ARC Review: On The Spectrum by Jennifer Gold

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ON THE SPECTRUM

Author: Jennifer Gold

Release Date: September 12, 2017 (my birthday!!)

Publisher: Second Story Press

Date Started/Finished: June 6-7, 2017

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Mental Health

Format: eARC

Source: Netgalley

RATING: 5 stars (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

SYNOPSIS: (Goodreads)

Growing up in the shadow of a famous mother, Clara has never felt good about her body. Now, at sixteen, she has an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating. After a social media disaster, she decides to escape for the summer to Paris to stay with her estranged dad and her six-year-old brother, Alastair, who is on the autism spectrum. Charged with his care, Clara and Alastair set out to explore the city. Paris teaches Clara about first love and gives her a new love of food. And Alastair teaches Clara about patience, trust and the beauty of loving without judgment. Continue reading

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Blog Tour: The Unlikelies by Carrie Firestone

The Unlikelies

by Carrie Firestone

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

Release Date: June 6th 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

RATING: 3 stars (⭐⭐⭐)

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Synopsis:
Five teens embark on a summer of vigilante good samaritanism in a novel that’s part The Breakfast Club, part The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, and utterly captivating.
Rising high school senior Sadie is bracing herself for a long, lonely, and boring summer. But things take an unexpected turn when she steps in to help rescue a baby in distress and a video of her good deed goes viral.
Suddenly internet-famous, Sadie’s summer changes for the better when she’s introduced to other “hometown heroes.” These five very different teens form an unlikely alliance to secretly right local wrongs, but when they try to help a heroin-using friend, they get in over their heads and discover that there might be truth in the saying “no good deed goes unpunished.” Can Sadie and her new friends make it through the summer with their friendships–and anonymity–intact?
This rich and thought-provoking novel takes on timely issues and timeless experiences with a winning combination of romance, humor, and wisdom.

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ARC Review: Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

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NOTEWORTHY

Author: Riley Redgate

Genre: Young Adult, LGBT, Contemporary

Date Started: April 15, 2017

Date Finished: April 16, 2017

Rating: 4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

SYNOPSIS: (Goodreads)

It’s the start of Jordan Sun’s junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts. Unfortunately, she’s an Alto 2, which—in the musical theatre world—is sort of like being a vulture in the wild: She has a spot in the ecosystem, but nobody’s falling over themselves to express their appreciation. So it’s no surprise when she gets shut out of the fall musical for the third year straight.

Then the school gets a mass email: A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshiped … revered … all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.

 

Blogger’s Note: Special thanks to Netgalley and Amulet Books for providing me an eARC of Noteworthy to review.

 

MY REVIEW: 

Anybody who knows me knows that I’m a huge fan of Riley Redgate’s Seven Ways We Lie. So knowing about her latest upcoming novel Noteworthy, I didn’t hesitate to give it a try.

Basically, the story revolves around Chinese-American Jordan Sun who crossdresses her way into the school’s elite all-male a capella group The Sharpshooters. Yes, you heard that right. There is crossdressing involved. But not to worry since it’s actually the most fun part. Desperate move it might be, after being constantly rejected to play in musicals, Jordan is eager to prove herself worthy. When she joined the Sharpshooters, she never intended to get close with any of their members. But little by little, she gets to know each of them personally and becomes close to them anyway. On the other hand, pretending to be Julian Zhang had its consequences. As Jordan finds her place within the group, she also unravels a lot of things about herself that she never paused to consider before, things she liked and things she wanted the most.

It pleases me that despite the cross-dressing and LGBT aspect, I didn’t cringe. The cross-dressing bit is tricky so I was doubtful that the author could actually pull this part off, but again – Riley Redgate proved me wrong – it was handled pretty well. Plus, I also found Jordan’s slip-ups freaking hilarious.

As for the LGBT facet, it was hands-down amazing – one of the best LGBT books I’ve ever read in my life. A few characters in the story are either gay or bisexual, and some of them were actually my favorites. I’m not telling you which ones are which, but it’s safe to tell you at least that Jordan is one of them, though she hasn’t realized this until the middle part of the story.

