Friday, March 27, 2015

All Broke Down (Rusk University #2) by Cora Carmack

So it's been a while!  Reading has just been pretty much impossible with my schedule, but I finished my homework before my Spring Break next week, and decided to finish a book I've been reading for literally two months! Yes I know...tragic!

But anyway, I finished it last night!  Please do know I have read a couple of books since then, I just haven't reviewed them, because they were ARCs of some rather SUPER special books from a certain ABSOLUTE Favorite author of mine for which an annual event announcement is coming soon ;).

Anyway, I finished Cora Carmack's All Broke Down the second in the Rusk University Series!

From Goodreads:

In this second book in New York Times and USA Todaybestselling author Cora Carmack s New Adult, Texas-set Rusk University series, which began with All Lined Up, a young woman discovers that you can't only fight for what you believe in... sometimes you have to fight for what you love.

Dylan fights for lost causes. Probably because she used to be one.

Environmental issues, civil rights, corrupt corporations, and politicians you name it, she's probably been involved in a protest. When her latest cause lands her in jail overnight, she meets Silas Moore. He's in for a different kind of fighting. And though he's arrogant and infuriating, she can't help being fascinated with him. Yet another lost cause.

Football and trouble are the only things that have ever come naturally to Silas. And it's trouble that lands him in a cell next to do-gooder Dylan. He's met girls like her before fixers, he calls them, desperate to heal the damage and make him into their ideal boyfriend. But he doesn't think he's broken, and he definitely doesn't need a girlfriend trying to change him. Until, that is, his anger issues and rash decisions threaten the only thing he really cares about: his spot on the Rusk University football team. Dylan might just be the perfect girl to help.

Because Silas Moore needs some fixing after all.

My Thoughts:

In the second book in this series we get introduced to Dylan and Silas!  Silas is a football player on the Rusk University team, but has had some trouble staying on the team, because of his behavior and tendencies to start fights.
Dylan is the all around good girl, whose life started out rough when her mother died, but turned into a fairytale when she was adopted by the rich family looking for a daughter...or is it the fairytale Orphan Annie-to-Daddy-Warbuck's life?

Overall, I liked both Dylan and Silas's character.  What I had a little trouble with were some of the twist and turns, and not explanation on some of the story elements.  For instance, I was expecting their to be more of the Silas vs. Levi dynamic.  Levi never shows up again after that first scene, and honestly I wanted to come more from that.
Next, the problems between Dylan and her parents.  While some of the tension between her and her parents seemed to be resolved, I personally wanted more interaction between them and Silas.
The ending felt a little rushed because I kept expecting their to be more between the parents and Silas and Dylan.

But overall truly enjoyed it.  Cora is a great New Adult writer!  I really enjoy reading her books, and find them to have great storylines that I always find myself wanting more and more!

Definitely check it out if you get a chance! Plus if you've read the first book in the series, which I reviewed last May, you'll get to hear from some of your favorites from that book too!  I love how Cora incorporates her old characters into her stories, because it's just always so nice to hear from them again and to see how they are doing!

So definitely check out her books! You can check out all of her books on Amazon!  :)

Thanks Everyone! And I hope to be back very soon, because I plan on reading quite a bit next week during Spring Break! :)

The Romance Bookie :)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Ontario Teen Book Festival Interview with Jessica Brody!

Hey Everyone!!

I am very excited to welcome Jessica Brody for an interview today in honor of 2015 Ontario Teen Book Festival!!

From Goodreads

The Romance Bookie: Would you tell us a bit about your new book, the final book in the Unremembered Trilogy, Unchanged?

Jessica Brody: Well, there's only so much I can tell you without spoiling all the great twists in books 1 & 2.  But I will say that this final installment has the most sci-fi, the largest cast, the most kissing scenes, the most world-building and the most explosions.

TRB: Was it difficult coming up with an ending for the entire series that you were completely satisfied with?

JB: Absolutely! And actually, my editor and I disagreed about what the ending should be.  I had to fight REALLY hard for this ending.  So I hope you love it! If not, don't tell my editor ;).

TRB: What has been the most difficult thing to get used to since becoming a published writer? And the most fun? :)

JB: Most difficult: Strangers reviewing your work.  It's kind of like someone looking deep into your soul and saying, "Meh. Not good enough." Ha! I try not read reviews for this very reason.
Most fun: Getting emails from readers! Or having a teen come up to me at a school or festival and tel me how much they loved my book.  That is so surreal!

TRB: Will you be doing more science fiction novels?

JB: Not in the immediate future.  I'm taking a short break from sci-fi.  My next book is called A Week of Mondays and it's a contemporary comedy with a magical realism twist about a teen girl who pretty much has the worst Monday of her life (including an awful break-up) and then the next day she wakes up and it's the exact same Monday! She has to relive the same horrible day over and over until she figures out how to fix it.

TRB: Yay, I love Young Adult Contemporary romances!!!  Is there anything special you do to get yourself ready to write everyday?

JB: Funny you should ask, there is! I have a whole morning routine.  I wake up and the first thing I do is meditate for about 10 minutes, then I do affirmations (yes! I talk aloud to myself!), then I write in my gratitude journal, then I exercise, then I drink a smoothie and THEN I write.  The whole routine (which you'll notice does NOT include checking email or social media) helps get me focused and centered.  I used to check email first thing in the morning and I found that it was SO hard for me to focus on my story after that.  This routine has totally helped alleviate that problem.

