Publisher: Macmillan

Review: Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo

Posted June 6, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene GooReviewer: Rowena
Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo
Publisher: Farrar Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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three-half-stars

10 00 p.m.: Lucky is the biggest K-pop star on the scene, and she's just performed her hit song "Heartbeat" in Hong Kong to thousands of adoring fans. She's about to debut on The Tonight Show in America, hopefully a breakout performance for her career. But right now? She's in her fancy hotel, trying to fall asleep but dying for a hamburger.

11 00 p.m.: Jack is sneaking into a fancy hotel, on assignment for his tabloid job that he keeps secret from his parents. On his way out of the hotel, he runs into a girl wearing slippers, a girl who is single-mindedly determined to find a hamburger. She looks kind of familiar. She's very cute. He's maybe curious.

12:00 a.m.: Nothing will ever be the same.

Last year, I read Maurene Goo’s The Way You Make Me Feel and I really enjoyed that one so when I came across this book while browsing Netgalley, I knew that I was going to request to review it. I was mostly interested in seeing what Goo does with that fall in love in one day scenario and even though I didn’t read The Sun is Also a Star, I did see the movie and the whole scenario didn’t work well for me there. After reading this one, I’m thinking of going back and reading The Sun is Also a Star because, in my opinion, that scenario works better in print than it did on screen.

I will say that though I enjoyed the story, it took me a little bit to get into the story because to start things off, Lucky, the k-pop superstar decides to sneak out of her hotel room to grab a burger after she took some pills to help her sleep and she gets lost. She runs into Jack, who is, of course, trying to break into the paparazzo scene. At first, Jack doesn’t know who Lucky is so he helps her out because she seems to be struggling but once he found out who she was, he doesn’t reveal what he is and the night really kicks off because Lucky is really determined to get a hamburger. I will say that I was not a fan of this, it rubbed me wrong but over the course of the story, Goo does a great job of turning things around for me.

One of the things that I really enjoyed in The Way You Make Me Feel was how Goo brings L.A. to life. She does the same thing here. I’ve never been to Hong Kong but I could see everything that Jack and Lucky saw and taste everything that they ate while they explored the city so clearly. Goo does this really well and though I didn’t enjoy this book nearly as much as I liked The Way You Make Me Feel, I thought Goo did a great job of showing us readers the realities of being a k-pop star.

Overall, this was a quick read. The beginning was a little slow and there were times when I wanted to smack Jack and Lucky around but all in all, this was a cute read.

Final Grade

3.25 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: You’d be Mine by Erin Hahn

Posted April 10, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: You’d be Mine by Erin HahnReviewer: Rowena
You'd Be Mine by Erin Hahn
Publisher: Macmillan, Wednesday Books
Publication Date: April 2, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 304
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Rowena's 2019 New to Me Challenge
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four-stars

Annie Mathers is America’s sweetheart and heir to a country music legacy full of all the things her Gran warned her about. Superstar Clay Coolidge is most definitely going to end up one of those things.

But unfortunately for Clay, if he can’t convince Annie to join his summer tour, his music label is going to drop him. That’s what happens when your bad boy image turns into bad boy reality. Annie has been avoiding the spotlight after her parents’ tragic death, except on her skyrocketing YouTube channel. Clay’s label wants to land Annie, and Clay has to make it happen.

Swayed by Clay’s undeniable charm and good looks, Annie and her band agree to join the tour. From the start fans want them to be more than just tour mates, and Annie and Clay can’t help but wonder if the fans are right. But if there’s one part of fame Annie wants nothing to do with, it’s a high-profile relationship. She had a front row seat to her parents’ volatile marriage and isn’t interested in repeating history. If only she could convince her heart that Clay, with his painful past and head over heels inducing tenor, isn’t worth the risk.

This book came to my attention while I was browsing Netgalley. I thought it was going to be a fluffy contemporary YA romance and since that’s my YA jam, I requested it. The book was a lot deeper than I was expecting but I thought the entire story was pretty solid and I’m glad that I read it. I enjoyed getting to know both Annie and Clay, seeing their relationship blossom on the road and I just liked it all.

Country Superstar, Clay Coolidge is spiraling out of control. It is obvious from the very beginning that something happened to this guy and he’s not handling it too well. On the verge of losing his summer tour, Clay has to get an unsigned artist that his label is anxious to sign on board to be his opening act if he wants to go on tour. So he flies out to meet Annie Mathers.

Annie’s going through her own shit, dealing with the death of her parents and it’s probably not a good idea to go into the same business that they were in but music is a calling for her and she’s really good so when Clay comes knocking, she goes where the music takes her.

It’s only natural that on a tour, you get close to the people that are on the tour with you. Clay and Annie were drawn to each other and I thought that Hahn handled their relationship well. Clay could come off as such an asshole, an irresponsible one at that but I never wanted to give up on his character. I thought he came into his own in a real and believable way and I really enjoyed getting to know him but I also really enjoyed getting to know Annie too. Their romance was pretty great too. It wasn’t the main focus but I still enjoyed it. I loved seeing them grow together, closer and closer in friendship until he couldn’t survive her just as much as she couldn’t survive him. 🙂

I’m a huge country music fan so I enjoyed this and adored the song “You’d be Mine” too. This book is big on friendships, hardships and growing pains and if you’re into deep contemporary YA’s, I recommend you try this one out because it’s an enjoyable read with great characters, heavy themes with a satisfying ending. Check it out!

