Aug 272015
 

Leaving paradiseLeaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles
Book #1 in Leaving Paradise
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: April 8th, 2007

Synopsis from Goodreads: Nothing has been the same since Caleb Becker left a party drunk, got behind the wheel, and hit Maggie Armstrong. Even after months of painful physical therapy, Maggie walks with a limp. Her social life is nil and a scholarship to study abroad—her chance to escape everyone and their pitying stares—has been canceled.

After a year in juvenile jail, Caleb’s free . . . if freedom means endless nagging from a transition coach and the prying eyes of the entire town. Coming home should feel good, but his family and ex-girlfriend seem like strangers.

Caleb and Maggie are outsiders, pigeon-holed as “criminal” and “freak.” Then the truth emerges about what really happened the night of the accident and, once again, everything changes. It’s a bleak and tortuous journey for Caleb and Maggie, yet they end up finding comfort and strength from a surprising source: each other.

Angie’s Review – 3 Skulls – C

Leaving Paradise was a whole lot of ‘too’ for me. It was too much, too simple, too predictable…and way too clichéd. But you know what else it was? Pretty damn compelling. I had a hard time putting this book down when life reared its ugly head.

It’s clear from the beginning of this story that all is not as it seems. The secret is pretty obvious from the get-go with a lot of foreshadowing peppered throughout. But forget about that. The bigger picture in this book is trying like hell to find yourself again when a single event changes everything, and when, without even realizing it, you start adopting other’s perceptions as your own. Maggie got on my nerves many times throughout this book. She was way too miserable for me. Her life had been dramatically altered by the accident, I get that. But this girl needed something, anything, in her life to go her way. It never happened. And I thought it was very unrealistic that she didn’t have a single friend left after her accident. Caleb was this book’s saving grace for me. I adored his character. I’m not sure that jail necessarily changed him so much as it brought a different side of him to light. He was genuine, and I like that he didn’t hold back. I had a hard time believing that he’d ever be attracted to anyone like Kendra. Her character was very one dimensional and was clearly added for drama. And to be honest, the drama surrounding her wasn’t even that exciting. I think with everything else that was going on this book, she wasn’t essential to the storyline.

The pacing was decent most of the time. This book was in alternating first person, and being inside Maggie’s head was occasionally overwhelming. It was pity party after pity party, and I got it at first, but there comes a time when the point has been made. Again, I loved being inside Caleb’s head. His intentions were always clear, and he was determined to get his life back together. I liked that he wanted to clear the air with Maggie and get everything out in the open – as much as he could. He didn’t miss a beat, and it was sad to see his family deteriorate around him.

I listened to the audio of this book, and I loved the male narrator. His voice reminded me of Matthew Gray Gubler’s. I could’ve (and did) listen to him for hours. I didn’t care for the voice of Maggie, but I’m not sure if it was the narrator’s voice or just how whiny her character sometimes was.

While there were some parts of this book that didn’t necessarily work for me, as a whole, I was enthralled while I was reading it. It left me interested enough to read the next one in the series.

Rating: ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠ 

Series Reading Order:
1. Leaving Paradise
2. Return to Paradise

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 Posted by on August 27, 2015 at 7:00 am
Aug 262015
 
Early Review: Your Voice is All I Hear by Leah Scheier

Your Voice is All I Hear by Leah Scheier Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction Publication Date: September 1st, 2015 Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire   Synopsis from Goodreads: Everything about Jonah is unexpected. On the first day of school, he sits next to April, when he could have chosen to sit with the popular girl. He turns down an invitation to join the school team and declares he’d rather paint. He encourages April to develop her musical talent and shrugs off the bullies that torment them. April isn’t surprised to find herself falling for Jonah. The unexpected part is when he falls for her too. But [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on August 26, 2015 at 7:00 am
Aug 252015
 
