Entwined by Heather Dixon

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Title & Author: Entwined by Heather Dixon

Publisher/Year: Greenwillow Books/2011

Source: Amazon

Format: Kindle eBook

Other Books by Author: Illusionarium, Perchance to Dream: Classic Tales from the Bard’s World in New Skins

My Rating: 5hearts

What This Book Is About

Just when Azalea should feel that everything is before her—beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing—it’s taken away. All of it. And Azalea is trapped. The Keeper understands. He’s trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. So he extends an invitation.

Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest, but there is a cost. The Keeper likes to keep things. Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

(Summary from Goodreads)

My Thoughts on This Book

Oh my goodness, let me start this review off by saying I freaking LOVED this book. This is my first ever fairy tale retelling I’ve read and I am so, so, sooo happy it was my first as well. With fairy tell retellings being on the rise lately, I kind of turned my nose up at them and didn’t think I’d be interested. I was participating in a challenge on Goodreads where the one option was to choose a retelling based off of a fairy tale, myth or legend. I knew I didn’t want to read the same ones everyone else had been reading (and even raving about lately) so I looked up lists on Goodreads and that is where I came across Entwined. Before finding Entwined I had never even heard of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, which made this is ideal book for what I was looking for.

I was immediately sucked into Entwined. I loved the characters, the storyline, the setting. To put it short, I loved absolutely everything about this book. I don’t even know where to start with it. Overall it took me 2-3 days to finish during the work week and I spent a majority of my free time outside of school work reading. I loved the main character Azalea. She was such a strong, independent female lead character. Her sisters were just as amazing as she was and I would love to see sequels written for some of them. The whole palace and it’s garden and the silver forest was described in such detail it seemed magical.

As for the storyline, I feel like I can’t say too much without giving spoilers away. I thought the storyline did an excellent job retelling and extending the story of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. It had romance thrown into it, along with some magic/supernatural moments and quite the action packed ending. The girls love of dancing was clear throughout the novel and their will to continue dancing although they were in their year of mourning showed how determined they were to continue doing what they and their mother loved.

I honestly would recommend anyone looking for a new book to get lost into to read Entwined. Don’t pass it by because it’s a retelling. If I had done that to Entwined, as I had done to so many other retellings, I would have missed out on an amazing book which is now definitely on my favorites shelf. If you love fairy tales, then there is no doubt you will fall in love with Entwined like I did.

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Down With the Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn

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Title & Author: Down With the Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn

Publisher/Year: HarperTeen/April 26, 2016

Format: Paperback ARC

Source: Around the World ARC Tours

Other Books By Author: Another Little Piece, (Don’t You) Forget About Me, Among the Shadows

My Rating: 4hearts

What This Book Is About

There’s a reason they say “be careful what you wish for.” Just ask the girl who wished to be thinner and ended up smaller than Thumbelina, or the boy who asked for “balls of steel” and got them-literally. And never wish for your party to go on forever. Not unless you want your guests to be struck down by debilitating pain if they try to leave.

These are things Lennie only learns when it’s too late-after she brings some of her uncles’ moonshine to a party and toasts to dozens of wishes, including a big wish of her own: to bring back her best friend, Dylan, who was abducted and murdered six months ago.

Lennie didn’t mean to cause so much chaos. She always thought her uncles’ moonshine toast was just a tradition. And when they talked about carrying on their “important family legacy,” she thought they meant good old-fashioned bootlegging.

As it turns out, they meant granting wishes. And Lennie has just granted more in one night than her uncles would grant in a year.

Now she has to find a way to undo the damage. But once granted, a wish can’t be unmade…

(Summary from Goodreads)

My Thoughts on This Book

I’ve read Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn last fall and her other novel, (Don’t You) Forget About Me, has been on my TBR list for quite some time now. When I saw she had a new young adult book coming out, I jumped at the chance to read an advanced copy of it and I am SO happy I did. I raced through this book in about 2 days and enjoyed every single page. The characters were awesome, the whole storyline was amazing and the author did a great job adding not only comedy but some dark moments as well. Kate Karyus Quinn also made a reference to Another Little Piece (and she may have made one to (Don’t You) Forget About Me as well but I haven’t read it yet). The books themselves aren’t sequels or a series but seeing one tie into another was pretty cool and original.

