Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #264: Beast

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases.

By: Brie Spangler
Release Date: October 11, 2016

Tall, meaty, muscle-bound, and hairier than most throw rugs, Dylan doesn’t look like your average fifteen-year-old, so, naturally, high school has not been kind to him. To make matters worse, on the day his school bans hats (his preferred camouflage), Dylan goes up on his roof only to fall and wake up in the hospital with a broken leg—and a mandate to attend group therapy for self-harmers. Dylan vows to say nothing and zones out at therapy—until he meets Jamie. She’s funny, smart, and so stunning, even his womanizing best friend, JP, would be jealous. She’s also the first person to ever call Dylan out on his self-pitying and superficiality. As Jamie’s humanity and wisdom begin to rub off on Dylan, they become more than just friends. But there is something Dylan doesn’t know about Jamie, something she shared with the group the day he wasn’t listening. Something that shouldn’t change a thing. She is who she’s always been—an amazing photographer and devoted friend, who also happens to be transgender. But will Dylan see it that way? (Goodreads)

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Learning to Swear in America by Katie Kennedy

Learning to Swear in America
By: Katie Kennedy
Released: July 5, 2016
Source: ARC from the Publisher
Purchase the Book: Amazon
*A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

An asteroid is hurtling toward Earth. A big, bad one. Yuri, a physicist prodigy from Russia, has been called to NASA as they calculate a plan to avoid disaster. He knows how to stop the asteroid: his research in antimatter will probably win him a Nobel prize--if there's ever another Nobel prize awarded. But Yuri's 17, and having a hard time making older, stodgy physicists listen to him. Then he meets Dovie, who lives like a normal teenager, oblivious to the impending doom. Being with her, on the adventures she plans when he's not at NASA, Yuri catches a glimpse of what it means to save the world and save a life worth living. (Goodreads) 

I really enjoyed Learning to Swear in America. It was a quirky and funny story that was difficult to put down. 

Learning to Swear in America is the story of Yuri who is a seventeen year old physicist prodigy from Russia. When an asteroid is heading straight for Earth, NASA calls him in to help calculate a plan.

Yuri was a fairly well developed character. He is brilliant and already accomplished so much for his age, but at the same time, he doesn't know what it means to just be a teenager. I really liked the way that Kennedy showed what a huge transition coming to America was for Yuri. He's away from his home and doesn't know anybody so he experiences loneliness. However at the same time, he doesn't have the chance to really let that loneliness sink in though because he is trying to help save the world. It certainly didn't take long for me to be rooting for Yuri.

There were several interesting side characters, but I didn't find any of them to be that strongly developed. There were many scientists at NASA, but I struggled to keep their names straight. Then there was Dovie, the teen girl that Yuri meets. I liked Dovie a lot, but I wanted to know her more. I especially wanted the romance between Dovie and Yuri to be developed more as well. I did, however, really like how Dovie introduced Yuri to American culture and to what it means to be a teenager.

The plot was paced fairly well. For the most part, I couldn't put this book down, but I found that the ending dragged on a bit too long. I loved how science heavy this book turned out to be though. The humor will likely be a hit or a miss for some people. It is a unique and at times dark sense of humor. I personally found myself laughing out loud quite a few times, but then cringing at other moments for these characters.

Overall I really enjoyed Learning to Swear in America. If you're looking for something funny and different, then I recommend giving this one a try.

My Rating:

Monday, June 27, 2016

Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally

Defending Taylor
By: Miranda Kenneally
Released: July 5, 2016
Source: Netgalley
Purchase the Book: Amazon
*A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Captain of the soccer team, president of the Debate Club, contender for valedictorian: Taylor’s always pushed herself to be perfect. After all, that’s what is expected of a senator’s daughter. But one impulsive decision—one lie to cover for her boyfriend—and Taylor’s kicked out of private school. Everything she’s worked so hard for is gone, and now she’s starting over at Hundred Oaks High. Soccer has always been Taylor’s escape from the pressures of school and family, but it’s hard to fit in and play on a team that used to be her rival. The only person who seems to understand all that she’s going through is her older brother’s best friend, Ezra. Taylor’s had a crush on him for as long as she can remember. But it’s hard to trust after having been betrayed. Will Taylor repeat her past mistakes or can she score a fresh start? (Goodreads) 

I really enjoyed Defending Taylor. I love Miranda Kenneally's contemporary books and this was another great Hundred Oaks book.

Defending Taylor is the story of Taylor who is kicked out of private school after covering for her boyfriend. She has worked so hard for years to be perfect and now she has to start all over again

Taylor was a well developed character and someone that I could really connect with. She pushes herself so much to be perfect and she doesn't take the time to have fun. She's too worried about trying to make her parents proud and focusing on the future. Taylor has her flaws and she hasn't always made the best decisions. However, I understand the place that she's coming from in making these choices. 

