Review: Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally

Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks #7 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: July 5th 2016
Links: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads

There are no mistakes in love.

Captain of the soccer team, president of the Debate Club, contender for valedictorian: Taylor’s always pushed herself to be perfect. After all, that’s what is expected of a senator’s daughter. But one impulsive decision—one lie to cover for her boyfriend—and Taylor’s kicked out of private school. Everything she’s worked so hard for is gone, and now she’s starting over at Hundred Oaks High.

Soccer has always been Taylor’s escape from the pressures of school and family, but it’s hard to fit in and play on a team that used to be her rival. The only person who seems to understand all that she’s going through is her older brother’s best friend, Ezra. Taylor’s had a crush on him for as long as she can remember. But it’s hard to trust after having been betrayed. Will Taylor repeat her past mistakes or can she score a fresh start?

Can I first just say that I am a huge fan of Miranda Kenneally and it’s always inevitable that I end up falling in love with the main male character. Defending Taylor was no different, although the beginning was a bit too slow for my taste. However, the book was definitely nostalgic for me since it took place during the heroine’s senior year of high school as she goes through the process of applying to college.

Taylor is the perfect well-rounded student that all colleges want. She has straight A’s, is the captain of the soccer team, and is the daughter of a politician. Then she messes up and gets expelled. With her dad running a campaign at the same time, news of her expulsion makes a huge impact on his career. Already feeling guilty, Taylor doesn’t want to tell her parents the real cause of her expulsion. In comes Ezra, a total heartthrob, her childhood crush, and also her brother’s best friend, who helps her put her own life and decisions into perspective.

I’m a sucker for books like these, where the main character goes through a period of self-discovery and has no idea what she wants in life because HELLO *points at self*. I loved following Taylor through this journey of hers and literally reading about how she grows and accepts who she really is. When she discovers what she’s passionate about and what she actually wants to major in, I was there screaming “YESSS GIRL.” I had flashbacks of when I was applying to college… although I haven’t figured out the whole “what I want to do in life” part yet.

To be quite honest, I wanted to read this book because it seemed light and fun (like most of Kenneally’s books), so I didn’t think that I would actually learn so much about passion and self-love. I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone who’s going through something similar or if you’re just looking for a light read for the summer.

4 hearts


Reading Order: Hundred Oaks series

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally Things I Can't Forget by Miranda Kenneally
Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally Jesse's Girl by Miranda Kenneally 

#1 ~ Catching Jordan: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Stealing Parker: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Things I Can’t Forget: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#4 ~ Racing Savannah: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#5 ~ Breathe, Annie, Breathe: Lacey’s Review • Ebook • Hardcover • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#6 ~ Jesse’s Girl: Lacey’s Review • EbookHardcoverPaperback • Goodreads
#7 ~ Defending Taylor: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads


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Audiobook Review: Chasing Spring by R.S. Grey

Chasing Spring by R.S. Grey

Chasing Spring by R.S. Grey
Series: Standalone
Audiobook Publication Date: June 7th 2016
Length: 6 hours and 16 minutes
Narrated by: Alia Tavakolian, Ricco Fajardo, Jeannie Tirado
Links: Audible • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an audiobook in exchange for an honest review

I thought I’d left Blackwater, Texas behind for good. I didn’t belong in the small town, but my dad wouldn’t listen. He dragged me back home in his beat-up truck and dropped a bomb along the way: Chase Matthews was moving in with us. He was the golden boy of my high school, my former best friend, and the last person I wanted sleeping across the hall. His presence was too great a reminder of the ghosts I was trying to forget.

I didn’t ask for a hero. I don’t want to be saved.

To me, Lilah Calloway meant late nights sneakin’ out, moonlit hair, and sparklers in July. She was my best friend until the day she left and I’d assumed Blackwater had seen the last of her. Then, like a tempest, she rolled back into town for the final half of senior year. The chopped hair and dark devil-may-care attitude warned most people away, but I knew if I fought hard enough, I could find the lost girl.

I didn’t want to be her hero. Some girls don’t need to be saved.

I’m a big fan of R.S. Grey’s rom-coms, but I knew going into Chasing Spring it would be a little different from what the author normally writes. It’s a YA book, not new adult, and it’s much more serious that her usual fun and flirty books. I wish I could say I loved Chasing Spring as much as I loved her previous books, but the execution of the story just wasn’t up to par. I really enjoyed listening to the three narrators, but the story wasn’t cohesive enough for me to truly appreciate the narration. I do applaud the author for venturing out of her normal genre, and wouldn’t mind giving a try at another of her YAs.

