Review for Dissonance (Dissonance #1) by Erica O’Rourke

Dissonance by Erica O'Rouke

TITLE: Dissonance
SERIES: Dissonance #1
AUTHOR: Erica O’Rourke
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
PAGES: 496 pages
SOURCE: Publisher via Edelweiss
RATING: 4 bows

Delancey Sullivan sees the world a little differently than the rest of us. She’s a Walker. She can Walk to parallel worlds. You see, every decision you make creates an alternate world. And then every decision in that world creates new worlds and so on and so forth. Basically, it’s infinite possibilities. Del comes from a family of people who can Walk between said worlds. Part of the Walking gig is trying to keep harmony between the worlds. But Del has started to notice things are a bit off in the other worlds and Simon, her crush, seems to be connected somehow. The more she learns, the more she knows that the Council Of Walkers is hiding something big. Can she figure it out and save the known world?

Delancey is that heroine that should really annoy me, but she doesn’t. She’s cocky and a little lot bitchy and has that special little snowflake thing going on, just a little. She is clearly cut out to be the best of the Walkers, if she can stop being such a smart-ass and do well on the school-work end. Did I forget to mention that? There is Walker schooling to learn all the intricacies of this shit. Oh, yeah, maybe that’s why I like her so much. I’m a sucker for a good smart-ass. It’s hard not to empathize with these kids who have to deal with normal school and then learn more on top of that. Her special little snowflake syndrome is because she has been Walking since before they claim she should have been able to do so. She’s a natural. That, however, is overshadowed by her overachieving big sister. I’ll get to Addie in a moment, but, seriously, I’m not a fan. Back to Del. She’s smart, but she hides it underneath all the snark and the issues with authority and their bullshit rules. Oh yeah, we can see why I love this girl, right?
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Then we have Simon and Elliot. They are the start of the small problem I have. Just by mentioning them together, you must know what’s coming. Simon is the crush, as I said, and Elliot is the bestie that’s hopelessly in love with Del (which everyone sees but her, naturally).
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It’s hard for me to really talk about either because I really liked both of them. Simon was a lot of fun and Del likes him so much…but Elliot is so sweet and I’m a sucker for that best friend turns into more scenario. I felt so bad for Elliot. I want it to work between then. This tension caused me a great deal of angst. I really took the love triangle ride with Del each step of the way, except worse because she never really likes Elliot like that. She feels bad, but never truly considers that option whereas I was ready to jump ship. Cute interlude with Simon.
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I like Simon. Simon’s cute. She should be with Simon! But then cute interlude with Elliot.
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AAAWWWWWW! Elliot! I love Elliot. He’s been there for her and he’s so sweet and cute and DAMN. I can’t pick. I’m not going to be completely happy either way ‘cuz I love both of them.

Then there is Addie, the evil sister. I don’t have anything against overachievers, in fact, I think I was one in high school, but this bitch has serious problems. The way she treats Del is batshit crazy. You are sisters! You are supposed to have her back and support her and yet you seem to betray her at every turn.

I’ve been avoiding this review for the exact opposite reason I avoided the Of Monsters And Madness review. This novel is fabulous. It is addictive and creative and really knows how to build the world and suck you in. All you can think about is Del and her crazy world and how the hell she is going to get out of this mess. Hint? It won’t be easy and it won’t all wrap up by the end of the novel. I feel like I don’t have the words to do it justice. I was astounded by it. I wasn’t expecting it to be this good. I wasn’t expecting magnificent. I’ve been notoriously stuck in a contemporary phase of late, so the fact that this sci-fi feeling novel has captivated me so completely speaks volumes.

It’s downgraded to 4 stars because if the love triangle because I’m so sick of those. It’s also because of the horrendous cliffhanger. Oh man, the cliffhanger.
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It’s bad. It’s really bad. It’s how the fuck could you do this too me bad. Here, this should help:
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Well, it certainly helped me. Damn, that smile. ANYWAY, Just remember, bad cliffhanger ahead. I’m surprisingly of the opinion that this novel is worth the trouble of that cliffhanger, which is a damn miracle.

So, what should you take away from this? This novel is good enough to leave me astounded. This novel is good enough to have me singing it’s praises even though it contains several elements I hate. This novel is almost perfect. Read it. You won’t regret it.

