Another Little Piece of My Heart by Tracey Martin

Another Little Piece of My Heart by Tracey MartinClaire comes from a very wealthy family and it is expected that she will be just like her mother and sister–into fashion, shopping, and attending all sorts of events. However, she wants nothing to do with this lifestyle and instead is really into music. In high school, she meets Jared, an extremely talented guitarist and songwriter, and he teaches her to play guitar and they begin to write songs together. When they start dating and Claire brings him home to meet her family, her parents are not at all impressed. They want Claire to be dating a boy destined to go to an Ivy League school, not a boy from the local public school who has no intention of going to college. When Claire’s mother is diagnosed with terminal cancer, she begs Claire to break up with Jared. Since Claire wants to please her dying mother, she does exactly this. What she didn’t expect was that Jared would move to New York, get a record deal, and win a Grammy for the songs he wrote that basically bash his ex-girlfriend.

I really liked this one! It is actually a retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, which I haven’t read but definitely need to. Claire’s parents are the cliche snobby rich parents who are disappointed in their daughter for not being exactly like them, and they immediately think the only reason she is with Jared is to rebel against them. They don’t realize how much she actually cares about him, or how hard it was for her to end their relationship. I appreciated that Claire loved her mother enough to give up Jared for her, but at the same time it was really unfair of her mother to even put her in that situation.

So Jared goes off to New York and basically pulls a Taylor Swift on Claire, which is totally not cool. Instead of listening to her or trying to figure out the real reason behind the breakup, he runs away. They were definitely both at fault–Claire for not explaining what was really going on, and Jared for not listening. And instead of answering her phone calls, Jared writes a bunch of songs about how horrible his ex-girlfriend was and they end up being chart toppers. Right away, I didn’t like Jared because he seemed like a jerk after all of this, but he definitely grew on me throughout the book.

Claire ends up having to spend the summer working at the beach while her family vacations there. When Jared turns up, staying with his friend who is Claire’s cousin’s best friend, the two are thrown together again after everything that happened between them. The two have this whole back and forth thing, going from hating each other to obviously still not being over each other and back again. I really liked Claire’s personality, and the way she would take little jabs at Jared that only he would understand. She definitely doesn’t let him back into her life easily, which is totally understandable.

Overall, Another Little Piece of My Heart was a cute love story that I definitely enjoyed. The ending was a bit lacking, because it ended pretty abruptly and I would’ve liked to have seen more of what happened after.

Another Little Piece of My Heart was released on December 1, 2013.

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The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead

The Fiery Heart by Richelle MeadWARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD FOR PREVIOUS BOOKS IN THE SERIES

Sydney has finally made her decision and has chosen to be with Adrian despite the risk to them both. She has been part of The Alchemists for her entire life, and they absolutely forbid any kind of relationship with Moroi. However, once Sydney realized that the life of an Alchemist may not necessarily be what she wants, she decided to be with Adrian in secret. This is only made harder for her when her sister Zoe shows up, determined to prove what a good Alchemist she can be and pretty much attaching herself to Sydney’s side. Sydney starts to lead a double life–one in which she is the perfect Alchemist, and the other in which she is in love with a vampire.

I was so excited to read this book because the ending of The Indigo Spell was such a shocker. Finally, Sydney admits to her feelings for Adrian and they decide to be together and then Zoe shows up! And then when I heard that this book would also feature Adrian’s point of view I couldn’t wait to read it–he’s been one of my favorite characters since Vampire Academy.

I’ll admit the book started off a bit slow for me, but it definitely picked up towards the middle. I was worried that once Adrian and Sydney were together things would get dull, but Mead did a great job of making sure that didn’t happen. They had plenty of things going on that caused conflict, so it was very hard for their relationship to get boring. They constantly have to hide what is really going on, even from their closest friends, which made it very difficult for them both.

I loved getting Adrian’s perspective in this one. He is such a complex character and I feel like getting his point of view made it easier to understand him a bit more, especially where spirit is concerned. He always comes off as a drunk, but after he stopped drinking in this book it was obvious that the spirit really affects him and numbing himself to it is the only way for him to feel better. Adrian grew a lot in this book, both because of Sydney and because he was able to finally have some confidence in himself.

The ending to this book was even crazier than the last! I definitely did not see it coming, and I don’t know how I will be able to wait for the next book.

Overall, The Fiery Heart was a great addition to the Bloodlines series. There was a lot of character growth and an ending that will definitely change things for both Sydney and Adrian. I can’t wait to read what happens next!

The Fiery Heart was released on November 19, 2013 and is the fourth book in the Bloodlines series. The fifth book, Silver Shadows is set to be released on July 29, 2014.

Four Seconds to Lose by K. A. Tucker

Four Seconds to Lose by K. A. TuckerCain is the owner of Penny’s Palace, a strip club in Miami. Even though he allows girls to dance with their clothes off on his stage, he simultaneously tries to save them from the lives they have been forced into. When Charlie Rourke comes into his club asking for a job however, he finds himself unable to follow his own rule of never getting involved with the staff. Charlie needs money fast so that she can run away from her past. While the thought of stripping makes her sick, she knows it is the only way to earn money quickly so that she can move on. She has no intention of getting involved with anyone, but when she meets Cain, she becomes unable to keep her distance.

