#ARC Review || Only You by Denise Grover Swank

Only You by Denise Grover Swank
Published October 25, 2016
Amazon || Goodreads
ARC via Publisher + NetGalley

Never say never . . .

Romance isn’t an option for Holly Greenwood. With her wedding planner career on the line she needs to stay focused, and that means pleasing her demanding boss, not getting distracted by her mind-alteringly hot neighbor . . . 


Ex-Marine Kevin Vandemeer craves normalcy. Instead, he has a broken-down old house in need of a match and some gasoline, a meddling family, and the uncanny ability to attract the world’s craziest women. At least that last one he can fix: he and his buddies have made a pact to swear off women, and this includes his sweetly sexy new neighbor. 

After one hot night that looks a whole lot like a disaster in the light of day, Kevin and Holly are about to learn that true love doesn’t play by the rules . . . 


Way back in May, I made the decision to read this ARC instead of the ARC I was currently reading that was being published at an earlier date. In short, I regret nothing. ONLY YOU was incredibly sweet, believable, and I can relate to the main character. That last plus is something I’ve had a bit of trouble doing lately. Whether this be because I’m getting pickier, or the stress of new beginnings is finally sinking in, I’m not really sure. What I do know is that this book hit the spot. I was laughing, cringing, and cheering on Holly and Kevin. 

Thank y’all for acting your age. (this is where I’m offering all the stars) I’m not super sure what it is with 25-30 year olds acting like high-school students but it makes me annoyed. Annoyed to the point of no return. I would love to say I’m super forgiving on this aspect of personalities, but that would be a lie. Holly and Kevin were presented with obstacles in their relationship (this should read Kevin’s mother, who happened to be Holly’s boss and ticket into being a big-time wedding planner) and they dealt with them beautifully. The will-they won’t-they was the driving tension through the book and I LOVE IT. The writing of it in all caps should properly display my enthusiasm. 

I liked them a whole bunch. They were genuinely good humans. I haven’t grown wearing of the less-savory characters (no, that never going to happen) at all, but I really liked getting to know nice people as opposed to idiots who can’t seem to get their head screwed on straight. Or make the right choice until the end of the book…ever. ONLY YOU is a good change of pace from that. 

Now that I’ve ranted about the characters for a bit, let’s chat about the plot. This book basically follows the two characters struggling with their want to be together, their jobs (more-so his than hers), and his mom. That sounds weird; his mom prevented them from being together. But she did! Holly is working weddings this entire book, and we’re just following her around for the ride. She’s a fantastic planner, and is trying to make a name for herself so that she can start her own business. Holly is struggling to balance her personal and her professional life. I really liked seeing how to handled everything (the man, the crazy brides). 


Overall, I really liked this book. The characters were fantastic, which is why I like the book so much. They were funny, relatable, and easy understand. They made decisions that made sense and really were just nice folks. ONLY YOU was an easy read. It’s a nice break from the heavier stuff. 

#Review || Degrees of Wrong by Anna Scarlett || Underwater Apocolypse

Degrees of Wrong by Anna Scarlett
Goodreads || Amazon
Kindle Edition
Published: August 28, 2012

This time, the straight-and-narrow path could be the road to ruin. 

Dr. Elyse Morgan’s mission: find the cure to the HTN4 virus. The compensation, courtesy of the United Nations: a lab stocked with hi-tech goodies, limitless resources and enough chocolate to make her rear look like a cellulite farm. Bonus: she gets to live.

Rescued (kidnapped) and secreted (imprisoned) on an undersea warship, Elyse adjusts to her assumed identity as a cadet with the finesse of a toeless ballerina. Her sulfuric temper and blatant insubordination capture the unwanted attention of the ship’s captain, the gorgeous, infuriating, engaged Nicoli Marek.

Elyse would rather perform her own autopsy than become the other woman, but Nicoli—who’s as full of himself as he is of secrets—regards his impending marriage as a mere political transaction. And Elyse as fair game.

As Elyse’s suspicions about the UN’s true agenda mount along with her attraction to the relentless, chronically shirtless captain, she must choose between the murky path to everything she’s ever wanted, or the squeaky-clean path of self-sacrifice—which could mean taking the secrets of the virus with her to the grave.

