Tag Archives: 3.5 stars

Book Review: The Color Project by Sierra Abrams

The Color Project

The Color Project

Release date: August 17th 2017

3.5 stars

Bernice Aurora Wescott has one thing she doesn’t want anyone to know: her name. That is, until Bee meets Levi, the local golden boy who runs a charity organization called The Color Project.
Levi is not at all shy about attempting to guess Bee’s real name; his persistence is one of the many reasons why Bee falls for him. But while Levi is everything she never knew she needed, giving up her name would feel like a stamp on forever. And that terrifies her.
When unexpected news of an illness in the family drains Bee’s summer of everything bright, she is pushed to the breaking point. Losing herself in The Color Project—a world of weddings, funerals, cancer patients, and hopeful families that the charity funds—is no longer enough. Bee must hold up the weight of her family, but to do that, she needs Levi. She’ll have to give up her name and let him in completely or lose the best thing that’s ever happened to her.

This book had made its way on to my must read list a while ago and once I had it in my hands, it didn’t take me long to settle in to read it. I really enjoyed the friendships, family dynamics, the relationship between Bee and Levi, and the whole concept of The Color Project. It’s the type of book that can make the reader want to go out and get involved the way these characters did. I also really liked all the scenes that involved Bee at her job at a florist’s, especially once she began designing her own arrangements.

Beatrice, Bee, was the second oldest in a family of four and I found she was a very easy character to relate to. When she found a project she believed in, she threw herself into it, like with The Color Project. She loved her family, sometimes they could annoy her, but when they needed to pull together or comfort each other, they were there. She had some great friendships with Gretchen, her best friend who had recently moved, with some of her brother’s friends, and new friendships with some of the workers at The Color Project. She went by her nickname, Bee, instead of her full name and only a few people even knew her full name. I liked that Levi made a game out of guessing her name. It was cute and playful.

The relationship between Bee and Levi was a huge part of the story so I was glad I enjoyed it. There was an immediately attraction and interest between them but it was a slow developing relationship. They were good for each other and I thought it was a believable relationship with the issues that ended up appearing, like the big one from the synopsis with Bee not wanting to reveal her full name. There were times when I wanted to yell at them to just talk to each other and to actually listen to what the other was saying, but it showed that as cute as they were together, they were not immune to having problems in their relationship.

There was a few times the book felt a little long. From the synopsis, I knew there would be an illness in Bee’s family but it seemed to take forever for it to be revealed. I think I was about halfway through the book before that storyline took place. It did make me feel like the story was dragged out a bit, even with all the cute interactions between characters(which I am always a fan of). I did find the plot easy to predict but the character dynamics did their best to make up for it.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

1 Comment

Filed under book-related, books, reviews, talking books, ya books

Book Review: Click’d by Tamara Ireland Stone

Click'd

Click’d

Release date: September 5th 2017

3.5 stars

Allie Navarro can’t wait to show her best friends the app she built at CodeGirls summer camp. CLICK’D pairs users based on common interests and sends them on a fun (and occasionally rule-breaking) scavenger hunt to find each other. And it’s a hit. By the second day of school, everyone is talking about CLICK’D.
Watching her app go viral is amazing. Leaderboards are filling up! Everyone’s making new friends. And with all the data Allie is collecting, she has an even better shot at beating her archenemy, Nathan, at the upcoming youth coding competition. But when Allie discovers a glitch that threatens to expose everyone’s secrets, she has to figure out how to make things right, even if that means sharing the computer lab with Nathan. Can Allie fix her app, stop it from doing any more damage, and win back the friends it hurt-all before she steps on stage to present CLICK’D to the judges?

I really loved Every Last Word, which dealt with the world of poetry, so I was really excited to see how Tamara Ireland Stone would handle the world of technology and apps. As this is a middle grade novel, I thought the author did a great job using the world of app development and the technology required in a way that felt realistic but without getting too detailed to overwhelm the reader. It was really great to see a middle grade book with a female character focused on coding and friendships. The writing was beautiful in a way I’ve come to expect for Tamara Ireland Stone and, while it was a short, quick read it still had a good message.

