Author: Katie Cotugno

Early Review – 99 Days by Katie Cotugno

March 28, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2015, YA 1 Comment

I received this book free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – 99 Days by Katie Cotugno99 Days by Katie Cotugno
Published by Balzer + Bray on April 21st 2015
Pages: 384
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: How to Love

three-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.

‘Patrick was my person, my other half. I never felt stuck or cut off or like there was other stuff I’d rather be doing, never felt like there was anyplace else I’d rather be.
At least, not until the moment it did.’

Molly Barlow has only 99 days before she can leave for college and those days can’t go by fast enough for her. Molly and Patrick were childhood friends turned first loves when they drifted apart just long enough for her to fall into the arms of Gabe, Patrick’s brother. This subsequently caused Julia, their sister and Molly’s best friend, to end their friendship completely. She also seems to be intent on making those 99 days some of the worst for her.

‘It’ll make a great story someday. She said that, she told me what was going to happen, so really there’s no earthly reason to still be so baffled after all this time that I told her the worst, most secret, most important thing in my life – and she wrote a best-selling book about it.’

The truth behind the indiscretion between Molly and Gabe had managed to stay hidden until her mother, an author, decided to take the story her daughter confided in her and use it as the inspiration for her new novel. But that’s all in the past, however, no one seems to have forgotten it in the year she’s been gone. The only one that actually seems happy to see her again is Gabe and slowly but surely she develops a relationship with the other brother. But forgetting about what her and Patrick once shared doesn’t seem to be as simple as she’d like.

This story was a complete train wreck to watch unfold. It’s one of those that you can’t in all honesty say you ‘enjoyed’ but the story still possessed a strong emotional resonance. And while Molly’s actions may not have been right, the brothers were just as much at fault yet it was Molly that took the full brunt of the blame and ostracizing. As a reader we have to watch Molly continue to recreate past wrongs, all the while knowing that not a single bit of good is going to come of it all. But as far as love triangles go, it was quite possibly one of the most realistic I’ve ever read. Forgetting your first love is never easy and becoming involved in their lives again can lead to some sticky situations. Even with Molly developing feelings for Gabe, seeing Patrick together with another girl caused a multitude of confusing emotions that she struggled to understand. Faced with a situation like that, her actions are almost understandable, but it still made it no less difficult a read.

Katie Cotugno continues to impress with her stories that push the envelope and while How to Love is still my favorite, there’s no denying that 99 Days is a smart, complex tale about emotions and the havoc they can wreak.

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Book Review – How to Love by Katie Cotugno

October 12, 2013 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2013, YA 6 Comments

I received this book free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review – How to Love by Katie CotugnoHow to Love by Katie Cotugno
Published by Balzer + Bray on October 1st 2013
Pages: 389
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Format: ARC
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: 99 Days

five-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.

Reena Montero is brilliant and full of substantial dreams for her future. Sawyer Le Grande is charismatic yet hindered by terrible addictions. Reena has been in love with Sawyer for as long as she can remember. The day he finally notices her was the day both of their lives were forever transformed. By the time Reena realizes she’s pregnant, Sawyer has disappeared without a trace and she’s left to suffer the consequences. How to Love alternates between Before chapters, when Reena and Sawyer are together, and After chapters, when Reena is a struggling single-mother before her 17th birthday.

Oh my gosh, this book. I went into this with the preconceived notion that it’d just be a mediocre read because honestly, YA contemporary romances are not my thing. I’ve always found the majority of the romances are typically shallow and superficial, lacking any honest or true love. But this? This book managed to elicit such profound feelings from me that I was left feeling utterly bewildered at how impeccably Reena and Sawyer’s story managed to speak to me.

*sigh* Sawyer. He reminded me so much of another character that I read recently, Sutter from The Spectacular Now, and how self-destructive he was yet so charismatic and charming. (Although admittedly Sawyer was a far more redeeming character.) Sure he made some really jerk moves in the Before bits, but I couldn’t help thinking his heart was in the right place. He’s a highly dysfunctional character and it’s easy to place the blame because of his addictions but once you get to that point that he’s at, choosing not to do it is not as easy as saying yes or no because it’s become a part of who he is. It’s clear that the struggle to slay the demons within him is ongoing, but his love for Reena was forever evident even when he chose to leave without a word.

‘I think of how it felt to lose him, slow and painful and confusing, and how it felt to wonder if I’d ever really had him at all.’

I heard all the negative things about Sawyer before going into this book and how he dragged Reena into his reckless behavior but I was somehow able to completely look past that and understand him and his situation a bit more than I was entirely comfortable with. I’ve been in a relationship much like theirs and yes, it’s a destructive type. Going to the parties when I’d rather be home. Going because it’s the only way to ensure that he stays somewhat safe. Knowing that you being his rock, his stability, is the only thing you can do for him as the demons within cannot be slayed. When you love a person, you’re willing to stand with them through thick and thin and help them the only way you can think to.

Sawyer may not have shown any visible progress in becoming a better person but Reena was the only thing in his life that helped him become the redeeming character we see in the After chapters. He came back into Reena’s life intent on earning her love back. He was truthful and forthcoming with the issues he had and how he needed to leave to fix them. He was repentant but never actually apologized I believe because no sorry could ever fix what was done, only him being the support that Reena needed would change that. It was clear that he battled with the guilt of his actions.

This was a hard review to write and I’m still not convinced I’m discussing everything I want to. This book left me with the worst bookish hangover I can remember in recent history. It managed to evoke a shocking amount of emotion from me and left me contemplating for days.

How To Love is a beautiful and powerfully written story of love ingraining itself onto your very being.

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