Monthly Archives:: October 2015

ARC Review: Paint My Body Red

October 31, 2015 Reviews, Young Adult 1 ★★★★

ARC Review: Paint My Body RedPaint My Body Red by Heidi R. Kling
Published by Entangled Publishing on November 2nd 2015
Pages: 350
Source: Netgalley
Also by this author: Not Okay Cupid
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

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

The world isn't just black or white. Sometimes it's red...
They think I'm next. That I'll be the seventh kid to step in front of a train and end my life. With the rash of suicides at my school, Mom's shipped me off to my dad's Wyoming ranch for “my own safety.” They think I’m just another depressed teenager whose blood will end up on the tracks. They don't know my secrets...or what I’ve done.
I wasn't expecting Dad to be so sick, for the ranch I loved to be falling to bits, or for Jake—the cute boy I knew years ago—to have grown into a full-fledged, hot-as-hell cowboy. Suddenly, I don't want to run anymore, but the secrets from home have found me...even here. And this time, it's up to me to face them—and myself—if I want to live...

Honestly, this is a book that will stay with me for awhile. The subject is extremely tough, and it can be very emotionally draining for me personally. Meaning, I can only take so much of really sad situations in books but at the same time, this is a significant story that needs to be told. I felt like the author did a good job at being sensitive and honest at the same time. She handled the tough stuff with a large amount of grace, which is always respectable to me.

I felt like the narration was clever, I’ve never read anything like it before. Basically, the main character is writing about the chain of events that led her to coming to stay with her father for the summer before she goes off to college. She writes all these details in a diary and the chapters are titled to mark the “then and now” sequence of events. Anyway, it was very tastefully done and I liked that the author was able to stand out with her storytelling.

In the then chapters, we get to see the toxic relationship that unraveled between Paige and her step-brother Ty back in California. This was unnerving for me at times, because I automatically could sense that something wasn’t right with him, but I also did enjoy the way the author revealed the information. There was a decent balance between the “then and now” chapters. Meaning, while the flashbacks were gradually worse and worse as Paige’s life begins to go to shambles, her current life is pretty great as she spends time on the ranch in Wyoming with the hot and sweet cowboy Jake.

While Tyler was obviously a terrible and sad sort of character, Jake was just the opposite. He was nothing but kind and welcoming to Paige. I also found it absolutely adorable that they were friends when they were kids. Jake never judges Paige for her past back in California, instead he focuses on their current time together and they definitely make the most of that. There’s plenty of swoonworthy scenes between these two that make me sort of forget all the bad that happened with Tyler. While it definitely doesn’t make any of what happened between them okay, I still love how caring and loyal Jake is.

I feel like I’ve almost started to say too much so I’ll just stop! Anyway, I think that you should totally give this book a shot. It has a story and brave main character, along with a swoony cowboy who is nothing short of amazing. What more could you ask for in a YA book? I can’t think of anything!

four-stars

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The Sea of Tranquility Review

October 30, 2015 Reviews, Young Adult 1 ★★★★★

The Sea of Tranquility ReviewThe Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
Published by Atria Books on November 13th 2012
Pages: 426
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Goodreads
five-stars
I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk.
Former piano prodigy Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone learning about her past and to make the boy who took everything from her—her identity, her spirit, her will to live—pay.
Josh Bennett’s story is no secret: every person he loves has been taken from his life until, at seventeen years old, there is no one left. Now all he wants is be left alone and people allow it because when your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space.
Everyone except Nastya, the mysterious new girl at school who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. But the more he gets to know her, the more of an enigma she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he will ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding—or if he even wants to.
The Sea of Tranquility is a rich, intense, and brilliantly imagined story about a lonely boy, an emotionally fragile girl, and the miracle of second chances.

I have no idea why it took me so long to read this book. Maybe it’s because I had no idea what it was about before I read it. Based on the title, I honestly assumed that it was about a fantasy or dystopian world, not a contemporary story. I had heard a ton of positive things about it, so I decided to give it a try and I’m so excited that I did. This was a beautiful book filled with powerful messages about depression, death, love, forgiveness, and being comfortable in your own skin. I absolutely adored every second of this story and I was genuinely sad when it was over.

