Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Review: Good and Gone by Megan Frazer Blakemore

33913923Title: Good and Gone 
Author: Megan Frazer Blakemore
Hardcover304 pages
Expected publication: November 14th 2017 by HarperTeen

It took a while for me to get into Good and Gone. I wasn't really sure what it was anout when I first pickex it up. And I guess it didn't help that I kept putting it down because I was busy so when I picked it back up I didn't remember who was who.

But i guess it speaks in favor of the book that I kept picking it back up. And if it dragged at first, it compensated later.

The story is about three kids trying to find a popstar that has gone missing. Though similar in age, these three seem to have nothing in common. Zack is the gay nerdy kid that they used to be friends with but now they never even talk to. Charlie is the depressed College dropout and brother to Lexi, the edgy, angry kid whose life used to revolve around her boyfriend.

Part of what took me so long to get into the book was the flashbacks. Lexi, the narrator, kept going back to so many flashbacks, with people I couldn't keep tabs on and of a seemingly good life that contrasted starkly with the present Lexi. I didn't know if she loved her boyfriend or she didn't. And then I figured out maybe she didn't know either so I understood. Then her relationship with her brother was always on edge too. I didn't know if they had a fallout or just didn't get along, but I guess that is the way it always is between siblings.

So anyway, then the truth(s) start to come out and I get more and more invested to the point where I actually quite enjoyed the story. I appreciated the realness and the different take on some sensitive topics that dealt all the way from depression to assault. All while magically roadtriping and meeting the coolest people along the way. A win for me.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Review; These Things I've Done by Rebecca Phillips

32711722Title; These Things I've Done
Author: Rebecca Phillips
Hardcover352 pages
Published August 1st 2017 by HarperTeen

I've been starving for some contemporary jewel this year. So far this has probably been the busiest year of my life so far (and that's saying a lot) and I have read a whooping 4 books so far--and it's friggin April.

So I was desperately needing some good quality story to get me out of my funk. These Things I've Done turned out to be the miracle I was hoping for.

I didn't even expect it. I haven't even read a blurb for the book so I was on a blind date. It's so shocking to realize you are so compatible with your blind date (not that I have ever been on a blind date before, mind you) that I am still trying to make sense about what happened.

The book is about a tragic accident where a girl named Aubrey died. It's about the very different and heartbreaking ways the people closest to her, her best friend Dara and her brother Ethan, deal with it.

I saw someone comparing it to In Honor, which has sort of a very similar plot, but I disagree. I thought These Things I've Done was deeper, sadder and more realistic. I actually felt sad about Aubrey dying, which *never* happens. I mean, I am usually very aware that this is only a book and no one died, but this time I got sad anyway. I tend to find flashbacks annoying and repetitive, but in this book I really enjoyed them, and they made me care.

I was so happy about Dara, Aubrey and Ethan and their odd three-way friendship. I was literally so invested. Then I was devastated to learn that a friendship so awesome had crumbled apart so easily.

I loved Dara. She was such a likable protagonist, vulnerable with a side of fierceness. I loved her before, as that fearless girl who loved adrenaline, but I also loved her as a broken, sensitive kid who is full of guilt and confussion. Here's a hug for you Dara: *hug*.

And don't even get me started on Ethan, who handled things so perfectly, so maturely. He's a huge reason why this novel works so well.

Anyhow. I loved this novel. You can't change my mind about it. It's been put on my "read again" shelf. And you should try it too!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Review: Top Ten by Katie Cotugno

33799302Title; Top Ten 
Author; Katie Cotugno
Hardcover320 pages
Expected publication: October 3rd 2017 by Balzer + Bray

Ah. Where to start? 

I honestly can't find the words because it almost pains me to say that I did not like this book. I will try to make sense of why now.

First of all; the format. What was up with that? The book jumped from time to time without much sense. We'd be reading about senior year and then summer of freshman year, then junior year winter and it wasn't confusing per se (well at least not ALL the time) but it was annoying and pointless. Throughout I kept wanting to fix the damned timeline.

Another thing was that I didn't quite connect with either of the main characters. Even their friendship made no sense to me or them it seemed. And not in a way that they shouldn't be friends just like neither of us know if they are friends just because they want to be together.

But my biggest problem with it, and I hate to say it but I will, is that I found it to be boring. I honestly think the book offered nothing plot-wise. I finished the book not 12 hours ago and I can't tell you what it was about except two teens realizing they are better off friends. I think it tried to add substance by exploring Gabby's mental struggle with anxiety and Ryan's concussioned brain, but it wasn't enough for me. 

For example, they played Ryan's injury a lot throughout the book, they build it up with headaches getting more and more frequent and even having his personality change because of it. I was hoping it will get explored at the end if he had ny consequences because of it, but at the end the issue is suddenly dropped like nothing ever happened. It left me feeling cheated. And I just thought that overall the story lacked depth. 

