Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Trusting Again by Peggy Bird

 Cynthia Blaine is a normal, every day woman who happens to be in the right place at the right time, and runs into the most gorgeous man on earth, Marius Hernandez.
  Although the run in appears meant to be, Cynthia soon realizes that Marius is not only purchasing a piece of Cynthia's jewelry, but he's doing it for a "friend" of his...a woman.
  Crushed and losing hope of finding him again, Cynthia returns to her normal, mundane life.
  Fast forward to present day, Cynthia has once again run into the same charming and dashing Marius Hernandez and this time they make a close and seductive connection.
  Cynthia and Marius spend so many steamy nights together, you'll be fanning yourself repeatedly and cooling your warm cheeks. Their chemistry together is irresistible.
  But with every perfect couple, there are plot turning problems that'll threaten to take away whatever "Happily Ever After" you've imagined in your mind. Peggy Bird's writing is fun and easy, but her characters will torture you with their emotional turmoil. Trusting Again is the fourth installment in the Second Chances series, but even without reading previous works of Peggy Bird, I had no trouble whatsoever with keeping track of the plot and characters. (And believe me, I get confused VERY easily.)
  Trusting Again is a sensual and steamy read that'll keep you turning (or clicking, in an ebook's case) the next page.                     


Friday, July 26, 2013

Passionfruit and Poetry by Téa Cooper

  Passionfruit and Poetry by Téa Cooper is the very definition of a "feel good book." It is short and sweet, but don't let that fool you, it's also packed full of love, lust and betrayal. I absolutely ADORED this book.
  Jeanie Baker (the main character of Passionfruit and Poetry) was incredibly strong, relatable and lovable.
  Jeanie hates having her picture taken. So when a hoard of professional photographers and camera crews comes to her grandmother's café to do a promotional shoot, it's no exception. But Jeanie catches the eye of a handsome, charming and famous photographer and he proposes that she enter her seductive, fingernail-biting, café picture in a magazine cover girl contest...and he falls in love with her.
  She doesn't find anything spectacular about herself, especially with her overly curvy hips, track record with love and traumatizing past, but Xander Fitzgerald (the photographer and Jeanie's love interest) thinks she's the most gorgeous creature on earth...and he falls in love with her.
  I loved this book. I would (and will) read anything written by Téa Cooper now because I've fallen in love with her writing and stories.
  It's a perfect summer read with it being light, sweet, sentimental and romantic.
  Jeanie struggles with self confidence, but in Passionfruit and Poetry, she learns to love herself for who she is...and that's just another reason why I love this story: The characters' personal growth and progression.
  For women, this book is wonderful for teaching you that there's always someone who will only find the perfect things about you and love you despite your faults. Téa Cooper's writing and story is inspirational for women everywhere.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Dragon Fate by J.D. Hallowell

  As an avid reader, I try all sorts of genres to see what I enjoy reading about, what piques my interest and what is popular at the time. That being said, I have not read many books like J.D. Hallowell's Dragon Fate. I do not normally pick up books about war, dragons, action, or those (I'm ashamed to say) I typically stereotype. But Dragon Fate was different.
  Dragons, action and adventure are not my typical forte. But readers, I cannot even begin to tell you what I would have missed out on if I had decided not to read this book.
  Delno, the hero of Dragon Fate, comes across an enormous dragon at the beginning of the novel and finds that she's dying due to the loss of her rider...and she's carrying a dragon egg.
  After Delno helps the dragon expel the egg, he becomes bonded with the offspring and builds a connection that only a dragon and her rider can share.
  This book absolutely had me entranced right away. At one point during my captivated reading, I was forced to put the book down and watch television with my family, but then soon found myself continuing on to the next chapter, nonstop, AS my family was watching TV.
  I loved every single thing about this book: Delno, his dragon (which I wont tell you the name of because you have to read it and find out for yourselves!), the action, everything in between and especially the author's writing. J.D. Hallowell's story telling is magnificent. He had a way of describing scenery, characteristics and personalities of the characters, and most of all explaining and teaching his readers about the mechanics and details of something that's made up (that we know of) such as a dragon. It was absolutely incredible.
  I will NOT compare Dragon Fate to any dragon related books or other books that are in its genre because I don't think that would be fair to the authors.
  Dragon Fate is unique and an exciting and adventurous read. It teaches love, loyalty, honor and friendship and I anxiously await starting the sequel to Dragon Fate, Dragon Blade, and reuniting with J.D. Hallowell's dragons and their heroic riders!

