Mini Reviews #3

Mini Reviews #3Cherry by Lindsey Rosin
Published by Simon Pulse
Published: August 16th 2016
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three-stars

In this honest, frank, and funny debut novel, four best friends make a pact during their senior year of high school to lose their virginities—and end up finding friendship, love, and self-discovery along the way.

To be honest, the sex pact wasn’t always part of the plan.

Layla started it. She announced it super casually to the rest of the girls between bites of frozen yogurt, as if it was just simply another addition to her massive, ever-evolving To Do List. She is determined to have sex for the first time before the end of high school. Initially, the rest of the crew is scandalized, but, once they all admit to wanting to lose their v-cards too, they embark on a quest to do the deed together... separately.

Layla’s got it in the bag. Her serious boyfriend, Logan, has been asking for months.

Alex has already done it. Or so she says.

Emma doesn’t know what the fuss is all about, but sure, she’ll give it a shot.

And Zoe, well, Zoe can’t even say the o word without bursting into giggles.

Will everything go according to plan? Probably not. But at least the girls have each other every hilarious, heart-warming, cringe-inducing step of the way.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I was really excited for Cherry. It seemed like a book that would be something different in the YA book world and it was. It was very sex positive for females taking control of their bodies and what they want. It also had a great friendship aspect which I have said more than once I think I lacking in YA. All of that really worked for me. But when all was said in done I ended up being disappointed. The entire book is written in 3rd person but for 4 different people’s stories. Because of that I found myself being pulled out of the book. It felt so clinical and like it was being told at me and not to me. It lost some of the greatness about it for me because of this. Also it was super long for the kind of story it was. In the end I was just meh about Cherry and that made me sad.

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Mini Reviews #3A Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody
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four-stars


When I made the wish, I just wanted a do-over. Another chance to make things right. I never, in a million years, thought it might actually come true...

Sixteen-year-old Ellison Sparks is having a serious case of the Mondays. She gets a ticket for running a red light, she manages to take the world’s worst school picture, she bombs softball try-outs and her class election speech (note to self: never trust a cheerleader when she swears there are no nuts in her bake-sale banana bread), and to top it all off, Tristan, her gorgeous rocker boyfriend suddenly dumps her. For no good reason!

As far as Mondays go, it doesn’t get much worse than this. And Ellie is positive that if she could just do it all over again, she would get it right. So when she wakes up the next morning to find she’s reliving the exact same day, she knows what she has to do: stop her boyfriend from breaking up with her. But it seems no matter how many do-overs she gets or how hard Ellie tries to repair her relationship, Tristan always seems bent set on ending it. Will Ellie ever figure out how to fix this broken day? Or will she be stuck in this nightmare of a Monday forever?

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I admit at first I wasn’t sure if this book would work. After reading the same day twice I was scared the book would run out of steam by the time I got to the 4th Monday. Instead I was pleasantly surprised. The days didn’t get boring and monotonous, they got more and more interesting. They became a way for Ellison to find out who she really was and see how capable she was to do things. That is what I really liked about Mondays. With Ellison not having any consequences she was able to really see who she was and what she wanted out of life. Instead of the book being boring I ended up really want to know what would happen and excited for there to be a new day for things to get messy. Plus Ellie’s BFF? Oh how I hearted him! In the end A Week of the Mondays was a fun read that kept me entertained and one I think you will enjoy too.

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Mini Reviews #3Rookie Move by Sarina Bowen
Published by Berkley
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three-stars

The first novel in a sexy new series featuring the hockey players of the Brooklyn Bruisers and the women who win their hearts—from the USA Today bestselling author of the Ivy Years series. 


In high school they were the perfect couple—until the day Georgia left Leo in the cold...

  Hockey player Leo Trevi has spent the last six years trying to do two things: get over the girl who broke his heart, and succeed in the NHL. But on the first day he’s called up to the newly franchised Brooklyn Bruisers, Leo gets checked on both sides, first by the team’s coach—who has a long simmering grudge, and then by the Bruisers’ sexy, icy publicist—his former girlfriend Georgia Worthington.   Saying goodbye to Leo was one of the hardest things Georgia ever had to do—and saying hello again isn’t much easier. Georgia is determined to keep their relationship strictly professional, but when a press conference microphone catches Leo declaring his feelings for her, things get really personal, really fast....

