Review: Nothing Left to Burn by Heather Ezell

Nothing Left to Burn by Heather Ezell
Release Date: March 13, 2018
Publisher: Razorbill
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Source: eARC provided by publisher via First to Read in exchange for an honest review
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The autumn morning after sixteen-year-old Audrey Harper loses her virginity, she wakes to a loud, persistent knocking at her front door. Waiting for her are two firemen, there to let her know that the moment she's been dreading has arrived: the enormous wildfire sweeping through Orange County, California, is now dangerously close to her idyllic gated community of Coto de Caza, and it's time to evacuate.

Over the course of the next twenty-four hours, as Audrey wrestles with the possibility of losing her family home, she also recalls her early, easy summer days with Brooks, the charming, passionate, but troubled volunteer firefighter who enchants Audrey--and who is just as enthralled by her. But as secrets from Brooks's dark past come to light, Audrey can't help but wonder if there's danger in the pull she feels--both toward this boy, and toward the fire burning in the distance.

Nothing Left to Burn has been high on my wish list ever since I first heard about it, and as the buzz continued to build over these last few months my excitement did as well. I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy! 

Now that I've read it I can definitely say it was well worth the wait. Nothing Left to Burn is fiery and enthralling...the kind of book that calls to be read in one sitting. It's about the secrets a person keeps and the lies they tell themselves to protect the ones they love. It's about falling in love - so hopelessly in love - that they begin to loose parts of themselves along the way. It's about growing up and taking responsibility, finding strength at the most unexpected times. Basically, it's the kind of YA contemporary that reminds me just how much I love YA contemporary. 

Nothing Left to Burn is set over a twenty-four hour period. At first I was worried about this characteristic. I wondered if the book would feel complete, if the story lines as well as the characters would be fleshed out. As per usual, however, my worrying was for nothing. Heather does an excellent job of using the twenty-four period to her advantage. I loved the quick nature of the book. The chapters were fast paced and to the point; however, they never felt incomplete. I was always satisfied with what I received. I also loved that she included flashbacks. It helped to drum up intrigue as well as suspense, especially when the hinted at event was broken up into several parts. 

Nothing Left to Burn is told through Audrey's perspective. I found Audrey to be an interesting main character. I can't say I always loved her or fully stood behind her choices, but there was something about her that made her story so completely compelling. I wanted to know more about her. I wanted to know why she loved Brooks, why she seemed to be keeping her friends and family at such a distance, why she felt so guilty, and what exactly happened between her and her best friend's brother. I also loved how real she felt. She wasn't perfect. She was actually far from it, but over the course of the book, she aims to become a better person, to tell the truth, to take responsibility, and I admired that about her. I could even see parts of my high school self in her, and I feel that many others will be able to relate to her as well, especially when it comes to her toxic relationship with Brooks. 

Talking about Brooks, he definitely wasn't the most likable love interest. There wasn't anything swoony about him, and I could  never quite see the appeal to him even in his and Audrey's happy days. He was brooding and dark, and the more I got to know him, the more I wanted Audrey to run. Like with Audrey, however, I was curious to learn more about him, and I will say I appreciated the overall role he played. It offered up a lot of interesting twists as well as introspections. 

Nothing Left to Burn is a slow-burn read. It takes a while to get to the action, or the meat of the novel, but it was so worth it in my opinion. I loved getting to know the characters first, of really getting a feel for the California setting...Heather just did such a great job of building everything up. I also appreciated the focus on wildfires. As someone who doesn't live in an area impacted by them, I don't think too much about them. Therefore, it was eye-opening to see one through Audrey's eyes. It broke my heart to see what Audrey and her friends went through, and it's nutty to think about how much can change with just one fire. 

Overall, Nothing Left to Burn is a unique, carefully crafted contemporary. Even though I finished it days ago, I'm still thinking about it, especially the ending. Gosh, it was twisty and ambiguous, but I don't think it could've been more perfect. I can't wait to read more by Heather! 

4.5 stars!!


