Tag Archives: ya fiction

The Seven Torments of Amy and Craig – Blog Tour and Book Review

Summary

Title: The Seven Torments of Amy and Craig

Author: Don Zolidis

Pages: 352

Genre: YA, Romance, Contemporary

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Pub Date: October 2, 2018

Summary

1994 – Janesville, Wisconsin (cold in the sense that there is no God)

The worst thing that’s ever happened to Craig is also the best: Amy. Amy and Craig never should’ve gotten together. Craig is an awkward, Dungeons & Dragons-playing geek, and Amy is the beautiful, fiercely intelligent student-body president of their high school.


Yet somehow they did. Until Amy dumped him. Then got back together with him. Then dumped him again. Then got back together with him again. Over and over and over.


Unfolding during their senior year, Amy and Craig’s exhilarating, tumultuous relationship is a kaleidoscope of joy, pain, and laughter as an uncertain future-and adult responsibility-loom on the horizon.


Craig fights for his dream of escaping Janesville and finding his place at a quirky college, while Amy’s quest to uncover her true self sometimes involves being Craig’s girlfriend, and sometimes doesn’t.

Seven heartbreaks. Seven joys.Told nonsequentially, acclaimed playwright Don Zolidis’s debut novel is a brutally funny, bittersweet taste of the utterly unique and utterly universal experience of first love.

Add to Goodreads

Continue reading to see my review of The Seven Torments of Amy and Craig

Continue reading The Seven Torments of Amy and Craig – Blog Tour and Book Review

Love & Luck – Book Review

Title: Love & Luck

Author: Jenna Evans Welch

Pages: 320

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Published: May 8th, 2018

Summary:

Addie is visiting Ireland for her aunt’s over-the-top destination wedding, and hoping she can stop thinking about the one horrible thing she did that left her miserable and heartbroken—and threatens her future. But her brother, Ian, isn’t about to let her forget, and his constant needling leads to arguments and even a fistfight between the two once inseparable siblings. Miserable, Addie can’t wait to visit her friend in Italy and leave her brother—and her problems—behind.

So when Addie discovers an unusual guidebook, Ireland for the Heartbroken, hidden in the dusty shelves of the hotel library, she’s able to finally escape her anxious mind and Ian’s criticism.

And then their travel plans change. Suddenly Addie finds herself on a whirlwind tour of the Emerald Isle, trapped in the world’s smallest vehicle with Ian and his admittedly cute, Irish-accented friend Rowan. As the trio journeys over breathtaking green hills, past countless castles, and through a number of fairy-tale forests, Addie hopes her guidebook will heal not only her broken heart, but also her shattered relationship with her brother.

That is if they don’t get completely lost along the way.

Add to Goodreads

Review:

Give me all of the YA travel/contemporary romances, because I am obsessed with them. There’s something about reading a book that features travel that I just love to read in the summer. I love a good summer vacation as much as the next person, when I get the chance to take one, I jump on it. And for the times that I can’t, I read as many books with a travel story as I can.

I thought the idea of Addie following this guidebook for getting over heartbreak while in Ireland was absolutely hilarious. The fact that such a guidebook would exist was oddly specific and I found the whole concept to be ridiculously funny. I think that some of the advice in the guidebook actually wasn’t half bad, either.

This book focuses on a real issue that a lot of girls, and sometimes guys, face all too often. She trusts someone with something incredibly personal and private, and that trust is betrayed, and shared with everyone. It’s such a terrible thing to have happen, and Love & Luck shows how difficult it can be to deal with, and not just from Addie’s perspective.

While I was really hoping to love this book just as much as Love & Gelato, it didn’t quite live up to all of my expectations for it. That’s not to say that I didn’t still love this book, but I had really high hopes for it that just weren’t quite met. That being said, I still gave Love & Luck 5/5 stars because I really enjoyed the story and the setting, though it did feel a bit ultra-touristy at times.

