Monthly Wrap-Up

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: June 2020

Halfway through the year!

I’m really happy I read 7 books this month! Things are still moving slowly, and that’s okay. I’m getting the books read that I need too and enjoying a handful of others. Excited for the second half of the year.

Favorites of the month: Beach Read and Drums of Autumn
Least favorite this month: Dawn till Dusk

  • Time of Ours Lives by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • We Hunt the Flame (Sands of Arawiya #1) by Hafsah Faizal – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Beach Read by Emily Henry – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] The Damned (The Beautiful #1) by Renee Ahdieh – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Dawn till Dusk (Genesis Crystal Saga #1) by Tyffany Hackett and Becky Moynihan – (☆☆ 1/2)
  • My Calamity Jane (The Lady Janies #3) by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows – (☆☆☆)
  • Drums of Autumn (Outlander #4) by Diana Gabaldon – (☆☆☆☆☆)

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Book Review

Book Review: 180 Seconds by Jessica Park

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: New adult contemporary romance
Length: 300 pages
Author: Jessica Park
Publisher: Skyscape
Release Date: April 25th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Some people live their entire lives without changing their perspective. For Allison Dennis, all it takes is 180 seconds…

After a life spent bouncing from one foster home to the next, Allison is determined to keep others at arm’s length. Adopted at sixteen, she knows better than to believe in the permanence of anything. But as she begins her third year in college, she finds it increasingly difficult to disappear into the white noise pouring from her earbuds.

One unsuspecting afternoon, Allison is roped into a social experiment just off campus. Suddenly, she finds herself in front of a crowd, forced to interact with a complete stranger for 180 seconds. Neither she, nor Esben Baylor, the dreamy social media star seated opposite her, is prepared for the outcome.

When time is called, the intensity of the experience overwhelms Allison and Esben in a way that unnerves and electrifies them both. With a push from her oldest friend, Allison embarks on a journey to find out if what she and Esben shared is the real thing—and if she can finally trust in herself, in others, and in love.

OH MY HEART.

Reading this book constantly made me think, this book is going to destroy me, boy was I right. Staying up way too late to finish this was necessary because I NEEDED a happy ending.

I absolutely loved that this book was about a relationship and not as you see typically a book where the characters are moving towards a relationship. Esben and Allison get together pretty quickly into the book and the emotion and moments created behind this made it feel like so much more than insta-love. I felt the connection between them too during their 180 seconds.

Esben is a new book boyfriend. What a man y’all. I loved how passionate and caring he was. Yet alluring and handsome. Could joke and be serious and really kept his priorities in check. The way he treated Allison made me absolutely melt.

Now Simon. WHAT A DAD. If I thought about crying at any point, it was the moments where Allison really let Simon be her Dad. I can only imagine how hard adopting an older girl out of foster care would be and the way that Simon loved Allison made my heart burst. He is one of the BEST book Dads I have ever read.

Allison was an amazing MC. You really saw her character grow and grasp onto the concept of being brave. She slowly learned to let others in while taking her walls down. Even fully understanding that she does have people in her life that will love her always. Allison showed strength and raw humanity dealing with the trials before her.

The reason I took of 1/2 star was because towards the end I felt like a lot of the social media interactions really felt far-fetched and a bit unbelievable. They leaned towards being there purely to push the plot along because otherwise there wasn’t an option. I understood the dynamic, but thought it a bit ridiculous at times.

This is my second Park book, and based on the raving review I gave the last one (Flat-Out Love, pre-blog/Goodreads days) I can’t wait to read more of her titles!

Overall audience notes:

  • New adult contemporary romance
  • Language: some
  • Romance: kisses, make-outs, a spectrum (this phrasing was used in the novel) of moments from kisses to a sex scene, a few love scenes; all little to mild detailed with fade to black, nothing fully explicit
  • Trigger warnings: high levels of anxiety, Ch. 19 – a main character describes finding a sibling after being sexually assaulted/raped (somewhat detailed)

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Book Review

Book Review: Regretting You by Colleen Hoover

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 365 pages
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Release Date: December 10th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author of It Ends with Us comes a poignant novel about family, first love, grief, and betrayal that will touch the hearts of both mothers and daughters.

Morgan Grant and her sixteen-year-old daughter, Clara, would like nothing more than to be nothing alike.

Morgan is determined to prevent her daughter from making the same mistakes she did. By getting pregnant and married way too young, Morgan put her own dreams on hold. Clara doesn’t want to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Her predictable mother doesn’t have a spontaneous bone in her body.

