Friday, July 31, 2015

How to Say I Love You Out Loud {by Karole Cozzo}

How to Say I Love You Out Loud
Title: How to Say I Love You Out Loud
Author: Karole Cozzo
Genre: YA Contemporary
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Source: NetGalley

Words are strong. Love is stronger.
When Jordyn Michaelson’s autistic brother joins her at her elite school, she’s determined not to let anyone know they're related. Even if that means closing herself off to all her closest friends, including charming football stud Alex Colby. But despite her best intentions, she just can't shake the memory of kissing Alex last summer, and the desire to do it again.
Can Jordyn find the courage to tell Alex how she really feels—and the truth about her family—before he slips away forever?

This was a great story. I loved it. It was heartfelt, it was fun, it was important. There needs to be more books about mental illness and the stigma surrounding them, and I thought this was very well done. I also love how this was from the viewpoint of not someone who has it, but a close family member that is affected by it.

Jordyn is your normal high school junior. She's starting her second year at a new school. She doesn't let anyone get close to her, because of her brother, who's autistic. Jordyn is pretty resentful and bitter at how is autism has taken over their life, but especially how she got teased for it in grade school. Since then, she's taken pains to separate herself from him, even hiding him from her closest friend, Alex. But then her brother has to come to her school for a while, and her secret risks being exposed.

Some people may not take to Jordyn, especially at first. She may come across a little selfish and unfeeling, but she's more scared. She doesn't like to stand up to people, and so she does whatever she can to avoid attention. But Jordyn does a lot of growing and soul-searching, and I loved seeing how much she matured.

And Alex. Is he even a real high school boy? (I'm going with no. Too perfect.) But he was awesome and understanding, but even he had his breaking point. But this was really a story about family, more than the romance. Jordyn had to come to terms with her brother, and she did so beautifully.

This was not a hard read, or a long one. But it was a great story that came to a beautiful conclusion and I loved it.

This review can also be found on   Goodreads

Karole Cozzo:

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Most Likely To Succeed {by Jennifer Echols}

Title: Most Likely to Succeed
Author: Jennifer Echols
Series: Superlatives #3
Genre: YA Contemporary
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Received via Edelweiss

In this sexy conclusion to The Superlatives trilogy from Endless Summer author Jennifer Echols, Sawyer and Kaye might just be perfect for each other, if only they could admit it.
As vice president of Student Council, Kaye knows the importance of keeping order. Not only in school, but in her personal life. Which is why she and her boyfriend, Aidan, already have their lives mapped out: attend Columbia University together, pursue banking careers, and eventually get married. Everything Kaye has accomplished in high school--student government, cheerleading, stellar grades--has been in preparation for that future.
To his entire class, Sawyer is an irreverent bad boy. His antics on the field as school mascot and his love of partying have earned him total slacker status. But while he and Kaye appear to be opposites on every level, fate-and their friends-keep conspiring to throw them together. Perhaps the seniors see the simmering attraction Kaye and Sawyer are unwilling to acknowledge to themselves.
As the year unfolds, Kaye begins to realize her ideal life is not what she thought. And Sawyer decides it's finally time to let down the facade and show everyone who he really is. Is a relationship between them most likely to succeed,or will it be their favorite mistake?

This was my favorite out of the series. I loved Sawyer from the first two, and I knew how opposite he and Kaye were, so I was super interested to see how this one played out. After all, my favorite romances are the ones that start with dislike, and this did not disappoint.

Kaye takes school seriously. She's the model student, VP of Student Council, has her whole life planned out with her also-perfect boyfriend, Aidan. Until things slowly start unraveling. Kaye refused to acknowledge her attraction to Sawyer, the school's "bad boy". But he's actually been harboring a crush on Kaye for years, and finally decides it's time to do something about it.

I could probably relate to Kaye more than Tia or Harper, which probably helped cement this as my favorite. But I also loved Sawyer from the beginning of the series. He may seem like a bad boy, but we know he isn't. Thanks to Tia's insight, we know how hard-working he really is. I'm glad that he finally got a chance to shine.

I also felt for Kaye, and the ridiculously high standards her mom held her up to, and the way she flipped out when Kaye deviated even a bit from the plan. But I loved seeing her and Sawyer figure out how much they were willing to do to be together, and how much this relationship meant to them. I enjoyed their banter and seeing them interact, and how their interactions changed so much.

