Source: Netgalley

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ARC Review: Until It Fades

June 22, 2017 Reviews 0 ★★★

ARC Review: Until It FadesUntil It Fades by K.A. Tucker
Published by Atria Books on June 27th 2017
Pages: 368
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.

Twenty-four-year-old truck stop waitress and single mother Catherine Wright has simple goals: to give her five-year-old daughter a happy life and to never again be the talk of the town in Balsam, Pennsylvania: population two thousand outside of tourist season.
And then one foggy night, on a lonely road back from another failed attempt at a relationship, Catherine saves a man’s life. It isn’t until after the police have arrived that Catherine realizes exactly who it is she has saved: Brett Madden, hockey icon and media darling.
Catherine has already had her fifteen minutes of fame and the last thing she wants is to have her past dragged back into the spotlight, only this time on a national stage. So she hides her identity. It works.
For a time.
But when she finds the man she saved standing on her doorstep, desperate to thank her, all that changes. What begins as an immediate friendship quickly turns into something neither of them expected. Something that Catherine isn’t sure she can handle; something that Catherine is afraid to trust.
Because how long can an extraordinary man like Brett be interested in an ordinary woman like Catherine…before the spark fades?

Until It Fades was a REALLY slow novel. I wasn’t sure what to expect from K.A. Tucker. I’ve heard positive things about her romances, and I’ve been meaning to get around to reading some of them for myself. This was the first one that I was able to read and I honestly wasn’t that impressed. At first, I thought it was a charming premise that sort of reminded me of Gilmore Girls. It focuses on a young single mother who has a strained relationship with her own mom. So it was promising at first, but I slowly grew tired of it. The book just seemed to go on and on. The romance also didn’t play a huge role in the plot, which is important to me as a reader. This wasn’t awful, but wasn’t the best first impression for this author.

Catherine was a character you can easily cheer for. She’s been through a ton of shit and she’s still pretty young. She has a bad reputation in her small town because of charges that she brought against a young teacher and quickly dropped. So Catherine hasn’t had an easy hand at life based on all the rumors and bullying that followed her. She also cut off her parents once she had her baby because they didn’t approve of her choices. She became a hero when she saved a man from a burning car. She later learned that the man she saved was a star hockey player who has an Oscar winning mom. Catherine is definitely brave for doing what she did. But she wasn’t totally prepared for the backlash and debates that came once her identity was revealed. As I said earlier, she’s an easy character to cheer for. You also can’t help but fall in love with her five (nearly six) year old daughter.

Brett is the star hockey player who’s life that Catherine saves in that one split second. Brett wasn’t your typical hockey player. He was sweet, especially to Catherine’s daughter. His injuries were pretty extensive so he’s not totally sure if he can ever play hockey again. He also lost a close friend in the car accident. His friend was the one who was diving that night, and he was beyond saving for Catherine. Honestly, I wish that we’d gotten to know even more about Brett because all I know to say about him is that he was nice throughout the story. Obviously, he was extremely grateful to Catherine and everything that she risked just to save him.

The romance was boring and slow in my opinion. They have rather limited interactions throughout the novel. They spend a lot of it apart since he goes to Canada and other places while she stays in her small town. It was a ridiculously slow burn to say the least. So don’t expect crazy sex at like 30%. To be honest, there is zero crazy sex at all. The sex isn’t super descriptive, it’s slow. I didn’t hate it, but it was okay. This isn’t the book if you’re looking for a hot and steamy romance. If you don’t mind some slowness and a bit of censor to it, this book is for you.

Until It Fades was a book that was just okay for me. I’ve seen some nice early reviews so I was looking forward to reading it. Unfortunately, it was slow paced. I just wanted it to hurry the hell up. It took me like three days to read it because I truthfully had to push myself to get through it at all. If you don’t mind something slow and with a mediocre romance, feel free to pick this one up.

three-stars

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ARC Review: Words in Deep Blue

June 12, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★★★

ARC Review: Words in Deep BlueWords in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
on June 6th 2017
Pages: 288
Source: Netgalley
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
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five-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.

