Thursday, May 7, 2015

Whatever Life Throws At You by Julie Cross | Review

Whatever Life Throws At You by Julie Cross | ReviewWhatever Life Throws At You by Julie Cross
Published by Entangled TEEN on October 7, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 373
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

Life loves a good curveball…

Seventeen-year-old Annie Lucas's life is completely upended the moment her dad returns to the major leagues as the new pitching coach for the Kansas City Royals. Now she's living in Missouri (too cold), attending an all-girls school (no boys), and navigating the strange world of professional sports. But Annie has dreams of her own—most of which involve placing first at every track meet…and one starring the Royals' super-hot rookie pitcher.

But nineteen-year-old Jason Brody is completely, utterly, and totally off-limits. Besides, her dad would kill them both several times over. Not to mention Brody has something of a past, and his fan club is filled with C-cupped models, not smart-mouthed high school “brats” who can run the pants off every player on the team. Annie has enough on her plate without taking their friendship to the next level. The last thing she should be doing is falling in love.

But baseball isn't just a game. It's life. And sometimes, it can break your heart…

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Whatever Life Throws At You is the first new adult novel I’ve read by Julie Cross but it definitely will not be my last.  It’s a thoroughly enjoyable read with romance, betrayal, and baseball (meaning men in tight pants).  What more could a girl want?

Annie Lucas and Jason Brody may be seriously attracted to each other but they really don’t care much for each other.  Annie is the daughter of the Kansas City Royals’ pitching coach and Brody is the 19-year-old rookie pitcher for the team.  They have every reason to stay away from each other but things keep throwing them together.  Eventually their attraction may just overcome their dislike.

Annie is a determined, strong, kind, and funny girl.  She’s pretty much all her dad has and so they are very close.  They grow even closer when they move to a new state so her dad can take the job.  Brody has nobody and so he sees Annie’s dad as a father figure when he takes him under his wing.  This relationship between Brody and Annie’s dad throws them in each others paths very frequently and a friendship (maybe more) starts to grow.

I loved the development of the relationship between Annie and Brody.  They really didn’t think much of each other until they looked past the outer images they both portray to the world.  Brody is seen as a bad boy player but he still finds time to make it to Annie’s track meets.  Annie is seen as a bit of a snob but she’s the only one who really takes the time to encourage Brody.  Clearly there is more to both than meets the eye.  A wary friendship starts and eventually leads to more.

The family and friend relationships were also wonderful.  Annie, Jim, and her grandmother are all very close and very open with each other.  Annie’s mom, on the other hand, is a terrible person who I hated from the start.  I also hated Annie’s best friend, Lenny’s family.  They were so fake and I really loved that Lenny had Annie.  Same with Jim’s relationship to Brody.  He was not his kid but he still cared a lot for him.

The baseball aspect was not overpowering but still really fun.  Baseball is not a sport I care for but Julie Cross did a great job making it interesting.

Overall, Whatever Life Throws At You is a new favorite of mine.  I would certainly be interested in reading more about these characters.  Also, there is a great blending of new adult and young adult so it would be great as an introduction to the new adult genre.

What others are saying about Whatever Life Throws At You:

Geeky Mythology’s review: “A great part of the book is spent building family relationships and it’s told beautifully.”

NoseGraze’s review: “Whatever Life Throws at You was another book that I didn’t want to end.”

Book Rock Betty’s review: “Overall, a really solid contemporary romance!”

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Blog Tour: Rules of Seduction by Jenna Mullins | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Rules of Seduction by Jenna Mullins | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Rules of Seduction by Jenna Mullins | Review + GiveawayRules of Seduction by Jenna Mullins
Published by The Studio on April 21, 2015
Genres: Contemporary
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

The first rule of seduction is: don’t fall in love.

Fresh out of college, Dani Young heads for the LA sun to chase her dream of becoming a screenwriter-director. So when her former BFF turned actress Elise offers Dani the opportunity to work on the hit teen show Vamp Camp, Dani can’t refuse, even if it comes at a price: Elise wants Dani to seduce her boyfriend, Vamp Camp superstar Tate Lawrence. Turns out Elise has some major trust issues, and needs Dani to test Tate’s faith. The only rule: don’t fall in love with him.

Sure, Dani doesn’t mind occasionally glimpsing Tate’s megawatt smile…or accidentally-on-purpose brushing up against his perfect torso…but she’s no fool. There’s no way she’d ever fall for a shallow celebrity and no way one would fall for her, a lanky movie nerd.

