Posts Categorized: Reviews

Carry On Review

May 21, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★★

Carry On ReviewCarry On by Rainbow Rowell
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on May 9th 2017
Pages: 528
Source: Library
Also by this author: Fangirl, Attachments
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four-stars
A #1 New York Times-bestseller
Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who's ever been chosen.
That's what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he's probably right.
Half the time, Simon can't even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor's avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there's a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon's face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here — it's their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon's infuriating nemesis didn't even bother to show up.
Carry On - The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow is a ghost story, a love story and a mystery. It has just as much kissing and talking as you'd expect from a Rainbow Rowell story - but far, far more monsters.

So I am honestly ashamed to admit that it took me nearly two years to read Carry On. I’m a big fan of Rainbow Rowell. Both Eleanor and Park and Fangirl left a huge impact on me as a reader. I was fascinated to read more about Simon and Baz, who were first introduced in Fangirl. However, I guess part of me was also afraid that this would be too much like Harry Potter and not all that original. Luckily, I was wrong and I shouldn’t have doubted Rainbow for even a second. She has this unique and beautiful ability where she creates such memorable characters. From page one, you become engrossed in Simon and Baz’s story. Even if it took me forever to get around to it, I’m happy that I finally picked this one up. I suspect that you guys have already read this one, but if not, you should definitely check it out!

Simon is one of our main characters. He’s like the Harry Potter character, so to speak. He’s supposedly the chosen one who is meant to be more the most powerful person of all. I thought that Simon was a great character. He’s a fabulous friend, loyal, smart, witty, and kind. What more could you possibly want out of a main character? Of course I liked him when he was first introduced to us in Fangirl, but I fell even more in love with him here once we learned even more about him. He was a character who knew what he wanted. He wasn’t cocky exactly, but he still had an awareness about how everyone else viewed him.

I wanted to hug Baz over and over throughout the novel. I thought he was also intriguing when we were first introduced to him, but it was really nice to get directly inside his head in this one. We learned more about where he came from and his history. I thought that him being a vampire was written in a very clever way, in a sense. It didn’t directly follow the format of Twilight on any other vampire novel, it mostly was able to do its own things. I wanted to hug Baz due to his feelings for Simon. He’s aware pretty early on in the novel that he’s in love with Simon, but he just smashes it down and conceals it because he’s not sure what else to do. The whole hating Simon thing is just a front for him, which I thought was equally beautiful and tragic. I wanted so badly for him to be open with others about the fact that he’s gay.

The romance between Baz and Simon was really cute. But it was definitely a slow burn and a hate to love. They can’t stand each other for basically over half the book. They go back and forth on virtually every subject that you can think of. And Simon suspects that Baz is plotting to kill him for a good portion of the novel as well. So yeah, zero romance happens until very very deep into the novel. I will admit that once it does, it’s really swoony. In other words, the anticipation and build up was well written by Rainbow Rowell. There aren’t a ton of kisses between the two of them, but they are all extremely sweet and wonderful in their own special way.

For a book that was over 500 pages long, it goes by rather quickly. The beginning drags a bit, but once the book gets started, it’s hard to put it down. The narration was difficult to follow at times. I thought that all of the various points of view weren’t necessary. We got the perspective of basically everyone, even supporting characters. In my opinion, simply Baz and Simon’s voices would have gotten the message and point of the book across in a fabulous way. It wasn’t a book without flaws, but it was still an enjoyable read for the most part. Thank you Rainbow Rowell for sharing Simon and Baz with the world. I regret not reading it sooner, but I’m still happy that I got around to reading it now anyway.

four-stars

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ARC Review: It Started With Goodbye

May 15, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★

ARC Review: It Started With GoodbyeIt Started With Goodbye by Christina June
Published by Blink/HarperCollins on May 9th 2017
Pages: 304
Source: Netgalley
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three-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.

Sixteen-year-old Tatum Elsea is bracing for the worst summer of her life. After being falsely accused of a crime, she’s stuck under stepmother-imposed house arrest and her BFF’s gone ghost. Tatum fills her newfound free time with community service by day and working at her covert graphic design business at night (which includes trading emails with a cute cello-playing client). When Tatum discovers she’s not the only one in the house keeping secrets, she finds she has the chance to make amends with her family and friends. Equipped with a new perspective, and assisted by her feisty step-abuela-slash-fairy-godmother, Tatum is ready to start fresh and maybe even get her happy ending along the way.

I was automatically drawn to this by the impressive and beautiful cover. In the end, it turned out to be a cute and well written debut. It definitely captured my interest for the most part, but I was expecting more from the romance. I thought that the character development for all the other characters was important, but I missed a solid romance. Ultimately, it was a good enough book, though it just missed the mark from being a really great one in my book. For me, it belongs in the category of contemporary books that I’ve read this year that have only been okay and weren’t extremely memorable for me. I think that many readers will likely enjoy it due to its similarities to Cinderella, and the characters in general. As a whole though, I can’t say that it was entirely the book for me on a personal level.

Tatum was a good main character. I can’t say that she’s my favorite or anything, she wasn’t totally memorable to me all around. I did like the fact that she was into graphic design. I thought that was at least one unique side to her personality that made her standout. Other than that though, I wasn’t super impressed. She did fit well into the Cinderella role. Meaning that was kind, smart, hard worker, and loyal. She was a decent character, and that’s honestly as much as I feel the need to say about her.

