Book Review: I Hold Your Heart – Karen Gregory

synopsis single

The tense, tender must-read book of the summer – perfect for fans of Louise O’Neill and Sara Barnard

‘You make me feel like there’s something good in the world I can hold on to,’ Aaron says. He kisses me again, draws me so close it’s almost hard to breathe. ‘I love you, Gem. And I promise I’ll hold your heart forever.’

When Gemma meets Aaron, she feels truly seen for the first time. Their love story is the intense kind. The written-in-the-stars, excluding-all-others kind. The kind you write songs about.

But little by little their relationship takes over Gemma’s life. What happens when being seen becomes being watched, and care becomes control?

Told in both Gemma’s and Aaron’s words, this is a raw, moving exploration of gaslighting in teenage relationships that skewers our ideas of what love looks like

 


 

My Thoughts 2

 

Puuh! * scratches forehead * That book definitely wasn´t what I expected it would be.

You know the feeling when you see a book title and you think “meh” but then you read the tagline and think ” Oh?”

`When does love become possession?`

Oh? indeed. Seriously, I had so many things going on in my head. Young adult with the promise of a true crazy character?  I wanted the crazy. The full-on stalker, bat shit loon from our worst nightmares. Well, I got more than I asked for, I can tell you that much. And I fully enjoyed every minute I spent reading.

`I Hold Your Heart` by author Karen Gregory sounds relatively harmless but the story… The way it starts and how it develops and the way it ends… I´m impressed.

 

A powerful story about an abusive relationship between college students.

 

I´ve read many young adult novels that had abusive characters or were about abusive relationships but hardly any of those novels come close to `I Hold Your Heart`. I hold your heart

You meet Gemma / Gem, a young college student, who is your everyday young woman and shortly after you meet the wonderful Aaron, also a college student attending the same college as Gemma. They have an insta-attraction and from there on, their story unfolds. And boy, does it unfold. It unfolded downhill for everyone involved in the story.

This is not one of those stories that try to make you fall in love with the Hero. There´s no chance for that because from the get-go you have this indescribable ill feeling that you can´t shake off. That certain something that sets off all alarm bells although nothing terrible has happened ( yet ). You like the Hero ( Aaron ), you might even put up with his odd ways or even wave his behavior off, dismissing it and blaming it on true love. But then you quickly get sucked in and realize how systematically he works and it´s painful to witness. You know this. The Hero knows it. All the sub characters were aware of it and sometimes Gemma was aware of it, as well. You can understand how easily Gemma overlooked the warning signs.

This is what makes this story so fascinating. A reader witnesses the excruciating slow burn abuse inflicted upon the Hero´s one and only true love, Gemma. Is it pretty? Absolutely not. It´s spooky, actually. And come to think of it – It´s all realistic. You suddenly realize that this could have happened to someone near you. Or perhaps it´s happening now and you´re not aware of it.

And the writing? Well, you won´t hear me complaining. It´s clean and sharp.


 

Would I recommend this book? I would. I think there should be more novels about abusive relationships and the effects they have on the victims and the people around them.

Would I reread this book? I would. I will. This gem is going to be placed on my sacred top bookshelf.

 

 

The Cover – 4 Stars:   Not exactly what I would call fantabulous but it was enough to grab my attention.

The Story – 5 Stars:  Well paced. Gripping. Nail – bite-worthy. Emotionally brutal. Powerful. What I loved most was how a reader doesn´t get a sugar-coated happily ever after. A reader gets a realistic ending. One I appreciated.

The Characters – 5 Stars: Aaron is perfect until you see his coercive and controlling behavior. He´s manipulative. I couldn´t have asked for a better developed character. As for Gemma,… Her character has proven that no matter how level headed or strong-minded you are, you´re not immune or safe from an abuser. I loved Gemma for being `only human`.

My emotional state after finishing this read – Emotionally pooped beyond words.

5 stars


 

You can purchase `I Hold Your Heart` by author Karen Gregory on Amazon.com

I hold your heart

 

 

Cleaning Out My Bookshelves & Giveaway

 

There comes a time in life when you just need to get rid of a few things. Stuff that´s been lying around in some dust covered corner for ages. Things you once admired but then forgotten about.