But amidst vampire-crazed fans, a conniving fellow intern, and a devilishly handsome showrunner, Dani feels like all the rules she used to know have disappeared, except for one: Love doesn’t play by the rules.

Part The Devil Wears Prada, part How To Lose a Guy in Ten Days, this story of friendship and romance is sure to appeal to fans of Stephanie Perkins, Jennifer E. Smith, and Anna Todd.

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Rules of Seduction is an adorable new adult novel about the inner workings of Hollywood and what it takes to make it in the business.  With a fun cast of characters and an awkwardly cute romance, it’s a quick read for contemporary fans.

Dani is both the best thing about Rules of Seduction and the worst.  She’s an adorably awkward girl who is so easy to relate to but she is also extremely naive.  She’s on her own for the first time and she’s just moved to LA.  She wants to be some big time director of indie films but to get there she has to start at the bottom.  People tend to walk all over her and things I could see coming from a mile away came as a surprise to her.  I loved her personality though.  She was such a nerd and she was so clueless when it came to guys, especially Tate.  Speaking of, Tate was so much more than I expected.  He was not the typical Hollywood bad boy player.  He had a great heart and he was quite a nerd too, deep down.  He and Dani brought out the best in each other.

The secondary characters really helped tie things together too.  Dani’s roommate, Brit, was a totally unique person.  She had a mind of her own and she did what she wanted.  She was good to Dani through everything, even when she knew Dani was doing something totally dumb.  Elise, Tate’s girlfriend and Dani’s friend from back home, was not all that great but I feel like I just didn’t see enough of her to really come to like her.

The story was really fun.  I have never really been all that interested in famous people or the Hollywood industry but Jenna Mullins did a great job of making it fun and easy to understand.  The base of the story was definitely a romance but there was enough other stuff going on that it didn’t feel completely devoted to the romance.  The details surrounding Dani’s job and her dreams were really intricate and made for a very interesting look at Hollywood.

Overall, I was definitely impressed with Jenna Mullins’ debut novel.  I look forward to reading more from her and I wouldn’t complain if Tate and Dani made an appearance in future novels.

What others are saying about Rules of Seduction:

Book Flame’s review:  “Rules of Seduction was a cute and light-hearted read.”

Swoony Boys Podcast’s review: “The idea for this story was amazing, and we loved experiencing Dani’s snarky, fun attitude coming off the page.”

Sleeps on Tables’ review: “First thing’s first, when I say this is a fun read, I mean it wholeheartedly.”

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In fourth grade, Jenna put her classmates into a story about fire safety, and they laughed the entire time she read it aloud. Since then, she’s been writing with the sole purpose to entertain other people. Fire safety, however, fell to the wayside when she accidentally set her grandmother’s bathroom on fire when she was 12.

In 2010, she moved from Indiana to Los Angeles to intern at E!, and she is now a writer/editor/pop culture gatekeeper at E! Online. A Midwest girl who prefers Southern California weather, Jenna loves the Indianapolis Colts, saving Hyrule and training for her backup dream career: deciding what goes into the baskets on Food Network’s Chopped. She currently resides in LA with her nerdy, handsome boyfriend Kyle and their two fluffier-than-normal cats, Glenn and Zelda.

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord | Review

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord | ReviewThe Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
Published by Bloomsbury on March 31, 2015
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: ALA
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Following her pitch-perfect debut Open Road Summer, Emery Lord pens another gorgeous story of best friends, new love, & second chances.

Brimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamics The Start of Me and You proves that it’s never too late for second chances.

It’s been a year since it happened—when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her—the perfect way to convince everyone she’s back to normal. Next: Join a club—simple, it’s high school after all. But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?

picadillyblueI read and adored Emery Lord’s debut novel, Open Road Summer. It was the perfect blend of romance, friendship, and music. That being the case, I had high expectations for The Start of Me and You.  Perhaps my expectations were too high because I found myself only liking this one as compared to how much I loved Open Road Summer.

The Start of Me and You follows Paige Hancock on her journey to move past the death of her boyfriend.  Her journey includes a list of things she wants to do: date a guy, go swimming, join a club, etc.  Seems simple enough except she has her sights set on a specific boy and he tends to make her a bit tongue-tied.  Ryan Chase has been her crush for years and she starts of her school year expecting to date him and not settle for anything less than that.  Obviously things don’t go according to plan.  Ryan’s cousin, Max, moves back to town and he strikes up a friendship with Paige.  Unlike Ryan, Max is easy for Paige to be around and he doesn’t make her nervous at all.  Paige’s plan might be Ryan but Max seems to have plans of his own.

