Genre: Contemporary

Review: Breathe, Annie, Breathe

Posted September 18, 2014 / Book Reviews / 8 Comments
Review: Breathe, Annie, Breathe

Wow. This book was just so much better than I was expecting. So many bloggers were talking about this one a few months ago when it came out and I was pretty uninterested. I’m not sure why, really – maybe just because I fucking hate running? If anything, this book motivated me to take up running and finally get my ass in shape. Breathe, Annie, Breathe was a multidimensional story that really didn’t fall short in any areas for me. Annie loses her boyfriend Kyle about a year before the book takes place and she decides to run the Country Music Marathon in his place. She starts a rigorous training routine and finds herself spending a lot of time with her trainer’s brother. The book takes place over the course of a few months and the romance was a glorious slow burn. I really enjoyed watching the relationship with Jeremiah and Annie develop over time. She was trying to get over Kyle and accept that she needed to move on with her life, while he was coming to understand that his feelings for Annie were different than his usual short relationships. They were constantly teasing each other, having fun, and being competitive; it was a relationship that built from friendship and it felt so natural. It was much more interesting to me than the typical SUPER romantic kinds of stories I normally see in contemporary YA. Aside from the romantic elements, this book was really about Annie working on getting in […]

Review: Eleanor & Park

Posted September 16, 2014 / Book Reviews / 14 Comments
Review: Eleanor & Park

So I read this book right before I decided to start my book blog. As I said up there in the basics section, I saw the book at the store and passed it by countless times. The concept didn’t sound overly interesting to me so I never bothered. I had just lent my John Green books to a friend of mine, who then passed on Eleanor & Park to me. She highly recommended it so I decided to finally give it a go. The story was simultaneously an adorable tale about first love and a story that will break your heart. The love between Park and Eleanor was slowly developed perfectly. Pretty much think of the opposite of insta-love. The two were fascinated with each other at first but they both were mostly just curious. It all started when Park finally tipped his comic book so she could read along with him on the bus. Rainbow Rowell does such an amazing job of bringing the reader into their world and making you really feel for them. You remember all the first love jitters like they happened yesterday. Their story is more than just first love, though, as Eleanor struggles with her home life and Park is unsure if and how he can help. It’s just so heartbreaking. Eleanor & Park follows the two characters as they build their relationship, struggle with issues at home, and navigate high school. The end of the book was fitting but definitely left me wanting more. […]

Review: Open Road Summer

Posted September 14, 2014 / Book Reviews / 10 Comments
Review: Open Road Summer

Let me get this out of the way quickly: I’m not a huge music person. That sounds weird or stupid, but I’m just not. I don’t mean that I don’t like music or don’t listen to music, because I DO. I really do. I prefer classic rock to the popular stuff on the radio now; I tend to only listen to music that’s from the 60s, 70s, or 90s. Some people have to be plugged into music all day every day, but there are some days I even go without listening to music at all. (That sounds weird because I used to never be that way; I’m pretty sure I can blame audiobooks for that one). That being said, I generally don’t gravitate towards books with music or musicians as a central part of the plot line. It’s not that I can’t relate to it or won’t like it, it’s just a topic that doesn’t jump out to me. Open Road Summer clearly is a book based around music, but it was not what I was expecting – in a very good way. Reagan heads out on tour for the summer with her best friend Lilah, who is a country music star. When some drama unfolds and Lilah’s image is in jeopardy, a child star singer named Matt joins the tour. To me, this was a story much more about friendship than about relationships. Sure, there is PLENTY going on with romantic relationships, breakups, and make-ups, but I think the central […]

