Lost Review: Paint My Body Red by Heidi R. Kling

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synThe world isn’t just black or white. Sometimes it’s red…

They think I’m next. That I’ll be the seventh kid to step in front of a train and end my life. With the rash of suicides at my school, Mom’s shipped me off to my dad’s Wyoming ranch for “my own safety.” They think I’m just another depressed teenager whose blood will end up on the tracks. They don’t know my secrets…or what I’ve done.

I wasn’t expecting Dad to be so sick, for the ranch I loved to be falling to bits, or for Jake—the cute boy I knew years ago—to have grown into a full-fledged, hot-as-hell cowboy. Suddenly, I don’t want to run anymore, but the secrets from home have found me…even here. And this time, it’s up to me to face them—and myself—if I want to live…

review

3/5 Stars 

***I received this book way back when as a gift in exchange for an honest review

+++Triggers: Mature YA, adult situations, suicide, assault 

Paint My Body Red feels like two separate novels that don’t mesh as seamlessly as they should. While the characters are the same, it’s like an alternate universe that the main character has been carelessly thrown into. As individual books, I might have rated this higher. Each story is interesting and full of atmospheric details. 

The premise is genius and based on fact. A suicide trend that caused city-wide hysteria, paranoia, and fear is a very real threat that could happen anywhere. The amount of pressure, stress, and lack of place for mental health care in schools is a major issue that needs to be talked about more. 

Words have power. What you say to someone can change their whole life, especially if they’re already overwhelmed and doubting their desire to live. This is a strong theme and extremely powerful. The main character goes through a self-destructive period of doubt, self-hatred, and anxiety after she says something that may have pushed another student over the edge. Not only can negative words be harmful to the receiver, but to the person who says them. 

Sometimes bad choices can overwhelm us and make us feel disgusted, worthless, and unworthy. The feelings are profound and sharp. You feel every stabbing ounce of pain as Paige recounts her past in her diary. It’s real, brutal, and consuming.

The sort of Southern romance going on threw me off. Yes, Paige is complex and comes from two worlds. Ranch time is supposed to be a safe place, therapy for her. Throw in the rodeo and flirty cowboys, it becomes something else entirely. The romance is subtle at first, flirty fun that becomes more. Paige’s feelings are complicated and plagued with doubt. Her confidence has vanished after everything she has been through, but it’s through love that she regains that former shine. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

Dramatic reading, 

Jordan

ARC Review: The Natural History of Us by Rachel Harris

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synOne class assignment. One second chance at love. The school player is all in. Now he needs to win back the sweet commitment girl who’s forever owned his heart.

Justin Carter has a secret. He’s not the total player Fairfield Academy believes him to be. Not really. In fact, he used to be a one-woman guy…and his feelings for her never went away. Too bad he broke her heart three years ago and made sure to ruin any chance she’d ever forgive him.

Peyton Williams is a liar. She pretends to be whole, counting down the days until graduation and helping her parents at the family ranch. But the truth is, she’s done everything she can to get over Justin, and salvation is just around the corner. With graduation one short month away, she’ll soon break free from the painful memories and start her life fresh. Of course, she has to get through working with him on one last assignment first.

For Justin, nothing ever felt as right as being with Peyton, and now that fate’s given him a shot at redemption, he’s determined to make the most of it. And for Peyton…well, Justin Carter has always been her kryptonite.

review3.5/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Spencer Hill Press

READ THIS BOOK IF:

  • You’re looking for a sweet, swoony romance. 
  • You want a little mystery with flashbacks to the start of the romance.
  • Alternating POVs make you giddy.

