Posts Tagged: Books

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
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
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

Divider

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:

27830287

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!

32768522

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.

31706527

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.

25752164

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.

31371729

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.

Divider

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

Divider

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

Divider

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
Goodreads
four-stars

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

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

Divider

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Things That Make Me Instantly NOT Want to Read a Book

April 25, 2017 Features 4

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This is a place where you can share all of your lists with other list lovers out there. There’s a new theme every week to center your list around. This week, the theme is all about certain things that make you instantly NOT want to read a book. So it’s basically the complete opposite of last week’s topic, which I think is awesome. This was a difficult topic for me, because there a lot of things that bug me, but I have found some books in that genre or trope that I DID like. Anyway, this was still an interesting topic with a lot of possibilities to talk about. I hope you guys enjoy my list and I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

1. Angels

Angels don’t really appeal to me in books. This is mostly because in a lot of them, there are love triangles. Like in Hush, Hush or some other ones. For whatever reason, they simply don’t appeal to me in the slightest.

2. Love triangles

This a pretty obvious one since most of my TTT posts have worked this in somehow. There have been very few books that I liked that included a love triangle. Sometimes I feel like the authors just throw it in there for literally no reason and it makes zero sense to me why it was needed. For more often than not, we know from the very beginning who the main character is going to end up with, so why try to mess that up?

3. Slut shaming heroines

Sadly there are a lot of YA books out there with a super special heroine who is ridiculously pure. She can’t stand any of the girls around her because they are such “sluts” and the love interest keeps pointing how much better she is than these girls that he’s had sex with. Okay, that was pretty specific. That’s exactly what happened in Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines and it was the WORST. I also hate it when the girl gets jealous and says that these girls are so desperate to get his attention when she’s doing the exact same thing. Slut shaming is unfortunately very real in YA and most definitely in NA. It makes me cringe each time I see it.

4. Aggressive alpha males

I’ll never be a fan of alpha males. I definitely prefer the sweet and sensitive guy over the dominant alpha male any day. Seeing a love interest be aggressive and overly jealous of any male that gets within twenty feet of the heroine is not cool to me.

5. Problematic books

Look, I know people have their own opinions about this, but for me if I hear that a book is problematic, I’m not going to read it. Once I read the discussion posts and reviews from people that I trust, I decide not to read it. In my opinion, as a white person, it’s important to listen and learn from what POC say about controversial books. I did enjoy the first two books in the Divergent series, but I’m not touching her series due to the problematic issues that it’s brought up.

6. No food

Okay, this is a weird one, but it bothers me when there’s no mention of food at all in books. Like do the characters not eat at all? Where is the mention of food at all?

7. Certain genres

I’m pretty picky about certain genres. I hardly pick up any paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy, or historical books unless I hear ridiculously positive things about them. Even then I can be rather selective about what I choose to read. Sometimes I might like the first book in the series, but then I struggle with the second book.

8. Totally bleak subject matter

I do enjoy reading about serious issues in YA since I believe that they are incredibly important and relevant for teenagers. However, some books are just simply too bogged down in all the darkness that it can be hard for me to read it.

9. Death of sibling

This is just a personal thing for me that I’m not super picky about, but it definitely bothers me. I have a brother, so I hate reading books where the brother dies just because I can’t imagine something like that happening to him. I guess you could say the same thing about parental deaths, but for whatever reason, this one hits even closer to home for me.

10. Really low Goodreads rating or from a friend

If a book is just getting all around awful reviews on Goodreads, I might really consider what people are saying about it before I pick it up for myself. If a blogger that I trust says that a book is bad, I might not read it based on what they disliked about it. Sometimes, I’ve really enjoyed a book that my friends enjoyed since it’s ultimately a personal preference, but I do take into consideration what exactly they are saying about it.

So there’s my list for the week. I hope you enjoyed reading it! This was a lot of fun to come up with all of the things about a book that makes me steer clear of it entirely. I look forward  to seeing what everyone else chose for the topic. I hope you guys have a great rest of the week!