Paige was a bit annoying in her pursuit of Ryan.  She barely knew the guy and while the reason she initially developed a crush on him was sweet, the staying power of that crush just didn’t make sense.  She had little to nothing in common with Ryan.  Max, on the other hand, had a healthy friendship with Paige that was so sweet.  They had so much in common and the way they made fun of each other was so adorably cute.  They were able to be themselves with each other, no matter how dorky.  Max was totally the type of guy I could see myself crushing on.  He was not the typical love interest but he was well-rounded and adorably nerdy.

Max and Paige were not the best characters though.  Paige’s friends were the best.  She always had a solid support system no matter what she was going through.  They stood by her through all the tough times and in return she was there for them when they needed her.  No matter what happened they always knew they had each other. Sure they fought but what friends don’t?  They worked through their issues and they always saw past their little fights to what really mattered.

The story was cute and fast-paced enough that I didn’t find my attention wavering from the book even once.  While I didn’t get Paige’s superficial crush on Ryan, I still liked her and I wanted to see her cross everything off her list.  Even though I had I feeling I knew how things were going to end for Paige, I kept reading because I wanted to know how it would all play out.  It was everything I could have hoped for.

Overall, The Start of Me and You is a strong sophomore novel for Emery Lord.  Paige and her group of friends wormed their way into my heart and I’m sure they will do the same with many other readers.  I highly encourage any contemporary fans to check this one out.

What others are saying about The Start of Me and You:

The Book Addict’s Guide’s review: “THE START OF ME AND YOU was very sweet and lots of fun to read (QuizBowl! What an awesome idea and so great to incorporate) and it was another very solid contemporary from Emery Lord.”

Bookiemoji’s review: “This book is my soul animal.”

Lost In Literature’s review: “The Start of You and Me is the perfect contemporary story that I go all heart eyes for.”

Monday, February 23, 2015

Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless by Liz Czukas | Review

Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless by Liz Czukas | ReviewTop Ten Clues You're Clueless by Liz Czukas
Published by Harper Teen on December 9, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 289
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
3 Stars

Top Five Things That Are Ruining Chloe’s Day

5) Working the 6:30 a.m. shift at GoodFoods Market

4) Crashing a cart into a customer’s car right in front of her snarky coworker Sammi

3) Trying to rock the “drowned rat” look after being caught in a snowstorm

2) Making zero progress with her crush, Tyson (see #3)

1) Being accused—along with her fellow teenage employees—of stealing upwards of $10,000

Chloe would rather be anywhere than locked in work jail (aka the break room) with five of her coworkers . . . even if one of them is Tyson. But if they can band together to clear their names, what looks like a total disaster might just make Chloe’s list of Top Ten Best Moments.

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Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless is Liz Czukas’ sophomore novel for young adults and while I definitely enjoyed it, I found it nowhere near as quirky and fun as her debut novel, Ask Again Later. It’s a quick read that I found myself flying through but it wasn’t as laugh out loud funny as I expected.

Chloe is a bit nerdy, kind of shy, and easy for readers to relate to, at least if you’re anything like me. I found her to be so adorable with her easy blushing and tendency to babble. She had a great sense of humor and she was very easy to like. She sometimes said things that were a little rude but she was always open to getting to know new things. The rest of the “Younglings” who worked with her at GoodFoods Market were a pretty mixed bag of characters. Tyson was a sweetheart who maybe could have had some more flaws. He seemed a bit too perfect to me. It always seems a little unreal when there is a love interest who has nothing bad about him. Sammi and Gabe were trouble makers but they definitely made things fun. Zaina was shy and kind of mysterious but I came to like her. Micah was probably my favorite though. He was so quirky and funny and he didn’t even realize it.

The story itself was really fun but a little predictable. It’s a mystery surrounding who stole the charity money from Chloe’s place of work. The six young cashiers are immediately blamed and held in the store after hours until the police can come check things out. The idea of hanging out in a grocery store after hours has always appealed to me so I loved that part of the book. The kids did some crazy things to entertain themselves and they definitely had me laughing. I also really liked the lists that Chloe made throughout the course of the story. They helped bring in some background information in a fun way.

Overall, Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless is nothing spectacular but I’d definitely recommend it for a rainy day read. I will continue to check out Liz Czukas’ young adult offerings.

What others are saying about Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless: 

YA Midnight Reads’ review: “It was written with a similar tone to Ask Again Later, which was just completely adorable and fluffy, and Top Ten Clues was no different.”

