Book Review: 100 Sideways Miles (ARC) by Andrew Smith

20493997This review is based on an advanced reader’s copy of the novel obtained through the ALA Convention at the permission of Simon and Schuster. This is in no way had an effect on the integrity of my review. Please note that published novel will differ from this ARC.

Genre: 

Young Adult, remedy Contemporary Fiction

Pages: 

288

Part of a Series?:

Standalone Novel

Release Date: 

September 2nd 2014

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Finn Easton sees the world through miles instead of minutes. It’s how he makes sense of the world, viagra 60mg and how he tries to convince himself that he’s a real boy and not just a character in his father’s bestselling cult-classic book. Finn has two things going for him: his best friend, advice the possibly-insane-but-definitely-excellent Cade Hernandez, and Julia Bishop, the first girl he’s ever loved.

Then Julia moves away, and Finn is heartbroken. Feeling restless and trapped in the book, Finn embarks on a road trip with Cade to visit their college of choice in Oklahoma. When an unexpected accident happens and the boys become unlikely heroes, they take an eye-opening detour away from everything they thought they had planned—and learn how to write their own destiny.

My Review:

I will never stop being grateful to the Ontario Teen Book Fest in 2013 for turning me to this author. I don’t know that I would have never read him without that, I’d like to think I would have eventually discovered his brilliance but thankfully, that wasn’t the case.

When 100 Sideways Miles became available on Edelweiss, I requested it over and over and over again, getting rejected so many times before they finally told me yes. I think they just wanted me to go away…and then just a couple months ago, I got my hands on a copy of it at the ALA Conference in Las Vegas and was satisfied that I would be able to reread it in order to write my review. This book comes out on Tuesday and this is a MUST pick up.

What has always struck me as the most wonderful thing about Andrew Smith’s books is that they can be weird, wacky, straight up confusing and out of this world. There’s always a little something about his book or his story that is just a little weird. But it never feels that way. You never really think about it while you’re reading. Actually, I usually only ever think about it when I’m trying to convince other people to read his books. “I know, it sounds so weird, but trust me, this book will change your life!”

But that’s the beauty of it. He writes such incredible, realistic, relatable characters that the story is always believable from beginning to end. His characters are some of the richest characters I’ve read in a book before. They have all stayed with me as some of the most memorable characters. They’re so incredibly real, and I need that a lot for teen characters. They have their faults, and they make mistakes and they think some of the most incredibly stupid things but they’re also clever, and emotional and full of so much potential. This is true of Finn Easton.

Finn is basically on a journey to figure himself out. He’s the boy out of his father’s novel. He’s the boy plagued with seizures. He’s the boy who is best friends with Cade Hernandez. There are so many labels but none of them really tell us who he is. Its the journey he takes in this book, both with his relationship with Julia and his actual venture to go see her, that we really see him come into his own. A coming of age story is not a new thing and yet Andrew Smith manages to make each and every one he writes seem unique and entertaining. I was rooting for Finn the entire way, hoping that he figured out what he wanted, and that he would make his way back to Julia.

And there’s just always that little fact that Andrew Smith’s books can make me laugh like no one else. Its just the smallest little things, little quips that just make me crack up. Sometimes I don’t even know if its intentionally funny but its just great. He writes as if you’re really and truly in the head of the character and its brilliant, because you get all of those side thoughts that you normally don’t get in books, and it just makes me laugh and it makes his story and his characters better, more genuine and more authentic. I absolutely love it.

Bottom line is this, if you haven’t read an Andrew Smith book, what are you waiting for? You definitely should! In the past year-ish, he’s released Winger, Grasshopper Jungle and now 100 Sideways Miles and they’ve all been so fantastic. If there’s a book that you’re going to pick first, do this one! Its funny and real and beautiful and you’re going to laugh and you’re going to get emotional and you’re going to love every minute! And its not too long and its a standalone and there’s just about a bajillion (that’s a real number, I swear) more reasons to read it so just do it already! It hits bookstores Tuesday :D

Rating: 

5 out of 5 Stars

Book Review: Love and Other Unknown Variables (ARC) by Shannon Alexander

20757521This review is based on an advanced reader’s copy of the novel obtained through NetGalley at the permission of Entangled Publications. This is in no way had an effect on the integrity of my review. Please note that published novel will differ from this ARC.