Lilah Calloway and Chase Matthews used to be childhood best friends before tragedy tore them apart. They haven’t seen each other for years, but Lilah has finally come home for their senior year of high school, but she’s not the same girl she used to be. She’s dyed her hair black, turned a little emo and grunge… she’s a bit of a mess and not at all happy. Chase is his usual shining, star athlete self… except looks can be deceiving. Chase’s mother is dead and his father is an alcoholic – but Lilah’s father offers him a place to stay in his home. Once again, Chase and Lilah will be together again, but not as close friends anymore.

Here we have coming-of-age YA, as Lilah struggles to deal with her problems and Chase trying to help her while saving himself. The romance between them kind of went on the backburner, which is a shame because if the author had fleshed out the love between Lilah and Chase more, it would’ve been so sweet and heartwarming. But the main focus was on Lilah’s problems, especially with drug and alcohol abuse. It was a little tiring and boring as I listened to Lilah NOT deal with her problems even though she wanted to, and Chase trying and failing to help her because she didn’t want his help. I lacked a connection with the characters and story, which impacted how I felt as I listened to the audiobook.

Luckily, the narrators did a great job at voicing the main characters. I was a little confused at why there were three narrators instead of just two, but I eventually found out that besides Lilah and Chase, there is a third POV, Lilah’s mother Elaine, who is also central to the story. I found her story to be the most intriguing and I really wish we’d gotten more of her POV than we did.

Chasing Spring had potential, but the story just wasn’t executed very well. I loved the narration, but it wasn’t enough for me to enjoy the story like a wanted. I still love R.S. Grey and will read more of her NAs, but this one is not one of my favorites of hers!

CHASING SPRING is now available on Audible: http://amzn.to/1Yt0g99

3 hearts
lacey


Also by R.S. Grey

Scoring Wilder by R.S. Grey  
The Allure of Julian Lefray by R.S. Grey The Allure of Dean Harper by R.S. Grey  

Scoring Wilder: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
Settling the Score: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
With This Heart: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
The Allure of Julian Lefray: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
The Allure of Dean Harper: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
The Duet: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
The Design: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads


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Audiobook Review: Never Never: Part 3 by Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher

Never Never Part 3 by Collen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher

Never Never: Part 3 by Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher
Series: Never Never #3 (full reading order below)
Audiobook Publication Date: June 7th 2016
Length: 2 hours and 46 minutes
Narrated by: Kevin Free & Elizabeth Evans
Links: Audible • EbookPaperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an audiobook in exchange for an honest review

New York Times best-selling authors Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher are back with the much-anticipated final installment in the Never Never novella series.

Together, Silas Nash and Charlize Wynwood must look deeper into the past to find out who they were and who they want to be. With time ticking down, the couple are in a race to find the answers they need before they lose everything.

Can they regain what they once had? And will it restore who they once were?

The final Never Never installment is here in audio! I previously listened to the first two parts and really enjoyed them, so the wait for part three in audio was worth it. Kevin Free as Silas and Elizabeth Evans as Charlie are perfect, and I couldn’t wait to listen to them again. And of course, they did another incredible job narrating Never Never: Part 3 – it’s a fun conclusion to Silas and Charlie’s mind-blowing story, if a little unbelievable. Things took a turn for the weird side, but I still did enjoy listening to it. I just hate that the installments are so short – I didn’t want Charlie and Silas’s story to end!

Part 3 follows up right where part 2 left off, at the start of another 48 hours. Have Charlie and Silas forgotten who they are again? What happens if they actually remember? Will they find out why their memories have been lost? Will they be able to stop themselves from forgetting again? Thankfully, Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher answer all of these questions – it doesn’t answer ALL the questions we’ve come across throughout the series (I still want to know what happened with the blood in part 1) but the burning, important questions are answered… in a slightly over-the-top, unbelievable way that leaves you going, “That was it!?”

Other than the ridiculous plot, I did love everything about NN #3. Charlie and Silas are incredible, well-written, and well-developed characters. I love them and their sweet banter and steamy chemistry – they make the most adorable couple ever, and I really hope CoHo and Tarryn might write a little more about them. But I’m glad to see where they ended up by the end of the novella – the epilogue was amazing!

You’ll either love or hate NN #3 – I’m in the middle since there were parts I loved and parts I hated. Still, if you’re a fan of the series, I know you’re dying to solve the mystery. Why not get the audiobook with narrators who make the story even more enjoyable?

NEVER NEVER: PART 3 is now available on Audible: http://amzn.to/1tlNdvb

3.5 hearts
lacey


Reading Order: Never Never series

Never Never by Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher Never Never Part Two by Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher Never Never Part 3 by Collen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher

#1 ~ Never Never: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Never Never: Part 2: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Never Never: Part 3: EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads


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Audiobook Review: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
Series: Standalone
Audiobook Publication Date: May 3rd 2016
Length: 16 hours and 43 minutes
Narrated by: Bailey Carr
Links: Audible • EbookHardcover • Goodreads
Source: I received an audiobook in exchange for an honest review

From Morgan Matson, the bestselling author of Since You’ve Been Gone comes a feel-good story of friendship, finding yourself, and all the joys in life that happen while you’re busy making other plans.

