New to You (14): Kim Reviews What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton

Welcome to New to You!

This idea came along last year when I was supporting Lauren Miller’s newest book All Things New and I asked Kelsey to read and review Parallel, a book I have read more than once. I didn’t really get it going until December when I offered people the chance to sign up to read and review a book that has been a favorite of mine that they have never read. I got a great response and I’m happy to tell you (minus January) you will see a New to You post twice a month.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Next up for New to You is Kim from Kimberlyfaye Reads. Kim is mainly a romance/new adult book reader, but every now and then she reads a young adult book to the mix. When Kim signed up I had trouble deciding which book I wanted to give to her because I had a feeling she would love all three she expressed interest in. But after thinking on it I knew What Happens Next would be the right book for her. Let’s see what she had to say about it.

New to You (14): Kim Reviews What Happens Next by Colleen ClaytonWhat Happens Next by Colleen Clayton
Published by Poppy (Little Brown Books for Young Readers)
Published: October 9, 2012
Buy on Amazon
Add to Goodreads
four-stars

How can you talk about something you can’t remember?

Before the ski trip, sixteen-year-old Cassidy “Sid” Murphy was a cheerleader (at the bottom of the pyramid, but still...), a straight-A student, and a member of a solid trio of best friends. When she ends up on a ski lift next to handsome local college boy, Dax Windsor, she’s thrilled; but Dax takes everything from Sid—including a lock of her perfect red curls—and she can’t remember any of it.

Back home and unable to relate to her old friends, Sid drops her college prep classes and takes up residence in the A/V room with only Corey “The Living Stoner” Livingston for company. But as she gets to know Corey (slacker, baker, total dreamboat), Sid finds someone who truly makes her happy. Now, if she can just shake the nightmares and those few extra pounds, everything will be perfect... or so she thinks.

Witty and poignant, Colleen Clayton’s stunning debut is a story about moving on after the unthinkable happens.

 

What Happens Next has been on my TBR for ages. I was drawn to it when it was first released, but somehow never got around to reading it. When Andi picked it for me to read for her New to You feature, I was thrilled I finally had a real excuse to force me to read it. Now that I did? I’m really grateful she selected this one for me. She anticipated I would love it and she was right. 

All that said, it’s difficult to put my thoughts about What Happens Next into words. If you’ve read it, you understand where I’m coming from on this one. If you’ve not, but want to, you’ll understand once you read it. My heart absolutely ached for Sid. She went through something no one should go through, and to say it changed her in a very real way would be a massive understatement. 

I’ve not read many books that deal with sexual assault or rape, so I don’t have much to compare What Happens Next to. But, I think it was handled very well here. Or as well as this subject matter can be anyhow. Because of the nature of Sid’s assault — she was drugged — we as readers are not forced to live vicariously through it with her. Thank goodness. Instead, we pick up the story afterwards as the fogginess clears and she begins to realize what she’d been through. That was real and raw enough for me and it broke my heart just a little. (Ok, a lot.) 

The rest of the book is Sid trying to find her new normal and, to be honest, making some pretty poor choices along the way. There were times I was incredibly angry with her, but mostly I was just concerned for her. I wanted her to TELL SOMEONE, but instead she focused her energies elsewhere. Exercising more? Probably not a bad way to cope. Doing it obsessively, at the expense of sleep and general health, not so much. Same with the eating disorder. Sid was struggling and no one really saw the extent of it at first because she was doing a very good job of hiding it. Of hiding herself, really. She lost so much to “Dax,” her rapist. I desperately wanted to see her get back at least part of it. 

The cast of characters in this book are something special. Of course, you know how I feel about Sid. I also adored her friends, Kristen and Paige, though I did spend several chapters side-eyeing them for their reaction to the fallout from the ski trip. But then, it’s not like they had the whole story… so I’d probably have felt similarly if in their shoes. The other star of the show here was Corey, the “stoner” Sid befriends after pushing nearly everyone else in her life away. I loved how they connected and got to know each other. The pace at which things moved from friends to more just worked, too. And, bonus, there was no focus on Sid needing Corey to become whole again. 

What Happens Next was a beautifully-written, moving book. It was raw and real and left me with a whole boatload of emotions I wasn’t sure what to do with. It’s not an easy read, but it’s an important one. I hope more people like me, who might’ve been on the fence about it, will make the time to read it.

