Tag: Young Adult

Review: 26 Kisses by Anna Michels

Posted June 15, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: 26 Kisses by Anna MichelsReviewer: Rowena
26 Kisses by Anna Michels
Published by Simon Pulse
Publication Date: May 24, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 304
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three-half-stars

Kasie West meets Morgan Matson in this hilarious and heartwarming debut about a girl’s summer mission to get over her ex-boyfriend by kissing her way through the alphabet.

Getting dumped by her boyfriend is not how Veda planned on starting her summer. When Mark makes it clear that it’s over between them, Veda is heartbroken and humiliated—but, more importantly, she’s inspired. So she sets out on the love quest of a lifetime: use the summer to forget about Mark, to move on, and move up. All she has to do is kiss twenty-six boys with twenty-six different names—one for each letter of the alphabet.

From the top of the Ferris wheel at her hometown carnival to the sandy dunes of Lake Michigan, Veda takes every opportunity she can to add kisses (and boys) to her list, and soon the break-up doesn’t sting quite as much. But just when Veda thinks she has the whole kissing thing figured out, she meets someone who turns her world upside down.

This was a quick read for me as most contemporary YA’s are. If I had to describe this book in two words, they would probably be cute and fluffy.

Veda’s boyfriend Mark broke up with her right before summer kicked off and she’s heartbroken. She was expecting to spend this last summer with Mark, before he heads off to college but Mark made it clear that he wanted a clean break and so she was single for the first time in a long time. As soon as crying herself to sleep gets old, V is inspired to get over her broken heart by kissing 26 different guys throughout summer. One guy for every letter of the alphabet. The best way to get over a guy is to find a new one, right? With each passing kiss, V learns something new about herself.

As I said before, this was a quick read and I found myself curious about this book after reading the blurb. Kissing 26 different boys in one summer is a lot of boys to kiss and I wanted to see how that would all play out. It’s not exactly the wisest message to send to young girls and I was a little disappointed in the way that it played out. Mostly because I thought the kissing challenge went on for too long and then when Killian was helping her at the end? I wanted to smack some sense into him. You don’t encourage the girl you’re dating to go out and finish kissing more guys so that she’ll get over the last guy. I mean, seriously.

In a way, I guess I understood why Veda decided to go through with the kissing challenge but I guess when she was over Mark and started things up with Killian, I kind of hoped that she wouldn’t need the kissing challenge anymore. I hoped that she would respect Killian’s feelings and not need to finish the challenge.

Veda’s character felt real to me. She acted and reacted the way that normal teenage girls would (and I’m surrounded by teenage girls on the daily). I liked that she really learned about herself and really grew into the person she wanted to be in the end. She had a great support system in her friends and her Mom. I even liked seeing her relationship with her father and younger brother evolve.

Killian was cute and everything young girls would like in a love interest. I liked that he was who he was, liked what he liked and was trying to be okay with everyone not understanding him. The feelings he had for Veda felt real and I liked seeing him fit himself into her life and I liked that he stuck around even when things got hard.

Overall, this book was cute and while I didn’t enjoy every part of the book, it was still a solid read. Perfect for a lazy day at the beach read.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Review: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

Posted June 13, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan MatsonReviewer: Rowena
The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
Published by Simon and Schuster
Publication Date: May 3rd 2016
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 528
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From Morgan Matson, the bestselling author of Since You’ve Been Gone comes a feel-good story of friendship, finding yourself, and all the joys in life that happen while you’re busy making other plans.

Andie has a plan. And she always sticks to her plan.

Future? A top-tier medical school. Dad? Avoid him as much as possible (which isn’t that hard considering he’s a Congressman and he’s never around). Friends? Palmer, Bri, and Toby—pretty much the most awesome people on the planet, who needs anyone else? Relationships? No one’s worth more than three weeks.

So it’s no surprise that Andie’s got her summer all planned out too.

