Tag: Leila Sales

Guest Review: Tonight the Streets are Ours by Leila Sales

Posted October 7, 2015 by Whitley B in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Tonight the Streets are Ours by Leila SalesReviewer: Whitley
Tonight the Streets are Ours
Publication Date: September 15, 2015
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Seventeen-year-old Arden Huntley is recklessly loyal. Taking care of her loved ones is what gives Arden purpose in her life and makes her feel like she matters. But she’s tired of being loyal to people who don’t appreciate her—including her needy best friend and her absent mom.

Arden finds comfort in a blog she stumbles upon called “Tonight the Streets Are Ours,” the musings of a young New York City writer named Peter. When Peter is dumped by the girlfriend he blogs about, Arden decides to take a road trip to see him.

During one crazy night out in NYC filled with parties, dancing, and music—the type of night when anything can happen, and nearly everything does—Arden discovers that Peter isn’t exactly who she thought he was. And maybe she isn’t exactly who she thought she was, either.

Whitley’s review of Tonight the Streets are Ours by Leila Sales

I very nearly gave up on this book. The only thing that kept me in it was my habit of reading the very last page when I get frustrated. Yes, I know, I’m terrible. Worked out in this case, though, because it gave me hope that all the BS I was reading was just bias. And since it was, the book as a whole turned out pretty good.

It was an interesting little character study about love and its many varied forms. It’s not really a romance story, but more about love between friends and family, with a side helping of some creepy obsession. (I had the benefit of age giving me red flags about the obsession, part of my frustration in the middle of the novel, but at least it all came to light by the end.) I loved all the characters and their squishy foibles, especially the relationship between Arden and Lindsey. And Arden and her mother. And Arden and Chris. They were all terrible relationships, but that was rather the point, and they were interesting. And I’m really happy to see a character like Arden, who embodies the downside of a “too nice” type character so beautifully. I also really enjoyed the comeuppance at the end of the book, the way all the one-sided stories got to have their other sides brought to light and the way it changed so much.

I was drawn to this book originally because of the plot (internet + bad decisions born of emotional turmoil? Sure!) and at first I was really happy with it. The scenes where Arden first found Peter’s blog were very poignant and echoed my own experiences searching the internet as a misguided teen. However, once she did find his blog, things dragged interminably. We spent ages and pages in the middle of this book, still establishing character relationships, jumping constantly between the ongoing story and flashbacks. It seemed excessive to me, as I felt like the book was pretty effective at setting things up early on and didn’t need the repetition, and I just really wanted to get to bad decisions in New York! Considering her trip there was the focus of the summary, it’s really frustrating that she didn’t leave until well past the 50% mark. Plus…I really liked the comeuppance part; I wish that had had more page-time.

Peter’s blog didn’t really strike me as the type of thing that would draw in…well, anyone, much less inspire the kind of obsession that would make someone drive six hours on a whim. Maybe he was more eloquent in the blog posts that were skipped over, but the ones we did see had such a bland writing style, and they were 99% “so this happened today” with maybe 1% angsty musings. And I was really looking forward to some angsty musings. Isn’t that the best/worst part of the internet? Because unless you fought a bear, a recount of your day just isn’t going to draw in a wide audience and get tons of random strangers telling you “omg you’re such a good writer!”

Rating: 4 out of 5

This title is available from Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR).  You can purchase it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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Review: Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales

Posted September 11, 2015 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila SalesReviewer: Rowena
Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales
Publisher: Macmillan
Publication Date: September 15th 2015
Genres: Young Adult
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Recklessly loyal. That's how seventeen-year-old Arden Huntley has always thought of herself. Taking care of her loved ones is what gives Arden purpose in her life and makes her feel like she matters. But lately she's grown resentful of everyone--including her needy best friend and her absent mom--taking her loyalty for granted.

Then Arden stumbles upon a website called Tonight the Streets Are Ours, the musings of a young New York City writer named Peter, who gives voice to feelings that Arden has never known how to express. He seems to get her in a way that no one else does, and he hasn't even met her. Until Arden sets out on a road trip to find him.

