The Last Time We Were Us by Leah Konen

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Title & Author: The Last Time We Were Us by Leah Konen

Publisher/Year: Katherine Tegen Books/May 10, 2016

Format: ARC Paperback

Source: Around the World ARC Tours

Other Books By the Author: The After Girls

My Rating: 4hearts

What This Book Is About

A passionate summer love story about a girl, her childhood best friend recently released from juvie, and the small-town lies that have kept them apart. A teen romance debut with a dark edge.

Liz Grant is about to have the summer of her life. She and her friend MacKenzie are getting invited to all the best parties, and with any luck, Innis Taylor, the most gorgeous guy in Bonneville, will be her boyfriend before the Fourth of July.

Local teen convict released early.

Jason Sullivan wasn’t supposed to come back from juvie. A million years ago, he was her best friend, but that was before he ditched her for a different crowd. Before he attacked Innis’s older brother, leaving Skip’s face burned and their town in shock.

“Everything is not what you think.”

Liz always found it hard to believe what they said about Jason, but all of Bonneville thinks he’s dangerous. If word gets out she’s seeing him, she could lose everything. But what if there’s more to that horrible night than she knows? And how many more people will get hurt when the truth finally comes out?

“You’re the one person who believes in me.”

Leah Konen’s southern romance swelters with passion as it explores the devastating crush of lies, the delicate balance of power and perception, and one girl’s journey to find herself while uncovering the secrets of so many others.

(Summary from Goodreads)

My Thoughts on This Book

First let me start off by saying this is a summer based book and if you don’t know by now, I am obsessed with summer themed books. Leah Konen’s other YA book, The After Girls, has also been on my TBR list (as well as my bookshelf) for a while now and I definitely need to start reading it. The Last Time We Were Us was so, so good. It had me feeling so many mixed emotions throughout the book and had me racing through the pages at the end to see what had happened.

The romance in The Last Time We Were Us was insanely intense. I had no idea what was going to happen and definitely wasn’t expecting the ending to play out like it had. I can’t say I was shocked, but I also feel like some of the characters got what they had been asking for throughout the book. The book is also packed full of drama between multiple characters which kept it entertaining as well as kept me sucked into the book turning page after page. The book itself was longer than most I’ve read lately (almost 400 pages) but I was hooked and breezed through it.

I really liked the characters in The Last Time We Were Us. I have to admit though my favorite character was Jason Sullivan and I can’t really say why he was without giving anything away. I had mixed feelings about the main character Liz. There were times when I liked her and was rooting for her and other times when I wish I could have reached in the pages and smacked her. Innis Taylor was quite the character, once again can’t say much about him without giving things away. Liz’s friend MacKenzie was alright. She had a few good friend moments, but I felt like a majority of the time she was immature and over reacted to certain situations.

Overall if you’re into young adult contemporary and/or romance I definitely think you’d enjoy this book. It’s one of the better books I have read in 2016, it’s in my top 10 as of now. I could easily see this as a book I’d reread again in the future.

Take the Fall by Emily Hainsworth

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Title & Author: Take the Fall by Emily Hainsworth

Publisher/Year: Balzer + Bray/February 16,2016

Source: Around the World ARC Tours

Format: ARC Paperback

Other Books by Author: Through to You

My Rating:4hearts

What This Book Is About

WHO KILLED GRETCHEN MEYER?

Fear grips the residents of Hidden Falls the night Sonia Feldman and her best friend, Gretchen Meyer, are attacked in the woods. Sonia was lucky to escape with her life, but Gretchen’s body is discovered at the bottom of a waterfall. Beautiful, popular, and seemingly untouchable, Gretchen can’t be gone. Even as Sonia struggles with guilt and confusion over having survived, the whole town is looking to her for information…could she have seen something that will lead the police to the killer?

At the top of the list of suspects is Gretchen’s ex-boyfriend—and Sonia’s longtime enemy—Marcus Perez. So when Marcus comes to Sonia for help clearing his name, she agrees, hoping to find evidence the police need to prove he’s the killer. But as Gretchen’s many secrets emerge and the suspects add up, Sonia feels less sure of Marcus’s involvement, and more afraid for herself. Could Marcus, the artist, the screwup, the boy she might be falling for have attacked her? Killed her best friend? And if it wasn’t him in the woods that night…who could it have been?

(Summary from Goodreads)

My Thoughts on This Book

Lately I have been devouring creepy, thrilling books even though it has been the happy holiday season. Take the Fall had been on my radar so I was excited to be able to read and review it early. It definitely met what I had been expecting and I cannot wait to read Emily Hainsworth’s other YA novel now.

Take the Fall was definitely one of the best young adult mystery/thrillers I have ever read. I did not know who the killer was until I was reading it for myself at the end of the book. My shock level was easily a 9/10 as I had never seen that coming. Throughout the whole book I was constantly guessing and wondering who the killer could have been. It took me a total of 2 days to finish because I couldn’t put it down (aside from sleeping and going to work).

I thought the characters in this book were perfect. Sonia was the perfect grieving best friend who had all the right intentions of searching for her best friends killer as well as her attacker. Gretchen, while never alive in the book, was portrayed excellently through flashbacks and descriptions from her friends and enemies alike. Gretchen’s ex boyfriend Marcus fit the “bad boy” role quite well, but I found myself almost immediately siding with him and believing his innocence. Overall all the characters were great and there wasn’t one who I really didn’t like or couldn’t stand.

