ARC Review: Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira

Bookishly Ever AfterAuthor: Isabel Bandeira
Genre: Young adult, contemporary
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Publication Date: January 12, 2015
350 pages, paperback

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

NOTE: I was provided with an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Spencer Hill Press for letting me read this!

A young adult book about a girl who loves young adult books and is a complete book nerd? Yes, please! I was so excited to read Bookishly Ever After because, I mean, it’s a book about ALL OF US. Phoebe is in love with all of her book boyfriends and loves to dress up as her favorite character; she even learned archery because her favorite heroine is an archer. That’s pretty cool, right?

Overall, the book was cute and I appreciated what it was trying to do, but I had some problems. I think my main problem was the romance. As much as I liked Dev (the love interest) as a character, I 1. Didn’t really understand why the two liked each other, and 2. Got really irritated with the back and forth nature of their “relationship”. They would flirt, then nothing, then flirt, then nothing. For practically the entire book. It got seriously exasperating by the end. There are also several instances when we jump a few hours or even half a day into the future and skip scenes that could’ve shortened the story a bit had they been included.

However, the bookish parts of the story – Phoebe standing in line for her favorite author; Phoebe inspiring Dev to start reading more; her “journal” in which she analyzed characters’ flirtatious ways to better flirt in real life – were all really cute and relatable (though that last one is probably a bit more suited for younger girls).

The bottom line: Cute, bookish story that had a few problems – mostly in terms of the romance – but was still quite enjoyable. On the younger, lighter side of young adult romance. I definitely want to flip through a finished copy though, because the eARC format was HORRIBLE. I’d still recommend this one for any looking for a cute romance about a book nerd.

Rating: 6 – Good, but not great

ARC Review: The Trouble with Destiny by Lauren Morrill

The Trouble with DestinyAuthor:  Lauren Morrill

Genre: Young adult, contemporary

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Publication Date: December 8, 2015

272 pages, hardcover

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

NOTE: I was provided with an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Delacorte Press for letting me read this!

This is a hard one to review. It’s cute – for sure. But is it original? No. It’s pretty much got every stereotype in it – from the love triangle to the evil-cheerleader-ex-best-friend to the drama fueled fight with her current best friend. It was rather predictable since I guessed how everything was going to turn out from pretty much the first page. Liza, the MC, isn’t really likable because she’s pretty judge-y and high-strung. The book is kind of…generic? I hate to use that word, but it was.

However, don’t get me wrong – there are A LOT of teen girls I know who would be gaga over The Trouble with Destiny. It’s got the romantic setting and the cute boys and the drama. Maybe I’m just a bit too old for this one. It was still an okay read. My main issue with the romance isn’t even the love triangle – even though it’s not quite your typical love triangle. It was the fact that it took so long for the romance to play out. I won’t give too many details that might spoil it, but you kind of just wanted to slap Liza in the face and yell, “OMG. Come ON!” I wanted some more swoony moments between Liza and the boy.

I did really enjoy the musical aspect of the book though. I was in band for a couple of years and then I transitioned to color guard, so I could really relate to those scenes. I think the author did a great job of bringing those scenes to life while not getting overly technical – it’s hard to represent music well in books because it can be difficult to picture and hear, but the scenes when the band is playing had me bobbing along – especially since my band actually did a Pirates of the Caribbean theme one year.

The bottom line: A fast, fun contemporary that read a little young for me – maybe I’m getting old when it comes to cutesy books. But I enjoyed the musical side of the book and when the romance finally did play out, I was definitely grinning. I still liked this reading this one overall.

Rating: 6 – good, but not great

Waiting on Wednesday: The Girl Who Fell by Shannon M. Parker

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

The Girl who Fell by Shannon M. ParkerPublisher: Simon Pulse

Author: Shannon M. Parker

Release date: March 1, 2016

Synopsis from Goodreads:

His obsession.
Her fall.
In this dark kissing book, high school senior Zephyr Doyle is swept off her feet—and into an intense relationship—by the new boy in school.
Zephyr is focused. Focused on leading her team to the field hockey state championship and leaving her small town for her dream school, Boston College.
But love has a way of changing things.
Enter the new boy in school: the hockey team’s starting goaltender, Alec. He’s cute, charming, and most important, Alec doesn’t judge Zephyr. He understands her fears and insecurities—he even shares them. Soon, their relationship becomes something bigger than Zephyr, something she can’t control, something she doesn’t want to control.
Zephyr swears it must be love. Because love is powerful, and overwhelming, and…terrifying?
But love shouldn’t make you abandon your dreams, or push your friends away. And love shouldn’t make you feel guilty—or worse, ashamed.
So when Zephyr finally begins to see Alec for who he really is, she knows it’s time to take back control of her life.
If she waits any longer, it may be too late.

