Blog Tour: The Unlikelies Review

May 30, 2017 Blog Tours, Reviews, Young Adult 0

The Unlikelies

by Carrie Firestone
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Release Date: June 6th 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

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Synopsis:
Five teens embark on a summer of vigilante good samaritanism in a novel that’s part The Breakfast Club, part The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, and utterly captivating.
Rising high school senior Sadie is bracing herself for a long, lonely, and boring summer. But things take an unexpected turn when she steps in to help rescue a baby in distress and a video of her good deed goes viral.
Suddenly internet-famous, Sadie’s summer changes for the better when she’s introduced to other “hometown heroes.” These five very different teens form an unlikely alliance to secretly right local wrongs, but when they try to help a heroin-using friend, they get in over their heads and discover that there might be truth in the saying “no good deed goes unpunished.” Can Sadie and her new friends make it through the summer with their friendships–and anonymity–intact?
This rich and thought-provoking novel takes on timely issues and timeless experiences with a winning combination of romance, humor, and wisdom.

I thought that this was a solid and feel good novel. The concept itself was actually pretty unique. We have five teenagers who are recognized at an award ceremony as being “hometown heroes.” Sadie is our main character, and she stumbled out this newfound fame through a total random accident that happened. Anyway, it was a refreshing contemporary read. Though it wasn’t entirely unique, it still had different elements that were enjoyable to read about. Although the events were extremely unrealistic and far fetched for the most part, this was still a fun and mostly light read. I recommend this if you’re looking for something not too heavy, but that also manages to tackles some important teenage topics at the same time. It isn’t the perfect or most memorable novel, but it was a quick, easy, and fun read and I’m glad that I picked it up.

I can’t say that Sadie was the most spectacular character ever. A lot of her characteristics weren’t all that memorable. Of course, she did do something that was honorable at the beginning of the novel that led to all of this attention in the first place. She stopped a man who was clearly not in his right mind and had a young baby in the back of the car from running off with it. Sadie was a very caring person for the most part. You could tell that she truly cared about all of her new friends and that she would do anything for them. Other than that though, she didn’t do a whole lot to stand out.

There is romance in this book, as you might have already been expecting. I’m not really sure how much to say about it since the blurb doesn’t reveal too much about it and it doesn’t happen until pretty deep in the novel. I will hint that you’ll probably suspect who it is very early on in the book. I thought that the romance was a sweet side to the story. I liked Sadie’s relationship with this person, though I can’t say that it was my favorite. The book was more focused on friendship and personal growth then romance, but I still like to highlight on this plot at least a little bit.

One of the best part of the books was definitely the five main characters. Each member of The Unlikelies had different things to offer to the group. They were all diverse and fascinating characters as a whole. Alice was a girl who Sadie knew from when they were younger. Now she’s as smart, spirited, and sassy as ever. Alice was probably my favorite of the group. Val was a fun character who had an awful boyfriend. Jean was a sweet boy who had a huge heart for working with kids. Gordie is a boy who goes to school with Sadie and is super smart and funny.

All in all, this was a decent book as a whole. I can’t say that I totally loved it, but I still found it fast paced and entertaining. I was able to read it in just a sitting or two. As I mentioned earlier, I feel like the events were not realistic. It did take on a heavy issue like teens being addicted to heroin, which is becoming more and more relevant in today’s society. That being said, the concept of them becoming that popular and making such an impact overnight seemed improbable to me. However, I enjoyed reading this book and I look forward to whatever this author writes next!

three-stars
Carrie Firestone has lived in rural, urban, and suburban places, and, while she currently lives in the suburbs, she is decidedly a CITY person. She loves parties, and all kinds of music, and books about random people doing random things in random places. She loves to travel with her husband, and two daughters, Lauren and Emily. When she isn’t writing, you might find her reluctantly sharing her popcorn at the movies, trying to get people (or dogs) to do a conga line, or adding items to her loose ends list.

