Review: Fireworks – Katie Cotugno

Review: Fireworks – Katie CotugnoFireworks by Katie Cotugno
Published by Balzer + Bray
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon, Goodreads

It was always meant to be Olivia. She’s the talented one, the one who’s been training to be a star her whole life. Her best friend, Dana, is the levelheaded one, always on the sidelines, cheering Olivia on.

But everything changes when Dana tags along with Olivia to Orlando for the weekend, where superproducer Guy Monroe is holding auditions for a new singing group, and Dana is discovered too. Dana, who’s never sung more than Olivia’s backup. Dana, who wasn’t even looking for fame. Next thing she knows, she and Olivia are training to be pop stars, and Dana is falling for Alex, the earnest, endlessly talented boy who’s destined to be the next big thing.

It should be a dream come true, but as the days of grueling practice and constant competition take their toll, things between Olivia and Dana start to shift . . . and there’s only room at the top for one girl. For Olivia, it’s her chance at her dream. For Dana, it’s a chance to escape a future that seems to be closing in on her. And for these lifelong best friends, it’s the adventure of a lifetime—if they can make it through.

Set in evocative 1990s Orlando, Fireworks brings to life the complexity of friendship, the excitement of first love, and the feeling of being on the verge of greatness.

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

Sometimes you pick up a book and you just don’t know how it is going to go for you. You’ve read books by the author and enjoyed one and was conflicted on the other. You like the premise but know it has the potential to go in a different direction than you expect. Because of these things you are almost scared to pick up the book. This was me with Fireworks. I was worried how I would feel about it. I was scared I wouldn’t love it. I was scared I would be disappointed or conflicted. Instead I got one of my favorite books of the year. Simply put…it was freaking fantastic.

There was so much I loved about Fireworks. The setting, the characters, the romance, the friendship, the plot, the writing. I loved it all and I loved it all because it meshed flawlessly together. As soon as I started reading and realized these girls would technically be my age now, I was sucked in. Then I got the the ‘boy band’ part and I was transported to the 90s. Then I got to the romance and I swooned. And finally I got to the heartache of strained friendships and I bawled. The book was magical in its beautiful woven parts and made me a fan for life.

I really can’t even find the words to tell you how genuinely in love I am with Fireworks. It was a book that just got me. I felt a connection to it and I just can’t explain why. It wasn’t what I expected yet it was what I wanted and more. Another must read in 2017.

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Reading Goal

In January I look forward to setting my Goodread reading goal. Some years I have read my face off and have been super successful and some years I am an epic failure. This year I have fallen just around my goal which makes me super happy.

I had wanted to read 125 books in 2016 and I am just 7 away with a month to go. Totally a doable task I think. But that leaves me trying to figure out what books I want to end my year with. Well, these 7 have made the list (baring anything I’m dying for to show up in my mailbox or on Edelweiss or Netgalley)

Reading GoalHow to Break a Boy by Laurie Devore
Published by Imprint
Amazon, Goodreads

Keep your enemies close, but your friends closer.

Olivia Clayton has mastered the art of tearing others down to stay on top. She and her best friend, Adrienne, rule their small southern town like all good mean girls do--through intimidation and manipulation.
After Olivia suffers a family tragedy and catches Adrienne sleeping with her boyfriend, Olivia is over it. She decides to make a change--but it's impossible to resist taking Adrienne down one last time. Up to her old tricks, Olivia convinces golden boy Whit DuRant to be her SAT tutor and her fake boyfriend. But when it starts to feel real, Whit gets caught up in Olivia and Adrienne's war.

Olivia may ruin everything she touches, but this time she won't go down without a fight--not if it means losing Whit.

And definitely not if it means losing what's left of herself.

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Reading GoalHard Hitter by Sarina Bowen
Published by Berkley Books
Amazon, Goodreads

From the USA Today bestselling author of Rookie Move comes the second novel in the series that s hot enough to melt the ice.

He s a fighter in the rink, but he s about to learn that playing nice can help you score...

As team captain and enforcer, Patrick O'Doul puts the bruise in the Brooklyn Bruisers. But after years of hard hits, O'Doul is feeling the burn, both physically and mentally. He conceals his pain from his coach and trainers, but when his chronic hip injury becomes too obvious to ignore, they send him for sessions with the team s massage therapist. After breaking up with her long-term boyfriend, Ari Bettini is in need of peace of mind. For now, she s decided to focus on her work: rehabilitating the Bruisers MVP. O'Doul is easy on the eyes, but his reaction to her touch is ice cold. Ari is determined to help O'Doul heal, but as the tension between them turns red hot, they both learn that a little TLC does the body good..."

