What I Didn't Say by Keary Taylor

Jake Hayes has a bright future ahead of him. He is a senior, an athlete, and plans to join the Air Force after graduation. Jake has also been in love with Samantha Shay since freshman year, although he has never had the guts to tell her. Jake's life takes an unexpected turn after he gets drunk at a homecoming party and is involved in a car accident that leaves him mute. Now Jake's biggest regret is that he will never be able to tell Samantha how he really feels.

Samantha Shay doesn't believe in love and her life has been anything but easy. Her father abandoned her and her mother, and her mother's job required her to travel frequently. However when Samantha's mother dies of cancer, she must hide the fact that she is not living on her own so that she can graduate and get a college scholarship.

After Jake returns to school, his friendship with Sam grows and the two realize that they need each other. Jake finds himself falling even more in love with Sam and is desperate to tell her how he feels, but Sam won't let him. Together the two of them will discover the strength to overcome the hardships of their circumstances, learn to not wallow in self-pity and to be thankful for the good things in life.

This was a really sweet story and I enjoyed it. It is really a story about focusing on the good things in life. Sam and Jake both could have easily given up and descended into self-pity, depression and self-destruction, but they both chose to focus on the good. I think that this is a good lesson for us all to remember. It is so easy to lose sight of all the things to be thankful for, especially in the face of hardship. I believe that things happen for a reason. I think that often the worst thing that ever happens to you, turns out to be the best thing because it gives you the opportunity to learn about yourself, your inner strength, and makes you realize what is truly important in life.


The Purgatory Series by Amy Harmon

"That which has been is now; and that which is to be has already been."

Book One: Slow Dance in Purgatory
The year is 1958 and Johnny Kinross is 19 years old. He arrives at the newly built high school for a rumble. Johnny is there to defend his younger brother against snide comments made by the mayor's son, Roger. The night ends tragically and Johnny finds himself trapped in limbo, invisible to others and unable to leave the school. 

Flash forward to 2010...Margaret "Maggie" O'Bannon has had her share of tragedy. After the death of her parents, she was bounced around the foster care system until finally coming to live with her great-aunt. Maggie is special - she has the ability to see ghosts. Normally the ghosts don't interact with her - she just sees them carrying out a moment from their lives before disappearing - but when Maggie sees Johnny, he is able to see, hear, and touch her. As Johnny and Maggie spend more time together, they find themselves falling for each other. But their relationship seems doomed from the start...how can they be together when Johnny is a ghost?
Book Two: Prom Night in Purgatory
Defying explanation, Johnny somehow escapes Purgatory and finds himself in the year 2010. The problem is he doesn't remember anything after the night he was shot - not his time in Purgatory and not Maggie. As Johnny struggles to find his place in his new time, Maggie looks for a way to help Johnny remember who he is. In the process, she discovers a new aspect of her gift - she is able to step through time.  Johnny and Maggie find themselves looped in time, where their actions have consequences and are able to change the future. It appears that fate has more in store for these lovers and as time continues to loop, it offers Johnny and Maggie the opportunity to right a few wrongs of the past. But not everything can be changed, and Johnny will face the same decision he faced back in 1958 - does he chose Paradise? Or Purgatory? And will either choice allow him to be with Maggie?
I really liked this series. Johnny is just the right mix of a James Dean bad boy and a knight in shining armor. Maggie is an average girl with a tough backstory. I liked that she wasn't drop dead gorgeous and that she hadn't been broken by her past. It made her a relatable character and made me want to root for her. I was hooked into this story from page one and loved the fact that it kept flashing back to the 1950s. It is such a romanticized era in American history. It certainly had its faults, but it was a much simpler time with some fantastic music, which is why I think so many people love it. The story was well written and I enjoyed Amy's writing style. She was able to weave this story together, especially in Prom Night, without it getting too complicated, far-fetched or confusing. It is definitely a sweet, sigh inducing story that is well worth the read. 


Fight or Flight (Fight or Flight #1) by Jamie Canosa

Emerson, a.k.a. "Em," knows the only way to escape the hell she has been living in is to run - run and never look back. She has nowhere to go and no one to turn to, but a life on the streets is better than the nightmare she is leaving behind.