Andie has a plan. And she always sticks to her plan.

Future? A top-tier medical school.
Dad? Avoid him as much as possible (which isn’t that hard considering he’s a Congressman and he’s never around).
Friends? Palmer, Bri, and Toby—pretty much the most awesome people on the planet, who needs anyone else?
Relationships? No one’s worth more than three weeks.

So it’s no surprise that Andie’s got her summer all planned out too.

Until a political scandal costs Andie her summer pre-med internship, and lands both she and Dad back in the same house together for the first time in years. Suddenly she’s doing things that aren’t Andie at all—working as a dog walker, doing an epic scavenger hunt with her dad, and maybe, just maybe, letting the super cute Clark get closer than she expected. Palmer, Bri, and Toby tell her to embrace all the chaos, but can she really let go of her control?

It’s been too long since the last time I read something by Morgan Matson, which is a shame because I love her books! She writes the best YA contemporaries that feel so relatable and fun. The Unexpected Everything is seriously the PERFECT summer read/listen – I listened to the audiobook and absolutely adored it. It’s got cute, quirky characters, great writing, and DOGS. Dogs! I’m a dog person through and through, so listening to this audiobook was a blast. If you love the author or this genre, I highly recommend you pick up this audiobook to listen!

As the daughter of a politician, Andie’s used to her life being dictated by her father’s campaigns, but this summer, she’s ready to follow through with her plans and just have the best possible summer ever. But when a scandal causes her to lose her internship and ruin her plans, she’s desperate for something to do that will take her out of the house and away from her distant father. And she’s desperate enough to accept a dog walking ad that she sees as beneath her – but in between a humbling job, new and old friends, and a growing romance, Andie just might end up having a better summer that she could’ve possibly planned or expected.

Morgan Matson did a wonderful job portraying the various relationships Andie has with her father, her friends, and her love interest Clark. She has a difficult relationship with her father, who hasn’t been around since her mother died and he started campaigning. We delve deep into Andie’s hurt over his abandonment and neglect, which made it was so sweet to see this father-daughter relationship slowly grow into something stronger and healthier. Andie and her best friends are typical teenage girls trying to live the summer to its fullest, but secrets and jealousy get in the way and causes strains in their friendships. Not all friendships are smooth and easy, and neither can all friendships overcome their struggles. I thought the author was able to write this realistically, and even though it sometimes felt a little dramatic, I got that it was supposed to be dramatic for these characters.

Clark is probably my favorite character. He’s one of the most unique YA heroes I’ve come across, because he’s actually a well-known fantasy author who’s struggling with writer’s block! He’s adorable, awkward, and introverted – the perfect beta-male hero. I loved the dynamics of his and Andie’s relationship – mostly because of how terrible it starts, but gradually becomes something lovely and steady. In the midst of Andie’s life becoming a mess, Clark provides her comfort and stability (and some sweet kisses). Overall, I loved what an adorable couple they made!

Bailey Carr is a narrator with a great voice – but her narration is SO. SLOW. I’ve been listening to audiobooks for a while now, but this is honestly the first time I’ve had to speed the playing up at all. At 1.25x, it sounded as if it was a normal narration at 1x, so if you choose to get this audiobook, I highly recommend you speed up the narration. Otherwise, she did a fantastic job with portraying Andie’s voice and all the different dialogues.

The Unexpected Everything is the perfect book to experience during the summer. It’s light-hearted but meaningful, realistic, and easy to relate to. The changing dynamics of different friendships and relationships, coming across new experiences, going out of your comfort zone – all of it you can easily connect with. I’d say this is another winner from Morgan Matson!

4 hearts
lacey

Here’s an audio excerpt from The Unexpected Everything!


Also by Morgan Matson

Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour: Ebook • Hardcover • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
Second Chance Summer: Ebook • Hardcover • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
Since You’ve Been Gone: Ebook • Hardcover • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads


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Review Tour + Giveaway: The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout

The Problem with Forever tour

Welcome to today’s stop on the review tour for The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout!

The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: May 17th 2016
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From #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout comes a riveting new story about friendship, survival, and finding your voice.

For some people, silence is a weapon. For Mallory “Mouse” Dodge, it’s a shield. Growing up, she learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime.

Now, after years of homeschooling with loving adoptive parents, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at public high school. But of all the terrifying and exhilarating scenarios she’s imagined, there’s one she never dreamed of—that she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.