Genre: 

Young Adult, visit web Contemporary Fiction

Pages: 

352

Part of a Series?:

Standalone Novel

Release Date: 

October 7th, 2014

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Charlie Hanson has a clear vision of his future. A senior at Brighton School of Mathematics and Science, he knows he’ll graduate, go to MIT, and inevitably discover solutions to the universe’s greatest unanswered questions. He’s that smart. But Charlie’s future blurs the moment he reaches out to touch the tattoo on a beautiful girl’s neck. 

The future has never seemed very kind to Charlotte Finch, so she’s counting on the present. She’s not impressed by the strange boy at the donut shop—until she learns he’s a student at Brighton where her sister has just taken a job as the English teacher. With her encouragement, Charlie orchestrates the most effective prank campaign in Brighton history. But, in doing so, he puts his own future in jeopardy. 

By the time he learns she’s ill—and that the pranks were a way to distract Ms. Finch from Charlotte’s illness—Charlotte’s gravitational pull is too great to overcome. Soon he must choose between the familiar formulas he’s always relied on or the girl he’s falling for (at far more than 32 feet per second squared).

My Review:

When I saw this title on edelweiss, it immediately caused me to pause. Math things like that always kind of catch my eye because my boyfriend has a bachelors degree in math and he actually likes reading books about math. For fun. I know, he’s weird. But by extension, math things catch my eye too now. Not because I particularly love math but it reminds me of him. I also saw that it was an Entangled publication and immediately hit request. I love Entangled to death.

I love the characters so much. I think characters are the most important part of a novel and that is exactly what brings me into this book. Charlie and Charlotte both seem incredibly real to me. Charlie especially so because even though he’s kind of too smart for his own good and it almost gets irritating, he’s also incredibly genuine. He can figure out these weird crazy math problems but…he can’t figure out how to act around a girl, and he’s still a total teenager. I love that. I also love Charlotte because she’s full of life and full of sass and literally brightens up a room, which is why finding out she’s so ill is such a damper. Seriously. I was like, oh come on, but she’s awesome, she can’t be sick!

What really caught me in this book is that it could just run into other books. Romance is not new. Cancer is not new. Kids with cancer with romance laced into it is definitely not new (The Fault in Our Stars anyone?) What easily could have been a book that I tossed aside because of a simple “been there, done that” was actually proven quite wrong when I pushed past the revelation of Charlotte’s illness and kept reading.

Because there’s so much more to the book. The book is centered on Charlie and while his romance with Charlotte is incredibly important, its also the effect that she has on the rest of his life. She shows him the beauty of other things besides math and science. She unintentionally brings him to his elderly neighborhood, who teaches him so much and leaves an incredible impact on his life. She brings him to her sister, his literature teacher, and helps him develop a new love for reading. And she also brings him closer to his own sister. I think that’s the biggest part of the book that I love. This book could be wrapped up simply as a book about kids with cancer but its so much more than that. Its a book about how much a person can impact our lives in such a short amount of time and how beautiful and sometimes incredibly devastating it is.

Plus, its just funny. I related to Charlotte so much and Charlie reminded me of my boyfriend and their initial runaround each other is just so sweet and believable. They kind of fumble their way through their friendship and more and I loved it. It was more than just about everything going on around them. Their romance was sweet, genuine and addicting and I was rooting for them the entire book.

Basically, it comes down to this: I stayed up until 2 am to finish reading this book. And I had to read it on my phone because my Nook wasn’t charged…which is NO easy feat. But I super enjoyed it and I’m anxious for it to be published so that I can share it with others. It hits bookstores in early October so make sure to get your hands on a copy!

Rating: 

4 out of 5 Stars

Rating:

If I Stay Giveaway and Secret Booooook or Treat Buddy-Only 4 More Days!

There are TWO very exciting things going on right now and I wanted to remind you all of them so that you don’t forget to participate.

If you want to, dosage of course. I mean, I’m a dictator or anything. I’m not going to force you to. I mean, you would be missing out on super epic fun but that’s totally your choice. I’m not cruel! Mostly.