Warning: Features a strong, chocolate-loving heroine who takes no prisoners on the way to saving the world from an epidemic and winning a captain’s heart. 

What do you get when you put together a chocolate-addicted doctor who can maybe save the world and an undercover (sort of, not really) submarine captain who is way too freaking hot to handle? 
You get this book. You get swoons out the wazoo and so many laugh-out-loud moments that your facial muscles will ache by the end of this book. I mean, mine did. (Quick note, maybe don’t read this in a public venue. You’ll get more than a few questioning stares.)
I’ll be super honest and say I’m a character person. I don’t like the character; I won’t like the book. Well, at least not as much as I may have. I loved the characters in DEGREES OF WRONG. I mean like really love. I love them in a please-let’s-all-be-friends kind of way. Elyse is a doctor, the one who is closest to finding the cure to the HTN4 virus, or at least the UN seems to believe so. After having been drawn out from her ‘hiding’ spot and placed on Nicoli’s submarine to find the cure for the virus under the supervision of the government.
With Nicoli curious and super attracted to Elyse, and Elyse trying her hardest to stay away from him and all his complications (hello, sexual tension) along with people trying to murder people, this book was action packed. However, even though it was action packed, it was still an incredibly easy read. That’s one of the main things that I love about it. The plot wasn’t complicated, but there were twists and turns and just as many unlikely friends as unlikely enemies.
It was AWESOME.
That’s all the things I love about this book. Those are all the reasons I wish I could read it for the first time a hundred times. All that being said, I was left a bit unsatisfied. There were loose ends that needed tying up, and this book is a stand along. I’m sort of half scratching my head- half debating begging for a sequel.

In the end, I can’t recommend this book enough. Even though the ending was lack-luster, the beginning and the middle SOOOO did not disappoint. I need to find me one of those.

Food and Abs | Must Love Cowboys by Cheryl Brooks | #Review

MUST LOVE COWBOYS | Cheryl Brooks 
Rating: 4 Stars 
Goodreads | Amazon
ARC via Netgalley and Publisher in exchange for honest review
Sourcebooks Casablanca 

SUMMARY 

Shy computer specialist and amateur chef Tina Hayes travels to Circle Bar K ranch to scatter her father’s ashes in the Tetons of Wyoming. Once there, her father’s old army buddy and his cast of cowboy ranch hands persuade her to stay on as the ranch’s cook for a while. It’s not a hard decision, especially when she meets Wyatt McCabe, a man who makes her heart gallop like no one else. But with so many cowboys to choose from, can Wyatt show Tina that he’s the only one for her?

Oh swoon, swoon, swoooooooon.
Oh somebody HOLD MEEEE.
In order to show y’all how darling this book is, I’m going to do a top three.
ONE– The hot guys galore. Let’s talk about how guys look in jeans when they’ve been working real hard on the ranch. Or at least how they stereotypically look. Because that toned-ness is so what is in MUST LOVE COWBOYS. And y’all, do I love me some cowboys. The ones in this book are sweet and eat a lot and are protective. They’re a family. And they’d do anything to keep their own safe, and have then feel safe. One of them specifically is Wyatt.
Isn’t that name fun to say?
TWO- The food. OOOOOOOH THE FOOOOD. Tina’s grandfather just died and his wish was for her to scatter his ashes in a place that meant something to him. So on she goes on a trip to do just that. While her grandfather was sick, he was a picky eater. Tina didn’t complain. But she has this dream to cook for a group of firefighters. This is so she can cook a whole lot and none of it will go to waste.
Instead of firefighters she got cowboys (fair trade, yes?) and goodness, can this girl cook. I was drooling for two reasons this entire book. And the food was most certainly one of them. Mmmm. I like pie and potato salad and all that other stuff too. When can I come visit?
THREE– The mystery (that’s left out of the summary? What?). WHY YES THERE IS AN INTRIGUING MYSTERY. It’s filled with attempted murder and money and long lost humans. It’s a delight and a half. Truly.
MUST LOVE COWBOYS is just what I needed. Cute with a touch of tension. Fun with a flair of the dramatic. I’ve been reading heavy books of late, and this book felt like a breeze. Now if I could just hunt me down one of those cowboys, I’ll be set.

