Review- Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout

dont look back

Title: Don’t Look Back
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Genre: Young Adult/ Romance
Release Date: 2014
Pages: 384
Reviewer: Kelly

BLURB:

Samantha is a stranger in her own life. Until the night she disappeared with her best friend, Cassie, everyone said Sam had it all-popularity, wealth, and a dream boyfriend.

Sam has resurfaced, but she has no recollection of who she was or what happened to her that night. As she tries to piece together her life from before, she realizes it’s one she no longer wants any part of. The old Sam took “mean girl” to a whole new level, and it’s clear she and Cassie were more like best enemies. Sam is pretty sure that losing her memories is like winning the lottery. She’s getting a second chance at being a better daughter, sister, and friend, and she’s falling hard for Carson Ortiz, a boy who has always looked out for her-even if the old Sam treated him like trash.

But Cassie is still missing, and the facts about what happened to her that night isn’t just buried deep inside of Sam’s memory-someone else knows, someone who wants to make sure Sam stays quiet. All Sam wants is the truth, and if she can unlock her clouded memories of that fateful night, she can finally move on. But what if not remembering is the only thing keeping Sam alive?

OPINION:

The moment I opened the first page of this book, and read the opening lines I was hooked- line and sinker! I didn’t know where this story would take me. Having read a lot of Armentrout’s previous novels I knew she could have taken me to a universe full of mythical creatures, or included an alien invasion, instead she kept it really simple and let this story play out in the ‘real world’. It was relatable as the situation that Samantha found herself in could happen to anyone, anywhere or at anytime.

The story was written in the first person point of view, through the eyes of Samantha, the main protagonist. She begins the story with her memories and her best friend missing. As a reader we are learning all about her life at the same time that she is! Then as her memories begin to come back in dreamlike, flashbacks and visions you start to wonder, just like Samantha, where is Cassie? The plot thickens when mysterious hand written notes begin to appear, sending very cryptic messages, turning this novel into a real “who done it?”

The foreshadowing techniques used throughout the story really kept you guessing until the very last page. Armentrout was very clever to give out little hints and clues throughout the book, but never enough to give the ending away. This created a gripping and enthralling read that was refreshing and different to any other novel I have ever read!

SUMMARY:
Wow! Armentrout can do no wrong! This book was an intriguing, heart-stopping, page turner. I finished it in a day. I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN!

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Review – Mangled Hearts by Felicia Tatum

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Title – Mangled hearts
Author – Felicia Tatum
Genre – Contemporary Romance
Pages – 118
Reviewer – Laura

*** Copy provided by Author in exchange for an honest review***

Blurb:

Francesca and Cade…

Can two loves find their way back to each other despite an addiction and a hardened heart? Will their love overcome it all?

Francesca Taymon is young, successful, and broken. A tragic accident years ago haunts her to this day, and she blames only one person–the one that holds her heart. When she finally gets her first case, will she be able to handle seeing him again? Can she do her job and keep her heart intact?

Cade Kelling doesn’t take life seriously. He’s reckless and irresponsible, drinking all his problems away. When his parents bail him out for the last time, will he be able to handle seeing Francesca after all of these years? Will he be able to tell her what really happened that night five years ago or will he lose her forever?

And the most important question….
Can these mangled hearts be mended?

Opinion:

I really enjoyed reading this book as the story line captured my interest from the very beginning! I think this book is very well written, and I love how each chapter switched between both characters points of view.

My impression of Francesca Taymon initially was that she was going to be quite a weak character that just let people walk all over her and tell her what to do. As I continued to read however, I found I really quite liked her, and she ended up being this strong-minded girl with more confidence than I anticipated at the beginning.

A similar change of heart occurred in my opinion of the character of Cade Kelling – like Francesca, my view of him was pretty poor at the beginning of the book. I thought him to be, quite frankly, a loser! He didn’t seem to want to help himself or get over his problems and the fact that he just went to alcohol for an easy fix of everything wrong in his life really annoyed me! I was therefore really happy when he finally started to listening to the people that love him and decided to help himself!