I did feel as though the beginning of the book was fast with Sonia’s attack, Gretchen’s murder and all the drama that followed. Towards the middle while Sonia was working with Marcus to clear his name and find the real attacker, I felt like the book kind of slowed down and not much was happening. Had the book been fast paced and had a few more unexpected twists I definitely would have rated this a 5. The ending though was so incredibly done and so unexpected that you need to read Take the Fall when it hits the shelves in February.

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories

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Title & Author: My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories Edited by Stephanie Perkins (All authors listed at the top of the book cover)

Publisher/Year: St. Martin’s Press/2014

Source: Publisher in Exchange for an Honest Review

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 4hearts*

*I definitely enjoyed some stories more than others. Some I would give a 5 heart rating to while others I’d give a 3, so I felt a 4 heart rating was fair since it was right in the middle.

What This Book Is About

If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins. Whether you enjoy celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or New Year’s there’s something here for everyone. So curl up by the fireplace and get cozy. You have twelve reasons this season to stay indoors and fall in love.

(Summary from Goodreads)

My Thoughts on This Book

I would have loved to have had this review posted BEFORE the holiday but unfortunately I didn’t finish it until December 23 and I have a prior commitment to post a review on another book by December 25 at the latest.

As I said in the rating area, some of the stories I loved a lot more than the others. I would love to see some of these stories be made into a standalone novel, especially Rainbow Rowell’s, Kiersten White’s and Ally Carter’s. I will rate each of the stories individually, but they were all entertaining and fun to read especially with the approaching holidays.

Midnights by Rainbow Rowell: 5/5
The Lady and The Fox by Kelly Link: 2/5
Angels In The Snow by Matt de la Peña: 4/5
Polaris Is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han: 3/5
It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins: 3/5
Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan: 4/5
Krampuslauf by Holly Black: 3/5
What The Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman: 4/5
Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire: 3/5
Welcome To Christmas, CA by Kiersten White: 4/5
Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter: 4/5
The Girl Who Woke The Dreamer by Laini Taylor: 2/5

I loved how the stories involved characters of all different races, backgrounds and even sexual orientations. They were all original and not your typical cookie cutter holiday romance stories. They also were mixed genres as well, some were contemporary and others fantasy. I definitely enjoyed this book and would recommend it to every single reader who is into young adult fiction. It would also make an excellent gift if you have a young adult reader in your life. You can’t go wrong with this book during the holiday season. There is a summer themed one scheduled for publication in 2016, also edited by Stephanie Perkins but featuring 11 different authors that I cannot wait to read.

Harmony House by Nic Sheff

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Title & Author: Harmony House by Nic Sheff

Publisher/Year: HarperTeen/ March 22, 2016

Genre: YA Mystery, YA Thriller

Format: ARC Paperback

Source: Around the World ARC Tours

Other Books by Author: Goodreads 

My Rating: 4hearts

What This Book Is About

Jen Noonan’s father thinks a move to Harmony House is the key to salvation, but to everyone who has lived there before, it is a portal to pure horror.

After Jen’s alcoholic mother’s death, her father cracked. He dragged Jen to this dilapidated old manor on the shore of New Jersey to “start their new lives”—but Harmony House is more than just a creepy old estate. It’s got a chilling past—and the more Jen discovers its secrets, the more the house awakens. Strange visions follow Jen wherever she goes, and her father’s already-fragile sanity disintegrates before her eyes. As the forces in the house join together to terrorize Jen, she must find a way to escape the past she didn’t know was haunting her—and the mysterious and terrible power she didn’t realize she had.

A classic horror story finds a terrifying home in Harmony House, drawing on favorite tropes and edgy, modern characters to create a chilling tale of blame, guilt, and ghostly revenge.

(Summary from Goodreads)

My Thoughts on This Book

I absolutely love young adult thrillers and even though we’re in a happy holiday season at the moment, I jumped at the chance to read Harmony House. I was even more excited to read it because it takes place in New Jersey where I am from and currently live. The summary just sucked me in and I knew the ending was going to be something I hadn’t been expecting.

In my opinion there was different twists in the plot that I hadn’t been expecting and hadn’t seen coming. I was turning page after page to find out what was going on and what would happen next. It took me 2 days to finish reading Harmony House, and I enjoyed every minute of reading it. I’m not quite sure why it was a lower rating on Goodreads (currently 2.96) because I thought the plot line was original and was actually thrilling.

The characters were amazing. I was of course rooting for the main character Jen the whole time. She was not only easily likable but easily relatable. It was easy to see where her thoughts and feelings came from and I often noticed I felt the same feelings she was throughout the book. Jen’s dad was quite a character as well. Without giving too much away, it was so easy to not like him from the beginning. There were a few other characters that made small appearances throughout the book who really added to the storyline.

The way the author brought the story all together at the ending was something I didn’t see coming and it surprised me. I thought it was a great way to end the story and to explain everything that had been going on. The descriptions of all the scenery and the house itself was described in good detail to create the perfect mental images I needed in my head as I read the book.

