Stacking the Shelves #34


Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

I actually got a ton of books these past two weeks. many were spur of the moment blog tours or gifts from authors. Some were complete surprises at all like the ones listed under "giftd" and "borrowed from friends." The library books were just gut pick-ups. Stuff such at this.

Borrowed from Friends

Fallen Too Far by Abbi Glines (thank you, Jennifer!)
Never Too Far by Abbi Glines (thank you, Christy!)
I sort of hated these, in all honesty, but I really like the cover of book two!

Trade


All The Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry (thank you, Becky!)
Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler (thank you, Christy!)
Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder (thank you, Christy!)
an undbound manuscript of The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski (thank you, Christina!)

Surprise Gifts (thank you, Christina!)

  Heist Society by Ally Carter
Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
From What I Remember... by Stacey Kramer and Valerie Thomas
The Unfailing Light by Robin Bridges

Library

The Art of Wishing by Lindsay Ribar
Shadowlands by Kate Brian 

ARCycling

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund (thank you, Lori!)

For Review
Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols (blog tour)
Taste Test by Kelly Fiore (Netgalley)
The Weight of Souls by Bryony Pearce (publisher)
Vortex by S.J. Kincaid (Thank you, SJ!)
A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard (blog tour)

Bought
Losing It by Cora Carmack (on sale, really great NA)
Suddenly Royal by Nicole Chase (on sale, NA Princess Diaries type book)
Among the Nameless Stars by Diana Peterfreund (free novella) 


What did YOU add to your shelves this week?

Review: Enchanted by Alethea Kontis

Series: Woodcutter Sisters #1
Publication Date: May 8, 2012
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 305 (ARC)
Source: Trade
It isn't easy being the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true.

When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him back into Rumbold, the crown prince of Arilland—and a man Sunday’s family despises.

The prince returns to his castle, intent on making Sunday fall in love with him as the man he is, not the frog he was. But Sunday is not so easy to woo. How can she feel such a strange, strong attraction for this prince she barely knows? And what twisted secrets lie hidden in his past - and hers?
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

It's no secret to my readers that I could survive for the rest of my life off of fairytale re-tellings and nothing else, so I was very eager to get into this one, especially because I've never read a Frog Prince re-telling before. Granted, this novel incorporates several fairytales (like Cinderella) into it that makes it all the more delicious, but the overarching story arc is taken from the Frog Prince. I had shiver-inducing worry flashing through my mind courtesy of my dislike of Disney's most recent princess movie, The Princess and the Frog, but I'm happy to report that this book is nothing like that. Whew!

We're introduced to Sunday immediately. She's the youngest of a large group of siblings whose sisters are all named after days of the week. She tends to write and she's, unfortunately, doomed to a life of happiness. But her biggest problem is that what she tends to write down always seems to come true. I found this aspect of the novel to be extremely interesting because all of her siblings had their own unique magical ability as well and it made them very easy to tell them apart. Her sisters ranged from a pirate princess, a real princess, a tom-boy whose gifted with an ax, a girl who speaks only in poetry and prophecy, and more. Her brothers were also very interesting, too. Think of a family a la PRINCESS OF THE MIDNIGHT BALL. Big and easy to love, full of magic and mystery, though I must admit that it was easier for me to track Kontis's characterization. Make it slightly darker and you have a general idea about how Kontis's story is laid out.

So, now that you know about Sunday and her amazing family and wonderful characterization, I suppose I should tell you about the love interest. His name is Rumbold and he's the crown prince of Arilland. Sunday's family despises Rumbold because of issues he had in the past with Jack Junior, Sunday's eldest brother whose fate is a mystery (who I hope will be seen in future novels). Rumbold began the story as a frog named Grumble. And while I enjoyed Rumbold's characterization and his interesting journey back into being a human and adjusting to life on two legs after being a frog for so long, most of my issues with this book evolved around him.

