July 30, 2013

Prep School Confidential by Kara Taylor

Prep School Confidential
Prep School Confidential by Kara Taylor
Series: Prep School Confidential, #1
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: July 30, 2013
In this breathtaking debut that reads like Gossip Girl crossed with Twin Peaks, a Queen Bee at a blue-blooded New England prep school stumbles into a murder mystery.

Anne Dowling practically runs her exclusive academy on New York’s Upper East Side—that is, until she accidentally burns part of it down and gets sent to a prestigious boarding school outside of Boston. Determined to make it back to New York, Anne couldn't care less about making friends at the preppy Wheatley School. That is, until her roommate Isabella’s body is found in the woods behind the school.

When everyone else is oddly silent, Anne becomes determined to uncover the truth no matter how many rules she has to break to do it. With the help of Isabella’s twin brother Anthony, and a cute classmate named Brent, Anne discovers that Isabella wasn’t quite the innocent nerdy girl she pretended to be. But someone will do anything to stop Anne’s snooping in this fast-paced, unputdownable read—even if it means framing her for Isabella’s murder.
The best way to describe Prep School Confidential would be intense. It was intense from beginning to end. But sadly, intense doesn't mean that I loved it. I liked it's extremely action driven plot, but I found the characters to be a tad lacking.

Anne herself was alright, if a tad complicated. She was really very smart, and I liked that she was as tempestuous as me. What really bothered me was the lack of development of the secondary characters. I would have liked to have known more about all of them, and for them to have had a few more appearances throughout the story. I feel like the mystery is ruled a little too much by Anne. We're limited through her vision, because all we get are her opinions. Plus she has a bit of a tendency to jump at every twig, if you catch my drift.

The mystery itself was well done, though. There were so many clues, but they all pointed to different people, which kept the story interesting and entertaining. Towards the end it became obvious, though.

My biggest problem was probably that Isabella (the murdered gal) didn't get to live longer in the story. She seemed like a nice type, which is why it was so disappointing to find out what she was really like. You'll never guess, believe me. This school has more secrets than a cat.

All in all, Prep School Confidential was a charming, if underdeveloped beginning to what I hope will be an awesome series. Gotta love open endings, y'all.

July 29, 2013

Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland

Nantucket Blue
Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland
Series: N/A
Source: Traded for
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
For Cricket Thompson, a summer like this one will change everything. A summer spent on Nantucket with her best friend, Jules Clayton, and the indomitable Clayton family. A summer when she’ll make the almost unattainable Jay Logan hers. A summer to surpass all dreams.

Some of this turns out to be true. Some of it doesn’t.

When Jules and her family suffer a devastating tragedy that forces the girls apart, Jules becomes a stranger whom Cricket wonders whether she ever really knew. And instead of lying on the beach working on her caramel-colored tan, Cricket is making beds and cleaning bathrooms to support herself in paradise for the summer.

But it’s the things Cricket hadn’t counted on--most of all, falling hard for someone who should be completely off-limits--that turn her dreams into an exhilarating, bittersweet reality.

A beautiful future is within her grasp, and Cricket must find the grace to embrace it. If she does, her life could be the perfect shade of Nantucket blue.
At that moment it seemed that all our feelings were shimmering above us, around us, in a new and stunning constellation.

The first third of Nantucket Blue kind of annoyed me. Not to say that the book itself wasn't good, because it was, but the first third was just chock full of drama. It was all about friend issues and just general brattiness. I wanted to strangle Jules, and poor Cricket had her own little annoying things going on. I wasn't even sure that I even liked Cricket at all until all that was passed.

It just took up too much space in the book, in my opinion. I admire Cricket's personality, though. She didn't let these things hold her back, and she tried really hard to be there for Jules.

Cricket herself wasn't all that awesome of a character. She was just a good one. Her actions are what made her great-- without them she's just mediocre. Thankfully, she makes some great friends on Nantucket that really broke the ice for me. Liz was so great and care free, and she made everything so light and fun! I also loved the jokes that she would make, and how she wanted to find a nice "bloke" for Cricket. She was sweet.