“May all your wishes come true, or at least just this one.” I’m not going to lie, this line will haunt me if I ever hear someone say it out loud after reading this book. Lennie heard her uncles say this many times when someone would come through to buy their moonshine and would make a wish and toast the first sip. Of course she never realized that this was much more than just a toast, so when she sneaks out several jars of her uncles’ moonshine to take to a party, she causes so much havoc. Some characters, such as W2 and Zinkowski, have hilarious wishes that some true, others are far more serious and a few are innocent. Watching each wish unfold was entertaining and seeing the outcomes of their wishes made you constantly wonder what would happen next and if Lennie would be able to find a way to make everything go back to the way it was before the party.

All of the main characters in the book were enjoyable, even the bad ones. They all brought something to the story and without even one of them there would have been something missing. Lennie may not be the smartest character, but in her defense she didn’t have any idea of her wish granting abilities until after the damage was done. She was genuinely caring though and was trying to fulfill her dead best friend’s wish of going to a crazy party. Lennie’s dad was evil in every sort of way, her mother was mostly absent but played a huge part in the family legacy, and Lennie’s uncles honestly seemed like the cool uncles you’d want to hang around at a family party. They were tough on Lennie but only wanted the best for her and to protect her. Lennie’s friend Dylan and Dylan’s twin Smith proved to be two key characters. Although we don’t get to know Dylan before she is murdered, we get an interested undead version of her thanks to Lennie’s wish. Smith on the other hand was a character I thought I was going to despise from the beginning but grew to love as the book went on. Last was Lennie’s friend Larry, who you ended up feeling sorry for a majority of the time. It was clear he had a thing for Lennie and would do whatever would please her. He was also such a goody two shoes and momma’s boy that you felt bad he got stuck in such a crappy situation.

Overall, I really enjoyed Down With the Shine, enough to want to purchase my own copy to reread once it is published. I’m also making a mental note now to also purchase myself a copy of her other book, (Don’t You) Forget About Me. I would love to see Down With the Shine turned into a movie, definitely think it would be awesome to see on the big screen and I cannot wait to see what book she writes next.

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.

Cruel Summer by James Dawson

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Title & Author: Cruel Summer by James Dawson

Publisher/Year: Indigo/2013

Genres: YA Thriller, YA Mystery

Format: Paperback (U.K. version)

Source: Book Depository

Other Books By Author: Say Her Name, Hollow Pike, Under My Skin, All of the Above,   Love Hurts

Rating: 5hearts

What This Book Is About

A year after Janey’s suicide, her friends reunite at a remote Spanish villa, desperate to put the past behind them. However, an unwelcome guest arrives claiming to have evidence that Jane was murdered. When she is found floating in the pool, it becomes clear one of them is a killer. Only one thing is for certain, surviving this holiday is going to be murder…

A compelling and psychological thriller – with a dash of romance.

(Summary from Goodreads)

My Thoughts on This Book

Cruel Summer has been on my TBR list for about a year now and just a couple of weeks ago I finally got the chance to read it. It proved to be even more of a page turner and was packed with more mystery and thrills than I had been expecting. I loved the alternating points of view between two of the main characters, Ryan and Alisha. It gave two sides/views of what was going on as the two had different ideas about what happened to Janey.

I really liked all of the characters and the end left me in complete and total shock. I constantly changed my mind as to who I thought killed Janey and in the end while I was completely surprised, there was a part of me that was still shocked. I was also taken off guard by who the killer was. In my opinion is was the least likely character but once the reader learns why they are seeking revenge it becomes perfectly clear and all makes sense (the motive). Each character has a different personality but together they all seemed like a fun group of friends.

Cruel Summer was a page turner that I had to keep reading to find out what was going to happen to them next. The ending wasn’t the one I was hoping for because let’s be honest we all want a happy ending, but it was perfect for the book. Cruel Summer paired with Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas would be one hell of a pair for you to bring along on your summer vacation. Both had similarities to me but different stories and I loved them both. If you have read either Cruel Summer or Dangerous Girls I’d recommend reading the other because they are like two peas in a pod. You can’t like one and not the other. I cannot wait to read James Dawson’s other YA book I have, Say Her Name. Once I do I will post a review for that as well.