Firstly, there was a very large portion of the book where he was separated from Sunday and it was rather bothersome. It was a lot of them wondering what was going on with the other, and then when they had the opportunity to meet face-to-face he felt it necessary to keep secrets from her, than he'd beat himself up over it. He could have saved himself a lot of trouble. But I suppose what confused me the most in regards to Rumbold was the fact that he heard some type of voices in his room after returning to his human form. I didn't understand if the voices were real or fake or who was speaking, the importance of such a thing, etc, for quite a while. I think that the usage of his insanity and the certain individual that this voice belonged to could be done a bit smoother.

Perhaps the one problem with this story was the fact that Sunday fell in love with a frog. Literally. She even admitted it. It was love at first ribbet--I suppose that's a cute way of saying that this was a case of insta-love. And while it bugged me, I understand its importance to the story and in keeping the fairytale alive. But, still, you can understand my frustration when our main character is reflecting on how much she misses the frog she loves so much after a few choice encounters in the magical wood outside of her home.

All in all, I really loved this. If you're looking for a unique re-telling with a deliciously dark twist and a cast of characters that is easy to love, I recommend picking up this book. I know that this is supposed to be a seven book series, one for each sister, and I can't wait for book two, HERO. Kontis is an expert storyteller, nothing can hold her amazing writing ability from shining through and she has me eagerly anticipating her future novels.


4 stars

~*~Links~*~

Introducing: Reader's Choice!

So, I've decided to pick up this new meme because I want to be in contact with my readers more. Well, more or less bi-weekly. You can put as many books as you want me to read in this list for whatever reason. You're curious about it, you think I'll enjoy it, you want more opinions before you try it, you think it sucks and want to watch me get pissed off in a review. Really, whatever you want. It can be a book I picked up at BEA that you want reviewed early, or a book that's been out for years that you think I'll love. Really, truly, whatever you want. And every two weeks I'll pick one book from this list, so that's two a month. Every review will go up within a week of completing it (two at most in case I can't get around scheduling other reviews for that week) and the bottom of the most recent review will have a new form for you to fill out for the next book! If I don't own the book, I'll do my best to trade for it or take it out of my local library.

I want to connect with my readers more, so this is your opportunity to make that happen!

I also want to thank my friends Christina at Reader of Fictions and Gillian at Writer of Wrongs for allowing me to take their idea and use it on my website, too!

This first feature will be completed in the first two weeks of July!

What do you think of this new feature?

Review: Fallen Too Far by Abbi Glines

Series: Too Far #1
Publication Date: December 14, 2012
Reading Level: New Adult, 18+
Pages: 188 (eBook)
Source: Borrowed from a friend
To want what you’re not supposed to have…

She is only nineteen.

She is his new stepfather’s daughter.

She is still naïve and innocent due to spending the last three years taking care of her sick mother.

But for twenty-four year old Rush Finlay, she is the only thing that has ever been off limits. His famous father’s guilt money, his mother’s desperation to win his love, and his charm are the three reasons he has never been told no.

Blaire Wynn left her small farmhouse in Alabama, after her mother passed away, to move in with her father and his new wife in their sprawling beach house along the Florida gulf coast. She isn’t prepared for the lifestyle change and she knows she’ll never fit into this world. Then there is her sexy stepbrother who her father leaves her with for the summer while he runs off to Paris with his wife. Rush is as spoiled as he is gorgeous. He is also getting under her skin. She knows he is anything but good for her and that he’ll never be faithful to anyone. He is jaded and has secrets Blaire knows she may never uncover but even knowing all of that…

Blaire just may have fallen too far.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

This review will undoubtedly contain spoilers for book one simply because the more I think about this book and reflect on the thoughts, the more angry I become. There will be a few choice swear words in this review. Read at your own risk. But, let me tell you, this is going to be one helluva ride.