Sunday Post/ Stacking the Shelves (36)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and focuses on new books that were received/bought/borrowed this week while the Sunday Post is hosted by the Caffeinated Book Reviewer and focuses on recapping your week. 

*I'm currently giving away one copy of Alexandra Monir's The Final Six and swag HERE! US only!* 

New Books: 

For Review: 

Ace of Shades (The Shadow Game #1) by Amanda Foody  
Beyond a Darkened Shore by Jessica Leake 
The Lies They Tell by Gillian French 
Onyx & Ivory by Mindee Arnett 
Thief of Happy Endings by Kristen Chandler 
Little Big Love by Katy Regan 

Much thanks goes to Harlequin Teen, Harper Teen, Penguin Young Readers, and First to Read! 


Among the Red Stars by Gwen C. Katz 

Books Read This Week:

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney: I read this on the plane to Florida, and guys, I don't think a flight has ever gone faster! This book was GOOD. I'm still thinking about the ending. It's one of those that leaves you think "wait, what did I just read?!". Alice is definitely a new author to watch out for! 

Now a Major Motion Picture by  Cori McCarthy: I went into this knowing almost nothing about it, but it was such a delightful surprise! It was laugh-out-loud funny as well as charming. I especially loved the emphasis on feminism! 

I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman: Gayle Forman has done it again! This book is stunning! I love the simplicity of her writing. It makes it so incredibly easy to loose yourself in her books for a few hours. I also loved the bond between the 3 MCs. 

Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen: Fantastic premise but the execution fell short. I was expecting a chilling spy thriller, and while Matt did provide some good twists, I was more often bored with what I was reading. It also didn't help that I couldn't connect with the MC. She was incredibly one dimensional. 

Trespassing by Brandi Reeds: So I started this book last night at 10:30 pm thinking I'd read a chapter or two then go to bed. PLOT TWIST: that didn't happen. Before I knew it was 3 am and I was done with the book. It was such an incredible whirlwind! Once I started I couldn't put it down. There were so many thrills and chills, and honestly I don't think I've been this creeped out while reading book in a while. I was double checking that all my doors were locked! 

Life Update: 

My Florida vacation was AMAZING! We truly lucked out with the weather. It was sunny and warm almost every day, and the one day that it was supposed to rain heavily it ended up just being a few showers. I went to Universal Parks on Monday. It was my first time there, and while I don't normally like amusement parks, I had so much fun! The rides were fun, and I LOVED the frozen butter beer in Harry Potter World. It was SOOOOO GOOD! If/when I go back I'll definitely be getting another one! I also spent some time on the beach, which was nice! It wasn't super hot, but I didn't mind - the breeze was nice. 

I was so sad to leave on Thursday, especially when I found out that Northeast PA was in the 30s, but as they say all good things must come to an end :( My airport experience back though was horrific! First, the flight was delayed by an hour so there was no way I was going to make my connecting flight, which was a nightmare. It didn't help that the crew on my first flight weren't very nice.... The one good thing was that the airport was happy to book us another flight but at 10 pm instead of the original 5. So I ended up in the Newark airport for about 5 hours Thursday, and it was just miserable. I don't think the place had any heat on! 

But really that was the only bad part of the week. I didn't get to read as much on vacation was I would've liked, but I powered some books when I got back. Trespassing blew me away! If you love thrillers, you need it in your life! I can't wait to start Ace of Shades! *Fingers crossed* I like it as much as everyone else. 

Have a great week! 

*ICYMII'm currently giving away one copy of Alexandra Monir's The Final Six and swag HERE! US only!* 

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Review & Excerpt Tour: Two Wedding Crashers (Dating by the Numbers, #2) by Meghan Quinn