I loved this story and these characters (and of course our favorite characters from the previous books). This was a fun, easy read and I found it very enjoyable.

This review can also be found on   Goodreads

Jennifer Echols:

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Monday, July 27, 2015

The Truth About Forever {by Sarah Dessen}

Title: The Truth About Forever
Author: Sarah Dessen
Genre: YA Contemporary
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Source: publisher

Expect the unexpected.
Macy's got her whole summer carefully planned.
But her plants didn't include a job at Wish Catering. And they certainly didn't include Wes.
But Macy soon discovers that the things you expect least are sometimes the things you need most.

There are no words for how much I love Sarah Dessen. I once explained that I couldn't rate my favorite book by her. Instead, I have tiers: most favorite, second most favorite, etc. Because there is no way I could pit one against the other. The Truth About Forever is a first tier book (next to This Lullaby and Along for the Ride, if you were wondering).

Back to The Truth About Forever. I love rereading Sarah Dessen books, because they never get old. Every time I read one, I feel the same way I did when I first read it. I see new things, find new appreciation for things I might have missed before, and just an overall feeling of love for her books. They're liking coming home after a trip, comfortable and familiar and amazing.

Dessen's books may be classified as romances, but one reason I love them is that they are so much more. They are real and honest and just so true. I think I've always loved this one because I relate to Macy a lot more than her other characters. I thankfully have not had to watch a parent die, but I just get her. One thing I noticed more this time, was the little nuances and details about the quirks of each character, that make them seem like real people.

Macy is obsessed with being perfect. Since her father's death, she fakes her way through being okay. She doesn't want to be a burden to her mother, but also because if she pretends to be okay, no one will ask questions. She has the perfect boyfriend, perfect job, perfect hair. Until she starts to crack. Then, she meets to people of Wish catering. Messy, dysfunctional, imperfect. And it starts to call her in.

Like I said, I related to Macy. She isn't perfect. None of the characters were, which makes them seem so real. But like I said, this book was more than just a romance. Macy has to learn to find herself, but also figure out how to feel like a family again. I love stories where family is a main focus, and this was one. Macy and her mom have gone so long pretending they're okay, that they've forgotten how to actually be okay. Until her sister Caroline comes in, forcing them to confront their grief.

And Wes. Let's talk about Wes. Sa-woooon. (You'll get that when you read the book). Sometimes you get those love interests that are hot, but seemingly perfect and I don't like those. Wes isn't perfect, and acknowledges that he's messed up. But he isn't ashamed to admit that his past got him where he is now. And honestly, Wes is just one of my favorite love interests in the history of ever.

This was a beautiful book, for more reasons than just romance. It's about life, and learning how to live, and the balance between perfect and imperfect. Although it's YA, and the characters may be teenagers, I think this is a story that is relatable for all ages, and all stages of life. If you're new to Sarah Dessen, this is a really, really great one to start with.

This review can also be found on   Goodreads

Sarah Dessen: 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Love Arrives in Pieces {by Betsy St. Amant}

Title: Love Arrives in Pieces
Author: Betsy St. Amant
Genre: Christian romance
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Source: publisher

For so long, Stella was known for her beauty. Now, with her heart stripped bare, she must discover who she really is.
Former pageant queen Stella Varland doesn't trust beauty anymore after her divorce. Her appearance betrayed her and led to her brokenness so instead of being beautiful, now she tries to make beautiful things, but always falls short. So she keeps her passion for her secret art to herself and focuses on her interior design work. But if she doesn t get another job soon, she'll be stuck living with her parents.
Contractor Chase Taylor is determined to live a life of no regrets after losing his fiancee in a car crash. Now he lives life at full speed, striving to see how much he can accomplish. He knows if he slows down, he'll fall apart. So he returns home to Bayou Bend to renovate the town's old theater, and is shocked to learn former flame Stella is the designer for the project.
Forced to work together, Chase and Stella battle their chemistry and their pasts as they struggle to compromise and come together on a vision for the theater. Chase doesn't understand why Stella is such a subdued version of herself, while Stella doesn't get Chase's constant need for productivity and speed. Their wills clash as they attempt to hide their brokenness and their unresolved feelings for each other until Chase breaks through Stella's walls and convinces her to enter her mosaic tile art in a contest.
A near catastrophe, a fire, and a small-town gossip mill finally force both Stella and Chase to realize that they have a choice to hold on to the shards of their pasts, or surrender their fragmented pieces to the One who makes a beautiful masterpiece from the broken.

