Posts Categorized: Young Adult

Shuffle, Repeat Review

May 26, 2016 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★

Shuffle, Repeat ReviewShuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers on May 3rd 2016
Pages: 336
Source: Purchased
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three-stars
When Harry Met Sally for YA romance readers. This opposites-attract love story is perfect for fans of Huntley Fitzpatrick, Stephanie Perkins, and Jenny Han.  June wants high school to end and real life to begin. Oliver is soaking up senior year’s glory days. They could have coasted through high school, knowing about—but not really knowing—each other.   Except that their moms have arranged for Oliver to drive June to school. Every. Single. Day.   Suddenly these two opposites are fighting about music, life . . . pretty much everything. But love is unpredictable. When promises—and hearts—get broken, Oliver and June must figure out what really matters. And then fight for it.

So I had high hopes for this contemporary going in. Maybe I shouldn’t have had such high expectations, but I still found myself a little disappointed by this one. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fairly quick read that I was able to devour in just one sitting. However, I still had some problems with the characters and parts of the plot. I feel like Jen Klein did a rather solid job at portraying an accurate high school experience and I really was able to relate with June’s feelings about high school, but other points just fell short for me. For example, I couldn’t stand all of the drama, that was definitely not anything that I or anyone that I know was forced to deal with. I think some people may be able to relate with this story better than I did, but all in all, it was a satisfying read. I actually don’t have all that much to say about this book, so I’m just going to present a list of some specific things that I liked and disliked about Shuffle, Repeat.

Positives:

  • The car pooling plot was cute and unique. I liked that June and Oliver were “stuck together” in that way. They came from different social groups, but were still forced to bond.
  • I loved both June and Oliver’s taste in music, though they hated each others personal taste.
  • Sex positive
  • Diversity – June’s close friend Shaun is gay and another one of her friends is bisexual.
  • June and Oliver’s unlikely but strong friendship.
  • The family dynamics that the book focuses on.
  • The writing was really well done and I loved how incredible and real the characters all felt.
  • Oliver and June’s first kiss gets its own bullet point because it was so steamy, adorable, and just my favorite in general. I have to say that it may just take the award for one of my all time favorite YA book kisses.
  • I LOVED Oliver’s personality. I especially liked that he was so much more than just a jock. Back when I was in high school, I personally was friends with a few total jocks, but I was so glad that I didn’t judge them based on that and came to see that there is a lot more to them than simply being a jock. So basically, labels can be misleading and I’m glad that Oliver was able to prove June that the one she placed on him was totally off base.
  • The banter between June and Oliver throughout the book is pretty amazing in general.

Negatives:

  • Drama, drama, drama. I’m fine with a reasonable amount because I get that high school is filled with it, but some of it felt excessive and unnecessary to me.
  • I REALLY disliked June for like over half the book. She’s so judgmental. She also is just so mean for no reason at times. I really didn’t get what in the world was running through her mind at times.
  • Her boyfriend Itch, like what kind of name is that anyway?
  • Oliver’s girlfriend, who starts out as seeming to be more than just a ditzy popular cheerleader but turns out not to be.
  • Slut shaming.
  • Unresolved issues with her family and Oliver and his family. I mean, I guess it was solved, but it still didn’t feel like much of a resolution considering how big of a deal some of the characters made about these events that happened.
  • The dumb fights that June picked with Oliver.
  • June, June, and June again.
  • Oliver’s friend Theo clearly had Dyslexia, and I really wanted this to be explored more. Instead his story ended with him just being a dick again.

Though I technically have more positives than negatives on this list, the negatives were ones that I felt a bit more strongly about. However, I will say that I did enjoy this book. I just wasn’t a fan of all the nonsense that it seemed to have. I recommend it if you’re looking for a quick read that has some seriously swoony scenes in it.

three-stars

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Summer Days & Summer Nights Review

May 25, 2016 Reviews, Young Adult 1 ★★★

Summer Days & Summer Nights ReviewSummer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories by Stephanie Perkins, Leigh Bardugo, Francesca Lia Block, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Brandy Colbert, Tim Federle, Lev Grossman, Nina LaCour, Veronica Roth, Jon Skovron, Jennifer E. Smith
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on May 17th 2016
Pages: 400
Source: Purchased
Also by this author: Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1), Flying Lessons & Other Stories, The Great American Whatever, You Know Me Well, We Are Okay
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three-stars
Maybe it's the long, lazy days, or maybe it's the heat making everyone a little bit crazy. Whatever the reason, summer is the perfect time for love to bloom. Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, written by twelve bestselling young adult writers and edited by the international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins, will have you dreaming of sunset strolls by the lake. So set out your beach chair and grab your sunglasses. You have twelve reasons this summer to soak up the sun and fall in love.
Featuring stories by Leigh Bardugo, Francesca Lia Block, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Brandy Colbert, Tim Federle, Lev Grossman, Nina LaCour, Stephanie Perkins, Veronica Roth, Jon Skovron, and Jennifer E. Smith.

I didn’t read the holiday anthology My True Love Gave to Me, which was also put together by Stephanie Perkins. However, I wanted to read this one because I was in the mood for some sweet summer stories to get me in the mood for this incredible season. Though I was expecting some light fluffy romances, what I really got was actually something much more deeper. Some of these stories are surprisingly sad and deal with some tough topics, but all of them are extremely realistic. If you read only one story, I highly recommend it being A Thousand Way This Could All Go Wrong by Jennifer E. Smith. Anyway, this was a fabulously diverse collection that featured a lot of different genres like: contemporary, science fiction, and fantasy. Unsurprisingly, I personally preferred the contemporary stories, but I’m sure that it will please fans of those genres that they were included here.