The number one reason to read this novel is Josh Bennett. He’s the male love interest and entirely likable to say the least. Josh Bennett has encountered quite a bit of pain in his life, and his story was definitely sad. He’s only 18 years old yet he’s already lost all of his family: his mom, sister, dad, grandma, and grandpa are all dead and he is naturally afraid to get close to anyone because of his losses. Although he seems rough and sad on the surface, he is really an amazing and sensitive guy who is nothing but incredible to Nastya. I like how they build a friendship that slowly develops into something more. I also found it absolutely hilarious and adorable how Josh called Nastya Sunshine.

While I’ve gone on and on about Josh, Nastya is someone that is much more complicated to talk about. She isn’t as likable as the male protagonist, she’s definitely a hard egg to crack for the readers. I personally was able to connect with her, but at the same time, I had a hard time understanding where she was coming from at times. Some of her actions were just unpredictable and rubbed me the wrong way. That’s all I’m going to say about her so I don’t ruin anything big about the book.

In the end, this was a gorgeous book that was honestly one of the best novels I’ve read in a long time. It kept me on edge from start to finish. While Nastya was unlikable at times, Josh and the supporting characters such as Drew and Clay were full of personality and always entertaining. I highly recommend that you read this book if you hesitated to read it for some reason, give it a try. It certainly handles some tough subjects, so be prepared to deal with that, but it’s still worth the read anyway.

five-stars

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Underneath Everything Review

October 28, 2015 Reviews, Young Adult 1 ★★½

Underneath Everything ReviewUnderneath Everything by Marcy Beller Paul
Published by Balzer + Bray on October 27th 2015
Pages: 304
Source: Edelweiss
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two-half-stars
Mattie shouldn’t be at the bonfire. She should be finding new maps for her collection, hanging out with Kris, and steering clear of almost everyone else, especially Jolene. After all, Mattie and Kris dropped off the social scene the summer after sophomore year for a reason.
But now Mattie is a senior, and she’s sick of missing things. So here she is.
And there’s Jolene: Beautiful. Captivating. Just like the stories she wove. Mattie would know; she used to star in them. She and Jolene were best friends. Mattie has the scar on her palm to prove it, and Jolene has everything else, including Hudson.
But when Mattie runs into Hudson and gets a glimpse of what could have been, she decides to take it all back: the boyfriend, the friends, the life she was supposed to live. Problem is, Mattie can’t figure out where Jolene ends and she begins.
Because there’s something Mattie hasn’t told anyone—she walked away from Jolene over a year ago, but she never really left.
Poignant and provocative, Marcy Beller Paul’s debut novel tells the story of an intoxicating—and toxic—relationship that blurs the boundary between reality and fantasy, love and loyalty, friendship and obsession.

I’m still not totally sure how I feel about this book. It’s difficult to talk about, I personally think it’s best to just read it and not have a lot of background information going into it. It’s not really that much of a mystery honestly, though it is kind of marketed as one. There’s a lot of past and present tense going on, so the narration does shift a significant amount. However, I never felt like there were too many flashbacks or not enough, it seemed just right for me personally. My issue really came from just not liking the note that the story ended on. To me, endings definitely make or break a story and this one more or less broke it for me. I did enjoy parts, but as a whole I just wasn’t as into it as I hoped I would be.

This book is definitely unique. There have been a lot of comparisons to the insane but popular teen movie Thirteen. I personally haven’t watched it, I’ve just heard countless stories about the plot and characters. Based on that, I can kind of see the similarities between the two, but I still felt like this was different from other books that I’ve read. This debut novel brought something new to the table, and I know that many YA fans are sure to love it, I just didn’t love it exactly. Maybe I’m being too hard on it, but as already mentioned, I wasn’t happy with how the book ended. As much as I want to spill my guts and reveal exactly what all happened, I’m not going to do that. You’ll have to read it for yourself and determine if it’s your cup of tea.

Part of what made me not so into the book was the characters. I liked Mattie and felt bad for her, I honestly could relate to her in the respect that I wanted to fit in with everyone else when I was in school as well. I just wanted to see even more growth happen with Mattie. She did evolve in a way, but not in the way that I was really expecting. I also wasn’t sure what to make of Jolene, who is the bad girl that has a toxic friendship with Mattie. Truth be told, I didn’t know what to make of the majority of the characters. I enjoyed the writing, but the characters in general didn’t completely click with me because I felt like there was an overwhelming amount of unanswered questions leftover.