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Reading GoalRules of Contact (Play-by-Play #12) by Jaci Burton
Published by Berkley
Amazon, Goodreads

In the new Play-By-Play novel by the New York Times bestselling author of Unexpected Rush, a football player who knows how to win on the field needs a better game plan for his love life.

A defensive end for the San Francisco Sabers, Flynn Cassidy is used to being in the spotlight—he just doesn’t enjoy it. But if getting in front of the cameras will help his new restaurant succeed, he’s willing. Now if he could just meet a woman who loved him and not his fame…

After her divorce, Amelia Lawrence is thrilled to start over as head chef at Ninety-Two. It’s just the opportunity she needs to heat up her career—if only she wasn’t wildly attracted to her sexy new boss. Their chemistry might be sizzling hot, but Amelia has no intention of being burned again.

Flynn can’t get enough of Amelia, and Amelia loves every second she spends with the tough yet tender Flynn. But trust is a hard-fought battle for both. Breaking the rules of contact and surrendering to their passion was the easy part. Are they willing to risk their hearts to win at the game of love?

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Reading GoalWait for Me by Caroline Leech
Published by HarperTeen
Amazon, Goodreads

The perfect blend of sweet romance and historical flavor, Wait for Me, from debut author Caroline Leech, brings a fresh new voice to a much-loved genre.

It’s 1945, and Lorna Anderson’s life on her father’s farm in Scotland consists of endless chores and rationing, knitting Red Cross scarves, and praying for an Allied victory. So when Paul Vogel, a German prisoner of war, is assigned as the new farmhand, Lorna is appalled. How can she possibly work alongside the enemy when her own brothers are risking their lives for their country?

But as Lorna reluctantly spends time with Paul, she feels herself changing. The more she learns about him—from his time in the war to his life back home in Germany—the more she sees the boy behind the soldier. Soon Lorna is battling her own warring heart. Loving Paul could mean losing her family and the life she’s always known. With tensions rising all around them, Lorna must decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice before the end of the war determines their fate.

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Reading GoalFireworks by Katie Cotugno
Published by Balzer + Bray
Amazon, Goodreads

From the New York Times bestselling author of 99 Days and How to Love comes a stunning new contemporary novel—all about boy bands, girl bands, best friends, and first love—perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Morgan Matson.

It was always meant to be Olivia. She’s the talented one, the one who’s been training to be a star her whole life. Her best friend, Dana, is the levelheaded one, always on the sidelines, cheering Olivia on.

But everything changes when Dana tags along with Olivia to Orlando for the weekend, where superproducer Guy Monroe is holding auditions for a new singing group, and Dana is discovered too. Dana, who’s never sung more than Olivia’s backup. Dana, who wasn’t even looking for fame. Next thing she knows, she and Olivia are training to be pop stars, and Dana is falling for Alex, the earnest, endlessly talented boy who’s destined to be the next big thing.

It should be a dream come true, but as the days of grueling practice and constant competition take their toll, things between Olivia and Dana start to shift . . . and there’s only room at the top for one girl. For Olivia, it’s her chance at her dream. For Dana, it’s a chance to escape a future that seems to be closing in on her. And for these lifelong best friends, it’s the adventure of a lifetime—if they can make it through.

Set in evocative 1990s Orlando, Fireworks brings to life the complexity of friendship, the excitement of first love, and the feeling of being on the verge of greatness.

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Reading GoalThe Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You by Lily Anderson
Published by St. Martin's Griffin
Amazon, Goodreads

Trixie Watson has two very important goals for senior year: to finally save enough to buy the set of Doctor Who figurines at the local comic books store, and to place third in her class and knock Ben West--and his horrendous new mustache that he spent all summer growing--down to number four.

Trixie will do anything to get her name ranked over Ben's, including give up sleep and comic books--well, maybe not comic books--but definitely sleep. After all, the war of Watson v. West is as vicious as the Doctor v. Daleks and Browncoats v. Alliance combined, and it goes all the way back to the infamous monkey bars incident in the first grade. Over a decade later, it's time to declare a champion once and for all.

The war is Trixie's for the winning, until her best friend starts dating Ben's best friend and the two are unceremoniously dumped together and told to play nice. Finding common ground is odious and tooth-pullingly-painful, but Trixie and Ben's cautious truce slowly transforms into a fandom-based tentative friendship. When Trixie's best friend gets expelled for cheating and Trixie cries foul play, however, they have to choose who to believe and which side they're on--and they might not pick the same side.

