Pushing Send

Pushing SendTitle: Pushing Send
Author: Ally Derby, Jaqueline Ross
Genre(s): Contemporary Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 211
Published by Blue Valley Publishing on 2015-08-08
ISBN: 978-1515178903
ASIN: B012A8BC5G
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley

FTC Disclosure: Regardless of how I received this book, this is an honest review based on my own opinions. Read my full disclosure here.

 
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From the back cover...

Fitting in has never been something fifteen-year-old Hadley Asher ever aspired to. Three schools in one year brings unwanted and unwelcome attention to a girl like Hadley who only wants to blend in.
After her family moves from Buffalo, NY to the small, upper-class town of Blue Valley in Central New York, Hadley's next door neighbor Lana quickly befriends her, the two becoming nearly inseparable. However, Paxton Jamison, Lana's stepbrother and the boy with the brilliant blue eyes, has to step in to help Hadley deal with Lana, who is hard to handle on a good day.
When an unprecedented scandal and tragedy strike the small community, Hadley becomes its focus, its target. As a result, the girl who hides in books and wants to blend in with the background finds breathing is nearly impossible.

My Review

Pushing Send is a yung adult novel with some very deep and intense situations, especially appropriate in this day and age.

Hadley’s life has be turned upside down yet again as she and her family have moved again to a small town in New York.   Her father lost his job after an accident and now her father has addiction issues.  This leaves her nother as the sole breadwinner, overworked and continually making excuses for Hadley’s father.  All of this has meant that Hadley has not only had to grow up fast, but it has really damaged her ability to trust others.  As a result, she just tries to fly under the radar and keep to herself.  But being the new girl in a small school, it is hard to remain anonymous for too long.  Soon after she moves, she meets Lana, her neighbor and soon her best friend.  She also meets her older stepbrother Paxton, with whom she becomes friends as well.

It was at this point that I thought this was going to be the typical love story between a somewhat geeky, socially awkward girl and the gorgeous jock, but there is so much to the story.  Pax likes Hadley and thinks she’s a good influence on his sometimes tumultuous little sister.  Their friendships are unexpected, as Hadley could not be more different.  Lana and Paxton are well off and have had a lot of advantages in life, whereas Hadley and her family are struggling, financially and emotionally.

Things go better than Hadley expected for awhile, until something happens that ruins everything.  It is at this point that everything goes into a horrific doward spiral for her and it becomes almost overwhelming.  Just about everything that could go wrong does.

There are some important plot lines in this book, particularly appropriate for our time.  It highlights the downside of such a digital age and how it can ruin lives.  It shows how quick people are to assume the worst, to judge.  There is also an important theme of mental illness and how much that can go unnoticed in teenagers.  There are also themes of love and forgiveness, compassion and understanding.  These plot lines and themes are well considered and important to the time.

However, there were times when it almost felt like various parts of the book were written for different demographics.  It was something that was very noticeable to me, even as I enjoyed the overall story.  It was only when I was preparing to write this review that I realized that this was written my a middle-school girl and her mother, which explains those variations.  It also explained the massive fangirling going on throughout the book, although that was appropriate to the age of the main character.  But if you haven’t read the series fangirled (The Hunger Games, Percy Jackson, The Fault in Our Stars, etc.),, you will find spoilers to those novels.

The only other thing that gave me pause was the time jumping.  The book takes place over roughly 2 years and there were several moments when the time jumped forward.  While I think the jumping was necessary for the story, I wish there was some kind of indication from the beginning like an italicized six months later or some such thing so as to eliminate confusion.

My Recommendation

All in all this was a good story that touched on some important issues, even with the couple of things that jumped out at me.  I am hoping that there will be a sequel because I want to know more!

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
Cover
Overall: 3.6

About Ally Derby

Ally Derby lives in upstate New York in a small town. She is a middle school student,who loves field hockey, music, books, family and God.

She has no problem sticking up for what she feels is right, regardless of the social ramifications and that doesn’t always go over well.

She is also a fierce fangirl, and loves to role play on Instagram as @firefandoms.
Her favorite book genre is young adult dystopian. Her favorite book series include, The Hunger Games, Percy Jackson, The Divergent series, The Maze Runner, and The Selection series.

Other books she devours are anything John Green, and Gayle Foreman.

Her books are her life and when Ally gets in trouble at home, her mother grounds her from books, *gasp*

About Jaqueline Ross

Jaqueline Ross is an author, and mother to Ally. She reads almost everything Ally does and enjoys the romance genre.

She is ‘one of those moms’. Meaning she is overprotective and pushes Ally to do her best at everything she does.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

The Accident Season

The Accident SeasonTitle: The Accident Season
Author: Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Genre(s): Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 288
Published by Kathy Dawson Books on 2015-08-18
ISBN: 978-0552571302
ASIN: B00SI0B4M2
Format: eARC
Source: Penguin First to Read

FTC Disclosure: Regardless of how I received this book, this is an honest review based on my own opinions. Read my full disclosure here.

