June 30, 2014

Boy Swap by Kristina Springer

Boy Swap
Boy Swap by Kristina Springer
Series: N/A
Source: Bought
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: October, 2013
Boy Swap: The secret to sisterly love and scholarly bliss.

Research shows that seven out of ten girl fights are over a guy. The Boy Swap Club fixes all that. In an effort to spread around male cuteness and minimize fights and backstabbing, they just share boyfriends. And Brooke Thomas, consummate band member, has been asked to join the super secret club because the president of the club has the hots for her guy.

Brooke doesn't want to share her boyfriend. I mean, who does? But how can she say no? She, a second chair flutist in the school band, finds herself sitting between the Varsity Cheerleader Captain and the Homecoming Queen at the first meeting. Her friends will never believe this in a million years. Too bad she can’t tell them. But she knows. This one event can change her entire life. What if she becomes actual friends with one of these girls? It might be worth sharing her boyfriend.

Besides, he'll always love her best, right?

I can honestly tell you that I thought I would like this one more. It had a super cute cover, and a really fun premise, but the end result of Boy Swap was just BLEGH for me. I was hoping for a fun romance, with a hint of revenge or something - but what I got was anything but that. Or maybe it was just an overload of revenge. Because that's all I really got from this book - "she stole my boyfriend, so I'll get hers", and then suddenly she's all in love with the boyfriend that she was stealing.

And I didn't feel Carter and Brooke, not at all. They had no chemistry, but that could be because Carter had the personality of a cardboard box. Scratch that - cardboard boxes have more character. And many more possibilities.

Don't even get me started on Brooke! I feel like she was way to self-centered (what with the "Boy Swap" club and all). At first I thought she might just be kind of confused, but turns out she just wanted to be popular. I mean, just ask yourself. Would you ever join a club to share boyfriends?

I don't understand girls like that, I guess. I understand wanting to be liked - but you really have to get over that in life. I don't care if people like me. And she shouldn't either! All that matters in life is being yourself, obviously. Not only was Brooke ridiculously self-centered, her "voice" was also very... hyperactive. She jumped from subject to subject with barely any pause in between, which made her read like a bouncy little kid.

She calmed down a little towards the end, though. Which brings me to my next issue - the ending. The ending was way too open, and actually a tad bit strange. It was odd that everything worked out in her favor, because I can honestly say that real life isn't like that.

All in all, don't let all my problems scare you off! It was an enjoyable enough read, I just have a lot of bad things to say about it.

June 27, 2014

Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown

Perfect Escape
Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown
Series: N/A
Source: Bought
Publisher: Little, Brown
Publication Date: July 10, 2012
Kendra has always felt overshadowed by her older brother, Grayson, whose OCD forces him to live a life of carefully coordinated routines. The only way Kendra can stand out next to Grayson is to be perfect, and she has perfection down to an art -- until a cheating scandal threatens her flawless reputation.

Behind the wheel of her car, with Grayson asleep beside her, Kendra decides to drive away from it all -- with enough distance, maybe she'll be able to figure everything out. But eventually, Kendra must stop running and come to terms with herself, her brother, and her past.

With undeniable grace and humor, acclaimed author Jennifer Brown explores OCD, the pressure for perfection, and the emotional highs and lows of a complex sibling relationship.

I generally like Jennifer Brown's books, so it's really not a surprise that I enjoyed Perfect Escape. Her writing is good, and she writes about good topics - but the endings of her books tend to be a tad bit unresolved, and that was my problem with this one.

The characters were good - I understood Kendra, and even Grayson to a point. And while they both have some serious issues, they're an okay kind of people. Kendra is argumentative and tempestuous, but she's just a regular rebelling teenager. And Grayson? His OCD can definitely be hard to deal with, but when he's not struggling - he's really a good guy. You just have to talk him down quite a bit.

I liked some of the side characters that we met - Rena, for one. She was interesting, but I wish that her life had turned out better. I mean, she was seventeen and she had a kid with someone who could be her dad. Her life could have been better. And I'll admit to shipping a relationship between her and someone else in the book, but it didn't happen.

The road trip was fun. I liked that it was more about self discovery than anything else. And it was nice to see Kendra and Grayson finally healing their relationship. All in all, Perfect Escape was a good read, but I wanted more from it.

June 25, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #45

Breathe for MeBreathe For Me by Rhonda Helms
Series: N/A
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Publication Date: August 5, 2014
Isabel’s been cursed since the Middle Ages.

