Saturday, March 28, 2015

YA Book Review: Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
Release Date: April 15, 2014
Publisher: Walker
Source: Library
After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own. Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts. But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence. This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking. A fresh new voice in contemporary romance, Emery Lord’s gorgeous writing hits all the right notes.

I read Open Road Summer, Emery Lord’s debut novel, after everyone in the blogosphere had already read and raved about it. But better late than never I think. Anyways, from the beginning of the novel, I was sucked in. There’s something about road trip books that makes me so happy. Maybe it’s because I haven’t gone on a road trip with anyone but my family so I’m always looking for new adventures. And the added bonus of music? Yes, please!

So lets just get down to it: while I liked the main character Reagan O’Neil I didn’t love her. I know plenty of people liked her as a character but the way she treated other women in the book besides Lilah Montgomery her best friend upset me. Am I saying that I’ve never judged or said something about another women in my life? No, I can’t say that because it would be a lie. But I like to catch myself whenever I go down that route and that’s how I wish this issue had been handled. Instead of simply letting something like this go, I wish Emery Lord had addressed it. This is when I wish subjects like this were handled: as a learning point, not just something to add to the character and leaving it be.

Anyways, I had to get that out of the way. Otherwise, I loved the relationship between Lilah and Reagan. Both girls have different things they’re passionate about and I loved how each supported the other no matter what. I wanted more from Lilah and I understand that this isn’t a book about her but y’all she’s adorable. I think that they both balanced each other in the best way possible. Something else that really stood out for me was the rifts that occurred in the relationship. I liked seeing that friendships aren’t always fun and games; there are tough times that test a friendship and the end result shows how strong the relationship truly is.

Also, can we talk about the cute as heck romance? I’m like Reagan when it comes to romance: I like to think that I’m all cool and suave but I’m that extremely awkward girt. Reagan was far tougher in regards to Matt Finch (now I understand why all the girls on Twitter were gushing about him; he is so freaking cute!) and I loved it. I like when relationships aren’t always established when the road trip ends. Reagan and Matt became friends and the trust was established and for me, this made the relationship far more palpable.

Overall, I really, really liked Open Road Summer. A few things made it hard for me to really love this book but in the end, I closed the book with the biggest smile on my face. I know that I'm going to be rereading this book as soon as possible. There's just something so honest and beautiful about this book (even though a few parts were a little upsetting).
This book is pretty great but it’s missing something that would make it extremely special. I might re-read this book, possibly more than once. I would recommend this book to lots of my friends. 

Go out and read this book! It's super cute and so much fun! A perfect summer read (and any time of read to be honest) because oh my gosh, it's cute and fun and raw and sometimes iffy. But all in all, this is such a good book! 
This cover is so insanely pretty that I can't honesty fault it for the cliched look. It's just so PRETTY! I kind of want this cover in poster format so I can adorn my dorm room with it. Even though, yes, Open Road Summer is much more than a romance novel, I think this cover creates such a wonderful mood for the book. It seems so light and fun. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Review: For Real by Alison Cherry

           For Real by Alison Cherry 
Release Date: December 9, 2014 
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
No parents. No limits. No clue what they're in for.

Shy, cautious Claire has always been in her confident older sister's shadow. While Miranda's life is jam-packed with exciting people and whirlwind adventures, Claire gets her thrills vicariously by watching people live large on reality TV.

When Miranda discovers her boyfriend, Samir, cheating on her just before her college graduation, it's Claire who comes up with the perfect plan. They'll outshine Miranda's fame-obsessed ex while having an amazing summer by competing on Around the World, a race around the globe for a million bucks. Revenge + sisterly bonding = awesome.

But the show has a twist, and Claire is stunned to find herself in the middle of a reality-show romance that may or may not be just for the cameras. This summer could end up being the highlight of her life... or an epic fail forever captured on film. In a world where drama is currency and manipulation is standard, how can you tell what's for real?
Before I start I want everyone to know that I don’t watch reality television on a regular basis. I’ll watch a few episodes here and there if I’m really bored but otherwise, I don’t really care for it. There’s just something about reality television that I can’t stand to watch over and over. BUT when I found out that Alison Cherry was writing a young adult novel along the lines of The Amazing Race, I knew I had to check it out. Sadly, For Real was far from fun and romantic and beautiful places.