As for the love interest, I feel like he was a little weak. I won’t reveal his actual name since it isn’t discovered until near the end of the book. While the style of the relationship itself was done in a unique and fairly special way, it still wasn’t enough for me. For me to be totally on board with a relationship, I need to get to know both people involved. In this case, I felt like I didn’t know this guy at all. In a way, the relationship part was similar to Geekerella. The main difference being that we were actually inside the head of that love interest, so we knew him on a deeper level. I think I might have liked this specific character a little bit better if we received his POV.

Like I already said, the relationship was different, and it didn’t work for me. For a relationship that is built mostly through letters, I need to feel like the love interests personality really comes through. A perfect example of this is Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. We only get a few scenes of Blue in person, but we learn so much about his personality through the letters and you can’t help but fall in love with him. For whatever reason, the love interest in this one didn’t have a similar impact on me. I thought that the romance was a very weak aspect of the plot. It didn’t feel realistic to me, and I didn’t find the love interest to be all that swoony.

It Starts with Goodbye was a book that I wanted to absolutely fall in love with. I’m always a fan of modern day Cinderella retellings, especially when the changes made are pretty creative ones. Though I am saying plenty of negative things, I have to admit that there were still plenty of things that I did like about the book. It was fast paced, I was able to read it in just a number of hours. As I said earlier, the characters are all very well developed and there’s a lot of depth to them, besides the love interest. I wasn’t blown away by this book, but it was still entertaining. I think readers will really like this one!

three-stars

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Alex, Approximately Review

May 14, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★★

Alex, Approximately ReviewAlex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett
Published by Simon Pulse on April 4th, 2017
Pages: 391
Source: Library
Also by this author: The Anatomical Shape of a Heart
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four-stars
The one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.
Classic movie fan Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online as Alex. Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.
Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new archnemesis. But life is whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever it is she’s starting to feel for Porter.
And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.

Jenn’s first YA novel left a major impact on me as a reader. I can’t totally explain it, all I know is that it was beautifully written and completely took me by surprise. That being said, I’ve been anxiously awaiting the release of her second young adult novel. I’ve been hearing nothing but positive things about Alex, Approximately so I couldn’t wait to read it for myself. In the end, it was pretty much everything that I wanted it to be. It had wonderful characters, solid plot, and fabulous romance. My standards were rather high because of her last book, so it says a lot that this one managed to stay close enough to that. It wasn’t quite as good as her previous novel, but like I mentioned, that’s a lot to live up to. Anyway, I really enjoyed reading this book. I feel like I didn’t love it as much as others seem to, but it still was a decent read for me. It was fast paced and just what I needed. I’m glad that I read this!

Bailey is a strong character for the most part. I thought her personality was so much fun and I loved her sense of humor. She was relatable, and just a decent character all around. She also had a whole lot of depth to her as well. The trauma that she had was a bit darker than I expected, but I thought that Bennett addressed the subject with a very good amount of sensitivity. I also adored her love for classic films. I can’t say that I’ve personally watched many of these films, but I just adored the passion that she had for it nonetheless. You could really feel that passion bleeding through as the book progressed. I won’t lie though, it did bug me how naive she was about Alex’s identity. The worst part about it was how hellbent she seemed to track down who it was, but she wasn’t even close to discovering this.

Porter is definitely my dude. It’s no secret that I’m a true sucker for book boyfriends and Porter is a wonderful one to say the least. He’s funny, swoony, smart, and charming. What more could you possibly want? I’m not sure if he’s an all time favorite of mine, but he’s still scored major points in my book anyway. I thought that his personality was so hilarious and memorable. He was a cocky guy, but not to the point where it became unbearable or frustrating. You still cheered for the guy, and wanted the best for him. This was especially the case once you discovered his own background. Can I just hug him now?

Since this is written by an author who has previously released adult romance books, you can guess that even her YA books are steamy. The romance doesn’t disappoint here in the slightest. Porter and Bailey have a hate to love or enemies to lovers romance, which is a trope that I’ve always loved. I thought that she couldn’t have written it any better. You immediately believe in the passion that the two share for another from the start. It’s also a fairly mature YA romance which I enjoyed. I’m always a fan of these books that promote sex positivity, and this one totally does that. You’ll fall in love with Porter and Bailey both as individuals, and you’ll love them even more as a couple.

While this wasn’t quite the book that I was expecting, it was still a damn good one. I was REALLY close to giving it five stars, but something held me back from doing that. I will say that the plot was still unique enough. I also felt like the characters were very complex and well developed. You truly grow to love basically every character that Bennett introduces us to, which is a hell of an accomplishment. All in all, I’ll say that this was a really beautiful romance that I thoroughly enjoyed from the first page until the last.

four-stars

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ARC Review: Forever and Always, Lara Jean

May 8, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 1 ★★★★

ARC Review: Forever and Always, Lara JeanAlways and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #3) by Jenny Han
on May 2nd 2017
Source: Publisher
Also by this author: P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #2)
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four-stars

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

Lara Jean’s letter-writing days aren’t over in this surprise follow-up to the New York Times bestselling To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You.
Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.
But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.
When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

So this review is really difficult to write. This series is very popular and I know that a lot of people who love it haven’t gotten the opportunity to read it yet. I’ve had the book for almost two months now, but put off reading it because I just really didn’t want the series to be over. Anyway, I’m struggling with how to write this review and how much I should reveal about the plot itself and my feelings on it. I know people aren’t as worried about spoilers for this one like they are with Sarah J. Maas’s series, but I still want to be careful and understanding for the fans out there. I’m not going to reveal any major plot points, still read with caution I suppose. I really liked this one! It was probably one of my favorites of the series, though the second book was amazing as well. I’m not sure how necessary it was to have a third book, though it was awesome as always to get the chance to be reunited with Lara Jean’s family for at least a little while. I have a feeling you guys will be very pleased with how Jenny Han closes out her beloved series.