I really felt for Jordan because in some ways I can relate to her. I think every girl (or guy) has at some point questioned their own sexual preferences. Even me. I admit that I’ve experienced girl-crushes before, but not to the point where I actually wanted to go out with one. Anyway, I really do appreciate the fact that the author portrayed Jordan’s bisexuality without being gross since most of the LGBT books I’ve encountered before were either very lewd or over-the-top inappropriate.

Aside from gays and bisexuals, this book has plenty of other diverse characters. Take The Sharpshooters members for example. We have the overly serious musical director Trav, the happy-go-lucky president Isaac, funny fat Mama whose real name is Theodore, the attractive but dyslexic Jon Cox, egalitarian Marcus and socially awkward Erik. Each character had their own issues and unique personality, but all together, they make a pretty great and fun team.

Also, the way the author explored the issues in this book? It was clear how much research Redgate put into this book, while at the same time managing to retain respect for her chosen genre.

Noteworthy truly did not disappoint. It’s highly fun, exciting, and recommended especially for lovers of Pitch Perfect, a capella and just music in general. If you’re looking for a good book with lots of diversity, music, assorted characters, multiple sexualities and just really great humor, then Noteworthy is the one for you.

P.S. Noteworthy is going to be released on May 2, which is only a week away from now, so fans need not wait any much longer! 🙂

Thank you for reading my review and see you lovelies ’til next time! ❤

Dead Girls Society by Michelle Krys || Some Letters Shouldn’t Be Opened

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D E A D   G I R L S   S O C I E T Y

Author: Michelle Krys

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Published: November 8th 2016 by Delacorte Press

Synopsis:

“You are cordially invited to participate in a game of thrills and dares. Tell no one, and come alone. If you dare.”

Hope is sick of everyone treating her like she’s breakable. Sure, she has cystic fibrosis (basically really bad lungs), but she’s tired of being babied by her mom and her overprotective best friend, Ethan, not to mention worrying about paying for her expensive medication and how she’s going to afford college. And she’s bored with life in her run-down New Orleans suburb.

When an invitation arrives from a mysterious group that calls itself the Society, Hope jumps at the chance for some excitement. This could be her ticket out. All she has to do is complete a few dares and she might win some real money.

But the Society isn’t all it seems . . . and soon Hope finds that playing the game isn’t a choice—it’s a requirement.
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Summerlong by Peter S. Beagle || Book With A Greek Myth

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S U M M E R L O N G

A u t h o r : Peter S. Beagle

P u b l i s h e d : September 6th 2016 by Tachyon Publications

G e n r e : Fantasy, Magical Realism, Contemporary, Mystery, Adult

F o r m a t : eARC

S y n o p s i s : Beloved author Peter S. Beagle (The Last Unicorn) returns with this long-anticipated new novel, a beautifully bittersweet tale of passion, enchantment, and the nature of fate. Continue reading

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover || My 8 Naked Truths

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I T   E N D S   W I T H   U S

A u t h o r : Colleen Hoover

P u b l i c a t i o n : August 2, 2016 by Atria Books

G e n r e : Romance, New Adult, Contemporary

S y n o p s i s : Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up – she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, and maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily, but Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan – her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

With this bold and deeply personal novel, Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. It Ends With Us is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.

This book contains graphic scenes and very sensitive subject matter.


R E V I E W

“It stops here. With me and you. It ends with us.”

Hello again, lovelies! Thanks for stopping by.

Naked truths are a primary feature in this novel written by CoHo. Therefore, I’ll deliver this review as well in naked-truth-style. So, without further ado, here are my naked truths:

1. I think Colleen definitely outdid herself this time. Her latest novel, It Ends With Us, is truly a great masterpiece.

2. You can tell right away that it’s special – unlike any of her other books. You see, of all the novels I’ve read written by her, I think It Ends With Us is the only one that will stay with me forever. It’s hard to forget that kind of story and that alone is what makes it a great book.

