The Heartbreak Cure Review

The Heartbreak Cure

By: Amanda Ashby

Rating: 4/5

Many thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Books for allowing me to read this cute and fun read. The minute I saw the cover, I knew I had to read and review it.

After being dumped over the summer, and made into a laughing stock on YouTube, Cat enlists her best friend Alex,  to be her pretend boyfriend so the people at her school will back off and move onto a different topic.

I’ve seen the fake-boyfriend thing done before but with this story, it’s not boring, or cringy at all. It’s cliche, but in a good way, and that’s mostly to do with the characters.

Alex: A bad boy persona with a tortured past, and a cute little smile. He wants to do right and set everything straight. The well-balanced chemistry between him and Cat is apparent and you will be yelling at the paperback at every move they make until they finally realize what they truly want.

With this book, be ready to smile at the pages, and laugh at the characters, and cry because Alex doesn’t exist. It’s a fast and easy read with an ending that will satisfy your soul. If you’re looking for a fun and flirty read, this one is definitely up your alley!

I also got the chance to interview the author herself, Amanda Ashby! Check out below for

Lily: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

AmandaI wish I could say that I’ve always known, but the truth is that I didn’t have a clue until my mid-twenties. Then one day I woke up and decided to write a book. No one was more surprised than I was, but once I had the idea it wouldn’t leave and a month later I had a 50,000-word manuscript. It was completely terrible but it taught me two things. First that I could write a book, and second that I could only get better!!!

LilyWhat do you do when you’re not writing?

AmandaWhen I’m not writing I’m either coaching other authors how to get their books finished, or I’m working as a children’s librarian, or I’m reading and watching Netflix. It’s a pretty sweet life!

LilyHow did you come up with The Heartbreak Cure?

AmandaI got a flash of a girl sitting under a tree writing a slash and burn story about the guy who’d broken her heart. It was such a powerful image that I just started writing it. Then when Alex climbed over the fence I decided that he’d be the guy to cure her heartbreak, so I liked the idea of him bringing something that would symbolize what he was doing. Plus, I’m a big fan of brownies!

LilyWhat’s your cure for a heartbreak?

AmandaI’m a bit fan of hibernating until the initial pain is gone and then getting back out into the world and reminding yourself that there is a lot of other stuff going on out there. So watching inspirational movies or seeing people stepping out of their comfort zone and doing brave and amazing things. Plus, brownies. Obviously!

LilyAny advice to future authors out there?

AmandaThe only way to write a book is to write a book. It sounds so simple but doing courses and reading books about writing will only take you so far. The best way to learn how to write, and also to learn about what you want to say, is to get your butt in that chair!!!!

LilyWhat is your favorite book? 

AmandaPride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I’m such a huge Jane fan so I love all her books, but Pride and Prejudice is my favorite. Well, my favorite today. Tomorrow it could be Persuasion. Or Sense and Sensibility. Or…

LilyWhat was the hardest scene to write within The Heartbreak Cure? 

AmandaThere’s a scene where they break up, which was tough to do. I really felt their pain and neither of them were being mean or horrible, which made it even sadder.

LilyWhat was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why? 

AmandaThe first scene in Alex’s point of view because it wasn’t just the reader who was meeting him properly, it was me too! He’s one of my favorite heroes so it was great to start writing his journey!

LilyWhat books have most influenced your life? 

AmandaJane Austen, Georgette Heyer, Raymond E Feist and Ursula LeGuin have all been huge influences on me – and not just because of writing. Their books have really shaped my life and the way I see I world and I can’t imagine a world where they didn’t exist!

LilyWhat real-life inspirations did you draw from for the book?

AmandaNot too many, though we once lived in a house in Australia and the previous owner was called Birdie, which is how I named Alex’s grandmother!

The Heartbreak Cure is out now! You can buy it here.

You can also read an excerpt of the book below! 

“Please don’t tell my mom that one. She doesn’t need any more bad puns to put on her cards,” Cat said as Alex’s cell phone buzzed. He read the text message before looking up.

“You could tell her yourself—or not tell her, as the case might be. She wants you to call her.”


“What?” Cat said in surprise before dragging out her own phone and staring at the dead screen. She’d obviously played one too many games on it during math. “How did she even get your number?”

