June 19, 2014

To All the Boys I've Loved Before - Jenny Han

Title: To All the Boys I've Loved Before

Author: Jenny Han
Pages: 368
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

From goodreads.comWhat if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them all at once?

Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren't love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she's written. One for every boy she's ever loved: five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean's love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

As soon as I heard the concept of this book I was intrigued.  A girl writes letters to the boys she's loved when she doesn't want to love them anymore.  It's how she closes her chapters with them.  She seals them, addresses them (big mistake!), and puts them in a hatbox in her closet so she can move on.  Well, the letters get mailed and chaos ensues.  Lara Jean has to start doing damage control because one of those letters was for her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh.  So she does what anyone would do - gets a fake boyfriend and lies through her teeth that she doesn't have feelings for Josh anymore.

This is where the book starts to lose me a little.  Everyone keeps telling Lara Jean that Peter (the fake boyfriend) is bad news for some reason?  He plays sports?  Is incredibly good looking?  Hangs with the popular crowd?  I don't really know what everyone's problem was with him because he was never anything but good to Lara Jean and her little sister, Kitty.  He never tried to take advantage of their fake dating situation and no one ever gave a specific reason for not liking him (except for Josh who was totes jealous).  The other thing that felt off to me was that Lara Jean felt very young to me.  She was supposed to be a junior in high school, but always felt more to me like a freshman.  It might just be that she spent so much time with her sisters and Josh that she didn't know very many other people or wasn't comfortable being social with them, but it comes off as her being younger.

Even with these snags, To All the Boys I've Loved Before is a solid contemporary read from Han and would appeal to fans of Sarah Dessen, Elizabeth Eulberg, and Jennifer E. Smith.

June 17, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday (69)

This week's topic is

Usually my summer TBR lists are full of contemporary books that take place at the beach.  Y’all should know by now I love a good theme.  This year, though, so many of the books I’m looking forward to do not fit that mold – and I'm trying to be okay with that.

1.     Isla and the Happily Ever After – Stephanie Perkins
It feels like I’ve been waiting my whole ever after for this freaking book.  I can’t wait for it to finally grace my shelves.

From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.
Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

2.     Silver Shadows – Richelle Mead
Gimmie.  Gimmie now.  How is anyone that read Fiery waiting patiently for this book?  Because I passed patient a couple miles back.

In The Fiery Heart, Sydney risked everything to follow her gut, walking a dangerous line to keep her feelings hidden from the Alchemists.
Now in the aftermath of an event that ripped their world apart, Sydney and Adrian struggle to pick up the pieces and find their way back to each other. But first, they have to survive. 
For Sydney, trapped and surrounded by adversaries, life becomes a daily struggle to hold on to her identity and the memories of those she loves. Meanwhile, Adrian clings to hope in the face of those who tell him Sydney is a lost cause, but the battle proves daunting as old demons and new temptations begin to seize hold of him. . . .

Their worst fears now a chilling reality, Sydney and Adrian face their darkest hour in this heart-pounding fifth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where all bets are off.

3.     Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future – A.S. King
One of the only books that I refused to leave BEA without.

Graduating from high school is a time of limitless possibilities—but not for Glory, who has no plan for what's next. Her mother committed suicide when Glory was only four years old, and she’s never stopped wondering if she will eventually go the same way...until a transformative night when she begins to experience an astonishing new power to see a person’s infinite past and future. From ancient ancestors to many generations forward, Glory is bombarded with visions—and what she sees ahead of her is terrifying.
A tyrannical new leader raises an army. Women’s rights disappear. A violent second civil war breaks out. And young girls vanish daily, sold off or interned in camps. Glory makes it her mission to record everything she sees, hoping her notes will somehow make a difference. She may not see a future for herself, but she’ll do everything in her power to make sure this one doesn’t come to pass.

4.     Famous in Love – Rebecca Serle
I’ve always wanted to read Rebecca Serle, but just haven’t gotten there yet.  Luckily I picked this one up at BEA (and got to meet her!) and I can’t wait to check it out!

Meet Paige Townsen, Rainer Devon, and Jordan Wilder…
When Paige Townsen, a young unknown, gets cast in the movie adaptation of a blockbuster book series, her life changes practically overnight. Within a month, Paige has traded the quiet streets of her hometown for a crowded movie set on the shores of Maui, and is spending quality time with her co-star Rainer Devon, one of People’s Sexiest Men Alive. But when troubled star Jordan Wilder lands the role of the other point in the movie’s famous love triangle, Paige’s crazy new life gets even crazier.
In this coming-of-age romance inspired by the kind of celeb hookups that get clever nicknames and a million page views, Paige must figure out who she is – and who she wants – while the whole world watches.

5.     Jessica Darling’s It List #2: The (Totally Not) Guaranteed Guide to Friends, Foes & Faux Friends  - Megan McCafferty

Loved the original series, loved the first of this series, I’m sure I’ll love this one too.


