Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday (19): Books I've Read This Year So Far

TTT is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish!

Hey guys! I haven't done a TTT in a while. But this is the perfect week for me to join in! My goal for the year was to read 40 books, and I've already surpassed that goal! So I have plenty of books to choose from. I'll be interested to see which of these books end up making my end-of-year list, as well! Instead of telling you why they're on my list, I'll link you to both the Goodreads page for the book, as well as my review! 

10. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven 

9. Forged by Erin Bowman

8. The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

7. I Was Here by Gayle Forman

6. The Wicked + The Divine Vol. 1 -- The Faust Act by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie

5. Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson

4. All the Rage by Courtney Summers

3. Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Goodreads | Review

2. Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

1. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas 

Tell me: what are some of YOUR favorite books thus far in 2015? Let me know in the comments below!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Review: AMY & ROGER'S EPIC DETOUR by Morgan Matson

Title: Amy & Roger's Epic Detour
Author: Morgan Matson

Summary: Amy Curry is not looking forward to her summer. Her mother decided to move across the country and now it's Amy's responsibility to get their car from California to Connecticut. The only problem is, since her father died in a car accident, she isn't read to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger. An old family friend, he also has to make the cross-country trip--and has plenty of baggage of his own. The road home may be unfamiliar--especially with their friendship venturing into uncharted territory--but together, Amy and Roger will figure out how to map their way. 

Why I read it: It was the beginning of my vacation. I was stuck in a car for 8 hours a day, and I needed a book to read. So where better to begin my road trip than with a road trip book! Plus, I'd just read Since You've Been Gone in May and loved it, so I needed more Morgan Matson in my life. (And technically, I just participated in #monthofMatson, which is a readathon Maureen Keavy from Youtube is hosting in June!)

Thoughts: Ohmygoodness. I am so glad I decided to start reading Morgan Matson's books. Because as much as I loved Since You've Been Gone (and I did, just check the review!), I loved Amy & Roger even more.

First of all, both Amy and Roger are truly fantastic characters. They are both well-developed and so realistic, and I love the way they play off of each other's strengths and weaknesses. There's nothing like shoving two characters into a car together for a week to make them get to know one another. They both have pasts that they have to contend with; Amy by trying to run away, and Roger by trying to relive it. And that's what makes them so compelling.

I love the road trip aspect to the story. They go to places I've never been, like Yosemite, but they also go to places close to home, like Wichita. This aspect of the book is so wonderful because Morgan Matson actually took that road trip, so she really knows what she's talking about. I especially enjoyed seeing all the places that Amy and Roger stopped to have lunch or dinner. It was fun seeing which fast food joints they'd never heard of, like Sonic and Krystal.

Which leads me to my other favorite part of this book. At the beginning of the trip, Amy receives a travel journal from her mother that she ends up using while they're on their road trip across the country. So we get to see pages of that throughout the book as well. Amy adds receipts from their meals, and pictures she takes of the scenery. And she makes a note of all the states they travel through. As a habitual list-maker, it was fun to see that side of her as well.

The book also includes some emails, and--my absolute favorite part--PLAYLISTS! Having read Since You've Been Gone, which also features playlists, it didn't come as a surprise to me, but I still love them. Especially since the playlists in A&R are all handwritten and doodled upon by either Amy or Roger. Three reasons I love playlists in books:

1) It's a huge insight into the characters. You can tell a lot about a person by the kind of music they do/don't like; it plays directly into their personality.

2) It's fun seeing music you love in a book, especially if it's a band you didn't think many people had heard of. I loved seeing We Are Scientists on one of Roger's playlists, because I don't know anyone else who likes that band! Which leads me to...

3) It's a great way to discover NEW music! If a character's playlists include a lot of music you already know and love, it's a good indicator that your taste is similar to theirs. So when you see songs or artists you don't know, it might be a good idea to check them out!

The writing is superb. I laughed out loud in several places, and I was definitely in tears at points, too. That's the mark of a good author to me; someone who can make me run the entire gamut of emotions within one book. I want a book that I come away from feeling something, and that's one thing Morgan Matson does flawlessly.