I do this. And I do this with books, too.

I know, I know. Shame on me for treating books as if they´re just objects. Things I can toss without another thought.

But I don´t toss books aside. The truth is- I just don´t want to keep books that weren´t fully my cup of tea. So, I give them away. Usually, I just give all my sorted out paperbacks to my bestie, Mirjam, but this time I had something else in mind.

Why not do a GIVEAWAY? An international one ( because I hate, yes, HATE when giveaways aren´t international ( you´re welcome to read my reasons for that here )

 

It´s time to share. It´s time to give. 

 

Let´s face it, books are expensive. Paperback prices from self published authors have gone up and hardly anyone can afford a hardcover these days. It´s best to just “pay it forward” and make someone happy, right?

And the best part? This giveaway is NOT your typical giveaway. No one has to participate in a game / quiz or answer questions to enter. The first to claim a book in the comments will receive said book. Voila! No strings attached.


Mandatory Info:

  • Paperback Giveaway ( +1 Hardcover )
  • Book Condition:                  Used, In good shape
  • Giveaway starts:                 Thursday, May 2nd, 2019
  • Giveaway ends:                   Saturday, May 4th, 2019
  • Winner announcement:    Sunday, May 5th, 2019
  • International Giveaway
  • Winner will be contacted via email or DM ( please include email addy or Twitter username along with the book you´d like to have in the comments below )
  • Unclaimed books will be given to the second in line for said book

 

And now for the books.

giveaway books

 

#1    Vicious – L. J. Shen ( Paperback )

Vicious give

Book Condition:    A crack in the spine, otherwise as good as new.

 

 

#2    Cinder & Ella – Kelly Oram  ( Paperback )

vicious give 3

Book Condition:    Immaculate

Genre:   Young Adult, Romance

 

 

#3    Love Song – Sophia Bennett  ( Paperback )

vicious give2

Book Condition:    Immaculate

Genre:    Young Adult, Romance, Rockstar

 

 

The Cruel Prince  ( Book #1 ) – Holly Black ( Hardcover )

Vicious give 4

Book Condition:    As good as new

Genre:   Fantasy, Young Adult

 

 

Hush, Hush ( Book #1 ) – Becca Fitzpatrick  ( Paperback )

vicious give 5

Book Condition:    Spine lightly cracked

Genre:    Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance

 


 

Remember: All you need to do is leave a comment with the book you´d like below. The first person to claim a book will receive said book.


 

On a kind note: If you aren´t already feel free to check out my other blog posts. Leave a like, leave a comment or do both and if you like what you see then feel free to follow.


 

Good luck. See you on Sunday. ♥

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Book Review: The Butterfly Project – Emma Scott

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“Where you are is home…”

At age fourteen, Zelda Rossi witnessed the unthinkable, and has spent the last ten years hardening her heart against the guilt and grief. She channels her pain into her art: a dystopian graphic novel where vigilantes travel back in time to stop heinous crimes—like child abduction—before they happen. Zelda pitches her graphic novel to several big-time comic book publishers in New York City, only to have her hopes crash and burn. Circumstances leave her stranded in an unfamiliar city, and in an embarrassing moment of weakness, she meets a guarded young man with a past he’d do anything to change…

Beckett Copeland spent two years in prison for armed robbery, and is now struggling to keep his head above water. A bike messenger by day, he speeds around New York City, riding fast and hard but going nowhere, his criminal record holding him back almost as much as the guilt of his crime. 

Zelda and Beckett form a grudging alliance of survival, and in between their stubborn clash of wills, they slowly begin to provide each other with the warmth of forgiveness, healing, and maybe even love. But when Zelda and Beckett come face to face with their pasts, they must choose to hold on to the guilt and regret that bind them, or let go and open their hearts for a shot at happiness. 

The Butterfly Project is a novel that reveals the power of forgiveness, and how even the smallest decisions of the heart can—like the flutter of a butterfly’s wings—create currents that strengthen into gale winds, altering the course of a life forever.