Allie was a young character, only twelve years old, so I thought it was understandable that she could be a little selfish and immature. She got caught up in the hype surrounding the app she designed and didn’t want to admit to her parents when there were glitches. Asking for help and taking responsibility for mistakes is a huge part of growing up and it was something Allie slowly did through the book.

I really liked the dynamics in the relationships Allie had with her friends, her parents, and her nemesis. The book was short so the turnaround between Allie and Nathan going from enemies to friends felt a little rushed and it would have been nice to see it fleshed out just a bit more, but overall it was really good.

I also liked the whole idea for the app. The scavenger hunt aspect of it sounded like a lot of fun and it’s always fun to find people you have something in common with and make new friends. The glitch in the app sounded like a legitimate problem that could easily happen, one that could end up being an app-killer if not solved. It also led to some good questions being raised about privacy on the internet and could create some good discussions.

*I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

2 Comments

Filed under book-related, books, MG books, reviews, talking books

Book Review: The Art of Feeling by Laura Tims

Art of Feeling

The Art of Feeling

Release date: August 15th 2017

3.5 stars

Since the car accident, Samantha Herring has been in pain, not only from her leg injury, but also from her mother’s death, which has devastated her family. After pushing away her friends, Sam has receded into a fog of depression.
But then Sam meets Eliot, a reckless loner with an attitude and an amazing secret—he can’t feel any pain. At first, Sam is jealous. But then she learns more about his medical condition…and his self-destructive tendencies. In fact, Eliot doesn’t seem to care about anything at all—except maybe Sam. As they grow closer, they begin to confront Sam’s painful memories of the accident—memories that may hold a startling truth about what really happened that day.

This book ended up being a quicker read than I’d originally thought it would considering it was dealing with a family grieving and attempting to move on with their lives after the death of the mother of the family. It also dealt with a boy who couldn’t feel pain and how the teenage daughter from the family and the boy became friends. They were helping each other in ways no one else could. Both teens had interesting family dynamics. Both family fought quite often but they also very obviously did care about each other.

Sam was a likeable character. She struggled with the fact that she’d been in the car with her mother during the crash and has been unable to remember any details about the other car or person who took off. She’d pushed away all her friends during her time out of school right after the accident and was finding it hard to connect with them again when she returned. That led her to becoming friends with Eliot, who both intrigued and frustrated her with his lack of self-preservation. Their dynamics was really interesting and I loved seeing their friendship unfolding.

Sam’s family were all struggling with their grief in their own ways. Her father lost his soulmate, her brother was self-medicating his pain away, and her sister simply stayed away as much as she could. Eliot and his older brother had a very interesting dynamic. His older brother was his primary guarding because their parents were never around. Eliot resented his brother trying to be a parent and his older brother struggled with balancing letting Eliot have independence and making sure he was safe.

Other than these two characters’ developing friendship and Sam’s struggle with her grief, we had some side plots of Eliot being bullied, both of them caught up in being targeted by a childhood friend of Sam’s who was trying to rebuild his image as a tough drug dealer, and the mystery of who was in the other car that hit Sam and her mother. None of them felt too overwhelming and they all tied nicely into the main plot. I thought the author did a good job making sure everything connected.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

2 Comments

Filed under book-related, books, reviews, talking books, ya books

Book Review: Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

Genuine Fraud

Genuine Fraud

Release date:

3.5 stars

The story of a young woman whose diabolical smarts are her ticket into a charmed life. But how many times can someone reinvent themselves? You be the judge. Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains.
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.

I was excited for this book since I enjoyed We Were Liars and this seemed like it could be a good mystery with a twist type of a read. I liked the non-linear storytelling, flashbacks showing the friendship between the two girls and how things escalated to the point where they ended up, and seeing Jule in the present. The characters felt like they were love them or hate them type of characters and I liked some and disliked others.

The novel was very character driven. Jule, the main character, was definitely sketchy in the morals department and had me questioning if I could trust her narrative. That made her interesting and made me want to learn more about her. The supporting cast wasn’t as strong and with less than 300 pages not too many of them got to show a lot of growth.