I cannot recommend this book enough. I cannot wait to get my hands on Morgan Matson's other book, Second Chance Summer, and then my collection will be complete! (For now.) Morgan is now on my auto-buy authors list, for sure!

Rating: 5/5 stars

Tell me: have YOU read this book yet? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Recap: Vacation 2015

My summer vacation is finally over, much to my disappointment. I got back last Thursday, but it has definitely taken some time to fully relax and decompress, and settle back into the swing of things. So I'm finally back here on the blog, ready to roll! But first, I thought I would share a few memories from vacation! 

One thing you should know is that when my family goes on vacation, we always drive to our destination. Florida is about a 19-hour drive from the Kansas City area, so it's a long drive. We used to be able to drive pretty much straight through, stopping for a few hours to sleep in our car, but now that we're all older, we can't really take it anymore. So we stop overnight for two or three nights on the way there and back. But driving gives us some awesome views. 

The "Batman" Building in downtown Nashville, TN!

All pictures of the Appalachian mountains from the drive home!

Once we got to Florida, we spent a few days in Daytona Beach playing in the pool, wading in the waves, and soaking up the sun!

Then we moved inland and spent the rest of our time in Florida at my aunt's house, spending time with my cousin and her son, and having a ton of fun with the whole family. I don't really have any of these pictures, because I was way too busy talking and joking around to be taking pictures. My parents have a few more for posterity, though. 

My parents and I went to Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World on Saturday. We hadn't been in almost ten years, and with the recent expansion of Fantasyland we just KNEW we had to go. And it was an absolute BLAST. 

The entrance to Magic Kingdom. 

Cinderella's castle! (With some random people in front!)

Prince Eric's castle, and the front for the new
Ariel's Under the Sea dark ride! (Which is so

The Beast's castle up in the mountain! 

Gaston's Tavern in Belle's little town!

Big Thunder Mountain!

And let me just say this: if you haven't been to Disney World in while, GO. Seriously, you're never too old for Disney. And the new Fantasyland stuff is SO cool. I loved the additions of the Beast's and Prince Eric's castles. There's a very cute walk-through show in Belle's cottage that features Belle herself! And most of all, the new Seven Dwarves Mine Train is one of the coolest rides I've ever been on. It's half rollercoaster, and half dark ride, which completely works. The wait time is killer, but do like my mom and I did: wait until dark, when the parades and fireworks are about to start. Most people, especially those with little kids, are going to be near the castle and Main Street to watch the fanfare, and the wait time will be dramatically decreased. Most of the day while we were there, the wait time was anywhere between 70 and 135 minutes, which is insane. But when we went on the ride a little after 9? We were only in line for about 25 minutes. And it was so worth it. 

We got to Disney around 10:30 AM, and we got in our car to leave at about 1 AM. For those of you who don't like math, that's 14 1/2 hours spent at Disney, walking around the entire park and riding almost every ride. It was completely exhausting, but still one of my favorite places on the planet. 

We even got to see Jurassic World on Sunday with my aunt, which was awesome. If you're a fan of the original Jurassic Park, please go see the new movie. It's funny and touching and has you on the edge of your seat the whole time. AND it has so many references to the original that were so much fun for a megafan whose seen the movie a million times like I have. 

We left Florida on Monday and started the long drive home. We decided to stop at my uncle's house in Tennessee on the way, and our route took us right through Asheville, North Carolina. And because my parents are the absolute best and pretty much down for anything, they agreed to make a pit stop in Asheville for a short visit to Malaprop's Bookstore! Malaprop's is the home bookstore for great YA authors like Beth Revis, Meagan Spooner and Stephanie Perkins. I've ordered a signed copy from them online before, and it was such a lovely experience, and I just had to go. 

I ended up buying three books, and my mom bought one book for us and three for my aforementioned little cousin, whose 4th birthday is next month. And because we bought so much, we were allowed to choose some books from the "free" shelf, which is amazing. I ended up finding six ARCs on that shelf, several of which seem fresh from BEA! I'll be filming a June book haul later this week so look for that! Then I'll post some pics of the books I got on Instagram, in case you don't watch videos. 

