Publisher: Simon & Schuster BfYR

Friday, March 14, 2014

Review: The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

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Review: The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler
The Book of Broken Hearts
Sarah Ockler
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Publication date: May 21st 2013
by Simon Pulse

Jude has learned a lot from her older sisters, but the most important thing is this: The Vargas brothers are notorious heartbreakers. She’s seen the tears and disasters that dating a Vargas boy can cause, and she swore an oath—with candles and a contract and everything—to never have anything to do with one.

Now Jude is the only sister still living at home, and she’s spending the summer helping her ailing father restore his vintage motorcycle—which means hiring a mechanic to help out. Is it Jude’s fault he happens to be cute? And surprisingly sweet? And a Vargas?

Jude tells herself it’s strictly bike business with Emilio. Her sisters will never find out, and Jude can spot those flirty little Vargas tricks a mile away—no way would she fall for them. But Jude’s defenses are crumbling, and if history is destined to repeat itself, she’s speeding toward some serious heartbreak…unless her sisters were wrong?

Jude may have taken an oath, but she’s beginning to think that when it comes to love, some promises might be worth breaking.
-A copy was provided by Simon & Schuster for review-

Stories about Alzheimer’s disease are so heartbreaking. It’s such an evil, merciless disease that you can rarely see coming or do anything to stop it. When it hits so young like Jude’s father, it’s even more of a shock. Yes this is an emotional read, but it’s also full of happy moments, romance, and hope.

The Book of Broken Hearts is both an emotional foray into the effects of Alzheimer’s on a family, as well as a sweet love story. After her father is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s, all Jude wants to do is help him remember his happiest days. She’s hoping against all hope that fixing up his Harley will fix everything and bring him back. Finding someone to fix it on time and affordably is a challenge, though, so she can’t refuse when a Vargas offers, even though she made a pact with her sisters to stay away from that family. A family that has broken two of her sisters’ hearts.

This gives us a sort of forbidden love story where Jude finds herself falling for Emilio, but the pact and her sisters warnings are making her wary. The pact did annoy me just a tad. I felt like her reasons for not giving him a chance were cowardly. It’s unfair that he has to pay for his brothers’ messes, but mostly I felt she was using the pact as an excuse to not put herself out there. On the other hand, I do see where she was coming from. Her family is very close-knit and already dealing with a tragic disease, not wanting to chance more heartache on top of that is understandable. Nevertheless, a romance does bloom and it’s sweet and fun and charged with insecurities stemming from both her conscience and that of new-found love. I appreciated how gradual it progressed, with them slowly opening up to each other. It also balanced the more emotional parts of the story perfectly, while never outright taking over.

With a large family on top of a few additional side characters, there are quite a few faces that we meet throughout. That being said, it impressed me how three dimensional they all were. We get backgrounds for almost all characters that cements their personalities and allows us to understand their motives. I also quite enjoyed the audiobook which was narrated perfectly with authentic accents that really brought them all to life. In addition to character development, the relationships between characters – especially the family dynamics – are full of heart.

Even though it has some heavy emotional content at times, I found it to be an overall refreshing and positive story. It’s about learning to live in the moment; to not dwell on how things were, but to make the best of the hand you are dealt. It’s the kind of book that can easily be recommended to just about anyone.

4 Stars
4 Hot Espressos

Review: Me Since You by Laura Wiess

Review: Me Since You by Laura Wiess

Posted by on 02/13/2014 • 33 Comments

A sad but moving novel; Me Since You is a difficult, yet eye opening journey into the deep, dark abyss of grief.

