Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The AWOL Notice

You may have noticed how AWOL I've been...or you may have not. Either way, I haven't been posting. People are going to BEA this week and while I used to believe that posts should still be out there despite the masses being gone (considering WE are still here), I'm going to have to follow the crowd (not to BEA, unfortunately). You can expect a review later this week. In the meantime, I'll be visiting blogs, reading, and working.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Review: THE ART OF LAINEY by Paula Stokes

Title: The Art of Lainey
Author: Paula Stokes
Publication date: April , 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: an e-galley provided by the publisher for an honest review

Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her amazing boyfriend, Jason, when he suddenly breaks up with her—no reasons, no warning, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but with help from her friend Bianca, she resolves to do whatever it takes to get Jason back.

And that’s when the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. With just one glance, they're sure they can use the book to lure Jason back into Lainey’s arms. So Lainey channels her inner warlord, recruiting spies to gather intel and persuading her coworker Micah to pose as her new boyfriend to make Jason jealous. After a few "dates", it looks like her plan is going to work! But now her relationship with Micah is starting to feel like more than just a game.

What's a girl to do when what she wants is totally different from what she needs? How do you figure out the person you're meant to be with if you're still figuring out the person you're meant to be?

Take away my contemporary-romance-lover card away all you want, but I just didn't get it. I didn't get THIS. This book, The Art of Lainey, and why everyone was going all cuckoo for cocoa puffs on this. There were certain things happening in this book that kept me from loving it, opposite of what I see most people felt like. It was enjoyable to read, but I had way too many issues with it to love it as much as I thought I should have. 

Here's a quick rundown of what I loved: Bianca, somewhat Micah, semi-enjoyable read, and...oh, wait, that's it. Bianca wasn't present in this as much as she should've been in my opinion because she was a great best friend. However, I was completely confused at her behavior. When Jerky Jason dumps Annoying Lainey and she gets the bright idea to text him immediately, stalk him, and bemoans the fact that she has no identity without him, Bianca is there to tell her that she's crazy. But then suddenly, BIANCA is the one who suggests using Sun Tzu's book to win him back. EXCUSE ME? 

Bianca, honey, what happened to your brain? I get that they're best friends. I also understand that she might've been trying to shut Lainey up for once, but there are other ways. Bianca could've suggested a short plan that will get Lainey to crash and burn faster than a long one. I didn't understand why Bianca was suddenly helping her best friend and why Lainey was so attached to him when NOBODY likes the guy. Unless it was coming from Lainey, I didn't hear one nice thing about Jerky Jason. Nada. GIRL, LOOK AT YOUR LIFE. 

And that's another problem. Jerky Jason dumped Annoying Lainey and Lainey's biggest issue was that she wasn't "complete" without him and that she couldn't possibly survive three weeks, much less all year, without him or talking to him or staring at him and no touching. THE HORROR. She repeatedly talked about how despite her fabulousness, she didn't know who she was without Jerky Jason. 

Of course, she's also best friends with Jerky Jason's horribly nasty and selfish sister. Lainey, I beg of you to just look at your choices in life. You say you feel incomplete in life without him, but NO STOP. In fact, if I could rate who I was most annoyed with, it would start with Lainey, then Jason, then his sister. Lainey had all the evidence in front of her about how silly she was acting about her so-called perfect ex-boyfriend and still denied the truth. Micah was refreshing at times, but I didn't clamor over him because he displayed some jerky tendencies as well. 

"But wait, didn't you say it was an enjoyable read?" It was...in a sick sense, it really was. I actually kept forgetting I had it on my iPad (shows you how memorable it was), but once I picked up where I last left off, it sucked me in. It's one of those books that makes you relaxed while reading, but you're not getting anything beneficial out of it and you have a not-so-good aftertaste. I can easily think of several food metaphors but I'll spare you.

I wanted to like it. It had the great fake dating plot, a punk baker, and a great best friend. But I hated reading about a self-centered, obsessive girl trying to win back her jerky boyfriend with the help of a funny, yet sometimes rude boy as she makes frequent insults about her coworkers and others. The synopsis sounded fun. It sounded perfect for a contemporary lover like me. We just didn't mesh.

Verdict: I can only hope that a different Paula Stokes will be better. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Books About Friendship

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
This week's topic is about friendship and while I love romance, friendships in books make or break it for me. Sometimes I squeal over a friendship more than any other relationship or element of the book. The books I listed are mainly about a specific friendship, while one is on here because it actually deals with friendship. 

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
You'd have to be delusional if you thought I wouldn't put this on here. Maddie + Verity = forever. KISS ME HARDY.

Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter
The group I wish I could be a part of. 

Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg
Yes, this deals with should-we-or-should-we-not in being more than friends, but I always wanted a best guy friend so I adored living vicariously through Macallan. 

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The cancer was an emotional part of the book. The romance was incredibly sweet. But the friendship between Isaac, Gus, and Hazel was SO FUN. 

Sleepaway Girls by Jen Calonita
This makes me wish that I had gone to a sleepaway camp so I could become best friends with a cabin-full of girls and live out my Parent Trap dream.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Forget Wren, I loved Cath and Reagan together.

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
ROAR AND ARIA! Best opposite sex/platonic friendship ever.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Even though everything goes wrong in Cinder's cruddy world, she at least has the wonderful Iko.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Well, Catching Fire or Mockingjay for this one because the friendship between Finnick and Katniss and Katniss and Johanna was great.

Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
I really liked the different friendships in this one and while I ended up liking Sloane and Emily's friendship more at the end than when I started, I mostly put this one on here because it's whole theme is friendship. It has other themes too, but friendship plays a really BIG role and I absolutely loved this book.

Do you like romance or friendship more in your books? What books about friendship are your favorites? 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Rewind & Review: May 5 - May 17

Hosted by Shae Has Left the Room
*points excitedly to the pretties*

Books I Received: 

Books I Bought:
Books I Read: 2

What I'm Reading Now/Next: 
Previous Blog Posts: 
  • Top Ten Tuesday: Friendship Books
  • Confessional: Commitmentphobe 
  • Review: The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes
  • Top Ten Tuesday: Freebie
  • Waiting on Wednesday #8
  • Review: Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern
*Subject to change

Isn't it kind of sad that I really have had no more happenings to speak of? I now have two jobs and was offered two more interviews for other jobs, which I'm not sure I'll take a third, but it's still exciting. And...yeah. That was it. I'm feeling like I'm in a life slump. Meaning, I'm in a blog slump, an exercise slump, a motivational slump, and everything slump. It's pretty cruddy. I WANT OUT. 

Have a great end of May!

Friday, May 16, 2014

DNF review: WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart

Title: We Were Liars
Author: E. Lockhart
Publication date: May 13, 2014
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: An e-galley provided by the publisher for an honest review

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

Honesty circle time: I don't want to review this book. At the same time, I do. But I don't. The thing is that I want to get my opinion out there (of course), but I feel like I should just go BAAA because as you can see, I DNF'd it. I tried my hardest, I really did. I stuck it out longer than most books I DNF, reaching all the way to 58%. Usually when I'm that far, I keep reading, but go into turbo-skim read. This time, I just skipped to the ending, I couldn't handle the feeling of it being a ball and chain around my neck. 

Me throughout reading. Unfortunately, false.
Problem #1: Boredom. I thought I'd get this problem out of the way since it's the biggie and most obvious one. Usually when I DNF, it's out of boredom. When a book is annoying, but interesting, I actually tend to stick it out. But boring? Adios. We're introduced to Cady, the narrator, who has suffered an accident and can't remember what happened last year. There's this THING that happens, but since she's the narrator, we're left in the dark as well. I feel like I am the ONLY one who was on the same page as Cady. Everyone else's updates seemed to be all "oh, I totally guessed in the beginning," but I had no clue. Now, you'd think that that would help me. WRONG. The only thing it did was make me frustrated because I was completely lost in the story. I was trying to find the plot in it all and wanted something interesting to happen. I love twists and the "big mystery" plot usually in books, but I felt like I was a elementary algebra student who accidentally ended up taking a calculus class. 

Problem #2: The writing. One area the boredom stemmed from was the writing. I can see many people LOVING this style and others not so much. I adored Taherah Mafi's style in Shatter Me and I can see how these are similar, but I didn't like it at all in this one. It felt forced, annoying, and boring. That's a terrible triple threat. 

Problem #3: More awkwardness. This is most definitely related to problem #2 above. Along with the writing, the narrative felt strange. Really random scenes, awkward conversations, the oh-so annoying and repetitive "Gat, my Gat" mantra. It all meshed together and formed this awkward mess for me. Like I said, many people adore it all and thought it was captivating and beautiful. I really wanted to be one of them. 

When I read glowing reviews for this and then finally got accepted to read an e-galley, I jumped up and down and thought "hello, favorite 2014 read." So I had high expectations to say the least. Even if I did lower them, I still don't think this book was quite for me, no matter how interesting it seemed to be. 58% through the book and I still couldn't connect, understand, or even care. 