So right now, I have a giveaway going on! Yay! Its for a signed copy of If I Stay! If I Stay just hit movie theaters last week and didn’t do half bad, so I’m massively proud of it right now. I have a movie tie-in edition of the book, signed by the author of the book and the director of the movie up for grabs.

2014-08-22 01.01.43

This giveaway ends September 1st so don’t miss out on this opportunity! Click this link to find out how to enter, and all the (simple) rules involved!

I also have something else VERY exciting going on as well!

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 7.19.49 PM

The most recent of my book exchanges is open for sign ups! There are so many of you who have signed up already and I hope that more of you do! This could potentially be the last time that I have open sign ups so I hope that everyone who wants to get involved does!

Basically, its kind of like a Secret Santa gift exchange, but after I did Santa with so much success, I decided I would do it four times a year. Its simple: you’ll receive some information about another person that signed up: what sort of books they’re interested in reading, what fandoms they’re in, what sort of things they enjoy doing, a mini bio, if you will. You’ll take that information and build a care package for your buddy: a couple books, a goodie or two, maybe snacks and candy for them to enjoy and you’ll ship it off to them.

But the best part is (besides making a new friend!), you get to receive a package in return! Which is always fun right? To learn more about the exchange, see pictures of previous exchanges and to find out how to sign up, you can click the link here.

Last day to sign up is August 31st so hurry hurry!

********

Movie Review: If I Stay

If I Stay

new-if-i-stay-movie-poster

Official U.S. Release Date: August 22nd, find 2014

Rated:

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and some sexual material

Directed By:

R.J. Cutler

Cast:

Chloe Grace Moretz, this Jamie Blackley, Liana Liberato, Joshua Leonard, Jakob Davies, Mireille Enos

Find the rest on IMDB here.

IMDB Movie Synopsis:

Mia Hall thought the hardest decision she would ever face would be whether to pursue her musical dreams at Juilliard or follow a different path to be with the love of her life, Adam. But what should have been a carefree family drive changes everything in an instant, and now her own life hangs in the balance. Caught between life and death for one revealing day, Mia has only one decision left, which will not only decide her future but her ultimate fate.

My Review:

The thing about contemporary novels is that a huge part of what they are is based on emotions. They don’t have the constant action that usually comes hand in hand with a science fiction, fantasy or dystopian novel. They literally have to carry the entire book with emotion, whether good or bad. If I Stay is perfect at doing that…and I had hoped so much that this emotional journey would carry over to the movie.

I was so please to find that it did.

First off, just a shout out in general for making a movie that actually is a good representative of the book. I had just recently reread the book a few days before seeing the movie so it was completely fresh in my mind and I loved recognizing so many scenes in the book. They really made sure to get all of them. Some were tweaked a bit but that was okay, because it made sense for the movie. But they really did a great job at adapting and I don’t often say that.

But what made me so incredibly happy is that I felt the same emotions when watching the movie as I did with reading the book. That book is an absolute emotional roller coaster. One minute, I’m laughing and the next, my heart is racing and I’m envious of the romance between Mia and Adam, and the next, I’m literally sobbing in the middle of the theater. All the characters in the movie felt so real, so genuine that it was so easy to connect with them and believe in their story.

If you’ve read the books, you know that the accident, the loss of her parents, even the loss of her brother, comes very fast and yet, you feel that pain. You connect with all of them so fast, and they accomplish that in the movie as well. But what is absolutely beautiful about it is that the flashbacks make you fall in love with the characters even more, so you’re torn between feeling the happiness at getting to know this extraordinary family and the gut wrenching sadness at the fact that they are already gone. The movie does that, and every flashback is so painful and you know why its so hard for her to stay. Every person who was cast, was cast so perfectly for the role. They played the perfect rocker parents, the little brother, the best friend, the boyfriend, they all did. It was incredible how much I believed every single one of them was that character.

But I think what really makes this movie stand out so much is the music. The music is something that we need to picture ourselves in the book, something that we have to imagine, but in the movie, the music is a character all on its own and I’m just so blown away by that. The music is there through all the emotions, the sadness, the joy, the love, family, friendship, loss, all of it, comes through in that. Music is magical that way and I think having the music that is so central in the book in the movie just makes it that much better. It captures the very essence of the film.