*I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.*

SaveSave

SaveSave

Now a Major Motion Picture – Book Review

Title: Now A Major Motion Picture

Author: Cori McCarthy

Pages: 400 (paperback)

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Published: April 3, 2018

Summary:

Iris Thorne wants to blaze her own path. That’s easier said than done when you’re the granddaughter of M. E. Thorne, famous author of the Elementia series, hailed as the feminist response to J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. And with a major motion picture adaptation of her grandmother’s books in the works, Iris can say goodbye to her dream of making her own way in the music industry.

So when Iris and her brother get invited to the film set in Ireland, she’s pretty sure the trip will be a nightmare. Except Iris can’t deny the rugged beauty of the Irish countryside. And brushing shoulders with the hot, young cast isn’t awful, especially the infuriatingly charming lead, Eamon O’Brien. Iris even finds the impassioned female director inspiring. But when the filming falls into jeopardy, everything Iris thought she knew about Elementia—and herself—is in question. Will making a film for the big screen help Iris to see the big picture?

Review:

Now a Major Motion Picture was such a fun read, and had me dreaming of going to Ireland and exploring all of the beautiful places that are described in this book. Iris Thorne wants nothing to do with her grandmother’s famous fantasy novels, or the film adaptation that’s in the works. Her little brother desperately wants to go, and their father decides Iris will go and chaperone him, much to her dismay.

Throughout the book, Iris grows a lot, and learns what it means to be Iris Thorne on her own terms, and not based off of her father’s expectations for her. Iris meets a lot of strong women who help her to come into herself, and learn who she really is. The cast of characters in this book is really strong, and so diverse, which is always a positive in my book. The world needs ALL of the diverse books.

NAMMP does a great job of showing the other side of fandom and fan culture. The fans of Elementia are extremely passionate, and they have no issues making their thoughts known. I think a lot of people can relate to the fans in this book, wanting an adaptation of a book to be just right, and scared that it won’t live up to their expectations. I’d never even thought about what that would be like from the actor’s perspectives until I read this book. It was an interesting perspective that I had never considered.

One of the things that I love most about Cori McCarthy is that their books are all so different. There’s Breaking Skywhich follows group of badass pilots, and You Were Hereabout a girl who goes through a tough time after her brother’s passing. Cori’s writing is so versatile, and everything they write captivates me and keeps me flipping the pages. I really loved Now a Major Motion Picture. I give it 5/5 stars, and you should definitely go pick it up when it hits shelves.

*I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.*

SaveSave

Love, Life and the List – Book Review

Title: Love, Life and the List

Author: Kasie West

Pages: 384

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance

Publisher: HarperTeen

Published: December 26, 2017

Summary:

Seventeen-year-old Abby Turner’s summer isn’t going the way she’d planned. She has a not-so-secret but definitely unrequited crush on her best friend, Cooper. She hasn’t been able to manage her mother’s growing issues with anxiety. And now she’s been rejected from an art show because her work “has no heart.” So when she gets another opportunity to show her paintings Abby isn’t going to take any chances.

Which is where the list comes in.

Abby gives herself one month to do ten things, ranging from face a fear (#3) to learn a stranger’s story (#5) to fall in love (#8). She knows that if she can complete the list she’ll become the kind of artist she’s always dreamed of being. But as the deadline approaches, Abby realizes that getting through the list isn’t as straightforward as it seems… and that maybe—just maybe—she can’t change her art if she isn’t first willing to change herself.

Add to Goodreads

Review:

After being rejected from an art show because her work has “no heart,” Abby decides to make a list of things that will help her grow as a person, and thus, grow some “heart” to put into her paintings. While this might sound like an incredibly corny idea, I think that it was executed so well. Abby learns so much about life, and really grows as a character throughout this book. She not only grows emotionally and mentally, but she learns to step outside of her comfort zone and rethink the way that things have always been. I think that a “Heart List” is something that everyone needs, because we can all stand to learn more, no matter our age.

Abby has so much drive and passion for what she does. I love that when she is told her art has no emotion, she doesn’t just give up, she works hard to develop feeling in her work. I love books that have characters who are great role models, and Love, Life and the List is definitely one of them.