Well, that’s not completely true. I want him and a that potato salad.

Love and Murder | Hold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle | #Review

HOLD YOUR BREATH | Katie Ruggle
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Goodreads // Amazon
ARC via Netgalley + Publisher for an honest review
Sourcebooks Casablanca
Published: April 5, 2016

SUMMARY 

In the remote wilderness of the Rocky Mountains, rescue groups—law enforcement, rescue divers, firefighters—are often the only hope for the lost, the sick and the injured. But in a place this far off the map, trust is hard to come by and secrets can lead to murder.

That’s why Callum, the surly and haunted leader of the close-knit Search and Rescue brotherhood, finds it so hard to let newcomer Louise “Lou” Sparks into his life. But when these rescue divers go face-to-face with a killer, Callum may find that more than his heart is on the line …

EXTRA! EXTRA!
GIRL WHO EVERYONE WANTS TO KILL MEETS MR. STRONG AND SILENT AND REEEALLLY GOOD KISSER! MURDER, MEYHEM, AND LOOOVE!
READ ALL ABOUT IT!
I am loving Casablanca’s April publications. And this is another one you have got to add to your TBR- pronto. I’m so serious. Lou is a scream. She’s got a fire burning bright inside of her and our main love, Callum, can’t resist her if he tried. Of course, he did try for a little bit. After Lou kicks up a dead body from the icy cold lake water, he just can’t seem to let the magnet for danger and death out of his sight.
And I’m really not complaining. I mean, he’s serious and never really smiles, but he’s so dang protective but doesn’t get all me-man and their relationship is just so freaking cuuuute I just can’t.
This book should be read with fuzzy socks and hot chocolate.
Okay- so what were some things I loved beside the killer characters? (no pun intended) (just kidding, the pun was intended)
One thing I though was really well done was the flow of HOLD YOUR BREATH. I’ll be honest, I thought it was going to be rushed with everything that was going on: relationship development, murder to solve, almost getting murdered, self discovery and all that jazz. But- surprise- this book was the perfect pace. Things kept moving and I kept reading and I wanted to know what was going to happen next. But it wasn’t jammed packed in a way that caused a total headache.
Another thing that I thought was really well done was the build up of the town in general. I could tell that there were more books to come just by reading the first book. I was really able to tell what characters were going to get their own little stories filled with danger and romance.
*sigh*
I really like danger and romance. Those are my favorite.
If I had one thing to complain about, it would be Lou. I loved her (really, I did), but I also wanted her to be a bit more mature. She does a few things where I’m just sort of shaking my head and wanting to slap her. I mean, I also want to hug her pretty much the entire book- so obviously this isn’t a ginormous complaint. And it builds her character and all so that’s pretty snazzy.

Love, murder– what’s not to love, y’all? For real? 

#Flawless | When We Collided by Emery Lord | #Review

WHEN WE COLLIDED | Emery Lord
Goodreads // Amazon
Pub Date: April 5, 2016
ARC via Bloomsbury for honest review
Rating: 5 Stars 

Meet Vivi and Jonah: A girl and a boy whose love has the power save or destroy them.

Vivi and Jonah couldn’t be more different. Vivi craves anything joyful or beautiful that life can offer. Jonah has been burdened by responsibility for his family ever since his father died. As summer begins, Jonah resigns himself to another season of getting by. Then Vivi arrives, and suddenly life seems brighter and better. Jonah is the perfect project for Vivi, and things finally feel right for Jonah. Their love is the answer to everything. But soon Vivi’s zest for life falters, as her adventurousness becomes true danger-seeking. Jonah tries to keep her safe, but there’s something important Vivi hasn’t told him.

Perfect for fans of E. Lockhart and Jandy Nelson, When We Collided is a powerful story of two teens whose love is put to the test by forces beyond their control.

