get to see her struggle with who she thinks she loves and her growing feelings for Ryan which made it more believable for me.   And the ending!  I did NOT see that coming.  Seriously a great novella. I’ll have to check out the others in this series as well. 

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Lick (Stage Dive #1) by Kylie Scott

lickBlurb: Waking up in Vegas was never meant to be like this.

Evelyn Thomas’s plans for celebrating her twenty-first birthday in Las Vegas were big. Huge. But she sure never meant to wake up on the bathroom floor with a hangover to rival the black plague, a very attractive half-naked tattooed man in her room, and a diamond on her finger large enough to scare King Kong. Now if she could just remember how it all happened.

One thing is certain, being married to one of the hottest rock stars on the planet is sure to be a wild ride.

 

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5 stars

Dude!  I don’t know why but I loved this story!  Drunken marriage in Vegas doesn’t usually appeal to me but for some reasons these characters called out to me is a visceral way.  I believed it.  Their wanting to work out the marriage. It was odd that I felt this way because I was never one to dive head first into a nearly insta-love book.  But I loved it.

David was the tortured artist. Very classic character, and I really enjoyed watching his struggle with knowing his wife didn’t remember them getting married.  He seemed truly upset. I will say that his emotional immaturity got on my nerves a bit, but he seemed to be aware of it and actively trying to resolve his issues.  I liked how they got to know each other while not putting their very real chemistry on hold.  That was one of the good parts of their story, kinda just going with how they felt.  She was a little bit country, and he a little bit rock and roll.  And it fit.

I liked the fact that Evelyn didn’t remember getting married to him but still realized that there was something there worth trying for.  Most people would chalk that shit up to alcohol, but Ev felt for this person even though she didn’t remember him.  She felt bad for inadvertently hurting his feelings with her memory loss.  And she wanted to make sure he knew that it wasn’t intentional and she would try to not do it in the future.

And can I just say that while angry sex isn’t a turn on in the least, this author wrote it so well that I enjoyed reading about it.  The climax was trope but again, it just seemed to fit.  And I loved how slowly they got to know each other.  It made everything seem more realistic.  I am definitely going to be reading more in this series.

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Dirty Little Mistake (Dirty #2) by Amber Rides

dirty little mistakeBlurb: At eighteen, Brenna Cooper turned her back on her boyfriend-hopping, drug-addicted mother. She fought her way from poverty and heartache into a life she’s proud to lead. Now twenty-two, Brenna has four years of hard work behind her and a bright future ahead of her. She’s careful and cautious and keeps her nose clean. Always. Or almost always anyway.

Five weeks ago, Brenna received some news that hit her hard and she slipped from the straight-and-narrow path.

It was just one mistake.
One party.
One too many shots of tequila.
One little one-night stand with her muscle-for-brains neighbor, Ian.
And it’s behind her.

Or it would be if it weren’t for the teeny, tiny matter of the positive pregnancy test.

Now, Brenna is terrified of following in her mother’s footsteps. She needs to tell Ian about the baby. Soon. And she needs help finding a way to do it.

Ridley James has a shady, crappy decision filled past. He’s the first to admit that the ages of thirteen to seventeen were nothing to be proud of. He bounced from foster home to foster home, girl to girl, and fake I.D. to fake I.D. Five years ago, though, his terminally ill aunt took him in and helped him turn his life around. Before she died, she made him promise a few things. Ridley would stay on the clean path she’d led him to. He’d stay out of trouble. Most importantly, though, he’d look out for her son – his cousin – Ian.

He was doing well.
Until he and Ian moved into his new house a month and half ago and they met his pretty, sweet – and drunk – neighbor.

Ridley knows his only choice is to pretend Brenna has no effect on him. Especially since she came flying out of Ian’s room the morning after their housewarming party, begging him to forget he ever saw her.

He was doing fine with that, too.
Until Brenna came asking for his help – in becoming Ian’s girlfriend.

Now, Ridley is trying to keep his hands and his feelings to himself, struggling to understand why a girl like Brenna is interested in his cousin at all, and fighting to keep his promises to his aunt.

The closer Brenna gets to Ridley, the farther she gets from making her confession to Ian. The more Ridley gets to know Brenna, the less control he has.

Both are keeping secrets. And neither is prepared for the truth.

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5 stars

Even with the unbelievably of the intentional misunderstandings going on ALL over this book for suspenseful purposes, I really loved it.  The author would throw in those deliberate misunderstandings and I would get ready to throw the book, then….she would retreat just a smidgen, giving me a taste of the romance I so wanted to see.  Thereby pulling my attention back in and making me want to finish the book.  