All in all “Mangled Hearts” was an interesting and enjoyable read that kept me intrigued from the beginning, and I would definitely recommend it!

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Review – The Dorm Room Diaries: Freshman Year

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TITLE: The Dorm Room Diaries: Freshman Year (Book #1)
AUTHOR: T.L Steffe
GENRE: Young Adult – Contemporary Romance
PAGES: 168
REVIEWER: Nicole

BLURB:

For eighteen-year-old Monroe Reid, life is full of change. Her long-time best friend, Lennon Walker, confessed his true feelings for her and she hasn’t spoken to him since. That was eight weeks ago. On top of that, she is about to leave her family, who is growing increasingly distant from her, and begin her journey of independence in her freshman year of college.

With Lennon headed in the opposite direction of the country, Monroe knows she needs to confront their situation ASAP. Lennon has a shaky history and has struggled with obstacles in his past, while Monroe has always been his constant rock. Now, she is struggling with the blurred lines of their friendship.

Once at college, Monroe quickly finds herself in a world filled with new friends, opportunities, and a potential love interest.

Bad boy Brayden Stryker knows there’s something special about Monroe the moment he lays his eyes on her. It doesn’t take long for her to fall for him, especially when he confides his darkest secrets to her.

Can Monroe trust Brayden, or will he break her heart, leaving Lennon to pick up the pieces? Freshman Year is a tale of friendship full of love and laughter, and heartache and despair

REVIEW:

If you are drawn to college romance and love triangles genres you are going to love The Dorm Room Diaries: Freshman Year!

The protagonist of this story is Monroe, who is about to set off and start her first year of collage away from her family and best friend, Lennon. Before she leaves, Lennon a.k.a “Infamous”, expresses his true feelings for Monroe, leaving her confused and conflicted about her true feelings. Once she gets to College she meets Brayden a.k.a “Dream boy”, she realizes her feelings for Lennon was nothing like what she feels for Brayden. Brayden and Monroe fall in love fast but Brayden has a dark past and secrets, can he overcome his past? Will he trust Monroe with his secrets? And will their relationship survive despite his demons?

The first thing I have to express is opposite sex best friends in my opinion never works – though always make an interesting fictional love story! There is always one that starts to feel more than friendship, leaving the other person: A – feeling the same and they develop a fantastic relationship and a love story forms, or B – the other person doesn’t feel the same, they try to remain best friends, which we all know just can’t work and results in the platonic person losing their best friend, which is very sad.

So now that I have expressed my feelings on that matter, I have to say that I was constantly juggling between being on team Lennon to team Brayden in this story. I would be rooting for one of them and then they would go and do something stupid and I change my backing – in the end I was left being on team Lennon but this could once again change in the future.

Both Lennon and Brayden’s characters are damaged with a hell of a lot of baggage, terrible childhoods and lots of dark secrets. The scary thing is they both kept expressing how they “needed” Monroe, to me they were showing clear signs of desperation rather than love, especially Brayden in the end for his character definitely has major issues that are yet to be revealed.

I liked Monroe’s character, I like her personality which was likeable and real for girls her age, but I do feel at times she plays Lennon as back up at times to console her feelings regarding Brayden but once again this is how opposite sex best friends become tricky.

The Dorm Room Diaries: Freshman Year is a quick, easy read with great flow and pace and a great college romance/love triangle plot.  The only negative I will point out is we still know nothing about Brayden’s character which is frustrating, and I only wished I could understand him more to be able to connect with his character. Also, Monroe’s family are hiding something or going through some sort of turmoil  which  we still don’t have a clue about either, but I guess this is the hook to bet the reader invested and wanting to find out these unanswered questions – well Steffe has piqued my interest and definitely has me hooked!

So I guess I will have to wait until Book Two: Sophomore Year to see what awaits in this installment which will be very interesting I must say…will it be Brayden or Lennon? Or a new damaged character in the mix?