As always, this is only what I think and in no way reflects an absolute. So I invite you to form your own opinion by picking up the book from your local library or bookstore.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Review: Someone Else's Summer by Rachel Bateman

Title: Someone Else's Summer
Author: Rachel Bateman
Publication Date: May 9th, 2017
Goodreads | Amazon

I liked the premise of Someone Else’s Summer: girl sets off to do her dead sister’s bucket summer list and enlists the help of her sister’s best male friend. At first I thought the premise was simple and straight-forward and I was in the mood for some of that.

But then, things not always turn out how you expect them and the book had more layers than I initially thought. Now I am not a fan of books where they spend all the time reminiscing about a dead character I never met. That was one of my problems with this one too. Like how all the time Anna and Cameron would be: “You know how Storm was!” and I would be: No, I don’t know, move on please. But that’s just the natural progression of grieve, so I let it slide. Even though I just was told that Storm was great and I never got to see why.

Also everyone else, from the parents to the aunt to Anna’s best friend and her friend with benefits, everyone was supposed to be great and awesome. But I just couldn’t tell, none of them well developed enough for me to even glimpse their greatness.

What I really couldn’t let slide, though, was the lack of personality from both Anna and Cameron (and honestly, every character in the book). I felt like everything they ever did was defined by Storm, and I couldn’t really tell who either of them were. They also had strange mood swings that I could attribute to grief to, but that be cutting a lot of slack. For example, they’d be mad at each other in one scene, and then I would wait for the next scene to explain why they were mad but instead it was all “I got over my anger, I’m fine now.” I mean, seriously! Whatever.

However, I did think their road trip was fun. I liked to witness their adventures and felt like overall that part was entertaining enough to make the book worthwhile. And the plot twist by the end gave the story a new depth that made it better. But unfortunately, not much better for me. It had a lot of potential to be great but sadly, I think it fell flat. Though it might be great for some, so give it a try for yourself, it's a quick, light read.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Review: Lucky Girl by Amanda Maciel

Title: Lucky Girl 
Author: Amanda Maciel
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Balzer & Bray

You know I hate trashing books. That's just not classy. But I also hate not being honest. So I am going to take the easy way out:
This book was not for me.

I guess I just thought this book was going to be something entirely different. Somehow I pictured a story about redemption. You know, because the main character is supposed to be this super gorgeous girl, so I thought, I don't know, that the book would focus on agreeing why looks are meaningless.

But no. I basically had to sit through ten thousand paragraphs that were a variation of "I'm so gorgeous", "Everyone stares at me because I'm so gorgeous", "I wish everyone would stop reminding me how gorgeous I am". And I'm not even kidding. I was like, I got it the first time you said it can we move on?

But we hardly moved on so I basically endured the journey of "accepting that I am such a beauty" and then finding a boyfriend who doesn't care I am the prettiest.

And I thought, there has to be someone good in this book, some character has to be a little less shallow. But everyone, every single character at some point (mostly all the time) talks about the main character's beauty/gorgeousness. And I would have (maybe) forgiven it, if they weren't all so clueless and disappointing. None of them felt like characters at all, more like story fillers.

The only redeeming quality I found was the part about *SPOILER ALERT* the assault. The main character is assaulted and she goes through the very hard to read about but also very real process of realizing that, yes you were assaulted, and no, it wasn't your fault.

But honestly, this book was not for me. I wish I hadn't read it, if only for saving me the embarrassment of having to write a bad review. It's nothing personal, I'm sorry.

And lastly, I just want to say, don't let anyone else's opinion stop you from reading something if you are really interested in it. That's all. Peace.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Review: Fireworks by Katie Cotugno

Title: Fireworks 
Author: Katie Cotugno
Expected publication: April 18th 2017 
by HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray

I have a love/hate relationship with Katie Cotugno. I love her books but I hate that I do. I hate it because she writes about everything I hate, like love triangles or siblings fighting or best friends falling out and all that stuff that makes me sad.

I don't like that I enjoy everything she writes even though her stories tear me apart. But I keep coming, like a dumb moth to a flame.

I grabbed an ARC of Fireworks as soon as I saw it, without knowing anything about it. Zero knowledge about the story except that it was written about Cotugno and apparently that was enough.

Now onto business. Honestly, I enjoyed every second of this book. From the fact that it was set in the 90's, to the fact that it was about girl bands and boy bands (that makes it larger than life, you know?) it was all so bloody entertaining.

It's been a while since I have been this invested in a story but from the moment I met Dana Cartwright, the heroine*, I was a goner. I loved the girl to bits, I rooted for her every step of the way. She was so well crafted that she felt like a real, live person who shared the same sentiments of self-doubt and fear that I felt--that everyone feels at eighteen.