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I didn’t love Rookie Move as much as I wanted to. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t painful to read nor did I hate it, I just didn’t grab me in a way other sports NA/romances have and that was a letdown. I guess what was really bothersome through the whole book was the coach. I didn’t really understand him nor why he was doing what he was doing to Leo. As a grown-up and person of authority he should have known better. Plus he had no idea what he was even talking about which was really annoying to me. I did really like Georgia and Leo together. They had a great chemistry that sparked. But all in all something just felt off. I am eager to read the read of the boys books and to see who Sarina Bowen will give us next. Mark this one as just okay.

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Blog Tour: Thank God It’s Monday (A Week of Mondays) – Second Monday Concept Board by Jessica Brody

monday

Today I am a blog stop on Jessica Brody’s Blog Tour for her book A Week of Mondays. Jessica is sharing a look for the Second Monday.

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If you could relive the same day over and over again, what would you do? What would you change? Would you change yourself?

As I started writing A WEEK OF MONDAYS, I knew I wanted this to be a reinvention story. I wanted Ellie to essentially re-create herself every single day in order to figure out who she really is by the end. Because that’s what we do, isn’t it? We try on different personas. We post different kinds of pictures on Instagram. We reinvent ourselves over and over in hopes of finding our true identity.

The key to Ellie’s reinvention, when it came to this novel, was her 7 different looks for the 7 different Mondays. Each day she tries on a different version of herself. Fortunately, for this piece of the story, I had help. My little sister, Terra Brody, is an assistant costume designer in Los Angeles. She’s worked on hit TV shows such as Pretty Little Liars, Scandal, and Shameless. For each Monday, I gave her “character notes” for the role Ellie was trying to play and she helped me put together a concept board to represent the “look” for that day. She does similar boards for when she’s costuming a character in a TV show.

As part of the A WEEK OF MONDAYS blog tour, I’ll be sharing 6 of the 7 concept boards that we created for the book, as well as the final “looks” we put together for each Monday.

The 7th board is a secret…as is Ellie’s true identity. (Until you read the book, anyway.)

Here is the concept board for the Second Monday.

Character Notes: Ellie doesn’t yet realize she’s reliving the same exact day. She thinks the duplicate texts from her boyfriend, Tristan, are his attempt to get back together after they broke up last night. Ellie wants to look like a chill “drama-free” version of herself in hopes of winning back Tristan.

fix

second1

See the rest of Ellie’s ‘looks’ here!

First Monday: Fierce Reads
Second Monday: Andi’s ABCs
Third Monday: Ticket to Anywhere
Fourth Monday: For What It’s Worth
Fifth Monday: Mundie Moms
Sixth Monday: Nite Lite Book Reviews

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Blog Tour: Thank God It’s Monday (A Week of Mondays) – Second Monday Concept Board by Jessica BrodyA Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody
Published: August 2nd 2016
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When I made the wish, I just wanted a do-over. Another chance to make things right. I never, in a million years, thought it might actually come true...

Sixteen-year-old Ellison Sparks is having a serious case of the Mondays. She gets a ticket for running a red light, she manages to take the world’s worst school picture, she bombs softball try-outs and her class election speech (note to self: never trust a cheerleader when she swears there are no nuts in her bake-sale banana bread), and to top it all off, Tristan, her gorgeous rocker boyfriend suddenly dumps her. For no good reason!

As far as Mondays go, it doesn’t get much worse than this. And Ellie is positive that if she could just do it all over again, she would get it right. So when she wakes up the next morning to find she’s reliving the exact same day, she knows what she has to do: stop her boyfriend from breaking up with her. But it seems no matter how many do-overs she gets or how hard Ellie tries to repair her relationship, Tristan always seems bent set on ending it. Will Ellie ever figure out how to fix this broken day? Or will she be stuck in this nightmare of a Monday forever?

From the author 52 Reasons to Hate My Father and The Unremembered trilogy comes a hilarious and heartwarming story about second (and third and fourth and fifth) chances. Because sometimes it takes a whole week of Mondays to figure out what you really want.

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About Jessica Brody

Jessica Brody is the author of more than 15 books for teens, tweens, and adults including Addie Bell’s Shortcut to Growing Up, A Week of Mondays, Boys of Summer, 52 Reasons to Hate My Father, and the three books in the sci-fi Unremembered trilogy. She’s also the author of the Descendants: School of Secrets series, based on the hit Disney Channel original movie, Descendants. Her books have been translated and published in over 23 countries and Unremembered and 52 Reasons to Hate My Father are currently in development as major motion pictures. She lives with her husband and four dogs and splits her time between California and Colorado.

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Thanks Jessica for sharing your concept with us!

I personally was inspired by Jessica’s Concept Board for a drama free look so I created my own. For me drama free is all about basics and simplicity. A cute pair of skinny jeans, a tunic sweater, some flats and a pop of color with the bag goes a long way. Here’s my drama free look:

 

WEEK

 

What is your drama free look?

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Thank God it’s Monday Blog Tour – Jessica Brody Guest Post

monday

ELLISON “ELLIE” SPARKS: An idealistic, ambitious sixteen-year-old junior with a lot on her plate.

Those were the first words I ever wrote about Ellie Sparks. They were written in a synopsis for my publisher when I was first trying to sell them on the idea for a book called A WEEK OF MONDAYS.

Of course, you can’t write an entire book about a one-sentence character. Just like you can’t live your entire life as a one-sentence person. But every character has to begin somewhere. And this is where Ellie began for me.

As an idealistic, ambitious sixteen-year-old junior with a lot on her plate.

In my mind, this is who she had to be. I thought, if you’re going to write about a girl who relives the same horrible Monday over and over again, trying to “get it right,” these are the adjectives that must describe her. She has to be idealistic enough to think she can fix everything in her life. Yet, she also has to be ambitious enough to try it. And how else are you going to fill seven Mondays with interesting storylines if the main character doesn’t have a lot on her plate.

So there was Ellie. And there was me, ready to write her, thinking I understood her. Thinking I knew everything I needed to know about her.

This is the writing process for me. I start with an idea of who someone is. I draw a box around them, like an identity fence. I stuff them inside and I lock the gate. I tell them, “This is who you are. Don’t try to change that. Don’t try to be or do anything else. I don’t have time for detours. I’m on a deadline.”

I never learn.

A WEEK OF MONDAYS is my tenth published novel and I’m still trying to lock characters inside fences. Eventually, though, they always break free. They always get bigger than their boxes. And even though I try to adjust, I keep drawing bigger and bigger boxes around them, trying to contain them to the world I built, the world I envisioned, they never quite want to stay inside. Just like people. You can try to identify them, label them, build a fence around them that makes you feel safe, and yet they’ll always surprise you. Because no character—no human being—fits inside a box.

One of my favorite reviews of A WEEK OF MONDAYS says, “Watching Ellie relive her horrible day is something like peeling an onion. Each Monday, a piece of her people-pleaser facade melts away, revealing more of her real self.”

I smiled when I read that because it wasn’t until then that I realized exactly what had happened in the writing of this book. I had done it again. I had tried to put yet another character in a box, and she had slowly, word by word, page by page, Monday by Monday broken free.

This book is ultimately a story of self-discovery.

Seven days. Seven chances to completely reinvent yourself. Wear different clothes, make different choices, explore different paths, say different things, be different people.

Because sometimes it takes a whole week of Mondays to figure out who you really are. And when you finally do, you may find yourself thinking ‘Thank God It’s Monday’ after all.

For the next five Mondays, blogger friends across the internet will be sharing their best and worst Monday. Follow along with us online with #TGIM and #AWeekofMondays, because whether a Monday is memorable for good reasons or memorable for bad reasons, we stand to learn a lot about ourselves.

