Always forever maybe book cover

Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch [Blog Tour] Review & Giveaway!

Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch [Blog Tour] Review & Giveaway!Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch
Published by Simon Pulse on May 8, 2018
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads
four-stars

Addie is visiting Ireland for her aunt’s over-the-top destination wedding, and hoping she can stop thinking about the one horrible thing she did that left her miserable and heartbroken—and threatens her future. But her brother, Ian, isn’t about to let her forget, and his constant needling leads to arguments and even a fistfight between the two once inseparable siblings. Miserable, Addie can’t wait to visit her friend in Italy and leave her brother—and her problems—behind.

So when Addie discovers an unusual guidebook, Ireland for the Heartbroken, hidden in the dusty shelves of the hotel library, she’s able to finally escape her anxious mind and Ian’s criticism.

And then their travel plans change. Suddenly Addie finds herself on a whirlwind tour of the Emerald Isle, trapped in the world’s smallest vehicle with Ian and his admittedly cute, Irish-accented friend Rowan. As the trio journeys over breathtaking green hills, past countless castles, and through a number of fairy-tale forests, Addie hopes her guidebook will heal not only her broken heart, but also her shattered relationship with her brother.

That is if they don’t get completely lost along the way.


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My thoughts

Love & Luck was a quick, cute, fun read that had me laughing out loud often, and at one point, tearing up.

Addie is having a rough summer. Something awful happened between her and a guy named Cubby, right before she left for Ireland with her family. Whatever the something is, has caused a major rift between Addie and Ian, the brother that has always been her partner in crime, and her best friend. We don’t find out what happened with Cubby until nearly the end of the book, and the wait was nail-biting.

I didn’t like Addie in the beginning, because she was aggressive, and had a super bad temper that led to acts of violence against Ian. She took sibling squabbles to a whole new level, and I felt bad for her brother. Addie eventually grew on me, when she started contemplating and working through her misplaced anger.

My favorite character in Love & Luck, was definitely Rowan, because he’s a super nice guy, with a sweet disposition, and made a great mediator between the two feuding siblings. However, one of the main reasons I only gave this book 4 stars, was because I was disappointed with how Rowan’s dialogue was written. He’s supposed to have an accent that’s ‘100 percent Irish’, but his dialogue didn’t read as having that accent. I actually kept forgetting he was supposed to be Irish, because reading his lines was like listening to a 100 percent accented American.

I’ve never been to Ireland, but it’s on my top 5 list of must-travel places. Reading Love & Luck, has made me want to go to Ireland even more. Addie, Ian, and Rowan, are traveling across Ireland, stopping at historical landmarks, and every time they mentioned one, I immediately put the book down, and googled pictures. The landmarks in Ireland are breathtaking, and I really hope one day I can see them in person.

Before I finish this review, I want to leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Love & Luck, because it really moved me.

You don’t need anyone, unless you want them. You’re enough all on your own.


About the author

         

Jenna Evans Welch was the kind of insatiable child reader who had no choice but to grow up to become a writer. She is the New York Times Bestselling author of LOVE & GELATO and the upcoming LOVE & LUCK.

When she isn’t writing girl abroad stories, Jenna can be found chasing her children or making elaborate messes in the kitchen. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with her husband and two young children.


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four-stars
Always forever maybe book cover

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

The Wicked Deep by Shea ErnshawThe Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
Published by Simon Pulse on March 6, 2018
Pages: 320
Goodreads
two-half-stars

Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.

I think my reading experience for The Wicked Deep was doomed from the beginning. My expectations were too high because of the many ravings by bloggers, authors, and the already announced Netflix adaptation. Don’t get me wrong, this book wasn’t horrible, but I felt like it should have been better.

I’m not 100% sure why this book didn’t workout for me, but I suspect it mostly had to do with the fact that I was often able to correctly guess where the story was headed. I try not to, but more often than not, I find myself scrutinizing characters, guessing the decisions they will make, and contemplating what the most logical and/or shocking outcome the author can conjure up . I really need to learn how to kick this bad habit, because it’s helped ruin too many books for me.

This review was purposefully left mini and vague, because I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone interested in reading this book. The Wicked Deep is built on WTF moments, and I don’t think it has much else going for it once they are revealed.

If you love macabre, supernatural books, and aren’t the type to scrutinize story-lines, you might enjoy this book.