But like every time I invest myself on a Katie Cotugno story, I got my heart broken again. Yes, I did. But somehow it's starting to feel less like a painful hole in my chest and more like learning

This book was amazing, I swear. I don't even know what I can say (that I haven't already) to make you try it. It has the perfect amount of living the dream and staying grounded, of friends and enemies, of love and heartbreak. I loved every second and I hope you do too.

*Heroine indeed. I would have kicked something in a rage induced madness.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Review: Just A Girl by Carrie Mesrobian

Review: Just A Girl 
Author: Carrie Mesrobian
Expected publication: March 28th 2017 by HarperCollins

After finishing Just A Girl all I can say is that it was, hmm, interesting. It was definitely attention-grabbing, if only because it was such a trainwreck. And I don't mean it in a bad way exactly, but not in a good one either. It's hard to explain why this book was not what I thought but I'll try.

First of all, I thought it was going to be about a girl who is just having fun with her life. But Rianne was not having fun, or it didn't seem to me she was. She pretended to be happy while all the time she was a big emotional mess. It was awful to witness.

Second, Rianne had a friend who was a big witch yet it literally made no difference to Rianne. I just don't get why Rianne would want to, and keep trying to, stay friends with a girl who is responsible for the whole school basically calling Rianne a slut. That's just wrong. That girl was a total bully and didn't deserve good friends like Rianne.

Third. The cheating. Need I say more? Rianne had a perfectly good boyfriend who was sort of clueless yes, and he didn't make her happy I give you that. So why not break up with him instead of pretending you love him in front of his family? That was so messed up I practically have shudders right now.

And finally, I have no real opposition against Russian guy Sergei, but my gosh, she knew nothing about him. They didn't even have that many conversations throughout. She even says she doesn't think it's love. Then I don't get why she would do what she did.

Honestly it was all much too messed up for me. I am certain that the author is alright and if she comes out with a book with characters I don't want to strangle I would most certainly give it a shot. Meanwhile I would advice you to read this one only if you don't have a problem with anything of what I mentioned above.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Review: The End Of Our Story by Meg Haston

Title: The End Of Our Story 
Author: Meg Haston
Expected publication: April 4th 2017 by HarperTeen

Disclaimer: Hello friends. I decided that this book is basically this song in story form. So if you want, you can listen to it while reading my review. If you don't want that, please don't do it just because I said so. 

So, as I read the last chapter of The End Of Our Story I have mixed feelings. There isn't a single chapter in the book that didn't depress me. Seriously it was all an avalanche of sadness.

And yet. Yet I kind of liked it.

The writing was very lyrical and the character's background story was my favorite part. You know how I am a sucker for bestfriends turned something more, and this story had plenty of that.

Bridge and Wil had been each other's closest friends for a long time, they were even a couple at some point. But situation after situation have kept them apart for a year. A year where things unraveled into a huge mess.

Bridge and Wil were not perfect. In fact I was annoyed at both of them most of the time. They were flawed but they were real. I wouldn't do the same things they did if I were in their place but I understood where they were coming from. It was easy to, because they felt like very real, very confused teenagers. And who can judge them, honestly? There is not one of us who doesn't regret something they did at seventeen.

That led me to be okay with the story, after everything, I was okay. I accepted it and I actually think I enjoyed it. 

That's why I have no doubts in recommending this book. Give it a try. Especially if you love a different kind of romance, that might or might not be bittersweet. ;)

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Review. The Hundred Lives of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti

Title. The Hundred Lives of Lizzie Lovett 
Author. Chelsea Sedoti
Release Date. January 3rd 2017 by Sourcebooks
Goodreads /  Amazon

Who would have thought I’d be reading a book about a girl suspecting another girl’s disappearance was because she turned into a werewolf?

I certainly didn’t expect it. Neither I think I knew what this book was about when I opened it. I wonder if that had changed things. Probably.

Because I am not a fan of fantasy. Or a fan of werewolves for the matter.

And yet.

Yet I pretty much read the whole book in two sittings. Because even though strange things started rolling—like Hawthorn, the narrator, convincing herself Lizzie Lovett a local girl who disappeared, turned into a werewolf—I not only chose to keep reading, I was in fact like..

Yes, really. And the strange things keep on piling up. Like Hawthorn somehow starting to live Lizzie’s life, getting her job and maybe even her boyfriend all while trying to solve a mystery that it seemed only she cared about.

I was appalled, worried, concerned for her sanity, but I was also very compelled. The story is weird and magical in a sense. Very different from what I am used to in Contemporary YA. And I loved it. I really truly did, it had that marvellous combination of an outcast opening her eyes to see the world around her for the first time, and experiencing heartbreak and love and fun and pain in the process. Pretty much what I seek in any contemp I read. 

If you are like that I suggest you give this book a chance too. It might surprised you in an awesome way like it did with me.

PS. I can never get over how cute Connor's nickname for Hawthorn is. Thorny. Thorny, Thorny, Thorny. Ow, my heart.