He shrugged. “I guess Joe gave it to her.”

“Oh.” It seemed Cat wasn’t the only forgetting Alex wasn’t her real boyfriend.

The darkening afternoon sky was a spectrum of blues as he held up his cell. “You can use mine.”

“Thanks.” She took the handset. The screen was cracked, and there was a fine coat of grease on the keys. She grinned at his screensaver, which was of Snoopy dressed up as the Red Baron. “Frozen and now Snoopy? I always knew you had a marshmallow heart.”

“Yeah. I’m a total softie,” his voice was light, but his knuckles whitened. Cat winced. Franklin had tarred and feathered him with the same brush they’d used for his parents. The worst thing was he seemed to believe it, too. Frustration gnawed at her chest.

How am I the only one who can see how amazing he really is?

Her mom answered on the second ring and explained she’d been held up at a sales meeting and it was going to run for another two hours, which meant she couldn’t pick Cat from school.

“It’s fine. I’ll hitch a ride with Nikki,” Cat said, promising to charge up her cell phone, eat some vegetables with her dinner, and on no account throw a house party.

“You’ll never guess what just happened.” Nikki came running outside, her eyes glowing and her cheeks bright.

“Mackenzie fell into a vat of glitter?” Cat suggested. “Or glue?” Alex added.


“Wrong. Parker just asked me if I wanted to grab a burger with him. Well, he said you guys could come, but I told him you were busy. Right. Right?” Nikki narrowed her gaze so there could be no misunderstandings.

“Right,” she agreed with a smile before recalling her transport predicament. “Go, have fun, and don’t tell him about the time you beat your brothers up. It will only scare him.”

“Duh.” Nikki grinned and went racing over to Parker, who was nervously chewing his lip.

“I can give you a lift,” Alex said once they were alone.

“Are you sure? I feel like every day I impose on you more,” she said, achingly aware of how close they were standing.

“What kind of fake boyfriend would leave his girl stranded?” He shrugged.

His girl.


His. Girl.


She tested out the words like a new flavor. Her body trembled in response and she nodded. “Okay, great.”


Amanda Ashby was born in Australia but now lives in New Zealand where she writes romance, young adult, and middle-grade books. She also works in a library, owns far too many vintage tablecloths and likes to delight her family by constantly rearranging the furniture. Her debut book was nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award, and her first young adult book was listed by the New York Public Libraryʼs Stuff for the Teen Age.  Because she’s mysterious she also writes middle-grade books under the name, Catherine Holt and hopes that all this writing won’t interfere with her Netflix schedule.

You can also find her at her website or on Instagram!

 

 

The Sweetheart Sham Review

The Sweetheart Sham

By: Danielle Ellison

In a small town like Culler, South Carolina, you guard your secrets like you guard your cobbler recipe: with your life. Georgia Ann Monroe knows a thing or two about secrets: she’s been guarding the truth that her best friend Will is gay for years now. But what happens when a little white lie to protect him gets her into a fake relationship…and then the boy of her dreams shows up?

Enter Beau Montgomery: Georgie’s first love, hotter than ever, and much too much of a southern gentleman to ever pursue someone else’s girl. There’s no way to come clean to Beau while still protecting Will. But bless their hearts, they live in Culler—where secrets always have a way of revealing themselves.

With it being winter, there’s nothing I would rather do than curl up with a nice book and a cup of tea, and the knitted blanket my great-grandmother made me. That being said,  I sat down with the Sweetheart Sham and read it all the way through in one day.

As a huge fan of Sarah Dessen, this book met all my romance needs: cute dialogue, hot boys, funny banter, and many laughs. I honestly couldn’t put it down, it was very engaging. Georgia Ann is a very kind-hearted character who will do anything for her friends. She takes her relationships with everyone very seriously and goes all in. Her loyalty is very refreshing to see in a character and made me wish I could be friends with her.

The YA novel has all the romance, and even more swoon-worthy boy crushes to wish were real. I really enjoyed the story and loved every word of it. It’s definitely a story that will leave you thinking about it forever.

I also had the honor to interview the author, Danielle Ellison and ask her about her new novel! Check it out below.

