Book Review: Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward

Title: Lover Awakened
Author: J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #3
Publisher: Signet
Publication date: September 5, 2006
Pages: 434
Source: Purchased
Summary (via Goodreads): In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly war raging between vampires and their slayers. And there exists a secret band of brothers like no other – six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Of these, Zsadist is the most terrifying member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

 

A former blood slave, the vampire Zsadist still bears the scars from a past filled with suffering and humiliation. Renowned for his unquenchable fury and sinister deeds, he is a savage feared by humans and vampires alike. Anger is his only companion, and terror is his only passion—until he rescues a beautiful aristocrat from the evil Lessening Society.

 

Bella is instantly entranced by the seething power Zsadist possesses. But even as their desire for one another begins to overtake them both, Zsadist’s thirst for vengeance against Bella’s tormentors drives him to the brink of madness. Now, Bella must help her lover overcome the wounds of his tortured past, and find a future with her…

 

review6

 

Sooooo freaking good! I decided to get the first several books in the series from my local used bookstore, and quickly devoured book 1, which I enjoyed. Book 2 was even better, although some parts were kinda like OMG what’s happening. Somewhere along the line, I ended up buying 10-11 of the Black Dagger Brotherhood books, just because I like the characters so much. And I have a thing for vampires. So here we are with book 3 and my review. I was so nervous about reading this one based on the couple (mostly the male); that is until my friend Jessica read it and loved it hardcore. I also loved it so much. There are no words that can fully express my love. This book definitely gets 5 stars.

 

There were so many emotional parts; it broke my heart sometimes. I definitely cried while reading this book, especially towards the end. That ending was absolute perfection. 5 extra stars just for that haha. I don’t want to give things away, especially for people who haven’t read any of the books. But I’ll say that I knew who the club owner really was way before he was revealed. I’m definitely excited to read the next book, to see what happens going forward. I am so glad I finally got around to reading this book, because it’s exactly what I needed right about now. Vampires will always be a love of mine, and I don’t read about them nearly enough. So give me all your favorite vampire recs now! Please and thanks.

 

One thing to note about these books is the fact that they kind of jump around from head to head, showing you a little of what this person is thinking/feeling, and then this person, and so on. It’s a little annoying at moments when you just want to stay in someone’s head at a really good/intense part, but then it jumps to someone else’s head for a while instead. I think the different POVs are well done though, so no complaints really from me. I highly recommend these books to anyone who likes vampires, paranormal romance, and some alpha males.

 

 

August SST: Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow Review + Giveaway

Sunday Street Team

 

Welcome to the Sunday Street Team! I received an eARC of this book in exchange for a honest review. This book was dark, but so amazing. I gave it 5 out of 5 stars.

 


Girl in PiecesTitle:
Girl in Pieces
Author: Kathleen Glasgow
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication date:
August 30, 2016
Summary (via Goodreads): Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The thick glass of a mason jar cuts deep, and the pain washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.

 

Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.

 


 

review6

 

I was beyond excited to read this book for the Sunday Street Team. I think more people should tell darker stories, because they exist in our world. This was an amazing book. The writing was heartbreakingly beautiful. I received a copy from Netgalley to review, and ended up giving this book 5 out of 5 stars.

 

As soon as I picked up this book, I pretty much didn’t want to put it down…except to take some breaks when my heart felt like it had cracked open in my chest. The book wasn’t all darkness, but it definitely wasn’t a happy book. Which is fine with me, because life isn’t sunshine and daisies 24/7. Charlie’s story, and even a lot of the secondary characters stories, will resonate with a lot of people.

 

I absolutely loved Charlie’s character. She seemed so real. My heart ached for her, and the people surrounding her, that have to deal with inner and outer demons. I really liked a lot of the female characters in this book, but barely any of the male characters–except a couple. A lot of the guys were jackasses. Charlie goes through so much in this book, and by the end, I’m glad she has people she can turn to, people she can rely on.

 

Honestly, I think everyone should read this book. It reminds you that sometimes bad things–overwhelming things–happen. But with some supportive friends, you can embrace life to its fullest. One of my favorite things about this book is that you can feel the raw pain and emotion. Kathleen wasn’t scared to show the downs of life, to show how the tornado building inside you can lash out at any moment.

