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Tag Archives: author: aguirre

21469091The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre
Release Date: April 7, 2015
Publisher:  Feiwel & Friends
Source: Publisher (Thank you!)
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star (3.5)
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Sage Czinski is trying really hard to be perfect. If she manages it, people won’t peer beyond the surface, or ask hard questions about her past. She’s learned to substitute causes for relationships, and it’s working just fine… until Shane Cavendish strolls into her math class. He’s a little antisocial, a lot beautiful, and everything she never knew she always wanted.

Shane Cavendish just wants to be left alone to play guitar and work on his music. He’s got heartbreak and loneliness in his rearview mirror, and this new school represents his last chance. He doesn’t expect to be happy; he only wants to graduate and move on. He never counted on a girl like Sage.

But love doesn’t mend all broken things, and sometimes life has to fall apart before it can be put back together again…– Goodreads

Review:

Sage just wants to be perfect, but not for the reasons you may think. She lives in a small town with her Aunt, her past has hasn’t been perfect and she fears one misstep and her Aunt will kick her out. Sage is a good kid, yeah, she has a past but she is trying to survive high school and make it out of that small midwest town where everyone knows everyone.

I fit in with the crunchy granola do-gooders….When I graduate, I’m getting out of her, where everything feels small….but I can love her without thinking this is the best place ever. —pg 2, ARC

With her BFF Ryan, she is a bit of a loner who stays by herself, but also leaves post it notes of love on random peoples lockers to make them know that they aren’t alone. What Sage doesn’t know, is in her loner bubble, how much those post its have saved people and helped them and what she means to a small high school. The school year starts off with Sage finding out that her BFFRyan, was actually leading people to believe that they were dating, even though they’re not. They’ve always been just friends. Then, he breaks her heart, and they take a break from friendship. I loved that they took a break, I found The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things to be realistic to high school.

Not everyone’s high school experience, but to Sage, yes.

Mostly, I’m sad. I wish he hadn’t done it, but some lies change everything. — pg 61, ARC

What Sage doesn’t expect is Shane, the new guy to have such a ripple effect on her and her group. In particular the fact that she has a group, including Lila, a girl who rarely talked to her quickly became a dear friend. It wasn’t that Ryan held her back, but because she was so in that bubble, she often didn’t look on the outside of that bubble. The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things was more than just high school and life, it was finding your true home, even if that isn’t where you expected it to be.

Sage even uses her growth to forgive Ryan, something she didn’t believe was possible at the beginning because her heart hurt so much.

Everybody makes mistakes, sweetheart. But if you can live with the possibility that this silence between you might last forever, if that’s what you want, then go ahead.–pg 103, ARC

Ryan of course is confused that Shane is now in Sage’s life, wasn’t he supposed to be the only guy? But Sage doesn’t stand for that bullshit and she calls people out on it. However, this calling people out comes back to bite her in the form of Dylan, Lila’s ex-boyfriend who has secrets of his own. Secrets that Sage is aware of and while the two try to constantly up each other, at one point he makes her fear for her safety, Shane is always on Sage’s side.

Both Shane and Sage have such fucked up backgrounds that they make it work. It’s not pretty, it’s often messy, but the two of them are humans who slowly fall in love with each other.

Not like me. And I’m so afraid that if I tell you everything, you’ll won’t see me as more than the pieces they swept up after. —pg 138, ARC

When everything does come out, and Sage feels most alone, because people won’t understand her school rally around her and shows her how much they meant to her all on post-its, just like she did for them in their moment of need. They told her things like:

You made me not want to kill myself. I took a college art class because of you. Your kindness gave me hope.–pg 280

That moment touched Sage in a way she didn’t believe was possible because she was so broken, but they did. They helped to heal her heart and her soul. What also helped to heal her heart was a moment with her aunt in which Aunt Gabby states:

I don’t know how much you’re hearing right now, but understand this: I love you. And I will never, ever leave you. No matter what you do or where you go, I’m there for you. If you need to ride a bike home in the pouring rain, I’ll be right behind you.–pg 290-1

With the childhood she had, Sage knows she was not suposed to be lucky enough to end up with her aunt, someone who loves her unconditionally, and she worries that she’ll do something that will make her aunt regret that love. The fact that her aunt says this to her means the world to Sage. The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things was a pleasant surprise. It was a book full of flawed, real teenagers and a year in one of their lives.