As a whole, Underneath Everything wasn’t a bad debut novel. I did like it, it just didn’t knock me over and I wasn’t invested in the story. I feel like the first half was really strong and I liked the flashbacks that were delicately sprinkled around, but it began falling up short the last half of the book. I’m probably going to check out the next book that the author writes and hope that will be more of my cup of tea.

two-half-stars

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Blog Tour: The Libby Garrett Intervention

October 26, 2015 Blog Tours, Reviews, Young Adult 1 ★★★★

Blog Tour: The Libby Garrett InterventionThe Libby Garrett Intervention (Science Squad Book 2) by Kelly Oram
on October 24th, 2015
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Libby Garrett is addicted to Owen Jackson's hot lovin'. But the sexy, popular college basketball player doesn't appreciate all of Libby's awesomeness. He refuses to be exclusive or even admit to people that they're dating. The relationship is ruining Libby and she's the only one who can't see it.
When Libby's behavior spirals completely out of control, her best friend Avery Shaw and the rest of the Science Squad stage an intervention hoping to cure Libby of her harmful Owen addiction. They put her through her very own Twelve Step program--Owen's Anonymous--and recruit the help of a sexy, broody, hard as nails coffee man to be her official sponsor.
...
Adam Koepp has watched Libby Garrett for years. How could he not notice the sassy girl with the purple skateboard and helmet plastered with cat stickers? But in all the years he's crushed on her, Libby has failed to take notice of him. Why would she when he was just a nobody high school drop out who served her apple cider several times a week? Especially when she was hooking up with a guy like Owen Jackson--a guy with a college scholarship and more abs than Kyle Hamilton.
Adam finally gets the chance to meet Libby when his co-worker Avery Shaw recruits him to take Libby on the journey of a lifetime. With his ability to play Bad Cop and his experience with the Twelve Step program he's the perfect candidate to be Libby's sponsor. But will he be able to keep his personal feelings out of the matter and really help her the way she needs? And will Libby hate him when he forces her to take an honest look at herself?

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So I was pleasantly surprised by this one and am looking forward to checking out more books by this author! I’ll admit that I didn’t read Avery Shaw’s story, but I adored Libby and although I wasn’t sure about all the background on Avery, I did love her as a supporting character here. There were so many good things that happened in this book and I love reading unique YA books.

I loved Libby, sometimes I did want to shake her for not seeing her own worth as a person. But that’s what makes her so realistic. I see myself in Libby, and that can sometimes be a hard pill to swallow, but it’s definitely needed. While Owen was a total jerk, I did get why Libby chose to be with him and I truly sympathized with her throughout a good portion of the novel. On the other hand, I REALLY felt for Adam. He was a guy who worked extremely hard, and even gave up graduating from high school just so he could have sole custody of his little sister since his dad wasn’r around and his mom was an alcoholic. I’m always a sucker for boys in books who have had a crush on the MC since forever but she doesn’t know and this was no exception at all. I loved how Adam saw Libby for who she really was. These are two incredible characters and I loved getting to see the story from their dual perspectives.

Besides the two awesome main characters, the book also has tons of important and fun supporting characters. I felt like Adam’s little sister Katie was endearing and BA all at once. I also loved the Science Squad and felt like they each had their own distinctive personality that managed to set them apart. I’m looking forward to hopefully getting to see more of their stories in the following books! (If she writes more books, of course) Don’t even get me started on how awesome Libby’s parents are. Her dad is a professional snowboarder and both of her parents are completely in love with each other, young, and they actually get along with Libby. I love how supportive both parents are from the very beginning of the book. I also was a huge fan of the growing bond that Adam had with Libby’s parents, even before he and Libby became much closer.

In short, I would certainly recommend this book. It brings up the issue of body image, which makes it an important read for pretty much every girl, regardless of your age. I also was impressed by the writing and drawn into this world that the author created, along with seriously memorable characters.