During one crazy night out in New York City filled with parties, dancing, and music--the type of night when anything can happen, and nearly everything does--Arden discovers that Peter isn't exactly who she thought he was. And maybe she isn't exactly who she thought she was, either.

Leila Sales has written some pretty fantastic books that have entertained the socks off of me. I completely adored both Past Perfect and Mostly Good Girls so I went into this book with high hopes. Unfortunately, the book fell short for me.

The story itself wasn’t bad, I’m sure there will be plenty of people that enjoy Arden’s journey but I just couldn’t connect with her. She’s a shy girl by nature so she has a tendency to stalk boys that she likes and while I’ve done my fair share of stalking my crush back in high school, Arden takes it a bit further by stalking a guy she doesn’t even know all the way to New York (she lives in Maryland).

This book starts off with a note that says:

Like all stories, the one you are about to read is a love story. If it wasn’t, what would be the point?

Yes, this was a love story but not the kind I was expecting. This was about all kinds of love. The love of different parents (the one that left but loved with all she was and the one that is there physically but mentally, etc…), the love of kids for their parents, the love of friends and the love between two people. It’s all in here but for me, the reading was slow going for most of the book.

Arden was the protagonist and I wanted to like her but when I finally put the book down, my feelings for Arden were lukewarm. I didn’t necessarily hate her but she wasn’t my favorite either. She was just okay. It kind of surprised me that I didn’t like her as much as I thought I would considering she’s a pleaser. She is nice. She’s there for people when they need her but I don’t know, I just could not connect with her.

I thought it was weird that she stalked Peter (the blogger whose blog she became addicted to) all the way to New York just so that she could be there for him since her boyfriend Chris ditched her on their anniversary. She made these grand plans for their one year and Chris had the nerve to not show up so Arden packs up her car, picks up her best friend and off they go to New York City. The city where her Mom now lives.

Once she gets there and meets Peter, she starts to realize that Peter isn’t the guy she pictured in her head. She built him up to be so much more than he actually was and over the course of one night, she starts realizing little things about everyone in her life.

Other things that I didn’t understand or connect with were Arden’s Mom. She up and left her family behind because what??? She was mad at Arden’s Dad? She wants Arden to understand that things haven’t been good between her and her Dad so she had to leave Arden and Roman (Arden’s brother) behind? Yeah, I wasn’t a fan of that.

I also wasn’t a fan of the way Arden’s Dad was too. It made me stop and think about how involved I am in my blogs and social media and what not. I don’t want to be Arden’s Dad so I need to start paying attention to my kid. Paying more attention to her.

Peter was something else but I ended up liking Bianca and Lindsey? She was great.

Overall, this book fell flat but there were things that I enjoyed. I enjoyed watching the friendship between Arden and Lindsey. I enjoyed Peter’s blog and I enjoyed seeing Arden come to terms with everything in her life but that was it.

Grade: 2.25 out of 5

This book is available from Farrar, Straus and Giroux. You can purchase it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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Review: Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales

Posted September 5, 2012 by Rowena in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: Mostly Good Girls by Leila SalesReviewer: Rowena
Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Simon Pulse
Publication Date: September 6th 2011
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 368
Add It: Goodreads
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The higher you aim, the farther you fall….

It’s Violet’s junior year at the Westfield School. She thought she’d be focusing on getting straight As, editing the lit mag, and figuring out how to talk to boys without choking on her own saliva. Instead, she’s just trying to hold it together in the face of cutthroat academics, her crush’s new girlfriend, and the sense that things are going irreversibly wrong with her best friend, Katie.

When Katie starts making choices that Violet can’t even begin to fathom, Violet has no idea how to set things right between them. Westfield girls are trained for success—but how can Violet keep her junior year from being one huge epic failure?

Oh, goodness this book was good.

