Tag Archives: contemporary ya

Book Review: Losing the Field by Abbi Glines

Losing the Field

Losing the Field

Release date: August 21 2018

3.5 stars

Losing his dream, his ultimate plan, and his future- Nash Lee never expected to be facing a life without football. One wrong move and it had all changed. Going back to school for his senior year no longer appealed to him. He’d rather not leave his house. Walking back into Lawton High School, seeing pity in everyone’s eyes was just another reality in his nightmare. Revenge wasn’t a pretty thing. Tallulah Liddell had found it was rather controlling. The way you looked at life changed completely when you clung to the ugly notion. But she’d done it anyway. From the last day of her junior year when Ryker Lee had made a fat joke about her and Nash laughed with him, she’d been driven by pain. It wasn’t like no one had made fun of her weight before. She was used to that. What had hurt so deeply was Nash’s laughter. He’d always been the one person to notice her, include her, not treat her differently. But that one moment had changed it all. From the time she walked out of the school building to the moment she returned for her senior year Tallulah had been determined to lose weight and finally be the size her peers considered acceptable. What she wasn’t expecting on her return was to find a broken Nash Lee who no longer smiled, rarely spoke, and didn’t care about anything or anyone around him. He was just existing. But the pain in his eyes she understood all too well. He was alone. He no longer fit into the perfect package.

I’ve been enjoying the Field Party series so I was excited for a new one. It tackled a lot, from Nash dealing with his injury and dreams of football being over, to Tallulah going from an outcast to popular, to a new football coach who I didn’t trust right away. I did miss the characters from the first three books who have graduated but Nash and his crew seem very able to carry on the football team and the series.

The book had the typical Abbi Glines feel to it. Quick to read, perfect to grab and head outside or to the beach. It had a dual POV, misunderstandings between the two main characters that kept them apart, small issues that seemed huge to them, larger issues that were a theme through the whole book. I liked what she did with Nash’s story, focusing on him having to come to terms with what his injury meant for his future and how hard it was to see all his friends still playing the sport he loved. I thought I would be less invested in Tallulah’s story since I’m not usually a fan of someone coming back “hot” to get revenge, and her plan seemed a little naive.

I did like Nash and Tallulah together. He was overprotective and she was naive and innocent, both were stubborn and it led to a lot of fights and misunderstandings that could have been avoided if they just talked to each other. Of the supporting characters, Nash’s cousin Ryker played the biggest role with their friend Asa also hanging around quite a bit. Either of them would be my guess for the next book. Hopefully there is one.

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

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Book Review: Now is Everything by Amy Giles

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Now is Everything

4 stars

The McCauleys look perfect on the outside. But nothing is ever as it seems, and this family is hiding a dark secret.
Hadley McCauley will do anything to keep her sister safe from their father. But when Hadley’s forbidden relationship with Charlie Simmons deepens, the violence at home escalates, culminating in an explosive accident that will leave everyone changed.
When Hadley attempts to take her own life at the hospital post-accident, her friends, doctors, family, and the investigator on the case want to know why. Only Hadley knows what really happened that day, and she’s not talking.

I wasn’t too sure what to expect from this book but I’m very glad that I decided to pick it up. It used non-linnear storytelling to show Hadley before a tragedy and after, along with police interviews with her friends and teachers as the detectives attempted to figure out what happened that day. I loved the way we slowly got hints in the present to what happened and in the past, we got the lead up and Hadley’s thoughts.

Hadley’s life seemed perfect on the outside and she put up a good front for most everyone. Even her grandmother and closest friends, though they had suspicions, had no idea what went on in that home. The bond between Hadley and her younger sister was strong as Hadley tried to protect her from the worst of their father’s abuse and their mother’s inaction. When Hadley started dating Charlie, a boy she’d had a crush on forever, their relationship was fast and intense, but it also made sense for those two to latch on so strongly to each other. Their relationship had to be a secret from Hadley’s parents and as they became more serious, it got harder to hide.