Love lives between the lines.
Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came.
Now Rachel has returned to the city—and to the bookshop—to work alongside the boy she’d rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction, and the escape. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can’t feel anything anymore. She can’t see her future.
Henry’s future isn’t looking too promising, either. His girlfriend dumped him. The bookstore is slipping away. And his family is breaking apart.
As Henry and Rachel work side by side—surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages—they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it’s possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough.

Words in Deep Blue is easily one of the best books that I’ve read this year. I’ve actually never read a book by Cath Crowley before, though I’ve heard nothing but positive things. After reading this amazing novel from here, I absolutely believe the hype and look forward to reading more of her books in the future. This was a brilliant book with a wonderful concept that had an even better execution. I imagine that book lovers especially are going to love this book. It’s been out in Australia for awhile now, but has only been recently released in the United States. I imagine that the popularity and hype of this will only grow as time passes by. This was a beautiful and easy to read book. I loved every second of it! I don’t have a ton to say about it because this is one of the books that you simply need to pick up and read for yourself. I’m so happy that I got to read this and I hope that you pick it up as well!

Rachel is my girl and I’m not just saying that since we have the same name. She’s a strong and fierce character. I loved and related to her right away. She was rude at times and suffering from severe depression due to the recent death of her brother. My heart bled for the grief that she was feeling. I can’t imagine going through something like that. However, sometimes it was a bit awful because of some of the things that she had to Henry and others around her. I get that she was hurting, but I can’t deny that some of it was definitely on the borderline of crossing the limit. It was still fascinating to be inside her head for a portion of the novel.

Henry was the other main character and we also got a chance to see his POV. I really liked Henry as a character. Though it did piss me off a bit that he was so hung up on his ex girlfriend who was basically the worst anyway. He did some dumbass things throughout the book. He was also rather pretentious when it came to books and mostly quoted the classics and things like that. He didn’t always quote modern books besides like John Green and a few Australian books. He wasn’t a book boyfriend that completely swept me off my feet or anything, but I didn’t necessarily hate him either. I liked him a whole lot actually, just didn’t love him.

The relationship between Henry and Rachel was pretty cute though sometimes you wanted to yell at them to get their shit together. They were best friends but things changed once Rachel moved away. Now, she can barely look at him. But they slowly work back to becoming friends and then eventually they become more. There is somewhat of a love triangle involving Henry being a dumbass and going back and forth with his ex girlfriend. Anyway, the banter between Henry and Rachel is beautiful and fun right from the start. I adored them as a couple and felt as if the buildup was well written.

I could keep going on and on about how this book is so remarkable, especially for people who adore books. How great is the concept of writing letters in books? It’s a beautiful way to communicate with other book lovers. The supporting characters featured in the book are also downright amazing. I don’t want to spoil anything, but we learn a lot of background on two of the supporting characters through the letters that they left each other in books. There aren’t many flaws with this book honestly. It’s one of those books that you aren’t going to want to put down once you pick it up. I can’t recommend it to you guys enough!

five-stars

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ARC Review: I Believe in a Thing Called Love

June 5, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★

ARC Review: I Believe in a Thing Called LoveI Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo
on May 30th 2017
Pages: 336
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.

Desi Lee believes anything is possible if you have a plan. That’s how she became student body president. Varsity soccer star. And it’s how she’ll get into Stanford. But—she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation magnet whose botched attempts at flirting have become legendary with her friends. So when the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides to tackle her flirting failures with the same zest she’s applied to everything else in her life. She finds guidance in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years—where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. It’s a simple formula, and Desi is a quick study. Armed with her “K Drama Steps to True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and staged car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama.

I Believe in a Thing Called Love was a fun and entertaining book, but not my favorite. In the end, I found it to just be okay. I’m happy that I read it because it was relatively fast paced and easy to read. The writing was also pretty good. The concept of a main character following the steps of a K Drama to win over a guy was entirely unique, though I felt like some of the things she did took things a bit too far. Overall, this was still a nice debut novel and I look forward to seeing what this author writes next.