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry

Posted February 28, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarryReviewer: Rowena
Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry
Publisher: Macmillan, Tor Teen
Publication Date: January 22, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 365
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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four-half-stars

Bestselling author Katie McGarry’s trademark wrong-side-of-the-tracks romance is given a new twist in the gritty YA contemporary novel, Only a Breath Apart.

Jesse Lachlin is cursed.

So the town folklore says, but while Jesse’s had his fair share of tragedy, the only curse he believes is in his grandmother’s will: in order to inherit his family farm he must win the approval of his childhood best friend, the girl he froze out his freshman year, Scarlett Copeland.

Scarlett Copeland is psychic.

Glory Gardner tells Scarlett she has hidden psychic abilities, but Scarlett thinks Glory is delusional. What is real is Scarlett’s father’s irrational fears, controlling attitude, and the dark secrets at home. Scarlett may have a way to escape, but there’s a hitch: she’ll have to rely on the one person she used to trust, the same boy who broke her heart, Jesse Lachlin.

Each midnight meeting pushes Jesse and Scarlett to confront their secrets and their feelings for each other. But as love blooms, the curse rears its ugly head…

Katie McGarry writes really emotional YA books that I have had no trouble falling into in the past. Her Pushing the Limits series is one of my favorite YA series and so I’m always on the lookout for more stuff from her. When this book made it onto my radar, I knew that I wanted it. I also knew that it was probably going to be an emotional read because McGarry does emotion well and I was right. This book made me cry and when I put it down, I was completely satisfied with the story as a whole and loved both Jesse and Scarlett so much.

This book follows two childhood best friends who were ripped apart by betrayal as they come together, years later and realize that their friendship was always meant to be more than friendship.

Jesse Lachlin had a pretty rocky childhood. His mother went from one bad relationship to the next and Jesse was always shipped from wherever his Mom was when things were going good for her to the more stable home at his grandmother’s house when things weren’t good for his Mom. He was no stranger to domestic abuse and he hated that his Mom never found the peace she craved while she was alive. Jesse was a witness to his mother’s murder and carries a lot of trauma and guilt over it. One of the things he remembers most from his Mom was her telling him that their family was cursed and as long as they stayed on their family land in Kentucky, they’d be okay because otherwise, everyone close to them will die.

Scarlett Copeland is planning an escape from her life. She has plans for her future and they do not include staying close to the home that she’s always known where her father is like a ticking bomb, waiting to go off and she vows to be long gone when that finally happens. When her parents informed her that she was not going to college at the University of Kentucky like she wanted but was going to attend the business school in town so that she can stay home instead of live in the dorms on campus, Scarlett knew she was on her own…and that meant letting the boy she called her best friend when she was a kid back into her life because whether she wanted it or not, she needed his help…and he needed hers.

Their journeys were not easy ones and throughout this entire book, both Jesse and Scarlett are put through the wringer. My heart hurt for both of them and all that they went through but boy did I love how they came together in the end. They were stronger together and seeing them want to be strong for each other after their history was just so satisfying. Katie McGarry did her thing with this book. It was packed with compelling characters and an emotional roller coaster that readers will not soon forget. I will say that it took me a little bit to get into the story because the beginning was a little slow but once I got a feel for who the characters were, what they were about, it was so easy for me to fall into the story and I ended up really enjoying it. It’s a good one, guys. I recommend.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Review: Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills

Posted January 10, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Famous in a Small Town by Emma MillsReviewer: Rowena
Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co
Publication Date: January 15, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars

For Sophie, small town life has never felt small. With her four best friends—loving, infuriating, and all she could ever ask for—she can weather any storm. But when Sophie’s beloved Acadia High School marching band is selected to march in the upcoming Rose Parade, it’s her job to get them all the way to LA. Her plan? To persuade country singer Megan Pleasant, their Midwestern town’s only claim to fame, to come back to Acadia to headline a fundraising festival.

The only problem is that Megan has very publicly sworn never to return.

What ensues is a journey filled with long-kept secrets, hidden heartbreaks, and revelations that could change everything—along with a possible fifth best friend: a new guy with a magnetic smile and secrets of his own.

I used to read a lot of YA but in the last couple of years, my interest in them cooled off some but it seems to be back because this is the second YA book that I read in the last few weeks and I have another on my TBR pile. I tried to read Emma Mills when my interest in YA books was dimming and because of that, I wasn’t in the mood to read the book. I feel like I should go back and give that book another go because I really enjoyed this one.

Sophie is in her high school band and she’s in charge of the fundraising for the next school year. Her band won a slot in a huge competition at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California so it’s going to be expensive to try to raise money to send all 100+ band members to California from their small town in Illinois. Sophie gets the idea of trying to locate and procure one of the country’s biggest country stars who just so happens to be from her same hometown to come back home to do a concert that will help their band raise the necessary funds they need for their trip. It’s not going to be easy because Sophie has no idea where to start to try to lock down Megan Pleasant but she turns to her friends for help and grudgingly, they help.