Mostly, my big problem with Cricket is that I just couldn't relate to her. I can't think of one thing that makes her like me, and I look for that in characters.

On another note, though, I really liked the romance. It was so sweet and innocent. I was cheering for them the whole time. Especially with the age difference thing-- I'm so proud that for once the guy was younger than the girl! It's not a dynamic that we see very often in YA, but it happens a lot in real life.

All in all, Nantucket Blue is worth a read, just for the romance dynamics. But I enjoyed it. ;)

July 26, 2013

Truly, Madly, Deadly by Hannah Jayne

Truly, Madly, Deadly
Truly, Madly, Deadly by Hannah Jayne
Series: N/A
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: July 2, 2013
Sawyer Dodd has it all. She's a star track athlete, choir soloist, and A-student. And her boyfriend is the handsome all-star Kevin Anderson. But behind the medals, prom pictures, and perfect smiles, Sawyer finds herself trapped in a controlling, abusive relationship with Kevin. When he dies in a drunk-driving accident, Sawyer is secretly relieved. She's free. Until she opens her locker and finds a mysterious letter signed by "an admirer" and printed with two simple words: "You're welcome."
For whatever reason (there's none I can come up with right off) Truly, Madly, Deadly is destined to live in my memory as a mediocre book. It's disappointing, sure, but there's not a thing I can do about it.

I just couldn't identify with our main character, Sawyer. She's being stalked and threatened, and when she goes to the police, she's too afraid to tell them. So she comes out of the police office no better protected than when she went in. Speaking of, the actions of the killer didn't really make sense. I can only assume that the killer is supposed to come off as maniacal and crazy, but it could have been better done. I am really proud that it took me so long to figure it out, but once I did, I realized how dense I am...all signs pointed right to 'em.

I also thought that the suspense seemed forced and faked. There was too much going on for me to ever really get immersed into the story. The other problems included just funky stuff, so I'm not even going to mention them. It's just not for me, you know?

All in all, Truly, Madly, Deadly just didn't work out for me. The plotline was intriguing, but the execution was sadly lacking. I wish I could have liked this one a bit more.

Vesper by Jeff Sampson

Vesper (Deviants, #1)
Vesper by Jeff Sampson
Series: Deviants, #1
Source: Won
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: January 25, 2011
Emily Webb is a geek. And she's happy that way. Content hiding under hoodies and curling up to watch old horror flicks, she's never been the kind of girl who sneaks out for midnight parties. And she's definitely not the kind of girl who starts fights or flirts with other girls' boyfriends.Until one night Emily finds herself doing exactly that... the same night one of her classmates - also named Emily - is found mysteriously murdered.

The thing is, Emily doesn't know why she's doing any of this. By day, she's the same old boring Emily, but by night, she turns into a thrill seeker. With every nightfall, Emily gets wilder until it's no longer just her personality that changes. Her body can do things it never could before: Emily is now strong, fast, and utterly fearless. And soon Emily realizes that she's not just coming out of her shell... there's something much bigger going on. Is she bewitched by the soul of the other, murdered Emily? Or is Emily Webb becoming something else entirely - something not human?

As Emily hunts for answers, she finds out that she's not the only one this is happening to - some of her classmates are changing as well. Who is turning these teens into monsters - and how many people will they kill to get what they want?
I was halfway out my bedroom window when my cell rang.

When I started this one, I had no idea what to expect. I kept hearing that it was good from various people, so I thought that I would check it out. But I find that although I liked this one, I wasn't very wow'd by it. It fell a tad bit flat, in retrospect.

Emily, our main character is a barrage of different personalities and emotions at any given time. To be completely honest, I have no idea why her personality kept changing. It didn't seem important, and it just added a strange element-- I mean I understand *the spoilerific thing*, but I don't understand the personality changes. It makes no sense! Sometimes she was really shy and mousy, then she would change into like superchick or something. I don't know.

I wish that it didn't all happen so fast, you know? Why couldn't she have been some kind of happy-medium? Anywho, I'm moving on from Emily's character now.