This is a companion to All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes, following the story of Kat's sister. Stella was a pageant queen, but her glory days are over. Now, she divorced, and only a shell of the person she used to be. Until her former flame, Chase, comes back into town. After hurting both her and her sister, he is the last person she wants to work with on a project, but she has no choice.

I wasn't sure if what happened with Chase was said in the first book. In fact, I even went back and flipped through it, but got nothing more than a vague sense. So we go through much of the story not knowing exactly what happened, only that he hurt both Stella and Kat, tremendously, harming the sisters' relationship in the process. So no one is exactly happy to see him. (I will point out, this can be read without reading Kat's story. I suppose there will just be spoilers for how Kat's story ends up.)

Stella and Chase were very real characters. They have both been through a lot, they're both hurting. They had real flaws, went through real problems. They're relationship was so real, as they had ups and downs, learning how to trust each other after such a hurt. Stella has really drawn into herself, trying to make herself not as pretty. She's lost her brightness, her shine. Chase helped her to come out of her shell, become the bright, beautiful shell she used to be. I loved seeing her growth and change.

This was a very fun story. I think it dealt with deeper and darker issues than its companion, but it was still sweet and cute. I loved these characters and this story.

This review can also be found on   Goodreads

Betsy St. Amant:

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Friends of Jesus {by Karen Kingsbury}

Title: The Friends of Jesus
Author: Karen Kingsbury
Series: Heart of the Story #2
Genre: Biblical Fiction
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Source: publisher

America' favorite inspirational novelist and #1 New York Times bestselling author offers a richly told tale about six of Jesus' closest friends and companions, bringing biblical truths to life in this captivating continuation of her Life-Changing Bible Study series.
In our everyday lives, friends are the people whom we spend the most time with, go through struggles with at times, and who know us best. Each of Jesus' friends--Peter, John, Matthew, Judas, Mary Magdalene, and Lazarus--traveled with Jesus and were part of His daily ministry, and each has a compelling story to tell. There were some who would question or doubt Him, and one would even betray Him. Kingsbury brings these fascinating personalities to life in ways that will not only help bring you closer to the truths found in Scripture, but also to Christ.
By combining valuable, instructive Bible study with compelling, insightful character sketches of Jesus' companions, Kingsbury provides you with a deeper understanding of the scriptural teachings featuring these fascinating people. Emotionally powerful, thought-provoking, and soulful, The Friends of Jesus will help you to appreciate the Bible and understand how it applies to your relationships with the most important people in your life.

As you know, I enjoy Biblical fiction and seeing how different people imagine Biblical characters and the times. This series is interesting to me because its imagining the people closest to Jesus. I didn't feel this was quite as good as the first one, The Family of Jesus, but still interesting.

We get six stories from different friends of Jesus: Simon the Leper, Martha, Jairus, Mary Magdalene, Peter, and John. I've never really thought of Simon and Jairus as "friends" of Jesus, necessarily, but they were interesting additions.

We got to see three stories before Jesus' death, three stories of healing and raising from the dead. We get one story during His crucifixion, and two stories after His death and resurrection. So we get to see all different sides of Jesus.

But although this series is about Jesus, He himself doesn't appear all that much in the stories. Some of the stories were told in flashback of what Jesus actually did for them. But also, we get to see the lasting impression Jesus had on these people's lives, and how their encounters with Him lasted long after the event.

I think Mary Magdalene's story was my favorite. But Peter and John's stories were pretty interesting, as we see that they aren't exactly the perfect people we might think the disciples as being. But all in all, this was a pretty fast read, and I enjoyed it.

This review can also be found on   Goodreads

Karen Kingsbury:

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Friday, July 17, 2015

Mini Reviews: I Hope You Dance, Love on a Deadline

Title: I Hope You Dance
Author: Robin Lee Hatcher
Series: Year of Weddings Novella #8
Genre: Christian romance
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Source: publisher