The main focus was on Jule and the mystery surrounding her. The book was inspired by The Talented Mr Ripley and I definitely saw similarities, to the point where I wasn’t too surprised in regards to a lot of the supposed suspenseful twists. It actually took away a lot of the suspense for me. I do think it’s a book that can be enjoyed by mystery lovers, E. Lockhart fans, and more, it just didn’t grab me in the ways I was hoping it would.

*I received a copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music in exchange for an honest review.

1 Comment

Filed under book-related, books, reviews, talking books, ya books

Book Review: The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano

Glass Spare

The Glass Spare

Release date: October 24th 2017

3.5 stars

Wil Heidle, the only daughter of the king of the world’s wealthiest nation, has grown up in the shadows. Kept hidden from the world in order to serve as a spy for her father—whose obsession with building his empire is causing a war—Wil wants nothing more than to explore the world beyond her kingdom, if only her father would give her the chance.
Until one night Wil is attacked, and she discovers a dangerous secret. Her touch turns people into gemstone. At first Wil is horrified—but as she tests its limits, she’s drawn more and more to the strange and volatile ability. When it leads to tragedy, Wil is forced to face the destructive power within her and finally leave her home to seek the truth and a cure.
But finding the key to her redemption puts her in the path of a cursed prince who has his own ideas for what to do with her power.
With a world on the brink of war and a power of ultimate destruction, can Wil find a way to help the kingdom that’s turned its back on her, or will she betray her past and her family forever?

The synopsis of this book reminded me a lot of Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. It was a bit of a steampunk/fantasy hybrid plot and had some very interesting sibling dynamics that I really enjoyed. They felt so realistic, coming from someone with siblings. The characters and the relationships between them were definitely the best parts of the book for me. The plot was interesting, though there were a few times I found it a little predictable.

Wil, our main character, was a “spare”, a child of the King who was not the heir. I liked that instead of turning against each other, she and two of her siblings were very close. There were times I got vibes of the “Always and Forever” bond of the siblings from The Originals. The discovery of her powers changed things for her and added a new dynamic to the story by introducing Loom, a prince from a rival kingdom. There did seem to be a bit of instalove between them but it wasn’t enough for me not to feel like they could work together.

I am hoping for more world-building in the next book. There was some in this one but it felt very incomplete and left me with some questions. The world-building and predictability has been where I’ve struggled in past Lauren DeStefano books but I am being hopeful for this one. I enjoyed what we got from this first one and it is a very intriguing set-up.

Overall, I enjoyed this first book in her new series and am very hopeful that I will continue to enjoy the rest, when they come out in way too long from now.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

2 Comments

Filed under book-related, books, reviews, talking books, ya books

Book Review: Internet Famous by Danika Stone

Internet Famous

Internet Famous

3.5 stars

High school senior and internet sensation Madison Nakama seems to have it all: a happy family, good grades, and a massive online following for her pop-culture blog. But when her mother suddenly abandons the family, Madi finds herself struggling to keep up with all of her commitments.
Fandom to the rescue! As her online fans band together to help, an online/offline flirtation sparks with Laurent, a French exchange student. Their internet romance—played out in the comments section of her MadLibs blog—attracts the attention of an internet troll who threatens the separation of Madi’s real and online personas. With her carefully constructed life unraveling, Madi must uncover the hacker’s identity before he can do any more damage, or risk losing the people she loves the most… Laurent included.

The first thing that I loved about this book was that Starveil, first mentioned and loved in All the Feels, played a role in this book as well. It wasn’t as big, in All the Feels the main character was a huge fan of Starveil and in Internet Famous the main character was a fan but it didn’t play as big a role in her life as it did with the girl from All the Feels. Where All the Feels showed the more positive side of a fandom coming together, Internet Famous showed the negative side with trolling and bullying.

Madi was a character who had a lot of responsibility, which ended up giving her a lot of freedom. She attended her high school’s online version so she could be available to help with her little sister, who had autism and needed to stick to her routine. It meant Madi was free to run her blog where she would do live watches of shows and movies, having fun blogging about her thoughts on them. She became friends with Laurent and was slowly coming out of her comfort zone when the troll started to attack.