I found some things predictable within the plot, but I could not predict what was up with Emily-- and when I found out it still didn't really make sense! I liked the added mystery element (what is she??), but I just wasn't a huge fan of the outcome.

One thing that I predicted turned out well (so adorable!), but other things just bored me. And the ending was just too open! It actually seemed really incomplete to me.

All in all, Vesper was an interesting read, but I could have liked it a lot more than I did.

July 25, 2013

Unbroken by Melody Grace

Unbroken (Cedar Cove, #1)
Unbroken by Melody Grace
Series: Cedar Cove, #1
Source: Bought on Amazon
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: March 11, 2013
"Mom always told me there are two kinds of love in this world: the steady breeze, and the hurricane. Emerson Ray was my hurricane...."

Juliet McKenzie was an innocent eighteen-year old when she spent the summer in Cedar Cove—and fell head over heels in love with Emerson. Complicated, intense Emerson, the local bad boy. His blue eyes hid dark secrets, and just one touch could set Juliet ablaze. Their love was demanding and all-consuming, but when summer ended, tragedy tore them apart. Juliet swore she’d never go back, and she’s kept that promise… Until now.

Four years later, Juliet’s done her best to rebuild the wreckage of her shattered life. She’s got a great boyfriend, and a steady job planned after she graduates. Returning to Cedar Cove to pack up her family’s beach house to prepare it for sale, Juliet is determined that nothing will stand in the way of her future. But one look from Emerson, and all her old desire comes flooding back. He let her go once, but this time, he’s not giving up without a fight. And Emerson fights dirty.

A heartbreaking history. An unstoppable passion. Torn between her past and future, Juliet struggles to separate love from desire. But will they find a way to overcome their tragic secrets—together? And after so much damage has been done, can a love remain unbroken? 
My mom always said, there are two kinds of love in this world: the steady breeze, and the hurricane.

Unbroken is really a hard call. While I enjoyed it a lot, I don't really feel like there was much love connection in it. The smexy scenes were hot, hot! But the rest of it was just kind of meh. They don't ever seem to really talk. It seems like their relationship is built off of sex, to tell you the truth. I was disappointed by that. Even in the novella before, Untouched, it was mostly about the sex.

Jules and Emerson were still the same people as before, which was a bit of a surprise. They were just older, more experienced, and less inclined to believe in happy endings. Juliet is stuck in a dead end "nice guy" type engagement, but she's strong as all get out. The only problem is that she doesn't know it, so she's trying to be exactly what they want her to be. Emerson is just doing his own thing, living a completely angst filled existence, and I guess he spent most of his time wanting her back, because that's all we ever see of him. I wish that there had been more character development for both of them.

Don't get me wrong, I really liked the angst in this one-- I enjoy romantic angst. I just wish that it hadn't been all about the sex. I want a relationship to read about, you know? I also very much enjoyed Melody Grace's writing. She has a whole bunch of epic quotes that I highlighted on my kindle, and I just liked the read in general.

All in all, Unbroken is a good new adult read, but for romance I like it to be more about talking/falling in love than sex all the time.

Cover Talk: I think that this one is cute, and communicates the feel of the book pretty well. I like the double title treatment, and they look cute together, out in front of the ocean.

July 23, 2013

Stealing Harper by Molly McAdams

Stealing Harper (Taking Chances, #2)
Stealing Harper by Molly McAdams
Series: Taking Chances, #2
Source: Bought on Amazon
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: May 21, 2013
Chase Grayson has never been interested in having a relationship that lasts longer than it takes for him and his date to get dressed again. But then he stumbles into a gray-eyed girl whose innocence pours off her, and everything changes. From the minute Harper opens her mouth to let him know just how much he disgusts her, he's hooked.

But a princess deserves a Prince Charming who can make her dreams come true. Not a guy who can turn her life into a nightmare.

All good intentions go out the window when Harper starts to fall for the guy Chase has come to view as a brother. He wanted to protect her by keeper her away, but he can't stand to see her with anyone else, and he'll do anything to make her his. But when it comes down to Harper choosing between the two, will Chase have the strength to step back from the girl who has become his whole world if it means she's happy?