 

 

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Honestly Ben Review

May 26, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★½

Honestly Ben ReviewHonestly Ben (Openly Straight, #2) by Bill Konigsberg
Published by Arthur A. Levine Books on March 28th 2017
Pages: 330
Source: Library
Also by this author: Openly Straight (Openly Straight, #1)
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three-half-stars
Ben Carver is back to normal. He’s getting all As in his classes at the Natick School. He was just elected captain of the baseball team. He’s even won a big scholarship for college, if he can keep up his grades. All that foolishness with Rafe Goldberg last semester is over now, and he just needs to be a Carver, work hard, and stay focused.
Except…
There’s Hannah, a gorgeous girl who attracts him and distracts him. There’s his mother, whose quiet unhappiness he’s noticing for the first time. School is harder, the pressure higher, the scholarship almost slipping away. And there’s Rafe, funny, kind, dating someone else…and maybe the real normal that Ben needs.

So I definitely had some high standards for this one. I thought that Openly Straight was a pretty good novel, and I loved Rafe’s voice. Of course, I also loved Ben and wanted to know even more about him and his background. He was just as fabulous as I was hoping he’d be, which is why it hurts me that I was so torn on this book as a whole. I still loved Ben and wanted the best for him, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the love triangle. I never am a big fan of them, but I thought it might work this time just since Ben is such a solid character. While I do feel like the love triangle wasn’t written for no reason, it was still difficult for me to stand behind it. Anyway, I think this was a decent follow up to Openly Straight, but I can’t say that it totally lived up to the first one.

So yeah, Ben was a fabulous character. I wanted to hug him for basically the entire duration of the novel. I loved that he was just trying to figure himself out, and has accepted that he still has a lot to learn about himself. I loved learning more about his family life, it certainly gave us more background on the way he grew up. His dad constantly told him that he wasn’t allowed to show emotions or be vulnerable in any way. I also related to him in the fact that he doesn’t have much money. I understand having to be completely aware of how much money you’re spending at all times. I’ll talk more about the whole Hannah thing later on, but I’ll say that it did frustrate me to an extent, but I also understood why he entered the relationship in the first place. Look, no matter what he does, Ben is still going to be an awesome and memorable character in my book.

I don’t have a ton to say about Rafe since I’ve already discussed him in my review of Openly Straight. I think he’s a fascinating character, and I just really enjoy him all around. However, some of the things that he does here disappointed me a bit. Some of his friends in GSA (gay straight alliance) say things like “bi is a gateway” and it doesn’t seem like Rafe says that this is not an okay thing to say? It just seemed as if he brushed it off as a joke. I also didn’t like it when he kept trying to put a label on Ben when he seemed against it. Other than that, I did like Rafe for the most part.

I’ve read some reviews where people were offended that the author didn’t have Ben identify as bisexual. I’m not an expert on sexuality, but in my own personal opinion, I didn’t have an issue with this. I felt like it was appropriate because Ben felt like he didn’t belong in any box. He’s been attracted to girls his whole life and only been attracted to one boy. I definitely see why people find this offensive. At the time though, Ben is just a teenager who isn’t sure exactly what his sexual identity is yet and that’s perfectly okay as well. View Spoiler »

Ultimately, I am torn on my feelings for Honestly Ben. I think that it’s a great story about a teenage boy who doesn’t have it all figured out but he’s doing the best that he can. It was one of those books that I wasn’t able to put down once I started. I thought the supporting characters were great too. Specifically Toby, who I could read about for days. There’s this hilarious and endearing moment where Toby passes out fliers to his classmate, and I seriously laughed out loud. This wasn’t a flawless book, but I’m so happy that we were able to revisit Rafe and Ben.

three-half-stars

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Mini Review: I Am Princess X