Book Tour & Giveaway: The Dogs by Allan Stratton

The Dogs by Allan Stratton Genre: YA Mystery Publication Date: September 1st, 2015 Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire   Synopsis: Constantly on the run from a dangerous father, Cameron’s used to pushing away the trauma of his past. But when his mother moves them to an old farmhouse in the middle of nowhere, he discovers that there are some things you can’t escape. His new schoolmates taunt him about the bloodthirsty dogs that supposedly haunt the farm, and Cameron soon stumbles upon a child’s drawings in the cellar that depict a violent history. The line between reality and nightmare begins to blur as the house’s horrifying [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on August 25, 2015 at 7:00 am
Aug 242015
 
Early Review: When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare

When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare Book #3 in Castles Ever After Genre: Historical Romance Publication Date: August 25th, 2015 ARC Provided by Edelweiss and Avon Synopsis from Goodreads: On the cusp of her first London season, Miss Madeline Gracechurch was shyly pretty and talented with a drawing pencil, but hopelessly awkward with gentlemen. She was certain to be a dismal failure on the London marriage mart. So Maddie did what generations of shy, awkward young ladies have done: she invented a sweetheart. A Scottish sweetheart. One who was handsome and honorable and devoted to her, but conveniently [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on August 24, 2015 at 7:00 am
Aug 212015
 
Early Review: Crosstown Crush by Cara McKenna

Crosstown Crush by Cara McKenna Book #1 in Sins in the City Genre: Erotica Publication Date: September 1st, 2015 ARC provided by Signet Synopsis from Goodreads: When he’s working, Mike Heyer is all business—every inch the alpha male, with the hard, capable body to back up his persona. But at home he can be a different man entirely, harboring appetites only his wife gets to glimpse… When Samira first learned of her husband’s fantasies, she was reluctant, even alarmed. But after witnessing the way they set him on fire, she yielded, and happily indulged. As their games have intensified, so [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on August 21, 2015 at 7:00 am
Aug 192015
 
Scar Boys & Scar Girl by Len Vlahos

 Scar Boys by Len Vlahos Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction Publication Date: January 1st, 2014 Publisher: Egmont USA   Synopsis from Goodreads: A severely burned teenager. A guitar. Punk rock. The chords of a rock ‘n’ roll road trip in a coming-of-age novel that is a must-read story about finding your place in the world…even if you carry scars inside and out. In attempting to describe himself in his college application essay–help us to become acquainted with you beyond your courses, grades, and test scores–Harbinger (Harry) Jones goes way beyond the 250-word limit and gives a full account of his life. The first defining [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on August 19, 2015 at 7:00 am
Aug 182015
 
New Release Group Review: The Darkest Flame by Christina Lee

The Darkest Flame by Christina Lee #1 in Roadmap to Your Heart Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance Publication Date: August 17th, 2015  Synopsis from Goodreads: From the author of There You Stand, a new male/male romance about an errant motorcycle recruit and the captivating bartender who sends his wheels spinning down an all too tempting road. Vaughn O’Keefe has been part owner of the Hog’s Den for years. Privy to plenty of Disciples of the Road business, he’s never been more ruffled as when a new recruit named “Smoke” walks through the door. Something about the man gets his blood pumping, but [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on August 18, 2015 at 7:00 am
Aug 172015
 
Guest Post & Giveaway: Top Ten with Jessica Verdi

Badass Book Reviews is happy to bring you a top ten list from the author of What You Left Behind, Jessica Verdi. If you’re like us, your to-be-read pile can never be big enough. Some of us are long-time fans of the Young Adult genre, and some of us are just getting our feet wet, but we’re all on the lookout for good recommendations! Today, Jessica shares her picks with us: My Top Ten YA Book Picks (in no particular order):  1. It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini synopsis from Goodreads: Ambitious New York City teenager Craig Gilner is determined to succeed [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on August 17, 2015 at 7:00 am
Aug 142015
 