****Thank you to Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

4 bows
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Review for Where Silence Gathers (Some Quiet Place #2) by Kelsey Sutton

Where Silences Gathers by Kelsey Sutton

TITLE: Where Silence Gathers
SERIES: Some Quiet Place #2
AUTHOR: Kelsey Sutton
PAGES: 360 pages
FORMAT: E-ARC / ARC / Audiobook
SOURCE: Blog tour via NetGalley / Freebie shelf at Malaprops / Gifted from Kelsey Sutton
RATING: 3 bows

Nate Foster ruined Alex’s life. He is responsible for the car crash that killed her parents and her baby brother, leaving her orphaned to live with her uncle. Alex’s life was already complicated before that. She sees emotions. Love, joy, anger, sadness, and every other feeling you can think of. Revenge has been her best friend ever since her parents were killed and now that Nate has been released from prison, her path is clear. Kill the man who killed her parents and take her revenge. And when she is just about ready to make it happen, Forgiveness shows up and completely confuses her. She cannot forgive this man, he took her family from her, but yet, she doesn’t know if she can bring herself to end his life either. Given the choice, will she stick with Revenge or cave to Forgiveness?

Alex wasn’t a character I enjoyed. Right off the bat, I wavered between finding her dull and being annoyed with her. Her life sucks, understood, but I still didn’t get her attitude. Her aunt and uncle do everything they can for her, they offer psychiatric help, and she just brushes it off. I guess I just can’t understand that near-suicidal thought process. I was diagnosed with depression in middle school, but I don’t know if that was the right diagnosis for me. I don’t understand someone who feels so hopeless. I don’t understand her down-spiraling mindset. I have never understood how suicide could ever be the answer. I get that changing things is difficult, sometimes impossible, but once you pull that trigger (or down those pills or take the hairdryer into the tub), it’s all over. Any shot you had at happiness is gone. I don’t believe in any form of life after death, so I don’t ever see how that would help. I’m not criticizing or anything, it’s just not a mindset I can understand or like to read about. Even though I have taken psychology and I know all about depression and it’s effects, I still find the characters with it highly annoying. I just want to shake them out of their trance. I know this is not an acceptable response and I know that they can’t help it, but that’s is the response it generates in me.

As for the guys, let’s just say I didn’t care for either of them. Part of what I loved about Some Quiet Place was Fear and how amazing he was. I fell in love with his character. We get small glimpses of him here, but nothing to satisfy that craving I had for him. Compared to him, both Revenge and Forgiveness fall flat. Revenge is a jackass who is only trying to get Alex to make the choice his way, prepping her for that decision. Forgiveness is better, but he just comes off as a bit….um…I don’t know? I want to say religious, but that is so far from the right word that it’s not funny. I can’t put my finger on the right word, but I just didn’t particularly like him.

That was a big problem for me, I didn’t like any of the cast…except for the scant glimpses of Fear we get. I’m very character driven. I was also a little bored by the whole story. I read the first 50 or so pages in a book and then listened to the rest on audio and there was never a moment when I felt like I had to continue listening, despite any other interruptions. I just wasn’t very enthralled by the story or where it was going. I also wasn’t crazy about the ending. I like happy endings. I like the girl getting the boy she wants (or, better yet, the one she needs) and knowing that they are going to make it work. That’s not how this ends.

Despite my issues, this gets three stars because I think my problems were just that, my problems. I have a hard time relating to a depressed character like Alex, I didn’t care for the love interests, and the plot was just mehish to me. Then again, it’s hard to care where the plot goes when I don’t care how the characters end up. The ending wasn’t what I wanted, but it does end on a happy(ish) note, with hope for the future.

Bottom line? If you are reading this looking for something similar to it’s predecessor, you won’t get it. Alex’s story and Elizabeth’s is that they can both see emotions. That’s it. Starting this, I was so excited and overjoyed because I truly loved Elizabeth’s story and I was looking for something else along those lines. This story is completely different. I won’t say it’s bad, because it’s not, I just don’t think it was the right story for me. I like that nearly perfect HEA and this isn’t that type of story.

****Thank you to Flux for providing me with an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review****Also thank you to Kelsey for gifting me an audible copy****

3 bows
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Review for Boomerang (Boomerang #1) by Noelle August

Boomerang by Noelle August

TITLE: Boomerang
SERIES: Boomerang #1
AUTHOR: Noelle August (AKA Veronica Rossi & Lorin Oberweger)
PUBLISHER: William Morrow Paperbacks
PAGES: 325 pages
SOURCE: Publisher via Edelweiss / Freebie shelf at Malaprops
RATING: 5 bows

Mia Galliano dreams of being a filmmaker. She is determined to make it to the top on her own, without flashing her mom’s name around to be successful. Ethan Vance had officially finished his college soccer career and really has no idea what he wants to do. He needs a paying job, though, stat because rent and food isn’t free. They wake up in bed after an apparent one night stand, both late for work. They share a cab only to discover that they both have an internship at the same office, competing for the single job that will be offered at the end. Both deciding that buckling down and winning the job is what they need, but their mutual attraction keeps getting in the way and things get pretty complicated, pretty quickly. Who will win the Boomerang job? You’ll just have to read to find out!

