Tag Archives: romance

Dare You To by Katie McGarry

25 May


Dare You To

author : katie mcgarry

pages : 462

memorable quote : Beth feels likes this storm. Constant and persistent as a whole, but the more I get close and try to clutch the individual drops of rain, the more the water falls out of my hands.

favorite characters :  Beth & Ryan

summary :

Ryan lowers his lips to my ear. “Dance with me, Beth.”

“No.” I whisper the reply. I hate him and I hate myself for wanting him to touch me again….

“I dare you…”

If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk’s home life, they’d send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom’s freedom and her own happiness. That’s how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn’t want her and going to a school that doesn’t understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn’t get her, but does….

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can’t tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn’t be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won’t let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all….

review :

I loved Katie McGarry’s book Pushing the Limits that I read it in just two days, so of course I was thrilled to know that I wouldn’t have to wait long to read more of her work. When I heard the it was going to be a ‘sequel’, I was a little wary, because I loved Noah and Echo and their story but thought that it was finished. When I found out that Dare You To was actually a companion and focused on both new and old characters, I refound my enthusiasm and couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book.

I love McGarry’s writing style! She’s wonderful at getting the reader to easily connect with her characters, even if they have their flaws and might not be particularly nice people. Her writing draws you into the story and refuses to let go; this book is a real monster with nearly 500 pages and I flew through it in two days because I was literally setting aside other things that I needed to do simply so that I could get in a few more minutes of reading. Dare You To has so many elements that will interest many different kinds of people, including those who don’t normally read contemporary YA romance.

Yes, that’s right. I usually go for fantasy with my books but I think I’ve found my exception in Katie McGarry because I’ll happily devour any book she decides to put out. She has an exceptional way of making even the most normal, natural settings completely new and interesting.  Obviously I could just gush about this infinitely. ^.^

The characters. How wonderful they are. Especially because the minor and secondary characters actually have fleshed out flaws and personalities and things that make them unique, which so many authors neglect these days and which I always look out for. There are the good guys, the bad, and the ones who just need more time and effort to turn better, all in this novel. I love when it’s complicated and so full of layers that there isn’t a discernable way to draw the line between who is a good person or who’s fundamentally evil.

I was so happy to hear that there will be another companion book, this one featuring Isaiah! I think it’s safe to say I’ll be getting that one as soon as it’s released.

I give Dare You To 5/5 stars. Even if you don’t normally read these kinds of books, you’ll want to give this one a try. I did and now it’s one of my favorites.

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

10 Dec

The Name of the Star

Shades of London #1

author : maureen johnson

pages : [hardcover] 372

memorable quote : “And if we get caught, I will claim I made you go. At gunpoint. I am American. People will assume I’m armed.” 

favorite characters : jo, boo, & rory

summary :

The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it’s the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.

review :


Maybe I just have an obsession with people and ghosts and crimes. One of my favorite series of all time is the Mediator series by Meg Cabot, after all. It’s too bad that I haven’t found enough in YA to satiate this new obsession of mine . . But I’m lucky enough that what I have read of it has been fantastically awesome.

The Name of the Star drew me in immediately, even when there wasn’t much of a plot to go on. The characters were so incredibly interesting and diverse. I love books with little side characters that have as much of a background and interesting personality as one of the main characters. This is one of those books, right from the start, so I knew that I’d be flipping through the pages. Not only that, it isn’t completely character driven, as you could guess because there’s a murderer on the loose. Which is wonderful to read about. Really.

I don’t think that I could gush about this enough. While the book is slowly paced in the beginning and huge plot points were made around the middle of the book (actually almost directly in the middle) I think that I liked it better that way. I liked that everything wasn’t immediately predictable from what I could read on the back cover. That’s why I didn’t include the full description of this from Goodreads because I think that it gives too much away. I much preferred being surprised by everything, because I only went by the summary on the back of the copy I have (the UK version) and it’s just enough to get you thinking. That’s all that is needed for something as filled with plot twists as this!

I really recommend this book. You need to read it, now. It’s easily one of my favorite books of the year and I’m so, so glad that there is going to be a sequel! I can’t wait!!

Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake

11 Nov

Girl of Nightmares

Anna #2
Book 1: Anna Dressed in Blood

pages : [hardcover] 332

memorable quote : “Jesus. I have become the thing they call the third wheel.” 

favorite characters: anna & cas

summary :

It’s been months since the ghost of Anna Korlov opened a door to Hell in her basement and disappeared into it, but ghost-hunter Cas Lowood can’t move on.

