Book Review: Going Geek by Charlotte Huang

Genre: 

Young Adult, web  Contemporary

Pages: 

304 pages

Part of a Series?:

Standalone

Release Date: 

September 13th, 2016

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

iBooks

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

A girl forced out of her comfort zone finds that being true to herself is the best way to live her life, in this second novel from the author of For the Record.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Skylar Hoffman’s senior year at her preppy East Coast boarding school should have been perfect:
amazing boyfriend
the coolest friends
the most desirable dorm
But it’s far from it. To her dismay, Skylar’s not going to rule senior year because she’s stuck in Abbot House, a tiny dorm known for, well, nothing. Living with a group of strangers everyone thinks is lame is bad enough. Worse is that Skylar wasn’t exactly truthful about how she spent summer break in Los Angeles—and her little white lie is causing her once rock-solid romance to crumble fast. And when it turns out that Skylar’s best friend is the one responsible for having her booted from Lincoln? It’s an all-out war.

Stepping out of her comfort zone never felt so scary—or necessary. But everything is different now. Including, maybe, Skylar herself . . .

My Review:

Have I ever mentioned how much I seriously love boarding school stories? Seriously. I probably would have totally hated going away to school, because I’m a total homebody and I would hate having a roommate, most likely, but I absolutely 100% love boarding school stories. It opens up so many possibilities. I love that there always seems to be a distinct lack of supervision. I doubt that’s the way it really is but I love that the stories ALWAYS include that and it provides for so much shenanigans. Boarding school life is always sort of romanticized in a way in books and as soon as I find out Skylar was a boarding school kid, I was hooked.

What I loved about this book, and what made me love Charlotte’s first book, is that she excels at capturing the teen voice and the teen spirit. There are times when I’m about ready to strangle Skylar’s neck but I love Skylar. I love her journey for It Girl to Geek Girl to just straight up, I’m Skylar Hoffman and I may not totally know who I am but I’m figuring it out and that’s okay. She makes Skylar so real. She rises and falls and makes mistakes again and again but she comes out at the end a little stronger than she was in the beginning. What I loved was that Skylar doesn’t come out of the story, perfect and all knowing. She’s still stumbling and figuring things out, which I think is pretty normal for any 18 year old girl.

The best part of the book, however, is all the supporting characters. I adore each and every single one of Skylar’s new friends in her new dorm. I love how each and every single one of them is so unique and fun and they all have their own dorky quirks. All I could think of any time one of them came on the page is how much I wish they were real and how much I wish they could be my friends. I really think its a great thing when authors can create incredible secondary characters. Sometimes the supporting characters sort of blend in the background because the author focuses so much on the main character but every character that Charlotte brings on the page is so unique and so well developed and its why each one will stick with you.

This book comes out in less than a week and this blogger will be moderating her launch event with Julie Buxbaum and Adriana Mathers at Chevalier’s Books in Los Angeles and I honestly can’t wait. It’s a wonderful book and I highly recommend it. It’s a quick read, and a fun read and I absolutely adored it. Charlotte is two for two so far with me and I can’t wait to see what else she brings to the table.

 

Rating: 

4 out of 5 Stars

Thank God Its Monday Blog Tour featuring Jessica Brody’s A Week of Mondays and My Best and Worst Mondays!

AWOM_blogtour

I love Mondays. I really do. I know to most people that probably sounds super strange but I actually do really love Mondays. But Monday is also the first day of my weekend, diagnosis so maybe I’m a little biased :). Either way, buy I’m super excited to be a part of the A Week of Mondays blog tour, more about which is a brand new book coming in just a handful of weeks by one of my favorite authors and dearest friends, Jessica Brody.

A Week of Mondays!

A Week of Mondays_Cover Image

Add the book on GoodReads and Preorder the book at your local bookstore or at the following links:

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / iBooks / Book Depository

Ellie is having the worst Monday of her life. She messes up her school speech for the class vice presidency position, she manages to take the world’s worst school picture, she bombs softball tryouts, and the icing on top of this awful cake: her perfect boyfriend who is in a high school rock band dumps her. At the end of the day, Ellie wishes she could redo everything. When she wakes up the next morning, she discovers that it’s Monday again! She has six more chances to redo the day in the hopes of having everything go exactly the way she wants. But in the process, she just may find out that what she really wants and what she actually needs are two very different things.

About Jessica Brody

Jessica Brody knew from a young age that she wanted to be a writer. She started self “publishing” her own books when she was seven years old, binding the pages together with cardboard, wallpaper samples, and electrical tape.