Well played Amber Rides, well played indeed.  

Brenna was so young and naive.  I felt great pity for her, and not in a good way.  I mean, it was expected she had no idea what she was doing since she had no mother figure in her life to teach her, but I don’t think she gave the other people in her life enough credit personally.  She made up for her lack of knowledge in these types of situations by giving in to her uhm…baser desires.  She was a super cute horn dog trying to force a square peg in a round hole and she failed, quite hilariously.  The dialogue in this book is fricking fantastic by the way. And quite possibly saved me from DNF’ing this book on more than one occasion.  

Ridley, man this dude was all kinds of hotness.  Smart, vulnerable, strong, patient, understanding, loyal to his family and did I mention he bakes!  Yes, please!  He was a bit of a glutton for punishment but I’ll be damned if his weakness for helping Brenna didn’t just push right over the edge in love with him.  

I had no idea this was the second in the series and now I want to go back and read the first one.  I’m a fan and will certainly keep my eye out for more books by this author in the future.  

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Storm Gathering (Scorpius Syndrome #4) by Rebecca Zanetti

Storm GatheringBlurb: Even before surviving the Scorpius bacterium, Greyson Storm was a lone wolf navigating minefields. As a kid, he learned to take a hit and find safety. As an adult, he joined the military and quickly learned how to protect and defend. When the world ended, he created a mercenary camp with military precision, no entanglements, and a promise to avenge a fallen friend. As part of that vow, he kidnapped Maureen Shadow, but now that he has let her go, her blue eyes and intriguing mind keep haunting him…

As possibly the only Biotechnology Engineer still living, Maureen Shadow might be humanity’s one hope to survive the aftermath of Scorpius, making her frighteningly valuable to both allies and enemies. Even after sexual tension explodes with Greyson, she’s not sure which camp he belongs to—friend or foe? Worse yet, survival may mean thwarting his prime mission, putting her in even more peril. When danger and seduction collide, there is no safety in this new world. 

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Favorite Quotes

She really didn’t know him, but there was something honorable about letting a friend die in peace and then keeping a promise. Man, life had changed when hunting and killing made sense to a scientist like her. So much for holding out for a nice and peaceful, geeky guy.

Miss Julian gave me a foundation, but I was still damaged. Even when I found brothers in the military.” Greyson captured Moe’s chin between his thumb and forefinger. “With you, I feel whole. Like there’s hope somehow. I forgot that it even existed. In the apocalypse, you gave me hope.

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5 stars

I think this is my favorite book in this series so far.  Greyson is this ‘still waters run deep’ kinda guy.  And RZ gives him more depth than her previous male characters I think.  Or it might be that the stakes have risen so high in this series that it just seems that way. Either way, he’s my favorite.  His attention to detail in every aspect of his life is quite appealing to me.  His struggles keeping his group safe  while attempting to maintain a  precarious truce with other groups in the area was pretty impressive.  

And while I can’t say I felt the same for Maureen AKA Mo, I can still admire her spunk when it comes to being in between what she thinks is right and moral in a world where very little of that exist anymore.  She is faced with tough decisions about where her loyalties lie.  Rather than choosing which side she is on, she sees the big picture, and somehow convinces others to move past their individual agendas toward a more common goal.  And in the end I came to really like her gentleness and problem solving demeanor.  

One of the best things about this series is the fact that while I’m generally on the fence with alpha males,  but their reasoning for becoming possessive, dominant figures is written wonderfully.  Yes they are possessive, yes they are dominant and at times come off as chauvinistic.  But the post apocalyptic world doesn’t run on morals and vulnerability.  Those things can get you killed quickly and they know that while they have to be these hard men, they can also be vulnerable.  But only to those special people in their lives that they trust. It’s a constant push and pull between seemingly opposite views.  But RZ balances both traits in these men that makes them so attractive to me as to not even care about the alpha-ness that resides in them.  

That’s a unique talent in my opinion.  So go get you this series.  It is AWESOME. 

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The Unforgettables by G.L. Tomas

32048502Blurb: Back home in Chicago, Paul Hiroshima had it all.

Popularity, charming looks and a talent for the arts that made him admired by his peers. Moving to Portland, Maine the summer before his senior year was going to change all that. With his city life behind him, there was definitely no reason to make the best out of a bad situation—that is, until he meets the amazing Felicia Abelard.

Over a love of comic books and secret identities, Felicia becomes the sidekick to his hero; there’s just one problem: they weren’t supposed to fall in love.

As the season comes to an end, Paul and Felicia face in-depth challenges to preserve their summer formed bond. With the brink of the new school year at hand, this tale of best friends and first loves will make this year unforgettable.