Buy Links:

Amazon * iBooks * Kobo Nook

About the Author

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Kelly Oram wrote her first novel at age fifteen–a fan fiction about her favorite music group, The Backstreet Boys, for which family and friends still tease her. She’s obsessed with reading, talks way too much, and loves to eat frosting by the spoonful. She lives outside of Phoenix, Arizona with her husband and four children.

Author Links:

WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook

Book Tour Organized by:

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GIVEAWAY:

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four-stars

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Creepy Books

October 26, 2015 Features 11

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. For this week, the theme is centered around Halloween! I decided to make mine about some of the creepiest books I’ve read, and these will hopefully help get you into the Halloween spirit. Personally, I’m not a fan of anything related to horror except for maybe anything written by R.L. Stine, but that’s about as mature as I get with it. So don’t expect any Stephen King books to appear on this list since his books are what I would personally consider as just straight up terrifying. Anyway, this list is for those of you who also aren’t a fan of books that are sure to give you terrible nightmares, but these are seriously creepy books. These are books you can’t get out of your head because they are so disturbing and even real to you. This isn’t your typical horror book list (okay maybe a few of them are) but I hope you find something that you like anyway!

1. The Lottery

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There are tons and tons of different covers for this iconic short story. However, this one in particular gave me the creeps, and if you have ever read this story then I’m sure you feel the same way. Regardless of length, this is a chilling tale that I will never ever forget.

2. Coraline

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This book is seriously a little difficult for me to talk about because it’s so creepy. I just think it’s so twisted and brilliant all at the same time.

3. The Masked Truth

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This is a recent release, but man is it intense. The action in the book never slows down in the slightest. I love everything about this story and I recommend it to absolutely everyone.

4. Gone Girl

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I’m doing my best to avoid spoilers here, but it’s pretty difficult not to. Let’s just say that the whole entire book is so insane and definitely creepy.

5. We Were Liars

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This one is probably a little bit strange but it just completely stuck with me after I read it. If you’ve read it, I’m sure you understand exactly what I mean by that.

6. The Tell-Tale Heart

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Out of his very extensive body of creepy stories, Tell-Tale Heart is the one that definitely stands out above all the others for me.

This was a tough list for me to come up with so I’m well below the top ten mark. Oh well, I enjoyed making this list anyway!

 

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Super Middle Grade Mondays – Donna Galanti

October 26, 2015 Features 0

Super Middle Grade Mondays Blitz: Author Spotlight – Donna Galanti with Giveaway #SuperMGMondays

MGMondays-Bannernew

 

Welcome to this week’s Super Middle Grade Mondays Book Blitz
presented by Tantrum Books/Month9books!

Today, we get up close and personal with

Donna Galanti

author of Joshua and the Lightning Road
from Tantrum Books.

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

 

Donna Galanti

Donna Galanti attended an English school housed in a magical castle, where her wild imagination was held back only by her itchy uniform (bowler hat and tie included!). There she fell in love with the worlds of C.S. Lewis and Roald Dahl, and wrote her first fantasy about Dodo birds, wizards, and a flying ship. She’s lived in other exotic locations, including Hawaii where she served as a U.S. Navy photographer. She now lives with her family and two crazy cats in an old farmhouse, and dreams of returning one day to a castle. Donna is the author of the Joshua and The Lightning Road series (Month9Books) and blogs at Project Mayhem. Visit her at www.donnagalanti.com.

Praise for Joshua and The Lightning Road:
“Vividly imagined characters in a gripping action fantasy that never lets you go until the very last page.” —Jenny Nimmo, New York Times bestselling author of the Charlie Bone series

“Joshua and the Lightning Road is a heart-pounding thrill ride full of unexpected twists and turns from start to finish.”The Midwest Book Review

Watch the Joshua and The Lightning Road book trailer.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

 

Would You Rather Questions by Donna Galanti

 

Would you rather never be able to speak again or always have to say everything that is on your mind?
Never have to speak again! If others knew all my crazy thoughts, I might not have any friends or family left. Ha ha! At least I could still write. J

 

Would you rather be able to read or be able to read minds (but be illiterate)?
Read, absolutely! To read means to explore other worlds, create movies in your mind, find deeper meaning in life, experience self-awareness, and go through transformations. I would be afraid to read minds to see truly what people are thinking. I definitely do not want to know what goes on in many people’s heads (especially my son’s)! Besides, it’s more fun to imagine what is in other people’s heads and create character stories about them to entertain myself.