His friends remind him that Anna sacrificed herself so that Cas could live—not walk around half dead. He knows they’re right, but in Cas’s eyes, no living girl he meets can compare to the dead girl he fell in love with.

Now he’s seeing Anna everywhere: sometimes when he’s asleep and sometimes in waking nightmares. But something is very wrong…these aren’t just daydreams. Anna seems tortured, torn apart in new and ever more gruesome ways every time she appears.

Cas doesn’t know what happened to Anna when she disappeared into Hell, but he knows she doesn’t deserve whatever is happening to her now. Anna saved Cas more than once, and it’s time for him to return the favor.


I think this and Anna Dressed in Blood are some of the first YA horror books I’ve read. I think I can recall reading one or two others that I’ve read and liked immensely, before I started blogging, but I never really got into the genre. I’m thinking that I’m going to start reading more in this vein (I’ve already checked out another horror book from the library!) and I’m so thankful that a book like this can inspire me to read more. That’s when I know I’ve found something even more wonderful than a favorite novel.

I like the way that the story is told, simply yet with a lyrical quality that lends to the feeling that I’m reading an extended ghost story. Something that might be told late at night or around the campfire . . If there were time to get through over three hundred pages of the stuff. Some of the things in here are truly terrifying and I loved that, thinking that the possibility of scaring myself just made it more exciting.

The ending . . I think that it was perfect. To whoever is worried about how this might resolve, think again and pick up this book without any reservations. It made me laugh, made me want more, made me cry . . It made me feel so much more than I expected from a book that I just wanted to scare me. This is better than a simple ghost story. It’s one that speaks of love and friendship and the strength it takes to learn just how meaningful each can be.

5/5 stars

My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent

6 Sep

My Soul to Take

Soul Screamers #1

Book 0.5: My Soul to Lose
Book  2 : My Soul to Save

Author : rachel vincent

pages : [paperback] 279

memorable quote : The worst memories stick with us, while the nice ones always seem to slip through our fingers.

favorite characters : emma & kaylee

summary :

She doesn’t see dead people. She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.

Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who’ll be next.

review :

And I thought the prequel was interesting! This novel really pulls you into Kaylee’s world, making you wonder how you would handle things if you had the uncontrollable urge to shriek every time someone around you was about to die. Thankfully I don’t have much experience with that, but with Kaylee it’s getting more and more common.

While I really liked all of these characters, at first I didn’t understand Nash. He’s a jock, a popular guy, one who’s had a lot of girls. Kaylee knows this. And all of a sudden he takes an interest in her when he’s ignored her all of these years. While most of this is explained later (thankfully! so don’t let it deter you) Kaylee only thinks to question it in passing and then take it as it is. And it’s kind of obvious that he’s keeping something from her . . Wouldn’t she try harder to find out what it is?

I can already tell that I’m going to love this series so, so much! The concept of it is amazing and like nothing I’ve read before. It’s interesting, well thought out, and definitely well written! All around a win for me. I definitely recommend this for all fans of YA books because this takes a topic that could border on something generic and makes it new, fresh, and interesting. I love not knowing what else might be around the corner!

5/5 stars

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

8 Aug

This Lullaby

author : Sarah Dessen [also wrote: That Summer, Along for the Ride, Lock and Key,
What Happened to Goodbye and The Truth About Forever]

pages : [paperback] 345

memorable quote :

“Wherever you will go,
I will let you down,
But this lullaby goes on.”

favorite characters : dexter & remy

summary :

When it comes to relationships, Remy doesn’t mess around. After all, she’s learned all there is to know from her mother, who’s currently working on husband number five. But there’s something about Dexter that seems to defy all of Remy’s rules. He certainly doesn’t seem like Mr. Right. For some reason, however, Remy just can’t seem to shake him. Could it be that Remy’s starting to understand what those love songs are all about?

review :

I love Sarah Dessen and her books! This is a reread for me, but I’d completely forgotten everything about the plot and characters apart from what I saw on the back of the book. That’s what I like about these novels; I can return to them time and time again with a fresh outlook, the newest version of me, and still take something great away from it.

Above all else, I love the characters. Remy doesn’t think that love exists, she’s convinced most of her friends of this, and when she might start changing, she stops that right in its tracks. Dexter is just as stubbornly set in his personality, two parts goofy, two parts sweet, all parts clumsy. For the most part they’re complete opposites and I love seeing characters like that clashing in books like this.