Lets talk about Claire, our main character and Miranda her older sister. Claire, from the beginning, I knew was going to be someone I wasn’t going to like. While she felt like her older sister didn’t treat her like her age, Claire didn’t do anything about it. I understand that standing up to an older sibling (especially an older sister) can be hard, spending the entire book whinnying about the lack of respect, I wish Claire had said something. There were plenty of times in the book where I wanted to slap Claire to wake her up from her dreams. I think that Claire had a lot of potential because she could have killed it at the game but nope.

Also, the characters in this book weren’t developed at all. There was no development to speak of and this was so sad. What’s a better way to grow as a person than through traveling the world? I just wanted so much more in terms of characters. Samir, the antagonist I guess was just a guy. And I can’t even remember the name of the love interest her was no uninteresting so there's that. If there's anything, I liked the idea of this story. It sounds like so much fun and for the girl that loves traveling (because I've traveled so much), the idea for such a reality show sounds like heaven. Heck, even I'd apply to be on it!

Overall, I was so bored with For Real. The countries weren’t interesting at all, the characters weren’t developed, and overall, I just wasn’t as impressed. There was so much room for growth but alas, I didn’t get any. I’m sure some really liked this novel but for me, it didn’t click.

I don’t think about this book. I don't want to recommend it to anyone. I might have even hated this book. I would not even think to recommend it to anyone. 

Sadly, this was another miss for me. I really wish I'd liked this book but frankly, this wasn't for me. Maybe it will be for others but for me, I kind of wished I hadn't read it. Maybe I should have DNF'd but even till the end, I was sorely disappointed. 
Okay, y'all, I like this cover a lot. It's cute and fun and goes with the book so well! 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Doing My Own Thing Is Hard

There's this thing where people say that when they read your blog or watch a video that they know when you're being fake. They can tell, people say, when you're not being yourself and allowing you personality to shine. But I find this to be problematic because while people who know me in real life will call me an incredibly random, loud person, that doesn't always show on this blog.

I'm far more controlled and reserved about hosing my true nature on this blog (or any other blog for that matter) simply because I am incredibly critical of myself. I read reviews I've written six months ago and I cringe because I don't think it's good enough. For me, my blog is my way of sharing my thoughts with the world and I write it for myself. And this very notion is the problem: I write it for myself. Therefore, I have the ability to analyze it and over analyze it and even if a review or discussion might be my absolute favorite at the time it was written, there is a 99.9% chance that the next time I read it, I will find fault with it.

Yet my people pleaser, perfectionist side wins out EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

DNF Review: One Song Away by Molli Moran

           One Song Away by Molli Moran 
Release Date: December 1, 2014 
Publisher: Self-Published 
Source: Author via NetGalley
She needs a fill-in boyfriend. He needs a favor. It’s the perfect, no-strings arrangement until they both realize it’s too real…

Sophie-Claire Wright’s life is like a bad country song on repeat. She keeps running into her cheating ex, her songwriting career isn't taking off, and her roommate just kicked her out of their apartment. With nothing to lose, she decides to do the one thing she said she’d never do: she moves back home. She left her small Southern town with big dreams, but now she’s going home with empty pockets.

Life moves at a slower pace in Sophie’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it hometown, but her well-meaning, matchmaking mama doesn't have a slow gear. Sophie invents a boyfriend to hold off her mother’s efforts, but she’s out of luck when her mom wants to meet him. Sophie panics until she runs into Jake Cooper. Her high school crush (and former best friend) is back in town, too, and when he asks her for a favor, she agrees...on one condition. He says he’ll be her fill-in boyfriend, so it should be simple: re-introduce him to her family and then “break up” with him after a few weeks.

Sophie is sure she’ll be able to resist Jake this time. Sure, she was in love with him years ago, but that was then. This is now, no matter how great he looks, or how she feels around him. But she didn't bargain for moments that feel all too genuine. Dates that don’t seem fake. Kisses that leave her shaken and wanting more. Sweet moments where she forgets they aren't really dating. And she didn't count on old feelings resurfacing and complicating their arrangement—which is starting to feel less like acting and more like the real deal.

Soon, Sophie can’t tell which kisses are real or fake, but she knows she’s in deep...and she thinks Jake is, too. When she gets a chance to go back to Nashville and chase her dreams again, she has a choice to make: stay or go? Continue hoping that the life she wants is one song away, or finally write her own song?
You know that feeling when you receive a book you're really excited to read? And then you begin reading said book and everything is fine until it's not? Well, that's exactly what happened with this book. I'm friends with Molli Moran, the author, on Twitter and when I saw that it was on NetGalley to request, I did without hesitation! I'd been excited to read this book for a while but sadly (and I don't remember my exact place) One Song Away didn't do it for me.