*One last irrelevant thought – this book cover is stunning! It’s a bummer I didn’t love this book, because it would have looked gorgeous on my bookshelf.

two-half-stars
Always forever maybe book cover

A Kiss in the Dark by Gina Ciocca

A Kiss in the Dark by Gina CioccaA Kiss in the Dark by Gina Ciocca
Published by Simon Pulse on March 6, 2018
Pages: 341
Goodreads
four-stars

When the lights go out at a Georgia high school football game, Macy Atwood finds herself in the arms of a boy who kisses her senseless – but is gone by the time the lights come back on. All she knows is that there was something special – and oddly familiar – about her mystery kisser.

Noah Granger, Ridgedale’s resident bad boy and newest transfer student, has no problem taking credit for the kiss, but Macy can’t shake the feeling that he’s lying. Especially since a photograph of Macy and former star football player Joel Hargrove resurfaced online moments before the blackout, a not-so random reminder of how hard she fell for Joel last year. And how doing so ultimately sent her lifelong friendships with Meredith Kopala and Ben Collins up in literal smoke.

Soon junior year’s wounds begin to reopen as Macy realizes the events that unfolded are somehow tied to her mystery kisser. Discovering how means finally facing what really went wrong with Meredith, Ben, and Joel – and finding out what Noah is covering up.

But the closer Macy gets to figuring it all out, the more she starts to worry that the boy who kissed her in the dark and the boy who is stealing her heart might be two very different people.

 


This was a cute, surprisingly non-soap-opera-y contemporary romance. Usually when there’s multiple teenage suitors in contemporaries it can get corny and over-dramatic. Thankfully the characters in A Kiss in the Dark were reasonably and refreshingly mature.

I really liked Macy. She’s always the first to befriend new students and the first to stand-up to bullies. Even though she had a tendency to cower when it came to her heart, she was always fearless when it came to protecting others.

It’s senior year when this book starts out, and during a football game, the stadium lights go out and Macy shares a kiss with a mystery boy. Macy spends her time in A Kiss in the Dark trying to figure out who the mystery kisser is, while also trying to process what led up to a falling out she had with three classmates junior year, two whom were good friends, and one who was a sort-of-almost boyfriend. I loved how Macy wasn’t one of those “poor me poor me” characters. She generally cares about her ex-friends and acknowledges that she played a part in the fall out.

This book flashes between the now (senior year) and the then (junior year). The swap back-and-forth was smooth and each timeline held my interest.

I couldn’t pick a favorite suitor, because I liked all the guys / potential mystery kissers. They were all wrapped in mystery and had secrets I was dying to find out. There wasn’t a single boring character in this book!

I’m not a fan of football, but strangely enough I loved the TV show Friday Night Lights, which this book reminded me of. A Kiss in the Dark is set in a quaint Southern town where football is life and the entire town comes together for spirit week and homecoming. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I wished I had grown up in a town like that. My high school didn’t even have school dances and this book made me so jealous.

This book was paced nicely in the beginning, and then halfway through it started feeling off. I think it could have done with 50 or so less pages. Towards the last quarter of the book I guessed where the ending was headed for the characters, and even though I was right, I was still pleased and impressed with the wrap-up

I’d definitely read another contemporary by this author.

four-stars

Being Friends with Boys by Terra Elan McVoy

Being Friends with Boys by Terra Elan McVoyBeing Friends with Boys by Terra Elan McVoy
Published by Simon Pulse on May 1st 2012
Pages: 368
Goodreads
five-stars

Charlotte and Oliver have been friends forever. She knows that he, Abe, and Trip consider her to be one of the guys, and she likes it that way. She likes being the friend who keeps them all together. Likes offering a girl's perspective on their love lives. Likes being the behind-the-scenes wordsmith who writes all the lyrics for the boys' band. Char has a house full of stepsisters and a past full of backstabbing (female) ex-best friends, so for her, being friends with boys is refreshingly drama-free...until it isn't any more.

When a new boy enters the scene and makes Char feel like, well, a total girl...and two of her other friends have a falling out that may or may not be related to one of them deciding he possibly wants to be more than friends with Char...being friends with all these boys suddenly becomes a lot more complicated.

Being Friends with Boys may be the first book I’ve read by Terra Elan McVoy, but I promise you, it won’t be the last. Besides it’s smooth and fast-paced writing style (which I loved) this is the first time in a long time that I’ve truly adored every aspect of a book. For one, the characters were fabulous. Every single one was well-thought out and interesting because of their individual personalities and the part they played in the overall story. The dialogue was easy to follow and very fun to read. Although at times there was a lot of humor, Ms. McVoy balanced the story out nicely with more thought-provoking ideas and situations. At it’s core, this book is about a teenage girl (Charlotte) whose life suddenly diverges from it’s comfortable and understood path. Like a lot of teenage girls, Charlotte is struggling with accepting and understanding the changes that inevitably come with growing up. I felt a tidal wave of emotions while reading this book including happiness, anger, pride, and confusion (along with Charlotte). This is one book that because I enjoyed so much, I’d definitely consider reading again at some point down the road.

