Blog Tour & Review: Us Kids Know by JJ Strong

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BOOK DESCRIPTION:

 

We all knew about Cullen Hickson.

Siblings Bri and Ray O’Dell are lost. Anxious. Restless. Ray—bullied at his Catholic school for being small and timid—wants to be someone people respect or, even better, someone people fear. Meanwhile, Bri knows that something is off about her friendship with the shiny, happy, sophisticated blond girls on her field hockey team. They don’t really understand Bri, and if Bri is being totally honest, she doesn’t really understand them either.

When storied delinquent Cullen Hickson enters the orbit of the O’Dell siblings, though, everything changes. Bri and Ray find an alluring, addictive outlet in Cullen, who opens their eyes to a world they didn’t know existed. For Ray, that means experiencing the singular thrill of crime—from breaking and entering to grand theft auto—while Bri quickly dives into an all-consuming romance with the enigmatic upperclassman.

As Bri and Ray become more and more entwined with Cullen’s antics, and their once-thrilling experiences grow increasingly dangerous, a series of life-changing events threatens to lead the teens down a dark path—one that could forever alter the course of their lives.


MY REVIEW:
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*ARC provided by Razorbill in exchange for an honest review*
“Ours was a story that wouldn’t stand for the commonplace.”
This was Strong’s debut novel and it’s a story about how one guy, Cullen, changes the lives of two siblings, Bri and Ray, forever.
Ray gets bullied mercilessly at his school and finds a way to get out of it by ‘hiring’ Cullen in order to help him experience the true thrill of crime in every way. Then we have Bri, who is part of the ‘popular’ group of girls at her school but she knows she doesn’t belong, and at times, doesn’t even know how she got there. She find herself attracted to Cullen and we get to witness how that fact alone ultimately changes the course of her stature in school.
Cullen captivated me from the very beginning. I think I dove into this book as hard as I did because he was the first POV we read about and his mind was a hilarious place. There were a lot of times where he had me laughing uncontrollably at the stuff that went through his head and he did.
I felt like Cullen and Bri got intimate WAY too fast for my liking. I was just starting to see a flicker of flame when all of a sudden it became a forest fire… I didn’t really like it but I just shrugged it off or else I would’ve never enjoyed the romance factor in this.
This book was divided into two parts and the second part brought the seriousness to a whole new level. I was reeling from the way part one ended since I wasn’t expecting it all; I was dreading it, to be honest, and I shed a few tears.
One reason why this isn’t a complete 4 star read was because I was in the mindset that this would just be a book about a group of kids messing around but it’s so much more than that and it caught me by surprise. It deals with heavier and harder topics than I was expecting. That isn’t a bad thing at all, but at the moment, I wasn’t in the right mood for it, I guess. I’ll definitely try and reread this someday in the future and try to see if my rating changes.
The other reason was because I didn’t form a connection to any of the characters. I really, really tried, but even though it dealt with different forms of depression, they were completely different from mine so I couldn’t relate to them as much as I wanted.
This book is perfect for any adrenaline junkies out there.
It had a somber undertone throughout it and the foreshadowing got a bit heartbreaking. I really liked how I had no idea or guesses to where the characters would end up. It kept me guessing at every turn and it made me hesitant to reach the finish line. I had a strong uneasy feeling in my stomach from the start since these characters were playing with fire and I felt like they would only end up being burned beyond recognition.
I will say, that this might be triggering for some readers out there, so fair warning; It almost was for me. Can’t wait to see what Strong comes out with next!
 
3.7 stars.

 AUTHOR BIO:

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JJ Strong received a creative writing degree from the University of Southern California, and a B.A. in English from Georgetown University. His writing has appeared in Fifth Wednesday, the Santa Monica Review, and LA Weekly. He taught for many years in the undergraduate writing program at USC, before moving to the Washington, D.C. area with his wife and son.
 

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR 
 
SCHEDULE:
 
Week One:
October 23 – The Royal Polar Bear 
October 24 – ButterMyBooks 
October 25 – The Lovely Books 
October 26 – The Bookish Crypt
October 27 – YA and Wine 
 
Week Two:
October 30 – Here’s to Happy Endings 
October 31 – YA Book Central 
November 2 – The Crazy Bookworm 
November 3 – Gladiator Glory 

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Release Day blitz & Review: Move the Stars by Jessica Hawkins!