3. I was already caught from the moment I read that dedication. It intrigued me, to say the least, and I wondered what she meant by that. Realization dawned on me as I read through Lily’s story, and I was heartbroken and crying even after the story had been concluded.

4. And just when I thought I couldn’t be moved any more than that, I saw the author’s note and wept some more.

5. I was perfectly satisfied by how the conflict was resolved. It made perfect sense and it saved their relationship from total ruin.

6. I should also mention the cleverness behind that cover. I think the crushed petals perfectly symbolize Lily and the abuse she went through. Besides, it doesn’t hurt to look at too. I would definitely want it on my bookshelf.

7. I was initially apprehensive over reading this book, not just because of all the hype surrounding it, but also partly because of the disappointment I felt towards CoHo’s previous books. Turns out I need not have worried at all, because It Ends With Us was absolutely great and more! It restored all my faith in CoHo’s writing skills.

8. Heartfelt, endearing and utterly realistic, It Ends With Us is a book you should definitely read right away!


Favorite Quotes

“There is no such thing as bad people. We’re all just people who sometimes do bad things.”
Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us

“All humans make mistakes. What determines a person’s character aren’t the mistakes we make. It’s how we take those mistakes and turn them into lessons rather than excuses.”
Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us

“He pulls back to look down at me and when he sees my tears, he brings his hands up to my cheeks. “In the future… if by some miracle you ever find yourself in the position to fall in love again… fall in love with me.”
Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us

“Just because someone hurts you doesn’t mean you can simply stop loving them. It’s not a person’s actions that hurt the most. It’s the love. If there was no love attached to the action, the pain would be a little easier to bear.”
Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us

“Fifteen seconds. That’s all it takes to completely change everything about a person. Fifteen.”
Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us

“Naked truths aren’t always pretty.”
Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us

“I feel like everyone fakes who they really are, when deep down we’re all equal amounts of screwed up. Some of us are just better at hiding it than others.”
Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us

“Just because we didn’t end up on the same wave, doesn’t mean we aren’t still a part of the same ocean.”
Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us

“And as hard as this choice is, we break the pattern before the pattern breaks us.”
Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us

“You can stop swimming now, Lily. We finally reached the shore.”
Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us

“Maybe love isn’t something that comes full circle. It just ebbs and flows, in and out, just like the people in our lives”
Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us

“I’ll keep pretending to swim, when really all I’m doing is floating. Barely keeping my head above water.”
Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us

“You are my wife. I’m supposed to be the one who protects you from the monsters. I’m not supposed to be one.”
Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us

“Sometimes even grown women need their mother’s comfort so we can just take a break from having to be strong all the time.”
Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us

“Our eyes, locked together, speak more naked truths than our mouths ever have.”
Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us

“You’re the most important part of my life, Lily. I want to be what brings you happiness. Not what causes you to hurt.”
Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us

“But then this morning I had to tell him goodbye. And he held me and kissed me so much, I thought I might die if he let go.
But I didn’t die. Because he let go and here I am. Still living. Still breathing.
Just barely.”
Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us


R A T I N G

Outstanding (★★★★★)

The Best Possible Answer by E. Katherine Kottaras || Life is But A Multiple Choice

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T H E   B E S T   P O S S I B L E   A N S W E R

A u t h o r :  E. Katherine Kottaras

P u b l i c a t i o n : November 1st 2016 by St. Martin’s Griffin

G e n r e : YA, Contemporary, Romance

F o r m a t : eARC

S y n o p s i s : 

AP exams—check
SAT test—check
College application—check
Date the wrong guy and ruin everything you’ve spent your whole life working for—check

Super-achiever Viviana Rabinovich-Lowe has never had room to be anything less than perfect. But her quest for perfection is derailed when her boyfriend leaks a private picture of her to the entire school—a picture only he was supposed to see. Making matters worse, her parents are getting divorced and now her perfect family is falling apart. For the first time, Vivi feels like a complete and utter failure.