Whether you love or hate her, Lara Jean is Lara Jean. She’s a teenage girl who is far from perfect, and that’s what makes her so easy to relate to. Her awkward moments are sincerely cringe-worthy, but we’ve all been there in some ways. In this book specifically, you can tell that she’s grown and changed a lot as a person. At times though, she does seem really young to me. Just some of the things she says doesn’t always seem fitting for an 18 year old, in my opinion. I do love how passionate she is about baking. This girl bakes A LOT in this book. I don’t remember her doing it as much in the other books, but she does it as a stress reliever specifically in this book.

Peter is probably one of my favorite book boyfriends. I love how he’s a jock, but he’s not your stereotypical jock. He’s a pretty complex guy, and he’s developed into such a different person throughout the series. It’s probably no surprise to you if you read P.S. I Still Like You that she chooses to be with Peter. I was honestly shocked that there are some fans out there who didn’t like her with Peter and wanted her with John Ambrose (or whatever his name is) instead. I’m one of those people who feels like Peter is the only guy out there for Lara Jean at this point in her life, and that’s all I have to say about that.

Family is a pretty big theme in this book. I absolutely adore Lara Jean’s little sister Kitty. She’s always been the total comic relief in the series, and that definitely doesn’t change in this one. She’s still as endearing and as hilarious as ever. I also thought her bond with Peter and her dad’s girlfriend was so sweet. I’ve seen some people say this already, but Lara Jean’s older sister Margot just gets on my nerves. I didn’t have a major problem in the other books, but she was just so ridiculously selfish here. There was also one specific scene where she was just being downright disrespectful to her dad and I didn’t appreciate that at all. I get that there was a lot of changes that happened while she was away in another country, but that’s still no excuse to behave the way she did in that situation. That being said, I really do enjoy the bond that Lara Jean’s father shares with all three of his daughters. He’s such a remarkable father, and I just love his character in general.

Wow, I did a much better job than I thought I would about not giving too much away. This book is pretty much one big love letter to all of the fans of this series. Jenny Han does a good job at allowing us to say goodbye to this wonderful character one last time. That reminds me, there’s also a ton of Hamilton references in this, so you’ll appreciate the story even more if you’re a big fan of that musical. This ultimately fell a bit short of the 5 star mark for me. However, it was still a light and fun read. I can’t wait to see what everyone else thinks about Forever and Always, Lara Jean!

four-stars

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ARC Review: Girl Out of Water

May 4, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★

ARC Review: Girl Out of WaterGirl Out of Water by Laura Silverman
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on May 2nd 2017
Pages: 320
Source: Netgalley
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three-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.

Anise Sawyer plans to spend every minute of summer with her friends: surfing, chowing down on fish tacos drizzled with wasabi balsamic vinegar, and throwing bonfires that blaze until dawn. But when a serious car wreck leaves her aunt, a single mother of three, with two broken legs, it forces Anise to say goodbye for the first time to Santa Cruz, the waves, her friends, and even a kindling romance, and fly with her dad to Nebraska for the entire summer. Living in Nebraska isn’t easy. Anise spends her days caring for her three younger cousins in the childhood home of her runaway mom, a wild figure who’s been flickering in and out of her life since birth, appearing for weeks at a time and then disappearing again for months, or even years, without a word.
Complicating matters is Lincoln, a one-armed, charismatic skater who pushes Anise to trade her surfboard for a skateboard. As Anise draws closer to Lincoln and takes on the full burden and joy of her cousins, she loses touch with her friends back home – leading her to one terrifying question: will she turn out just like her mom and spend her life leaving behind the ones she loves

I was expecting just a little bit more from this book. It was a solid debut, but my ridiculously high standards going into this might have been unfair. I’ve heard nothing but absolutely rave reviews about it so that’s what I was anticipating. It’s a good book, but not a great one. In my opinion, it felt as if it were missing something. I loved Lincoln, and there’s no way I can ever deny that. I just wasn’t a fan of the romantic choices made outside of Lincoln. Anyway, it was a nice light summer read that was mostly enjoyable. I just wasn’t completely captivated by it for whatever reason. It was just a mostly forgettable read that didn’t make that big of an impact on me personally. I hope I have better luck with this author’s next book!

Anise was a character that I found it difficult to identify with. She was pretty selfish in the beginning, and I didn’t agree with some of her choices. At the same time though, she’s just a teenager who’s trying to figure out who she is. I feel like she did have some character growth throughout, but not really that much. However, it seriously bothered me that she just stopped talking to her friends when she went to Nebraska. There was no good reason for it and it pissed me off honestly. I thought it was awesome that she was a surfer, though we obviously don’t get many scenes of this since she leaves California at the beginning of the novel for the summer. I just thought it was cool that she did it at all. For me, she was just an average character that didn’t have that many unique things about her that stood out to me.