 

Would you rather be able to speak fluently every language in the world or be the best in the world at something of your choosing?
Be the best in the world at…playing the violin! I can challenge myself to learn new languages, but I’ve always dreamed of having musical talent – and I adore the violin. Writing and music go hand in hand for me and I want to play and inspire myself, and others.

 

Would you rather read only one book over and over for the rest of your life or read as many as you want but never remember what they’re about?

What a terrible dilemma! As many as I want. Even if I don’t remember them, at least I can experience new worlds through them in the moment.

 

Would you rather only the first page of a book or the last page?
Definitely the last page! I have a habit of flicking to the back and reading the last line of a book I pick up to possibly buy. If that last line pulls me in and connects to the first line then I am good to get it!

 

Would you rather read 5 pages per day or 5 books per week?

5 pages per day. I am a speed reader and if I were to read 5 books a week, I know I would skim them and not get the full experience each one. To read 5 pages a day I could immerse myself in the story, slowly, and reflect on it and its journey.

 

Would you rather read only one genre forever or never read the same genre more than once?
I would rather never read the same genre more than once. I lost my love of reading when I became an author and couldn’t figure out why. Then a friend made me aware that as an author I now needed to expand what I read. She was right! I had always read the same one or two genres and had simply gotten bored. Now I like to sink into books that challenge me in new ways, to read things I never would have before: non-fiction, science fiction, historical, horror, etc. In reading across genres it helps me expand my skills as an author and also brings a richness to my own writing.

 

Would you rather be invisible or be able to read minds?
Invisible! Then I could sneak around and grab private conversations of people to churn my brain with ideas for stories! (a spy but for educational purposes, of course).

 

Would you rather never use the internet again or never watch TV again?
That’s easy. TV. I am not much of a TV watcher – and could always catch up on my favorite shows on the internet through Netflix.

 

Would you rather have one wish granted today or three granted in 10 years?
Definitely three in ten years. My desires and needs may change across the years. Something I desire today, may not work out for tomorrow!

 

Would you rather know it all or have it all?
Have it all. If you have it all, that’s wonderful to not worry about material things and still explore the world to seek knowledge and meaning – and know it’s a vast, never ending tide of information. But if you know it all, what left is there to discover? Life would be very boring. There would be no challenges! No amazing discoveries! No transformations! It would be a life without curiosity and that would be a very sad life indeed.

 

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Stay away from the window, don’t go outside when it’s storming and whatever you do, do not touch the orb.

Twelve-year-old Joshua Cooper’s grandpa has always warned him about the dangers of lightning. But Joshua never put much stock in his grandpa’s rumblings as anything more than the ravings of an old man with a vast imagination. Then one night, when Joshua and his best friend are home alone during a frightful storm, Joshua learns his grandpa was right. A bolt of lightning strikes his house and whisks away his best friend—possibly forever.

To get him back, Joshua must travel the Lightning Road to a dark place that steals children for energy. But getting back home and saving his friend won’t be easy, as Joshua must face the terrifying Child Collector and fend off ferocious and unnatural beasts intent on destroying him.

In this world, Joshua possesses powers he never knew he had, and soon, Joshua’s mission becomes more than a search for his friend. He means to send all the stolen children home—and doing so becomes the battle of his life.

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Frosh: First Blush Review

October 25, 2015 Reviews 0 ★★★

Frosh: First Blush ReviewFrosh: First Blush (Frosh, #1) by Mónica B. Wagner
Published by The Studio/ Paper Lantern Lit on October 20th 2015
Source: Netgalley
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
three-half-flames

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

During welcome week at Hillson University, the FROSH will hit the fan.
Type-A aspiring journalist Ellie plans to take freshman year by storm. But hell-bent on breaking a huge on-campus scandal, she risks becoming one herself—and getting the mysterious, heart-melting QB in serious trouble.
Grant, star quarterback and charismatic chick-magnet, is hiding a life-altering secret. The last thing he needs is an overeager (absolutely adorable) journalist asking questions. He’s got a reputation to protect.
High-society legacy student Devon is ready to catch the football hottie of her dreams. If the tabloids feature her with the “it” boy on her arm, her tainted past will be buried—or so she thinks.
Charlie, pre-med, is done being the sweet and funny geek that girls like Devon ignore. But if he tries to impress her with a new edgy, spontaneous attitude, will his heart end up in the emergency room?
FROSH intertwines the stories of Ellie, Grant, Devon, and Charlie in Mónica B. Wagner’s sexy NA debut series, about falling in love and falling apart.