Favorite Quotes:

My peace, my virginity, my friends, cheerleading, and now my pride: he’d taken it all. 

“It’s like this light coming out of you. I could be in a crowd of thousands and know right where to find you.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thanks Kim for signing up for New to You! What Happens Next is one of the most underrated books in YA if you ask me so I’m happy I was able to give it a new fan.

My What Happens Next. And of Colleen’s latest, a self-published book about a girl with diabetes and a mother that is a hoarder, Doll Hearts.

Have you read What Happens Next or is this your first time hearing about it?

Continue Reading

Blog Tour: Truly Madly Famously – Rebecca Serle (Giveaway)

tmf

Blog Tour: Truly Madly Famously – Rebecca Serle (Giveaway)Truly, Madly, Famously by Rebecca Serle
Series: Famous in Love #2
Published by Poppy
Published: October 13th 2015
Buy on Amazon
Add to Goodreads
four-stars

In this romantic sequel to Famous in Love, new Hollywood "It Girl" Paige must navigate love with her co-stars, both on and off screen and all in the public eye.

Lights, camera, love!

After being plucked from obscurity, Hollywood's newest starlet, Paige Townsen, has a hit film to her name and Rainer Devon on her arm. But being half of the world's most famous couple comes with a price, and soon Paige finds herself dodging photographers; hiding her feelings for her other costar, Jordan Wilder; and navigating tabloid scandals that threaten to tear her and Rainer apart-and end her career as quickly as it began.

Rebecca Serle's sequel to Famous in Love is filled with the kind of celebrity drama and swoon-worthy romance fit for the silver screen.

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.

What is it like to live in the bubble of Hollywood? A thought we most likely have all had at one point or another. I mean we hear the stories of the small town girl thrust into the spotlight. We read the magazines on celebrity lifestyles and partying, but we never really know what they could be thinking. What Rebecca Serle does in Famous in Love and Truly Madly Famously is show us what is potentially a celebrities side of it and I must admit it got me wondering if this is really what it is like.

Truly Madly Famously basically picks up where Famous in Love had left off. Paige has now been thrust into the spotlight and is famous. She is dating a celebrity, she is living in Beverly Hills, and she has a hit movie. She is navigating this crazy life without a clue what she is doing but she is enjoying it. But she can’t seem to shake her thoughts about a certain someone she can’t help but have feelings for. And those thoughts lead her to do something that causes the media to attack. Now caught in a media frenzy Paige needs to figure out how to navigate Hollywood without being America’s Sweetheart, how to make friends, who to trust, and which guy is really the soul owner of her heart.

The action was a little slower in this one for me. Not slow in a dull way, but in a real world kind of way. In Truly you get to see what Paige’s life is like and how the paparazzi and her decisions and the people she hangs around with affect her perception to the world. Paige starts to change what she does based on this perception and it was fascinating to read about and wonder if people in Hollywood actually do this.

What better location for a book about Hollywood and the media than Los Angeles. I loved the setting of this book so so much! Paige was a fish out of water when it came to Hollywood hotspots and the press. It was awesome to see her at places like The Ivy and to see what was actually behind some of that glitz and glamor. Plus we get to see Hawaii again and a brief visit to Japan. So much fun.

Paige, Rainer and Jordan are my favorite parts of Truly Madly Famously. The three of them and the relationships have changed so much since the first book but they are exactly who they always were but different versions of themselves. They are going through this huge thing together but the tension between all of them complicates things and makes them real have to figure out what they want out of celebrity life and each other. I know a lot of people aren’t love triangle fans, but I have to say I really enjoyed this one although I did favor one boy over the other. 😉

I read the first book in this series last May and I loved it. At the time I didn’t know there would be another book but after finding out I was beyond thrilled. To be honest I wasn’t sure what Rebecca could do to keep it fresh and keep me interested, but she did just that. It was nice to be back in a world with Rainer, Jordan and Paige and I loved how their story unfolded. I heard there may be a 3rd book but I have to be honest, I’m more than happy with how the second ended. Definitely recommend this fun series.

