Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Mini ARC Reviews: Disruption, Kiss Cam, The Row

Title And Author: Disruption (Disruption #1) by Jessica Shirvington
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads Synopsis: The Mercer Corporation might rule the world through the control of pheromones. But nothing, and no one, is going to stand in Maggie's way. Especially Quentin Mercer. Ever since the development of M-chips which tap into human pheromones, M-Corp has become the new superpower. Ratings range from the rare 'perfect match' to the dreaded 'negative' and everything in between. Three years ago Maggie's father mysteriously rated as a 'neg' and was taken away from them. For the last two years, eighteen-year-old Maggie has had only one goal: to uncover the truth and bring him home. Her last hope is Quentin Mercer, her classmate at the elite Kingly Academy - and the heir to the Mercer Corporation. But Quentin isn't the person she thought he was... And while she can easily betray her morals in the quest to save her father, can she betray her heart?
Review: I love the dystopian genre, but let's face it: it has gotten a bit stale. It's unusual to find a dystopian book that is as unique as this one. I absolutely loved this premise. Remember that whole ridiculous rumor that Obama was going to implant all humans with microchips years ago? I think this book is basically what would happen if that were actually true. Humans resist the whole microchipping process, but then people get so hooked on all the information it provides and they start to love it. I can see that happening. But there are downsides: there are people called "negs" who basically rate as a negative match with anyone. People assume that negs are people who either have done something bad or will do something bad and therefore, they need to be removed from society. Maggie is the perfect main character here. She is snarky and independent and has a soft side that she desperately tries to hide. But she will do ANYTHING to find her father. Part of her plan involves Quentin Mercer, the son of the inventor of the M-chip. I loved the relationship between Maggie and Quentin. Their banter was funny and they had amazing chemistry. And man the slow burn of their romance was INTENSE. I just wanted them to kiss and to be together, but I was terrified because she was basically manipulating him and I had a feeling he wasn't going to take it well when he found out. Maggie has a one track mind. It's hard to like Maggie sometimes because of all the manipulation and the coldness and also, she makes awful decisions. Some of the things she does are kind of twisted. But I end up loving her because of all that imperfection. And the twists . . . HOLY CRAP!! That ending was crazy wild and twisted and insane and I NEED the next book!! I would highly recommend this one.
Buy/Borrow/Skip: Buy this one. 

Title and Author: Kiss Cam by Kiara London
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads Synopsis: Juniper, Jasper, and Lenny have been friends forever and co-own a vlog channel called WereVloggingHere. Their fans are huge "shippers" who believe that Juniper and Jasper are perfect for each other, and, despite warnings from friends and family, a simple Truth-or-Dare inspired kiss soon spirals out of control into a whole new world of making out and surprise kisses. Juniper and Jasper's relationship begins to shift. But as fan requests for different "Kiss Cam" segments keep pouring in, Juniper puts her worries aside and convinces herself that it doesn't mean anything. After all, it's just kissing… right?
Review: This book is responsible for getting me out of an awful reading slump so for that reason alone, it has a special place in my heart. Very few books have the ability to make me laugh out loud, but this one did. I loved the friendship and the banter and the silliness and the weird situation all the friends put themselves in and the romance and the chemistry . . . and okay, I just loved all of it. I know it's a weird premise: Juniper, Jasper and Lenny are running a Youtube channel and Juniper and Jasper decide to give the fans of their fake friendship what they want and they basically kiss on camera. It's a weird scenario and probably a bit unrealistic, but I still loved how fun and silly it was. You know how sometimes there is a slow burn where two people obviously like each other, but it takes them forever to admit their feelings and just kiss already? This is basically the story of two people kissing all the time, but refusing to admit their feelings for each other. At first, the kisses are silly. They try to one up each other by surprising them or pulling pranks that end with a kiss. There is also this one challenge where they have to deliberately give each other hickeys in the shape of a Christmas tree. Yeah, I just had to laugh. Their chemistry was so off the charts, but they were both too damn scared of ruining their friendship to give it a chance. I loved all the characters in this book. Juniper overhangs everything, Jasper is so silly and never takes himself (or anything) too seriously and Lenny is the calm one who has a not so secret obsession with Eva Longeria and Desperate Housewives. I love the whole best friends turned romance thing and I was rooting for them the entire time. I also loved Juniper's family. Her parents worked a lot, but they weren't neglectful. They tried to spend as much time together as possible with her when they were home, which was great. This was such a cute book. 
Buy/Borrow/Skip: Buy this one.

