ARC Review: Aftercare Instructions

Aftercare Instructions


Why aren’t more people talking about this book?! It was amazing! Is it because it has the topic of abortion? Let me put to rest the fears that this book is all about that topic, because it is not. It does not go into gross detail, nor does it beat the topic to death. What it does do is address the topic in a very realistic manner. I loved this story so much that I want to scream from the rooftops.

Short recap: Genesis Johnson has a rather broken homelife but does the best she can. Everything changes when she and her boyfriend, Peter, have sex and Genesis becomes pregnant. They make the decision to have an abortion but Peter leaves Genesis at the clinic and she must figure everything out on her own.

There were such strong characters and voices in this story and I loved it more for that. Genesis had one of the strongest voices I have read in awhile. She has had a very, very tough life but as her story went on, she always stuck to her guns and stood up for herself.  She never wanted pity for anyone. Her father died of a heroin overdose. Her mother is in a severe depression and can barely leave the bedroom on most days. Her ex-best friend, Vanessa, told the school everything that happened to Gen’s parents at the same time she is trying to steal Peter, Gen’s boyfriend. Gen’s sister left to live with their grandparents which meant Gen was left to deal with their mom on her own. The only thing Gen has going good in her life is her best friend, Rose, and her boyfriend, Peter, who comes from a super religious family. When Peter leaves Genesis at the clinic with no notice, Gen does her best to make sense of what happened. There is so much more drama, suspense, coming of age, and growing that happens but I won’t ruin it for you.

I felt a little concerned for Gen in the middle of the book because it felt like she was all over the charts. She did not make some great choices and she put herself in some danger. I wanted to reach through the pages and slap some sense into her. That’s a sign of a good book because I was invested in what was going on. I felt like I was on this crazy journey with Genesis. I really did feel like I was right there on the bus rides with her because Genesis’ character felt real. I believed her. I believed in her. She was full of spunk, witty comebacks, sarcastic comments, and wise beyond her years. The poor girl had to grow up far too quickly so she came across as an old soul.

As I mentioned, this story does talk about abortion but Pipkin does it brilliantly. However, that is not the entire focus of this story. It also talked about family, relationships, recovery, and simply being human. We are all human and we all make mistakes. Nobody is perfect so nobody has the right to judge. They way that abortion was not the main focus of the story was amazing. Everything else that happens gave more insight into Genesis and who she is as a character. It made her feel real and that made her feel believable. It made the story believable. It made me not want to put this book down until the very last page was turned. Even then, I kept thinking about the story. I wanted to know more about Gen and what happened to her after.

I hope people give this story a chance. It really is very well done and I will not stop recommending it to everyone.



Books Left Unread #81


Books Left Unread

Welcome to my blog post where I talk about the books I have been meaning to read, but just have not yet. You know what I am talking about – the books that have remained unread for various reasons yet when you see them you think, “You know, I really need to read that.” Instead you get distracted by another book, series, or something in your TBR pile. It happens to the best of us. I want to spotlight those books in the hope that I can persuade myself to move them up on my TBR list.

This week’s post is dedicated to:

The Way to Game the Walk of Shame by Jenn P Nguyen

The Way to Game the Walk of Shame


I bought this for a stupid cheap price and it keeps calling to me, but I just haven’t been able to start it. Have you read it? Should I try harder?


Review: Tell Me Three Things

Tell Me Three Things


Do you know what drew me to this book? WAFFLES.

Image result for waffles gif


Short recap: Jessie is the new girl in school, having moved in with her dad. Shortly after starting at her new school, she starts receiving emails from “Somebody Nobody”. SN offers to help Jessie get to know her new school and something she needs: a friend.

This was a fun story to read. Jessie’s character felt real as she was both frustrating and genuine. She was also naive but charming and you couldn’t help but like her. I enjoyed how she questioned everything but wanted to believe the best in people. Sounds like I would be friends with her in real life. The super fun part of this story is trying to figure out who SN could possibly be. Is it a sweet guy that wants to catch Jessie’s eye? Liam? Caleb? Ethan? I liked all three of these guys! Liam and Ethan were musicians, while Caleb and Liam were good friends. There is a reason for any of these boys to be SN but the mystery is not revealed until the end and I was so excited when SN was revealed! It was just who I wanted it to be. *heart eye emoji*

Do know that this is not just a book about a mysterious SN emailing Jessie wanting to be her friend. This always deals with friendships, families, and grief. This is just just about a boy with a crush. There are some heavier topics and I think Buxbaum did a great job with all of it. She wrote about how important friends and family really are. Nobody’s family is perfect so we all have to do our best to make it great. I felt that between Jessie and her dad. Their bond really made me smile. I wish more books had great dads like hers. The way Buxbaum also handled the loss of a parent was well done. That is never an easy topic and one authors normally shy away from, but it was covered in a very tasteful and appropriate way. Well done, Julie.