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SYNOPSIS FOR BOOK 1:

SOMETHING IN THE WAY

It was a hot summer day when I met him on the construction site next to my parents’ house. Under the sweat and dirt, Manning Sutter was as handsome as the sun was bright. He was older, darker, experienced. I wore a smiley-face t-shirt and had never even been kissed. Yet we saw something in each other that would link us in ways that couldn’t be broken…no matter how hard we tried.
I loved Manning before I knew the meaning of the word. I was too young, he said. I would wait. Through all the carefully-chosen words hiding what we knew to be true, through his struggle to keep me innocent, and through infinitely-starry nights—I would wait. But I’d learn that life isn’t always fair. That no matter how much you achieve, none of it matters if you suffer the heartbreak that comes with falling for someone you can never have. Because even though I saw Manning first, that didn’t matter. My older sister saw him next.


SYNOPSIS FOR BOOK 3: (SPOILERS)

MOVE THE STARS:

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The highly anticipated conclusion to the Something in the Way series, a forbidden love saga.
Lake
It was a hot summer day when I met him on the construction site next to my parents’ house. If I’d known then what I do now, would I have kept on walking? Manning was older, darker, experienced—and I’d trusted him when he said the story would only ever be about us. I’d held those words close and challenged fate, but I had lost.

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A part of me is still that sixteen-year-old girl squinting up at Manning, but no matter how far I fall or high I soar, I’ll always be a bird without her bear and nothing without him.
Manning
When I close my eyes, I can no longer see her. The decisions I made were to push Lake in the right direction—away from me. But now that she’s gone, would I have made those same choices?
I’d walked away like I was supposed to. I’d kept my distance. I’d bent over backward to keep Lake pure, but she’s no longer that girl, and I don’t know if I can stay away anymore. I only know I don’t want to. She’s still everything I want and nothing I should ever have, but if anyone can move the stars, it’s her great bear in the sky.


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Photographer: Perrywinkle Photography

Cover Design © R.B.A. Designs

Cover Model: Chase Williams


MY REVIEW:

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*ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review*
“My instinct to love him was as strong as my instincts to cower from him. To cover my heart anticipating the next blow.”
This takes place about 4 years after the last one and it broke my heart but it also made it soar. Because of this, I wasn’t too mad at Jessica… Who am I kidding, I can never be mad at the woman who single-handedly gave me the book I’ve been waiting to read for years.
My heart has been overtaken by this series before the release of book 1 and I can’t believe this series has come to an end. As soon as I got word that early copies had hit Kindles, I dropped everything I was doing and started the book I knew would open old wounds; Just like its predecessors have done without fail. This was one of my most anticipated releases for October and I was already crying my eyes out not even 1% into it. (No regrets)
“Did he understand the agony of knowing I’d never call him mine.”
I loved Lake since the very beginning and it only multiplied after each turn of the page. The fact that I experienced eerily similar situations as her, made my protectiveness go off the wall. I wanted to shelter her and heal her heart as much as I could. But, she proved to not need me since she turned out way better than I had anticipated. She’s come so far since the 16 year old I met a few months ago. I am incredibly proud of the woman she’s become and appreciated riding the roller coaster that was her life along with her. It was an agonizing ride but it wasn’t long enough. every one of her thoughts seemed to reflect my own at one point in my life, so in my mind, she’s as real as me. She’s just the better version of me.
“I had only one option left, tilt the universe until she fell into my arms.”
I was surprised to have loved Manning so much. (Manning without a filter is my new favorite thing, HOLY GODS.)… I was a strong advocate in the ‘I don’t want Manning to end up with Lake’ club but he managed to prove himself worthy after part 2 of this novel. I still can’t forgive him for most of the things he has done but none of that got in the way of my enjoyment of this book for what it was, thankfully. He had a lot to atone for in this novel but he still didn’t deserve the stuff that happened to him or the people around him along the way. I was absolutely thrilled to witness his character development as much as Lake’s. Jessica handled these characters with an expertise I hope to match someday.
I wanted nothing but happiness for these two and I got my wish so it’s more than I could ask for.
“I was in too deep with a man who’d ruined my life without ever touching me.”
This novel was full of heartbreak but it was perfectly balanced by epic reconciliation scenes. (*cough*And steamy ones *cough*.) I think that this is Jessica’s best series yet and I can’t wait to see what else she has in store for us all.
I do have to mention really quick that my hatred for Tiffany knows no bounds and from now on, will forever cringe at the mention of her name. I also noticed that there were a lot of loose ends at then end of this novel… SO MANY UNANSWERED QUESTIONS….which means…. I am 100% sure there will be more coming our way from these characters…. Right, Jessica????
This is one of the steamiest romance novels I’ve ever read so if you’re not 18, please turn away!