I really enjoyed Abbi's VINCENT BOYS series, so when I found out that one of my friends could lend me her nook copy of FALLEN TOO FAR, I eagerly accepted. Abbi and I bonded over suffering the dreaded "name ending in i" curse at BEA, and I picked up a copy of her book BREATHE that I can't wait to read. She's truly a big sweetheart. But this book...this book disappointed me in every imaginable way. It has been so long since I've actually given out one star, but damn, I don't have many kind things to say about this one.

To begin, the lack of full editing bugged me. A lot. I understand that this is an indie novel, but the editing could have been taking a little more seriously. There were many missing commas, even a few apostrophes. Words were misspelled and entirely wrong words were placed in sentences that made them read awkwardly. And some properly worded sentences just read awkwardly because it did not flow. Granted, the book was very quick and easy to get through, but these editing flaws could have made it flow better than it did at times. 

And the similarities that I drew to her other series grated on my nerves as well. Rich guy that's never had to work a day in his life falls for poor girl who can't believe rich guy who is so out of her league is falling for her. It's somewhat similar to the overall concept of THE VINCENT BOYS, but I have to say the aforementioned novel was executed ten times better than this one was. It worries me that Glines is going to begin to overuse a general plot arc that she has found to work for her instead of taking the route of true originality. I don't want the repetitiveness and this realization worries me about some of her future novels. I don't want the same story to be delivered to me again in again in a plethora of different settings and lifestyles.

But you want to know what really made this book a laborious read? The main character, Blaire Wynn. Granted, she's got an awesome name, but that's about all I like about her. She is perhaps the most frustrating and nonsensical character I've met so far in 2013. I thought we had this strong main character who was independent and could protect herself with her awesome gun, but she's really just naive. Kudos for running out to find a job the very first day, but you frustrate me, Blaire. You frustrate me a lot because you had no backbone and let everyone walk all over you as they pleased. To top it all off, she is your classic case of not knowing she's beautiful, but every attractive rich guy in the area sure as hell disagrees. I can't even tell you how many times this girl was told she was beautiful by a different guy in this book, not to mention the fact that they all repeated themselves since they seemed like robots with only a few pre-programmed sayings and, of course, one of them was declaring Blaire's beauty to the world. And, of course, she totally had to disagree every time. Just stop. I hate characters like this and this began my great dislike of her. Stop fishing for compliments, it makes you look needy. 

I really don't like using GIFs in my reviews, but this one fit perfectly.
But then her lack of common sense began to show through because, well, curiosity got the better of her. This girl almost seemed to be ashamed of being a virgin at nineteen. Let me tell you, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that the way girls are losing their virginity's the second they hit puberty these days. This book is sending the wrong message. 

But then, to make matters worse, she develops a fascination with sex, specifically that evolving around her attractive and admittedly sexy older step brother, and decides to be voyeuristic. Voyeurism is gross and illegal, do not do it! You walk in on your brother the first time and stare, and he later admits that he liked you staring because that right there is totally freaking normal, right? and then it happens a second time but you're so emotionally linked to your step brother that you can't stand it. Give me a break, I can't even deal with this. I do not like anything having to do with voyeurism. You can sit there and say it was an accident because it happens all the time, say a friend walks in on another friend at a party or whatnot, but then you freak out and it becomes awkward and you leave shaking the memory from your mind. She stayed. And she stared. And she liked it and wanted to be in that girls place. And she knew she shouldn't be there, but she went and looked anyway. Voyeurism. Absolutely disgusting. Violation of anyone's privacy, especially intimate privacy, is wrong. Even if they're doing it on the porch or the couch, you heard them in advance. Use your brain and walk in the other direction or you're making yourself out to be a fool.