TRB:  Now on to the random Questions!!

Which do you prefer? Ebooks or Hard Copies?

JB: HARD COPIES ALL THE WAY!! (Although I prefer ebooks when I travel.  So much better for my back!)

TRB: LOL so true!! Those hardcovers get so heavy!  What has been your favorite city to visit while on book tour and why?

JB: Houston.  The teens and librarians there are simply amazing.  So enthusiastic about books and reading.  And it's probably no coincidence that with every book I release Houston is always my top selling city! Love you, H-Town!

TRB: If you could meet any author (alive!) who would it be?

JB: Sophie Kinsella! She is an inspiration to me.  And her books are so hilarious, I'm like, how can you NOT be a blast to hang out with?

TRB: And, any advice for aspiring writers?

JB:  Don't be afraid to write badly.  All writers have awful first drafts.  That's why they're called first drafts.  Sometimes you have to just get through the story before you can make it pretty.  I think a lot of new authors quit halfway through the book because they're afraid that it's not good.  The first draft won't be good.  Just finish it and fix it later.  The hardest part about writing a book is getting to that last page.  Don't be afraid to write crap because crap makes great fertilizer.

Great advice Jessica!! And thank you so much doing the interview! It was a little bit last minute, so I really do appreciate that you took the time out of your crazy schedule to do this!!

If you're interested to know who will be at the Ontario Teen Book Festival, here is the list:

Hope everyone has a Happy Monday!

The Romance Bookie :)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Erin: The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

Hello!  A new book from the author of the Unearthly Trilogy -- Cynthia Hand! This is a vastly different book from Unearthly.  It's a much heavier subject matter and it's a contemporary -- although it does involve a ghost...Anyways, here is my review below!

From Goodreads:

There's death all around us.
We just don't pay attention.
Until we do.

The last time Lex was happy, it was before. When she had a family that was whole. A boyfriend she loved. Friends who didn't look at her like she might break down at any moment.

Now she's just the girl whose brother killed himself. And it feels like that's all she'll ever be.

As Lex starts to put her life back together, she tries to block out what happened the night Tyler died. But there's a secret she hasn't told anyone-a text Tyler sent, that could have changed everything.

Lex's brother is gone. But Lex is about to discover that a ghost doesn't have to be real to keep you from moving on.

From New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand, The Last Time We Say Goodbye is a gorgeous and heart-wrenching story of love, loss, and letting go.

Erin's Thoughts:

The Last Time We Say Goodbye isn't the usual type of book I read, but seeing as it's Cynthia Hand and that I really liked her Unearthly series, I very much anticipated this book.  I was surprised at first when I found out that Cynthia Hand was writing a contemporary book because I was just so used to her writing paranormal.  But honestly, I love it when authors try something new, something really different from what they previously wrote and The Last Time We Say Goodbye is very different from Unearthly, so I really admire Cynthia Hand for doing that.

The Last Time We Say Goodbye is a story about a girl trying to put her life back together after her brother commits suicide.  While not everyone might experience this exact same situation, I really do think it's a subject that everyone can relate to at least on some level.

Throughout the book, Lex struggles to figure out why her brother committed suicide.  She struggles with school and friends and the way her family has been torn apart, not just by the suicide, but other problems as well.

Lex is a great protagonist.  She tries so hard to get over her brother's death.  She really tries to understand his reasons and what drove him to commit suicide.  I think she does a lot of things that a regular teenage girl would do in her situation.  I also really like that she thinks so much in terms of numbers -- it's a nice quirk to see since -- not saying it's bad or anything -- there are lots of characters that like reading or English and hate math and science.

The ending, no doubt, was my favorite part.  It was extremely cathartic for both Lex and me.  I don't want to give anything away, but it's such a wonderful ending that forced Lex to confront her problems and her feelings head-on and finally face everything that's she been trying to ignore and suppress.  While it's not an actual  battle scene or anything, I almost feel like it reads that way...Lex is fighting to let go, to find closure.

While there were some things that weren't completely explained and definitely some loose ends, it didn't bother me for the most part.  One thing that I didn't quite understand was...

I didn't really understand Patrick's Suicide (Tyler's friend).  I wasn't sure if it was supposed to imply that maybe it was chain suicide -- maybe he and Tyler had talked about it together, maybe even planned it together.  Or maybe not.  Maybe it was a completely separate thing.  But because there were so many similarities between both of the suicides, it threw me off a little bit.

I think Lex mentions something like Patrick using Tyler's suicide as a template for his own death, but I don't know...Something about it didn't fit right with me.  Then again, that's just my opinion. :)



I'm really more fluctuating between four and four and a half.  The only reason for that is because while I enjoyed it a lot, like I said before, it's not really my "type" of book.  That said, I know people are going to love this book! It's such a great and profound story that I think will affect readers.

I highly suggest that everyone read the Author's Note at the end.  It explains a lot of the personal motivations and the important of the story to the author and I think it is well worth reading.

All righty, hope you guys enjoyed the review!! Thanks for reading!! :D

Erin @The Romance Bookie :)