If anything, I can say that I loved the plot! One Song Away sound like such a cute rom-com and I love a good rom-com. Just not when they're bad. With One Song Away, I didn't connect to the story or the characters. Sophie-Claire, for example, was way too stereotypical for me: not stick think but curvy, had tattoos and piercing, and wanted to leave her small town behind. She was the "definition" of a bad girl and sure, one could call her that. But for someone to be such a rebel and a bad girl, Sophie-Claire was far too insecure and unsure of herself and her surroundings. I rolled my eyes plenty of times with her narration because I just couldn't believe her.

As for the other characters in this book, I wasn't as impressed with them either. Jake was the typical boy next door with no personality to speak of. I was sorely disappointed because he sounded like such a cutie. But maybe that was the problem? The best friend was only there to make the main character feel better. Honestly, the others characters were cardboard cutouts.

Honestly, I ended up reading this book a little over half way through before I decided that I had had enough. I wasn't invested in the characters or the story or the writing so there wasn't any point in me reading on. I know some people will love this book and that's fine. This just didn't work for me.

I don’t think about this book. I don't want to recommend it to anyone. I might have even hated this book. I would not even think to recommend it to anyone.

Sadly this one didn't work for me either. I'm really sad but I won't lie to you guys.
Okay, guys, you might judge me for this but...I like the cover. I think it's cute (and yes, very common pose) BUT I think it represents the book well! 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

DNF Review: The Shape of My Heart by Ann Aguirre

           The Shape of My Heart (2B Trilogy #3) by Ann Aguirre  
Release Date: November 25, 2014 
Publisher: Harlequin
Source: NetGalley via Publisher 
Some people wait decades to meet their soul mate. Courtney Kaufman suspects she met hers in high school only to lose him at seventeen. Since then, Courtney's social life has been a series of meaningless encounters, though she's made a few close friends along the way. Especially her roommate Max Cooper, who oozes damaged bad-boy vibes from every pore.

Max knows about feeling lost and trying to move beyond the pain he's been on his own since he was sixteen. Now it's time to find out if he can ever go home again, and Courtney's the only one he trusts to go with him. But the trip to Providence could change everything because the more time he spends with Courtney, the harder it is to reconcile what he wants and what he thinks he deserves.

It started out so simple. One misfit helping another. Now Max will do anything to show Courtney that for every heart that's ever been broken, there's another that can make it complete.
This is the THIRD book in this trilogy. See my review of BOOK 1 and BOOK 2

If you've read my reviews of the two previous books in this trilogy, you'd know that I'm not the biggest fans of these books. There's something really boring about them for me. So why did I read this one then? Well, I wanted to give this trilogy one more try and to finish with the trilogy. When given the chance, I like reading all of the books in a trilogy, series, etc. To get right to the point? I didn't finish this book. While the other two kept me engaged enough to keep reading them to the finish, The Shape of My Heart was simply...boring. I was so uninterested in everything that was going on that I found myself skimming the pages. I think I got about 25% before I decided to move on.

As I said, the plot itself was boring and there was no sexytimes at all. But for me, characters make or break it for me. If I love the character then the plot isn't as important. I wouldn't care what happens to them because I would be invested enough to keep reading. With this, Max and Courtney were both bland and boring ("boring" seems to be the word for this review...). Courtney was introduced in the first book of the trilogy but she was mainly nonexistent from the entirety of both books so The Shape of My Heart was the real introduction to her. And frankly, she's the stereotypical bad girl. What's really badass about having tattoos? Maybe it's just me but I didn't get it. Max, too, was boring. He didn't do anything and whenever it was a scene that was intended I'm assuming to be heart wrenching, I was waiting for happen.

In the end, I didn't even get half way with this book before I gave it up. I was far to bored to care about the characters or the plot or anything. I'm not sure if I'll read another NA book by this author. After this third one, I think I'll stick to her YA books instead.

All I gave you was goodbye I don’t think about this book. I don't want to recommend it to anyone. I might have even hated this book. I would not even think to recommend it to anyone! 

