Monday, April 20, 2020

HOW TO QUIT YOUR CRUSH


Author: Amy Fellner Dominy
Year: 2020
Genre: Y/A Contemporary Fiction
Rate: 4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

“Mai Senn knows Anthony Adams is no good for her - no matter how hard she might crush on him. She’s valedictorian; he’s a surf bum. She’s got plans, he’s got his art. Complete opposites in every way. Vinegar and baking soda, they once joked. A chemical reaction that bubbled.

Yeah, they bubbled. Maybe still do.
Good thing Anthony’s got the perfect plan: two weeks to prove just how not good they are together. Whoever can come up with the worst date—something the other will seriously hate, proving how incompatible they truly are—wins.
Like taking a snake-phobe to the Reptile House at the zoo (his idea).
Or a cooking class where they don’t even get to eat the food (her idea).
It’s all about the competition, and it’s meant to help them finally crush their crushes. But it wasn’t supposed to be so hot. Or so fun. And when Mai’s future becomes at stake, will she be able to do the right thing and quit Anthony forever?”

How to quit your crush is my first book by the author, and as standalone, I didn’t have any trouble understanding the story even without reading the previous one.
The story is sweet and lovely, perfect for those afternoons when you are looking for some relaxing time. Although the beginning is too slow, there is too much dump info about how the romance starts. The three first chapters are mostly flashbacks, and I think it would be nicer if the reader would have the chance to live the experience with the characters, instant of being told. Also, the sense of time seems odd, when the characters talk about the time passed it feels like it was years ago when it was just days or weeks. However around 15% into the story the plot is unfolded, and everything starts making sense.
I liked the sensitives topic explored in this story, both main characters are struggling with fit in, in their own way. One of them after the death of a parent and the other is trying to belong to the family who adopted her.
The sense of growing and the message to be yourself despite being different from what everyone is expecting of you is well done developed especially at the end of the story.
Another thing that I enjoyed about this book is Anthony. He supposes to have a touch of rebel status, but for me, he’s just funny and adorable, He’s just trying to hide the idea of missing so much his dad. On the other hand, I’m on the fence with Mai, she’s so judgemental and it was hard to feel sympathy for her because of that.  Her arc is really flat through the story, not showing any sign of growing, thankfully almost at the end she has her moment of revindication.
Overall, the story is well written, with a strong plot and great concept.  Once I got hooked, it was impossible to put it down until I was done with the last page.
Give it a try and you’ll not regret it.
100% recommended
Note: I received an ARC from Entangled Publishing, LLC. Through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. And I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Another Note: Image was taken from www.goodreads.com


Tuesday, April 7, 2020

THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER


BY: Sarah Dessen
Year: 2004
Genre: YA, Contemporary Fiction.
Rate: 3,5 stars⭐⭐⭐✨

“Don’t be afraid, Be alive.”

This is my fourth attempt with the author’s works and the first book I get to finish it without DNF.

There is something appealing about the narrative and the writing in Sarah Dessen’s books. She writes with so much passion and emotion, and maybe that was the reason I kept trying. People are right, there is wonder in her books. Actually, I never had a problem, following the story, to admire the writing or the plot.  

However, no matter how beautiful the narrative is, sometimes it is too much of on and on with the same topic. In this particular book, I found myself lost in a conversation after reading three pages of one thought about one single idea. Also, there are some repetitions, at first, I thought it was part of a character’s attribute, but then it was all over the story.   For example, I don’t think to repeat ‘you know’ it works the way it should. It’s a little distracting a least for me.

Another thing I have trouble to understand are the characters, after fourth tries, I found that there is so much unexplored potential in the characters, they could have been great, and in my opinion, they didn’t reach the point of to be likeable, or to care about them. I get it, a character needs to have flaws to be real, and more important to show how it grows in the story. But I’ve always thought that a character needs to be strong, to communicate their changes, and I didn’t find any of those qualities, in any of the protagonists or other characters I’ve read so far in any of the writer’s books, the low self-esteem, the silent, is too much to handle. Except for Kristy, in this story, she’s the new friend, the loyal, the hopeful, the crazy, the honest, the romantic, the optimistic, the soul. She’s everything that it should be spread among the characters in any kind of story. And she’s one of the reasons I keep reading and why this book is good.