 

I made notes of some gorgeous lines while reading: “We all have our Kiefer stages, when we want to destroy ourselves in order to create. To see if that’s beautiful, too.” and “I say the wrong thing, if I can bring myself to say anything at all. I’ve always felt like an intrusion, a giant blob of wrong.” and “I’m so unwhole. I don’t know where all the pieces of me are, how to fit them together, how to make them stick. Or if I even can.”

 

Final note: An amazing book. It’s definitely dark, but it has an optimistic ending. I’m so glad I read this book. As soon as I finished reading, I bought myself a copy for my personal collection. I’d highly recommend this one.

 

If you or someone you know is struggling and needs help, please consider contacting:
Crisis Text Line: Text START to 741-741
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
To Write Love on Her Arms: https://twloha.com/find-help/local-resources/
National Runaway Hotline: 1-800-621-4000

 

5 stars

 


 

about the author

 

Kathleen Glasgow lives in Tucson, Arizona. She writes for the radio show The Writer’s Almanac and can probably provide you with some interesting anecdotes about historical literary figures if you asked nicely. You can find out more about Kathleen by following her on Twitter: @kathglasgow, Instagram, @misskathleenglasgow (where she posts about sunsets, depression, spirit circles, and books) or her website: kathleenglasgowbooks.com.

 


 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review: None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio

None of the Above

Title: None of the Above
Author: I.W. Gregorio
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication date: April 7, 2015
Pages: 328
Source: Borrowed
Summary (via Goodreads): A groundbreaking story about a teenage girl who discovers she was born intersex… and what happens when her secret is revealed to the entire school. Incredibly compelling and sensitively told, None of the Above is a thought-provoking novel that explores what it means to be a boy, a girl, or something in between.

 

What if everything you knew about yourself changed in an instant?

 

When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She’s a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she’s madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she’s decided that she’s ready to take things to the next level with him.

 

But Kristin’s first time isn’t the perfect moment she’s planned—something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy “parts.”

 

Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin’s entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self?

 

review6

 

Such a good book. I personally don’t know much about what it means to be intersex, so I loved learning more and reading Kristin’s story. I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars.

 

So I actually bought an ebook copy of this book for a diverse book event several months ago, but I wanted to read a hardcover copy instead of using my Kindle, due to eye strain. I reserved a library copy when I saw this book on the list for #ReadProud. It’s been on my TBR list for way too long, so I had to rectify that situation.

 

Kristin was such a great main character. I learned a lot about what it means to be intersex because of this book, so yay for that! I love being able to open my eyes to new things, to be able to understand things more, to keep my mind open/accepting of everyone. My heart hurt for some of the things Kristin had to endure. People, especially teens, can be so cruel.

 

I’m glad she had a great support system built of family and friends to turn to. I definitely cried during emotional parts in the book. So fair warning, you might cry too. I just know Kristin is going to be okay, especially because her support circle got bigger as the book continued. It really goes to show you that some people are actually good.

 

There was some romance in the beginning of the book, and then some at the very end. I like the romance at the end better. The ending was perfection. I was beyond happy that Kristin was in a better place emotionally, and that things were starting to look up for her all around.

 

I can’t say for certain, but I think Darren will be an addition to my book boyfriend list. He was super sweet, but I feel like I didn’t get to see enough of him. I wanted more! I also really loved his mom. Kristin’s dad was another great character; he’s kind of intense after what happened with Kristin’s mom (no spoilers), but he’s so accepting/supportive after Kristin received her diagnosis. More parents should be like him. In addition to these characters, I loved Gretchen, Jessica, and a few others.

 

I didn’t make many status updates on Goodreads while devouring this book in two days, but here’s a quote I loved: “One day I would find my own place. I couldn’t run there, though, because it didn’t exist yet; I had to build it myself, out of forgiveness, truth, and terrifying gestures of friendship.”

 

Final note: An amazing book! I’m so glad I picked this book for the final #ReadProud weekly challenge. Get yourself a copy of this book ASAP. It’ll open your eyes and your heart.