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

  Now this is a book where I understand the hype!
  Eat, Pray, Love was so talked about, almost everyone I knew had read it. Women loved it, men loved it and within the past few years, it became a movie. I was a little late to the Eat, Pray, Love craze, but boy did I catch up when I got to read it!
  Elizabeth Gilbert (or "Liz" Gilbert, as she's called by friends) has just gone through a really rough patch in her life, a few years after her overwhelmingly traumatizing divorce. So she ventures out on a trip to Italy, India and Indonesia to find food, faith and herself (and in my opinion, renewed hope for love and a romantic future).
  Eat, Pray, Love is semi- (if not completely) autobiographical, so when I read all about Liz's character, adventures and misadventures, Elizabeth Gilbert climbed to the top of my "Most Inspiring People" list. I absolutely adore her! She's so nonsense, clear headed (most likely because of mistakes she's made in the past) and most of all, the heroine of her own life.
  Eat, Pray, Love has to be one of my all time favorite books.
  I'm not normally one for enjoyably reading an author's narrative (when the author narrates their life story, what's going on, etc. and not dialogue), but in this book I welcomed it. I could listen to Elizabeth Gilbert talk about her life adventures all day if she wanted to! I aspire to be like her when I grow older, I want to travel and eat, travel and make friends, read, write and have adventures.
  Normally I'm not the type of reader who goes along with the hype of a book, but now I'm proud to say I'm a HUGE fan of Eat, Pray, Love.

Book                               ebook

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Carrie by Stephen King

  Carrie was (and still is) my first Stephen King novel. I have to tell you, I was a bit apprehensive with starting his work. You hear so much about the brilliance that is Stephen King and how people still have nightmares and look under their beds because of his books.
  And although Carrie wasn't absolutely horrifying and terrifying, it did not lack the brilliance I expected of it. Perhaps I should have started with something a little more scary to ease myself into Stephen King's story telling, but Carrie is truly an amazing novel!
  Less than 200 pages long, Carrie sums up the pain and torture that bullying inflicts. There's name calling, teasing and poking fun, but in Carrie it goes too far...
  With Carrie being a target for bullies in school, her unhealthy home environment (via her overly religious and mentally unstable mother), and her telekinesis powers, Carrie's prom night turns out much differently than she had hoped.
  This book is mostly made up of interviews from police officers, journalists and prom night survivors, written in almost a poetic sort of way. It's very unique to say the least.
  Carrie (book and character) absolutely and completely broke my heart. To this day when I think back to it, it eerily reminds me of a reopened wound; almost as fresh and painful as the day it was put there. Of course because someone's different (and has a psychotic mother who may not have taught her daughter all of the beneficial facts about life that an average teenage girl needs to know) the kids at school pick on her and point out the fact that she's different.
  As an ex home schooler (although, for home schoolers, you never truly leave because even after graduation you continue learning) I can't help but feel that if Carrie were home schooled (and didn't have a lunatic for a mother), prom night would have ended A LOT differently. But where would be the plot in that? Carrie would just be an average, home schooled girl with telekinesis. In a sick, twisted way, it was good for Stephen King to write this. It's a good way to get the message out there, to not bully because someone is different or has issues at home.
  But even though there were horrible bullies in school who essentially led to the prom night's demise, there were a few exceptions...but they had to suffer the repercussions of horrible heartless bullying.

