First Lines Fridays

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FIRST LINES FRIDAYS IS A WEEKLY FEATURE FOR BOOK LOVERS HOSTED BY WANDERING WORDS. WHAT IF INSTEAD OF JUDGING A BOOK BY ITS COVER, ITS AUTHOR OR ITS PRESTIGE, WE JUDGED IT BY ITS OPENING LINES?
  • PICK A BOOK OFF YOUR SHELF (IT COULD BE YOUR CURRENT READ OR ON YOUR TBR) AND OPEN TO THE FIRST PAGE
  • COPY THE FIRST FEW LINES, BUT DON’T GIVE ANYTHING ELSE ABOUT THE BOOK AWAY JUST YET – YOU NEED TO HOOK THE READER FIRST
  • FINALLY… REVEAL THE BOOK!
COPY AND PASTE THE TEXT AND BANNER (OR MAKE YOUR OWN!) ABOVE FOR YOUR OWN FIRST LINES FRIDAYS POSTS.  MAKE SURE TO COMMENT YOUR FIRST LINES BELOW SO THAT OTHER PEOPLE CAN CHECK THEM OUT!

Okay here goes!

 

Dust Rose on the horizon.

Cora shaded her eyes against the unnaturally large alien sun. The approaching truck began to take shape as it cut through the thick dust clouds, tearing across Armstrong preserve’s scrubby desert landscape toward the patch of bare land where she and her friends stood. Beside her, Rolf held Nok’s hand tightly. Leon paced a few feet away, sweat streaming down his brow. Whoever –whatever — was in that truck, the four of them, alone and unarmed and malnourished, couldn’t possibly be much of a match.

 

Now scroll down…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not quite yet, so keep going…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Almost there….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just a little more…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Gauntlet 

(The Cage #3)

Megan Shepherd

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Published May 23, 2017 by HarperCollins

Cora and her friends have escaped the Kindred station and landed at Armstrong—a supposed safe haven on a small moon—where they plan to regroup and figure out how to win the Gauntlet, the challenging competition to prove humanity’s intelligence and set them free. But Armstrong is no paradise; ruled by a power-hungry sheriff, it’s a violent world where the teens are enslaved and put to work in mines. As Nok’s due date grows closer, and Mali and Leon journey across space to rescue Cassian, the former inhabitants of the cage are up against impossible odds.

With the whole universe at stake, Cora will do whatever it takes, including pushing her body and mind to the breaking point, to escape Armstrong and run the Gauntlet. But it isn’t just a deranged sheriff she has to overcome: the other intelligent species—the Axion, Kindred, Gatherers, and Mosca—all have their own reasons to stop her. Not knowing who to trust, Cora must rely on her own instincts to win the competition, which could change the world—though it might destroy her in the process.

I love this series! I’ve been putting off reading The Gauntlet for the longest time and I really need to change that very soon because I miss Cora and Cassian and the rest of the gang.


Have you read this book yet? What did you think? Leave your comments down below. I’d love to hear from you!

As always, thank you for stopping by and reading. Hope you have a funtastic weekend!

Sincerely Karen Jo

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October and November Wrap Up

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Sooo work, adulting, the holidays and just life in general threw me off my blogging/reading/reviewing routine for the last two months. Not that I had a great one to begin with. I’m 10 books behind my Goodreads Reading Challenge and oh just about 34 books behind my Netgalley TBR…

Anyway, I managed to read 5 books in October and 7 in November. Not bad right?! I also did really well restraining myself from buying or requesting more books. I didn’t buy anything from Bookoutlet during Black Friday, but I did browse and added 10 books in my cart. Saving them for the next big sale or whatever’s left of it. I requested only 3 books from Netgalley — they’re Entrangled Teen Crush books, so I know I can breeze through those. And I purchased ONLY ONE book from Barnes and Nobles. So very proud of myself since last year I splurged and bought about 30 books.

I really enjoyed all the books I read. I don’t think I rated any below 4 stars so without further ado, here are the books I got through in October and November.

To read my full review, just click the title of the book.


October 

A Messy, Beautiful Life by Sara Jade Alan

5 ★ – SO ACHINGLY BEAUTIFUL

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A Messy, Beautiful Life by Sara Jade Alan is a lovely story about learning to find humor in life despite dealing with something really terrible. It’s riveting, deeply affecting, and very inspiring. While some parts are heartbreaking and just really sad, this book is also filled with so many fun, hilarious, and heartwarming moments that will make you smile and laugh out loud. Everything about this book is just so achingly beautiful. I love this story with all my heart and can’t recommend it enough.