And Rush. I don't even understand you at all. Am I fascinated by your character because you seemed pretty awesome when you grew a heart? Yes. Am I surprised you grew a heart? Double yes, because your emergence of a heart only seemed to be there to further the plot along. It fits with nothing about his initial characterization of being a partying douchebag yes, I had to say! I am cursing in my reviews! The world is going to end and all Hell will break lose into fiery balls of justice! that does not even want Blaire in your house to a guy who is proclaiming his love for her a mere few weeks later. You gave her a month at most in your house and than you're practically begging her to move upstairs because you want to be closer to her. And you blame all of your initial haterade attitude on the fact that you were immediately attracted to her and didn't want to go down that road. Yet you went down that road anyway, and with very little resistance I may add. You make no sense. Either guzzle the haterade or don't drink it at all, but don't go sippin' on that juice whenever the mood strikes. You have the attitude of a bi-polar two year old whose used to getting every single toy he wants, but instead your toys are naked women. Ugh, just ugh. No other words.

Yet, somehow, Glines has caught my attention with you, Rush. Sad, sad, I know. I will be continuing onto book two only because I like you with a heart, even if I don't think the emergence of your heart is believable. Hopefully my reaction to book two is not a dispassionate as it has been to book one.

So, as you can guess above, this is a serious case of insta-love. I had trouble keeping track of the timing, but I know that this book spanned less than a month because of a time declaration Cain made at the end of the novel. So, this book went from a poor nineteen year old girl mourning the loss of her mother and her experienced, rich twenty-four year old step-brother hating each other to falling madly in love and having wild sex despite her being a virgin prior to meeting in a matter of, say, three weeks. *Slow claps* What more do I need to say in that regard? Again, this just makes me ask why there are so many four and five star reviews for this book. What did you guys love that I am missing? I have found nothing to love yet!

And then there's Nan, Rush's younger sister who he will do everything for. All I've got to say is this, Nan is the bitchiest bitch I have ever met. Like, she is the bitch to beat all bitches. It's just that bad. She's evil and it's not explained until the end of the novel, and even then I think her hate is childish because she's blaming Blaire and hating Blaire and trying to literally ruin Blaire's life for a bad decision that an adult made. She's overemotional, controlling, and her character seems to fit in better with a mobster scene that surrounds a pretty girl who gets to decide who dies than a posh lifestyle in Florida. You're rich, shouldn't you have better things to do with your life than guzzle the haterade? Especially since you're 21, and your new favorite punching bag is a 19 year old with the wit of gnat. 

The only characters I liked were Jimmy the gay and entertaining waiter and Bethy, the co-worker that lets rich guys take advantage of her too much but eventually learns to put her foot down. Grant was also possibly the only level-headed of Rush's siblings and Woods turned out to be a reliable boss, friend, and confidant even though he did a lot of flirting with Blaire in the beginning before he realized she had eyes for someone else. I wish there was more of them.

But the worst part of this novel was this: the secret. There was so many instances of "I can't tell you anything because it's a secret, but you have to trust me" scenarios. And Blaire was always quick to just roll over and trust. Can I just stick a note on your forehead that says "doormat" right under that pretty little Dunce hat you should be sporting right about now, Blaire? So, because she never asked for answers and then beat herself up when she asked for answers, everything eventually exploded in her face. And while I don't want to reveal the big twist (because it was rather interesting and makes me want to continue to book two only to see how it plays out) I will say this: You should NEVER glorify hurting someone important to you to benefit someone else. NEVER leave behind one person for another. If you cannot find amicable ground, you shouldn't have made your decision in the beginning. But you DO NOT cause someone else pain for the satisfaction of another. And this, ladies and gentleman, was the cherry on top of this disappointing and stale cake.

The ending was sad. But there was obviously more sex because Blaire is now a sex addict after losing her virginity a mere few days prior to the book ending. And because the ending was sad, I do want to continue onto book two with the promise that it's happier than book one from a dear friend. It just goes to show that this book can still hold your attention and make you really curious about book two because of the ending. Blaire sure as hell did not get the happily ever after that she deserved after all the devastation in her life. That's really all I have to say now.

