Book Review- The Love Interest

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The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich
Expected publication Feiwel & Friends on May 16, 2017
Genres: Romance, Young Adult, Contemporary, Glbt
Pages: 384
Goodreads
Amazon

There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets.

Caden is a Nice: The boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection. Dylan is a Bad: The brooding, dark-souled guy, and dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose a Nice or the Bad?

Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to be: whoever the girl doesn’t choose will die.

What the boys don’t expect are feelings that are outside of their training. Feelings that could kill them both.

I was seriously disappointed by this book for a lot of reasons. It promised to be so good. Like SOOOO GOOD. Come on, two hot spies fighting for their lives and the love of a girl, all while secretly falling in love with each other!!?? There is some serious potential there. However, as I said, I was MAJORLY disappointed.

Firstly, what threw me off was the narration, and Caden’s style of speaking. It’s pretty obvious that the person writing the book SET IN AMERICA is NOT FROM AMERICA. And, as an American, the words like “bloody” (and a bunch more that are escaping my memory) stuck out like a sore thumb.

Secondly, the plot was just too unbelievable for me to buy into. I’m the kind of person that is willing to believe anything that a book puts before me, but something about this plot and the LIC was just too fake feeling. It felt like someone took a half developed idea and stuck some clichés in there and hoped for the best.

Thirdly (I’m almost done, I promise), the characters were so darn ONE DIMENTIONAL that it hurt. It physically hurt me. There was barely any depth to the main characters, and there was no hope for anyone else. It was like combing through the book of stereotypes, picking a few, and throwing them in to fill empty spots in the already-falling-apart-plot.

So yeah, this was not my favorite read. And the worst part is that the potential is there. This book could be so amazing, and the fact that it’s not just really makes me want to throw the book at a wall and then pick it up and find that the story magically developed into everything that I dreamed that it would be.

I am going to give The Love Interest one out of five hearts.

*I was provided with an ARC of this book by the publishers. This in no way affects by views of the book.

Book Review- Everything, Everything

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Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on September 1, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction
Pages: 310
Amazon
Goodreads

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black: black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

I’ve wanted to read this book for a while, but decided to finally pick it up because the movie is coming out (and the trailers look amazing!!!), and I don’t like watching a movie before I read the book. Honestly, for a book that I’ve wanted to read for so long, I went in with relatively no expectations, which I think is why I enjoyed the book as much as I did.

The story is told in an interesting way: there is text, and then there are IM conversations and drawings and logs and emails and medical reports (I might be missing something here, but you get the point). Maddy, the narrator, had a strong voice, and was easy to relate to (which is pretty remarkable considering her “bubble boy” condition). Olly, the male protagonist, was very entertaining and kind of perfect. And the two of them together were straight up adorable.

So did I enjoy this book? The short answer is yes, even though I did have quite a few problems with it. For one, the relationship between Maddy and Olly seemed very unlikely. But, that doesn’t really bother me that much… because it’s literally the biggest plot arc of the book and without that there would be nothing (well, maybe not nothing, but certainly not a story). What bothered me more about this book was the end.

Obviously I’m not going to give any spoilers, but I’m just going to say that the whole second part of the book and especially the major “twist” at the end kind of ruined the whole book for me. It felt too out there to be possible. Like, yeah, I get it, happy ending and all, but it just wasn’t realistic. I didn’t buy it. And it just made the whole book go from yes-okay-this-is-adorable-and-I-can-maybe-imagine-that-this-is-real-in-some-world to what-just-happened-this-is-not-possible-please-just-erase-the-last-hundred-pages-and-make-an-ending-that-I-can-believe.

Everything, Everything was definitely interesting and cute, and a very fast read. I would recommend it if you are big into contemporary and YA romance, but if you are not that into it (like myself) then you might have the same problems with the book that I did.

I am going to give Everything, Everything three out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- Letters to the Lost

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Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer
Published by Bloomsbury on April 4, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 400
Amazon
Goodreads

Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother’s death, she leaves letters at her grave. It’s the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn’t the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he’s trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can’t resist writing back. Soon, he’s opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they’re not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.

This book was all kinds of beautiful. First of all, let me just say that going into this book, I didn’t really know what to expect. I don’t usually love contemporary books (even though some of the ones I have read lately have been surprising me), and I’m usually not big on romance either. But somehow Letters to the Lost pulled it all together in a heart wrenching, page turning novel that left me lying on my bed for hours wondering what I should do with my life.