I would definitely recommend reading Harmony House in March when it is published especially if you enjoy a good thriller. I hope Nic Sheff writes other young adult thrillers in the future that are just as amazing as Harmony House.

Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout Tour

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Hello, I Love You

Title & Author: Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout

Publisher/Year: St. Martin’s Griffin/2015

Genres: YA Romance, YA Contemporary, YA Music

Format: Hardcover

Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Other Books by Katie M. Stout: Debut Book!

My Rating: 5hearts

About the Book

Grace Wilde is running—from the multi-million dollar mansion her record producer father bought, the famous older brother who’s topped the country music charts five years in a row, and the mother who blames her for her brother’s breakdown. Grace escapes to the farthest place from home she can think of, a boarding school in Korea, hoping for a fresh start.

She wants nothing to do with music, but when her roommate Sophie’s twin brother Jason turns out to be the newest Korean pop music superstar, Grace is thrust back into the world of fame. She can’t stand Jason, whose celebrity status is only outmatched by his oversized ego, but they form a tenuous alliance for the sake of her friendship with Sophie. As the months go by and Grace adjusts to her new life in Korea, even she can’t deny the sparks flying between her and the KPOP idol.

Soon, Grace realizes that her feelings for Jason threaten her promise to herself that she’ll leave behind the music industry that destroyed her family. But can Grace ignore her attraction to Jason and her undeniable pull of the music she was born to write? Sweet, fun, and romantic, this young adult novel explores what it means to experience first love and discover who you really are in the process.

Buy Links

Amazon I Barnes and Noble I Books-A-Million

IndieBound I iBooks

About the Author

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Katie M. Stout is from Atlanta, Georgia, and works for an international charity that sends her to fun places like Spain and Singapore. When she’s not writing, you can find her drinking an unhealthy amount of chai tea and listening to Girls’ Generation, Teen Top, and all her other favorite K-pop tunes.

Katie’s Social Media

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7265923.Katie_M_Stout

Website: http://one-page-reviews.blogspot.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/katiemstout

Tumblr: http://katiemwrites.tumblr.com/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/katiemstout/

My Review

Hello, I Love You was exactly what I had been needing in terms of a good book lately. I would catch myself with a big smile on my face as I read. I loved absolutely every word from the first page to the last page of this book. Katie M. Stout opened my eyes to new things such as KPOP, Korean drama, and customs of South Korea. I never ever imagined wanting to travel to South Korea, but after reading Hello, I Love You, Seoul is now in my top 10 places I’d like to travel to internationally.

I love books that take place at boarding schools and the international boarding school that Grace attends in Hello, I Love You made me incredibly envious because it sounded amazing. I was really envious of Grace throughout the entire book of everything she was able to do and experience. The closest experience I got to Grace’s was competing in American University’s Model United Nations Conference in Washington DC every year and those extended weekends were the highlights of my high school years.

I liked every single character from the book. They all had different personalities, but they all fit so perfectly together that it really made the book as good as it was. Grace was the easiest to relate to. She was close minded at times in the beginning of the book, but as it went on she was caring, kind and thoughtful. Sophie was the perfect best friend and roommate. She made sure to always include Grace in everything that she was doing and was always in a good, happy mood. The three boys of Eden, Jason, Tae Hwa, and Yoon Jae, were all interesting characters to say the least. Tae Hwa was a perfect match for Sophie. He wasn’t an in-depth character, but he seemed kind, sweet and generally caring towards Sophie. Yoon Jae was just as sweet. He made it clear who he had feelings for and I was kind of rooting for him although I knew it most likely wasn’t going to work out. Jason annoyed me in the beginning with his arrogant attitude but throughout the book he grew on me. He would let the real him shine through occasionally and when those moments came up, it is when he grew on me.

Throughout the book Grace is also dealing with drama back home in Tennessee. While the author brings in some characters from home like Grace’s mom and her younger sister Jane, the true story of what she is running from does not come out until the end. I was surprised by the reality of the situation and didn’t see it coming at all. Once it was out in the open, things that Grace hinted at or mentioned earlier in the book clicked into place and made sense.

Hello, I Love You is the perfect young adult romance book to bring along in your beach tote or to the pool. Although there’s nearly 300 pages, it will go by so quickly because you will not be able to put it down. The story and the characters are original and unlike other young adult books I have read before. If you like young adult romance or contemporary or you are into KPOP, this is the perfect book to add to your TBR list. For her debut book, Katie M. Stout totally kicked ass with Hello, I Love You and I am keeping my fingers crossed for a sequel to see where the characters are.

Author’s Fan Casting

For part of my post for the tour, I chose to post Katie M. Stout’s dream cast for her book, Hello, I Love You. Here is what she had to say and who she picked for the main characters. 

I had a ton of fun fancasting my characters! Some of them were casted very early on in my brain while I was writing – I actually had two singers in mind while I was writing the rough draft of the book!

While these are who the characters look like in my head, I love hearing other people’s thoughts.  or I’d love to hear who you think Grace, Jason, Sophie, and everyone else looks like, so hit me up on Twitter or Tumblr with your picks!

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Grace – Lily James

I’m a Lily James fan in general. (I mean, how can you not love her as Cinderella?!) Plus, I think she has the perfect hair for Grace. And girl’s got attitude, which totally fits my sassy, broken protagonist.