There is only one way to describe this book and I can do so by taking a direct quote from this story from the second time that Blaire decided to explore her idiotic and gross voyeuristic tendencies:
I was moving toward the sound even thought I knew it was something I did not want to see. It was like a train wreck. I couldn't not go see it even if I didn't want it seared into my brain.
Spelling mistake and double negative and all, that is a direct quote that perfectly describes this novel in my eyes. It was a train wreck, yet somehow I kept trudging through because of Rush's interesting, yet obviously forced character arc and my curiosity about this life-altering secret. I will not be reading book two unless I can find a way to obtain it without having to spend my own money Oh, look! Someone lent it to me on my Kindle. Looks like round two is gearing up, and my fingers are crossed damn tight with the hope that book two will be better and happier than book one. I hope that none of the future Glines books that I read leave me with feelings at all similar to this one.

Meh. I just can't say anything else about this book. I severely hope book two will renew my love of Abbi Glines, because I am beyond disappointed and angry with this one. However, keep in mind that I tend to be the black sheep in this situation. Do not allow my opinions to rule your decisions or hinder you from reading this book if you want to. Know that a majority of people who have read this one fell completely in love with it for some odd, unknown reason to me.


1 star

~*~Links~*~

Discussion: A Rant About Contacts


This is a topic that I didn't think I had to discuss, but sure as hell want to now. I'll start from the beginning. Monday morning, I woke up to an e-mail that said this:

Hi Lili
Can I ask how did you get a copy for Frozen by Melissa De la Cruz? I would be very thankful if you direct me to your contact :)
C
For all intents and purposes, I am removing the e-mailer's name. So, instead, they will simply be "C."

Now, I know this is a fairly nice e-mail, but it really upset me and pissed me off.

That was my reaction, smile disappearing and all.

I don't think that C realized how rude they were being. My response was simple, I started off saying that I happened to get the book at BEA without a contact, but went on to explain that I work hard for my contacts and would appreciate if they never asked me for my contacts again. I will not share them and I think contacts are something everyone else should work towards. Somehow, I managed to remain calm before flipping out for a few minutes all my lonesome about the absurdity of it all.



So, here's my little rant. I'm by no means an experienced blogger. I've been around for a little over a year and there's still a lot for me to learn. I personally just began making contacts in the past few months and I can still count the ones I have on a single hand. It's not many, but they're contacts I'm proud of. And I did a little happy dance every time I successfully made one because it's not only a step in the right direction for blogging, but for my future as well since I hope to be in their job positions one day. And not only that, but it's showing that my little blog that, like everyone else, once had a generic design and no followers, is finally growing more and more each day. I'm beginning to make my own little mark on the blogging world, and isn't that what everyone wants?

That is why I got so defensive when someone who I've barely ever talked to just came out of  nowhere asking for the information I worked so hard for to gain for myself. I did it without help and so can everyone else, you know? It makes the moment you make a connection all the more satisfying. But instead, C just e-mailed me hoping for the information they wanted. And I'm sorry, but I will never get it to anyone, even my best blogging friends who don't share their contacts with me either.

The worst part of it all was that C just asked for my contact's information outright. They didn't ask for help and advice on how to make their own contacts, but they just wanted mine. No work on their part, all the work on my part, what's done is done.


There would have been an entirely different response if C instead asked for my advice on how to make contacts instead of asking for my own. Want to know how you make them? It's simple really, you blog. You keep on reading and requesting books when your blog is big enough to get books. You work on your own to make your blog big enough and then try to make contacts. Most of the time, it won't work out, but there will be that moment where you will get a response to an e-mail or a review book in the mail with a business card or media contact card stuck inside and you can do your own happy dance. That's what I did! I started a mere three months into blogging and it took me months, almost a year, to finally make my first contact, but I perservered. So why can't you? It's simply part of growing and it's something everyone has to do themself.

And for those of you who are young bloggers or just dedicated readers (I'm not entirely sure which C is), please know that outright asking people for their contacts is probably one of the rudest things you can do to a blogger, aside from stealing their reviews or spreading false lies about them to ruin their reputations. It's because, inadvertantly, you want to profit off of something that we worked damn hard for, even if you have the best intentions at heart.