This book had quite a few interesting side characters. I loved Taylor's older brother Oliver and wanted even more of him in this book. However, I really loved Ezra and I found his personal side storyline to be really interesting. The chemistry between Taylor and Ezra was strong and they were so cute together. They've known each other for years and have a bit of a complicated past. I loved the way the relationship between them developed though. I also loved seeing the return of some previous characters from the other Hundred Oaks books. It's always fun to find out what they are up to    

The plot was paced fairly well and I flew through this book quickly because I just couldn't put it down. I often find this is the case with Kenneally's books. She does a great job with writing real characters in real situations. I did wish it was developed a bit more in certain places though. I really wanted to see more of Taylor's relationships with her friends. I also wanted to see more of Taylor playing soccer because it's something she is so passionate about. Once I finished the last page, I just felt like there hadn't been enough soccer.   

Overall though, I really enjoyed Defending Taylor and I loved the whole message of this book. I definitely recommend picking this one up, especially if you're a fan of the Hundred Oaks books.

My Rating:

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #263: Empire of Storms

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases.

Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5)
By: Sarah J. Maas
Release Date: September 6, 2016

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those don't. As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear. Aelin's journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down? (Goodreads)


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Wanderlost by Jen Malone

By: Jen Malone
Released: May 31, 2016
Source: Edelweiss
Purchase the Book: Amazon
*A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Not all those who wander are lost, but Aubree Sadler most definitely is on this novel’s whirlwind trip through Europe. Aubree can’t think of a better place to be than in perfectly boring Ohio, and she’s ready for a relaxing summer. But when her older sister, Elizabeth, gets into real trouble, Aubree is talked into taking over Elizabeth’s summer job, leading a group of senior citizens on a bus tour through Europe. Aubree doesn’t even make it to the first stop in Amsterdam before their perfect plan unravels, leaving her with no phone, no carefully prepared binder full of helpful facts, and an unexpected guest: the tour company owner’s son, Sam. Considering she’s pretending to be Elizabeth, she absolutely shouldn’t fall for him, but she can’t help it, especially with the most romantic European cities as the backdrop for their love story. But her relationship with Sam is threatening to ruin her relationship with her sister, and she feels like she’s letting both of them down. Aubree knows this trip may show her who she really is—she just hopes she likes where she ends up. (Goodreads)  

I really enjoyed Wanderlost a lot! This book was a sweet contemporary story that takes you along on an adventure.

Wanderlost is the story of Aubree who takes her sister's place as the guide of a group of senior citizens on a bus tour through Europe. Aubree's sister planned the whole trip out down to the final detail, but before Aubree even gets to the first stop, she loses her phone and her sister's binder. Then to add to it, the owner's son joins the tour.

Aubree was a well developed character who really learns a lot about herself over the course of the story. She's never been far from home before and now she's spending the summer in Europe. I admired how she learned to handle things for herself. Sometimes her methods to getting out of a situation even turned out to be quite funny. 

I really liked how realistic the relationship between Aubree and her sister was. Aubree and Elizabeth haven't always gotten along too well or had much in common. Elizabeth is a complete perfectionist and puts a lot of pressure on Aubree, especially regarding this tour.

There were several interesting side characters. I loved the whole group of senior citizens. They were so funny and I loved what they each added to the cities they visited. I especially loved Sam though. The banter between Aubree and him was so cute. I loved the way the relationship developed between the two of them.

The plot was paced well and I finished this book in one sitting because I couldn't put it down. There was a good balance of drama, humor, and romance. I especially loved the little moments in this book. I loved the conversations and small moments that Aubree shared with the senior citizens on the trip. I absolutely adored the setting in all of the different cities across Europe the most though. I really felt like I was there with these characters while I was reading.

Overall, I really enjoyed Wanderlost. It was a cute story that takes you along on an adventure through Europe. If you're a fan of contemporary books, then I highly recommend picking this one up.

My Rating:

Monday, June 20, 2016

Summer Book Recommendations

Summer Book Recommendations:

Happy First Day of Summer!  
I've come up with a list of my top favorite books that I've either read in the summer or like to reread during the summer. These are the books that I think are great to take along with you on a day at the beach. 

Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Morgan Matson's books just bring to life all of the aspects of summer. Whether that be taking a road trip across the U.S. in Amy and Roger's Epic Detour, spending a summer at a lake house and working in the snack shop on the beach in Second Chance Summer, completing a to-do list your best friend left for you in Since You've Been Gone, or competing in a late night scavenger hunt in The Unexpected Everything. Matson knows how to create that summer feeling in her books which is what makes them the perfect summer read.  

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
On the Fence by Kasie West
The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West 

Kasie West's contemporary books are great for the summer. Her books are filled with realistic and memorable characters. The storylines have a great balance of serious topics and light cute moments. If you're looking for a contemporary book to read, I highly recommend picking up any of West's books.  