May 25, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★½

Mini Review: I Am Princess XI Am Princess X by Cherie Priest
Published by Arthur A. Levine Books on May 26th 2015
Pages: 256
Source: Library
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two-half-stars
Best friends, big fans, a mysterious webcomic, and a long-lost girl collide in this riveting novel, perfect for fans of both Cory Doctorow and Sarah Dessen; illustrated throughout with comics.
Once upon a time, two best friends created a princess together. Libby drew the pictures, May wrote the tales, and their heroine, Princess X, slayed all the dragons and scaled all the mountains their imaginations could conjure.
Once upon a few years later, Libby was in the car with her mom, driving across the Ballard Bridge on a rainy night. When the car went over the side, Libby passed away, and Princess X died with her.
Once upon a now: May is sixteen and lonely, wandering the streets of Seattle, when she sees a sticker slapped in a corner window.
Princess X?
When May looks around, she sees the Princess everywhere: Stickers. Patches. Graffiti. There's an entire underground culture, focused around a webcomic at IAmPrincessX.com. The more May explores the webcomic, the more she sees disturbing similarities between Libby's story and Princess X online. And that means that only one person could have started this phenomenon---her best friend, Libby, who lives.

I thought that I Am Princess X was a unique book. It was definitely different from most books that I’ve read. It honestly took me by surprise. I’m not sure what I was expecting it to be about, but what I got wasn’t it. On the positive side, it’s a quick read that you can devour in just one sitting. I thought that the illustrations were interesting enough. However, I would have liked to see more character development. I also felt like the story was all over the place in some areas. This wasn’t a terrible story, but it was mostly forgettable. It depends on what kind of book that you’re looking for. If you just want a novel that you can read quickly, this might be what you need. If you want something that will stick with you for a long time after you’ve read it, this probably won’t be for you.

If it tells you anything, it hasn’t been all that long since I’ve read that but I still can’t remember a lot of what happened. That’s why I’m trying to make this a short review since I don’t have a ton to say about it. I thought that it seemed like it was marketed more towards younger kids, possibly 12-16, because of the writing style. The subject matter was a little more mature, but it still felt young for the most part. Another problem was how unrealistic and off the wall the twist was. I couldn’t see it happening in a million years. It was weird, in my opinion. I won’t go into too many details, but if you aren’t a fan of reading books that you can’t see happening in real life, this probably isn’t for you. I also mentioned earlier that the characters should have been more developed. I felt like there wasn’t enough pages dedicated to their personal growth. It felt like we didn’t really get to know them well enough.

I Am Princess X wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great either. I felt like the twist could have been better, but what do I know? I don’t regret reading this, still not my favorite though. Like I said earlier, I simply don’t have a lot to say about it. It was something that I pretty much enjoyed while reading, but it didn’t leave much of an impact on me after I finished it. I was expecting it to be about friendship and fandom and that’s not really what I got. This was a unique type of book that was easy to read, but not the best one either.

two-half-stars

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ARC Review: Queer, There, and Everywhere

May 22, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★★

ARC Review: Queer, There, and EverywhereQueer there and Everywhere: 22 People Who Changed the World by Sarah Prager
Published by HarperCollins on May 23rd 2017
Pages: 272
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.

This first-ever LGBTQ history book for young adults will appeal to fans of fun, empowering pop-culture books like Rad American Women A-Z and Notorious RBG.
World history has been made by countless lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals—and you’ve never heard of many of them. Queer author and activist Sarah Prager delves deep into the lives of 22 people who fought, created, and loved on their own terms. From high-profile figures like Abraham Lincoln and Eleanor Roosevelt to the trailblazing gender-ambiguous Queen of Sweden and a bisexual blues singer who didn’t make it into your history books, these astonishing true stories uncover a rich queer heritage that encompasses every culture, in every era.
By turns hilarious and inspiring, the beautifully illustrated Queer, There, and Everywhere is for anyone who wants the real story of the queer rights movement.

Queer, There, and Everywhere is a wonderfully fascinating look at the history of queer people all over the world. I thought that it was extremely well researched and well written. It was never dull or boring, it held your attention the whole time. There are 23 queer people who receive pretty short biographies on their lives and what all they contributed to the community as a whole. There are familiar names like Abraham Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt, Frida Kahlo, and Harvey Milk. And also not so familiar names like Kristina Vasa, Albert Cashier, Ma Rainey, and many others. I found that I ultimately enjoyed reading all of these stories. I think this is such an important book to read regardless of your sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or race, all of us could benefit from reading this comprehensive and beautiful book. I really hope that the author will write another one featuring other queer figures in the future!

