Thursday, July 30, 2015

Summer of Reviews: A Summer Like No Other By Elodie Nowodazkij + BOOK BLITZ!!! + Giveaway

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 10:00 AM 0 comments

A Summer Like No Other



A Broken Dreams Novella
She’s his best friend’s little sister. He’s the biggest player of them all.
They shouldn’t be together. But this summer’s just too tempting.
Sixteen-year-old Emilia Moretti’s goal for the summer is simple: forget her brother’s best friend—Nick Grawsky—ever existed. It should be easy: He’s spending his summer in the Hamptons, adding girls in tiny bikinis to his list of broken hearts. Guarantee he won’t be telling them they’re like his little sisters. This summer, Emilia won’t stay awake at night thinking about him. She’ll need flawless ballet movements to have a shot at next year’s showcase, and she’s finally ready to search for her birth parents. But when Nick decides to stay in the city, Emilia’s resolve disappears in a pirouette. Maybe it’s the spin they needed to be together. As long as she doesn’t get stuck believing in happily ever after…
Nick is tired of pretending to be the happy, let’s-have-fun guy. His father wants him to change his career from professional dancer to…lawyer. He needs to put all of his focus on dancing to prove to Daddy Dearest he’s good enough to make it big. And he may have a case of the bluest balls in history courtesy of Emilia. She’s off-limits: The bro code with Roberto even forbids the dirty thoughts he has about her. Besides, he’s not boyfriend material. He only has time for flings, for girls who don’t expect much, for girls he doesn’t want to kiss goodnight. He knows he should resist her, but he’s not sure he wants to…
At least for this summer.
It’s going to be a summer like no other.
Buy it now :) (Special price of $0.99 ends on Sunday August 2nd)



God! This book... UGH! I truly love this series and all of these characters. In A summer Like No Other we get to meet Emilia and Nick and we get to read about the pain, suffering and un-containable emotions they both go through.

Emilia is so innocent, in the beginning. She is a dancer and her roommate is Nata, the main character in the full length novel, One, Two, Three. Emilia is on the search for her birth parents and she is going through so many emotions throughout this novella. On top of her search she is in love with her brothers best friend, Nick. There are many things that keep Emilia and Nick apart and it's very sad.

Now, just because Nata is mentioned in this novella does not mean you have to read One, Two, Three first. This novella has enough content that is can be read alone. I think because it focuses on two certain people is the reason it can be read out of turn. But you should still read all the other books anyways. Because... they are all amazing.

Nick is.... a guy. He is a normal guy, except for the fact that he dances. It is very enjoyable to get to read his thoughts and feelings. He is very impulsive and goes back and forth with a lot of the things in his head. Emilia is the biggest thing he is conflicted about. Well, besides his father and Jen. Nick is told what to do by so many people that I don't know why he hasn't just said screw it. Money is a big influence over most peoples lives and sadly Nick is one of those people. I just really hope he doesnt hurt Emilia because of his need for wealth.

After all is said and done I feel like Emilia should have just left things alone with the adoption. Everyone told her she would feel worse but I guess she needed to find that out on her own. Nick helped her a lot and I am glad he was there for her. But before we find out what the end of the book shows us I had all sorts of theories going on in my head. Was Nick's dad Emilia's father? Did Emilia's adopted dad have an affair and she was his real kid? 

Let's just say that after finishing this novella I think both Emilia and Nick feel like a piece of meat auctioned off to the highest bidder. And I was frustrated because of the way it ended. I loved loved loved this novella! So don't think my frustration is a bad thing. I love when a book makes me want to know more. 

Overall, I gave this book 4.5/5 stars.


The Author
Elodie Nowodazkij was raised in a tiny village in France, where she could always be found a book in hand. At nineteen, she moved to the US, where she learned she’d never lose her French accent. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Modern Language & Linguistics, and later earned master’s degrees in German Cultural Studies and European Studies. Unbeknownst to her professors, she sometimes drafted stories in class. Now she lives in Maryland with her husband, their dog and their cat. She's also a serial smiley user.

