June 30, 2016

Suffer Love - Ashley Herring Blake

Title: Suffer Love
Author: Ashley Herring Blake
Pages: 352
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads rating: 

About: “Just let it go.”

That’s what everyone keeps telling Hadley St. Clair after she learns that her father cheated on her mother. But Hadley doesn’t want to let it go. She wants to be angry and she wants everyone in her life—her dad most of all—to leave her alone.

Sam Bennett and his family have had their share of drama too. Still reeling from a move to a new town and his parents’ recent divorce, Sam is hoping that he can coast through senior year and then move on to hassle-free, parent-free life in college. He isn’t looking for a relationship…that is, until he sees Hadley for the first time.

Hadley and Sam’s connection is undeniable, but Sam has a secret that could ruin everything. Should he follow his heart or tell the truth? 

Suffer Love had...potential.  A slow start - there was a bunch of 'these people are acting this way because of REASONS, but these REASONS will not be discussed yet.  But rest assured there are REASONS.'  So yeah, it was kind of slow.  I really liked the middle section though.  Hadley and Sam start seeing each other on the DL (hello, dating myself) and it's really nice to watch their worlds start to come together.  The supporting cast is also really fun to watch.  I really liked spending time with Livy, Ajay (why is it spelled this way, why??), and Kat.

Now onto the parts I didn't love.  I know it was on purpose, but Hadley's mom was such a nightmare.  Like, stop with your passive aggressive bullshit and deal with your problems.  Stop vacuuming in the morning because your cheating husband prefers it quiet and don't put pepper on his food because he's allergic.  It's not healthy for anyone.  I also didn't find Hadley's making out with a bunch of boys all that extreme (probably because I read Firsts not too long ago, and hello, that was extreme).

The ending suffers (heh) from a little bit of melodrama.  As expected, once the secrets fall away Hadley and Sam have to try and figure out where they want their relationship to go.  It just becomes so overdramatic.  No one's dying, no one's at war.  "Seeing you and not being with you...it would be torture."  What are you, 17?  Re-fucking-lax.  "That's living, Sam.  It's always uncertain."  Bleck.  I can't.  I just couldn't get past it.

I go back and forth on Suffer Love.  A slow start and a super dramatic end is offset by a lovely little relationship in the middle.  The friends are fun to hang with for a while, but the parents are annoying and terrible.  All in all, this was a middle of the road contemporary for me.

June 29, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (81)

Title: How to Keep Rolling After a Fall
Author: Karole Cozzo
Pub. Date: 08.02.16

After a cyber bullying incident turns her life upside down, a handsome wheelchair rugby player shows a former mean girl that everyone deserves a second chance.

The party was at her house. The photos were posted to her Facebook account. That's all the evidence anyone needed to condemn Nikki Baylor for a cyberbullying incident that humiliated a classmate and nearly resulted in the girl's suicide. Now Nikki's been expelled from her old school, her friends have abandoned her, and even her own parents can't look her in the eye. With her plans for the future all but destroyed, Nikki resigns herself to being the girl everyone hates - almost as much as she hates herself. But then Nikki meets Pax, a spirited wheelchair rugby player who knows what it's like when one mistake completely shatters your life. Refusing to judge her because of her past, he shows her that everyone deserves a second chance... and everyone deserves to be loved. 

June 28, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday (100)

This week is a freebie week, so I'm going back to do one that I've been meaning to do for a while, top fictional BFFs.

Mia & Lily - The Princess Diaries
These two shaped so much of who I am as a person.  Those lists that they made in G&T?  Their pop culture feelings?  I internalized them all.  We watched a Baywatch marathon on Memorial Day and in my head I was totally like Mia was right.  They don't always get along, but that's life.  They're better for having known each other and I think that shows now that they've grown up.

Gena & Finn - Gena/Finn
I loved seeing an internet friendship turned real life friendship explored in such real way (probably because I am sooooo bad at being internet friends with people.  I just don't get it, I'm constantly awkward and hard to keep track of.  I'm not cut out for this life.)  I've been in fandom for close to twenty years now [super yikes] and I've seen these friendships form.  It was really cool to see it reflected on the page.

The Raven Boys & Blue - The Raven Cycle
Do I even need to?  Yes, I do.  The best part about these friendships (besides all the v. hot face touching, Gansey and Blue, see me after class) is that they're all so unique.  With a group that big I feel like it's really easy to fall into 'and yeah Blue and Ronan are cool whatever,' but it never does.  Blue and Ronan have a completely Blue and Ronan relationship.  Adam and Gansey are totally different than Adam and Noah.  Maggie is a master.

The girls of Rose & Grave - Secret Society Girl
Ok, so the deal with this is they're the first class in the history of the super elite secret society Rose & Grave to admit girls and not everyone (alumni, current members, etc) is thrilled about it.  These girls have been through the trenches together.  As someone who pledged a sorority in college I can definitely attest to the fact that those bonds last.

