Review: The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

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Summary:

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:

I’m not sure that Kasie West can do wrong when it comes to a contemporary romance.

This was my 3rd Kasie West book to read and I think it’s my new favorite so far (This one, PS I Like You, By Your Side–in that order). I’m anticipating reading her future as well as the other older titles I still haven’t read.

Anyways, one thing about Kasie’s books is that the synopsis never makes them seem as good as they really are. For example, the synopsis for this sounds super cheesy. Not even going to lie about it.

Either way, I thought the concept was cute even if the synopsis sounded cheesy, so I was glad it ended up working out in my favor.

I don’t want to say much for the sake of spoilers, but the character development for Gia was great for me. I loved seeing how she grew and changed as a person.

Her ending was almost exactly what I wanted. My only complaint is that I wish there was an epilogue. Maybe something telling what happens over the summer or once she gets to college. However, I get that it was probably best left the way it was.

This would be a great summertime beach read because it reads quickly, but I’m glad that I didn’t wait that long to read it. I own two of her older books and haven’t read them, so I’m looking forward to getting to them soon as well as her upcoming book in July, Lucky in Love.

-M

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Review: Windfall by Jennifer E Smith

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Summary:

Alice doesn’t believe in luck—at least, not the good kind. But she does believe in love, and for some time now, she’s been pining for her best friend, Teddy. On his eighteenth birthday—just when it seems they might be on the brink of something—she buys him a lottery ticket on a lark. To their astonishment, he wins $140 million, and in an instant, everything changes.

At first, it seems like a dream come true, especially since the two of them are no strangers to misfortune. As a kid, Alice won the worst kind of lottery possible when her parents died just over a year apart from each other. And Teddy’s father abandoned his family not long after that, leaving them to grapple with his gambling debts. Through it all, Teddy and Alice have leaned on each other. But now, as they negotiate the ripple effects of Teddy’s newfound wealth, a gulf opens between them. And soon, the money starts to feel like more of a curse than a windfall.

As they try to find their way back to each other, Alice learns more about herself than she ever could have imagined . . . and about the unexpected ways in which luck and love sometimes intersect.

My Thoughts:

First of all, yes- this book is super predictable as far as the story goes.

That said, it is also a cute story that I got completely immersed in and could not put down.

I’d had an ARC of Windfall for MONTHS and finally decided to read it since it was close to the release date. The next thing I knew, it’d been a few hours and I was halfway into the book. I finished the second half two days later (I’m busy, y’all!) and it held my attention just the same way.

So, sure, the story of winning a lottery ticket might be  predictable in its aftermath, but I still loved the journey just the same.

There was a secondary love interest that I almost wish had not even been in the story because there was so little development to that. In fact, at one point I thought he’d show up again, but nope…never to be heard from again.

I did love Alice’s struggle of finding her place and figuring out what she wanted to do with her life amidst the drama of her friend, and crush, Teddy winning the lottery. Alice had a rough childhood, so I was almost more interested in how she was going to turn out than I was in what was going to happen between her and Teddy.

This was only the second book I’d read from Jennifer Smith, but I definitely intend to read more soon.

Windfall releases tomorrow (May 2, 2017), so go ahead and order it for your fun read for summer.

Hello to Goodbye Days

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Summary:

Can a text message destroy your life?

Carver Briggs never thought a simple text would cause a fatal crash, killing his three best friends, Mars, Eli, and Blake. Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident and even worse, there could be a criminal investigation into the deaths.

Then Blake’s grandmother asks Carver to remember her grandson with a ‘goodbye day’ together. Carver has his misgivings, but he starts to help the families of his lost friends grieve with their own memorial days, along with Eli’s bereaved girlfriend Jesmyn. But not everyone is willing to forgive. Carver’s own despair and guilt threatens to pull him under into panic and anxiety as he faces punishment for his terrible mistake. Can the goodbye days really help?


My Thoughts:

I loved Jeff’s first book Serpent King last year and was still in no way prepared for Goodbye Days.

With that said, I went into this book with HIGH expectations and absolutely was NOT let down at all!

I was tearing up within the first 3 or 4 pages, so I knew I was going to be in for a ride, much like Serpent King was a rollercoaster of emotions.

Most importantly, Goodbye Days has two very important messages in it.

First- obviously- the dangers of texting and driving. Carver’s life gets all mixed up due to sending his friends a simple text. Did he mean for something bad to happen? Absolutely not. But something happened anyways.

Second- Live everyday to the fullest. The people in Carver’s friends’ lives relied on Carver to imagine what they would have done with the deceased friends’ last days. That’s never something a person wants to imagine, but it teaches us to treat each day importantly.

Jeff has a way of creating characters that are real and easy to relate to for any reader. I may be several years older than his characters, but I find myself thinking, “man, I wish I could’ve had friends like this when I was that age.” Heck, I wish I could have friends this fun now even.

Overall, Zentner has yet again knocked it out of the park and I find myself anxious to see what he does next after loving his first two books. He has definitely earned a place as an insta-buy for me.

Goodbye Days is out NOW, so go grab a copy and always make the most of the days you have.

Love for The Hate U Give

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Summary:

Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice. Movie rights have been sold to Fox, with Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games) to star.

My Thoughts:

    I don’t even know where to begin with THUG.

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I read THUG late last year, I believe in early November. I was already excited for it after hearing author, Angie Thomas, read from is at Mississippi Book Festival in August. I was sold and knew this was a book that I wanted to read.

Boy, was I….RIGHT.

I was completely blown away  by Starr and her situation. The writing was real and I could easily (I say easily lightly, because painfully is a better word.) see the story play out. I couldn’t quit reading because I had to know what was going to happen next in Starr’s world.