Connect with the author
Facebook reader group (chat with the author, early excerpts, ARCs opportunities, giveaways…) – https://www.facebook.com/groups/954159761294820/
Newsletter (Exclusive bonus scenes, regular updates, videos, giveaways…) – http://elodienowodazkij.us3.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=4fe2ebb3f95df52e0954e0044&id=f404024751


Other books by the author:

A Giveaway From The Author


To celebrate the release of A Summer Like No Other, I have set up a giveaway with pretty special prizes
(including a leather bracelet from Chloe + Isabel)
You have mannnnny ways to enter and you have an entire month to do so!
Link to participate: http://smarturl.it/ASLNOgiveaway  Open internationally.
Thank you SO MUCH!!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Summer of Reviews: Sweet by Emmy Laybourne

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 1:00 PM 0 comments

Title: Sweet
Author: Emmy Laybourne
Publisher: Macmillan
Publication: June 2nd 2015
Cover Rating: 5/5


The best way to describe Sweet is it's a contemporary romance horror novel. I don't think I have ever read a book like this. I know most horror books and movies have some romance or relationship aspect in them but this book centered around an impossible relationship and a terrible tragedy. 

Laurel is an amazing person. She is a girl that younger girls could look up to. She feels secure in her own body and the only reason she even went one the cruise was because A) Viv wanted her to and B) Free cruise, HELLO? Viv thinks they both need to slim down and Laurel just wants to live her life. It is awesome to see such a strong, confident female lead. 

Viv is a rich little daddy's girl who thinks she is fat. I find it funny how someone who is rich has no confidence while someone who has less has tons of confidence. I guess money can't but happiness OR confidence.

Tom was a shocking character. He was a famous child and as he got older he lost some of his fame so he was doing reporter jobs. But he also had some depth to him which you don't usually see in famous characters. And the fact that him and Laurel hit it off was pretty shocking too considering she's a chubby nobody and hes this super buff swoonworthy guy. It was a nice change of pace to have a down to earth character like Tom.

Zombies. That is probably the closest word I could use to describe the cruise. Maybe vampires, too. Either way the cruise turned into hell on earth and was so scary. There was a lot of crap going on and I couldn't even begin to describe most of it. I will just say that people need to read this book. 

Right at the end of the book I saw how truly hopeful Laurel was. She still thought Viv could be saved and it was just so heartbreaking. Makes me wonder if the roles were reversed, would Viv have tried to save Laurel as many times as Laurel had tried to save her?

This book is seriously scary. It's something that I could see actually happening with all the diet pills and powders that exist now. Plus the fact that so many people are trying to lose weight without having to work for it, if something like this did come out the entire USA would be zombies.

*One last little thing that came to mind while I was doing my blog post for this. Laurel gets sick at the beginning of the cruise. I wonder if the book would have turned out differently had she not gotten sick. She could have very well had the same fate as her best friend. So Laurel is probably thanking her lucky stars that things turned out the way they did for her.*

Overall, I gave the book 4/5 stars.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

UPDATE: Summer of Reviews

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 3:33 PM 0 comments
Hey everyone! I have decided to do the summer of reviews until September. This will probably become a yearly thing. But I am doing it differently. It wont be a month long thing. Instead, it will be from July to September. I will post reviews sporadically throughout these months and keep the label Summer of Reviews so you guys know it's a summer book. So thank you guys for sticking with me and I hope you can find some good summer reads through this!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Summer of Reviews: Author Spotlight - Love, Lucus by Chantele Sedgwick

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 1:00 PM 0 comments


Chantele Sedgwick is a YA author, harpist, wife to one and stay-at-home mom to four. She loves happy endings, Kit Kats and judging by her book shelves, buys way too many books. You can visit Chantele's blog HERE.

Title: Love, Lucas
Author: Chantele Sedgwick
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Publication: May 5th 2015
Cover Rating: 3/5


Love, Lucas is a sad book and I don't just mean what happened to Lucas. The entire book just has this very sad aura around it. Like, for some unknown reason, I pictured a lot of the scenes with rain. I know it wasn't raining, in fact I believe the sun is out most of the time considering the book takes place mostly in a beach community. But the overall feeling of the book just makes me think its raining . Not to say that's a bad thing. I love rain. But I don't think I have ever had a book feel like this to me before.