Also, there is one situation that in this book, it didn’t work for me. It’s true, life and the world aren’t perfect, but they are moments of perfection. For example, if I need to buy a dress and I find one in the first store I enter, in my size, and it fits greats, that is what I call a moment of perfection, and it will make me happy, and there is nothing wrong with that.

I get it organization and chaos need a balance, but if a person is happy with organization, let them be. The problem for what I see, it isn’t about to be or no to be perfect, to like or not to like chaos, the thing here is to be happy whatever the way a person wants to be, and not just the way a protagonist says it should be.  And even when there are hints about ‘it’s okay to be yourself’ in the story, I think there is still something missing.

Anyway, I’m happy that I insisted on the Author. I knew that eventually, I’d find one that I’ll enjoy it, and I did. But I don’t think she’s the kind of author for me, maybe I’ll try again, maybe not. Still, I’m grateful for the experience. It was worth it.

Best phrase:
“This felt right Not just leaving, but how I was doing it. Without regret, without second guessing. And with Wes right there, holding the door open for me as I walk out into the light.”

Note: Photo was taken from www.google.com

Thursday, March 26, 2020

FOR DAYS OF YOU AND ME


By: Miranda Kenneally
Genre: Y/A.  Contemporary Romance
Year: 2020.
Rating: 4 stars.🌟🌟🌟🌟


“Every May 7, the students at Coffee County High School take a class trip. And every year, Lulu’s relationship with Alex Rouvelis gets a little more complicated. Freshman year, they went from sworn enemies to more than friends after a close encounter in an escape room. It’s been hard for Lulu to quit Alex ever since.
Through breakups, make ups, and dating other people, each year’s class trip brings the pair back together and forces them to confront their undeniable connection. From the science museum to an amusement park, from New York City to London, Lulu learns one thing is for sure: love is the biggest trip of all.”

Even though this book isn’t entirely about a sport, like every other story by the author it has his magic. To be honest, I had to force myself through the first couple of chapters to get into the book, but once it got me, there wasn’t any way I couldn’t put it down until I finish it.
‘Four Days of You and Me’ has all the whole package of an excellent Y/A story, friendship, romance, growing up and learnings, with a particular concept, that I think is the key for this story’s success, It’s told through entire high school experience. No one year, no one season, with this book, we have the opportunity of living the life of the characters and their adventures for four years.
I love the writing, it’s so powerful, I feel everything, anger, depression, sadness, euphoric and happiness. Lulu and her gang are fantastic, I laugh and cry with them. Alex, on the other hand, gets on my nerve more than once, but with every page, I start to understand him and kind of like him. Still, the author has created better male characters in the past.
Another thing it doesn’t convince me well, it’s the idea of the antagonist comforting the protagonist. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good example and great learning, but for a reader like me, that it needs to feel everything like it is real, this situation doesn’t work, maybe with some more explanation. And what about children deciding on their healthcare over teachers, the only thing I could think at the moment was a liability. However, those are small details that anyone can overlook and just appreciate a well-done plot.
I really enjoyed the reading, especially when it helped me to bring those memories of my high school years, the feeling of having the best time of my life, the longing at the end and those friends that I might or might no seeing again, but that always were going to be important in my heart.
100% Recommended

Best phrases:
“When I was younger. I wondered if happily-ever-afters were realistic. Were they a myth? I still don’t know the truth. A friend could choose a different path. A lover could leave. Family can change their minds, there’s only one thing I know for sure. … No matter what we’ll find our way back.”

I received an ARC from Sourcebooks through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. And I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Note: Picture was taken from www.goodreads.com

Sunday, January 5, 2020

ECHOES BETWEEN US


By: Katie McGarry
Genre: Y/A Contemporary Romance
Year: 2020
Rate: 5 stars. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

“He’s right beside me. Patient, kind, and doesn’t once try to do it for me. He encourages, but he lets me fight on my own.”

A little about the book:
“Veronica sees ghosts. More specifically, her mother's ghost. The afterimages of blinding migraines caused by the brain tumor that keeps her on the fringes and consumes her whole life haunt her, even as she wonders if it's something more...
Golden boy Sawyer is handsome and popular, a state champion swimmer, but his adrenaline addiction draws him to Veronica.
A girl with nothing to live for and a boy with everything to lose--can they conquer their demons together?”