That same day, we got to my uncle's house, where he has this amazing garden, and a huge yard where they have a ton of adorable chipmunks to call neighbors. We even saw a deer behind his land, and my dad got a picture of several wild turkeys! My aunt made a ridiculously delicious dinner for us all, and in the morning, we were off again. By Thursday, we were back home, but vacation wasn't quite over! 

That night we got to go see the national tour of the Broadway musical Once, based on the movie. It was SO amazing and beautiful. And a perfect way to end our official vacation. 

Now that I've done absolutely nothing for a few days, I think I'm ready to get back to things. I've already started back onto Instagram with my Owl Crate unboxing, and my Twitter has not been forgotten. On Friday, I'll film a book haul, so this weekend my Youtube channel will be back in action, as well! 

I hope you all get the chance to go on vacation this summer, even if it's just for a long weekend. It's always so wonderful to unwind and relax, and do things you don't normally get to do, and spend some much needed time with family that you miss all year round. I know this vacation will be one I treasure for years to come. 

Tell me: did/do YOU have plans for a vacation this summer? Where will you go? Let me know in the comments below!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Announcement: VACATION HIATUS!

Hey guys! By the time you're seeing this post, I will be in Florida on vacation! My parents and I will be spending a few days at the beach before heading to stay with my aunt for a few more. Then we'll be at Disney World next weekend, too! I'll be back somewhere around the 18th. So this is all to say that I will going on hiatus for the next two weeks! No blog posts, no videos. I may tweet occasionally, but for the most part, I'm just going to be enjoying my time in the sunshine. So I hope you have a good start to the summer, because I know I will. And I'll be back on the 22nd! 

Tell me: are YOU going on vacation this year? Where are you going? Let me know in the comments below!

Thursday, June 4, 2015


Title: The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Author: Stephen Chbosky

Summary: Charlie is a freshman. 

And while he's not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it. 

Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can't stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor. 

Why I read it: I've seen the movie, and LOVED it. So when I did the Bout of Books read-a-thon, I decided to pick up the book since it's pretty short. I ended up only reading 18 pages during the read-a-thon, but I picked it back up and finished it after RYBSAT ended.

Thoughts: I...enjoyed liked appreciate this book. I can understand why a lot of people love it, but it was simply not my cup-of-tea.


Sorry, but there's really no way to talk about what I liked/disliked in this book without discussing the big reveals.

First, let's talk about the characters. Charlie, our main character, is socially awkward to the max. We find out at the end of the book that he was sexually abused as a child by his aunt before she died, something he has blocked from his memory for a long time in order to remember her as his favorite person in the world. So he has major trauma in his background, but there has to be something else going on, right? Whether or not the sexual abuse triggered it, there must be something else that affects his awkwardness, especially since he's repressed those memories for so long and throughout most of the book.

Charlie is constantly being told how smart he is, as referenced in the synopsis when he's described as "intelligent beyond his years." His English teacher even tells him he thinks he could be a great writer when he grows up. But honestly, I never got that impression from him. The entire book is written in letters from Charlie to a "friend," so the entire book is actually in his writing, but his prose never feels poetic or extremely intelligent or beautiful in any way. Half the time he writes in halting, short sentences, and the other half he writes in rambling run-ons. Whenever he learns a new word that he wants to include in his letters, he puts them in quotation marks. We're just never given the evidence to support that Charlie is such a bright kid.

Charlie becomes friends with a group of seniors when he enters his freshman year. These friends include Sam, Patrick, Mary Elizabeth, and Alice. Charlie quickly falls in love with Sam, who is dating an older guy. Sam also reveals that she was sexually abused as a child by her father's friend. Patrick is gay and secretly in a relationship with the closeted quarterback, Brad, whose father eventually finds them together and beats Brad half to death. These friends smoke and do drugs, which leads Charlie to smoke and do drugs. Charlie also routinely interacts with his sister, who goes unnamed. His sister is in a relationship with a guy who has hit her. She discovers she's pregnant and gets Charlie to drive her to the clinic to have an abortion.

This book is so full of issues. Everyone in the book has them, and it seems like an effort to stuff as many controversial topics into the book as humanly possible. Charlie relates an incident at a party in the past in which he witnessed a girl being raped by her boyfriend. Even Charlie's best friend has committed suicide several months before the book begins. It's not enough to write a book about a boy who was traumatized as a child; everyone else in the book has to have deep, serious issues as well.