Head, Scales, Tongue, Tail by Leigh Bardugo – 3 Stars

I feel like I’m one of the only people on the PLANET who haven’t read anything by Leigh Bardugo yet. I’ve meant to, but I’m just not a huge fan of that genre and haven’t gotten around to reading anything by her yet. This story had solid writing, I personally didn’t connect too much to the characters like some reviewers seem to have connected to it. I thought that the romance was really adorable, but the twist kind of threw me for a loop and I liked it a little less because of that.

The End of Love by Nina LaCour – 4 Stars

This was an adorable story about a budding romance between two girls. Flora is going through a rough time with her parents divorce and so she decides to escape to a summer geometry class that she had already taken. There she runs into Mimi, a girl from another school who she always had a secret crush on but never pursued anything with. As you might anticipate, Flora finds a romance that she’d be dreaming about for a long time. I liked this one because of the diversity but also because of how well developed it was for a short story.

Last Stand at the Cinegore by Libba Bray – 2.5 Stars

So this one started out rather promising, but then it just got weird and I was ridiculously confused about the direction that it went in. I thought that the main character was funny and a bit charming, but then the plot changed. Besides, I wasn’t feeling the romance in the slightest. It all fell helplessly short, in my opinion.

Sick Pleasure by Francesca Lia Block – 2 Stars

This one was totally off to me. I’ve never read anything by this author before, so maybe that’s why I wasn’t used to some of the quirkiness of it all. The first really strange thing about it was that all the characters were only known by letters like M, J, L, and I. Did anyone else who read this find that straight up odd or was it only me? Aside from that, I absolutely couldn’t stand the ending. With that being said, the ending was the reason why I disliked the romance. The ending of it all was far from satisfying and just made me angry.

In Ninety Minutes, Turn North by Stephanie Perkins – 3.5 Stars

As I already said earlier, I didn’t read the Holiday collection, and Perkins features the same characters in both. I was told that it was okay to go ahead and read this story anyway. They pretty much recap all the events that already happened in the other story. I don’t think it’s possible for Stephanie to write a BAD story, I just didn’t feel all that connected to her characters as a whole. The story was rather predictable, but I did appreciate that the drama was kept at a minimal level. I enjoyed the story, it just wasn’t my favorite. I think fans of Perkins will be pleased though.

Souvenirs by Tim Federle – 4 Stars

Wow, I was surprised by how much I liked this one! It surprised me because this is a breakup story and I hate those, but somehow, Federale made this work. I felt very connected to the main character, Matt. He reminded me a little of Simon from Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, due to how witty and hilarious he is. I loved that he worked at an amusement park, and I loved even more that it took place in Pittsburgh. So Matt works in the souvenir shop at the amusement park, and his summer boyfriend Kieth works as an actor in the show that they put on. They have a breakup date because Kieth is moving away for school and doesn’t want to lead him on. This worked for me because it resembled a real high school relationship, it wasn’t a fairy tale, and I liked that more than I thought that I would.

Inertia by Veronica Roth – 4.5 Stars

Well, this story was definitely something else! In a way, it definitely reminded me of Four and Tris from the Divergent series. But I feel like Roth was still able to create two unique characters and build something real and memorable within these thirty some pages that she had to work with. I feel like some readers might feel differently about the story, but I personally enjoyed every second of it.

Love is the Last Resort by Jon Skorvon – 2.5 Stars

Some parts of this book seemed to have quite a bit of potential, but others seemed to be lacking. The narration style was one of the most unique ones that I’ve ever read before, and I did enjoy that, but some of the stories ended up running together. Meaning, the author tries to follow three different couples in this small amount of space. For me, it didn’t end up working so well. I did think some of the lines were rather clever though. All in all, I think that you might be able to skip this one.

Good Luck and Farewell by Brandy Colbert – 4 Stars

I thought this was a lovely story! It seems to be the theme here, but I haven’t read anything by Colbert yet. I was totally impressed by this one. The main character Rashida, is dealing with her cousin (who is like a mother to her) moving across the country to be with her girlfriend. She ends up meeting her girlfriend’s brother Pierre at the going away party and finds sparks fly between them. I loved how openly the two were able to discuss mental illness and their past experiences with it and also with grief. Both of them had experiences major losses in different ways. It was such a heavy but real thing, and I’m glad that Colbert portrayed this in such a classy way.

Brand New Attraction by Cassandra Clare – 2 Stars

Clare is an author who I’ve never read before, but her books are very popular. So I say that if you are a fan, you will likely enjoy this story because I’ve read from the reviews that it seems to have similar themes to her other works. If this isn’t your genre or an author you think you’d like, I say that you skip it. It’s basically about a terrifying carnival filled with demons. It wasn’t all that boring or anything, it just didn’t turn out to be my thing personally. The romance wasn’t for me either. It was basically about a slightly awkward yet pretty and cool girl who falls for the broody bad boy, who is her uncle’s stepson.

A Thousand Ways This Could All Go Wrong by Jennifer E. Smith – 5 Stars

This is definitely my favorite of the stories. It could be that I’m a huge fan of the author’s, but this story just clicked with me on every level. If you’re not a major contemporary romance fan, this might not totally be your thing, but I loved it from the first page. It has the most adorable romance ever. Seriously, the last scene will likely make you melt. I want to read it over again for the first time, it was that cute. The main character, Annie, is a camp counselor to little kids, and one of them has autism and she isn’t sure exactly how to make him feel comfortable at the camp. She has an interest in a boy named Griffin, who turns out to know exactly how to handle the child. It’s difficult to describe, but just trust me, this story will make you feel so many things.

The Map of Tiny Perfect Things by Lev Grossman – 2 Stars

Sorry, but this book was pretty boring to me. It just seemed to drag on and on. The premise was like Groundhog Day, the main character lives the same day over and over again. About a month in, he ends up seeing a girl who is out of place and finds out that she’s in the same boat as him. Naturally, he ends up falling in love with her and carrying less about having to live the same day on repeat. This whole time thing just wasn’t for me at all.