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5 stars

I Floved this book!  It had all the ingredients for a fantastic YA diverse romantic read.

At first I wasn’t really digging it.  It started off a bit slow and jumped around quite a bit.  And the sex scene was quite awkward for me to read honestly.  But then I realized that that’s exactly how high school was.  So it started to make sense the more I read.

Paul was a pretty easy going character and I could relate to his being the new kid in school. I went to eight different schools growing up so I could totally get his feelings of homesickness.  His background was pretty cool too.  He was a half Japanese/half white Buddhist that could dance like nobodies business.  The author really gave him dimension and layers.  And his family wasn’t a background prop either.  YA’s are notorious for sticking the parents and siblings in the corner but not with this one and for that I am glad.  They even addressed how different they are treated and how they handled it.

While Paul was easy going, Felicia was a bit uptight.  She was what one would call a loner.  Not really something I can relate to but that didn’t take away from how much I ended up loving her.  I liked how she wasn’t afraid to stand up to the people who bullied her, even to her detriment.  And I dug her nerdiness!  Their mutual love of comic books is what initially brings them together.  And the fact they were neighbors.  Felicia was a Haitian american with very strict parents.  And she struggles between wanting to fit in and pretending she doesn’t care.

Their story is fast-paced and turbulent.  And I loved every second of it.  Highly recommended.

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Happily Ever Kissed by Vicky Holt

happily ever kissedBlurb: Starry-eyed Ava Simmons, co-owner of the ramshackle Heartbeat Inn, needs to steal her first kiss on the historic Heartland Cove Bridge before the Mayor has it torn down. Then she can join the ranks of her entire family tree in having her first kiss on the second longest covered bridge in North America. In a race against the Mayor’s bulldozer, she sees every hot and available guest of her B&B as First Kiss Potential.
If only she could escape the judging eyes of her omnipresent handyman, Sebastian Haddock. He’s too busy, too dusty, and too local for Ava’s tastes. She likes her heroes straight off the covers of the romance novels she devours like her guests eat her amazing baked goods. Yep, her First Kiss recipient needs to be strong yet sensitive, handsome but modest, hard-working but relaxed, and dreamy yet grounded.
Basically, she needs one of her Book Boyfriends to step out of a love story and kiss her! Because convincing her guests to visit the bridge with her turns out to be as tricky as baking the perfect cupcake in a broken oven. How do the romance novels make it look so easy? And how come Sebastian keeps catching her with her nose in a book? And when one of her guests turns out to be a kissable romance novel cover model-why isn’t she ready for her First Kiss after all?

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5 stars

Oh my gosh I loved the little details in this story!  All the romance cliché references were so dang hilarious.  And while I got a bit annoyed with Ava’s stubbornness, I was equally enamored by her naivety. She was so oblivious and it was cute as hell to see her attempt to re-create her favorite scenes from her romance novels. She just kept picking the wrong people!

I loved the little tid bits thrown in, her love of cooking and reading gave her character layers that I enjoyed learning about.  And she had a great family support system with her grandma.   This side character was such a delight! She exuded the “you are only as young as you feel” adage and I hope to be half as cool as her when I get older!

And Sebastion!  Hmmm, he was yummy.  It might have something to do with the fact that my husband is a carpenter so I’m a bit bias when it comes to those characters.  But he was just perfect for Ava! He helped to balance out her romantic side. He was stoic and practical.  I’m a bit practical myself so I was really attracted to that.  And I found his simple thoughtfulness to be romantic. He didn’t swagger or exude confidence. He let his actions speak for themselves and boy did I hear them loud and clear.

I really enjoyed the world of Heartland cove that Ms. Holt took me too. and I would highly recommend it to anyone that enjoys romance.

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Her Book Boyfriend (The Awkward Duckling #1) by K.R. Grace

Her book boyfriendBlurb: She believes the secret to love is in the tropes of her favorite romance novels. He’s the best friend prepared to prove her wrong.

Then comes the bet.

If she can’t land a boyfriend for prom by recreating the ten popular tropes in her favorite romance author’s books, she has to go to the prom with her.

The glitch?

They’ve been close their entire lives. He’s the rock god and school legend, while she’s the brainy sidekick who does all his dirty breakups. Thus, finding a guy who doesn’t think they’re already an item is going to be a lot harder than she thinks.

Will she land the book boyfriend of her dreams? Or will she be forced to go to prom with her best friend?

The truth is in the pages.

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5 stars

I loved this book!  Very entertaining.  It was a refreshing spin on the geek and jock romance.  Macey wasn’t meek and she wasn’t bullied.  She stood up for herself and didn’t take crap from her jock guy friend, Cam.  It seemed like a role reversal in the best way.