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From the TBR Pile!!

Hello fellow bloggers, reviewers and book fanatics!

This week our feature from the To Be Read pile is….. Village Teacher by neihtn.

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We would love to hear your feedback on this historical love story set in Vietnam.

If you like it…please like the post!

If you loved it…please comment or add a link to your review!

Thank you for your valuable feedback!!!

New to Book Gossips! From The TBR Pile!

Help us with our To Be Read Pile!

Please!!

TBR

We have been eyeing our always growing pile of TBR books and thought we would ask for help from our blog readers.  Maybe one of the book we post will be one you have already read and have an opinion or maybe you’ve already written a review on it – you could post a link to your review in the comments!  We invite you to share your opinions with us!

Keep an eye out for posts from our TBR pile!!

We look forward to hearing your opinions!

Happy reading!  From the Book Gossips!!

Review: S. by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst

S.

Title: S.
Author: J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 456
Reviewer: Debby

A literary adventure!!!

Blurb:

One book. Two readers. A world of mystery, menace and desire
A young woman picks up a book left behind by a stranger. Inside it are his margin notes, which reveal a reader entranced by the story and by its mysterious author. She responds with notes of her own, leaving the book for the stranger, and so begins an unlikely conversation that plunges them both into the unknown.

THE BOOK: Ship of Theseus, the final novel by a prolific but enigmatic writer named V. M. Straka, in which a man with no past is shanghaied onto a strange ship with a monstrous crew and launched on a disorienting and perilous journey.

THE WRITER: Straka, the incendiary and secretive subject of one of the world’s greatest mysteries, a revolutionary about whom the world knows nothing apart from the words he wrote and the rumours that swirl around him.

THE READERS: Jennifer and Eric, a college senior and a disgraced grad student, both facing crucial decisions about who they are, who they might become, and how much they’re willing to trust another person with their passions, hurts and fears.

S., conceived by filmmaker J.J. Abrams and written by award-winning novelist Doug Dorst, is the chronicle of two readers finding each other in the margins of a book and enmeshing themselves in a deadly struggle between forces they don’t understand. It is also Abrams and Dorst’s love letter to the written word.

Review:

I am a huge fan of Abrams so I am not at all surprised at how impressed I am at this exhilarating, innovative and all around impressive contribution to the literary landscape.  How incredible to get absorbed in two stories simultaneously!  Leave it to Abrams to find a way to introduce something so unique and captivating to the world of fiction.

While I think writing a review after reading S. only once may be a little premature, perhaps my remarks on first impression will be easier for me to express as I have a sense that the more times this book is absorbed, the more levels of it’s mystery stand to be uncovered.  So it goes without saying, this is a heavy read.  My technique for reading the book was a concurrent one.  I read each page, first “Ship of Theseus” and then the margin notes by Jen and Eric.  I did find my first read to take quite some time as that reading technique did feel quite disjointed and unfamiliar.  While that comment seems like a negative one, I did actually appreciate the monkey wrench it threw into my usual reading habits.  This book certainly forces you to be more present in the state of reading.  S. is a book you read without other disruptions and only with a clear mind!

I will not pretend to have cracked the codes inside the book, nor will I pretend to understand the complexity of the story occurring in the margin notes after the first read.  I think I may aim to read through the entire “Ship of Theseus” to fully grasp that story, and then go through the book again reading only the margin notes so as to fully understand all the characters that were somehow jammed into the space on the outside of the central story.  Brilliant work by Doug Dorst!  I am hugely impressed at the level of character development he was able to give to characters who only express themselves through short margin notes, with the occasional letter thrown into the mix!

While I would normally comment on the plot, whether or not I like the characters, or the end, or the beginning; I feel that I would rather give readers of this post the ability to form their own opinions.  I, hypocritically enough, did not read any reviews prior to my read of the book for that very reason!  All I will say is that if you truly love to read, you must experience this book!  It is full of so many surprises!!

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