Desperate to escape an arranged marriage, she made a hasty bargain with a demon, asking for liberation from an oppressive husband-to-be and the excitement of travel. But the demon’s “gift” came at a steep cost. Each time he moves her to a new city, her memory’s wiped. No one can touch her bare skin without injury or even death. And she sees the lifespan of every living being (and is, in fact, immortal herself).

All a constant reminder that she’s different than other teen girls.

But New Orleans seems to accept her as she is. She has friends and a real life in this quirky, hot city. Then Isabel meets Dominic, whose deep soul and strong character draw her to him. Her growing love gives her the courage to confront the demon, insisting the curse be broken. But the demon’s price for freedom is much, much higher than she could possibly give.

Cursed since the middle ages? That sounds awesome! Well, not awesome but the book sounds awesome! And I love the cover - it's so pretty!

June 23, 2014

How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller

How to Lead a Life of Crime
How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller
Series: N/A
Source: Bought
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: February 21, 2013
A meth dealer. A prostitute. A serial killer.

Anywhere else, they’d be vermin. At the Mandel Academy, they’re called prodigies. The most exclusive school in New York City has been training young criminals for over a century. Only the most ruthless students are allowed to graduate. The rest disappear.

Flick, a teenage pickpocket, has risen to the top of his class. But then Mandel recruits a fierce new competitor who also happens to be Flick’s old flame. They’ve been told only one of them will make it out of the Mandel Academy. Will they find a way to save each other—or will the school destroy them both?
How to Lead a Life of Crime was nothing like I expected - I'll admit that I've heard some bad things about it, and I just wanted to see if they were true. And in my opinion, they weren't true at all. I thought that it was really gritty and interesting; and the world was just as well done. This was a crazy book, truly.

Our main character, Flick, was a good guy. He may be a pick pocket, but his moral compass points straighter than some I've met. He was loyal as all get out, and really, he just did what he had to do. No one should really blame him for that. And in that school, he may have been one of the only remaining sane people.

How to Lead a Life of Crime was a conspiracy theory and a half - with a crazy scientist, an underground school, and lots of psychopaths. And a few sociopaths, to keep the mix interesting. I liked it. I liked it a lot. It was an amazing read, in a psychotic thriller kind of way.

And some of the side characters? Whoa. Gwendolyn's back story was freaking insanely well crafted, and just like most of the events throughout this read, it was crazy. I loved the fact that the author could create characters that even as teenagers could be seen as psychotic.

The imagination used to create this book was great - I never expected it. It was a tad bit slow, but it definitely makes up for it in the end - I really liked the ending.

How to Lead a Life of Crime shows that no matter how psychotic you are, or how bad people think you are - everyone has a capacity for goodness inside.

June 20, 2014

Stripped by Brooklyn Skye

Stripped (Stripped, #1)
Stripped by Brooklyn Skye
Series: Stripped, #1
Source: Bought
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: May 14, 2013
“I like you.” His voice is low and soft, which I don’t deserve. I look away, down the rutted parking lot.
“Don’t... waste those words on me.”
He touches my cheek. “You just need someone to show you.”
“No.” I ease back again. “I don’t. So please, Torrin, stop trying to swoop in and save me. I don’t need saving.”

College freshman, Quinn Montgomery, will do anything to avoid the mistake her sister made — killing herself over a boy. But when she is forced into nude modeling at a local college to support her family after a bankruptcy, she begins to crack, just enough to let Torrin, the university’s top varsity oarsman, see that the real Quinn is not as feisty and unapproachable as she wants everyone to think. But letting someone in comes at a steep cost and, it turns out, Torrin is connected to Quinn’s family in more ways than she could ever imagine.

Stripped was an okay read for me - I liked it. But it was very predictable, and the romance was just a tiny tad bit cliched. I liked the main character, Quinn. She had a bit of fire to her - I wouldn't be able to do the modeling thing, no matter how much I needed the money. So I respect her for doing what it takes to keep her spot at that school.

But I don't respect some of her other decisions. I mean her "decision" to go "heartless" is ridiculous. It's not even a decision - I'm pretty sure that no one can just shot off their feelings like that, so I'm kind of tired of seeing the heroines who don't want to fall in love. Where are the girls who want to fall in love? I'm tired of this trope, especially in new adult. It's getting a little bit old.

In spite of that, though, Quinn was still an okay sort of character. I just wish she hadn't fallen into that group of characters.

On the opposite spectrum, I really liked Torrin. He was a freaking sweetheart, and he was very... innocent, I guess. His secret, though? It was very cliched. I had it figured out way before Quinn did - and it was obvious.

Their romance was okay, I guess. But I didn't feel like it was all that great - it could have been better, that's for sure. Maybe the next book will help that, though? All in all, Stripped was a likable read, but it's not the greatest new adult I've read. It's far too cliched for that.

