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ARC Review of “Deeper” By Blue Ashcroft

Deeper

Title: “Deeper”

Author: Blue Ashcroft

Publish Date: 8/3/2013

How I Got a Copy: From NetGalley in exhcange for an honest review

Link To Purchase On Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Deeper-ebook/dp/B00EA1YDLM/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1378386971&sr=1-1&keywords=deeper

Summary From GoodReads:

Rain Wilson isn’t ever going to love again.

It’s a promise she made the day her boyfriend died in a water park accident, one she still blames herself for.  Now she’s a senior lifeguard in a new town with a new pool and she’s just going to keep her head down and everyone safe.

Until a mysterious guy follows her into the waves at the pre-season bonfire and kisses her senseless.  It’s just one mistake, and Rain is determined to put it behind her, until the dark haired, blue eyed hottie turns out to be her new co-supervisor Knight Mcallister. 

Knight is hot, tatted, and carrying baggage of his own.  He’s not happy about having Rain for a co-supervisor, and he’s even less happy about his attraction to her.  

But between lifeguard drama, hot underwater kisses, and a growing attraction between them that can’t be stopped, Knight and Rain are being pulled deeper into their pasts, and realizing that sometimes too much broken can make a relationship impossible.

Then again sometimes it’s the broken parts of us that fit together best.

My Overall Thoughts:

First Of all I have to say that Rain and Knight are awesome character names and had me interested from page one. The way the author started the story really was..hot..and catching – it 100% had me wanting to read more of that – and so I kept reading….

I absolutely have never wanted to be a life guard more in my life, it made it a HOT profession for sure. But I really liked how honest the story was and how real it was about what can happen – that all life guards do deal with serious things, not just looking hot and swimming around in the pool. Blue and Knight both had really tragic things happen to them and it left them both so hesitant to be vulnerable with other people.

So to the story. When I first started reading it, to be honest, the first chapter was catching, but in reality who does that? It was a pretty intimate moment to have with someone you don’t know at a work party who may work under you when the season starts – maybe even a little in appropriate. But all that being said, it kept me turning the pages. When they did discover who they were in relation to the job, I caught myself already silently cheering for them to continue despite the fact they shouldn’t because of their job titles. The interesting thing I think is the fact they they were both so scarred and didn’t want to trust anyone allowed them to have the intimacy with a stranger that night in the water, but it’s also that same tragedy that kept them from wanting anything more when they fully realized who the other person was. The story from there on out was sort of like a yo-yo and I will admit frustrating at some points. I think that some of the back and forth could have been eliminated, but overall I kept rooting for Knight and Rain! I really wanted them to work out, to both get over their demons. The author did a great job throwing in some plot action, while still making it believeable based on the storyline and the context of the story. So, overall I thought it was a fresh and different storyline – it had points that were frustrating but overall I thought all the moments of the book added up to a great overall story.

As far as the life guard portion of the book, I thought it was done really well. The descriptions of events that could happen, of how to save someone, and of actual job duties seemed pretty realistic to me. It’s also a great summer read – being that  it’s based in a summer setting with a water background and with YA working their summer job, so it screams summer beach read to me. It also has a “coined” summer romance.

The Romance – I really enjoyed the romance in this book. It’s hard to find a story that i haven’t seen before in some form or fashion and I haven’t seen one in awhile where both the boy and girl were fighting demons in their own ways. I rooted for them both to overcome those demons in a serious way – and I”ll get more into the characters next but I thought they were written very well. Knight – what a HOT name and Rain is refreshing – like rain.. It definetly says something about the story and not using the cliche story or names. I found that the back story for both characters was real and although intense as to what they experienced, gave the story some meat. Knight is so swoon worthy, he was absolutely my book boyfriend for the time I was reading this – and the understanding he had for Rain and her situation was beyond amazing. I also thought it pointed out that the coping was not healthy and I liked that they both ended up in therapy which is what needed to happen after what they experienced.