Until a political scandal costs Andie her summer pre-med internship, and lands both she and Dad back in the same house together for the first time in years. Suddenly she’s doing things that aren’t Andie at all—working as a dog walker, doing an epic scavenger hunt with her dad, and maybe, just maybe, letting the super cute Clark get closer than she expected. Palmer, Bri, and Toby tell her to embrace all the chaos, but can she really let go of her control?

Morgan Matson wrote one of my favorite contemporary YA books a few years ago (Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour) and I have been reading her ever since. Every couple of years, she releases a new book and I have to read it. I always enjoy her books but I haven’t loved any the same way that I loved Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour but they’re all still damn good reads. This was one of those.

Andie Walker has always had a plan. She’s got summer plans that include a pre-med study program but when a scandal involving her politician father derail those plans, Andie’s summer is up in the air and she’s without a plan for the first time…ever. Growing up as a politician’s daughter, Andie had to make sure that she stayed out of trouble, out of the spotlight and out of the media because her life could affect her father’s political aspirations. She’s a good girl and plays by the rules but when her father’s scandal starts to bleed into her life, she’s not at all happy about that.

Spending the summer with the father that has been largely absent from her life takes a lot of getting used to and Andie is in for one heck of a summer. On top of living with her father for the first time in years, she got a job as a dog walker. The very last job she’d ever thought she’d have but the upside to all of this was she could also spend her summer with all of her friends. It was the first summer that all of the girls in her foursome were together in the summer and that was something that she was looking forward to.

Then she meets Clark and her summer really starts looking up. He’s different from anyone that Andie has ever dated before and when her usual three week ending point comes around, Andie is surprised at how much she doesn’t want to end things with Clark. Things certainly are way different than Andie had originally planned for her summer.

There’s a lot going on in this book and I thought that was good because it kept the flow of the story going. Andie was dealing with getting to know her father again but she was also learning how to walk dogs and keep their leashes untangled and everyone happy, she was learning all there was to know about this new boy that she really likes and reading his books but she was also hanging out with her friends and getting grounded for the first time.

I really enjoyed Andie’s character. She was very mature for her age. She was smart and she was determined to succeed in life. She was also trying to figure out what she wanted to do with her future and figure out the kind of person she wanted to be. She was getting to know her father and all of these things were helping her really come into her own.

I loved Clark. I thought he was such an adorable love interest and so very perfect for Andie. I loved the way that he brought the real Andie out and showed her that being real didn’t mean losing herself. I loved getting to know him and my heart hurt for him where things were concerned about his father and his writing. He was a great book boyfriend!

Her friends were a lively bunch that I really enjoyed getting to know. They were all distinctively different from each other and yet together, they all made sense as a group. The whole Bri and Toby thing was disappointing. I was sorely disappointed in Bri and then later on Andie for her suggestion on how to fix everything but mostly with Bri because she tried to justify her relationship by belittling Toby’s crush on him. She kept saying that what Toby and Wyatt had wasn’t real, that they only kissed and maybe it was true for Wyatt but it wasn’t true for Toby and Toby was her best friend. Her feelings for him were completely real otherwise she wouldn’t have been as hurt as she was. But Bri’s whole, “Toby always came first when it came to Wyatt with you guys but what about me?” mentality drove me crazy because hello??? She had dibs on him, she spoke up about wanting him and if Bri wanted a chance at a relationship with him, she should have been upfront about it with Toby…from the beginning…or at least the night of the scavenger hunt. So in that whole debacle, I was Team Toby. It really sucked for Bri too because I wonder if she thought that whole summer and all of the lies were worth everything in the end considering how things end with Wyatt. I couldn’t help but feel like that was such a waste.

The way that the summer wraps up was interesting and yet very real. I loved that Toby chose herself and that not everything ended with a cookie cutter ending and bow tie. I’m kind of interested in a story with Toby at the center and a love interest named…Topher? Haha, that would be great cause I can totally see it. Toby choosing herself, spending a lot of time alone and then she runs into Wyatt months and months later and in her rush to get away from him, she runs into Topher and they strike up a conversation. She’s not a fan of him, he doesn’t really care for her but there’s something different about her these days and he finds himself intrigued so he turns on the charm. She doesn’t want to have anything to do with him because she’s not going to be another of her friend’s sloppy seconds and he doesn’t want to miss out on another girl so they bicker their way toward…a love match? Haha, I need to cut it out but that would be awesome!

