What I’ve Been Reading Lately: Belated Book Talks Of Spring Releases I Read

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Book Talk: 99 Days by Katie Cotugno

Book Talk: 99 Days by Katie Cotugno99 Days by Katie Cotugno
Published by Balzer & Bray on April 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Also by this author: How To Love, Done Dirt Cheap, Fireworks
Format: ARC
Source: For Review

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!




Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”



Molly has just returned from boarding school after she just up and left after her bad decision to cheat on her boyfriend — with his brother — is exposed. She plans on spending the summer holed up in her house biding her time until she leaves for college but when she runs into Gabe, the brother she cheated with, she finds herself spending some time with him and eventually runs into Patrick, the brother she cheated on. Having the two boys and all the unresolved feelings in her radius all summer makes for an interesting summer.

a2Well that was quite the messy ride!


Oh this is going to be a book that divides people and I cannot wait to discuss it with you all. I’m just putting this out here — if love triangles or cheating are absolute deal-breakers for you in a book…you might have trouble with this one. Do I particularly enjoy those things (in fiction or real life)? No. But, when well done, they work for me in fiction. And I’ll tell you this…Katie Cotugno is the QUEEN of writing really messy and complicated things well. (You should also check out her book How to Love which I adored). I could NOT put this one down because I just HAD to know what was going to happen.

It’s a premise that, from the beginning, let’s you know there is going to be a bit of drama — a girl cheats on her boyfriend with his brother. YIKES RIGHT? She comes home for the summer, after up and leaving for boarding school after everything happens, and is biding her time quietly with her Netflix and Red Vines before college starts — until she is reunited with Gabe (the brother she cheated with). It’s very very sticky already and let me just tell you IT GETS STICKIER. As she hangs out with Gabe, she sees Patrick a lot. The two boys being in her radius all summer brings up a LOT of feelings. All those angry feelings. All the guilt and regret. All the confusing romancey feelings. It all spills over.

I am not a person who would cheat or would condone cheating. EVEN IN A BOOK. But the way Katie writes the story I found myself torn on Molly’s behalf. There’s the old boyfriend who was sweet and she loved but they weren’t without their problems. They have a long history and were everything to each other. She feels so guilty that she made a mistake with the brother  but she doubts he would ever take her back and she isn’t altogether sure if that’s what she wants completely. And then there is the brother she cheated with, Gabe. She’s attracted to him and he takes her mind off a lot of the hate she gets. She grows to really have feelings for him. She knows it feels weird to be shoving it in Patrick’s face for them to have a relationship but she can’t deny her feelings. I could FEEL the tension — history vs. something new, the person you betrayed vs. the person you betrayed him with. It’s not a position I would want to be in ever but I understood the confusing feelings that even logic or your conscience can’t keep at bay.

I didn’t agree with Molly for MOST of this book. If you are a person who needs to agree with a character’s actions to make or break you liking a book, you will struggle. I constantly was like, even though I understood her messy dilemma, NO STOP NO. BAD DECISION. BAD DECISION. But, I don’t know, in my life especially as a teenager I know that sometimes you WILL make bad decisions — logic and reason and your values mixed with feelings/confusion/uncertainty/feeling in the moment/hormones make for some stupid decisions sometimes. Molly was definitely following her heart/hormones and, even though she knew how wrong she was, she still did it anyways. It’s frustrating as a reader but it didn’t make me NOT like the book and I really enjoyed getting to know Molly in this tumultuous time of her life. She’s flawed and it takes her a long time to learn from her mistakes and I liked that. It felt real. She doesn’t back down and owns up to her crap eventually. I think some interactions with other females in this book, Tess and Imogen, are definitely things that make her grow. She does some shitty things but I found myself rooting for her to sort out all her business and accept her consequences. It reminded me that you can come back from things, albeit they won’t be all sunshine and roses, even from some crappy mistakes/actions.

One thing I love that this book explored was the double standards involved when a girl and a guy cheat. Molly is called a slut and gets bullied and her house egged. The dudes get none of that crap. It took two people to make that happen and I’m glad it was explored in this book! Molly gets all the crap yet there are way more than one person in the wrong in this book!!



factors+ addictive, character with such a raw and emotional arc, writing
–  maybe the ending? I’m still sorting how I felt about it.