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Friday, July 19, 2013

Crimson and Clover by Juli Page Morgan

  Flower child Katie Scott doesn't quite fit in well in 1968 San Francisco, so she ventures out to London, England to find herself...and love. 
  In London she meets Jay Carey, a dark, seductive and sweet musician and she falls in love. Within her secret of yearning to shed her flower child exterior to expose her June Cleaver interior, she has a secret that may impact her future with Jay. 
  With the dawning of peace, personal growth and righteous music, Crimson and Clover is packed full of romance, emotional turmoil, long lasting love and friendships and steamy nights. 
  This book is a little over 200 pages long, but because of its depth, it felt as if it were hundreds of pages longer. I wanted to read through it quickly to find out what happened, but also make it last as long as I could. 
  Juli Page Morgan has a way with making her readers feel in the moment, almost as if the character's emotions and obstacles are yours as well. That every heartbreak, every moment of feeling the world spinning around you as you held your loved one close was yours. 
  Although Athena's Daughter and Crimson and Clover have similar love interests (Jay in Crimson and Clover and Derek in Athena's Daughter are both musicians), they are both beautifully unique in their own way. And Katie (our main character) made growing up and finding yourself, in the 70s, real for me. 
  I hope Juli Page Morgan continues to write books that captivate you from the very first chapter. 

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

"There Are Things I Want You to Know" about Stieg Larsson and Me by Eva Gabrielsson

  After Stieg Larsson's untimely death, his partner and lover Eva Gabrielsson becomes tired of keeping quiet about their relationship together and decides to spill every secret in her biography "There Are Things I Want You to Know" about Stieg Larsson and Me.
  With their scary incidents and occurrences in Swedish politics, Stieg's writing (the beginning of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo saga and Stieg's numerous books about his opinions in politics) and their romantic relationship together, this book keeps you craving more and more details about his and her life.
  She tells the story of how they met, their intense involvement with ugly political scandals and most of all, Stieg's tragic and mysterious death. Eva also goes on and tells her readers about Stieg's father and brother and her struggle with them over the custody of Stieg's other works. Which may in fact be another Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist installment.
  I've read many biographies, all of them interesting and intriguing in their own way, but Eva Gabrielsson's biography is special. It's about her lover, Stieg (not husband, which you learn more about in her book), a New York Times bestselling author with a suspicious and heartbreaking death (which you also learn more about).
  Stieg was a beautiful, smart and amazing man. An absolute genius and artist with words, and Eva was very lucky indeed to have him in her life.
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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Athena's Daughter by Juli Page Morgan

  Athena's Daughter was an absolutely delightful read.
  After a steamy relationship with a British rock star (from a band called "Wolf"), Athena- our heroine- gets deported back to America on an expired visa...pregnant with his child. When Athena attempts to call Derek- our love interest- to tell him about her pregnancy, she gets another woman on the phone telling her that she's Derek. Furious, Athena lifts her chin, wipes tears away from her eyes and decides to raise their child on her own.
  Fast forward to the mid 70s (six years later), Athena is now older, wiser and manages a record store. The record store- Stax of Wax- has just booked a band...called "Wolf."
  They agree to work together in peace, Athena now being paid extra to help manage Derek's band. But one thing is conflicting that agreement: Rekindled love. With heartbreak comes mending and that's just what's needed in Athena, Derek and Elizabeth's (Athena's daughter's) relationship.
  Now as you may know from previous book reviews, I have major pet peeves when it comes to female main characters, children written by adults and music (particularly song lyrics) in books. But when I read Athena's Daughter by Juli Page Morgan, I was happily sated with all three. The child, Elizabeth, wasn't obnoxious or bratty, the lyrics were easy to read and understand the symbolism and Athena was absolutely BRILLIANT. Hilarious, relatable and smart, Athena moved to my top favorite heroines in literature.
  There was one problem though... When Athena, Derek or Elizabeth got upset, I got upset!
  I became emotionally tied to the characters and only truly amazing authors can do that to their readers.