It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet the deeper their bond grows, the more it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory must make a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants, and the truths that need to be heard.

Buy Links:
Amazon EbookAmazon Hardcover • Audible • B&NiTunes • Kobo • IndieBound

Register your preorder of THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER by May 20th to receive a FREE fan pack! Includes inspirational wall art, a colorful poster, and flag-as-you-read stickers. You will also get immediate access to an extended excerpt from the book.

FILL OUT THE FORM HERE: http://bit.ly/24awVFw

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JLA is just one of those authors whose books you can’t help but enjoy. The Problem with Forever is the first of her contemporary YAs that I’ve read (I usually read her NA or fantasy books), but it was just as fantastic as I expected, if a little different from what I usually read from her. Besides the gorgeous cover, what really attracted me to this was the intriguing blurb – the fact that the main characters are long-lost friends who bonded over tragic circumstances. Mallory and Rider’s story turned out to be gripping and intense – from the very first page, I couldn’t put it down!

As a foster child, Mallory Dodge grew up in an abusive home, but the one person who was always there for her, who promised to protect her forever, was Rider Stark, a foster kid who grew up alongside her. While Mallory was able to get out and get adopted by good people, she never knew what happen to her dear friend – until now. The last person she expects to run into during her first day of her senior year of high school is her long-lost friend, who she’s never been able to forget. And it seems like he’s never been able to forget her either.

Mallory suffers from some pretty intense anxiety, including public speaking, due to PTSD from her childhood. As a defense mechanism, she’s quiet, awkward, and struggles to speak out. I could feel how much she hated this aspect of herself, but felt so helpless to change anything about it. Her growth and development is slow and gradual, though not without struggles, but it really felt so honest and real. JLA did a wonderful job with Mallory’s character, with making her relatable and genuine. She’s the kind of heroine I easily found myself cheering for.

Life was like doing this speech. It wasn’t necessarily about the end result, but more about trying.
I could… I could get behind that.

Rider is your typical cocky, bad boy senior… except he’s not. He’s actually so much more than that. He’s loyal, headstrong, and incredibly protective of Mallory – he always was since they were younger. He’s also so supportive of her, helping her try to overcome her public speaking issues. He once again becomes Mallory’s savior… but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t need saving himself. Much as Rider would like to think their traumatic past only affected Mallory, he’s so messed up inside from it that he doesn’t even realize it. My heart broke even more so for Rider than Mallory, because as Mallory grows and heals, Rider only comes to believe that he has no self worth.

Forever was something we all took for granted, but the problem with forever was that it really didn’t exist.

This book… it’s painful and heartbreaking to read, but the changes Mallory and Rider make are nothing short of awe-inspiring. The inner strength within these two is a powerful thing to witness, made all the more sweeter after the tragedy and struggles they’ve overcome. I also loved all the secondary characters and how important and influential they are in Mallory and Rider’s lives, from Mallory’s adoptive parents to her best friend, from their speech teacher to Rider’s adoptive brothers. They all have an impact on the story and the main characters, which made this book feel all the more real to me.

The Problem with Forever is a raw and powerful read, and it’s one everyone should give a try. If you love JLA, get ready for an intense, highly emotional read – it’s a fantastic YA contemp you won’t regret reading!

4 hearts
lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.

about the author button

Jennifer L. Armentrout#1 New York Times and #1 International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA.

She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

Website • Twitter • Facebook • Goodreads

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A Messenger Bag filled with a Kindle Fire, Signed THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER, Signed Copies from Jennifer L. Armentrout and Katie McGarry, and Book Goodies and Swag for 1 Winner

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Review Tour Schedule

May 9
Mundie Moms
Mary Had a Little Book Blog
K-Books
Reads and Thoughts
Booklovers For Life (us!)

May 10
Milky Way of Books
Deity Island
Less Reality More Books
Lovin’ Los Libros
Once Upon a Twilight
The Book Bratz

May 11
Stuck in YA Books
The Book Swarm
The Book Hookup
Take Me Away To A Great Read
Love Between The Sheets

May 12
City of Books
Krista’s Dust Jacket
PBC
The Reading Geek
Readers Live A Thousand Lives

May 13
kimberlyfaye reads
True Story Book Blog
StuckInBooks
Bows & Bullets Reviews
MEReadALOT
A Bookish Escape

May 14
My YA NA Book Obsession
DanaSquare
The Cover Contessa
My Random Book Thoughts

May 15
Owl Always Be Reading
No BS Book Reviews
Nose Stuck in a Book
MrsLeifs Two Fangs About It Book Reviews
Jenuine Cupcakes

May 16
A Glass Of Wine
Star-Crossed Book Blog
Hypable.com


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