Title and Author: The Row by J.R. Johansson
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Riley Beckett is no stranger to prison. Her father is a convicted serial killer on death row who has always maintained that he was falsely accused. Riley has never missed a single visit with her father. She wholeheartedly believes that he is innocent. Then, a month before the execution date, Riley’s world is rocked when, in an attempt to help her move on, her father secretly confesses to her that he actually did carry out the murders. He takes it back almost immediately, but she cannot forget what he’s told her. Determined to uncover the truth for her own sake, she discovers something that will forever change everything she’s believed about the family she loves. 
Review: This book started out pretty well. Riley's dad has been in prison for ten years for a series of murders that he says he never committed. He is on death row and has used his final appeal and his execution date has been set. Her world is turned upside down when her dad says he actually murdered those women, but then says he didn't the very next week. Riley was a very likable character. She desperately wants to believe her dad is innocent and she isn't sure what to think when he confesses. I thought the writing style was great, especially with showing Riley's conflict and her loneliness. I really wish the author could have given her at least one friend, but whatever. She also meets Jordan, the son of the detective who arrested her father years ago and immediately feels a kinship with him. He is very sweet and wants answers just as much as Riley and he is willing to help her get them. He doesn't want to believe that his dad would put an innocent man behind bars, but he definitely wants the truth, regardless of what that may be. I really wish theirs had been a friendship instead of a romance. The romance was minimal and moved slow, which was great, but I didn't really feel any chemistry between them. And I kind of hated how she confided in him so quickly. I thought that the story kind of went downhill when Riley starts investigating to see if her dad is innocent or not. First of all, her "investigation" begins with looking at old newspaper clippings and asking her parents what happened. Really? She expects to find a killer like that? She says she doesn't know if she can trust her father and then she finds out her mom lied to her, but somehow she thinks they will still tell her the truth because she asked nicely. Here is one thing that bugged me: Riley is sixteen years old (maybe seventeen, don't remember) and she still calls her father "Daddy." That just weirds me out when older people call their fathers out, but that's probably just me. But what really irked me was that EVERYONE else referred to him as "Daddy" as well. I mean, WTH? I THINK the author may have mentioned the guy's name once, but if she did, I don't remember it. Her mom would always say "your daddy" and even Jordan referred to him as "Daddy" once. Maybe that was a typo by the author or something, but I find it hard to believe that there wasn't a single person who could call the guy by his name. Also, I found it kind of hard to believe that Riley's dad ever would have been found guilty in the first place. There were three victims and he only knew one of them. And there was ZERO physical evidence to put him at any of the crime scenes. The ending was just as bad. I just thought this one was a bit unrealistic for my tastes. 
Buy/Borrow/Skip: Skip this one.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Favorite Villains

This is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. They feature a different top ten list every week. This week's topic was supposed to be top characters I would name my child after, but I actually did that one not too long ago. I decided to do one of the topics I missed during my blogging hiatus: favorite villains. I do love me some bad guys (and girls). 
1. Voldemort from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling 

2. Aidan from Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristof

3. Joe from You by Caroline Kepnes

4. President Snow from Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

5. Amy from Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

6. Queen Levana from Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

7. Victor and Eli from Vicious by V.E. Schwab

8. Miss Trunchbull from Matilda by Roald Dahl

9. Adeline from The Young Elites by Marie Lu

10. The Commandant from An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

What are a few of your favorite villains?

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Back From My Much Needed Break

Do you know what's weird?

I felt like it had been MONTHS since my last post. Seriously.