City Love by Susane Colasanti

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Title & Author: City Love by Susane Colasanti

Publisher/Year: Katherine Tegen Books/April 1, 2015

Genres: YA Romance, YA Contemporary

Format: Paperback

Source: Around the World ARC Tours

Other Books By Author: So Much Closer, When It Happens, Waiting for You, Something Like Fate, Keep Holding On, Take Me There, All I Need, Now and Forever

Rating: 5hearts

What This Book Is About

Sadie, Darcy, and Rosanna are living together in New York City the summer before their freshman year of college begins. With no parents, no rules, and an entire city to explore, these three girls are on the verge of the best summer of their lives.

Sadie is a native New Yorker. She is hopeful, romantic, and an eternal optimist who is ready to find her soul mate. Then she meets her dream boy: cute, funny, and quirky in all the right ways. The chemistry between them is unreal. Could he be the one?

Darcy is a free spirit from SoCal with rebellious tendencies and unlimited financial resources. Moving to New York City is just another adventure for her. Darcy wants this summer to be all about boy adventures—nothing serious. But how much fun is too much?

Rosanna leaves Chicago for NYC so she can put her past behind her and reinvent herself. The only thing standing in her way is the grand total of seventy-three cents she has saved. Then she meets a guy who wants to show her the glamorous side of New York—a side that she would never get to experience on her own. If Rosanna doesn’t resist, she may find herself in city love.

Told from alternating points of view, City Love captures the moments in each girl’s life when everything is thrilling, amazing, and terrifying all at once . . . in a way it will never be again.

(Summary from Goodreads)

My Thoughts on This Book

For years I have been reading books by Susane Colasanti and I love all of her books. It is extremely safe to say City Love is no exception and actually by far my favorite out of all of her books. I fell head over heels in love with Sadie, Darcy and Rosanna from the start and only continued to fall in love with the story as I read each page. I was thrilled to find out that City Love is not a standalone novel and can’t wait for the second book to come out. Every chapter is told in a different girl’s point of view, and they each deal with their own love, drama and issues throughout the book. I liked how each girl experienced something different from the others and that they were all different personality wise as well. The book ended on somewhat of a cliff hanger for each girl and left me wanting more and wanting to know what was going to happen to Sadie, Darcy and Rosanna.

Sadie, who was also a character in Susane’s book So Much Closer, is back as one of City Love’s main characters. Although she is already a New Yorker and wants to leave home ASAP, she stays in NYC for college and moves into an apartment with two roommates, Darcy and Rosanna. Sadie is such an optimistic and romantic at heart, believing her one true love is just around the next corner. She’s kind and always bubbly and happy especially when she meets a total hottie at her internship who is into all of the same things she is.

Darcy comes from California to New York City for college. She also comes from money and with her dad’s credit card. She is definitely not your typical spoiled rich girl at all. She uses her money often to treat her roommates to dinner and even treats Rosanna to a new wardrobe. She wants the people around her to be as happy she is. This summer is her “free for all” after a nasty break up back in California but when she meets a certain guy who she just can’t get out of her head she may break her own rules.

Rosanna leaves one city for another, Chicago for New York. She comes from a large family and is paying her own way through college through financial aid and loans. When she first gets to New York she didn’t realize how expensive everything would be and soon is left with a whopping seventy three cents in her bank account. Rosanna works at a summer camp to pay for her share of rent and makes friends with a girl named Mica. Rosanna is cautious and seemed a bit shy to me. She is against the “Wall Street type” but when she meets the brother of a co-worker she can’t help but to come back for more.

All three girls are so different and all come from different backgrounds. They each bring so much to the story that I couldn’t imagine City Love without one of them. At the end of the book each of their stories is left with the reading dying to know what is going to happen next and wishing that all three girls will get their happy endings that they all deserve. I cannot wait for the trilogy to be finished and I have a feeling it will be one of my favorites I have read. I strongly recommend City Love if young adult books are your thing, this is one you will not regret.

Wrong About the Guy by Claire LaZebnik

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Title & Author: Wrong About the Guy by Claire LaZebnik

Publisher/Year: HarperTeen/April 1, 2015

Genres: YA Romance, YA Contemporary

Format: Paperback

Source: Around the World ARC Tours

Other Books By Author: The Trouble with Flirting, Epic Fail, The Last Best Kiss

Rating: 5hearts

What This Book Is About

Claire LaZebnik’s latest twist on a beloved classic asks the age old question: Could the girl who knows everything be wrong about the guy?

