New to You (14): Kim Reviews What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton

Welcome to New to You!

This idea came along last year when I was supporting Lauren Miller’s newest book All Things New and I asked Kelsey to read and review Parallel, a book I have read more than once. I didn’t really get it going until December when I offered people the chance to sign up to read and review a book that has been a favorite of mine that they have never read. I got a great response and I’m happy to tell you (minus January) you will see a New to You post twice a month.

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Next up for New to You is Kim from Kimberlyfaye Reads. Kim is mainly a romance/new adult book reader, but every now and then she reads a young adult book to the mix. When Kim signed up I had trouble deciding which book I wanted to give to her because I had a feeling she would love all three she expressed interest in. But after thinking on it I knew What Happens Next would be the right book for her. Let’s see what she had to say about it.

New to You (14): Kim Reviews What Happens Next by Colleen ClaytonWhat Happens Next by Colleen Clayton
Published by Poppy (Little Brown Books for Young Readers)
on October 9, 2012
Amazon, Goodreads

How can you talk about something you can’t remember?

Before the ski trip, sixteen-year-old Cassidy “Sid” Murphy was a cheerleader (at the bottom of the pyramid, but still...), a straight-A student, and a member of a solid trio of best friends. When she ends up on a ski lift next to handsome local college boy, Dax Windsor, she’s thrilled; but Dax takes everything from Sid—including a lock of her perfect red curls—and she can’t remember any of it.

Back home and unable to relate to her old friends, Sid drops her college prep classes and takes up residence in the A/V room with only Corey “The Living Stoner” Livingston for company. But as she gets to know Corey (slacker, baker, total dreamboat), Sid finds someone who truly makes her happy. Now, if she can just shake the nightmares and those few extra pounds, everything will be perfect... or so she thinks.

Witty and poignant, Colleen Clayton’s stunning debut is a story about moving on after the unthinkable happens.

 

What Happens Next has been on my TBR for ages. I was drawn to it when it was first released, but somehow never got around to reading it. When Andi picked it for me to read for her New to You feature, I was thrilled I finally had a real excuse to force me to read it. Now that I did? I’m really grateful she selected this one for me. She anticipated I would love it and she was right. 

All that said, it’s difficult to put my thoughts about What Happens Next into words. If you’ve read it, you understand where I’m coming from on this one. If you’ve not, but want to, you’ll understand once you read it. My heart absolutely ached for Sid. She went through something no one should go through, and to say it changed her in a very real way would be a massive understatement. 

I’ve not read many books that deal with sexual assault or rape, so I don’t have much to compare What Happens Next to. But, I think it was handled very well here. Or as well as this subject matter can be anyhow. Because of the nature of Sid’s assault — she was drugged — we as readers are not forced to live vicariously through it with her. Thank goodness. Instead, we pick up the story afterwards as the fogginess clears and she begins to realize what she’d been through. That was real and raw enough for me and it broke my heart just a little. (Ok, a lot.) 

The rest of the book is Sid trying to find her new normal and, to be honest, making some pretty poor choices along the way. There were times I was incredibly angry with her, but mostly I was just concerned for her. I wanted her to TELL SOMEONE, but instead she focused her energies elsewhere. Exercising more? Probably not a bad way to cope. Doing it obsessively, at the expense of sleep and general health, not so much. Same with the eating disorder. Sid was struggling and no one really saw the extent of it at first because she was doing a very good job of hiding it. Of hiding herself, really. She lost so much to “Dax,” her rapist. I desperately wanted to see her get back at least part of it. 

The cast of characters in this book are something special. Of course, you know how I feel about Sid. I also adored her friends, Kristen and Paige, though I did spend several chapters side-eyeing them for their reaction to the fallout from the ski trip. But then, it’s not like they had the whole story… so I’d probably have felt similarly if in their shoes. The other star of the show here was Corey, the “stoner” Sid befriends after pushing nearly everyone else in her life away. I loved how they connected and got to know each other. The pace at which things moved from friends to more just worked, too. And, bonus, there was no focus on Sid needing Corey to become whole again. 

What Happens Next was a beautifully-written, moving book. It was raw and real and left me with a whole boatload of emotions I wasn’t sure what to do with. It’s not an easy read, but it’s an important one. I hope more people like me, who might’ve been on the fence about it, will make the time to read it.

Favorite Quotes:

My peace, my virginity, my friends, cheerleading, and now my pride: he’d taken it all. 

“It’s like this light coming out of you. I could be in a crowd of thousands and know right where to find you.”

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Thanks Kim for signing up for New to You! What Happens Next is one of the most underrated books in YA if you ask me so I’m happy I was able to give it a new fan.