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Jason – Jung Yonghwa

Yonghwa was actually the first character I casted in my head. I knew while I was still rough drafting that he was who Jason looked like. Actually, if you’ve ever seen the Korean drama Heartstrings, you may recognize some of the outfits I describe Jason wearing as ones he wore in that drama. I just loved those sweaters and colorful shoes so much!

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Sophie – IU

Sophie is another character I knew early on who I would cast. IU has been one of my favorite KPOP singers since I saw her in the drama Dream High, and I think she perfectly embodies Sophie’s sweetness and charm.

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Yoon Jae – Ok Taecyeon

I wanted Yoon Jae to be really striking, where you turn your head when he walks by. I also wanted him to have a little bit of a baby face. Really, there’s no one else I could choose for him besides Taecyeon, who’s both super hot and super cute. And really, he’s perfect for the character I would have chosen to date if I were Grace.

Tae Hwa – Seungri

Seungri is one of the hottest guys in KPOP, I think (despite his scandals). And I had to choose someone great for Sophie, who’s probably my favorite character in the whole book. Really, I maybe had too much fun looking for good pictures of him…

The One Thing by Marci Lyn Curtist

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Title & Author: The One Thing by Marci Lyn Curtis

Publisher/Year: Disney-Hyperion/September 8,2015

Genre: YA Romance, YA Contemporary

Format: ARC Paperback

Source: Around the World ARC Tours

Other Books by Author: Debut Book!

Rating: 5hearts

 

What This Book Is About

Maggie Sanders might be blind, but she won’t invite anyone to her pity party. Ever since losing her sight six months ago, Maggie’s rebellious streak has taken on a life of its own, culminating with an elaborate school prank. Maggie called it genius. The judge called it illegal.

Now Maggie has a probation officer. But she isn’t interested in rehabilitation, not when she’s still mourning the loss of her professional-soccer dreams, and furious at her so-called friends, who lost interest in her as soon as she could no longer lead the team to victory.

Then Maggie’s whole world is turned upside down. Somehow, incredibly, she can see again. But only one person: Ben, a precocious ten-year-old unlike anyone she’s ever met. Ben’s life isn’t easy, but he doesn’t see limits, only possibilities. After awhile, Maggie starts to realize that losing her sight doesn’t have to mean losing everything she dreamed of. Even if what she’s currently dreaming of is Mason Milton, the infuriatingly attractive lead singer of Maggie’s new favorite band, who just happens to be Ben’s brother.

But when she learns the real reason she can see Ben, Maggie must find the courage to face a once-unimaginable future…before she loses everything she has grown to love.

(Summary from Goodreads)

My Thoughts on This Book

When I received The One Thing in the mail, I had forgotten that I had requested to read and review it. Upon reading the back of the book, I wondered why I had because it didn’t seem like a book that would interest me. I wasn’t reading anything else at the time and since I had agreed to both read and review it, I started it. I was instantly hooked from the first chapter. I fell in love with the book and the characters as every page went on. I could only kick myself for all of my original thoughts.

I had never read a book before where one of the main characters had a disability like being blind. Now looking back, most characters in books are in a way pretty flawless. Sure they have their small issues and face difficult choices, but it was eye opening in a way to go through the story through the perspective of someone who cannot see all the things I can. It also made me think of stuff I had never thought of before and I enjoy reading books that make me think outside of my comfort zone.

I loved the main characters, Maggie, Ben, and Mason. As each chapter ended, my love for them only grew. Maggie had her whole life planned out until losing her sight to meningitis. She had to learn how to do so many simple everyday tasks all over again, this time not being able to see what she was doing as she was doing it. She had a wicked sense of humor and I loved how sarcastic she could be. Ben was such a happy, positive kid even though the odds have been against him in life. He always looks at the bright side and doesn’t let anything stop him from doing what he wants and when he wants to do it. Mason was moody and rude, but you could tell there was something deeper in him and when his true colors showed, I was swooning as hard as Maggie.

The one thing I wasn’t too fond of, but it did not change my rating or love for the book, was why Maggie could see Ben. I just felt like it was expected, yet I was hoping the whole time that’s what it wouldn’t end up being. I did, and still do, classify The One Thing as a contemporary or realistic fiction novel, but question my choice of genre because of this reason. Like I said though, it didn’t change my rating or the way I feel about this book in anyway.

If you’re looking for a new book to read in the fall, The One Thing is definitely a book I’d recommend. If you have a 2015 TBR list, seriously add The One Thing to it and read it before 2015 is over. This book is in my top books of 2015 list so far and I anticipate it staying there until the end of the year. It just warms your heart that it is impossible not to enjoy every word of it.

’89 Walls by Katie Pierson Book Tour!

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Title & Author: ’89 Walls by Katie Pierson89WallsCover

Publisher: Wise Ink

Release Date: June 5, 2015

Format & Pages: Paperback & 240

Genres: YA Romance, YA Contemporary

Other Books By Katie Pierson: Debut Book!

My Rating: 4hearts

SYNOPSIS

College is not in the cards for Seth. He spends his minimum wage on groceries and fakes happiness to distract his mom from the MS they both know will kill her. It’s agony to carry around a frayed love note for a girl who’s both out of his league and beneath his dignity. 