Jay has been living on the streets for two years after escaping his own personal hell. When his path crosses Em's, he cannot help the intense desire to protect her. As Jay and Em get to know each other and learn about the demons they are running from, their connection grows and they find in each other the love they have always been denied. However when Em's past catches up with her, she makes a decision to protect Jay, even though it means she could lose him forever.

I loved the characters in this book and my heart broke for them. Jay is a knight in shining armor who protects and takes care of Em so selflessly. Em is beyond brave for even being able to get up every morning after experiencing everything she went through, and my heart broke every time she couldn't see just how brave she was. I liked how the book changed back and forth between Em and Jay's perspectives, as it allowed insight into the heads of both characters. The fact that either of them was able to feel love after the traumas they faced is amazing, but what was truly beautiful was the way they loved each other - unconditionally, with complete acceptance and a willingness to sacrifice for each other.

While Fight or Flight could be a stand alone novel, I would actually really love a sequel (I know! I can't believe I'm saying it!). According to Goodreads, it appears that I might get my wish...there appears to be another book or novella entitled Sink or Swim scheduled to be published sometime in 2013. There is no cover or description posted, but I really do hope there is more coming. I'm not ready to say goodbye to Em and Jay.


Twisted Perfection (Perfection #1) by Abbi Glines

Woods Kerrington knows what he wants in life. He has worked hard and paid his dues at his family's country club with the goal of eventually being promoted to VP. He knows what he wants when it comes to relationships too - nothing complicated, just a night of naughty fun. This changes when he meets Della Sloane. The two spend one passionate night together before Della walks out of his life, but Woods can't seem to forget her. Months later when Della comes back into his life, Woods finds himself questioning everything about the life he thought he wanted. A relationship with Della is anything but simple. It is complicated not only by the objections of Woods' family, but also by the dark and twisted past that haunts Della. Can Woods finally stand up for himself and claim his life for his own? Will he lose everything in the process? Can Della face the demons of her past and seize her chance at love and happiness? You will have to read and find out...I'm not telling! ;P

Fans of Abbi's Fallen series (with Rush, another of my favorite book boyfriends) will love this spin off series starring my new favorite book boyfriend, Woods Kerrington. Woods was one of my favorite characters from the Fallen series and I was excited to hear that he was going to get his own book, and I have to say that I am not disappointed! There was a brief moment when I lost faith in Woods (sorry! Hanging my head in shame!) when I thought he wasn't going to be the man I knew he was, but he came through for Della (and me) in a big way in the end. I loved watching him fall head over heels and there were plenty of steamy scenes to enjoy.

My only qualm about Twisted is that Abbi has left us with a serious cliff hanger - one that had my mouth dropping open with a gasp - and part two, Simple Perfection, doesn't come out until the Fall of 2013! Oh Abbi, why must you torture me like this??


Rush & Fever (The Breathless Trilogy) by Maya Banks

This scintillating and deliciously evocative trilogy is centered around three wealthy, successful best friends and business partners: Gabe Hamilton, Jace Crestwell, and Ash McIntyre. They work hard, play harder, and are used to getting everything they want, when they want it.

Book One: Rush
For Gabe Hamilton getting what he wants is complicated, because what he wants more than anything is Mia. The problem? Mia is Jace's little sister. Gabe has watched Mia from afar as she grew up and now that she is all grown up, he is determined to have her. Gabe has starred in Mia's fantasies for years and when she sees him at an opening for his latest hotel, Mia is instantly intrigued by Gabe and what he has to offer.

Gabe, having suffered a public and messy divorce, begins all of his relationships with a contract. A contract that gives him complete and utter control and Mia finds herself being sucked into Gabe's provocative world. Their secret relationship is consuming and obsessive, but as obsession begins to turn into something more, Gabe will have to face and overcome his demons in order to keep Mia, risking not only his friendships, his business, but also his heart.

