Review: A Kiss in the Dark – Gina Ciocca

Review: A Kiss in the Dark – Gina CioccaA Kiss in the Dark by Gina Ciocca
Published by Simon Pulse
on March 6th 2018
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon, Goodreads

When the lights go out at a Georgia high school football game, Macy Atwood finds herself in the arms of a boy who kisses her senseless – but is gone by the time the lights come back on. All she knows is that there was something special – and oddly familiar – about her mystery kisser.

Noah Granger, Ridgedale’s resident bad boy and newest transfer student, has no problem taking credit for the kiss, but Macy can’t shake the feeling that he’s lying. Especially since a photograph of Macy and former star football player Joel Hargrove resurfaced online moments before the blackout, a not-so random reminder of how hard she fell for Joel last year. And how doing so ultimately sent her lifelong friendships with Meredith Kopala and Ben Collins up in literal smoke.

Soon junior year’s wounds begin to reopen as Macy realizes the events that unfolded are somehow tied to her mystery kisser. Discovering how means finally facing what really went wrong with Meredith, Ben, and Joel – and finding out what Noah is covering up.

But the closer Macy gets to figuring it all out, the more she starts to worry that the boy who kissed her in the dark and the boy who is stealing her heart might be two very different people.

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

The first time I read a book by Gina Ciocca was her debut, Last Year’s Mistake, in 2015. I enjoyed the book a lot. I really clicked with the writing. So when I saw Gina had another book, Busted, coming out in 2018 I was beyond excited. Read and loved that. And then there was A Kiss in the Dark. A book that sounded like equal parts romance and mystery mixed with a lot of teen angst. I was dying to get my hands on it. And when I did…loved! It was really everything I had built it up to be in my head and I’m so happy.

This book was the perfect mix of mystery and contemporary romance. As a reader what I loved is that I didn’t have the whole story from the beginning. You know that something happened. You know that friendships ended and hearts were broken, it you didn’t know why it happened and who was involved. All it took was one unforgettable kiss in the dark for Macy to go back to that year and unravel just what lead to it all falling apart and to figure out who kissed her and why. It was done really well. I had no clue what happened and how it lead to all the destruction until I was about 70% done, although I figured out the kiss early on.

On top of loving the mystery/romance aspect it helped that I loved the three main people involved, Ben, Joel and Macy. All three played a part in the mess that was their lives and it took a year for them to face it and to try and fix what they broke or missed completely. I highly enjoyed seeing their story unfold and the secrets they were hiding. Plus I admit to being a tad smitten with Ben. Sue me, he’s adorable.

All in all I think this was my favorite book by Gina Ciocca. There is something about her books that I just click with. Her writing style just gets me and I need more of her stories in my life. This is an author you need to check out and this is a book you need to read!

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New Feature: New to You

Last August I was supporting one of my favorite authors and ran a week of love devoted to her books. When I was doing this I got the idea to have a friend that hadn’t read her book read it and review it on my blog. Kelsey was kind enough to read Parallel and write up her thoughts. Doing this lead me to the idea of a new feature (which I thought I would do in 2017 but didn’t) where I have the readers of Andi’s ABCs read one of my all time favorite books that they have never read and have them review it on my blog. It’s a fun way to see what people think about books you love and to have people read books they may have been meaning to read a long time.

What books will you be able to pick from? The sign-up sheet includes about 32 book options (If they have been selected already I have removed them for the list to make it easier for people) but here are a few you will see :

Basically it will be up to you to get a copy of the book you select and are assigned to (books are first come first serve). You can borrow the book from the library or a friend. I am willing to lend what I can to anyone in the US. Or you can purchase the book yourself. You will have 2 weeks to read the book. After you read the book you will need to email me your review which I will then post on my blog. If you have a blog you are welcome to post it on your own blog the day after it is posted on mine.

Do you need to be in the US or a blogger to sign-up? Nope. You just need to be a reader. I can’t lend books to people outside of the US but you are welcome to play along.

Some of the books will also have a giveaway included with the reviews posted. Just a little extra level of fun and a way for others to read books I love. Sadly the giveaways will be US only as I can’t afford shipping internationally.

I think that about sums it up. I hope you are intrigued by the idea and sign-up. I’m not sure how often these reviews will post (it depends on interest) but I hope regularly. Please keep in mind that if you sign-up now you may not need to have your book read until the summer but you are free to read it and send me the review for whenever.

If you have any questions email me, tweet me, DM me. You know how to find me. I’m looking forward to this and I hope you all are too.

 

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Review Bingo

Last night I finished a fantastic book. I was so excited because it was done and I loved it but then it hit me, I had to do something I am very out of practice doing, I need to review it. Not because I am required to but because I actually really loved it and I want everyone to know how much. But the panic set in because I am very very behind on all things reviewing. I feel like I lost my way in finding my words about books good, bad and amazing. Somewhere along the way this year that review spark died and I need to find it.