Charlotte is 100% anti-drama. She’s had past incidents involving friends (who I don’t believe were truly ever real friends) who’ve caused her a lot of grief. In the past these “friends” have ignored and shunned her for stupid, non-reasons. Since most girls drive Charlotte crazy it makes since that her close knit group of friends would mainly consist of boys. Although she’s known Oliver since grade school, he along with two other boys – Abe and Trip along with Charlotte, make up a band called Sad Jackal. Charlotte is perfectly content with her life until one day, out of the blue, Oliver announces that Trip is out of the band. This announcement comes at a complete shock to Charlotte, simultaneously starting a domino affect. This is where life (as she knows it) begins to change.

Charlotte has a hard time adjusting. For one, she can’t understand how or why her perfect group of friends and beloved band have been teared apart. Trip whose friendship has been a constant, shining light in her life, this last year and a half, now becomes harder to hold onto. Although she has two stepsisters at home, her sister-sister, Jilly, who Charlotte has always relied on for emotional support, is now away and busy at college. This all together could make a great story line, however that’s not all. Add in not one but two cute, new boys and a quick rise to high school rocker-fame and you’ve got 368 pages of time-stealing awesomeness.

I am absolutely head over heels for Being Friends with Boys. I thoroughly enjoyed following Charlotte’s path to self-discovery. Through humorous, exhilarating, and sometimes, heartbreaking encounters, Charlotte not only learns more about herself but also who her “true” friends are, the ones that she can count on through thick and thin. It was easy to understand Charlotte’s character, feeling sad about a sibling living far away, not knowing how to repair a friendship that is slipping away, and most importantly, understanding what you truly want and then believing that it does matter that you want it.

five-stars
Always forever maybe book cover

Ruthless by Carolyn Lee Adams

Ruthless by Carolyn Lee AdamsRuthless by Carolyn Lee Adams
Published by Simon Pulse on July 14th 2015
Pages: 256
Goodreads
three-stars

Ruth Carver has always competed like her life depends on it. Ambitious. Tough. Maybe even mean. It’s no wonder people call her Ruthless.

When she wakes up with a concussion in the bed of a moving pickup truck, she realizes she has been entered into a contest she can’t afford to lose.

At a remote, rotting cabin deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Ruth’s blindfold comes off and she comes face-to-face with her captor. A man who believes his mission is to punish bad girls like Ruth. A man who has done this six times before.

The other girls were never heard from again, but Ruth won’t go down easy. She escapes into the wilderness, but her hunter is close at her heels. That’s when the real battle begins. That’s when Ruth must decides just how far she’ll go in order to survive.

Back home, they called her Ruthless. They had no idea just how right they were.

Ruthless is a contemporary thriller that reads fast and packs one hell of a punch. It’s definitely not a book for younger children because of the violent and dark nature of Ruth’s abduction.

Ruth, a.k.a. “Ruthless,” is a complicated character. Her family’s ranch has been in danger of running aground for as long as Ruth can remember. The constant financial woes have strained Ruth’s parents’ marriage. When Ruth was 12 she won her first horse show, which came with a whopping $40,000 cash prize. After that moment, Ruth changed. She gave away what she deemed toys, determined to be the one who could keep the farm and family in working order. Ruth grew up way too fast.

Then you have Jerry, an ex-farmhand who’s addicted to kidnapping and “teaching” what he believes are insolent young girls. Jerry is extremely volatile and twisted, yet I still felt a sliver of pity for him at points. This book gives us snapshots into Jerry’s childhood, which unsurprisingly included an abusive parent.

Like the description says, at one point in story, Ruth turns the table on Jerry. She begins calling the shots. However, even though the roles change, Ruth endures a lot before, and definitely after, she gets her chance at making Jerry suffer. Ruth is a force to be reckoned with, but Jerry is larger, stronger, and has been doing this for a lot longer…

Throughout this book, as Ruth experiences hellish experience after hellish experience, she comes to terms with how she’s been living her life. Ruth realizes the mistakes she’s made as well as, if given a future, the changes she wants to make. Her self-evaluation throughout the story is incredible and captivating.

Ruthless isn’t just a dark thriller. It’s also a story about discovering who you are, what in life means the most to you, and how far you’re willing to go for the ones you care about.
three-stars