Jessica Darling is getting the hang of seventh grade -- finally! While her old BFF, Bridget, is busy talking (nonstop) about her new boyfriend, Burke, Jessica tries to fit in with her new friends, Sara, Manda, and Hope. The IT List instructions from her sister, Bethany, and an epic slumber party may help Jessica secure her spot in the cool clique, but does she even want it?


6.     The Darkest Part of the Forest – Holly Black
Anything by Holly Black is an automatic must read. 
Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.
Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.
At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.
Until one day, he does…
As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?


7.     Forever – Maggie Steifvater
I started this series a million years ago and now that I have Sinner, I really need to finish it.


When Sam met Grace, he was a wolf and she was a girl. Eventually he found a way to become a boy, and their loved moved from curious distance to the intense closeness of shared lives.
That should have been the end of their story. But Grace was not meant to stay human. Now she is the wolf. And the wolves of Mercy Falls are about to be killed in one final, spectacular hunt.
Sam would do anything for Grace. But can one boy and one love really change a hostile, predatory world? The past, the present, and the future are about to collide in one pure moment - a moment of death or life, farewell or forever.

  8.     Crown of Midnight – Sarah Maas
I loved Throne of Glass so much and somehow I never got to the second one.  That will change this summer. 
From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.
Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.
Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena's world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie...and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.


9.     Guy in Real Life – Steve Brezenoff
Another BEA acquisition and it sounds awesome.

It is Labor Day weekend in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and boy and girl collide on a dark street at two thirty in the morning: Lesh, who wears black, listens to metal, and plays MMOs; Svetlana, who embroiders her skirts, listens to Björk and Berlioz, and dungeon masters her own RPG. They should pick themselves up, continue on their way, and never talk to each other again.
But they don't.
This is a story of two people who do not belong in each other's lives, who find each other at a time when they desperately need someone who doesn't belong in their lives. A story of those moments when we act like people we aren't in order to figure out who we are. A story of the roles we all play-at school, at home, with our friends, and without our friends-and the one person who might show us what lies underneath it all.


10. Tape – Steven Camden
Yet another BEA find, and let me tell you, I’m an eighties baby - the way to my heart is definitely through cassette tapes.

Record a voice and it lasts forever…
In 1993, Ryan records a diary on an old tape. He talks about his mother’s death, about his dreams, about his love for a new girl at school who doesn’t even know he exists.
In 2013, Ameliah moves in with her grandmother after her parents die. There, she finds a tape in the spare room. A tape with a boy’s voice on it – a voice she can’t quite hear, but which seems to be speaking to her.
Ryan and Ameliah are connected by more than just a tape.
This is their story.

So that’s what I’ll be reading this summer, after I finish The Mortal Instruments (and The Infernal Devices – what have I gotten myself into?)  What are you excited to read this summer?

June 9, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday (68)

This week's topic is

THIS IS SUCH A GOOD TOPIC.  The books I’ve been reading this year have been amazing.  How do I only pick 10?  Looking through my books, especially my five star books on goodreads, I’m struck by how DIFFERENT they all are.  These people talking shit about YA and saying that they’re simple stories with happy endings need to check themselves because that’s not what I’m finding.  At all.

Afterparty – Ann Redisch Stampler

A crazy, twisty friendship story that begins and ends with a plunge off of a rooftop.

Where the Stars Still Shine – Trish Doller

A girl who was kidnapped by her mother at a very young age comes to live with the family she never knew.

Vengeance – Megan Miranda

An accident causes Delaney to be able to sense when deaths occur before they happen, or could it be that death is now following her?  (Bonus: best friends in love)

Some Girls Are – Courtney Summers

You want a mean girl book?  You’ve freaking got one.  What happens when the meanest of mean girls turn on one of their own?  It’s not pretty, but it’s one hell of a book. 

The Scar Boys – Len Vhlaos

Punk rock.  A road trip.  Scars.  An awesome journey told through Harbinger “Harry” Jones’s college application essay.

We Were Liars – E. Lockhart

You’ve seen the description, right?  If anybody asks you how it ends, just LIE.  The twist is so worth it.

The Impossible Knife of Memory – Laurie Halse Anderson

Anderson always gives an amazing look into the lives of people doing their very best just to survive in the crappy situation they’re in.

Nearly Gone – Elle Cosimano

A YA book about a serial killer. That’s basically all you have to tell me.  Well, it’s not about the serial killer, but it is about the girl the killer’s framing for their crimes.  Awesome.

Since You’ve Been Gone – Morgan Matson

What happens when your best friend disappears for the summer, leaving only a list of crazy things she wants you to do in her dust?  If you’re Emily you attempt to do the things on the list, finding an awesome group of people along the way.

Rebel Belle – Rachel Hawkins

You know what I love more than ass kicking girls?   Ass kicking girls in debutante gowns.  Add in really cool Paladin mythology and I’m totally head over heels for Rebel Belle.

There you go – the best books I’ve read so far this year.  And the year’s only half over.  There’s still so much to look forward to: SILVER SHADOWS.  ISLA.  Come at me y’all.  What can you guys recommend that I’ll love as much as these?