Desi is our main character here. I had problems with her character from pretty early on. In the beginning, the awkward situations that she found herself in around guys was obviously embarrassing but also relatable and realistic. I felt like she took things too far once she followed the steps of a K Drama. She seemed to have little issue with staging a car accident and other strange things just to get closer to him. I don’t know you, but if I found out that someone was doing those things to win me over, I’d find it creepy and run far away. I found a lot of her actions to be uncomfortable and hard to accept.

Luca was a decent enough guy. He loved art, and was extremely good at what he did. I’m not sure how realistic it is that he was as popular as he was, but that’s besides the point. I thought that he was a charming and swoony guy. He didn’t really stand out to me other than those minor things. I feel like his character just wasn’t all that memorable as a whole. I will admit that he was still too good for Desi. What she did was pretty creepy, and I’m not sure if I could personally get past that if it were me.

One thing that I did enjoy about the book was Desi’s relationship with her father. Her mom passed away, so her father and her have a very close and loving relationship. I thought it was hilarious how her Appa (Dad in Korean) watched K Dramas religiously. I’ve never watched them before, but the book made me desperately want to watch some. After seeing so many that were mentioned here, I definitely looked up quite a few up on Wikipedia and they look great! Anyway, her Appa was a lovely character who clearly would do absolutely anything for his daughter. I also thought Desi’s friend were funny and I enjoyed reading about them. Though a lot of the plot focused on the romance, I thought that friendship and family were also entertaining and memorable points of the plot as well.

I Believe in a Thing Called Love might have not been a perfect book, but it was still alright. I was hoping for a story that was a little less predictable which is sadly not what I got here. It wasn’t the worst book that I’ve ever read by any means, I just had higher expectations. Desi’s actions were sometimes extremely creepy in my opinion. I just wanted her to act a little more like herself and not just follow some set formula. I’m glad that I read it because it was fairly light, but not nearly memorable enough in my personal opinion.

three-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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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
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three-stars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

three-stars

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ARC Review: Noteworthy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

four-stars

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ARC Review: Geekerella

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

ARC Review: GeekerellaGeekerella: A Fangirl Fairy Tale by Ashley Poston
Published by Quirk Books on April 4th 2017
Pages: 320
Source: Netgalley
Also by this author: We Own the Night
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
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four-stars

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

Cinderella goes to the con in this fandom-fueled twist on the classic fairy tale.
Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad's old costume), Elle's determined to win unless her stepsisters get there first.
Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons before he was famous. Now they re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he's ever wanted, but the Starfieldfandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.
Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom."

Wow, this was a great book! I didn’t really like this author’s book We Own the Night, but decided to give this a shot because of the summary. I’m also a sucker for sweet contemporary reads and anything about geek culture. This wasn’t my absolute favorite, but it was still a book that I really enjoyed. It was also extremely fast paced. I was able to read it in just a few sittings. I look forward to reading whatever Ashley Poston decides to write next. I’m glad that I was given the opportunity to pick this one up. You should read it if you’re a fan of fairytale retellings, geeky things, and just cute and light contemporary stories.

Elle was a strong character all in all. She was sassy and I just adored so much about her personality. I definitely related to her geeky side. I also understand her taking refuge in the internet instead of in the outside world. She was just an entirely relatable character. However, I desperately wanted her to stand up for herself. I get that the author was staying close to the original Cinderella story in this respect, but it was still frustrating, especially towards the end. I didn’t understand why she continually allowed her stepmother to treat her like trash when she had basically no reason to live with her. Maybe I’m making too much out of this, but it bothered me quite a bit.

Darian was a decent character. He might have been a big star who just landed a huge role, but he certainly didn’t always act like it. Though he comes off as a jerk to Elle, we learn that there’s a lot more to him. He actually turns out to be a complicated character. Becoming famous has caused him to lose all of his friends and he doesn’t know who to trust. His dad is also his manager, and isn’t much of a dad to him since he’s too concerned with his career. His problems might not be as rough as Elle’s, but he’s still got them for sure. Anyway, I thought he was sweet and swoony. He was a total geek fanboy before he became famous. He’s just as obsessed with Starfield as Elle is, and it was his dream role to play Carmindor. I thought that he was a great book boyfriend. He wasn’t perfect, but I still liked him a lot!