Nope, it's only been a little over two weeks.

I took an unplanned break from blogging and I am okay with that. That never happens, so I'm rolling with it.
So where have I been?

Every single website you can think of EXCEPT my blogging site, Bloglovin and Twitter.
It's like I was on a blogging timeout or something. Basically, for the last several month or so, my interest in reading waned a bit. Not just waned. No, no. I had zero interest in it.
I have only read three books this month and that is so weird for me. I wasn't sure if it was me or the books. But even when I was reading great books (The Winner's Kiss, for instance), I still couldn't force myself to read. For the past month, the only reading I have done is the fifteen minutes or so before bed. And the lack of interest in reading translated to a lack of interest in blogging. It was kind of hard to drum up ideas for discussion posts about books or top ten posts about books when I had almost no interest in books. And since I was barely reading, what was I going to review?
Somehow, I didn't think you guys would be interested in a blow by blow review of some of the TV shows I have been watching lately. Or maybe you would be more interested in the recipe for the AMAZING flourless pumpkin chocolate chip muffins I made this week. Doubtful.
(If you do want the recipe, you can find it here. Credit for this picture also goes to that site.)

One thing I have been doing was constantly surfing Pinterest and drooling over all the many, many pumpkin recipes. And I have probably pinned about a million different muffin recipes. My cravings have been intense.

But the other day, it was like a light bulb went off in my head. Suddenly, I was actually in the mood to read and the book I picked was a funny one that held my attention so that helped. Then I decided that I wanted to blog again. Just like that. So here I am.

I appreciate all of my followers and I just wanted to let you guys know that I am here and well and I am enjoying reading once again! I will be posting some stuff next week. I just have to catch up on my reviews. I have eight books I have read since the beginning of September that I have not reviewed yet. Oops! Hope I remember the important stuff. And if you suddenly see me commenting on about a dozen very old posts or responding to blog comments you made weeks ago, it's just me catching up. I do love reading your blogs so I am looking forward to adding to my TBR even more now that I have my love of reading back.

So what have you been up to over the last two weeks? Do you like everything pumpkin or is it just me? Have you ever had spurts where you had zero interest in reading?

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Someone I Wanted To Be by Aurelia Willis

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Leah Lobermier dreams of becoming a doctor, but it’s hard to stay focused on getting good grades when boys make oinking sounds at her in school and her mother spends every night on the couch with a bottle of wine. Leah’s skinny and popular “friends," Kristy and Corinne, aren’t much better and can hardly be counted on for support. When the girls convince a handsome older man to buy them beer, Leah takes his phone number and calls him, pretending to be Kristy—coy and confident—and they develop a relationship, talking and texting day after day. But as the lie she created grows beyond her control, can Leah put a stop to things before she—or Kristy—is seriously hurt?

Okay, so where do I start with this one? I could kind of relate to the main character with this one and not in a "she is so much like me that I am annoyed by her" way. I did feel for her. Leah is overweight and deals with insults from everyone at school (including her so-called friends) and she has to deal with being poor and having an alcoholic mother. She dreams of being as pretty and as thin as her "friend," Kristy (notice my quotations around the word friend, we'll get to that in a minute). When her and her friends meet this creepy looking guy in his late twenties, they all thought he was so cute (gag me) and Leah gets his number and calls him, pretending to be Kristy. That is supposed to be the main premise, but the author kind of danced around those conversations. I have no idea what they talked about; the author kind of skipped around those parts. 

Let's talk about Kristy. God, Kristy is such a mean girl and she just sucks. She calls Leah names and Leah hates her, but she still insists on being friends with her. I just didn't get it. And when she meets a new girl (Anita) who is super interesting and actually a good person, Leah abandons her pretty quickly when Kristy is around. Oh, and Kristy's mom is dying of cancer so it's totally cool that she treats everyone like crap. And everyone has to put up with it because if you abandon your friend whose mom is dying, you are evil. I don't even care. If that were me, there is NO WAY I would ever be friends with Kristy, regardless of what's going on with her mom. Kristy is just not a good person.