I enjoyed this so much more than I thought I would. I tore through this and was sort of sad when I was finished. I almost wanted my own SN to email me. Ignore the negative reviews and give this one a try. Make your own judgement on it but know that I thought it was adorable and cannot wait to ready Buxbaum’s next novel.



Review: Ramona Blue

Ramona Blue


Julie Murphy is an insta-buy author in my world. She is a local Texas girl so I will always support her. Plus she is just hella cool. I was very excited for her newest novel, Ramona Blue, and even more excited when it became available from my library. This was a very well written story that will be important to some people and for that, I gave it a happy 4 stars.

Short recap: Ramona lives in small town Mississippi, loves swimming, is openly gay, has a pregnant older sister, has survived a terrible hurricane, and is slowly falling for her best friend, Freddie. Falling for Freddie makes her question nearly everything about herself. Can Ramona keep everything together and be able to accept this new love into her life?

Ramona was a fiercely complex character and I loved that about her. From page one she knew who she was as a person. She had been through more in her short life than most people go through in a lifetime. What did bother me most was that she felt she needed to save everyone no matter what. She felt she needed to protect and provide for her older sister after she found out she was pregnant. She felt she needed to work as much as she could after high school let out so she could pay bills. She felt she needed to give up on her dreams of getting out of her small town so she could provide for her family. I get how much she loved her family, but come on! She needed to let her sister, Hattie, fall on her face! Everyone has to experience rock bottom at some point (actually, I hope nobody has to experience that. It’s truly awful) or at least fall down and learn to pick themselves back up. Because everyone around Ramona knew she would sacrifice they were never afraid to ask her for help. It hurt me to see this teenager have to be so much older than she really was. It made me want to slap her daddy for putting that much pressure on one daughter and not the other. Or maybe that is just the sign of a good book, to be able to stir up so many emotions that way.

The other thing about Ramona’s character that stood out was how much she beat herself up internally because she knew she was gay but started developing feelings for her childhood male friend, Freddie. It felt like she was so against being bisexual or anything other than lesbian that she was embarrassed by it. Why was it so difficult for her to accept what was going on? Loving people of both sexes did not make her a horrible person! She did not have to fit under any one label, but she put too much pressure on herself to do just that – fit under a specific label. I wish she had just calmed down a little bit about it.

The rest of the characters played their part and I can see why they were there. I know that sounds cliche and vague, but hear me out. Ramona had few friends outside of the ones she worked with at her after school job. I don’t remember any of them standing out to me too much but that was just me. This story really focused more on Ramona, Freddie, and Ramona’s pregnant sister.

The one thing that fell short for me was the swimming. Ramona was supposed to be madly in love with swimming but it felt like it was hardly touched upon. I wish that had been expanded on more. Other than that, this was a wonderful story! It made me start asking questions and pondering about things. It also brought up emotions for me and made me feel things about fictional characters so kudos to you, Ms. Murphy! Well done. I hope everyone gives this book a chance.




Waiting on Wednesday: Lucky In Love

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

This week’s pre-publication “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:


Lucky In Love by Kasie West

Lucky in Love



From Goodreads:

“In this new contemporary from YA star Kasie West, a girl who wins the lottery learns that money can cause more problems than it solves, especially when love comes into the picture.

Maddie doesn’t believe in luck. She’s all about hard work and planning ahead. But one night, on a whim, she buys a lottery ticket. And then, to her astonishment —

She wins!

In a flash, Maddie’s life is unrecognizable. No more stressing about college scholarships. Suddenly, she’s talking about renting a yacht. And being in the spotlight at school is fun… until rumors start flying, and random people ask her for loans. Now, Maddie isn’t sure who she can trust.

Except for Seth Nguyen, her funny, charming coworker at the local zoo. Seth doesn’t seem aware of Maddie’s big news. And, for some reason, she doesn’t want to tell him. But what will happen if he learns her secret?

With tons of humor and heart, Kasie West delivers a million-dollar tale of winning, losing, and falling in love.”


Kasie West is an instabuy for me so you have to know I’m super excited to read her new story. Is this on your TBR?