 

three-stars

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Suffer Love Review

May 15, 2016 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★★

Suffer Love ReviewSuffer Love by Ashley Herring Blake
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on May 3rd 2016
Pages: 352
Source: Edelweiss
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four-stars

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

“Just let it go.”
That’s what everyone keeps telling Hadley St. Clair after she learns that her father cheated on her mother. But Hadley doesn’t want to let it go. She wants to be angry and she wants everyone in her life—her dad most of all—to leave her alone.
Sam Bennett and his family have had their share of drama too. Still reeling from a move to a new town and his parents’ recent divorce, Sam is hoping that he can coast through senior year and then move on to hassle-free, parent-free life in college. He isn’t looking for a relationship…that is, until he sees Hadley for the first time.
Hadley and Sam’s connection is undeniable, but Sam has a secret that could ruin everything. Should he follow his heart or tell the truth?

I read this book WAY before the release date. I was planning on holding out at least a little bit, but the description instantly drew me in and I knew I had to dive into this one right away. This is a story that has managed to stick with me nearly a year since I read this for the first time. I’ve already gone back to refresh myself on some of my favorite moments in Suffer Love. This is such a rad debut novel and Ashley Herring Blake is definitely an author to watch in the future. I’m really glad that I had the opportunity to read this book, and I recommend that you buy yourself a copy right away.

Personally, I’m a lucky child and my parents are still happily married. However, I still loved the family dynamics in this novel, and felt like it seemed very real and never forced. I’m not a fan of books that showcase cheating in any kind of way, because sometimes it feels like it’s understated and made sexier than it actually is. Suffer Love talks about cheating in a completely opposite way, it shows us how it affects the lives of the families of these cheaters in a raw and sad style. That being said, it portrays divorce in a messy, heartbreaking, and real way. As you might guess, I’ve never experienced this firsthand, but it still felt authentic and far from perfect. So the plot revolves around two teens: Hadley and Sam. Hadley’s father cheated on her mother for over a year, and Hadley is filled with anger and confusion. Sam is a teen who is forced to start over in a new place for his senior year due to his own family secrets. Sam and Hadley begin to find a deep and real connection with one another, but will it able to last when Hadley doesn’t know everything about Sam?

The relationship between Hadley and Sam was certainly one of the most important aspects of the novel. It’s better if you don’t know much about it going in, so I’ll try to keep this as brief and to the point as possible. Sam is a swoony book boyfriend. Yeah, he’s keeping secrets from Hadley that he probably shouldn’t be keeping. In the end though, he was only doing what he believed was best for her. I felt like the connection and the bond that they built was well developed. There was totally some insta-love going on, but I was able to overlook that for the most part because the relationship itself occurred at a gradual pace. One of the drawbacks that I had does have to do with the romance, I wasn’t a fan of some of Sam’s choices when it came to his relationship. You’ll have to read it to see exactly what I mean, but it did take away a bit for me regarding my overall enjoyment of the book.

I love that this isn’t a simple and fluffy read, it has some seriously emotional parts. So if you’re looking for something light and filled with happiness, this isn’t your book. I won’t say that it contains total darkness, but it has more angst and dark parts than I typically enjoy reading. However, Ashley Herring Blake executed this in such an incredible and refreshing fashion. It does have some sweet moments between Hadley and Sam, you’ll heart will be filled throughout certain scenes. Be prepared to ride on a complete emotional roller coaster ride while reading this. But take my word for it when I say that the ride is worth it by the end of Suffer Love. All in all, I’d say that this novel was tremendously well written to say the least.

four-stars

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The Problem with Forever Review

May 14, 2016 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★★★

The Problem with Forever ReviewThe Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published by Harlequin Teen on May 17th 2016
Pages: 480
Source: Purchased
Also by this author: Forever with You (Wait for You #5), Fire in You (Wait for You, #6)
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five-stars
For some people, silence is a weapon. For Mallory “Mouse” Dodge, it’s a shield. Growing up, she learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime.
Now, after years of homeschooling with loving adoptive parents, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at public high school. But of all the terrifying and exhilarating scenarios she’s imagined, there’s one she never dreamed of—that she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.
It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet the deeper their bond grows, the more it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with the lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory faces a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants, and the truths that need to be heard.

This was an inspiring and emotional read. I’m a fan of anything that Jennifer L. Armentrout writes, but I have to say that this one has to be my favorite of her YA books. Of course I loved her Lux series, but I think she also excels at writing YA contemporary romance books as well. The Problem with Forever was a satisfying read that managed to break my heart into a million pieces in the process. In my opinion, there aren’t nearly enough YA novels out there that tackle the subject of poverty, abuse, and being a foster child. This book manages to do all of this here, and it all works out in a beautiful way, in my opinion.

The plot revolves around a girl named Mallory or Mouse, who spent the first 12 years of her life in foster care. She spent several of those years in a terrible home where her only protector was a boy named Rider. Rider often took punches from the evil Mr. Henry, in order to keep Mallory safe from harm. It’s been four years since she escaped that home, but she hasn’t seen Rider since then. Now Mallory is not only safe, but she’s been adopted by two doctors. She’s been home schooled for the past four years, but has decided to try public school for her senior year. On her first day, she’s surprised when she comes face to face with Rider. The remainder of the novel deals with Mallory coming to terms with her past, and figuring out where the future is going to take her.

Mallory is an interesting character and I loved her development throughout the novel. She’d been through so much in her life, but she came out stronger. Mallory is nicknamed Mouse because of how quiet she is. After everything that she witnessed in that house while in foster care, she developed PTSD and hardly ever talks. I felt like the author handled this situation with her trauma in a beautiful way. It was incredible to see Mallory face what happened to her and also realize what she wanted to do with the rest of her life. It’s pretty rare for a high school student to know what they want to go to college to be, but Mallory slowly learns what it is that she wants to do. Mallory was such a strong and memorable protagonist who I couldn’t have loved more.