You guys, Lincoln is a super cool guy. I don’t know if he’s one of my favorite book boyfriends of all time, but he’s definitely one of the better ones of the year. I wanted to know even more about his adoption and his history. I felt like in their interactions, Anise was always talking about her life much more than Lincoln was talking about his. He’s a good guy all around that I desperately wanted to see even more. Part of me wishes that this was told in dual points of view so we could get his side of it as well. He’s a sweet and swoony character.

The romance between Lincoln and Anise was pretty good. I feel like it did progress rather quickly. But I really liked seeing all of the adventures that they went on together. I also thought it was awesome how they initially bonded over Lincoln teaching her how to skateboard. I didn’t identify with how competitive Anise was about learning this so quickly, but I did like how patient and fun Lincoln was about it. All in all, the relationship that they had was a cute little summer romance that I really enjoyed.

Girl Out of Water is a decent book all around. It’s not really my favorite, but it was still a light and remotely fluffy book that I needed. It’s a good summer book that I do recommend. It wasn’t totally my kind of book due to my lack of being able to connect with the main character. I did really enjoy the supporting characters. Her three cousins were seriously adorable and I loved them. I also loved Anise’s relationship with her dad. I thought that was well written. I recommend this if you’re just looking for a fun read to kick off your summer. For me, it just felt like something was missing.

three-stars

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ARC Review: Noteworthy

May 3, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★★

ARC Review: NoteworthyNoteworthy by Riley Redgate
Published by Amulet Books on May 2nd 2017
Pages: 400
Source: Netgalley
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
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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.

It’s the start of Jordan Sun’s junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts. Unfortunately, she’s an Alto 2, which—in the musical theatre world—is sort of like being a vulture in the wild: She has a spot in the ecosystem, but nobody’s falling over themselves to express their appreciation. So it’s no surprise when she gets shut out of the fall musical for the third year straight.
Then the school gets a mass email: A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshiped ... revered ... all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.

Noteworthy was a pleasant surprise for me. I meant to read this author’s debut, but just never really got around to doing it. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this one so far, and since it’s also about a cappella groups, I thought it’d be my cup of tea. Turns out, this was exactly the book that I was looking for. I’ve had some bad luck with YA contemporary books here recently, but this one ended up breaking that streak thankfully! It was a wonderfully delight and lighthearted read that I was able to devour in just one sitting. I’m glad that I gave this one a chance and I’m hoping you’ll do the same.

So the plot for this book is basically She’s The Man meets Pitch Perfect. Jordan goes to a super rad arts school, but is sick of never being cast in any of the school productions. Once she sees that a spot is available for a male a cappella group, she immediately jumps at the opportunity. Much to her surprise, she gets the spot, which leads her to have to continually pretend to be a boy. I really liked how Redgate made a clear and sensitive distinction that Jordan is not transgender and she doesn’t mean to offend transgender people by crossdressing. I thought the exploration of her sexuality was really well written. Over the course of the novel, Jordan gradually comes to the realization that she’s bisexual. This is not touched on a whole lot, but I think that it’s done in a realistic way. Jordan is just a teenager who is trying to discover who she is, so obviously she doesn’t have her sexuality completely figured out yet. I thought that Jordan was an absolutely badass person. I totally connected with her and I love her a lot.

I’m not going to touch on the love interest too much here because I’d rather talk about the group as a whole. I will say that the love interest is in the a cappella group, and you’ll probably guess who it is from the first time that you’re introduced to him. Romance does play a pretty big part in the book, but I think the boys themselves are all rather important. I loved them all but especially Nihal. He’s the one who Jordan connects with the most (besides the love interest) and you can’t help but love him from the first page. He has such a big heart, and he’s such a diverse and beautiful character as a whole. While she wasn’t as close to them as Nihal, you can’t help but love Mama and Jon Cox, who were ridiculously hilarious and lovable. Trav, Isaac, Erik, and Marcus were all such unique and lovely developed characters. I could go on and on about the greatness of these guys, but I just want you guys to figure it out for yourselves!

I sound like a broken record at this point, but you guys need this book in your life. I’m a big a cappella person in general, so this book was a dream come true for me. I’d say that it’s probably one of my favorite books of the year so far. I hesitated giving it five stars because it isn’t super realistic if you really think about it hard enough, but that doesn’t take away from how enjoyable and entertaining it was. I was fully invested in the characters and their relationships. I seriously want a spin-off dedicated to my amazing boy Nihal. He deserves a happy ending, that’s for sure. Noteworthy was a fun read that I wasn’t expecting. I’m glad that I gave it a chance, and I now know that I need to get around to reading Redgate’s debut. All I have left to say is read this!

four-stars

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My Not So Perfect Life Review

April 30, 2017 Reviews 0 ★★★★

My Not So Perfect Life ReviewMy Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella
Published by The Dial Press on February 7th 2017
Pages: 448
Source: Library
Also by this author: Finding Audrey
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
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four-stars
Part love story, part workplace dramedy, part witty critique of the false judgments we make in a social-media-obsessed world, this is New York Times bestselling author Sophie Kinsella’s most timely and sharply observed novel yet.
Everywhere Katie Brenner looks, someone else is living the life she longs for, particularly her boss, Demeter Farlowe. Demeter is brilliant and creative, lives with her perfect family in a posh townhouse, and wears the coolest clothes. Katie’s life, meanwhile, is a daily struggle—from her dismal rental to her oddball flatmates to the tense office politics she’s trying to negotiate. The final, demeaning straw comes when Demeter makes Katie dye her roots in the office. No wonder Katie takes refuge in not-quite-true Instagram posts, especially as she’s desperate to make her dad proud.
Then, just as she’s finding her feet—not to mention a possible new romance—the worst happens. Demeter fires Katie. Shattered but determined to stay positive, Katie retreats to her family’s farm in Somerset to help them set up a vacation business. London has never seemed so far away—until Demeter unexpectedly turns up as a guest. Secrets are spilled and relationships rejiggered, and as the stakes for Katie’s future get higher, she must question her own assumptions about what makes for a truly meaningful life.
Sophie Kinsella is celebrated for her vibrant, relatable characters and her great storytelling gifts. Now she returns with all of the wit, warmth, and wisdom that are the hallmarks of her bestsellers to spin this fresh, modern story about presenting the perfect life when the reality is far from the image.