Tabitha’s Book Blog’s review: “If you’re looking for a wicked cute contemporary fluff book then this is the book for you.”

The YA Kitten’s review: “As long as you like The Breakfast Club and slow books, you’re good to go with this one.”

Thursday, February 19, 2015

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven | Review

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven | ReviewAll The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Published by Random House on January 6, 2015
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 388
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

picadillyblueI’d heard that Jennifer Niven’s young adult debut was a good one but I wasn’t prepared for how much of a tearjerker it was.  All The Bright Places is my kind of book: contemporary, super sweet romance, lots of deeper issues that take root in your mind and don’t let go.  Is it any surprise that I loved it?

Theodore Finch is an odd boy.  To be honest, I wasn’t sure I was going to like him at first.  He was strange and kind of rude and just not very friendly.  Then there was Violet who was pretty much a mean girl.  She was pretty and popular and smart and funny.  Basically she was the opposite of Finch.  However, they did have something in common.  They were both rather preoccupied with the thought of death.  Theodore was a very depressed boy who liked to think of interesting ways to die.  He not only thought of ways that he might die, he also researched the statistics surrounding those types of deaths.  He was kind of morbid.  As for Violet, her sister was killed in a car accident and ever since then she hasn’t been able to stop thinking about death.  She refuses to get in a car, she doesn’t think much about moving on with her life, and she can’t help but feel that her sister’s death was her fault.  That connection brought her and Finch together but there was so much more that kept them together.

The story focuses a lot on depression.  It’s pretty clear from the start that Finch suffers from depression and maybe some other condition but that isn’t made known.  It’s impossible not to feel for him.  However, it’s not depression or death that bring Finch and Violet closer together.  It’s the crazy project their teacher gives them that does it.  They have to visit wonders of their state and chronicle their time at each place.  They are only required to visit 3 places but Finch and Violet take it even further, attempting to visit every wonder of Indiana that they can find.  It’s this project that brings Violet out of her shell and brings her and Theodore together.

The story itself isn’t exactly fast-paced and that is probably my only issue with All The Bright Places.  I found my attention being drawn by other things and it took me a while to really feel invested in the story.   I will admit that the first 50 to 75 pages are a little boring and almost made me give up completely.  I’m definitely glad I didn’t but the thought did cross my mind.

Overall, All The Bright Places has me eager to read more young adult novels from Jennifer Niven.  I found myself laughing and crying all throughout this book and it definitely left me smiling at the end.

What others are saying about All The Bright Places:

My Shelf Confessions’ review: “Although I didn’t fall madly in love and have my heart smashed to a million pieces (maintaining my titanium heart reputation), I can completely understand why this book has been so impactful and emotional for so many people.”

That’s What She Read’s review: “Not only does All the Bright Places tear one’s heart strings, but it also raises awareness of mental illness and the importance of taking action if a loved one refuses to seek help.”

The Book Addict’s Guide’s review: “If there’s anything you need to know about ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES, it’s that it’s a book that will stick with you long after you’ve finished reading.”

Friday, February 13, 2015

Last Will and Testament by Dahlia Adler | Review

Last Will and Testament by Dahlia Adler | ReviewLast Will and Testament by Dahlia Adler
Series: Radleigh University #1
on December 9, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 414
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Lizzie Brandt was valedictorian of her high school class, but at Radleigh University, all she's acing are partying and hooking up with the wrong guys. But all that changes when her parents are killed in a tragic accident, making her guardian to her two younger brothers. To keep them out of foster care, she'll have to fix up her image, her life, and her GPA—fast. Too bad the only person on campus she can go to for help is her humorless, pedantic Byzantine History TA, Connor Lawson, who isn't exactly Lizzie's biggest fan.

But Connor surprises her. Not only is he a great tutor, but he’s also a pretty great babysitter. And chauffeur. And listener. And he understands exactly what it’s like to be on your own before you're ready. Before long, Lizzie realizes having a responsible-adult type around has its perks... and that she'd like to do some rather irresponsible (but considerably adult) things with him as well. Good thing he's not the kind of guy who'd ever reciprocate.

Until he does.

Until they turn into far more than teacher and student.

Until the relationship that helped put their lives back together threatens everything they both have left.

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Last Will and Testament has been on my TBR for a while.  Y’all know me, I’m a sucker for new adult novels.  This one was no exception.  I was hooked from the start.  In fact, I was so hooked I actually missed my train because I was paying no attention to anything but the book.