Hermione & Polly - Exit, Pursued By a Bear
A super recent addition (I read it last week), but man, these two.  Polly is so fiercely there for Hermione and vice versa.  I feel like so many of the rape books that I've read show people who have been ostracized in some way because of what happened to them.  It was nice to have one where the main character has a really great, realistic support system.

Who are your favorite fictional BFFs?

June 22, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (80)

Title: How to Hang a Witch
Author: Adriana Mather
Pub. Date: 07.26.16

Salem, Massachusetts is the site of the infamous witch trials and the new home of Samantha Mather. Recently transplanted from New York City, Sam and her stepmother are not exactly welcomed with open arms. Sam is the descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for those trials and immediately, she becomes the enemy of a group of girls who call themselves The Descendants. And guess who their ancestors were?

If dealing with that weren't enough, Sam also comes face to face with a real live (well technically dead) ghost. A handsome, angry ghost who wants Sam to stop touching his stuff. But soon Sam discovers she is at the center of a centuries old curse affecting anyone with ties to the trials. 

Sam must come to terms with the ghost and find a way to work with the Descendants to stop a deadly cycle that has been going on since the first accused witch was hanged. If any town should have learned its lesson, it's Salem. But history is about to repeat itself. 

June 21, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday (99)

This week's topic is favorite 2016 releases so far.  I can't believe the quality of stuff that I've read this year.  It made it so hard to choose just ten.

1. The Raven King - Maggie Steifvater
The best and also most important.  I had no chill leading up to this book, I had to know if my sweet nightmare children were going to be okay (of course not, nothing's okay, it's Maggie).

2. Remembrance - Meg Cabot
Meg Cabot can do no wrong.  I read the whole Mediator series for the first time this year and it was a blast.

3. Wink Poppy Midnight - April Genevieve Tucholke
I've seen a lot of mixed reviews on this one, but I absolutely adored it.  Tucholke does atmospheric like no other.

4. The Serpent King - Jeff Zentner
I don't know what else to say about this book, so I'm just going to go back to my review:  This book is struggles and loss and feeling trapped by circumstance, but it's also hope and perseverance and discovery.  It's so true to life and it is a beautiful read.

5. Passenger - Alexandra Bracken
This is basically a treasure hunt through time hosted by a hot privateer (read: pirate) and it is fantastic.

6. Rebel of the Sands - Alwyn Hamilton
With a tagline like 'More gunpowder than girl' did you think this was one I'd skip.  Amani is the bomb and Jinn... *fans self*

7. Blackhearts - Nicole
There seemed to be an influx of pirate books at the beginning of this year and I am hella here for it.  Also, this cover is GORGEOUS.  I can't wait for Blacksouls!

8. Firsts - Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
I said in my review for this one that it made me feel like an old and I stand by it, but I completely fell in love with these complicated characters.

9. Kill the Boy Band - Goldy Moldavsky
I've been a boyband fan basically forever.  I got New Kids sheets for my first grade birthday.  I still (often) think about the fact that I didn't get tickets to BSB's Millenium tour (I'm not even joking I have so much concert FOMO it's not funny).  I have a tumblr that currently has 708 pages of One Direction posts (yikes).  There was literally no way in hell I wasn't going to read and love this one.

10. Gena/Finn - Hannah Moskowitz & Kat Helgeson
I'm still really impressed by how much they totally get fandom in this book.  Also, by their ability to build an interesting, complex story even if you're not totally into fandom.  I'm echoing my Goodreads review, but really, 1000 stars.

Which 2016 releases have you guys loved so far?

June 16, 2016

Mini Reviews

It happens from time to time - everything seems to be going along swimmingly when all of a sudden you miss a week of reviews.  And then another week goes by...and then another.  Pretty soon you have a stack of books that you've read with no reviews to go with them.  The muse monster just got away from me these past few months.  I have a number of books with a very tiny amount of notes to go along with them, so I'm going to try something new here: mini reviews!  First up...

Title: Wild Swans
Author: Jessica Spotswood
Pages: 304
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads rating: 

When I first read the description of this book it reminded me a lot of Practical Magic, so it was obviously a must read for me.  (The Owens aunts are, like, ultimate goals.)

Anyway, Wild Swans is about a girl who comes from a family of "cursed" women.  They all burn very brightly and quickly; there's immense talent, but they either die young or run away to escape the family.  I was so ready to love this family of badass ladies, but right off the bat had some trouble.  I didn't really connect with Ivy, who, in a family full of excellence, feels very ordinary.  When her runaway mother decides to come home with her two other daughters in tow, it forces Ivy to deal with the feelings of abandonment she's felt her entire life.  The major thing I didn't love about Wild Swans was that it felt like a whole ton of info dumping and that took me out of the story completely.  Unfortunately, this one didn't live up to my high expectations for it.

Title: The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You
Author: Lily Anderson
Pages: 352
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Source: Netgalley

Goodreads rating:

 I was a little worried this was going to totally overdo the 'GEEK! NERD! DOCTOR WHOOOOO!!!!' angle because Doctor Who is actually mentioned in the description of this book.  I used to be a big Doctor Who person, so I know that they can be a tad overexcitable.  But this was just the right amount of references and nerding out.