Then she gets a job working at the community pool, where she meets a new group of friends who know nothing about her past. That includes Evan, a gorgeous guy who makes her want to do something she never thought she’d do again: trust. For the first time in her life, Vivi realizes she can finally be whoever she wants. But who is that? While she tries to figure it out, she learns something they never covered in her AP courses: that it’s okay to be less than perfect, because it’s our imperfections that make us who we are.

(Special thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me an e-copy of The Best Possible Answer in exchange for an honest review.)


R E V I E W

You pick up a YA contemporary book on a whim, breeze through the pages in a span of three hours, and sit there looking at empty space. What are you thinking? And which of the following statements is true?

a. If you can’t get into the college you want, find a job at the pool.

b. When in doubt, ask your mentally-ill professor/neighbor.

c.  If you got a shitty family, be shitty in turn.

d. Go for the guy your best friend likes.

e.  Never ever trust a guy to keep your nude pics to himself.

f. This book is boring.

g.  All of the above.

***

The Best Possible Answer is the first book I’ve read of Kottaras’s. The cover and synopsis gave me a good feeling, but it turns out, my expectations turned into ashes the deeper I got into the book.

At first, I was lured in by the humor. Vivianna Rabinovich-Lowe struck me as a funny character, but when problems start to unfold, she loses all her sparkling wit and the readers are bombarded instead with her endless drama and pitiful internal monologues. I can’t find it in me to sympathize with her, even though I could relate to her need for perfection and over-achievingness.

She annoyed me so much, especially when the boy Evan came into the picture. I mean, seriously? You would fight with your best friend over some guy you just met? Sure, she kept her feelings from the start to give way to her friend, but I couldn’t accept that either. It just strikes me wrong. She and Sammie were said to be friends since long ago, so doesn’t that mean they have a certain degree of trust towards each other? Why would you keep pretending you’ve no interest in your friend’s crush? To me, that just sounds completely plastic.

Also, why did she have to cover up her father’s secret from her mother and sister too? I just can’t believe it’s for their own sake. Because if Vivi truly cared for her family, she wouldn’t have let her father’s charades go on for too long. Honestly, she is so frustrating. I think the only thing I love about Vivianna is her name.

My point is Vivianna is totally off-character. And she has almost all the problems a teenager could have – leaked nude photos, parents getting divorce, love triangles, failed college plans, etc. I would’ve appreciated it if the author elaborated on each issue more, but *sighs* she only managed to scrape the surface of it. I couldn’t care for the characters, and I certainly didn’t feel anything for the story.

But for all its flaws and complications, I still got the message that the book is trying to deliver us. In every situation, there is no perfect solution – no perfect answer. We just have to take the best possible course of action.

All in all, I can’t highly recommend The Best Possible Answer to everyone. It’s less fun and more on drama. But I could certainly see how it would appeal to our younger readers, hence the YA. It’s a short, quick read too, but I likely won’t read it ever again.


R A T I N G

Poor (☆☆☆)


Have you guys read this book yet? Do you agree with me or not? Let me know your thoughts below! 🙂

Review || All The Good Parts by Loretta Nyhan

 

allthegoodparts.png|Book Information|

Title: All The Good Parts

Author: Loretta Nyhan

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary, Chicklit, Romance

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Release Date: Sept. 20, 2016

Ratings: 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Synopsis: “At thirty-nine, Leona Accorsi is broke, single, back in school, and living in her sister Carly’s basement. She’s perfectly content being quirky Auntie Lee to Carly’s four children. That is, until Leona’s doctor tells her that if she wants to have a child, she’d better do it now.

Leona does want a baby. She always has, but the circumstances have never been right. Now she has a huge decision to make: face motherhood on her own or risk missing out on its rewards.

Unfortunately, she’s let her romantic life go stagnant. She barely even knows any single men. She has just a few prospects: a Vietnam vet and partial amputee, his intimidating son, the sweet but troubled man who tutors her niece, and a fellow nursing student she’s never actually met.

As Leona discovers more about each one, she realizes any of them could be the right man for the job. The more important question is, has she become the right woman?”

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