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Reading GoalHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5) by J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré
Published by Scholastic Inc.
Amazon, Goodreads

Harry Potter is due to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His best friends Ron and Hermione have been very secretive all summer and he is desperate to get back to school and find out what has been going on. However, what Harry discovers is far more devastating than he could ever have expected...
Suspense, secrets and thrilling action from the pen of J.K. Rowling ensure an electrifying adventure that is impossible to put down.

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How did you do on your reading goal?

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On My Radar: Top TBR Books (3)

Over the summer I did two separate posts (HERE and HERE) about books On my Radar. Sadly I wasn’t that great with my August post, but such is the way of things. I still plan to read those…I hope…but I have 5 more books to add to that list. Now these I really hope to get done in October/early November, but we shall see:

On My Radar: Top TBR Books (3)The Black Key by Amy Ewing
Series: The Lone City #3
Published by HarperTeen
Amazon, Goodreads

For too long, Violet and the people of the outer circles of the Lone City have lived in service to the royalty of the Jewel. But now the secret society known as the Black Key is preparing to seize power.

And while Violet knows she is at the center of this rebellion, she has a more personal stake in it—her sister, Hazel, has been taken by the Duchess of the Lake. Now, after fighting so hard to escape the Jewel, Violet must do everything in her power to return to save not only Hazel, but the future of the Lone City.

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On My Radar: Top TBR Books (3)The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron
Published by Scholastic Press
Amazon, Goodreads

What isn't written, isn't remembered. Even your crimes. Nadia lives in the city of Canaan, where life is safe and structured, hemmed in by white stone walls and no memory of what came before. But every twelve years the city descends into the bloody chaos of the Forgetting, a day of no remorse, when each person's memories -- of parents, children, love, life, and self -- are lost. Unless they have been written.

In Canaan, your book is your truth and your identity, and Nadia knows exactly who hasn't written the truth. Because Nadia is the only person in Canaan who has never forgotten.

But when Nadia begins to use her memories to solve the mysteries of Canaan, she discovers truths about herself and Gray, the handsome glassblower, that will change her world forever. As the anarchy of the Forgetting approaches, Nadia and Gray must stop an unseen enemy that threatens both their city and their own existence -- before the people can forget the truth. And before Gray can forget her.

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On My Radar: Top TBR Books (3)Fireworks by Katie Cotugno
Published by Balzer + Bray
Amazon, Goodreads

From Katie Cotugno, bestselling author of 99 Days, comes Fireworks—about a girl who is competing with her best friend to become the new pop star of the moment—and all the drama and romance that comes with it—set in Orlando during the late-'90s boy-and-girl-band craze.

It was always meant to be Olivia. She was the talented one, the one who had been training to be a star her whole life. Her best friend, Dana, was the level-headed one, always on the sidelines, cheering her best friend along.
But everything changes when Dana tags along with Olivia to Orlando for the weekend, where superproducer Guy Monroe is holding auditions for a new singing group, and Dana is discovered too. Dana, who’s never sung more than Olivia’s backup. Dana, who wasn’t even looking for fame. Next thing she knows, she and Olivia are training to be pop stars, and Dana is falling for Alex, the earnest, endlessly talented boy who’s destined to be the next big thing.

It should be a dream come true, but as the days of grueling practice and constant competition take their toll, things between Olivia and Dana start to shift . . . and there’s only room at the top for one girl. For Olivia, it’s her chance at her dream. For Dana, it’s a chance to escape a future that seems to be closing in on her. And for these lifelong best friends, it’s the adventure of a lifetime—if they can make it through.

Set in evocative 1990s Orlando, New York Times bestselling author Katie Cotugno’s Fireworks brings to life the complexity of friendship, the excitement of first love, and the feeling of being on the verge of greatness.

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On My Radar: Top TBR Books (3)This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Amazon, Goodreads

Sloane isn't expecting to fall in with a group of friends when she moves from New York to Florida—especially not a group of friends so intense, so in love, so all-consuming. Yet that's exactly what happens.

Sloane becomes closest to Vera, a social-media star who lights up any room, and Gabe, Vera's twin brother and the most serious person Sloane's ever met. When a beloved painting by the twins' late mother goes missing, Sloane takes on the responsibility of tracking it down, a journey that takes her across state lines—and ever deeper into the twins' lives.

Filled with intense and important friendships, a wonderful warts-and-all family, shiveringly good romantic developments, and sharp, witty dialogue, this story is about finding the people you never knew you needed.