The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You has one of my favorite tropes ever: enemies to lovers.  Trix and Ben were so great.  When she came to the realization that she was being a hellbeast it was perfect because, especially at that age, you practically never realize you're being one.

The cast of characters were all super enjoyable.  I loved the groups of boys and girls and the dynamic of them coming together.  The romance development was great and the mystery aspect was really well done.  I can't wait to see what Anderson has coming up next.

Title: Every Exquisite Thing
Author: Matthew Quick
Pages: 272
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher
Goodreads rating: 

This was a pretty solid read for me.  It felt like a combination of TFIOS (without the cancer), The Serpent King, and Catcher in the Rye (ugh).  This is flat out a coming of age story.  It's Nanette's senior year and her English teacher gives her a book that sparks a change in her.  She's tired of doing what is expected of her (she doesn't want to play soccer anymore, even though she's one of the best on her team) so she takes inspiration from this book and quits.


She befriends the author of said book who then introduces her to another little misfit and totally changes her life.

Quick is very good at making you feel what Nanette is feeling.  When she's falling for Alex, the misfit poet with big dreams, you do too.  When she starts seeing Alex's behavior in a different light you're like, girl, run.  That boy is too much.  I loved how understanding Nanette's parents are of her need to deconstruct her whole life, very supportive.

I loved the Pat Benetar mentions and the sneaky Ed Sheeran reference.

*    *    *

So that's it for my first round of mini reviews.  Hopefully I'll be back to regular size reviewing soon!

June 15, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (79)

Title: The Secret Sea
Author: Barry Lyga
Pub. Date: 08.23.16

Three friends find themselves plunged into a world of quantum physics, a rare disease, and a mysterious fact about a real-life global catastrophe.
Twelve-year-old Zak Killian is hearing a voice. Could it be a guardian angel? A ghost? No, that's crazy. But sometimes the voice is so real. . . . It warns him of danger.
One day Zak is standing on the subway platform when the tunnel starts to fill with water. He sees it before anyone else. The voice warns him to run. His friends Moira and Khalid believe this is more than a premonition, and soon all three find themselves in an alternate universe that is both familiar and seriously strange. As Zak unravels the mystery behind the voice, he faces decisions that may mean the end of their world at home--if they can even get home!

June 14, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday (98)

This week's topic is top ten most anticipated releases for the second half of the year.  I'm totally in the midst of a reading slump right now, but here's hoping one of these can break me out of it.

All the Missing Girls - Megan Miranda - 6.28
How to Hang a Witch - Adriana Mather - 7.26
As I Descended - Robin Talley - 9.6
Empire of Storms - Sarah J. Maas - 9.6
A Song to Take the World Apart - Zan Romanoff - 9.13
I'm Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl - Gretchen McNeil - 9.13
It's Not Me, It's You - Stephanie Kate Strohm - 10.25
You in Five Acts - Una LaMarche - 11.1
Heartless - Marissa Meyer - 11.8
Trouble Makes a Comeback - Stephanie Tromly - 11.22

Which releases are you most looking forward to?

June 8, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (78)

Title: Little Black Dresses, Little White Lies
Author: Laura Stampler
Pub. Date: 07.19.16

Harper Anderson always believed she belonged somewhere more glamorous than her sleepy Northern California suburb. After all, how many water polo matches and lame parties in Bobby McKittrick's backyard can one girl take? That's why Harper is beyond ecstatic when she lands her dream internship as a dating blogger at the elite teen magazine Shift. Getting to spend the summer in New York City to live her dream of becoming a writer? Harper's totally in.
There's just one teeny, tiny, infinitesimal problem: Apart from some dance floor make-outs, Harper doesn't have a lot of - or, really, any - dating expertise. In fact, she might have sort of stolen her best friend's experiences as her own on her Shiftapplication. But she can learn on the job...right?
From awkward run-ins with the cute neighborhood dog-walker to terrifying encounters with her crazed editor, from Brooklyn gallery openings to weekends in the Hamptons, Harper finds out what it takes to make it in the Big City--and as the writer of her own destiny. 

June 1, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (77)

Title: All the Missing Girls
Author: Megan Miranda
Pub. Date: 06.28.16

It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. Back again to tie up loose ends and care for her ailing father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne’s case and breaks open old wounds long since stitched.

The decade-old investigation focused on Nic, her brother Daniel, boyfriend Tyler, and Corinne’s boyfriend Jackson. Since then, only Nic has left Cooley Ridge. Daniel and his wife, Laura, are expecting a baby; Jackson works at the town bar; and Tyler is dating Annaleise Carter, Nic’s younger neighbor and the group’s alibi the night Corinne disappeared. Then, within days of Nic’s return, Annaleise goes missing.Told backwards—Day 15 to Day 1—from the time Annaleise goes missing, Nic works to unravel the truth about her younger neighbor’s disappearance, revealing shocking truths about her friends, her family, and what really happened to Corinne that night ten years ago.