Things We Know By Heart – Jessi Kirby

Things We Know By Heart coverThings We Know By Heart
By: Jessi Kirby
Available April 2015.

When Quinn Sullivan meets the recipient of her boyfriend’s donated heart, the two form an unexpected connection.

After Quinn loses her boyfriend, Trent, in an accident their junior year, she reaches out to the recipients of his donated organs in hopes of picking up the pieces of her now-unrecognizable life. She hears back from some of them, but the person who received Trent’s heart has remained silent. The essence of a person, she has always believed, is in the heart. If she finds Trent’s, then maybe she can have peace once and for all.

Risking everything in order to finally lay her memories to rest, Quinn goes outside the system to track down nineteen-year-old Colton Thomas—a guy whose life has been forever changed by this priceless gift. But what starts as an accidental run-in quickly develops into more, sparking an undeniable attraction. She doesn’t want to give in to it—especially since he has no idea how they’re connected—but their time together has made Quinn feel alive again. No matter how hard she’s falling for Colton, each beat of his heart reminds her of all she’s lost…and all that remains at stake.

This Blonde’s Review:
Quinn was devastated when her boyfriend dies in an accident. She can’t seem to move on and stills spends her life grieving. She knows how many days have passed since his death and who has received most of his organs. The only one she hasn’t met or spoken with is the one who received his heart.

Quinn knows she shouldn’t but she can’t seem to resist using the Internet to find him. She intended to simply go see Colton but instead finds that they’re instantly attracted to each other. As they get to know each other better they don’t talk about the most important things they have in common. Colton doesn’t tell her about his heart problems or his limitations. Quinn doesn’t tell him about why they met or what happened with her boyfriend. They keep their secrets and don’t pry. Quinn has to figure out how to move forward with her life and to find out if Colton should be part of that future or not.

I really enjoyed this book. You couldn’t help but feel for Quinn or to fall for Colton. You wanted everything to work out for them. It was a hard seeing them struggle and knowing the secrets they were keeping. Nothing stays secret forever though. So if you enjoy books with characters who are dealing with grief and trying to move on from traumatic experiences then you’ll enjoy this one. Quinn has her obvious trauma but Colton has some trauma of his own. Together they may be able to piece everything together to finally move on with their lives.

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Posted by on February 21, 2015 in Book Review


The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things – Ann Aquirre

The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things coverThe Queen of Bright and Shiny Things
By: Ann Aguirre
Available April 2015

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…

This Blonde’s Review:
To start: I love Sage and Shane. They’re both great characters and I couldn’t get enough of them. Neither of them have had an easy life though they’ve dealt with it differently. Sage is queen of positivity, carrying around a pad of post its leaving notes for people she notices having a hard day. She tries hard to be perfect and make sure that her aunt won’t regret having her around. She doesn’t want anyone to look into her past or guess that there is a shadow Sage buried beneath the surface. Shane wants to go unnoticed and fly beneath the radar. He just wants to get by and get through.

Something about Shane speaks to Sage and she can’t help but find herself drawn to him. She finds herself searching him out and doing what she can to take care of him, even if he doesn’t want to be taken care of. She’s a nurturer and he’s someone who needs to be cared for. Luckily Shane seems more bemused by the efforts than offended most days. He doesn’t know how to take it since he isn’t used to anyone caring about him, especially someone like Sage who does it without obligation.

Seeing the way their relationship grows was so great. The things they have to overcome internally and the battles they have to fight to make a relationship work really made it clear that they couldn’t have been any more perfect for each other.

I liked the way the author brought Sage’s past to light and showed her the impact she’s had on the people around her. We don’t always see how important we are. And for someone like Sage, who only hears from the people who thinks what she does is dorky, it was amazing to see that it was just as positive as she always hoped and it was ale to build on itself all day. It was great.

If you like books that have characters with history and baggage who have to overcome their issues to trust that they can find happiness together then you’ll enjoy this one. I thought it was great.


Liars, Inc – Paula Stokes

Liars, Inc coverLiars, Inc
By: Paula Stokes
Available March 2015

For fans of Gone Girl, I Hunt Killers, and TV’s How to Get Away with Murder.

Max Cantrell has never been a big fan of the truth, so when the opportunity arises to sell forged permission slips and cover stories to his classmates, it sounds like a good way to make a little money and liven up a boring senior year. With the help of his friends Preston and Parvati, Max starts Liars, Inc. Suddenly everybody needs something and the cash starts pouring in. Who knew lying could be so lucrative?

When Preston wants his own cover story to go visit a girl he met online, Max doesn’t think twice about hooking him up. Until Preston never comes home. Then the evidence starts to pile up—terrifying clues that lead the cops to Preston’s body. Terrifying clues that point to Max as the murderer.

Can Max find the real killer before he goes to prison for a crime he didn’t commit? In a story that Kirkus Reviews called “Captivating to the very end,” Paula Stokes starts with one single white lie and weaves a twisted tale that will have readers guessing until the explosive final chapters.