What did I like about this book? I did like Charlie's journey. It was so rough hearing how much he loved and idolized his aunt as a child, only to eventually remember what she did to him. It's even rougher since I'd already seen the movie, and I knew what was coming. It was difficult to read, but the way Charlie's psyche starts to unfold and reveal those memories throughout the year is done very well.

I enjoyed Sam and Patrick immensely, though they're not as well-developed in the book. We often see their sad sides, Sam especially, but we're rarely treated to their laughter and humor, though Patrick is given the role of comic relief slightly more often.

I get it. I understand why a lot of people like this book. It covers a lot of issues, and I'm sure a lot of people find it relatable. It's got a powerful story, and a catchy format.

I never really connected with any of the characters, even our narrator Charlie. A lot of the bad things that happen to the characters are mentioned in passing, veiled references that could conceivably be missed by a reader who doesn't read between the lines. Even the revelation that Charlie's aunt abused him is revealed when, after a sexual encounter, Charlie has a dream that his aunt Helen was "doing what Sam was doing." Later, when he's in the hospital, Charlie says he "figured out that everything I dreamt about my aunt Helen was true." For an event that really affected Charlie's life thereafter, it is explained in just a few sentences and dealt with in just a few pages of hospital stays and therapy. It feels inauthentic and not truthful to the story. For a boy who throughout the story insisted on describing all his feelings and memories in detail, even the bad ones, it felt unrealistic that he wouldn't want his "friend" to understand what had happened to him. And from a reader's perspective, it really took away from the emotional impact of the situation. It's sickening realization, but not one we're really allowed to feel along with Charlie.

All that being said, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, which I will be reviewing this week as well. The book was just not to my taste.

Rating: 2.5/5 stars

Tell me: have YOU read The Perks of Being a Wallflower? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!

Mini Reviews: Trade Paperback Edition #1!

Title: Taster's Choice
Author/Artist: John Layman, Rob Guillory
Series: Chew Vol. 1

Summary: Tony Chu is a detective with a secret. A weird secret. Tony Chu is Cibopathic, which means he gets psychic impressions from whatever he eats. It also means he's a hell of a detective, as long as he doesn't mind nibbling on the corpse of a murder victim to figure out whodunit, and why. He's been brought on by the Special Crimes Division of the FDA, the most powerful law enforcement agency on the planet, to investigate their strangest, sickest, and most bizarre cases. 

Why I read it: Needed another graphic novel for the Bout of Books 13 read-a-thon, and I've heard so many great things about this series!

Thoughts: This was SO GROSS and SO GREAT.

I mean, seriously. So disgusting. The things that Tony has to eat for his job? Oh, man. Blech. But the story is fascinating. A lot of this volume is set up for the rest of the series, so sometimes it was a little all over the place. One issue introduced a food journalist whose descriptions of food can make you taste it just by reading it, while another had Tony and his new colleague traveling to a remote observatory. But I never felt bored, and the underlying storyline was always there, simmering under the surface even when not the sole focus. And the art! I love the art style, and the character design especially.

And that ending? I DEFINITELY did not see that coming. I was totally taken by surprise, so I'm full of curiosity as to what happens next! There are several volumes of this out already, so I'm definitely going to start collecting them. I feel like the series can just get better and better from here, so I can't wait.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Title: Kids of the Black Hole
Author/Artist/Colorist: Rick Remender/Wesley Craig/Lee Loughridge
Series: Deadly Class Vol. 2

Why I read it: I loved the first volume, and I needed some graphic novels for the Bout of Books 13 read-a-thon!

Thoughts: Just like the first volume, this one was so great. The story picks up pretty much directly from the end of the first volume, and the action really never lets up. We also finally got more of Marcus's backstory at the orphanage, and it informs the present action so much. I still love all the characters, especially Saya. She's fantastic, and I enjoyed getting a bit of her POV in this volume. Not much more to say other than, I loved it. I can't wait for the next volume, because I constantly want to know what's going to happen next.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Title: Dark Days
Author/Artist: Steve Niles/Ben Templesmith
Series: 30 Days of Night Vol. 2

Why I read it: It was May 31st, so I decided to pick up another graphic novel to round out my reading total for May to 10 books!