One thing that always gets me hooked is humor and Last Will and Testament was definitely not lacking in that department.  While it starts off on a more somber note, it definitely contains humor to balance the sadness.  Lizzie’s sense of humor is perfect.  She is snarky and witty and so easy to like.  There were times when I just wanted to applaud her for her ability to stay so humorous even after everything.  The banter between her and Connor was also perfect.  Connor did seem like a bit of a stick in the mud at first but once he opened up a bit more to Lizzie I started to like him.  Who could possibly go wrong with a sexy history nerd?

Lizzie and Connor definitely had their problems though.  They had a lot of back and forth going on for a while.  This was mainly on Connor’s part but Lizzie definitely helped it along.  One day Connor would be all over Lizzie and the next day he’d tell her they could never have a relationship.  The next day he’d be all over her again.  I understand where he was coming from but it was a little annoying.  Like I said, Lizzie didn’t help matters though because she was always showing up at his office or texting him.  I could see why he might be confused.

The romance was beyond steamy.  I had just gotten to a really good part when I missed my train and once you read the book you’ll understand why I might have been a little distracted.  Connor and Lizzie have some serious chemistry between them.  They  might not always like each other but they can’t deny that.  They also built up a pretty great friendship after everything they went through.  There was some serious drama with the two of them but they made it work.

The custody situation was an interesting aspect of the story.  I wasn’t all that impressed with how Lizzie handled taking care of her brothers but she was young and not equipped for a situation like that.  Tyler was 13 and Max was 7 and they both had issues that they needed adults to help with.  I was a bit disappointed with how much Lizzie left them alone.  I get that she had a lot going on in her life and Tyler was capable of babysitting but she left him in charge quite often, even when she was home with them.  I wanted to see her mature to a point where she was really there for both of her brothers and I don’t think she ever reached that point.

Overall, Last Will and Testament kept me hooked from beginning to end and definitely left me wanting more.  I’m eager to continue this new adult series.  I would highly recommend this one.

What others are saying about Last Will and Testament:

Emilie’s Book World’s review: “The latest in the string of awesome New Adult I’ve read is Dahlia Adler’s Last Will and Testament.”

A Reader of Fictions’ review: “Finally, since I forgot to mention it above, Dahlia’s NA some fabulous sassy humor, so if you’re into crude jokes and her Twitter feed, you’ll get some chuckles.”

SleepsOnTables’ review: “It goes so much deeper than the typical NAs we’ve seen before and I can’t wait for Radleigh University #2!”

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Mini reviews: Crank, Endangered, and Staying Fat For Sarah Byrnes

These books may seem like they have nothing in common but they were all books I read for my YA Lit class last semester.  I read some other books that I will be writing full reviews for but I thought I’d just share a few of my thoughts about these three.

 

CrankTitle: Crank
Author: Ellen Hopkins
Rating: 5 Stars

I was not a fan of verse novels until I started blogging and was introduced to more of them. Now I find them really quick reads that usually capture my attention pretty quickly. That was definitely the case with Crank by Ellen Hopkins. It was the first book I’ve ever read by Ellen Hopkins and I was definitely impressed. Not only was the writing spectacular but the different ways in which each poem was set up really added to the story. Kristina/Bree captivated me from the start and while I was definitely horrified by her story, I couldn’t stop reading it. I look forward to checking out the other books in this series.

 

Title: Endangered
Author: Eliot Schrefer
Rating: 4 StarsEndangered

I picked this book up at BEA years ago but only read it now. I’m really disappointed in myself for waiting so long. Endangered is a really unique read that will appeal to a variety of readers. It’s a thrilling novel that really never slows down from the start. Sophie was a great character but more than that, so were the bonobos that she attempted to save. Each bonobo really was a character. They all had distinct personalities and they made me laugh quite a bit. Eliot Schrefer really captured the spirit of the animals and that was by far my favorite part of the book.

Also, this has nothing to do with the book but Eliot Schrefer has videos on his website about his time spent with the bonobos and the videos really added to my enjoyment of the novel, knowing the extensive research he did for this book.

 

Staying Fat for Sarah ByrnesTitle: Staying Fat For Sarah Byrnes
Author: Chris Crutcher
Rating: 4 Stars

Chris Crutcher is one of those authors I’m a bit ashamed to say that I’ve never read. This class spent a lot of time talking about him as well as how controversial his books were. When I had the chance to read one, I picked Staying Fat For Sarah Byrnes and I’m glad I did because I really enjoyed it. There is some mystery to it, some romance, major drama, and some truly great characters. It’s definitely written for a younger audience but that didn’t bother me. Instead I just found it made the book that much quicker to read. I will also mention that Chris Crutcher does not shy away from any tough topics. There is sex, drugs, alcohol, abuse, and so much more wrapped up in this story. He handles everything very well though.