The Characters:

Knight —

Knight is just like his name sake, a knight in shining armor – or a shining bathing suit in this case. He was real and wasn’t afraid to admit his fears. I like that the novel was narrated by both characters so you could see what was going on in both of their minds, I think that was really key here to understanding the back story and how it affects them both now. That being said, what Knight experienced was horrific to say the least and while it was different than what Rain experienced, they both had issues being trustworhty or putting their feelings out there for someone else for fear of being hurt. The one thing I did not like about Knight was the way he acted during their small “interval” where they were not together. The whole scene with the two girls in the hot tub seemed kind of… unrealisitic, I mean really? You are single for one day and two girls maul you in a hot tub and offer to basically go all the way – that is not reality. But other than that, I have to say I thought he had layers, was honest, was genuine, and fought for what he wanted – even though it may have taken awhile to realize it. There are some serious swoon worthy quotes from Knight but we will get to those later…

Rain—

I liked Rain’s character. I thought in the begining being inside of her head that she may be a little crazy for not allowing herself to have fun, but that’s really just before i knew why she was not allowing herself that pleasure. Once I knew the whole story, my heart literally broke for her and what she had endured. I mean, seriously — that is one of the worst things I have read happening to a character in a good and long time – and the description – I mean WOW..it gave her serious issues and a real reason to have them. I was frustrated with her at the back and forth with Knight and how she kept denying what she wanted even though he was fighting so hard for her — but in the end I love the way it played out. I love that she realized what she wanted and I really love that they both did what they needed to do to get healthy.

The Other Characters—

While there were other back story characters and some played a role in the story that was important, the two most important characters I think were the exes who you never even really got to meet, but I think these are crucial characters because they made the lead characters who they are today – seeing Knight’s girlfriend’s pain over what happened and hearing how adored Rain was by her crush made me feel something for these characters, even though they were not directly in the storyline. I think the author did a great job with all the characters and blending them to make a real story.

My Take-Away:

Read it. I give this story 4/5 stars. It was one I requested, and then was not sure about, but I’m super glad I did pick it up and read it. It was different, and real – and although dark at some points, it was a great read. Again, even though it’s dark I think it’s a great beach read.

Romance and love obviously are the overall themes and what girl does not love that! I also loved how the story was narrated by both main characters so you got to see into both of their brains, as they were thinking and worrying over what was happening. Seeing this insight made a huge difference for me, and really helped me to understand both characters. The storyline and back story was realistic and believeable. I wouldn’t say this is a re-reader, but I would say check it out for sure! Right now it’s only $2.99 on Kindle – so check my link above and get it today – great story for a great price! Get it today while it’s still warm, and enjoy what may be your last summer read for this year — Or wait until the winter and enjoy while it’s freezing outside thinking of next summer already! Most importantly enjoy it – the characters and story and characters will lure you in so be prepared to do some reading, I read it cover to cover in 3 days so be ready for a true page turner here!

The Quotes:

“I’m a lifeguard.  A head lifeguard, and if he thinks I’m going to fall for the superhero act he probably lays out for most women he’s wrong.  I know the water like I know air.  I can’t be hurt here, and I can’t be saved here either.” ~ Rain

“I want to make her burn forever.  I want to stay here with her until the sun sets over us, painting the world in dramatic, beautiful colors.  I want everything, and I want it from a girl who has already told me her limits.” ~Knight

—–

I don’t want to give too much away, so I’ll end there, but I can tell you there are more swoon worthy quotes from Knight and from Rain for that matter – so check it out!

Happy Reading!

Kelley

 

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Pondering my choices – ARC Review of “Just Like Fate” by Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young

Just Like Fate

“Just Like Fate”

By: Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young

Publish Date: August 27, 2013

Publishers: Simon Pulse

Where I got the book: Blog Tour – Around the World ARC Tours in exhange for an honest review

Summary of Story:

*Thanks to GoodReads —

Caroline is at a crossroads. Her grandmother is sick, maybe dying. Like the rest of her family, Caroline’s been at Gram’s bedside since her stroke. With the pressure building, all Caroline wants to do is escape–both her family and the reality of Gram’s failing health. So when Caroline’s best friend offers to take her to a party one fateful Friday night, she must choose: stay by Gram’s side, or go to the party and live her life.

The consequence of this one decision will split Caroline’s fate into two separate paths–and she’s about to live them both.

Friendships are tested and family drama hits an all-new high as Caroline attempts to rebuild old relationships, and even make a few new ones. If she stays, her longtime crush, Joel, might finally notice her, but if she goes, Chris, the charming college boy, might prove to be everything she’s ever wanted.