Oakley just lost her brother, Lucas to cancer. They were best friends and I really loved that so much. You don't see that many super close siblings anymore. I was pretty close to my sister but she is 10 years older than me so we aren't as close now since she has kids and a life but we were close and I wish more families would be like that. But since Oakley and Lucas were so close Oakley feels like a huge part of her is missing. Then her parents are always fighting so she is struggling to move on with life even more. 

Since Oakley graduated early her mother decides to go on a trip to stay with her sister for a bit of R&R and to take their minds off of everything. I feel kind of conflicted with this situation. Part of me thinks her mother is running away from her problems instead of facing them but then part of me is like good, they need time away to heal. It is such a difficult situation when a loved one dies especially a son or brother. 

The daily letters written by Lucas to Oakley were very emotional. Most of the letters were silly, teasing and upbeat. I think the letters really helped with Oakley's healing process. Her brother loved her very much and that much is clearly evident by the letters. I also think Lucas was scared to lose Oakley too. No one ever thinks about that aspect of a death. The person who died loses, no only themselves, but the people they loved. It's a way out there way of thinking but I never really hear anyone talk about how the person who died was feeling. Everyone just seems to think that when someone dies it's over. But can you really think about one day you are here and then suddenly you are gone. No more thinking, no more living, no more you. Your stream of consciousness just ends. Will you even know when it ends? 

Carson is pretty great from the start. He seems like such a sweet guy for a surfer dude. Surfer guys are portrayed as dimwitted and shallow for the most part. Dillon, Carson's friend and coworker, fits the surfer persona a little bit better but he still isn't a jerk. He is just overly friendly and cocky. I loved the fact that Carson enjoyed helping Aunt Jo with her job and wants to do something like that for his career in the future. I also loved the fact that Carson helps Oakley come alive again. 

With the cloud of sadness aside, I really liked this book. It was a bit of a heavier summer read. So if you are looking for a good summer book that has some sorrow mixed in then this is the book for you. I don't want to give away too much of the book because I hate spoilers but this book was really nice. It had a lot of emotion, character progression, and I feel like Oakley found the true meaning of life, Be Alive!

One last thing I have to add. This is probably one of the first reviews I have ever written that has something person written in it. I feel like the moral of this book should be to cherish your family. A lot of people are saying that family is whoever you allow in to your life. They are saying blood doesn't mean anything. While, yes, you can say whoever you want is a part of your family it is still very sad to see the family system being broken down. It's like true, blood family means nothing anymore.

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Summer of Reviews: 99 Days by Katie Cotugno

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 1:00 PM 0 comments

Title: 99 Days
Author: Katie Cotugno
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication: April 21st 2015
Cover Rating: 5/5


99 Days was such a good book. There was a lot of drama, love, hate and heartbreak. The amount of betrayal and pain in this book can be felt. Cheating is always a sensitive subject and I can't say the book handles it well but it does portray it as something that is actually real rather than something that you see in a movie. Katie Cotugno is very skilled in writing books about pain and heartache. She writes books that people can relate to instead of a story that is impossible to believe.

Molly was a needy little girl. That is the best way I can describe her. She had a perfectly good toy but when that toy got worn out she tried out another toy and then both of those toys broke. I don't think she was mature enough to be in a relationship with anyone and she should have just left well enough alone.

Patrick was a weasel. There are other choice words I can use for him but I want to keep this semi-clean. He acted like a wounded bird in the beginning and told Molly he "didn't hate her" yet he kept giving her disgusted looks. Then when Molly and Gabe start seeing each other he changes his tune and all of a sudden wants Molly back even if that means hurting his girlfriend the same way Molly hurt him. 

Gabe was sweet. I knew he was up to something in the beginning of the book but as the story progressed I could tell that he was developing true feelings for Molly.

The entire Donelley family was a mess. Patrick and Gabe were fighting for a girl that neither of them really wanted in the beginning. Julia is treating Molly like a leper even though she has her own world-shattering secret.

The mother in this book is NOT a mother. She used her daughters drama in order to write a book. She doesn't act very motherly at all and I don't think she should have adopted Molly. I don't even know how a mother could do something like this to her child. Monetary gain from your childs humiliation and pain shouldn't even cross a mothers mind.