Two Wedding Crashers (Dating by the Numbers, #2) by Meghan Quinn
Release Date: March 11, 2018
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Source: ARC provided by the publicist in exchange for an honest review
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I don’t know what love is anymore. Well, that’s not entirely true, but I’m going to tell you a little secret: I’ve lost the spark. You know the kind of spark I’m talking about? Where butterflies take flight in your stomach from two hands innocently colliding. Or catching your breath when you first meet someone attractive. Yeah, that spark. Except I haven't felt that feeling in forever; there is nothing left inside of me. Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem--but I’m a writer on a serious deadline, and my editor is breathing down my neck for a romantic, Nicholas Sparks type love story. No pressure, right? That's how I find myself flying across the country to crash a wedding in the name of research, dress and heels stuffed into my small suitcase. It should be the easiest book research ever. Drinking some free champagne, basking in the love of two strangers, and tapping into my romantic side. That will be a breeze. I'm a pro. I can handle this. Until I mistakenly end up in the wrong hotel room, naked as the day I was born, with the sexiest human I have ever met staring me down, wondering what I'm doing taking a shower in his bathroom. I don't think calling it research will get me out of this pickle.

Earlier this year I devoured Meghan Quinn's Three Blind Dates, a romantic comedy following a young women's quest for love. Three Blind Dates was wickedly funny and steamy. It even managed to introduce three love interests that I couldn't get enough of and for someone like me who usually detests love triangles (or squares in this case) that was a BIG deal. 

Therefore, I was beyond excited when I found out that each "runner-up" in Three Blind Dates would be getting their own book/love story. Two Wedding Crashers focuses on Beck, the saucy rebel that previously took my heart by storm. 

Two Wedding Crashers features two POVs - Beck and his love interest Riley. Meghan did a wonderful job of alternating between them. Nothing ever felt redundant, which is something I always fear with multiple POVs. 

Given my love of Beck from Three Blind Dates it was no surprise that he was my favorite here. I loved getting a more intimate look into his life. He's a man who has hit rock bottom; however, he's managed to build himself back up, becoming better and stronger because of it. He was a sweetheart as well as incredibly kind as well as passionate. His line of work was admirable, and I also appreciated the way in which Meghan intertwined his vices. Even though time had passed, Beck still dealt with them daily. Some days were better than others but nothing was ever "perfect." On the other hand, it took me a while to warm up to Riley. I didn't always love how closed off she was. I could understand her reasoning, but gosh, I just wished she would've opened her heart up to Beck sooner. Like Beck, Riley's has experienced her own heartbreak and struggles, and when everything was finally revealed, my heart broke for her as well. What I liked the most about Riley was her personality. She was funny and outgoing, and I especially loved that she was a romance writer! 

Two Wedding Crashers primarily focusses on weddings and life after an incredibly romantic week. I will admit that this book didn't always keep my attention. Some parts were better than others, and there were times at which I felt that it could have benefited from more action and showing rather than telling. Things did become better as the book continued. Some of my favorite parts happened in the last twenty-five percent. The romance here was enjoyable. Once again Meghan Quinn brings the steam as well as swoon. I also liked the secondary characters. Riley and Beck had such hilarious friends. Their meddling in particular always had me laughing out loud! And the wedding crashing was so much! I wish there had been more of it. 

While Two Wedding Crashers didn't quite live up to Three Blind Dates, I still found it to be an enjoyable follow-up. It was incredibly satisfying to see Beck get his HEA. The ending brought so many smiles and even a fear tears out of me! I can't wait to read One Baby Daddy

3.5 stars!

About the Author: 
Born in New York and raised in Southern California, Meghan has grown into a sassy, peanut butter eating, blonde haired swearing, animal hoarding lady. She is known to bust out and dance if “It’s Raining Men” starts beating through the air and heaven forbid you get a margarita in her, protect your legs because they may be humped. Once she started commuting for an hour and twenty minutes every day to work for three years, she began to have conversations play in her head, real life, deep male voices and dainty lady coos kind of conversations. Perturbed and confused, she decided to either see a therapist about the hot and steamy voices running through her head or start writing them down. She decided to go with the cheaper option and started writing… enter her first novel, Caught Looking. Now you can find the spicy, most definitely on the border of lunacy, kind of crazy lady residing in Colorado with the love of her life and her five, furry four legged children, hiking a trail or hiding behind shelves at grocery stores, wondering what kind of lube the nervous stranger will bring home to his wife. Oh and she loves a good boob squeeze!

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