Lines will be crossed. Friendships will be put to the test. And hearts will be shattered.
"That's it?" I asked one of my housemates, Derek, as we passed each other in the hall.

Stealing Harper was a big disappointment for me. I was hoping that it would help me to get better insight on Chase, but all it really did was reinforce what  I already knew-- Chase was a jerk. He has his good moments, but most of the time he is what he was in the first book, and that was disappointing as all get out. I was hoping that he had ridiculously deep feelings, but I didn't really get anything from him.

I was hoping to realize that he was better, but he really wasn't. He was still a bit of a flat character, and I didn't really see the love between him and Harper. (AGAIN.)

Honestly, the best part of this was meeting all of Chase's friends from the tattoo parlour. We don't get to see much of them in the first book, so it was a nice change, and I enjoyed knowing that Chase and Brandon had been friends.

The worst part was the deja vu, to tell you the truth. It's literally the same story, with very little to no dialogue change, and very little added. I don't think it helped me at all, or gave me new insight to characters or anything.

Honestly, this just wasn't the book for me. While the first one was alright, this one just annoyed me.

Cover talk: OMG, is that male duck face? How terrible! I'm not a huge fan of the font either, and while I think it's interesting that she's holding the H, no. Just no. I always pictured Chase with more colorful tattoos, so the tribal thing is disappointing, and Harper appears to have bottle red hair. (If this is not the case, please enlighten me.) Also, is it just me or does Chase have no nipples? That's kind of an awkward pose...I am so mean.

July 22, 2013

Taking Chances by Molly McAdams

Taking Chances (Taking Chances, #1)
Taking Chances by Molly McAdams
Series: Taking Chances, #1
Source: Bought on Amazon
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: October 16, 2013
Her first year away is turning out to be nearly perfect, but one weekend of giving in to heated passion will change everything.

Eighteen-year-old Harper has grown up under the thumb of her career marine father. Ready to live life her own way and to experience things she's only ever heard of from the jarheads in her father's unit, she's on her way to college at San Diego State University.

Thanks to her new roommate, Harper is introduced to a world of parties, gorgeous guys, family, and emotions. She finds herself being torn in two as she quickly falls in love with both her new boyfriend, Brandon, and her roommate's brother, Chase. Despite their dangerous looks and histories, both men adore Harper and would do anything for her, including taking a step back if it would mean she'd be happy.
My face was stretched in a wide grin as I looked around my bedroom one last time.

Taking Chances was quite a bit different than I assumed it would be. I knew that there would be cheating to some extent, and while I'm not a big fan of cheating, I wanted to see if the author could make me like the characters anyway.

I did like Harper and her friend Bree, but it took me a little bit to warm up to the guy characters. Harper and Bree were pretty good, though. I loved Bree's brash nature, and I liked that Harper was so unexposed to the world. Harper could be a little selfish at times, and Lord knows that she was impetuous, but I liked her. My only issue is that Harper let Bree start changing her as soon as they met. I mean, it's not a huge deal, but she changed pretty quickly. Another thing was that she falls in love with two boys. Honestly, I've never really thought that it was possible to "romantically" love two people, but I suppose there is  a possibility. I just hope it never happens to me. o.O

I think I'll move onto the boys now.

I'll start with Chase, the tatted up bad boy on the cover. Chase was way over-possessive, even when he had just met her. I feel like I should be preparing for the abusive guy, because he leaves bruises on her when he forces her to talk to him. That is not a good sign, y'all. That's a very, very bad sign. Even if he apologizes profusely and stops drinking, I didn't particularly care for that side of him. He didn't even know that he had bruised her. I think the first half of the book was spent hoping that she didn't end up with Chase, but then the second half was spent with me wondering what the heck just happened. There's a ridiculously huge twist with Chase, and I guarantee you that you won't see it coming.

Since there's a love triangle, I guess I'll explain her love with Chase, and then her love with Brandon. With Chase, I kind of felt like it was more of a possessive thing. It was hard to let that first impression go. But for the most part, interactions with Chase just felt weird and stilted. I don't feel like they were really in love-- it ended up being more of a setup for the "huge twist that shall not be mentioned".  That's what I felt like, anyway.