Quinn’s finishing high school on top. But that cynical, liberal guy in her social studies class makes her doubt her old assumptions. Challenging the rules now, though, would a) squander her last summer at home, b) antagonize her conservative dad, and c) make her a hypocrite.

Seth and Quinn’s passionate new romance takes them both by surprise. They keep it a secret: it’s too early to make plans and too late not to care. But it’s 1989. As politics suddenly get personal, they find themselves fighting bare-fisted for their beliefs—and each other—in the clear light of day.

BOOK EXCERPT

Quinn used the three extra minutes before class that day to turn in her cap-and-gown order form at the office. She made sure no one was looking before skipping down the marble staircase like a little kid. She watched her light-green sundress rise and settle with each bounce. The translucent afternoon sun had managed to warm the foyer by the entrance doors as if spring might actually stick. A tiny breeze jiggled the branches of the narrow pine trees framing the building’s entrance. The stretch of blue sky spanning the transom window reassured her, like it was telling her that years of self-conscious high school angst were almost over.

Only Trish understood how crucial Quinn’s façade of success was to the fact of it. As long as she stuck to the script—Take the advanced placement classes. Study. Join the debate team. Perform.—she could hold herself together. She could no more drop the script than let her bones dissolve.

Quinn hated the debate team.

She stomped on the final step. As she rounded the bottom of the stairwell, she saw Seth walking to class from the opposite direction. His dark-blond hair looked like it wanted to cover his eyes but was failing at it. Even looking at him made her feel defensive.

He drew near enough for Quinn to read his T-shirt. A cartoon of Uncle Sam silk-screened in black-and-white on the front said, “Join the army. Travel to exotic, distant lands. Meet exciting, unusual people. And kill them.” On the inside, Quinn rolled her eyes; why did liberals like him act as though people like her invented war and they alone wanted peace, love, and teddy bears? Quinn read his shirt again. Okay, maybe it was kind of funny. But it looked out of place on a guy who never smiled.

They had less than a minute before the bell rang, and the hallway had emptied out. He probably wouldn’t acknowledge her; he never even said hi unless she said hi first. But he passed the classroom door. He was headed straight for her. His tan cheeks glowed bright pink, and his eyebrows scrunched together. Quinn felt her shoulders creep up as their eyes met. Was he going to call her out on something right now?

She saw Ilene slipping into the classroom and waved at her. Quinn tried to veer out of Seth’s path; if he wanted to tangle, he’d have to wait until class, when Mr. Levine could referee. But he sidestepped in front of her, forcing her to stop. What the hell? They stared at each other for several seconds. Quinn noticed that the dark brown of Seth’s eyes blended right into his pupils. He also had broad shoulders for a lean guy, but he was barely three inches taller than she was.

Seth started to say something but then kind of deflated. He pressed a limp, folded piece of notebook paper into her hand. Scowling at the floor, he mumbled something under his breath before charging into the classroom.

Quinn looked around in confusion to see if there had been witnesses. There hadn’t. She walked into room 105. She sat down next to Ilene and said hi back to a few people. Taking a huge, slow breath, she slid the letter into her folder and pulled a pen out of her backpack.

            Waiting for the slackers to trickle in, Mr. Levine strolled over to his desk and pried the lid off yesterday’s McDonald’s drink. He poured the light-brown liquid into the spider plant. Then he flipped off the lights and closed the door. He rubbed his hands together with that sinister glee that teachers saved up for things like pop quizzes. Then he slapped an outline on the overhead projector, on which he’d chicken-scratched the title “South Africa.” As the class groaned, Mr. Levine shrugged out of his sports jacket. He tossed it across his desk with one of the sleeves inside out.

As soon as he starting talking about apartheid, Quinn flipped open her folder to read the note.

Dear Quinn,

Here’s what I’ve wanted to say to you for a long time: I’ve liked you since the beginning of tenth grade. We haven’t had any big conversations, but I feel like I know you.

I know that you’re genuinely nice. Even though you have a lot of friends, you make a point of saying hello to people like me (the shy, antisocial types!). You’re really pretty, especially when you wear that green dress. You’re also smart. I hear George Washington University figured that out, too. Congratulations on getting in.

I wondered if you’d like to go to a movie sometime. I know it sounds weird coming from someone you’ve barely talked to (and especially from someone who would tease you about being a Republican), but I hope you’ll say yes.

Seth

BOOK LINKS

-’89 Walls is available on Amazon

-Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble

-Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Katie Pierson freelances for local non-profits, using her background in public policy and grassroots organizing to overthrow the patriarchy one introverted step at a time. When she’s not writing fiction, she returns library books, makes soup, and tries to be cooler than she really is by hip-hopping at the YMCA. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in American History from the University of Pennsylvania (where she dabbled briefly in being a College Republican) and a Master’s in American History from the University of Minnesota. She grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska, and now lives with her family in a suburb of Minneapolis. ’89 Walls is her first novel.