 

5 stars

Book Review: Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

Everything Leads to You

Title: Everything Leads to You
Author: Nina LaCour
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Publication date: May 15, 2014
Pages: 312
Source: Borrowed
Summary (via Goodreads): A love letter to the craft and romance of film and fate in front of—and behind—the camera from the award-winning author of Hold Still.

 

A wunderkind young set designer, Emi has already started to find her way in the competitive Hollywood film world.

 

Emi is a film buff and a true romantic, but her real-life relationships are a mess. She has desperately gone back to the same girl too many times to mention. But then a mysterious letter from a silver screen legend leads Emi to Ava. Ava is unlike anyone Emi has ever met. She has a tumultuous, not-so-glamorous past, and lives an unconventional life. She’s enigmatic…. She’s beautiful. And she is about to expand Emi’s understanding of family, acceptance, and true romance.

 

review6

 

I loved this book. It was utter perfection. If you’re looking for a cute, slow burn love story, a f/f romance, etc., I highly suggest you read this book. I gave it 5 out of 5 stars.

 

I’d gotten this book from the library before, and didn’t have time to read it. When I saw it on the list for #ReadProud, I was super excited to finally cross it off my TBR list. I’m upset that I didn’t read this book sooner, before it was so good. I pretty much loved all the characters in this book: Emi, Charlotte, Ava, Jamal, Toby (even though you don’t see him much), Emi’s parents, etc. There were only a couple characters I didn’t like, for reasons you’ll see if you read this book.

 

Emi was a fantastic main character; I adored her. The book mostly takes place in the summertime, which allows us to see Emi’s super amazing job as a set designer. I loved seeing all the little details, like shopping at Goodwill, going to garage/estate sales, etc. They really helped sell the authenticity of the job, in my opinion.

 

Another character that I loved was Ava. Her life, and backstory, leapt off the page. My heart hurt for everything she had to endure. There was a bit of a mysterious aspect to this book, which I thought was nice. You slowly learn more and more until you have most of the picture presented to you by the end of the book. There were still some questions left unanswered, but I thought that was a good metaphor for life: you don’t always get answers to everything you want to know.

 

I loved the slow burn romance, and the perfect ending to this beautiful story. I say yes to this book. I need to buy a copy ASAP to read over and over again. I only made note of one line that I really liked: “And I understand what this is. It’s the opposite of the collapse of the fantasy. It’s what happens when the illusion pales in comparison to the truth.”

 

Final note: I will push this one on people constantly, because it was such an amazing book! I’m so glad I finally got around to reading this book for the #ReadProud challenge this month. Get yourself a copy ASAP if you haven’t read this yet!

 

5 stars

Book Review: George by Alex Gino

George

Title: George
Author: Alex Gino
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication date: August 25, 2015
Pages: 195
Source: Borrowed
Summary (via Goodreads): BE WHO YOU ARE.

 

When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl.

 

George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part . . . because she’s a boy.

 

With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte — but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.

 

review6

 

This book was so good. I feel like it should be mandatory reading for younger children, to help expose them to literature about transgendered people. These kinds of books will let kids know it’s okay to be who you are, as the first line in the summary says. I gave this 5 out of 5 stars.

 

I read this book for #ReadProud. I ended up reading it in one day, because I didn’t want to put it down and it’s a pretty short book. I’d heard some great things about this book, and they were definitely all correct. George is such a great main character. I felt for her while she tried to let the world know that she was a girl, not a boy. Her story touched my heart, and I’m sure it’ll touch your heart too!

 

First off, I really love Kelly, George’s best friend. Kelly was always there for George and didn’t judge her like a lot of other people did in the story. Kelly encouraged George to try out for Charlotte’s part in the play, and even helped George be Charlotte after the teacher said no. Kelly encouraged George to embrace being a girl in other ways as well, and I have to say bravo to Kelly’s character. If it wasn’t for her, it might have been harder, and taken George longer, to embrace her true identity.