June 18, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #44

CreedCreed by Trisha Leaver
Series: N/A
Publisher: Flux
Publication Date: November 8, 2014
Three went in. Three came out. None even a shadow of who they once were.

When their car breaks down, Dee, her boyfriend Luke, and his brother Mike walk through a winter storm to take refuge in a nearby town called Purity Springs. When they arrive, the emergency sirens are blaring and the small farming town seems abandoned. With no other shelter, they spend the night in an empty house.

But they soon discover that not everything in Purity Springs is as it seems. When the town's inhabitants suddenly appear the next morning, Dee, Luke, and Mike find themselves at the mercy of the charismatic leader, Elijah Hawkins, who plans to make Dee his new wife. Elijah's son, Joseph, offers to help them escape . . . but the price of his help may be more than Dee and her friends can bear.

Holy crap, this sounds amazing you guys! It sounds deliciously scary - and weird! I can't wait to read it! :D

June 16, 2014

Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright

Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright
Series: N/A
Source: Bought
Publisher: Poppy (Little, Brown)
Publication Date: February 25, 2011
The blacksmith would marry her.
The woodcutter would run away with her.
The werewolf would turn her into one of its own.

Valerie's sister was beautiful, kind, and sweet. Now she is dead. Henry, the handsome son of the blacksmith, tries to console Valerie, but her wild heart beats fast for another: the outcast woodcutter, Peter, who offers Valerie another life far from home.

After her sister's violent death, Valerie's world begins to spiral out of control. For generations, the Wolf has been kept at bay with a monthly sacrifice. But now no one is safe. When an expert Wolf hunter arrives, the villagers learn that the creature lives among them--it could be anyone in town.

It soon becomes clear that Valerie is the only one who can hear the voice of the creature. The Wolf says she must surrender herself before the blood moon wanes...or everyone she loves will die.
Valerie was not who she had been. She felt parts of herself softly crumbling off, like a cliff falling into the sea.

Looking back at this book, I didn't find it to be very memorable at all. I couldn't connect with any of the characters, Valerie included, and to be downright honest with you? I actually think that I liked the movie more. And that never happens. It was a pretty big disappointment, storywise. I was expecting some big twist, with a terrifying take on an old fairytale - which unfortunately didn't happen. It was kind of blegh.

Valerie's character was like cardboard. I feel like she didn't think through any of her decisions, and really she just had no pizzazz. Even her feelings of  "love" were flat and underdeveloped. Not to mention the fact that the poor girl is an idiot. I'm not even being mean. But really, she is. It seemed like every five minutes, her opinion on who the wolf was changed... and she stabbed her boyfriend. Real smart, sweetie. (Don't worry, he still "loves" her.)

You know what? Now is the perfect time to talk about the feelings of instalove! Blegh! Let us all fall madly in love with each other over nothing! Grrr. Not only did Red Riding Hood have a terrible case of instalove, it also had a love triangle. A badly done love triangle, that basically made me want to eat my ball cap or something. No romance! No feelings! But don't forget, we're madly in love! (Also, I don't remember if this happens in the book - if it did, I rolled my eyes - but in the movie, he tells her that he'll "eat her up". SERIOUSLY.)

The point of view switched several times without warning, and while it wasn't very confusing, it was pretty annoying. It killed me. And let's not even mention how open the ending was - like really bad open. AND THE LAST CHAPTER IS ON THE INTERNET. *RAGE FACE* I'm not even going to pretend that it was a good ending. It was predictable, dumb, and everything I don't want in an ending.

All in all, Red Riding Hood was okay... but I have many rants on it. So it wasn't great - only read it if you like the movie, I guess. Because everything that happened in the book was in the movie - and the book was written to "give more life" to the screenplay. Fail.

June 13, 2014

Kiss Me Again by Rachel Vail

Kiss Me Again (If We Kiss, #2)
Kiss Me Again by Rachel Vail
Series: If We Kiss, #2
Source: Bought
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: December 5, 2012
Kiss Me Again, the sequel to Rachel Vail's beloved contemporary teen romance If We Kiss, follows Charlie (Charlotte) Collins as she struggles with her feelings for her longtime crush Kevin Lazarus after their parents marry and he becomes her stepbrother.

It was complicated enough when their parents were only dating and Kevin was going out with Charlie's best friend, Tess. Now, living under one roof, Charlie and Kevin are crossing paths and crossing lines, sneaking around at night and then sitting down to breakfast together as a family. It feels so crazy—exciting, confusing, impossible, and romantic. It can't last, not like this, but if anybody discovers their secret, everything could explode. . . .

