Genre: Contemporary

Blog Tour Review: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids

Posted May 29, 2015 / Book Reviews / 5 Comments
Blog Tour Review: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler Publisher: Simon Pulse Release Date: June 2nd 2015 Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Retellings, Chick Lit The youngest of six talented sisters, Elyse d’Abreau was destined for stardom—until a boating accident took everything from her. Now, the most beautiful singer in Tobago can’t sing. She can’t even speak. Seeking quiet solitude, Elyse accepts a friend’s invitation to Atargatis Cove. Named for the mythical first mermaid, the Oregon seaside town is everything Elyse’s home in the Caribbean isn’t: An ocean too cold for swimming, parties too tame for singing, and people too polite to pry—except for one. Christian Kane is a notorious playboy—insolent, arrogant, and completely charming. He’s also the only person in Atargatis Cove who doesn’t treat Elyse like a glass statue. He challenges her to express herself, and he admires the way she treats his younger brother Sebastian, who believes Elyse is the legendary mermaid come to life. When Christian needs a first mate for the Cove’s high-stakes Pirate Regatta, Elyse reluctantly stows her fear of the sea and climbs aboard. The ocean isn’t the only thing making waves, though—swept up in Christian’s seductive tide and entranced by the Cove’s charms, Elyse begins to wonder if a life of solitude isn’t what she needs. But changing course again means facing her past. It means finding her inner voice. And scariest of all, it means opening her heart to a boy who’s best known for breaking them . . . This book was one […]

Blog Tour Review: Kissing in America

Posted May 22, 2015 / Book Reviews / 7 Comments
Blog Tour Review: Kissing in America

I really, really enjoyed this book. I couldn’t put it down. I love when a book can completely set the scene and give me plenty of things to relate to. I’ve been liking the format of “five reasons to read” for reviews sometimes, so without further ado… Five Reasons to Read Kissing in America 1. The Road Trip This is definitely the kind of book that gets me in the mood to travel. I love the idea of taking a cross-country road trip and am absolutely determined to do it someday. I have to say, I wouldn’t enjoy the exact same trip that these girls had, but it definitely gave me some inspiration! The story centers around Eva and her best friend Annie traveling to California. They’re headed to a TV competition for Annie to win scholarship money, but Eva organizes the trip with the purpose of visiting Will, a boy she’s been falling for. I loved reading about the two of them traveling the country, stopping and meeting some interesting characters, and exploring a lot of feelings. I love when books motivate me to get up and DO SOMETHING. 2. The Friendship Annie and Eva had a really strong relationship. I loved that they were both incredibly smart and talked about way more complex things than people their age. Eva made some mistakes, especially at the end, but Annie was always there to listen and help her. I can’t imagine Eva being an easy person to be friends with, but […]

Review: Saint Anything

Posted May 20, 2015 / Book Reviews / 18 Comments
Review: Saint Anything

It wasn’t until I started filling out my rating report that I knew that this book could be considered a favorite. I got to the end of it and was completely impressed, AS USUAL, but just didn’t feel like it had a SPARK that made me say “this is hopping onto my favorites shelf.” It’s the kind of quiet YA book that I’ve been absolutely loving lately. (Read Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway as soon as its released; you’ll know exactly what I mean.)  It has some really heavy themes but there’s not a lot of your typical drama that gets associated with some young adult contemporary books. It was so refreshing. Her family has issues that they need to deal with – A LOT more issues than your average family – but it was still a very subtle (maybe that’s not the right word) story that impressed me regardless. I can completely see why Dessen has said this book took her a long time to write and was particularly challenging. I’ve always thought that Sarah Dessen was the queen of contemporary because she could perfectly blend family, friendship, and romance all into a perfect story about imperfect characters. This book was no exception to that, although the romance part was definitely subdued compared to the rest – which I loved! It was built up organically through little glances at each other and moments of “what-if,” but didn’t compare to the themes of friendship and family. It had its rightful […]

The Jessica Darling Series Binge-Read

Posted May 8, 2015 / Book Reviews / 1 Comment
The Jessica Darling Series Binge-Read

