Review: The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You – Lily Anderson

Review: The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You – Lily AndersonThe Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You by Lily Anderson
Published by St. Martin's Griffin
Published: May 17th 2016
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four-stars

Trixie Watson has two very important goals for senior year: to finally save enough to buy the set of Doctor Who figurines at the local comic books store, and to place third in her class and knock Ben West--and his horrendous new mustache that he spent all summer growing--down to number four.

Trixie will do anything to get her name ranked over Ben's, including give up sleep and comic books--well, maybe not comic books--but definitely sleep. After all, the war of Watson v. West is as vicious as the Doctor v. Daleks and Browncoats v. Alliance combined, and it goes all the way back to the infamous monkey bars incident in the first grade. Over a decade later, it's time to declare a champion once and for all.

The war is Trixie's for the winning, until her best friend starts dating Ben's best friend and the two are unceremoniously dumped together and told to play nice. Finding common ground is odious and tooth-pullingly-painful, but Trixie and Ben's cautious truce slowly transforms into a fandom-based tentative friendship. When Trixie's best friend gets expelled for cheating and Trixie cries foul play, however, they have to choose who to believe and which side they're on--and they might not pick the same side.

I was told by a lot of people to read The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You. Gail actually told me to read it so much that I bought the book one day when I was with her. But then the book just sat and sat. Finally I just decided to pick it up and I’m so happy I did. It was cute and adorable and nerdy and fun. 

The Only Thing… is about a group of students that go to the super smart kid school. They are all nerdy geniuses that could test out of high school but instead go to a super competitive school for nerds together. Trixie is the main character and she has a goal Senior year and it is to beat her nemesis, Ben West, in class ranking. That’s all Trix wants and she is going to get it. That is until her best friend starts dating Ben’s best friend and weird things start happening at school. Soon Trixie has no idea what she wants. All she knows is she needs to stop what’s happening and she may just need Ben to do it.

I truly loved this book. It was predictable, but one of those predictable books you don’t mind. Ben and Trixie had amazing banter and were super quick witted. I loved watching their idea of the other change slowly and not over night. And I loved the friends they had that aided this change. They both needed a shove in the right direction and they got it. Truly the only reason I didn’t give it 5 stars was because it was slow in the beginning. But once it got started it really kept me sucked in.

The Only Thing… is definitely a book I would recommended.  It had a great mystery, a great friendship aspect, and a great romance. There were a ton of nerdy references (I admit I only understood about half) and ‘geek duels’. It was just a fun book that I would recommend. But man I needed more kissing. 😉

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Review: In Real Life – Jessica Love

Review: In Real Life – Jessica LoveIn Real Life by Jessica Love
Published by St. Martin's Griffin
Published: March 1st 2016
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four-half-stars

Hannah Cho and Nick Cooper have been best friends since 8th grade. They talk for hours on the phone, regularly shower each other with presents, and know everything there is to know about one another.

There's just one problem: Hannah and Nick have never actually met.

Hannah has spent her entire life doing what she's supposed to, but when her senior year spring break plans get ruined by a rule-breaker, she decides to break a rule or two herself. She impulsively decides to road trip to Las Vegas, her older sister and BFF in tow, to surprise Nick and finally declare her more-than-friend feelings for him.

Hannah's surprise romantic gesture backfires when she gets to Vegas and finds out that Nick has been keeping some major secrets. Hannah knows the real Nick can't be that different from the online Nick she knows and loves, but now she only has night in Sin City to figure out what her feelings for Nick really are, all while discovering how life can change when you break the rules every now and then.

I admit after reading 8% of In Real Life I was not all that excited about it. I was told by Gail that I would love it but I wasn’t all that into it. I started it on a Friday and didn’t pick it up again until the following Tuesday and I dreaded doing it. Well that Tuesday? I read the other 92% and Gail was right (I hate giving her reasons to gloat), I did love it. It gave me so many feels and once I really got into it I couldn’t stop until I knew if Nick and Hannah would or wouldn’t.

Truth…when I’m told I will love a book because it is Anna and the French Kiss-like, I tend to not want to read the book. I mean you can’t really touch my love of Anna in the contemporary world. But In Real Life really was Anna-like. It had an “Eiffel Tower” type scene, it had the maybe best friends to more, it had a girl out of her comfort zone, it even had a height situation. It had all the things I loved about Anna but with different characters in different settings. Truly there was no way I was not loving this book.