My recommendation isn't to avoid this book. It's to read other reviews. It's out now so look for it in the library. I'm the black sheep here so obviously, other people have enjoyed it immensely. I just wished I could've been one of them. 

Verdict: A potentially amazing book, but one that made me dread reading. 

Note: Any quotes used may be altered after publication. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #7

Hosted by Breaking the Spine
Today, I raided through Edelweiss catalogs and drooled over Goodreads to find some amazing upcoming Macmillan titles. And when I say amazing, I mean AMAZING. Watch out, this one will be long.

Title: Mortal Danger
Author: Ann Aguirre
Publication date: August 5, 2014
Imprint: Feiwel & Friends

Revenge is a dish best served cold.

Edie Kramer has a score to settle with the beautiful people at Blackbriar Academy. Their cruelty drove her to the brink of despair, and four months ago, she couldn't imagine being strong enough to face her senior year. But thanks to a Faustian compact with the enigmatic Kian, she has the power to make the bullies pay. She's not supposed to think about Kian once the deal is done, but devastating pain burns behind his unearthly beauty, and he's impossible to forget.

In one short summer, her entire life changes, and she sweeps through Blackbriar, prepped to take the beautiful people down from the inside. A whisper here, a look there, and suddenly... bad things are happening. It's a heady rush, seeing her tormentors get what they deserve, but things that seem too good to be true usually are, and soon, the pranks and payback turns from delicious to deadly. Edie is alone in a world teeming with secrets and fiends lurking in the shadows. In this murky morass of devil's bargains, she isn't sure who—or what--she can trust. Not even her own mind...

Why? It sounds super creepy (LOOK AT THAT COVER) and I can't help but to be lured in. This may be a problem *keeps lights on*

Title: Being Audrey Hepburn
Author: Mitchell Kriegman
Publication date: September 16, 2014
Imprint: St. Martin's Griffin

In Being Audrey Hepburn, Clarissa Explains It All-creator, Mitchell Kriegman, tells the story of a 19-year-old girl from Jersey who finds herself thrust into the world of socialites after being seen in Audrey Hepburn’s dress from the filmBreakfast at Tiffany’s.
Lisbeth comes from a broken home in the land of tube tops, heavy eyeliner, frosted lip-gloss, juiceheads, hoop earrings and “the shore.” She has a circle of friends who have dedicated their teenage lives to relieve the world of all its alcohol one drink at a time.

Obsessed with everything Audrey Hepburn, Lisbeth is transformed when she secretly tries on Audrey’s iconic Givenchy. She becomes who she wants to be by pretending to be somebody she’s not and living among the young and privileged Manhattan elite. Soon she’s faced with choices that she would never imagine making – between who she’s become and who she once was.

In the tradition of The Nanny Diaries and The Devil Wears Prada, this is a coming of age story that all begins with that little black dress…

Why? I grew up in a home where we watched old (classic) movies, hosting talented actors like Doris Day, Carey Grant, and Rod Taylor. So yes, my ears perk up at the mention of Audrey Hepburn.

Title: Evidence of Things Not Seen
Author: Lindsey Lane
Publication date: September 16, 2014
Imprint: Farrar, Stroux, and Giroux (BYR)

When high school junior Tommy Smythe goes missing, everyone has a theory about what happened to him. Tommy was adopted, so maybe he ran away to find his birth parents. He was an odd kid, often deeply involved in his own thoughts about particle physics, so maybe he just got distracted and wandered off. He was last seen at a pull-out off the highway, so maybe someone drove up and snatched him. Or maybe he slipped into a parallel universe. Tommy believes that everything is possible, and that until something can be proven false, it is possibly true. So as long as Tommy’s whereabouts are undetermined, he could literally be anywhere.

Told in a series of first-person narratives from people who knew Tommy and third-person chapters about people who find the things Tommy left behind—his red motorbike, his driving goggles, pages from his notebook—Particles explores themes of loneliness, connectedness, and the role we play in creating our own realities.

Why? Well, I'll first ignore that "connectedness" is not a word. But seriously, I'm super curious to see how this plays out. SO DIFFERENT. 

Title: The Book of Ivy
Author: Amy Engel
Publication date: November 14, 2014
Imprint: Entangled Teen

In a future where girls no longer control their own fates, sixteen-year-old Ivy Westfall has the power to give girls back their choices. If she’s willing to commit murder to do it…

After a brutal nuclear war, followed by famine and disease, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over who would govern the new nation. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual. This year, it is Ivy Westfall's turn to be married. Only her bridegroom is no average boy. He is Bishop Lattimer, the President’s son. And Ivy’s mission is not simply to marry him and bear his children. Her mission, one she’s been preparing for all her life, is to kill him and restore the Westfall family to power.