This book was quite fabulous to say the least! I’ve only read two Sophie Kinsella book in the past, one was a YA book and the other was an adult one. The premise of My Not So Perfect Life immediately sucked me in, and I could barely put it down once I began reading it. I felt like the humor, the characters, the romance, the plot, and everything else about this book was incredibly fascinating and fun. My only complaint was that it did feel a bit too long, but it didn’t totally drag to me. Anyway, this was such an interesting and fairly light read and I’m glad that I picked it up!

Katie was seriously my girl. I know I tend to say this about the protagonist if I enjoyed them, but I actually mean it here! Yes, she was frustrating at times, and I wanted to slap her insecurities about where she came from right out of her. But she was very very easy to relate to for me. She doesn’t have a glamorous life, and that fills her with serious envy for people like her boss who seem to have it all. I like how Kinsella made Katie’s life so imperfect. She’s got a long and inconvenient commute to work every day, weird flatmates, and a difficult job where she receives no credit for the work that she does. She doesn’t have her life together, and at the same time, she knows that she wants more out of her life than what she currently has. I loved that she knew exactly what she wanted out of life, the only unknown thing was how she was going to get there.

I feel like the romance plays a pretty limited role in the plot as a whole, but it was still rather cute when it did happen. I’m not going to say much about it since I wasn’t 100% sure who the love interest was going to be for a good portion of the book so I don’t want to reveal too much. I’ll just leave it at that it’s sweet and I loved the build up that went down between them. Next to nothing sexy is really elaborated in the book, but there’s still tons of sexual tension that Kinsella wrote pretty perfectly in my opinion. It wasn’t my favorite romance since there wasn’t all THAT much focus on it, but I’m happy that it existed at all honestly.

So most of the focus of this book is on Katie’s work life. Her boss Demeter has the perfect life, aside from her entire staff hating her guts. Katie longs to have a life as perfect and downright glamorous as what Demeter has. Once Demeter fires Katie, she winds back out in the country with her father and the closest thing she has to a mother. Living out on the country is everything that she’s been trying so desperately to run away from, but now she finds herself right back where she started. Once Demeter and her family stay there, Katie thinks that this is the perfect opportunity for her to get revenge on her. The scenes that follow this are downright hilarious and awkward. Demeter is easily one of my favorite characters, after Katie of course. She just has so much personal growth that I feel like Kinsella developed extremely well.

My Not So Perfect Life was such a compelling read. I honestly can’t believe that I haven’t read more from her in the past. She has exactly what I typically look for in books: strong heroines, compelling plots, and a side of romance for good measure. I know that there PLENTY of readers out there who have known about this author for ages now, and I think they’ll be super pleased with her latest work. Her newer readers like me will also be drawn into these worlds and characters that she creates with such a natural ease. Yes, it was probably longer than it needed to be, but that didn’t bother me too much. You should definitely pick this one up!

four-stars

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Seven Days of You Review

April 24, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★

Seven Days of You ReviewSeven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse
on March 7th 2017
Pages: 336
Source: Library
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
two-stars
Sophia has seven days left in Tokyo before she moves back to the States. Seven days to say good-bye to the electric city, her wild best friend, and the boy she’s harbored a semi-secret crush on for years. Seven perfect days…until Jamie Foster-Collins moves back to Japan and ruins everything.
Jamie and Sophia have a history of heartbreak, and the last thing Sophia wants is for him to steal her leaving thunder with his stupid arriving thunder. Yet as the week counts down, the relationships she thought were stable begin to explode around her. And Jamie is the one who helps her pick up the pieces. Sophia is forced to admit she may have misjudged Jamie, but can their seven short days of Tokyo adventures end in anything but good-bye?

What is up with me not liking any of these contemporary books here lately? I’m not really sure what my deal is. But I had issues with Seven Days of You. It makes me so sad because I desperately wanted to like this one. I’ve ultimately realized that I’m never fully going to get behind romances that happen in a short amount of time. With this book, they HAD met before, but I still didn’t totally believe in the couple or either of the characters. It had a lot of potential because there aren’t enough books that are set in Tokyo, but it still fell short for me in the end. It was highly predictable, and not enough was done with the setting to truly make it unique. This is yet another recent release that simply wasn’t for me for a number of reasons.

I had a hard time relating to Sophia as a whole. Maybe I’m getting too old for this. But honestly, I’ve only been out of high school for three years now. Sophia didn’t sound like ANY high schooler that I’ve ever encountered. Yes, I did appreciate some of her pop culture references to My So Called Life and other shows that I loved, but that’s pretty much it for being able to understand this character. She was incredibly whiny and selfish throughout the book. And for the life of me, I couldn’t understand her crush on David. In my opinion, it would have worked out a lot better for the book if he was her platonic male friend. Instead he was this complete asshole with literally zero redeeming qualities. On the plus side, his girlfriend was a sweetheart, though I thought it was horrible how Sophia treated her. Putting it simply, she wasn’t a good person. I try to watch myself on judging characters based on likability, but on this case it was extremely difficult not to.