Rider is just as swoony and awesome as you’d expect from a Jennifer L. Armentrout boy. He’s a sort of alpha male in a way, he’s extremely protective of his Mouse, and he always has been. When they meet again at school, he shows that he never stopped caring for her. One of his drawbacks is the fact that he does have a girlfriend when he first appears in Mallory’s life once again. I contemplated for awhile about this, but I feel like it’s still realistic in a way. These two are apart for four years, it’s only natural that this high schooler would have moved on with his life. I also feel like he doesn’t yank around his girlfriend longer than necessary. It’s not my favorite plot, but it still works somewhat. Anyway, Rider is just this super swoony guy and I love him.

The relationship between Rider and Mallory is extremely strong to say the least. Although he spends such a long time trying to save and protect her in anyway that he possibly can, they end up balancing each other out. Mallory helps Rider see the best in himself when he can’t possibly see it in himself. Can I also note that I’ll never think of The Velveteen Rabbit in the same way ever again? I won’t say much about it, but I will say that’s very romantic. It made me a big gushy mess, and that can sometimes take a lot. Rider and Mallory just have a long but real and powerful love story.

So my verdict is that this is definitely the most emotional and well developed book by Jennifer L. Armentrout yet! I’m not going to lie, I cried for a good amount of this book. Seriously, some of the plot goes beyond just what happened to them while in foster care, and it’s all just as tear jerking, if not more than what happened back then. Anyway, all I can say is that you need to prepare yourself for tons of tears. I haven’t mentioned any of the supporting characters, but I will say that they are just as memorable and incredible as the lead characters. I really want to read a story about Hector and Ainsley now! I’ll just end with saying: read this book, you’ll likely love it.

five-stars

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Blog Tour: Summer of Sloane Review

May 10, 2016 Blog Tours, Reviews, Young Adult 2 ★★★½

Blog Tour: Summer of Sloane Review

Blog Tour: Summer of Sloane ReviewSummer of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider
Published by Disney-Hyperion on May 3rd 2016
Pages: 304
Source: Disney-Hyperion
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
three-half-stars

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

Warm Hawaiian sun. Lazy beach days. Flirty texts with her boyfriend back in Seattle.
These are the things seventeen-year-old Sloane McIntyre pictured when she imagined the summer she’d be spending at her mom’s home in Hawaii with her twin brother, Penn. Instead, after learning an unthinkable secret about her boyfriend, Tyler, and best friend, Mick, all she has is a fractured hand and a completely shattered heart.
Once she arrives in Honolulu, though, Sloane hopes that Hawaii might just be the escape she needs. With beach bonfires, old friends, exotic food, and the wonders of a waterproof cast, there’s no reason Sloane shouldn’t enjoy her summer. And when she meets Finn McAllister, the handsome son of a hotel magnate who doesn’t always play by the rules, she knows he’s the perfect distraction from everything that’s so wrong back home.
But it turns out a measly ocean isn’t nearly enough to stop all the emails, texts, and voicemails from her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend, desperate to explain away their betrayal. And as her casual connection with Finn grows deeper, Sloane’s carefree summer might not be as easy to find as she’d hoped. Weighing years of history with Mick and Tyler against their deception, and the delicate possibility of new love, Sloane must decide when to forgive, and when to live for herself.

This was an impressive debut novel that has a glorious setting, just look at the cover! Anyway, the book takes place in the beautiful state of Hawaii. I definitely think this would make for an amazing beach read! It’s fast paced, the drama sucks you in and begs you to not look away from the book for very long. Some things about the book did leave me a little unsatisfied, but it was still pretty enjoyable and not an overly heavy book to devour. As mentioned, there is plenty of drama, I’ll touch more on that later. Some readers might find this to be a good thing while others think it’s a bad thing. It depends on personal preference in this case, but I think some readers will be very satisfied with how the drama goes down in the story. All in all, this was a decent book and I can’t wait to see what Schneider writes next.

Sloane is spending the summer in Honolulu, Hawaii at her mom’s house with her twin brother Penn. Before she goes though, she finds out some heartbreaking news about her best friend and her boyfriend back in Seattle. Tyler and Mick were having an affair and Mick ends up pregnant from it. I don’t feel like this is a spoiler since it literally happens in the first few pages of the novel. So yeah, Sloane then winds up heading off to Hawaii feeling betrayed and tons of other terrible emotions. She winds up trying to make the best of it with some of her friends from the time that she’s spent in Hawaii. This is when she meets a boy named Finn and starts giving swim lessons to his little sister. Soon after, she finds herself falling for him more and more, despite the fact that she’s doing her best not to get involved with any guys over the summer. So will Sloane be able to let herself be happy with Finn and move on from the heartbreak that Tyler caused her?

I really did like Sloane. I feel like she had a really great heart, especially regarding everything that she does for Finn’s little sister. She’s not a perfect person by any means, but who is? She makes her fair share of mistakes, just like any other teen (0r of any age) does. But Sloane ends up learning from them, and becoming a better person because of it. Unfortunately for Sloane, drama just seemed to follow her pretty much everywhere. Even when she made her summer escape to Hawaii, drama was still there as well. That’s not exactly her fault, but I still feel like she took the high road many times, and was still able to have a positive attitude and move on despite all the terrible and unexpected things that happened to her.

If I’m being completely honest here, Finn wasn’t all that swoony to me. I might just have a high standard when it comes to book boyfriends or something but he didn’t completely do it for me, if that makes any sense. He was definitely a better guy than Sloane’s cheater ex, but he wasn’t all that charming to me. A lot of that might be because I’m a fan of the nerdy slightly socially awkward guys and not the total player. So ultimately that comes down to my own personal preference, you might find Finn ridiculously swoony, I just didn’t.