Grant Nichols is a genius in the kitchen and a klutz on the dance floor. But his friend’s wedding is shaping up to be a shindig the likes of which Kings Meadow has never seen—including dancing. Lots of dancing. Then he learns that a local dance teacher, Skye Foster, is offering dance lessons for the wedding party. The first lesson is free, so what does he have to lose?
A former rodeo queen, Skye Foster teaches children ballet and tap during the day, but with the popularity of ballroom dancing and her own love of Country Swing, she’s been teaching adults in the evenings.
Grant comes from a family of ten siblings. He was the second oldest and believes he's had his fill of little rug rats. He’s happy with his bachelor state, despite the fact that he’s given up his ladies’ man lifestyle. Even he admits to his wilder nature and has been trying to clean up his act, with God's help.
Skye, on the other hand, loves being around kids. She would love to find the right guy and settle down to have half a dozen children of her own.
Grant and Skye are no match on paper. But when they step onto the dance floor, they create a melody all their own

This was probably my least favorite story out of all the ones so far in this "series", which makes me sad because I have previously read and enjoyed books from this author.

I don't know what exactly it was that I didn't like. First, the romance happened way too quick, even for a novella. It was not realistic in any way, and I did not find it cute. Not to mention, Grant wants no kids, and Skye wants a lot, which of course meant a huge conflict when they managed to sit down and actually talk.

The characters just felt flat for me. I wasn't sure what the plot was, or what was supposed to be happening. All in all, this story was just a flop for me. While I'm sure others will find it cute and romantic, I did not.

This review can also be found on   Goodreads

Robin Lee Hatcher:

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Love on a Deadline
Title: Love on a Deadline
Author: Kathryn Springer
Series: Year of Weddings Novella #9
Genre: Christian romance
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Source: NetGalley

MacKenzie “Mac” Davis left her hometown of Red Leaf, Wisconsin, to pursue a degree in journalism. But when her dad, the town’s beloved Coach Davis, suffers a mild heart attack, Mac returns home to help out. She takes a job at the weekly newspaper but instead of covering serious topics, her editor wants her to write about social events—like the garden club’s flower show and the historical society’s afternoon tea. Mac knows it’s no way to earn her father’s respect—or the attention of one of the newspapers she hopes will hire her when she leaves Red Leaf.
When Hollis Channing, Mac’s high school nemesis, returns to Red Leaf to marry her celebrity fiancĂ©, the editor asks Mac to cover the big event—and all the festivities leading up to—for the newspaper.
The last thing Mac wants to do is reconnect with the person who made her life miserable when she was a teenager . . . unless it’s spending time with Ethan Channing, the bride’s older brother—and Mac’s first crush.
Mac is no longer the awkward girl who wore the school mascot costume to the Homecoming dance but she realizes something hasn’t changed. Her feelings for Ethan.

I thought this was a fun, cute story. Mac is back in her small town to take care of her father after a heart attack, but she doesn't plan to stay there. Then, her editor asks her to cover the wedding of the girl who made Mac's high school life miserable... which also means spending time with the bride's older brother, and Mac's first crush Ethan.

I will say, the only thing I didn't like was how Mac held this grudge against Ethan for ten years about something he didn't even realize he did. And then when we find out what it is, and the reason for it, it ends up not actually being a big deal. Definitely not worth ten years. Like, come on, grow up. It was high school, you were teenagers, teenagers are dumb.

Anyway, other than that, I liked this story and the surprising little turns that made it deeper and more than just about the budding romance between Mac and Ethan. Hollis has changed, Ethan has changed, and I love how Mac got to get to know them all over again. This was a cute, fun little story and one that I really enjoyed.

This review can also be found on   Goodreads

Kathryn Springer:

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Ugly Stepsister {by Aya Ling}

The Ugly Stepsister by Aya Ling
Title: The Ugly Stepsister
Author: Aya Ling
Genre: YA Fairytale Retelling
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Source: NetGalley

When Kat accidentally rips apart an old picture book, she's magically transported into the world of Cinderella--as Katriona, one of the ugly stepsisters! Life turns upside down now that she’s a highborn lady and must learn how to survive the social season, including how to get through the door in a huge metal hoop skirt. To get back, she'll have to complete the story, right to the end of happily ever after. But the odds are huge: the other stepsister is drop-dead gorgeous, the fairy godmother is nowhere to be found, and the prince, despite being insanely hot, openly dislikes balls. Can she ever return to the modern world?

This was an interesting story. I thought this was a very interesting concept. I love my fairytale retelling, but this one was different, as we have a modern girl who gets transported into the world of Cinderella as one of the stepsisters. And the only way back is to make sure the story ends how it is supposed to.