Mia was a pretty interesting character from the start. Atsy and cool and completely comfortable in her own skin. She is obviously a hard worker and has this fascinating balance of confidence and insecurity. She loves her family to bits, especially her grandmother and would do anything for them. She should have irritated me from the moment I learned she comes from a wealthy family. Those snobby kinds of characters always get on my nerves. It’s most likely because I’m jealous of their ability to get whatever they want by just asking daddy pretty please, but their whole demeanor usually annoys me. I read The Moment We Began by Sarra Cannon a little while back and her heroine drove me nuts. I’m was a child of working class parents and am now working class myself and there has been no point in my life where I haven’t thought about the necessity of money to get by. So snobby rich ladies who put no thought into how the world really works and swears money can’t solve all problems just irritate the fuck out of me. If you really think money can’t solve problems give your fortune to a starving family or people without health insurance who need major medical surgery. I’m sure you’re money would solve their problems….okay, I went off on a bit of a tangent there, huh? The point of that rant is that in most cases, a girl in Mia’s situation would irritate me. Mia doesn’t though. Despite the luxurious upbringing, Mia is very down to Earth and lovable. I found nothing about her irritating, which is really an accomplishment seeing as how I’m predisposed to hate her.

Ethan is just a big sweetheart. He’s original dream was to play soccer, but sports injuries took that away from him. He doesn’t let that phase him, instead working towards finding a new dream. He coaches a kids soccer team in his spare time and it’s clear those kids light up his world. He doesn’t have parents to fall back on because he knows his folks struggle to get by and don’t need his debt adding to that. He knows a job is what he needs to survive and he wants the opportunity Boomerang can provide him, but the deeper in he gets, the more he wonders if he can take this opportunity from Mia, who wants it for the chance to work on her craft where he just wants it for rake in some money and make ends meet. He’s that big softie, that boy next door sweet guy, but with a muscular body due to his hours on the soccer field. I loved that we get a reason he’s so ripped. I’ve read one too many novels lately where the lead guy is drop dead gorgeous with lickable abs and defined arms and muscles for days, but no real justification for it. Newsflash? Those don’t appear out of nowhere. You don’t just wake up one morning and look down and see awesome abs (in our dreams, right?). Soccer is an acceptable reason.

I loved this novel. I loved it a lot. I devoured it pretty quickly. I needed to know more and to see what happened next. This is New Adult done right. We get the appropriate level of smut without veering off into erotica territory and we get a story about two people finding love despite the odds within the appropriate age range. We get beautiful writing that feels very real life, along with a plot that has the perfect balance of predictable and unexpected. A perfect point is that this should feel a bit like instalove because these two meet and are drawn to each other immediately and things progress from there, but it doesn’t. These two have lust at first sight and then spend their weekdays at a shared desk learning more and more about each other. Their attraction grows and builds, never feeling forced or fake.

I loved every small piece of this novel. I feel like it’s one I’ll go back and read again and again because it’s absolutely perfect. If the second one is half as good as this, I’ll adore it too. I knew when I heard that Veronica Rossi helped write this, it would be amazing, but I wasn’t expecting this level of awesome. If you like new adult, this is for you. If you want to try new adult but are scared of the oversexualized novels, this is for you. If you love contemporary romances, this is for you. It’s amazing and I just want more!

****Thank you to William Morrow Paperbacks for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

5 bows
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Review for Before You (Before & After #1) by Amber Hart

Before You by Amber Hart

TITLE: Before You
SERIES: Before & After #1
AUTHOR: Amber Hart
PAGES: 320 pages
SOURCE: Publisher
RATING: 5 bows

Faith Watters life appears to be perfect. She’s the captain of the dance team with good grades and enough popularity that everyone knows her name. But inside she is quite different than the facade she shows and it gets harder every day to keep the mask in place. Once she meets Diego, it takes all she’s got to make it stay and her resolve is fading fast. Diego is an 18 year old Cuban who isn’t taking to life in America very well. He wants to go home, but knows that returning to Cuba is out of the question. He has to outrun his past or the people he loves (and the one he’s falling for) will get caught in the crossfire.

Faith is an intense character. She strives for perfection because she doesn’t want to put her dad through the hell her mom did. She wants everyone to see how great she is, even if her true self falls short. I can relate to that type of pressure and I can completely see how she fell into what happened in her past. The desire to experiment is normal, she just got a bit too carried away. And Diego pushes her buttons like no one else.

Speaking of Diego, I’m a bit on the fence about him. I like him and I understand his side of things, but I didn’t quite love him like I wanted to. He’s an enjoyable character with a nasty past trying to rise above it for his father’s sake. If you are a fan of the whole bad boy thing then you’ll adore him, but I’m kinda over that. I’m also over the whole he’s so hot he’s smoking thing. I crave something a bit more realistic these days, but it didn’t bug me a bunch, just a little.