With warring personalities and conflicting goals, Morgan and Clara find it increasingly difficult to coexist. The only person who can bring peace to the household is Chris—Morgan’s husband, Clara’s father, and the family anchor. But that peace is shattered when Chris is involved in a tragic and questionable accident. The heartbreaking and long-lasting consequences will reach far beyond just Morgan and Clara.

While struggling to rebuild everything that crashed around them, Morgan finds comfort in the last person she expects to, and Clara turns to the one boy she’s been forbidden to see. With each passing day, new secrets, resentment, and misunderstandings make mother and daughter fall further apart. So far apart, it might be impossible for them to ever fall back together.

COHO WRECKS MY SOUL AGAIN.

I mean, is this a surprise to anyone? This is why I LOVE her books and can’t help but read them in hours because I must know that at some point all the crap subsides and I get my happy ending.

What’s better even and different from a lot of books is that the endings are yes, “happy,” but I feel more so, optimistic. A lot of drama and true human pain reins through Regretting You. It’s not meant to have some super fluffy, run off into the sunset ending. It’s meant to show the strength of a soul and the power it takes to move on when the hand you’ve been dealt is less than ideal.

I connected the most with Morgan. Being a mother myself it was so hard watching her try to shield Clara from the pain and also try to stand on her own two feet. Morgan wanted more from her life than being at home, but it took that home to give her something more. I loved her perseverance (even when she ran away from confrontation). Morgan gave into her wants and was a little bit selfish, in that, finally do something for yourself, kinda way.

Clara on the other hand, annoyed me at times. Don’t get me wrong, I loved her character too, but ooooo boy did she make some poor choices and have an awful attitude. The more I thought about this though, the more I understood Hoover’s intentions. This is a 16/17 year-old dealing with what might be the most traumatic thing she ever goes through and she’s in HIGH SCHOOL. I can’t imagine how hard that would be and I would probably have a lousy attitude for a bit myself. Now, I still am not happy with some of her choices, but I feel that’s my mom voice talking so I’m going to let it be.

My sweet Miller was such a great addition. The poor guy was stuck in the middle of more crap than I would have ever dealt with and did it so dang gracefully. I loved his tender nature and the strength of his own decisions. Miller is such a sweet cinnamon roll and I could gush about him all day.

I love the raw nature of this book and the traumatic instances it chose to dive deeper into. This is a tough subject to write a book about and I appreciated the way it was done. Was it hard to read at times? YEP. But that’s sometimes what makes the book even more fantastic.

Overall audience notes:

  • New adult contemporary + romance
  • Language: some throughout
  • Romance: Kisses, make-outs with clothing removed, a few love scenes that are light/mild detailed
  • Violence: car wreck
  • Trigger warnings: loss of a loved one, cheating spouse/significant other

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Book Review

Book Review: Confess by Colleen Hoover

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: New adult contemporary romance
Length: 306 pages
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: March 10th, 2015
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Auburn Reed is determined to rebuild her shattered life and she has no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to become deeply attracted to the studio’s enigmatic artist, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a chance and puts her heart in control, only to discover that Owen is hiding a huge secret. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything Auburn loves most, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it—but can she do it?

COHO FOREVER.

I can’t think of a book by Colleen Hoover that doesn’t leave me emotionally distraught but also handing out 5 stars like it’s a meteor shower. I LOVE HER BOOKS. This a back list title of hers I happened to see at a used bookstore and I snatched it so fast and read it even quicker.

The way this romance is written in short time period, and yet feels like the best slow burn makes this book. I love being taken on a journey with these characters and feeling the intensity of their choices and situations.

I can never imagine how more tragic these stories can get until it happens. And yet, it never feels dramatic. There’s such a sense of real life and knowing these characters that make me love this story. Everything feels authentic and honest and I mesmerizingly read this in one sitting because I needed Auburn to have a happy ending at last.

Owen is another enigmatic and swoon worthy romantic interest. He’s filled with such longing for his own happy ending and struggling to cope with his own past. Auburn was intensely brave and an incredibly strong woman. Their connection and drive on their own was amazing, put them together and it’s dynamite.

I feel like I’m struggling to put this review into something fully legible. I JUST LOVE COHO BOOKS. The power and rawness of each story captures me and forces me to think. The ability to create these situations and not make it feel cheesy is the reason I love to read her books. This was another winner.

Overall audience notes:

  • New adult contemporary romance
  • Language: throughout
  • Romance: a mildly detailed scene, a FTB scene
  • Violence: discussion of car wreck
  • Trigger warnings: arrest for possession, pain pill addiction, an abusive relationship (physical, emotional, manipulative and sexual), attempted sexual assault

Instagram || Goodreads