I am quite mixed on this story. I actually almost DNF'd it at 50%. I wavered for a while, because I was curious as to what happened. So, I skipped to the end to see if all was made right, and read something that made me to go back and read the whole story. I don't think I've ever done that. While normally I would dock a star for the near-DNF, I felt that this was a solid three-star book and left it.

Kat was an interesting character. There were times when she was complex and likeable and I enjoyed reading about her. But other times, she just felt flat and shallow. However, she did take being transported into a Story World and having to find Cinderella, a fairy godmother, convince the prince to host a ball, and still make everyone think she is the real Katriona pretty well. Better than I would have taken it.

There were the normal clashes that come about when a modern girl goes back into the past (or a past-like world) where she is so used to our world today that she forgets the time and place she is in, which always annoys me. There were a few things that I felt didn't add up. I even believe that I stated that the story was turning into a mess around 60%, as so many things were happening. And I was not really satisfied with the ending.

BUT all that aside, I think it was an enjoyable story. It was well-written, and solid, and I liked the twist on a normal retelling. It does take some time to get into, but the world was fleshed out well. I actually liked this prince. There was humor and fun along with the serious moments. I thought it was a very solid story.
This review can also be found on   Goodreads

Aya Ling:

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Every Last Word {by Tamara Ireland Stone}

Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
Title: Every Last Word
Author: Tamara Ireland Stone
Genre: YA Contemporary
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Source: NetGalley

If you could read my mind, you wouldn't be smiling.
Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can't turn off.
Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn't help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she'd be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam's weekly visits to her psychiatrist.
Caroline introduces Sam to Poet's Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more "normal" than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.

I loved this story. I went into it wary, because I didn't really enjoy this author's other book, but it blew me away. It was an excellent story, told very well, and I loved it.

Sam is part of the elite group of popular girls in her class. She won't do anything to jeopardize that, which means being careful of everything she says or does, and not being her true self. What her friends don't know is that she has Purely-Obsessional OCD, and sees a psychiatrist every week. Then she meets Caroline, who she has to keep a secret from her friends. Caroline shows her a whole new world, and Sam has to decide which version of herself she wants to be.

I thought this story was very well done. It can be a hard thing to portray a mental illness in a story, so I love how this was well-researched and thought out, as to not wrongly portray it. But Sam is more than her diagnosis. We get to see the well-rounded, complex individual that she is. She has a lot of figuring out to do, so we get to see her grow and change and really figure out who she is as a person. I thought the romance with AJ was cute and sweet, and didn't overpower the darker, deeper elements of the story.

People were talking about the big twist that happened, which had me worried. I actually did not even see it coming until only a few pages before (and then, only because I had read a book right before it with the same sort of twist) and it still took me by surprise. I was very upset about it, which I take as a sign of exceptional writing.

I loved this story. I loved Sam, the secondary characters, the romance (which I hardly say), and the portrayal of mental illness in an honest and refreshing way. I think this is an important story for teens to read, and I would highly recommend it.

This review can also be found on   Goodreads

Tamara Ireland Stone:

Friday, July 10, 2015

{Blog Tour} Stick in the Mud Meets Spontaneity by Rachael Anderson

  Stick in the Mud Meets Sponteneity by Rachael Anderson
Title: Stick in the Mud Meets Spontaneity
Author: Rachael Anderson
Series: Meet Your Match #3
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Home from college for the summer, Samantha Kinsey steps into her role as nanny for her two favorite little charges. But when she finds herself playing chauffeur more than playmate, her summer outlook quickly turns from fun to bleak. That is, until she drives the girls to a family-owned ranch and meets Colten McCoy—a genuine, hard-working cowboy, who's as set in his ways as he is handsome. Although he claims he doesn't need any fun in his life, Sam’s determined to help him find it. But she'll soon discover that cowboys are about as easy to train as wild mustangs. Stick in the Mud Meets Spontaneity is about an adaptable girl and a not so adaptable guy. It’s about learning to accept people for who they are and realizing that sometimes who they are is exactly who they should be.

There is no secret for how I much I love this author and her books. I have really enjoyed the other stories in this series, and although I was sad to see this series come to a close, I was excited to finally get Samantha's story.

Sam is home from college. Newly graduated, with a prestigious job in NYC lined up to start in August, she's ready to make the most of her summer as playmate and nanny for our favorite little girls. Only she finds out that Kajsa and Ari are growing up, with plans of their own and things to occupy their time this summer. Sam is relegated to chauffeur and she isn't sure how to feel about this. That is, until she meets Colton.