As the stepdaughter of a TV star, Ellie Withers has it all: an amazing house in LA, a devoted friend who loved her before she even knew who Ellie’s stepfather was, and a burgeoning romance with handsome Aaron Marquand. But Ellie isn’t the kind of person who’s content with simply having it all—the people in her life have to be equally happy. And, of course, she knows exactly what they need.

When Ellie’s plans for her family, her friends, and even her love life don’t turn out the way she imagined, she begins to wonder if maybe she could stand to learn a thing or two after all. Most surprising, though, is that the perfect person to teach her is the last person she’d expect.

With her signature witty narration and swoon-worthy romance, Claire LaZebnik (the author of fan favorites Epic Fail, The Trouble with Flirting, and The Last Best Kiss) once again breathes new life into a perennially popular love story: Jane Austen’s Emma.

(Summary from Goodreads)

My Thoughts on This Book

Wow. Wrong About the Guy was exactly what I had needed after having some bad luck with books the past couple of weeks. I immediately was sucked into and loving every part of Wrong About the Guy. I flew through this book in a couple of days. It was something light, fun and cute and was very refreshing since I had been hung up on reading young adult thrillers lately. I loved the storyline although it was pretty predictable. I loved all of the main characters and the relationships between them. This was the first book by Claire LaZebnik I read and now I cannot wait to read some of her other young adult books.

I loved the main character, Ellie. She was so easy to relate to. She has just a few close friends she can really trust and she likes to see everyone around her be just as happy, if not happier, than she is. Besides being a bit controlling of situations, she was an extremely likeable character. Her best friend, Hannah, was a good friend to Ellie although a bit immature at times which occasionally got annoying, but understandable. Ellie’s tutor, George, was funny and seemed standoffish at first but I grew to like him throughout the book and was happy what had happened in the end. As for Aaron, I knew from the beginning what was going on. I’m not sure how obvious it was or if I just guessed really well, but he also was extremely arrogant at times and was the character I liked the least in the book.

Wrong About the Guy was overall a five star, amazing book. I cannot wait until it is published so I can go buy myself a copy and read it again. Until then I have plenty of time to read Claire LaZebnik’s other young adult books which I can only imagine are as great as this one. Wrong About the Guy is a book I’d recommend to anyone, especially if you need a break and want to just relax with something light and happy.

Finding Mr. Brightside by Jay Clark

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Title & Author: Finding Mr. Brightside by Jay Clark

Publisher/Year: Henry Holt and Co./March 24, 2015

Genres: YA Contemporary, YA Romance

Format: Paperback

Source: Around the World ARC Tours

Other Books By Author: The Edumacation of Jay Baker

Rating: 3hearts

What This Book Is About

Abram and Juliette know each other. They’ve lived down the street from each other their whole lives. But they don’t really know each other—at least, not until Juliette’s mom and Abram’s dad have a torrid affair that culminates in a deadly car crash. Sharing the same subdivision is uncomfortable, to say the least. They don’t speak.

Fast-forward to the neighborhood pharmacy, a few months later. Abram decides to say hello. Then he decides to invite her to Taco Bell. To her surprise as well as his, she agrees. And the real love story begins.

(Summary from Goodreads)

My Thoughts on This Book

 When I began reading Finding Mr. Brightside, I had really high expectations. It seemed like many other books I have read and loved before, so I imagined I’d love this one as well. While it was a good book, it wasn’t one of my favorites I have read this year. I felt like the plot line itself was very unrealistic therefore making it difficult to actually enjoy what I was reading and relate to the characters. The reasoning and emotions of the characters at some point just made me stop and think, “wait what?!”. I know for a fact that if my father was having an affair, my mom would NOT want me associating or befriending my father’s mistress’ son, much less starting a relationship with him. I wouldn’t even want anything to do with him so that right away was a turn off.

The main characters, Juliette and Abram, are high school students, but both seem to be in way over their heads. Juliette’s dad has completely shut down and she is now acting as the parent while still attending school. Abram’s mom on the other hand just seems way too over eager to have her son become friends with Juliette. The characters at one point take a trip, a 6 hour drive, to Abram’s family’s beach house during a school week. I wouldn’t have ever even thought to ask my parents in high school if I could go to the beach for a long weekend with my boyfriend. Never would have happened.