I guess what I loved the most about In Real Life (besides the friends to more troupe and the Vegas setting) was the characters. They really brought life to the story. When I first started I though Hannah was very immature, but as I read more I realized she was just scared to do something against the normal. She was scared to be crazy and out of control so she lived by rules and strict-ish parents. She ran away from problems and trouble. So now, she wasn’t immature, she was just scared to want something else out of life like many of us are. And Hannah and Nick? They were a thing of beauty. They had that awkward teen thing down perfectly not to mention the meeting someone you’ve talked to for years for the first time. I seriously just loved them. And I loved everything that was included in their story as well.

In the end this book was pretty amazing! Was it perfect like I think Anna and the French Kiss is? Nope. But it was darn near close. I really did love just about everything about it and I can say with 100% certainty if you are an Anna fan, you will too!

*check out my giveaway on Twitter to win a Kindle copy! US only and goes until 7/11/16 at 8am EST.

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Blog Tour: Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn (Review, Excerpt + Giveaway)

Blog Tour: Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn (Review, Excerpt + Giveaway)Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Published by St. Martin's Griffin
Published: January 5th 2016
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four-stars

In the vein of Easy A, an honest and refreshing young adult novel about sex, love, and high school.

Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time-the kind Mercedes never had herself.

Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy - so far. Her mother isn't home nearly enough to know about Mercedes' extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won't even say the word "sex" until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn't bank on Angela's boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn - or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.

When Mercedes' perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her own reputation -and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, Firsts is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.

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 I first heard about Firsts in early June 2015 I thought it sounded like a book that could have potential and something that would interest me. What I didn’t expect was a smart book about teens, sex, love and friendship and what they all mean separately and as a whole. And let me tell you, this first time author nailed it.

Firsts is a story about Mercedes, a high school senior that is going places. She is smart and funny and sarcastic. But Mercedes as a secret; she has an open door policy for the virgins of Milton High. She allows them to have their first time with her so their girlfriends can have the first time Mercedes never got to have. To her her system is fool proof…until it isn’t. All of a sudden Mercedes’ world that she so carefully crafted started to crumble and people she didn’t realize were so important to her have the potential to get hurt in the cross fire.

It’s hard to really put into words what was so great about this book. There was a lot happening in Mercy’s life between her absent parents, her past, her secret with the virgins, her self-loathing and her trying to keep people that loved her at an arm’s length. To the naked eye Mercy seemed like someone that had it all together. Smart, funny, and helpful. But she didn’t. Not really. She was basically lost. So completely lost and messed up by the past that she used sex to make herself feel like she was in charge of her life. But she never was. She was haunted by things that had happened to her and terrified to be vulnerable to people that were available. Honestly I just wanted to hug her and tell her she didn’t have to do it that way.

The other thing that I loved about this book is that Mercedes had AMAZING people around her (her parents aside). Zach, Angela and her new friend Faye couldn’t have been any different from each other. Zach was the sweet boy that liked Mercy for Mercy, Angela the religious girl that saw the good in people, and Faye the blunt in your face kind that made Mercy look in the mirror a time or two. Each of these people were needed in Mercy’s life in a way she never could have imagined until it is possible she could lose one or all of them. They were the voice in her head even if she didn’t even know it.

I could go on and on and tell you why you should read this story and everything it does in terms of discussing sex and how sexual activity and cheating is treated differently in boys and girls. I could tell you about all the things that happen in this book. But instead I’m just going to leave it here and just tell you to read it. It isn’t a perfect story. There are a couple of things I wish were dealt with in the end, but I think it is an important story and one that should be read.

Buy: Amazon Barnes & Noble IndieBound Indigo Google PlayiBooks Kobo

Tonight, I’m doing Evan Brown’s girlfriend a favor. An awkward, sweaty, fumbling favor. Melanie, or whatever her name is, owes me big time.

Except she’ll never know it.

***

“You’re not staying over,” I say, fastening the robe around my waist. “You’ll get there. Girls care less about that than you think. Especially in the beginning. You can work up to it together.”

He grins. He looks different, more handsome somehow. In the softer light, his pimples aren’t as evident and his jawline seems more pronounced. One day, I think Evan Brown could even be a heartbreaker.

But that day isn’t today.

I glance at the clock on my nightstand. Eleven p.m. on a Tues- day. “It’s a school night, Evan. Time for you to go. Your mother will wonder where you are.” Or I assume she would. Most mothers do. Not mine, of course.

His grin turns into a frown. “Do I, you know, owe you some- thing? I don’t know how this works . . .” His voice trails off.

“You don’t owe me anything. Just be good to her, okay? Re- member everything we talked about.”