MORE INFORMATION

-Visit Katie Pierson’s website

-Connect with Katie on Facebook and Twitter

-Find out more about Katie at Goodreads

-Visit Katie’s blog

MY REVIEW

I’m not usually a fan of books that take place in the past, even if it’s only 26 year in the past. I usually stick to present/modern day stories. ’89 Walls though grabbed by interest from the summary and it sounded like a book I would enjoy, and it most certainly was. In all it took me two days to finish this book. I will admit I even read it while I was at work and supposed to be paying attention. I fell in love with the main characters and had to see what was going to happen between them.

The book brings up a lot of political references from 1989 and there are debates between the two main characters, Seth and Quinn, along with Quinn and her father throughout the whole book. While I could see why this may be a turn off to some readers, I actually enjoyed reading the debates and seeing both sides. It also gave me some insight to things that were going on in the few years before I was born that I had never heard or learned about before. It also made me open my mind at times during the debate and I myself not only enjoy a good debate but also love any book that can open my mind up to new thoughts and ideas.

I really liked both of the main characters, Seth and Quinn. They both had their flaws but that only added to their stories. Seth was such a kind and caring guy who not only tried to please Quinn, but also takes care of his mother who is suffering from MS. Quinn was a strong, independent female character who in the end stood up for what she believed in even if it was a different view than her parents. They both made their fair share of stupid decisions and mistakes throughout the book, but in the end that made them they characters they were. There were also quite the amount of minor characters including Seth’s mom, Quinn’s parents, Quinn’s ex-boyfriend Jason and her friend Trish. Some I liked more than others, Seth’s and Quinn’s mothers, some really annoyed me during their brief time in the story, Quinn’s ex-boyfriend Jason, and other’s I just ended up feeling bad/sad for, Quinn’s father. Although they were only minor characters, they gave a lot to the story.

Once I finished reading ’89 Walls, I was a little more convinced that it is probably geared towards the older side of the Young Adult genre for some of the topics discussed and actions that took place, even though the two main characters are both high school students. I think ’89 Walls is a great book if you’re looking for a young adult romance with some depth to it and one that will make you think (politically not romantically). It was definitely refreshing, although familiar to other young adult romances at the same time. I cannot wait to see and read Katie Pierson’s next young adult book.

“Still,” she said, “it’s kind of embarrassing to cry over a book.”

“I like people who cry over books. It makes me trust them.”

-Quinn & her father

Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn

book review2

DelicateMonstersCover

Title & Author: Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn

Publisher/Release Date: St. Martin’s Griffin/June 9, 2015 (TODAY!)

Genre: YA Thriller, YA Contemporary

Format: Finished Hardcover

Source: St. Martin’s Griffin in exchange for an honest review

Other Books by Author: Charm & Strange, Complicit

My Rating: 3hearts

What This Book Is About

When nearly killing a classmate gets seventeen-year-old Sadie Su kicked out of her third boarding school in four years, she returns to her family’s California vineyard estate. Here, she’s meant to stay out of trouble. Here, she’s meant to do a lot of things. But it’s hard. She’s bored. And when Sadie’s bored, the only thing she likes is trouble.

Emerson Tate’s a poor boy living in a rich town, with his widowed mother and strange, haunted little brother. All he wants his senior year is to play basketball and make something happen with the girl of his dreams. That’s why Emerson’s not happy Sadie’s back. An old childhood friend, she knows his worst secrets. The things he longs to forget. The things she won’t ever let him.

Haunted is a good word for fifteen-year-old Miles Tate. Miles can see the future, after all. And he knows his vision of tragic violence at his school will come true, because his visions always do. That’s what he tells the new girl in town. The one who listens to him. The one who recognizes the darkness in his past.

But can Miles stop the violence? Or has the future already been written? Maybe tragedy is his destiny. Maybe it’s all of theirs.

(Summary from Goodreads)

My Thoughts on This Book

When first reading the summary of Delicate Monsters I had thought it was going to be more of a thriller/mystery and thought, “I need to read this book”. As soon as I received it from the publisher I immediately began reading it that night. While it wasn’t what I had been expecting, I was instantly hooked from the beginning. The book is told in alternating chapters between the three main characters, Sadie, Emerson and Miles. Each chapter was short, yet left readers with just enough to want to know what was going to happen next.

The story itself had it’s thrilling moments and a lot of the storyline actually shocked me. It shows realistically some of the not so pretty things teenagers go through on a daily basis. It was actually a nice change of pace from all the lovey dovey young adult romances I had been reading lately. The characters themselves and their development throughout the novel is what had shocked me the most though. As the book went on, the dirtier the character’s secrets got. The end of the book really got me as well. I kind of suspected it to some degree but not in the way the author had ended up playing it out and I love when the ending is not what I had been suspecting throughout the whole book.

I will admit I did not exactly “like” any of the main characters. I think my favorite had to be May, both who was a minor character. Sadie Su was not your average teenage girl, dreaming of having the perfect boyfriend and into most teenage girl things such as shopping and hanging out with their best friends. Sadie had been expelled from three boarding schools for her behavior, which is incredibly cruel and is shown throughout the entire book. Emerson had to be my least favorite of all. While possessing some normal teen qualities, he also had some pretty sick and dirty secrets. I thought it was bad in the beginning but they continued to get worse throughout the book and my dislike for him only grew as well. Miles, Emerson’s younger brother, was the main character I liked the most. He was different and quirky, yet always down in the dumps which got a little old. I actually felt bad for Miles towards the end of the book though once his secrets were revealed and things had finally fallen into place and made sense. May was a minor character in the book and was only shown in some of Emerson’s chapters, but she seemed genuine, thoughtful and caring whenever she was present.