I needed something to get me going. Something that would help me along in writing those reviews (which I admit I will need to reread some of the books) and I realized I have been seeing a lot of different types of bookish Bingo out there. I have seen TBR Bingo and ARC Bingo and Genre Bingo. Bingo seems to be a big trend these days so I looked to see if there was a Review Bingo. I couldn’t find one (if there is one let me know so I can give them credit for the idea) so I just decided to make my own and go with it.

So I give you my own personal Review Bingo:

I am woefully behind on my reviews as you can see, 24 (well 27 if you count the series as separate books) books behind. I need to get better. I will get better and I will use the above Bingo to do it. It is going to be a challenge but I want to make it a coverall by the end of the year while keeping up to date with the books I will be reading.

I saw this tweet the other day and I am refusing to let it be my reality anymore.

 

The lies stop now…I hope. Wish me luck!

Which book do you want me to review first? What would you like to hear my thoughts on? Tell me below in the comments or on Twitter!

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Review: All Things New – Lauren Miller {giveaway}

Review: All Things New – Lauren Miller {giveaway}All Things New by Lauren Miller
Published by Three Saints Press
on August 1st 2017
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher, Author
Amazon, Goodreads

Jessa has always felt broken inside, but she’s gotten very good at hiding it. No one at school knows about the panic attacks, the therapy that didn't help, the meds that haven’t worked. But when a severe accident leaves her with a brain injury and visible scars, Jessa’s efforts to convince the world that she’s okay finally crumble—now she looks as shattered as she feels.

Fleeing from her old life in Los Angeles, Jessa moves to Colorado to live with her dad, where she meets Marshall, a boy whose kindness and generous heart slowly draw Jessa out of her walled-off shell and into the broken, beautiful, real world—a place where souls get hurt just as badly as bodies, and we all need each other to heal.

ALL THINGS NEW is a love story about perception and truth, physical and emotional pain, and the messy, complicated people we are behind the masks we put on for the world, perfect for fans of ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES and THE FAULT IN OUR STARS.

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

I have been waiting 3 years for this book. I mean not this book in particularly, but just another book by Lauren Miller. I’m a Lauren Miller fangirl. I know it, she knows it, people that follow my reading know it. Ever since I read Parallel for the first time 4 years ago I have been a champion of all books Lauren Miller. I will tell anyone and everyone to read her books. With that in mind imagine how happy I was when I learned about All Things New. I was warned that it was very different from Miller’s other two books and I may not love it as much. Well guess what? That warning was wrong. All Things New was AMAZING! It was a book I needed without knowing I needed it.

All Things New is about Jessa, a quiet 17 year-old that has been plagued by anxiety for many years. She has done everything in her power to hide the panic attacks and fears she has and she does so successfully everything changes. Jessa gets in a terrible accident and all of a sudden she sees scars and wounds on people. The thing about these scars and wounds? They don’t exist. They are projections in Jessa mind. When Jessa moves in with her dad and starts a new life, meeting adorable Marshall in the process, she must find answers to why she is seeing things and figure out how to heal herself in the process.

This book! I seriously loved this book. What I loved most about All Things New, Marshall aside (we will get to him and Jessa later), is the message I found in it through Jessa and the scars she was seeing. The thing is, we all hide scars. We all have things that hurt us or weigh on us that people just don’t know about in everyday life. Jessa was rare and she was able to see those struggles through the manifestation she developed. She may have been seeing wounds on the outside, but really she was seeing what was happening on the inside, the hurt people were feeling in everyday life. That right there is what made All Things New so amazing and important. Jessa was hurt and angry buy what happened and how her life was and this “power” showed her she was not alone.

But she really wasn’t alone. There was Marshall. Oh adorable, lovable, genuine Marshall. He is probably one of the best characters I have read in a long time. He was insanely perfect in his flawed way and he was exactly what Jessa needed. He brought a humor out that was timed perfectly and he was just a great guy. He didn’t make Jessa feel anything she wasn’t ready to feel. He was just there for her. He listened to her and they formed a bond. It was all 100% swoon-worthy.

All I can tell you about All Things New, well that I didn’t say above, is you need to read it. There is something magical about Miller’s storytelling and Jessa’s story. It isn’t your typical mental health story, but it’s important all the same. It’s about healing and how we make ourselves heal and that is something everyone should know is possible. Well done Lauren, well done. Now write me another book. 😉

One eBook version (Kindle or NOOK only) of All Things New by Lauren Miller. US ONLY. Ends 8/3/17 at 11:59PM EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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New to You (1): Kelsey Reviews Parallel by Lauren Miller {+ a giveaway}

As you may have heard (or read) I love a good reread. I read some of my favorite books pretty often. But what I don’t do it write a new review for them. I review them after I read it for the first time and then that is it for my review. Sometimes I think I want to write a new one, but there is nothing more powerful then the words you use after your first time finishing a book.