There were definitely parts of this that were hard to read. Hadley’s father was a bad man and it hurt seeing him manipulate her, beat her, and controlled so much of her life. It hurt to see Hadley try so fiercely to protect Lila, who was feisty and precocious and Hadley knew their father would ruin that if he started in on her. Hadley was prepared to do whatever it took to keep their father away from Lila.

I liked how everything came together at the end as the cause of the plane crash was investigated. And questions about the cause and that day were answered. The wrap up of everything was great, fitting for the tone of the book, and it added to the overall feel that this is a memorable read.

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Series Spotlight: Beautiful Idols series by Alyson Noel

Thursday I’m going to be putting the spotlight on a book series and talking about it. It might be one I’ve read, one I’m reading, or one I haven’t gotten to yet, depending on what I feel like talking about that week. This week’s series is one I just recently finished and it was so twisted.

unrivaledBlacklistInfamous

 

The Beautiful Idols series by Alyson Noel

Review status: 1/3, Unrivaled

All books are released, own in hardcover, covers don’t match:(.

I love a series with lots of twists and turns and this one definitely had that. I’m really liking the storytelling device of starting with a band(like a murder or kidnapping) then going back a few months to show the lead up, especially when we’re left wondering which character will die/disappear.

Favourite character: Tommy.  He was just a good guy and even when he was deep into the competition like the others, he still seemed different from the people who were in it for the fame.

Favourite book: Unrivaled. I really liked the competition aspect that went along with the mystery in the first book. The others were more mystery-solving focused but the competition was fun.

Status: Finished.

Author status: Buy if intrigued. She’s been hit or miss. I loved the Beautiful Idols but was just lukewarm over the Immortals series.

Next up from Alyson Noel: Nothing announced that I could find. Infamous just barely came out so it might be a bit before we hear anything.

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Book Haul

Bought:

Leah on the offbeatcourt of frostBurning mazePuddinAllied

ARCs:

Little Do We KnowWar outsideRuleWhat If It's UsDeepest RootsWildcard

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Book Review: Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

Leah on the offbeat

Leah on the Offbeat

4 stars

Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.
When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.
So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

It was a very special feeling to go back to Creekwood to visit Simon, Leah, and all their friends. It was so easy to fall in love with this group of friends in Simon’s book and Leah’s picked the group up a little after Simon’s book ended, now in their senior year. There were some characters that were more prominent in this one(Bram and Garrett got a lot of scenes) and others seemed to have less focus(not much of Simon’s family of course, and there seemed to be less Nick).

This was definitely Leah’s story. The book was all her POV as she struggled with feelings she was having for one of her friends, with keeping her bisexuality a secret from her group, with college decisions, with their group of friends moving on as they chose different schools. It was all relatable and brought back some memories. It was great to see Leah more in depth. She was great in Simon’s book but she really was a huge fangirl in hers and that just made me feel more connected with her. She spoke a lot of truth, especially when it came to her weight and the way the world often words things to say skinny=pretty even if they don’t mean it that way.

A huge high point in the book, besides Leah, was Garrett. Leah called him an ‘adorable doofus’ several times and she was right. I would definitely read a book starring him. There were a few references to The Upside of Unrequited but it mostly stayed with the Creekwood gang. I would recommend reading Simon before this one, mostly for the context, but this can be read on its own as well.

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Book Review: Listen to Your Heart – Kasie West

Listen to you Heart

Listen to Your Heart

Release date: May 29th 2018

4 stars

Talking to other people isn’t Kate Bailey’s favorite activity. She’d much rather be out on the lake, soaking up the solitude and sunshine. So when her best friend, Alana, convinces Kate to join their high school’s podcast, Kate is not expecting to be chosen as the host. Now she’ll have to answer calls and give advice on the air? Impossible.
But to Kate’s surprise, she turns out to be pretty good at the hosting gig. Then the podcast gets in a call from an anonymous guy, asking for advice about his unnamed crush. Kate is pretty sure that the caller is gorgeous Diego Martinez, and even surer that the girl in question is Alana. Kate is excited for her friend … until Kate herself starts to develop feelings for Diego. Suddenly, Kate finds that while doling out wisdom to others may be easy, asking for help is tougher than it looks, and following your own advice is even harder.