I somehow missed the memo when I was younger to read the Jessica Darling series. I’m not sure why, because the synopsis sounds like something my young self would have been very excited to read. When I saw the whole series at my library, I randomly decided to get to it. I’ve been seriously lagging behind in my Series-A-Month challenge, so I thought these quick reads would be an awesome long one to get to. Instead of individually reviewing all five of these really old books, I figured I’d share my thoughts here on the series as a whole! THE GIST | Jessica essentially has an existential crisis when her best friend, Hope, moves away. She spends most of the book complaining and missing her. She’s left with “The Clueless Crew,” or three girls that she barely likes but continues to be friends with for some reason. She mostly just sits with them at lunch and doesn’t do much of anything else. I couldn’t stop reading this book and was pretty curious about where it was going to go, especially because not much happened plot-wise for a while. It took me a little too long to realize this was literally a diary. THE GOOD | MARCUS FLUTIE. I love him. I shipped it so hard for some reason. The end of the book made me incredibly anxious for the next one and I was pretty pissed that the library I finished the book in didn’t have the series. I had to […]

Blog Tour Review: 99 Days

Posted April 20, 2015 / Book Reviews / 15 Comments
Blog Tour Review: 99 Days

Learn more about the author and enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post! I’m very particular about writing my reviews essentially right after I finish the book. I can’t let my thoughts just sit around in my head, because I will inevitably lose them within a day or two (sometimes much sooner). This book, though, is one that took me longer to digest. I didn’t have mixed feelings on it or anything, which is sometimes the reason I need a few days, but I knew I really appreciated what this book did and how it made me feel. It’s a really hard topic and situation to get involved in, but I think Kate Cotungo did an absolutely amazing job. The general love triangle topic/trope can be VERY polarizing with readers. If it’s something you’re not opposed to in general, I urge you to try this book out. (I’m not one to discount a love triangle as long as it’s believable, well-done, and involves no insta-love. More on that later.) I couldn’t stop reading this. Occasionally there are books where I can say “yep, I finished this in two sittings” but that’s just because I had a lot of time on my hands. This is a book where I could absolutely not stop reading and was determined to see how it all ended. So yes, I totally read this in two long sittings. I couldn’t get enough. I want to compare it to that metaphor where it’s like a […]

ARC Review: The Pretty App

Posted April 17, 2015 / Book Reviews / 2 Comments
ARC Review: The Pretty App

The fastest and easiest thing I can say about this book is this: if you read The Boyfriend App, imagine that you took that book and stripped away a layer or two. Take away some of the cute romance, some of the charming characters, and some of the deeper meanings and morals. Voilà! You have The Pretty App. That sounds harsh, but notice I said the word SOME a lot. I don’t think its a lot worse by any means, I just think it’s a more superficial version of the same book… and it still happens to be damn enjoyable! I was interested initially to get inside Blake’s head. In the first book, she’s the school’s mean girl and doesn’t seem to have many, if any, redeeming qualities. It was kind of exactly what I predicted. She views herself as just a pretty face, she has issues with her family, and she puts other people down to feel better about herself. Cue the character development into a glowing, respectable young woman by the end of the book. (Kind of. She always said she would still have a bit of a “bitch” in her, which I actually appreciated; it was more realistic that way – saying that she could never change some parts of who she is.) It did bug me HOW OFTEN they talked about how she was soooo pretty and had nothing else going for her. She constantly, and I mean CONSTANTLY talked about her looks being her only good quality; she’s not […]

ARC Review: Play On

Posted April 16, 2015 / Book Reviews / 0 Comments
ARC Review: Play On

I really liked this one for the most part! It definitely was different than I expected in a lot of ways too. I think the best way to break it down is in a what worked/what didn’t kind of format. My rating is rounded down just because I did roll my eyes at the cheese more often than it made me swoon, as well as the first reason listed in the negatives section below. Overall I would recommend this book (especially if you’re a baseball fan!) because it was a cute, quick story. What I Liked The main character was a nice perspective to hear the story from. I liked reading a male POV in a contemporary, because it doesn’t happen too much. It was nice to see the more emotional side of himself and having him admit to having feelings for Marissa. There’s a lot more about the voice that I need to go into (on the negative side, unfortunately) but OVERALL I did like Austin as a main character. The book was deeper than I expected. It had cute elements that I expect from contemporary YA, but it also had some darker themes that I didn’t see coming. The issues with Austin’s dad and Marissa definitely took up a lot of the book and I liked having something different and difficult to read about, while still getting an adorable story. There was a good balance between lighter and darker themes. I’m really starting to enjoy books set in […]