The friendships in this book are great, from the longstanding friendship between Abby and Cooper, to the new friendships that Abby forms throughout the book. There’s something to be said about friends that are always there for one another no matter what, and who are so close that they might as well be family.

Love, Life and the List is the first book in a set of three standalones with cross-over characters, and I am SO excited to see what other stories we get with these characters. Based off of who was present in Love, I can imagine who the other two books will focus on. I love books like this, where an author will have cameos from characters in their prior books. Morgan Matson does this with her books and I think it’s so cute. To anyone who picks up the book, it reads perfectly fine as a standalone, but to those who have read prior books, it’s a fun Easter egg.

I was so happy that I loved this book as much as I do, because I was pretty disappointed by Lucky in Love. I gave 5/5 stars to Love, Life and the List, and I can’t wait for the next two books in this crossover series.

Top Ten – Book Review

Title: Top Ten

Author: Katie Cotugno

Pages: 320 (hardcover)

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Published: October 3, 2017

Summary:

Ryan McCullough and Gabby Hart are the unlikeliest of friends. Introverted, anxious Gabby would rather do literally anything than go to a party. Ryan is a star hockey player who can get any girl he wants—and does, frequently. But against all odds, they became not only friends, but each other’s favorite person. Now, as they face high school graduation, they can’t help but take a moment to reminisce and, in their signature tradition, make a top ten list—counting down the top ten moments of their friendship:

10. Where to begin? Maybe the night we met.
9. Then there was our awkward phase.
8. When you were in love with me but never told me…
7. Those five months we stopped talking were the hardest of my life.
6. Through terrible fights…
5. And emotional makeups.
4. You were there for me when I got my heart broken.
3. …but at times, you were also the one breaking it.
2. Above all, you helped me make sense of the world.
1. Now, as we head off to college—how am I possibly going to live without you?

Add to Goodreads

Review:

I feel like I can relate to Gabby a lot, which is probably why I liked this book so much. I’ve read a lot of reviews for this book in which people don’t like Top Ten because they can’t relate to the character, but that wasn’t an issue for me. Gabby has some pretty bad anxiety, and while my anxiety is nowhere near hers, I could still sympathize with a lot of what she feels, because I feel the same things to a lesser extent. I think that a lot of times, people don’t understand how tough it is to have feelings like this, and to see a character with such severe anxiety really helped me to feel like what I feel is more normal than I think it is. (I know anxiety is a huge deal, but it’s always hard to feel like you’re not alone in your symptoms.)

One of my absolute favorite things about Katie Cotugno’s writing is the fact that her books are never your “typical contemporary”. I always find that things never end the way you might expect or want them to in Katie’s novels. Sure, you might want things to end happy, with a neat little bow tied around everything, but that isn’t how life works, and it’s not how Katie’s books work either. And I LOVE it! Her characters are always flawed, and that makes them feel so much more real.

The format that this book was told in made it tough for me to grasp where in the timeline I was at times. It is told in an episodic structure, with each chapter being a different memory/story between Ryan and Gabby, and even though they were in chronological order, I was constantly confused about “has this already happened yet?!” I also think this confusion was slightly due to the fact I read this as an ebook, so it was much more challenging to be able to flip back to the beginning of a chapter and see when in the timeline that particular story was taking place.

I am a Katie Cotugno fan for life, and this book is no exception. I give it 4.25/5 stars.

 

*I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.*

 

Neighborhood Girls – Book Review

Title: Neighborhood Girls

Author: Jessie Ann Foley

Pages: 368 (hardcover)

Genre: YA, Contemporary

Publisher: Harper Teen

Published: September 12, 2017

Summary:

When Wendy Boychuck’s father, a Chicago cop, was escorted from their property in handcuffs for his shady criminal practices, she knew her life would never be the same. Her father gets a years-long jail sentence, her family falls on hard times, and the whispers around town are impossible to ignore. If that wasn’t bad enough, she gets jumped walking home from a party one night. Wendy quickly realizes that in order to survive her father’s reputation, she’ll have to make one for herself.

