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Book Review: “How We Fall” by Kate Brauning

imageTitle: How We Fall

Author: Kate Brauning

Genre: YA & Teens, Contemporary, Romance

Publisher: Merit Press

Release Date: November 3, 2014

Pages: 304

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Ever since Jackie moved to her uncle’s sleepy farming town, she’s been flirting way too much—and with her own cousin, Marcus.

Her friendship with him has turned into something she can’t control, and he’s the reason Jackie lost track of her best friend, Ellie, who left for…no one knows where. Now Ellie has been missing for months, and the police, fearing the worst, are searching for her body. Swamped with guilt and the knowledge that acting on her love for Marcus would tear their families apart, Jackie pushes her cousin away. The plan is to fall out of love, and, just as she hoped he would, Marcus falls for the new girl in town. But something isn’t right about this stranger, and Jackie’s suspicions about the new girl’s secrets only drive the wedge deeper between Jackie and Marcus—and deepens Jackie’s despair.

Then Marcus is forced to pay the price for someone else’s lies as the mystery around Ellie’s disappearance starts to become horribly clear. Jackie has to face terrible choices. Can she leave her first love behind, and can she go on living with the fact that she failed her best friend?


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Received a copy from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. I wasn’t quite sure if I was going to enjoy HOW WE FALL based on the fact that this story at first glance is a YA romance about first cousins who fall in love… Uh…

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That being said, this turned out to be a surprisingly enjoyable and extremely compelling story. An ultra quick-read and a serious page turner. I had to see how this one ended before I could go to sleep. I struggled to accept the romance almost as much as the two main characters struggled with their feelings for each other. But by the end I was rooting hard for these two kids to find a way to make it work. This was an extremely honest exploration of forbidden romance. LOTS of feels!

I particularly appreciated the suspense/mystery element of the story. It helped add balance to the plot and added some nice layers to an already complex piece. The theme of forbidden relationships was strong in this one.

Well done Kate Brauning. You managed to tackle an extremely difficult and obviously taboo subject with grace and humor. I’m still a little confused by my feelings after reading this book. But I kind of think that’s what the author was going for. Definitely worth a read.

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Book Review: “Sway” by Kat Spears

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Title: Sway

Author: Kat Spears

Genre: Teens & YA, Contemporary, Romance

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Release Date: September 16, 2014

Pages: 320

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In Kat Spears’s hilarious and often poignant debut, high school senior Jesse Alderman, or “Sway,” as he’s known, could sell hell to a bishop. He also specializes in getting things people want—-term papers, a date with the prom queen, fake IDs. He has few close friends and he never EVER lets emotions get in the way. For Jesse, life is simply a series of business transactions.

But when Ken Foster, captain of the football team, leading candidate for homecoming king, and all-around jerk, hires Jesse to help him win the heart of the angelic Bridget Smalley, Jesse finds himself feeling all sorts of things. While following Bridget and learning the intimate details of her life, he falls helplessly in love for the very first time. He also finds himself in an accidental friendship with Bridget’s belligerent and self-pitying younger brother who has cerebral palsy. Suddenly, Jesse is visiting old folks at a nursing home in order to run into Bridget, and offering his time to help the less fortunate, all the while developing a bond with this young man who idolizes him. Could the tin man really have a heart after all?

A Cyrano de Bergerac story with a modern twist, Sway is told from Jesse’s point of view with unapologetic truth and biting humor, his observations about the world around him untempered by empathy or compassion—-until Bridget’s presence in his life forces him to confront his quiet devastation over a life-changing event a year earlier and maybe, just maybe, feel something again.


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Received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Sway is an excellent debut novel! I had an extremely hard time putting this one down. Kat Spears managed to take a story that’s been done before (Cyrano) and make it feel completely fresh and fun. I loved the emotional journey Jesse took. Often I don’t feel YA characters actually achieve much growth. Spears nailed it.

Nothing about this story or her characters seemed cliche because she created people who were relatable and seemingly normal (albeit flawed—but aren’t we all?). I experienced every single emotion each of these people felt—it was as if I was in their shoes. Spears gracefully addressed some pretty surprising and emotional issues as well (suicide, disabilities, etc.). I can’t put my finger on why, but the style reminded me a bit of “My So-Called Life,” without the annoying melodrama. Still plenty of juicy drama and feels, but in the BEST way possible!

A truly moving and entertaining look at the hierarchy of high school, relationships and personal influence. Great humor. Lots of heart. Highly recommend!

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Book Review: “Dark Redemption” by Angie Sandro

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Title: Dark Redemption (Dark Paradise #3)

Author: Angie Sandro

Genre: New Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Publisher: Forever Yours (Grand Central Publishing)

Release Date: September 2, 2014

Pages: 384

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From rising star Angie Sandro, a steamy Southern gothic romance that will appeal to fans of Beautiful Creatures … 

Deep in the Louisiana bayou, Mala LaCroix cannot escape the mysterious things she’s seen. Haunted by her otherworldly past, she only wants to hide her special abilities and care for the man she’s come to love. But the dark swamp she calls home holds more than just Mala’s secrets, for a killer is leaving behind ghosts trapped between worlds, hungry for vengeance … 

Landry knows Mala could never turn her back on those in need. It’s part of what attracts him to her. But now that he’s wrestling with his own demons-and losing-he fears that just being near the woman he loves endangers her life. And that traps him in a terrible dilemma: leave Mala alone to catch a murderer by herself or stay close-and risk entangling her in the brutal battle for his very soul.


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Received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. OH EM GEE!!!! Prepare yourself for a wild ride, readers! WHAT an emotional and exciting end to a truly spectacular series. The Dark Paradise Series was honestly the first in a long time I really didn’t want to end. I’m going to be feeling the effects of a serious book hangover for quite some time now…

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Angie Sandro is one to watch. She’s going to be HUGE. Ms. Sandro skillfully tied all three books together with one great twist and turn after another. She managed to maintain the heat and the humor even though Dark Redemption was significantly darker and more intense than the last two. She really knows how keep you on the edge of your seat. She gets you right in the feels. Every. Time. Every single book in this series held its own, got better and built to one hell of a climax. Beautifully done.

Angie Sandro…

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Read my Review for Dark Paradise (Book 1) HERE —>

Read my Review for Dark Sacrifice (Book 2) HERE —>image


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