Thoughts: Much like the first volume of 30 Days of Night, I enjoyed this, but it is far from perfect.

The story here is much more complete than the first volume, with Stella trying to bring awareness to the world of the existence of vampires. There is more plot, and I enjoyed this story. The characters are more developed, as well. The most surprising of which is a new character, Dane. I really liked him, so I'm disappointed that it looks like he doesn't return to the series. Such a shame. My real problem with this series is that each volume tells a complete story, but it never feels like enough time to really flesh it out, so I end up feeling apathetic towards the fate of certain characters. Simply because we don't know them well enough. And the art is not my favorite; it's very messy, and sometimes it's hard to figure out what's going on in a panel. But even so, I do really enjoy this series, and I'll be picking up the next volume at some point!

Rating: 4/5 stars

Tell me: have YOU read these graphic novels yet? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (24): PASSENGER

WoW is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine!

Title: Passenger
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Series: Passenger #1
Release date: January 5, 2016

Summary: Violin prodigy Etta Spencer had big plans for her future, but a tragedy has put her once-bright career at risk. Closely tied to her musical skill, however, is a mysterious power she doesn't even know she has. When her two talents collide during a stressful performance, Etta is drawn back hundreds of years through time. 

Etta wakes, confused and terrified, in 1776, in the midst of a fierce sea battle. Nicholas Carter, the handsome young prize master of a privateering ship, has been hired to retrieve Etta and deliver her unharmed ot the Ironwoods, a powerful family in the Colonies--the very same one that orchestrated her jump back, and one Nicholas himself has ties to. But discovering she can time travel is nothing compared to the shock of discovering the true reason the Ironwoods have ensnared her in their web. 

Another traveler has stolen an object of untold value from them, and, if Etta can find it, they will return her to her own time. Out of options, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the mysterious traveler. But as they draw closer to each other and the end of their search, the true nature of the object, and the dangerous game the Ironwoods are playing, comes to light--threatening to separate her not only from Nicholas, but her path home...forever. 

Thoughts: I haven't yet read The Darkest Minds trilogy by Alexandra Bracken. (I know! Shoot me know!) But that is definitely on my TBR for this year. But THIS book just sounds so fabulous. Time travel? Handsome young prize master?? Violin prodigy?!?! I mean, come on. This sounds just up my alley. And that cover. Ugh, it's so gorgeous. I can't wait to have it on my bookshelf! 

Tell me: what are YOU waiting on this Wednesday? Does my choice sound interesting to you? Let me know in the comments below!

Review: SINCE YOU'VE BEEN GONE by Morgan Matson

Title: Since You've Been Gone
Author: Morgan Matson

Summary: It was Sloane who yanked Emily out of her shell and made life 100% interesting. But right before what should have been the most epic summer, Sloane just...disappears. All she leaves behind is a to-do list. 

On it, thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that Emily would normally never try. But what if they could bring her best friend back?

Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough. 

Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not? 

Kiss a stranger? Um...

Emily  now has this unexpected summer, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected), to check things off Sloane's list. Who knows what she'll find? 

Go skinny-dipping? Wait...what?

Why I read it: I've heard SO many things good things about all three of Morgan Matson's books, so I've wanted to read it for a long time. Then I ended up reading it during RYBSAT!

Thoughts: Oh, how I fell in love with this book.

Emily and Sloane are the typical YA best friends, in which one is the outgoing, fun one, and the other is a bit more shy and reserved unless they're together. But it doesn't feel overly cliched, because Emily is fully rounded out. She may be shy without Sloane, but her interactions with her family and the people she meets over the summer feel so realistic, so relatable. There was never a moment that I felt was out of place.

Speaking of her family, I loved the moments we got with Emily's brother, Beckett. He has a penchant for heights and climbing, and I love that the ten-year-old got to be just as quirky as the rest of the characters, like Frank and Collins. I loved Frank and Collins so much; they're both so adorable and funny, and I loved the relationships that Emily developed with both of them.