Then Wendy meets Kenzie Quintana—a cigarette-smoking, Catholic-school-uniform-skirt-hiking alpha—and she knows that she’s met her savior. Kenzie can provide Wendy with the kind of armor a girl needs when she’s trying to outrun her father’s past. Add two more mean girls to the mix—Sapphire and Emily—and Wendy has found herself in Academy of the Sacred Heart’s most feared and revered clique. Makeover complete.

But complete is far from what Wendy feels. Instead, she faces the highs and lows of a vapid, toxic friendship, the exhaustion that comes with keeping up appearances, and the only loss that could hurt more than losing herself.

Add to Goodreads

Review:

 

Oftentimes when I start reading a book, I don’t like to read the description because I don’t want to “spoil” myself on what the book is going to be about. So while I did read the description before I requested this book, by the time I actually got around to reading it, I had no clue what it was about. Which is exactly how I like it.

Wendy has had a tough life in recent years, and she hasn’t exactly tried to make it any easier on herself. I think that there is so much character growth throughout this novel, not only with Wendy, but with a lot of the other characters as well.

Perhaps one of my favorite things about this book was the way that Jessie Ann Foley captures the strange ways that teenagers (and people in general, lets be honest) act. Sometimes its as if there is no reasoning behind certain decisions, but to whoever is making the decision, it just “feels” right. I can’t even remember how many times I’ve thought something would be a great idea, only to look back or be told by someone else how stupid it was. It’s just a part of life, but it is a part that Jessie Ann Foley captures in the most realistic way.

I am not a religious person, so the fact that religion plays a big part in the main character’s life had me a little hesitant to read this. I don’t really like it when things feel preachy, and like they are trying to push certain beliefs down your throat. A lot of this book takes place within a Catholic high school, and focuses around religious themes. But religion was handled so tastefully in this book, that I found myself almost forgetting it was even a factor.

Some of the pacing of this book felt a little off to me. At times, random stories or memories would be thrown into the main story arc, and it was a bit jarring, leaving me wondering how or why it fit into the overall arc. But overall, I enjoyed the story a lot, and give it 3.75/5 stars.

*I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.*

 

True North – Book Review

To see all of the great blogs featuring True Born and True North on this blog tour, click on the banner above!

Title: True North

Author: L. E. Sterling

Pages: 400 (Hardcover)

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Publisher: Entangled: Teen

Published: April 4, 2017

Summary:

Abandoned by her family in Plague-ridden Dominion City, eighteen-year-old Lucy Fox has no choice but to rely upon the kindness of the True Borns, a renegade group of genetically enhanced humans, to save her twin sister, Margot. But Nolan Storm, their mysterious leader, has his own agenda. When Storm backtracks on his promise to rescue Margot, Lucy takes her fate into her own hands and sets off for Russia with her True Born bodyguard and maybe-something-more, the lethal yet beautiful Jared Price. In Russia, there’s been whispered rumors of Plague Cure.

While Lucy fights her magnetic attraction to Jared, anxious that his loyalty to Storm will hurt her chances of finding her sister, they quickly discover that not all is as it appears…and discovering the secrets contained in the Fox sisters’ blood before they wind up dead is just the beginning.??

As they say in Dominion, sometimes it’s not you…it’s your DNA.

Add to Goodreads

Review:

If you haven’t read my review of the first book in the series, True Born, be sure to go check that out HERE.

True North returns readers to Dominion City, where the plague is continuing to wipe out the population. While I generally enjoyed this book just as I did the first one, there were a few issues that I had with it.

First, for a good chunk of the book, I felt like nothing was happening. Yes, I was reading words and some things were going on, but there was no advancement to the plot. The pace in the beginning of the book was slow and dragged on, causing me to wonder when something was actually going to happen. However, once things did start happening, it hooked my attention again and kept me hungry for more.