I know Molly isn't innocent in all of this but, holy shit, I feel like I got cheated on and screwed over after reading this book. I can't believe what Patrick and Gabe put her through. Patrick played on her still raw feelings for him and Gabe played on the fact that she was lonely and they had slept together previously. Talk about manipulators. I wouldn't go as far as to call them misogynistic pigs but they did pretty much use Molly to hurt each other, it seemed. And in the end I still had no idea who was telling the truth or what. I do think they both had feelings for Molly but all three of them weren't in the right place to play on those feelings.

Towards the end of the book I am tempted to call Molly a whore. She had Gabe yet she was still tempted to mess around with Patrick WHILE being close friends with Patrick's new girlfriend. I don't feel sorry, at all, for Molly. She dug her grave and now she has to live with that for the rest of her life. I was really hoping she would get her shit together and stay loyal to Gabe. I have a feeling that if Patrick wouldn't have acted like such a child then Molly and Gabe could have survived once Molly truly got over Patrick. But because he kept hanging on Molly couldn't get her head on straight and forget her feelings for him.

Overall, I gave the book 5/5 stars.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Summer of Reviews: Author Spotlight - The Summer I Found You by Jolene Perry

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 1:00 PM 0 comments



Jolene Perry grew up in Alaska, and graduated from Southern Utah University with a degree in Political Science. She started writing when she taught herself to play the guitar, and when songs weren't long enough to tell the story, she began writing novels.

After living in Washington, Utah and Las Vegas, she now resides in Alaska with her husband, and two children. Aside from writing, Jolene sews, plays the guitar, sings when forced, and spends as much time outside as possible.

You can find Jolene on her website at www.jolenebettyperry.wordpress.com and on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jolenebettyperry



Title: The Summer I Found You
Author: Jolene Perry
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company
Publication: March 1st 2014
Cover Rating: 3/5
Jolene Perry is one of those authors where if she writes a book, I must read it, own it, and sniff it. So I was so excited when I finally got my hands on a copy of The Summer I Found You.

At first, I thought the book was going to be a little weird for me. Reading about a guy who lost his arm and a girl with diabetes and their budding romance had me a little on edge. How could a one armed guy possibly be sexy? How was this book going to keep me interested? Well, I didn't even need to ask those questions because they never crossed my mind once I was actually reading the book.

Kate is a terrible girl. She just found out she has a life threatening disease and she can't be responsible enough to take her insulin or eat right. She is setting herself up to die and I can't find it in me to feel sorry for her. Her top priority is worrying about her ex dumping her. Not that fact that she could slip into a diabetic coma at any second.

Aiden is awesome. Aside from the whole PTSD thing. But would you really expect a guy who lost his arm and a good friend to be okay? To me, he seemed pretty good for a guy who went through hell and back. He lost his career, his future, his motivation but he survived, in the end. He is kind, caring and all the things that I don't think Kate deserved at first. But they worked together so well and I am glad they found each other.

I really loved how the book combined such trivial high school things with some very tough choices and lifestyles. On on hand, I can understand Kate just wanting to live a normal life but on the other hand I can't condone her lack of self preservation.

The ending had me worried for a little bit but I am glad it happened the way it did. Kate needed a wake up call and I think Aiden was the only one who was able to do that for her. Which is quite sad considering they hadn't known each other that long. When your FAMILY and FRIENDS cannot convince you to save yourself then you really need to rethink your priorities in life.

Update 6/29/2015 - I have been thinking about this book a lot lately. I adore the author and I love her work so her books are always popping into my head. Last night I was thinking about how I have a few different illnesses but most of them I can hide because they are inside. I feel like Kate thought she could hide her "disability" and get away with it, which technically she could. But it wasn't right of her to do that. Aiden can't hide his disability. I am torn between right and wrong here. I don't normally tell people about my ailments unless they ask or if my one visual ailment is present. Oh the one hand, I completely understand wanting to hide your flaws. But on the other hand, Kate was getting into a relationship with a guy who she could somewhat relate to in terms of disabilities. But she didn't and I can't fathom why. Internal conflict aside, I truly think everyone should read at least one of Jolene Perry's books. They are always deep and beautiful and they have such horrible trials that each character must over some. Her books are very inspiring; I know they inspired me.

Overall, I gave the book 5/5 kitties.