New Release Review: Tremaine's True Love by Grace Burrowes

Tremaine’s True Love by Grace Burrowes Book #1 in True Gentlemen Genre: Historical Romance Publication Date: August 4th, 2015 ARC provided by Netgalley and Sourcebooks Synopsis from Goodreads:  Tremaine St. Michael is firmly in trade and seeks only to negotiate the sale of some fancy sheep with the Earl of Haddonfield. The earl’s sister, Lady Nita, is pragmatic, hard-working, and selfless, though Tremaine senses she’s also tired of her charitable obligations and envious of her siblings’ marital bliss. Tremaine, having been raised among shepherds, can spot another lonely soul, no matter how easily she fools her own family. Neither Tremaine nor [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on August 14, 2015 at 7:00 am
Aug 132015
 
New Release Review: Just a Summer Fling by Cate Cameron

Just a Summer Fling by Cate Cameron Book #1 in Sullivan Lake Genre: Contemporary Romance Publication Date: August 4th, 2015 ARC provided by Netgalley and Berkley Synopsis from Goodreads: Sullivan Lake, Vermont, has plenty of attractions for movie star Ashley Carlsen—pristine nature, local color, and a handyman with a bad reputation for all the right reasons… Ashley’s movie-star life is starting to feel like an act. She’s desperate to be taken seriously, and after her boyfriend’s affair with a costar, she’s ready for a new scene. A vacation at Sullivan Lake with Hollywood power player Jasmine McArthur might be the [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on August 13, 2015 at 7:00 am
Aug 112015
 
Review: Hard as Stone by Rori Ni Coileain

Hard as Stone by Rori Ni Coileain Book #1 in SoulShares series Genre: M/M Paranormal Romance Publication Date: October 18th, 2012 Publisher: Riverdale Avenue Books   Synopsis from Goodreads: What can I say… Rory Ni Coileain combines male hotness and a fabulous sense of the unknown in her SoulShares series. I eagerly await every new release. Talk about being a page turner..” – Susan Mac Nicol, international best-selling author of Saving Alexander and Worth Keeping Tiernan Guaire was exiled from the Fae Realm a century and a half ago for his brother’s murder. His soul torn in half, he lives by his [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on August 11, 2015 at 7:00 am
Aug 072015
 
From Page to Screen: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

  Me and Earl and the Dying Girl Not too long ago I reviewed Me and Earl and the Dying Girl here on Badass Book Reviews and for the most part I absolutely loved it.  I can still say, with confidence, that it was the absolute funniest book that I’ve ever read.  Ever.  It should win awards for comedy genius. Well, the truth is that the only reason I finally read Me and Earl and the Dying Girl was because the movie was being independently released, and the trailer looked awesome!  If you are a true bibliophile you can’t watch a movie before reading [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on August 7, 2015 at 7:00 am
Aug 062015
 
New Release Group Review: Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews

Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews Book #8 in Kate Daniels Genre: Urban Fantasy Publication Date: August 4th, 2015 ARC Provided by Netgalley and Ace Synopsis from Goodreads: In the latest Kate Daniels novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews, magic is coming and going in waves in post-Shift Atlanta—and each crest leaves danger in its wake… After breaking from life with the Pack, mercenary Kate Daniels and her mate—former Beast Lord Curran Lennart—are adjusting to a very different pace. While they’re thrilled to escape all the infighting, Curran misses the constant challenges of leading the shapeshifters. So when [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on August 6, 2015 at 7:00 am
Aug 052015
 
Review: Paper Aeroplanes by Dawn O'Porter

Paper Aeroplanes by Dawn O’Porter Book #1 in Paper Aeroplanes series Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction Publication Date: May 2nd, 2013 Publisher: Hot Key Books   Synopsis from Goodreads: It’s the mid-1990s, and fifteen year-old Guernsey schoolgirls, Renée and Flo, are not really meant to be friends. Thoughtful, introspective and studious Flo couldn’t be more different to ambitious, extroverted and sexually curious Renée. But Renée and Flo are united by loneliness and their dysfunctional families, and an intense bond is formed. Although there are obstacles to their friendship (namely Flo’s jealous ex-best friend and Renée’s growing infatuation with Flo’s brother), fifteen is an age [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on August 5, 2015 at 7:00 am
Aug 042015
 