So the love interest here is a guy named Jamie. Jamie was an alright love interest as a whole. I thought that he was a decent enough guy. However, he was seriously way too decent to have to put up with the way Sophia treated him. I don’t blame him for getting mad/jealous of her crush on David back when they were still friends. He’s a nice guy, but that’s truthfully all that I remember about him. So what I’m basically saying is that he’s a combination of your typical YA love interest and nothing about him truly stands out. I know that might sound harsh, but I can be picky about my book boyfriends and Jamie just wasn’t a memorable one for me.

I’m not even going to waste more time talking about the romance when it should already be rather clear that I had issues with it. Instead, I want to talk about her friend Mika. As mentioned, David was a jerk and her best friend Mika wasn’t much better. She was also extremely selfish and I felt like her storyline was entirely predictable. She reminded me exactly of Rayanne Graff from My So Called Life. I felt like her storyline could have fleshed out a little better because it didn’t feel completely developed to me. I was excited that it was set in Tokyo but I felt like the setting and the culture could have been a much bigger storyline than it was. I get that a teenager probably isn’t going to care that much about her surroundings, but it still would have been nice to get more details about it anyway. It also bothered me that she had no Japanese friends and hardly interacted with anyone from Japan at all.

Seven Days of You ultimately didn’t work for me at all. I hate that these recent contemporaries haven’t been working for me lately, but I just guess that’s how it turns out sometimes. On the positive side, it was a very quick read for me. I managed to read it in just a few hours. I was also pretty hooked into it once I started reading, which definitely says something. It wasn’t an awful book, but it didn’t stay with me either. It’s a forgettable book for the most part. I’ve seen comparisons to Anna and the French Kiss, but this book doesn’t even come close to that one in my opinion. Who knows, maybe this one is just the book you’re looking for!

two-stars

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Mixed Up Review Blitz

April 20, 2017 Blog Tours, Reviews 1

 

MIXEDUP-availnow2

 

 

 

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00022]Hiring my brother’s best friend was not on my to-do list.

Neither was he.

 

Expanding my dirty cocktail bar into food was supposed to be easy, except finding a chef in my little town of Whiskey Key is anything but.

Until Parker Hamilton comes home—bringing his Michelin starred chef’s hat with him.

He has no work. I need someone like him in my new kitchen.

There’s just one problem: I hate his cocky, filthy-mouthed, sexy-as-hell guts.

Even if I might want him. Just a little…

 

 

Working for my best friend’s sister? Not on my to-do list.

She’s another story.

 

Whiskey Key was supposed to be a relaxing vacation, except I haven’t reached the heights I have by lying in a hammock drinking cocktails. So when Raven Archer is desperate for a chef, I offer up my skills.

I’m bored. She needs what I can give her.

Except there’s a problem: I’ve always hated her.

Her and her big, blue eyes, sassy mouth, and killer curves.

If only I didn’t want her.

 

 

AMAZON US | AMAZON UK | AMAZON AU | AMAZON CA | B&N | iBooks

Review:

Mixed Up was a truly unique take on two of my favorite tropes: brother’s best friend and hate to love. Most books that I’ve read that involve a character fall in love with her older brother’s best friend have her pining after him for years. In this case, they’ve hated each other their whole lives, which was definitely something different. This was a funny and compelling read. Emma Hart never fails to provide laugh out loud stories that are pretty light on angst, and also have the perfect amount of steam. Raven and Parker are both solid and believable characters. It wasn’t a perfect novel by any means and I did have some issues with it, but it was entertaining and enjoyable for the most part. I recommend it if you want something that you can quickly devour in just a few hours. It also features food and drinks, so what more could you possibly ask for?

Raven was seriously awesome. I haven’t read a ton of books about a mixologist. I thought the “dirty” (pun intended since her business is also called this) names she came up with for her drinks were extremely witty and hilarious. My favorite part about her was easily her personality though. She’s fierce, like most Emma Hart characters are. She’s not afraid to speak her mind and stand up for what she believes is right. She is super witty and I liked that about her as well. However, I felt like she was even sassier than most of her previous characters. All in all, she was a cool character who I enjoyed reading.

On the other hand, we have Parker, who was a solid character as well. To be completely honest, he doesn’t stand out all that much to me. I would have liked to see even more growth from his character. It feels like we don’t know that much about his personality besides the fact that he banters like crazy with Raven and is best friends with her brother. I thought it was weird that most of the book revolves around his friendship with her brother, but we don’t see much actual interaction between them. I did like that he was a cook because we don’t have enough of heroes who are in romance novels.

As mentioned already, the romance is unique and I enjoyed that. I’m always a sucker for a brother’s best friend romance and this was a whole new twist. Though I did have some issues with the hate to love thing. I wanted more of an explanation to why they hated each other. I feel like there wasn’t enough development and getting to know each other, which I would have liked to see. All that aside, I still liked the romance. I thought they made a good team in Dirty and outside of the business. It was steamy at times, and the sex scenes were pretty well written.