After graduating from Smith College in 2001 where she double majored in Economics and French and minored in Japanese, Jessica later went on to work for MGM Studios as a Manager of Acquisitions and Business Development. In May of 2005, Jessica quit her job to follow her dream of becoming a published author.

You Can Find Her:

Her Website / Her Facebook / Her GoodReads / Her Twitter / Her Instagram

My Best Monday 

Like I said before, I adore Mondays. At the moment, I’m typing up this blog post with a Starbucks in my hand, enjoying the beautiful gorgeous sunny California day. It has already started out as a great day. I adore Mondays. But let’s see, my best Monday ever. I probably couldn’t pinpoint an exact day, that would just be too hard to remember. But I’ll tell you what could potentially be a great Monday.

My best Monday would include all my favorite things. I would wake up and go get breakfast at my favorite breakfast place, which is a little place called The Filling Station in Old Towne Orange. They have the most amazing breakfast and mimosas and that would just be an amazing start to the day. After that, I would drive down to Universal Studios, spending a handful of hours in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which has easily become my favorite place to be since its unofficial open in February. My friends would be there and I would enjoy a butterbeer, go on both rides, do some magic with my interactive wand and watch the frog choir – which is my absolute favorite. After that, I would hop on the freeway to head home, making sure to stop at Sprinkles Cupcakes. I would grab some dinner at Mad Wolf Mongolian BBQ, which is my hometown and is literally my favorite place to eat; I can’t get enough. After that, I would head to Angel Stadium with my dad and siblings and watch a game, because the Angels and baseball are some of my favorite things in the world, and I would go home super happy, because they would have won, of course. On the way home, I’d stop by Barnes and Noble before they closed and spend the last few minutes in the store, shopping for all the new books that I could buy.

Simple. I think that would be the best Monday ever. All my favorite things.

My Worst Monday

Okay, so this is how it would start. It would start with me waking up way earlier than I want to. Remember, Mondays are my day off so I do not like getting up early on Mondays; that’s my one day to actually sleep in and it would be the daycare behind my house. The kids would be loud and wake me up from a fabulous dream involving me being a Shadowhunter and Matthew Daddario (aka Alec Lightwood) would be my Shadowhunter boyfriend. My hair wouldn’t straighten right, I wouldn’t be able to get my winged eyeliner exactly right, and my favorite shirt would have a massive stain on it – and I’d have no time to wash it. My favorite restaurants would be closed and it would be freezing cold (I’m such a baby when it comes to the cold). All of my friends would be busy and there would be no new books to read and Sprinkles would run out of my very favorite cupcake. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter would be so crowded that day and I wouldn’t even be able to get my hands on a butterbeer. The Angels would lose that day. My worst days are always the ones where all the little things add up and I just feel like I can’t win. My car wouldn’t start. That sort of thing. I certainly hope that I don’t have one of those Mondays any time soon because the Monday I’m having today and the Monday I described above sound so much better than a bad Monday!

*******

Thank you so much for hanging out for A Week of Mondays blog tour! Look out this week for a spoiler free review of the book!

Book Review: The Last Boy and Girl in the World by Siobhan Vivian

Genre: 

Young Adult, buy  Contemporary

Pages: 

320 pages

Part of a Series?:

Standalone

Release Date: 

April 26th, prescription 2016

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

iBooks

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

What if your town was sliding underwater and everyone was ordered to pack up and leave? How would you and your friends spend your last days together?

While the adults plan for the future, box up their possessions, and find new places to live, Keeley Hewitt and her friends decide to go out with a bang. There are parties in abandoned houses. Canoe races down Main Street. The goal is to make the most of every minute they still have together.

And for Keeley, that means taking one last shot at the boy she’s loved forever.

There’s a weird sort of bravery that comes from knowing there’s nothing left to lose. You might do things you normally wouldn’t. Or say things you shouldn’t. The reward almost always outweighs the risk.

Almost.

It’s the end of Aberdeen, but the beginning of Keeley’s first love story. It just might not turn out the way she thought. Because it’s not always clear what’s worth fighting for and what you should let become a memory.

My Review:

I didn’t love this book. I liked it but I didn’t love it. I haven’t become a Siobhan Vivian fan yet, and I really wanted to become a fan after this book but it just didn’t have that wow factor that keeps me coming back for more.