Oh my sweet cherries. Emery Lord, I liked your last book (just liked) but hooooooly goodness, WHEN WE COLLIDED was incredibly compelling, heartbreaking and cheerful and gorgeous. I’ve never had bipolar disorder described to me quite like this. I think I understand a bit more, and I really can’t tell you how grateful I am for that.
Can I hug you now?
Vivi and Jonah. Jonah and Vivi. They sure did collide. And, my, were the sparks glorious. Jonah is helping to hold his 7-person family together with the help of his two older siblings after the death of his father left his mother unable to gather the motivation to get herself up from her bed. Vivis just left Seattle after a hypomanic episode left relationships on the rocks and the depressive episode awarded her a physiatrist.
The tone of this book had me anxious the entire time I was reading it. I was falling in love and terribly worried. I felt like I was Vivi’s mom. Anxiety-ridden and completely taken with this gorgeous, lively human who feels every single thing there is to feel. I adore Vivi and her love for the paint shop and Jonah’s family, the way she accepts people without questions and her bravery against darkness. She’s an incredibly relatable character.
Lord does something with the way this book is written that really drew me in. I don’t know if it was simply that I felt like I knew Jonah and Vivi, or if it was how I watched them grow from this maybe-friends-with-benefits to holy-sweet-baby-Jesus-I-love-you that really got to me, but it got to me. This book follows them falling for each other in a realistic way, as well as details their own personal issues. Neither one of them was perfect, and it wasn’t just that they were perfect in that mental illness wanted to be friendly with the two of them, but the fact that they were human.Sometimes they didn’t listen close enough, didn’t consider the other’s feelings, snapped a little too quickly.
I mean, I just love them.
Their imperfectness makes them human, and their human-ness makes them relatable. The dual POV worked SO WELL for WHEN WE COLLIDED. The reader is allowed to see the inner workings of with Vivi’s mind as well as Jonah’s. This worked so well. Lately, I’ve been getting annoyed where there is more than one POV. This use of it delighted me.

WHEN WE COLLIDED is brilliant. It’s worth reading. The true-as-I’ve-seen  point of view of bipolar disorder was incredible.

Here are my feelings || The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon

The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon
November 27, 2015
Amazon || Goodreads

If I tell you right up front, right in the beginning that I lost him, it will be easier for you to bear. You will know it’s coming, and it will hurt. But you’ll be able to prepare.

Someone found him in a laundry basket at the Quick Wash, wrapped in a towel, a few hours old and close to death. They called him Baby Moses when they shared his story on the ten o’clock news – the little baby left in a basket at a dingy Laundromat, born to a crack addict and expected to have all sorts of problems. I imagined the crack baby, Moses, having a giant crack that ran down his body, like he’d been broken at birth. I knew that wasn’t what the term meant, but the image stuck in my mind. Maybe the fact that he was broken drew me to him from the start.

It all happened before I was born, and by the time I met Moses and my mom told me all about him, the story was old news and nobody wanted anything to do with him. People love babies, even sick babies. Even crack babies. But babies grow up to be kids, and kids grow up to be teenagers. Nobody wants a messed up teenager.

And Moses was messed up. Moses was a law unto himself. But he was also strange and exotic and beautiful. To be with him would change my life in ways I could never have imagined. Maybe I should have stayed away. Maybe I should have listened. My mother warned me. Even Moses warned me. But I didn’t stay away.

And so begins a story of pain and promise, of heartache and healing, of life and death. A story of before and after, of new beginnings and never-endings. But most of all…a love story.




Three Thoughts I had While Reading
“Those are my five greats for Georgia today. Those were my five greats yesterday and they will be tomorrow and the next day, until your kisses get old. Then I’ll have to think of something else.” 
One. WILL YOU PAINT ME TOO LIKE YOU PAINT HER BUT NOT LIKE I’M DEAD? Please and thank you. Noah’s a bit of an artist y’all. A real-to-life artist. He paints the past.
Two. One thing that I think is immensely important knowing while going into this books are the paranormal aspects to it. It’s not mentioned in the summary, but without knowing that I think the book poses confusing. I love this aspect of the book. Not-so-baby Moses can see the dead. His crack-addicted mother abandoned him on the front step of the Laundromat. The sweet town looked in on his uprooted life as it progresses. He passes from family member to family member. The dead show Noah things.

Three. The mystery in the entirety of this book is spell-binding. Mwahah.