Thank God it’s Monday Blog Tour – Jessica Brody Guest PostA Week of Mondays: A Novel by Jessica Brody
Published: August 2nd 2016
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Ellie is having the worst Monday of her life. She messes up her school speech for the class vice presidency position, she manages to take the world's worst school picture, she bombs softball tryouts, and the icing on top of this awful cake: her perfect boyfriend who is in a high school rock band dumps her. At the end of the day, Ellie wishes she could redo everything. When she wakes up the next morning, she discovers that it's Monday again! She has six more chances to redo the day in the hopes of having everything go exactly the way she wants. But in the process, she just may find out that what she really wants and what she actually needs are two very different things.

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About Jessica Brody

Jessica Brody is the author of more than 15 books for teens, tweens, and adults including Addie Bell’s Shortcut to Growing Up, A Week of Mondays, Boys of Summer, 52 Reasons to Hate My Father, and the three books in the sci-fi Unremembered trilogy. She’s also the author of the Descendants: School of Secrets series, based on the hit Disney Channel original movie, Descendants. Her books have been translated and published in over 23 countries and Unremembered and 52 Reasons to Hate My Father are currently in development as major motion pictures. She lives with her husband and four dogs and splits her time between California and Colorado.

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Review: The Winner’s Kiss – Marie Rutkoski

Review: The Winner’s Kiss – Marie RutkoskiThe Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski
Series: The Winner's Trilogy #3
Published: March 29th 2016
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five-stars

War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it with untrustworthy new allies and the empire as his enemy. Though he has convinced himself that he no longer loves Kestrel, Arin hasn’t forgotten her, or how she became exactly the kind of person he has always despised. She cared more for the empire than she did for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she did for him.

At least, that’s what he thinks.

In the frozen north, Kestrel is a prisoner in a brutal work camp. As she searches desperately for a way to escape, she wishes Arin could know what she sacrificed for him. She wishes she could make the empire pay for what they’ve done to her.

But no one gets what they want just by wishing.

As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover that the world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and they are caught in between. With so much to lose, can anybody really win?

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

When you think series end you immediately start to internally panic. Whether it is a book or a movie or a TV show an ender can only go one of two ways. You can either be blown away by how the author/writer/director ended things or you can be so disappointed that the series will forever be ruined. I have had both happen and the disappointment sucks. Insert The Winner’s Kiss. Having been late to the party with the series I became an immediate fan after reading The Winner’s Curse. I then devoured The Winner’s Crime and was itching to see how everything would unfold. Would I be over the moon with perfection or would I be broken and sad because the ending didn’t meet my expectations. The verdict? Marie went above and beyond because The Winner’s Kiss was utter perfection and possibly the best of the series.

Holy book filled with action! If you read the other two books you saw it coming as everything was leading up to all of this, but it still didn’t stop my heart from almost beating out of my chest. Everything in The Winner’s Kiss was done in a way that unfolded the story beautifully but made me terrified to turn a page as I never knew what was going to happen. The lives of Arin and Kestrel were vastly different from the first book and so much more was at stake based on everything they had been through. But seriously it was all so fantastic. Even the parts that made my heart stop with worry or love or sadness or joy.


The trouble with a 3rd book a lot of the time is the cohesion. I admit, I forget a lot about some books between releases. I remember some stuff but not everything so I love when an author can use what happened in the past parts of the story but not just list them out. Marie did this flawlessly. Everything that lead up to Arin and Kestrel being where they were was explained but in a way that didn’t feel explained. It felt like a natural progression of the story.


I mean what can I even say about Arin and Kestrel? I mentioned before that they were vastly different than they were in The Winner’s Curse. They had a lot of things happen to them that changed how they perceived the world and even each other.  But they never truly lost what made them them. I feel as a readers we really got to know these two complex characters in a way we hadn’t in the previous 2 books. Something has happened that changed their story but it made them both stronger in the end and I loved that.