Review: Twenty Boy Summer

Posted September 12, 2014 / Book Reviews / 6 Comments
Review: Twenty Boy Summer

This book has been on my radar for a while. The plot of the book follows Frankie and Anna as they embark on Frankie’s family vacation. The girls have been close for their entire lives and Anna is pretty much considered a part of her family. A year before, Frankie’s older brother Matt passes away. The last month of his life, Anna and Matt were secretly seeing each other. Anna’s relationship with him is unfinished when he unexpectedly dies and she is unsure about how to tell Frankie. Frankie comes up with the idea of the Twenty Boy Summer to occupy them during their vacation. This was obviously a somewhat large part of the plot (I mean, it’s the title of the book and everything!) but I didn’t think it was that necessary or relevant. They end up meeting some boys soon after they arrive and the competition sort of fades away. Overall, the story of this book was really amazing. I enjoyed getting to know the characters and exploring how they each worked through their grief. I really liked that it wasn’t as predictable as I expected. I’ve been falling into that trap lately with contemporary YA, where the book happens exactly as you’d think and there’s no mystery to it. The “climax” of the book was really the only part I saw coming. However, I liked the way it was developed and dealt with. Without giving too much away, the issues that normally would be “resolved” in a […]

200 Word Review: Since Last Summer

Posted September 6, 2014 / Book Reviews / 1 Comment
200 Word Review: Since Last Summer

Review: DAMMIT why wasn’t the first book in this series a standalone? And is there going to be ANOTHER book after this one? Because I don’t think I can deal with that. Things I liked: It was a light, summery, easy, and fast read. Things I didn’t like: The DRAMA and typical YA conflicts/misunderstandings. I could literally predict every single decision the characters were going to make…and I groaned every time because they, of course, managed to make the wrong choice. Utterly predictable. The recurring characters all seemed very different. Obviously the book takes place a year later but seriously? People don’t change that much in a year. It seemed like a lot of the problems were invented or all in their heads. The relationships just didn’t make sense to me, while at the same time being completely expected. I guess they just weren’t developed enough for me. I finished this book pretty quickly and it left such a minimal impression on me. I was so happy after the first book ended and thoroughly enjoyed the story, despite some traditional predictability. After finishing the second book, I couldn’t even remember what happened in half of the story. Oh well. *sigh*  

Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Posted August 29, 2014 / Book Reviews / 10 Comments
Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Okay honestly I can’t believe I didn’t read this book sooner. It has been my most anticipated read of the year, hands down, and I guess I kept waiting to see if it would go on sale. I decided to just say fuck it and decided to make it a part of Bout of Books. I am so, SO glad I finally read this one (although I kind of wish I waited a little longer so it would be closer to the release of the second book). To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before easily gets five stars from me. I loved every second of it. I LOVED loved LoVeD the characters. Before I get too carried away – this book is about how Lara Jean’s life is turned upside down when her box of letters is released to their intended recipients. In order to get over a boy she likes, she writes a letter to them and hides it in a hatbox under her bed. One day, the letters are mysteriously sent out and she has to deal with the repercussions. One of the boys is her sister’s ex-boyfriend Josh, who is also their longtime friend/neighbor. Another is the popular boy at school, Peter, who was her first kiss. Lucas, a third boy at her school, becomes her close friend after getting her letter and helps her make sense of everything happening to her. Every character in this book was so fun to get to know. Lara Jean was blessed with an amazing […]

Isla Is Coming Readalong / Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After

Posted August 18, 2014 / Book Challenges, Book Reviews, Features / 4 Comments
Isla Is Coming Readalong / Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After

The Isla Is Coming readalong kicked off on the last day of July and I decided to take part! Unlike most people participating, I’m reading the series for the first time. (Click on the picture above to read the informational post). I finished Anna and the French Kiss WAY too early and waited to start Lola and the Boy Next Door with the rest of the readers. I finished Lola within 24 hours as well! Of course, the point of the readalong is to gear up for the third book’s release – Isla and the Happily Ever After on the 14th. I pre-ordered it and anxiously awaited for it to come in. It was worth the wait. Without further ado, here’s my final review for the Isla Is Coming readalong! ISLA IS HERE!!! Review: Oh god, how am I going to write this review without A) squealing and swooning like a child and B) not repeating the lovely things everyone else has already said about this book. This author. This series. IT’S ALL PERFECT. I don’t have any idea how Stephanie Perkins can write very typical young adult romance books but have them be so different, so original, and so amazing. First off, Isla was different because the two characters, Isla and Josh, started their relationship fairly early in the book. It was not about how they came together, but how they stayed together and how their relationship grew. In both Anna and Lola, the couples took some time to get their shit together and make it work. The […]