I liked Sam a lot. She was spunky, and fun, and honestly inspiring. That might sound weird, but I'm not going to lie: I can be more of a stick-in-the-mud like Colton, and I loved her creativity and craziness. She wants to live a memorable life, and is all about doing fun, crazy things to make each and every day fun and memorable and I loved that. Colton, on the other hand, is hard-working and dedicated to his family ranch. He likes the comfort of home and his routine, and doesn't really like disrupting his life. (Not that he really can, since you can't really leave the ranch for any period of time). Yet the two of them still worked.

I've always loved Anderson's characters because of how real they are. They have real problems, that are relatable. We can understand what they are going through. Colton and Sam may have that initial magical fairy-tale feeling of falling in love, but they were also realistic. Especially with Sam leaving for New York, and them having to figure out how to work with that.

But I loved this story. It was cute, it was fun, and it was enjoyable. You will fall in love with Colton and Sam, with Kajsa and Adi, with the ranch and even Your Majesty, their persnickety horse.

This review can also be found on   Goodreads

Rachael Anderson:

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USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can't sing, doesn't dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy {by Sam Maggs}
Title: The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Girl Geeks
Author: Sam Maggs
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Source: NetGalley

Fanfic, cosplay, cons, books, memes, podcasts, vlogs, OTPs and RPGs and MMOs and more—it’s never been a better time to be a girl geek. The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy is the ultimate handbook for ladies living the nerdy life, a fun and feminist take on the often male-dominated world of geekdom. With delightful illustrations and an unabashed love for all the in(ternet)s and outs of geek culture, this book is packed with tips, playthroughs, and cheat codes for everything from starting an online fan community to planning a convention visit to supporting fellow female geeks in the wild.

I loved this. It was fun, it was cute, and so true. This was filled with actually useful information too. I think this is the perfect handy little guide for fangirls and girl geeks everywhere.

This book was divided into sections, that explained what a fangirl is, what some of the different fandom are, and how to go about being your best fangirl self. While I will admit that I did skim the chapter on attending conventions and cons (because I don't really think ill ever go to one) I did enjoy this book tremendously. I loved how Maggs tried to include all the different fandoms, even though we all know there are SO many. I also liked how she provided links and information, so that the reader could actually follow up with some of these ideas instead of forgetting about it.

I also liked how she wasn't afraid to tackle deeper subjects, such as feminism and the prejudice that girl geeks face in some communities. But mostly this book was about being the person you want to be, without caring what anyone else thinks, which I find such an important thing. And then finding like-minded fangirl friends to geek out with :)

This book is a super fast read, but it was also full of information, and I thought it was cute and handy. And if you ever get a chance to see it without its dust jacket, you should because it is SO CUTE.

This review can also be found on   Goodreads

Sam Maggs:

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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Broken Hearts' Society of Suite 17C {by Leigh Ann Kopans}

Suite 17C
Title: The Broken Hearts' Society of Suite 17C
Author: Leigh Ann Kopans
Genre: NA Contemporary
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Source: author

Friends don’t let friends make the same horrible relationship mistakes twice.
Rion, Amy, and Arielle, the three occupants of first-year dorm Harrison Tower’s Suite 17C have never met before the first day of school, but they soon discover they have one thing in common – being on the wrong end of an epically awful breakup.
Heartbreak sucks, especially when the girls should have seen the trouble coming from a mile away. But there’s no better time than the beginning of college to take charge of your own love life, and nobody better than a roommate to keep you accountable. Over ice cream and pizza their first week, the girls vow never again to date anyone like the assholes who ripped their hearts out and smeared them across the quad.
And that's how the Broken Hearts’ Society of Suite 17C is born.
Now, if only Crash, the tattooed, pierced, and probably stoned guy who works at Rion’s newest job, wasn’t so damn sexy and sweet...
If only Matt, the thoughtful and driven pastor’s kid, would quit being so okay with just being Amy’s friend…
If only Lauren, the innocent California girl with her own set of issues, would stop finishing Arielle’s sentences and invading her dreams…
it would be a lot easier for the girls to keep their promises to the Society and to themselves.
If only.

Leigh Ann Kopans has done it again. You guys know how much I love, love her books, Solving for Ex and First World Problems. I was SO excited when I heard about this one. And it did not disappoint.