Praised for her wit and realism, award-winning author Rachel Vail delivers a poignant tale of first love and powerful kisses, at long last answering the question of what happens when a crush so off-limits it has to be fantasy suddenly becomes very real.

I've been wanting to continue Charlie and Kevin's story for a long time - but what I didn't realize was that Kiss Me Again would leave me with just as many questions as the first book! I mean, really. I was hoping for this book to resolve their romance - but I just have more questions about how they're going to make it work! That ending honestly felt like a cop out to me.

Kevin and Charlie were absolutely perfect together - they're the greatest mix of awkward and adorable. Just like their situation. The story was super light and cute, with a just a couple of tense moments, which was pretty nice.

I enjoyed all of the character development that we got from Charlie in this one - I had forgotten that she was so funny! I love her sense of humor, and though she can be a bit immature, her heart is in the right place. I also thought it was cool that Kevin is color blind. And an artist. That's something that you never see in YA fiction, so it was awesome to have a main character with those issues. On top of that, Kevin is super sweet! I think that's adorable.

The introduction of Anya and Charlie's new job was cool - I enjoyed all of Charlie's coworkers and their quirks. And I love, love, love Kevin's dad! He's so very dense, and he's always interrupting the moment - and never even realizing it! I loved that. It made for some really fun awkward moments.

Let's talk about Charlie's best friend, Tess, though. I didn't care for her at all in Kiss Me Again. I'm 98% sure that the girl is a liar, and she's not a very good friend. I honestly wanted to beat her with a stick - she would have deserved it for some of the things she did.

All in all, Kiss Me Again was a fun, light book. A bit of fluff, to tell you the truth.

June 11, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #43

They All Fall DownThey All Fall Down by Roxanne St. Clair
Series: N/A
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: October 14, 2014
Pretty Little Liars meets Final Destination in this YA psychological thriller that will have readers' hearts racing right till the very end!

Every year, the lives of ten girls at Vienna High are transformed.

All because of the list.

Kenzie Summerall can't imagine how she's been voted onto a list of the hottest girls in school, but when she lands at number five, her average life becomes dazzling. Doors open to the best parties, new friends surround her, the cutest jock in school is after her.

This is the power of the list. If you're on it, your life changes.

If you're on it this year? Your life ends.

O.O Sounds intriguing! I love thrillers, so I'm really interested to see what this one brings. My only fear? That it won't be scary enough! I love that cover!!

June 9, 2014

Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown

Thousand Words
Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown
Series: N/A
Source: Bought
Publisher: Little, Brown
Publication Date: May 21, 2013
Ashleigh's boyfriend, Kaleb, is about to leave for college, and Ashleigh is worried that he'll forget about her while he's away. So at a legendary end-of-summer pool party, Ashleigh's friends suggest she text him a picture of herself -- sans swimsuit -- to take with him. Before she can talk herself out of it, Ashleigh strides off to the bathroom, snaps a photo in the full-length mirror, and hits "send."

But when Kaleb and Ashleigh go through a bad breakup, Kaleb takes revenge by forwarding the text to his baseball team. Soon the photo has gone viral, attracting the attention of the school board, the local police, and the media. As her friends and family try to distance themselves from the scandal, Ashleigh feels completely alone -- until she meets Mack while serving her court-ordered community service. Not only does Mack offer a fresh chance at friendship, but he's the one person in town who received the text of Ashleigh's photo -- and didn't look.

Acclaimed author Jennifer Brown brings readers a gripping novel about honesty and betrayal, redemption and friendship, attraction and integrity, as Ashleigh finds that while a picture may be worth a thousand words . . . it doesn't always tell the whole story.

Thousand Words is one of those books that I think every teenage girl should read. Because as a teenager myself, I've never really thought about the implications of sexting (it's not really my thing), but reading this book was a huge thing. I never could have imagined how something so simple could spiral out of control! I mean, her boyfriend (she thought) was the only one who was ever going to see it. And then everyone saw it. It was viral on the internet, and people she's never even met have seen her naked.

How embarrassing is that? In Ashleigh's situation, I would truly be freaking out. And you've got to give Ashleigh points for how she handles it - she does her best to ignore it all, even when it's hurtful. So many nasty things get said to her, and she just keeps on trucking. She does her best to move on with her life, which is really the best thing that she can possibly do in her situation. Ashleigh projects her feelings very well as a character, and it was really easy for me to put myself in her shoes. I'm glad they didn't fit.

I honestly thought that Thousand Words was very realistic - I can imagine this all happening, and that's the scary part! Everything was very well thought out and written, in my opinion.

