Sunday, November 19, 2017

Blog Tour: Not Now, Not Ever

Not Now, Not Ever
Lily Anderson
Series: n/a
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
The sequel to The Only Thing Worse than Me Is You, inspired by The Importance of Being Earnest.

Elliot Gabaroche is very clear on what she isn't going to do this summer.

1. She isn't going to stay home in Sacramento, where she'd have to sit through her stepmother's sixth community theater production of The Importance of Being Earnest.
2. She isn't going to mock trial camp at UCLA.
3. And she certainly isn't going to the Air Force summer program on her mother's base in Colorado Springs. As cool as it would be to live-action-role-play Ender's Game, Ellie's seen three generations of her family go through USAF boot camp up close, and she knows that it's much less Luke/Yoda/"feel the force," and much more one hundred push-ups on three days of no sleep. And that just isn't appealing, no matter how many Xenomorphs from Alien she'd be able to defeat afterwards.

What she is going to do is pack up her attitude, her favorite Octavia Butler novels, and her Jordans, and go to summer camp. Specifically, a cutthroat academic-decathlon-like competition for a full scholarship to Rayevich College, the only college with a Science Fiction Literature program. And she's going to start over as Ever Lawrence, on her own terms, without the shadow of all her family’s expectations. Because why do what’s expected of you when you can fight other genius nerds to the death for a shot at the dream you’re sure your family will consider a complete waste of time?

This summer's going to be great.

This was one of my Can't-Wait Wednesday picks, and I must say, I had chosen well, because this was such a fun and delightful read. The synopsis does say this is a sequel, but my understanding is it's more of a companion. There are characters featured from Anderson's last book, which I am definitely going to read, but I did not feel out of the loop reading this book, without having read The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You (but I am going to buy it!). There are so many things to love, and here's my short list.
  • This is a great twist on The Importance of Being Earnest. Like Jack, Elliot had a lot of responsibilities. She had to forgo her own activities to babysit her younger bother and volunteer at her step-mother's theatre. She was also facing pressure from her mother's clan to uphold the family legacy, and enlist in the air force. Unable to pursue her own passions as herself, she created an alter ego, much like how Jack had Ernest, and set out to claim her dream of studying science fiction. Not only did the play inspire the story, it had a place in the story, as Elliot's step mother was repeatedly involved in a production of the play, and lines from the script worked their way into Elliot's inner monologues. I thought it was quite an ingenious way to include the original work, and found the passaged quoted quite brilliantly place. 
  • I fell in love with Elliot. She very fresh and a definite standout among YA protagonists. Her head was quite an entertaining place to be, as she shared her musings about serious and inane things, but I also loved the way she grew over the course of this book. It may have been a short time at the Melee, but it was a valuable experience for Elliot. 
  • The crew at Camp Onward featured so many fantastic characters. It made me giddy being surrounded by this quirky band of geniuses. With that many uber-intelligent people in one place, you know we are going to get exposed to some great nerdy talk involving fandoms. Fabulous references abounded in this book, and I loved every second of it. 
  • The characters in general were very well done. Each felt well crafted, their characteristics carefully selected to enhance my reading experience. 
  • I loved the extra challenges at Camp Onward! They had me at amoeba tag. 
  • The romance was so sweet. I love a good romance, and I had no problem shipping these two from their first meeting. There was something special in their interactions and the way they were with each other, that just made me want them to succeed. 
  • The ending!!!! I know I complain A LOT about endings, but this one was spot on. All I am going to say is that it put a big, stupid grin on my face and I still have a little warmth in my heart as I write this review. 

Overall: I have always enjoyed fun and endearing nerdy romances, and I am so excited to have found a YA author, who can fill that place in my world.


