Tag Archive | contemporary

“Waiting on” Wednesday: Lucky in Love

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, created by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that book bloggers are looking forward to.

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Lucky in Love by Kasie West

Book description (from Goodreads) –

In this new contemporary from YA star Kasie West, a girl who wins the lottery learns that money can cause more problems than it solves, especially when love comes into the picture. Maddie doesn’t believe in luck. She’s all about hard work and planning ahead. But one night, on a whim, she buys a lottery ticket. And then, to her astonishment —

She wins!

In a flash, Maddie’s life is unrecognizable. No more stressing about college scholarships. Suddenly, she’s talking about renting a yacht. And being in the spotlight at school is fun… until rumors start flying, and random people ask her for loans. Now, Maddie isn’t sure who she can trust.

Except for Seth Nguyen, her funny, charming co-worker at the local zoo. Seth doesn’t seem aware of Maddie’s big news. And, for some reason, she doesn’t want to tell him. But what will happen if he learns her secret?

With tons of humor and heart, Kasie West delivers a million-dollar tale of winning, losing, and falling in love.

Published by:  Scholastic
Release date:  25th July 2017

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 I love contemporary novels and Lucky in Love sounds like a fun read.

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More information about Lucky in Love and author Kasie West:

goodreads ~ blog ~ twitter

Review: Pushing the Limits

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Book description (from Goodreads) –

SO WRONG FOR EACH OTHER…AND YET SO RIGHT.

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. 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.

ARC Review

Sometimes you read a novel and you just know that you are reading something special – a novel with such beautiful characters and an amazing storyline that you know you will never forget it.  A novel where you become emotionally attached to the characters and you find yourself desperately turning the pages, eager to find out what will happen next.  A novel that you can only describe as utterly perfect.  That is how I feel about Pushing the Limits.

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry is one of my favourite reads of the year so far and my all time favourite contemporary novel.  I just loved it.

Told from alternating points of view, Pushing the Limits follows the story of Echo and Noah: two high school students, in their senior year, who are trying to cope with what life has thrown at them.  The reader is first introduced to Echo, and it is obvious after reading just the first few lines that Echo’s life is a mess.  Her father is controlling, wanting her to do better at school (even though she is an A student), she dislikes her step-mother, her brother passed away a few years earlier, and she suffered a terrible trauma resulting in both her arms being scarred.

Echo doesn’t remember what happened to her.  All she knows is that it involved her mother – a mother she is no longer allowed to see.  No-one will tell Echo what happened.  Her father would be happy for her not to remember, and her therapist feels that it is best if Echo remembers what happened to her herself and is not told.  Echo wants answers and is frustrated that she can’t unlock her own mind – to the night that her life changed.

I loved Echo; I thought she was such a beautiful character.  I give her major credit for just getting out of bed everyday.  With everything she has to deal with it would be so easy for her to give up and just let the darkness consume her, but everyday she tries.  It’s not the ‘trying’ that her so called friends want.  They are more interested in her social status than her feelings.  They want her to be the Echo that she used to be.  Echo only has one true friend who understands her and what she wants – what she craves.  Echo craves normal, and when Noah enters her life she isn’t sure whether he can offer her normal, but she also can’t resist him.

It did take me a little while to warm up to Noah.  At first, I thought he was just a jerk, but the more I read the more and more I understood him.  He puts on a tough guy persona, but under that exterior is a young man who is missing his parents who passed away in a fire and his two younger brothers who are living with a different foster family.  All Noah wants is to gain custody of his brothers and he needs Echo’s help to do so.  How?  I’m not going to say.  This story is so amazing that I just don’t want to give too much away.  By the end of the story I think I had developed a little crush on Noah.  I loved his loyalty to his family, how he would do anything for his brothers, and I loved the strength and courage that he gave to Echo.  The attraction between Echo and Noah is intense, magnetic, romantic, and so beautiful.

Noah and Echo are both facing such serious issues and author Katie McGarry does not shy away from these.  How Echo and Noah are feeling is not skimmed over, there is depth and emotion, and Katie McGarry writes it all with empathy, compassion and respect.  I loved how Noah and Echo found strength in each other.

Something else that I loved was the conversations between Noah and Echo.  Sometimes they were teasing, sometimes sarcastic, sometimes serious, and sometimes heart-breaking.  Noah was often sarcastic and Echo was right there with a come-back.

I fell in love with this novel and it is one that I will definitely read again.

Katie McGarry has written a very touching, absolutely beautiful, emotional and heartfelt novel, that features both heart-breaking and heart-warming moments.  With two amazing main characters and a storyline that pulls you in, Pushing the Limits is an unforgettable novel that I recommend to everyone who loves to read.

5/5 Highly recommended.

*Thank you to Harlequin Teen Australia for providing me with a copy of Pushing the Limits to review.

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Published by: Harlequin Teen Australia
Release date: 25th July 2012

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Book description (from Goodreads) –

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit — more sparkly, more fun, more wild — the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket — a gifted inventor — steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

Review

Lola is content with her life; she has a boyfriend that she loves, a best friend that she adores and a passion for designing clothes. Lola is happy…isn’t she?

When the boy that Lola used to have a crush on – Cricket – moves back into the house next door with his family, Lola begins to realise that maybe she isn’t so happy after all. The return of Cricket into Lola’s life brings issues to the surface that Lola thought she had burried. Lola’s life soon begins to unravel and she is about to discover that the hardest person to admit the truth to is herself.

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Lola and the Boy Next Door is the companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss, and while you don’t have to have read Anna first to read Lola, I highly recommend reading Anna and the French Kiss – it’s a beautiful, romantic novel. Anna and St. Clair, the main characters in Anna and the French Kiss, make appearances in Lola and the Boy Next Door, and it was really nice to see them again and to see how their relationship was going. While Anna and St. Clair feature in the novel Lola, they don’t take the spotlight away from her – it’s definitely Lola’s story.

When the reader is first introduced to Lola, we meet a quirky girl who loves to dress up. Everyday is a new opportunity for Lola to create a new costume – one day she may dress inspired by a strawberry, the next, fire. Glitter, sparkles, costumes, bright wigs – Lola loves it all.

Lola is a fun and likeable character, but I did find it a little hard to relate to her at times. I sometimes felt that I didn’t really know who Lola was, and I think I felt this way due to the costumes she was always wearing. It took me a little while to figure out if she wore costumes to hide from the world and maybe herself or if it was just her personality to express herself through costume.

Lola lives with her two dad’s, and I loved the Sunday brunches that Lola had with her dads and her boyfriend. Max, her boyfriend, is older than her by a few years and it is very clear that her dad’s are not happy with who she is dating. Lola does her best to try and help everyone to get along, but when your parents and your best friend don’t like your boyfriend, it is a very uphill battle.

There are problems within her relationship with Max, and Lola has her rose coloured glasses on – she doesn’t want to see it. When Cricket enters Lola’s life once again, her life begins to unravel. Her problems with Max reach the surface and she can’t ignore them any longer…but she tries too.

Cricket has a very kind heart and says some beautiful things to Lola that I think many girls would love to hear. He adores Lola and wants to be with her, but Lola is with Max; problems arise when Lola begins to re-ignite her friendship with Cricket. Lola is caught between the past, the present, and her indecisiveness about the future. She is confused and begins to lie – not only to Max, Cricket, her best friend Lindsey and her parents, but also to herself.

I could understand why Lola was lying to those around her and to herself. Sometimes when in love, it can be hard to admit that the person we are with isn’t the right person for us. I could see why she felt that it was too hard to pull away from Max.

There are many sweet, romantic, funny and sad moments in Lola, making it a very charming novel. I also felt that it was very realistic. Life is messy, love is messy and this comes across heavily in Lola and the Boy Next Door.

I enjoy Stephanie Perkins writing style and I’m looking forward to reading the final companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss – Isla and the Happily Ever After.

A very clever contemporary novel, Lola and the Boy Next Door, highlights that sometimes it is when our lives begin to unravel that we find out who we are and what we really want.

4/5

Susane Colasanti shares her inspiration for writing, Keep Holding On

Book description –

Chew.
Swallow.
Chew.
Swallow.
Don’t look up.

Lunch is the worst, but there’s no safe place at school for Noelle. Keeping her mortifying home life a secret and trying to ignore the kids who make her life miserable are Noelle’s survival strategies. Her emotionally distant boyfriend, Matt, isn’t the one she really wants to be with. But there’s no way she could ever be with Julian Porter.

When Julian starts talking to her, Noelle is terrified. It seems safer to stay with Matt than risk a broken heart. But when the bullying of a friend goes too far, Noelle realizes it’s time to stand up for herself—and for everything that makes her keep holding on.

To be released: 14th June 2012

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Susane Colasanti shares her inspiration for writing Keep Holding On:

This one is a bit different for me. The story involves soul mates as usual, but Keep Holding On focuses on the consequences of bullying. So it has a more serious tone than my other books. This story was inspired by my own experiences with bullying. I was a total outsider in junior high and high school. I wrote about some really embarrassing things that I would have been mortified to admit back then. Some of the things that happened to me were so humiliating that I’ve only recently started talking about them to friends who’ve known me for many years.

The thing is, I’m not embarrassed anymore. If those things happened to me, they’re happening to other people right now. Which means it’s time to speak up.

I know how it feels to be relentlessly tormented. I know how it feels to constantly be anxious at school and at home, to feel like you’ll never fit in, like no one will ever understand you. And like you will never find someone who will love you. Writing Keep Holding On was my way of turning a negative experience into something positive.

I want this book to reach out to teens in need. I want this book to help people feel less alone. If it does, then everything I endured will have been worth it.

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The book description and Susane’s inspiration for writing Keep Holding On can be found on Susane’s website.  Susane has very kindly allowed me to re-post them here.  Thank you Susane.

I’m sure that many people reading this are currently and/or have been bullied, or know someone that is/has been bullied.  Bulling is a very serious matter and can have devastating and tragic consequences.  I think the topic of bullying is one that needs to be discussed more – it needs more awareness.  I’m so glad that Susane Colasanti has written a novel that shows the effects of bullying.  I think that this is a great way to make teens and young adults, and even adults, more aware about the consequences of being bullied.

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Author bio:  

Susane Colasanti is the author of When It Happens, Take Me There, Waiting for You, Something Like Fate, and So Much Closer. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree from New York University.

Before becoming a full-time author, Susane was a high school science teacher for almost ten years.

As a teenage Jersey girl, she felt like her true home was across the water in New York City. She now lives in the West Village.

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More information about Susane Colasanti:

goodreads ~ website ~ blog ~ facebook ~ twitter