I know he will. He even took notes. Open her car door for her. Bring her flowers, not something generic like roses but her actual favorite flowers. Have dinner reservations in advance, not necessarily somewhere fancy but somewhere meaningful, like where you had your first kiss or where you realized you loved her. Kiss her, not just on her lips but in unexpected places. On the nape of her neck. On her forehead. On her wrist. Push her hair behind her ears gently. Take a picture. She’ll want to remember the night.

I swallow against a lump that has risen up suddenly in my throat. It’s not that Evan is different—he’s a nice guy, a kid who loves his girlfriend and wants to please her. Maybe I’m the one who’s different. Maybe this speech is starting to feel too familiar. I told myself five favors for five deserving virgins. Five was the line I drew in the sand, and I trampled over it like it wasn’t even there. Evan is the tenth, and ten is a line I can’t just trample past.

But I’m certainly not going to get into this with Evan, so I put on a fake smile. I gesture around the room at the chaise lounge and walk-in closet and floor-to-ceiling shoe rack. “Besides, I really don’t need your money. Spend it on Melody.”

He pulls his boxers and pants back on. His movements are more measured, not the bumbling, terrified movements of the Evan Brown who entered my bedroom an hour ago. Even his voice seems deeper, like he came here a boy and is leaving as a man. I suppose that’s not far from the truth. I allow myself a little smile, a real one this time. It’s easy to reaffirm what I do. What happened to Evan in my bedroom will change him, make him into a more consider- ate lover, even a better boyfriend. Moments like these are what made that line in the sand so easy to obliterate.

Moments like these, I could see an eleventh, even though I promised myself that’s not going to happen. I’m starting the second half of senior year with all of my good karma already under my belt.

“I don’t know where you came from, but you saved my life, Mercy. I mean, Mercedes. I don’t know what I would’ve done with- out you.”

“You would’ve ripped five condoms by accident, and you might’ve drowned the girl in saliva. But now, you’re going to nail it. Literally.”

He tugs his shirt over his head. “When Gus told me how you helped him, I didn’t believe it. But he was right—you’re an angel.” He pauses. “But can I ask you—”

I cut him off midsentence. “No, you can’t. Don’t spoil it.” “But you didn’t even let me finish,” he protests.

“Oh, I let you finish,” I say. “The one thing you can do for me is not ask me any questions.”

He nods. “Fair enough.” “Goodnight, Evan,” I say.

“Goodnight, Mercy. Uh, Mercedes.” He gets to my bedroom door and pauses with his hand on the doorknob.

“This won’t be awkward at school tomorrow, will it?” he says, looking back at me.

“Of course not,” I say, folding my arms over my chest. “It’s not going to be awkward at all, because what happened in this room becomes just a figment of your imagination the second you walk out that door.”

He gives me a tight-lipped smile and pulls the door shut after him. I can see his shoes underneath, can tell he’s lingering there, wondering if he said too much or not enough, not entirely convinced that his secret is safe with me.

But he has nothing to worry about. His secret, like those of nine of his fellow seniors, is safe with me. At Milton High, I’m my own statistic. People fail to see the great equalizer, the one thing the band geeks, the drama nerds, the jocks, and the preppies all have in common.

Me—Mercedes Ayres.

The girl who took their virginity.

About Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Laurie Elizabeth Flynn went to school for journalism and later worked as a model, a job that took her overseas to Tokyo,

Athens, and Paris. She lives in London, Ontario, with her husband and her Chihuahua.

GIVEAWAY is for one finished copy of Firsts. Open for US and Canada ONLY! Your address will be shared with the publisher. Runs until 12AM EST on 1/20/16.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Release Day Celebration for Loop by Karen Akins + a Giveaway

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I’m a huge fan of this book so I am very very happy to take part in the release day celebration for Loop by Karen Akin. I just loved this book so much and I think you all will to. Make sure you scroll all the way to the end to enter to win a copy of the book and swag. And if you are interested you can read my review HERE.
loop2About The Book
 
Loop
Loop #1
Author: Karen Akins
Release Date: October 21, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
 
At a school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, sixteen year-old time traveler Bree Bennis excels…at screwing up.

After Bree botches a solo midterm to the 21st century by accidentally taking a boy hostage (a teensy snafu), she stands to lose her scholarship. But when Bree sneaks back to talk the kid into keeping his yap shut, she doesn’t go back far enough. The boy, Finn, now three years older and hot as a solar flare, is convinced he’s in love with Bree, or rather, a future version of her that doesn’t think he’s a complete pain in the arse. To make matters worse, she inadvertently transports him back to the 23rd century with her.

