Monday, 26 January 2015

Breaking the Rules

Written by: Katie McGarry
Published by: MIRA Ink
Format: Kindle
Pages: 464
Purchase from:  Amazon  |  Book Depository

I wish life could be like this forever,' I say. 'We'd be okay then. We'd forever be okay.' 
For Echo Emerson, a road trip with her boyfriend is the perfect way to spend the last summer between school and college. It's a chance forget all the things that make her so different at home. But most of all, it means almost three months alone with gorgeous Noah Hutchins, the only boy who's never judged her. 
Echo and Noah share everything. But as their pasts come crashing back into their lives, its harder to hide that they come from two very different worlds. And as the summer fades, Echo faces her toughest decision – struggle to face the future together or let her first love go...

My Rating: 4/5

Breaking the Rules is the novella story that follows after Pushing the Limits. I read Pushing the Limits within a day (read my review of it here) and fell completely in love with Noah so I just couldn't wait to get stuck into Breaking the Rules and see how their story continues. Hoping against hope that it would end with a happily ever after that the characters really deserve. The story picks up a couple of weeks where it left off with Echo and Noah coming to the end of their road trip and slightly dreading going back to their normal lives. I was a little apprehensive as Pushing the Limits had set such a high standard that I didn't want to be let down when it came to it. So I was extremely glad when this wasn't the case and I fell right back in love with the characters again.
"It's all good, baby. Sometimes we don't choose the memories, but they choose us."
When it comes to Noah there isn't much that I don't connect with. He had a rough childhood and as a result is loyal to a fault and extremely protective but this was all seen with Pushing the Limits, so when his character started to develop and get a little self doubtful... I was riveted. I couldn't wait to find out how he would approach the difficulties that started to occur and I was constantly wondering if he would ever catch a break. Having said this, because I was so interested in Noah, I did get a little annoyed with Echo and their relationship. To me it seemed to be the same drama and the same selfishness that would not allow their relationship to grow in Pushing the Limits. As a result it was slightly monotonous, it was just the same things over and over and I did start to get a little bored by the events that was transpiring because it seemed to be once again all about Echo. Not that I still didn't like Echo I just couldn't connect with her. 
But I'm Echo before the nightmare that created her myth - a girls I've never understood before this summer, a girl that Noah helped bring to life. I'm playful and I'm free.
There were times that I did get annoyed by the similarities in problems that were both happening in Pushing the Limits and Breaking the Rules, it always came down to the distrusting and immaturity between Echo and Noah. Therefore it felt as though neither had developed as much as I was expecting. This was meant to be the start of their happily ever after but it seemed as they were once again bogged down by their insecurities. Although I did love the difference in Noah's story and how he was dealing with it. And there were times that I was surprised with how Echo was changing. Not to mention I still enjoyed the whole overall story because it had all the little things that I had come to love in Pushing the Limits. I just wanted a little more growth and development of the characters to make me fall in love with it even more.  
The worst type of letting go isn't the kicking or the screaming, because at least then there's enough emotion left to fight. No, the worst type is the silent acceptance. The quietness of the release.
All in all, the series in itself is brilliant in encompassing drama and love for it's characters. It makes you cheer them on for fighting their 'demons' and really pushes you to believe that there is still a happily ever after for everyone they just need a little shove in the right direction. Breaking the Rules is not exactly what I expected for Noah's and Echo's journey but I did love the little surprises, overall determination and love they had for one and other. I would recommend you give it a try before reading the rest of the series because it does give some closer that is needed for the character's relationship.

Breaking the Rules
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Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Pushing the Limits

Written by: Katie McGarry
Published by: MIRA
Format: Kindle
Pages: 392
Purchase from: Amazon  |  Book Depository

They say be a good girl, get good grades, be popular. They know nothing about me.
I can’t remember the night that changed my life. The night I went from popular to loner freak. And my family are determined to keep it that way. They said therapy was supposed to help. They didn't expect Noah. Noah is the dangerous boy my parents warned me about. But the only one who’ll listen. The only one who’ll help me find the truth.

I know every kiss, every promise, every touch is forbidden. But what if finding your destiny means breaking all the rules?