5/5 stars!


BUY LINKS:

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 [Amazon] [iBooks] [Nook ]

 [Google Play] [Kobo] [Paperback]

 [Audiobook (coming 2017)]


ABOUT JESSICA:

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Jessica Hawkins grew up between the purple mountains and under the endless sun of Palm Springs, California. She studied international business at Arizona State Universityand has also lived in Costa Rica and New York City. To her, the most intriguing fiction is forbidden, and that’s what you’ll find in her stories. Currently, she resides wherever her head lands, which is often the unexpected (but warm) keyboard of her trusty MacBook.

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AUTHOR LINKS

 [Amazon] [Facebook] [Website[Twitter]

 [Instagram] [Bookbub[Pinterest] 


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I’ ve started a BOOKTUBE channel!!!!

20 FACTS ABOUT ME (1)

I’ve been meaning to start a Book Tube channel for YEARS and now, I finally have a phone with good quality, and an editing app.

I can’t believe this is even possible for me after weeks and weeks of constant roadblocks.

BUT

Nothing will stop me now!

I’m crying happy tears right now. I hope you guys enjoy my shenanigans on camera and I can’t wait to share this new adventure in life with all of you!

I decided to start with a simple tag, 20 Facts About Me!

I go more into detail in the video so, here it is:

 

Review: My Undead Heart by Kacey Shea!

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*ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review*
I’ve reviewed for Kacey for a while now and I’m happy to admit that my excitement over her books has only increased with each release! I didn’t know anything about this book except that our main character is a zombie lover. As soon as I fond out about that small detail, I was all in. I’m not obsessed with zombies myself but I do love a quirky character that’s immediately sets herself apart from other main characters I usually read about.
Our main character, Mia, is in her thirties and reminded me a lot about myself in many ways. Her dark humor and opinions about men weren’t hard to relate to since I agreed 10000%. She’s a video game designer and I loved reading just how passionate she was about it. She owns everything she does and says and she only made me more proud at every turn of the page.
Then we have our love interest, Matt, a former fighter and now owner of his own gym. He has a heart of gold but of course, those are the characters that have had it the most rough in life. My heart broke a million times over him and there were many times where I wanted to replace Kacey and rewrite his entire life so he could be happy 24/7 lol. I also kind of wanted to steal him away from Mia…
Anyway, we get both of their POV’s and them together was nothing short of perfection. I was rooting so hard for them that it literally felt like my happiness relied on it. They both dealt with issues that nobody should deal with but only made them that much stronger. They have come a long way since I first met them and I couldn’t be any more proud!
And that’s exactly why I love Kacey to death. No pun intended. Her novels are always hilarious and steamy to the max but they also tackle extremely serious matters that enhance the characters that much more.
This is where I mention a side character that would have absolutely stolen the limelight if I didn’t like Mia and Matt so much. His name is Jared!!!! He’s Mia’s best friend who always had me at the brink of tears because I was laughing so hard at everything that came out of his mouth. I only hope I can meet a friend like him (and a Matt) someday.
The only criticism I have for this book was that the last time jump kind of left me feeling robbed. I won’t go into detail because of spoilers, but that’s why this isn’t a 5 star read. Nevertheless, I will recommend this to ever Game of Thrones and zombie lover out there! This book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.

4/5 stars!