Juliet, the female main character, was surprisingly relatable. She felt real, and her pain felt real, and the whole time I was reading I just wanted to reach into the book and hug her and tell her that everything was going to be okay. And, even more surprising than my attachment to Juliette, I felt the same way towards Declan. AND, on top of that, THEY WERE SO OBVIOUSLY THEIR OWN PEOPLE AND HAD COMPLETELY DIFFERENT STORIES.

If I had to pick one thing to love about this book (which is really hard to do, believe me), it is that every character was individual. They all had depth to them, and I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if I bumped into one of them while walking down the street (read as:  walking through the grave yard).

I also love the complexity of the characters emotions. And not just of the main characters emotions. I mean EVERY CHARACTERS emotions. Yup. That’s right. ALL THE CHARACTERS HAD EMOTIONS. And pasts. And futures. I cannot explain to you how refreshing that is. It was wonderful.

Also, I have to say that the amount of romance was perfect. It just melted my heart. It was too beautiful. Just too beautiful. I need more.

I am going to give Letters to the Lost 5 out of 5 hearts (or 10 out of five, but I don’t think that’s possible). If you haven’t already ordered this book, I seriously suggest you do it now. Just do it. You won’t regret it. I promise.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

 

Book Review- Alex, Approximately

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Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett
Expected publication by Simon Pulse on April 4, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 400
Amazon
Goodreads

Classic movie buff Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online by “Alex.” Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.

Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new arch-nemesis. But life is whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever-it-is she’s starting to feel for Porter.

And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.

Boy oh boy did I love this book. Alex, Approximately was beautiful and heart felt and had just the right mix of romance and realism to loose me in its pages. I was captivated from the first word, and it only went uphill from there.
Bailey is a pretty awesome main character. She is relatable and honest, and very true to herself. She moves from Washington D.C. to California to live with her Dad, and starts a new job working at a museum for the summer. She describes herself as an “Artful Dodger” (which is going to be my new favorite term for literally ever), and despite her desire to avoid conflict, she can’t seem to stop “fighting” with her coworker Porter.
I’m usually not one to go for romantic books, but this one really swept me off my feet. I got so emotionally involved in the story (what more can anyone want?) and every twist and turn, for better or for worse, made it even harder to put this book down. Alex, Approximately is adorable and toe-curling and made me have all the feels. All of them. I can’t even describe what this book did to me.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a rainy day read (or a beach day read, or an any day read). If you love romance, this book is for you. If you love romantic gestures, this book is for you. If you don’t know how you feel about romance, this book is still for you. If you have a heart, this book is for you. (do you see what I am getting at here?)
As you have probably been able to tell, I am going to give Alex, Approximately five out of five hearts. Now excuse me while I go read it again.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

An ARC of this book was sent to me by the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review- Girl out of Water

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Girl out of Water by Laura Silverman
Expected publication by Sourcebooks Fire on May 2 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 320
Amazon
Goodreads

Anise Sawyer plans to spend every minute of summer with her friends: surfing, chowing down on fish tacos drizzled with wasabi balsamic vinegar, and throwing bonfires that blaze until dawn. But when a serious car wreck leaves her aunt, a single mother of three, with two broken legs, it forces Anise to say goodbye for the first time to Santa Cruz, the waves, her friends, and even a kindling romance, and fly with her dad to Nebraska for the entire summer. Living in Nebraska isn’t easy. Anise spends her days caring for her three younger cousins in the childhood home of her runaway mom, a wild figure who’s been flickering in and out of her life since birth, appearing for weeks at a time and then disappearing again for months, or even years, without a word.

Complicating matters is Lincoln, a one-armed, charismatic skater who pushes Anise to trade her surfboard for a skateboard. As Anise draws closer to Lincoln and takes on the full burden and joy of her cousins, she loses touch with her friends back home – leading her to one terrifying question: will she turn out just like her mom and spend her life leaving behind the ones she loves

 

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Me!

Girl out of Water took me a bit by surprise. I don’t normally enjoy contemporary (as much as other genres), but I found myself pleasantly surprised; especially considering the book focused around things I’ve never done (surfing and skateboarding… unless you count that week in second grade) and places I have never been (California and Nebraska).

 

Anise was the kind of character that I just love. Her world was shaken up, yet she stays strong in a not-to-heroine-but-completely-realistic way that felt very relatable. Her connections with her old friends back in California and her new friend(s) in Nebraska evolve the way they would in real life, which brought a whole new level of realism to the story. Anise’s feelings were genuine and both easy to understand and complex at the same time.

All of the characters, both major and minor, were very well developed. The emotions and plotlines for each of the characters were well thought out and well written. The romance in the book also seemed organic, and definitely swoon worthy!