My What Happens Next. And of Colleen’s latest, a self-published book about a girl with diabetes and a mother that is a hoarder, Doll Hearts.

Have you read What Happens Next or is this your first time hearing about it?

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New to You (13): Michelle Reviews Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally

Welcome to New to You!

This idea came along last year when I was supporting Lauren Miller’s newest book All Things New and I asked Kelsey to read and review Parallel, a book I have read more than once. I didn’t really get it going until December when I offered people the chance to sign up to read and review a book that has been a favorite of mine that they have never read. I got a great response and I’m happy to tell you (minus January) you will see a New to You post twice a month.

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Next up for New to You is Michelle from Pink Polka Dot Books. Michelle and I have always shared a love for a certain kind of book. It goes back to 2014 when we met in line for a signing of Tease by Amanda Maciel at BEA. When she signed up and wanted to read Breathe, Annie, Breathe, I knew it would be a good fit for her. Let’s see what Michelle had to say about it.

New to You (13): Michelle Reviews Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda KenneallyBreathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally
Published by Sourcebooks Fire
on April 7, 2015
Amazon, Goodreads

From the bestselling author of Catching Jordan comes a contemporary YA you won't forget.

The finish line is only the beginning.…

Annie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can't escape the guilt that if she hadn't broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race.

But the training is even more grueling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she's at war with her body, her mind-and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms...and sprint in the opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line.

 

When I spied this book in Andi’s New To You options, I knew I had to choose it.  It’s been sitting on my shelf since one of my first BEAs and I’ve been meaning to read a book in the Hundred Oaks series since forevs.

I feel like this may have been the perfect book for me to start with because the subject-matter is a lot more serious and lot less romancey– although, the romance is DEFINITELY there.  I was really surprised how much I enjoyed reading about running, considering whenever I have to run in real life all I can think about is the intense pain all over my body, but I liked seeing how Annie progressed.

We follow Annie’s training schedule in the 6 months leading up to her first marathon.  Annie isn’t a runner, so having only 6 months to train to run a full marathon (26.something miles) is tough stuff.  I loved reading about her training and learning things about running that I never knew (like eating fish is good for your knees and weird things about Vaseline).  I actually loved being in her head, which I usually do not like.  When you run, you have A LOT of time to think and for the most part, I liked Annie’s thoughts.

Annie is running the marathon in honor of her boyfriend who passed away before he could run in one.  It gets complicated when her trainer’s brother enters the picture and gives her all kinds of crushworthy-feels.  I could see why she didn’t feel great about getting with a guy who is involved with something that connects to her boyfriend’s memory.  It was awkward as all hell.

The thing about Jeremiah (the brother) is that he’s an adrenaline junkie, constantly seeking the next high, putting himself in all kinds of unnecessary danger.  I felt like Annie was right to be wary– how could she go through another accidental death of a love interest???

What I liked about the Jeremiah situation: He sounded hot as hell.  Boys that don’t have fear are hot– they just are.  I liked their chemistry together, and I liked that hooking up wasn’t the biggest deal in the world to this author.  I thought Jeremiah might have been the most patient college kid on the planet and I respected that.

What I was MEH about the Jeremiah situation: I didn’t care for Jeremiah using Annie as a way to get his new high.  What’s going to happen when that newness wears off??  It will wear off Jeremiah, I promise you.  Also, why was every guy in love with this Annie chick??  She seemed like an everyday girl, I didn’t think she needed to be HOTTEST GIRL EVER for me to believe Jeremiah would be interested in her.

I will definitely be reading more Miranda Kenneally books!!  I really enjoyed the flow of this book. reading about marathon training, going to college, and awesome families.  Thanks to Andi for getting me to read this backlist book that I should’ve read years ago!!

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Thanks Michelle for signing up for New to You! I knew Annie would be a good fit for you!

My Breathe, Annie, Breathe review.

Have you read any books by Miranda Kenneally? If so which ones?

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New to You (12): Lindsay Reviews The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler {+ a giveaway}

Welcome to New to You!

This idea came along last year when I was supporting Lauren Miller’s newest book All Things New and I asked Kelsey to read and review Parallel, a book I have read more than once. I didn’t really get it going until December when I offered people the chance to sign up to read and review a book that has been a favorite of mine that they have never read. I got a great response and I’m happy to tell you (minus January) you will see a New to You post twice a month.