Cam was super sleazy when it came to girls.  A fact that was made pretty clear early on.  It didn’t bother me as much as I expected it would.  I don’t know why, maybe it was because he was such a good guy to Macey.  At any rate, I enjoyed their chemistry and easy dialogue.  Actually, I floved their dialogue.  It was fantastic.

Macey’s headstrong, smart and funny.  Cam is smart, horny and holds some things close to his chest which I realized early on.  It made him vulnerable and mysterious, two things I find attractive in a male MC.  You should really just go read the book.  I will be looking forward to more by this author.

I got this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest/unbiased opinion.

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The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia (Publication Order) #1) by C.S. Lewis

Lion witch and wardrobeBlurb: Four adventurers step through a wardrobe door and into the land of Narnia, a land enslaved by the power of the White Witch. But when almost all hope is lost, the return of the Great Lion, Aslan, signals a great change . . . and a great sacrifice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This book satisfies challenge #9: A classic about a animal or which includes the name of an animal in the title. 

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5 stars

I’ve read this book about three times now. Still love it. I forgot how fast paced it was.  And the sentences are quite long-winded.  It was hard to read it to my daughter in any kind of rhythm cause I had to keep catching my breath, so annoying.

My kid loved it, we tore that book in about a month.  I read aloud to her so it takes a lot longer to finish books with her. My favorite part was when the wolf was fighting Peter and Aslan was all, “Nah bro, he needs to earn his bones on this fight, don’t help him.” I mean, not in those words but you get the idea. My daughters favorite part was the end, when they were all grown up and they came back through the wardrobe and no time had passed for them on earth.

Anyway, if you don’t know this book, you were probably never in the US public school system cause it mandatory reading here.  Great book, highly recommend.

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Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader by Brent Schlender

BEcoming Steve JObsBlurb: Brent Schlender is an enormously respected journalist, writing about technology and Silicon Valley over the past three decades, and in May 2012, his Fast Company cover story about Steve Jobs, entitled “The Lost Tapes of Steve Jobs,” broke, spawning hundreds of articles and a feeding frenzy for the book rights. Walter Isaacson’s authorized biography, Steve Jobs, was a landmark publication that sold millions of copies and has been on the New York Times bestseller list for two years. But the most interesting years of Jobs’s life are shortchanged, as many people refused to talk, because Jobs was still alive and because of the extraordinary haste in finishing the book in order to get it out immediately after Jobs’s death.
Apple devotees and Silicon Valley tech readers will be dazzled by the array of stories from people who worked alongside him. Becoming Steve Jobs is a vividly dramatic and high-octane biography that reveals Jobs at his most colourful and volatile.

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This book satisfies a place on my 2016 Read Harder Challenge being hosted by Book Riot. I know its well into 2017, but I’m no quitter!

5 stars

I loved this book.  It’s not generally in my wheelhouse of genres that I read but it’s part of my read harder challenge from last year.  This book took me about 6 weeks to get through. Partly because its an audio book and I only listen to those on my commute to work and partly because I had to take A LOT of breaks.  It was very monotone and linear, not really what I’m used to.

However, the reporting on his life and all the interviews that were quoted were awesome. I felt like I got to know him on a more intimate level.  I had no idea how much of an asshole he was. LOL, and arrogant, my god he was very much about his ideas and had no qualms about telling anyone what his opinion of them was.  And he was so damn impulsive, he would judge a person on the first impression and wouldn’t let it go.  All faults IMO, but when you are on the outside looking in.  And only focusing on his career, it was quite fascinating. I mean, I could never have worked for him, but hey, nobody’s perfect.  I don’t mean to say that he was a devil or anything, but the biography didn’t hold anything back in regards to his professional life.

This book was very in depth about his career, and since I remember most of it growing up, I got a little nostalgic while listening.  Especially, when he purchased Pixar, and then eventually sold it. Or when he came back to Apple and slowly turned it into one the most profitable and recognized brands in the world.  But I think the thing that stands out most to me were his values.

They spoke a great deal about how Steve thought the past was the past and you couldn’t change it, so instead you needed to learn from it.  And how he looked in the mirror and asked himself if I died today, would he have accomplished everything he wanted?  Or how he was constantly asking himself, “What comes next?”  Constantly looking forward, I really liked that.  I do that to. Don’t dwell on the past, always move forward.  These are things I can relate to and I found that very interesting that we shared some of the same views on life.  When his sickness and eventual death was covered, I actually started crying.  He was a giant in the PC world and I wish I would have read this book sooner.

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