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Monday, July 15, 2013

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

  Books rarely have me on the edge of my seat, biting my nails, but with Gone Girl, I was doing just that.
  When Amy Elliott Dunne goes missing on her wedding anniversary, her husband Nick goes on a hunt to find out what happened to her, who took her... And what they want.
  Throughout this book I was gritting my teeth in anticipation, skipping meals, avoiding all human contact and yes, taking minimal bathroom breaks because I didn't want to put the book down.
  I ate, breathed and slept Gone Girl. I tossed and turned contemplating what else could possibly occur and how this blasted book could end.
  It frustrated me beyond belief, but I was hooked.
  Then I got to the end. I'm not positively sure if I actually screamed, but I can tell you that I ranted and raved for a good half hour or so after I finished the last page. I told my friends about it, grabbing them by the shirtsleeves saying "You HAVE to read this book!"
  Without spoiling anything (because believe me, you're not going to want to hear ANY spoilers from this book) it probably has to be one of the most irritating, frustrating and memorable endings to a book I've ever read.
  That being said, Gone Girl is teetering on the edge of being one of my favorite books in the world. It's suspenseful, written beautifully and, dang, did it have me hooked.
  I've hated books (okay, not hated, but I've been very upset) because of my favorite character dying or getting their heart broken. But this...
  Oh my gosh.
  I'm recommending this book to EVERYONE and I truly wish the author would just send me a box of Gone Girls, so I can hand them out to my friends and complete strangers.

Book                                ebook

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

  I really, really enjoyed this book. From the very beginning it was addicting and I was more and more intrigued as I dove further into the story.
  Ethan and Lena's relationship was so sincere and sweet, my heart got fluttery and my eyes teared. The Southern atmosphere was a magical and perfect setting for the story and honestly there was not a character I disliked.
  Well... Unless they were intended to be disliked, like Sarafine.
  Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl's writing meshed together so beautifully, it's truly impossible to tell who's writing what. I've seen many interviews with the two authors and their friendship is so sweet, it made me love their book ten times more than I did before!
  When it comes to YA, I have a hard time adjusting to female characters. Often times I find them self-centered, whiny, too focused on the boys and drama around them and just plain irritating. But with Lena Duchannes, I found myself wanting to be friends with her, be there for her when she's sad, help her defeat Sarafine and overall hang out with her.
  It was so refreshing to read a YA book with a male narrator, written by women, who falls for a strong female character. Its haunting plot, its humorous scenes, relatable teen characters and page turning suspense made this story irresistible.
  I highly recommend Beautiful Creatures to everyone (especially to moms and young women who are searching for a strong heroine) and I can't wait to delve into the rest of the Caster Chronicles.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

  Pride and Prejudice is considered one of the best classics of all time, if not THE best classic of all time. Elizabeth Bennet's strong will and strong mind is highly admirable, especially for the women in the nineteenth century, and Mr. Darcy is... Well, Mr. Darcy. A snobbish and pompous man, yet dashing and charming when he needs to be.
   The romantic plot of this story is tear worthy and at times- hilarious.
  But for some reason, for me, it didn't quite captivate me or grab my interest. I was (I'm ashamed to say) distracted throughout the beginning of the book. However, it DID get better over time, once I got used to Jane Austen's writing and story telling. But even now I have a hard time recalling details about the book.
  I love Elizabeth and Jane (the eldest Bennet sister) so much, their personalities mesh so well and one sister balances out the other so perfectly. With Elizabeth's quick and intelligent remarks and Jane's quiet compassion, they create a perfect combination of heroines. As for Mr. Darcy, even though he was incredibly frustrating and irritating (for Elizabeth and us, the readers) I do say that he has had a major build and development of character. Although, I personally fell in love with Mr. Bingley- Jane's love interest.
  My observation and overall impression of Pride and Prejudice is that I probably would have enjoyed it more had it been written in a different way, or by someone else. Regardless, it is still a timeless classic that demands to be read and appreciated.

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Monday, July 8, 2013

The Last Hour by Charles Sheehan-Miles

  As I type this review, my eyes are fuzzy and stinging from dried up tears.
  Now, I've cried many times in various books, but in The Last Hour, I cried The Fault in Our Stars and The Book Thief tears. For those who have never read The Fault in Our Stars or The Book Thief, just imagine everything sad that could possibly happen to your favorite character and in literature period.
  That's how I felt at the end of The Last Hour by Charles Sheehan-Miles.
  When I wrote my book review for A Song For Julia (the second book in the Thompson Sisters series) I stated that it was my favorite out of Charles Sheehan-Miles' books.
  Now I think I have to take that back.
  The Last Hour was so different and emotional- so heartbreaking and addicting.
  It should have taken me no time to finish The Last Hour, but I think because I was putting off the inevitable and because I didn't want to say goodbye to his characters just yet, I had to stretch it out over a week/weekend.  Even now I find myself longing to be back with the Thompson Sisters.
  The story will grab you, the writing will entrance you and the characters will make you laugh, cry and fall in love.
  This book, Carrie and Ray, will forever hold a place in my heart.

 Book                                ebook

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran by Roxana Saberi

  Between Two Worlds: My life and Captivity in Iran was the first biography I've ever read and boy, did it get me addicted to biographies!
  Roxana Saberi, a half Iranian, half Japanese American journalist figures too many novels have been written about Japanese culture so she decides to travel to Iran to research that culture and their traditions.
  But in the process of doing so, she's arrested and brought to an Iranian women's prison for 100 days, accused of being an American spy.
  This is the story of her survival and experiences of being an innocent prisoner in Iran. The story details her hunger strike, her longing for being free, her missing her family and her life inside the prison. This book absolutely terrified me and made me appreciate Roxana Saberi's bravery. Her struggle of being treated as an American spy, by her very own culture, is absolutely shocking and horrifying.
  As I read this book, I feared for her life and even had to look up a present day interview to reassure myself that she was okay and no longer in captivity 
  This was my first ever biography and to this day, it remains my favorite. 

                                            Book                                 ebook

Friday, July 5, 2013

Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon

  Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon is the story of Nick Gautier (pronounced GO-SHAY).
  Nick is a normal, gangly teenage boy, who has very abnormal teenage problems. Along with putting up with high school, bullies, girlfriends and living with his single mom who's barely making ends meet, Nick has an army of demons wanting his supernatural powers... And his life. Nick enters a world of demons, Dark-Hunters, zombies and adventure.
  This is the story of his introduction to a world much darker than his, a world that he'll soon have to save starting with New Orleans.
  After I finished reading Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark-Hunter series, which has Nick in it, I picked up the first book in his series and thought it was a delightful read. Although, I can understand how a Chronicles of Nick reader would be confused with the plot, characters and story progression if they haven't read the Dark-Hunter series. (Which may be a problem considering the fact that the Chronicles of Nick series is geared towards YA, whereas the Dark-Hunter series- located in the Romance section- is not.)
  The Chronicles of Nick series is a fun, adventurous series with romance, action and intrigue.
  I would suggest this book to Dark-Hunter fans and teens/young adults Nick's age. Nick is a highly relatable character for young adults going through bullying issues, financial issues and self-esteem issues.

                                            Book                                ebook

Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Song for Julia by Charles Sheehan-Miles

  I didn't know what to expect when I first started A Song for Julia. Each book of Charles Sheehan-Miles' trilogy is about a different Thompson sister, with Alex being the heroine in Just Remember to Breathe- Thompson Sister book one- and now Julia in this one.
  Alex's story was emotional, sweet, sad and focused on healing emotional and physical wounds, where although A Song for Julia has its serious parts as well, it's more light-hearted, contains more humor and features a dashing punk rocker.
  I think because of these reasons, it's currently my favorite of his books. (Even though I'm reading The Last Hour, the third Thompson Sisters installment.)
  Julia is an intellectual Harvard student with a clear head on her shoulders and "Crank"- the love interest of the story- is a charming high school graduate, and lead singer for a band called "Morbid Obesity."
  When these two come together, they create one of the sweetest love stories I've ever read.
  Without spoiling anything (once again, I try to keep my book reviews spoiler free) one of the main reasons why this book was so enjoyable was Crank's family: His parents' relationship with each other- the good and the bad- and his little brother Sean, who has Asperger Syndrome.
  I got teary eyed numerous times during this book.
  Charles Sheehan-Miles has once again surprised me with his ability to write from a woman's perspective. His books are told in divided parts; half the heroine's and half the protagonist's. When he writes his female characters, I have to remind myself that the author is actually male.
  I normally have a hard time connecting with female characters. Most of them irritate me beyond imagination, but I have fallen in love with Charles' Thompson sisters.