My review:
I read this book a few weeks ago, now I’m sitting in front of my computer, closing my eyes and I’m feeling exactly the same I felt when I read the end. My heart is swollen with wonder.
I’m a huge fan of Katie McGarry’s work, and in my opinion, this story is completely different from her others. Yes, of course, we find the signature elements but, this book is more human, more realistic and scarier because there is nothing scarier than life. 
The plot is unique, adding a supernatural element which gives some intrigue touch to the story.
Echoes between us tell the story of Veronica and Sawyer, and their journey to live a life against the odds, to support each other, and to break the vicious circle, to help each other to be free.
The narrative is outstanding, Veronica and Sawyer’s voices are sincere and vulnerable, sometimes I just wanted to get inside the book and hug them.
 As usual the author also includes sensitive topics, and in this particular case, some issues that make the reader think a lot about life choices. Or at least it did for me.
There’s friendship too, the one that was born a first sigh, the occasional one, and the one that reborn after ashes.
Every character has its own personal touch to the story, they’re well done portrayed. I would love to read more about Scarlet and Jesse, but I understand this isn’t their story.
I love the romance. It isn’t instantaneous. At first, they don’t even like each other, it’s built slowly, piece by piece and when they realize the like each other, still they decide they need each other more as a friend.
Finally, I have to say that with every book not matter what Katie McGarry finds a special way to make us get inside the story, to live and feel like every character, to makes us love and hate with so much passion and always to want more.
This book is perfect for everybody especially for those who need to learn how to trust.
100% recommended.

Note: I received an ARC from Tor/forge through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. And I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Note: Photo is taken from google.com 

Thursday, November 7, 2019

EVERY OTHER WEEKEND


Author: Abigail Johnson
Genre: Y/A Contemporary Fiction
Year: 2020
Rate:  πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸ

“Adam Moynihan’s life used to be awesome. Straight As, close friends and a home life so perfect that it could have been a TV show straight out of the 50s. Then his oldest brother died. Now his fun-loving mom cries constantly, he and his remaining brother can’t talk without fighting, and the father he always admired proved himself a coward by moving out when they needed him most.
Jolene Timber’s life is nothing like the movies she loves—not the happy ones anyway. As an aspiring director, she should know, because she’s been reimagining her life as a film ever since she was a kid. With her divorced parents at each other’s throats and using her as a pawn, no amount of mental reediting will give her the love she’s starving for.
Forced to spend every other weekend in the same apartment building, the boy who thinks forgiveness makes him weak and the girl who thinks love is for fools begin an unlikely friendship. The weekends he dreaded and she endured soon become the best part of their lives. But when one’s life begins to mend while the other’s spirals out of control, they realize that falling in love while surrounded by its demise means nothing is ever guaranteed.”

… And I know you’re gonna break my heart at some point, I might even break yours. I pressed her hand firmly against my chest. “But it’s yours to break and mend and hopefully not break again.”

I finished the book two days ago, and I’m still trying to find the best words to describe how much this story made me feel.
So here, this is me trying:
The first thing I need to say is this book hit close home. I’m a divorced parents’ child, I was little when it happened and with the time, I learned to lock the memories far, far away. Also, like the characters in this book, I felt lost and with the need for belonging, I think every person in this world has felt in that way at some point in their life, and stories like this, remain us that we aren’t alone.
Every other weekend goes beyond greatness. It’s magical, full of melancholy, sweetness, and hope. Form the beginning and I mean ‘the dedication’ as the very beginning, this story promises a journey for the soul, all the way until the acknowledgment last word.
As always, the author fills the pages with power and strength, with cuteness and smiles. The narrative is excellent, hypnotic and heartfelt.
The plot is brilliant. It goes around all kinds of abuse and the reminder that it’s something real. I’d rather have a little more emphasis in therapy (I can’t say more without spoil) but that’s my belief not necessary somebody has to agree with that. However, the author handles every difficult situation told in the story like a pro.
The characters are well done portrayed, I’m happy for some twist and sad for the honesty in some realities I guess that’s part of the story… to show us that ‘happy ever after’ not necessarily means perfection.
Jolene and Adam are one of those kind couples you will remember forever. Their complement and mend each other. I love their chemistry, their passion, their innocence. And I love that despite all the awfulness in their life, they have found each other.
 Finally, this book deserves 5 stars, not just because of the craft but for every emotion that emanates from the pages.
100% recommended
Note: I received an ARC from Inkyard and Harlequin through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. And I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Note: Image was taken from www.google.com 

Saturday, April 27, 2019

ASK ME ANYTHING


Author: Molly E. Lee.