This book is chuck full of witty banter, nerdy talk, and great pop culture references. It was a difficult task, but I picked five of my favorite quotes to share.
"I'd broken out of the time loop of Elliot Gabaroche's life. I was Ripley waking up in Aliens, fifty-seven years in the future and away from the monotony of before.
Except without the PTSD and the being chased by Xenomorphs part.
"How many sisters should I be keeping watch for?"
He shuddered. "Don't even joke about them showing up. If you talk about them too much, they appear. Like Bloody Mary. Or Beetlejuice."
"Don't mind her. I once heard her say that Goonies would have been better without Chunk," he said.
"So she's a stone-cold monster?"
"'I know how to run without you holding my hand,'" Brandon quoted loudly.
I grinned at him over my shoulder. "If you start quoting Star Wars at me, we're never going to get anywhere."
"When you catch my references, I really don't care if we get anywhere..."
"He certainly smelled of bacon and syrup, but I supposed it could have been a hipster cologne with a name like Brunch Bro or IHOP Fiend."
**I would like to thank the publisher for the advanced copy of this book. Quotes are from an ARC and may change upon publication.


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Lily Anderson is a school librarian and Melvil Dewey fangirl with an ever-growing collection of musical theater tattoos and Harry Potter ephemera. She lives in Northern California, far from her mortal enemy: the snow.



November 14th: The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club & Pink Polka Dot Books- Welcome Post
November 15th: Tales of the Ravenous Reader - Interview
November 15th: the bookdragon - Review
November 16th: YAWednesdays - Guest Post
November 16th: Amanda Gernentz Hanson - Review + Favourite Quotes
November 17th: BookCrushin - Guest Post
November 17th: Book Munchies - Review + Favourite Quotes
November 18th: Belle's Bookish Reviews - Review
November 18th: Life of a Literary Nerd - Review
November 19th: Staircase Wit - Interview
November 19th: We Live and Breathe Books - Review + Favorite Quotes
November 20th: The Mind of a Book Dragon - Review + Playlist
November 20th: The Layaway Dragon - Review
November 21st: Boricuan Bookworms - Review + Playlist
November 21st: forthenovellovers - Review

Do you like nerdy romances?
Let us know in the comments!

Friday, November 17, 2017

In a Nutshell Reviews

In a Nutshell Reviews are my version of mini-reviews, because sometimes, you just want the highlights.

I Never
Laura Hopper
Series: n/a
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Rating: 4  out of 5 stars
Janey King’s priorities used to be clear: track, school, friends, and family. But when seventeen-year-old Janey learns that her seemingly happy parents are getting divorced, her world starts to shift. Back at school, Luke Hallstrom, an adorable senior, pursues Janey, and she realizes that she has two new priorities to consider: love and sex.

Inspired by Judy Blume’s classic Forever, I Never features a perfect, delicious, almost-to-good-to-be-true high school relationship . . . and it doesn’t shy away from the details. Destined to be passed from teen to teen, this is a young adult debut that will get readers talking.
This is a book about the things Janey had never experienced before, and it was quite a wistful walk down memory lane for me. It is blurbed as being the modern day Forever, which I can agree with, as I read that book back when I was 15. It opened my eyes to a lot of new things I was feeling and thinking about, and I found some solace in knowing that I was not the only one.
  • Pro: This book is very sex-positive. There were frank discussions about sex between Janey and her girlfriends, Janey and her mom, Janey and Luke. I really appreciated all the different angles from which Hopper approached the subject. 
  • Pro: Janey was not only experiencing first love, she was encountering a lot of other firsts: the first time seeing her parents as people, seeing them as flawed; she was starting to see that the world is not all black and white, but rather, there is a lot of grey, and this is a really pivotal time in a teen's life. 
  • Pro: Hopper showed how the dynamic changes in one's other relationships, when they begin a romantic relationship. Janey's friendships changed, as did the way she related to her parents. She had to adjust. There were bumps, but she evaluated and made the adjustments necessary to make it all work. 
  • Con: The ending was tough for me. I am an HEA girl, and although the ending was pre-determined from a very early point in the story, and is true to its inspiration, I still found it a little sad.  
  • Pro: This was a story about Janey exploring her autonomy. That time in a teen's life, where they pull away a little from their parents, and begin to keep some things to themselves, while they make some of their own decisions. It was very realistic and relatable. 
  • Pro: I liked Luke and Janey together. I thought he pushed her in a lot of good ways. He was patient and caring, and smooth-boy said all the right things. 
  • Pro: I did think Janey grew some over the course of the story. She had quite a few ideological shifts with respect to her parents and sex. She was not totally over her insecurities, but she knew she wanted to work towards that. She knew she wanted to be able to feel wanted, beautiful, and desirable even if she was not attached to a man telling her that. I felt like she was moving in the right direction. 
  • Pro: This book is really honest and realistic. I worked in a high school for 12 years, so if you think this is not the stuff going on in some teens' lives, you are mistaken. 