So you might be able to tell by looking at some of my past reviews, but I don’t read a whole lot of non fiction, especially not Young Adult. However, I knew that I should read this one. I wanted to learn even more about queer history and this looked like such an intriguing work. Though it’s not something I’d normally read, I’m still glad that I did. I also learned so much from it. About a day after I finished it, I told my dad (who is a historian) about Abraham Lincoln and his buddy Joshua. I don’t think my dad still believes that they were actually a thing, he hit me with the fact that it was a common thing for guys to sleep in the same bed back then. But it did feel good to hit him with some interesting information that I read in the book. Anyway, this book was filled with people that you might be familiar with to an extent, but it’s still neat to learn more about their personal lives. Did you guys know that Greta Garbo had a female lover? I didn’t. She’s not featured, but her lover Mercedes De Acosta was.

So basically, I would read one of these biographies and automatically go off to Google to learn more about them. I really wanted to know about Ma Rainey, since she sounded like such an eccentric and amazing human being. I also had to know more about Harvey Milk, Frida Kahlo, Josef Kohout, and Glenn Burke. There were some truly touching stories as well. Specifically the story of Albert Cashier, a transgender soldier who fought in the Civil War. Although you hear stories about women who dressed as men in order to fight for their country, this isn’t one of those stories. Albert truly identified as a man, and was miraculously able to keep the fact that he was assigned female at birth a secret. I thought it was beautiful how the people who did find out ultimately kept it a secret, and accepted that he was a man. The story about his funeral will make you sob. Though so many other stories touched me as well, I’d have to say that this was probably my favorite.

There’s so many good things to say about this book. One of the few complaints that I have about it is that it was rather short. I would have loved to have some of these biographies be a little longer. But I understand that some who were less famous might not have as much information about them out there like others did. So this was my first non fiction YA book, and it definitely won’t be my last if there are other books released in the future that are similar to it! I highly recommend that you pick this up for both yourself and a teenager that you know. I’m honestly upset that we don’t learn more about these figures and what they’ve contributed to the queer community in history class.

four-stars

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Carry On Review

May 21, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 1 ★★★★

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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Bout of Books 19

May 9, 2017 Features 0

Bout of Books

If you’d like to know what this event is all about, please read this official blurb that can be found on their website!

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 9th and runs through Sunday, May 15th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 16 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

I’m really, really late to signing up for this event. I’ve participated a few times in this event before, and thought that I’d do my best to participate this time as well. I’m going out of town on Thursday until late Saturday so I’m not sure how realistic it is that I’ll get to read a ton of books. I wanted to join because I have a lot of books that I want to read and I thought this would be a good opportunity to get as many knocked out as possible. I’m only planning on reading 3-5 books total. Though this might change, here are some of my options:

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This one has been on my radar for quite awhile now. The cover is absolutely gorgeous. I also think it’s pretty awesome that it sort of is a Cinderella retelling. I can’t wait to dive into this!

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I’m actually pretty deep into this one, and will likely finish it by tomorrow. How beautiful is this new cover though? This book has been out for nearly two years now, but for whatever reason I’m just now getting around to reading it. This book is so freaking good so far. I can’t stress enough how much I adore Simon and Baz.

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This is a May release that I have on my Kindle currently that I can’t wait to read. It looks like such an amazing read, and it isn’t all that long either. So I’m hoping that I’ll be able to read this one within the next couple of days.

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This is yet another May release that I have on my Kindle but haven’t had the opportunity to read yet. The concept sounds extremely interesting and I can’t wait to read it. Hopefully I’ll be able to get around to reading it.

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I’m honestly not sure if this book is totally my thing. The only reason that I’m including this is that I’ve heard positive things about it and it was optioned to become a TV show. It’s also rather short, so I think I’ll be able to read it rather quickly which is exactly the type of books that I need right now.

So this is my sign up post and my list of goals and books that I want to read. Hopefully next time around, I’ll remember to sign up earlier so I’ll be able to have a little more time. Anyway, my list consisted of a lot of May eARCS. I also might have to take a couple of physical books with me on my trip but I’m not sure what those will be yet. I plan on updating my progress and final results in another post.

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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)
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
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
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
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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