 
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From the back cover...

It's the accident season, the same time every year. Bones break, skin tears, bruises bloom.

The accident season has been part of seventeen-year-old Cara's life for as long as she can remember. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara's family becomes inexplicably accident-prone. They banish knives to locked drawers, cover sharp table edges with padding, switch off electrical items - but injuries follow wherever they go, and the accident season becomes an ever-growing obsession and fear.

But why are they so cursed? And how can they break free?

My Review

This was a strange, but intriguing book.  There were moments when it was like reading through an altered state, as if Cara isn’t always 100% in the present.  In places, there was prose that reminded me a bit of Sarah McCarry’s All Our Pretty Songs.  The lines of between reality and that which is imagined or dreamed are blurred.

The characters were fascinating, full of the flaws and contradictions that are a part of humanity.  Cara is the narrator of the story that focuses around herself, her sister Alice, their stepbrother Sam, as well as their mutual best friend Bea.  They are all such different people but they love each other unconditionally.  Each of them is flawed in their own way and they have almost a bit of a feral quality to them.  Except for this one month, they run a bit wild.  But when the month begins, their mother covers everything in padding and watches them all like a hawk.

And that is the center of the mystery… the month in which they all are suddenly accident-prone.  Bad things happen that month and no one really knows why.  And this year, there is an added bit of mystery in the form of Elsie, a mysterious girl that appears in all of Cara’s photos.  Yet somehow, no one seems to know much about her, or even who she is,

And yes, there is romance.  Romance that is found in unexpected places, but romance that is real and founded in love.

The twists are incredible, the revelations emotionally intense, and the story is caprivatingly mind-boggling.  The lyrical, magical quality to the prose keeps you guessing, wondering what is real and what isn’t.  And when those revelations come… MIND BLOWN.

My Recommendation

Love, love, LOVE this novel!  I loved the unusual quality to the story, the twists, the turns.  Such a great read!

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
Cover
Overall: 5

About Moïra Fowley-Doyle

Moïra Fowley-Doyle is half-French, half-Irish and lives in Dublin with her husband, their young daughter and their old cat. Moïra’s French half likes red wine and dark books in which everybody dies. Her Irish half likes tea and happy endings.

Moïra spent several years at university studying vampires in young adult fiction before concentrating on writing young adult fiction with no vampires in it whatsoever. She wrote her first novel at the age of eight, when she was told that if she wrote a story about spiders she wouldn’t be afraid of them any more. Moïra is still afraid of spiders, but has never stopped writing stories.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Home Ice

Home IceTitle: Home Ice
Author: Catherine Gayle
Series: Portland Storm #7.5
Also in this series: Breakaway, On the Fly, Light the Lamp, Delay of Game, Taking a Shot
Genre(s): Contemporary Fiction, Love & Romance, Sports Fiction
Pages: 116
Published by Night Shift Publishing on 2015-08-13
ISBN: 978-1942177142
ASIN: B00XQTQFR4
Format: eARC
Source: publicist

FTC Disclosure: Regardless of how I received this book, this is an honest review based on my own opinions. Read my full disclosure here.

 
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From the back cover...

There’s only one person Portland Storm head coach Mattias Bergstrom allows to see his soft side: his sister, who was born with Down syndrome. She lives in Sweden, so he doesn’t worry he’ll accidentally reveal other than the hard-assed defenseman-turned-coach his players know. At least not until his sister’s doppelganger leaps for one of his young D-men before the team’s charity skills competition and melts Mattias’s frozen heart.

Paige Calhoun has her hands full with four exceedingly boy-crazy, hockey-loving daughters—three teens and a pre-teen with Down syndrome. Everyday life is a challenge. Taking all four girls to the StormSkillz event with no assistance? The magnitude of her task was daunting enough before her youngest spotted the hockey player of her dreams and barreled through the crowd to claim him.

The team’s sexy-as-sin coach intervenes, and Paige feels just as boy crazy as her daughters. Charmed by the youngest, he decides to give the girls a weekend they’ll never forget. It never crossed his mind that, in doing so, he might end up giving himself an unexpected happy ever after with Paige.

When it comes to hockey, Mattias has a Home Ice advantage. But when it comes to life? He likes the look of Paige’s arena.

My Review

I truly love the Portland Storm books and I am never disappointed by them!  The stories are beautifully written, with all of the romance you could ever want right along with deep, emotionally intense issues.  And this one was so much more than romance,..  This is the story of a little girl who refused to accept that there was anything that she couldn’t do.  This is the story of a mother who would do anything for her daughters, even swallow her own fears.  This is the story of a man with a heart that is bigger than most would assume.