Divider

Seven Days of You Review

April 24, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★

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

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

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

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

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

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

two-stars

Divider

ARC Review: The Hot Shot

April 19, 2017 Reviews 0 ★★★★

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

four-stars

Divider

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Things That Make Me Instantly Want to Read a Book

April 18, 2017 Features 10

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This is a place where you can share all of your lists with other list lovers out there. There’s a new theme every week to center your list around. This week, the theme is all about certain things that make you instantly want to read a book. Like you see in a review or a book synopsis that this book is about a certain thing or set at a certain place, and you pick up the book right away based on that alone. This was an interesting topic with a lot of possibilities to talk about. I hope you guys enjoy my list and I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

1. No love triangle

Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether or not it has one based on the synopsis alone, but typically other reviews help me discover if it has one or not. A lack of a love triangle is definitely an automatic plus for me right off the bat.

2. Female friendship

I love all types of friendship, but I’m instantly drawn towards books that have positive female friendships. There’s a lot of books out there that have girls fighting or hating other girls, so it’s always so nice to see ones that have wonderful relationships that aren’t like that.

3. Summer/beach

I always think a book is great if it takes place on a beach during the summer. To me, it just screams that it’s probably going to be a light and cute book. Sometimes the books turn out to be a lot deeper, but I still enjoy the majority of them. I’m mostly thinking of Sarah Dessen books with this one, but I like others as well!

4. Brother’s best friend

I’ve found that this trope pretty much always work for me. I’ve found it more in NA or adult romances, but there are a few decent YA books that touch on it as well, I just can’t think of any at the moment. This just always works out extremely well for me.

5. Coming of age/contemporary

This is very very broad and not all of these books typically work for me, but I’m more likely to read a book if it’s about growing up or just contemporary in general. I think these books are much easier to relate to on a personal level. Some of my all time favorite books fit in this category. I feel like I’m always going to be reading these types of books.

6. Friends to lovers

I’m a fan of platonic friendships for sure, but I’m also a major sucker for friends to lovers. I think there’s something special about a couple having a history together before they ultimately get together. It seems as if all the decent relationships out there are initially built on friendship, which is probably why I love these books so much. The books aren’t always perfect and there are a few that I haven’t been able to finish, but they are still mostly fun and interesting.

7. Sports

I love sports, specifically baseball, basketball, and football, but I love reading about any of them. I think it’s always great when the heroine does some sport, but I’m also a sucker for a love interest who plays a sport as well. As long as it includes somebody doing a sport, I’ll probably pick it up. Miranda Kenneally books are the first ones that come to mind with this one.

8. Music

Though I recently read a book about a band that didn’t work for me, a lot of these do. I’ll always enjoy books that have teens in a band or all over the world touring or something along those lines. I feel like the ones that I’ve enjoy recently have been more NA or Adult though, like Idol and Managed by Kristen Callihan.

9. Hate to love

I thought that The Hating Game was absolutely awesome. Another one that I really enjoyed was Act Like It by Lucy Parker. Sometimes these don’t always work, but when it’s done right, I find that I truly enjoy it. It does seem like it works better for me with NA and Adult romance instead of YA for whatever reason.

10. College

I can be picky with these at times, but there are a lot of these that I like since this is where I am in life right now. Of course I love YA, but books that take place at colleges are fitting to me right now. Though some of them rightfully get criticized for awful behavior like slut shaming or general douchebag behavior from the love interests, there’s also plenty of decent stories out there.

So there’s my list. I hope you enjoyed discovering what some of my favorite things are when I’m deciding what books to read next. This was a fun list to make and I enjoyed doing it. I can’t wait to see what everyone else came up with since it’s a pretty broad category. I hope you guys have a great rest of the week.