Now I'll go to Brandon. Brandon was a bit different in my eyes. He was more of the good guy, and while it's rare for me to go for the good guy, I think I liked him. He walks a bit on the wild side, though, so maybe that's what helped me. The thing about Brandon is that he seemed so sweet, but sometimes you could just tell that he wanted to beat someone's face in. Yet we see throughout the book that he's forgiving to a fault. This boy is basically what every girl wants-- someone who'll stand up for her (even if she can do it herself), be sweet, and be sexy. So, what did I think of him? I simply liked him, I didn't love him to death or anything.

Now onto his love with Harper. He was more of the take care of you forever type-- she dreamed about marrying him for a long time, and was his girl for a long time, but I'm still not so sure about this "two loves" thing. It felt like she loved both of them, but like I said before Chase was more a possessive thing, and with Brandon it was more of a "I wanna take care of you" thing. I don't know. I still feel like there was a setup to get us to like Brandon earlier on. He never pressured her.

I don't know that she was better off with either of them, and that's the problem with me. I don't know. And because this is such a way long book with everything going on, I never really had a chance to figure it out. I'm going to assume Brandon, though, because he's the one that stuck by her, even if Chase didn't really have a choice.

All in all, my feelings about Taking Chances are really complicated. It had it's sad and happy moments, but a lot of it all boils down to how you feel about cheating for how much you'll like it.

July 19, 2013

Don't Hate the Player...hate the Game by Katie Ashley

Don't Hate the Player...Hate the Game
Don't Hate the Player...hate the Game by Katie Ashley
Series: N/A
Source: Bought on Amazon
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: April 30, 2013
For Noah Sullivan being the best friend to a douchebag and player like Jake Nelson has never been easy. It's been a rocky road since kindergarten when Jake duct taped Noah to his chair before recess. With just six weeks to high school graduation, Jake accidentally blows his drunken ass up on his grandfather's tractor, and Noah finds himself immersed not only in a whirlwind of grief, but on a quest to find a mystery girl from Jake's past. 

While cleaning out Jake's room, Noah and Jake's dad make a startling discovery. Instead of the obligatory porn collection or pot stash, they find a ring, but not just any ring. Its half a carat of commitment in a platinum setting-proving even man whores have taste. After Jake's mom pleads with Noah to find the girl who meant so much to Jake, Noah begins a modern day Grail quest to track the girl down.

Since Jake was a notorious player with a legendary collection of trophy panties, Noah finds himself in over his head. There are the usual suspects like Avery, the Ice Princess Jake dated for appearances, or Presley, the school mattress Jake dated for convenience. But the trail begins to point to the most unlikely of suspects: Maddie, the Valedictorian and choir girl who was trying to help the unmotivated jock graduate--the girl who also has surprisingly caught Noah's eye and meddled with his heart. 

Hanging out with Maddie shows Noah a different side of Jake--one that was deeply human and surprisingly douche-free. And the more he tries to solve the mystery of the ring and of Jake, the more Noah starts to discover about himself and of love.
As I slowly drifted back into consciousness, my knee jerked upward, banging against the desk.

This is such a hard review to write. I really don't know what I want to say about Don't Hate the Player...hate the game. I enjoyed it for the most part, but lots of times I was left wanting something more.

The romance was mediocre, for one. I was expecting hot, hot, hot romance. But what I got was just a sprinkling here and there, with a little bit of "I Love you's" thrown in. I was so disappointed in it. I didn't feel the feelings blossoming between Noah and Maddie, and I just didn't feel them, to be honest.

Noah and Maddie both fell a little flat for me. Noah is our main character, but I would have loved to have learned more about Jake. I mean, Noah seems like a good guy and all, but I'm more for the reformed bad boy for whatever reason.

In the memories that Noah has of Jake, he seems so young. Like he changed drastically after Jake died, which I suppose is a possibility, but I kind of doubt it. I would have liked to have seen more development on his part.