South of Sunshine by Dana Elmendorf // Love in a Small Town (with song lyrics)

South of Sunshine by Dana Elmendorf
ARC via Netgalley
Published April 1, 2016 // Albert Whitman
Rating: 4 Stars
Goodreads // Amazon

Summary 

What is Kaycee willing to risk for the sake of love? 
And what will she risk for acceptance?

In Sunshine, Tennessee, the main event in town is Friday night football, the biggest party of the year is held in a field filled with pickup trucks, and church attendance is mandatory. For Kaycee Jean McCoy, life in Sunshine means dating guys she has no interest in, saying only “yes, ma’am” when the local bigots gossip at her mom’s cosmetics salon, and avoiding certain girls at all costs. Girls like Bren Dawson.

Unlike Kaycee, Bren doesn’t really conceal who she is. But as the cool, worldly new girl, nobody at school seems to give her any trouble. Maybe there’s no harm if Kaycee gets closer to her too, as long as she can keep that part of her life a secret, especially from her family and her best friend. But the more serious things get with Bren, the harder it is to hide from everyone else. Kaycee knows Sunshine has a darker side for people like her, and she’s risking everything for the chance to truly be herself. 


OOOOhh my goodness, y’all. This book was equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking. Kaycee lives in Sunshine, a little town filled with some majorly conservative folks. This girl, she’s tried to like guys; she’s kissed them and been left by them and in general she’s fine with that. As long as she pretends her little secret isn’t actually real she’s able to deal with, well, everything. And that’s what she’s doing until the new girl, Bren, rolls into town with her 6’ figure, tales from her world travels, and her eyes that boldly stare back at Kaycee. Having never encountered another like her Kaycee finds herself torn between embracing her sexuality and living the life she’s comfortable, but not really happy with.
I put the book down quite a few times because, oh my sweet goodness, things happen. Do they ever happen. And it makes me smile and laugh and break my heart. The minor characters (like the school librarian and the surprisingly nice…) help hold this story together.
I’ve created a short little playlist of song that I think go with the book along with the specific lyric that made me thing of the song in particular.
Everlong // Foo Fighters
“And I wonder / When I sing along with you / If anything could ever feel this real forever”
SOUTH OF SUNSHINE is Kaycee’s self-embracing story. She doesn’t know what she wants other than the idea that she wants to be accepted. Bu her mother, by her best friend, by the people she calls her family, and by Bren. She has to learn to accept herself, however.
Coffins // Misterwives
“You said you’d stand even if this would all fall”
In the beginning of Bren and Kaycee’s hush hush relationship, Bren (who is the most understanding girl on the plant, I love her) come to realize that Kaycee’s mom doesn’t know that her daughter is into girls. Instead of wanting her to run and tell her and shout their relationship to the world, she does the sweetest thing. She promises they’ll get through it together. This is where I fall for her a little bit. In a few books where a character is coming out, the love interest is angered at having to keep their relationship out of the public eye. Bren is the opposite, I mean, yes, she wants the world to know that Kaycee is hers but she also understands that this is hard for Kaycee. She lets her go at her pace.
Falling Apart // Papa Roach
“I refuse to believe the apocalypse inside of me/ I can’t even trust myself”
This song reminds me of Kaycee’s struggle with her mother’s, and her own, faith and how God viewed her regarding who she can’t help but feel attracted to.  
The Fighter // In This Moment
“I will fall and rise above / And in your hate I find love”
In this ultra-conservative southern town, our main girl feels like the world is against her. Or at least how she loves. I think the rest of this lyric is mighty self-explanatory.
What’s amazing about SOUTH OF SUNSHINE is that these are actions that I could be myself making, and reactions I could see myself mirrored in. It may not be the same situation, but when you’re trying to figure yourself out it’s pretty much impossible to not make any mistakes. I love how real the characters are.
Little Toy Guns // Carrie Underwood
“I wish words were like little toy guns / No sting”
You know that saying “sticks and stone may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?” Yeah, that saying is a complete lie. Words hurt, and it’s psychological damage that we don’t see even if it there for the viewing.

And goodness high-schoolers are mmmeeeeean.
Y’all need to go get yourselves a copy. Do songs pop into your head when you’re reading? 

How to know you’ll love THE BONE SEASON before you start it

THE BONE SEASON by Samantha Shannon
Book 1 // Finished Edition Sent from Publisher
Goodreads // Amazon
Published August 20, 2013

The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.