My Rating: 4.5/5

I can't tell you how much I loved this story. I absolutely loved the drama and sweet romance that encompasses everything. Noah and Echo had this insane chemistry from the get go and although I could tell that it was obvious that they would fall in love it didn't stop me from wanting to read about the journey. Pushing the limits is the first book in a standalone series, from Katie McGarry, that follows different couples as they struggle through their problems and fall in love. It sounds very fluffy but there is a lot of deep and meaningful points in the book that make you see how damaged, yet strong, the young characters are and how much they need each other. It was brilliant and had all the qualities that are able to pull you in and keep you gripped.
Luke used to give me butterflies. Noah spawned mutant pterodactyls.
Just like every young adult contemporary you have the misunderstood boy and girl falling in love and pushing against the odds. But what I loved most about this book was the character of Noah. He was so strong and cute yet was hidden by this bad boy persona, which was why I loved how misunderstood and protective he was to the people he cared for. It was just what you needed from the hero of the story. However when it came to Echo there were some things that I did not agree with, I felt that Noah was overshadowed and that Echo was somehow forcing you to like her more. Having said that she was still sarcastic and witty and so strong after what had happened to her, which is definitaly what I look for in a YA contemporary novel because it just adds something to the story. So there was very little that I did not agree with when it came to the characters. I also loved the fact that the book was written in dual perspective so I was able to get a better sense of the characters by diving into both of their minds instead of just of them. 
If you’re scared, tell me. If you need to cry and scream, then do it. And you sure as hell don’t walk away from us because you think it would be better for me.
Overall, Pushing the Limits is a brilliant and heart-wrenching contemporary that mixes young adult fluff with deep and scary issues to bring about and beautiful romance that makes you smile and cry in equal measures. Just when you think things are going smoothly a dip in the road pushes it off its happily ever after and has to work it to get it back on track. It never let me breathe for one second which is the main reason it kept me entirely gripped by its contents. I absolutely loved it and I cannot wait to continue on with the rest of the series.

Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits, #1)
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Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Dare to Kiss

Written by: S.B. Alexander
Format: Kindle
Pages: 325
Purchase from: Amazon

Besides her family, Lacey Robinson’s only other love is baseball. She’s on top of the world when Arizona State University approaches her to discuss a scholarship. To be the first girl ever to grace a college boys’ team is beyond what she has ever dreamed.
Her fastball is impeccable, her curveball equally as good, and her slider annihilates anyone who dares to step in the batter’s box. But fate has its own way of throwing curveballs. When she loses her mother and sister to a home invasion, baseball and her dreams die with them. Tragedy has a way of seeping deep into her psyche, causing nightmares, panic attacks and blackouts. Diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, her psychiatrist recommends a change of scenery and picking up the things that she loved to do, and for Lacey that is baseball.


Her life is further complicated when she meets Kade Maxwell, a tall, sexy and drool-worthy bad boy who has a magical touch that awakens her feminine side and a kiss that slowly erases her nightmares. But getting involved with him may be dangerous when Kade’s archenemy returns to town to settle a vendetta. 
To complicate matters, her PTSD has taken a turn for the worse. She has to find a way to heal otherwise she may not have a chance at anything in life, especially love.


My Rating: 3.5/5

I'm not going to lie, I have been in a major reading slump lately as I was finding it hard to finish books. So when I picked up this one I was hoping that it would be the kind of quick and easy read that would push me out of this slump and give me back my love of reading. I was totally ecstatic when this proved to be true. Dare to Kiss follows Lacey as she stuggles to cope with her PTSD and threats that joining an all boys baseball team produce. It is the first book in the Maxwell series and was a fast paced and fluffy read that completely gripped me so much so that I found it hard to put down. Yes, there were times when I felt that it was a little cheesy and perhaps slightly predictable. Yet I had this encouraging feeling that was pushing me to finish it as I just had to see how it ended.
Forget the tingles. My freaking belly had a thousand butterflies fluttering inside.
As I mentioned before there were times when the story became a little predictable and I did feel that sometimes Lacey would get slightly teen angsty about certain things but none of this took away the cute and fluffy feelings that I was getting from this novel. The story was very fast paced and while there were times when I felt that it would jump from on problem to another or that Lacey and Kade had the cheesy insta love, that is always present in new adult contemporaries, It still didn't take away how much I was enjoying this book.  It was just so easy to get lost in the characters and story. It was just what I needed and I had the strange urge not to put it down, which lead to me reading the book in one sitting.
The one place I loved was now officially my hell.
When it came to the characters within the novel, I couldn't help but love each and every one of them. They all had their problems which made them more realistic and they all had a really strong connection to each other. Yes it did have the predictable bad boy in Kade, but it also had the the broken girl in Lacey. The relationship they had was different to what I had read in these types of books before so I couldn't help but get excited to see how it would change them. I loved the Maxwell brother's bond and how close they were. Not to mention I loved Lacey's relationship with her dad. It was flawed but it showed much more deeper connections and how grief can help connect people but also change people. No one was perfect in the story, they all had their flaws but that just added to drama and made the story a lot darker but also more realistic. It was a unique way to connect the characters and I loved seeing each of them grow throughout it.
"Lace...you know I love you, and I can tolerate some pain...but I do need my fingers."
Overall I really enjoyed this book and it will forever be special to me, just because it helped pull me out of my slump. The characters, while predictable, were the best part because each one showed a deeper meaning then others I have previously read before. The only thing that sorta stumped my love for this book was how it would be a tad over dramatic at times and sometimes jump from one drama to the next. Like there wasn't any time for these characters to be happy. Not to mention the relationship between Lacey and Kade was a little insta-love but then what do you expect from a new adult contemporary. All in all, Dare to Kiss was a highly cheesy but scrumptiously sweet read that make you feel all mushy while also educate you on the troubles of grief and dangers of PTSD. I loved it and will definitely be continuing on with the series to see how the relationship unfolds. 