This is the first book in this recent New Adult series. I’m not typically a big fan of books that have multiple POV’s, it just seems impersonal to me most of the time. However, the author made the narration work in her favor. I found myself truly sucked into the lives of each of the four main characters. While I did have my personal favorite characters, I still enjoyed the growth and depth that Mónica carefully gave each of them. I think that readers who not only love New Adult, but also love stories with a unique plot that explores the complexity of relationships. Some of the plots and subplots are on the overdone side, but I still found myself craving for more. The ending will definitely leave you on the edge, but it’s a great read as a whole.

No, I wouldn’t say that this is the best NA book I’ve ever read, or even my favorite one of this year. But I do believe that the writing was well done and I liked the authors style. I also enjoyed that the author seemed to put so much effort and details into each of our four main characters. Actually, even the supporting characters who weren’t all that significant still were treated with such careful detail. My problems with the book was that it did contain quite a few NA tropes that I’m rather sick of seeing. I’m aware that they won’t just go away, but it can still make for a less enjoyable read for me personally. I really would love to see more daring NA books, but I am also aware that it’s easier said than done.

I mentioned at the beginning of my review that some characters I definitely liked better than others. My favorite characters were Ellie and Charlie. I really liked Grant and loved that he was more complicated than just being the popular college QB that everyone loves. He was a caring and smart guy and I loved how sweet and honest he was with Ellie, who is a young aspiring journalist, from the first chapter. My drawback is that I have seen so many of football players in NA books this year alone. I can’t believe that I’m actually complaining about this since I am certainly a sucker for football players. Like I said earlier, I just want to see new and creative things in NA books, and that includes characters as well. We don’t see enough nerdy boys in New Adult stories, so I absolutely adored Charlie! Devon was an odd match for him at first, but we soon see that they actually make sense as a couple.

The ending is what you call a cliffhanger for sure! I think it was a clever way to hold the interest of the readers and keep them wanting more. It’s safe to say that I am a fan of Mónica Wagner and I can’t wait to read more of her books in the future. I’m glad I was given the opportunity to review this book.

For fans of:

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three-stars
Rating Report
Plot
three-stars
Characters
four-half-stars
Writing
four-half-stars
Pacing
three-stars
Cover
three-half-stars
Overall: three-stars

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Sunday Post: Week of October 25th

October 25, 2015 Features 0

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Sunday Post is a weekly feature hosted by Kimberly @ The Caffeinated Book Reviewer. This is where we share all our posts from the past week and books that we’ve picked up. It’s also a chance to highlight posts that are coming up the upcoming week.

Posts last week:

The Secret Crush Review and Release Day Launch

Signs Point to Yes Review

Red Girl, Blue Boy Review

Illuminae Review

Cadence Chapter Reveal

I’ll Meet You There Review

The Fill-In Boyfriend Review

Interview With Jenn Bennett

Top Ten Tuesday

Waiting On Wednesday

Upcoming posts:

Middle Grade Monday Blitz

Top Ten Tuesday

Waiting On Wednesday

Underneath Everything Review

Some other reviews will be posted next week depending on what books I get to read. I’ll also be posting some interviews with authors that have books coming out in early November. These authors will be Courtney C. Stevens (The Lies About Truth) and Renee Collins. (Until We Meet Again)

Books I picked up this week:

This week was a seriously exciting week in terms of new books! I also got the opportunity to meet the awesome Jodi Picoult (author of My Sister’s Keeper, The Pact, Nineteen Minutes, etc.) at a WV book festival in my home state! Neil Gaiman was also at the festival but I sadly didn’t get to see him. There was also a huge used book sale hosted by our local library going on. I went a little bit book crazy and ended up picking out seven YA books. A lot of these are pretty old, but I’ll still probably review most of them on my blog when I get the chance.