Overall: A bittersweet and honest story of firsts, which left me a little teary-eyed and wistful.

*I would like to thank the publisher for the review copy of this book.

Kat and Meg Conquer the World
Anna Priemaza
Series: n/a
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rating:  4 out of 5 stars
For fans of Nicola Yoon’s Everything, Everything, Emery Lord’s When We Collided, and Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, Anna Priemaza’s debut novel is a heartwarming and achingly real story of finding a friend, being a fan, and defining your place in a difficult world.

Kat and Meg couldn’t be more different. Kat’s anxiety makes it hard for her to talk to people. Meg hates being alone, but her ADHD keeps pushing people away. But when the two girls are thrown together for a year-long science project, they discover they do have one thing in common: They’re both obsessed with the same online gaming star and his hilarious videos.

It might be the beginning of a beautiful friendship—if they don’t kill each other first.

“Kat and Meg Conquer the World will hit home for anyone who has ever been waist-deep in fandom, doubt, or new relationships; Kat’s and Meg’s unique voices are outstanding, and their friendship brings this story to vibrant life."—Francesca Zappia, author of Made You Up and Eliza and Her Monsters
This book begins with Kat sharing her observations on high school, which were dead on and made me laugh. I was immediately hooked and wanted to read more. Let it be known, the beginning was not a fluke, as the more I got to know Kat and Meg, the more I loved this book.
  • Pro: A science project brought them together, MMORPG made them friends. 
  • Pro: Speaking of MMORPG, the fandom in question, Legends of the Stone, played a huge role in this book, and I really enjoyed getting to know this fandom. 
  • Pro: I really loved Meg. She was dealing with a lot of abandonment issues, which she felt were directly related to her ADHD, but she was so much more than her ADHD. She was smart, funny, vibrant, daring, and so outgoing. She was sort of the opposite of Kat, and that is why they made such a great pair. 
  • Pro: Kat's battle with her panic disorder was so realistic. We saw the good, the bad, and the ugly side of it, but we also saw Kat face it, head on, and I think I fist pumped with each of her personal accomplishments. 
  • Pro: Meg and Kat's friendship may have started out a little shaky, as Meg just sort of inserted herself into Kat's life, but it grew to be really special. They would do little things, which showed that they understood each other's needs, and Kat does something really major for Meg, which almost made me cry. OK, maybe I shed a few tears. It was very endearing. 
  • Pro: LoTSCON! So many major things happened at the con, and I have to say, I loved it! 
  • Pro: I always go gaga for solid YA families, and both Kat and Meg were obviously loved. Their parents were supportive, but also set boundaries, and I found them to be both wonderful and realistic. The siblings were pretty great too, and don't forget - the way to my heart is through a grandparent.
  • Pro: Science! That is the other way to my heart. Their science fair project plays a huge role in this book, and it was fun to see them work through the process. 
  • Pro: Kat's romance was as sweet as her. I wore a sappy grin on my face during all her romantic interactions. 
  • Pro: Both Meg and Kat experience tremendous growth over the course of this book, and I couldn't help but jump for joy, because I was rooting for them the whole time. 
  • Pro: I was so happy with the ending. 

Overall: This was such a wonderful and fun story of friendship, family, and fandoms.

*I would like to thank the publisher for the review copy of this book.