Here’s what the book did right: I think that there was so much about it that was incredibly realistic and genuine and familiar. I felt like the reactions of the characters, the way there were so many different outcomes to this situation, and that everyone sort of tackled it in different ways…that all felt so real. I think she captured what a scary and traumatic event this would be. It was intense and you could feel the way this town sort of started to shut down once they realized they were basically condemned. I think that was beautiful, the way Siobhan captured how different citizens reacted, how some broke down, some fought back and some found a way to find the bright side of it.

I also think she captured something so true about friendships. I think there are so many amazing books that write fantastic stories about friendship but its rare to see characters sort of grow apart and fall apart. I’ve had amazing friends in my life, and I’ve grown up and moved apart and grew apart and lost friends and its always incredibly sad but also sort of bittersweet. Its really hard to stay friends with someone forever, I think its incredible when people stay friends for so long, and I think Siobhan does a fantastic job at writing very real friendships that can crack under pressure. Even the best friendships have their cracks and can fall apart and I really loved that part of this story.

What really didn’t catch me was the main character herself. Keeley sort of drove me insane at times. I know that she was trying to do what she kind of always did, find the light in the dark, find the good in the bad but at times it just felt like she was ignoring the inevitable and hurting a lot of people in the process. She was so determined to find the good and to stick by her father’s side, that sometimes she failed to miss what was right in front of her. While I also think this is incredibly true of teenagers and, well, people in general, it was just so hard to relate to her and Jesse Ford. I really wanted to hit them a lot and it was incredibly frustrating to me. I just think I had a really hard time connecting to her as a character. I don’t think this is a fault of the character or the book or the author and I think there are probably plenty of people that will love the book but it didn’t speak to me enough personally and even though it is one of few books I’ve managed to read this year, it probably is one that will set on my shelf and won’t be reread.

 

Rating: 

3.75 out of 5 stars

Book Review: Heartless (ARC) by Marissa Meyer

Genre: 

Young Adult, drugs  Fantasy, search Fairy Tale Re-Telling

Pages: 

416 pages

Part of a Series?:

Standalone

Release Date: 

November 8th, 2016

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

iBooks

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king’s marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship.

Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

My Review:

I can’t even begin to describe how much I absolutely loved this novel. I was blown away from page one. As soon as the book opens, with Catherine baking and conversing with the Cheshire Cat, I knew it was going to be an absolute win. It felt like watching the Disney movie or reading Lewis Carroll’s original story. I’m not even that huge of an Alice fan but I immediately fell into the nostalgia of these stories. Marissa takes the world that we’ve gotten to know in the original book and the movie and just blows it to pieces. She widens its, makes it breathe and live in every single page and makes it sound like the most wonderful and yet most awful place. So much good and so much bad, just the way Alice felt when she fell down the rabbit hole.

Catherine is just a fantastic character and even though you know her fate, you have a really hard time believing that this is the girl that could become that queen. She’s young and bright, clever, talented and hopeful. She tries so hard to please everyone while at the same time, trying so hard to find her own place in the world, one that she can forge herself. Even though you know that her fate has already been decided, this being a prequel and all that, it is so hard not to root for her, to hope so hard that she can open her bakery and live happily ever after with Jest, and this is what keeps you reading from beginning to end, that hope. I fell madly in love with Catherine as a character and I wanted so badly for her to get everything she desired and I had to know what could have changed this sweet girl to make her the harsh Queen of Hearts.

The only downfall I would say about the story is that you already know the end. You know that Catherine becomes the Queen of Hearts, therefore marrying the King of Hearts. You know, no matter what happens, this is what is going to happen. Its like watching Titanic; no matter how much you wish you could change that ending, you just can’t. The ship sinks. But I don’t think that it necessarily changes the fact that it is such a great story. Even knowing the end, I was compelled by the beautiful picture that Marissa painted with her words. She creates this beautiful fantasy world in Hearts and she makes all of our favorite characters come to life and she surprises us at every turn, taking things we know so well and twisting them and I think that is what makes her so good at these fairy tale retellings. She’s so good at both bowing to them and also taking them and forming them to her own will and it just ends up in a fantastic, fantastic story.

This book doesn’t release until November but I’m already counting down the days until I can get my hands on a gorgeous finished copy because it was an absolutely fabulous book. Marissa really outdid herself with this one. She wrote a romance and a tragedy and a fantasy and just an all around quick and witty and clever novel that I really think audiences are going to LOVE this coming fall.