Maddie seemed sweet, but she seemed way goody-two shoes. I mean, I get that she's the preacher's daughter and all, but I didn't really get it. I couldn't connect with her like I'd hoped I could. She did surprise me with some of the things she did, though, so there is that.

My biggest issue was really that most of the scenes seemed overly forced. I didn't feel like anything that was going on carried any weight. It was kind of weird, honestly. There just wasn't enough angst for me. I feel like my heart should have been in a constant state of breaking, but I didn't feel it, which was unfortunate.

All in all, Don't Hate the Player...hate the Game was cute and predictable, but it was more of a filler read than anything else.

July 18, 2013

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

The Sea of Tranquility
The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
Series: N/A
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: November 13, 2012
I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk.

Former piano prodigy Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone learning about her past and to make the boy who took everything from her—her identity, her spirit, her will to live—pay.

Josh Bennett’s story is no secret: every person he loves has been taken from his life until, at seventeen years old, there is no one left. Now all he wants is be left alone and people allow it because when your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space.

Everyone except Nastya, the mysterious new girl at school who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. But the more he gets to know her, the more of an enigma she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he will ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding—or if he even wants to.

The Sea of Tranquility is a rich, intense, and brilliantly imagined story about a lonely boy, an emotionally fragile girl, and the miracle of second chances.
I hate my left hand. I hate to look at it. I hate when it stutters and trembles and reminds me that my identity is gone.

I can't think of words to describe how I feel about The Sea of Tranquility. It's terrible and beautiful and heart-breaking. I can't think of any other way to say it, especially since I accidentally deleted my kindle notes...again.

I had so much that I wanted to say, and now I'm just regulated to telling you exactly what can be said right off the bat.

The writing was truly amazing. It may have been a super long (and at times slow) book, but it really got under my skin and made me think and feel for all of the characters. They're all totally messed up and flawed, but they're truly perfect in every way. I loved every little flaw in each of them. I loved their pain. (Well, I didn't love their pain but you get what I mean.) I loved that they all healed each other in a way.

Nastya (I cringe everytime I see that name) really was a broken person. Something very, very bad happened to her, and I spent the first half of the book wondering what it was; then the second half being upset about it. No one should ever go through that. In spite everything she's been through, I respect Nastya. I respect that she wanted people to stare on her terms, and not to feel sorry for her. I respect what she wanted.

On another note, I never expected the guy who did it to be so trite. It was crazy, and I actually found myself feeling sorry for him. I can't forgive him, but I'm so sorry for him. That never should have happened. It's his fault, make no mistake, but I feel terrible about it.

No one should ever go through what Josh, or Drew, or even Clay is experiencing either. Life isn't easy, but this tiny group of people seem to have it the worst. I wish that I could just wrap them all up in a hug and not let go. They broke my heart so much that I cried multiple times. Not like, flat out bawling on the floor, but a good, this-is-a-fantastic-book cry.

All in all, I definitely recommend The Sea of Tranquility. It's a heart-breaking read that just needs to be read.

July 16, 2013

My Side by Tara Brown

My Side
My Side by Tara Brown
Series: N/A
Source: Bought on Amazon
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: May 28, 2013
Erin Benson felt like she'd won the lottery when she arrived all the way from North Dakota with the keys to her first home in hand.
Crisp white walls: Check.
Breathtaking view of downtown Boston: Check.
Minutes from Northeastern School of Law: Check.

But home is not always where the heart is. Sometimes it’s where you find Mr. Random shacked up and sprawled out on what was supposed to be your new bed.
Between the bear spray and the handcuffs, she discovers a terrible mistake has been made.
Lochlan hasn't broken into her new home to sleep with a seedy barmaid...he owns half.

With emotions running on high, Erin is determined to tough it out until a solution can be found.
The tight quarters seem smaller with his accumulated clutter and bizarre sleeping schedule. It also doesn't help that he's the new lead singer for Thin Ice, an indie band on its rise to fame.
What happens when a quiet bookworm gets stuck with a relentless rocker?
What happens when the things you see are not the things you get?
Knots didn't twist in my stomach as the plane landed.