The First to Know
Abigail Johnson
Series: n/a
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Rating:  4.5 out of 5 stars
Dana Fields's father never knew his parents. When Dana secretly does a DNA test for her dad, hoping to find him some distant relatives for his birthday, her entire world implodes. Instead of a few third cousins, Dana discovers a half brother her age whose very existence means her parents' happy marriage is a lie.

Dana's desire to know her half brother, Brandon, and the extent of her dad's deception, clashes with her wish not to destroy her family. When she sees the opportunity to get to know Brandon through his cousin, the intense yet kind Chase, she takes it. But the more she finds out about Brandon, her father's past and the irresistible guy who'll never forgive her if he discovers the truth, the more she sees the inevitable fallout from her own lies. With her family crumbling around her, Dana must own up to her actions and find a way to heal the breach—for everyone—before they're torn apart for good.
This was one of my Can't-Wait Wednesday picks, so I had pretty high hopes for this book. I am happy to report it did not disappoint me. What would you do if you were the first to know something that could destroy your family? This is the question Dana struggled with in this book, and I couldn't stop flipping the pages as I watched Dana build her house of cards.
  • Pro: Many different types of families are explored. Single mom, single dad, foster kid, large family, extended families, adopted families. Families come in all shapes and sizes, and it's nice to see them represented. 
  • Pro: Dana! This young woman was put in a tough position, and she had to hold so much inside as she tried to make the right decision. I couldn't imagine having that sort of information, and knowing it could destroy my life as I know it. She didn't always make good decisions in this book, and her decisions often had major repercussions, but they all came with good intentions, and she learned a lot of herself, her family, and she was better for it. 
  • Pro: This books is packed with great characters. I found them all to be well developed and they made significant contributions to the story. I also cared about them. 
  • Pro: Speaking of caring, I found myself quite emotionally invested in this family. The joy, the loss, the pain, the betrayal -- it was all there. 
  • Pro: There were a lot of side plots, and when I stood back and took in the big picture, I was able to see how they were all part of the big picture. 
  • Con: The ending, though good, left me glad about some things, a little sad about others, and with a bunch of questions about yet more things.  
  • Pro: The drama was delicious! I kept sneaking little pieces of this book, because I had to know what happened next. It was quite addictive. 
  • Pro: There is a lot of love and grace shown and there were a few times I thought my heart would burst. 
  • Pro: I loved Dana's romance. Her romantic interest won me over with the first overture he made towards Dana, which was far from your typical romantic gesture. 
  • Pro: This book blended stories of families, friendships, relationships, and romance, and it did it well.  

Overall: A heartfelt story of family secrets, filled with great characters and lots of feels. 

Have you read any of these books?
Let us know in the comments!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Can't-Wait Wednesday: Love and Other Train Wrecks - Leah Konen

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I can't wait for Love and Other Train Wrecks!

Love and Other Train Wrecks
Leah Konen
Series: n/a
Release Date: January 2, 2018
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Waited on by: Sam
A twenty-four-hour romance about two teens who meet—and perhaps change their minds about love—on a train ride to Upstate New York in the middle of a snowstorm

One train ride. Two strangers.

Noah is a hopeless romantic. He’s heading back home for one last chance with his first love, whom he broke up with when he went off to college.

Ammy doesn’t believe in true love—her parents being prime examples. She’s escaping from a mom who can’t take care of her to a dad who may not even want her. That is, until one winter night when Noah and Ammy find themselves in the same Amtrak car heading to Upstate New York.

After a train-wreck first encounter between the two of them, the Amtrak train suddenly breaks down due to a snowstorm. Desperate to make it to their destinations, Noah and Ammy have no other option but to travel together. What starts off as a minor detour turns into the whirlwind journey of a lifetime, and over the course of the night they fall in love. But come morning their adventure takes an unexpected turn for the worst. Can one night can really change how they feel about love...and the course of their lives forever?

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: My Book Legacy

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is...

My Book Legacy!