1) What was the inspiration behind The Summer I Found You? 

Two things – ONE (as far as writing about diabetes) – my grandma Betty (where my middle names comes from) was Type 1 Diabetic. She died before I was born, but there’s something about being named after someone that made me curious about her. I also have a very close friend with Type 1 diabetes, and hers came about in the same way as Kate’s (or maybe I should say Kate’s came about the same way as my friend). It was really great because I could ask her questions about blood sugar and how certain foods make her feel, how stress affects her, etc… And TWO – my husband served in the Army. I used people he knew, and he was the one who said – “You have to finish this book” so I did.

2) If you have a disability/illness that could be hidden would you hide it or be open and honest about it? 

This depends totally on the people I'm around and my situation. With some things I’m very open. And I’ve had other, more personal experiences, that only one or two people know about. So… I’m actually not sure. If I felt like my story could help other people? I’d be very open. When I thought I had cervical cancer, I told no one until all the surgeries were done and I was OK.

3) If you weren't an author what would you be doing job wise? 

I was a high school and middle teacher before I became an author, but I love doing hair. LOVE it. So I’d have to say that would be a close second to being a teacher. I hope that I can teach on the college level at some point, but I’ll just have to wait and see what life brings me.

4) Are you currently working on any new books? 

LOADS. I just sold one to my publisher about a girl who grew up in a funeral home – it’s like a mash-up of The Addams Family and a John Hugh’s movie. I’m working on one about three kids who survived a boating accident and now have weird abilities and I’m working on a parody of a vampire novel for fun wink emoticon

5) How much impact do you personally believe bloggers/reviewers have on the publishing world? 

Sometimes I feel like they’re shouting into the void like I feel so much of the time. Other times I feel like they have enormous influence. I’m not sure. I will say that negativity spreads so much faster than positivity, and that’s a massive bummer. I’ll also say that meeting book bloggers and reviewers has been one of my favorite things about being an author  Bookish people are the best.

6) If you could only eat the same food for the rest of your life what would it be? 

My husband’s fettuccine with broccoli. Or his mac and cheese with broccoli. Or the flourless chocolate cake from Mon Ami Gabi in Las Vegas. I know, I know, but narrowing it down to one is like…impossible. OH! DONUTS!

7) If Aiden could trade Kate to get his arm back do you think he would do it? 

Yup. I know that sounds terrible, but right now? He would. About 6 months to a year after the book ends, when he’s super in love? Nope.

8) If someone asked you to recommend some authors who would you pick? 

If someone was after a gritty read, I’d recommend Christa Desir, Carrie Mesrobian or Ellen Hopkins. Jandy Nelson and Nina LaCoeur’s writing is beautiful. Jessica Martinez’s stories are un-put-downable. The Raven Boys series is maybe my fav-ever series (and I don’t do series often). Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson is one of my favs. 


*Jolene Perry's List of Favorite Books*
Shifting by Bethany Wiggins
Sex and Violence by Carrie Mesrobian
Other Broken Things by Christa Desir
The Archived by Victoria Schwab
Waiting by Carol Lynch Williams
Pivot Point by Kasie West
The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice
North of Beautiful by Justina Chen
With or Without You by Brian Farrey
Being Friends With Boys by Terra Elan McVoy
The Dream Catcher series by Lisa McMann (perfect marriage of contemp “issue” book with paranormal)
The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
Hourglass series by Myra McEntyre
Sweethearts by Sarah Zarr
When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney
Funny – Anything by Cassie Mae
The Avery Shaw Experiment by Kelly Oram 
Adorkable by Sarra Manning

Monday, July 6, 2015

Summer of Reviews: Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 1:00 PM 0 comments

Title: Since You've Been Gone
Author: Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication: May 6th 2014
Cover Rating: 4/5


I have only read a short story by Morgan Matson and I loved that, so I was excited to read this. I don’t read many books in the contemporary genre. I have heard great things about this story. 

Emily’s best friend has up and gone without telling her and she is devastated. It was sad because it made me think about how I would feel if that happened to me. 

I was able to connect with Emily because I saw a lot of me in her, either from the past or now. I was in a shadow of a best friend I used to have, so I have been in her place. She doesn’t like to step out of her comfort zone or take risks. Which is me as well. 