It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine and also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.

So I think THE BONE SEASON by Samantha Shannon is the epitome of the bee’s knees. I mean it has so freaking much going for it and I was just totally not expecting it. Though, I suppose, I really should have known. In order to help you hurry along your prance to a copy of THE BONE SEASON, I’ve complied a list of things you can check off in order to figure out if this book is the book you’ve been searching for.
One.) You are faced with books, on occasion, with excerpts- maybe they’re just sentences, snippets- that are so beautiful and so moving that you just have to take a deep breath and let that psychotic grin overtake your face. I mean, you look like The Joker for a little while, but that book? So worth it.
I apologize for upsetting you. But even if you resent me, know I only sought to understand you. You can hardly blame me for your refusal to be understood.”
This quote was that for me. It reminds me of the quote from George Orwell’s 1984, Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.”
I like that.
Two.) You happen to fall for Darkling-like and Darcy-like characters faster than a rockslide down a mountain. Sometimes you even fall to sleep wondering what it would be like for these two to be mushed together and given a save/destroy-the-world complex. Well, darling. Search no more.
May I present to you Warden. Your newest book boyfriend. He enjoys lots of things. But you’ll just have to find all that out for yourself.
He was the single most beautiful and terrible thing I’d ever laid eyes on.”
                                                                                                                                        
And hell to the no, this was in no way, shape, or form insta-love. Praise the Lord for small mercies. It was more like insta-want to kill and maim and set on fire and maybe make you go insane. Sounds like a toatal Lady Gaga song. MWAHAHA. Hehehe.
Three.) You like your evil queen badass. You want her marrow to be steeped in bad intentions. You want her morals to be trampled. You want her to trample people.
Oh honey baby sweetheart are you ever in the right place. Because this mistress of all things going to hell breaks everything, she takes what she wants. And she’s determined to get what it is she wants at whatever the cost, and no matter now high the body count is.
Four.) You like your heroines to mess up and make mistakes and have regrets. But you want them to embrace them, not to let that slow them down. You want them to allow those regrets to have a place inside of them, and you want that heroine to fight to the skin of her teeth. Of course, supernatural abilities are a plus. So is the inability to bow down.
 Your eyes hold death. Death and ice.”

Review: Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
Goodreads // Amazon
ARC via Publisher for review tour (THANK YOU, Random House)
Published: April, 15, 2016

Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago—the closest place she has to something like home—she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?

The thing is, Jessie does need help. It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live in LA with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.

In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?



Tell me three things. . .
One. I’ve never loved anyone the way I’ve loved SN. From bravery to confessions over the keys of a message board, he’s something else entirely. Two. I want every book ever written by Julie Buxbaum in my possession immediately. And my immediately I mean yesterday, last year, right now. Three. The relationships and feelings and hope and faults in this book are more relatable than what I could have ever hoped for. When I want a book about heartbreak, I need a dose of happiness, topped with some humor. This book did that. This is a book that does heartbreak and growing up well.
I promise I love heartbreak and dark humor just as much as the next person. But I need good dose of happiness with it. A little bit of wonder. I read a book last year that was beautiful, but it was just so sad. This book was sad, but it wasn’t drowning me in despair. It had hope and growing up and….well…it had SN. Who is by far my favorite character. And, by the way, I call dibs. Because he is just. Le sigh. When Jessie’s mama dies, Jessie in her dad spend their time mourning. They go through the motions. When her daddy meets this woman online, he marries her in just over a month. By doing this, he uproots Jessie from Chicago and moves them to California. The book goes over her new life, the terror of a new high school, new steppeople, and her evolving self.
Let me introduce you to the characters. Oh, no. Please. Have a seat. Make yourself a cup of coffee. Comfortable?
Jessie. SN. Her dad. Her stepmother. Theo. Dri. Ethan. Scar. Gem. Agnes. Liam.
All of these characters have something going on, just like everyone in real life. We all have bad thing that happen, and sometimes we hide it and other times we hide behind it. Ethan is just such a sweetie. Such a sweetie. Through the project they do, so his darker-than-thou persona, he’s a total heart breaker. And then Theo (stepbrother) is a scream and a half. I like the kid. He’s got moxie to him. I do wish we saw him a bit more. His character development was killer, especially after the whole temper tantrum in the beginning. Dri and Agnes relationship is that of Scar and Jessie’s and it was totally sweet.
Jessie and her dad’s relationship is kind of the foundation to the story, even if it isn’t super highlighted. The struggles finding balance after losing her mom, and the huge change she’s forced into really puts a strain on the relationship. I think Buxbaum addressed this struggle as well as it could have been addresses.
Color me impressed.
The book is cloaked in mystery. I mean, who is the great and mighty SN? Through the book, we have this whole Sherlock Holmes thing going on with Jessie trying to find out who the kid is. With all the other things going on, this kept the story on a good stream. I love it. Love it. LOOOOOOOOVE IT.