Sophie is a very busy young woman. She has multiple jobs, one of them being a babysitter and she babysits for Kyle and Heather once a week. When Kyle’s younger brother comes to live with him, Sophie reaches out to him and invites him along with her and her friends so that he knows people when they start their senior year together in the fall. Sophie is attracted to Kyle’s brother, August, but he keeps putting out that this stay in town is temporary and he’s not trying to form any close attachments so anything developing between him and Sophie needs to stop. But the heart wants what it wants and Sophie and August burst onto the scene and Sophie hopes for the best.

I think fans of Sarah Dessen, Kasie West, and Meg Cabot will enjoy this book because it’s such a sweetly written book about a young woman who loves big time and wants to help everyone that she could. Sophie was the kind of young adult protagonist that I adore. She was kind, honest, and strong. She lived her life with heart and my heart hurt for her with everything that she had working against her. From her issues with trying to locate Megan Pleasant, to her text messages with her mystery friend and then all of the stuff she went through with August, I just loved her more and more with each turn of the page. She really shined in this book and I’m glad that I read this one.

I’m definitely going to read more by Emma Mills. She won me over with this one.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Airports, Exes, and Other Things I’d Like to Forget by Shani Petroff

Posted June 5, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Airports, Exes, and Other Things I’d Like to Forget by Shani PetroffReviewer: Rowena
Airports, Exes, and Other Things I'm Over by Shani Petroff
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: May 15, 2018
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 224
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars

A bad storm, two canceled flights, stuck in an airport with a hot stranger and the guy who broke her heart... what could go wrong?

After Sari caught her boyfriend Zev cheating on her, their romantic Florida vacation was ruined. She can't get back to NYC soon enough. Unfortunately, mother nature may have different plans. A huge storm is brewing in the Northeast, and flights all over the country are getting canceled—including Sari's. She winds up stuck at the airport for hours. With Zev!

When another stranded passenger (a hot NYU guy) suggests a connecting flight to Boston, Sari jumps at the chance. But when her mom freaks out about her traveling alone, she has no choice—she has to include Zev, and somehow survive being trapped with the guy who broke her heart!

I haven’t read too many books from Swoon Reads but this one caught my eye. It sounded like a cute story about a young girl trying to find herself in the midst of heartbreak. This book was cute but the main character got on my nerves a lot while I was reading this book.

So, the book starts off with our young aspiring musician heroine, Sari at a concert with her best friend. Sari is hoping to one day grace the stage at the very venue she’s at. Plenty of her favorite local musicians got their start here and she’s hoping to be one. The concert she’s at was so good that she’s feeling great. She’s got no complaints about her life right now. She’s hanging with her bestie, listening to her favorite band and she’s got a great boyfriend who adores her. They’re leaving on a week-long vacation together and she is so excited. Or, she was excited until she shows up at the party her boyfriend is at and catches him in a lip-lock with his ex-girlfriend.

Just like that, her plans and her excitement and her world come crumbling down around her. The hurt and the betrayal are huge so she does what any self-respecting young lady would do. She shows up at the airport way earlier than planned and changes her flight so that she doesn’t have to travel with her cheating boyfriend and she does her best to move on. She doesn’t expect to move on immediately but she gives it a try anyway. It’s hard to enjoy a vacation away when your heart is broken and the guy that broke your heart keeps trying to contact you and then shows up at your Grandmother’s house to make amends.

The story really takes off when she meets a boy close to her age at her Grandmother’s senior living apartment complex. She may not want to jump into a new relationship or even be on board a rebound hookup but she could use a friend and Fitz quickly becomes a friend of hers. When the offer of a lifetime comes through, Sari will do whatever it takes to get home…and that includes riding home with her cheating ex-boyfriend and a bunch of strangers to make her show.

Most of this book takes place at the airport and on her drive home from Boston with three boys. Sari is desperate to get home and she’s trying her best to keep her shit together but being in close proximity to the guy that broke your heart is hard. It’s made even harder when her mother refuses to respect her wishes by not contacting Zev (the cheating ex) but on that end, if she didn’t want her Mom to keep texting Zev then she should have stayed more on top of keeping her parents in the loop on everything going on but since she didn’t…a parent’s got to do what a parent’s got to do.

I really sympathized with Sari’s situation throughout the whole book but far too often, she annoyed me. I was also really annoyed with Zev in that he just refused to go away. I spent far too much of this book rooting for a boy that did everything right but in the end, wasn’t rewarded. Sure, everything is wrapped up nicely in the end but it wasn’t necessarily the ending that I was rooting for. I felt like if we were supposed to be rooting for one boy then there shouldn’t have been so much of the other boy. But also, there shouldn’t have been so much of the other boy for us to love.

I thought that Sari was really lucky to have the support system that she had and while she kind of drove me crazy throughout the book, I did believe the growth in her character and even supported it. So while this book ended well, there were still things that I griped about but got over.

All in all, this book gets a 3.5 out of 5 from me.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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