I really did enjoy Delicate Monsters and read the book within 2 days. It’s a light read page wise but subject wise it really makes you stop and think while you’re reading. I brought it into work with me the other day and already got a few coworkers interested in it. If you enjoy YA fiction of any genre I’d suggest you pick this book up and give it a chance.

Swept Away by Michelle Dalton Blog Tour!

book tour

SWEPT AWAY 1

SWEPT AWAY 2

Title & Author: Swept Away (Sixteenth Summer) by Michelle Dalton

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: May 5, 2015

Genres: YA Romance, YA Contemporary

Other Books by Michelle Dalton: Fifteenth Summer, Sixteenth Summer, Pulled Under (A Sixteenth Summer novel)

 My Rating: 4hearts

SYNOPSIS

Beachfront love blossoms in this refreshing summer romance, in the tradition of Sixteenth Summer and Seventeenth Summer.

 

Mandy Sullivan isn’t exactly looking forward to the summer months as tourists invade her seaside hometown on the coast of Maine. Her best friend, Cynthia, has abandoned her for camp and her older brother just announced he’ll be staying at college taking classes for the summer, leaving Mandy with nothing to do and no one to hang out with. Hoping to keep herself busy, Mandy takes a volunteer job at the Rocky Pointe Lighthouse. On her very first day, Oliver Farmingham asks for a private tour. A new—and incredibly cute—face in Rocky Pointe, Oliver seems more interested in Mandy than the lighthouse and its history.

 

Without her best friend at her side, Mandy is scrambling to act the right way and say the right things when Oliver is around. Cynthia—not Mandy—has always been the confident, flirtatious girl that everyone wanted to be around. As Mandy and Oliver spend more time together exploring the coast, biking through the woods, and attending the local summer festivals, their budding friendship becomes much more. But with Mandy’s insecurities creeping to the surface, can she open her heart to someone who will only be in town for three months?

BOOK LINKS:

Goodreads l Amazon paperback l Barnes & Noble (B&N)

Bookdepository l iTunes l Kobo

OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES:

Sixteenth Summer (Book 1): https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9091814-sixteenth-summer

Pulled Under (Book 2): https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18248933-pulled-under

SWEPT AWAY 6 SWEPT AWAY 5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michelle Dalton is one of the many names Carla Jablonski uses when writing. Her two YAs written as Carla Jablonski (published by Razorbill/Penguin), Thicker than Water and Silent Echoes, were included on the NYPL Books for the Teen Age list, and her graphic novel trilogy Resistance (illustrated by Leland Purvis, published by :01 Books) has won several awards, including the Sydney Taylor Silver Medal. In addition to writing novels she is an actor, playwright, and former trapeze artist. A native New Yorker, she is eternally grateful to her friends who invite her to their beach houses.

MY REVIEW

I have been a fan of Michelle Dalton since I first read Sixteenth Summer. I instantly loved the clichéd teen summer love story and continued to fall in love with each of her books after that. I love that when I read her books I am suddenly transported to a beach town that I have never been to yet am now so eager to visit. I love how you just fall in love with the storyline, the characters and the setting from the very first chapter. It is such a fun, light, enjoyable read that I could reread over and over again.

I loved the small beach town of Rocky Point and the way it was portrayed to the reader. It was so easy to make a mental picture of the quaint little town and made me want to hop into my car and take a roadtrip up the coast to Maine as soon as I finished reading. I also really loved the characters as I do with all of Michelle Dalton’s novels. They are easily likeable and you are rooting for them most of the book even though you know that their summer romance will likely come to an end. Mandy was so easy to relate to and I think any young girl would be able to see some of their own qualities in Mandy. Oliver was different than your usual summer love interest. He wasn’t the hunky jock out surfboarding on the beach. He was an artist and took the time to stop and admire things most other people don’t. He actually had some depth to him and that made me love him so much more. While some reader’s might not be into the insta-love, I was totally and completely into it and was hoping for the best between the two of them from the beginning to end.

I will definitely be rereading Swept Under (along with the rest of the Sixteenth Summer novels) while I lounge out on the beach this year. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a cute summer book, that also makes for a great beach read. It’s suitable in my opinion for tween and teen girls of any ages and I guarantee once you read Swept Away you’ll want to pick her other young adult books up as well.

MY DREAM CAST

These are some of the actors and actresses that I would match up to the characters in the book if it were being made into a movie.

Mandy Sullivan – Played by: Hailee Steinfield

SWEPT AWAY 8 MANDY

Mrs. Sullivan – Played by: Diane Lane

SWEPT AWAY 12 MANDYS MOM

Justin Sullivan – Played by: Taylor Lautner or Penn Badgley (it was a tie)

SWEPT AWAY 10 JUSTIN 

Cynthia – Played By : Lucy Fry

SWEPT AWAY 9 CYNTHIA

Joanna – Played By: Elizabeth Olsen

SWEPT AWAY 16 JOANNA

Patti – Played By: Sabrina Carpenter

SWEPT AWAY 15 PATTI

 Celeste – Played By: Jessica Green

SWEPT AWAY 14 CELESTE

Oliver – Played By: Nick Robinson

SWEPT AWAY 7 OLIVER

Alice (Oliver’s Mother) – Played By: Rachel Weisz

SWEPT AWAY 17 ALICE

Freaky Farmington – Played By: Tommy Lee Jones

SWEPT AWAY 13 FREAKY

So those are my top picks. I feel like they fit the characters really well in my mind. I really liked Penn Badgley for Justin but felt he might be too old looking for a college freshman/sophomore. Elizabeth Olsen to me looks like she could have an edgy New Yorker look/vibe.

