Review: Punk 57, by Penelope Douglas

Punk 57Punk 57 by Penelope Douglas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was one of those over-the-top high school stories that I could not put down. ‘Punk 57’ is my latest guilty pleasure. I enjoyed every implausible, melodramatic moment!

Misha Lare and Ryen Trevarrow have been pen-pals for years, ever since their teachers mistakenly thought they were the same gender in elementary school and assigned them as pen-pals for a class project. They’ve been writing to one another ever since. Over the years, the two have become best friends, even though they’ve never met in person. Now in high school, things are about to get impossibly complicated.

Misha’s band is close to getting their big break. He spots Ryen at a promotional event being held for his band and initiates a conversation. Never, does he tell her who he is. Unbeknownst to them at the time, that night will change everything.

Ryen is the type of girl you love to hate. She makes hating her easy. Popular, beautiful and nasty as hell, she is the type of “mean girl” that are the source of high school nightmares. She is a bully, but she doesn’t hate anyone nearly as much as she hates herself. The only person she’s ever allowed to glimpse the person that she really wants to be is Misha, the pen-pal that she’s never even met in person.

When Masen Laurent starts attending Ryen’s school, she is immediately caught off-guard by the hot new guy that gives her a taste of her own medicine. He isn’t afraid of her and he makes it a point to call her out on all of her horrible ways. In fact, he seems to be on a personal mission to bring her down a few rungs.

As Ryen’s rivalry with Masen heats up, she is forced to face the person that she’s become. Misha has stopped writing to her without explanation and Ryen is feeling lower than she’s ever felt before. Her walls seem to be closing in on her, as she is forced to choose between the person she has become and the person she wants to be.

While there is a “secret” in this story, it isn’t really a surprise to readers. In fact, you know the big twist all along and it is just a matter of waiting for the characters to figure everything out. That being said, it doesn’t make the big reveal any less explosive.

From start to finish, I could not put this book down. It was full of high school melodrama and a pretty unrealistic storyline, but I loved every minute. After all, who wants to read something that sounds like your daily routine? Not me. This book was emotional and addictive. I loved it!

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Review: A Lover’s Lament, by K. L. Grayson

A Lover's LamentA Lover’s Lament by K.L. Grayson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Second-Chance Standalone Romance

I don’t read a lot of military-themed romances, so ‘A Lover’s Lament’ was a bit of a change from the norm for me. Usually, the military themed stories end up being a little over-the-top for me. What can I say? Rambo just isn’t my thing. Nonetheless, I thought that this was a great book.

Armed forces may not be my thing, but a second-chance romance certainly is! I’m a sucker for angst and emotional pain, followed by groveling. I also have this hang-up where I almost always want the “first” or “original” couple to end up together. I don’t switch teams very easily. So, it was a given that I’d be on-board with this one.

Devin and Katie are high school sweethearts and each other’s first loves. Katie thinks that she’ll spend her life with Devin, but after she gives him her virginity, he moves away without a word. Katie doesn’t hear from Devin again.

Years later, Katie has pieced her life back together and seems happy on the surface. When tragedy strikes, Katie withdraws from everyone and sinks into a depression. At the guidance of her therapist, she participates in a military pen pal program. By chance, Devin is on the list of soldiers that Katie is given to choose from. Needless to say, Katie chooses Devin and their relationship is rekindled.

Despite feeling a little slow-moving at times, I enjoyed Devin and Katie’s story. Hearing about the life events that had molded each of them over the years, as they recounted their life experiences to one another, had my rapt attention. Each of them had to overcome some pretty significant obstacles to get to where they were.

Their story also highlighted how a single well-intentioned act from one person can wreak havoc on another person’s life. Devin thought he was doing what was best for Katie by making a clean break all of those years ago. He thought she’d be heartbroken for a short period of time, but that she’d move on to greener pastures quickly.

Instead, Katie never really got over the heartache and betrayal. She went through the motions, but lived a shallower life without passion. As a result she ended up hurting her fiancé, a man she loved, but wasn’t ever really in love with.

Throughout the story, there was plenty of action. Toward the end, it did get a little “Rambo” for me. However, the action and danger did add to the story. For a short while, it was quite an emotional roller coaster ride.

In the end, I was quite content. This book is a standalone with a HEA. If you’re looking for a heartfelt, emotional story, then this is a great choice!

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