US ONLY

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Continue Reading

Review: Famous in Love – Rebecca Serle

Review: Famous in Love – Rebecca SerleFamous in Love by Rebecca Serle
Series: Famous in Love #1
Published by Poppy
Published: October 21st 2014
Buy on Amazon
Add to Goodreads
five-stars

The romantic story of a girl who gets plucked from obscurity to star in the next major feature film franchise based on a book and the ensuing love triangles she gets entangled in on—-and off screen.

Meet Paige Townsen, Rainer Devon, and Jordan Wilder…

When Paige Townsen, a young unknown, gets cast in the movie adaptation of a blockbuster book series, her life changes practically overnight. Within a month, Paige has traded the quiet streets of her hometown for a crowded movie set on the shores of Maui, and is spending quality time with her co-star Rainer Devon, one of People’s Sexiest Men Alive. But when troubled star Jordan Wilder lands the role of the other point in the movie’s famous love triangle, Paige’s crazy new life gets even crazier.

I wanted this book and I wanted it badly. As soon as I heard Rebecca had a 3rd book I needed it to be mine. You see, her first two books were fantastic; such depth and emotion in them. Really heavy, realistic reads that made you, as the reader, have all the feels. She has a way about her writing that just sucks you in and pulls you along. With Famous in Love having a different kind of vibe to it I wasn’t sure how it would fit. Would it still be Rebecca that I heart or would it feel off in some way? Happily, I report that Famous in Love did not let me down. I heard Rebecca’s voice loud and clear and I loved every minute of it.

Famous in Love is the story of Paige, a girl that has dreamed about being an actress. She read scripts and stars in small plays but has always lusted after the big screen. When an opportunity presents she finds herself auditioning for the role of a lifetime to star as the heroine in the latest YA trilogy to be adapted into a movie. When she lands the part she is whisked off to Hawaii to begin filming and everything changes. Suddenly Paige finds herself not only playing a girl in a love triangle but being in an actual one herself with her two sexy costars Rainer Devon and Jordan Wilder. As this gets more and more complicated Paige has to figure out how not only to navigate her new life but to navigate her love.

What I loved about this book is how totally Rebecca it is. If you follow her on Twitter or Tumblr you can see just how much of a pop culture junkie she is. She loves all things Hollywood and the fact that she created a book out of that love just made me smile. She hit on all the important things a good YA, Hollywood story needs too. She got the love triangle, the pop star references, the small town girl making it big, the YA trilogy that people devoured made into a movie. She even managed to capture the feeling a reader gets when a 3rd book is about to be released and you NEED TO KNOW HOW IT ENDS! It amazed me how she managed to capture all of that in just over 300 pages and to do it at the level she did.

The other thing about Famous in Love was Paige, Rainer, and Jordan. It felt genuine to me. Paige was a girl that was on this roller coaster. Her life was upside down and she was living in a world that was so foreign to her. And here were these two hot guys that had been in the business for a long time that she is attracted to. It was 100% natural that she would grab on to them and feel the things she did and for them to reciprocate. It all had a follow to it that added to the beauty and the tension to the story that elevated the whole book for me. I found myself invested in what would happen and how everything turned out which is important when reading a book. At least for me anyway.

My word of advice to readers is that you don’t go into Famous in Love expecting to have the same kind of journey you had in Rebecca’s 2 previous books. This book is a different kind of journey in the way that it is told and how the characters get from A to B and how everyone ends up. It isn’t as heavy as The Edge of Falling and doesn’t have the Shakespeare vibe of When You Were Mine. It is its own book and one that works when all the pieces have clicked into place. It made me smile and almost miss my train stop. It made me what to savor reading it and hurry up and finish. And it made me want to read the fake book it is based on and find out what the heck happened in the last book. It cemented my love of Rebecca Serle and now I sit and wait for her next book to arrive whenever that may be.

*note: Just found out this will be a trilogy so SCORE!

Continue Reading

Review: The Geography of You and Me – Jennifer Smith

Review: The Geography of You and Me – Jennifer SmithThe Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Published: April 15th 2014
Buy on Amazon
Add to Goodreads
three-half-stars

Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they're rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

Lucy and Owen's relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and -- finally -- a reunion in the city where they first met.

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.

thoughts1

This book was cute. It wasn’t on the level of Smith’s other book The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, but it was better than This Is What Happy Looks Like. But although I enjoyed it, I wouldn’t say I was over the moon about it. I liked Owen and Lucy a lot. They had a great vibe when they were together, but the problem was, they weren’t together all that much which made reading this loose some of the good feels.