New Release Review: The Daughter of an Earl by Victoria Morgan

The Daughter of an Earl by Victoria Morgan Genre: Historical Romance Publication Date: July 7th, 2015 ARC provided by Netgalley and Penguin Synopsis from Goodreads: An American businessman in England, Brett Curtis has little use for the haughty ton beyond seeing his sisters happily entertained in London. But when his cousin mysteriously disappears after inheriting the title of Duke, he sets out to locate him and drag him home. Lady Emily Chandler plunged into deep despair when her fiancé died in India, and now she is determined to prove that he was murdered. The brash American Brett Curtis’s reputation may be less [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on August 4, 2015 at 7:00 am
Aug 032015
 
Early Group Review: The Veil by Chloe Neill

The Veil by Chloe Neill Book #1 in Devil’s Isle Genre: Urban Fantasy Publication Date: August 4th, 2015 ARC Provided by Netgalley and NAL Synopsis from Goodreads: Seven years ago, the Veil that separates humanity from what lies beyond was torn apart, and New Orleans was engulfed in a supernatural war. Now, those with paranormal powers have been confined in a walled community that humans call the District. Those who live there call it Devil’s Isle. Claire Connolly is a good girl with a dangerous secret: she’s a Sensitive, a human endowed with magic that seeped through the Veil. Claire knows [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on August 3, 2015 at 7:00 am
Jul 312015
 
Spotlight on August's New Releases

Welcome to our monthly feature where we take a look at the books releasing in August and offer up our top picks. We have chosen 30 of our most anticipated new releases. The release dates are on a best known basis and are not guaranteed. Books may get delayed or sometimes even released earlier so please check with your favorite store to ensure availability. Now, on to the books!     Knave of Broken Hearts by Tara Lain (#2 in Love in Laguna) – Expected publication: August 3rd 2015 by Dreamspinner Press After the Red Rain by Barry Lyga, Peter Facinelli, [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on July 31, 2015 at 2:27 pm
Jul 302015
 
New Release Review: About a Girl by Sarah McCarry

About a Girl by Sarah McCarry Book #3 in Metamorphoses Genre: Young Adult Contemporary with Fantasy Elements Publication Date: July 14th 2015 ARC Provided by St. Martin’s Griffin and Netgalley Synopsis from Goodreads: Eighteen-year-old Tally is absolutely sure of everything: her genius, the love of her adoptive family, the loyalty of her best friend, Shane, and her future career as a Nobel prize-winning astronomer. There’s no room in her tidy world for heartbreak or uncertainty—or the charismatic, troubled mother who abandoned her soon after she was born. But when a sudden discovery upends her fiercely ordered world, Tally sets out on an [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on July 30, 2015 at 10:33 am
Jul 292015
 
New Release Review: Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Him by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy Genre: M/M Sports Contemporary Fiction Publication Date: July 28th, 2015 Publisher: Rennie Road Books   Synopsis from Goodreads: They don’t play for the same team. Or do they? Jamie Canning has never been able to figure out how he lost his closest friend. Four years ago, his tattooed, wise-cracking, rule-breaking roommate cut him off without an explanation. So what if things got a little weird on the last night of hockey camp the summer they were eighteen? It was just a little drunken foolishness. Nobody died. Ryan Wesley’s biggest regret is coaxing his very straight friend [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on July 29, 2015 at 7:00 am
Jul 282015
 
Release Day Group Review: The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward

The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward Book #1 in The Bourbon Kings Genre: Contemporary Romance Publication Date: July 28th, 2015 ARC Provided by Penguin Synopsis from Goodreads: The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Black Dagger Brotherhood delivers the first novel in an enthralling new series set amid the shifting dynamics of a Southern family defined by wealth and privilege—and compromised by secrets, deceit, and scandal…. For generations, the Bradford family has worn the mantle of kings of the bourbon capital of the world. Their sustained wealth has afforded them prestige and privilege—as well as a hard-won division of [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on July 28, 2015 at 7:00 am