Lily:  When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Danielle: I’ve always been writing and creating, but it wasn’t something I decided I wanted to pursue until I was in college and after.
Lily: What do you do when you’re not writing?
Danielle: I’m usually working, playing video games, watching TV or exploring the city. I’m also starting Library school in January so I’m not going to have much free time left for a couple years.
Lily:  How did you come up with The Sweetheart Sham?
Danielle: Georgie came to me. I’m someone who writes a character, not a plot, and I have to wait for the right character to come along. I believe I was brushing my teeth or something when the first line of the book – and Georgie’s voice – popped into my head…from there I followed her story and here we are.
Lily: How do you come up with the names of your characters?
Danielle: Sometimes I have to fill in the blanks or find a last name that sounds perfect with the character, but usually they come with names – especially first names.
Lily:  Any advice to future authors out there?
Danielle: Write and experiment. Live life, meet people, step out of your comfort zone, try new things – take every experience you can and let it influence your stories. Be bold. Pursue all your passions and know that writing will always be there when you’re ready and the time is right for you to write. Don’t force it, don’t pressure yourself, just do it for yourself.
Lily: What is your favorite book?

Danielle:  I have three, which are three of the only books I’ve ever re-read.

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly
The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkowski
Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austin
Lily: What was the hardest scene to write in  The Sweetheart Sham?
Danielle: I don’t know if I can name in an individual scene. I’m someone who really struggles with drafting, and this is a book I started, over-plotted, and shelved for two years. So when I came back to it, I had a lot to figure out and get through. I almost quit a couple times, but once I figured out the story, it was able to become what it is.
Lily:  What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
Danielle: My favorite scene in the whole book happens at the end of chapter 15 between Georgie and Will. I won’t say what happens in it, but they steal my heart there. 
Lily: What books have most influenced your life?
Danielle: I’d say the ones I listed as my three favorites. I also grew up reading a lot of Lurlene McDaniels (I thought everyone had to die at the end) and VC Andrews, Goosebumps. I also watch a lot of TV, always have, and between all those elements I think I most learned the power of stories and that I wanted to tell them.
Lily:  What real-life inspirations did you draw from for the book?
Danielle:  The book is dedicated to one of my oldest friends – and I mention this in the acknowledgments- but he was the first person I knew who came out. Growing up, we were best friends, partners-in-crime and though I didn’t know he was gay then, I think a lot of the friendship )the devotion and laughter and randomness) Georgie & Will have is representative of us. Their story isn’t ours, but it was an honor to get to represent that kind of friendship.

 

Danielle Ellison is a nomad, always on the lookout for an adventure and the next story. In addition to writing, she’s the founder and coordinator of the NoVa TEEN Book Festival. When she’s not busy with books, she’s probably watching her favorite shows, drinking coffee, or fighting her nomadic urges. She is newly settled in Oklahoma (for now) with her cat, Simon, but you can always find her on twitter @DanielleEWrites.

 

 

Why One Shouldn’t Go Without “Without Merit”

I’ve always been a fan of Colleen Hoover ever since I first read, Slammed. She always seems to have that magic touch that pulls you into a story and doesn’t let you go until the last word. So year-after-year, I wait for her next book and get excited to see what she has next off her sleeve. Her latest book, Without Merit, came out early October and of course, I got it and read it in a day. Here are my top six reasons for why you have to read this novel right now.

1. Colleen Hoover

If you’ve read any of her books before (and you really should if you haven’t) then you know how utterly heart-evoking and gut-wrenching and hilarious her novels are. You can’t help but love every single word she writes. I want her to write my eulogy when I die, she’s THAT good.

2. Highlights Depression

I love books that incorporate real-life scenarios and that talk about taboo subjects such as mental health. Hoover does a great job incorporating it into the story in a realistic way without romanticizing it.

3. Not everything is the way that it seems.

We see all sorts of people every day and the minute we see them we judge them based on what we’ve heard or what we see. Without Merit dashes that and proves that there are more to people than our own evaluations.

4. The Quotes

Here are just a few of my favorites:

 “I like you enough to kiss you. Believe me. But I just wish you could like yourself
as much as I like you.”

“It annoys me when people try to convince other people that their anger or stress isn’t warranted if someone else in the world is worse off than them. It’s bullsh**. Your emotions and reactions are valid, Merit. Don’t let anyone tell you any different.”