Why I’m excited: I’m not even 100% sure on what this book is even about (I believe that’s the point), but I can tell it’s going to be powerful and emotional, and I’m probably going to cry. It sounds dark and heartbreaking and honest. I think Marci Curtis described it on Goodreads as raw an stunning – might I have this right now, please and thank you? I’m pretty sure I’m going to be the Girl Who Fell for this book. 🙂

ARC Review: Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith

Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. SmithAuthor:  Jennifer E. Smith
Genre: young adult, contemporary, romance
Publisher: Poppy
Publication Date: September 1, 2015
256 pages, hardcover (246 ARC)

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

NOTE: I was provided with an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Hallie and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for sending me an advanced copy of this book. 

This book is SO cute, you guys. Jennifer E. Smith is my go to author for sweet, adorable stories that will leave me feeling all melty inside, and Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between is no exception.

Jen’s writing style is my favorite thing about her books; it’s easygoing, beautiful, and genuine. Jen’s a pro at breaking your heart in the best way. I really loved the focus in this one on how hellos and goodbyes don’t necessarily have to be literal hellos and goodbyes. Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between is different from Jen’s other books in that the couple has actually been together for a couple of years before the story even begins versus having a meet-cute at the beginning that leads to a (possible) relationship. I enjoyed seeing Jen switch gears a bit and write a relationship from a different angle.

It was a bit hard for me to relate to Clare, which is somewhat surprising in that I try to be as logical as I can when making decisions as well, but she came across as kind of selfish and a little dramatic. I wasn’t as emotionally involved with her as I was with Aiden, honestly. I really liked his character; he seemed sincere and just so earnest in his love for Clare, and it was adorable. I also liked Scotty, who is a bit of a secondary character, but quite enjoyable to read about.

I had a few issues with the book during the characters’ last night together, but the ending? Man, that was a wonderful ending. I don’t want to give anything away, but the ending is insightful, realistic, honest, and my favorite part of the entire book. I like what it means for the characters, and it just felt so genuine and true to life. (I will say that I wish there was a sequel – at least a novella or something!)

The bottom line: Although I had a few issues during the middle of the book, I loved this one, like I’ve loved all of Jen’s other books. I don’t think I’ll ever NOT love one of her books. Can’t wait for the next one.

Rating: 8 – freaking fantastic

Book Review: The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

I know I’m not the only person who was attracted to this book by the trailer for the movie. It’s funny and mean and it’s got Mae Whitman (who I love) and the gorgeous Robbie Amell. I had to read the book before I saw the movie. It was a lot more fun than I was expecting.

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

Title: The DUFF

Author:  Kody Keplinger

Genre: Young adult, contemporary

Publisher: Poppy (Little Brown)

Publication Date: September 7, 2010

277 pages, paperback

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

I won’t lie to you. This book is super clichéd and very predictable, but MAN, if it wasn’t entertaining! I flew through this book in one day at work. It’s definitely fast-paced and it’s got a clear, feel-good message.

We’ve got to talk about Bianca. She’s our MC and the “DUFF” in the title. (Btw, Duff stands for Designated Ugly Fat Friend). I loved her right away. She’s sarcastic and witty, a bit of a bitch (sorry for the language!), and independent. When Wesley (think John Tucker) tells her she’s the DUFF of her friend group, she’s pissed. As she should be. But throughout the book, she discovers that she’s not the only girl who feels like the DUFF sometimes. All girls feel like the DUFF sometimes. I’ve felt like the DUFF and so have you. Don’t get mad at me for telling you that she comes to accept herself, because it’s obvious what this book is trying to do. It’s not a spoiler. I was rooting for Bianca to accept herself the whole time. She’s so realistic, so likeable despite her attitude, so relatable. When she decides to distract herself by hooking up with Wesley (who she hates), I understood her. Which was a little weird, because I’d never do something like that, but that’s how real Bianca felt.

The message behind this book – that you should accept yourself no matter what anyone thinks – is so important. Yes, it’s mixed in with a lot of teenage drama and friend fights and all that, but that’s what being a teenager is like these days. This book felt like an honest portrayal of what it’s like to grow up in our society, to constantly be told you must look a certain way to fit in.

We all know that’s a bunch of bullshit (again, sorry for the language). Be you. Dress how you want to. Be with who you like. Don’t let others dictate the way you look, dress, act, love.

The bottom line: The DUFF may be a quick, somewhat light read, but it’s got a great message and a seriously cool and hilarious MC. Yeah, it’s got lots of clichés and we all know what’s going to happen before we even start, but it’s seriously fun to read. If you are even remotely interested in the movie, I’d definitely recommend reading this.

Rating: 7 – Pretty good

Check out the trailer below! I’m going to see it on Friday, so expect a book-to-movie review this weekend!