Darian and Elle made a sweet couple. Some people might be bothered that the majority of their interactions take place through text messages. They don’t meet each at the convention until the end of the book. When they do meet, they don’t know they’ve been talking and they don’t get along right away. That being said, I still found the relationship that they built over text to be adorable. It felt very real and sweet, there’s really no better words to describe it. We don’t get a lot of kissing scenes obviously, but I still thought the relationship was well written for the most part. It might not work for some people, but I thought it was great!

Geekerella was a refreshing and unique modern take on the classic tale. I thought that the fangirl angle was so relevant. Elle was a fabulous main character. The supporting characters were memorable as well, specifically her fairy godmother Sage. She was so hilarious and charming all around. Do you guys think I’ve used the word sweet enough in my review? That’s truly the best word I can think of to describe this book. It’s not perfect, but it’s still really great. I think readers are going to find it to be a compelling and charming read! I hope that you guys give it a chance.

four-stars

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ARC Review: Things I Should Have Known

March 29, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★½

ARC Review: Things I Should Have KnownThings I Should Have Known by Claire LaZebnik
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on March 28th 2017
Source: Netgalley
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three-half-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.

From the author of Epic Fail comes the story of Chloe Mitchell, a Los Angeles girl on a quest to find love for her autistic sister, Ivy. Ethan, from Ivy’s class, seems like the perfect match. It’s unfortunate that his older brother, David, is one of Chloe’s least favorite people, but Chloe can deal, especially when she realizes that David is just as devoted to Ethan as she is to Ivy.
Uncommonly honest and refreshingly funny, this is a story about sisterhood, autism, and first love. Chloe, Ivy, David, and Ethan, who form a quirky and lovable circle, will steal readers’ hearts and remind us all that it’s okay to be a different kind of normal.  

Things I Should Have Known is a fast paced and refreshing story. I’ve never read anything by this author before, but I’m definitely going to look into her other stories now. I was looking for a heartfelt and not overly heavy contemporary read, and that’s exactly what I received here. The plot is a rather unique one, and we need more YA novels that deal with teens caring for their sibling who is autistic. The romance was also realistic, sweet, and charming. I recommend reading this if you want to read something relevant and important, with some swoon thrown in for good measure. I’m happy that I read this!

Chloe is a fierce and great character. She’s not perfect but what teenager is? I really respected her for being able to step up and take care of her sister when her mom isn’t so great at doing it. She’s a seventeen year old girl who has responsibilities that most teens never have to worry about. I wasn’t always a fan of how she didn’t stand up for her sister more when her friends/boyfriend would make rather offensive offhand comments about her. She didn’t want them to think that she was overreacting, which is something that I do understand. She made mistakes, but she was still a solid character as a whole.

The main thing that you need to know about David is that he’s a feminist. Some people may not love him right off the bat (or maybe at all) but I still liked him in the end. He’s a grumpy jerk for basically no reason at all. He doesn’t have some tragic backstory or anything. I ended up liking him so much because as the book progresses, we learn how sensitive and sweet he really is. The fact that he cries is awesome to me. We don’t get the chance to see that side of most love interests in YA books so I thought this was specifically refreshing. He was so sweet to his brother Ethan (who is also autistic) and I loved his relationship with him as well. So just keep in mind that while he has a grumpy exterior in the beginning, he’s a true softy underneath and I truly enjoyed seeing this.

So let’s talk about Chloe’s sister Ivy. As mentioned, she’s autistic and Chloe takes care of her for the most part since her mom is too concerned with her husband to primarily care for her. Anyway, I thought that Ivy was so sweet and brave. I thought that her autism was written in an honest and well researched fashion. The relationship between Chloe and Ivy is pretty much the entire purpose of the book. I felt like it was definitely well written and realistic. I loved the bond that they shared.

If you’re not a fan of hate to love romances, you’ll probably not like this one. There’s A LOT of hate going on. And it’s not like they used to be friends but now they hate each other. Nope, they’ve just always hated each other for whatever reason. There’s also the fact that Chloe has a boyfriend, which I didn’t love. I did appreciate how the relationship between them slowly and realistically progressed. The romance wasn’t my favorite, but it still had a little swoon.

