Monday, September 12, 2016

99 Days by Katie Cotugno | Review

99 Days by Katie Cotugno | Review99 Days by Katie Cotugno
Published by Balzer + Bray on April 21st 2015
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover
Source: BEA
Goodreads
2 Stars

Day 1: Julia Donnelly eggs my house my first night back in Star Lake, and that’s how I know everyone still remembers everything—how I destroyed my relationship with Patrick the night everything happened with his brother, Gabe. How I wrecked their whole family. Now I’m serving out my summer like a jail sentence: Just ninety-nine days till I can leave for college, and be done.

Day 4: A nasty note on my windshield makes it clear Julia isn’t finished. I’m expecting a fight when someone taps me on the shoulder, but it’s just Gabe, home from college and actually happy to see me. “For what it’s worth, Molly Barlow,” he says, “I’m really glad you’re back.”

Day 12: Gabe got me to come to this party, and I’m actually having fun. I think he’s about to kiss me—and that’s when I see Patrick. My Patrick, who’s supposed to be clear across the country. My Patrick, who’s never going to forgive me.

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I can’t even begin to tell you how much I wanted to love this book.  Katie Cotugno’s debut novel, How To Love, is on my favorites shelf.  I adored everything about it.  I put off reading 99 Days because I was saving it for a day when I needed a really good book to read.  I definitely set my expectations way too high for this one.

Pros:

  • Pacing: I read this book in just over two sittings.  While there may not have been many things I liked about it, at least I was able to power through it.  It’s an extremely quick read that is paced just right.  The book takes place over 99 days (I bet you never would have guessed that) and those 99 days seem to fly by for both the reader and Molly.  A lot happens throughout the course of the book and I never felt like the story got too slow or lagged.  I also liked that the flashbacks Molly had from her relationship with Patrick were woven into the story.  I feel like it would have bogged things down if the chapters alternated between past and present so I appreciated that.
  • Romance: The romance between Molly and Gabe was super cute and I loved Gabe.  Yes, even at the end when things came out about him, I still liked him.  I felt like he was good to Molly and good for her.  He wasn’t always an angel but he was never really a bad person.  He was sweet and super hung up on Molly.  He made her happy and he looked out for her.  The start to their relationship may not have been the best thing but I didn’t think it was all that bad.  I wanted to see him and Molly get a happy ending together.
  • Characters: 99 Days had a pretty even mix of characters that I loved and characters that I hated.  Gabe was on the list right in the middle since I liked him but had issues with him too.  My list of characters that I loved contained two awesome females, Imogen and Tess.  Imogen was Molly’s friend before everything went down and she would have been Molly’s friend after, if Molly hadn’t run away.  She wasn’t willing to just overlook things when Molly came back but she was willing to move past them and let Molly earn her forgiveness.  Then there was Tess.  Tess was Patrick’s new girlfriend.  She didn’t know Molly before everything happened but she wasn’t willing to judge her without getting to know her.  They became friends and Tess was always there for Molly.  Tess and Imogen knew what it was to be a good friend.

Cons:

  • Characters: The list of characters that I hated makes me want to rant.  Let’s start with Molly.  That girl had some serious issues.  She was so extremely selfish.  I don’t blame her for what she did with Gabe when Patrick broke up with her.  Patrick broke up with her!  They were not together when she slept with his brother.  Yeah, it wasn’t really classy but as I read more about Molly and Gabe, I could see that they really cared for each other and I could get over that.  It was everything else Molly did that bothered me.  She was jealous of Tess even though she was the one who ruined things with Patrick and was dating his brother.  She clearly wanted what she couldn’t have and she was willing to do whatever it took to get it.  She threw Tess under the bus and took what she wanted from Patrick.  She didn’t even think about Gabe while she screwed him over and yet she claimed to be falling in love with him.  Then there was Patrick.  He was a jerk and I honestly couldn’t see what Molly ever saw in him.  He treated her like crap and she kept crawling back to him.  Oh and don’t let me forget Patrick’s twin, Julia.  Julia was supposedly Molly’s best friend but she was the first to slut shame Molly for what she did with Gabe.  I understand that family comes first but that’s no reason to act like Julia did.  And then there is Molly’s mom who was the one who outed Molly’s night with Gabe, not just to Patrick but to the whole world.  Her mom wrote a bestselling novel based on Molly’s love life torn between Patrick and Gabe.  Then she went and told everyone that it was based on her daughter.  Who does that?
  • Cheating: I can sometimes look past cheating in books and still be able to enjoy the book but not this time around.  Molly had no sense of morals when it came to cheating.  She just kept doing it, over and over again.  Sure she’d feel bad about it later but that didn’t do anybody any good then.  Too little, too late.  I don’t want to get into this too much because it is very much a spoiler but just know that it was really bad.
  • Ending: The ending is very similar to Katie Cotugno’s debut, How To Love, in that it’s up in the air.  It’s pretty much up to the reader to decide what comes next for Molly and the boys in her life.  I wanted some concrete answers and I know Katie Cotugno has said there is always the possibility of a sequel but that’s not what I want.  I just want to know exactly how things ended for Molly and all of the Donnellys and it doesn’t look like I’ll get that.