This week, we were challenged to think of books we would want our future family members to read. My daughter has greatly influenced my book choices, and I have read many of her favorites, but alas, she has not read any of mine. Therefore, I am making this list for my future grandchildren, in hopes that they will appease their Maw Maw and read a book that was either a favorite or very meaningful to me.

Little House in the Big Woods
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Series: Little House, #1
Publisher: HarperCollins

This is a series that defined my childhood. I read the books. I watched the show. I was enamored with the time period and the lifestyle. When I look back now, I love the things the show represents. It's about family, community, and the resilience of the human spirit. The Ingalls family suffered some major setbacks, but they had their faith and each other.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Review: Now Is Everything - Amy Giles

Now Is Everything
Amy Giles
Series: n/a
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Now Is Everything is a stirring debut novel told in alternating THEN and NOW chapters, perfect for Sarah Dessen and Jennifer Niven fans, about what one girl is willing to do to protect her past, present, and future.

The McCauleys look perfect on the outside. But nothing is ever as it seems, and this family is hiding a dark secret.

Hadley McCauley will do anything to keep her sister safe from their father. But when Hadley’s forbidden relationship with Charlie Simmons deepens, the violence at home escalates, culminating in an explosive accident that will leave everyone changed.

When Hadley attempts to take her own life at the hospital post-accident, her friends, doctors, family, and the investigator on the case want to know why. Only Hadley knows what really happened that day, and she’s not talking.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Sundays with Sam - The Sunday Post

Sundays with Sam is a combination of Sunday Post hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer and Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

My Week in Review

Not much going on this week. I had a day off, because I had three doctors' appointments. I am scheduling a procedure that may help with my dry eye. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I am in the high percentage of people, who enjoy relief from the procedure. Fingers crossed!

Grey's Anatomy showed its 300th episode, and as a fan from the very beginning, I was excited to share this milestone. The episode delivered too. I swear, I cried a bunch of times during the episode. Just loved it. Here's a list of easter eggs that were hidden in the episode.

Friday, November 10, 2017

In a Nutshell Reviews

In a Nutshell Reviews are my version of mini-reviews, because sometimes, you just want the highlights.

Offsetting Penalties
Ally Mathews
Series: n/a
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Sports
Publisher: Entangled: Crush
Rating:  4 out of 5 stars
Isabelle Oster has dreamed of being a prima ballerina her entire life, so when the only male dancer backs out of the fall production, she’s devastated. Without a partner, she has no hope of earning a spot with the prestigious Ballet Americana company. Until hot jock Garret practicing stretches in one of the studios gives Izzy an idea, and she whips out her phone. But does she really want this badly enough to resort to blackmail?

All-state tight end Garret Mitchell will do anything to get a college football scholarship. Even taking ballet, which surprisingly isn’t so bad, because it means he gets to be up close and personal with the gorgeous Goth girl Izzy while learning moves to increase his flexibility. But Izzy needs him to perform with her for the Ballet Americana spot, and he draws the line at getting on stage. Especially wearing tights.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains a bit of blackmail, a lot of sarcasm, and an ending guaranteed to melt your heart.
I utterly love when a romance forms between an unlikely pair, and when I saw football and ballet thrown into the mix, I knew I wanted to read this book. I am happy to report, it did not disappoint!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Off Topic: Sephora is My Happy Place

Off Topic is WLABBs place for discussing non-bookish things. This week, I am talking about

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Blog Tour: Saving It - Monica Murphy

Saving It
Monica Murphy
Series: n/a
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Entangled: Crush
Rating:  3 out of 5 stars
Eden: Josh Evans and I have been best friends forever. He knows all my secrets, and I know all of his. So when he randomly asks me to help him lose his virginity, I sort of flip out. That’s a question that sends your mind to places you’ve seriously never considered before. Like, you know. Having sex. With your best friend. Except Josh doesn’t want to have sex with me—he wants me to help him find a girl. A nice girl who’s funny and smart and cute. Except he already knows a girl just like that…