I'm not ashamed to admit that I asked more experienced bloggers about how they made their contacts. Inky at Book Haven Extraordinaire and Krista at Nawanda Files randomly get a question from me (to this day, I might add!) asking if they think a proposal email was phrased properly or if there's a certain bit of information about myself I should include or not. But I have never outright asked for their contacts. I asked for their help in advising me to find ways to make my own contacts and the two of them are the first people to celebrate with me when I make a contact. The first time I ever got a review request accepted from Disney Hyperion, Inky jumped for joy right alongside me because she helped give me advice on drafting that e-mail for a solid hour the week before. Because she's my friend, and helping others is the right thing to do.

Help is limitless here in the blogosphere, but laziness and freebies are not acceptable when it comes to establishing yourself. If you want to be a successful blogger and get the slight perks of getting ARCs in advance because of it, than get on your computer and start typing. Establish yourself in your own way, but never take the easy way out.


I'll answer any questions to the best of my ability, but my own personal victories in the blogosphere are my own personal victories that will remain mine and only mine. And once everyone else can start making their own contacts, they can feel the same satisfaction and odd possessiveness that I feel.

This all stemmed from C, admittedly not knowing how rude her simple request truly was, but this is something I need to get off my chest because of my intense reaction and disbelief of the entire situation. New bloggers, making contacts is important, but you have to make the contacts yourself. And readers, I'm sorry to say the odds are you won't be making contacts because you can't generate the publicity they want. I started my blog on a whim, and here I am a year later, almost at 600 loyal and lovely followers. Why not give it a shot for yourself?

C, this in no way was an attack on you, but you inadvertantly started an emotional storm within me that I needed to get out.

~*~Big Edit~*~

The amazing Blythe over at Finding Bliss in Books has helped me figure out that C has been contacting several other bloggers with the same message. If she's contacted you, please DM me at @LiliReflects or e-mail me at reflectionsbylili@gmail.com because of how wrong this is.

We've done some detective work and found her blog, youtube, goodreads, and twitter. This girl is an established blogger. Not only that, she's got more followers than me and Blythe. And normally stats mean absolutely nothing to me, but a girl going around who has a bigger blog than either of us asking for our contacts makes me really mad. I'd really love to warn others about this.

Please inform us if anything like this has happened to you. It seems she's copying and pasting the same message, just changing the book titles.

~*~Those That Have Come Forward About C~*~
Myself

What does everyone else think about sharing contacts? Thoughts?

Top Ten Books I've Read So Far in 2013


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This was actually a really hard list to put together because I've had a good reading year thus far. So, I had to put in a few notable mentions below. 

So, in no particular order....


1. Sweet Peril by Wendy Higgins
2. Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay
3. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
4. Dare You To by Katie McGarry
5. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
6. The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines
7. Poison by Bridget Zinn
8. The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd
9. Frigid by J. Lynn
10. Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger


Notable Mentions


1. Apollyon by Jennifer L. Armentrout
2. Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike
3. Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
4. Spirit by Brigid Kemmerer
5. School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins

Blogoversary Giveaway Winners!

Thank you so much for making my blogoversary a huge success! Below are all the winners. You've gotten e-mailed, so please respond ASAP so I can get your info off to the authors!

Remember that the COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN giveaway is still happening! If you want a chance to win, enter here!

SANCTUM Audiobook
#162. Christianna Marks

PROPHECY and SERAPHINA
#1726. Amanda R
On the rafflecopter on the blog, it's displaying 2 names? But in my rafflecopter window it only displays one. I don't understand. Sorry Erika, but your name never popped up on my screen and it's some sort of system glitch.

UNBREAKABLE
#1503. Kelly L.

UNRAVELING
#538. Rebecca N.

JLA SWAG PACK
#330. Danielle Pelot

SCORCH
#211. Erin D.