Rating:

5 out of 5 stars

“If I Stay” Hollywood Red Carpet Premiere Recap!

10606329_697846753637521_5460097697587085029_n

The moment that I knew there would an If I Stay premiere in Hollywood, purchase I requested the day off. I knew that I had to be there! It had been SO long since the last premiere (Divergent in March) and I was itching for a new one. I didn’t think it would be as big as Divergent so camping was not necessary. Thank god. Haha!

10409076_697847083637488_335254385140704673_n

Instead my friends and I showed up at around noon, at the Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood, where the premiere was being held. I had never been to a premiere there so we kind of scoped out the area and asked SPEC, the security guys who always handle premieres, what the dealio was. They told us that the fan section was across the street, so we headed over to get ourselves a good spot.

16702_697847290304134_4719203639122879443_n

We met up with some more friends and met some new ones. Our new friends had done premieres at the Chinese Theater before and said that the guests at premieres often came across the street to sign with fans, and that we were in a good spot, right across from where they drop off the celebs. We were feeling good. We were tired, that’s for sure, but feeling good!

10569017_697847570304106_2108472496387493127_n

Getting all set up for the premiere, right at the barricade, as always!

10408132_697848033637393_6769269084248661316_n

The stars started to arrive and this is kind of the moment when things went from really exciting to pretty crappy. The stars started coming and we started calling them over. It hadn’t been very long before the publicists turned to us, all the fans against the barricade and told us they were NOT going to come over.

Instead, they would be signing for people on THAT side of the street, in a little space between the Chinese Theater and the Dolby Theater.

We were pretty pissed. One, we were told to go across the street. Two, we were told NOT to go exactly where they were going. Three, the people that WERE on that side were just a bunch of tourists gathering around who had NO idea what on earth was going on, and just wanted to see a real Hollywood premiere and take a picture with a celebrity. I was tired, hungry and pissed off.

At that point, we went sprinting across the street, in the hopes of catching them. Jamie came over for a bit, and took a bunch of pictures with more nonfans. One guy took about seven to eight selfies with him, and then proceeded to say over and over again “Who was that?” Literally, my patience was at its limits. I wanted to punch someone. I started pushing through people, saying really loudly “Actual fan of this movie coming through.” By that time, though, the cast had gone inside to watch the movie.

My friends and I were pissed, frustrated, tired, not sure of what to do. We knew they would eventually make their way out, to head to the after party so we kind of hung around that barricade for a bit, hoping that they would come to us there. The security guy there though told us a little secret and said they’d be setting barricades on the other side of the theater, closer to the Roosevelt Hotel where the after party was going to be.

So we head over there, and secured ourselves a spot at the barricade and waited…another two hours. At this point, we were even more tired, hungry, most of us had to pee, and we were just feeling absolutely dejected. We had been there all day and we hadn’t accomplished anything, and we hadn’t even gotten in to see the actual movie.

About an hour and a half, maybe two hours later, though, people started coming out and things started looking up.

10501698_697848746970655_1864371879539157812_n

It was Liana Liberato (Kim)’s birthday and as soon as she came out, we immediately launched into a VERY loud rendition of “Happy Birthday”. She stopped and listened and looked incredibly touched that we did so. She even thanked us on Instagram later. As soon as we finished, she came over and started signing :)

10369864_697849073637289_73004824585231289_n

The beautiful Liana

10603372_697849323637264_8778798492521479947_n

Then Jamie Blackley came out. Of course, Jamie plays the main lead, Adam. He started walking away, heading to the after party but after some yells from us, he smiled and came over to sign and take pictures with us, which is awesome. I always have one goal at a premiere and everyone else is just bonus and he was my one goal so I was glad he came over. Plus we took this amazing selfie together, and that was just awesome. His little British accent was too cute to handle and he seemed so overwhelmed by us fangirls, but in a good way.

