Author: Samantha Armstrong
Title: Stolen Songs
Genre(s): Romance; New adult and college; Teen and young adult
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Review: This novel brought me back to a time in life that was filled with growth, angst, joy, and sorrow. It was marvelously crafted and portrayed the life of troubled teens with incredible accuracy. In Stolen Songs we follow Maddy and Hamish who come from separate worlds on all accounts, but share the love of classical music. Maddy is a foster child who has taken on the role of caretaker for her foster siblings because her foster parents are incompetent, neglectful, and abusive. Hamish grew up with extreme privilege, but his 'perfect' life is not as it appears. Although they attend the same high school, they do not communicate with one another until Hamish witnesses Maddy playing the cello. As the music begins to connect their souls, they develop a monumental relationship with one another. Samantha did an incredible job at moving their relationship at a reasonable pace that represents what it is like to fall in love for the first time. She artfully built their connection that kept me needing to turn the pages. Despite the admirable love Maddy and Hamish share, they encounter devastating situations that threaten to tear them apart. As the reader follows their journey, you are engulfed with moments of pure bliss, despair, and hope. The general pace of the novel was perfectly proportioned to the issues that were involved and Samantha's writing style is superb for her corresponding genres.
Recommendation: I cannot recommend this book enough, especially if you enjoy new adult novels, coming of age novels, or first lover romances. You will also enjoy this book if you like to read stories that include realistic human scenarios that will pull at your heart strings. This book does contain mature content, so I do not recommend it to anyone under the age of 18 unless okayed by a parent/caretaker.
Book Description: "Maddison is a survivor. An unstable childhood has taught her to depend on no one but herself, which is exactly how she’s gotten to where she is today. With a scholarship to one of the most prestigious schools in the country, she’s finally able to settle into one location until she graduates. But with foster parents hooked on drugs, Maddison is forced to steal to make ends meet, not only for herself but her foster siblings. Kingsley is filthy rich. An only child, he lives with a mother who is dependent on alcohol, a father who doesn’t talk to him, and his chef, the only real family he has. His life changes when he overhears Maddison playing the cello. She’s snappy, hot, and wants nothing to do with him, and he’s obsessed. As they spend time together, she begins to lower her guard. She’s everything he needs, everything he wants, and for the first time, he’s able to tell someone about his past. Everything is perfect. Until he ruins it. STOLEN SONGS is a heartfelt and heartbreaking story of letting go of your past when it means taking hold of your future, finding strength in your mistakes, and giving everything you’ve got to heal the ones you’ve broken."
*CONTENT WARNING: Contains profanity, sex, and drug abuse.
Author: Jessica Koch
Title: So Near the Horizon
Genre(s): Romance; Contemporary fiction
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*I am accompanying this review with a trigger warning as it contains highly explicit material that is suitable for mature audiences only.
Review: This novel was such an incredibly challenging read, but in the best way possible. It made me feel frustrated, happy, fearful, and devastated. All feelings which I did not think I could feel from reading just one book. Each character was beautifully portrayed in a unique and authentic manner that made them stand out, despite their connections to one another. This novel is based on a true story and I think that helped immensely with the character creation and development, as well as the painful scenarios they encountered that make us all human. I found this story to be heart-wrenching, but also relatable. As much as I enjoy reading stories that take me away from my own human suffering, I found So Near the Horizon to be incredibly refreshing as it reminded me that no matter how much we think escape is necessary to survive, confronting our difficulties head on is what makes us stronger and helps to build our individuality. I would definitely say that if you are sensitive to tragic events (e.g., rape) or suicidality, then I would not recommend this book to you just as a precaution because it does contain trigger situations. However, if you are looking for a novel that is exceptionally written and will evoke every emotional response that you have, then I highly suggest giving this a shot.
Book Description: "From the moment she crosses paths with Danny, Jessica is fascinated. The dashing, confident twenty-year-old has everything she dreams of—looks, success, independence, money—and his kind, infinitely cheerful nature is spellbinding. Yet Jessica sees something else lingering underneath Danny’s perfect facade. Bit by bit, she manages to pick it apart, unveiling harrowing truths about a deeply traumatic childhood that has left more than just emotional scars. Now, far away from his home and family, he is fighting to build a normal life for himself—even though he may be destined for a future as dark as his past. Despite all adversity and against all reason, a deep and intimate love develops between Danny and Jessica. But soon they find themselves confronting the harsh realities of a superficial world, battling against prejudice and exclusion at every turn… and, worst of all, racing against time…"
Disclaimer: This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review.