Publisher: Balzer & Bray


Monday, November 18, 2013

Review: How to Love by Katie Cotugno

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Review: How to Love by Katie Cotugno
How to Love
Katie Cotugno
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult
Publication date: October 1st 2013
by Balzer & Bray

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Before: Reena Montero has loved Sawyer LeGrande for as long as she can remember: as natural as breathing, as endless as time. But he’s never seemed to notice that Reena even exists…until one day, impossibly, he does. Reena and Sawyer fall in messy, complicated love. But then Sawyer disappears from their humid Florida town without a word, leaving a devastated—and pregnant—Reena behind.

After: Almost three years have passed, and there’s a new love in Reena’s life: her daughter, Hannah. Reena’s gotten used to being without Sawyer, and she’s finally getting the hang of this strange, unexpected life. But just as swiftly and suddenly as he disappeared, Sawyer turns up again. Reena doesn’t want anything to do with him, though she’d be lying if she said Sawyer’s being back wasn’t stirring something in her. After everything that’s happened, can Reena really let herself love Sawyer LeGrande again?

In this breathtaking debut, Katie Cotugno weaves together the story of one couple falling in love—twice.
-A copy was provided by HarperCollins for review-

Don’t let my 3 stars sway you against this one. How to Love is a pretty good book for many reasons. First it touches on a subject I personally have not often come across in books – teen pregnancy. I found this was handled realistically and fairly. I also really enjoyed the way it was told in past and present perspectives, allowing us to slowly unravel the messy, emotionally conflicting details of Reena’s relationship with the father of her child – Sawyer. We learn how it started, but most importantly how much it has changed. How much they both have changed. On that note, the reason I did not love this book despite finding it otherwise engaging: Sawyer LeGrande!

To be frank. Sawyer LeGrande is an ass. Since the story alternates from past to present, we’re treated to his “lovely” personality from when he was first with Reena. To be fair he was not in a good place in his life, and he very much changed in the “present” perspective which makes up for it, some. Nevertheless, I had a very hard time forgiving his behavior from the past. Maybe a tiny bit because of my own somewhat similar messed up teenage relationship, but alas, I blocked myself emotionally from this guy long before we were meant to find him redeemable.

Reena, however, I loved. I found her mature beyond her years – likely due to her having to raise a child so young. She’s a great mother who owns up to her mistakes; raising a child, getting a job, putting her own dreams on hold to do what needed to be done – no matter how unfair she was being treated by her family. That, alone, is admirable to me. She’s got flaws, she’s not great at admitting things to herself for one, and she let Sawyer be a jerk to her for way too long. In the end, we all make stupid decisions, we all refuse to let ourselves see people’s real sides sometimes. My teen self just very much related to her in spite of it all.

Aside from teen pregnancy, this book tackles drug use, religion, family discordance, betrayal, death – but ultimately, love, romance, and friendship. Since I didn’t love Sawyer, the romance fell a bit flat for me. I’m all about second chances, but I think Sawyer had a lot more to make up for, not helped by the fact that Reena gave in to him (both in past and present) much too easily. Evidently, all my problems with this book stem from him. Everything else is what drew me in: the writing, the realism, the family dynamic, the emotional struggles – I also loved every other character. If I had grown to like Sawyer… I can understand the reasons behind the many 5 stars!

3 Stars
3 Hot Espressos

Review: Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris

Review: Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris

Posted by on 11/05/2013 • 20 Comments

To be perfectly honest, by the time I read this book I had completely forgotten what it was about. I thought it was a book about the end of the world – and okay in a way it is, but very different from what I had envisioned. Nevertheless, it’s a solid story in a lot of ways, and with 400+ pages it could have become an intensely powerful, in-depth read, but instead it felt overcrowded at times with topics like rape, mental illness, and ex best-friend drama (as well as ex-boyfriend) that felt rather directionless. On the other hand, it does offer a slightly different perspective on alternate dimensions, or at least it worked on delivering it in a highly suspenseful way.

The main reason why I wasn’t able…

Review: 3:59 by Gretchen McNeil

Review: 3:59 by Gretchen McNeil

Posted by on 09/17/2013 • 21 Comments

For an entertaining thriller, 3:59 does a good job. Some of it is overwhelming or far fetched, and specific parts made me cringe, but it’s an action packed read that’s great for a quick thrill.

With a title like 3:59 you already know that this specific time is important to the story. So from the start, the time stamp shown on every page works to keep us on edge as we know that something is coming – and soon. Then 3:59 hits and something bizarre does happen, but we can’t make sense of it quite yet. All we know is it’s ominous, and it’s likely due to her mother’s experiments – meaning science, and alternate universes.

This is when Jo starts coming into the story. First via dreams,…

Review: Born of Illusion by Teri Brown

Review: Born of Illusion by Teri Brown

Posted by on 06/14/2013 • 34 Comments

Magicians, mediums, old school theatre entertainment, and a historical New York setting; I absolutely loved the atmosphere in every aspect of this novel!

Anna Van Housen-the opening act of her mother’s magic show-is the real deal: she’s a medium, she has visions of the future, and she can feel others’ emotions. Plus, she’s rumored to be Houdini’s illegitimate daughter. With a premise like that, how can I not be intrigued? Plus, just look at this amazing cover! I was excited to finally sink my teeth into this one and it was definitely worth it. Not only is our protagonist a wonderfully compelling character with a great personality, the book is set in 1920’s New York City which is utterly fantastic in and of itself. I’ve always loved a New York…