Honestly, My Side was a lot more mature than I was expecting. I was pretty surprised about that, I can't say that I actually had any warning. o.O

Lochlan was unbelievably full of himself. I saw a review before I started with a pic of one swoony guy that was being declared Loch. I don't see it. I actually found quite a few of his actions to be way over controlling, and in some cases, kind of violent. He wasn't a swoon for me, and I feel like I didn't actually get to know him at all throughout the course of My Side. I'm a little upset about that, honestly. I like knowing who our main character is falling in love with, and in the end Loch wasn't all that great.

Speaking of which, Erin wasn't so great either. I liked that she was insecure at first, but as the book went on I found myself hating that about her. Everytime something happens with Loch, we see her running off like a maniac to hide at various people's houses. At which point (of course), Loch comes stomping up to the house and screams like a madman until she goes back with him. I don't know about you, but that's a bit too controlling for my likings. But back to Erin, instead of their incredibly volatile relationship.

Erin was a complete contradiction; She likes to say that she's not selfish but she is (all the while claiming that Loch is the selfish one). She also likes to talk dirty. I'm all for that in real life, because it's ridiculously funny to burst into laughter over something dirty, but in most books I'm not a huge fan of it. I kind of like to keep it PG-13, y'all! And I find that most NA is PG-13, but this one would be better classified as adult romance. o.O (You get where I'm going with this, right?)

As for the grammar, I don't have good grammar. I really don't, to tell you the truth. It's not something I'm into. But when I'm reading a book and every few sentences (maybe an exaggeration, more like every few paragraphs) there's a spelling error or a grammar mistake, it kind of throws me out of the story. I'm not a huge fan of that, to tell you the truth.

All in all, My Side really wasn't for me. The romance wasn't my thing, and the characters just didn't do it for me. It was enjoyable at parts, though, so it's earned 2.5 stars.

July 15, 2013

The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour

The Disenchantments
The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour
Series: N/A
Source: Traded for
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: February 16, 2012
Colby and Bev have a long-standing pact: graduate, hit the road with Bev's band, and then spend the year wandering around Europe. But moments after the tour kicks off, Bev makes a shocking announcement: she's abandoning their plans - and Colby - to start college in the fall.

But the show must go on and The Disenchantments weave through the Pacific Northwest, playing in small towns and dingy venues, while roadie- Colby struggles to deal with Bev's already-growing distance and the most important question of all: what's next?

Morris Award–finalist Nina LaCour draws together the beauty and influences of music and art to brilliantly capture a group of friends on the brink of the rest of their lives.
Bev says when she's onstage she feels the world holding its breath for her.

I've been wanting to read The Disenchantments for a while before I picked it up. I hadn't heard much hype (always a good thing), so I was super excited to read it and form my own opinions on it. So I opened it. And I ended up loving it to death.

I was immediately surprised, though, because for some reason I had it in my head that Colby was a girl...where did I get that idea? Is it the decidedly girly cover? I think that it is. But after the initial shock had worn off, I really grew to love Colby for who he was. He really is a sweet guy, and he does talk about art like it's in his soul. It was nice to switch it up by reading through a boy's eyes, though.

It was quite honestly a fun read. I loved getting to meet all of the awesome secondary characters that they met on their road trip, and I just loved all of their personalities. Each one of them has their own thing going on, and I totally respect it. My only real character issue had to be Bev. She was being really selfish towards Colby, and he was just taking it. His heart had to be hurting ridiculously.

The best word to describe The Disenchantments would have to be vibrant. Everything, every part of it, every scene was vibrant and crazy and real. I loved every moment of it, just like I loved the complex character relationships, and just like I loved the writing. The only reason that this isn't getting a five star rating is Bev.

All in all, you should really check out The Disenchantments. It makes a good read, and the characters are fabulous. If nothing else, you should enjoy the vibrancy of it!