Loved this book from beginning to end! If you are a fan of Fifty Shades you will love this series. Gabe is deliciously hot and there are plenty of steamy scenes. He is everything you want in a fantasy guy - rich, powerful, domineering and beautifully broken. I liked the character of Mia as well. Although she was supposed to be submissive, she wasn't afraid to speak her mind and set her own limits. I will warn you that a few of the scenes are a bit much, so if you have issues with bondage and the like, you might want to skip this one. For me this ranks up there with 50 and has earned the title of Guilty Pleasure.

Book Two: Fever
Jace and Ash have shared everything for years, including their women. However when Jace meets Bethany, he finds himself wanting her all to himself. Bethany is down on her luck and has been living on the streets for the past 4 years. She works odd jobs and often doesn't know where her next meal is coming from. When Ash offers her the opportunity to spend the night with himself and Jace, she jumps at the chance to escape reality, even if it is only temporary. From the beginning, there is an instant attraction and pull between Jace and Bethany. When Bethany disappears after spending a steamy night with Jace and Ash, Jace becomes determined to find her and make her his. Despite the love they feel for each other, they both have issues that threaten to unravel their relationship.

I loved Rush, but Fever was even more amazing. It was sexier, steamier, and I love the characters even more. So far this is a series that is only getting better and I have high expectations for book three. Jace is my favorite so far out of the three guys and I feel like the characters in this book had a lot more depth. The story was better developed and this was definitely a "full throttle" book from start to finish. I even found myself blushing while reading some of the scenes, as the raunchiness factor is definitely amped up in book. Another must read guilty pleasure!

Book Three: Burn
Coming August 2013
Mine is already pre-ordered :)


The Shatter Me Series by Tahereh Mafi

Book 1: Shatter Me
Juliette has a dark gift - she is able to kill someone with a simple touch. She has been locked up by The Reestablishment - an organization who seized control after the Earth's destruction. For over 200 days Juliette has been locked up in a cell by herself. When Adam Kent, someone from her past she never expected to see again, becomes her new cellmate, Juliette finds herself falling for him. However Adam isn't all that he seems - he is a soldier with The Reestablishment and he has been searching for Juliette ever since she disappeared. The Reestablishment, lead by Warner, plan to use Juliette's gift to help destroy the rebel forces. Warner has also been searching for Juliette for a long time and he has become obsessed with her, wanting her for more than just her gift. With the help of Adam and another soldier,  Kenji, Juliette flees the confines of The Reestablishment to join the Omega Point, a rebel outpost home to others with special abilities like Juliette. With Warner hunting her, it is only a matter of time before Juliette will have to take a stand and fight back.
Book 1.5: Destroy Me
This short novella is told from the point of view of Warner and picks up where Shatter Me ends. Now that Juliette has escaped, Warner is desperate to get her back. His fascination with her has turned into something more and he finds himself feeling things he has never experienced before - Warner has fallen for Juliette. Warner's father, the supreme leader of The Reestablishment, has arrived in Sector 45 to oversee the capture of Juliette and punishment of Adam and Kenji. Juliette has become a liability to him and his power, inspiring in the citizens the hope of resistance and he is determined to find her and destroy her. Warner is also determined to find her, but his reasons for doing so differ greatly from his father's.

I enjoyed this novella quite a bit and have to admit that it has changed my opinion of Warner. I find myself not being able to hate him quite so much and feeling sorry for him, now that I have been in his head and understand him better. This of course was probably the motive behind this book. I'm interested to see how this will play out in the next books, as we clearly have the makings of another epic love triangle.
Book 2: Unravel Me
Juliette has escaped with Adam, Kenji and James to Omega Point, a refuge for people like Juliette with special gifts and headquarters of a budding resistance movement. Juliette should feel relieved - she is safe, for now - but safety does not bring peace. Juliette struggles to find her place in Omega Point and as war becomes imminent, Juliette must decide what role she is willing to play, if she is willing to stand up and fight back. At Omega Point, Juliette struggles to control her abilities, discovering new facets of her gift that she never knew existed. The researchers at Omega Point also help Adam discover the reasons behind why he is able to touch Juliette. He too has a gift, but the limits of his gift force Juliette to make a painful decision between what she wants and Adam's life.