10592987_697849156970614_1396292777556429708_n

We had seen Cameron Monaghan earlier so when we saw him walk out, we all called him over. I love Cameron! I think he did an amazing job as Mason in Vampire Academy and he plays my favorite character in The Giver, Asher. I’ve also heard he rocks on Shameless, but I haven’t watched yet. Either way, I adore him and I was glad he came over to take pics with us!

10593134_697849336970596_8137610456713484744_n

Gayle Forman had come out and was kind of watching us with the cast with fondness when I shouted “Hi Gayle!” and she waved at us. I saw that she didn’t seem to think she should come over so I shouted “Gayle, can you come take a picture?” and she laughed, looked to the people who were with her, who all nodded and then she came over and took pictures with her fans.

10628498_697849566970573_8390293274850525123_n

Then Chloe came out! We had seen her earlier from afar but I honestly had no hopes of actually getting to meet her. Her publicist had said she would come out and sign and take pictures as long as we stayed calm and…well a lot of people don’t seem to understand that. Well, it went okay haha and I managed to get her signature and a picture with her, which made me very very happy. I am stoked to see her as Mia and I’m massively excited to see her as Cassie in The 5th Wave.

1380823_697849646970565_5828811013742168688_n

One of the last people we saw was Ali Milner, who plays Liz in the film. Liz is one of the members of Adam’s band. A small part but she was absolutely gorgeous, totally sweet and her dress was to DIE for.

We also met Joshua Leonard, who played Mia’s dad in the film, and we also met Jakob Davies, who played her brother Teddy. Jakob was TOO cute for life, and you should see his adorable signature in my book.

10411122_697849686970561_4017057914155887398_n

Signed by Gayle Forman and the director, RJ Cutler (at an event last week), and signed, at the premiere, by Chloe Moretz, Jamie Blackley, Liana Liberato, Jakob Davies, Joshua Leonard, and Ali Milner. Seriously, Jakob’s signature has GOT to be the best one on there.

So the day started off good, went completely awful and ended really well. I was so glad that we had stayed, even though we were all very tired and dejected. We ended up getting everyone that we wanted and it was a fun time. It wasn’t quite what we expected but I’m actually really happy at the way it turned out. After the actual carpet and the movie, the cast stopped to sign for us fans that had stuck around long enough to try and meet them and that was awesome. Major points for them :)

Now its time to end this post. I’ll be seeing the movie tonight with my boyfriend, finally, and I can’t wait to see it. A review for that is to come!

And don’t forget to enter my If I Stay giveaway! You can win a copy of If I Stay, signed by Gayle Forman and the director, RJ Cutler! Don’t miss out on it, and click the picture on the sidebar of this blog to find out how to enter!

*      *      *      *       *      *      *

It’s Time for an If I Stay Giveaway!

I love giveaways, viagra 40mg don’t you?

Today I have a special treat for you!

In celebration of the release of If I Stay in movie theaters today, visit this site I am holding an If I Stay giveaway.

Last week, visit this site I went to a signing event with Gayle Forman and RJ Cutler. For those of you not in the know, Gayle is the fantastically talented author of If I Stay and RJ is the director of its movie adaptation.

I grabbed an extra copy of If I Stay and managed to get it signed by both of them. I had hoped to get it signed by others, but the premiere didn’t go quite the way I had expected (as you will see later in my recap of the event) but you know what…this is still a SUPER epic giveaway!

The Prize 

2014-08-22 01.01.43

One Copy of the Movie Tie-In Edition of If I Stay signed by author, Gayle Forman, and director, RJ Cutler

The Rules (yes, there has to be rules!)

The contest will run from today, August 22nd to September 1st!

The winner will be contacted within 24 hours of contest end. If winner(s) do not respond within a 24 hour period of contact, their prize will be forfeited and a new winner will be chosen.

Come back every day to share on Twitter and Instagram to earn more entries!

If you check off an option on the rafflecopter, please make sure that you have fulfilled that option. Please be honest! I double check every winning entry and if you are dishonest, you will not win the prize!

This giveaway is in NO way endorsed by any authors, their publishers, the movie studios or any other affiliates.

What A Nerd Girl Says is not responsible for lost, stolen or damaged prizes. It HAS happened before, but only once!

How to Enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

****

Good luck!