Rating: 

5 out of 5 stars

Book Review: Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

Genre: 

Young Adult, visit Contemporary

Pages: 

336 pages

Part of a Series?:

Standalone

Release Date: 

April 5th, order 2016

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

iBooks

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

 

Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?

It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.

In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?

My Review:

 

  1. I SUPER LOVED THIS NOVEL
  2. Any novel that takes place in California in some way is always a win in my book (I am so biased)
  3. I can’t wait for Julie Buxbaum to write another novel.

I started this book while lounging around in the pool. I was house sitting for a friend and was totally taking advantage of the fact that she had an epic pool. I was about to participate in BFest, the first ever nationwide Barnes and Noble teen book fest, and Julie would be on my panel that day. I literally started the book when I got into the pool and nearly finished it by the time I got out. From opening line to the closing sentence, I was hooked, hooked by her writing, her stories and all of her incredible characters. As someone who grew up in California, and went through some hellish years in high school, this felt like reading my own high school diary. I knew so much of what Jessie was going through and I loved every bit of her story.

What I think makes Julie’s book so freakin’ good is the fact that it feels so incredibly real and genuine. She captures that teen voice so well, while also making Jessie feel different and unique at the same time, which is a hard thing to do, both in writing and in life, especially when you’re in high school and trying to fit in. Jessie is someone that you both completely relate to and also wish was your best friend. She is dealing with so much in this book; the death of her mother, the remarriage of her father, a new stepmom and stepbrother, a new school, a mysterious friend, and she just charges forward, even when she wavers, she’s still strong as hell and its what makes me root for her so hard.

I also love that you’re not quite sure where the book is going to go. I know that I kept jumping back and forth on who I hoped Somebody Nobody was! She has you guessing again and again, and it sent my head spinning and made me turn the pages faster because I was just dying to find out who exactly it was. And when I did? I was so happy with the results. Julie wrote a serious page turner, that’s funny and sad, and addicting all at the same time and I FLEW through this book and I really urge all of you to go pick up a copy because I think this book just might be one of my favorites of the year!

Rating: 

5 out of 5 stars

Book Review: My Kind of Crazy by Robin Reul

Genre: 

Young Adult, shop Contemporary

Pages: 

336 pages

Part of a Series?:

Standalone

Release Date: 

April 5th, 2016

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

iBooks

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Despite the best of intentions, seventeen-year old, wisecracking Hank Kirby can’t quite seem to catch a break. It’s not that he means to screw things up all the time, it just happens. A lot. Case in point: his attempt to ask out the girl he likes literally goes up in flames when he spells “Prom” in sparklers on her lawn…and nearly burns down her house.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Peyton Breedlove, a brooding loner and budding pyromaniac, witnesses the whole thing. Much to Hank’s dismay, Peyton takes an interest in him—and his “work.” The two are thrust into an unusual friendship, but their boundaries are tested when Hank learns that Peyton is hiding some dark secrets, secrets that may change everything he thought he knew about Peyton.

My Review:

I absolutely loved Robin’s debut release and I am so grateful for the Ontario TBF for introducing me, yet again, to awesome authors. I’m afraid I would have never picked up Robin’s book if I hadn’t met the lovely lady herself at TBF.

Moving on, I think Robin wrote an absolutely compelling debut novel. From page one to the very last, I was completely hooked. I think, lately, there has been a sort of repetitive nature to contemporary YA and I’ve really strayed from it because I feel like I’m reading the same stories over and over again, and that the trope of the manic pixie dream girl is starting to just drive me absolutely nuts. It was so refreshing and perfect to have a unique story with two equally awesome characters. It was great to read a story where I really wasn’t sure at all where we’d end up at the last page and I love a story that can surprise me and keep me hooked the entire story. Robin has a fresh voice and a fresh story and this is what will keep readers coming back for more.

I also will say that I laughed so much in this book. There are moments of seriousness for sure, but the voices of Hank and Peyton felt like best friends and they both had moments that had me literally laughing out loud, not just an lol ;) These two are just fantastic and Peyton’s character alone is what kept me addicted to this book from beginning to end.

I think that Robin writes a fantastic debut novel that has all the wonderful things that comes in a really great contemporary YA novel. She makes me laugh, she makes me think, she makes me wonder what is going to happen next, she makes me remember high school, she makes me remember my bad days and how I pushed through them, she makes me remember the first time I fell in love and it felt like the most overwhelming, encompassing feeling in the world. I think that a book that can make you feel all of that is something that you should pay attention to. :)

Rating: 

4 out of 5 stars