Josh: Eden Sumner is my best friend. So of course she’d be the person to help me find my perfect match, so I can drop my V card before I head off to college. Except the more we search, the more I realize that maybe the right girl has been by my side all along. I don’t need Eden’s help in finding me a girl to love. I’m pretty sure I’m already in love with Eden. But now she thinks I’m only after one thing…with anyone but her.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book is what happens when American Pie meets Friends with Benefits. It contains two best friends, plenty of angst, and lots and lots of sex talk. Reading this might have you looking at your best friend in a different light!
I am a fan of Murphy's NA and adult books, so I was interested to see what she had to offer in the YA realm. I found Saving It to be fun, light, and flirty and I was throughly entertained.

Can't-Wait Wednesday: The Forgotten Book - Mechthild Gläser

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I can't wait for The Forgotten Book!

The Forgotten Book
Mechthild Gläser
Series: n/a
Release Date: January 2, 2108
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Waited on by: Sam

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters with Leadership Potential

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is...

Characters with Leadership Potential!

Since today is election day, this top ten list will highlight characters from books I read mostly within the past year, who I think could possibly grow into great leaders.

Speak Easy, Speak Love: Beatrice
McKelle George
Series: n/a
Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Beatrice was such an empowered woman, with a strong voice, who used her wit and her will to make things happen. There were many times in this book, when she had to wiggle out of some tight spots, and that is a great skill for a leader to have.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Review: The Hidden Oracle - Rick Riordan

The Hidden Oracle
Rick Riordan
Series: The Trials of Apollo, #1
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Young Adult
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

It is no secret that I am a fan of Uncle Rick's work, given that I have written numerous glowing reviews for his work, and The Hidden Oracle is no exception to my love for his books.

The Hidden Oracle follows Apollo (that's right, the actual Greek god Apollo) as he is cast down from Olympus and stripped of his godly powers. Now an awkward, powerless mortal, Apollo must follow the whims of young demigod Meg in order to appease Zeus and restore his godly powers.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Sundays with Sam - The Sunday Post

Sundays with Sam is a combination of Sunday Post hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer and Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

My Week in Review

All is quiet in these parts. I fell behind on my blog hopping, because I was wrapped up in my books. Today is my dad's birthday, and it's really special, because this time last year, he was in the hospital. They didn't expect him to ever leave, and now, one year later, he doesn't need the oxygen and they found no cancer in his lungs. So, I am very grateful for today.

Friday, November 3, 2017

In a Nutshell Reviews

In a Nutshell Reviews are my version of mini-reviews, because sometimes, you just want the highlights.

Bad Girls with Perfect Faces
Lynn Weingarten
Series: n/a
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Rating:  4.5 out of 5 stars
Bad girls get it done.

Sasha’s all-time favorite person is her best friend Xavier. He’s smart, funny, and strange. He’s not just nice but kind. He’s endlessly forgiving, even when maybe he shouldn’t be.

So when Xavier lets his ex, Ivy, slither her way back into his life, Sasha knows she needs to protect him. And not just because she can’t stop thinking about the night she and Xavier almost shared a rum-soaked kiss. No, it’s because Ivy is poisonous. The last time they were together, Ivy cheated on Xavier and he just barely survived.

Sasha has a plan: pose online as a guy to seduce Ivy, proving that cheaters never change. But she soon learns to be careful who you pretend to be—because you can never truly know the darkness inside of someone. Including yourself.

Told in multiple points of view.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Discussion: Cheating - is it a Deal Breaker?

This Week’s Topic: Cheating - Is it a Deal Breaker?

I like to read reviews after I have read a book, and when I was reading reviews for In Some Other Life, I was surprised to see how one plot point basically ruined the entire experience for so many readers. The plot point I am taking about, is the main character's boyfriend and her best friend carrying on behind her back. Yes friends, cheating. I am not a fan of cheating, but it did not spoil the whole book for me. Why? It was a jumping off point. It was that catalyst, that sent the MC into self-examination mode, and precipitated the entire alternate time line portion of the story. There was a lot of other story aside from the cheating, and I was able to enjoy those parts in their separate space. 