Though there are two distinct ways for her fate to unfold, there is only one happy ending…

What I Thought:

Wow – That’s what crossed my mind as the last few pages went by.. I read this book in one evening – sitting down at one time without moving – or a bathroom break – or a drink.. Amazing.  I was super excited about it immediately because I love Suzanne Young – “The Program” is another one of my top reads this year and this did not let me down – in fact it is making me want to track down anything Cat Patrick has written too – loved the writing! I really enjoyed that even thought it was written by 2 authors it was seamless and flowed..amazing work!

Now that I’m done gushing – you obviously have an idea how this review will go – let’s get down to why I love it…

Have you ever thought about your choices – those pivotal moments which may not have seemed that important at the time – but now sometimes you wonder if you had chosen differently what the outcome would have been?  I have..and I bet you have too. One split second decision changed everything for Caroline – it led her down 2 vastly different pasts and through different struggles.  I was not sure how I would like the alternating chapters here, but the “go” and “stay” chapters were so intune that I could easily follow both paths without difficulty.  The story gets you or me at least in the first 20 pages. It starts out with Caroline losing her rock, her Grandmother and the raw emotion and just…sorrow hit me to the core.  I lived with my Grandparents when I was young too and in some ways they were my second parents. My Grandfather passed away 2 years ago and I can still remember the day my husband told me he was gone – it’s like the wind was knocked out of me – my entire life changed. I knew someone who had been my rock was gone, and nothing would be the same. So seeing Caroline at this crossroads was very personal to me- maybe that’s why I loved this story so much because I could see myself there, but it was amazing writing.  Anyway, Caroline makes a split second decision the last night of her Grandmother’s life – and there the real story begins – the two paths start.

The storys intertwined through her life during the same period of time after her Grandmother is gone showing both perspectives. It has internal conflicts – both paths present struggles for Caroline.  It has family dynamics that are real – and realistic. No one is perfect – it shows how everyone is somehow flawed. There was a sister drama, an older adoring brother, and a divorce that rattled the family unit to the core – and left everyone raw.  Caroline also had a best friend and it showed that dynamic and last and best of all – it was a love story. You follow her lives through these different paths and you see her have completely different relationships with 2 boys —

Caroline grows through the book.  As weak as she thinks she is and how she might feel like she “runs” – let’s face it we all do this, and I enjoyed watching her change – watching her learn from what she was going through and really thinking about her choices after that one fateful evening.  One of the boys, Chris, can be described as the boy next door – the perfect first love – the kind of love (which didn’t seem cheesy at all -seriously!) that leads to a lifetime of love.  My husband and I have this and seeing it on the pages again, just felt right to me. In the other path she gets to be with the guy of her dreams, Joel.  He’s her highschool crush, the bad boy to some extent. Both relationships are so different- like night and day. The loves are so different – or maybe there is one love story and one “like” story is how I would put it.

The concept of the story is just amazing – the thought of fate, consequence, destiny, and free will – the course of our lives. I love how the authors connected all the stories with the characters woven in and out – from her strained relationship with her sister Natalie – to both boys. They all cross the same path at any given time – but in very different ways to some extent. All the important stuff came to be no matter which path she took – which gave the big “moments” that much more meaning to me. Two guys, two feelings – two very different realtionships but they all intertwine and despite it all one guy wins her heart in full – for good.  I will not spoil anything, but I can tell you that by the end I was dying to know the end, and when I got there I was beyond happy – I actually thought it was perfect. i don’t know I could have written it better if they wrote the book just for me.  I usually go onto a character section here, but I really want you to see for yourself – so lets’ cut to the meat – what rating would I give? What’s my “overall” opinion?