I love that this series explores a world that could conceivably be in the not too distant future, with such vast differences from the world we currently live in. While it’s hard for me to fathom that the world could one day have completely new countries, it’s entirely possible. After all, I’m sure the Romans thought they would be on top forever too.

In this book we get to see a lot more of the politics and the inner workings of the Upper Circle, which was very interesting. This really helped me to understand what kind of world Lucy is a part of, and just what motivates the characters in this novel.

I think that True North is an okay sequel to a great first novel. I’m not completely in love, but there is definitely enough intrigue to keep me reading to the third book when it comes out. I give True North 3/5 stars.

True Born – Book Review

To see all of the great blogs featuring True Born and True North on this blog tour, click on the banner above!

Title: True Born

Author: L. E. Sterling

Pages: 304 (Hardcover)

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Publisher: Entangled: Teen

Published: May 3, 2016

Summary:

Welcome to Dominion City.

After the great Plague descended, the world population was decimated…and their genetics damaged beyond repair.

The Lasters wait hopelessly for their genes to self-destruct. The Splicers pay for expensive treatments that might prolong their life. The plague-resistant True Borns are as mysterious as they are feared…

And then there’s Lucy Fox and her identical twin sister, Margot. After endless tests, no one wants to reveal what they are.

When Margot disappears, a desperate Lucy has no choice but to put her faith in the True Borns, led by the charismatic Nolan Storm and the beautiful but deadly Jared Price. As Lucy and the True Borns set out to rescue her sister, they stumble upon a vast conspiracy stretching from Dominion’s street preachers to shady Russian tycoons. But why target the Fox sisters?

As they say in Dominion, it’s in the blood.

Add to Goodreads

Review:

It’s been a while since I’ve visited some dystopian fiction, but I was very excited to dive into this book and see where its pages took me. I’ve had this book on my iPad for ages now but unfortunately had never gotten around to reading it. But then I saw that book two in the trilogy (True North) was coming out so I finally picked this up, and I am glad I did.

I think that it was very interesting to see a dystopian/plague-type novel from the perspective of an upper-class person, as I feel like most of the time with these novels we are only privy to the perspectives of the lower classes who are struggling the most. The rich perspective was done in such a way that didn’t feel like it was trying too hard to be what it was. Oftentimes, a perspective like this sounds unbelievable and overdone, but L.E. Sterling really managed to capture the tone and mood of the upper class as they perceive themselves, as opposed to an outsider-looking-in perspective,

Lucy and Margot are twins who were conjoined at birth, by a small area on their toes. And all those rumors you hear about twins being able to feel each other’s pain and whatnot are actually true with Lucy and Margot. They use this special connection to communicate with one another, and can also tell when the other is in danger, which comes in handy quite a few times throughout the novel. I thought that the connection between the sisters added something to the novel that helped to make the reader feel things for the sisters more deeply.

As with any YA book, there’s usually a love interest, and for our dear Lucy, this comes in the form of True Born Jared Price. From the moment Lucy lays eyes on him, she is intrigued by him (hello, insta-love!) yet once she gets to know him she finds herself rather annoyed by some of his behaviors. While I overall liked his character, I hated how he and Lucy were constantly hot and cold with one another. It seemed as though neither could make up their mind about how they felt about the other, and were constantly flip-flopping between liking one another and hating the other’s guts.

There were a few times throughout the novel where I got a bit confused as to what was going on with the story. This could be because some things just needed to be fleshed out a little more, or perhaps there are a few sentences that just needed some reworking. Overall though, I thoroughly enjoyed True Born and I am very excited to see what the sequel has in store about tying up the many questions I am now left with. I give True Born a solid 4/5 stars.

Be sure to look out for my review of True North, coming on Tuesday, April 25th.

Antisocial – Book Review

Summary:

Senior spring at Alexandria Prep was supposed to be for sleeping through class and partying with friends. But for Anna Soler, it’s going to be a lonely road. She’s just been dumped by her gorgeous basketball star boyfriend—with no explanation. Anna’s closest friends, the real ones she abandoned while dating him, are ignoring her. The endearing boy she’s always had a complicated friendship with is almost too sympathetic.