My Thoughts 2

I feel like I deserve to be kicked. I had `The Butterfly Project` on my TBR pile for over a full year and didn´t feel moved to read it. Why? Well, I have one excuse that makes me feel a little better.

I bought this at the RARE Berlin ´17 book signing, straight from the source, at Emma Scott´s table. I walked right up to her and told her I needed something to read that doesn´t involve college students.

“Please have something that involves adults. I need a romance. I need something with substance. I need to be able to relate.”

I must have looked like a mad woman because the confusion on her face spoke volumes. But she was quick. While I was still talking she picked `The Butterfly Project`for me and I bought it. I was a desperate mess and in the need of something that didn´t have over the top characters.The Butterfly Project

After that I drove home and totally forgot about the book again ( despite my desperation ).

Over a year later….

I finally pushed myself to read `The Butterfly Project`. Now I feel all sorts of awful because this is exactly what I wanted. Emma Scott´s writing and storytelling skill is right up my alley. The author has an uncanny ability to draw a reader in with her words.

So easy. So subtle. So worth every minute of my time. 

I won´t bother giving you my own book description ( because they´re too” special” ). The synopsis does a far better job than I ever could. Instead, I´ll just gush out my feelings for this story.

At first, I didn´t know what exactly to expect. But then with each turned page I fell more and more in love. The story is one of those makes – you – feel – good types of reads, even though nothing is perfect. The characters are flawed, even until the end. The issues the couple struggle with aren´t magically gone after the first kiss.

Let´s introduce the MCs:

Zelda ( Heroine ) was a treat. Despite her miserable past she was still strong willed and caring. What a wonderful soul. I was touched and I loved.

Beckett, the Hero…. Good laawd, that man * takes dramatic sip of coke * He´s a proper book boyfriend ( if there is such a thing ). A picture book perfect Hero with just the right balance.

Both even functioned amazingly well as a couple! I cannot ask for more.

`The Butterfly Project`is a standalone, dual POV, slow burn and kind romance that´ll definitely leave an impression.


Would I recommend this book? Yes. I would. For romance lovers who enjoy a good heart warmer…. definitely.

Would I reread this book? * nod *


 

The Cover – 3 Stars: The cover image doesn´t do much for me.

The Story – 5 Stars: I have no major complaints.

The Characters – 5 Stars: A treat, I tell you. A TREAT!

My emotional state after finishing this read: 100% satisfied.

5 stars

Buy the book!   Amazon.com    ◊    Amazon.co.uk


 Morgana´s Book Box Instagram Fearure

 

November Bookshelf Clean – Out

It´s time for the unthinkable – Time to clean out the bookshelves!

I know, right? It hurts to think about permanently removing books from a bookshelf. I don´t like it either, to be honest. It pains me just as much as it would hurt any other book lover / hoarder /collector/ ( or whatever we like to call ourselves ). It´s also November. A bridge month between Halloween and Christmas. I have nothing else to do besides spring clean, or should I say… autumn clean?

But, if we´re all honest with ourselves… not every book on our bookshelves is worth the spot it´s occupying. And I´ve had it up to here * holding hand up and leveling it with my cheekbone * looking at the books I didn´t like or haven´t read. Why should I keep what I thought wasn´t out of this world great?

So I have a plan. One that might work in my favor. Trust me, I´ve thought about this for a long time ( exactly 20 minutes ) and am totally okay with this master plan of mine. This might sound a little savage to you lovely bookworms out there… but I assure you, no harm has been done to books nor do I intend to harm any books mentioned in this post.

The TBR pile. That blasted, grief giving pile needs a clean out.

From a logical point of view – There shouldn´t even be a to – be – read list. Read what you want and move on to the next book, right? If one would actually do this then there wouldn´t be such a flipping list. We´re not looking at this from a logical point of view, though. Readers / book bloggers keep piling book after book on each other, feeding the ever starving TBR list. Why do we do this? Because we like to read. It´s an endless cycle I´m about to break for myself.

The problem with my TBR pile / list is: I have books on that list that I´ve bought 5 years ago. And once a week I remove the dust off those TBR books and watch them collect a new layer of dust all over again.

