Book Reviews!

Hey, y'all!

Heather here.

And I am excited to share that I've been shamelessly enjoying my summer break from college by neglecting the real-world. Yep. I've been indulging in my favorite hobby--reading YA fiction--instead of working on house projects, swimming at the pool, and even writing my book.

But that's okay! I've earned it and will get back to revising my novel in due time. But first, books! Books! Books!

YA romance (especially when written by Miranda Kenneally) is kind of my jam right now, and I've finished three books of hers in the last week. Needless to say I haven't been writing (passively brainstorming a chapter rewrite when not reading); I have been laughing, crying, and rooting for girl to work through her issues and hang out with McDreamy, instead.

So without giving away anything huge, I'm going to share some tidbits on the books I've read this week, as well as the one I'm currently working on.

1. Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

Jordan is the quarterback of her high school football team and to say the least, she kicks ass. And I mean everyone's. She's got her head on straight. She's focused on playing college ball for Alabama, and she has no interest in dudes unless she is throwing a pass to score a couple of yards to win the game. But then Tyler Green waltzes into her life, and he's sexy. Real sexy. But he's also a quarterback and she has enough competition securing her position because of her gender, and suddenly, Jordan starts losing focus. And to top it all off, a love triangle begins, and oooh is it good!

The characters in the story are very entertaining, fully fleshed out, and memorable. I am a huge fan of strong female characters who can pull their weight and earn respect from those around her. Jordan is one of them, and her voice will make you laugh, long, and empathize with her struggles, whether you're a fan of football, or not. If you're interested in reading who wins her heart in the end, you can find it here. 

2. Breathe Annie Breathe by Miranda Kenneally

Tears, y'all. Tears!!!

I immediately became connected with this character, as Miranda's word choice made me empathize with her situation right off the bat. Not only did she lose her first love, but the sting of it (almost six months later) is still as fresh as it was the day their relationship ended when the story begins. But it wasn't a breakup that made her life break at the seems. It was death. And now, despite her hatred of running, she is training to take on the marathon her guy never had the chance to finish. OMG. It's amazing!

While the novel starts sad (and I'm normally not a fan of sad stories--happy Disney addict right here!) this one drew me in and kept my interest until the very last page. The story follows her road to recovery in more ways than accepting the loss of her first love. It's about endings and beginnings. Dying embers and sparks of new flames. And there are hot guys, too. Which is always important. :D

If you're looking for a character to root for, and even one that you could read and make sense of your own struggles in life (even if your guy or girl didn't die), then I highly recommend Breathe Annie Breathe. You can find her story here.

3. Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally (what??? again? Yes! She's amazing!)

This one had me on edge a few times from the very beginning. Parker (our protagonist) has a mom who walked out on her family in pursuit of her female love interest. To be clear, I want to make sure you know it was not because of the homosexual relationship! It was the fact that Parker's family was very religious and the church acted as a villain in such a difficult time and made it seem one-dimensional.

I read through the pages listening to Parker being continually hurt and gossiped about from those that claimed to love God, and it was hard to swallow (and I'm a Christian!) But I kept reading, hoping Parker would leave that church and find another--one that would love her and her family as many churches in the real-world do. I was also rooting for reconciliation with her mom, despite all of the hurt and abandonment she had put her daughter through (an issue that is close to my heart, as my biological mom left my family when I was a child). And I was really hoping that Parker would find her self-worth in something other than messing around with guys. (It was so sad to read.) Identity is huge. In any society. And this book explored the struggles and triumphs of such a topic.

Well, I can say that I continued to push through--despite the politics and religious issues in the story, and can say that I was very happy with the way things turned out. Parker didn't have it easy, but her character arc was beautiful. I highly recommend it! If you're interested in reading it for yourself, you can find it here.

4. (Currently Reading) Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

This one is...beautiful...heart-wrenching...and so difficult to put down!

Goody-two-shoes meets sexy-and mysterious-troublemaker? Um...yesssss!

Sounds a bit cliche though, right? Hasn't this story already been told like a thousand times? No. It hasn't. It definitely hasn't.

Echo (our female protagonist) has been haunted for the last year and a half by a nightmare she can't even remember. All she knows is that her mom tried to kill her and she's got the scars on her arms to prove it. What? :O I know, right?

Then there's Noah (our male protagonist), who is a troubled foster kid with an attitude and a reputation for screwing girls and moving on.

So what do the two of these characters have in common? They've both been through hell and are required to see the school social worker/clinical therapist in order to work out the futures that are coming quicker than the night their lives changed forever.

There are tears, and laughs, and cravings for justice in both of their stories. But what's even more delicious than that? The way their lives intertwine in the midst of it all.

I haven't finished this one yet, but so far (I'm halfway through) it's amazing! I'll update y'all when I'm done. But if you want to check it out before then, you can find it here. 

But I have a date with my book. So if you don't mind, I'm going to get back to it.

What are you reading? And does it sound like any of these stories? If so, please don't keep amazing books to yourself. It's selfish. Very, very selfish. ;)