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Next up for New to You is Lindsay, @bookiecrumbles on Twitter. Linds is going to be sharing her thoughts on The Summer of Chasing Mermaids. I don’t know about you but I originally was terrified to read this one because the concept sounds odd, but Sarah blew me away and in the end it is now a favorite book of mine. Let’s see what Linds thought!

New to You (12): Lindsay Reviews The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler {+ a giveaway}The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler
Published by Simon Pulse
on June 7, 2016
Amazon, Goodreads

From the bestselling author of Twenty Boy Summer comes a “compelling and original” (Kirkus Reviews) novel about a talented singer that loses her ability to speak after a tragic accident, leading her to a postcard-perfect seaside town to find romance.

The youngest of six talented sisters, Elyse d’Abreau was destined for stardom—until a boating accident took everything from her. Now, the most beautiful singer in Tobago can’t sing. She can’t even speak.

Seeking quiet solitude, Elyse accepts a friend’s invitation to Atargatis Cove. Named for the mythical first mermaid, the Oregon seaside town is everything Elyse’s home in the Caribbean isn’t: an ocean too cold for swimming, parties too tame for singing, and people too polite to pry—except for one.

Christian Kane is a notorious playboy—insolent, arrogant, and completely charming. He’s also the only person in Atargatis Cove who doesn’t treat Elyse like a glass statue. He challenges her to express herself, and he admires the way she treats his younger brother, Sebastian, who believes Elyse is the legendary mermaid come to life.

When Christian needs a first mate for the Cove’s high-stakes Pirate Regatta, Elyse reluctantly suppresses her fear of the sea and climbs aboard. The ocean isn’t the only thing making waves, though—swept up in Christian’s seductive tide and entranced by the Cove’s charms, Elyse begins to wonder if a life of solitude isn’t what she needs. But changing course again means facing her past. It means finding her inner voice. And scariest of all, it means opening her heart to a boy who’s best known for breaking them…

I had no idea what to expect from this book when Andi asked me to read it. I didn’t even read the synopsis before starting it, I trusted Andi that much. I did read another of Ockler’s books, Twenty Boy Summer, and loved it, so I suspected I would enjoy this one quite a bit as well…. And I did! I was pleasantly surprised that it was based on The Little Mermaid, especially since that is my favorite Disney movie. The similarities to the original source material, and the deviations that Ockler made were excellent, and provided a truly great reading experience.

First of all, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is an excellent summer read, and I’m glad Andi had me read it in June. I loved the writing and the prose throughout the book, both were absolutely gorgeous. Elyse’s writing style and poems were amazing, and one of my favorite parts of the story.

I truly enjoyed reading about Elyse’s journey to find herself again. The contrast Ockler showed in losing one’s physical and metaphorical voice was fantastic, and I loved how she compared the two of them. One of my other favorite aspects of the story was the slow burn romance with Christian. He was a complicated love interest, and I liked reading about his family and issues aside from the race. Speaking of his family, Sebastian was awesome! Such a fun (non-annoying) little brother. The relationship between the brothers was one of my favorite things in the entire story.

Ockler does an excellent job exploration a variety of relationships: parental, sibling, extended family, friendships, and romantic. They are all interesting and complicated in their own way, especially Elyse’s relationship with Kirby. I liked how their relationship evolved throughout the story. I also enjoyed Elyse’s new friendship with Vanessa. Both Kirby and Vanessa challenged Elyse in ways that she needed (even if one instance annoyed me…).

Underneath the overlying story of Elyse’s journey is the discussion of mermaids themselves, which was interesting and provided great background for many aspects of the story.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, thanks Andi for having me read it!

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on July 5, 2018. It is US ONLY!

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Thanks Lindsay for signing up for New to You! So happy you enjoyed your second Sarah Ockler book!

My The Summer of Chasing Mermaids review.

Have you read The Summer of Chasing Mermaids yet?

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New to You (11): Ginger Reviews P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

Welcome to New to You!

This idea came along last year when I was supporting Lauren Miller’s newest book All Things New and I asked Kelsey to read and review Parallel, a book I have read more than once. I didn’t really get it going until December when I offered people the chance to sign up to read and review a book that has been a favorite of mine that they have never read. I got a great response and I’m happy to tell you (minus January) you will see a New to You post twice a month.

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Next up for New to You is Ginger from G Reads!. I can’t even tell you how Ginger came into my life, but I’m so happy she did. We have a lot of great text conversations, stupid distance, and talk a lot about books. I really thought G would connect with this book when her and I were discussing it and I’m so happy she it. Let’s see what she thought about P. S. I Like You.