I am always excited for new Kasie West books and this one was followed Kate as her best friend convinced her to take a class that ended up with the shy Kate being co-host of the school’s podcast. The topic of the show was advice, something Kate felt she wasn’t going to be any good at but she ended up surprising herself. I really enjoyed seeing the episodes being made and just how much work went into it.

Kate was someone I could find myself relating to. She just wanted to be out on the lake, enjoying herself, and since she wanted to take over the family business there was no need to push herself outside her comfort area. Even when she was doing a great job at co-hosting, she was nervous and she and her co-host Victoria played off each other so well. I loved her friendship with Alana and the interactions she had with Diego as she tried to help Alana get to know her crush.

I absolutely loved how close Kate’s large family was. Her family plus two houses of aunts, uncles, and cousins would walk into each other’s houses without a thought, they had a cousins night that sounded like a whole lot of fun, and her parents were present through the whole book. The main thing I was worried about was the romance, or mostly the potential love triangle, but I thought it was handled very well and I really liked Diego. I even liked the added tension of Frank, a resort owner’s son who wanted to buy the marina from Kate’s parents, getting pulled into their group due to being in the podcast class.

This book was quick, easy and full of quirky characters that I loved. Kate grew so much by the end of the book and I felt like I could relate to her in so many ways. She handled being shoved in front of a microphone way better than I would have.

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

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Book Review: More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer

More than we can tell

More Than We Can Tell

4.5 stars


Rev Fletcher is battling the demons of his past. But with loving adoptive parents by his side, he’s managed to keep them at bay…until he gets a letter from his abusive father and the trauma of his childhood comes hurtling back.
Emma Blue spends her time perfecting the computer game she built from scratch, rather than facing her parents’ crumbling marriage. She can solve any problem with the right code, but when an online troll’s harassment escalates, she’s truly afraid.
When Rev and Emma meet, they both long to lift the burden of their secrets and bond instantly over their shared turmoil. But when their situations turn dangerous, their trust in each other will be tested in ways they never expected. This must-read story will once again have readers falling for Brigid Kemmerer’s emotional storytelling.

 

I loved Letters to the Lost last year when I read it and I was ridiculously excited when I found out there would be a companion novel with Rev as a main character. I had high expectations going on and was so happy that it in no way disappointed. It still had the same great character dynamics I’d fallen in with love in the first book, just slightly different since we now saw everything through Rev’s POV, and I really enjoyed the addition of Emma.

The book was split between Rev and Emma’s POVs, mostly back and forth but occasionally we would stay in the same POV for the next chapter. I liked the choice to not always switch POVs every new chapter as there were times staying was definitely needed. I fell in love with Rev in the first book and this one really just cemented that. I loved his friendship with Declan and the relationship he had with his adoptive parents. When his birth father started making contact, I could understand why Rev wanted to keep it a secret and why it was messing with him. Emma had designed her own online RPG game that had some popularity around her area but it also brought a cybertroll into her life. Like with Rev, I could understand the reasoning behind why she wanted to keep quiet and deal with it herself. Her mother wasn’t overly supportive of her desire to follow her father into a gaming career and her dad was never around.

I really enjoyed the interactions between Rev and Emma. They were both shy, awkward people so screen contact felt more natural but they could open up to each other and support each other. It gave them each someone in their corner when they felt they’d ruined all their other relationships and I really liked the way their own relationship slowly progressed.

The book was very character driven. We saw Rev and Emma make choices, either good or bad, and then have to deal with the consequences of those choices. We saw them grow through the book as they made realizations that affected the way they dealt with the people around them and with how they saw themselves. It was just a great story, a perfect companion to Letters to the Lost, though this could standalone. I would recommend reading both just because they’re both so good and there needs to be as much Declan/Rev friendship in the world as possible.