This book was slightly different from the other two in the series because it is told from two different perspectives–Cain’s and Charlie’s. I think it worked really well for this story because both of them have secrets that they hide from each other but not from the reader, so we are able to understand the reason for their guardedness.

I was excited to read Cain’s story because while he has appeared in the first two books, he was very briefly in them and there always seemed like there was more to him than meets the eye. He’s not your typical club owner because he tries to protect the girls that work for him and helps them to better themselves outside of work. Charlie is also not what she seems initially–she is forced to leave her home and stepfather in Long Island after an incident and she is sent to Miami for what seemed like a period of time to lay low. However, she soon realizes that her stepfather isn’t the wonderful man she always thought he was and that she needs to run away from the only life she’s ever known.

I loved the romance between Cain and Charlie, especially because Cain made it seem so forbidden. Not only was he her boss, but she also reminded him of a girl he used to love so he tries his best to keep his distance from her. Charlie doesn’t want to get involved with anyone but she is especially wary of getting involved with Cain because she is afraid of what he will think of her if he discovers her secrets. The two try their best to stay away from each other but it proves impossible and ends up threatening both of their lives.

Overall, Four Seconds to Lose was a great third book in a series that I will definitely stick with. I love all of the characters in this series and I am excited to see who the next book will be about.

Four Seconds to Lose was released on November 4, 2013 and is the third book in the Ten Tiny Breaths series.

One Tiny Lie by K. A. Tucker

One Tiny Lie by K. A. TuckerLivie Cleary was always the smart, sensible sister and her sister Kacey was the wild one. But deep down she is desperate to make her parents proud even though they are no longer alive to witness it. She follows her father’s dream for her, going off to Princeton to pursue a career in oncology. But when her sister and her roommate drag her to a party one night, she didn’t expect to get drunk and become infatuated with the best looking guy on campus. Suddenly there is more to life than the future she had mapped out for herself, and she finds herself constantly drawn to a guy who is exactly the opposite of the man she always expected she would marry.

I really liked Livie’s story, and I think I liked it even better than Kacey’s. Livie has always seemed put together on the outside but she actually is still dealing with her parents’ death on the inside. While she has a very different way of dealing it from her sister, it still is not healthy. She is so desperate to fulfill her father’s dream of her going to medical school that she doesn’t even stop to think about what she really wants. When she meets Ashton, she realizes that the life she planned for herself may not be the life she actually wants to live.

I was really able to feel Livie’s conflict and I felt myself going back and forth with my opinion of Ashton right along with her. He comes off as a player and someone who could never get serious with someone like Livie, yet when they are alone he acts like she is the only person he cares for. Half the time he acts like a sweet, caring person and the other half he is being a jerk so, like Livie, I went back and forth between loving him and hating him. What Livie comes to discover though, is that there is more going on in his life than she realized and he may be dealing with just as many things as she is.

Overall, One Tiny Lie was a great story about a girl’s struggle to discover herself. I really loved this one and I liked the fact that Kacey and Trent still made an appearance.

One Tiny Lie was released on June 11, 2013 and is the second book in the Ten Tiny Breaths series.

Crash Into You by Katie McGarry

Crash Into You by Katie McGarryOn the outside, Rachel Young seems like the typical private school rich girl. But on the inside she hides a girl who loves cars more than makeup and racing more than shopping. Rachel keeps her real personality a secret from her parents and brothers, and lets the real Rachel run free when she sneaks out at night to drive her Mustang. When she gets in over her head with a street race, Isaiah Walker helps her out. He is exactly the type of boy her parents would never want her to be involved with–foster kid, tattooed, into street racing–yet she can’t seem to stop thinking about him. When their lives are threatened after  a street race and they are given six weeks to set things right, Isaiah and Rachel must work together to save each other.

I love these books!! It’s so great to be able to read a new story about a character we’ve seen in previous books, and I love how we still get to see what characters like Noah and Echo and Beth are up to. I felt so bad for Isaiah after what happened in Dare You To, and I was so excited to read his story.

Isaiah and Rachel are more similar than they initially think. They both present a certain image on the outside, but in reality they are very different on the inside. Isaiah presents the bad boy look so that other people won’t mess with him, but he is actually trying very hard to do well in school so that he can pass his automotive test and get a good job straight out of high school. Rachel forces herself to act the way her mother would want her to, but it hurts her to be unable to share her true self with her family. The two are able to be their true selves with each other, and they realize that they have more in common than just their love for cars.