 

My YA Lit class really helped broaden my horizons and allowed me to read a lot of books that have been collecting dust on my shelves. If you ever have the chance to take a class like this at your school, I highly recommend it. And these books. 🙂

Monday, December 29, 2014

Blog Tour: Love & Other Theories by Alexis Bass | Review + Interview + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Love & Other Theories by Alexis Bass | Review + Interview + GiveawayLove & Other Theories by Alexis Bass
Published by Harper Teen on December 31, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
3 Stars

Love and Other Theories is a fast-paced twist on the coming-of-age novel . . . and the romantic comedy.

Aubrey and her best friends made a pact to play by the guys' rules when it comes to dating. They're hoping the rules will keep them from experiencing high school heartbreak--they don't realize that these rules could just as easily keep them from opening their hearts and minds. And when new boy Nathan Diggs moves to town, Aubrey starts to think that some rules are meant to be broken.

With equal parts bite and romance, topped off with an irresistibly engaging voice, Alexis Bass's debut novel is one you won't want to miss.

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Love & Other Theories is not your typical fluffy contemporary romance.  In fact, there is nothing typical about Love & Other Theories.  While it wasn’t exactly what I was hoping it would be, I did find myself hooked from the start and smiling when I finished it.

Aubrey and her best friends are the mean girls of the school.  They hook up with all the hottest guys, they shun girls that go against them, and they tend to get up to no good behind each others backs.  They are not girls that are easy to like and that was by far my biggest issue with Love & Other Theories.  Aubrey was a smart girl but she was really stupid when it came to her friends and boys.  As for her friends, they weren’t all the worst but Shelby was a bitch.  I didn’t understand why everyone was so under her spell.  She was so full of herself and what she did to Aubrey was so hurtful.  I was also not so impressed with Nathan.  At first I was completely in love with him, especially with Aubrey.  They were so cute together.  Then I met Trip.  Trip was a guy who got what he wanted and expected that to always be true.  However, he was also a really sweet guy who clearly cared a lot for Aubrey and would do anything for her.  By the end of the book, my heart was his and I couldn’t remember who Nathan was.  Oops.

There was a lot of terrible communication between Aubrey, her friends, and all the boys in their lives.  So much stuff could have been cleared up if they had just talked about things.  Aubrey was pretty afraid to speak out but she wasn’t the only one.  There were so many secrets surrounding all of her friendships and other relationships, including with her family.  When Aubrey finally started speaking her mind I wanted to jump for joy.  However, it took a lot of heartache for her to reach that point and I felt terrible for all of it, especially since it could have so easily been avoided.

The story itself was not all that action packed but it was entertaining.  I love books that are set right around college time.  There was a lot of focusing on getting into college, what life was going to be like in college, and learning to say goodbye to friends from high school.  While Aubrey and her friends had a weird relationship, they really did see each other as life long friends.  Leaving them behind was a hard thing for Aubrey to even contemplate.  Also, while the whole partying thing was a little overdone, it made things interesting.  Aubrey and her friends had this crazy high school experience that was similar to that of my high school.  Not necessarily me (I was a nerd) but I totally understood it because my friends partied it up like them.  The drugs and alcohol might get to some people but I found it pretty realistic.

Overall, Love & Other Theories definitely won’t be topping my favorites list but I’m glad I gave it a chance.  I found myself flipping pages as fast as I could and by the end of the book I was really attached to the characters.  That’s the mark of a good book, to me.

What others are saying about Love & Other Theories:

Once Upon a Twilight’s review: “You will go from absolutely loving it to worrying about where it’s going to take you next; to making you completely fall in love with it.”

Fic Fare’s review: “With that said, I do think the story told here was interesting and if you are looking for a book that isn’t a soft, fluffy romance, you might enjoy this one.”

The Quirky Reader’s review:  “I think fans of Katie Cotugno will immensely appreciate this gem, but if you’re  just into contemporary YA in general, then you are required to check this one out.”

Interview

Describe Love & Other Theories in 140 characters or less.

A system developed by four best friends designed to avoid heartbreak falls apart the last few months of the high school.

Do you have a favorite character from Love & Other Theories? If so, why? (I know this is like asking a mom to pick a favorite child but I had to do it!)

It is hard! Of course, I love them all—even when I don’t like them, I love them. I…um…I guess the main character, Aubrey, because I wrote a whole book around her last few months in high school. 🙂

I created a minor character just to make my cousin laugh when she read the book; so in that regard, Leila Court is another favorite.