I was thinking about this when I finished my 3rd read of Lauren Miller’s Parallel. I wanted a new review but I didn’t want to write a new one since I loved my old one. Then it hit me, have a friend that hasn’t read it read and review it. Brilliant!

Welcome to New to You.

New to You is a new feature where I will have people, that are interested, read my favorite books they haven’t yet read. So you haven’t read Anna and the French Kiss or Twenty Boy Summer or What Happens Next? Well now is your chance to do so and review it on my blog. If you are interested in taking part of this feature feel free to contact me on Twitter, email, Instagram DM, Facebook…you get the gist. If you know how to find me, find me. And if you don’t I may just come after you and ask if you would be interested. 🙂

First up on New to You we have Kelsey. She’ll be reviewing Parallel by Lauren Miller and I’m really excited for you guys to see what she thought. (Scroll to the end for a giveaway).

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New to You (1): Kelsey Reviews Parallel by Lauren Miller {+ a giveaway}Parallel by Lauren Miller
Published by HarperTeen
on April 8th 2014
Amazon, Goodreads

Abby Barnes had a plan. The Plan. She'd go to Northwestern, major in journalism, and land a job at a national newspaper, all before she turned twenty-two. But one tiny choice—taking a drama class her senior year of high school—changed all that. Now, on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Abby is stuck on a Hollywood movie set, miles from where she wants to be, wishing she could rewind her life. The next morning, she's in a dorm room at Yale, with no memory of how she got there. Overnight, it's as if her past has been rewritten.

With the help of Caitlin, her science-savvy BFF, Abby discovers that this new reality is the result of a cosmic collision of parallel universes that has Abby living an alternate version of her life. And not only that: Abby's life changes every time her parallel self makes a new choice. Meanwhile, her parallel is living out Abby's senior year of high school and falling for someone Abby's never even met.

As she struggles to navigate her ever-shifting existence, forced to live out the consequences of a path she didn't choose, Abby must let go of the Plan and learn to focus on the present, without losing sight of who she is, the boy who might just be her soul mate, and the destiny that's finally within reach.

Andi has always been one of my friends I turn to when I need a good book recommendation. I don’t think I’ve come across one that she told me to read that I didn’t love. It has got to the point where I made an entire Goodreads shelf dedicated to books Andi wants (i.e. needs/forces/yells) at me to read. One of these chosen books was Parallel by Lauren Miller. Now, I don’t usually read these kinds of time travel, multi-universe type books, so I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about it. But alas, I read this beauty in one day and, as always, Andi didn’t disappoint.

The book starts with the main character Abby filming a movie in LA and celebrating her 18th birthday, but you can tell she feels out of place, and that this life isn’t the dream that she had for herself. She wanted to go to Northwestern to be a journalist. That was it. She was set on it. Journalist or bust. But on her first day of senior year she had to make a last minute change to her schedule (that she spent forever getting just right so she would have THE PERFECT schedule and GPA to get into Northwestern – being a perfectionist myself I understand that frustration). She was to choose between an Astronomy Class and a Drama Class and went with the latter option. Flash forward and that decision has plunked her right in LA filming a movie.

The morning after her 18th birthday Abby wakes up and she doesn’t know where she is. Now, if that we’re me I would probably pass out after having a panic attack, but she figures out that she is at Yale, in her dorm room, that she shares with her college roommate. Wait, what? This is where I had to try to keep everything straight between Abby’s parallel worlds. She has to figure out what memories and choices led her here, at Yale – not LA, not Northwestern.

Luckily for Abby, her best friend, Caitlin, is also going to school at Yale. She explains what she thinks is happening between parallel worlds (let me tell you what thought would never cross my mind). The one thing I found a little crazy, was how calm, rational and completely understanding Caitlin was of this theory. I would probably want to have my friends head examined, but that’s just me. However, Caitlin becomes her lifeline in helping Abby piece together her past, her choices, and navigate through what is happening in this current life.

And the boys – Josh & Michael. Oh the boys.  There was definitely one I was rooting for throughout, but I enjoyed how they both played into her parallel worlds and how connected they really were. I usually always prefer books that have a romantic story line involved. While there was this love triangle of sorts, the relationships didn’t get super involved, and with all the thought I had to put into this book to keep it straight, I was more than okay with that. Just the right amount of romance.

This book was one I really couldn’t set down, because I just wanted to know how it all played out in the end. I definitely had to pay attention or else I would confuse myself, but I think that’s what made it so fun. It also really makes you think about the choices you make and how everything can be affected by them. (It also sent me into an internet black hole on parallel universe theories).

Thank you, Andi, as always for a great book rec!

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Thanks Kelsey for having Parallel be New to You!

US ONLY. Ends 7/23/17 12:00am.

 

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