 

George’s mom kind of annoyed me for most of the book. She kept dismissing George’s words, kept dismissing George when she tried to tell her mom that she wasn’t a boy. She comes around towards the end, but I feel like she’s going to take a while to come to terms with this. I wish more parents were accepting of their children, no matter what. George’s dad isn’t really in the picture, and we only hear mentioning of him a few times. George’s brother Scott was a pretty great character overall. He’s a little brash at first, but he comes around to the idea of George’s true identity much faster than the mom.

 

Of course, some kids can be cruel. Kids like Jeff, Rick, etc. are why more kids don’t come forward with their true identities. It breaks my heart that kids, and even adults, have to endure that kind of pain. Bullying is beyond wrong; I know from firsthand experience, but my reasons for being bullied were different. No child should have to endure bullying. But despite being picked on, George prevails. The ending was absolutely perfect. I just know George is going to be okay, even if she experiences some ups and downs.

 

Before I finish the review, I just want to point out one line that really stuck with me. It was said about George and I think it fits perfectly: “My point is, it takes a special person to cry over a book. It shows compassion as well as imagination.”

 

Final note: Another amazing debut! I read this book for the #ReadProud challenge this month, and I regret nothing. You can buy a Kindle or Nook copy of this book for $2.99 right now. Go get a copy ASAP!

 

5 stars

Book Review: If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

If I Was Your Girl

Title: If I Was Your Girl
Author: Meredith Russo
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication date: May 3, 2016
Pages: 288
Source: Borrowed
Summary (via Goodreads): Amanda Hardy is the new girl in school in Lambertville, Tennessee. Like any other girl, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is keeping a secret. There’s a reason why she transferred schools for her senior year, and why she’s determined not to get too close to anyone.

 

And then she meets Grant Everett. Grant is unlike anyone she’s ever met—open, honest, kind—and Amanda can’t help but start to let him into her life. As they spend more time together, she finds herself yearning to share with Grant everything about herself…including her past. But she’s terrified that once she tells Grant the truth, he won’t be able to see past it.

 

Because the secret that Amanda’s been keeping? It’s that she used to be Andrew.

 

review6

 

Okay bear with me, because this review is going to be intense. It’ll include a lot of gushing praise, some of the heartache I experienced, and so much more…without being spoilery of course. This book is definitely 5 out of 5 stars in my book.

 

I read this book for #ReadProud, even though it’s been on my TBR list for quite a while now. I’m so glad I finally read it. Because of the summary, you already know some of the backstory of Amanda’s life. But knowing that backstory still didn’t prepare me for the roller coaster of emotions that were contained in the 288 pages of If I Was Your Girl. I thought Meredith did such a great job with the subject matter at hand. My heart went out to the main character, Amanda, so many times. As a straight female, I know I don’t know what it’s like to be trans, but seeing life through Amanda’s eyes was eye-opening. I’d like to think I’m pretty open-minded and accepting, especially after seeing the reactions of some people in this book. I say be who you are, be with whoever makes you happy, etc. because life’s too short.

 

Amanda was a fantastic main character. I liked that Meredith had some passages scattered throughout the book that showed us Amanda’s past, showed us what she had to endure and deal with. It made me get attached to her character even more. Grant was a pretty good guy overall, but he’s not an addition to my book boyfriend for a few reasons. One is that I just wasn’t attracted to his character. He sounded cute, but I didn’t feel myself falling for his character. The other reasons I don’t want to share, because they’re spoilers.

 

I thought the female friendship in this book was one of the highlights. Layla, Anna, and Chloe were amazing, especially towards the very end of the book. Amanda is lucky to have friends like them. Bee was okay, until she wasn’t, but I understand she served a purpose in the book. I really liked that Amanda got to feel like ‘one of the girls’ when she lived in Lambertville. It made my heart happy for most of the book.

 

The ‘past’ sections were pretty emotional overall. They really tugged at my heartstring, for lack of better words. Some were happy, but mostly they were showing the emotional, and physical, abuse Amanda endured. My heart ached that people could treat other people like that, like they were nothing. Society is so wrong at times that it’s enough to make me scream. The book ends on a slightly happier note, especially since Amanda always has her friends no matter what, and she has her whole life ahead of her to see what happens next.