Did you consciously decide to write for a YA audience?  If so, what made you decide to write YA?

I decided to write YA because I love that time in life, when nothing is permanent, there’s so much possibility, so much changes so quickly, and there are no notes to pull from because you’re experiencing everything for the first time.

Do you have any must haves while you are writing?

I actually don’t have must-haves for writing (though having coffee on hand is great!). I’ve trained myself to write anywhere, with anything (or nothing). I make a huge dent in my word count goals typing on my phone while waiting in line (usually for coffee, haha).

Do you have any big plans for your release day?

My release day is New Year’s Eve and I’ll be back in my hometown for the holidays, so I’ll be celebrating both the book’s release and the New Year with some of my oldest friends.

What is next for you?  More YA books?

Yup, more YA books! My next standalone contemporary YA novel, WHAT’S BROKEN BETWEEN US (HarperTeen) will be out next year.

Short answer:

Bad Boys or Good Boys?

Good Boys

Happily ever after or happily never after? 

Happily never after

Series or standalone?

Standalone

Love triangles or soulmates? 

Neither

Write at night or write during the day? 

At night

Write in silence or write with music?

With music

Print, audio or eBooks?

All of the above

Giveaways

Win a book written by one of the awesome authors who blurbed Love & Other Theories.

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Don’t forget to check out the rest of the tour!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Party Girl by Rachel Hollis | Review

Party Girl by Rachel Hollis | ReviewParty Girl by Rachel Hollis
Series: The Girls #1
Published by Lake Union Publishing on February 11, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 360
Format: ebook
Source: Author
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Landon Brinkley is making her dreams come true. After years of poring over glossy photos of celebrity parties in People and US Weekly, she’s landed her Holy Grail: an internship with the fabulous Selah Smith, event planner to the Hollywood elite.

Moving from small town Texas to Los Angeles, Landon finds herself in a world in which spending a million dollars on an event – even for kids’ birthdays – is de rigueur. The thrill of working on A-list parties and celeb weddings is enough to get her through the 75-hour workweeks, the nightmare of a multi-day film festival, and abuse at the hands of a mercurial boss. LA is full of opportunity for fame, fortune and even love. But confronted with the seamy realities of the business, she is forced to make a choice: do whatever it takes to get ahead, or stay true to herself.

A roman a clef in the vein of The Devil Wears Prada, PARTY GIRL draws on the author’s real life experience for an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the celebrity-obsessed world of event planning. From the party habits of America’s favorite underage singer to the worst Bridezilla of all (the kind that graces the cover of your favorite magazine), PARTY GIRL reveals the ugly side of Hollywood’s prettiest parties.

picadillyblueWhile planning out my winter break TBR, someone on Twitter suggested I read Party Girl.  I was hoping to get some books from my TBR read but after checking out some reviews and the synopsis, I decided Party Girl might just be the perfect read to start off my break.  It certainly had some flaws but it was a thoroughly enjoyable read and I’m so glad I gave it a shot.

Landon is a bit of a country mouse.  She’s from Texas (like me) and shew as raised as a true southern girl with all the manners and charms you would expect.  To be completely honest, I thought the southern charm was a little overdone at points but not throughout the whole book.  Otherwise, I loved how Landon’s upbringing played a role in everything she did.  She was a little naive when she arrived in LA and landed her internship but she looked at life in a very positive way.  I don’t  know if I could have dealt with all the crap she had to put up with.  Her family and their role in her life actually ended up helping her through tough times and helped her bond with some of the people she came in contact with.  She used every aspect of her life to help her get ahead in her job.

The characters were by far my favorite part of Party Girl.  Landon was charming and sweet and I loved her even with her overly positive attitude and naivete.  She was open to new things and new people.  She didn’t let first impressions affect whether or not she got to know someone.  Her roommate, Max, was kind of like a porcupine.  She definitely had some defenses up outwardly but underneath it all she was really great.  She was funny and smart and very driven.  She had some secrets that she kept from Landon but she had a good heart and good motives.  Miko, Landon’s friend and coworker, was definitely the funniest character.  She had such an amazing personality.  She took charge but she always had fun.  She was a great asset to Landon, both outside of work and at work.  There was also the possibility of a love triangle but it luckily never amounted to anything.  Taylor was a sweetheart but he seemed like he could be a bit of a player.  I also just always saw him as nothing more than a friend to Landon.  Brody, on the other hand, brought out the flutters.  He was so cute.  Sure there were times when I thought he was a pompous asshole but he eventually grew on me.  He had a soft side to him that Landon brought out and she had an awkward side to her that he brought out.  Points to Rachel Hollis for having a totally awkward character that I couldn’t help but relate to.