A lot of the supporting cast outside of Madi’s family were her online friends. No one besides Laurents really got a whole lot of development but it made sense to show how supportive online friends can be without having to know a lot of personal information. I would have liked to have seen her family a bit more but it was another thing that made sense with the plot. Madi wasn’t big on sharing her blog with anyone except her sister and even then, she was pulling away from her a little to find out who she was.

I liked the way the troll aspect was handled. It felt very realistic. It started small, easy to ignore but still left Madi a little shaken since the person was invading her safe space. The cyberbullying escalated and the effects on Madi were obvious. It was when the mood shifted from a lighter read to something more serious. It tackled a very real issue with a relatable character and I just wanted the cyberbully to be exposed.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

3 Comments

Filed under book-related, books, reviews, talking books, ya books

Book Review: Girl out of Water by Laura Silverman

Girl out of water

Girl out of Water

Release date: May 2nd 2017

3.5 stars

Anise Sawyer plans to spend every minute of summer with her friends: surfing, chowing down on fish tacos drizzled with wasabi balsamic vinegar, and throwing bonfires that blaze until dawn. But when a serious car wreck leaves her aunt, a single mother of three, with two broken legs, it forces Anise to say goodbye for the first time to Santa Cruz, the waves, her friends, and even a kindling romance, and fly with her dad to Nebraska for the entire summer. Living in Nebraska isn’t easy. Anise spends her days caring for her three younger cousins in the childhood home of her runaway mom, a wild figure who’s been flickering in and out of her life since birth, appearing for weeks at a time and then disappearing again for months, or even years, without a word.
Complicating matters is Lincoln, a one-armed, charismatic skater who pushes Anise to trade her surfboard for a skateboard. As Anise draws closer to Lincoln and takes on the full burden and joy of her cousins, she loses touch with her friends back home – leading her to one terrifying question: will she turn out just like her mom and spend her life leaving behind the ones she loves
.

I loved summer read and this book easily fit in with the types of books I usually look for to grab and read out by the pool or at the beach. It had great character dynamics, a lot of growth, and a nice slow-burn romance. It was a pretty addicting read and the biggest complaint I would have would be that it was predictable.

Anise was looking forward to her last summer with her group of friends so I could understand her disappointment when she found out she had to spend her summer in Nebraska helping her injured aunt with her cousins. It definitely wasn’t the summer she had planned. She did come across as a bit whiny and bratty in the beginning but in a way that was understandable instead of over the top. It also meant that she wouldn’t be able to do the thing she loved doing most in the world – surf – all summer. I enjoyed seeing her find ways to connect with her cousins and make the best of her situation, like going to the park and learning to skateboard.

We don’t get to see much of Anise’s friends before she went to Nebraska but it was easy to get the feeling for how close a group they were. I thought the author did a great job showing how hard it can be to keep in touch when everyone was so busy, even though they’d promised to all keep in touch. Timing wouldn’t work out, something else would come up that prevented it, life happened. In Nebraska, Anise was getting closer to her cousins, learning how to skateboard, and developing an attraction to a skateboarder named Lincoln. I loved seeing those two together. They were really cute and Lincoln was really good for Anise.

There was an underlying issue through the whole book of Anise’s mother who’d been absent most of her life. Her mom would show up every now and then in her life but was mostly gone, leaving all the hurt behind her. Anise worried that she would be like her mom so she didn’t have a huge desire to leave her home town. With most people I went to school with wanting to leave as soon as they could, it was an interesting point-of-view.

This was a really good addition to my summer reads list and I’m excited to see what Laura Silverman does next.