My master plan: SORT THEM OUT! That´s right. You read correct. I AM FED UP! * waves arms dramatically in the air * I will no longer put up with the misery that´s attached to a TBR list. So, I began. And guess what? I got rid of nearly half of my physical TBR books.

How did I do that, you ask? I´m glad you asked. I figured… since my tastes have changed over the years.. my taste for certain books might have changed as well. I was right!

We all need to sit down and ask ourselves WHY certain books land on a TBR list. My reasons are:

  • The book sounded interesting, but not interesting enough to make me want to drop everything and read immediately
  • The book looked good
  • The book was recommended by a friend

I have a very peculiar taste when it comes to books. I read romances but not all types of romances. I read paranormal and fantasy but not all types. I´m super picky when it comes to sub genres and often, when I get a book, I find out much later that it has certain elements included that I don´t really fancy. So, those books land on my TBR list because I can read it in the far future,.. possibly when I have nothing to read.

* insert hysterical laugh *

Another thing I´d like to say about the nerve wrecking TBR list. Once a book lands there, there´s no telling when or if I´ll ever read it.
I bid all my former TBR books farewell. It was nice dusting you off.

Now, let´s get to the nitty gritty of my bookshelf clean out.

This won´t come to a huge surprise to you all but… I have a shit load of books. So many that one might think I have a problem. The main spot for my books: My livingroom. Then bedroom, bathroom, basement, kitchen, car…. I have books everywhere around the house. This means I actually had no flipping clue how many books I actually have.

The results, after collecting all the books and placing them in my livingroom, were shocking.

book friday clean

There is a positive side to this, though. If I read a book and wander around with it then it´s actually a good sign. It means I couldn´t put the book down! But, by God… so many books scattered around the house.

Unfortunately, these books are also on the clean – out list. Books from series I´ve started and never really felt the need to continue, book series I totally forgot about, etc. The list is ENDLESS!

I´m not the only one to blame here. It´s not entirely my fault that I´ve lost interest in most series. I put half the blame on authors who don´t think it´s revelant to publish within a year´s time span ( I predict a dark future for the next Game of Thrones book).

So, my new goal will be to organize EVERY book I have and categorize them in different sections. Beware though. I´m a complete beast when it comes to organizing shit. I´m one of those super anal organizers who buy a pack of multi – colored rhinestones and sort them out by color in one night. Organizing books will be a piece of cake!

As much as I love to organize by color, I´m going to do the following:

Organize books by;

  1. Author
  2. Publication date
  3. Series / Standalones

Then I will take stock of what I have, who´s apparently my favorite author and begin to sift out what´s hot and what´s not.

  1. Everything with a 4 star and above stays
  2. Everything with a 3 star gets a reread
  3. Everything with a 2 star and beneath needs to go

It´s that simple.

This will not only help create more space on my bookshelves, it will also keep me more focused on keeping my TBR list to a minimum and being more conscious about buying my next read.

With that being said- I feel absolutely great about this whole bookshelf clean – out. It´s cleansing in the best way possible!

NOTE: All sorted out books will not land in a book graveyard. They´ll be kept in a box until they find good, loving and caring homes.

ON ANOTHER NOTE: Personalized signed books will land in my ever trusting IKEA storage box, where I keep all my other golden book babies.

book friday
A mug in the middle of a book mess

 

Tell me: What do you do with your TBR list? Do you clean out your bookshelves once in a while or does your collection just keep growing? I´d love to read your thoughts!

 

Have a wonderful day and don´t forget to share the book love!

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Book Review: The Divorce ( The Relationship Quo #1 ) – Nicole Strycharz

Synopsis

Jenzy: I love my husband, but he doesn’t see me anymore. We were collage sweethearts and for seven years I’ve been his wife. Five of those years were bliss; the last two have been a long fall from grace.

He’s the love of my life, the sexy and smart man I saw my future with, but now I don’t think he sees it too. I’m tired of not being seen, I’m tired of not being heard, and I’m tired of being in love alone.
I was his optimistic hippie girl that he couldn’t get enough of. Now I’m just his annoyance.