21938168The Shape of My Heart (2B Trilogy #3) by Ann Aguirre
Release Date: November 25. 2014
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Source: Netgalley
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Some people wait decades to meet their soul mate. Courtney Kaufman suspects she met hers in high school only to lose him at seventeen. Since then, Courtney’s social life has been a series of meaningless encounters, though she’s made a few close friends along the way. Especially her roommate Max Cooper, who oozes damaged bad-boy vibes from every pore.

Max knows about feeling lost and trying to move beyond the pain he’s been on his own since he was sixteen. Now it’s time to find out if he can ever go home again, and Courtney’s the only one he trusts to go with him. But the trip to Providence could change everything because the more time he spends with Courtney, the harder it is to reconcile what he wants and what he thinks he deserves.

It started out so simple. One misfit helping another. Now Max will do anything to show Courtney that for every heart that’s ever been broken, there’s another that can make it complete. – Goodreads

Review:

This book did not work for me in the same way the previous two in the series did. There is not one thing in particular that set it off. The pacing, the characters, the story line. All of it felt slow and that I was sludging through it. It started off so well that I was enjoying it particularly when Courtney was giving us gems such as this one:

If my life were a romantic comdedy, I wouldn’t be the star, I’d be the witty, wise-cracking friend, telling the Reese Witherspoon character to follow her heart, and I’d be played by America Ferrera, Hollywood’s idea of an ugly duckling–1% eARC

Romance ranked dead last on my to-do list at the moment.–1% eARC.

Courtney was snarky, and didn’t take much shit. I enjoyed her; however, the way the eARC was formatted it was often hard to tell if I was in Courtney’s mind or Max’s brain. Here’s a hint: the whole novel is from Courtney’s point of view. But once I figured out the point of view problem,  The Shape of My Heart did become easier to read. Max and Courtney are a cute duo of friends who slowly become closer when he grandfather dies and she accompanies  him home.

When they are at his childhood home, she realizes how lucky she is that he’s even alive today. His father is an asshole, his mother died, and he is convinced his whole family hates him. I say he’s convinced because minus his father, no one hates him and his father is a drunk so we’re not going to count him.

What Aguirre does well is the love story. It’s painful, realistic, and beautiful. Of course I wanted them to talk at one point, but that always happens when I read romance novels. At one point I have this need to yell “JUST SPEAK TO EACH OTHER.” But it really does work, and it’s beautiful.

I didn’t fall in love with you in a few weeks. It was so slow and deep that I’ll never stop feeling it. —97% eARC

While this is a solid series, I wish it was…better. I did like the end of this book and how it ties everything together throughout the three books. But I do wish there was more.


20945757I Want It That Way (2B Trilogy #1) by Ann Aguirre
Release Date: August 26, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Source: Library
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Nadia Conrad has big dreams, and she’s determined to make them come true—for her parents’ sake as well as her own. But between maintaining her college scholarship and working at the local day care to support herself, she barely has time to think, let alone date. Then she moves into a new apartment and meets the taciturn yet irresistible guy in 1B….

Daniel Tyler has grown up too fast. Becoming a single dad at twenty turned his life upside down—and brought him heartache he can’t risk again. Now, as he raises his four-year-old son while balancing a full-time construction management job and night classes, a social life is out of the question. The last thing he wants is for four noisy students to move into the apartment upstairs. But one night, Nadia’s and Ty’s paths cross, and soon they can’t stay away from each other.

The timing is all wrong—but love happens when it happens. And you can’t know what you truly need until you stand to lose it. – Goodreads

Review:

This is the first book in Ann Aguirre’s 2B Trilogy, while I read book #2, As Long As You Love Me, before I Want It That Way, it quickly becomes clear that it doesn’t matter what order you read them in. They are more companion novels to each other than anything else. That being said, parts of As Long As You Love Me, now make more sense, but I don’t regret my choice in order. Such is the life of a mood reader.