“If silence were a river, your tongue would be the boat.” 

“So many people dream of living in a house with a white picket fence. Little do they know, there’s no such thing as a perfect family, no matter how white the picket fence is.” 

5. The Names

Colleen has a talent with her character names. I’ve found names I want to name my future children just from reading her books. She finds the unique names and goes with it. Here are the fun names in Without Merit:

  • Merit
  • Honor
  • Sagan
  • Utah
  • Luck

6. The Story (duh)

This story is relatable to anyone who deals with depression and any other type of mental illness. Heck, I feel like any college student would be able to relate to even a part of it at most. Colleen Hoover never writes the same book twice and the same goes for this one.

I read this book within a day and Merit’s story will follow me for a while (like many of Colleen’s books). I recommend any of her books, any day, and this beauty will be no different.

Buy it here.

About the Author:

Colleen Hoover

Colleen Hoover is the New York Times bestselling author of nine novels, including the #1 bestseller, Hopeless. She lives in Texas with her husband and three children. She is the founder of The Bookworm Box, a book subscription service which donates 100% of its proceeds to charity. She also owns The Bookworm Box, a specialty bookstore located in Sulphur Springs, Tx.

Her novel, Confess, the Goodreads Choice Award winner for Best Romance is now available as a show on Go90.com, starring Katie Leclerc and Ryan Cooper.

You can follow Colleen on her very active Facebook page and on Instagram and Twitter.

For tour dates or more information, please visit www.colleenhoover.com

 

 

National Day of Writing: What Got Me Started

Today is the National Day of Writing and what better way to celebrate than looking at who helped me be the writer and reader I am today?

We all have that one moment where we remember the exact moment when we started. It could be a childhood memory, or something more recent, but there’s always a time and place that we program into our heads as when we began doing what we love.

For me, that moment was with my grandmother. She introduced me to the love of reading and writing and encouraged it throughout my life. I wrote an essay about her for my class that perfectly represents the moments we shared, and her influence she had in my love for literature and writing it.

[Names have been changed and certain events exaggerated for the sake of trying to get an A in my Young Adult Lit Class]

[My mom also cried while reading this]

The Promise of Amazing

You could sense death laughing to himself in the room. Whispers murmured around, as gentle classical music pieces made their way through the crowds of people. From where I was perched in the corner, behind the antique clock from World War II, I could see Aunt Emily crying in the kitchen with relatives, while others milled around and talked in hushed whispers. Uncle Dave was sneaking yet another pastry from the dessert table, waving off reminders from his wife of his endless diet. Children ran around, unknown to the sadness that plagued the room and everyone in it. It was draped over the house like a heavy San Francisco fog and it was apparent the mood wasn’t clearing anytime soon.

All day people asked how I was, how I was taking it, and if I was okay. My parents even took me to a grief counselor. Truth is, I didn’t know how I felt. I was just… there. A little nine-year-old in the corner of the house, hiding from all the people and reading the last book of her grandma’s. The last book she would ever hand me with a smile and a promise of amazing.

No more tea parties where we discussed literature as we held our pinkies out and wore flamboyant flowery hats.

No more going to her house and running to her bookshelf to read the latest Nancy Drew novel from her old collection.

No more of my favorite person.

She was just… gone.

All I had left of her was her little signature in the corner of the books she gave me and a promise that I would always cherish them for as long as I lived.

That day is a bittersweet memory now, that sits in the back of my mind. It’s the day where I felt a loss for the first time. The day where I discovered that life is short, but it also stands for the day that I realized that I wanted to carry on my grandmother’s legacy:

To encourage shy and timid girls like me that they have a voice and that it’s okay to be different.

To hand out books like candy to my children and grandchildren and strangers and friends.

To help others find their favorite book. To Inspire them to love the written word.

But most importantly, I want to be the person who loves everyone for who they are and where they are in life. My grandmother left

behind memories of love and laughter with books, friendships, and kindness. She inspired and helped so many people through her love and joyful spirit. I will forever be grateful for the first time she put a Nancy Drew book in my hand; and I will feel her sweet soul with me as I hand the same weathered old, yellow-paged book to my child. With that same promise of amazing.

What’s your story? How did you find your love of writing and reading? Who influenced you? Leave it in the comments below!