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I asked Jodi Picoult if she would take a picture with me and she said, “Sure, just put your elbow up here like we’re best friends.” It was a pretty cool moment and I won’t be forgetting it anytime soon!

Here are a few awesome articles from bloggers that I loved this week:

I loved what Julia from A Perfection Called Books about ratings, reviews, and how they affect you. I love anything that these girls publish, but this one in particular stood out for me.

I thought that absolutely everything that Jen from The Bookavid said about talking to authors and whether it’s unprofessional or just a nice gesture. This is something that I personally find myself thinking about, especially when authors like my ratings on Goodreads. One debut author actually messaged me on Goodreads after I gave the book a five star rating. This didn’t bother me because the author was letting me know of a private Tumblr page dedicated to the book where she wrote some bonus chapters. I was starstruck in this instance but not annoyed since this was a book I loved and I was interested in what the author had to tell me. On the other side, I can definitely understand when these interactions can be unprofessional and uncomfortable for us as bloggers.

Brittany from The Book Addicts Guide is easily one of my absolute favorite bloggers. There isn’t a post of hers that I haven’t loved. She is one of the bloggers participating in Fortnight of Fright. She has joined forces with Alyssa from Books Take You Places and Amy from Tripping Over Books. These super rad bloggers have been doing a great job at getting me in the spirit of Halloween. I highly recommend keeping up with each of their posts! I just love the creative ideas that they have come up with for their On The Same Page monthly feature.

That’s all I have for this edition of Sunday Post. I know I had a ton to share with you guys this week so I thank you if you even read this far! I hope you’ll come back to my blog next week (or hopefully before) for yet another Sunday Post.

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Interview With Jenn Bennett

October 24, 2015 Interviews 0

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Romance author Jenn Bennett has a new Young Adult book that’s coming out on November 3rd! This was one of my favorite books of the year and I’m so excited that I was able to interview her a few months back. I hope that reading this interview makes you excited for the book.

1. This is your first young adult book. What made you want to write books for teens and not just adults?

A popular character in my adult fantasy series, Jupe, is a teenage boy, and readers often requested I write a spinoff with him as the protagonist. Though that never happened, a couple of years ago, my agent encouraged me to try my hand at writing young adult because she thought I had the right voice for it. I guess she was right (she always is), because when I started writing this book, it felt like the most natural thing in the world. I’m *really* happy I listened to her.

2. What inspired you to name your protagonist Beatrix?

I totally dig old-fashioned names—the odder, the better. And I liked that this one could be shortened to the much snappier “Bex”, which suits my protagonist quite well. It also has some interesting book and film heritage, being the full name of Trixie Belden from the mid-century children’s mystery books and the protagonist of the *Kill Bill* films
(Beatrix Kiddo).

3. In the UK, this book is called “Night Owls” while it’s called “The Anatomical Shape of a Heart” here in the United States. Can you tell the story behind the different titles?

Clear as mud, right? My original title is NIGHT OWLS, which the U.K. decided to keep. I named it NIGHT OWLS as a nod to the San Francisco late-night Owl buses, on which my protagonists, Jack and Bex, meet in the opening chapter. I also titled it that because their activities keep them out in the city after midnight: Bex is sneaking out for a chance to draw cadavers inside the university hospital’s Willed Body lab, and Jack is a graffiti artist. However, my U.S. publisher decided they wanted to focus their marketing on the anatomy aspect of the story, so they retitled it THE ANATOMICAL SHAPE OF A HEART. (Confession time: When my family and friends ask why the name was changed, I tell them that my U.S. publisher “John Green-ified” my title, because wordier titles seems to be the trend in YA over the last couple of years in the States. I don’t mind, though; I like both titles.)

4. Do you listen to music while you write your stories? If so, what genre, artists, or specific songs do you typically listen to?

When I write, I’m easily distracted, so I need complete silence. (Nothing but the sound of my two pugs snoring, which is pretty loud; they sleep in my office while I write.) However, I do listen to music for inspiration, and also when I’m editing drafts after the book is finished. My tastes are eclectic, but for this book, I listened to a lot of: Metric (*Synthetica*, especially), The Roots, Gene Vincent, Elvis Presley, Queens of the Stone Age (*Like Clockwork*), Father John Misty, Arctic Monkeys, The Smiths, Magnetic Fields, and Outkast.

