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Under a Million Stars: Are Two Lives Waiting to Change

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Under A Million Stars

Can a beating heart bleed from the shattered pieces?

Her heart cracked when her best friend walked away; it completely shattered when she lost her family in a tragic accident.

Now orphaned at seventeen, Charlotte Peterson is forced to live with her former best friend, Jacob Parker. Charlie, a talented pianist, desperately wants their loving friendship back, but something is holding Jake back. The more she spirals into the darkness of depression, the more she needs him.

Jacob vowed to stay away from her—no matter how much he still loved her. Armed with secrets that would have destroyed both of their families, he chose to end their friendship and walk away, which nearly killed him. As he watches the girl he once knew begin to fade away, however, he realizes that their relationship is more important than the truth he’s hiding.

Now it’s up to Jacob to put the pieces of Charlie’s broken heart back together—even if it means revealing the secrets he so desperately wants to protect her from.
Will Jacob find a way to bring back the carefree, talented girl he once knew, or is it too late for both of them?

*It’s a Stand-alone*

Contemporary/Romance/YA
342 Pages
Publication Date: August 8th, 2016
Get a copy here!

3.5Penguins
Quick Reasons: mature content warning!; this handles some tough subjects with sensitivity and tact; intriguing, complex characters; believable, realistic relationships and situations; there’s a lot of grieving in this book, but a lot of hope too; emotionally-driven, heart-wrenching read

Huge thanks to Rita Branches and YA Bound Book Tours for sending me a copy of this title free in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

This book covers some intense, mature subjects, readers–so please be careful when considering this book! Such subjects include: eating disorders; suicide; bullying; grief; underage drinking. If such subjects trigger or upset you, please take this warning into consideration before picking up this book.
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BUT PENGUINS, guys! Let’s just talk about that cover first, shall we?! It’s been a long time now since I raved about a cover, but this one… THIS. ONE. Looking at it now, having finished the read… I see so much more to it than I did when I was first setting out on this journey. This cover, though perhaps not intentionally, makes a deep statement about our main character and the struggles she faces throughout these pages. And I’m not going to lie to you–she goes through A LOT. Her character arc is rocky, full of turmoil, and crafted from chaos…but the ending, penguins. Trust me when I tell you, you’ll want to see how this one ends.

 

The prose is a bit awkward in places–there were some missing words, some weird phrasings. These were small inconsistencies, but I picked them up throughout my read. They weren’t big enough to bother me, though, and they never slowed down my pace. It is not necessarily poetic prose; it’s pretty simple, honestly. But there are some beautifully written moments woven throughout this read, regardless.

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These characters are complex and uniquely individual. I wish we had seen more of several of them–Jacob’s parents, for example, feel a bit more like cardboard cutouts than they did actual people to me. Until the ending of this book, when the biggest secrets are revealed, I wasn’t sure what their roles were, save being the caregivers/guardians. Matt and Kylie, as well, were two characters I feel we should have seen more of, given how important they are to our main duo. Still, I was compelled by the story, and sucked immediately into both Jacob and Charlie’s journeys.

Overall, this was an endearing, heart-wrenching read…with a ton of emotionally-driven, mature subjects. While several of the characters felt a bit lacking, Charlie and Jacob almost instantly grabbed at my heart-strings and dragged me along for the ride. I recommend this to readers of contemporary romances, characters tortured by secrets, and sensitively-handled, heavy-handed subjects. This was a quiet, subtle read…but such a lovely journey.

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Untitled Beauty: This is a Hard Read…But SO Super Important

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Untitled Beauty (Somewhere-in-Between #1)

Eleven. A name. A title. A sentence passed. If you aren’t a Beauty, you’re less than a person. You’re a commodity known as a Potential… and you only have so many chances to qualify as a human being.

In her seventeen years, Eleven has seen the best and worst in humanity. She’s been passed around and abused by the bad. She’s hoped and dreamed for the good. And she’s despaired for the hand she’s been dealt. Now she’s been purchased by a wealthy man who has the ability to improve her life and help her become a Beauty – if she can put up with his erratic and controlling personality for long enough, that is. Complicating things is the appearance of a stunningly beautiful young man with amethyst eyes who treats Eleven to the rarest form of attention for a Potential: kindness.

Does Eleven trust her powerful owner to help her escape this life of servitude and enslavement, or does she gamble everything on the enigmatic young man who seems to offer her more than she could ever imagine possible?

Somewhere-in-Between #1
Dystopian/YA/Romance
151 Pages
Expected Publication Date: October 13th, 2016
Get a copy here!

5Penguins
Quick Reasons: LIFE. RUINER.; C.E. Wilson tackles her most challenging, disturbing subject matter yet; warning: mature readers only, this book handles very sensitive subjects; realistic, emotionally-charged plot; characters that tug at your heartstrings, that disgust you, that perplex you, that enrage you; every facet of human nature and emotion is touched upon in this book

A very HUGE thank you, as always, to C.E. Wilson for granting me early access to this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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I feel I need to start with the most important bit of this review first for this book: trigger warning! The plot contains and touches upon very sensitive subject matter, including: human trafficking; slavery; physical, emotional, and sexual abuse; physical and emotional degradation; and violent, traumatizing scenes. If you are a sensitive reader and are triggered by any of the above, PLEASE take this into consideration. I had quite a bit of trouble with some of the scenes, myself, and I am not as easily triggered as others. Please stay safe, penguins!

That being said. OH. MY. GOOD GRACIOUS PENGUINS! I have read several of C.E. Wilson’s works in the recent past, and have so so enjoyed how unique and inventive her ideas are. She always, ALWAYS layers a real-world issue (prejudice being a key one in her books) with a more abstract, often fantastical world-building. This helps both to soften and enhance the subjects she has chosen with such delicate care. BUT THIS BOOK. This book is raw, and gorgeously crafted. This book is hard to read, penguins–the subject matter is just so brutal. I mean basically, it’s human trafficking reimagined and molded to fit the world being built within these pages. It’s terrifying, and it’s plausible, and I struggled so hard with my emotions while feeling compelled to keep reading.

I did not step out of my comfort zone for this book; this book pushed me off the cliff and dove down after me. Were this book a parachute, it would have taunted me during the fall: “I can save you…but it’s going to hurt a little bit, too.” These characters are vibrantly alive…and realistically traumatized. Their emotions are raw, seeping from the pages to settle like an aura over every word, every sentence. The prose refuses to take prisoners, instead promising a sea of broken, sobbing readers left numb in its wake.

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This book is, above all, the most painful…and the most IMPORTANT…novel C.E. Wilson’s put out so far, in my opinion. The subject matter is approached with sensitivity and handled with care, crafted to both break readers and leave them thinking, leave them scarred, leave them changed. If you’ve promised to step outside your reading comfort zone at least once this year, you might consider picking this book up! I definitely recommend to mature readers; those seeking powerful and poignant reads; and lovers of real-world subjects with slightly abstract world-building. C.E. Wilson continues to take me by surprise; I cannot WAIT to see what she does next!