Book Review- A Midsummer’s Nightmare

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A Midsummer’s Nightmare by Kody Keplinger
Published by Poppy on June 5th, 2012
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 291
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Amazon

Whitley Johnson’s dream summer with her divorcé dad has turned into a nightmare. She’s just met his new fiancée and her kids. The fiancée’s son? Whitley’s one-night stand from graduation night. Just freakin’ great.

Worse, she totally doesn’t fit in with her dad’s perfect new country-club family. So Whitley acts out. She parties. Hard. So hard she doesn’t even notice the good things right under her nose: a sweet little future stepsister who is just about the only person she’s ever liked, a best friend (even though Whitley swears she doesn’t “do” friends), and a smoking-hot guy who isn’t her stepbrother…at least, not yet. It will take all three of them to help Whitley get through her anger and begin to put the pieces of her family together.

This book was amazing. Seriously. Kody Keplinger surprises me again and again, every time I pick up another one of her books.

A Midsummer’s Nightmare, like many of Keplinger’s books, is set in Hamilton. I have mixed feelings about authors using the same set over and over again, but I actually like it in this case, and I loved being able to see some of the characters from The Duff have a part in this book.

Whitley was an amazing MC. Yeah, she had her slew of issues: from drinking too much to not seeing things from other people’s point of view to overreacting. But at the same time, these character flaws were addressed in the book, and gave way to some top-notch character development. I seriously love the journey that Whitley goes through in this book. It is powerful and heartbreaking. I cried on multiple occasions.

Nathan, Whitley’s hook-up/father’s-fiancé’s-son, is adorable. I love him. He is sweet and caring and, well, perfect for Whitley. I really love all of the main characters in this book. Harrison is an awesome best friend, and Bailey is a sweet and naïve and adorable preteen/soon-to-be-half-sister.

Whitley’s parents have a lot of issues. I don’t want to talk to much about them, because I don’t want to spoil anything, but I think the way they are handled in this book are really powerful and moving. The fiancé, on the other hand, is kind of amazing and I love her (and I forgot her name… wowwww).

A Midsummer’s Nightmare is one of those magical books that are pushed forward by both the plot and the characters… and both are really good. I seriously can’t tell you how hard that is to find. Just everything about this book makes me want to read it again and again (oh if only I had the time!!).

I would 100% recommend this to YA contemp lovers, and people (like me) who tend to stay away from YA contemporary romance. This is one of the great ones guys. Also, if you have every read anything by Jenn Bennett, the writing styles are similar. So, if you love Bennett, you will love Keplinger.

I am going to give A Midsummer’s Nightmare five out of five hearts!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

 

Book Review- Caraval

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Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Published by Flatiron Books on January 31st, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 407
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Amazon

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Caraval was SUPPPPER hyped up. Like I saw (see?) it EVERYWHERE. No one can get enough of it. So of course, when I saw it at the library, I was like “well, checking it out won’t hurt.” And yeah, it didn’t hurt. It just didn’t bring me the amazing story that I thought I would find.

I had a number of issues with this book. Firstly was Scarlet. She just annoyed me to no end. She was whiny and acted like everything she did was Such. A. Big. Deal…. Like girl, get over yourself. I’m sorry. Also, I get that she loves her sister. Like believe me, I get it. But she just went on and on and on about it. Every other sentence was like “Oh my dear Donatella, oh how I love her so, but here are all the issues I have with her…. but still she is so dear to me.” HONEY, WE GOT IT THE FIRST TIME. Just chill.

Donatella, on the other hand, is probably the most selfish person out there. She loves Scarlet, and wants to save her from marrying this Count that she hasn’t met yet, but still, there are better ways to go about it, even with a father as terrible as theirs. I really just couldn’t get on board with Scarlet or Donatella or their relationship or anything about them really.

Julian, on the other hand, was maybe the only character I really liked. He was witty and fun and pushed Scarlet to be almost-bearable. I really liked the character development that he went through, and that he did what he thought was right, even if it could get him in trouble.

As for the whole Caraval aspect of the book (cause, ya know, that IS what the book is about), it really just didn’t appeal to me. Yeah, I liked the whole “It’s a game” thing. I thought that was awesome. But everything else was kind of weird. The whole magical aspect of the game was a little hard to get a grasp on. Basically magic isn’t real, but some of it is? I’m still not really sure. The whole thing was just kind of confusing.

