Mini Reviews #6 – Mini Mini Reviews

Mini Reviews #6 – Mini Mini ReviewsThe Last Thing You Said by Sara Biren
Published by Harry N. Abrams
on April 4th 2017
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
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Last summer, Lucy’s and Ben’s lives changed in an instant. One moment, they were shyly flirting on a lake raft, finally about to admit their feelings to each other after years of yearning. In the next, Trixie—Lucy’s best friend and Ben’s sister—was gone, her heart giving out during a routine swim. And just like that, the idyllic world they knew turned upside down, and the would-be couple drifted apart, swallowed up by their grief. Now it’s a year later in their small lake town, and as the anniversary of Trixie’s death looms, Lucy and Ben’s undeniable connection pulls them back together. They can’t change what happened the day they lost Trixie, but the summer might finally bring them closer to healing—and to each other.

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 have mixed feelings on The Last Thing You Said. I’m not really sure what it is. Honestly I loved some parts of it. I loved the part where both Lucy and Ben were dealing with their grief in vastly different ways. I loved the setting of the beach. I loved Lucy’s friend. But there was also a lot I was confused by. Honestly I hated how Ben treated Lucy and how Lucy let him treat her. I hated a lot of the things that Lucy did. I do admit the grief of Ben and Lucy and how much they missed Trixie was done really well. That was the one part of the story I felt and understood. But everything else was sadly just not for me.

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Mini Reviews #6 – Mini Mini ReviewsBy Your Side by Kasie West
Published by Harper Teen
on January 31st 2017
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

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 book. Oh this book. The more I am away from my read of it the more I realize just how much I didn’t really like it. This was strange for me because I have never not loved a Kasie West book. But By Your Side just didn’t do it for me. It had all the ingredients, library [check]; trapped [check]; opposites attract [check]; cute boy [check, check, check] but all of those ingredients just didn’t pan out. The library was 100% not used to its best ability and because of that I felt duped into the book we did end up getting. It was like once Dax and Autumn got out of the library I was reading a whole new book, and it was a book I never saw coming. In the end I just didn’t feel like I got what I signed up for and I was left disappointed.

 

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Mini Reviews #6 – Mini Mini ReviewsThe One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr
Published by Penguin Teen
on May 2nd 2017
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. She lives under the careful watch of her parents, in a town she is familiar with, among people who are equally familiar with her story. She has not been able to recall any part of her past since she was ten, when the tumor that was removed from her brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend's boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. She lives under the careful watch of her parents, in a town she is familiar with, among people who are equally familiar with her story. She has not been able to recall any part of her past since she was ten, when the tumor that was removed from her brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend's boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Miraculously, this singular memory pierces Flora's fractured mind, and sticks. Flora is convinced that Drake and their shared kiss are responsible for restoring her memory and making her whole again. So when an encouraging email from Drake suggests she meet him on the other side of the world, Flora knows with certainty that this is the first step in reclaiming her life.

With little more than the tattoo "be brave" inked into her skin, and written reminders of who she is, how old, where she lives, and why her memory is so limited, Flora sets off on an impossible journey to the land of the midnight sun--Svalbard, Norway. There she is determined to find Drake, and to explore the romantic possibilities and hopeful future that their reunion promises her. But from the moment she arrives in the arctic, nothing is quite as it seems, and Flora must "be brave" if she is ever to learn the truth about herself, and to make it safely home.

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 gonna lie, I struggled with this book. I didn’t struggle because it wasn’t good but I struggled because I was frustrated. And I felt terrible about being frustrated by it because I could only imagine what Flora was actually going through. But the truth is I had a hard time because this book was super repetitive. And believe me, I understand why it was, but it just kind of pulled me out of the story because I felt like I was reading the same page over and over. Really though, Flora had an incredible journey finding out how brave and strong she truly was and there was one part that I didn’t see coming until much later into the book. When all is said and done though, this book just wasn’t right for me. I do feel like it would have been a fun movie.

 

 

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Review: Alex, Approximately – Jenn Bennett

Review: Alex, Approximately – Jenn BennettAlex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett
Published by Simon Pulse
on January 1st 1970
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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In this delightfully charming teen spin on You’ve Got Mail, the one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.

Classic movie buff Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online by “Alex.” Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.

Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new arch-nemesis. But life is whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever-it-is she’s starting to feel for Porter.

And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.

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.

Swoon. That is the immediate word that came to mind while I was reading Alex, Approximately. I’m not going to lie, I fell in love with this story, the writing and the characters almost immediately. I was worried going in because I had such high hopes, but Jenn Bennett did not disappoint me. She gave me exactly the kind of book I wanted.