GIVEAWAY:

Prize: Win (1) finished copy of SWEPT AWAY by Michelle Dalton (US Only)

*Click the Link Below, My non tech-butt cannot figure out how to embed the Rafflecopter*

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d9681b86103/?

SWEPT AWAY 3

Between Us and the Moon by Rebecca Maizel

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Title & Author: Between Us and the Moon by Rebecca Maizel

Publisher/Year: Harper Teen/2015 (June)

Genre: YA Romance, YA Contemporary

Format: Paperback

Source: Around the World ARC Tours

Other Books By Author: Infinite Days, Stolen Nights, Eternal Dawn

Rating: 5hearts

What This Book Is About

A luminous young adult novel that evokes Judy Blume’s Forever for a new generation.

Ever since Sarah was born, she’s lived in the shadow of her beautiful older sister, Scarlett. But this summer on Cape Cod, she’s determined to finally grow up. Then she meets gorgeous college boy Andrew. He sees her as the girl she wants to be. A girl who’s older than she is. A girl like Scarlett.

Before she knows what’s happened, one little lie has transformed into something real. And by the end of August, she might have to choose between falling in love, and finding herself.

Fans of Jenny Han and Stephanie Perkins are destined to fall for this story about how life and love are impossible to predict.

(Summary from Goodreads)

My Thoughts on This Book

Let me start off by saying I loved this book. I would use the word ‘loved’ more than once, but the amount of times I’d use it to express how I felt about this book would make this post so incredibly long. If you’ve been reading and following my blog for a while you know I am a total sucker for summer themed young adult books. Throw in some romance and I am completely in love. A few days before beginning Between Us and the Moon I read a not so great review on Goodreads and I am so happy I read Between Us and the Moon despite what that person wrote because I completely disagree with it.

Sarah has lived in her sister Scarlett’s shadow her whole life so when they go on their yearly summer vacation to Cape Cod, Sarah decides she is going to do ‘The Scarlett Experiement’. Sarah figures if she dresses an acts like her sister, she will easily make friends and guys will like her the way they like Scarlett. When Sarah gets the attention of an older guy, Andrew, she pretends to be older. As summer goes on and Sarah and Andrew’s relationship progresses, so does Sarah’s lie. When summer comes to an end Sarah needs to decide between falling in love or being the Sarah she is on the inside.

I immediately loved the summary and knew I was going to fall in love with the storyline, along with the characters. I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did.

Sarah, the main character, was pretty much a homebody in the beginning of the story. After her boyfriend/best friend breaks up with her because she “watches the world”. Once their vacation begins Sarah changes, but at the same time she doesn’t. She launches into ‘The Scarlett Experiment’, but after meeting Andrew, she still has a lot of her true features, like her love for astronomy, shine through past. Sarah not only lies about her age, but also that she is attending college, MIT to be exact, in the fall. Honestly, I don’t blame her for lying and it didn’t make me feel any differently for her character. I felt like I was easily able to relate to Sarah (other than having the same name) in many ways. I feel like we same(d) many of the same personality traits and characteristics when I was in high school. Also, let’s admit it girls, we all tell some kind of lie to a guy at least once in our life.

Andrew, a good guy with genuinely good hearted motives, is three years older than Sarah and a sophomore going to college in Boston. Him and Sarah continue to run into each other while Sarah is being a klutz and often tripping over her own feet. He finally takes the opportunity to introduce himself when he see Sarah on the beach. From there they begin a summer filled with romance. Andrew is so sweet to Sarah. He is also coping with the loss of someone close to him and dealing with the guilt he feels about it. Andrew is exactly the type of guy I personally would love to find in life. He is absolutely perfect that even the imperfections he does have just make him so much more appealing.

Of course there are several supporting characters throughout the novel that add to the storyline and without them, the book just wouldn’t have been the same. Sarah’s parents, her aunt Nancy, her Gran, Scarlett, and Scarlett’s boy for the summer Curtis just to name a few. They all were part of the story from the beginning to the end and each had something to contribute to the storyline. I really liked all of the characters, even the ones that were much harder to like than others.

Between Us and the Moon will be the absolute, perfect beach/summer book when it is published. It will make you laugh and smile and it will break your heart at times as well. At the end of the book I was so upset that it was over and I am definitely suffering a mild book hangover now. As I read Between Us and the Moon as part of a book tour and I will be mailing it out to the next reader later today, I will definitely be adding my on copy when this book hits the shelves in June. Between Us and the Moon is a book I see myself re-reading several times and I’m already looking forward to reading it for the second time. I of course would LOVE a sequel as a follow up for the next summer. I am unsure if there will be one but until then I will keep my fingers crossed!