Once home, Bree discovers that a recent rash of accidents at her school are anything but accidental. Someone is attacking time travelers. As Bree and her temporal tagalong uncover seemingly unconnected clues—a broken bracelet, a missing data file, the art heist of the millennium—that lead to the person responsible, she alone has the knowledge to piece the puzzle together. Knowledge only one other person has. Her future self.

But when those closest to her become the next victims, Bree realizes the attacker is willing to do anything to stop her. In the past, present, or future.

 
 
Praise:
 
“A creative take on romance in a high-stakes, high-concept mystery that trusts its readers’ intelligence.” – Kirkus
 
“LOOP is a page-turning adventure with some brilliant and original twists to the time travel genre. I devoured the entire book in one sitting!” – Julie Cross, Author of the TEMPEST series
 
“Hilarious and suspenseful with a delicious dash of romance, LOOP is a mind-bending good time!” – Melissa Landers, Author of the ALIENATED series 
 
loop1About The Author
Karen Akins lives in the MidSouth where she writes humorous, light YA sci-fi. When not writing or reading, she loves lightsaber dueling with her two sons and forcing her husband to watch BBC shows with her.

Karen has been many things in her life: an archery instructor, drummer for the shortest-lived garage band in history, and a shockingly bad tic-tac-toe player.

 
 
Giveaway

Must be 13+ To Enter | Ships in US Only
 
One Winner will get a signed final copy of LOOP + a swag pack
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Review: Loop – Karen Akins

Review: Loop – Karen AkinsLoop by Karen Akins
Series: Loop #1
Published by St. Martin's Griffin
Published: October 21st 2014
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five-stars

At a school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, sixteen year-old time traveler Bree Bennis excels... at screwing up.After Bree botches a solo midterm to the 21st century by accidentally taking a boy hostage (a teensy snafu), she stands to lose her scholarship. But when Bree sneaks back to talk the kid into keeping his yap shut, she doesn't go back far enough. The boy, Finn, now three years older and hot as a solar flare, is convinced he’s in love with Bree, or rather, a future version of her that doesn't think he’s a complete pain in the arse. To make matters worse, she inadvertently transports him back to the 23rd century with her. Once home, Bree discovers that a recent rash of accidents at her school are anything but accidental. Someone is attacking time travelers. As Bree and her temporal tag-along uncover seemingly unconnected clues—a broken bracelet, a missing data file, the art heist of the millennium—that lead to the person responsible, she alone has the knowledge to piece the puzzle together. Knowledge only one other person has. Her future self.But when those closest to her become the next victims, Bree realizes the attacker is willing to do anything to stop her. In the past, present, or future.

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.

Review

Mind. Blown. Can that be my review for Loop? No seriously, can I just say ‘mind blown, read it’ and be done with it? Really that is all I want to say.

I wanted to tell people to read Loop when I was 4% done with the book. I wanted to tell people when I was 18% done. I just wanted to tell all the people to read it as soon as the possible can. Because Loop, is 100% fantastic!

Loop is a fantastic time travel story about Bree, a 16 year old girl, living in the 23rd century where Time Travel is a part of everyday life. To complete a midterm, Bree is sent to the 21st century and ends up on a path she never expected when she takes a teenage boy hostage (sort of by accident). On the verge of losing her scholarship at the Institute she has no choice but to sneak back to talk to the kid. The only problem is he is convinced he knows her and they are in love. Not knowing what to do and what is actually going on Bree returns home, but inadvertently ends up taking him with her. Now stuck in the 23rd century with a boy she doesn’t know that knows her and a pile of odd occurrences, Bree has to figure out just what is exactly happening and who it is she is supposed to trust.

There was a lot I loved about this book. I loved Bree’s voice, Finn’s adorableness, the humor, the writing. I even liked all of the side characters. But the one thing I loved the most (the humor and Finn are tied for a close second) was the mystery you read without knowing you are reading it. There is a very intricate story woven into the pages of Loop and as a reader you don’t really even know that’s what is happening. Every single thing that Akins’ wrote was written for the purpose of moving the story along. Time travel and parallel life stories are hard. There is a lot of planning and plotting involved to not confuse the reader and to make the plot flow seamlessly. And when all is said and done you can tell Akins put the time and energy in it for her readers. I wasn’t left feeling confused or like something was missing. I left Loop just wanting the story to go on forever.

I could go on and on, as I said there was so much I loved about this book, but I feel like I may have said too much already. I feel like the best thing I can do for you is to just tell you to read it and enjoy. To take it all in. To be left dying for more. To just read a great book with some great writing. If you love parallel life/time travel stories, then DO NOT MISS this book. It is a must.

Now give me the sequel Twist!!!

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twist

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