ARC Review: Things We Know By Heart

Posted April 15, 2015 / Book Reviews / 10 Comments
ARC Review: Things We Know By Heart

I am actually pretty bummed about this book… which you would never guess, based on the decent rating. I had to break it down with my rating report, below, in order to sort my feelings out. If there was a way to give this 3.75 stars, I would. [EDIT: Upon further reflection, my rating has come down quite a lot. The issues I explain here have only bothered me MORE with time.] This book was easily at the top of my most-anticipated list for this year and the lovely Brittany let me borrow it ahead of time. There was just something about the topic that really drew me in. I expected something very heavy and sad, yet emotionally gripping and (hopefully) uplifting/ inspiring by the end. That’s not exactly what I got. When I first started the book, I was immediately drawn in. I wanted to know exactly what happened with Trent, how she tried to move on, and her experiences with the other organ recipients. Again, I didn’t exactly get that. The timeframe of this book starts a year after Trent dies and after she’s already met every other organ recipient. The boy who got the heart, Colton, never wrote back to her. She takes it upon herself to track him down and accidentally gets involved with him. Of course, you can immediately tell that this is going to be one of those books where she holds out until the last second to tell him the truth about how she […]

Review: The Boyfriend App

Posted April 8, 2015 / Book Reviews / 3 Comments
Review: The Boyfriend App

I received an ARC of The Pretty App, the next book in this companion series, a looong time ago. I tried to read it first without reading The Boyfriend App, but wanted to go through the whole series in order. I didn’t have a lot of expectations going into this one. I was hoping to breeze through and get the background info for the next book in the series. Well, that worked: this was a super quick and entertaining read! It’s certainly not perfect, but I definitely enjoyed it overall. The number one thing I liked about this book was the concept. There’s an app contest where the winner gets scholarship money and prizes for their school. Audrey, the main character, designs The Boyfriend App. First, it matches people up based on compatibility and distance. The second version of the app creates a lot of chaos, as it actually gets the other person to fall in love (but mostly lust). For a contemporary romance, the concept was unique. I loved that the MC was a geeky, super smart girl. I loved her group of friends: Aidan (the cute boy I shipped hard throughout), Lindsey (her fashion-obsessed cousin who always had her back), Mindy (her supportive friend with a speech impediment and didn’t talk), and Nigit (another super-smart geeky guy in the group). The book is split into two parts – one for each “version” of the app. The first part is Audrey brainstorming her app and figuring out what she wants […]

Review: This is What Happy Looks Like

Posted April 3, 2015 / Book Reviews / 6 Comments
Review: This is What Happy Looks Like

There really wasn’t anything bad about this book, but it was super in the middle of the road for me. I liked the characters, premise, and writing style, but it wasn’t anything particularly exceptional. With contemporary, my main concern is the swoons. If it’s a book about a couple getting together, I kind of want to SEE the couple together and FEEL their relationship grow. Beware that this review is A LITTLE SPOILERY. I won’t ruin anything major, but there’s really no way to explain my problems with the book without talking about the main thing that had me feeling “meh.” The set-up of the book is that Graham, a celebrity heartthrob movie star, accidentally emails Ellie, a regular girl who lives in a small Maine town. The two of them spend quite a few months emailing back and forth and essentially end up falling for each other. She doesn’t have any idea that he’s actually a celebrity, and she has some skeletons in her closet as well. He comes to her town to film a movie and the two of them start hanging out. My issues: It feels like insta-love. Even though they’ve been talking for months, he seems to be blown away by her immediately and their relationship takes off without a hitch. I get that there’s the whole background setup of them talking for a while, but the reader doesn’t get to experience any of that! They spend half of the book apart. Because of her family issues and […]