You’d think getting sent to Turning Pines Wilderness Camp for a month-long rehabilitation “retreat” and being forced to re-live it in this journal would be the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.
You’d be wrong.
There’s the reason I was sent to Turning Pines in the first place: I got arrested. On prom night. With my two best friends, who I haven’t talked to since and probably never will again. And then there’s the real reason I was sent here. The thing I can’t talk about with the guy I can’t even think about.
What if the moment you’ve closed yourself off is the moment you start to break open?
But there’s this guy here. Ben. And the more I swear he won’t—he can’t—the deeper under my skin he’s getting. After the thing that happened, I promised I’d never fall for another boy’s lies.
And yet I can’t help but wonder…what if?
I remember when I read Pretty Amy by Lisa Burstein. I remember that it tugged at my heart and threw me for an emotional roller coaster ride. The story, the writing, the characters…it was all just so beautiful, and I remember that I wanted more. I read about Amy, sure, but I wanted to know more about Lila and Cassie. So, I was thrilled when I learned that Lisa Burstein was writing Dear Cassie, and I was not above begging and pleading if I had to to be a part of the Dear Cassie Blog Tour over at Rockstar Book Tours. Thankfully, it didn’t quite come to that.
Dear Cassie was so emotional and beautiful. It was so….raw. In Pretty Amy, we only got a small taste of Cassie. We learned that she had a horrible home life, she was emotionally screwed up, she did drugs, she didn’t really care about her life, and she had absolutely no taste in guys. Dear Cassie takes off right after Pretty Amy, and Cassie is sentenced to go to Turning Pines Wilderness Camp (somewhat of a boot camp) for 30 days. There she is forced to write about her troubles and her thoughts, interact with both friends and foes, do physical labor, suffer from poison ivy, and accept herself and her past.
I loved Dear Cassie so much. As someone who doesn’t overly love contemporary books, I get so extremely excited when I find ones that I fall head over heels in love with. And that’s exactly what happened with Dear Cassie. Cassie’s character was strong but weak at the same time. I found so much inspiration and strength in her. And those times that she wanted to fall down, I just wanted to pick her right back up and set her on her feet. I haven’t loved a character as much as I loved Cassie in a very long time, and kudos to Lisa Burstein for giving life to her.
This book does focus a lot on the topic of abortion, which could possibly offend some of you. I found it to be beautiful and heartbreaking. It’s not my place to say whether or not I agreed with Cassie’s decision, but it was a wonderful experience watching her come to terms with her decision. It was really hard, though, for me to read about her constantly punching her stomach (after the baby was already gone), because it was just too painful. I can’t imagine being in that type of position and it was just utterly heartbreaking.
On a negative note, I hated Ben’s character. Ben is a guy at Turning Pines Wilderness Camp, and he develops this weird thing for Cassie. I kind of wanted to see her end up with noone. I didn’t even want a semi crush or relationship in the book, because I felt that Cassie really needed to learn that she could survive without a man in her life. I also found Ben to be very controlling, something that I can not stand in men.
The ending of the book infuriated me. It’s not what I wanted or expected, and I’m hoping that maybe there will be another book about Cassie. Her story is really unfinished right now, and I hate when books end that way.
Overall, I flat out adored this book. It was beautiful, romantic, sweet and heartbreaking. It discussed topics that were difficult to read but necessary for the story. Dear Cassie was such a realistic story, and I cannot wait to read more from Lisa Burstein in the future.
Publication Date: March 5th, 2013
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Lisa Burstein is a tea seller by day and a writer by night. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from the Inland Northwest Center for Writers at Eastern Washington University and is glad to finally have it be worth more than the paper it was printed on. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her very patient husband, a neurotic dog and two cats.
She wrote her first story when she was in second grade. It was a Thanksgiving tale from the point of view of the turkey from freezer to oven to plate. It was scandalous.
PRETTY AMY May 2012 Entangled Publishing THE NEXT FOREVER January 2013 Entangled Publishing DEAR CASSIE March 2013 Entangled Publishing
1 paperback copy of Dear Cassie (U.S. only)
1 ebook copy of Dear Cassie (International
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“Magic is just like love, Allai. It won’t wait for permission before it destroys you.”