The whole book was just boring and annoying because of all the mean people. And Leah didn't help matters because she just made all the wrong decisions. I know I shouldn't totally hate her for that because she's young and all that, but I do. And I'm not even sure what the point of the book was or what the message was supposed to be. Was Leah supposed to realize she was great regardless of her weight? Was she supposed to stand up for herself and realize who her real friends were? Was she supposed to stand up to her mother? Or learn to deal with her mother? None of those things actually happened so what was the point. I didn't like any of the characters or their decisions. Actually, I did like the secondary characters, Anita and Carl, but they weren't shown nearly enough. And towards the end of the book, I skimmed certain sections and I was ready to be done with it. After the book, I felt very unsatisfied and I'm not even sure I can say why. Maybe it was because there were so many storylines and so many issues that were talked about and I didn't feel great about the resolution to any of them. I would not recommend this book.

Buy/Borrow/Skip: Skip this one!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Books I Really Want To Read This Fall

This is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. They feature a different top ten list every week. This week's topic is my TBR for the Fall.

Ahhh . . . . so many books!! Seriously, I am way behind in books on my TBR. Between ARCs and beta reading, I feel like all the unread books that I own are giving me the stink eye for ignoring them. The good news is that I have gotten my reading mojo back or whatever so I actually feel like reading again. For this list, I am not really counting my ARCs or all the many, many books coming out in the next few months that I really want to read. No, all of the books on this list are ones I already own and hope to get to at some point in the distant future.
1. 1. The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

2. Little Cyclone: The Girl who started the Comet Line by Airey Neave

3. Raging Sea (Undertow #2) by Michael Buckley

4. Shiny, Broken Pieces (Tiny, Pretty Things #2) by Sona Charaipotra

5. How It Went Down by Kekia Magoon

6. The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

7. The Lies About Truth by Courtney C. Stevens

8. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

9. Don't Touch by Rachel M. Wilson

10. Down With The Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn

11. The Year of the Flood (MaddAddam #2) by Margaret Atwood

12. MaddAdam (MaddAdam #3) by Margaret Atwood 

What books are on your TBR for this Fall? Have any of you been neglecting to read books you own . . . or is it just me?

Thursday, September 22, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The scheduled publication date for this book is October 4, 2016. 

Sloane isn't expecting to fall in with a group of friends when she moves from New York to Florida—especially not a group of friends so intense, so in love, so all-consuming. Yet that's exactly what happens. Sloane becomes closest to Vera, a social-media star who lights up any room, and Gabe, Vera's twin brother and the most serious person Sloane's ever met. When a beloved painting by the twins' late mother goes missing, Sloane takes on the responsibility of tracking it down, a journey that takes her across state lines—and ever deeper into the twins' lives.

I had never read this author before, but apparently I am missing out. If this book is any indication of this author's talent, then I must read her other books ASAP. 

Emma created some amazing characters with some awesome friendships. Sloane's family just moved to Florida because of her dad's writing block. She has always been a bit of a loner so it is a but of a surprise when she becomes friends with Vera and Vera's brother Gabe and Remy. All of the characters were so well developed and so relatable. There is some flirtation going on between Sloane and Gabe, but it is slow burn and I loved it. Another thing I loved was all the witty banter and all the humor. Sloane is sarcastic, which I love. Some of the conversations actually made me laugh out loud and it's not often that a book does that. One of the best things was how they handled Vera's sexuality. She was gay and had a girlfriend, but guess what? NO ONE CARED! Yep, that's right. Not a single person cared at all. There was no drama over her being gay, no bullies, nothing. Just a girl and her girlfriend. 

But the best, and I mean absolute BEST things about this book was the focus on FRIENDSHIP and FAMILY! Yes, there was a little romance between Sloane and Gabe but the main storyline was about friends and family. And everyone had a normal and loving and supportive family. Sloane's family was going through stuff with her dad's writer's block and it was obviously starting to affect Sloane's parent's marriage, but there was no neglect or anything. Sloane's dad was right there helping her and spending time with her and I loved it. And can I say how adorable Sloane's sister was? Their relationship was pretty special too.