Sorry guys but I just couldn't do this book at all! 
I like that these covers go together at least! Is that enough? 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The DUFF Movie Review

Director: Ari Sandel 
Screenplay: Josh A. Cagan 
Release Date: February 20, 2015 
Mae Whitman as Bianca 
Robbie Amell as Wesley 
Bella Thorne as Madison 
See the full cast at IMDb
A high school senior instigates a social pecking order revolution after finding out that she has been labeled the DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) to her prettier more popular friends. From IMDb.
When I first heard that The DUFF was going to become a movie, I was super excited. I loved the book when I first read it and even the second time I read it before I went to see the movie so I had high expectations. However, when the movie began, I couldn't help but be a little skeptical. I knew from the trailer they'd changed the movie from the book so I began to get worried.

But then once I got into the movie, there was no going back. From all of the sexy (oh goodness Robbie Amell is so sexy!) to all the snark (I loved Bianca!) and all the laughs, I left the theater very well pleased with the movie. There are some things I knew were important to me: the whole idea of the DUFF, the romance between Wes and Bianca and the friendships amongst the women.

For one, I loved everything that happened with the DUFF. I know plenty of people were upset with Mae Whitman being cast as Bianca because she wasn't anywhere near "fat." One distinction I saw was that in society today, even in high school (or sometimes in middle school) that what people consider "fat" is the same as others. I know that in some cases Mae Whitman's body type would be considered fat. It's a sad world but something I think needs to be said to change the way people think of the term fat. I think the DUFF managed to do this and yes, I understand that Bianca for some should be a different body type.

And lets be real, the romance was so important for me because I am die-hard romantic and as much as I want the realistic aspects of the movie to be portrayed correctly, I need one heck of a good romance. There wasn't anything new about it to be sure. It's the same sexy-guy-falls-in-love-with-the-ugly-duckling-when-she-isn't-an-ugly-ducking-anymore. But I couldn't help but like the romance. Bianca and Wes had been friends when they'd been younger and I liked that they were friends throughout the movie too. There was something so sweet about that.

As for the last part of the movie that I really wanted to see, it had to do with how the friendships and relationships between the women in the movie were handled. Sadly, I was disappointed by this aspect. I wish the movie didn't focus as much on the romance as it did. I wanted more in terms with the relationship that Bianca and Casey and Jessica had. Also, I wanted more of a relationship between Bianca and her mother (which was different than what it was in the book) but I think there wasn't as much communication as there should have been between these two women.

Overall, though, I loved this movie. It was cute and quirky and hilarious and even though there were some things I wished had been done different, I really enjoyed The DUFF. It was as faithful as the movie could be to the book and I highly enjoyed it even with all of the changes! I would highly recommend everyone read it!

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Love Letter: The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

Title: The DUFF by Kody Keplinger 
Release Date: September 7, 2010 
Publisher: Poppy (Little Brown)
Source: Library 
Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.
See my original review of The DUFF HERE
Dear The DUFF, 
    When we met for the first time in June of 2012, I had such high hopes for you. Luckily, you were right at par with my expectations. I remember loving the realistic portrayal of high school within your pages and how I could connect with various characters. It was a fateful day and I remember thinking that I couldn't wait to visit you again. 

Why did I want to see you again? Well, like I said above, the realistic portrayal of high school was an immense plus but I think the two biggest reasons I visited you again were the topics discussed within your pages (body image and sex positivity among others) and Bianca. I think a lot more books in the world should have accurate portrayals of body image and have more diversity in this area. Something I noticed after I re-read you was that there weren't simply one or two different types of body shapes but various types. And since you are set in high school, it would be foolish to assume that no high school student is having sex. We need to remove the taboo label sex has and begin to discuss is more openly so all students have the best way to make their own decision about sex. 

Now that I have re-read you as a college student, I was reaffirmed in the fact that everyone is the DUFF at some point in their live and this is not only for high school people but everyone. Even now I feel like the DUFF of my friend group even though it's not like I don't have friends or a boyfriend. I think that being the DUFF isn't something that ever goes away but something that gets easier with age.

Would I read you again? Yes, actually I would. I just watched the movie adaptation and I have an immense urge to re-read the book. I think that your such a well written and relatable book that I'll be turning to you for years to come. Maybe in the future being the DUFF will be easier.

With lots of love, 

This book is pretty great but it’s missing something that would make it extremely special. I might re-read this book, possibly more than once. I would recommend this book to lots of my friends. 
There's something missing from this book to make it one of my absolute favorites but it is now one of the few books I've read more then three times. I know for a fact that I've recommended to plenty go my friends because it's just that good!