Dare to Kiss
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Monday, 5 January 2015

My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories

Edited by: Stephanie Perkins
Stories by: Holly Black, Ally Carter, Matt de la Pena, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Stephanie Perkins, Rainbow Rowell, Laini Taylor, Kiersten White
Published by: Macmillan
Pages: 355
Purchase from: Amazon  |  Book Depository

Long cold nights are for falling in love.

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me ...This beautiful collection features twelve gorgeously romantic stories set during the festive period, by some of the most talented and exciting YA authors writing today. The stories are filled with the magic of first love and the magic of the holidays.

My Rating: 4/5

My True Love Gave To Me is a collection of short stories, by many well known young adult writers, that revolve around Christmas and some going into to New Year. I was slightly worried about reading this gorgeously presented book (the cover is one of main things that drew me in) because there was a really high expectation due to the authors within it. I had read and loved many of the different authors stories before, but I do not have a great experience with short stories. I feel as though they always end to early. Having said this, I decided to bite the bullet because it was just too pretty and there was a lot of good hype surrounding it. So I am so relieved that it was so cute and every story was full of Christmas cheer that I couldn't not enjoy every little part of it.
Noel was her very best friend - even if she wasn't his. Noel was her person.
There were a couple of stories that I struggled to finish, just because I couldn't connect with it, but oh wow were there hidden treasures smuggled into the line up. These little treasures I found were mainly from authors I had read before yet I did surprisingly love some of the stories from authors that I personally hadn't heard about. In fact it spurred me on to try and find more books from them so that I could read more of their stories at a later date. They were just that good.
But people don't need to remember how it felt to be happy and safe in the past. They need to have hope that they can get there again in the future.
The Full list of ratings that I would give to each story are as follows:
Midnights by Rainbow Rowell: 5/5
Another genius little story that comes from Rainbow Rowell. Its seriously cute and still has all the witty and quirky, yet still so realistic, characters that are always present within a Rainbow Rowell novel. It was slightly different to the other stories because of the fact that it revolved around New Years instead of Christmas.
The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link: 3/5
I did enjoy this story as it was really different from the others. But I found it really hard to understand what was going on half of the time. It was just a little confusing so I couldn't really keep with the story, no matter how short it was. 
Angels in the Snow by Matt de la Pena: 5/5
I loved, loved, loved this story. I really had no expectations as I had never read anything by Matt de la Pena before so it was really interesting to see his writing style and his characters come forth through a short story. They were really lovely and yet so sad but extremely relateable. Loved it.
Polaris is Where You'll Find Me by Jenny Han: 2/5
I found this story just a little meh. I didn't care about the characters or the story, although the most festive. I mean it was set in santa's workshop and north pole you can't get much more festive than that. It just didn't really grip and entertain me at all. It wasn't anything special so I found it slightly boring.
It's a Yule Tide Miracle Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins: 4/5
Another little gem hidden within this book. It as so cute and sweet and the characters were adorable. Once again Stephanie Perkins has created a perfect little story full of Christmas cheer. 
Your Temporary Santa by David Leviathan: 3.5/5
I had never read anything by david Leviathan but he is one of most want to read authors so I thought this story would be a perfect introduction to his writing and it totally was. I loved his writing style and there was so much meaning in such a little story. The only problem I had was that it had a slightly creepy feel to it, but that was just my interpretation of it.
Krampuslauf by Holly Black: 2/5
I could not get into this story for the life of me. I honestly found myself skim reading it because I was really not interested in it at all. Which is a shame because I have liked Holly Black's other short story which revolved around the Doctor. Yet with this one I just was not bothered.
What The Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth by Gayle Forman: 5/5
Seriously Gayle Forman always writes pure magic. Every single thing I have read from her I have loved so it was no surprise that I fell completely in love with the story no matter how short it was.
Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire: 2/5
Another story that I could not get into. Again I found myself skim reading the story and struggling to finish it because I was just not interested. 
Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White: 4/5
At first I was a little scared to read this because I had never read anything from Kiersten White and after the previous story I was not sure wether I would click with it. But I was totally wrong. It was unique with a subtle hint of magic hidden within the story. The characters were quite deep but extremely relateable and I found myself rooting for their happy ending. 
Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter: 4/5
I used to be a huge fan of Ally Carter and her Gallagher girls story and she was one of the main reasons I picked up this book because I was excited to read something by her again. Let me tell you I was not disapointed the story was unique, even if a little predictable, and yet it didn't focus on romance as much. Instead it focused on family and the importance of it. Seriously epic little story this one is.
The Girl Who Woke The Dreamer by Laini Taylor: 2/5
Again another story that I could not connect with. I found it hard to finish and I really couldn't help but skim read so I think I got a little lost as to what was going on. Which led to me feeling confused but I just was not interested in reading it properly so I could clear up my confusion.
Sometimes I feel like a shook-up bottle of soda. Like, I have all this passion that wants to explode, but I don't know where to aim it yet.
To sum it up, this book is a great little read for around the winter holiday period. It is full of Christmas cheer and doesn't have to be read all in one go. There were many stories that were just perfect and sweet and poured romance. Yet there were also some that were surprising and unique. All in all, My True Love Gave To Me has everything that would entertain you and make you feel all mushy around the Christmas holidays.

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories
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