Anyway, this was a great book with a charming cast and a lovely protagonist. Though it’s not my favorite Morgan Matson, it was still enjoyable.

Grade: 3.75 out of 5

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Review: Summer of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider

Posted May 26, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Summer of Sloane by Erin L. SchneiderReviewer: Rowena
Summer of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider
Published by Disney Electronic Content
Publication Date: May 3rd 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 232
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three-half-stars

Warm Hawaiian sun. Lazy beach days. Flirty texts with her boyfriend back in Seattle. These are the things seventeen-year-old Sloane McIntyre pictured when she imagined the summer she'd be spending at her mom's home in Hawaii with her twin brother, Penn. Instead, after learning an unthinkable secret about her boyfriend, Tyler, and best friend, Mick, all she has is a fractured hand and a completely shattered heart. Once she arrives in Honolulu, though, Sloane hopes that Hawaii might just be the escape she needs. With beach bonfires, old friends, exotic food, and the wonders of a waterproof cast, there's no reason Sloane shouldn't enjoy her summer. And when she meets Finn McAllister, the handsome son of a hotel magnate who doesn't always play by the rules, she knows he's the perfect distraction from everything that's so wrong back home.

But it turns out a measly ocean isn't nearly enough to stop all the emails, texts, and voicemails from her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend, desperate to explain away their betrayal. And as her casual connection with Finn grows deeper, Sloane's carefree summer might not be as easy to come by as she'd hoped. Weighing years of history with Mick and Tyler against their deception, and the delicate possibility of new love, Sloane must decide when to forgive, and when to live for herself.

I came across this book on Netgalley and after reading the blurb, my curiosity was piqued. The best friend and the boyfriend cheating? Needing a summer away? A summer in Hawaii? Yeah, I was in.

So Sloane and her twin brother Penn spend their summers in Hawaii with their mother and the day before she’s to fly out, her best friend drops a bomb on her. The, “I slept with your boyfriend” bomb and it completely knocks Sloane on her ass because not only does her best friend Mick sleep with her boyfriend, she’s having his baby too. Talk about a shocker! When she lands in Hawaii, she’s got a cast from punching her ex-boyfriend in the face and breaking his nose. She’s also got a big ass chip on her shoulder that she’s hoping a summer away will help her get over.

Determined to make this summer about her, Sloane sets out to make new memories with her Hawaii friends..and a new boy named Finn.

Going in, I hadn’t read any reviews or read much of anything outside of the blurb so I didn’t really have any expectations. This was a very readable book, meaning it didn’t take me long at all to just jump right in. All that drama in the beginning had me turning the pages real quick to find out what was going to happen. There were times when I wanted to strangle each and every single teenager in the book but it wasn’t so mad that my enjoyment of the story itself was ruined.

I liked Sloane’s character and I really liked Finn as a love interest. Sloane was really put through the wringer and I liked that she took time to herself to figure things out. When stuff like that happens, when you’re betrayed by the people that are supposed to love and support you, time away is necessary. Sloane had every right to take time to herself, to not talk to both Tyler and Mick. I liked the support system she had in her friends in Hawaii and in her family too. She had great relationships with both of her parents and her brother. Maya was a great friend to her and the secondary stories surrounding Maya and Penn (and Shep) and Sloane teaching Finn’s little sister how to swim, finding out truths about her parents and just everything filled out this book really well and made the reading experience as a whole for me, a good one.