More importantly, sure, the book is great and  teens (EVERYONE) will love it for what it is, but it is so TIMELY and important with the message it sends out.

The biggest part is that it helped me further understand the kids that I work with everyday. I’m in a small town, yet urban setting with lots of low income families. I graduated 10 years ago from a high school about 30 minutes where I’m now a high school librarian, but 2017 in my school’s community is a whole other world from 2007 in the school and world I graduated in. It honestly helped me “get” where some of these kids are coming from and to understand some of their actions that I see on a daily basis.

That’s because of just how real the writing it. It’s also why I feel like young adult literature NEEDS more own voices books. Kids need to be able to see themselves and their communities. I didn’t intend to write this review on the day that I did, but the need for diverse and own voice books has especially hit me today because a Hispanic girl came to return a book today RAVING about how much she adored what she’d read because “It was so different. So many books are about pretty, white girls- and that’s okay too, Ms. Hays, don’t get me wrong!- but it was neat to have something different even if it wasn’t a Hispanic girl in this book.”

That kid struck a chord with me like she wouldn’t know because the importance of DIFFERENCES is one thing I try hard to push for the kids in my library so often. Sure, read the stuff that’s popular. That’s awesome, but read diverse books and see yourself, your peers, and other aspects that you don’t typically see.


This ended up going on way longer than I intended, but, honestly, I cannot speak highly enough over this book at all. I can’t wait until I’m able to order more books for my library next school year so that I’m able to share Starr with the kids in my school. They’ll love knowing that Starr was living in a neighborhood based on one not too far from where they live.

February 28…GO GET IT. You will not be disappointed in the slightest!

-M

That time Nicola Yoon became an insta-buy for me…

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My Thoughts:

For anyone who doesn’t know, an insta-buy is just what it seems like. For me, it’s an author that I’ve decided I love and will buy any book without needing to wait to hear how it is or even needing to know what the book is about.

I absolutely loved Everything, Everything last year. I’m excited for the movie next year and I’m hoping that they capture the magic of the book.

That said, I was greatly anticipating The Sun is Also a Star. I vaguely knew what it was about, but I didn’t search for much in the way of summaries and went into it quite blind.

I was not disappointed and I think it’s safe to say that Nicola Yoon is now an insta-buy author for me after knocking it out of the park with these first two books. Even further, I hope that this one also gets on the way to becoming a movie because I can  just imagine how perfect it will be.

It was interesting to see so many different aspects of the one day in the book- even from people who at the time didn’t seem to be that major. Another highlight was that I always enjoy alternating points of view in books. It seems to give books more depth and is just right to hold my attention span.

In closing, I can’t recommend either of Nicola’s books enough. Both blew me away and so important for showing DIVERSITY in YA literature. All readers need to be able to find themselves in some way and Nicola’s books have been an excellent example of holding diverse characters.

Go pick up one or both books today!

-Melanie

 

5 questions with PC Cast

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Quick note:

I’m SO excited for Moon Chosen, out next Tuesday! I met Ms Cast a couple years ago at RT book convention and she was incredibly nice. I loved the House of Night series when I was in college, so I’ve been excited to see what she’s done on her own.

Thanks to Ms Cast for taking time to answer a few questions for the blog tour!

PC CAST

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  1. What 3 words would you use to describe your book? EXCITING – HEARTWARMING – UNIQUE
  2. What’s in your “Author Survival Kit”? (Pens, Caffeine, iPods, etc?)

My tread desk!  Yep, I walk and write at the same time (it’s actually awesome and easy – google it!).  I write in silence.  Well, except for four dogs and a Maine Coon cat who tend to either sleep like the dead or create chaos.  I brew a big pot of either green tea or herbal tea and get to work surrounded by my fur babies, research books, crystals, and infused candles made specially for me by the wonderful Sage Goddess (you can find her on Etsy).

3. What was the last book you read that you just couldn’t put down?

SCARLET RAIN by my talented daughter, Kristin Cast.  The book rocks!  But that’s not why I couldn’t put it down.  I couldn’t put it down because she based the mom character in the book on me and what happens to “me” in that books is…well…you’ll have to read it to see!

4. What kind of research did you have to do for the story?

Well, I destroy all of Portland’s bridges, so I had to do lots of research about how they were built so that I could properly tear them down!  My father taught biology for about half a century, so being sure my ecosystems work is imbedded into my DNA.  This series merges biology and fantasy, which means I have to be sure the biological foundation of my world is solid so that it can remain believable when I add fantasy.

I also had to do quite a bit of research about treehouses for the Tribe of the Trees.  I even went to Washington state and stayed in a treehouse B&B (it was fantastic!).

5. Who is your ultimate book boyfriend?

From another author – Jamie Fraser from Diana Gabaldon’s OUTLANDER series.  From my own books – ClanFinan from the Partholon series: DIVINE BY MISTAKE, DIVINE BY CHOICE, and DIVINE BY BLOOD.

Moon Chosen is out next week!

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Spotlight: The Illuminae Files- Gemina

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Quick note:

Gemina releases a week from today!

Illuminae was one of my favorite books last year, so I’ve been waiting for this one since last October.

Again, it comes out next week, but right now you can get Illuminae in ebook forms for $1.99.

Here’s more about Gemina and I’ll also link to the Illuminae kindle page to get that awesome sale price.

Gemina:

Brace yourself for GEMINA—the highly anticipated sequel to the book critics called “out-of-this-world awesome,”—featuring journal illustrations by bestselling author Marie Lu!
 
Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.
The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminaecontinues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.
Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.
When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.
But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.
Once again told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts, and schematics, Gemina raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless.

Illuminae:

Go here for the ebook sale and get Illuminae for $1.99.