*I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review*

4 Comments

Filed under book-related, books, reviews, talking books, ya books

Book Review: Windfall by Jennifer E Smith

Windfall

Windfall

Release date: May 2nd 2017

3.5 stars

Alice doesn’t believe in luck—at least, not the good kind. But she does believe in love, and for some time now, she’s been pining for her best friend, Teddy. On his eighteenth birthday—just when it seems they might be on the brink of something—she buys him a lottery ticket on a lark. To their astonishment, he wins $140 million, and in an instant, everything changes.
At first, it seems like a dream come true, especially since the two of them are no strangers to misfortune. As a kid, Alice won the worst kind of lottery possible when her parents died just over a year apart from each other. And Teddy’s father abandoned his family not long after that, leaving them to grapple with his gambling debts. Through it all, Teddy and Alice have leaned on each other. But now, as they negotiate the ripple effects of Teddy’s newfound wealth, a gulf opens between them. And soon, the money starts to feel like more of a curse than a windfall.
As they try to find their way back to each other, Alice learns more about herself than she ever could have imagined . . . and about the unexpected ways in which luck and love sometimes intersect.

This book was very typical Jennifer E Smith, in the best ways possible. It was a light read with quirky characters and that familiar writing style that has me reading until the last page. It dealt with a lot of topics other than just focusing on an eighteen-year-old winning a massive lottery and it changing his life. It dealt with death, survivor’s guilt, first love, heartbreak. I thought the book did a wonderful job showing how different people would react to winning and how they would choose to spend the money, which Jennifer E Smith was able to do by having her main character be the friend who bought the lottery ticket instead of the person who won.

Alice was a character I found myself both relating to and not quite understanding. Loving seeing her friend happy, worried he would change with all that money, worried people would use him, not wanting to confess her feelings, all those I got. Even being afraid of accepting some of the money in fear it would change her I could understand. The part I had a hard time with was that she could be very judgemental but that was part of her growth arc. With Teddy, we got to see his growth arc through Alice’s eyes and he had to learn what having all that money meant to the people who were suddenly appearing in his life. I couldn’t blame him for going a little crazy with it all at first. Even the adult in me knows I would too.

I love the friendship between Alice, Teddy, and Leo. They were a perfect balance to each other. Leo was very practical and seemed a lot more mature than the other two. Alice was a good girl, trying to make her late parents proud with her volunteer work but still looking to find who she really was. Teddy was the more brash and impulsive of the three of them and was the one often reminding the other two to have fun. The friendship was strong between these three, even with the feelings between Alice and Teddy. I liked that Leo wasn’t easily shoved to the side the second something started to develop between Alice and Teddy.

The plot went pretty much where I was expecting it to go but it was still a fun reading journey. It did a good job balancing the more fun aspects of the story like an eighteen year old suddenly having so much money and going a little crazy with it to and the more serious tones like Alice still dealing with the deaths of her parents and the downside to having all that money. It was a quick read and I would definitely say this is one of my favourite Jennifer E Smith books so far.

*I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review*

2 Comments

Filed under book-related, books, reviews, talking books, ya books

Book Review: Confessions of a High School Disaster by Emma Chastain

Confessions

Confessions of a High School Disaster

Release date: March 7th 2017

3.5 stars

I’m Chloe Snow, and my life is kiiiiind of a disaster.
1. I’m a kissing virgin (so so so embarrassing).
2. My best friend, Hannah, is driving me insane.
3. I think I’m in love with Mac Brody, senior football star, whose girlfriend is so beautiful she doesn’t even need eyeliner.
4. My dad won’t stop asking me if I’m okay.
5. Oh, and my mom moved to Mexico to work on her novel. But it’s fine—she’ll be back soon. She said so.
Mom says the only thing sadder than remembering is forgetting, so I’m going to write down everything that happens to me in this diary. That way, even when I’m ninety, I’ll remember how awkward and horrible and exciting it is to be in high school
.

This book was pitched as Bridget Jones’ Diary for teens, which immediately intrigued me because I really enjoyed those books and movies. I was expecting a quirky main character who made a lot of wrong decisions but ultimately had a good heart and really, just wanted acceptance and love. I can definitely see where the comparisons came from but I do think Chloe stood out on her own.