I loved the concept of the list, and slowly finding out what some of them meant. Each item on the list that Emily is meant to complete has some kind of meaning to her, and some directly relate to her fears and overcoming them. And I loved seeing the process of her ticking things off the list.

The way the novel is set up is pretty cool, too. Each chapter is titled for one of the items on the list, so you know that is the thing she's going to complete. But in some chapters, Emily sets out to do something completely different, and it's fun to see how the title is going to come into play. In the beginning, when Emily is still scared and hesitant about the list, the chapters are longer because it takes her longer to finish one thing. But as the book goes on, the chapters get shorter, and I liked seeing that development.

The writing is fantastic. It made me feel like I was right there with those characters I loved. I could easily see the town that they lived in, and all the places they visited. And the relationships that develop so realistically over the course of the summer.

One of my favorite aspects is the inclusion of the playlists. Both Emily and Frank listen to their iPods during their runs, and it was fun to see the kind of music both of them listened to. It definitely added to their characterization. Plus, it gives me more music to look into for my own listening enjoyment!

Best of all, this book is made of feels. Some of them were warm, and I definitely laughed out loud at parts. But others made my heart ache, and I cried as well. These are my favorite kinds of books. Ones whose plots keep you engaged, but takes you on an emotional journey as well.

I just loved this book, and can't wait to read more by Morgan Matson. In fact, after I read this book, I almost immediately ordered Amy and Roger's Epic Detour from Barnes & Noble so I could take it on vacation with me, and it'll be the first book I crack open on Saturday when I leave!

Rating: 5/5 stars

Tell me: have YOU read Since You've Been Gone yet? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Book Birthdays! -- June 2, 2015

This particular celebration is extra special, because not only is the birthday for all of these exciting books, but it's also MY birthday! I'm so excited to be another year older, and to be able to celebrate by going out to dinner with my fantastic parents. I won't be getting any books for my birthday this year since we're leaving for vacation on Saturday, so I hope you all get these books in my honor! 

*Note: when celebrating birthdays for books in a series other than Book 1, I will not list the summary, in the interest of avoiding spoilers. If you've read the first book(s) in the series, or are just insanely curious, follow the book title link to the Goodreads page to read the summary there! 


Title: More Happy Than Not
Author: Adam Silvera

Summary: The Leteo Institute's revolutionary memory-relief procedure seems too good to be true to Aaron Soto--miracle cure-alls don't tend to pop up in the Bronx projects. But Aaron can't forget how he's grown up poor or how his friends aren't always there for him. Like after his father committed suicide in their one bedroom apartment. Aaron has the support of his patient girlfriend, if not necessarily his distant brother overworked mother, but it's not enough. 

Then Thomas shows up. He has a sweet movie-watching setup on his roof, and he doesn't mind Aaron's obsession with a popular fantasy series. There are nicknames, inside jokes. Most importantly, Thomas doesn't mind talking about Aaron's past. But Aaron's newfound happiness isn't welcome on his block. Since he can't stay away from Thomas or suddenly stop being gay, Aaron must turn to Leteo to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he is. 

Author: Trish Doller

Summary: Eighteen-year-old Arcadia wants adventure. Living in a tiny Florida town with her dad and four-year-old brother, Cadie spends most of her time working, going to school, and taking care of her family. So when she meets two handsome cousins at a campfire party, she finally has chance for fun. They invite her and friend to join them on a road trip, and it's just the risk she's been craving--the opportunity to escape. But what starts out as a fun, sexy journey quickly becomes dangerous when she discovers that one of them is not at all who he claims to be. One of them has deadly intentions. 

Title: Proof of Forever
Author: Lexa Hillyer

Summary: Joy, Tali, Luce, and Zoe were once best friends. Now they barely speak. That is, until the fateful flash of a photo-booth camera transports them back in time, to the summer they were fifteen--the summer everything changed. Photos fade. Friendships dissolve. Summers end. But this one will change the girls forever...again. 

Title: Joyride
Author: Anna Banks

Summary: It's been years since Carly Vega's parents were deported. She lives with her brother, studies hard, and works at a convenience store to contribute to getting her parents back from Mexico. 