Nerds gone wild, that’s how I described this book to Ames. It’s the only thing that I could think of that fit in with what this book was about. This book follows Violet as she goes through her life at Westfield with her best friend in the whole wide world, Katie. Violet and Katie are nerds. They’re not that popular at school but they were pretty hot damn cool in my opinion. They had me cracking up at their different projects and their shared crush on Scott Walsh.

Violet and Katie may be best friends but there are a lot of differences between the two of them. Violet is not rich but is really smart. She has to work at keeping her grades up and she’s very serious about school. Katie is rich and just as smart but she doesn’t really have to try at anything. She’s just naturally good at…everything. At first, this is okay with Violet because she loves Katie. They have so much fun together and Katie gets Violet’s humor. They have an off kilter kind of humor that had me bent over at times, laughing my guts out.

The first time they tried getting drunk together? Hilarious. The dance where they found out Scott Walsh had a girlfriend and didn’t return their love for him? Not hilarious but when they left the dance and got caught in the sprinklers? Yeah, that was hilarious. The Harry Potter tours at Westfield? Haha, hilarious. When Genevieve is absent from school and everyone thought she was in the hospital from being anorexic? Violet’s response to Genevieve’s mock outrage over the rumors when she just had the flu? Freaking hilarious. The things that both Katie and Violet get into had me cracking up.

Over the course of the story, things pop off. Katie starts acting strange. Her grades start slipping, she doesn’t bow down to pressure from adults and she gets a boyfriend. Violet doesn’t know how to react to all of these changes in her best friend and she stumbles over trying to do the right thing by her best friend and figure out what is happening to the best friend that she’s known for years. I really enjoyed getting to know both Violet and Katie over the course of this book. They were both entertaining characters that were going through changes in their lives that they were both just trying to get through.

The solidarity between is what I enjoyed most about the book. They did everything that they put their minds to doing, together and when they started fighting, you wanted them to make up and be friends again. They were the perfect match for each other and I really enjoyed watching them come into their own. They were both going through totally different things and I liked the people that they came out to be after all was said and done. This book was good and I can’t recommend it enough. If you’ve read Past Perfect by Leila Sales then I have every faith that you’ll enjoy this one too.

As much as I loved this book, the ending got a little slow and it took me a little bit to get throught it but it all ended well and I was super thrilled with the way that it ended so it gets a B from me.

…and that’s your scoop!

This book is available from Simon Pulse.
Buy the book: B&N|Amazon|Book Depository
Book cover and blurb credit: http://barnesandnoble.com


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Five Reasons You Should Read Past Perfect.

Posted October 5, 2011 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

…by Leila Sales.

1. Because Chelsea is full of awesome. Chelsea is one of those young protagonists that is bright and witty and you want as your best friend. Her thought processes will keep you laughing throughout the book and you’ll be rooting for her to get hers in the end. She’s not perfect and to me, that’s what made her so awesome. Watching her bumble her way along didn’t frustrate me as much as the other protags in other books because I was too busy laughing with Chelsea to hate on her. She’s so much fun. She’s also one of those protagonists that you know exactly why the boys liked her in the book, she won’t leave you wondering what’s wrong with Edward Cullen because you can’t see any kind of appeal with Bella Swan. Chelsea is no Bella Swan.

2. Because you’ll see re-enactment camps in a totally different light. Never before have I cared one way or another about reenactment camps. I’ve never been to one, I’ve never cared to go to one but all of that has changed now that I’ve read this book. I’m kind of annoyed with my parents for never taking me to one so that I can appreciate history the way that these kids did. I would have loved to point and laugh at these kids, just kidding.

3. Because there’s a cute love interest that you won’t be able to help yourself from crushing on. The love interest in this book is too cute for words. I had me a big ol’ crush on him while I was reading this book and considering our age difference, that’s kind of gross. Not that it stopped me from wanting a Dan all for my teenage self. Which brings me back to being annoyed with my parents since they never took me to a reenactment camp before so I missed my chance with my own teenage Dan. *sigh*

4. Because Chelsea’s best friend Fiona is full of awesome. Fiona is the best friend that all girls need. When your best friend gets dumped and is down in the dumps, you need someone like Fiona to smack yourself back to reality but not before she gave you a time limit for grieving over what was. I loved that she got tired of Chelsea still lusting after Ezra and I loved that even when Chelsea was being a butthead, you knew that Fiona would take her back and give her an earful that she deserved. Fiona’s own little secondary love story was cute too.