Top Ten Tuesday: Best YA Dads

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week they have a different theme for bloggers to post their top tens about, and this week I’m listing…

Best Dads in YA




Charlie Swan




Arthur Weasley (<3)

Best Father's in YA Literature



Sam Quintana

Aristotle and Dante



Hazel’s Dad

The Fault in Our Stars



Emily’s Dad

Since You've Been Gone



Jase’s Dad

My Life Next Door



Sloane’s Dad

Summer of Sloane



Jessie’s Dad

Tell Me Three Things



Carver’s Dad

Goodbye Days



Lydia’s Dad

The Serpent King




This was not as easy as I thought it would be! I struggled to find books with decent father figures. What Dads do you think should be added to this list?


ROAR by Cora Carmack: Release Day Launch, Excerpt, and Giveaway!



From New York Times bestselling author Cora Carmack comes her debut young adult fantasy, ROAR! Now available, ROAR takes readers on an adventure filled with charismatic characters in an enthralling world sure to keep them turning the pages. Grab your copy today!



About ROAR (Stormheart #1):

New York Times bestselling author Cora Carmack’s young adult debut: Roar.

In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.
She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.


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“This life is not glamorous,” Duke told her. “We travel constantly. We sleep on the ground most nights. When we’re not in danger from storms, we’re in danger in cities where we are considered criminals. This life is not for the faint of heart.”

“There are things I do not know, things I will have to learn. But I am capable. I am familiar with sacrifice. I know what it is to make hard choices.”

“Tell me you’re not considering this,” Locke said to Duke.

The old man was silent for a long moment, both Locke and Roar looking to him for support. Duke rubbed at his mustache, a habit of his when he was thinking deeply. “Let’s think about this, Locke. She’s smart. And determined.”

“She’s a child.”

Roar’s shoulders hunched in Locke’s peripheral vision, and he swallowed back the guilt. He could apologize later. For now, it was imperative that he won this argument.

You were a child when I brought you into the fold,” Duke said. “She’s a young woman with a good head on her shoulders. And if this is what she wants, I’m inclined to at least hear her out.”

Just like that, Roar’s shoulders straightened, and Locke turned to watch a devastating smile bloom across her mouth. His weakness when it came to her only made him more cross.

“What skills do you have?” he snapped at Roar.


“Yes, skills. What can you do? Or do you just plan to tag along for the ride?”

A flush spread over her cheeks, and her voice was tentative when she answered, “I’m good on a horse. Very good.”

Where in the world would she have learned to ride? He quickly hardened his expression. “Horses are fine for travel, but they don’t do well in storms. They, unlike you, have good survival instincts.”

As soon as the words were out of his mouth, Locke could have sworn he felt an updraft—the first sign that bad weather could occur—and he knew that this time he had pushed too far.

Roar marched toward him, spearing a finger into his chest and said, “I can read and write. I can speak Taraanese, Finlaghi, and Odilarian. I can read maps. I know enough about grassland vegetation and wildlife to survive without a market to buy food and drink. I’m good with knives and a bow. I learn quickly, and I’m not afraid of hard work. And I’ve spent my entire life reading as much about storms as I could get my hands on.” For a moment, her voice cracked under the weight of her anger, but she took a huffing breath and continued: “I’m good with numbers. It’s been a while, but I think I can probably still draw the constellations from memory, which should make me decent at navigation. I can—“

“Enough.” Locke’s voice came out in a deep rasp. He captured her long, delicate finger in his fist before she could continue poking him. He felt short of breath at the sight of her—livid and lovely. “Enough.”

The old Locke might have kept arguing, and Roar would have met him toe-to-toe. But if becoming a storm hunter had taught him anything, it was that fighting head-on wasn’t always the way to win. Sometimes strategy was required. He met Duke’s eyes over her shoulder, and if he had thought Roar looked smug before, she had nothing on his mentor. The man raised his eyebrows in a challenge and asked, “You?”

He hated the idea of bringing someone into this dangerous life, but if it was going to happen regardless, he sure as hell wouldn’t hand her safety over to anyone else, not even Ransom. And at the very least, it would give him the opportunity to change her mind. He gritted his teeth and nodded his acceptance.



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About Cora Carmack:

Cora Carmack is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. Since she was a teenager, her favorite genre to read has been fantasy, and now she’s thrilled to bring her usual compelling characters and swoon-worthy romance into worlds of magic and intrigue with her debut YA fantasy, Roar. Her previous adult romance titles include the Losing It, Rusk University, and Muse series. Her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages around the world. Cora splits her time between Austin, TX and New York City, and on any given day you might find her typing away at her computer, flying to various cities around the world, or just watching Netflix with her kitty Katniss. But she can always be found on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and her website


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