I know I’m being vague. I did that on purpose as I don’t want to give away what happened in the first two books or what goes down in the third. What I can tell you is that this was Marie’s best work. I felt every emotion you can think of when reading The Winner’s Kiss. Honestly it was utter perfection. It was more than I could have hoped for in a series end and something I think every fan will love and that new fans should try out this fantastic series.

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Mini Reviews #2

 

Mini Reviews #2Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales
Published: September 15th 2015
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three-half-stars

Recklessly loyal.

That’s how seventeen-year-old Arden Huntley has always thought of herself. Caring for her loved ones is what gives Arden purpose in her life and makes her feel like she matters. But lately she’s grown resentful of everyone—including her needy best friend and her absent mom—taking her loyalty for granted.

Then Arden stumbles upon a website called Tonight the Streets Are Ours, the musings of a young New York City writer named Peter, who gives voice to feelings that Arden has never known how to express. He seems to get her in a way that no one else does, and he hasn’t even met her. Until Arden sets out on a road trip to find him.

During one crazy night out in New York City filled with parties, dancing, and music—the type of night when anything can happen, and nearly everything does—Arden discovers that Peter isn’t exactly who she thought he was. And maybe she isn’t exactly who she thought she was, either.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

 

I liked this book, I did. I wasn’t crazy in love with it like I had wanted to be after This Song Will Save Your Life, but I liked it. Arden grew a lot in this story. She saw how she wasn’t who she thought she was and that there was more to her than expected. That was the part that I really enjoyed. What I didn’t like was the Peter part and the “stalking” him in NYC part and his reaction. Personally I found his reaction to the whole thing just odd. It didn’t make sense to me that he would be so calm that someone that found him online went to the length Arden did to meet him. That was strange to me. But all in all this was a good book. I didn’t hate it but I didn’t love it. It did make me want a Just Like Me doll, real bad. 😉

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Mini Reviews #2First & Then by Emma Mills
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
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three-half-stars

Devon Tennyson wouldn't change a thing. She's happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon's cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn't want them first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.

Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights in this contemporary novel about falling in love with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I’m not really sure what to say about this one that hasn’t been said already. I guess I should start with the fact that I wanted to shake Devon A LOT! She was super judgmental most of the time and it got on my nerves. But the great things about books are the judgmental main characters usually grow and change by the end of the story and Devon certainly did that. She started to open her eyes and see what was what and that she may have over romanticized some situations. When she started to be less of a snob she was actually pretty likable. And I loved her with Ezra and her interaction with Foster, her cousin. That was the highlight for me. I know a lot of people LOVED this book and I think many more will too. I will admit I’m not a huge Jane Austen fan so that might be why I was over the moon for First and Then, but I definitely really liked it. You should check it out if you haven’t already.

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 Mini Reviews #2Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith
Published by Poppy
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two-stars

On the night before they leave for college, Clare and Aidan have only one thing left to do: figure out whether they should stay together or break up. Over the course of twelve hours, they retrace the steps of their relationship, trying to find something in their past that might help them decide what their future should be. The night leads them to family and friends, familiar landmarks and unexpected places, hard truths and surprising revelations. But as the clock winds down and morning approaches, so does their inevitable goodbye. The question is, will it be goodbye for now or goodbye forever?

Charming, bittersweet, and full of wisdom and heart, this irresistible novel from Jennifer E. Smith, author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, explores the difficult choices that arise when life and love lead in different directions.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

 

This was possibly one of the most depressing books I have read in a long time. I mean I don’t know if I didn’t connect with it because I never did the leaving for college thing or the potential break-up because of distance thing, but Clare depressed the crap out of me. She was such doom and gloom through just about every page. She over reacted to everything and expected Aidan to have all the answers and it really got on my nerves. I had to remind myself a few times that I was reading about teenagers which is not something I enjoy when I read a book. I prefer to just read it and not worry about ages but I couldn’t do it with this book. The side characters were the bright spot for me (and the end which I wish there was more of in the book). They were way more interesting and weren’t wrapped up in themselves so much. I mean I was 50% in and *I* wanted to break-up with Clare. I should have trusted my gut when I saw the mixed reviews but I didn’t and found out the hard way that this book was not for me.

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