The relationship between Finn and Sloane was rather solid. There was some insta-love going on, which I’m not a fan of. There also wasn’t much buildup between them getting involved with each other. But I do get that this trope can’t happen every single book, it’s just my personal favorite. My point is, I did like this couple. I feel like Finn brought out a more relaxed and easygoing side of Sloane that she had never previously explored. I wouldn’t say that he changed her in this terrible way, but I will say that he just helped her embrace her true self in a new and refreshing way. It was a sweet summer romance, that ended up going a lot deeper than that, which I always love to see in YA books.

I certainly recommend that you read Summer of Sloane this summer! It had beautiful writing from Erin L. Schneider. She’s created a beautiful cast of characters. Even more than that, she’s painted a vivid picture of a place that I’ve personally never visited before. Who doesn’t want to go to Hawaii? I know that is my dream destination, but it’s unlikely that I’ll ever get a chance to go there. Oh well, at least I got to read about this incredible place! If you’d like the chance to get transported to a completely new place like Hawaii, I recommend getting your hands on a copy of this book right away.

ABOUT ERIN L. SCHNEIDER:

Erin Schneider

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Erin L. Schneider is native to the Pacific Northwest, attended college in Honolulu, and – although Hawaiian – should never be allowed on a surfboard. With more than twenty years in corporate merchandising, she’s now a full-time writer living in Seattle with her husband, Neal; their baby boy, Kellan; a rowdy German shepherd named Ronin; and two crazy cats, Ono and Poke. She’s a member of both the Pacific Northwest Writers Association and SCBWI, and is also co-founder of the YA Buccaneers

SUMMER OF SLOANE is her debut novel, out May 3, 2016 from Disney-Hyperion.
Visit Erin online at Erin L Schneider or on Twitter: @ErinLSchneider1

Erin is represented by literary agent Lisa Grubka of Fletcher & Company.

LINKS: | Facebook | Instagram

Tour Schedule:
*Week 1:*
*5/2:* Lost In Lit Review
*5/3:* Reading Teen – Q&A
*5/4:* Big Books & Grande Lattes – Review
*5/5:* Eater of Books – Swoon Thursday
*5/6:* A Book & A Latte – Review

*Week 2:*
*5/9:* The Irish Banana Review – Playlist
*5/10:* Go Read A Book – Review
*5/11:* Paperback Princess – Top 10
*5/12:* A Leisure Moment – Review
*5/13:* Book Addict’s Guide – Scent Combinations

Giveaway:

3 Finished Copies of SUMMER OF SLOANE (US Only)

Rafflecopter Code:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

three-half-stars

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ARC Review: The Season of You & Me

May 9, 2016 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★½

ARC Review: The Season of You & MeThe Season of You & Me by Robin Constantine
Published by Balzer + Bray on May 10th 2016
Pages: 352
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
three-half-stars

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

From Robin Constantine, author of The Promise of Amazing and The Secrets of Attraction, comes a funny and heartfelt summer romance set in New Jersey. Perfect for fans of Sarah Mlynowski, Jenny Han, and Morgan Matson.
Cassidy Emmerich is reeling from a sudden, humiliating breakup. The last thing she wants to do is stick around and be reminded of her ex everywhere she goes. On impulse, she decides to spend the summer with her father and his family at their Jersey Shore bed-and-breakfast. A different scene and a new job working as a camp counselor seem like the perfect recipe for forgetting Gavin as quickly as possible—not to mention for avoiding him until he leaves for college. 
Bryan Lakewood is sick of nevers. You’ll never walk. You’ll never surf. You’ll never slow dance with a girl and have her put her head on your shoulder. Last year he made one false move—now he’s paralyzed and needs to use a wheelchair. But this summer, he’s back at his camp job and is determined to reclaim his independence—and his confidence.
Cass is expecting two months of healing her broken heart.
Bryan is expecting a summer of tough adjustments.
Neither is expecting to fall in love.

This was a really sweet contemporary summer romance that I also found to be rather unique and lovely as well. I wouldn’t say that it’s my all time favorite or anything, but I still found it to be a quick and fun read. This was the first book by Robin Constantine that I’ve ever read, though I own her other two books on my Kindle. I’d certainly say that this has given me a very positive view of her writing, and I’ll have to get around to reading these much sooner. If you’re looking for a cute but also complex YA romance, you should definitely pick this one up. It’s not total fluff, but there’s definitely some feel good moments thrown in there that you’re sure to love.

So Cassidy is planning on spending the summer with her boyfriend, until she finds compromising pictures of him with another girl. Now her plans are completely unclear, and she decides to spend it in New Jersey with her father and his new family. She decides to become a counselor at the camp her half brother is attending, and gets more out of it than she ever imagined. Bryan is in a wheelchair after a freak accident, and he’s returning as a camp counselor so things can go back to normal for him. These two different teens then find themselves involved in a summer romance that neither of them was expecting.

I liked Cassidy, though she’s not as memorable as Bryan. I did like her relationship with her family. She has a close relationship with both her mom and Grandma. She surprisingly isn’t all that angsty about her father, step-mother, and their young son are all fascinating and really not that bad. I especially loved her half brother, he was filled with so much energy and love. There were so many sweet scenes between the two. Anyway, I feel like Cass was such an intriguing character while she was working at the camp. She was a true leader, and was extremely good at her job. Basically, the characters around her were probably more memorable, but I appreciated Cass’s character growth throughout the novel.

Bryan was an awesome love interest. I also felt like his POV was very well written. I loved being directly inside his head and knowing exactly what he’s feeling. Bryan’s going through a frustrating situation to say the least. He ended up getting paralyzed by a weird turn while doing a Parkour move. An accident like that is tragic, but Bryan naturally blamed himself because it happened due to a choice that he made. You really have to feel for Bryan as he tries as hard as he can to get somewhat back to normal. He’s an independent guy, and doesn’t want to ask people for help. He also distances himself from his closest friends who he used to do dumb things with (like Parkour) because he feels like they treat him differently now. The point is, all the emotions that Bryan experiences are handled so well. The author couldn’t have written Bryan and his situation any better.