Emily’s best friend leaves her a list of things to accomplish, which she wouldn't normally do, but for her best friend, she does them. 

Going through each item on the list changes Emily in a good way. She starts to become brave and take risks. You got to see her become more herself than someone else's shadow. 

I really enjoyed this story. It was a light summer read of a girl discovering who she is, making friendships and having a summer she never imagined she would have, doing things she never imagined she would be doing.

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Summer of Reviews: Nantucket Red by Leila Howland

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 1:00 PM 0 comments

Title: Nantucket Red
Author: Leila Howland
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication: May 13th 2014
Cover Rating: 5/5


Nantucket Red was an AMAZING continuance. Sometimes when you pick up the next book in the series it feels like the author retells the entire story in the first few pages and that is annoying. I know it is meant to refresh your memory but sometimes authors go a little too far. Leila Howland had the perfect amount of "reminders" and they didn't take away from the fact that Nantucket Red is book two. Not a retelling of book one.

I love how I didn't expect most of the big plot twists. I didn't expect Zach to get a new girlfriend. Especially not the girl he ended up with. I didn't thing Cricket and Jules would ever become best friends again. And I certainly didn't see Cricket and Liz moving to New York.

I love Liz. She adds a certain spice to the book. If Liz was just a normal American girl I think the book would definitely lose some of its charm. I also really like how Liz is a side character yet she is such a big part of the book and we get to see into her life. A lot of side characters are just used as fillers and we never find out much about them.

I am glad that Jules finally came to her senses and got to see how horrible of a person Parker really was. It's like all throughout Nantucket Blue Jules had this very thick veil covering her eyes and that veil has be lifted. 

Zack, in the words of Liz, is a right bloody wanker. He still obviously has feeling for Cricket but he REALLY messed up with the Parker situation. BUT he did the right thing by staying with Parker until she was stable. 

I am torn with the ending. I was hoping for a nice, peaceful ending with everything all summed up. UGH! Nope. I still have so many unanswered questions and it's driving me crazy! I want another book. I need to know about Cricket and Zack, whether Cricket goes to Brown and so many more things.

Overall I gave the book 5/5 Kitties.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Summer of Reviews: Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 1:00 PM 0 comments

Title: Nantucket Blue
Author: Leila Howland
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication: May 7th 2013
Cover Rating: 5/5


First, I just want to say, I loved Nantucket Blue sooo much that I put Nantucket Red on hold at the library before I even finished the book. I need to know what happens.

The first forty pages or so are very intense. You are thrown into a world of sports, teenage emotions and death. So be prepared for strong emotions to be felt.

Jules really irritated me. I really don't see why she did what she did to Cricket. I understand that Jules might be upset and mixed up about her mother but that doesn't give her an excuse to treat Cricket as badly as she did. You aren't supposed to shut out the people who care about you. Nina treated Cricket as a daughter and Jules should have respected that too.

Zach was such an unexpected twist in the story. I thought Jay was going to be the guy on the cover. NOPE! Wrong. So very, very wrong. But for some reason I kept picturing Zach as some weird nerdy kid with a pocket protector and boogers hanging out of his nose. I didn't see him as a love interest until near the end of the book.

I loved Cricket. She was kind of weak at the beginning but after Jules, Jay, Zach and her father, she built up a new personality and stopped caring so much what other thought about her and started worrying about what she thought of herself. For lack of a better phrase, Cricket finally grew a pair by the end of the book. They might be tiny right now but I'm sure they will grow in the next book.

I didn't like Cricket's dad. He was one of those dads that get a new family and completely forget about his old one. He treats his wife's adopted son better than he treats his own daughter. Cricket's mom wasn't exactly much better but she was crappy in a different way. She couldn't move on and was wasting her life away. But, in the end, she also grew a pair and came out of her "scorned woman" shell.