Overall Thought:

“Just Like Fate” is an amazing story. It has love, family dynamics, character self growth, friendship, loss, and everything in between. It shows feelings in a real way – and dealt with in realistic ways.  It absolutely does not paint characters in a white picket “view” – and I almost always like the flawed characters ten times more than the perfect ones.  Caroline grows, learns..and in the end walks away a different and better person.  For a YA novel, I thought it was “deep” – it left this adult thinking for a full 24 hours after and even though I’ve read it – I know I will buy this the day it comes out and read it agian – it’s that type of story – you know what I mean (or maybe not and I sound nuts right now..) but it’s the type of story to me that I will learn something different from everytime.  So on my rating scale it gets the 5/5 sunshines, 5/5 stars – best book in the year title – with ease.. Amazing – best way to describe it. Emotional and real and amazing. Patrick and Young really showed their “goods”. They took such a serious subject and dissected it to make sense and really make it real for almost anyone who reads this – and that is not easy to do. I highly suggest that you pre-order now – like this minute. Or – at least go to the store on August 27th and buy it, block out hours and read it. If it doesn’t blow you away – come tell me why – I want to hear it.  It’s that great.

Well – I’ll let it end there, I really don’t want to spoil anything for you – so let’s check out a few amazing quotes before we adjourn this review:

Amazing Quotes:

#1

“I see all of us, heading to watch a band I’ve been obsessed with forever, out on a Friday night, young and alive.  I see me with the guy I;ve pined for since beore I was in a training bra and spending quality time with the sister I lost for so long. On paper, it’s perfect.

But the thing about paper is: it burns.”

#2

“I straighten and his hand falls away.  I think about that statement, that he can love me and be angry, and I realize that I never thought of it that way.  All the time I spent feeling like my family hated me, was disappointmented in me – they still love me.  I was too stubborn—scared—to see it.  I’ve wasted so much time.”

#3

“It’s not your fault,” I whisper near his ear.  “So stop blaming yourself.”  I think about how I felt after Gram died, how I wihsed I could have done it differently.  But you can’t live with guilt.  You can’t let it take everything that’s you.”

#4 and last – lyrics from a Electric Freakshow song “Magnets for Fate” – and hey if you are reading this — is that a real band? If so, i want this song – but i can’t find it anywhere so either it’s awesome and I’m searching very badly or I’m stalking the internet for a fake band… So if you do know – help me out here!

No trees in sight, just concrete

Still I see

Two roads twist in turn in front of me

No signs, but screams

Which ways’ reality?

 

So you choose; yeah, you choose

Maybe you lose

The sidewalk paved in hitches

Broken hearts not fixed by stitches

But morning’s coming soon

 

No right in sight, just questions

And you find

There is no map to Mecca

It’s just life

No right answer; perfect marks

It’s not big deal; it’s just your heart

Falling stars and lighting sparks

This will only sting a bit

 

We are all just

Magnets for fate

Stumbling, skipping, running at our pace

Making choices, losing voices

Making wishes for forgiveness

But morning’s coming soon

 

And no matter where you sit, how fast you sip

The coffee tastes the same on magnet lips

 

“Magnets for Fate”

Electric freakshow

Well that’s all folks – hope you got out and read and enjoy – let me know what you think.. I want to hear from YOU!

Kelley

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ARC Review of “Wild Cards” By Simone Elkeles

Wild Cards (Wild Cards, #1)“Wild Cards” by Simone Elkeles

Published by:

Publish Date: 10/1/2013

How I got the book: I got this book from an ARC Tour Site – Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for an honest review

What It’s About:

*Courtesy of GoodReads

After getting kicked out of boarding school, bad boy Derek Fitzpatrick has no choice but to live with his ditzy stepmother while his military dad is deployed. Things quickly go from bad to worse when he finds out she plans to move them back to her childhood home in Illinois. Derek’s counting the days before he can be on his own, and the last thing he needs is to get involved with someone else’s family drama.

Ashtyn Parker knows one thing for certain–people you care about leave without a backward glance. A football scholarship would finally give her the chance to leave. So she pours everything into winning a state championship, until her boyfriend and star quarterback betrays them all by joining their rival team. Ashtyn needs a new game plan, but it requires trusting Derek—someone she barely knows, someone born to break the rules. Is she willing to put her heart on the line to try and win it all?