PROS:

  • Peyton and Justin’s chemistry is playful and dizzying. It draws you in and always leaves you smiling. When they open up to each other, it’s beautiful and will fill you with so much joy. That getting to know someone, to truly know them in their soul, is on full display. The bittersweet process of learning and falling in love is written so well, the magic bounces off the pages. 
  • Justin is a classic case of why you need to look beyond the surface. It seems like he has everything. He’s the star of his baseball team, popular with the girls, and has a trust fund. It looks like charmed life. Underneath, all he wants to do is be noticed by his father. Justin feels like he’s never enough. Despite his outer bravado, he lacks confidence and is scared to open his heart up. Deep, sensitive, flirtatious, oh so charming, Justin will make you have all the feels. 
  • Peyton is a burst of light. She’s cheery, bright, full of energy, she has a real thirst for life. Peyton of the past is much different than Peyton now. She’s scared, hurt, and her light has dimmed, but the girl she once was is just slumbering. When Justin comes back into her life, it’s like she finally wakes up from her painful past and sees that happiness is possible, that strength is more than physical, and that the heart has the greatest capacity to heal. 
  • Family is everything. Peyton’s family is loud, quirky, full of laughter. They’re enchanting and inviting. You’ll want to become a part of their world. The love is fierce and protective.

CONS:

  • Secondary characters were kind of bland and cliché. They didn’t add anything to the story. Characters that I would have loved to get to know better, like Peyton’s best friend, were in and out of the story with only a glimpse into their personalities. I wanted to see that friendship, to know that her best friend had been there for her at the worst of times, instead of seeing that bond, I was told about it. 
  • Story elements that should have had a strong presence were simmering in the background until suddenly they were there. When they do surface, it is briefly and you wonder why they were even included. There was a lot going on. Between Peyton’s GBS, the rodeo, Justin’s family issues, the dating drama, and it didn’t mesh together well. The focus wandered. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

Happy reading, 

Jordan

Cover Reveal: When Fall Breaks-Julie Solano &Tracy Justice

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Title : When Fall Breaks : Seasons of Jefferson – Book 1

Authors : Julie Solano & Tracy Justice

Release Day : March 5th 2015

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cooltext1889161239 copyKaitlyn Woodley is a beautiful, determined, high school senior, who embraces her small-town roots and country life. She’s studious, musically gifted, and headed for a successful career in swimming. Aside from a catty group of jealous girls, who taunt her mercilessly, Kaitlyn’s dreams are well within her reach. That is, until she becomes tangled up with the handsome Pistol Black, a rodeo cowboy, who not only turns every girl’s head in the county, but also turns her perfect world upside down.

Kaitlyn’s overprotective twin brother and best friends, begin to see signs that make them question Pistol’s subtle control over her. As secrets are unveiled, they intervene to save her from a possible path of destruction. To their surprise, when best friend Brody steps in to protect her, newly discovered feelings complicate an already volatile situation. Soon, everything begins to change. Old feelings die, new feelings emerge, and the once beautiful path they had traveled over summer, begins to alter with the season.

Will Kaitlyn’s closest friends be able to pull her from the destructive path she’s been led to follow? As the winds of time blast through their lives, the loyalty toward their best friend will remain stronger than ever. They are determined to protect her, even if one of them ends up getting hurt in the hunt for safety. One thing is for certain, none of this close group of friends will be left untouched when fall breaks.

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Julie Solano has lived in far Northern California, nearly her entire life. She graduated from CSU, Chico, where she majored in Psychology and minored in Child Development. She later went on to Simpson University where she obtained her multiple subject teaching credential. Julie enjoys life in the “State of Jefferson” where she lives with her husband and two children. As a family, they spend their time tromping around the Marble Mountains and Russian Wilderness. They also take pleasure in rafting, skiing, snowmobiling, off-roading, campfires, and living it up in the great outdoors. When she’s not with her family, Julie spends her days teaching next door to her co-author, fellow prankster, and partner in crime, Tracy. The most recent of their crazy adventures was to take on the challenge of writing this silly, little novel about life in their neck of the woods. They hope you have fun reading this story which was inspired by their small town, rural upbringing, and the personalities of their four children.

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Born and raised in Northern California, Tracy Justice is a wife, mother, and full-time teacher. She graduated from CSU, Chico with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Liberal Arts. One of her fondest memories growing up was herding cattle in the Marble Mountains with her family. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, riding horses, running, hiking, swimming, and of course reading. After some encouragement from Julie, she decided to add “Co-author” to her ever growing bucket list. She never knew how much fun it would be to write a book with her best friend. She hopes you enjoys reading this story as much as they enjoyed writing it. Remember to visit Julie and Tracy on Facebook at JT Authors and on the web at www.jtauthors.com.

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Pleasant reading, 

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