Okay. I’m good. You’d be good too if you bought the book and read it while eating waffles.

Five Things I Loved About NOT IF I SEE YOU FIRST

Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom
Goodreads // Amazon
ARC via Andye @ ReadingTeen.Net
Pub Date: December 2015

The Rules: 

Don’t deceive me. Ever. Especially using my blindness. Especially in public.

Don’t help me unless I ask. Otherwise you’re just getting in my way or bothering me.

Don’t be weird. Seriously, other than having my eyes closed all the time, I’m just like you only smarter. 

Parker Grant doesn’t need 20/20 vision to see right through you. That’s why she created the Rules: Don’t treat her any differently just because she’s blind, and never take advantage. There will be no second chances. Just ask Scott Kilpatrick, the boy who broke her heart.

When Scott suddenly reappears in her life after being gone for years, Parker knows there’s only one way to react-shun him so hard it hurts. She has enough on her mind already, like trying out for the track team (that’s right, her eyes don’t work but her legs still do), doling out tough-love advice to her painfully naive classmates, and giving herself gold stars for every day she hasn’t cried since her dad’s death three months ago. But avoiding her past quickly proves impossible, and the more Parker learns about what really happened–both with Scott, and her dad–the more she starts to question if things are always as they seem. Maybe, just maybe, some Rules are meant to be broken.

1. Never have I ever read a book that has a character with such genuine character growth. I’ve never realized that all the other growths are, in fact, Sort Of Growths. Growing hidden behind love. NOT IF I SEE YOU FIRST is compelling. Parker Grant has Rules. These are a huge part of what makes her who she is. Especially Rule Infinity. This book shows her growth though, over, and around her own rules. All while figuring out her place in the world and what it means to trust.

2. THAT COVER IS JUST YES. The whole design is just yes. I mean there is brail design all over this thing. And the colors are sooooooo pretty. Love. Love. Love.

3. FRIENDSHIP. The don’t abandon, can’t be without, you are my Actual Soul Mate, forgiving friendship. I can’t even. This is what ever person wants in a friendship. There is not Parker with out Sarah. There’s Molly. There’s Faith. Hell- there’s even D.B. who’s name is actually Kent. There’s Scott. These characters are dynamic and real and they have flaws. But they don’t wear their flaws like there’s something wrong with being imperfect, but instead they allow themselves to be friends with others because of their flaws. Because what is one person’s weakness is the other’s strength. One is the eyes. The other is the ears. Sarah and Parker.

4. I thought I would have issues with the romance but I SO DIDN’T. I mean, they were together in eighth grade. However, Parker knew the apparent strangeness was of finding The One that young. But, hell, I don’t know why I wasn’t annoyed by it. But I wasn’t. I loved it. I loved that they were just stupid kids, dumb and in love, making stupid kid mistakes over stupid ideals. I loved that they weren’t perfect. And that the whole issue-TRUST- wasn’t placed on a single person. The romance was something I wasn’t expecting to love. And it came slowly. It built until I couldn’t help loving it something fierce.

5. So unique. I love this book, if you can’t tell. It deals with so many issues with out being all like shove-all-problems-into-YA. Suicide, death, failing friendship, distrust, blindness, insecurity, fear, not dealing with your emotions in a healthy way, abandonment, divorce. Lindstrom deals with everything. He leaves nothing out. I’m in complete awe.

Okay so the moral of this story is read this story.