Chloe, as mentioned, as a very quirky character. She was funny, could be over-dramatic, smart, and after a little while it was easy to see why she would proclaim herself a disaster. Her story was told through her diary entries, sometimes as little as a paragraph and sometimes longer, and no subject was too much for her to talk about. She would make very bad decisions and selfish ones that hurt people but these were lessons learned as she went through her growth arc toward maturing. She wasn’t just dealing with typical high school angst either. She was dealing with an absentee mother at a time when she really needed her the most.

I really liked Chloe’s two best friends and the dynamic of their little group. They were so much fun to read. The book had a lot of interesting supporting characters that really helped the story feel full. Chloe’s mother I really wanted to scream at, more than once. As horrible as her mother was, Chloe’s father was amazing and I loved their relationship.

Overall, the book was very charming and quirky. I think enjoyment of it will depend on how much the reader likes Chloe as a character since the whole book was her diary entries. Chloe was very young but ended up in some more adult situations due to bad decisions making and the book didn’t shy away from the fact that, even at fourteen years old, teens go to parties, drink, get drunk.

The book was a bit predictable and I did suffer some second-hand embarrassment while reading but it was still a cute, quirky book that could be a good recommend for someone looking for a quick read.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Leave a comment

Filed under book-related, books, reviews, talking books, ya books

Book Review: Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

blood-rose-rebellion

Blood Rose Rebellion

Release date: March 28th 2017

3.5 stars

Sixteen-year-old Anna Arden is barred from society by a defect of blood. Though her family is part of the Luminate, powerful users of magic, she is Barren, unable to perform the simplest spells. Anna would do anything to belong. But her fate takes another course when, after inadvertently breaking her sister’s debutante spell—an important chance for a highborn young woman to show her prowess with magic—Anna finds herself exiled to her family’s once powerful but now crumbling native Hungary.
Her life might well be over.
In Hungary, Anna discovers that nothing is quite as it seems. Not the people around her, from her aloof cousin Noémi to the fierce and handsome Romani Gábor. Not the society she’s known all her life, for discontent with the Luminate is sweeping the land. And not her lack of magic. Isolated from the only world she cares about, Anna still can’t seem to stop herself from breaking spells.
As rebellion spreads across the region, Anna’s unique ability becomes the catalyst everyone is seeking. In the company of nobles, revolutionaries, and Romanies, Anna must choose: deny her unique power and cling to the life she’s always wanted, or embrace her ability and change that world forever.

I went into this book expecting a lot of action and magic and rebellion, and it was all there, but I wasn’t expecting the connection to the history of the rebellion in Hungary and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It’s not a part of history I know a lot about and it was altered to fit the magical storyline but I still found it interesting and appreciated the author’s note explaining more about the history.

Anna was a character I think I could relate to if I was ever in her position. She was a middle child who was mostly ignored due to having no magic. She always felt like she was a disappointment to her mother and accidentally ruining her sister’s spell during her debut just added to that feeling. She loved her family even though she felt like an outsider as the only non-magical member and she really just wanted to make her parents proud. Being sent away to Hungary with her Grandmama was difficult but it gave her a chance to grow as an independent person and learn more about both herself and the truth about the magical society.

There were so many supporting characters to love. Some had bigger roles than others, like Noemi and Matyas who were Anna’s cousins, or Gabor who was a love interest. I liked that even though she was far away from them, her family still played a huge role in Anna’s thoughts. She was often thinking of what her father would want her to do versus what her mother would want. I enjoyed a lot of the interactions between the characters, from the playfulness Matyas’ would show toward Anna, to the slower way Noemi took to warm to her, to Gabor teaching her his people’s magic.

The magical society, the idea of Binding and breaking it, the way it was ruled with magically families having more power than those born without, it was all complicated and took a while to explain. It made the book a slow read because I didn’t want to skim through and miss some vital information. It was interesting, just not something I would want to skim. I have seen the rebellion part of this book compared to Les Mis and I will admit, when the students talking about revolution at the cafe were introduced that was exactly where my mind went. I didn’t find it too similar other than the students leading a rebellion.

This book did a great job of setting up the trilogy and I look forward to seeing how the rest turns out.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

2 Comments

Filed under book-related, books, reviews, talking books, ya books