I really liked Rachel because she was such an innocent young girl who was completely inexperienced in relationships, and it was fun to see how nervous and excited she became when she got involved with Isaiah. It was also interesting to see how transformed she became when she was behind the wheel of a car. She also has to deal with so many things in secret and it was horrible how sick it made her. Her family was extremely messed up, and didn’t even notice what was happening to Rachel right in front of them. Isaiah was able to give her a sense of freedom from her family, and he helped her realize that she is just as important as the rest of her family and she should not hide herself or do things she doesn’t want to do just to make other people happy.

Overall, Crash Into You was an exciting story with great new characters and a beautiful love story. My favorite new character was definitely Abby and I’m hoping that McGarry will write a story about her one day!

Crash Into You was released today, November 26, 2013 and is the third book in the Pushing the Limits series.

Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Dare You To by Katie McGarry“That must be love: when everything else in the world could implode and you wouldn’t care as long as you had that one person standing beside you.”

Beth Risk is constantly protecting her mother–an alcoholic whose boyfriend beats both her and Beth–because she is afraid that her mother would be sent to jail and Beth would be all alone. When her uncle comes back into her life and tells Beth that she can either come live with him or else he’ll send her mother to jail, Beth is left with no choice but to leave the only home she knows for a place where she doesn’t fit in. Ryan Stone is a popular jock who is the complete opposite of Beth, yet for some reason the two feel drawn together after a dare forces them to cross paths. Beth is hesitant to let Ryan into her life, and to allow herself to trust someone with her secrets.

I loved this book!! At first it kind of had a She’s All That vibe–popular guy’s friends dare him to ask out the loner girl who he then falls for–but the story is so much more than that. Ryan’s life seems perfect from the outside, but the reality is that his brother is no longer allowed to come home and his parents’ marriage is almost nonexistent anymore. His father is the type that pushes him into playing baseball all the time so that he can make it into the majors, but while Ryan loves to play, he also has another talent. Ryan is basically trapped in his life until Beth comes along and helps him to realize that he doesn’t have to live out the life his father dictates for him. What’s great is that Ryan has a really decent group of friends that take Beth in as one of their own.

Beth has a constant need to protect her mother, even though her mother treats her horribly and falls right back into her bad habits. She goes to live with her uncle in his gorgeous new house and gets to go to a good school but she still wants to run away to save her mother. I admired her loyalty to her mother but at the same time I was really angry because a girl her age should not have to take care of her mother the way she did. When Beth meets Ryan she doesn’t believe that he could ever really care about a girl like her who comes from a broken home. It takes a lot for her to finally trust him, and I loved seeing how her walls finally started to come down.

What’s great about this book also is that we still get to see flashes of Noah and Echo from Pushing the Limits. It was great to see what they have been up to and how their lives have changed.

Overall, Dare You To was a great love story that had a lot of depth to the characters. It is not simply a sappy romance but rather a story of two teens with real issues who learn to overcome those issues together. I think this book is my favorite of the series.

Dare You To was released on May 28, 2013 and is the second book in the Pushing the Limits series. The third book, Crash Into You will be released on November 26, 2013.

Breathing Ghosts by Laekan Zea Kemp

Breathing Ghosts by Laekan Zea Kemp“You’re not going to disappear,” I said. “I won’t let you.”

River’s girlfriend Nia was killed in a drive-by shooting meant for her brother. In an instant, he loses the only person who has ever meant anything to him, and he is suddenly lost. All he has left of her is the map she left behind, a map detailing every place she wanted the two of them to travel together. River decides to leave his life behind and follow Nia’s map, in hopes that it will keep her memory alive.

This was such a powerful story. Breathing Ghosts is told in chapters that alternate between present day and memories that River shared with Nia. Through the memories, the reader begins to understand the type of relationship that River and Nia had and the loss that he is truly suffering without her. Nia was so full of life, even though the life she lead was not the most ideal. She seemed to look on the bright side of things and constantly planned a future for River and herself, anxious to get away from reality.

River is very much the opposite of Nia–he is very pessimistic, extremely realistic, and he has no desire to travel and doesn’t understand why Nia plans for something that will never happen. He and Nia come from opposite sides of town and her family does not approve of him. His mother is married to a man who beats her but still protects him over her own son. River doesn’t dare to dream a way out of his situation, yet Nia dreams constantly.

When Nia is killed, it seems to finally wake River up. He decides that he needs to get away from the life he is currently living. He takes Nia’s map and decides to follow it just like she had planned. Along the way, he ends up learning so much more about himself. He meets a pair of siblings who end up hitchhiking along on his trip. The three of them end up on a crazy journey across the country, and help each other to move on from their pasts.

This story was really beautifully written. I loved the alternating chapters because I still felt like I was able to see River and Nia’s relationship grow and progress even though it was in the past. I really enjoyed reading about all of the interesting places that the map lead to and River’s crazy experiences at each stop.  While I didn’t expect the ending, I think it worked really well for the story.

Overall, Breathing Ghosts was a beautifully written novel about dealing with grief. The story was really powerful and I really enjoyed reading it. A big thanks to Laekan Zea Kemp for providing me with a copy of the novel for an honest review!

Breathing Ghosts was released on September 30, 2013 (MY BIRTHDAY!).