The story was a little bit slow at times, but still interesting all the same. The ending was good, but I do wish it told a little bit more of what happens in the future… it is a bit open ended in that regard.

Over all I really enjoyed Girl out of Water, and would recommend it to anyone who loves contemporary, want to try contemporary, or someone looking for a feel-good weekend read. I am going to give Girl out of Water four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- Follow Me Back

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Follow Me Back by A.V. Geiger
Expected Publication by Sourcebooks Fire on June 6, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Romance, Thriller, Suspense
Pages: 354
Amazon
Goodreads

Tessa Hart’s world feels very small. Confined to her bedroom with agoraphobia, her one escape is the online fandom for pop sensation Eric Thorn. When he tweets to his fans, it’s like his speaking directly to her…

Eric Thorn is frightened by his obsessive fans. They take their devotion way too far. It doesn’t help that his PR team keeps posting to encourage their fantasies.

When a fellow pop star is murdered at the hands of a fan, Eric knows he has to do something to shatter his online image fast—like take down one of his top Twitter followers. But Eric’s plan to troll @TessaHeartsEric unexpectedly evolves into an online relationship deeper than either could have imagined. And when the two arrange to meet IRL, what should have made for the world’s best episode of Catfish takes a deadly turn…

I might have just found one of my new favorite books. Follow Me Back was AMAZING!!! I received an ARC in exchange for a review in the mail yesterday, and considering I’m in the middle of two other books, my plan was to read the first few sentences and put it on the shelf to read next. AND THEN I COULD NOT STOP READING. Literally I could not put the book down. I didn’t do anything until I finished it. I just sat there and read and read and OMG look who’s fangirling now.

The story is told in two narratives; a police interview, and back story. There was so much mystery and secrecy. I just had to know what was going to happen next the whole time. The whole book was fast paced and exciting.

The characters themselves were surprisingly relatable and likeable. It was easy to sympathize with Eric and to like Tessa. Their conversations were so cute, and despite everything else going on around them and in their lives, they had each other. What I liked most about that was how they got to that point. Their initial conversation was actually super believable, as was its progression. It just seemed organic and natural.

I just really loved everything about this book. I loved the characters and the plot. I loved the writing and the presentation. I loved the mystery and action and suspense and the danger. I would recommend this book to literally anyone who likes amazing books because that is what this is.

If I could give Follow Me Back more than five hearts, I would, but five seems to be the limit, so five hearts it is.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Seriously though. Go preorder this book!! You do not want to miss this!!

Book Review- Sad Perfect

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Sad Perfect by Stephanie Elliot
Expected publication by Farrar, Straus and Giroux on February 28, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Eating Disorder, Realistic Fiction
Pages: 320
Amazon
Goodreads

The story of a teen girl’s struggle with Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder and how love helps her on the road to recovery.

Sixteen-year-old Pea looks normal, but she has a secret: she has Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID). It is like having a monster inside of her, one that not only dictates what she can eat, but also causes anxiety, depression, and thoughts that she doesn’t want to have. When she falls crazy-mad in love with Ben, she hides her disorder from him, pretending that she’s fine. At first, everything really does feel like it’s getting better with him around, so she stops taking her anxiety and depression medication. And that’s when the monster really takes over her life. Just as everything seems lost and hopeless, Pea finds in her family, and in Ben, the support and strength she needs to learn that her eating disorder doesn’t have to control her.

Sad Perfect was full of emotion and struggle. “Pea” (as her dad calls her… we don’t get any other name) has something called Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, a rare but real disorder that many people don’t know about. The book is written in second person, which makes everything happening to Pea extremely personal, and I got to see through her eyes and understand what it means to live with this monster inside of me.

Sad Perfect is full of ups and downs (and other downs) as Pea struggles to kill her monster and live a normal life. Her family isn’t perfect, which honestly brings another level of realism to the book (I mean, come on. Whose family is really perfect?). The story starts on a high, with Pea meeting her soon to be boyfriend Ben. I liked Ben, but of all the characters he seemed the most fictional… maybe just a little too perfect, but he is also a sweetie and some people are just like that.

I loved how honest Sad Perfect was. Stephanie Elliot didn’t shy away from anything that was tough to talk about. She put all her cards on the table in a way that made my eyes swim more than once. Even for someone (like me) who hasn’t had a serious experience with an eating disorder, I found the book so easy to understand and relate with. Elliot takes a disorder that most people don’t know exist (much less understand) and lays it out in a way that not only raises awareness, but makes you understand what an impact a seemingly nonexistent disorder can have on a person and a family.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes contemporary, or anyone looking for a quick meaningful read that will stay with them.

I am going to give Sad Perfect four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