The only thing that maybe prevented this book from being totally awesome was that the author tried to do too much, I think. There were a lot of storylines. There was Sloane and Remy trying to track down the painting, Vera and Gabe still grieving over the death of their mother, Sloane and Gabe's romance, Remy feeling lovesick over his ex girlfriend and trying to figure out why she broke it off, her dad's writer's block and then of course, there was Sloane's problem of not really letting people get too close to her. It was all too much and I think a few of the issues maybe got resolved too quickly because there wasn't enough time for the author to give all the issues enough attention.

Buy/Borrow/Skip: Buy this one. This was a great book and I would highly recommend it!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Wrecked by Maria Padian

I received an ARC from both NetGalley and Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review. The scheduled publication date for this book is October 4, 2016.

Everyone has heard a different version of what happened that night at MacCallum College. Haley was already in bed when her roommate, Jenny, arrived home shell-shocked from the wild Conundrum House party. Richard heard his housemate Jordan brag about the cute freshman he hooked up with. When Jenny formally accuses Jordan of rape, Haley and Richard find themselves pushed onto opposite sides of the school’s investigation. But conflicting interests fueling conflicting versions of the story may make bringing the truth to light nearly impossible--especially when reputations, relationships, and whole futures are riding on the verdict.

I have read a lot of books on sexual assault. I think each one is important in its own way. While this one may not be one of my favorites, I still thought it was powerful and a very important read. What made this book a bit more interesting is that we never get the POV of the rape victim. No, this is about the people surrounding both the victim and the rapist and how muddled the truth can get and how there can be more than two sides to a story.

First, we meet Haley. Haley has just been removed from the college soccer team because she suffered her third concussion and it's too risky for her to play anymore. She is also roommates with Jenny, the rape victim. Haley and Jenny really don't interact much prior to the rape. Haley spent most her time with her teammates and Jenny is a premed student, so she is always at the library. Haley doesn't hesitate to offer her support when she finds out what happened to Jenny and she quickly gets sucked in, maybe more than she wanted to. 

Then there is Richard. Richard was not even at the party where Jenny was raped, but he is housemates with Jordan, the guy accused. Okay, Richard was a hard guy to like at times, but I think I sympathized with him. Jordan tells him that he and Jenny had consensual sex and I can see why it would be hard to believe that someone you think you know is a rapist. Richard makes some off color jokes at times, but he said something once that really made me think. He said that since he wasn't at the party or in the room with Jenny and Jordan, no one except the two of them can say for certain what happened. Richard says that it's hard to determine whether Jordan is lying to him or himself or whether he's telling the truth, but that's what the investigation is for and he's not a bad guy because he doesn't necessarily want to take sides and because he wants to let them do their job. I kind of get where he is coming from with that. I mean, I am all for believing the victim 100%. I just think that if a male friend of mine were accused of something so heinous, it would be hard for me to automatically think he's a rapist. Does that even make sense? 

Richard and Haley meet and start up a romance. I probably could have done without that part, but I guess it did make for an added level of drama. And they did have nice chemistry together. But they are on opposite sides of this whole thing. This book did a great job of talking about consent and what it means and they showed the ugly side that can come from rape accusations, manly victim blaming. There was a lot of victim blaming here and it turns my stomach. Richard even made a couple of comments like that and I was glad that Haley put him in his place. I do think there was some character development there though so that was good. 

Now in between the Haley and Richard chapters, there were also snippets of what happened the night of the party. It was kind of an objective, third party account as opposed to being told from the POV of the victim or the rapist. These snippets give us the truth, a little bit at a time. 

I loved the main characters and all the secondary characters as well. There were so many viewpoints in this book and I could see everyone's side in this. This author did a great job of showing the emotions that come about after a rape, not just with the victim, but with the people surrounding both the victim and the rapist. This book will make you think and it will make you angry, but it is such an important one to read. 

Buy/Borrow/Skip: Buy this one.