No Plain Rebel by M.C. Frank

5 ★ – INCREDIBLY FASCINATING AND BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN

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No Plain Rebel is just as gorgeous and enthralling as No Ordinary Star (Review). M.C. Frank has created such a unique, thrilling, and heart achingly memorable story about loss, forgiveness and hope. There were plenty of nail-biting twist and turns, fun surprises, and tender moments that kept the story moving. I felt so many emotions with this book that I thought my heart would burst into a million pieces. When Frank writes… she writes with so much passion and purpose. Every single page had meaning, beauty, and most of all – a tremendous heart!

My Sophomore Year of Rules by Jennifer DiGiovanni

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My Sophomore Year of Rules by Jennifer DiGiovanni is all kinds of fun and cuteness! Such a lovely read that left a huge dorky smile on my face.  I haven’t read the other books in the series, but that’s going to change really soon. If you’re looking for a light, hilarious, and delightful YA contemporary romance, then I highly recommend you pick this up.

A Short History of the Girl Next Door by Jared Reck

5 ★ –   SWEET, HILARIOUS AND PAINFULLY GORGEOUS

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This book seriously wrecked me, but in a terribly wonderful way — painful to read, emotional all the way, and so incredibly full of heart. Matt’s unrequited love for Tabby made me feel so many emotions. A Short History of the Girl Next Door is a fantastic story full of heart, friendship, love, loss, and never-ending supply of nerds. It’s beautiful, funny, and sad, but so real in every way.

No Vain Loss by M.C. Frank

5 ★ – WONDERFULLY BREATHTAKING ENDING

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I LOVEEEEE this series so much! The FEELS in this BOOK is insanely amazing. Ahhhh so so so much LOVE for this book and series! Full review to come & author interview to come!


November

The First Kiss Hypothesis by Christina Mandelski

4.25 ★ –  SATISFYINGLY SWEET AND DELICIOUSLY ADORABLE

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I LOVE friends to lovers stories and this one most definitely did not disappoint. The plot was entertaining, hilarious, and had plenty of sweet moments that made me smile. Some parts of story were clichéd as expected and a bit cheesy, but who am I kidding… I LOVED IT ALL! And that ending… that final scene at the beach — gave me insane FEELS.

Offsetting Penalties by Ally Mathews

4.5 ★ –  IRRESISTIBLY CHARMING

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This book is an absolute delight and I truly adored every moment. The writing was fantastic and easy to read. The storyline was fast paced, funny, and charming in every way. I thought the characters were just wonderful and I enjoyed getting to know them. The romance was just so swoony and cute and obviously my favorite part.

Haven by Mary Lindsey

5 ★ – A DELICIOUSLY DARK, SEXY, AND HEART-POUNDING TALE

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I’m utterly and positively smitten with this book. Haven by Mary Lindsey is such an incredibly unique, oddly intriguing, and suspenseful tale that had me reeling and holding my breath the entire time. With a badass, sassy, and beautiful heroine like Freddie, a handsome, tough, and brave hero with a gentle heart like Rain, and a wonderfully spellbinding story that’s hard to forget, Haven gave me the most amazing spine-tingling thrills and chills.

Saving It by Monica Murphy

4.5 ★ – FLIRTY, HILARIOUS AND INCREDIBLY SWOONY

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Another cutesy and fun read from Entangled Teen Crush! The plot is also interesting and had plenty of lovey dovey aww moments that made me all fuzzy and warm.  And the ending… so stinkin’ cute and romantic and just so wonderfully done that you’ll want to replay the moment over and over. Definitely one of the cutest friends-lovers romance stories.

Busted by Gina Ciocca

4.5 ★ – Super Adorable and Swoony

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This story was so fun and cute. I loved the concept, the drama, the romance and the mystery. I’ll have my full review for posted in a few days

Instructions for a Secondhand Heart by Tamsyn Murray

4.5 ★ –  PAINFULLY REAL, INCREDIBLY AFFECTING AND HEART ACHINGLY BEAUTIFUL

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Tamsyn Murray created such a lovely story about loss, self-discovery, second chances, and love. The storyline, while full of heart shattering situations, was riveting, sweet and at times even funny. The writing was undeniably moving, laced with beauty and sincerity, and just so utterly gorgeous that deeply affected me from beginning to end.

The Heartbreak Cure by Amanda Ashby

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The Heartbreak Cure by Amanda Ashby is a delightful friends to lovers story that satisfied my endless cravings for adorable romance reads. I’ll be posting my review for this next week as part of the blog tour hosted by ChapterbyChapter.


 

So, how did you do with your November TBR? What were some of your favorite books? Have you read any of the books on my list? Let me know in the comments down below!

As always, thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful weekend!

Sincerely Karen Jo

Review – Instructions for a Secondhand Heart by

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Instructions for a Secondhand Heart

Tamsyn Murray

4.5 ★ –  PAINFULLY REAL, INCREDIBLY AFFECTING AND HEART ACHINGLY BEAUTIFUL
PUBLISHED BY POPPY December 5, 2017
GENRE(S): YOUNG ADULT, CONTEMPORARY, ROMANCE
HARDCOVER 320 PAGES
PURCHASE LINKS: AMAZONBARNES AND NOBLE  – KOBOINDIEBOUND

SYNOPSIS

Jonny knows better than anyone that life is full of cruel ironies. He’s spent every day in a hospital hooked up to machines to keep his heart ticking. Then when a donor match is found for Jonny’s heart, that turns out to be the cruellest irony of all. Because for Jonny’s life to finally start, someone else’s had to end.

That someone turns out to be Neve’s twin brother, Leo. When Leo was alive, all Neve wanted was for him (and all his glorious, overshadowing perfection) to leave. Now that Leo’s actually gone forever, Neve has no idea how to move forward. Then Jonny walks into her life looking for answers, her brother’s heart beating in his chest, and everything starts to change.

Together, Neve and Jonny will have to face the future, no matter how frightening it is, while also learning to heal their hearts, no matter how much it hurts.

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REVIEW

Instructions for a Secondhand Heart absolutely broke my heart and then wonderfully pieced it back together. It’s painfully real, incredibly affecting, and just so beautifully written that I still can’t stop thinking about it.

Tamsyn Murray created such a lovely story about loss, self-discovery, second chances, and love. The storyline, while full of heart shattering situations, was riveting, sweet and at times even funny. The writing was undeniably moving, laced with beauty and sincerity, and just so utterly gorgeous that deeply affected me from beginning to end. The emotions I felt while reading this book made my heart hurt, but also filled it with so much hope and joy. I smiled, laughed, cried, loved, cried even more, and then smiled again. This was such a torturous, but positively emotional read that will stay with me for a very long time.

The characters in this book were so well-written and developed. Complex, flawed, and a little broken, but so real that you can’t help but just feel for them and cheer them on.

Jonny may have spent most of his life in the hospital and can be morbid at times, but he’s also genuine, charming, funny and really sweet. I completely adored him and rooted for him the entire time. Through the ups and downs, the happy and the very sad, I truly enjoyed following Jonny on his journey. He definitely stumbled and made plenty of mistakes, but along the way, Jonny also found something really amazing.

Neve’s stubborn, cold, and quite cynical that I had a difficult time liking her. I also didn’t enjoy her POV for most of the story – she was just so angry and negative. But Jonny’s friendship made her thaw little by little. With Jonny, Neve became someone different, a better version of herself – a girl who takes chances, trusts, smiles, laughs, and even falls in love. She was the hardest character to like, but by the end, I loved Neve as much as I did Jonny.

Speaking of friendships, the one between Jonny and Emily was so sweet and heartwarming. I loved their scenes together and wish there were more of them. Their inside jokes, their bantering, and the adorable way they cared about each other made my heart melt.

Instructions for a Secondhand Heart is an achingly delightful story about love, trust, friendship and forgiveness. Through Jonny and Neve’s journey, the author gracefully shows that even a terrible and painful situation can ultimate lead to something really beautiful. This book made me FEEL SO MUCH – it’s raw, emotional, sad, but uplifting in every way. If you’re looking for a story that will inspire, move, and teach you something about life, then I highly recommend this book.

I received an advance reader copy of this book from @TheNOVL in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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tamsynAbout the Author

Tamsyn Murray was born in Cornwall in the Chinese Year of the Rat. This makes her charming, creative and curious (on a good day) but also selfish, restless and impatient (v. v. bad day).

After moving around a lot when she was growing up, she now lives in Hertfordshire with her husband, daughter and son. At least her body does. Her mind tends to prefer imaginary places and wanders off whenever it can but that’s not necessarily a bad thing in a writer.

Tamsyn writes everything from picture books to YA. She teaches City University’s Writing for Children course in London. She loves hearing funny stories but advises people to be very careful what they say to her, especially if she has a pen in her hand.

Follow and Connect with Tamsyn Murray 

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Thank you for reading my review and I hope you add this heartwarming book to your TBR.

Don’t forget to leave your comments down below. I’d love to hear what you think.

Sincerely Karen Jo