This installment focuses on Bergy, one of the coaching staff, rather than one of the players.  On the surface, he is a bit gruff, necessary as a coach of an NHL team.  But there are things in his life that very few people know about and one of those things is is love for his sister Linnea, whoi has Down’s Syndrome.  When he meets Paige and her four daughters, he is taken with them all, but especially the youngest.  Sophie is just 11 and she, too, has Down’s.  Paige has her hands full with four girls, all deeply in love with one of the Storm’s players, Levi “501” Babcock.  After winning tickets to a Storm event, Paige and her girls find their lives forever changed.

I honestly don’t know just what or who I loved best in this book.  There is no question that Bergy was more than a little bit of a silver fox.  I don’t know who was the physical inspiration for Catherine Gayle , but all I could see was Eric Dane.  And I loved Paige and her dedication to her daughters, and theirs to her.  And then there is Sophie, the little girl who was bound to do anything and everything.  I truly loved that instead of coddling her, Paige swallowed her own fears to support her daughter.  I also loved that Bergy and his friends did everything they could to make little Sophie’s dreams come true.

These are the things that make these books so wonderful.  The romance is always beautiful, yes.  But I love that these books are so much more than that.  There are real issues and those are really what make the books.  The author doesn’t shy away from presenting different aspects of life in a realistic way with no sugar coating it and I love that.

My Recommendation

I am an unabashed fan and I love this series!  Definitely a must read for anyone who enjoys hockey, romance, and intense emotional reads!

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
Cover
Overall: 5

About Catherine Gayle

Catherine Gayle is a bestselling author of Regency-set historical romance and contemporary hockey romance with a New Adult feel. She’s a transplanted Texan living in North Carolina with two extremely spoiled felines. In her spare time, she watches way too much hockey and reality TV, plans fun things to do for the Nephew Monster’s next visit, and performs experiments in the kitchen which are rarely toxic.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Forgotten Things

Forgotten ThingsTitle: Forgotten Things
Author: Stephen Mullaney-Westwood
Genre(s): Children's Fiction, Fantasy & Magic
Pages: 364
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on 2015-07-31
ISBN: 978-1514303269
Format: eARC
Source: author

FTC Disclosure: Regardless of how I received this book, this is an honest review based on my own opinions. Read my full disclosure here.

 
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From the back cover...

‘Forgotten Things’ is a novel of nature in contrast; sinister, beautiful, wise and innocent. With an otherworldly twist it explores the importance of influences; of growing up, whilst still looking backwards.

We see through the eyes of one man recounting the bitter sweet memories and adventures of his childhood. His love for the woods… his draw to them… but also his fear.
Similar to a classic ghost story the ‘horror’ is subtle and unnerving, while the ‘fantasy’ is simply a glimpse into another reality.

The little people are our antagonists, spoken of in whispers and presented in their true form; age old beings which transpose boundaries- taken seriously and sitting in mysterious juxtaposition with the secular world.

Fairy tales are one thing…faeries, are another.

My Review

Forgotten Things is the debut full-length novel by author Stephen Mullaney-Westwood.  It is a beautiful story woven between the reality that we all know and that inhabited by the creatures of lore that so many of us dismiss.  It is a coming-of-age story that centers around Adam and his friends Martin and Josh.  Adam has just moved to the Cornwall countryside with his parents after his grandfather, whom he barely knows, has had a stroke.  From the very beginning, it is clear that there are issues betwen her mother and his grandfather, issues that no one seems to want to explain to him.  There is an instant connection between himself and his grandfather, one that his mother is not truly happy about.

This is a story with many themes… guilt, friendship, loss, faith in the unseen, trust, and love.  One of  my favorite parts of the novel is the relationship between Adam and his grandfather.  Like his grandfather, Adam is open to the things that flit about the corners of our vision, the things that most adults have cast aside as fanciful notions of childhood.  These are the things that both fascinate him and scare him, the shadows that move in the night, the shadows that move through the trees.  The story is embued with old magic, woven through the lives of the characters in so many unexpected ways.

I apprecciate the way the ideas and concepts of old magic are presented in this novel.  It isn’t the more modern representations of magic that I am used to in young adult and children’s fiction, but magic that is older, more nature-based… the magic of faery lore.  It doesn’t show Disneyfied faeries, but those that are mischievious, even mean.  It celebrates the relationships between humantiy and nature and how it can be both bad and good.  It is a beautiful story with lessons to be learned.

My Recommendation

This is an almost lyrical tale with both light and dark moments that presents the foundation of magic as it should be… with the good and the bad.

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
Cover
Overall: 5

About Stephen Mullaney-Westwood

Born in Hertfordshire England Stephen had a hard time adjusting and finding his place in the world. His sensitive and artistic nature outcast him somewhat, and his mental health suffered throughout those teenage and young adult years.
But, ultimately, it was a journey and writing has always accompanied him along the way.
Now more positive, older, and wiser at the grand age of 40 he writes with a potent message which comes from a deep love of the natural world.
To write, and to breathe the words of nature is the place where Stephen belongs, doing something he truly loves.
The faeries and spirits of the woods have always asked to be heard, and Stephen has offered to be their voice.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges: