RELEASE BLITZ: BLACKHEARTS!!! (+ GIVEAWAYS!)

IT’S FEBRUARY 9TH, AND THAT MEANS…

*DRUMROLL*

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BLACKHEARTS IS HERE!!!

Look, you all know by now (or should know) how much I love this book (you’d know more if you follow me on twitter). There’s no book that quite compares- this book struck me as everything that I wan tin my historical fiction and it still strikes me now. You can find my review right here if you want to know what I felt right after reading it. Perhaps even more than me, my lovely friend Stephanie (who is one of the most AMAZINGLY WONDERFUL AND PERFECT people EVER) from CHASM OF BOOKS (which, by the way, is one of the most amazing blogs EVER) is also a huge lover of Blackhearts. 

This week, we’ve teamed up to blitz the internet with the awesomeness that is this novel! With Glass Sword also releasing today, we were afraid that Nicole’s AMAZING novel might get a little lost in the shuffle of major promotion of the newest Aveyard installment. But Blackhearts is worth so much love and praise and shouting, we’ve rounded up a few others who loved it to get everyone in on the love- and in on the hashtag/street team of two:

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Use the hashtag #prepiratenation on social media to share the love! We want everyone to know about Blackhearts and how awesome Nicole is, so please, help us to spread it like jelly on toast!

In honor of the release, I’ve put together a little aesthetic for Blackhearts, one that I actually think turned out really well. I used pictures from my own pinterest as well as Nicole’s to create it, and I think this might become something I end up doing more often, because I LOVE the way this one turned out. (Although it could have turned out this well because Blackhearts is just so absolutely photogenic!)

 

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Gosh. I love looking at this beautiful cover, and I can’t wait to have to real deal in my hands- by now, my copy should be on the way! I can just smell that ‘new book’ smell, feel the smooth edges of pages against my thumb….WHOO. Can you feel it?! GET EXCITED.

I wish there was a quote I could share with you, but as of yet, I don’t have a finished copy (obviously) and therefore don’t want to share a fan art that’s wrong! But here’s something you might like a little more:

GIVEAWAYS!

GIVEAWAY #1: INTERNATIONAL!

Enter here for a HARDCOVER of BLACKHEARTS, open anywhere The Book Depository ships!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

GIVEAWAY #2: US ONLY

Enter here for a SIGNED HARDCOVER of Blackhearts, as well as SWAG!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

VISIT EVERYONE PARTICIPATING IN THE RELEASE BLITZ!

Chasm of Books

Bookmarks (me!)

Beauty and the Bookshelf

Chasing Faerytales

Arctic Books

My Friends Are Fiction

The YA Booktraveler

Bookishness and Tea

Read.Read.Read.

Sophie Reads YA

Middle Grade Minded

 

I want to give a special thanks to Stephanie @ Chasm of Books (link above) for organizing this great release blitz. Without her, our participating blog list would be pretty short, and our giveaways would be nonexistent! So thanks, Stephanie, the best of the best.

Of course, none of this would have been possible at all without our fearless leader, NICOLE CASTROMAN! She wrote the book that brought Stephanie and I together on this, and I’m forever grateful to her for that! (P.S. We all hope there’s a sequel in the works soon! ;D)

That’s pretty much it, ladies and gents. Please, PLEASE pick up a copy of BLACKHEARTS at your local bookstore or library- you won’t regret it! And remember to tag any Blackhearts release posts or fanart on social media with #prepiratenation so we can all share the love!

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#RockMyTBR: NOWHERE BUT HERE

ROCKMYTBR

So, this will be another unconventional review- one for the #RockMyTBR challenge, hosted by Sarah! I’ve completed my first book (actually, it’s been about a week now) and I’m proud of that feat! The first book I decided to read was….*drumroll*

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Well. I’m glad I got through it, in anticipation of Walk the Edge, which releases on March 29th of this year (I’m pretty sure). While I still plan on reading that one, I’m afraid Nowhere But Here didn’t do much for me- not as much as Take Me On, which remains my favorite of McGarry’s books. Here’s my quick review, as posted previously on Goodreads, for all you lovelies waiting to see my reaction!

THOUGHTS

Finally made it through this chunky little baby! Not sure what my thoughts are yet- definitely a little slow in places, and I can’t wait for (hopefully) more information on Chevy and Violet. Emily got on my nerves more than I usually tolerate, and there were some weird personality morphs it seemed like, but I’ll have to ponder it more.

Update (added 3 days later):

Upon reflection, what really stands out to me about this book is how sexualized it was. It seemed like every two sentences one character or the other was thinking about various physical characteristics of the other person, and not in a ‘hey, he/she is pretty’ way. A ‘I want that person naked’ way. It got tiresome quickly, and it didn’t stop. Although it was by no means insta-love, it almost seemed like they got carried away by their physical wants and then decided to be in love after the fact. I know McGarry always writes romance, but this one was definitely the most romance-dependent- which is saying a lot. For a 500 page book, I thought there would be a lot more substance, especially as it was so hyped. I was really hoping for more of a blowout with the rival motorcycle gang, etc. On another note, the language was atrocious. I know most people don’t mind, and yeah, they’re a motorcycle gang, but Oz said it himself ‘We aren’t thugs.’ Anyhow, it was seriously chock full of f-bombs, which made more of an impression than a lot of the other parts of the book.

When you get right down to it, the underlying plot was really interesting- the secrets about Emily’s past and how everyone seems to have their own agenda really was what kept me going. But the romance was pretty off to me, maybe because I didn’t really like Emily or Oz all that much. I’ll still read Walk the Edge, because McGarry usually makes me happy, but this one was more of a miss than a hit for me.

WHAT TO WATCH

I think I would rate this one for older teens and up, although I won’t be recommending it for more reasons than one. As mentioned, there was a lot of foul language, a lot of not-so-innuendos, and all this hot and heavy hate-love-hate-love stuff that got pretty tiring after 500 pages. Maybe it’s just been too long since I read a McGarry book, but this one seemed more adult than the others. But obviously these are my opinions, and it’s all up to you.

Overall, I only give this one 2 stars. It wasn’t a strong start to the series for me, but my loyalty to the author (as well as my intense interest in a few select characters) will keep me reading.

IN ANY EVENT

Make sure you follow me on TWITTERbecause I’ll be giving away my hardcover copy of Nowhere But Here a little bit close to the release date of Walk the Edge! 

 

QUICK REVIEW: FIRST AND THEN

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SUMMARY

Devon Tennyson wouldn’t change a thing. She’s happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon’s cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn’t want them first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.

Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights in this contemporary novel about falling in love with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself.

MY THOUGHTS: 

DISCLAIMER: I’m experimenting with dropping the blog thing- I’ll miss Netgalley, of course, but I’m so busy that it’s hard to find time to read, let alone write the type of reviews that I love the most- long, exhaustive, full of rants and feels, etc. So I’ve been taking a little bit of time off and will continue to do so (my reviews, when I write them, still go up on Goodreads, but are often very quick and address concerns I see from other readers). This is an example of a very quick goodreads review I wrote after reading First and Then. 

Exactly what I needed. A light, quick read that takes you back home to high school football and daydreams about those brooding heroes. Definitely going on my list of comfort books to read when I’m down.

I’m seeing a lot of reviews bashing First & Then because of the issues it doesn’t go into detail about- Foster’s Mom, Marabelle, etc- but I think it’s okay that we don’t get into the gritty details of their messy lives. This isn’t meant to be a serious discussion of the issues that people face- it’s a fun, easy romance, one to sit down and smile at, to enjoy the growth of a few characters and that hometown feel of community even when things get bad. I, for one, was glad there weren’t pages upon pages of the mess. Sometimes, that’s what we need to escape when we read, and that’s why I live books like First and Then. It helps us all to remember that sometimes, it’s not wrong to just take a few hours and relax and not think about all the horrible details and underlying trauma-we can just enjoy the love of football and family.

I’ll add my What to Watch as well: 

This is your basic high school scene, so there is mention of drugs, some brief underage drinking, and some innuendos. But there is nothing graphic and I would have no problem recommending this to a high-school age teen (maybe not a freshman- they should worry more about their GPAs :D)

So, not a huge review and not very in-depth, but I’ve been really enjoying my time off, even though I have been working (slowly) on my 2 challenges for this month. I completed a book for #RockMyTBR, and expect to see a post on that soon! Thanks for reading!

WoW: THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine! This week, I’ve chosen a beautiful book with a beautiful author. Emily Henry is funny, imaginative, and one of the kindest people you could hope to meet. January 26th, 2016, welcome the debut novel from the girl with amazing hair:

 

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(And, I mean, that cover is my absolute fav)

SUMMARY:

Natalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves.

Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start… until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.

That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.

Emily Henry’s stunning debut novel is Friday Night Lights meets The Time Traveler’s Wife, and perfectly captures those bittersweet months after high school, when we dream not only of the future, but of all the roads and paths we’ve left untaken.

WHY I’M WAITING

Gosh. I wish I didn’t have to wait for this lovely thing to come my way. It’s romance and time travel, two of may favorite things. It’s a molasses drawl in the tune of Bone Gap, one of my favorites this year (or so I’ve heard) and that kind of slow-burn book is just my type. I like to read fast, but I can’t wait to just sit down and savor every word of this genre mix. It takes a special breed of writer to write something so thoroughly genre-bending, and to write it in a way that makes you ache for more, but I believe this will be one of them. Along with a few other 2016 releases I’ll be featuring later on, The Love That Split the World definitely deserves the hype that few books receive.

Need I say more? Because you all know that you want it, too.

 

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS

PREORDER FROM AMAZON OR BARNES AND NOBLE

EMILY’S  AMAZING TWITTER

What’s your WoW?

 

 

ARC REVIEW: INHERIT THE STARS

SUMMARY

Three royal houses ruling three interplanetary systems are on the brink of collapse, and they must either ally together or tear each other apart in order for their people to survive.

Asa is the youngest daughter of the house of Fane, which has been fighting a devastating food and energy crisis for far too long. She thinks she can save her family’s livelihood by posing as her oldest sister in an arranged marriage with Eagle, the heir to the throne of the house of Westlet. The appearance of her mother, a traitor who defected to the house of Galton, adds fuel to the fire, while Asa also tries to save her sister Wren’s life . . . possibly from the hands of their own father.

But as Asa and Eagle forge a genuine bond, will secrets from the past and the urgent needs of their people in the present keep them divided?

Author Tessa Elwood’s debut series is an epic romance at heart, set against a mine field of political machinations, space adventure, and deep-seeded family loyalties.

THOUGHTS

I’ll be completely honest- I didn’t remember a lot about this book when I started it and since I hadn’t heard a lot, I didn’t expect much in terms of ‘Everyone says I’m going to love it!’

All of that was blown away.

The writing was amazing- not in the fantasy-elegant way that we’ve been seeing a lot of, but clean, fast, and engrossing. The characters- oh, my heart. Each one was round, dynamic, and nothing you could call stereotypical. There was good and bad in each of them, and you never could quite tell which was going to take over in any given situation.

Every time I thought the plot was going to veer in a direction that most stories of this kind do, it changed, twirling off into a completely different universe and making me excited and surprised all over again.

The romance is understated, subtle, and presses ever closer before you realize it, because you’ve been holding your breath waiting for the other shoe to drop on Eagle and Asa. Gosh, Eagle. Imperfection and wonder in a gorgeously damaged being- but not damaged like you might think. I won’t ruin the surprise, but don’t think that it’s another of those messed-up relationships where the girl still loves the guy even though he’s awful. No, the romance sets the background and keeps everything in motion even when you don’t think it will, and has that sort of quiet tension without 80 pages of teenage angst. I loved it. LOVED IT.

Inherit the Stars is a book I’m already eager to read again, and if there’s no more, I’ll be crying, for sure. I’ve fallen in love with the characters, the universe, and the potential for greatness only hinted at in the first book. Five stars, wholeheartedly.

Release Date: December 8, 2015 by Running Press Kids

I was provided a digital ARC of this book before the release date through NetGalley and Running Press Kids, but this in no way affected my review of the work.

ARC REVIEW: BLACKHEARTS

SUMMARY

Blackbeard the pirate was known for striking fear in the hearts of the bravest of sailors. But once he was just a young man who dreamed of leaving his rigid life behind to chase adventure in faraway lands. Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would change everything. This is their story.

Edward “Teach” Drummond, son of one of Bristol’s richest merchants, has just returned from a year-long journey on the high seas to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams only of returning to the vast ocean he’d begun to call home. There’s just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.

Following her parents’ deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless and soon to be homeless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne is forced to take a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to Curaçao—where her mother was born—when she’s stuck in England?

From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn to each other, they’re trapped by society and their own circumstances. Faced with an impossible choice, they must decide to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay.

MY THOUGHTS

PLOT: I’m going to attempt, very carefully, not to swoon after every sentence I write about this book. *SWOON* Sorry. Be prepared- I don’t think I can make this non-gushing.

Let’s get one thing straight- I loved everything about this book. Everything. Except, perhaps, the ending, because I wasn’t ready for it. The plot was much different than I anticipated, and the twists, although they weren’t ridiculously huge (i.e. an asteroid is heading for the earth, ahhhh!) they were unexpected, intriguing, and absolutely fabulous. They always came just when you were ready for something new to happen, and I must admit, this is one of the only times that I recognized the excellence of the pacing in a novel. It was a constant upswing, and although there weren’t action scenes every 15 pages, there was always something to make you go

So, basically, it was amazing.

The plot didn’t get tiresome- sometimes with the historical novels set around this time, it can get repetitive. Dinner, dancing, suitor, dancing, gasp, dinner, gasp, dancing, etc. Those things are great when used to enhance the plot, but not when they’re the entire plot. Blackhearts stayed firmly away from that trend. There were dinners, yes. There was dancing, yes (and pretty dresses!!!). There was gasping (mostly by me), yes. But it served a purpose. It moved the plot forward, giving you important information and leading you to the climax very sneakily. It’s fantastic, until you reach the surprisingly quick conclusion. Then, if you’re like me, you just cry a little bit and search for the invisible last pages.

CHARACTERS: Where do I even begin? This book had everything by way of characters. The variety was stunning- each had a specific voice, and they absolutely each elicited emotions from me. Teach? SWOON SWOON SWOON. He’s strong, he’s fierce, he’s powerful- but what I loved most about Teach was that even though he was one of the darker heroes, this wasn’t a twisted YA relationship, and it certainly wasn’t insta-love. This wasn’t one of those books where the girl becomes a doormat because a hot guy gives her the time of the day- and that brings me to Anne.

Anne is the ultimate heroine- decisive, uncompromising, willing to do anything she has to so she can escape her life as a servant. She doesn’t resign herself to a life of misery, even though her only way out may be to do things she doesn’t want to do. I admired her unflinching spirit, even in the face of danger and ridicule, and I think we need more heroines in YA who think and act like Anne. Even falling in love can’t keep her from following her dreams.

Even the characters that were minor were very distinctive and very entertaining. Drummond, Teach’s father, was such a conflict for me- it was a total love-hate relationship. He’s a great layer of conflict for the story, and I loved the way you see him shift and change- a totally dynamic character. Patience, William, Mary, Margery, etc., all enhanced the book as well- enough subplots to keep the book moving and keep your brain occupied, but not so much that it distracted from the main plot line. Their characters, while not as dynamic, were entertaining and they served a purpose- they weren’t just random characters introduced as filler. Sometimes when that happens it can make me close a book for a while because it’s overwhelming, but Nicole found another great balance with her characters and their roles.

OVERALL: Did I mention how much love this book? Hit the pre-order sites, everyone, and keep your eye out for it. Blackhearts may not be a revolutionary story (it is set in the past!) but the writing and execution certainly is. Five stars, although I’d give it a thousand if I could. When I was (still am) swamped with books that just can’t keep my attention, Blackhearts grabbed my attention, my mind, and then my heart with its rich characters, driven plot, and elegant world.

What else can I say? This was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time, and I think everyone else should read it, too. This last image basically sums up how I feel about this book.

BOOK REVIEW: ANOTHER DAY

“Most of the time when we think we’re looking for death, we’re really looking for love.”

SUMMARY

Every day is the same for Rhiannon. She has accepted her life, convinced herself that she deserves her distant, temperamental boyfriend, Justin, even established guidelines by which to live: Don’t be too needy. Avoid upsetting him. Never get your hopes up.

Until the morning everything changes. Justin seems to see her, to want to be with her for the first time, and they share a perfect day—a perfect day Justin doesn’t remember the next morning. Confused, depressed, and desperate for another day as great as that one, Rhiannon starts questioning everything. Then, one day, a stranger tells her that the Justin she spent that day with, the one who made her feel like a real person…wasn’t Justin at all.

In this enthralling companion to his New York Times bestseller Every Day, David Levithan tells Rhiannon’s side of the story as she seeks to discover the truth about love and how it can change you.

MY THOUGHTS

I don’t know how to get into this. I really enjoyed Every Day, way back when it first came out and I didn’t know anything about the story. I remember loving A, loving Rhiannon, loving the bittersweet, unsatisfactory ending that left me wanting more, but not too much more. I wanted to know if he ever got to have his own body, and if Rhiannon found someone else to love, because loving A was impossible.

Then I found out Another Day was a thing. I was excited, yes. Nervous, yes. But this was not at all what I had expected, or wanted, from it. I didn’t think I would have such a problem with seeing the story from Rhiannon’s point of view, but her story took all the romance and mystery out of it for me. In fact, I don’t know why A liked her at all. She’s a complete stereotype, and without sounding insensitive, I can’t go into why. Suffice to say that I don’t like people who can’t stand up for themselves, who let themselves be trampled all because they don’t think they’re worth enough to be treated right, and I certainly don’t want to read about them.

The entire book, after every encounter with Justin, I felt more angry with Rhiannon, and after every encounter with A, I was more confused as to why he was so determined to be with her. It just didn’t make sense, unless A has some kind of hero complex.

In addition, I found this book to be less about the story of A, Rhiannon, and the mystery of why A changed every night and more about the ever more controversial subject of gender and the role it plays in relationships. Too many long monologues about why ‘gender doesn’t matter’ and ‘love covers all’ for me to be comfortable, because to me, gender does matter.

But I digress. Another Day fell flat for me, and I’m sorely disappointed that it ended in the same place as Every Day, with far fewer answers and far more questions.

WHAT TO WATCH

Oh, you know. Homosexuality and transgender characters abound, so if you don’t approve of that, I wouldn’t pick this one up. Heterosexuality is also casually thrown in, with sex happening frequently. There is underage drinking and partying, and drugs are mentioned a few times. I wouldn’t recommend this for those with a sensitive conscience, and definitely not for young readers.

OVERALL

I’ll give Another Day two stars for the writing style- it kept pace, for the most part, and rarely dragged, though I did skim some. But I didn’t like the content- I’m not interested in reading about people, knowingly or not, experiment with their sexuality while at the same time be driven into depression and desperation by their boyfriend, his actions, and their unwillingness to step away from the situation. To me, Rhiannon was the bad guy, and I know that wasn’t the point of the book, but that’s where it ended up for me.

I received an ARC of this book thanks to NetGalley and Random House. This has not influenced my review in any way.

THE DEVIL YOU KNOW

HERE’S THE SUMMARY

 Eighteen-year-old Arcadia wants adventure. Living in a tiny Florida town with her dad and four-year-old brother, Cadie spends most of her time working, going to school, and taking care of her family. So when she meets two handsome cousins at a campfire party, she finally has a chance for fun. They invite her and friend to join them on a road trip, and it’s just the risk she’s been craving-the opportunity to escape. But what starts out as a fun, sexy journey quickly becomes dangerous when she discovers that one of them is not at all who he claims to be. One of them has deadly intentions.

Advanced Reviewer copy provided by Netgalley and Bloomsbury USA Children’s- Thanks!

MY THOUGHTS

I’ll be honest- I expected a lot from this book. Something Like Normal, another of Trish Doller’s books, is one of the best books I have ever read- I don’t really know how to explain why that is, because I don’t know myself, but the first time I got it I read it three times in a row, I was so enthralled. While The Devil You Know is a completely different concept, the writing still hooked me, just like usual. Although I thought the premise was a little strange, and I felt that the settings were a little bit forced to get to the final result (it could just be me, but even if I was really mad at my dad, I wouldn’t take off to go camping with some strangers, no matter how hot they are), the overall writing and plot development was very enjoyable.

Truthfully, there wasn’t a lot of mystery in this book for me. Pretty soon you figure out who the psycho is, and that could be because the author was focused more on the thriller aspect as opposed to the mystery of it, and that is totally fine. Because a thriller it was. Doller keeps you waiting on the edge of your seat, tensing at every opportunity that arises where the killer could strike. That was some intense reading, I’ll admit, and there was no better setting for this slow-burning thriller than the desolate swamplands of the Florida Everglades.

When it comes to character development, I’ll say the same things as I have for everything else: I felt that they were a little bit forced so that they would all end up in the right situations, but what background you found out about the boys did make sense. I didn’t spend a lot of time with the background about Cadie, and I probably should have, but I was eager to get to the thrilling part of it, so I didn’t spend a lot of time on the minor details. The side characters I didn’t get really attached to, which I was glad about because some of them died- I really hate when my favorite characters die. So I didn’t get attached, but it would have made more of an impact if I felt any kind of connection to those secondary people.

The thrill, though, was perfect. Once they were in the Everglades, alone, and things started happening…oh, that was great. I wish there had been a little more of the foreshadowing- creepy sounds in the woods, anything, but even without, it was still an edgy read, with a lot of really interesting details that I would love to find out more about- are these real Florida landmarks? That would be super cool. And then, toward the end, when everything starts happening at once, it twists you up into knots while you try to figure out what’s going to happen- if someone else is going to die.

Overall, I really did like this book. I would certainly recommend it for someone looking for a thriller that isn’t so graphic you have to wash your eyeballs out after you read it because you can feel the crazy soaking into your brain. So here’s what you do have to watch.

WHAT TO WATCH

Violence: Dealing with a thriller can be tricky. There are scenes that can be really tough to swallow, or scenes that are surprisingly tame, comparatively. The Devil You Know met that middle ground pretty well, in my opinion. There were a few scenes that were pretty descriptive- when dealing with a sociopath, some twisted things are going to happen, and I wouldn’t recommend it for younger readers.

Romance: Romance is half the reason Cadie goes on this camping trip, and things do get sketchy. She and one of the boys get really close to having sex near the beginning of the book before she stops it, and it does end up happening later in the book. While the first time is more descriptive, the actual act is not described, more implied.

Alcohol/Drugs: The start of the book begins with a teen party, and so there are drugs and alcohol present, and some of the attendees are under the influence of whatever substance they’ve been using.

That’s pretty much it, and of course it’s always up to you to decide what to read- I’m just here to shed a little light!

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Trish Doller on Twitter

Questions? Comments? Books you’d like me to review? Post a comment below and I’ll be sure to check it out!

THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND

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OFFICIAL SUMMARY:

(You all have seen this before, so skip it if you want 🙂 )

When Gia Montgomery’s boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she’d been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend— two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley.

The problem is that days after prom, it’s not the real Bradley she’s thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn’t even know. But tracking him down doesn’t mean they’re done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend’s graduation party — three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.

Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship.

MY THOUGHTS:

Okay, I have to be honest. I think my expectations went a little too high on this one. Of course, I love her other books, and I did hype this one up to myself, but I didn’t think I could possibly ever be disappointed. Well, I was. Just a little bit, but I was.

The characters really didn’t make me swoon as much as, say, The Distance Between Us did. I thought there was a lot of potential for something really great to happen with this one, and I didn’t feel a connection with any of the characters. That being said, it doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the book. It was a perfectly adorable fluff read, with surprisingly more substance than I’ve come to expect from Ms. West’s books.

The substance came from Gia’s brother and his observations. This book really helped make the point that our generation is one where validation can only come through ‘likes’ on Facebook or Instagram, and how this tech generation is becoming one where, if you don’t get enough likes or favorites or retweets, it must not be important.

I could have done without Gia’s friend drama, though. I understand that it was supposed to make another point, that sometimes the friends you have are not the best for you, but their dynamic really got on my nerves. Especially with Claire and Jules- that seemed really unnecessary, and I think that leaving that out would have enriched the story- or resolving it, for that matter! West just kind of leaves it in limbo, with you not knowing whether Gia and Claire are still friends or still going to room together or what, and I don’t like having that hanging over my head. I like everything to be resolved and tied up in a neat little bow, and I didn’t feel like that with The Fill-In Boyfriend. The Distance Between Us will remain my favorite West novel.

WHAT TO WATCH:

     One thing I love about West’s books is that they’re all squeaky clean. She knows how to write a book without swearing, sex, drugs, violence, or magic, and it’s always a relief to know that I can pick up one of her books without worrying that I’m going to have to put it down a few chapters in.

The Fill-In Boyfriend is no exception. It’s clean, fun reading, and despite my hang-ups about conflict resolution and annoying secondary characters, I enjoyed it, and I’m excited for her next book, whatever it may be.

Questions? Comments? Books you’d like me to review? Post a comment below and I’ll be sure to check it out!

WoW: THE LEVELLER

WAIT FOR ITTTTTT…..

It’s Wednesday! And you know what that means: another book on my to-read list! I’m trying to pick books that aren’t too far off so if you think they sound good you won’t have to wait long, and here’s this week’s pick, coming to our shelves June 23, 2015:

Cool cover, right?

OFFICIAL SUMMARY:

Nixy Bauer is a self-made Leveller. Her job? Dragging kids out of virtual reality and back to their parents in the real world. It’s normally easy cash, but Nixy’s latest mission is fraught with real danger, intrigue, and romance.

Nixy Bauer is used to her classmates being very, very unhappy to see her. After all, she’s a bounty hunter in a virtual reality gaming world. Kids in the MEEP, as they call it, play entirely with their minds, while their bodies languish in a sleeplike state on the couch. Irritated parents, looking to wrench their kids back to reality, hire Nixy to jump into the game and retrieve them.

But when the game’s billionaire developer loses track of his own son in the MEEP, Nixy is in for the biggest challenge of her bounty-hunting career. Wyn Salvador isn’t some lazy kid looking to escape his homework: Wyn does not want to be found. And he’s left behind a suicide note. Nixy takes the job but quickly discovers that Wyn’s not hiding—he’s being held inside the game against his will. But who is holding him captive, and why?

Nixy and Wyn attempt to fight their way out of a mind game unlike any they’ve encountered, and the battle brings them closer than either could have imagined. But when the whole world is virtual, how can Nixy possibly know if her feelings are real?

WHY I’M EXCITED:

First of all, the names. Nixy and Wyn? THOSE NAMES ARE SO COOL AND THEY SOUND AWESOME TOGETHER. (Yes, that was internet shouting, sorry.) And this Nixy girl sounds super, super cool. I’m a huge fan of this genre- real-life video games that turn deadly? YES, please! I loved Jen Alexander’s book The Aftermath that was released last year, but this one sounds even better. With a little bit of gaming romance, this one os shaping up to be a real winner.

Questions? Comments? Books you’d like me to review? Post a comment below and I’ll be sure to check it out!