When Warner is captured by the resistance, Juliette can't help the draw she feels towards him, despite the love she has for Adam. She wants desperately to hate him, but can't. He is the only one who knows her deepest, darkest thoughts, and he can touch her in a way that Adam cannot. Warner, however, is too steeped in his past, to resistant to change, too reluctant to fight back against his father. But Supreme Commander Anderson is determined to crush the rebel resistance and the spark of hope they have ignited amongst the people of Sector 45. As the battle commences  no one knows what to expect or who will survive, but Juliette knows what her choice will be - she will fight.
I have enjoyed with series immensely so far and I love Tahereh Mafi's writing style! The way she uses words and describes things is magical and extraordinarily beautiful. I love the vocabulary she uses and how things are crossed out, italicized  and presented in a never ending stream of consciousness. I did find myself slightly annoyed in some places in Unravel Me as the love triangle between Juliette, Adam and Warner played out. Adam became a little too desperate and I was annoyed with Juliette (as I always am when it comes to love triangles) and her inability to resist Warner, when she is so clearly in love with Adam. But that seems to be the way with these series and as much as I dislike it, it does make for compelling reading...

I am excited to see how this story will play out. According to Goodreads, we should be expecting an as of yet untitled short novella in December, 2013 and book three to be released in February, 2014, which means that I will have to (im)patiently wait for the next installment in the series. This is definitely a must read!


This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

Graham Larkin is Hollywood's latest "It Guy." Ellie O'Neill is an average girl living in "middle of nowhere" Maine. Their worlds converge when Graham accidentally sends Ellie an email concerning his pet pig, Wilbur. For months, the two 17-year-olds correspond back and forth, sharing the details of their lives and forming a connection. When the location of Graham's latest picture falls through, he seizes the opportunity to put a face to the girl behind the emails and convinces the director to shoot the movie in Henley, Maine, where Ellie lives.

Upon arriving, Graham searches out the girl he has been calling "E." When the two finally meet it becomes clear that both of them have not shared all the details of their lives as Ellie is stunned to learn that "G" is in fact the famous Graham Larkin. Ellie, despite the connection she feels with Graham, is hesitant to start a public relationship with him because of a family secret that could be exposed by linking herself with a public figure. Nevertheless, the two are drawn to each other by the connection they formed through email. But their relationship has so many obstacles to overcome - Graham's stardom, his inevitable departure, Ellie's secret - and so many questions still unanswered...

I really enjoyed this book and it is another good one from Jennifer E. Smith. If you enjoy sweet romances this is definitely a book for you. The characters were witty and real and the interspersing of the emails was a nice literary touch. My only issue of the book was that it ended far too soon! There are still so many questions left unanswered - What will happen to Graham and Ellie when he returns to L.A.? What about Ellie's father? What about Graham and his parents? What does the future hold? I sincerely hope that there will be a follow up to this book because I desperately want to know what happens next. The story just feels so horribly unfinished to me and it certainly felt that it was left open for more, but without the knowledge that more is coming I am left without the warm and fuzzy feeling (or at least a diminished warm and fuzzy feeling) I usually get after reading one of these books. The happy ending is just too overshadowed by the unanswered questions still looming and the uncertainty of what comes next. Happiness for me would mean a sequel where Graham and Ellie find lasting happiness with each other.


Walking Disaster (Disaster #2) by Jamie McGuire

Walking Disaster is the companion novel to Beautiful Disaster, which tells the story of Abby Abernathy and Travis Maddox. Abby leaves her hometown for college with the hope of leaving her past behind her and starting over. Travis is a notorious bad boy known for his temper and his one night stands. When Abby meets Travis she knows that he is exactly what she has been trying to avoid, but cannot deny the draw she feels towards him. Travis can't ignore Abby either. Since the death of his mother, Travis has been on the lookout for a love worth fighting for and he thinks he may have found it in Abby. However, the two of them have so many issues between them that their relationship seems doomed from the start.