While there was nothing spectacularly original about the setting, I’m still loving the fact that all of Sarah Dessen’s books intertwine. I like looking for the little similarities and seeing what might be the same as something in another book or what background character might play the starring role in another book. It’s like a young adult scavenger hunt.

While I don’t think that This Lullaby is my favorite Sarah Dessen novel, it’s still one of the top ones and I love it so, so much. I think now it’s a given for me to read at least one of her books during the summer. Although it does have the typical romance that usually fills such books, it also has a more serious note, isn’t such a lighthearted story, and bears a great message within its pages.

5/5 stars

Gilt by Katherine Longshore

20 May


Katherine Longshore

pages: [hardcover]: 398

favorite characters:
kitty & cat


In the court of King Henry VIII, nothing is free–
and love comes at the highest price of all.

When Kitty Tylney’s best friend, Catherine Howard, worms her way into King Henry VIII’s heart and brings Kitty to court, she’s thrust into a world filled with fabulous gowns, sparkling jewels, and elegant parties. No longer stuck in Cat’s shadow, Kitty’s now caught between two men–the object of her affection and the object of her desire. But court is also full of secrets, lies, and sordid affairs, and as Kitty witnesses Cat’s meteoric rise and fall as queen, she must figure out how to keep being a good friend when the price of telling the truth could literally be her head.


Gilt is a historical young adult book filled with danger, intrigue, and endless drama. Kitty finds herself keeping secrets that anyone could lose their head over-literally. I was immediately wrapped up in learning about the 16th century class system, where most people would do anything to advance their status. This book shows just how insignificant a woman’s role was in that time and also how easily those in power can lose favor with the king. I came into this knowing nothing extra about the historical bacjground and now want to read even more about this time period. With wonderful descriptions of the setting, dialogue that is both as to the point and cutthroat as the class system, and a well defined cast of characters, Gilt is a book that I will turn back to again and again. It has everything a person could want in a historical novel: kings and queens, romance, suspense, and an ending that you’ll never forget.

This review is also posted over at i heart daily, an amazing daily newsletter that features a different amazing thing every day.

Gone, Gone, Gone by Hannah Moskowitz

14 May

Gone, Gone, Gone

Hannah Moskowitz

Pages: 288

memorable quote:

favorite characters:
lio & craig


In the wake of the post-9/11 sniper shootings, fragile love finds a stronghold in this intense, romantic novel from the author of Break and Invincible Summer.

It’s a year after 9/11. Sniper shootings throughout the D.C. area have everyone on edge and trying to make sense of these random acts of violence. Meanwhile, Craig and Lio are just trying to make sense of their lives. Craig’s crushing on quiet, distant Lio, and preoccupied with what it meant when Lio kissed him…and if he’ll do it again…and if kissing Lio will help him finally get over his ex-boyfriend, Cody. Lio feels most alive when he’s with Craig. He forgets about his broken family, his dead brother, and the messed up world. But being with Craig means being vulnerable…and Lio will have to decide whether love is worth the risk.

This intense, romantic novel from the author of Break and Invincible Summer is a poignant look at what it is to feel needed, connected, and alive.


This is my first Hannah Moskowitz novel and I can’t wait to look at her other two novels, which look positively fabulous. I’ve already fallen in love with her wonderful writing style, ability to draw forth her characters and present them for better or for worse, and accomplishments in twisting a plot into something both moving, suspenseful, and addictive.

Lio and Craig were awesome and frustrating and unique and full of problems and quirks and little things that made them them. I like it when characters are out of the ordinary and express them in ways that people would normally steer away from, like Lio with his hair and Craig with his animals. I loved how each was obsessed with their respective thing for their own personal reasons. Random traits weren’t just thrown at them in an attempt to make them better. They just were.

 I think the pacing could have worked better for me because there were moments when I was so drawn into the story I couldn’t pull away and others where I was sitting back, itching for something else to happen. Everything was in clusters of action, for practically the entirety of the novel, and though most of the time that worked well enough, it needed a bit more . . . oomph.

But, that said, it’s the only negative thing that I can come up with to say, really. All of the important elements were right on target. I don’t usually read LGBTQ material-not by choice, just by fault of availability-but this is one of my favorites. For anyone who is looking to branch into that, enjoys reading it, wants a good book, likes great characters, or wants to fall in love with another author’s writing, this is the book for you.

GOING, GOING, GONE. 4.5/5 stars


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