I was really hoping for an amazing ending to this book. Something that would tie everything together and make sense of all the confusion. But I didn’t exactly get that. I just got more confused. And then irritated by the Scarlet and Donatella relationship.
The Epilogue was honestly the best part of this book. It threw a new twist on the whole book and honestly saved the whole thing. Will I read the second book? Probably, but only because of the epilogue.

Okay, so I know it seems like I hated this book. I didn’t. It was entertaining, and I don’t regret reading it. I just happened to have quite a few problems with the book. But really guys, it wasn’t terrible.

I would recommend this book to people who love fantasy and adventure. It wouldn’t be my top rec, but hopefully (obviously) other people enjoy this book a whole lot more than I did. Maybe this book was just too over-hyped, and my expectations ruined the story. Maybe Caraval just isn’t for me.

I am going to give Caraval three out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥

Comparing US and Foreign Edition Covers!

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I don’t know about you, but I love looking at foreign edition covers of my favorite books! So, I decided to put together a little comparison post of US edition covers vs. foreign edition covers to look at the differences!

This list is going to be made up of some of my all time favorite books. So here we go!


1. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Russian Edition vs. US Edition

I love both of these covers. They are both pretty much the same image-Anna standing outside of her house in a blood-tinged white dress-but in very different styles. I think they both do a wonderful job conveying the tone and feel of this book.

Winner: Tie
Foreign Editions: 1
US Editions: 1

2. Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

Croatian Edition vs. US Edition

I love that both of the covers have the flowers covered in words! I think that is so cute, and if you read the book, it really does have a deeper meaning. The US edition cover is very pretty, but I have to say that the Croatian Edition just blew me away when I saw it. I think it is absolutely stunning, and I wish I could get Letters to the Lost in that edition, just so I could look at the cover.

Winner: Foreign Edition
Foreign Editions: 2
US Editions: 1

3. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Finnish Edition vs. US Edition

I adore the US edition cover of The Red Queen. It is simplistic and powerful and stunning. I love the Finnish edition too, but it just doesn’t bring the same feeling of danger and high-stakes that the US edition conveys.

Winner: US Edition
Foreign Editions: 2
US Editions: 2

4. The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

Polish Edition vs. US Edition

Both of these editions are gorgeous. I love the lamps in both of them, and the smoke. Although I like that Zahra’s face is in the US edition, I feel like the Polish edition brings more elements of the story to the cover, and conveys all of the magic and the gorgeous setting much better.

Winner: Foreign Edition
Foreign Editions: 3
US Editions: 2

5. Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Latvian Edition vs. US Edition

Both of these covers ARE SO PRETTY. The Latvian one is definitely more to-the-point (with that dark figure in the background and all), but the US one is much more mysterious and intriguing.

Winner: US Edition
Foreign Editions: 3
US Editions: 3

6. Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

German Edition vs. US Edition

This book was actually written and first published in German, so that edition is the original one. Buttttt…… I’m really not a fan of the German covers. They don’t do it for me. The US covers, however, are gorgeous.

Winner: US Edition
Foreign Editions: 3
US Editions: 4

7. How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather

Italian Edition vs. US Edition

If I’m being completely honest, I’m not really a fan of either of these covers. The US edition cover doesn’t really convey the feel of the book, and the Italian edition cover makes the book look a lot spookier than it actually is. That being said, I do love that the Italian cover added the raven, and I feel like it is a better match for the story.

Winner Foreign Edition
Foreign Editions: 4
US Editions: 4

8. Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris

Spanish Edition vs. US Edition

These covers are so different, yet they both fit the story so well. The US edition has all the little numbers counting down in the back, which provides a sense of urgency… and makes the cover look a little more sci-fi. It also has multiple Janelles and Bens, which kind of hints at the big reveal (which I will not spoil for you). The Spanish cover, on the other hand, hints at the same thing with the shattered effect, which I honestly like a little more.

Winner: Foreign Edition
Foreign Editions: 5
US Editions: 4


So it seems the Foreign Editions have won this round. What covers would you like to see foreign editions of? Did you agree with my favorites in this post?