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Book Review: Thief of Happy Endings by Kristen Chandler

Thief of Happy Endings

Thief of Happy Endings

Release date: June 19th 2018

4 stars

Ever since her father moved out, Cassidy feels like her life has been falling apart. So a summer of riding horses at a ranch camp in Wyoming sounds like just what she needs–never mind the fact that she has a paralyzing fear of horses. She’s determined to move past her fear, even if that means taking lessons from the insufferable (yet irresistible) junior wrangler Justin and embarrassing herself in front of the other campers. What follows is a summer of rodeos, complicated friendships, and a wild mustang thief on the loose.

This book didn’t take long to hook me. Really, the words ranch camp and cute cowboy had me before I even began reading, but Cassidy was what kept me reading. She was a great character and her voice was unique while still being a little familiar, in the way where she would say or think something that I was already thinking. It made me feel connected with her, which made me all that more invested in her journey. She was dealing with a lot at home and the ranch was supposed to be a way for her to get away from it all for a while, make some new friends, relax. I loved watching her re-discover her love for horses and overcome her fears.

The ranch setting was amazing and I loved the vivid descriptions of the area. It added to the overall atmosphere and it made easy to picture everything. The supporting characters were all very unique, some were more developed than others but I expected that with such a large group. The characters who Cass hung around with the most were the ones we learned the most about, of course, and Alice and Ethan became quick favourites. Alice probably had the second most growth over the summer and it was great to see.

Another thing I enjoyed was the dynamic between Cassidy and Justin. He could be a jerk, or at least come off as a jerk, but there were hints of someone sweet who was just awkward with people. I loved that Cassidy didn’t take his opinions of her lying down. They definitely made a great team. Between Justin and Coulter, the I-care-but-I-don’t-want-you-to-know-it owner of the ranch, it gave a natural way for information on mustangs and the relocation.

Reading this book brought back the same feelings of watching some past favourite TV shows that involved horses like Heartland, Wildfire, and even Hey Dude(going way back). I can’t wait to recommend it at the bookstore this summer.

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

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Book Haul time

Every time to I go post one of these, I try to remember what I’ve bought and it’s always, always way too many books. My poor TBR pile.

Bought:

Picture Us in the LightSleightMore than we can tellFates DivideBeyond a Darkened ShoreRelative Strangers

ARCs:

For a Muse of FireHeart of ThornsTiffany Slynewbird

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Book Review: Time Bomb by Joelle Charbonneau

Time Bomb

Time Bomb

4 stars

A congressman’s daughter who has to be perfect. A star quarterback with a secret. A guy who’s tired of being ignored. A clarinet player who’s done trying to fit in. An orphaned rebel who wants to teach someone a lesson. A guy who wants people to see him, not his religion.
They couldn’t be more different, but before the morning’s over, they’ll all be trapped in a school that’s been rocked by a bombing. When they hear that someone inside is the bomber, they’ll also be looking to one another for answers.

This was a quick read with quick chapters between 6 different POVs. I was a little worried at first about being able to distinguish between so many characters but they were all so unique that there was no issue at all. It was very relevant to today, which made it terrifying. I could definitely see where the dark Breakfast Club comparisons came from, though the book and its characters stood on its own as well.

Each of the six students with POVs had reasons to be at the school that morning even though it was still Summer. We saw all of them as they got ready to arrive at the school, hints of what they were doing at the school, and all of them had reasons for the reader to be suspicious of them. The constant shifting of POVs reminded me of books like Shooter, This is Where it Ends, or One of Us is Lying. Some of the development of the characters was a little uneven, especially with six characters, but overall I liked them all.

Once the bombs went off in the school, it added a survival aspect to the mystery plot. We saw each of the characters struggle to find other survivors without knowing exactly what happened and the way they interacted with each other, being suspicious but also needing to trust each other in order to survive. I liked all of the characters but Rashid and Cas stood out for me. I did have plenty of theories on who the bomber was and why, and I ended up being right. Even thought I figured out the identity of the bomber, I didn’t find that the lack of surprise took anything away from the story. It was still a tense read, written in a way that made me want to keep reading after every chapter.

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

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