Year: 2019

Genre: Y/A Contemporary Fiction.

Rate: 4 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Amber is the best hacker in a school with the most obsolete concepts, especially about sexual education.
So, she had an idea, she created a blog to help all of those afraid to ask questions about sensitive topics.
First of all, let me tell you that this blog “Ask me anything” should be something real. Let’s face it, the reality is that no matter our beliefs or our ideas, teenagers are curious per nature, they need guidance and education especially on a topic so delicate like sex, and for me, the author nailed the subject brilliantly; the plot is unique, original and well done delivered. There are sensitive situations that the writer handled carefully and smartly.
I liked the characters, especially the protagonist and her parents. Amber is strong, determinate and sweet, a great combo, and Amber’s parents are great, for once I liked to read a story where the main character has a good relationship with mom and dad, and that they are good listener and supporter, bravo!  Descriptions, scenes, setting, in my opinion, the author hit every right button when she wrote this book. Excellent!
Now, what I didn’t enjoy much as the rest.
Repetitions. The story is told from both main characters POV, and that is one of my favorites writing. However, they go on and on with the same inner thought which makes the story slower than what it should be.
We know there have to be secrets, if not what is the point of the story but, in this book, it’s ‘I have a secret, but I can’t tell you’ kind of thing. It would be much better if the reader walks the path without being told.
And every good part of the story is discovered because somebody walks behind the character and read something over their shoulder. It’s like everybody flies instead of walking. It’s too convenient. Once can be okay, but more than that, not so much.
Despite this minors’ things, I think Ask me anything should be read not just for a teenager but for everybody it has a good message and again it’s well-done delivery.   
Note: I received an ARC from Entangled Publishing LLC through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. And I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


Monday, January 21, 2019

ONLY A BREATH APART

By: Katie McGarry
Genre: Y/A Contemporary Romance
Year: 2019
Rate: 5 stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

“Success isn’t making the right choice every time. Success is trying again after you’ve failed.”

A little about the book:
“Jesse dreams of working the land that’s been in his family forever. But he’s cursed to lose everything he loves most.
Scarlett is desperate to escape her “charmed” life. But leaving a small town is easier said than done.
Despite their history of heartbreak, when Jesse sees a way they can work together to each get what they want, Scarlett can’t say no. Each midnight meeting between Jesse and Scarlett will push them to confront their secrets and their feelings for each other.”

My review:
Adults are awful!
Well not all of them, just those ones who have forgotten what is to be a child, those who don’t know the real meaning of love and those who lost theirs inside Peter Pan.
That wasn’t the way I wanted to start my review, but it’s one of the things that hooked me deeply into the story, the importance of keeping the innocence and the adventure in our heart in order to live the life the best what we can.

Now, after saying this, let talk about the book, Only Breathe Apart is a whole complex, sensitive, heartfelt plot. It tells the story of Jessie and Scarlet, and their journey to rediscover their friendship and love that one was lost. More than that, it’s their journey to find the real meaning of what is Love, to find themselves, who they are and who they want to be, and how to fight prejudice and discrimination.

“Is it possible to love someone who hurts you? Is it possible for the person who hurts you to love you?

There is more, the author brings to the story a sensitive topic about family abuse, physically, mentally and emotionally, as the terrible reality of how some people living under this situation can possibly think that is normal and they don’t know how or don’t want to break the vicious cycle.

“A different type of pain. Your body may not be cut or bruised, but your soul is ripped apart all the same.”

There’s friendship too, the real one when friends don’t look like friends, but they really are, and the fake one, those friends that they are something else but friends.

I found this book different from others written by Katie. It’s deeper, more powerful, it shows how “the real-world works.”

Another thing I like, are new elements incorporated into the story, magic, mystery, and a mystique aura, definitely the author nailed it.

About the writing, Katie’ style is magnificent, her dialogues, and descriptions are so effective that readers don’t realize how deep involve they are into the story.

The characters, each one of them are unique, especially main characters:
Jesse is a warrior, and a broken wing, he desperately wants to believe in himself and in the people he loves.
Scarlet is another broken wing but for a different reason, she’s strong, sweet and innocent at the same time. She wants to success despite the world tell her she will fail.
 