The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick

My Life Next Door and The Boy Most Likely To are both great books set in the summer and focus on a large family. The Garrett family is definitely one of my favorite book families. Both books deal with a variety of serious issues, but they also have really sweet moments too. 
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

I've grown up reading Sarah Dessen's books every summer. While all of her books are great summer reads, one of my top favorites is Along for the Ride. I love the setting in the beach town and the journey that Auden experiences through the course of the story.

Open Road Summer follows Reagan as she joins her best friend, who just so happens to be a huge country singer, on tour. The book is fun and difficult to put down for long. While When We Collided follows the summer that Vi and Jonah met in a small coastal town. When We Collided takes a serious look at mental illness in a very well done and realistic manner. Both books are great to add to your summer to be read list.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

We Were Liars is the perfect suspenseful and mysterious summer read. You will not want to put this book down until you find out what really happened that summer between these best friends.  

Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday

Deadly Cool is a suspenseful murder mystery that will keep you guessing until the end. It's a quick and enjoyable read. My favorite aspects of this book are definitely the hilarious characters though. 

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

The Girl From Everywhere is an exciting adventure set on a pirate ship that will take you along on a journey to a different time. This book left me dreaming of Hawaii for weeks.

Breathe Annie Breathe by Miranda Kenneally

Breathe Annie Breathe is a beautifully written story about Annie who is training to run a marathon to honor her late boyfriend. This book will show you how difficult running a marathon can be, but also how rewarding it can be too. 

I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios 

I'll Meet You There is set in the summer and the story of Skylar and Josh who work at the Paradise motel. It's an unforgettable story that will send you through a wide variety of emotions.

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

If you love Peter Pan, I highly recommend picking up Tiger Lily. Tiger Lily is the story of a young Tiger Lily as she meets and falls in love with Peter Pan. This book tells of a whole new adventure in Neverland.

The Distance From A to Z by Natalie Blitt 

The Distance from A to Z is an adorable contemporary story that is packed with great characters. It's the story of Abby who is spending her summer taking French classes at a college to become fluent in the language.

Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard  

Wanderlove is a great summer read that follows Bria as she backpacks around Central America. It's a beautifully written story that will make you want to step out of your comfort zone and go on an exciting adventure.

What do you plan on reading this summer?
What books would you recommend reading this summer?  

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Sing by Vivi Greene

By: Vivi Greene
Released: May 31, 2016
Source: Publisher
Purchase the Book: Amazon
*A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

America’s most famous pop star flees the spotlight to recover from her latest break-up in Maine—only to fall for a local boy and be faced with an impossible choice at the end of the summer: her new guy, or her music. Multiplatinum pop icon Lily Ross’s biggest hits and biggest heartbreaks (because they are one and the same): 1. AGONY. (That feeling when her ex ripped her heart out of her chest and she never saw it coming.) 2. GHOSTS. (Because even famous people are ghosted by guys sometimes. And it sucks just as much.)  3. ONCE BITTEN. (As in: twice shy. Also, she’s never dating an actor or a musician ever again.) But this summer’s going to be different. After getting her heart shattered, Lily is taking herself out of the spotlight and heading to a small island in middle-of-nowhere Maine with her closest friends. She has three months until her fall tour starts-three months to focus on herself, her music, her new album. Anything but guys. That is . . . until Lily meets sweet, down-to-earth local Noel Bradley, who is so different from anyone she’s ever dated. Suddenly, Lily’s “summer of me” takes an unexpected turn, and she finds herself falling deeper and harder than ever before. But Noel isn’t interested in the limelight. She loves Noel-but she loves her fans, too. And come August, she may be forced to choose. (Goodreads)

I liked Sing. It was cute book that is perfect for the summer.

Sing is the story of Lily who is a famous pop star. After a break-up, she chooses to spend her summer in a small town in Maine with her best friends. She plans to work on new songs, but then she meets Noel.

Lily was an interesting character who appreciates her fame, but still wants an average life. I could definitely understand Lily's desire to still have a normal life on the days when she's on the cover of every tabloid. However, I could also see how passionate she was about her music and how grateful she was for her fans. I wanted her to be developed more thoroughly though because at times I did find her to be quite a flat character. She's had a few failed relationships and now she wants to just focus on herself. As much as I did love Lily with Noel, I did want to see her focus more on herself a bit longer. 

Sing had some interesting side characters. I really liked Noel a lot. He has a complicated home situation and he's trying to help out his dad. The scenes between him and Lily were really cute. I loved Lily's best friends, Tess and Sammy, the most though. They've both put their own lives on hold to work for Lily. I just really wanted even more of them in this book and more of a side story surrounding their characters. I especially wanted to read more scenes between Tess, Sammy, and Lily.