New to You (11): Ginger Reviews P.S. I Like You by Kasie WestP.S. I Like You by Kasie West
Published by Point
on July 25, 2017
Amazon, Goodreads

Signed, sealed, delivered...While spacing out in Chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk, and added a message to her. Intrigue!Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters -- sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she's kind of falling for this letter writer. Only who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery, and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can't always be spelled out...Kasie West brings irresistible wit, warmth, and sparkle to this swoon-worthy story of love showing up when you least expect it.

I’ve come to learn about Kasie West novels that they sneak up on me and surprise me in the best way possible while reading them. This particular story was such a delight to read. From beginning to end, I found myself smiling from the adorable storyline, to the irresistible characters. I couldn’t get enough of this breath of fresh air.

Lily is a girl after my own heart. She comes from a very crazy hectic family that is so full of life. Immediately I was drawn to the addictive chaos that Lily called home. She is still a girl with her own dreams, and her own aspirations, on top of managing siblings and household duties. Her solace lies within lyrics. Her dream is to win a lyric writing contest, where she hopes to pursue a life long dream. Already I was rooting for Lily! What she doesn’t expect is for someone to discover her lyrics, which begins as an innocent relationship of pen pals between Chemistry classes. I found myself anxious, just like Lily, to discover the next hidden note that was waiting for her in class. As Lily began to develop a connection to this secret pen pal, I too, wondered who could be on the other end of those letters.

Though the reveal came almost half way through the novel, as the reader you begin to suspect early on based on the interactions Lily has with other classmates. Without spoiling the fun, I’ll just say that her secret pen pal is not at all who she thought it would be. And when she does realize who it is, there’s an instant disappointment. Lily had built up this pseudo relationship in her mind, only to be crushed when the reality of it was revealed. This is where the true beauty in this novel really began to shine. The story shifted from an adorable secret pen pal randevu, and melded into a solid, deeply rooted story about discovering real relationships in the most unlikely places, all while learning who Lily truly is herself.

Kasie West delivers again and I can’t wait to read another one of her novels. I am so thankful for Andi’s New to You feature because it has brought a book that’s been sitting on my shelf, for far too long, front and center in my reading world.

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Thanks Ginger for signing up for New to You! I’m so happy you joined and enjoyed this one. I still giggle thinking about one part of this gem! If you want to follow Ginger and see some great romance recommendation, check her out of Twitter.

My review of P. S. I Like You

Have you read anything Kasie West books? PS is my favorite contemporary book by her with Pivot Point being my favorite of her none contemporary.

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Review: The Kiss Quotient – Helen Hoang

Review: The Kiss Quotient – Helen HoangThe Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Published by Berkley
on June 5, 2018
Amazon, Goodreads

A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there's not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases--a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice--with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan--from foreplay to more-than-missionary position...

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he's making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic...

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Holy. Wow. What a book!

That was my first thought after I finished The Kiss Quotient.

I had seen a lot of people talking about The Kiss Quotient and I admit that it made me a little scared to read it. Hyped up books can sometimes go horribly wrong. You get your hopes up and expect something earth shattering only to be let down. I have been burned before and super sad about it. But The Kiss Quotient was not one of those burns. It was fun, and real, and filled with smoking hot chemistry.

At first glance, Stella and Michael are complete opposites. Stella is a serious and quirky character that has Asperger’s, while Michael is this cool, suave guy that happens to be an escort. On paper there is nothing about these two that should fit. They live in different worlds and lead very different lives. But in the end that is exactly what made them work. When Stella hires Michael all their boundaries are pushed and they end up finding a comfort with one another they never expected. Their differences end up bringing out the best in each of them and making them start to question the rules they have been living by. Watching them step out of their respective comfort zones and form a physical and emotional bound is a pure thing of beauty. Meeting one another changes them to the core and that is what I found so special and unique about The Kiss Quotient.

Miranda Kenneally said it was a reverse Pretty Woman and she was so spot on with that description and I’m mad at myself for not even seeing it because the obvious aside (Stella hiring an escort), it had the same feels as that classic movie and made you just root for this two to be together. Honestly it was my favorite romance read of the year and I think it will be yours too. Go and check it out!

Buy links: Amazon, Kindle, Barnes & Noble, Nook, Books a Million, Indiebound, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play

About Helen Hoang

Helen Hoang is that shy person who never talks. Until she does. And the worst things fly out of her mouth. She read her first romance novel in eighth grade and has been addicted ever since. In 2016, she was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in line with what was previously known as Asperger’s Syndrome. Her journey inspired THE KISS QUOTIENT. She currently lives in San Diego, California with her husband, two kids, and pet fish.

Have you read The Kiss Quotient yet? Is it on your TBR?

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