Another book, which suffered a similar wrath was 99 days. Although I thought the main character made a poor choice, it was not technically cheating. To paraphrase Ross, they were on a break.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Can't-Wait Wednesday: Winner Take All - Laurie Devore

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I can't wait for Winner Take All!

Winner Take All
Laurie Devore
Series: n/a
Release Date: January 30, 2018
Publisher: Imprint
Waited on by: Sam
For Nell Becker, life is a competition she needs to win. For Jackson Hart, everyone is a pawn in his own game. They both have everything to lose.

Nell wants to succeed at everything—school, sports, life. And victory is sweeter when it means beating Jackson Hart, the rich, privileged, undisputed king of Cedar Woods Prep Academy. Yet no matter how hard she tries, Jackson is somehow one step ahead. They’re a match made in hell, but opposites do attract.

Drawn to each other by their rivalry, Nell and Jackson fall into a whirlwind romance that consumes everything in their lives. But when a devastating secret exposes their relationship as just another game, how far will Nell go to win?

Visceral and whip-smart, Laurie Devore’s Winner Take All paints an unflinching portrait of obsessive love, toxic competition, and the drive for perfection.
The first thing that caught my attention was the setting. I went to public school, but for some reason, I love books set in prep schools. There is just something about the sort of trouble rich, privileged kids can get into. I was also drawn to the two main characters. They both are driven and want to be number one, so you know this will be a torrid and troubled romance. I often pick the light and fluffy, but a dark romance can be quite delicious if done properly, and this one has the promise of taking me on a wild ride.

What are you waiting on?
Let us know in the comments!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on the Darker Side

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is a freebie, so I chose..

Books on the Darker Side!

If you asked someone to describe me as a reader, I think the first thing that would come to mind, is my love for the light and fluffy. So, trying to come up with a list of scary books would be difficult for me. Therefore, I am going with books that are a little darker than my normal fare for this halloween top ten list.

Bad Girls with Perfect Faces
Lynn Weingarten
Series: n/a
Publisher: Simon Pulse

This was a dark and twisted tale of obsession, and we all know that sort of thing never ends well. Weingarten's writing was right on point, deftly capturing the tone and keeping that black cloud hovering as we waited for the other shoe to drop.

The Accident Season
Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Series: n/a
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books

Fowley-Doyle does a masterful job of creating atmosphere. All the trademarks of fall and halloween ooze through the pages of this tale filled with secrets, mystery, and a paranormal touch.

Book of Lies
Terry Teri
Series: n/a
Publisher: Clarion Books

Teri did a great job setting to mood, with the story opening during a storm at a funeral. The mood was well maintained from there, and the change of scenery really kicked it up a notch in this story of witches and a family curse.

Spellbook Lost and Found
Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Series: n/a
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books

This is Fowley-Doyle doing what I expect her to do. This story was haunting and mysterious, as we try to distinguish fact from fiction, the past from the present.

Haunting the Deep
Adriana Mather
Series: How to Hang a Witch, #2
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

This book is not as dark as some of the others, but it has its moments. How could it not. Set in Salem filled with witches, ghost, curses, and spells, it was bound to be a little eerie.

When I Cast Your Shadow
Sarah Porter
Series: n/a
Publisher: Tor Teen

This was my second Porter book, and she puts out some really dark and twisted stuff. Between the ghosts, possessions, and visits to the fringe, I was pretty creeped out.

Tiny Pretty Things
Sona Charaipotra, Dhonielle Clayton
Series: Tiny Pretty Things, #1
Publisher: HarperTeen

I know, this is a book about ballerinas. They were pink tights and tutus, this is true, but this is a look at the ultra competitive side of ballet. These are some demented little dancers, who will wage mental and physical warfare in order to keep their spot in the company. I thought they were quite terrifying.