The plot was paced fairly well. At times I felt myself getting a bit bored, but then other times I felt like everything was moving too quickly. I did manage to finish this book all in one sitting though. I loved the setting in the small town in Maine. It was fun to see Lily in that atmosphere and it really gave you that whole summer feeling.

Overall I liked Sing. If you're looking for a short and sweet contemporary book to read this summer, then I recommend picking this one up. 

My Rating:

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #262: Replica

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases.

By: Lauren Oliver
Release Date: October 4, 2016

Gemma has been in and out of hospitals since she was born. 'A sickly child', her lonely life to date has revolved around her home, school and one best friend, Alice. But when she discovers her father's connection to the top secret Haven research facility, currently hitting the headlines and under siege by religious fanatics, Gemma decides to leave the sanctuary she's always known to find the institute and determine what is going on there and why her father's name seems inextricably linked to it. Amidst the frenzy outside the institute's walls, Lyra - or number 24 as she is known as at Haven - and a fellow experimental subject known only as 72, manage to escape. Encountering a world they never knew existed outside the walls of their secluded upbringing , they meet Gemma and, as they try to understand Haven's purpose together, they uncover some earth-shattering secrets that will change the lives of both girls forever... (Goodreads)

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

This Is Where It Ends Every Moment Counts Challenge

This summer Sourcebooks is hosting the Every Moment Counts Challenge

The challenge is to create as many "moments" as possible between June 15 to August 7. These "moments" can be anything from volunteering for a few hours, calling someone you haven't spoken to in a while, going outside and taking in your surroundings, or leaving an inspirational quote for a stranger to find. Visit Sourcebooks for more ideas to get you started. Then share your progress along the way with the hashtags #thisiswhereitends and #everymomentcounts for a chance to win prizes. There is no requirement for the number of "moments" you need to create. The challenge is to just create as many "moments" as possible within 54 days.


About the Book:

This is Where it Ends
By: Marieke Nijkamp
Released: January 5, 2016
Purchase the Book: Amazon - B&N  

10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve. 
10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class. 
10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won't open. 
10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.
Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival. (Goodreads)

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #261: The Sun Is Also A Star

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases.

The Sun Is Also A Star
By: Nicola Yoon
Release Date: November 1, 2016

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story. Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us. The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true? (Goodreads)


Monday, June 6, 2016

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

Second Chance Summer
By: Morgan Matson
Released: May 8, 2012
Source: Purchased
Purchase the Book: Amazon

Taylor Edwards’ family might not be the closest-knit—everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled—but for the most part, they get along just fine. Then Taylor’s dad gets devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer all together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains. Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend…and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve. As the summer progresses and the Edwards become more of a family, they’re more aware than ever that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance—with family, with friends, and with love. (Goodreads)

I loved Second Chance Summer! It was a beautifully written story about family, first love, and loss. This story reminded me all over again why I love contemporary books so much. 

Second Chance Summer is the story of Taylor who is spending her summer at her family's lake house after her dad learns that he's sick. The family plans to spend one last summer together. Taylor hasn't been back to the lake house in five years and she left things in a bad place with her first boyfriend and best friend. Now she has the time to not only get another chance to get to know her family better, but to also make things right. 

Taylor was a realistic and well developed character. She has the tendency to run when things get too difficult for her and now that her dad is sick, she wants to run more than ever. I really loved the relationships within this book. Taylor and her family love each other, but they never were that close. It isn't until this summer that they really spend time together and get to know one another. Taylor and her siblings, Gelsey and Warren, are so different from each other. However, I loved how Taylor slowly began to bond with both of them in different ways as the summer passed. I especially loved the relationship that Taylor shared with her father though. They always had this special connection and both loved bad puns.

This book was filled with so many well developed side characters as well. I especially loved Henry and Lucy. Henry was Taylor's first boyfriend and Lucy was once Taylor's best friend. Taylor shares a complicated past with both Henry and Lucy.

The plot was paced well and I couldn't put this book down for long. I knew I would love this story the moment I saw a line from one of my absolute favorite songs in the very beginning. I really enjoyed the way the plot unraveled though. I loved how what happened the last summer that Taylor spent at the lake house was slowly revealed as the story progressed.  I also loved the setting in the Pocono Mountains. I felt like I was there at the lake or the snack shop alongside Taylor. 

This story was so heart achingly beautiful though. There were so many quotes that I found myself writing down and passages that I turned back to reread again. This story made me smile and cry so much. My eyes are filling with tears all over again as I write this now. I'm a huge fan of Morgan Matson's other books, but this is definitely my personal favorite book written by her. 

Overall I loved Second Chance Summer and I highly recommend picking it up! It's a beautifully written story with characters that will stick with you      

My Rating: