Monthly Archives: March 2013

Wide Awake by: Shelly Crane

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I just finished Wide Awake by Shelly Crane, but before I start this review, I would like to give a shout-out to Ms. Crane, for being a fighter and finishing this book while she was going through multiple personal struggles. I am so impressed by you and hope that things have been looking up.

Photo Linked to Goodreads

Photo Linked to Goodreads

 

Here’s the description from Goodreads:

A girl.
A coma.
A life she can’t remember.

When Emma Walker wakes up in the hospital with no knowledge of how she got there, she learns that she’s been in a coma for six months. Strangers show up and claim to be her parents, but she can’t remember them. She can’t remember anyone. Not her friends, not even her boyfriend. Even though she can’t remember, everyone wants her to just pick up where she left off, but what she learns about the ‘old her’ makes her start to wish she’d never woken up. Her boyfriend breaks up with the new girl he’s dating to be with her, her parents want her to start planning for college, her friends want their leader back, and her physical therapist with the hazel eyes keeps his distance to save his position at the hospital.

Will she ever feel like she recognizes the girl in the mirror?

 

Now, on to the review (Caution: fangirling ahead):

This book had a little different feel to it than Ms. Crane’s other books. It was a little, not necessarily darker, but deeper, maybe? Heavier? I’m not exactly sure what word I would use to describe it, but it took me a little by surprise. Not in a bad way, just in an unexpected way.

As always, Ms. Crane has written an excellent story. The characters were real and dealt with real, if extreme, troubles. I think that, even though most people do not go into a coma and lose their memories, most people can relate to this story. This is the story of a girl trying to figure out who she is and what her place is, both in her family and in her world. Everyone has expectations for her and she has to look past that and figure out what it is that she wants. The story is relatable, and I know that I thought there was no way that it would be.

The good:

Emma. She is strong, yet caring. She tries to make the people around her happy, but eventually learns that she has to be herself and let people accept her for who she is now, not who she was before. I will be the first to admit that I did NOT like pre-accident Emma. She was shallow and not a nice person, and I felt Emma’s pain right with her as she found out more about this person that everyone was trying to get her to be. I am so glad that she was able to stand up and tell everyone that she couldn’t be who they wanted her to be and that they needed to accept the new her. She was strong and is someone to look up to.

Mason. He was exactly what Emma needed. He was the only one that never pressured her to be anything other than what she was. He has such a caring personality and when his personal demons were revealed, it only made me love him more. He had been dealt a difficult hand in life but was doing his best to live his life and take care of those that depended on him. He is a big softy. He was really great.

The Romance. Emma and Mason took things slow. He wanted to give her time to figure things out and settle back into life before anything happened. Even when they were together, they kissed but not much else. This is a YA book, so that makes sense, but I didn’t miss the “else” anyway. The story was strong and didn’t need other things to keep the reader interested. This is the story of Emma’s recovery first and the romance that she happens to find in the process. It worked. If you’re an adult, don’t let the fact that this is a YA romance turn you off. It worked flawlessly for this story. Also, I loved this quote, it sums up what I’m saying kind of perfectly:

“I’d more than missed him, I needed him. It wasn’t a dependency, it wasn’t a weakness or a failure, he was an addition to my very soul. And I laughed into our kiss as I realized that this was what love was. I could live without him, of course I could, and i could function and get on with my days if he wasn’t here, but I didn’t want to. I wanted him right where he was, in my space and in my life.” – Kindle Location 4174

The book. At the beginning of each chapter is a “Useless Fact.” This was one of my favorite parts of the book. I loved reading all of the stupid things that no one needs to know. At the beginning of the story, Emma found a book of useless facts that Mason had left for her by her bed, and I loved the punch of humor that they added to the story. I highlighted them all as I read, so that if I ever need something to make me smile, I could click through them.

The bad:

There were just a few things that bothered me:

The way her parents treated her throughout most of the book, though they were struggling to understand the new her, so I understood.

Andy. I didn’t like him and I especially didn’t like how his story line ended, but again, I understood for the overall story why it happened that way.

Finally, there were a couple of times when Emma’s mom’s name was spelled Isabelle instead of Isabella and my OCD mind kept freaking out over it. Not a big thing, but nit-picky me got distracted by it.

Overall, this book was excellent, as evidenced by my ramblings on the good and very little on the bad. Ms. Crane has another winner with this book, and I can’t wait to see what she gives us next.

5/5 Dragonflies!

To buy this wonderful book from Amazon, go here.

Caught Up in Us by: Lauren Blakely

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I literally just finished Caught Up in Us by: Lauren Blakely and had to hurry and write this review. Needless to say, I loved it!

Photo Linked to Goodreads

Photo Linked to Goodreads

Here is the Goodreads description:

Five years ago, Kat Harper fell into a dizzying summer romance with her brother’s best friend Bryan. It was a mad, crazy love full of kisses all through the night — but he broke her heart and she had to move on.

Five years later, Kat is finishing her graduate degree and building her business as a jewelry designer, when Bryan, head of his own successful company, walks back into her life. Bryan has been assigned to Kat as her new business mentor and the rules are clear. No hanky panky permitted. That works for both of them. Kat needs to grow her business to help her parents; Bryan needs to run a clean operation after his former business partner’s romantic scandal that rocked his firm.

Kat can handle that because she’s totally over him… right? Except, he still makes her laugh. And he remembers all the things she likes. And he’s more handsome now than he was then. Then there’s the spark between them — the simply undeniable chemistry.

Can they resist each other? Or are they willing to risk everything for a second chance at first love?

I loved this book sooo much! I was not 100% sure what to expect when I started, especially since this was Lauren Blakely’s first book, and it can be questionable how the first one goes, especially when they are self-published, but I totally loved it. I might be gushing a bit, but I cannot really help. It really was that good!

Kat Harper designs a jewelry lined called My Favorite Mistakes. Her first inspiration was Bryan, her first love who broke her heart. She wanted to go all Taylor Swift on him, but all she knows how to do is design jewelry, so that is what she does. I love the concept of commemorating “the road not taken” through the charms. That should really be a thing.

Anyway, Kat is a grad student at NYU, where Bryan also attended, and one of her classes is a mentorship program. A NYU graduate who runs a business mentors one of the students. Kat ends of being partnered with Bryan, and things get interesting.

I do not want to go too much into the story because I do not want to give anything else away, but I will say that Bryan is pretty much perfect. He has the whole sexy businessman thing going, which I personally really like, but he also has a creative side which is super hot. The business he runs makes cufflinks, tie clips and money holders out of recycled parts. Cool right? This also draws a parallel to Kat’s charms which is why their partnership makes sense. Anyway, I really, REALLY liked Bryan and want to pull him out of the book and keep him. In fact, I usually do not highlight on my Kindle when I read, but I loved this Bryan quote and had to share it:

“He does care for her… He always cared for her. He always loved her. He’s madly in love with her. She’s his Love, Actually. She’s his Casablanca. She’s the one he’d stop the bus for, the one he’d run through traffic for, the one he’d drive like a crazy man to the airport for and run through the terminal to stop the plane. Her name’s above the title for him. She’s the opening credit and the closing credit. She’s the love of his life.” – Kindle Location 2200

Swoon, right? Yeah, I pretty much melted into a pile of goo at that one.

5/5 totally in love stars

Looking to buy? Find it on Amazon.

Wait for You by: J. Lynn

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A couple of weeks ago, I took part in the cover reveal for Wait for You by: J. Lynn. You can find that here. Well, I just finished the book and have my review for you.

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Photo Linked to Goodreads

Description:

Some things are worth waiting for…

Traveling thousands of miles from home to enter college is the only way nineteen-year-old Avery Morgansten can escape what happened at the Halloween party five years ago—an event that forever changed her life. All she needs to do is make it to her classes on time, make sure the bracelet on her left wrist stays in place, not draw any attention to herself, and maybe—please God—make a few friends, because surely that would be a nice change of pace. The one thing she didn’t need and never planned on was capturing the attention of the one guy who could shatter the precarious future she’s building for herself.

Some things are worth experiencing…

Cameron Hamilton is six feet and three inches of swoon-worthy hotness, complete with a pair of striking blue eyes and a remarkable ability to make her want things she believed were irrevocably stolen from her. She knows she needs to stay away from him, but Cam is freaking everywhere, with his charm, his witty banter, and that damn dimple that’s just so… so lickable. Getting involved with him is dangerous, but when ignoring the simmering tension that sparks whenever they are around each other becomes impossible, he brings out a side of her she never knew existed.

Some things should never be kept quiet…

But when Avery starts receiving threatening emails and phone calls forcing her to face a past she wants silenced, she has no other choice but to acknowledge that someone is refusing to allow her to let go of that night when everything changed. When the devastating truth comes out, will she resurface this time with one less scar? And can Cam be there to help her or will he be dragged down with her?

And some things are worth fighting for…

My review:

This is kind of a difficult book to write a review for without it being somewhat spoilery. I will do my best, but bear with me because this will have some spoilers in it.

For the most part I really enjoyed this book. It got pretty heavy in parts, heavier than what I normally read, but I thought it was important and worked for the story, and I respect Ms. Armentrout for not glossing over the hard stuff when she was writing this book.

Avery had some serious demons to deal with. I really hate her parents, especially her mom, for how they handled the whole situation. Never. Doubt. Your. Child. Anyway, I liked Avery. I think she did the best she could in the situation she was in, and that getting away was the best thing she could have done. It helped her better come to grips with what happened when she did not have people whispering (or not) behind her back about her wherever she went.

Then there was Cam. Ah, Cam. He really was great, and I loved how he and Avery met. It was super awkward and funny, not to mention different and enjoyable. Throughout the story, Cam could be cocky and full of himself, but he was also charming, attentive, and willing to be whatever Avery needed him to be. He has his own past that, while he has come to terms with it for the most part, he is afraid to share with Avery because he does not want to scare her away. I would love a guy like Cam. He is funny, charming and real. At first, I thought he was a bit too full of himself, especially with some of the lines he used when they first met, but I decided that it was okay and that his other traits balanced out the ego.

Then there were Avery’s friends: Brit and Jacob. They were so fun and I really hope that Brit gets a story. She was going through her own relationship (if you want to call it that) drama throughout the book and I want to see her get a happy ending.

And last, but certainly not least, I cannot leave out the most important character in the story: Raphael! Okay, so he maybe he is not really the most important character in the story, but Raphael is Cam’s pet tortoise and Cam and Avery have some cute bonding moments that revolve around him. So, I was a fan.

If you are looking for a light romance, that is not this book. If you are looking for a story about a girl who is trying to deal with her past and happens across love on her journey, then read this book.

4 Stars

Looking to buy? Find it on Amazon.

Find J. Lynn, AKA Jennifer Lynn Armentrout here.