The relationship between Bryan and Cass is an incredible part of this novel. Honestly, it’s not all that different from your typical YA summer romance, but there are different emotions here as well. Bryan doesn’t feel like he’s good enough for Cass because he can’t walk. He doesn’t want her to feel sorry for him. Cass never treats him any differently, just like he’s a normal person. I love that they strike up a friendship first before they begin a real relationship. There’s definitely a lot of doubt that Bryan experiences along the way. In the end, this is a pretty great romance. It isn’t all that different from the others, besides the reason that I already explained. However, this is still an enjoyable and realistic teen romance.

Ultimately, this was a pretty short book that went by very fast. The reason why I didn’t give this a higher rating is because it just wasn’t as standout as some of the other books in this genre that I’ve read. Nevertheless, I’m still really happy that I read this one. I recommend this if you want a reasonably light but also complex teen romance. I can’t wait to read more from this author!

three-half-stars

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ARC Review: Girl Against the Universe

May 8, 2016 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★★★

ARC Review: Girl Against the UniverseGirl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes
Published by HarperTeen on May 17th 2016
Source: Edelweiss
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five-stars

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

Maguire is bad luck.
No matter how many charms she buys off the internet or good luck rituals she performs each morning, horrible things happen when Maguire is around. Like that time the rollercoaster jumped off its tracks. Or the time the house next door caught on fire. Or that time her brother, father, and uncle were all killed in a car crash—and Maguire walked away with barely a scratch.
It’s safest for Maguire to hide out in her room, where she can cause less damage and avoid meeting new people who she could hurt. But then she meets Jordy, an aspiring tennis star. Jordy is confident, talented, and lucky, and he’s convinced he can help Maguire break her unlucky streak. Maguire knows that the best thing she can do for Jordy is to stay away. But it turns out staying away is harder than she thought.
From author Paula Stokes comes a funny and poignant novel about accepting the past, embracing the future, and learning to make your own luck.

I don’t think I’ve ever highlighted more quotes in a book before. Seriously, I saved over 30 quotes on my Kindle. This is such an amazing read. I’ve never read anything by Paula Stokes before, though I’ve heard good things about her work. It’s safe to say that Girl Against the Universe totally impressed me. It has a lot of incredible things going on. Some of which include: a swoony love interest, tennis, memorable protagonist, strong supporting characters, well researched portrayal of mental illness and therapy, and parental figures that are actually normal. From the very first page, I was instantly drawn into this fabulous world and cast of characters that Stokes has created. I honestly can’t recommend it enough!

Maguire thinks that she is cursed. This might sound dramatic, but the girl has been through a lot. Including a car crash that killed her brother, father, and uncle, accidentally catching the neighbor’s house on fire, a rollercoaster falling off the tracks, and getting a whole slumber party sick. The thing in common with all these incidents is one thing: Maguire, who never gets harmed while everyone around her ends up injured or dead. After the incident with the fire, her mom moves her family, and then ends up sending her to a therapist. In the office, she ends up meeting a cute stranger who says that he’s some kind of celebrity. Maguire ends up trying out for the school tennis team in order to accomplish one of her therapy goals: getting involved with a school activity. At tryouts, she finds out the cute boys real identity. Jordy is a popular tennis star who has dreams of going professional. He’s helping the woman’s tennis team during his free time, and immediately catches Maguire’s eye. Though Jordy clearly has feelings for her, she feels like she has to stay away from him in order to protect him.

Maguire is an amazing main character. Yes, she pretty much isolates herself from the world because she’s afraid that her presence alone will hurt both the people that she cares about and random strangers. You might be wondering, how in the world does she attend public school? She tried to get her home to homeschool her, but she wouldn’t. So Maguire basically does her five second checks rather frequently. These checks mainly consist of her looking out for untied shoelaces, things people could trip over, and anything else in the room that might cause someone to get hurt. Maguire has been through way more traumatic experiences than someone her age, or any age really, should have to go through. However, she’s definitely came out on the other side of things. I like Maguire a lot and I can understand where she’s coming from pretty well.

Even though she is isolated, she’s not your typical angsty teenager. Get this, Maguire and her mom ACTUALLY get along. I know, it’s crazy to believe since it’s so rare to find in YA books. There’s also a stepdad who is actually a NICE guy who Maguire truly cares about. She realizes that he isn’t try to replace the memory of her father, who died in the crash when she was 11. I’m not even going to lie to you guys, I actually cried over an adorable conversation that they had. In addition to a fairly normal and stable relationship with her family, she also has some incredible friends. I loved how all of the supporting characters had a pivotal role in the plot and also in Maguire’s character growth in general. I just think Paula Stokes is a phenomenal author and I’m a fan of her work.

The love interest is the super swoony Jordy. As I mentioned, he’s a popular tennis player who gets ton attention from random girls and is also in the media quite a bit for an eighteen-year-old boy. I seriously love everything about this guy. He’s such a likable and relatable guy. He instantly become one of my all time favorite book boyfriends. The best thing about him is how understanding and supportive he is of Macguire. He knows everything about her quirks and her past, but he stands beside her complete anyway.

If you’re worried that the subject matter might be too dark and heavy, know that it really doesn’t turn out that way. Yes, it has some serious moments, but it’s also surprisingly funny at times. This book is such a genuinely good read and I’m really glad that I had a chance to read this. This was one of the few books where I absorbed every single word that was written, I didn’t skip a single one for fear of missing something extremely important. I could keep going on and on about why you should buy it, but I think you should discover why it’s so amazing on your own. Be sure to grab a copy of Girl Against the Universe on May 17th!

five-stars

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The Unexpected Everything Review

May 5, 2016 Reviews, Young Adult 1 ★★★★½

The Unexpected Everything ReviewThe Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on May 3rd 2016
Pages: 519
Source: Purchased
Also by this author: Since You've Been Gone, Amy and Roger's Epic Detour
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four-half-stars
Andie had it all planned out.
When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future.
Important internship? Check.
Amazing friends? Check.
Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks).
But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life.
Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected.
And where’s the fun in that?