I Want It That Way is the story of Nadia, an all American girl who is constantly working or going to school and trying to not break down. And then there is Tyler, who grew up to fast, has a four year old, and is trying to survive. Tyler lives in the apartment below Nadia and he doesn’t want to keep her down. Of course, they meet and they work well together. They push each other in a way a couple should, but they never call each other a couple. Tyler had a shit past and he doesn’t want to fall in love with anyone until his son is older, in high school. So ten years from now. He doesn’t have time for love because he doesn’t deserve. This is what he tells himself.

Nadia believes that they can be friends with benefits with no repercussions. Of course this doesn’t work. She falls in love with him. Hard. Even when they aren’t using the boyfriend/girlfriend nomenclature it still kills her when they ultimately break up. (That is not a spoiler FYI, it’s a romance novel, OF COURSE THEY BREAK UP). He wants more of her, but refuses to involve his son in his romantic life, he doesn’t want anyone to hurt. But of course there is hurt. So much hurt. What was interesting to me, was, because I read the second book first, I saw how Aguirre flowed and twisted the two stories together. It made me appreciate them more.

That being said though, there was nothing in particular about this as a romance novel that was making me want to re-read it. The writing was solid, and heck the plot was solid. But there wasn’t a particular thing about this novel that was making me run out to purchase it.


20945758As Long As You Love Me (2B Trilogy #2) by Ann Aguirre
Release Date: September 30, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Source: Netgalley
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Most people dream about getting out of Sharon, Nebraska, but after three years away, Lauren Barrett is coming home. There are the justifications she gives to everyone else—missing her family, losing her college scholarship. And then there’s the reason Lauren can’t admit to anyone: Rob Conrad, her best friend’s older brother.

Football prowess and jaw-dropping good looks made Rob a star in high school. Out in the real world, his job and his relationships are going nowhere. He can’t pinpoint exactly what’s missing until Lauren comes back to town, bringing old feelings and new dreams with her. But he’s the guy that women love and leave—not the one who makes them think of forever.

Though she’s terrified of opening up, Lauren’s ready to take that chance. Because the only thing more important than figuring out where you truly belong is finding the person you were meant to be with. – Goodreads

Review:

Yes. I’m back with a New Adult book. Yes. I am equally confused. Here is what I know, I really enjoyed As Long As You Love Me and that is not just because of the A+ title that was chosen. I’m going with Backstreet Boys version and not the Justin Beiber version, obviously.

As Long As You Love Me is the story of Lauren and Rob. Lauren is a character I’m not sure I’ve ever related to as much before.

Let to my own devices, I’d rather watch llama gifs than go to a club–10% eARC

Lauren is from a small town in Nebraska, and went to a fairly big school in Michigan. While she was there, she quickly found out that she wasn’t meant for this college. She went because her BFF went and isn’t that what BFFs do?

My heart twisted when I thought about how sad she had been to learn I hated college, but the longer we went to Mount Albion, the clearer it became to me that it was her dream, not mine, and I was going through the motions. The more my grade dropped and dropped, the more I drank and partied, trying to hide my unhappiness — 7% eARC

Lauren quickly learns though that moving back home isn’t that bad. Her mother welcomes her back with open arms, and her mother isn’t the mother she used to be. After Lauren’s father left, her mom went into a dark place, and Lauren raised herself. Lauren isn’t bitter at her mom about this, but it did shape her life and her relationships with others. Her mother however has met a new man, and Lauren is realistically happy for her mother. It was nice to see a character to doesn’t hold on to bitterness and grudges. That being said, Lauren does have her problems. She hates crowds, being put on the spot, and has general overall anxiety. I wanted to hug Lauren, I understood her pain. While I don’t relate to everything in her life, I related to this.

That was part of why I was so unhappy in Michigan — because I was fighting my instinctive tendencies, playing a role and thinking if I just tried hard enough, I could just feel like other people did, and I could act like the stress of seeing hundreds of people daily didn’t bother me. — 16% eARC

What Lauren didn’t expect when she came home, was to bond with her BFF’s older brother, who she has had a crush on for years. She never did anything on it because, Rob was older and always had a girlfriend. At the beginning of As Long As You Love Me, he has a girlfriend named Avery, who is the Queen Bee Asshole of the town. It’s easy to hate Avery, what was unexpected was that Aguirre actually made me feel for Avery and understand her story. After Rob and Avery break up, Avery becomes human to not only the reader, but also to Lauren.