First, the plot of this has definitely been done. I’m not denying that. But when I was reading Alex, Approximately the thought never once crossed my mind. I felt like I was reading a brand new idea and I savored every page. Second, I’m insanely in love with Porter. If I didn’t already have a book boyfriend (I’m looking at you Etienne St. Clair) I would be all over Porter. He’s sweet and smart and sassy. He’s completely unexpected when you get to know him. Third, Bailey and Porter are all sorts of slow-burn explosive. They had such great push-pull chemistry. And man were they sexy, hot. I loved everything about them together. I just never wanted their story to end

Honestly a book like Alex, Approximately is why I got into reading YA books and blogging. It was heart-warming, it was sexy, it was smile inducing, it was amazing. Jenn Bennett delivered a book and characters that will stay with me for a long while. If it isn’t on you TBR you need to fix that immediately.

 

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Review: How to Break a Boy – Laurie Devore

Review: How to Break a Boy – Laurie DevoreHow to Break a Boy by Laurie Devore
Published by Imprint
on January 31st 2017
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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Keep your enemies close, but your friends closer.

Olivia Clayton has mastered the art of tearing others down to stay on top. She and her best friend, Adrienne, rule their small southern town like all good mean girls do--through intimidation and manipulation.

After Olivia suffers a family tragedy and catches Adrienne sleeping with her boyfriend, Olivia is over it. She decides to make a change--but it's impossible to resist taking Adrienne down one last time. Up to her old tricks, Olivia convinces golden boy Whit DuRant to be her SAT tutor and her fake boyfriend. But when it starts to feel real, Whit gets caught up in Olivia and Adrienne's war.

Olivia may ruin everything she touches, but this time she won't go down without a fight--not if it means losing Whit.

And definitely not if it means losing what's left of herself.

Holy anxious batman! How to Break a Boy made me so anxious while I was reading it. I was completely fascinated and enthralled by everything that happened, but Olivia and Adrienne terrified me and maybe me a nervous wreck. This was one of those experiences where you hate the main characters yet you enjoy the book and think people should read it. Because make no mistakes, Olivia and Adrienne are horrible, terrible people and yet I really enjoyed this book.

How to Break a Boy was seriously a roller coaster of emotions. I wanted to like Olivia. I wanted to feel bad for her and I did. But as soon as I did she would do something and I just wanted to smack her. Sure she had a tough home life, but that wasn’t an excuse for what she did to people. It wasn’t a reason to be a mean girl. And I wanted to blame Adrienne too, but I couldn’t do that either. The thing with Olivia is she is a follower and always was. She needed to be liked by Adrienne so she did whatever she had to for the validation. And don’t even get me started on her. That girl had no redeeming qualities at all. She was the absolute world’s worst and there was nothing I liked about her. She was miserable so everyone needed to be miserable.

One character I did like was Whit. He was so adorable and endearing (until one part that I chose to ignore). He made Olivia seem like she was better than she was. He gave her a conscious and she wanted to be better for him.

In the end How to Break a Boy was a book that showed what can happen when you look at yourself and what you have become. How it is possible to turn things around if you are ready to make the effort and how not everything has to be about making someone miserable to make yourself feel better. It will give you massive anxiety but it’s definitely a book to check out.

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Blog Tour: Review – Kids of Appetite by David Arnold

Blog Tour: Review – Kids of Appetite by David ArnoldKids of Appetite by David Arnold
Published by Viking Books for Young Readers
on September 20th 2016
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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Victor Benucci and Madeline Falco have a story to tell.
It begins with the death of Vic’s father.
It ends with the murder of Mad’s uncle.
The Hackensack Police Department would very much like to hear it.
But in order to tell their story, Vic and Mad must focus on all the chapters in between.

This is a story about:

1. A coded mission to scatter ashes across New Jersey.
2. The momentous nature of the Palisades in winter.
3. One dormant submarine.
4. Two songs about flowers.
5. Being cool in the traditional sense.
6. Sunsets & ice cream & orchards & graveyards.
7. Simultaneous extreme opposites.
8. A narrow escape from a war-torn country.
9. A story collector.
10. How to listen to someone who does not talk.
11. Falling in love with a painting.
12. Falling in love with a song.
13. Falling in love.

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.

Kids of Appetite was my introduction to David Arnold. I had never read his debut novel, Mosquitoland, so I had no idea really want to expect from his writing. I have to say I was surprised by what I found. The story for me was confusing at times, like I had no idea why things were happening. Like I read the back of the book and for some reason created an idea on what Kids of Appetite would be like and I was wrong so that through me off. But really it just made the story a little more complicated. Honestly though what I enjoyed most of Kids of Appetite were the characters. Now those kids were one complex group.

Vic: Based off the description I had no idea that Vic had a unique situation going on and had a medical condition. I was surprised by that and by what it effected in his life because I had never heard of it. But what I was surprised with most was how Vic handled peoples reaction to his condition. For 16 I don’t think I would be that okay with people looking at me. Admittedly I thought Vic was weird at parts, but I think that really was part of his charm and I loved seeing him come to grips with the death of his father and make some very unexpected connections on the way.