This was yet another incredibly adorable contemporary romance from Morgan Matson! I can always count on this author to create some seriously fabulous book boyfriend, MC’s, and to happen during the summer. I’m really impressed by her fourth novel. I’m not sure if this was my favorite, I think Since You’ve Been Gone holds that title, but I certainly enjoyed it. I recommend reading this while at the beach or just out on a nice day in the sun. It doesn’t even take place at a beach, it just has that vibe that will instantly make you long for the season. Anyway, I recommend this to all contemporary romance fans out there who also enjoy other themes like friendship and family as well. I can’t wait to see what Morgan Matson writes next.

The story revolves around Andie, a girl going into the summer before her senior year who dreams of being a doctor. Everything comes crashing down when her popular congressman father is being thrown into the spotlight over a scandal. Due to this scandal, Andie finds herself having to change her plans of attending a pre-med internship at Johns Hopkins all summer. Though she has no experience with dogs, she takes a job as a dog walker. It’s there that she discovers that there’s more out there than the careful plans she’s always expected to follow. 

Andie has so much character growth. She starts out being this safe girl who has to be mostly in control of things. As the summer goes on, Andie slowly realizes that there is so much that are simply out of her hands, and she has to come to terms with this fact. At some points, I was annoyed by Andie’s behavior, but I still understood why she did it. She suffered a horrible loss when her mother died and her father was off in Washington instead of with her. I was glad to see Andie slowly but surely develop into an even more incredible human being in general. 

The love interest has a big thing to do with why I enjoyed this book so much. Clark is totally my new favorite boyfriend from Matson, and that’s saying a lot since I’ve loved them all. The reason why I loved Clark so much is that he’s definitely the type of guy I’d actually go for. He’s on the awkward side, a bit nerdy, smart, and a bestselling author. Oh yeah, his fantasy series was made into a popular movie franchise. He also never beats around the bush with his feelings for Andie. Once they start dating, he becomes close with her friends, which is equally hilarious and endearing. My point is, he’s just the perfect boyfriend in every single way. 

Considering that I love Clark so much, it’s no surprise that I’m a huge fan of this romance. It starts out a bit awkward between them, but the attraction is clear from the start. I like that they don’t spend most of the book fighting their feelings, they become a real couple. It actually reminded me a lot of This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen, which is one of my favorite YA romances. The relationship between Clark and Andie just felt a bit similar to Dexter and Remy in that one. Both love interests are awkward but sure, while the MC’s are not so confident due to past experiences. Clark and Andie certainly don’t have a perfect relationship, but who does? It all just felt so honest and real to me. 

A big part of this novel has to do with friendship and family. I absolutely love Andie’s core group of friends. It consists of three girls: Toby, Bri, and Palmer. Palmer’s longtime boyfriend, Tom,  is an honorary member of the group who strikes up a serious bromance with Clark. I love how they are all just completely there for each other regardless of the situation. So onto family which I briefly touched on, Andie’s dad is spending the summer at home with her because of an ongoing investigation on him. At first, Andie isn’t happy about how he suddenly tries to be a present father after such a long time away. I was glad that the drama between them really didn’t last that long. Instead, they become even closer and it’s very touching and refreshing to see. 

In the end, I’m beyond glad that I was able to get my hands on this one. It’s easily Morgan Matson’s best book yet, in my opinion. One of the few problems that I had with this was how long it was. The book was over 500 pages long. While none of it was particularly boring, I still think the book would have been just as amazing with some parts being cut. All that aside, I can’t recommend this contemporary romance enough. You definitely need this in your life if you’ve never read anything from this author yet! 

four-half-stars

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The Crown Review

May 4, 2016 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★★

The Crown ReviewThe Crown (The Selection, #5) by Kiera Cass
Published by HarperTeen on May 3rd 2016
Pages: 288
Also by this author: The Heir (The Selection, #4)
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four-stars
When Eadlyn became the first princess of Illéa to hold her own Selection, she didn’t think she would fall in love with any of her thirty-five suitors. She spent the first few weeks of the competition counting down the days until she could send them all home. But as events at the palace force Eadlyn even further into the spotlight, she realizes that she might not be content remaining alone.
Eadlyn still isn’t sure she’ll find the fairytale ending her parents did twenty years ago. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you…and soon Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more impossible—and more important—than she ever imagined.

Truthfully, the first three books in The Selection series were pretty much hit or miss for me. I decided to read the fourth book anyway because I heard that the MC was Maxon and America’s daughter. I’m really glad that I gave that book a shot! The Crown is a continuation of The Heir and is the last one in the series officially. I’m still holding out hope that there might be more of an epilogue to this, but I also understand that Kiera Cass likely has other projects that she wants to focus on at this point.

I can happily say that I liked Eadlyn so much more in this book. She was honestly pretty selfish and stuck up in The Heir. She’s totally grown up, some of that unfortunately being forced because of events that happened at the end of book four. Regardless of the circumstances, she still comes out a more mature and likable protagonist. I feel like she really showed her awesome strengths in a way that her mother never did. Sure, she makes plenty of mistakes along the way, but that’s to be expected. 

As far as the love story goes, I can’t really say much about it. If you read the previous book, (which you definitely should have since it’s not a standalone) then you know that Eadlyn has many guys fighting for during her own Selection. At the beginning of the novel, she cuts it down to 6 guys. I was actually really pleased with the direction that Cass took this love story. I HATE love triangles and this totally was, especially because of some events that happened in the last book. However, I will say that the main love interest isn’t unclear like I feared it might be. Some of the sentences were a little TOO romantic to me. Trust me, I’m like the last person to complain about this. But some of it was borderline cheesy, and didn’t fit Eadlyn. This is just my personal opinion about it, I’m sure others will love it. 