The story itself was well written and the characters were written true to their ages which I appreciated. It was a solid debut by Schneider and if I had any gripe with the story, it would probably be more Polynesian characters since they were in Hawaii. It would have been nice if Sloane or even Finn was more Polynesian than the tiny bit of Hawaiian that Sloane was, especially since the author is Polynesian herself. Still, it was a solid read with an interesting premise and great characters.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Review: The Natural History of Us by Rachel Harris

Posted April 22, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Natural History of Us by Rachel HarrisReviewer: Rowena
The Natural History of Us by Rachel Harris
Series: The Fine Art of Pretending #2
Published by Spencer Hill Press
Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance
Pages: 297
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four-stars

One class assignment. One second chance at love. The school player is all in. Now he needs to win back the sweet commitment girl who's forever owned his heart.

Justin Carter has a secret. He's not the total player Fairfield Academy believes him to be. Not really. In fact, he used to be a one-woman guy...and his feelings for her never went away. Too bad he broke her heart three years ago and made sure to ruin any chance she'd ever forgive him.

Peyton Williams is a liar. She pretends to be whole, counting down the days until graduation and helping her parents at the family ranch. But the truth is, she's done everything she can to get over Justin, and salvation is just around the corner. With graduation one short month away, she'll soon break free from the painful memories and start her life fresh. Of course, she has to get through working with him on one last assignment first.

For Justin, nothing ever felt as right as being with Peyton, and now that fate's given him a shot at redemption, he's determined to make the most of it. And for Peyton...well, Justin Carter has always been her kryptonite.

When I read The Fine Art of Pretending a few years ago, I was very interested in seeing if Justin ever got the girl that he was hung up on. I didn’t like Justin for Aly as much as I liked Brandon but thought he was a memorable character. I wanted this book so I was stoked to finally get it.

Freshman year at Fairmont Academy introduces Justin Carter to Peyton Williams. They were drawn to each other from the very first time they set eyes on each other and Justin was very much attracted to the new girl. With each passing day, they find themselves getting closer and closer and Peyton being Justin’s new coach’s daughter doesn’t stop them from hooking up. Of course, they keep things on the down low but the feelings that crop up between the two of them are very much real.

Their relationship really takes off and when things get really complicated, Justin blames himself and the way that he was raised so he makes a decision that affects him, Peyton and their relationship. Now, it’s senior year (three years later) and they’re about to graduate and leave Fairmont Academy behind for good. Peyton is counting down the days but Justin…he’s running out of time. His feelings for Peyton have never gone away and because of that, he wants his girl back. When a class project puts them together as partners, Justin has found his way in to win back Peyton’s love. He’s got just a few weeks to make things right, to explain what really went down Freshman year and hopes that it’s enough to fix what he broke.

Oh man this was a cute YA romance. I really came to love the hell out of Justin and every time he messed things up with Peyton, I wanted to give him a quick kick to the ass. The poor guy just couldn’t catch a break but I knew that Peyton still returned his feelings for her so I was excited to keep reading, to see them get it right after all this time.

Peyton was a great character. She was strong and she was smart and even when I thought she stayed with Cade too long, I liked her. I liked that she was young and trying to figure things out. I liked that she tried to keep things between her and Justin friendly, to not get caught up in the old romance between them and then I also liked that she couldn’t help the way she felt for him. I loved when Justin told her that they were inevitable and all those years later, it was still true.

Justin was everything that I hoped he would become. I loved seeing the guy that wasn’t all that beat up when his relationship with Aly didn’t work out. I loved that there was so much more to Justin than everyone knew. There was a depth to him that warmed my heart and charmed the socks right off of me. His story really lived up to the hype that I was building around it in my head.

The romance between Peyton and Justin was cute, it was fun and I wanted to cuddle this book close. I enjoyed the ride and was completely satisfied when the book ended. If I had a gripe with this book, it would probably be how long Peyton stayed with Cade, knowing how she felt about Justin but I chalked that up to her being young. Still, this was a fun book of two characters finding love again after heartbreak and I’m glad that I read this book.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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Review: Paper Princess by Erin Watt

Posted April 20, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Paper Princess by Erin WattReviewer: Rowena
Paper Princess by Erin Watt, Jen Frederick, Elle Kennedy
Series: The Royals #1
Also in this series: Broken Prince
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: April 4, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 370
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four-stars

From strip clubs and truck stops to southern coast mansions and prep schools, one girl tries to stay true to herself.