Book Review- #famous

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#famous by Jilly Gagnon
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on February 14, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 384
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Amazon

In this modern-day love story, Girl likes Boy, Girl takes photo of Boy and posts it online, Boy becomes accidentally insta-famous. And what starts out as an innocent joke spirals into a whirlwind adventure that could change both their lives—and their hearts—forever. But are fame and love worth the price?

This book really didn’t do much for me. Yeah, it was cute and I wanted Rachel and Kyle to get together, but at the same time I really didn’t care that much. I was like “oh, okay this is happening. Wonderful. Have a good life.”

Honestly the whole time I was reading this book I was thinking “Alex from Target” (remember him?). The story didn’t feel all that original, the characters were kind of flat, and it felt like there was a lot of drama thrown in just to fill space. Half of the stuff that happened was just unnecessary and didn’t add anything to the story.

A lot of stuff in this book also just felt forced. I didn’t really love any of the characters. They were boring. The story was predictable. Everything was just kind of “eh.”

If you follow my reviews, you probably know that I am not the biggest contemporary fan. I decided to pick up this book because the premise sounded cute, and because I’ve been having some luck with the last few contemps I read. But sadly this one just did not do it for me.

If you are into YA contemporary romance, maybe this book is for you. Maybe you’ll have more fun with it than I did. The story was definitely cute, and there was nothing “wrong” with it… it just really wasn’t for me.

I am going to give #famous two out of five hearts.

♥ ♥

Discussion: What’s With All The Green Eyes in YA? Have all other eye colors been banned?

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Lets talk about green eyes.

Apparently 2% of the population of THE ENTIRE EARTH has green eyes. But honestly with the amount of green-eyed characters in books, you’d think that every other person you pass on the street is gonna stare back with some variation of emerald or forest.

COME ON?? WHO ARE WE TRYING TO KID HERE?

I’ve met maybe 3 people in my life with honest-to-god green eyes.

I’m not counting those blue-but-sometimes-can-pass-for-green eyes, or hazel-eyes-that-look-green-on-good-days… I’m talking actual, no-possible-mistaking-it GREEN EYES.

Is there some universal law that love interests in books have to have bright green eyes?

giphyBecause that’s what it’s starting to feel like.

Where are the gorgeous browns and blues and ambers? The greys and the hazels? There are so many eye colors out there. So why does it feel like every other character in a YA book has green eyes?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a sucker for green eyes as much as the next girl, but other eye colors are gorgeous too. And I just really feel like there is a huge lack of other eye colors in the fictional-love-interest-pool.

Honestly, if a book isn’t set in northern or central Europe, it’s very unlikely that the character knows (much less has the chance to fall for) someone with the kind of green eyes that all YA-love-interests seem to have.

But guys, it’s not only love-interests that have green eyes.

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So many main characters and side characters and just characters in general have green eyes. And then their friends have green eyes too. Like I get one green-eyed person. Or gingers, that’s a whole different story (although still, three unrelated gingers in a small town school? Unlikely). But anyway, the two gingers that I actually know both have eyes more on the bluish side… not the bright vibrant green that authors seem to be so fond of.

But so many people with green eyes? All together? Something smells fishy.

I mean, obviously there are people with green eyes, and yes, those people can obviously be love interests.

I’m not saying it’s wrong. I’m just saying that it seems like every love interest in every book I’ve picked up happens to have green eyes. It’s kind of weird. If I had that many green-eyed-guys in my life I would be set.

And yeah, not all books have green-eyed love-interests. There are a ton of exceptions.

I’m just pointing out a trend that I’ve been noticing a lot lately.

Have you been noticing all the green eyes too?

Are there any other trends like this that you have been seeing in books?


 

 

Book Review- Traveler

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Traveler by L. E. Delano
Published by Swoon Reads on February 7, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Pages: 352
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Amazon

Jessa has spent her life dreaming of other worlds and writing down stories more interesting than her own, until the day her favorite character, Finn, suddenly shows up and invites her out for coffee. After the requisite nervous breakdown, Jessa learns that she and Finn are Travelers, born with the ability to slide through reflections and dreams into alternate realities. But it’s not all steampunk pirates and fantasy lifestyles—Jessa is dying over and over again, in every reality, and Finn is determined that this time, he’s going to stop it…This Jessa is going to live.

Traveler is one of those books that’s been on my TBR since before it came out. The idea behind the book sounded really interesting, but for some reason I was reluctant to pick it up. I finally checked it out from the library, and I am so glad I did, guys. This book really surprised me, and I ended up enjoying more than I ever thought I would!