The party planning aspect played a huge role in the book and Rachel Hollis definitely knew what she was writing about.  The details were intense but not overdone.  I loved getting a look into the lives of party planners and all the stuff they have to deal with when planning a party that only lasts a few hours.  Every aspect of the book was centered on party planning and it was a totally unique story.  If it didn’t seem like such a demanding job, I’d totally look into being a party planner!

Overall, Party Girl is the perfect read if you’re looking for something fun and flirty.  The romance was just right, the characters provided laughs, and the story itself had me hooked.  I look forward to reading more in this series.

What others are saying about Party Girl:

The Bookish Babe’s review: “Landon was such a winsome character, and I couldn’t help but to be drawn in by her infectious enthusiasm for the journey ahead.”

This Chick Reads’ review: “Even if the story reminded me a lot of “Devil Wears Prada”, it is a great and enjoyable read with so many lovely characters.”

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Blog Tour: Little White Lies by Katie Dale | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Little White Lies by Katie Dale | Review + GiveawayLittle White Lies by Katie Dale
Published by Delacorte Press on December 9, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Fans of Pretty Little Liars will be ensnared in this tale of deceit. Christian is hiding terrible secrets from his girlfriend, Lou. But Lou has told lies as well. What if their accidental meeting wasn’t an accident?

The first time Lou meets mysterious Christian, she knows he is The One. But Christian is hiding a terrible secret. Why does he clam up every time Lou asks about his past? Why doesn’t he have any family photos, and why does he dye his blond hair black? When Christian’s house goes up in flames, his tires are slashed, and he flees for his life, Lou insists on going with him. But as Christian’s secret is unveiled in front of the whole world, it seems everything he’s ever told Lou is a lie. Can what the media are saying about him really be true? Should Lou trust him? Or is she in grave danger?

But Christian isn’t the only one keeping secrets. For what if their accidental meeting was no accident at all?

picadillyblueLittle White Lies incorporated everything awesome about suspense novels and everything action packed about young adult novels and combined them to make one awesome story.  Suspense is hard for young adult but Katie Dale managed to craft a wonderful story that kept me guessing until the very end.

If you follow me on Twitter or Goodreads, you might have seen some status updates about the main character.  She annoyed me for a good portion of the book.  Her actions made no sense to me and I couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t just give up.  She practically stalked this guy Christian and every time he turned her down for a date she would not take the hint.  It actually got to be a bit stalkerish (that’s totally a word.)  I was quite upset with how she was acting and I just wanted to slap some sense into her.  My feelings towards Lou changed about halfway through the book though.  Christian wasn’t the only one with secrets and once Lou’s started to come out, her behavior started to make a little more sense.  I can’t say too much without giving things away but just trust me that her behavior won’t annoy you so much once you get to a certain point.  In fact, you’ll probably start to like her a lot, just like I did.

The cast of characters in Little White Lies were a strong mix of personalities.  Lou was a little shy, quiet, smart, but with a great sense of humor.  She was a bit awkward which only made me love her more.  Her best friend, Vix, was her exact opposite.  She was outgoing, a little crazy, and pretty much the perfect balance for Lou.  Kenny was funny but there was just something about him that I didn’t love.  He always seemed a bit sketchy.  As for Christian, he was a hard person to get a read on.  He was very mysterious and sometimes a little rude.  I could understand why Lou was a bit attracted to him but I didn’t get her obsession.  He seemed like any other guy just with a few more secrets than most.

The mystery is truly what kept me reading.  It was hinted at early on in the story but I really had no clue how things would play out.  I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out how everything was going to tie together.  Katie Dale did a great job with that aspect of the story.  Even if I could figure out one thing I’d be completely clueless about something else.

Overall, Little White Lies really is perfect for fans of suspense.  I look forward to reading more from Katie Dale.

What others are saying about Little White Lies:

Books and Whimsy’s review: “I also liked that Little White Lies manages to ask some important questions about family, friendship, and who we are on the surface.”

Book Passion For Life’s review: “I know many people will enjoy it – so go read it and see for yourselves – but for me, it was a little underwhelming.”

In Libris Veritas’ review: “It has a well written plot, great characters, and puts some attention on the flaws of the justice system.”

Giveaway

Two US residents will win copies of Little White Lies

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