It doesn’t start out as an emotional train wreck, though, which is something I really appreciated. We get introduced to Rowan as a normal teenager. We see her living a normal life, with the angst and risk that come with teenage antics. There’s also some romance involved that’s refreshingly cute and full of the new-relationship happiness and hope. The tragedy itself only occurs past a quarter through, giving us the opportunity to truly grasp the monumental change that happens to Rowan, the before and after. I loved that we got to know her as a person before she’s stricken by pain. This allows us time to connect…

Review: Waiting by Carol Lynch Williams

Review: Waiting by Carol Lynch Williams

Posted by on 01/29/2014 • 20 Comments

I read two of Carol Lynch Williams’ books last year and I quickly became a fan of her as an author. This year I decided to venture into her verse stuff at the urging of Bekka from Great Imaginations. Since opening myself up to verse novels much more over the holidays I was more open to the idea and I am so happy that Bekka recommended this one to me.

Waiting is the story of London’s life in the aftermath of her brother’s death. The novel starts with a very bleak feel and I felt so sad as we looked in on London’s life. Since her brother’s passing her mother can’t even look at her and her father is never home. There was an intense darkness to the story and…

Waiting on Wednesday (102)

Waiting on Wednesday (102)

Posted by on 12/04/2013 • 35 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.


My pick this week:

At first this blurb sounds like an eye rolling romance story, and then you read the last sentence. Whoa! It’s these kinds of gritty contemporaries that I love!

What are you waiting on, this week?


Review: Darkest Fear by Cate Tiernan

Review: Darkest Fear by Cate Tiernan

Posted by on 11/19/2013 • 23 Comments

From lack of excitement to a protagonist I despised to a very bizarre romantic arc, I was happy to be done with this one. To paint a quick picture: the only interesting part of this book is in the blurb.

Darkest Fear starts with an intriguing Jaguar Shape-shifting lore that, for the most part, is well crafted. The narrative when in Jaguar form is particularly clever. I was certain it was the promising start of an impressive series, especially when only a few chapters in, something monumental happens. Something ominous that proposes an epic mystery to come. However, once this scene passes we get a whole lot of mundane happenings, from Vivi finding a job, to her day to day life, to detailed scenes of her baking various things. How…

Review: Golden by Jessi Kirby

Review: Golden by Jessi Kirby

Posted by on 11/07/2013 • 26 Comments

This was such a beautiful read! I literally had goosebumps when I turned the last page. It’s one of those all encompassing stories that leaves you to ponder your own past experiences, your own hopes and dreams – past, present, and future.

Do you often read back through your diaries or journals and reminisce on your high school days? In Golden, one teacher gives all his students just that opportunity. The class assignment is to fill a journal with everything you’re hoping for yourself, then in 10 years this journal is sent back to you. I loved this idea – almost wishing we had this teacher at our school. It had me both wondering and cringing at what I would have written in there myself. Golden combines a coming-of-age story…

Review: Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano

Review: Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano

Posted by on 09/27/2013 • 22 Comments

Perfect Ruin has a fantastic concept with the same easy flowing writing from DeStefano’s Chemical Garden series. Constrained on this island the size of a fist, we’re taken into the life of Morgan who’s been starting to wonder what’s over the edge. The one thing that is forbidden to all residents of this floating city. Oh did I forget to mention that part? Yes, the city is floating somewhere above earth. This lone city. With people. Living there!

Not only is this place the size of a cracker, but now people are being found dead. Murdered. And not nicely either – if there is such a thing. Not only do I love the fitting name – Perfect Ruin – but this story had me captivated from the get go….

Review: Friday Never Leaving by Vikki Wakefield

Review: Friday Never Leaving by Vikki Wakefield

Posted by on 09/09/2013 • 21 Comments

I’m definitely in the minority here, standing out in a swarm of raving reviews. Don’t get me wrong I did enjoy the book, it’s a GOOD book, but I didn’t love it as much as I expected. It’s also a weird review to write because I can see what’s so great about the book, I understand why it could even be a Printz prize winner, but it was just not the right book at the right time for me.

This book has gotten a lot of love from the Australian release under the name “Friday Brown” as it’s an immensely gritty, literary read with layers of meaning and thought provoking themes. Our protagonist has gone to the streets after losing her mother to cancer. A mother who has told her…