Book                              ebook

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves

  On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves has to be one of the sweetest love stories I've ever read.
  When Anna and T.J.- a private tutor and her student- survive a plane crash and barely escape with their lives, they drift to an uncharted island and become stranded. Starving, sickly and stir crazy, they cling to the only scrap of happiness available... Each other.
  They build a life together and learn to adapt to a new environment. As every day, week and month go by, chances of survival seem to become more and more impossible.
  On the island, their love is sizzling and charming, but in our world will their relationship be accepted because of their age difference? Will they ever be rescued and find out?
  Anna and T.J.'s romance, desperation, humor and strong will have torn my emotions apart in countless ways. This book is so unique... So adventurous. So lovable!
  I adored every page and ate through it like cotton candy.
  But even though it was a light read and took me not a day to finish, it left a HUGE impact on me. To this day, I still refer back to Anna and T.J.... Their nail biting story, their forbidden love and most of all, their desperate acts of survival.
  I recommend this book to EVERYONE, absolutely everyone!
  It's a perfect Summer read, but equally as perfect in any other season. This is definitely one of my favorite novels of all time.
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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

  Scarlet is the epic continuation of The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer and the continuation of Cinder, Prince Kai, Iko and Queen Levana's adventurous tale.
  But they're not alone.
  In Marissa Meyer's futuristic environment, two new characters' stories are about to cross over into Cinder's. Scarlet, who the sequel is named after, is a young woman who's incredibly frantic about her missing grandmother and will do anything to find her. Wolf, the love interest for this futuristic fairy tale, has an occupation that goes well beyond your average street fight...
  I swear I read this book in less than 24 hours, I was hooked from cover to cover!
  I do have to say though, as much as I was interested in Scarlet and Wolf's story/relationship, I desperately missed Cinder and Kai, regardless of the fact that their story shared half of the book. I wouldn't say that this was a fault of the author's, I would say that Marissa Meyer has spoiled me with how amazing Cinder and Kai are. When the story flashed back to Scarlet and Wolf I wanted to flash right back to Cinder and Kai!
  But then, as the book was ending, I didn't want any of them to go. I wanted to reread Cinder and Scarlet over and over again until Cress, the third Lunar Chronicles book, came out.
  Marissa Meyer has once again hooked me into her writing and I never want to be let go.
  I anxiously await the release of Cress and I hope you all can pick up a copy of Cinder and Scarlet to read and enjoy.
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Monday, July 1, 2013

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

  This book has caused a lot of heartburn and made my blood pressure rise so many times, I've had to stop counting.
  Like Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James, Beautiful Disaster has an alpha male as the love interest, and a young, doe-eyed girl as the heroine. UNLIKE Fifty Shades of Grey, Beautiful Disaster annoyed and frustrated me with its immature, back and forth "flirtatious" mind games.
  Travis "Mad Dog" Maddox is a self-centered, misogynistic man who controls Abby "Pigeon" Abernathy's social life and love life, and controls who she sees and what she does.
  And does this heroine stop it?
  Instead she attempts to speak up, but as soon as Travis bats those pretty little eyelashes, she shrugs off whatever controlling and obnoxious thing he's done and says it's because he cares about her.
  He's not letting you date other men, when he claims that you two are "just friends" and you chalk it up to "he's just looking out for me?"
  My inner feminist is shrieking in outrage right now.
  I don't understand this latest obsession and fascination with controlling and (in Travis' case and in my opinion) aggressive protagonists. This book was almost as excruciating as getting my wisdom teeth pulled out.
  I at least had knock out gas for that.
  I wanted to like this book, I really did. But for some reason, Travis and "Pigeon's" love story didn't capture my heart.
  But as a lover of literature- even if I hate it- I finish the book no matter what. I'm just thankful it's over and I never have to read it ever again.

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