The beginning of the book was a little confusing. I loved when Jessa met Finn and started to learn about being a traveler, but the whole idea behind travelers was a little hard to grasp at first. I had so many questions about why and how… but thankfully all of my questions were answered and the plot holes were filled in. So while I was kinda worried that this book would leave me unsatisfied with a half-cooked amazing idea, I am happy to report that everything was explained!

I thought Jessa and Finn were adorable too. I loved being able to meet alternate versions of each character, and explore all of the different worlds. The worlds were so well imagined and super cool, and each of the alternate characters from the different worlds were really fun to read about.

I loved how independent Jessa was. Sure, she wasn’t the strongest character out there, but all her reactions felt honest, and I loved how she stood up for what she believed in.
Finn and Ben (Jessa’s best friend/other love interest) were both awesome characters, as were Jessa’s mom, brother, and pretty much everyone. I just really enjoyed the characters in this book. They were all so developed and interesting, and even the alternates for each character were individual and well developed. It was easy to distinguish between each alternate, which really just added an amazing element to the book.

The ending of this book completely took me by surprise as well. The ending definitely just made the book for me. It broke my heart but also gave me so much hope. I really can’t wait for the next one to come out. I need to know what is going to happen!!
I would recommend this book to basically anyone who loved a good YA science fiction with some good swoons in it. This book was altogether adorable and heart pounding, and it was totally worth the read!

I am going to give Traveler four out of five hearts!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Author Q&A- Peyton Garver

It is been quite a while since I’ve posted an Q&A, but I am so excited to have had the opportunity to interview Peyton Garver and share it with you guys! Peyton Garver is a high school teacher and a YA author, and has recently published a book called Sublime Karma.


Author Q&A With Peyton Garver

Q:Hi! Peyton! Thank you so much for doing this Q&A! What is something you think everyone should know about you?

A: What I like most about teaching is making a difference in the lives of my students. I want to inspire them and give them the confidence to pursue their dreams.

Q: Tell me about your book, Sublime Karma. Where did the idea for this book come from?

mA: Sublime Karma is about a girl who transfers to a new high school as a senior and doesn’t quite fit in. But, there’s a reason why she is the way she is and Jake is intent on finding out her story. It is an emotional novel, but what I hope my readers get from it are the morals. I hope I did the job of promoting advocacy for self and others and to stand up for what you believe in, even if you’re standing alone. I tried to get the message across that you never know the story behind the mask.

The idea for Sublime Karma came from years of my experience teaching teens. I have been witness to challenges, heartaches, and triumphs. And, although bullying has been in the headlines these past few years, it’s not a new phenomenon. I have seen introverts become victims and unlikely students become advocates, standing up against the crowd. So in essence, the idea for Sublime Karma came from my students and thus my book is dedicated to them.

Q:Do you have any writing rituals? How do you find your inspiration?

hgA: I don’t have any rituals per se, but I get my inspiration from my students. My novel is purely fiction but the situations could be very real in any school. The issues that are present in Sublime Karma are not uncommon among adolescents.  Another form of inspiration is music. Sometimes I’ll hear a song on the radio and it inspires a whole scene. I’ve actually posted a playlist of songs that have been the inspiration for portions of Sublime Karma.

*The last song on the list is by the fictional band, Sublime Karma, in the novel.

Q:What is something you want the world to know?

If everyone followed the Golden Rule think about how much better our world would be. I love this Maya Angelou quote, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said. People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”


Author Bio

imageWhen not writing, Peyton is a full time teacher. She has developed characters who resemble real world teens dealing with real issues: relationships, jealousy, bullying, and depression. Her newest novel, Sublime Karma, is a contemporary story filled with emotion, depth, wit, and suspense. Sublime Karma was published in the fall of 2016 as an ebook by Soulmate Publishing. The print copy was released in 2017.

When she’s not teaching or writing, Peyton enjoys traveling. The Caribbean Islands have become a favorite vacation getaway for Peyton and her husband. “Nothing is better than sitting on a beach, in front of the crystal sea, enveloped in the warmth of the tropical sun with a frosty piña colada and a good book that I just can’t put down.


Find Peyton Online

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I’d like to say a big thank you to Peyton for doing this interview, and to you for reading it!