I’m definitely glad that I read Emma Hart’s latest novel. She’s always hilarious and writes such unique and memorable characters. They always feel very realistic, and that’s another reason why I find myself continually picking up her books. I hope that Cami and Ryan get a book (either as a couple or separately) because I don’t want these stories to end! This was just what I needed since I was looking for a book that had limited angst and was just lighthearted in general. Thanks again for coming through for another solid book, Emma Hart!

three-half-stars

MIXEDUP-sq9 MUp1

Excerpt:

I knew I was making a mistake. After what Raven said last night at dinner, I had the strongest urge to find out what her cocktail menu was. With names like Dirty Screw and The Slutwhisperer, what other gems did she have hidden on there?
Shit, what gems were hidden inside her apparently filthy mind?
I had no place to be thinking that. She was Ryan’s sister and the bane of my goddamn existence. I didn’t give a shit what was inside her head or how she came up with a filthy cocktail menu.
I was going to believe that she’d spent stupid amounts of time on the Internet coming up with those kinds of names. Seeing her in that damn short dress yesterday had already affected me enough—not to mention the fact that she’d changed since I last saw her.
I didn’t know people could change so much in only three years, but Raven Archer had. She was no longer post-grad, trying to seriously figure out what she wanted to do with her life, uncertain and serving burgers to people to make money.
She was grown-up, in more ways than just her age. She was even hotter-headed that she was back then. She seemed stronger and more stubborn, and her tongue was so sharp I probably have scars from how quickly she cut me with her words.
She was taller and fucking curvier, too.
Her lips were fuller. Her eyes were brighter. And the general air that hung about her, that hint of sass and sexiness, the very same thing that made me insult her whenever I opened my mouth almost made me want her, too.
And that was exactly why I couldn’t sit and think about what went on in her mind—filthy or otherwise.
No matter what she looked like or how fucking hot she was, she was my best friend’s sister. Nobody was more off-limits than she was. That wasn’t a new development. It had always been that way.
Thank fucking god I was only here for the summer, and only because my mother had guilted me into it.
As soon as the summer was over, I’d go for my next challenge.
I could get through a few weeks of being in the same town or two as Raven—because after today, avoidance was at the top of my life.
Otherwise, I’d go fucking insane.
Dirty was right on the seafront, only meters away from a small, sandy bay. It’d only taken me a few minutes to walk here from where I’d parked downtown, and despite the music coming from inside the bar, I could still hear the gentle crashing of the waves as they crawled up the sand. The water was right out, and I stared out at the water as I headed up the hill to the bar.
Fairy lights twinkled along the underside of the roof that jutted out over the sidewalk. It was like a goddamn princess castle from the outside, but the beachy vibe was evident. Different sized and colored shells covered the pillars that held up the balcony that jutted out over the front doors.
I pushed open the door. Cold air blasted into me, and so did the heavy bass beat of the music that blared out from the speakers just above my head. There were more fairy lights inside, but they were strung all beneath the bar, across the beams on the ceiling, and over the back wall where the spirits were on the wall. There wasn’t much else in the way of lighting, but what there was was effective enough in holding the entire space into a balance between bright and dusky.
The inside of Raven’s bar was like being outside at the moment the sun set.
I cast my gaze over the rest of the bar. The solid, wood tables and stools that lines the walls and filled the space to my left all had tiny vases of fresh flowers in. Even those were surrounded by fairy lights.
Fucking hell, did she let a class of little girls in here to decorate?
No matter what I felt about the fairy lights, it looked good. Damn good.
I stepped up to the bar and leaned forward on it. Raven was at the other end of the bar, wearing jeans and a tight tank top that tucked beneath the waistband. Strappy, silver heels on her feet glinted off the under-bar lighting, and it was all too easy for me to drop my eyes there then slowly drag my gaze up the length of her entire body.
Light bounced off the chrome cocktail shaker in her hand as she shook it. She popped off the top with one slick of her thumb, and without spilling a drop, poured the pink-red liquid into two martini-style glasses. With her other hand, she reached back to the register and jabbed at it.
Seconds later, she was handing them back their change. It all happened in a flash.
How did such she go from lost to…this…so quick?
“Raven!” A dark-haired woman sitting a few stools away from me with her friend yelled. “There’s a hot guy staring at you!”
I laughed loudly as Raven jerked around. Her gaze landed on me with what felt like a snap, and I swore she mouthed, “Motherfucker,” before she stalked to this end of the bar.
Her hands slapped on the bar in front of me. “What are you doing here?”
“I told you I was coming to check out your menu.”
“He was checking out more than the menu,” the woman’s friend giggled.
Raven held her finger up to them, and with her other hand, slapped a smooth, laminated menu in front of me. “Did you drive?”
“No, I walked all the way from Key West.” I picked up the menu. “Of course I drove.”
“Pick one,” she said, moving away. “I’m not serving you anymore than that. Make it a good choice. What can I get for you?” she asked someone else, cutting me off before I could say a word.
I raised my eyebrows.
“She runs a tight ship,” the first woman said. “Three days ago, there was a guy in here spiking drinks. She caught him and bashed him in the balls with her cocktail shaker so he couldn’t run from the security guard.”
Could my eyebrows go up any higher? “That doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. I’ve seen her do worse.”
The second woman’s eyes narrowed. “You have? You know her?”
The first woman rolled her eyes. “Of course he does, Cam. When have you seen her react to a customer like that? He obviously pissed her off in a past life or something.”
“I should be so lucky.” I smirked. “More like all in this life.”
“Her brother’s friend, right?” She tilted her head to the side. “Yeah, she mentioned she hated you.”
She’d talked about me?
“She didn’t say you were hot, though,” the second woman said.
“Camille!”
Ahhh.
The best friends.
“What?” Camille said. “I’m just saying.”
“No more Slutwhisperers for you,” the other woman—the one I presumed to be Lani—said, reaching for her glass.
Camille leaned over and slurped the last of the drink through the straw.
That explained the name of the cocktail.
“What are you doing?” Raven asked, stopping in front of them. “Cam? Your glass is empty. Let me refill that for you.” She winked to the other girl as she turned around.
What was she doing?
She put her back to her friends and grabbed the tequila bottle. She tipped it over a cocktail shaker without actually pouring anything into it. My lips quirked up as she put together what was some pink juice or something and blended it with raspberries.
She poured the mixture into a glass with some vigor in front of Camille.
She’d made her a placebo.
“Made your choice?” Raven turned to me, holding onto the shaker.
“No.” I spun the menu to face her. “What do you think I should have?”
Completely straight-faced, she said, “The Blue Balls.”