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On My Radar: Top TBR Books (3)Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré
Published by Scholastic Inc.
Amazon, Goodreads

Harry Potter is due to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His best friends Ron and Hermione have been very secretive all summer and he is desperate to get back to school and find out what has been going on. However, what Harry discovers is far more devastating than he could ever have expected...

Suspense, secrets and thrilling action from the pen of J.K. Rowling ensure an electrifying adventure that is impossible to put down.

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What are the books on your radar?

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Blog Tour: 99 Days – Katie Cotugno (giveaway)

Blog Tour: 99 Days – Katie Cotugno (giveaway)

Blog Tour: 99 Days – Katie Cotugno (giveaway)99 Days by Katie Cotugno
Published by HarperCollins
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon, Goodreads

Day 1: Julia Donnelly eggs my house my first night back in Star Lake, and that’s how I know everyone still remembers everything—how I destroyed my relationship with Patrick the night everything happened with his brother, Gabe. How I wrecked their whole family. Now I’m serving out my summer like a jail sentence: Just ninety-nine days till I can leave for college, and be done.
Day 4: A nasty note on my windshield makes it clear Julia isn’t finished. I’m expecting a fight when someone taps me on the shoulder, but it’s just Gabe, home from college and actually happy to see me. “For what it’s worth, Molly Barlow,” he says, “I’m really glad you’re back.”
Day 12: Gabe got me to come to this party, and I’m actually having fun. I think he’s about to kiss me—and that’s when I see Patrick. My Patrick, who’s supposed to be clear across the country. My Patrick, who’s never going to forgive me.

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

 

thoughts1

I’m not usually one for books that involve brothers and one girl. I mean I read the Summer Series by Jenny Han and loved it, but I read another brothers and one girl book that I found just too icky to even review. So I was on the fence about 99 Days. But the more I read the description the more I was leaning towards reading it. And I’m really happy I did. I really enjoyed it in a way that I didn’t expect. But man did it give me massive amounts of anxiety.

quote199 Days is about Molly Barlow and her last summer before college. She has to make it through just 99 days and then she can leave her town behind her and start over. But before she goes she has to face the boy those heart she broke, his brother she used to break it, her friends she left behind, and the mother that exposed it all. 99 days doesn’t seem all that bad in Molly’s head but coming face to face with both Patrick and Gabe makes 99 days seem like a lifetime.

My stomach was in such knots reading 99 Days. Honestly I have never been filled with so many nerves while reading a contemporary book. Molly, Gabe and Patrick where so completely self-destructive. They did everything in their power to destroy anything they had left. Molly was so torn-up by what happened with Patrick, who had been her best friend, and yet she couldn’t stay away from Gabe, the brother that she used to tear him apart. And Patrick was dead set on getting back at Gabe anyway he could, at one upping his older brother. While Gabe wanted to rub everything in Patrick’s face. I was so completely frustrated by all 3 of them. But I also kind of loved them because they were real. They weren’t perfect. They made mistakes. And boy did they ever make mistakes.

quote2The funny thing is that I didn’t want to like Molly when I started the book. I mean she crossed a line that really is never supposed to be crossed. She tore apart a family and then took off. But the more I read of her the more I liked her. She was 17 and stupid. She needed comfort and took it from the wrong place at the wrong time. Who I really didn’t like was Molly’s mother. She was a terrible person and I just couldn’t let that go. Molly made a mistake and was lying about it, but she came to her mom for advice and comfort and that was used against her in a way a mother should never. She really infuriated me.

In the end I enjoyed 99 Days, anxiety and self-destructive decisions included. What I really liked about it is that it did feel real. It didn’t feel manufactured or forced. It felt natural. These people were entangled in each other’s lives in a way that was bound to get messy. I’m really happy to have read this one and I look forward for more from Katie Cotugno.

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Follow the 99 Days by Katie Cotugno Blog Tour and don’t miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

Katie Cotugno went to Catholic school for thirteen years which makes her, as an adult, both extremely superstitious and prone to crushes on boys wearing blazers. She routinely finds herself talking about the romantic endeavors of characters on TV shows as if they actually exist in the world.
Katie is a Pushcart Prize nominee whose work has appeared in The Broadkill Review, The Apalachee Review, and Argestes, as well as on Nerve.com. Her first novel, HOW TO LOVE, is due out from Balzer + Bray on October 1st, 2013.
The great loves of Katie’s life include child’s pose, her little sister, and mozzarella and honey sandwiches. She lives in Boston (and in sin) with her boyfriend, Tom.
 

 

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