This Blonde’s Review:
Max is the kind of guy who would rather spend time with his girlfriend than babysit his younger siblings. If that means purposefully getting detention every weekend so he can sneak away to see her while she tells her family she’s working on something else then that’s what he’ll do. He doesn’t care about how it looks or what people think of him. In some ways Max is a typical teenager, he doesn’t fully appreciate his family or what he has. You may think he would appreciate them more since he was adopted and he refers to it often, instead he takes it for granted and acts as though it’s expected, placing his wants and his friends over everything else.

When he covers for a girl he barely knows in order to get detention he stumbles across a way to make some extra money. He lies for his classmates and they pay him for the cover stories. When his friend Preston wants to pay him for a story he doesn’t think anything of it. When Preston doesn’t come home he still doesn’t want to worry until evidence starts to pile up to make it look like he’s being framed.

I enjoyed this book, seeing the way the groundwork was laid against Max. It was interesting seeing Max’s history and his friends’ pasts come to light. As he works to find Preston he discovers things about his friends that he didn’t expect. There were some things that we had to take on faith for the sake of the book but there was enough groundwork that it still worked. You can see where this is going but the different lies and secrets that show up are enough to make you wonder if you’re seeing what you think you are. You start to look for other possibilities and aren’t sure what is really happening until it’s out there.

If you enjoy reading books with some mystery to solve then you’ll enjoy this one.


Trouble from the Start – Rachel Hawthorne

Troule From The Start coverTrouble from the Start
By: Rachel Hawthorne
Available April 2015

Perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins, Lauren Barnholdt, and Susane Colasanti, Trouble from the Start is a sweet and romantic read about a good girl who falls for a bad boy.

Avery knows better than to fall for Fletcher, the local bad boy who can’t seem to outrun his reputation. Fletcher knows he shouldn’t bother with college-bound, daughter-of-a-cop Avery. But when their paths cross, neither can deny the spark. Are they willing to go against everything and let their hearts lead the way? Or are they just flirting with disaster?

A companion novel to Rachel Hawthorne’s paperback original The Boyfriend Project, this title is perfect for fans of summer beach reads and sweet treats.

Avery is a good girl who does what all good girls do. She focuses on the future and doing the right thing, doesn’t party or date much. Fletcher is a guy with a reputation that no one would ever think of as being a match for Avery. Even though no one would see them as a couple Fletcher has noticed Avery for years. When she goes to a party and has her first experience drinking it is Fletcher who comes to the rescue.

I loved Avery. She has such a great family that you wish you could be part of, seeing the way they’re there for each other and for others was so wonderful. It is easy to see how she could be the kind of caring person who would have made an impact on someone without knowing it. Fletcher was one of those characters I couldn’t help but love either. He has had trouble in his life, which is how he finds himself taken under Avery’s dad’s wing, but he doesn’t broadcast it to everyone. He is more likely to make a joke and deflect than admit to his problems but he doesn’t see a future for himself because of it.

Seeing Avery and Fletcher make their way to a relationship is adorable. I loved seeing them get to know each other and learn to trust what they were building together. I also enjoyed learning about Avery’s family and their relationships too. Hearing about the way they give back and getting a hint of what her parents were to each other was heartwarming, it made me want to know a family like hers.

This book was so great if you enjoy reading about about opposites attracting and getting together no matter what everyone else might say. This was mostly light and lovely and it makes me want to read The Boyfriend Project pretty quickly to find out about Avery’s friends.


Everything That Makes You – Moriah McStay

Everything That Makes You coverEverything That Makes You
By: Moriah McStay
Available March 2015

One girl. Two stories. Meet Fiona Doyle. The thick ridges of scar tissue on her face are from an accident twelve years ago. Fiona has notebooks full of songs she’s written about her frustrations, her dreams, and about her massive crush on beautiful uber-jock Trent McKinnon. If she can’t even find the courage to look Trent straight in his beautiful blue eyes, she sure isn’t brave enough to play or sing any of her songs in public. But something’s changing in Fiona. She can’t be defined by her scars anymore.

And what if there hadn’t been an accident? Meet Fi Doyle. Fi is the top-rated female high school lacrosse player in the state, heading straight to Northwestern on a full ride. She’s got more important things to deal with than her best friend Trent McKinnon, who’s been different ever since the kiss. When her luck goes south, even lacrosse can’t define her anymore. When you’ve always been the best at something, one dumb move can screw everything up. Can Fi fight back?

Hasn’t everyone wondered what if? In this daring debut novel, Moriah McStay gives us the rare opportunity to see what might have happened if things were different. Maybe luck determines our paths. But maybe it’s who we are that determines our luck.

This Blonde’s Review:
We never know what our lives would be like if something else had happened. If something tragic hadn’t happened, or what if it did. In this book we get to see two potential outcomes of a trip to the zoo. In one version an accident happens and Fiona is scarred. In the other version Fi is outgoing and making things happen for herself.

We always think of how our lives could be different, but what I loved about this book is that the author didn’t only show the big changes in Fiona/Fi’s life, she also showed changes in the other characters. Not just that she was friends in one life and not in the other, but that there were things about these other characters that were different. The people around you affect you and change you, so the changes in Fiona/Fi rippled to make changes in her brother and the friends she had in each life. So often you see books with two lives where the characters are basically the same person just with or without the friendship of the main character. In this they were different people, had different plans and different lives. I loved that and I believe it may be my favorite thing about this book.

I also loved getting to know Fiona and Fi. I connected with Fiona better than I did with Fi, Fiona was more internal and didn’t want to show herself as much. Fi was a jock, outgoing and determined. The two were so different from each other. Some people are meant to be in our lives no matter what happens and some people are meant to change our lives. For Fiona and Fi their lives are changed by the same family in different ways. I liked the symmetry of having these people make an impact and having the ones connected to them react differently to Fiona/Fi based on how they met and who she was before. It was so interesting.

I really liked this book and it was hard not to go into detail about the things that happened, comparing what I liked versus what I really liked. If seeing two halves of what could have been appeals to you then you’ll like reading Fiona/Fi’s life. I enjoyed reading Fiona/Fi’s life and the way her life impacted those around her.


The Secrets of Attraction – Robin Constantine

The Secrets of AttractionThe Secrets of Attraction
By: Robin Constantine
Available April 2015

Madison Pryce thinks she’s got everything figured out—she’s working on a portfolio for a summer art program and hanging with her friends. Plus she has her hot boyfriend, Zach. But then a visit from a family friend turns Maddie’s life upside down.

Jesse McMann is still reeling from a breakup that shattered his heart and his band. Then pride (and some goading from his bass player and fellow barista) forces him to find a new drummer—and the inspiration to write music again.

Kismet arrives in the unlikely form of Grayson Barrett, who tries out for Jesse’s band, and whose girlfriend is BFFs with the cute girl who orders a chai latte after yoga every Thursday: Maddie. What Jesse and Maddie thought they knew about the secrets of attraction and the rules of romance changes once they start falling for each other.

This Blonde’s Review:
Madison won’t commit, even though her boyfriend is everything other girls might want. He’s hot and cares for her. She can’t seem to let herself think of him except something casual. Jesse had his heart ripped apart when his girlfriend got involved with his best friend and the former drummer in his band.

The world is a small place. Madison and her best friend go to a coffee shop after yoga every Thursday. Jesse works at the coffee shop. When Jesse’s friend, coworker, and fellow band member tries to hit on Madison’s friend they finally meet and talk to each other. They run into each other in other cute ways that keep drawing them together, such as when Jesse crash’s her school’s dance to check out the competition, until Jesse picks a new drummer. A drummer who happens to be dating Madison’s best friend.

I really enjoyed this book. I loved Madison and could have related to her unwillingness to commit to anything. She’s someone I would have wanted to be friends with in school because I understood where she was coming from in so many ways. And Jesse was so great. He wasn’t ready to rush into anything after getting his heart broken but watching him be drawn in by Madison anyway was great. I really enjoyed getting to know both of them.

The way they slowly learned to care for each other and get to the point where they wanted to be together. They each had things to figure out before they could get there, but seeing them grow was great. I loved it.

If you like the description and books where two people get past their own hangups to try to make a relationship work then you’ll love this.


When Reason Breaks – Cindy L Rodriguez

When Reason Breaks coverWhen Reason Breaks
By: Cindy L Rodriguez
Available February 2015

A Goth girl with an attitude problem, Elizabeth Davis must learn to control her anger before it destroys her. Emily Delgado appears to be a smart, sweet girl, with a normal life, but as depression clutches at her, she struggles to feel normal. Both girls are in Ms. Diaz’s English class, where they connect to the words of Emily Dickinson. Both are hovering on the edge of an emotional precipice. One of them will attempt suicide. And with Dickinson’s poetry as their guide, both girls must conquer their personal demons to ever be happy.

In an emotionally taut novel with a richly diverse cast of characters, readers will relish in the poetry of Emily Dickinson and be completely swept up in the turmoil of two girls grappling with demons beyond their control.

This Blonde’s Review:
Emily and Elizabeth couldn’t be more different. The girls may go to the same school but they don’t have the same friends or interests. Elizabeth skips class and acts out. Emily is a good girl who follows all rules. But they both feel a connection to Emily Dickinson’s poetry.

We switch between both girls viewpoints without knowing who is struggling and who is going under. They have such different issues but we know that one of them will give up and attempt suicide. The girls are able to see things in each other that no one else can. They have enough distance from each other and can recognize the struggle that no one else can seem to see. They’re going through different things but they can recognize the pain in each other.

Seeing the different viewpoints was a great way to see that not everyone is what they seem. There is always more to the story. I had a hard time connecting with either of the girls in the story. I may have understood Elizabeth better of the two but I really felt the most for some of the secondary characters. Some of them, like Emily’s boyfriend, I really liked and would have wanted to know what they saw.

Overall I liked this but wasn’t blown away. If the description sounds good to you I think you should still give it a shot. It wasn’t right for me but it was a good book anyway, one where I wanted to find out what would happen and how it would impact everyone.


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