I only had two issues with this. The first is that the relationship between Faith and Diego felt a little rushed. Maybe I read it wrong, but it came off to me as a matter of weeks, maybe a month, with them playing the breaking up and getting back together game multiple times. I’m not a fan of the whole off and on thing. Either you want it or you don’t. Pick one and stick to it. My irritation is dampened a bit by the fact that Faith’s reasoning is pretty understandable and I get the struggle she’s going through. Even with that though, you either want him enough to fight for him or you don’t. There is no in between.

The other issue is a bit spoilery, but let’s just say that when you get there, you’ll know why I was ready to throw it across the room. BUT, IT’S NOT REAL. It’s not what you think and Hart does fix it by the end. Had she not, this book would have received a one bow rating and a scathing review filled with swear words and angry gifs.

On a whole, I really loved this. It had issues and elements I wasn’t entirely crazy about, but it has that up all night because I have to know what happens next quality. Though I wasn’t a huge Diego fan, I still wanted them to end up together and find a way to make it work. I think all contemporary YA fans will love this, especially Simone Elkeles fans. This feels like something she would have wrote. It reminds me a great deal of her Perfect Chemistry series.

****Thank you to KTeen for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review****

5 bows
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Review for Harder (Caroline & West #2) by Robin York

Harder by Robin York

TITLE: Harder
SERIES: Caroline & West #2
AUTHOR: Robin York
PAGES: 352 pages
SOURCE: Publisher via NetGalley
RATING: 3 bows

Caroline & West have broken apart and nothing can bring them back together….except his father’s death. After West’s father dies, he has a moment of weakness and calls Caroline. Caroline insists on flying to see him and help him through it, despite his demands that she not. Once she arrives, things are awkward and tense at best, but there is still hope. West is so different than he once was, but Caroline can see the old West peeking through when his guard is down. Can they find a way to make it work or is their relationship doomed to failure?

Okay, full disclosure: I haven’t read Deeper. I know, me, the obsessive one who must read all the earlier books before starting a random book in a series didn’t read the first book. I was trying to get this read before it’s release date and I didn’t have time to read the first one. Plus, I figured that most NA’s work in a way that you don’t need to read the first book to understand the second. This, however, is the exception. For all of you out there thinking of following my example, don’t. I feel like I missed so much from the first book. I missed the chance to really fall in love with West, because the first half of this book definitely doesn’t make me love him. It makes me hate him. It makes me hate him enough that his later redemption wasn’t enough for me. I’m sorry dude, but you crossed a line that you can’t uncross. Period.

So, obviously, I didn’t love our leading man. I didn’t even like him. I wanted to punch him in the face. I don’t know if I would have disliked him as much if I had read the first one where he obviously rescues Caroline and is all sweet and shit, but I guess I’ll never know now. Caroline, on the other hand, was a mixed reaction. There were times I liked her and times I didn’t. I liked that she wanted to be there for West, even when he didn’t want her too. I didn’t like how she forgave him. I’m sorry, but I don’t see how you can, not after what he did. I did like how she stood up to her father. I didn’t like that it was yet another rich, entitled girl story. It’s getting a bit old. I get that part of the point of the first book must have been that money can’t solve all problems, but it sure makes her comfortable while it tries. Why are all stories either rich or poor? Either Daddy’s got more money than he could possibly spend or they grew up starving because Daddy ran off and Mommy’s too high on drugs to care enough to work for food. Where is the middle class? Or better yet, where is the upper lower class? Because isn’t that where most people fall? They get enough money to get by, but not enough to go crazy? Or enough to live paycheck to paycheck, but not enough to cover disasters? GRH. Rant over.

Things get better once they get West out of Silt, but as I’ve said, that just wasn’t enough for me. He was an asshole with a capital A. Watching him try to make the new arrangement with his sister work was almost enough to get me to like him, almost. But it wasn’t enough. Add to that the fact that his and Caroline’s relationship felt so focused on sex that little else mattered and I was all up in ranting mode again. Don’t get me wrong, they go through plenty of other issues, but they are focused on how much their bodies missed each other. Seriously? Golf clap for you because you enjoy fucking, but there are other things in this world. There are other aspects to a relationship.

All in all, this novel just irked me. I enjoyed parts of it and raged at others. I think part of it is because I never read Deeper, but I think this would have still irked me if I had. Maybe on a lower level because I would be more understanding of the characters or maybe on a higher level because I would expect more out of these characters, but it’s really a moot point. It just felt a bit too much like a generic NA novel. Follow the formula, make it work. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. Maybe you’ll see something in it that I didn’t, but it just wasn’t the amazing thing I was expecting it to be.

****Thank you to Bantam for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

3 bows
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