One Dark Throne
Kendare Blake
Series: Three Dark Crowns, #2
Publisher: HarperTeen

The whole premise of this series, is that these sisters must fight to the death for the throne. One throne, one queen, and the sisters were really out to get each other in this book. They were literally hunting each other.

The Graces
Laure Eve
Series: The Graces, #1
Publisher: Amulet Books

The Graces are a family shrouded in secrets and mystery, and River is a creepy stranger with a sordid past, who wants to become part of their circle. Filled with unlikable characters, and a little bit of magic, it's dark from beginning to end.

The Darkest Corners
Kara Thomas
Series: n/a
Publisher: Delacorte

As with any good psychological thriller, this one maintains a darker tone. This was a tense mystery, which kept me on my toes, throwing twists at us until the very last page.

Do you have a favorite dark(er) book?
Let us know in the comments!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Review: My New Crush Gave to Me - Shani Petroff

My New Crush Gave to Me
Shani Petroff
Series: n/a
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Charlotte Charlie Donovan knows exactly what she wants for Christmas: Teo Ortiz. He s the school s star athlete, in the National Honor Society, invited to every party, contributes to the school paper (where Charlie is co-editor), and is about to be featured as One to Watch in a teen magazine basically, he's exactly the type of guy Charlie s meant to be with. The only problem he barely knows she exists.

But Charlie is determined to be Teo's date to the Christmas ball. And she has a plan: To rig the paper s Secret Santa so that she can win his heart with five perfect gifts. But to do that she needs help. Enter J.D. Ortiz Teo s cousin, and possibly the most annoying person on the planet. He s easy going, laid back, unorganized, spontaneous, and makes a joke out of everything the exact opposite of Charlie (and Teo). But he s willing to provide insight into what Teo wants, so she s stuck with him.

Yet, the more time Charlie spends with J.D., the more she starts to wonder: Does she really know what, or rather who, she wants for Christmas?

For the second time this year, I experienced this feeling:

So, I had just set aside two books that weren't working for me, and I was worried that I was falling into the dreaded reading slump 😲, and then along comes this wonderful book. Seriously, when I was done with this book, I felt so buoyant, my heart so light, that I wanted to dance atop a mountain while making a joyful noise.

Reasons why I wanted to hug this book
  • Charlie was my type of girl. She was all about schedules and planning and she abhorred lateness (my personal pet peeve). I could totally related to her and her little control freak ways, but I was also pleased to see her grow and change a little over the course of the book. 
  •  J.D. was probably one of my favorite things about this book. I wish I had had a boy like J.D. in my life in high school, because he was something special. He was smart, funny, a little goofy, and artistic. He was also so thoughtful and sweet. I adored his interactions with his little cousin, his parents, and his grandfather, and this boy totally won a place in my heart. 
  • Charlie and Morgan had such an awesome friendship, and I was totally jealous of them. I liked how they shared so much and had each other's backs. Everyone should have a friend like that. 
  • This book really put me in the holiday spirit. Christmas, Christmas everywhere! We got to share in so many holiday traditions, as well as see some old ones evolve with changing circumstances. It was also fun unwrapping all the secret santa gifts. One of my favorite things about the holidays is finding the perfect gift for someone. That was one of the things Charlie and J.D. were trying to accomplish in this book, and I was elated to get to tag along on their search.
  • I always enjoy a good enemies-to-friends-to-more story, and this one did not disappoint. The initial verbal sparring between J.D. and Charlie was quite amusing, but I really liked when their  relationship grew into a true friendship, where they could confide in and rely on each other. 
  • Baking! Charlie and Morgan have a little baking business, and there is a ton of wonderful baking going on in book. I really need to find me a Jim Dandy recipe, because they sound ah-mazing. 

Overall: This book was everything I was looking for and needed at the time. It oozed holiday charm, but also delivered a story filled with love, friendship, and family, which is something I associate with the holidays. I found myself with a severe case of the warm-fuzzies and a perma-smile on my face. 

**I would like to thank the publisher for the advanced copy of this book.

Do you have a favorite holiday tradition?
Let us know in the comments!