Overall, I gave the book 5/5 stars.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Summer of Reviews: Author Spotlight - Last Year's Mistake by Gina Ciocca

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 1:00 PM 0 comments

Gina Ciocca graduated from the University of Connecticut with a degree in English. She lives in Georgia with her family. Gina is a member of the writing and blogging group YA Misfits and you can find her online at WritersBlog-Gina.blogspot.com. Last Year’s Mistake is her first novel. - See more at: http://authors.simonandschuster.com/Gina-Ciocca/474501842#sthash.Z8cjvHPG.dpuf

Title: Last Year's Mistake
Author: Gina Ciocca
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication: June 9th 2015
Cover Rating: 4/5


Last Year's Mistake is one of those books that I can guarantee will satisfy your heart breaking contemporary romance needs. I have been in the mood for painful romances. I guess that says something about me but, oh well. 

I liked and disliked Kelsey's character. She was such a strong protagonist but she had a lot of faults. She was jealous, paranoid and overall, not a very good friend. You can tell by the way that she hurts people throughout the book that she is a bit selfish. She only thinks about her own pain and no one elses. I do admit it was wrong of David to do what he did before she moved but she reacted very childishly towards him and that made everything worse.

David wasn't exactly a good guy either. I just truly wanted to smack him and Kelsey upside the heads. David wasn't exactly Mr. Innocent when it came to hurting others. He definitely should have told Violet what was up from the start. And he should have definitely told Violet about the kiss. Even if they did break up and it was civil in the end. He will have that on his conscience for the rest of his life. If he has a conscience.

I feel like Ryan was a stand-in for David for Kelsey. I mean it can't be a coincidence that she ended up dating a baseball player after she moved. Whether that is the case or not, I will never actually know. But I do know that Ryan was a douche-canoe. It seems like everyone in this book had two sides of themselves. 

The book switched back and forth between the summer's that David and Kelsey met and progressed to them becoming best friends then it went to the present where Kelsey thought David was in her past forever. I enjoyed this because you got to see how they were when they were younger. But for some reason I feel like they grew up to be different people than who I thought they would be. They were both huge parts of each others world and then all of a sudden that just ended. What would have happened if Kelsey hadn't moved? So many possibilities.

The only true issue I had with the book was the immaturity and the blatant disregard for the feelings of others that these teenagers showed. Are teenagers like this now? Were they like this when I went to school? It's just scary to think that teenagers like this will be ruling the country and world soon. Replacing their elders. I'm not so sure I want someone who can't even respect their own feelings having a hand in controlling the future. 

This book could have had many different endings. The way it ended is obviously one. Kelsey could have stayed with Ryan. David could have stayed with Violet. David could have spoken up sooner. Ryan could have not attacked David. There are just so many endings that I imagined. And towards the end I was actually scared that the book wouldn't end the way it did. But that also would have been a first for me. Not having the two main love interests ending up together just doesn't happen. 

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.


1) Did you always want to become an author?

I've wanted to be an author since I learned to read. I was writing stories in second grade and still haven't stopped.

2) Have you ever been to Rhode Island and Connecticut? 

Absolutely. I was born in Connecticut and lived there until 2013, when we transferred to Georgia for my husband's job. The town where Kelsey lives in Connecticut is 100% based on the town where I went to high school. And I've been to Newport several times - it's one of my favorite places. The scene where Kelsey and Ryan are watching the boats at the marina was dreamed up from a picture I took while doing the exact same thing.

3) Who would you pick? Ryan or David?

I love different things about both of them, but when it comes down to it, David is kind of my dream guy.

4)Are you currently working on any new books?

Always! I have another book coming out from Simon Pulse in 2016, and I just turned in the newest draft to my editor. I also have a project on my agent's desk, and am about to start drafting a brand new manuscript.

5) What is your favorite genre to read?

I love YA, especially romance. But I also have a soft spot for the spooky, creepy variety. Combine the two, and I'm hooked.

6) How would you describe your book to a potential buyer/reader?

As a sweet, realistic story of a teenage friendship that fell apart and came back together as something more.

7) Do you have any song/songs that helped motivate you to write this book?

“Back to December” by Taylor Swift, “Come Back to Me” by David Cook, “Paradise” by Coldplay, “Broken” by Lifehouse, “Ocean Avenue” by Yellowcard, “Stay” by Alison Krauss, and “Faster” by Matt Nathanson.

8) Do you believe its true that the people we love the most are the ones that hurt us the most?

I think that if you don't care about someone - or at least care what they think - then they don't have much power to hurt you. Pain caused by someone you loved or trusted tends to resonate harder and longer, in my opinion.

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