Tag: Young Adult

DNF Review: If It Makes You Happy by Claire Kann

Posted June 17, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

DNF Review: If It Makes You Happy by Claire KannReviewer: Holly
If It Makes You Happy by Claire Kann
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: June 4, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 288
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
dnf

High school finally behind her, Winnie is all set to attend college in the fall. But first she's spending her summer days working at her granny’s diner and begins spending her midnights with Dallas—the boy she loves to hate and hates that she likes. Winnie lives in Misty Haven, a small town where secrets are impossible to keep—like when Winnie allegedly snaps on Dr. Skinner, which results in everyone feeling compelled to give her weight loss advice for her own good. Because they care that’s she’s “too fat.”

Winnie dreams of someday inheriting the diner—but it'll go away if they can't make money, and fast. Winnie has a solution—win a televised cooking competition and make bank. But Granny doesn't want her to enter—so Winnie has to find a way around her formidable grandmother. Can she come out on top?

I discovered this book while browsing NetGalley. I don’t usually read YA, but the cover caught my eye (I absolutely adore it..that girl is super cute) and the blurb was interesting, so I decided to give it a try. It started out great. I like Kann’s writing style – simple, yet beautiful. The story flowed well and I was really feeling Winnie, her family and the town.

Sadly, things went downhill around page 40. I thought I was getting a fun story about a girl trying to save her granny’s diner, but that’s not what this is. Part of the problem stems from the stream-of-consciousness writing style. The chapters don’t really seem to go anywhere. Every thought Winnie has is on paper for us to read, so the chapters feel like rambley thoughts, rather than a story that’s headed somewhere. The blurb mentions a baking contest, but aside from a slight mention, there was little of that in the first quarter of the story. Winnie is supposedly happy with who she is, but suddenly the entire focus of the story shifted to her weight. The sudden shift in focus took me by surprise and turned me off the story.

This may have worked better for me if I’d gone into with different expectations. As it is, I wasn’t invested enough in the story or the characters to continue.

Rating: DNF

dnf


Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

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
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
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


Tagged: , , , ,

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
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
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


Tagged: , , , , ,

Review: Eyes on Me by Rachel Harris

Posted March 26, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Eyes on Me by Rachel HarrisReviewer: Rowena
Eyes on Me by Rachel Harris
Publisher: Entangled, Entangled Teen
Publication Date: March 26, 2019
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

Look up the word “nerd” and you’ll find Lily Bailey’s picture. She’s got one goal: first stop valedictorian, next stop Harvard. Until a stint in the hospital from too much stress lands her in the last place a klutz like her ever expected to be: salsa dance lessons.

Look up the word “popular” and you’ll find Stone Torres’s picture. His life seems perfect—star of the football team, small-town hero, lots of friends. But his family is struggling to make ends meet, so if pitching in at his mom's dance studio helps, he’ll do it.

When Lily’s dad offers Stone extra cash to volunteer as Lily’s permanent dance partner, he can’t refuse. But with each dip and turn, each moment her hand is in his, his side job starts to feel all too real. Lily shows Stone he's more than his impressive football stats, and he introduces her to a world outside of studying. But with the lines blurred, can their relationship survive the secret he's been hiding?

Rachel Harris has been a go-to for contemporary YA romances for me and every time I read one of her books, I enjoy the heck out of them. It took me no time at all to fall into this book and it was another one sitting read about two young students who fall in love with each other and the journey they take to get to that happy for now ending.

Lily is trying to get into Harvard and she’s working her butt off to make sure that she stands a chance of getting in. When she lands herself in the hospital for stressing the hell out, her Dad steps in and tells her that something needs to change. She either needs to give up some of her classes or she needs to take a day off from all things school, at least one day each week to do fun things. Anything that does not have anything to do with school. So to make her Dad happy, she signs up for a salsa class that brings her into contact with Stone Torres, the star football player from school.

Stone is the popular kid at school, the star quarterback that is living the life…only his parents are struggling with money, his girlfriend cheated on him and he’s stuck working at his mother’s dance studio for free when he could be making some actual money to help the family elsewhere. When he becomes Lily Bailey’s permanent dance partner while she’s taking classes at his Mom’s studio, things are looking up and he figures he’s got everything worked out until he starts getting to know Lily, starts liking Lily and then starts dating her. A tangled web of untruths threaten to blow up Stone’s world again and he’s not sure how to come out on top without damaging everything he’s come to hold dear.

There was a lot going on in this book but I thought everything was handled well. I liked seeing Lily and Stone become friends and then work their way toward becoming more. I wanted Stone to come clean about everything much sooner but understood why he didn’t and really, I thought Harris did a great job of showcasing a romance between the nerd and the jock that was sweet, fun and completely believable.

There was much to enjoy in this book outside of the romance between Stone and Lily too. The new friendship that blossomed between Angela, Lily, and Sidney. The potential of romance between Angela and Chase. The family dynamics are strong and overall, the story was just good and solid. There wasn’t much about the book that I didn’t enjoy. I mean, I didn’t like Cameron and Noah but they were such a small part of the story and everything else was great. I’m certainly glad that I picked this one up for review because Rachel Harris shines with these YA contemporary romances. So good!

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

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
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
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


Tagged: , , , , ,