5. Because you’ll get the inside scoop on re-enactment wars! I think this is one of my favorite things about this book. To see how intense the wars between the Colonials and the Civil War camps got was too freaking funny. They take POW’s, they mess with their camps by hiding cell phones to unauthenticate (is that a word? I don’t think so since there’s a red line under that word but meh, you know what I mean) their camp. Oh and to see how pissed off they make each other, oh man you would think it’s the bloods and crips going to war instead of a bunch of high school kids at camp.

This book came out yesterday and I enjoyed it so much. Run out and get yourself a copy, you won’t be sorry! This book will have you laughing and girls, there’s a romance in here that will have you sighing so really, you need to read this book! You can read my review of this book here.

..and that’s your scoop!

Buy the book: B&N|Amazon|Book Depository
Book cover and blurb credit: http://barnesandnoble.com

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Review: Past Perfect by Leila Sales.

Posted September 28, 2011 by Rowena in Reviews | 7 Comments

Main Character: Chelsea Glaser
Love Interest: Dan
Series: None
Author: Website|Facebook|Twitter|Goodreads

All Chelsea wants to do this summer is hang out with her best friend, hone her talents as an ice cream connoisseur, and finally get over Ezra, the boy who broke her heart. But when Chelsea shows up for her summer job at Essex Historical Colonial Village (yes, really), it turns out Ezra’s working there too. Which makes moving on and forgetting Ezra a lot more complicated…even when Chelsea starts falling for someone new.

Maybe Chelsea should have known better than to think that a historical reenactment village could help her escape her past. But with Ezra all too present, and her new crush seeming all too off limits, all Chelsea knows is that she’s got a lot to figure out about love. Because those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it….

This was the perfect book to end the summer on a high note. I’ve never really thought about re-enactment camps one way or another, at any part of my life. They never made it to my radar apart from the hour and half that I spent watching Sweet Home Alabama all those many years ago but after reading this book, I wish I had spent a summer of my youth at a reenactment camp. I wish I had a war going with the Civil War kids, pranking each other and falling for the wrong boy. This was such a fun book, I couldn’t put it down. Leila Sales did a fantastic job of making me laugh at least every other sentence.Chelsea was a fabulous main character. Most of the time, I’ll love a main character if I want them to be my best friend but with Chelsea, I wanted to be her. She was that awesome. I spent most of this book laughing because of the things that went through Chelsea’s head. The things that she thought, she things that she said, everything was just awesome. Her thought processes had me cracking up no matter where I was when I was reading this book (mostly at work). She’s not always right, she’s not always happy or depressed or sad but it didn’t matter because no matter what she was, or how she was feeling, I adored her.

The secondary characters in this story stood out for me as well. I mean, her best friend Fiona was fabulous and the boy Brian who had a massive crush on Chelsea kept me giggling all throughout the book. Even the others like Tawny and Nat and Dan. Whoa boy, that Dan. I adored him and thought he was just the cutest thing. I felt for him after everything went down with Chelsea but man, did I adore that boy.There was a time or two when I wanted to knock some sense into Chelsea but never once did I think, “Oh man, I think I may hate her” because she was just too much fun to not like. Watching her stumble her way through her forbidden romance, her feelings for her ex and everything made for such an entertaining story that I’m trying my darndest to not shout from the rooftops that this book is great and you need to pre-order it now. This book is full of the good stuff and anyone who is a fan of awesome contemporary stories will enjoy this one, I promise!

..and that’s your scoop!

Buy the book: B&N|Amazon|Book Depository
Book cover and blurb credit: http://barnesandnoble.com

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