I will say that I looked forward to the community service chapters more than the flashbacks, though. I liked seeing how she was doing now, as opposed to then. At least she was on her way to happy in the present, whereas in the past she was very, very sad. And I don't blame her. But those chapters had such a feeling of hope being snuffed out - I just couldn't take it.

All in all, teen girls everywhere should read Thousand Words. I would never have imagined how one single act would follow someone forever.

June 6, 2014

How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

How My Summer Went Up in Flames
How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
Series: N/A
Source: Bought
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
First she lost her heart. Then she lost her mind. And now she’s on a road trip to win back her ex. This debut novel’s packed with drama and romance!

Rosie’s always been impulsive. She didn’t intend to set her cheating ex-boyfriend’s car on fire. And she never thought her attempts to make amends could be considered stalking. So when she’s served with a temporary restraining order on the first day of summer vacation, she’s heartbroken—and furious.

To put distance between Rosie and her ex, Rosie’s parents send her on a cross-country road trip with responsible, reliable neighbor Matty and his two friends. Forget freedom of the road, Rosie wants to hitchhike home and win back her ex. But her determination starts to dwindle with each passing mile. Because Rosie’s spark of anger? It may have just ignited a romance with someone new…

I really expected How My Summer Went Up in Flames to be different. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but... for lack of a better choice of words, my ship sank. My OTP didn't happen. I feel slighted. I'm pretty sure this has never happened to me like this. I mean, of course my ships have sank before... but it's never felt this ridiculously off. Like, why did she even go for the other guy? I don't even understand the appeal, you know? But I've got to talk about something else for a bit.

I wasn't sure I would like Rosie in the beginning. Sometimes she seemed okay, but other times she was just out of nowhere impulsive and kind of annoying. She was definitely 900% high strung, that's for sure! She could be hard to deal with, even for me.

I love love loved the character of Matty, who was a my ship. I freely admit that I wanted Matty and Rosie to happen - because the guy she chose is nothing in comparison to Matty, who was super sweet. He could also be super nerdy, and he was just ridiculously adorable. He seemed like a little kid sometimes, but then others he acted like an adult. It was part of his charm.

Logan and his brother were okay, but they didn't really stand out as characters. They had a few moments, but most of the time they were kind of in the background. All of the boys were super endearing, though. As a group, they really worked well together, and I liked the dynamics of it.

The road trip was fun too - it's always fun when you squish a group of people in a car for a trip! I always love road trips. The time progression was a bit weird, though. It felt like the trip went on forever, and that everything that happened was months old. Which is not necessarily a bad thing!

All in all, How My Summer Went Up in Flames would have totally been better if my ship had sailed, but it really wasn't a bad book in spite of it. Just a bit sad.

June 4, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #42

The Half Life of Molly PierceThe Half Life of Molly Pierce by Katrina Leno
Series: N/A
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: July 8, 2014
You take it for granted. Waking up. Going to school, talking to your friends. Watching a show on television or reading a book or going out to lunch.

You take for granted going to sleep at night, getting up the next day, and remembering everything that happened to you before you closed your eyes.

You live and you remember.

Me, I live and I forget.

But now—now I am remembering. 

For all of her seventeen years, Molly feels like she’s missed bits and pieces of her life. Now, she’s figuring out why. Now, she’s remembering her own secrets. And in doing so, Molly uncovers the separate life she seems to have led…and the love that she can’t let go.

The Half Life of Molly Pierce is a suspenseful, evocative psychological mystery about uncovering the secrets of our pasts, facing the unknowns of our futures, and accepting our whole selves

Doesn't the synopsis of this book just sound delicious?

June 2, 2014

This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

This is What Happy Looks Like
This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
Series: N/A
Source: Bought
Publisher: Headline
Publication Date: April 2, 2013
If fate sent you an email, would you answer?

When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O'Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds.

Then Graham finds out that Ellie's Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs?

In all actuality, I have next to nothing to say about This is What Happy Looks Like. Sure, it was super cute and sweet, but it wasn't much more than that. It was an ultimately forgettable, fluffy kind of book. Which is totally okay, because I've been in a really fluffy mood lately.

Ellie and Graham were both okay kind of characters, but nothing really stood out about them. It was fun to read the alternating points of view, and to see how two completely different people handle their lives, but the reality is that neither of them was very unique.

I liked the romantic tone of the story, but I feel like most of it was just filler. There wasn't any real angst to speak of, and the story kind of trotted along on one hind foot. The ending was super sweet, but this is really all I've got. It reminds me of one of those chick flicks that are okay, but just don't live up to their full potential.

All in all, it was a cute read, but I didn't love love it like I hoped I would.