These Royals will ruin you…

Ella Harper is a survivor—a pragmatic optimist. She’s spent her whole life moving from town to town with her flighty mother, struggling to make ends meet and believing that someday she’ll climb out of the gutter. After her mother’s death, Ella is truly alone.

Until Callum Royal appears, plucking Ella out of poverty and tossing her into his posh mansion among his five sons who all hate her. Each Royal boy is more magnetic than the last, but none as captivating as Reed Royal, the boy who is determined to send her back to the slums she came from.

Reed doesn’t want her. He says she doesn’t belong with the Royals.

He might be right.

Wealth. Excess. Deception. It’s like nothing Ella has ever experienced, and if she’s going to survive her time in the Royal palace, she’ll need to learn to issue her own Royal decrees.

Two of my favorite New Adult authors wrote a book together and I have been anxious to get my hands on it ever since I found out. I’ve been hearing good things about this book everywhere that I go and I went into it thinking that I was going to get one of those guilty pleasure books that is filled to the brim with drama and memorable characters. I’m happy to say that that is exactly what I got.

Ella Harper’s Mom just died of cancer and she’s never met her Dad so she’s on her own. Her plan is to work as much as she can to scrape by, graduate from high school and stay under the radar so that she doesn’t find herself in the foster care. She just wants to work hard, get good grades and hopefully land a scholarship for college. She wants a life she can be proud of and she’ll do whatever it takes to get it. If it means that she has to work as a stripper to make money than that’s what she’ll do. Everything was going according to plan until Callum Royal shows up and ruins everything.

When Callum offers Ella a chance at a bright future, Ella decides to go for it because what else she does she have to lose? She was prepared to keep her head down and get through the next two years with the promise of that future she always wanted in reach but she wasn’t prepared for life as a Royal.

When Ella is introduced to Callum’s five sons, she wasn’t expecting them to hate her on sight but whatever, she’s a survivor. She’ll survive anything they throw her way and she’ll do it with a smile on her face and I think that, above anything else was what I really liked about this book. How strong Ella was. She wasn’t a weak flower who let others get away with treating her like shit. She woke up each morning and just handled her shit. It didn’t matter how hurt she was or how much she was grieving, she handled her shit and made no apologies for it. She faced down the bullies and the whispers behind her back and she just went about her business.

Reed Royal was a mystery that I wanted to solve. I can’t wait to delve into his story in the next book. I wanted to know everything about him and his brothers. What in the hell happened to make him act the way that he does? Because hands down, Reed Royal was a complete dick to Ella when she first shows up in town. The shit that him and Easton did to her made me want to punch their lights out but as the story continues, for some reason (I have no idea what reason) your heart softens toward him. There’s a story behind all of his sneers and his cold attitude toward everything and everyone and I want to know it all. The Royals are an interesting bunch and I want to know everything about all of them. Easton, the twins and Gideon. What in the world is Gideon’s story? Who is the girl that Easton is in love with but can’t have? What’s the real deal behind Reed and that cliffhanger? I know there is one and I’m so bloody excited for the next book.

There’s a lot of stuff packed into this book. Lots of drama, lots of angst and a whole lot of attitude but Erin Watt did a great job of making room in the story for it all. It didn’t feel like too much, too soon. The story at the center (Ella finding her way in this new world and trying to navigate this new attraction to Reed Royal) doesn’t suffer with all of the other additions to the overall story being told. Whoever said that this book was a mix of Cruel Intentions and Gossip Girl hit the description right on the head because that’s exactly what this book reminded me off. It had the best parts of both movie and TV show and I’m wrapped up in it all. I need more…now. If you’re looking for a book with a deliciously cruel and interesting cast of character, look no further. This is for you. 🙂

WARNING: THERE IS A CLIFFHANGER IN THIS BOOK!

4.25 out of 5

four-stars

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