The Crown was a well written conclusion to this story. My big complaint is that it didn’t feel wrapped up. The book was very short and I needed like 100+ more pages. I thought it was sweet that we got to see more of the characters from the first three books, but I wanted to get even more from these characters. Besides that, it was an all around fantastic novel. I think longtime fans of this series will be mostly satisfied with how things ended, but they will also likely crave for even more of this addicting story. 

four-stars

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Blog Tour: Whisper to Me Review

May 3, 2016 Blog Tours, Reviews, Young Adult 1 ★★★★

Blog Tour: Whisper to Me Review

Blog Tour: Whisper to Me ReviewWhisper to Me by Nick Lake
Published by Bloomsbury Children's on May 3rd 2016
Pages: 544
Source: Bloomsbury
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

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

A remarkable story of strange beauty and self-discovery from Printz Award winner Nick Lake
Cassie is writing a letter to the boy whose heart she broke. She’s trying to explain why. Why she pushed him away. Why her father got so angry when he saw them together. Why she disappears some nights. Why she won’t let herself remember what happened that long-ago night on the boardwalk. Why she fell apart so completely.
Desperate for his forgiveness, she’s telling the whole story of the summer she nearly lost herself. She’s hoping he’ll understand as well as she now does how love—love for your family, love for that person who makes your heart beat faster, and love for yourself—can save you after all.

This book is seriously complicated and very unique! I loved Nick Lake’s writing style. It was unlike anything that I’ve ever read before. Honestly, Whisper to Me is a book that just isn’t going to be for some people. I say this because some people just stay away from any stories that are suspenseful murder mystery types. However, I still think that this story is really special and it’s a lot deeper than just being a mystery. It experiments with several different genres and I enjoyed reading it. Whisper to Me is a book that you aren’t going to want to put down. It’s actually a fairly lengthy book, but due to how different the narrative is and how quickly the events unravel, there truly are no dull moments.

Focusing too much on the plot will definitely ruin things so I don’t want to do that. I found the synopsis to be a bit misleading. Yes, Cassie is writing this letter to the boy she loved who’s heart she just broke. In my opinion, this makes it seem like the book spends the majority of the time on the romance side of things. This ultimately isn’t the case, instead it turns out to be about so many more events in Cassie’s life than just her romance with him. She really doesn’t include all that many details about their relationship, which makes sense because he was there and doesn’t need all the details. So if you’re looking for a cute and fluffy teenage romance, this isn’t the book for you. But if you’re looking for something that has a great deal of development of characters and a fast paced plot, this might just be the book that you need.

As mentioned, Cassie is an interesting and complicated protagonist. I feel like going too much into the specifics of her character might give some things away. So I’ll just leave it at Cassie has a tragic past and you really sympathize with her throughout the novel. You also feel bad for her that she’s pushed away this guy that she clearly cares enough about to write this whole thing for. The thing that I find the most strange is that Cassie never tells us the name of this guy she’s writing to. She always just says “you” and when other characters are mentioning him, there’s no name given to us. I found this to be odd and it created some disconnect with him. How can you fully be invested in the relationship that she has with him when we don’t even know his name? In a way, it was a clever move on Lake’s part, it just took some getting used to.

In the end, this was a fascinating book that was suspenseful and intense. Nick Lake is a seriously beautiful writer. I was mesmerized by basically every word he wrote. If you give this book a chance, prepare to lose some sleep. It’s not really a SCARY novel, it’s just a little on the creepy side. You’re most likely going to lose sleep from staying up extremely late reading this. Anyway, I highly recommend that you give this one of a kind YA novel a chance!

ABOUT NICK LAKE:

Nick Lake
My name is Nick and I write and edit books for young adults. My first YA novel IN DARKNESS, was published by Bloomsbury in 2012 and won the Michael L Printz Award for Excellence in YA Literature. I also wrote a book called HOSTAGE THREE about a girl kidnapped by Somali pirates.

THERE WILL BE LIES is coming in January 15 and is about a girl who learns that everything she knows is a lie. To say it’s a book with a twist in the story would be a massive understatement. There is also a talking coyote in it.

I live with my wife, daughter and son in a 16th century house in England with almost 19th century amenities. Sometimes the heating even works.

I like: reading, art, music, food containing sugar, cities at night, the countryside in the daytime, vintage furniture, modern standards of heating (see above), travelling.

I dislike: being sick, failing, being underdressed in the cold, being overdressed in the heat, the unnecessary suffering of children, being punched in the face.

LINKS:

Twitter | Tumblr

Tour Schedule:
5/3: Go Read A Book – Review <http://www.goreadabook.org/>
5/4: One Curvy Blogger – Top 10 <http://onecurvyblogger.com/>
5/5: Live to Read – Review <http://livetoread-krystal.blogspot.com/>
5/6: The Cover Contessa – Guest Post <http://www.thecovercontessa.com/>
5/7: Swoony Boys Podcast – Q&A <http://www.swoonyboyspodcast.com/>
5/8: Such A Novel Idea – Playlist <http://suchanovelidea.com/>
5/9: Tina the Bookworm – Review <http://tinathebookworm.com/>
5/10: One Night Bookstand – Guest Post
<https://onenightbookstandblog.wordpress.com/>
5/11: Star-Crossed Book Blog – Review <http://starcrossedbookblog.com/>
5/12: Arctic Books – Dream Casting <http://arcticbooks.wordpress.com/>
5/13: Ex Libris – Review <http://exlibriskate.com/>

Giveaway:

3 Finished Copies of WHISPER TO ME (US Only)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

four-stars

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