What I thought:

When I saw this book, I knew instantly I wanted to get it asap and read and review for my blog.  I have never read anything by this author, but I’ve seen so many good reviews on her previous work so I was excited to check it out for myself and I always love firsts in a series because I know there is more to tell!  When I started this book, it did start out a little slow – but i really enjoyed seeing the story in “360” – so from both sides. I loved seeing the different interactions and what plays out inbetween for both of the characters. The story was based on amazing characters and it absolutely sucked me in once I got going.  The story was smart, flirty, and fun. I was really drawn to this book specifically  because I really enjoy strong female characters. While both characters had their own flaws, I really loved that Ashtyn was a strong female and how cool was it that she was the kicker for her highschool football team – and captain – and girly – and talented – Can you say awesome?? Not that Derek wasn’t smart, hot, and talented himself but we will get more into that in the character review. I thought the storyline was genuine and not unrealistic — I hate nothing more than a story that is so much of a story i can’t even imagine in my mind this in real life, and this book was very real to me – I thought the story was natural and flowed well – nothing forced or…inconsistent. Basically, I thought the story rocked. Let’s talk about the characters and the romance that sizzed off the page from the first time they met!

The Characters:

Ashtyn is the bada** girl captain of her awesome football team. She’s an amazing kicker, girly, fun, and strong minded – Eckeles definetly knew what she was doing when she wrote this character. Derek is also without exception – deep. He is smart, funny, hot, talented, loyal, and has a good heart. This guy gave up football because he thought he let his Mom down – a teenage guy who loved it more than anything – to punish himself – SWOON! Both characters absolutely suffered from trust issues and honestly struggled with allowing themselves to be happy to some extent. Derek and Ashtyn both refused to allow themselves happiness because they blamed themselves for something out of their control. I loved watching them both work through the trust and just general relationship “learning” as they grew in the story. I loved that Derek was loyal to Ashtyn from day one (even though he might not want to admit that). One of my favorite scenes is the begining where he gets the FB photo of the guys who TP’d Ashtyn’s house in the first few chapters (if you read you will know what I’m talking about) – to me this was both funny and showed his big heart and loyalty – even to someone who was basically –a jerk to hiim.  To say that these two had some romance would be an understatment – I’m surprised the book didn’t combust while I was reading it – it was sizzing! One thing I will praise Eckeles for is writing the romance to be hot/steamy – but still appropriate and not “erotic”. Her kissing scenes and the make out moments were amazing! I love a story that makes you reminiss back to your life at that point – and this did that for me. I loved football games on Friday nights and those “make out” sessions when you could steal a moment alone. I really loved their road trip too – just them getting to know each other. Now, I did have some frustrating moments witht the book, at times i did want to tell Derek to “man up!”. But I digress – and I don’t really want to spoil anything so I’ll get to my overall review now!

My Take-Away Thoughts:

Read this – get it – read it maybe again – and wait for the sequel to come out. I haven’t read anything by Eckeles, as I said before, but I will be reading her work now. I am alreaday looking forward to checking out some of her other stuff now and cannot wait to read this sequel too – when can we expect that?? If you know – share!  The story linked both narrators in a cool way allowing you to see the full story. The main characters and support characters for that point had depth and were full. The story was as funny and real as it was hot and steamy! Overall, I give this a 5/5 review – so I highly reccommend it! If you like steamy, hot, sweet, real romances – check it out. And I also think that it’s a great summer read, while it’s not “deep” with issues, it does have depth to it, a perfect mix (if you know what I mean..).

Overall, I really enjoyed – so get out there and give it a try. Mark your calenders for October 1st and check this out – or pre-order now on Amazon!

Before I go, I have one last thing – AWESOME quotes!! Check them out below and let me know what you think – are you excited to read?? Love feedback!

Awesome Quotes:

“I never believed in love at first sight, until I met Derek. Its all consuming and delicious and wonderful and exciting.  At the same time, it makes me nervous and self-conscious and emotional.  Love exists.  I know it does, because I’m madly, deeply, hopelessly, in love.”

*Swoon – right?? So sweet.. the Love Exists — wow.. Sometimes you get profound stuff from the strangest places and this fun teen romance really hit home for me with that..

“I look at my grandmother and for the first time since my mom died I realize what I want.  I want to be there for Julian and Brandi, the family I never knew I wanted.  I want to be close to my grandmother even though she drives me nuts.  I want to show Ashtyn what it means to be loved unconditionally- because she’s the only girl I want to be with and I don’t ever want her to feel alone again.” – *Again – SWOON!

“Ashtyn Parker, I’d do anything for you.” He cups my head in his hands and leans in close.  “I love you.”

Well that’s it for me folks – hope you enjoyed and love to hear feedback!

Happy Tuesday!

Kelley

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