5. Where did you get the idea to write about Beatrix’s passion for medical type drawings and Jack’s passion for graffiti?

I was an art student myself (I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts and worked on my graduate degree in Painting) and over the years have drawn many an anatomical study of bone and muscle. And though medical science was never really my thing, I could certainly see how it might become another person’s obsession. Same with graffiti. Street art is fascinating. It’s the ultimate art rebellion…expressing yourself in pubic places, often on buildings and trains that people consider ugly and decrepit. You’re creating something out of nothing. I love that. It’s beautiful.

6. What was the easiest and most difficult part of writing this book?

The easiest thing was writing it. It just flowed out of me. I think I wrote it in six or eight weeks? Something like that. The difficult part has been waiting for it to be published. That has been excruciating. U.S. publishing is a giant beast that moves about the same speed as a line at the post office two weeks before Christmas combined with the D.M.V. dipped in honey, while watching the second season of True Detective. I’m talking S-L-O-W. Now, I say that with much love in my heart for U.S. publishing, but sometimes I think they are your old, farting dog that you want to swat on the butt in an attempt to make him go faster. For the love of Pete, stop smelling the dandelions and get in the BLEEP-BLEEP house, already!

7. Are you working on any other young adult or adult books currently?

Why, yes, indeed. I just finished my second young adult contemporary and turned it in to my agent. I can’t tell you much about it (SECRETS, shhh!), but much like the first book, it was a complete joy to write. It’s a standalone romance with brand new characters, and the hero and heroine gave me a lot of swoons and tears and laughs, those crazy kids. I can’t wait for everyone to read it. Let’s hope I don’t have to swat any old dogs on the butt to make that happen faster.

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The Fill-In Boyfriend Review

October 23, 2015 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★★★

The Fill-In Boyfriend ReviewThe Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
Published by HarperTeen on May 5th 2015
Pages: 352
Source: Library
Also by this author: The Distance Between Us, P.S. I Like You, By Your Side
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars
When Gia Montgomery's boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she'd been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend—two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley.
The problem is that days after prom, it's not the real Bradley she's thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn't even know. But tracking him down doesn't mean they're done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend's graduation party—three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.
Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship.

I’ve been a fan of Kasie West’s contemporary books, On The Fence and The Distance Between Us. However, her latest book is the one that I personally loved the most. I think most of this is because I could relate to Gia in a way that I couldn’t with her other protagonists. I also really believed the growth that happened to Gia throughout the book. I felt like the focus on friends and family was extremely well done and the romance was just the icing on top of it all.

The Fill-In Boyfriend was just a beautiful book all around for me. I’m not going to say much about the guy who Gia uses as “Fill in Bradley” (her boyfriend Bradley dumped her in the parking lot at prom) since it’s kind of a secret. Honestly, I was expecting his name to be kept a secret longer than it was since most of the reviews I’ve read don’t reveal it. However, I will say that the love interest is sweet and a little bit of a nerd, which makes him even cooler to me. Gia and him form a sort of bond after the prom incident. His sister Bec attends Gia’s school and although they both come from different social groups, they end up somehow becoming close friends.

A lot of this book focuses on being true to yourself and not pretending to be someone that you aren’t just to make other people happy. Gia has a huge habit of doing things just to keep up her popular status. She is a little bit of a brat in the beginning who is way too obsessed with how her friends see her. But I love how she matures as the book goes on. She becomes more comfortable in her own skin and forms a friendship with Bec, a girl who is completely loyal and honest with her, while her own group of friends isn’t always that way. Bec and her fill-in boyfriend have a large part in helping Gia figure out who exactly she is.

There’s a lot of interesting things that happen between Gia and her family. I can’t tell you how mad I was at her older brother. He was so pretentious and I couldn’t believe what he did to his little sister. What made me even angrier was how her parents reacted to what he did. Anyway, I definitely enjoyed this book more than I thought that I would honestly. I felt like the fake to real thing might be off-putting but Kasie West made it work in the most effortless way. I’m beyond glad that I decided to give this one a try!

five-stars
Rating Report
Plot
four-half-stars
Characters
five-stars
Writing
five-stars
Pacing
four-half-stars
Cover
four-half-stars
Overall: five-stars

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