Mad: She was my favorite of the group (or a toss up between her and Coco). Mad had a tough life. She wasn’t like the kids she hung out with. She had a place to go and some one that she loved. But she also had a terrible home life that she shouldn’t have been a part of. She broke my heart but I loved every minute of her journey.

Baz: We didn’t get a lot of Baz really. I feel like he was in an out even though he was a presence in a lot of scenes. Actually he was a huge part of the plot when all is said and done. But what I liked about Baz was his loyalty and his need to help people that needed it. He was shaped by the situation he was in before coming to the US and he used that pain to make something of himself and his brother.

Nuz: Baz’s brother was a hard character to know as he doesn’t really say much. He is tough to trust people but when he does you know it with or without words. He was the quiet part of the story but I think one of the more important parts.

Coco: This kid was so funny and crazy and off the wall. I liked her spunk immediately. She had such a way about her that you would forget how young she was to be living the way she was, but then she would say something and you would remember. She was the sweet one that held them all together when it all came down to it.

All in all I loved how these characters worked together to tell a story I didn’t expect. They all played well off each other and I loved learning how they all got where they were. If you are looking for a book with awesome characters look no further than Kids of Appetite.

Tour Schedule

Week One:
Monday, 9/19: Owl Always Be Reading (Review)
Tuesday, 9/20: Bookish Lifestyle (Top 5 Reasons to Read KoA)
Wednesday, 9/21: Perpetual Page Turner (Interview)
Thursday, 9/22: YA Bibliophile (Review)
Friday, 9/23: Fiction Fare (Favorite KoA Quotes)

Week Two:
Monday, 9/26: Bookiemoji (CYO KoA Group of Misfits)
Tuesday, 9/27: Here’s to Happy Endings (Review)
Wednesday, 9/28: Grownup Fangirl (Review + Instagram)
Thursday, 9/29: Book Addict’s Guide (Review)
Friday, 9/30: ButterMyBooks (KoA Bookish Scents)

Week Three:
Monday, 10/3: YA Wednesdays (What Makes You a KoA)
Tuesday, 10/4: Lost in Lit (KoA Lookbook/Mood Board)
Wednesday, 10/5: MundieMoms (KoA Playlist)
Thursday, 10/6: Andi’s ABCs (Review)
Friday, 10/7: Bookworm Everlasting (Review + Instagram)

 

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Backlog Review: Soulprint – Megan Miranda

Backlog Review: Soulprint – Megan MirandaSoulprint by Megan Miranda
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
on February 3rd 2015
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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Seventeen-year-old Alina Chase has spent her entire life imprisoned on a secluded island―not for a crime she committed in this lifetime, but one done by her past self. Her very soul is like a fingerprint, carried from one life to the next―and Alina is sick of being guilty.

Aided by three teens with their own ulterior motives, Alina manages to escape. Although she's not sure she can trust any of them, she soon finds herself drawn to Cameron, the most enigmatic and alluring of the trio. But when she uncovers clues from her past life, secrets begin to unravel and Alina must figure out whether she's more than the soul she inherited, or if she's fated to repeat history.

This stunning "new world" romance from acclaimed author Megan Miranda will leave readers wondering how far they would go to escape the past.

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 pleasantly surprised by Soulprint. I mean I loved Miranda’s other two books I’ve read, Fractured and Vengeance, and knew I wanted to read Soulprint. But I just didn’t expect to be as enthralled by it as I was. Quite honestly it was very inventive and something I have never read before. And I didn’t expect it to go down the way it did at all.

Soulprint is about Alina Chase, a 17 year old girl that has been contained because of her soul. You see, Alina lives in a world where souls are repurposed as someone else when the body dies. And unfortunately Alina has been cursed with the soul that once belonged to June Calahan, a famous criminal. She is told she isn’t being imprisoned for crimes she never committed but being kept under lock and key for her own safety. Determined to escape and be free Alina doesn’t even bat an eye when she is given the opportunity to escape with the help of 3 other teens. But now that she is out Alina realizes so much more is at stake than her freedom. Not knowing who to trust Alina begins fighting for not only herself but for June.

What I really liked about Soulprint was its unique premise. Reincarnation isn’t a new concept. It has been around for ages. But Miranda used it in a way that made it new and fresh. I liked the idea that you can trace where your soul has come from, its routes and how that is both a good thing and a dangerous thing. That is what really intrigued me about Soulprint. It was a bit like The Program and Unleashed mixed into one and I loved that.

I also really liked Alina. My heart went out to her. She was being blamed for something that she had no control over. She was ostracized for having the soul of someone that looked like a terrible person on the outside but that people never really knew. Alina paid for the sins of a crime she didn’t commit. All she wanted was freedom and she couldn’t have it. I felt for her. That is not a life I would ever want to live.

All in all I really enjoyed Soulprint. It was pretty fast paced and a readable narrative that keeps you involved in the story. It makes you really think while you read and makes you wonder. You easily get involved in the lives of these characters and want to see how things work out and if Alina can ever really be free from a crime that wasn’t hers. I would recommend checking this one out for sure.

 

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