But Bishop Lattimer turns out not to be the cruel, heartless boy her family warned her to expect. And as Bishop and Ivy navigate a tentative friendship that evolves into something more, Ivy is torn between loyalty to her family and following her own heart. She is a teenage girl caught in an adult web of manipulation, lies, and the struggle for power. Ultimately, she must decide what sacrifices are worth making for the lives of those she loves.

Why? I'm a sucker for these types of plots. Of course, after reading this book, I can't help but associate it with any book that's titled "the book of so-and-so." 

Title: Love and Other Unknown Variables
Author: Shannon Alexander
Publication date: October 7, 2014
Imprint: Entangled Teen

Charlie Hanson has a clear vision of his future. A senior at Brighton School of Mathematics and Science, he knows he'll graduate, go to MIT, and inevitably discover the solutions to the universe's greatest unanswerable problems. He's that smart.

The future has never seemed very kind to Charlotte Finch, so she's counting on the present. She would rather sketch with charcoal pencils, sing in her pitch-perfect voice, or read her favorite book than fill out a college application.

Charlie's future blurs the moment he meets Charlotte. She's not impressed by the strange boy until she learns he's a student at Brighton where her sister has just taken a job. At Charlotte's request, Charlie orchestrates the biggest prank campaign in Brighton history. But by the time Charlie learns Charlotte is ill and that the pranks were a way to distract her sister from Charlotte's illness, Charlotte's gravitational pull on him is too great to overcome. Soon he must choose between the familiar formulas he's always relied on or the girl he's falling for (at far more than 32 feet per second). 

Why? Makes me think of The Fault in Our Stars and just sounds SO CUTE. It also sounds like it's told from the male POV so go me! I'm branching out.

Title: A Little Something Different
Author: Sandy Hall
Publication date: August 26, 2014
Imprint: Swoon reads

The creative writing teacher, the delivery guy, the local Starbucks baristas, his best friend, her roommate, and the squirrel in the park all have one thing in common—they believe that Gabe and Lea should get together. Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out.  But somehow even when nothing is going on, somethingis happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV show. Their bus driver tells his wife about them. The waitress at the diner automatically seats them together. Even the squirrel who lives on the college green believes in their relationship. 

Surely Gabe and Lea will figure out that they are meant to be together....


I CANNOT EVEN COMPUTE. This could very well be too complicated, but I think this sounds VERY unique and VERY fun. Also, I want that cover like nothing else. 

Well done, Macmillan, well done.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Review: THE CHAPEL WARS by Lindsey Leavitt

Title: The Chapel Wars
Author: Lindsey Leavitt
Publication date: May 6, 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury

Sixteen-year-old Holly wants to remember her Grandpa forever, but she’d rather forget what he left her in his will: his wedding chapel on the Las Vegas strip. Whatever happened to gold watches, savings bonds, or some normal inheritance? 

And then there's Grandpa's letter. Not only is Holly running the business with her recently divorced parents, but she needs to make some serious money—fast. Grandpa also insists Holly reach out to Dax, the grandson of her family's mortal enemy and owner of the cheesy chapel next door. No matter how cute Dax is, Holly needs to stay focused: on her group of guy friends, her disjointed family, work, school and... Dax. No wait, not Dax. 

Holly’s chapel represents everything she’s ever loved in her past. Dax might be everything she could ever love in the future. But as for right now, there's a wedding chapel to save.

First line: Inheritance.

Oh, Lindsey. She never fails me. If you ever want a cute, fun book GO TO HER. When life, school, and the future stresses me out way more than usual, I don't want a book that will stress me out further with issues. I don't want one that's depressing. I want THIS kind of book. Sure, the protagonist has problems (every book should be like that), but it's still enjoyable. It's like cold, sweet ice cream on a hot day, the fluff you need in your hard life. 
Before I read The Chapel Wars:
After I read The Chapel Wars

What this book had going was Holly. And Dax. And the dead grandpa. Basically, the characters. Dead grandpa, say what? Well, the whole book is about how Holly's grandpa dies and leaves her his beloved chapel in his will, much to everyone's surprise (and everyone else's disappointment). However, despite him being dead, I absolutely loved him. I think he would be someone I would love to know and be around. While he has his issues, like everyone, through Holly's narration and implications throughout the book, the grandpa seemed like a fun, lovable guy. His personality shined through despite him never actually showing up in the book besides the funeral

Then we have Holly and Dax. Holly's narration captured my interest from the start. Leavitt always creates interesting narrations that I never get tired of reading. Holly is caught in a Romeo & Juliet-type of situation and a what-am-I-going-to-do situation, and I cheered her on the entire time. She needed to figure out what she needed and even truly wanted. Her determination was admirable, but I felt like if she could've heard me, I would have encouraged her to really think about what she wants in life. Do you really want the chapel? Do you really want to keep going the way you are? Do you really want to push the adorable Dax away? I THINK NOT. I loved watching her grow, her spunk and humor making me love her even more, and the complications surrounding her making her life even more interesting to read about.