Overall, 99 Days is not one I recommend reading.  Check out Katie Cotugno’s debut, How To Love, for sure, but let’s just pretend like this one didn’t happen.  I’m waiting on her third book so I can see if it will redeem her!

Overall reaction:

What others are saying about 99 Days:

The Perpetual Page-Turner’s review: “While on the surface this book might just seem like a romance with a love triangle between two brothers but it is SO much more than that.”

The Novel Hermit’s review: “99 Days seemed promising at first, but with a snap of a finger, the story turned boring and didn’t really resolve anything.”

Reading Lark’s review: “Overall, I loved watching Molly work through the ghosts of her past and start to make plans for a better future.”

Friday, September 27, 2013

Blog Tour: How To Love by Katie Cotugno | Review

Blog Tour: How To Love by Katie Cotugno | Review

Blog Tour: How To Love by Katie Cotugno | ReviewHow To Love by Katie Cotugno
Published by Harper Teen on October 1, 2013
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 389
Format: ARC
Source: BEA, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

Before:
Reena Montero has loved Sawyer LeGrande for as long as she can remember: as natural as breathing, as endless as time. But he's never seemed to notice that Reena even exists until one day, impossibly, he does. Reena and Sawyer fall in messy, complicated love. But then Sawyer disappears from their humid Florida town without a word, leaving a devastated—and pregnant—Reena behind.

After:
Almost three years have passed, and there's a new love in Reena's life: her daughter, Hannah. Reena's gotten used to being without Sawyer, and she's finally getting the hang of this strange, unexpected life. But just as swiftly and suddenly as he disappeared, Sawyer turns up again. Reena doesn't want anything to do with him, though she'd be lying if she said Sawyer's being back wasn't stirring something in her. After everything that's happened, can Reena really let herself love Sawyer LeGrande again?

In this breathtaking debut, Katie Cotugno weaves together the story of one couple falling in love—twice.

How To Love is by far one of the best debuts I’ve ever read. I truly had no idea what to expect from Katie Cotugno and I was completely blown away.

How To Love almost fits into the new adult category rather than young adult. It’s a much more mature story than normal YA books and I loved it. Younger readers can certainly get away with reading it (although there is drug use/alcohol use/sexual content) and older readers such as myself can truly enjoy it. While Sawyer and Reena are both in their teens, they are forced to deal with some much more adult issues and it was refreshing to read such a realistic story. There’s college, teen pregnancy, drug abuse, and so much more packed between these pages. Katie Cotugno tackles everything head on and doesn’t shy away from the tough stuff. Everything is handled so well, especially the sexual content, and I would love to see more stories like this one in the future.

The story is told from Reena’s point-of-view alone but I really felt like I got to know Sawyer just as well I got to know Reena. Reena is a smart girl. She’s funny (in a very sarcastic way), she’s kind, and she’s definitely a good girl. Sawyer is the opposite of Reena in almost every way. He’s definitely a bad boy. He’s got drug problems, he’s in a band, he’s living in a run down place with multiple other guys, and he’s not good for Reena. That doesn’t stop the two from falling completely in love with each other. This was definitely a case of opposites attracting. Personally I thought Reena and Sawyer were perfect together, at least the second time around.

The story is told in alternating chapters; before and after. It’s easy to see how their relationship isn’t really all that healthy in the before chapters but both of them have changed drastically since then. They’ve matured (especially Reena, having to raise a baby), they’re smarter, and they can see the truth of their relationship. The story is a very unique one and it completely drew me in. There were secrets between Sawyer and Reena that I just wanted to know and I couldn’t stop reading until I knew every last detail. I was captivated from beginning to end.

The last thing I want to mention about How To Love is the writing. It’s gorgeous. I don’t know any other way to describe it. Even if the story had completely sucked I would have kept reading just for the writing. However, seeing as the story was amazing, the writing was just the icing on the cake.

Overall, just go read How To Love. Please. Even if you’re not a contemporary fan, I really think everyone can find something to love about this one. I am highly anticipating Katie Cotugno’s next book.

What others have to say about How To Love:

Nick’s Book Blog’s review: “With How to Love by Katie Cotugno, I found a simple yet beautiful story that made me really feel for the characters.”

Enticed By Books’ review: “Anyway, How To Love was a well written book, but my disinterest in the characters and the storyline along with the poor execution of that said story was what made this book a thumbs down read for me.”

Swept Away by Books’ review: “All in all, How To Love wasn’t exactly what I imagined myself getting into, but I did love it all the same!”

About The AUTHOR
 
Katie Cotugno went to Catholic school for thirteen years which makes her, as an adult, both extremely superstitious and prone to crushes on boys wearing blazers. She routinely finds herself talking about the romantic endeavors of characters on TV shows as if they actually exist in the world.
Katie is a Pushcart Prize nominee whose work has appeared in The Broadkill Review, The Apalachee Review, and Argestes, as well as on Nerve.com. Her first novel, HOW TO LOVE, is due out from Balzer + Bray on October 1st, 2013.
 
The great loves of Katie’s life include child’s pose, her little sister, and mozzarella and honey sandwiches. She lives in Boston (and in sin) with her boyfriend, Tom.
 
You can follow Katie via her: Website | on Twitter | Goodreads