The Geography of You and Me is the story of Lucy and Owen. Lucy is a New York native. She lives in Manhattan, goes to a private school, has parents that travel the world leaving her home alone. Then there is Owen. He is new to the city and to Lucy’s building. His mother passed away and his dad got a job as the super in the building. One night the lights go out up the eastern seaboard and Lucy and Owen get trapped in an elevator. They spend one night together in NYC and are then thrust apart by the constant motion of life. They keep in touch, but something seems to always be unsettled. But when they both end up in the same place at the same time, they have the chance to get it right. The only question that remains is how.

Like I said, I really enjoyed this story, but I think I could have potentially loved it if there was more interaction between Lucy and Owen. Without that connection it seemed like this book was just two stories of self-discovery, of growing up. I never felt the investment in the relationship or even in the friendship. When I read the description I just expected there to be more correspondence between the two of them as they went in two different directions and sadly there wasn’t. I did enjoy seeing Lucy get closer with her mother, as I thought her parents were horrible at points. And I liked seeing how Owen and his dad grieved in their own way over the terrible loss they suffered. Both of those side stories were great. But the lack of Lucy and Owen as a ‘couple’ just took away from the whole thing for me.

Basically The Geography of You and Me was a quick read that kept me interested and I liked, but didn’t end up loving like I expected. It made up for my feelings on Smith’s last book, but never reached the greatness of Statistical. Lucy and Owen were great characters that were a joy to see grown and change. I would recommend this book if you are a Smith fan for sure.

otherbooks
statisticalthis

reread2

Continue Reading

Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight – Jennifer E. Smith

statisticalTitle: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight [Amazon]
Author: Jennifer E. Smith [website]
Publisher: Poppy/Little Brown
Genre: Contemporary
Source/Type: Library/Hardcover
Stars: 4 of 5

Publisher Description:
Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan’s life. Having missed her flight, she’s stuck at JFK airport and late to her father’s second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley’s never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport’s cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he’s British, and he’s sitting in her row.

A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?

Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver’s story will make you believe that true love finds you when you’re least expecting it.

My Thoughts:
This book was so flipping cute and exactly what I needed at the time I read it. I had just finished a book that was a complete disappointment after reading a book that was fantastic and I didn’t know where to go. Then I saw this in my stack of library books and went for it. Having read two other Smith books in the past, You Are Here and This Is What Happy Looks Like, and not being 100% crazy about either, I was wary of this one. But rest assured I didn’t need to be.  The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight was definitely my kind of book and has changed my opinion on Smith’s writing.

Statistical(I’m shortening the title since it is SO long) is the story of Hadley and Oliver, two complete strangers that end up on the same flight sitting in the same row heading to London. Hadley, having missed her original flight by 4 minutes is pressed for time to make her father’s wedding, a wedding she is dreading. Oliver, originally scheduled on the flight, has his own reasons for not wanting to return to London, his place of birth. Through the course of 24 hours Hadley and Oliver’s relationship changes from people that have just met to deeply connected. Between the time they leave New York to the time they are about to leave London every emotion is hit upon and the question still remains if you can fall in love at first sight.

Hadley really was a fantastic character with a great personality. She made me laugh or smile a lot of the time and I felt real sympathy for the situation she was in. Here she was flying across the country to meet the woman that had, in her mind, stolen her father from her. And not only was she meeting her, but her father was getting married to her the same day. I can’t even imagine what would run through someone’s head in that situation so when she found Oliver and they were able to just not think about anything and entertain each other and flirt and joke around, I totally loved it. I also loved the chemistry that she had with Oliver. They sparked right away which is sometimes hard to believe in a book, that whole insta-love thing, but it worked in their case and that is a testament to the story Smith crafted. These two characters played off each other really really well and as a reader I appreciated that.

All in all Statistical was an adorable read with likable characters. It took me no time to get through it and when I was done I had one complaint really…why wasn’t this book longer. J Seriously though, I definitely would recommend this Smith book and I thank goodness for it because it left me clamoring for her next which wasn’t that case before this fun story about love, friendship, relationships and family. Well done Ms. Smith, well done!

Other books by author:
thisgeography

Continue Reading