Review: The Distance Between Us

Posted August 14, 2014 / Book Reviews / 7 Comments
Review: The Distance Between Us

Review: This is a book I’ve been meaning to read for a long time, but unfortunately was released before I really started getting back into reading like a crazy person. I can’t believe I waited this long because it was so, so cute. Character-wise, this book definitely had some winners. Caymen was hilarious with her sarcasm and dry sense of humor. I laughed out loud quite a few times thanks to her. She was definitely the kind of girl I wanted to be friends with. Caymen and her mom live above the doll shop that they own and work at, struggling to make ends meet. Her father isn’t in her life because he took off the moment her mom announced she was pregnant at a young age. Simultaneously, her mom’s parents disowned her. She used the “keep quiet” money from Caymen’s father to start up the doll shop and since then was not having the best time keeping up with her bills. Since her wealthy ex left her, Caymen’s mom has a lot of hatred towards rich people. We learn that there is a lot more to her story than that, which makes a lot more sense as to why she feels so strongly about it. Enter Xander Spence (excuse me as I barf at his name – really Kasie West? XANDER?), who is coming to the doll shop to buy a present for his grandmother. Caymen instinctively keeps her distance, but is inevitably drawn to him anyways. He has the […]

Review: Where She Went

Posted August 13, 2014 / Book Reviews / 5 Comments
Review: Where She Went

Contains spoilers if you haven’t read If I Stay! Review: If you haven’t read If I Stay [review here], you should probably read that before reading this review! Overall, I liked this one better than If I Stay. I think. To me, they were just so different. The first book is from Mia’s perspective, where you learn about her family, friends, and boyfriend as she decides if she should live or die. Once you get to know her parents and brother, you understand why this is a difficult decision for her, now that they have passed away. She can take the easy route and join them wherever they ended up, or she can struggle through the rest of her life without her family but with her boyfriend and bright musical future ahead of her. She ends up deciding to stay. At the end of the book, I was itching to know a little bit more about what happens next. I didn’t feel like there was closure. I think that If I Stay could have been a standalone, but I’m glad it wasn’t. I loved Adam from the first book and when I learned that Where She Went was from his perspective, I was very excited…. until I read the plot summary. She left him?? How could she do that!? I was initially pissed but then realized how hard it must have been for both of them. I was glad the two would have a chance to meet up again and hopefully start their […]

Isla Is Coming Readalong / Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door

Posted August 11, 2014 / Book Challenges, Book Reviews, Features / 6 Comments
Isla Is Coming Readalong / Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door

 The Isla Is Coming readalong kicked off on the last day of July and I decided to take part! Unlike most people participating, I’m reading the series for the first time. (Click on the picture on the right to read the informational post). I finished Anna and the French Kiss WAY too early and waited to start Lola and the Boy Next Door with the rest of the readers. I finished Lola within 24 hours as well! Of course, the point of the readalong is to gear up for the third book’s release – Isla and the Happily Ever After on the 14th.  So now here’s my review for the second book in the Isla Is Coming readalong! Review: As predicted, I loved this book. It was hard not to compare it to Anna and the French Kiss, though… I found myself doing that a lot. I think there were enough similarities and differences to make this book really a great follow-up. Perkins does a wonderful job of bringing variety to a typical YA book/topic. There was somewhat of a love triangle, which I normally don’t care for, but the reader obviously knows how the book is going to end and who she is going to end up with. It always takes the main character a lot longer than the reader to figure out! Lola was very different from Anna, which I liked. She had two dads and a messed-up biological mom, who all worked together to make a pretty interesting family dynamic. It was […]