Re-readability: Maybe!
Would I buy a copy for my collection? I have one and it’s beautiful!

a5readers of contemporary YA, readers who like messy and complicated subjects, readers who aren’t completely dissuaded by love triangles/cheating/characters who aren’t easy to like

a8While on the surface this book might just seem like a romance with a love triangle between two brothers but it is SO much more than that. It’s about making mistakes (repeatedly) and growing from it the hard way — realizing you CAN come back from it and take control over your life again. It’s messy and complicated but felt so true to life. I could NOT put this down and was frantically racing through the pages because it had my nerves all a mess. I’ll repeat it again — Katie Cotugno is the queen of writing messy/complicated/flawed REALLY REALLY well.

review-on-post-it99 Days Katie Cotugno


a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?
Did you like Molly or did her actions make it hard for you to?
How did you feel about the ending? (mark spoilers please!)



The Perpetual Page-Turner

Book Talk: How To Love by Katie Cotugno

Book Talk: How To Love by Katie CotugnoHow To Love by Katie Cotugno
Published by Balzer & Bray on October 2013
Genres: Contemporary YA
Also by this author: 99 Days, Done Dirt Cheap, Fireworks
Format: Hardcover
Source: For Review

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!






book synopsis Reena has been in love Sawyer for as long as she can remember as their parents were friends before they were even born. They’ve never been anything more than childhood playmates until one night, when she least expects it, when something happens between them and they find themselves in love — a very messy and imperfect love that is beyond complicated. A story that becomes more complicated when Reena finds herself pregnant and Sawyer has left town. Fast forward a couple years and Reena has had her daughter and is settled into her life now — going to community college, dating and living with her parents. Things are going well, for the most part, until Sawyer shows up in town unexpected. Reena resolves to stay away from him but the pull that has always been there threatens to crumble her resolve.


good books to read
I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH. One one hand I’m furious with myself for waiting this long to read it but on the other hand I needed this book right now. You may have known I was in a bit of a “THIS IS SO NOT ME” reading year so far in 2014 and I really just needed a book to blow me away. How To Love by Katie Cotugno did the trick — along with another book that I will be talking about soon!

Why was it so awesome?

1. It completely destroyed my thought of “Ehh this is a novel about teen pregnancy” pretty early on: First, this book was SO much more than that. If you looked at this book like “oh god this is going to be a teen pregnancy issue-y book or like a rerun of Teen Mom”…NO..Just NO. It’s a complicated story about love, second chances and forgiveness. Reena may have a baby but this book is so much more than the cliched teen pregnancy stories I’ve come across.

2. I haven’t compulsively read a book like this in a while: I was seriously reading every moment I could — on my phone when I had a few seconds and I even woke up at 5:30 am so I could read it. I think it’s partly in the way it’s told in addition to the fact I was so into the story. It alternate between “Before” and “After”. The Before shows her and Sawyer’s past and really who she was before she got pregnant. The “After” is a couple years later when Sawyer comes back into town and we see she’s already settled into life as a mom. The unraveling of their story was just so gripping and Katie Cotugno gets you BAD with the ending of each chapter. I was RAVENOUS for more. She’d end, let’s say, the BEFORE chapter on a note where I was tempted to just skip the AFTER chapter because I HAD to know what happened next (and vice versa — each one was equally compelling). There are so few books that hook me so bad that after EACH chapter I can’t imagine putting it down. That’s a problem when life demands you still must exist outside of those pages!

3. Reena & Sawyer were two incredibly REAL characters & drew me into their story: These are characters that are going to piss you off probably at times, they are flawed, they are real and they don’t always make the right choice. I LOVED THAT. I don’t know if it’s an unpopular opinion but I LOVED SAWYER. I didn’t always LIKE him and the things he did but I felt the chemistry between them and that there was more to Sawyer. Sometimes I was so frustrated but I felt like I could feel Reena’s resolve not to give into Sawyer but, like Reena, I felt it all crumble. I just loved being tangled in Reena and Sawyer’s messy and complex love story. It was breathtaking at times, I cried, I fumed but I just felt what it was like to be young again and thinking with your heart and sometimes making those mistakes to learn and grow. I also really loved their individual growth — that aspect of the story was just important to me as their love story. They got second chances, opportunities for forgiveness and to come to terms with the past. Also, as a sidenote, I LOVED their banter.

book reviewsHow To Love by Katie Cotugno is a book that shot a line straight to my heart from the beginning and I was so thoroughly enchanted with Reena and Sawyer’s messy yet utterly romantic story that I kept sneaking in moments whenever I could and even set an alarm for 5:30am so I could squeeze in more time. It was beautiful, heartbreaking at times and made my heart just feel so full as I watched these wonderfully flawed characters unravel before me and build themselves back up. I mega loved this book and highly recommend it. Don’t be turned off by the thought that it might be a cliched “teenage pregnancy issues” book because that is NOT at all what this book is.

short book review

HOw To Love Katie Cotugno

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? What did you think of it?

The Perpetual Page-Turner


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