But suddenly Anna isn’t the only one whose life has been upended. Someone is determined to knock the kings and queens of the school off their thrones: one by one, their phones get hacked and their personal messages and photos are leaked. At first it’s funny—people love watching the dirty private lives of those they envy become all too public.

Then the hacks escalate. Dark secrets are exposed, and lives are shattered. Chaos erupts at school. As Anna tries to save those she cares about most and to protect her own secrets, she begins to understand the reality of our always-connected lives:

Sometimes we share too much.

Review:

I really liked this book, and it was such a quick read, I blew through it in less than a day. Antisocial was described as Pretty Little Liars meets WikiLeaks, which piqued my interest and had me putting this book at the top of my TBR pile (which is rather large). And once I got into this book, I wasn’t disappointed.

The main character, Anna, has some serious social anxieties. So when she returns to school after being broken up with by the coolest guy in school, she has some trouble readjusting, especially because she dropped all of her friends to start dating Palmer. Lucky for Anna, one of her best friends is there to save the day, even if the rest of her friends aren’t so ready to forgive her so quickly for leaving them in the dust.

Once the hacking/data-leak element of this book kicked in, I was hooked. I had to know who was behind the hacks and what their motives were. Were they ever going to be discovered, or were they going to get away without punishment for the chaos and pain and hurt and trouble that they caused amongst the students? I had to know.

I think that this book did a really good job of keeping me wondering just what was going to happen, and I never really felt like it was being predictable, which is one of my biggest pet peeves. However, I feel like the ending didn’t provide me with enough closure, and I was left wanting just a little bit more, despite all that we got in the end. All in all though, this was a great read.

Antisocial‘s message is so important in this day and age where every aspect of our lives is held somewhere online. The face that we present to the world online is hardly ever how we really are in person, and as such, there is a divide between who we want people to believe we are, and who we actually are. This book points out both the bad and the good that come with such an online presence, and made me think a lot about what I share online. Not in the “what if a future employer sees this?” kind of way, but in the “Does this represent who I really am?” kind of way. I give Antisocial 4.5/5 stars.

At First Blush – Book Review

Summary:

Who would have thought that a teenager could have a successful career creating makeup tutorial videos on YouTube? For Lacey Robbins, this dream has been her reality. An up-and-coming YouTuber, she has thousands of fans and can’t wait for the day when her subscriber count reaches the one million mark. And when she is offered a high school internship at On Trend Magazine, she figures that this could be the make it or break it moment.

But sometimes your dream job isn’t all that it seems. Her editor is only interested in promoting junk products, and her boss in the Hair and Makeup department introduces her to the larger world of makeup artistry, making her wonder if making tutorials online is all she is meant to do. To top it all off, when the magazine’s feature subject, musician Tyler Lance, turns his broodingly handsome smile her way, falling for him could mean losing her fans, forcing her to make a decision: her YouTube life or her real life?

Review:

I loved this book so much! Spring has sprung, and I am fully in the mood for all of the contemporary books. This book definitely didn’t disappoint me!

LaceyBlushes gets the chance of a lifetime when she’s selected for an internship at a magazine, where she’ll vlog all the behind-the-scenes deeds about the magazine’s guest editor, but the experience isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Lacey finds that while things are going great for her YouTube channel, she is losing her passion for making videos. And to top it all off, she’s falling for someone that she never expected to.

I think that this book really did a great job of portraying that sometimes our dreams aren’t all they’re made out to be, and that sometimes we may think that we know what we want in life, when in reality we don’t. I think that that is something that scares a lot of people, myself included. With my college graduation nearing in a couple months, I’m absolutely terrified that once I actually get into the field, I’m not going to love my profession. Only time will tell.

One thing that bothered me about this book was Lacey’s obliviousness to things that were blatantly obvious to everyone else. Over time, this changes though, and Lacey realizes what an idiot she’s been about many things, and things start looking up for her.

I give this book 4.5/5 stars. At First Blush goes on sale April 4.