Although it wasn’t exactly perfect, this was still a nice novel. Chloe was a funny, sarcastic, and kind teenager. I know a lot of people who aren’t a fan of some of the themes/tropes like hate to love, mean girls, and a love triangle, so you should probably stay clear if that’s you. If you’re able to overlook this, you get a clever and fairly unique story. I enjoyed this one for the most part. I felt like the author did a decent job at writing realistic teenagers. I’m glad that I had the chance to read this one.

three-half-stars

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ARC Review: Undeclared

March 13, 2017 Reviews 0 ★★★

ARC Review: UndeclaredUndeclared (Burnham College, #2) by Julianna Keyes
Published by Julianna Keyes on February 27th 2017
Pages: 236
Source: Netgalley
Also by this author: Undecided
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.

Kellan McVey is Burnham College’s most prolific athlete, partier, and ladies’ man—and that’s just how he likes it. Returning to reign for his third year, he wants nothing to change. Then Andrea Walsh shows up.
It wasn’t too long ago that Andi and Kellan were lifelong friends, mortal enemies, and, for one hot summer, more. Then Kellan left and Andi stayed behind.
Kellan thought he’d moved past that last summer’s heartbreak, but with Andi sitting next to him in class, befriending his friends, and battling for the same once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity, he’s starting to remember why he hated her…and why he loved her.
Kellan has a long list of reasons that falling for Andi again is a terrible idea, though every new moment together challenges that theory. But Andi’s all too familiar with Kellan’s love ’em and leave ’em approach—and she’s found someone else to get serious about.
Burnham’s campus king has never had to fight for a girl, but if he wants Andi to give him another chance, he’ll have to do the one thing he’s never had the nerve to do: admit it.

Undecided was one of my favorite books last year, and easily the best NA book that I read. It was hilarious, easy to relate to, and memorable. I was beyond excited for Kellan’s story, but sadly, I didn’t find him to be as compelling and swoony as Crosbie. Honestly, I was just even more prepared to read Undecided all over again after reading this one. It definitely wasn’t bad, I just didn’t fully relate to it in the way that I was anticipating. This one had a bit more angst to it and a lot more side stories and characters. I would totally read a third book if Keyes decides to continue on, but this wasn’t my favorite. Hopefully I’ll have better luck next time.

Like I said, I didn’t love Kellan as much as my boy Crosbie. I found him intriguing in Undecided and in dire need of a girl to set him straight. I’m never a major fans of big playboys, and that’s exactly what Kellan is. Fortunately though, we don’t see that side of him in this book, he’s now a lot more grounded and less focused on women as a whole. He had his swoony moments, but I just wasn’t blown away by him for the most part. I thought he was a good guy, but not overly memorable. My standards might have been too high to begin with, but they still weren’t met. I’m glad that he received his own story, it just wasn’t exactly what I was expecting.

Andi was Kellan’s love interest. She and Kellan have serious history with each other. I’ll talk more about their relationship and how it started in the next paragraph. So basically I feel like we don’t know enough about Andi. The main thing that we know about her is that she’s a tomboy who is on the volleyball team and loves playing all sports. She also has a strong idea about what she wants to do for the rest of her life. Other than that though, I didn’t feel very connected to her. I wanted to learn more about her personality and interests. Maybe part of it was that we didn’t get her perspective at all, I’m not sure. All I know is that I wanted more information. With what we knew, I wasn’t completely able to relate to her like I did with Nora. She was a good character with a good personality, but not memorable since I didn’t fully understand her and what she was all about as a person.

So as I mentioned, Kellan and Andi have some serious personal history. They were next door neighbors and best friends growing up. They also had a summer fling the summer before Kellan left for college. Andi was the person that the big playboy lost his virginity to. I’m typically a fan of second chance romances. I wasn’t 100% okay with this one because I thought that it was messed up how he knew that Andi was in love with him for so long but he still strung her along and treated her like crap. Sometimes he wasn’t even aware of what we was doing, but he still knew how she felt about him. I thought his past behavior was wrong, he could have handled how things went between them towards the end of their first romance way better. I did think that things between them were pretty steamy. I did like them as a couple once they got everything figured out, it just took them a very long time to finally get there.