Whereas Beautiful Disaster is told from Abby's perspective, Walking Disaster is told from Travis' point of view. I liked the first book, but didn't love it and found myself cringing a lot. Travis' behavior was often over the top and borderline abusive, but it was clear from the first novel that Travis was the more complex of the two main characters. The problem was you didn't get a whole lot of Travis' backstory in the first novel. I enjoyed Walking Disaster much more than Beautiful Disaster. Travis' behavior doesn't seem so extreme and a lot of his actions are better understood when seen from his point of view. There were several events that felt brushed over and I wasn't a huge fan of the Epilogue, but this book was far better than the first one.


The Infernal Devices Series by Cassandra Clare

The Infernal Devices series is the prequel to The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. This trilogy takes place in 19th century London and follows Theresa "Tessa" Gray and the strange and wondrous turn her life takes after she journeys to London after the death of her aunt to join her brother Nathaniel. In London she discovers that she is not in fact human, but a Downworlder, a supernatural, and there are those who desire her and her special abilities for sinister means.


Book One: Clockwork Angel
Upon arriving in London, Tessa is kidnapped by the Dark Sisters and a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club. Tessa learns that she has the ability to transform into another person and the Dark Sisters train Tessa, telling her that she is soon to be married to the Club's leader, the Magister. With the unexpected help of the Shadowhunters, Nephilim (half angels/half human) who are bound to protect humans and keep order in the supernatural world, Tessa escapes the Dark Sisters and takes refuge at the Institute. In exchange for Tessa's help in hunting down the Magister, the Shadowhunters agree to help Tessa find her brother. Tessa finds herself being drawn into the world of the Shadowhunters and increasingly fascinated by two Shadowhunters - James (a.k.a. Jem), an old soul with a dark secret, and Will, whose quick wit and volatile moods keeps everyone at an arm's length. As they work together to solve the mystery of the Magister it becomes clear that the Magister's plans have been long in the making and that the fate of the world could be threatened.


Book Two: Clockwork Prince
Mortmain (a.k.a. the Magister) has disappeared and when Benedict Lightwood challenges Charlotte for control of the Institute, she is given two weeks to discover his whereabouts. The Shadowhunters of the Institute dig into Mortmain's past hoping to find a clue as to his plans, and in doing so, Tessa discovers some clues to her birth and her gift. Meanwhile, Will pushes Tessa farther away as he desperately looks for a way out of his curse. Tessa and Jem grow closer and Tessa finds herself developing feelings for Jem. As the clock ticks down in their search for Mortmain, Tessa and her companions find themselves betrayed by one of their own and no closer to discovering the next phase of Mortmain's plan.


Book Three: Clockwork Princess

As Tessa prepares for her upcoming wedding, the dark shadows of the Magister and the mystery of what she is continues to loom over her. Mortmain needs Tessa and cannot realize the final step of his plan without her. He begins to strike at Tessa, trying to draw her out. When this fails he uses his Infernal Devices army to capture her and force her to do his bidding, and in doing so threatens all that Tessa holds dear. With everything at stake and hanging in the balance, Tessa will finally come to realize the truth of what she is and fulfill the destiny that was hers all along.


I loved everything about this series! Absolutely everything! I loved the setting, I loved the characters, I loved the story, I loved....EVERYTHING! There was not a single thing that I would have changed. Clockwork Princess was my favorite of the three and the perfect ending to the series. The resolution of Tessa, Jem, and Will's story left me heartbroken (and crying!) and then rejoicing in its perfection. It left me absolutely emotionally ravaged and I literally had to stop and just sit, so that I could process everything. 

People often ask how I can get so worked up over characters who are not real. If you are not a true book lover I suppose it can be hard to understand, that it would seem silly to get so invested in people who are not real, but that's just it...to me they are real. As I turn the pages of their story, as I lose myself in their world, as I see what they are thinking and feel what they are feeling, for however long I am with them on their journey...they ARE real. It is the most amazing gift that authors give readers - the opportunity to live a thousand different lives between the pages of a book. Granted the degree of attachment is different from book to book and some characters are easier than others to let go, but each time I read a book the characters become more than just what is written on a page, they become people to me. 

The characters of The Infernal Devices series - especially Tessa, Will, and Jem - are not characters that I will be able to get over easily. They are the type of characters that will stay with me always and I know that I will come back to revisit them again and again, just like old friends.