Divider

ARC Review: Fireworks

April 11, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★

ARC Review: FireworksFireworks by Katie Cotugno
Published by HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray on April 18th 2017
Pages: 336
Source: Edelweiss
Also by this author: 99 Days
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
two-stars

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

From Katie Cotugno, bestselling author of 99 Days, comes Fireworks—about a girl who is competing with her best friend to become the new pop star of the moment—and all the drama and romance that comes with it—set in Orlando during the late-'90s boy-and-girl-band craze.
It was always meant to be Olivia. She was the talented one, the one who had been training to be a star her whole life. Her best friend, Dana, was the level-headed one, always on the sidelines, cheering her best friend along.
But everything changes when Dana tags along with Olivia to Orlando for the weekend, where superproducer Guy Monroe is holding auditions for a new singing group, and Dana is discovered too. Dana, who’s never sung more than Olivia’s backup. Dana, who wasn’t even looking for fame. Next thing she knows, she and Olivia are training to be pop stars, and Dana is falling for Alex, the earnest, endlessly talented boy who’s destined to be the next big thing.
It should be a dream come true, but as the days of grueling practice and constant competition take their toll, things between Olivia and Dana start to shift . . . and there’s only room at the top for one girl. For Olivia, it’s her chance at her dream. For Dana, it’s a chance to escape a future that seems to be closing in on her. And for these lifelong best friends, it’s the adventure of a lifetime—if they can make it through.
Set in evocative 1990s Orlando, New York Times bestselling author Katie Cotugno’s Fireworks brings to life the complexity of friendship, the excitement of first love, and the feeling of being on the verge of greatness.

This was yet another book that I really wanted to like. I’ve heard a lot of positive things about this author, but I feel like I’m missing something. I strongly disliked 99 Days and I couldn’t even make it through How to Love. Sadly, none of her books have been for me. I thought this one would definitely be my cup of tea since it takes place in the 90’s and also involves boy and girl bands. I’m sure many contemporary fans will like this one, but not me. Fireworks had a lot of potential that it sadly didn’t live up to. The writer is good, but the plot and characters didn’t work at all. I doubt I’ll be reading any other books from this author in the future.

If you’re a fan of realistic contemporary stories, you’ll probably have some issues right off the bat with this one. The story revolves around Dana going to this audition to support her best friend Olivia. Somehow though, Dana gets roped into auditioning. She’s NEVER had any type of vocal lessons or any musical theater experience in her life, yet we’re supposed to believe that the man in charge picks her over all the more experienced girls? Nope, I don’t buy that this would happen to her just because she’s pretty.

It also takes place in the 90’s, which I originally thought was awesome. Truthfully, I found myself forgetting the time period most of the time. It didn’t seem like it took place back then besides a few TLC and Spice Girl references. The love interest of the story happens to be in a boy band, yet there’s no references to any other boy bands that were around in that time period. Maybe she was just trying to be creative, but I felt like that would have made the book just a little better. I hope that more people write stories that take place in the 90’s in the future, but only if they actually make it seem like it’s that decade.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the romance. I liked how sex positive it was all around. I just didn’t think Alex was a great character. He didn’t have much development, his whole purpose was basically to continually tell Dana how wonderful and perfect she is. Aside from that, we truly don’t know much else about him besides the fact that he comes from a decent family and has money. Did anyone else think it was creepy as hell how he would just randomly pop up literally everywhere that Dana would go by herself? For example, she goes down to the pool in the middle of the night, and he just randomly pops out of nowhere. It was a little weird in my opinion.

I think it’s misleading that people consider this to be a friendship novel. Going into this, I was expecting a really positive and strong female friendship but that’s not what I got. Without saying too much, the friendship is not what I was expecting it to be. Olivia is an unlikable character. I did sympathize with the fact that she had an eating disorder. Maybe it’s because one of my best friends struggles with an eating disorder, but I felt like it wasn’t treated with respect. It felt more like a plot device than something that was truly explored and developed. It bothered me that not only Dana but especially the adults didn’t take her eating disorder more seriously. This is an issue that so many teens deal with, and I felt like it could have been more carefully written as a whole.

Even though this book just released, it already seems as if I’m in the minority with my opinion. I don’t think that this author is bad by any means, but it seems like her style and plots just don’t match up with the books that I enjoy reading. If you’re able to get past all of the cliches and unrealistic things, you might like this book. Don’t get me wrong, this book wasn’t absolutely terrible. I didn’t have to force myself to read it, I was pretty sucked into it. I just wasn’t able to get past all of the other key elements of the story.

two-stars

Divider