Undeclared wasn’t a bad story by any means, but I simply didn’t enjoy it as much as I did Undecided. I’m not sure exactly what it was about it that didn’t completely click with me, I think it might have been the characters and the plot. I felt like some of the plot was a little scattered in how it focused on other characters outside of Andi and Kellan. I know that sounds weird to say, but there was this freshman who Kellan briefly goes out with and I thought it was weird how the plot spent some time on her. In my opinion, that time could have been spent on giving us even more insight into who Andi is and more of her friendship with Kellan. The writing was great, I just didn’t love this one in the end.

three-stars

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ARC Review: Off the Ice

March 6, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★

ARC Review: Off the IceOff the Ice (Juniper Falls, #1) by Julie Cross
Published by Entangled: Teen on February 28th 2017
Pages: 320
Source: Netgalley
Also by this author: Whatever Life Throws at You, Third Degree, You Before Anyone Else
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.

All is fair in love and hockey…
Claire O’Connor is back in Juniper Falls, but that doesn’t mean she wants to be. One semester off, that’s what she promised herself. Just long enough to take care of her father and keep the family business—a hockey bar beside the ice rink—afloat. After that, she’s getting the hell out. Again.
Enter Tate Tanley. What happened between them the night before she left town resurfaces the second they lay eyes on each other. But the guy she remembers has been replaced by a total hottie. When Tate is unexpectedly called in to take over for the hockey team’s star goalie, suddenly he’s in the spotlight and on his way to becoming just another egotistical varsity hockey player. And Claire’s sworn off Juniper Falls hockey players for good.
It’s the absolute worst time to fall in love.
For Tate and Claire, hockey isn’t just a game. And they both might not survive a body check to the heart.

I’ve been a fan of Julie Cross since I read Whatever Life Throws at You over a year ago. This is my fourth book that I’ve read of hers so far, and I do plan on reading more from her in the future. However, this one was far from being my favorite. I was hoping since it’s about sports, that would make it automatically amazing, but it unfortunately didn’t for me. It wasn’t a bad book by any means, but it didn’t completely capture my attention because of the somewhat slow pacing and all of the drama. Hopefully some of the other books in this series will be more of my thing.

So Tate is one of our main characters. He is a junior hockey player who is the backup goalie, but winds up starting when the starting goalie quits the team. He’s dealing with A LOT of personal stuff in his life outside of the ice. I felt like his voice was pretty strong for the most part. I wasn’t a major fan of it at times, partially because I didn’t really relate to him and also because I found it somewhat boring. Tate was a character who I did sympathize with, but felt like some of the subject matter was a little too overwhelming at times. It felt like Cross was maybe trying to do too much, and it didn’t totally pay off for me. He wasn’t bad, but not my favorite and didn’t leave a huge impression on me as a whole.

Our other main character is Claire, who I liked but also didn’t love. She was yet another character who didn’t leave a lasting impression on me as a whole. It makes me sad to admit it, but I also found her to be boring at times. I liked that she was into singing and musicals, since that’s something that I also really enjoy. I wanted to see a lot more of that! Like Tate, I realize that she had quite a bit going on in her personal life, but I wanted to see more of her history in musicals and just her singing career as a whole. It might have captured my attention a bit more if the focus was less on her working at the restaurant and more on the signing part.

Claire and Tate were a rather solid couple all around. They weren’t as great as the awesome couple from Whatever Life Throws at You, but they were alright for the most part. I liked that Tate had a crush on Claire for such a long time now, and it was lovely to see that develop into something more this time around. It was a sweet relationship, though some of the petty drama that went down between them was a little off-putting at times. I also enjoyed that it was steamy. One of the things about Julie Cross’s books is that she never shies away from writing sex in YA, which I think is something realistic and nice to include.

Off the Ice was a nice start to Julie Cross’s brand new series. I was hoping that I’d love the hockey part of it, but sadly felt like it drug on at times. I do like that she included details, but found myself getting bored at some of it. I did really like the characters and enjoyed that the story went in different directions and wasn’t your typical stereotypical YA romance. However, the pacing wasn’t my favorite and I wish it would have sped up at times. I’m hoping that this series improves, and I do plan on reading the next book.

three-stars

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