July 12, 2013

Whatever Doesn't Kill You by Elizabeth Wennick

Whatever Doesn't Kill You
Whatever Doesn't Kill You by Elizabeth Wennick
Series: N/A
Source: Won
Publisher: Orca Books
Publication Date: March 1, 2013
Jenna Cooper was only a few days old when her father was murdered and her family was shattered. Now fifteen, she daydreams of a picture-perfect sitcom family as she struggles with the gritty realities of her life. When Jenna finds out that Travis Bingham, the man who shot her father, has been released from prison, she becomes obsessed with tracking him down and confronting him. But her search reveals that there may be more to her father's murder than she has been led to believe--and will her relationships with her family and friends survive her obsession?
I was six days old when Travis Bingham murdered my father.

Honestly, Whatever Doesn't Kill You just wasn't a book for me. I probably knew this in the first chapter, but I read on, because I had started it; and I just have a hard time not finishing books that I start. So, as I did that, I learned many things.

I learned that I don't connect with Jenna as a person. She felt very flat to me, and I didn't understand 98% of her problems, because I haven't come from a home like hers. In general, I have problems believing most books about people who are teased, their dad's dead and they can't let it go when it happened at six days old.

You see, that just seems a little far-fetched to me. Chances are that Jenna would've never even had the chance of "meeting" her father's murder.

Not only that, but I hate that Jenna blames all of her problems on one pivotal moment that happened when she was six days old. Oh, Travis Bingham killed my dad and that's why I'm teased. Oh, Travis Bingham killed my dad and that's why my sister's on drugs. Oh, Travis Bingham killed my dad, and that's why my mom is in a nursing home and my brother is stuck in a dead end job.

Do you see what I mean? She just goes on and on blaming him for everything that has ever gone wrong in her life. I don't understand that mentality, to be honest with you. Nobody is responsible for anything that happens to you except you. Sometimes situations are different, but most of the time it's all you.

I liked the mystery of why Travis killed her dad, but it was resolved in such an anticlimatic way-- I didn't feel like we really got the whole story there. I was very surprised about what he had to say, though.

All in all, Whatever Doesn't Kill You just wasn't a book for me. I think that maybe you should give it a shot, though!

July 11, 2013

Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky

Awaken (Awaken, #1)
Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky
Series: Awaken, #1
Source: Traded for
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Publication Date: May 23, 2011
Maddie lives in a world where everything is done on the computer. Whether it’s to go to school or on a date, people don’t venture out of their home. There’s really no need. For the most part, Maddie’s okay with the solitary, digital life—until she meets Justin. Justin likes being with people. He enjoys the physical closeness of face-to-face interactions. People aren’t meant to be alone, he tells her. 

Suddenly, Maddie feels something awakening inside her—a feeling that maybe there is a different, better way to live. But with society and her parents telling her otherwise, Maddie is going to have to learn to stand up for herself if she wants to change the path her life is taking. 

In this not-so-brave new world, two young people struggle to carve out their own space.
My mom gave me an old leather-bound journal for my seventeenth birthday. At first the blank pages surprised me, as if the story inside was lost or had slipped out.

It's getting harder and harder to rate books-- although I liked this one, I can't say that I'm loving it. It had a very interesting premise, but it didn't exactly deliver for me. The idea of a digital school is mostly believable, but I find it hard to believe that no one interacts face to face anymore. So sometimes the idea was a little over the top. Other times, though, I could see how it would happen.

My biggest issue with Awaken was that I couldn't relate to Madeline, our main character. We just didn't mesh. She was so willing to fight DS, but I find it ridiculous that she rebelled when she was fifteen, but then didn't do anything else for years.

But then she starts talking to this guy and she's suddenly all rebellious again. I understand that punishment was huge, but I wish she'd been silently fighting or something. Anything to make it more believable, you know?

Speaking of the guy, I didn't find their romance to be very good. They're "in love" without very much interaction, in my opinion. But not the way you think-- there was no insta-love, but more a slow-building thing in which they really know anything about each other and Justin basically leads her on by being swoony one minute, then the next being away from her for "her own good".

I'm not a fan of that kind of romance. They have chemistry, I'll give them that, but I don't think it's love.

All in all, Awaken was just a normal dystopian for me-- rebellion, controlling government, and no freedom. All with a dash of romance that wasn't exactly anything new.