Their relationship was cute once I was able to look beyond the fact that their parent’s had an affair together. I just wish I had been able to relate to the book a little bit better and that it was more realistic. I also wish the book had been longer and wasn’t so quickly paced because it only took me a day to finish. I don’t mean to sound so negative, but I also want to be honest when I post a review. If Finding Mr. Brightside is on your TBR list, I’d suggest reading it.

My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

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Title & Author: My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

Publisher/Year: Balzer + Bray/February 10, 2015

Genres: YA Romance, YA Contemporary

Format: Paperback

Source: Around the World ARC Tours

Other Books By Author: Debut Novel

Rating: 4hearts

What This Book Is About

A stunning novel about the transformative power of love, perfect for fans of Jay Asher and Laurie Halse Anderson. Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother who can barely look at her without wincing, classmates who whisper behind her back, and a father whose violent crime rocked her small town, Aysel is ready to turn her potential energy into nothingness. There’s only one problem: she’s not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers a website with a section called Suicide Partners, Aysel’s convinced she’s found her solution—Roman, a teenage boy who’s haunted by a family tragedy, is looking for a partner. Even though Aysel and Roman have nothing in common, they slowly start to fill in each other’s broken lives. But as their suicide pact becomes more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, she must choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover the potential of their energy together.

(Summary from Goodreads)

My Thoughts on This Book

When I first saw My Heart and Other Black Holes on Goodreads, I wasn’t interested in reading it at all. A teenage girl going on some website to find a suicide partner, definitely not something I thought I would want to read. I am so happy I changed my mind and decided to give this book a chance because I instantly fell in love. I was expecting a brooding, depressed teenager and just not a happy, love story. Right from the first chapter I knew I was wrong. Aysel was depressed at times but she still worked hard at school and maintained a semi-normal relationship with her family members. From the beginning she didn’t seem like someone you would ever expect to commit suicide.

I really liked the main characters, Aysel and Roman. I have to say I definitely liked Aysel more than Roman though. Although Aysel tries to convince herself that she is ready to end her life, she continued to look ahead to what her future may be like. She also stayed pretty motivated at school and kept a job as well. Her relationship with her family could have been better, but it wasn’t anything horrible. Roman on the other hand was exactly what I had been expecting Aysel to be like, a brooding, depressed teenager. I can understand why he is depressed, but him and Aysel were very different. He didn’t want to think of a future and had cut off his social life months before. When the two were together though I just fell in love with the concept of “them”.

In the end I was totally rooting for Aysel when she wanted to change her mind and live her life and she wants Roman to do the same. My heart almost broke at just the thought of Roman going through with it and Aysel being left behind. I don’t want to give the ending away but I am definitely pleased with how it ended. It may have not been the perfect happily ever after, but it was a lot better than many other alternatives. I would love to see a sequel, even if it’s a novella, of what happens next.

This is a book I will be buying when it is released and rereading then as well. I would recommend it to anyone who is into young adult fiction because I feel like anyone would enjoy it. While it’s not exactly a short book, it was a quick read because I couldn’t put it down.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

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Title & Author: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Publisher/Year: Knopf – January 6, 2015

Genres: YA Contemporary, YA Romance

Format: ARC Paperback

Source: Around the World ARC Tours

Other Books By Author: Debut YA Book

Rating: 5hearts

What This Book Is About

The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this compelling, exhilarating, and beautiful story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself-a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

(Summary from Goodreads)

My Thoughts on This Book

I have certainly be lucking out lately with all of these amazing books that I have had the opportunity to read, and All the Bright Places is no exception. What drew me into wanting to read this book was it’s reference to The Fault in Our Stars. The character’s attitudes definitely reminded me of Hazel and Augustus, but that is where the similarities end. I love the alternating narration between Violet and Finch and watching their friendship evolve into so much more. I thought Finch and Violet were perfect for each other and enjoyed when they would go on their adventures for their class project.

When it came to the characters, I really liked both Violet and Finch, but I do feel like I liked Finch a little bit more and found myself looking forward to Finch’s chapters. Finch is supportive of Violet and helps her with a lot of her personal issues. Violet on the other hand was once part of the popular clique at their high school and often doesn’t want to be seen or talk to Finch where anyone will see them. That bothered me after a while, but it didn’t make me dislike her either. I loved the moments in the book where they were together and I felt like they helped each other a lot.

All the Bright Places is a book that will make you laugh and cry. My heart broke a certain points, but the author put it back together again. This is definitely a book I want to read again in the future and would recommend it to anyone.