And we have Dax, the cute guy next door, who has so many problems of his own. Family problems, personal problems, oh, those stupid problems. At a couple points, I actually wanted them to split up because I thought Dax was striking out in the what-to-look-for-in-a-good-mate department. However, he did win me over. Charming, witty, and good looking. Hello. 

The conclusion was, for me, a great way to end. It wasn't entirely predictable and cliche. It wasn't neatly wrapped up and a cheesy Disney Channel movie ending. Personally, I considered it to be enjoyable and even refreshing. 

Family, love, humor, and good old Las Vegas came through in this one, making it a delightful read in a not-so-fun time for me. 

Verdict: This can be called the opposite of disappointment.

Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there! Biological, foster, adoptive, stepmothers, "second" mothers, and grandmothers. You matter. 

Happy Mama's Day to the best one out there!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Where You Are

I was going to title this as Where Are You? but then realized that sounds pretty stalkerish. Not that I'm above stalking, I do it pretty frequently. This will be relatively short, but I wanted to get this out here because when I'm curious, I get impatient quickly.

On the day-to-day basis of my life, when I read, I'm on the treadmill. It's the only time of day that I really feel is mine and I won't feel guilty because I'm combining exercise and reading. Win-win, right? Now that it's summer, I need to work on my stupid farmer's tan (I'm not really a farmer) so maybe some reading in the sun will be great. To be honest, I don't have many stipulations on what my surroundings must be like when I read. The only must is that I must be comfortable. It's a given, right? Well, if I'm on the treadmill, I actually don't want to sweat. So I feel myself getting sweaty there or even unbearably hot outside, I'm out. While it's not a must, I do enjoy listening to music while I read. The music depends on the book most of the time, and since I'm a mood reader, I'm a mood listener too.

But I was wondering, don't books become more treasured or enjoyable when you're in a better setting? For me, the best thing about being at a hotel after the free breakfast is to sit beside the pool, soaking in the sun, and read. That book becomes so much better than before. And of course, since I'm a mood reader on a usual basis, I tend to go for more sunny, summery books when I'm beside the pool. Contemporary, please.

Music, no music, sunshine, air conditioning, nearby water, inside fireplace...they're all changes in our surroundings that people like or dislike. While I do love reading at the beach, I also mourn when I have to work when it's raining because that means no pleasure reading. In Florida summers, we have thunderstorms. Thunderstorms are perfect for movie-watching or reading pleasure. Trust me. 

Of course, this is where my impatience comes in. If you've stuck around this far, thank you. I'm trying to process my pondering. Here's a little informal survey: are you particular about your setting? Do you have to be in a certain spot to really enjoy reading? Do you hate a specific setting? Weather? Music? For whatever odd reason, I get sick in the car when I read sometimes, while other times I'm perfectly fine for hours. Can you read in the car? Do you look forward to multitask your reading (tanning and reading, exercising and reading, etc.)? WHAT DO YOU LIKE? 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Covers I'd Frame as Art

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
This week's Top 10 list is about covers, specifically ones we'd frame as pieces of art. Of course, this topic gets both hate and love from me because while I love drooling over the beauties, I know I'll forget several. I'm ready to look at others' lists and constantly groan that I can't believe I forgot THAT ONE.

 Chaos of Stars by Kierstan White | For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund |
These Broken Stars by Meagan Spooner and Amie Kaufman

What can I say, I love pretty blue, starry covers.

 Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress by Marissa Meyer

I'd happily have all of these side by side (with Winter next) on my wall with the international version mixed in there for fun because it's so pretty.

 Let's Get Lost by Adi Asadi | Smart by Kim Slater

I can't help it, I love maps. And you can't leave out the back cover of Smart, the whole thing is perfect.

Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis | Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas | The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski | Ten by Gretchen McNeil

If you zoom in on Stitching Snow, you can see the beautiful detail on it as if the cover really is stitched. Crown of Midnight makes me feel pumped to be a girl, The Winner's Curse is just super pretty, while Ten is creepy and if it was hanging on my wall, it might give me nightmares, but I don't care. I like it all.

Which covers do you like?