Like sand in an hourglass, Allai’s future is dwindling away. She’s spent her entire life fighting the Mages who threaten humanity, and dreams of someday eradicating magic. But all it takes is an anonymous phone call for the truth to spill out: Allai is the one thing she despises most.
She’s a Mage.
Though ancient law mandates Allai’s death, she still has one last chance of survival. His name is Drake Rhaize, and he swears he can lead Allai to a sanctuary for Mages. Allai hasn’t seen Drake in years, but she remembers him as the Demon boy who used to hold her close and softly whisper that he’d keep her safe. But Drake has changed since then: He’s now suspected of murder, and has been out-casted for betraying his own kind.
While Allai doesn’t trust Drake, she has no choice but to put her life in his hands and hope he can get her to safety. Because Allai’s father has hired a pack of Demons to bring her back to him, dead or alive–and Demons never stop the hunt.
“Frost Fire” is a YA Paranormal Romance intended for ages 14+.
Frost Fire is a “Good Reads and Good Deeds” book. All net proceeds for Frost Fire go toward the Dysautonomia Youth Network of America, a charity that supports youth with medical conditions affecting the nervous system.
Frost Fire has a storyline like I’ve never read before. A girl living with demons? Whose read of such a thing? Not me. So it was a plus that the book was about something that I have never read before. It was an additional plus that the first half of the book was amazing.
During the first half of the book, I adored Allai. She had spunk and she was living in such a unique world. Her relationship with Drake in the beginning was also adorable. I loved the scenes where she would go see him in the dungeon. I just wanted that to continue on forever. Unfortunately, I did not like Allai during the last half of the book. She had a complete personality change. She was extremely needy, always cried and really just seemed to ignore that the world was still functioning around her.
Drake was a pretty strong male character. Did I fall head over heels in love with him? No. But did I enjoy his character? Yes. I could definitely see why girls..and guys..would fall in love with Drake.
Luke. I could talk about Luke all. day. long. I seriously want to know how Olivia Rivers created such an amazing character. The only complaint I have about Luke is that I didn’t get more of him. He was AMAZING. He was bitchy, snippy, grumpy, and hot all mixed into a single package. I don’t know how on Earth that made me fall in love with him, but it did.
There were some things that really didn’t tie the story together. For one, I didn’t like having the two boys introduced in the lunch room if they were never going to make another appearance. I really thought that they were going to play a major part in the book, and I was really confused and slightly disappointed when they were never mentioned again. I also thought that there was a big jump between the first half and the second half of the book. The first half of the book was amazing and the second half of the book was mediocre. My mind couldn’t really process how fast Allai was living in one environment to be being kicked out and doing a road trip with Drake. I really wish that the whole book would have been centered around her living with the demons like it started out. I would have liked to see a different storyline than Allai and Drake struggling to get to Idaho.
I was also really sad that the guy who played Allai’s dad in the beginning didn’t make another appearance. I honestly thought that he would come try to rescue Allai and that he was putting on a show for the French. I didn’t expect that he would completely throw Allai to the wolves after playing the role of her father for so many years.
Drake and Allai’s relationship during the beginning of the book was so freaking cute. I loved them so much! But again, they almost seemed like totally different characters during the second half of the book. Drake turned very desperate to save Allai, which made him lose some of his spark and sexiness. Allai just lost her personality altogether. Allai became extremely needy and clingy, which is something that I already can’t stand in females. Keep your hands to yourself. Some touching now and then is acceptable, but come on. You’re your own person. Act like it.
The very ending of the book was SO. SHOCKING! I can normally guess all the twists and turns that are going to happen in a book, but no. I had no idea that THAT was going to happen! I loved that surprise ending! I don’t know where it’s going to go from there. I’m honestly having the hardest time of my life not telling you guys what happens, because I want to talk about it SO BAD. The ending just blew my mind.
I had a lot to complain about in this book, but I also want to stress that I was head over heels in love with the whole first half of the book. I have tried so many times to sit down and write, and I just do not have the patience for it. To imagine Olivia Rivers, a teenager and high school student, sitting down and writing this story that was actually pretty good is amazing. Kudos to her. I would definitely recommend this book.
Publisher: Red Sparrow Press
Publication Date: November 20th, 2012
Source: Ebook provided for blog tour
Contest will run from February 25th, 2013 to March 6th, 2013
Contest is open Internationally
Winner will receive one ebook copy of Frost Fire by Olivia Rivers