Rion, Amy, and Arielle are strangers until their first day of college where they find themselves to be roommates. They all are coming off of or experience within the first few days a heartbreak, and decide to form a secret society: The Broken Hearts' Society of Suite 17C. They decide to hold each other accountable, to prevent the same heartbreak from happening over again. I loved all three of these characters. They were each so different, fleshed out, and complex. Sometimes multiple POV's don't work out, but this one did. They didn't run together. Each one was separate, complex, and different.

In the same way, each of their love interests were different and unique. The characters were all diverse, coming from so many different backgrounds. I'm not even sure I could pick a favorite, because I loved them all.

Rion always goes for the bad guys, so this time she is determined not to. Except Crash, who has all the looks of a bad boy, is insistent that he isn't. I think Rion may rub some people the wrong way. She isn't the easiest to like. But I liked her. There were some times when I felt she took things too far, but she's running from a hard past. I love how Crash sees past her crazy and understands why, and it doesn't scare him away and I loved that.

Amy was your stereotypical small-town good church girl. Her high school sweetheart is the pastor's son, and she has her whole life planned out: go to college, become a teacher, marry him. Until he decides not to follow the plan. I think maybe I loved Amy's story the most. All her life, she has been told what to do, and being a good girl, church girl, she has just gone with it. Amy's story follows more of her finding herself, becoming an individual, going against what everyone else wants for her and finding what SHE wants for herself, and I loved that. I think I related to Amy the most. And Matt was just so adorable. From him just being a good friend, to his punny religious shirts.

The only issue I had with Arielle was I felt like she had more chapters, and I just wanted to get back to Amy or Rion's story :P Arielle's goal in the Society is to not fall for a girl who isn't out and proud to be a lesbian. She meets Lauren, who was pretty awesome. There were some moments when I also felt Arielle went too far, but she does realize it, and grows from it.

I loved this story, and how the girls became such good friends, even being so different. Their stories were the perfect balance of together and individual. Each of the girls grows and matures, and it was so great to see. Another perfect story from Leigh Ann Kopans.

This review can also be found on   Rachel Marie's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

Leigh Ann Kopans:

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Thorn {by Intisar Khanani}

Title: Thorn
Author: Intisar Khanani
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Source: NetGalley

For Princess Alyrra, choice is a luxury she’s never had … until she’s betrayed.
Princess Alyrra has never enjoyed the security or power of her rank. Between her family’s cruelty and the court’s contempt, she has spent her life in the shadows. Forced to marry a powerful foreign prince, Alyrra embarks on a journey to meet her betrothed with little hope for a better future.
But powerful men have powerful enemies—and now, so does Alyrra. Betrayed during a magical attack, her identity is switched with another woman’s, giving Alyrra the first choice she’s ever had: to start a new life for herself or fight for a prince she’s never met. But Alyrra soon finds that Prince Kestrin is not at all what she expected. While walking away will cost Kestrin his life, returning to the court may cost Alyrra her own. As Alyrra is coming to realize, sometimes the hardest choice means learning to trust herself.

This was a fun, unique story. It caught me with it's interesting premise. As you know, I love fairytale retelling. This one was based of The Goose Girl, which I knew a little about, but not a lot, but I thought this story was pretty well done.

Alyrra is a princess, although she's pretty much a prisoner to her mother and brother. She is betrothed to a prince in a neighboring kingdom, and sent away. But on her way there, her identity gets swapped with her maid. Alyrra soon realizes this for a positive thing, as she now has a choice in her life, she can live however she wants to, and she doesn't have to marry someone she has never met.

Like I said, this was executed pretty well. Alyrra starts off passive, almost weak-willed, but she grows so much throughout the course of the story. She becomes a strong, independent person who knows what she wants, and what she needs to do. It can't be easy, going from palace life to living in poverty watching geese, but she did it without complaining.

There isn't a romance, necessarily in this story. She does have some encounters with the prince, but it wasn't a romance story. This was Alyrra's story. I will say, the magic part of things confused me. It wasn't explained very well, I felt. There were some parts that confused me when it came to that side of things.

All in all, this was a fast read. It was a good quick story that kept my attention and kept it interesting. I enjoyed this one, and I would read more from this author. I'm actually not sure if this is a series, or if there's just a companion series coming soon, but either was I would read it.

This review can also be found on   Goodreads

Intisar Khanani:

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