So I told him, I finally found the backbone and this is our story….

Chris: My wife just told me she wants a divorce. What the hell do I say to that? I thought we were fine-, well fine is a bad word, I thought we were okay. Doesn’t matter what I think because she’s moving out and I can’t really let this happen.

Yeah, she annoys me, we’re total opposites, but I knew that when I met her, she hasn’t changed…maybe I have? I was her anchor, her safety, her home. Now I’m that guy that’s wreaked her and there are plenty of men willing to repair the damage I did.

So I have a plan. Find out what happened to change my affection for her within the last two years, and win her back before someone else does, because I still love her, and she still loves me….I guess….

 

My Thoughts

This is definitely one of those “It´s not the book. It´s me.” cases, as I can see why so many would absolutely fall in love with this book. Everyone except for me.

After I read the synopsis I was ready to dive head first into a story about grown-ups who struggled with married life and a divorce. I mean – The Synopsis revealed that much.

I got exactly what the synopsis promised but in a way I wasn´t prepared for.

I might be completely alone with my opinion but`The Divorce` ( The Relationship Quo #1 ) by Nicole Strycharz wasn´t my cup of tea. The Divorce

The idea of the story was great. The execution wasn´t. In fact – there were a whole list of things I didn´t enjoy about this romance.

  1. Married couple are too opposite and stayed that way.

Yeah yeah. I know. Opposites attract. Hell, I even married a guy who´s my complete opposite. But when you´re a couple you rub off on each other after being together for years. You grow with each other ALL WHILE staying true to yourselves. You have a common ground. The characters in `The Divorce`had nothing of the sort. I expect a little more than just a ” He´s the clean and neat business guy and she´s the chaotic hippy.” I need growth. Couple development. I need to see characters compromise and find a common ground.

2) Hero´s a glorified prick. Oh, how I disliked Chris ( Hero ). But this might be because I have no sympathy for characters who are hurtful and refuse the “see the light”. The message I got from him was, “I´m just an oversized boy wearing a suit who´s lost his favorite toy.”  To this moment, I´m still convinced he didn´t see the light.

3) Jenzy ( Heroine) the hippy was unhappy. I understood that. I also understood why she wanted a divorce. Her character wasn´t exactly grounded, though. She filed for the divorce but kept giving in to her still husband. She dated a guy who suited her more yet she still went back to the prick when he magically popped up.

4) The flashbacks weren´t helpful. Not for the story and definitely not for the characters. In fact – they solified my opinion of the Hero. And they made me think the Heroine was strongly naive. I see how being naiive can be cute but Jenzy being THAT dewy – eyed? There´s nothing remotely cute about that.

5) The divorce. Let´s not kid ourselves. Divorces can be ugly. No matter how settled a couple approaches a divorce, one half always suffers more or both suffer terribly. The approach was a bit flat and ended up in a chaotic mess I hardly understood. I couldn´t feel either side. The divorce didn´t feel like one. The divorce felt like a code word for taking a break.

6) The dialogue. Okay. This is definitely something to argue over. In my opinion the dialogue wasn´t emotional, either. If a couple separates, and one half says he´ll do anything to get the marriage working again, I want to feel it. I wan´t to see it. If the other half says she´s hurt and tired of fighting then maybe, MAYBE a reader deserves to feel that exhaustion or pain in the characters words? Am I asking for too much?

 

Let´s do a quick recap:

The marriage the couple had was a mess. The characters weren´t really into whatever they set out to do. The way they approached their relationship / divorce was chaotic.

I`M unhappy.

Would I recommend this book? This is tricky. I would but only if a reader doesn´t care about emotions in a story. For everyone else who wants all the feels? I´d say skip this read.

Would I re- read this book? No.

 

The Cover – 3 stars ( I like the simplicity of the cover but it´s nothing to go nuts over )

The Characters – 1-2 stars ( *sigh* I´m not going there again )

The Story – 2-3 stars ( I love myself a good relationship story. If it´s good. )

My emotional state after finishing this read – Unhappy.

2 stars

This book is available on Amazon.com