SIGNED UK BORN WICKED
#7. Sarah

2 JESSICA SPOTSWOOD SWAG PACKS
#591. Daniela M.
#1360. Leanne Goon

Review: Crossing the Line by Katie McGarry

Series: Pushing the Limits #1.5
Publication Date: April 1, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 66 (eBook novella)
Source: Bought
Katie McGarry captivated readers with her “riveting, emotional”* Young Adult debut, Pushing the Limits. In this gripping novella, she tells the story of Lila and Lincoln, who discover that sometimes it’s worth crossing the line for love…

Lila McCormick, Echo's best friend from Pushing the Limits, first met Lincoln Turner when tragedy struck both their lives. But she never expected their surprise encounter would lead to two years of exchanging letters—or that she’d fall for the boy she’s only seen once. Their relationship is a secret, but Lila feels closer to Lincoln than anyone else. Until she finds out that he lied to her about the one thing she depended on him for the most.

Hurting Lila is the last thing Lincoln wanted. For two years, her letters have been the only thing getting him through the day. Admitting his feelings would cross a line he’s never dared breach before. But Lincoln will do whatever it takes to fix his mistakes, earn Lila’s forgiveness—and finally win a chance to be with the girl he loves.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

Both PUSHING THE LIMITS and DARE YOU TO completely blew me away, so I finally decided to purchase the novella for myself because of my immense love for Katie McGarry's writing. Book three is still a ways away, but I wanted something to tide me over.

This novella is meant to be read after book one because Lila was featured in book one. Admittedly, I was so caught up in Noah and Echo's story that I had to think about Lila's plot line in book one. As long as you remember her involvement of being Echo's friend and standing by her side, you're pretty much fine. Because of how close they are, Echo's older brother was like her own older brother, so she naturally went to his funeral and the funeral of his training partner, who happens to be Lincoln's older brother. That night, they cried and suffered together. After exchanging contact info, they wrote letters for the next two years until Lincoln lied and devastated Lila. He would have to show up on her doorstep and beg for her forgiveness to fix the hurt that he inflicted in her. 

Overall, I think this was an interesting story, but it was fast. I wish that there was more letters, more details, but I get that a 66 page novella is supposed to be fast. However, this novella was completely full of emotion and it was slightly overwhelming because it was such a short story. I barely had time to connect with the characters before their emotions were all over the place. I think that this would make an amazing story because the novella left something to be desired.

Lincoln's characterization was great. He was cracking and suffering the way that only guys can because they have trouble venting their feelings. He was desperate to just get away and make everything right with Lila since she was the only good in his life since his family was falling apart at the seams. And then there's Lila. Lila is supposed to be able to stand on her own two feet and be independent. I understand that Lincoln hurt her and she fell apart, but she seemed like an emotional mess that over-reacted. In this short 66 page story, she changed her decisions several times because everything she did was emotionally-fueled. She struggled with staying home alone out of fear of being alone. She was slightly hypocritical, childish, and impulsive. I didn't like it. I think I would have connected with her more if the story was longer, so I can feel as if there was true cause for such immense pain instead of childish over-reacting.

Everything that happened with Stephen and his cronies lent an air of stupidity to the story because I can't imagine people doing that out of boredom. If you want an ex-girlfriend back, you don't try to terrify her back into your arms. Stephen, you're an idiot. Go take your new $250 shoes and frolic in a big puddle of mud.

All in all, this left me curious. I love McGarry's writing and I enjoyed this one, but I think I need more in order to really love this story as a whole. I loved Lincoln and his characterization, but I had a few issues with Lila that can only be resolved by further background knowledge and more time.

With that in mind, this will certainly tide you over between books. McGarry's always amazing, but such immense emotions need more background in order to really make you feel the way her two novels are able to make me feel. While feeling these emotions ooze of the pages are amazing, I wish I had a better connection to the characters.

 
3.5 stars

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