Jesse was freedom, when so much of my life meant confinement. He was laughter during dark nights, he was the warrior who scared the monster under my bed away.

Finally, what I like the most besides the reference to my favorite classic, Peter Pan is the beautiful prose, Katie has a gift to squeeze our hearts with every word, to make us cry, sigh, laugh, smile. Readers can feel every character’s emotions and, in this case, readers can feel every breath.

“ ‘Where exactly are we going?’
‘Same place as always.’
I’m dumbfounded as he walks towards his land. ‘And where is that?’
‘Second star on the right then straight on the till.’

There is just one question that I didn’t know why it wasn’t answered and I think I didn’t understand one of Jesse’s choices, but in that case, it wasn’t the writing or the character or the author, I think it was more about me and what I would had done.

“My heart beats, his hearts beats and beneath us the land breathes in.”

This book is perfect, not justs for young adult but for everybody like I said adults need to keep the innocence in their heart and this book can helps with that.
100% recommended.

Note: I received an ARC from Inkslinger PR through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. And I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.



Excerpt:
~SCARLETT~
My entire body seizes. “You’re supposed to give me a ride home.”
Glory ends the call and offers me an apologetic expression. “I forgot I had a phone meeting. I’ll take you home, after the call, but this will be a lengthy session.”
Meaning I won’t be home by curfew. “Reschedule.”
Glory has a thoughtful look as she approaches me. One that makes me feel like I should run. She leans forward and says in my ear, “You felt something when you saw the Chariot.”
The moment she placed that card on the table I felt as if I had sprinted headfirst into a wall. It was a stunned feeling, as if I were lost in a fog, but I won’t admit that. Not to her, not to anybody.
“You’ve been asleep for a very long time,” she whispers. “It’s time to wake up, Scarlett. There’s a whole word of possibility waiting for you.”
I step back from her because this lady is insane. “I need you to take me home.”
“I can’t, but I’m sure Jesse can lead the way.”
Um…no. I spin on my toes, and I’m out the door, down the stairs and I head east for home. Seconds later, the screen door slams shut again, and there are heavy footfalls on the wooden steps.
“Wait up!” Jesse calls out.
Nope. Not going to happen. I enter the tree line and curse the sky above that there’s no moon. This is the country, which means that besides the fading light from Glory’s house, I’m in complete darkness.
“Scarlett!” Jesse tries again. “Wait!”
But I don’t. I walked this land hundreds of times with Jesse, sometimes by myself so I could find him when I needed a friend. I can do this on my own.
“Let me find you so I can walk you home,” Jesse says.
He’s to my right, and I hurry because I don’t want to be found. My pulse pounds in my ears, and my blood tingles with this need to stay hidden, to stay alone.
Once upon a time, Jesse was my best friend, and then one day he froze me out. He stopped answering the door when I knocked, he ran away when he saw me coming across the field and then when we were forced into the same space on the first day of our freshman year, he humiliated me in front of the entire school.
Jesse Lachlin crushed me, and while I feel sorry for him because his grandmother died, I don’t forgive him for leaving a scar on my soul.
“Dammit, Scarlett, stop being so stubborn.”
My jaw clenches, and it takes an immeasurable amount of self-control to not explain to Jesse in a very loud tone that he’s the biggest jerk I’ve ever met. Doing so will inform him where I’m located, and I need him to leave me alone.
I push forward, faster this time, but then my foot snags on a root. My balance is thrown and my arms swing wildly in the air. I attempt to reach for something to break my fall, but my fingers catch air. The sensation is like the first massive hill of a roller coaster as my stomach lifts, and I brace myself for impact with the ground.
I close my eyes, tense my muscles and I’m caught. Strong, warm arms weave around me from behind and then my back is pressed flush against a solid chest. My heart leaps, and my lungs are robbed of air.
“You okay?” Jesse’s mouth is incredibly close to my ear, and his hot breath tickles my skin. I tremble because of the adrenaline or because of this achingly beautiful intimacy, I don’t know.
“Are you okay?” he asks again, and this time his arms tenderly squeeze me as if he’s offering comfort, as if he honestly cares. It’s been so long since anyone has hugged me that a part of me melts into the embrace as if I’m dry ground welcoming a warm rain.



Note: Photos and excerpt were provided by @katiemcgarry or @InkSlingerPR.