 

mup3

 

emma-hart

By day, New York Times and USA Today bestselling New Adult author Emma Hart dons a cape and calls herself Super Mum to two beautiful little monsters. By night, she drops the cape, pours a glass of whatever she fancies—usually wine—and writes books.

Emma is working on Top Secret projects she will share with her followers and fans at every available opportunity. Naturally, all Top Secret projects involve a dashingly hot guy who likes to forget to wear a shirt, a sprinkling (or several) of hold-onto-your-panties hot scenes, and a whole lotta love.

She likes to be busy—unless busy involves doing the dishes, but that seems to be when all the ideas come to life.

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ARC Review: The Hot Shot

April 19, 2017 Reviews 0 ★★★★

ARC Review: The Hot ShotThe Hot Shot (Game On, #4) by Kristen Callihan
on April 18th 2017
Pages: 223
Source: InkSlinger PR
Also by this author: The Hook Up (Game On, #1), The Friend Zone (Game On, #2), The Game Plan (Game On, #3), Idol (VIP, #1), Managed (VIP, #2)
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

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

First we were friends. Then we were roommates. Now I want more…What can I say about Chess Copper? The woman is capable of bringing me to my knees. I know this about five minutes after getting naked for her.No one is more surprised than me. The prickly photographer my team hired to shoot our annual charity calendar isn’t my usual type. She’s defense to my offense, a challenge at every turn. But when I’m with her, all the regrets and darkness goes away. She makes life fun.
I want to know Chess, be close to her. Which is a bad idea.
Chess is looking for a relationship. I’ve never given a woman more than one night. But when fate leaves Chess without a home, I step up and offer her mine. We’re roommates now. Friends without benefits. But it’s getting harder to keep our hands off each other. And the longer we live together the more I realize she’s becoming my everything.
Trick is… Now that I’ve made her believe I’m a bad bet, how do I convince her to give this player a true shot at forever?

Wow, this was really awesome! Then again, I’ve come to expect nothing less than absolutely amazing from Kristen Callihan. She’s just one of those authors for me that never fails to write beautiful romances that sweep me off my feet. She also writes some of the most memorable characters that I’ve ever came across. Finn and Chess were both such lovable characters, and I loved the relationship that they slowly but surely built as the book progressed. I highly recommend this one if you’re looking for a sports romance or just a fast paced romance in general. If you’ve never read anything from this author before, what are you waiting for? I promise that you’ll probably adore her works if you’re a fan of fun and realistic romances that have some steam thrown in there for good measure. I can’t wait to see what she writes next.

Chess was a wonderful heroine. She has such a strong personality that you can’t help but adore. She’s a unique woman who isn’t afraid to be herself. Honestly, I can’t think of all that much about her that I didn’t absolutely love. She’s just a naturally likable person from the very first page. I loved how she wasn’t afraid to say what she thought, and she didn’t let anyone walk all over her. Chess shared some similarities with some of Callihan’s past heroines, but at the same time she was so different from them in all the right ways. She’s her own person, and she’ll stick with you long after you finish reading this.

Finn was such a sweetheart. I wasn’t sure if I’d like him at first, but there was any need for me to doubt. I quickly fell in love with Finn. He wasn’t a douchebag by any means, instead he was an extremely loving and caring guy all around. I’m always going to have a thing for football players, so the QB of an NFL football team definitely didn’t disappoint. He was a true leader, who was also an amazing teammate and I loved seeing some of the same guys that we saw from the last couple of books. I don’t know if I liked him more than Drew, Grey, or Dex, but he was still an excellent guy who I loved getting to know more.

The romance between Finn and Chess is easily my favorite part of the book. I love that they have this instant banter from the first time that they meet, though they didn’t seem to like each other much at the time. Anyway, they slowly become close friends which obviously develops into more. This is certainly a book that has a slow burn to it, and I thought that was a fitting choice from Callihan. Once they finally had sex, it was totally electric. They most certainly have some serious chemistry, that’s for sure.

This fourth book in the Game On series is just as lovely as I was hoping it would be. While I’d still say that the last one is probably my favorite, this one is still just as amazing and memorable as I hoped it would be. Callihan is an author who never ever disappoints. I’m so happy that she introduced us to Finn and Chess, they were both such unique characters. This was a fast paced read that I managed to finish in just a few sittings. I’m happy that I read this one and I hope that you give it a shot as well!

four-stars

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