This book was more than just a romance novel, it was realistic, and a story about growth. While there is a lot dedicated to Avery and Rob’s relationship, they both grew a lot in this novel from the beginning to the end. While Avery is shocked that Rob is paying attention to her in a light that is more than friendship, he’s shocked that Avery sees him more than just a brother. And man, are there beautiful, beautiful sparks. They push each other, they are there for each other, and there is a point they break up and it hurts. I felt for both of them because she says things she doesn’t mean, but she believes it is for the best. Everything hurt, including my heart when I read this. I wanted both of them to be okay. What Aguirre does is create such a realistic story that makes me want to read more New Adult. Which after my previous experiment is quite impressive.


In a weird turn of event, I started to DNF books this month. Because of that, I am going to do a round up this month, because maybe you read one and enjoyed one and could tell me WHAT DID I MISSSS?!

crownThe Ring & The Crown by Melissa De La Cruz
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Source: NetGalley

DNF at 7% I lost interest. I found nothing fascinating about this book no matter how hard I tried. And I should of! History! England! Unfortunately all I know is one day I put it down for another book and I never came back to it.

maze The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Release Date: October 6, 2009
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: Library

The IT book of the past so many years, and this year with the movie coming out. Finally I decided to read it. And I was bored. I ended at Chapter 17 because there was so much information and none of it was fascinating to me. I understand that was part of the mystery to the story, but I needed something to keep me hooked and none of that was there. Which is why I put it down and sent it back to the library. I didn’t care to see where the story kept going.

royal

Royally Lost by Angie Stanton
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Publisher: Harper Collins
Source: Edelweiss

DNF at 34% was not grabbing my attention. Went to the end to see how it ended, but I really didn’t care. Which is weird for me when it comes to something like this. Royals! Europe! Wisconsin! But I got bored. Hated most of what was going on. Only went to the end to make sure it ended how I thought it would. I think it will be a good book for the right person. That person wasn’t me at this time. 17684323

The Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel
Release Date: April 29, 2014
PublisherHarlequin Teen
Source: Netgalley

DNF at 18%. There was nothing wrong with this book persay. I was just bored and life is too short I’ve decided for boring books. This is a book I may pick up at a later date, but at the moment it did not hold that special spark for me.

18049000

Hung Up by Kristen Tracy
Release Date: March 4, 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: Library

I love stories that are told in unique ways. Meg Cabot’s stories told in all emails are my thing. So this story should have been gold for me. It wasn’t. I didn’t connect to either character and I didn’t care to connect to either one. Very upsetting for me.


enclaveEnclave (Razorland #1) by Ann Aguirre
Release Date: April 12, 2011
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Source: Library
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

WELCOME TO THE APOCALYPSE

In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups–Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.

As a Huntress, her purpose is clear—to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning.

Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesn’t like following orders. At first Deuce thinks he’s crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders don’t always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; she’s never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace.

As Deuce’s perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy… but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she’s ever known.

Review:
This is another book that started out at a five star and screwed itself over in the process. It’s a dystopian novel that follows a girl named Deuce. She and other children in her enclave (called College) are assigned numbers until their naming ceremony (which happens when they’re 15). The elders slice open the kids’ arms and wherever their blood lands is their name. Deuce’s blood landed on a two card from a deck. Hence, her name. She’s our protagonist and I really liked her, which was a departure from most people on Goodreads. At first she was a brainwashed, loyal participant in her elders’ reign of terror, but she’s enlightened pretty quickly. I like how she reflected on being shunned and being sorry for shunning the others that came before her. She shows an ability to think critically, a quality that a lot of protagonists (male and female) seem to lack.

Deuce is a Huntress, which means she goes out with her partner and kills “Freaks,” better known to us as zombies. She is partnered up with Fade, a 17 year old who was found in the enclave’s tunnels when he was young and mostly wild. Fade is enigmatic and quiet and has never quite fit into the Hunters or the enclave. I personally wouldn’t call him a bad boy, but he does have a pretty bitter and terrifying past. He’s cold and standoffish with Deuce at first, but he’s never cruel which is rare these days when it comes to YA love interests.

WARNING: HERE BE SPOILERS

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