Arden Moss used to be the star quarterback at school. He dated popular blondes and had fun with his older sister, Amber. But now Amber's dead, and Arden blames his father, the town sheriff who wouldn't acknowledge Amber's mental illness. Arden refuses to fulfill whatever his conservative father expects. 

All Carly wants is to stay under the radar and do what her family expects. All Arden wants is to NOT do what his family expects. When their paths cross, they each realize they've been living according to others. Carly and Arden's journey toward their true hearts--and one another--is funny, romantic, and sometimes harsh. 

Tell me: what new releases are YOU excited for this week? Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments below! 

Monday, June 1, 2015


Title: True
Author: Hilary Duff
Series: Elixir #3

Why I read it: To finish another series! And for #RYBSAT.

Thoughts: Meh. I had all the problems with this book as I did with the first two books in the series. This is written by "Hilary Duff with Elise Allen," so you would have thought the writing would be better. The writing is so juvenile and stuffed with adjectives that really don't need to be there. There was a single sentence in this book that struck me as nicely phrased: "There's no sign, and the entrance all but disappears among the succulents." Though if we're being totally honest, it's probably because I love the word "succulents." The characters here are completely one-dimensional; I don't think any of the four main characters made any real growth throughout the series. As if Clea's narration wasn't bad enough, we're also given chapters in Rayna's POV as well. Those were worse. I couldn't stand Rayna's voice.

And finally, my biggest pet peeve? The necklace on the cover was a big deal in the first two books and it was a symbol of Clea and Sage's love (or something like that). I don't even think it was MENTIONED in this entire book. Boo.

Rating: 1/5 stars

Title: Another Little Piece
Author: Kate Karyus Quinn

Summary: On a cool autumn night, Annaliese Rose Gordon stumbled out of the woods and into a high school party. She was screaming. Drenched in blood. Then she vanished. 

A year later, Annaliese is found wandering down a road hundreds of miles away. She doesn't know who she is. She doesn't know how she got there. She only knows one thing: She is not the real Annaliese Rose Gordon. 

Now Annaliese is haunted by strange visions and broken memories. Memories of a reckless, desperate wish...a bloody razor...and the faces of other girls who disappeared. Piece by piece, Annaliese's fractured memories come together to reveal a violent endless cycle that she will never escape--unless she can unlock the twisted secrets of her past. 

Why I read it: #RYBSAT!

Thoughts: I thoroughly enjoyed this! I can't say much without going into spoilers, but our main character is fascinating. The way she interacts with everyone around her, without remembering them from before, is very interesting. All side characters are fleshed out and intriguing, especially Dex. How I loved Dex. Cute guys that talk too much are completely my jam. The plot keeps you guessing up until the very last few pages, and it's written very unconventionally, which I always love. There are poems and a couple of letters that almost mark chapter breaks, though they're not labelled thusly. And within each "chapter," the narration is further broken into sections. There were a few times those breaks were confusing because it might have taken a little time to figure out where/when we were, since there were flashbacks and such, but it never got to the point where it completely took me out of the story.

Often, this book reminded me a bit of the Mara Dyer series by Michelle Hodkin, so if you were a fan of that trilogy, I would definitely recommend you pick this book up, as well!

Rating: 4/5 stars

Title: Austenland
Author: Shannon Hale

Summary: Jane is a young New York woman who can never seem to find the right man--perhaps because of her secret obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. When a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-obsessed women, however, Jane's fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become more real than she ever could have imagined. Is this total immersion in a fake Austenland enough to make Jane kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own? 

Why I read it: When participating in a read-a-thon like Bout of Books 13, short books for the win!

Thoughts: I thoroughly enjoyed this, though I still may prefer the movie. (Don't shoot me!) Our heroine, Jane, is so much fun. There are times when she seems very lost and anxious, but the best times are when she finds her stride and embraces the snarky and bold side of herself. When she banters with Mr. Nobley, I just adored her. The other characters are fun as well, though not as well-drawn as Jane and Mr. Nobley. I must say, however, that since I've seen the movie before I read the book, I easily pictured the movie cast as the book characters. For the most part, it's a very cute, fun book!

Rating: 4/5 stars

Tell me: have YOU read any of these books? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!