 

Final note: I’m glad I read this book for the #ReadProud challenge this month. Such a great debut! I’d highly recommend it! I need to buy a copy for myself to own so I can keep experiencing the feels over and over again!

 

5 stars

May SST: Summer of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider Review + Giveaway

Sunday Street Team

 

Welcome to the Sunday Street Team! I received an eARC of this book in exchange for a honest review. This book was amazing! I gave it 5 out of 5 stars.

 

Summer of SloaneTitle: Summer of Sloane
Author: Erin L. Schneider
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication date:
May 3, 2016
Summary (via Goodreads): Warm Hawaiian sun. Lazy beach days. Flirty texts with her boyfriend back in Seattle.

 

These are the things seventeen-year-old Sloane McIntyre pictured when she imagined the summer she’d be spending at her mom’s home in Hawaii with her twin brother, Penn. Instead, after learning an unthinkable secret about her boyfriend, Tyler, and best friend, Mick, all she has is a fractured hand and a completely shattered heart.

 

Once she arrives in Honolulu, though, Sloane hopes that Hawaii might just be the escape she needs. With beach bonfires, old friends, exotic food, and the wonders of a waterproof cast, there’s no reason Sloane shouldn’t enjoy her summer. And when she meets Finn McAllister, the handsome son of a hotel magnate who doesn’t always play by the rules, she knows he’s the perfect distraction from everything that’s so wrong back home.

 

But it turns out a measly ocean isn’t nearly enough to stop all the emails, texts, and voicemails from her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend, desperate to explain away their betrayal. And as her casual connection with Finn grows deeper, Sloane’s carefree summer might not be as easy to find as she’d hoped. Weighing years of history with Mick and Tyler against their deception, and the delicate possibility of new love, Sloane must decide when to forgive, and when to live for herself.

 


 

review6

 

I’m so glad I signed up for this Sunday Street Team opportunity, because I just loved this book. Erin did such an amazing job with her debut novel. I received a copy from Netgalley to review, and ended up giving this book 5 out of 5 stars (and added it to my favorites list).

 

The writing in this book was incredible. It felt like you were watching a movie play out, or reading Sloane’s personal diary, or something else equally amazing. I didn’t want to put this book down at all. It’s definitely a book that you could read in one sitting. I unfortunately had plans and couldn’t do so, but when I re-read this book many times for years to come, I’m sure it’ll be a ‘one sitting’ book.

 

Sloane was a fantastic main character. The beginning of the book started out intense, and I felt terrible for her. But quickly things start turning around once she went to Hawaii. The beautiful imagery and overall atmosphere of the Hawaii trip made me want to visit there ASAP. I really enjoyed Sloane’s family: her twin brother Penn, her dad, and her mom/stepdad (although you don’t see that much of the stepdad). I thought they were all pretty likeable characters. Sloane’s Hawaii friends, old and new, were pretty fantastic as well…especially Finn. Cue swooning.

 

I loved Finn’s character so much. He made me mad a couple times while I was reading, but I couldn’t stay mad at him for long. He’s so much better than Tyler, the toolbag. I hated, hated, hated Tyler’s character vehemently throughout the whole book, except not quite as much towards the end. He still sucked though. Finn makes such an excellent addition to my book boyfriend list, up near the top.

 

In addition to adoring Finn, I also adored his little sister Luce. She was a good secondary character that helped move things along throughout the book. The backstories for most of the people in the book were kind of tragic, but most people do have some tragedy in their lives. I think that’s another aspect that makes this book so real, so perfect.

 

I only kept track of one funny line while reading: “It looks fast and slightly dangerous and I have to admit, it makes me feel kinda like a badass. Well, in a might-pee-my-pants badass kind of way.” I spent most of the time just swept up into the story that I didn’t stop to write down lines.

 

Final note: Such an amazing debut novel! I’m recommending this to anyone who enjoys contemporary books. I ordered a copy for my personal library, and can’t wait to re-read this beauty over and over again.

 

5 stars

 


 

about the author

 

Erin L. Schneider is native to the Pacific Northwest, attended college in Honolulu – and although Hawaiian – should never be allowed on a surfboard. With more than twenty years in corporate merchandising, she’s now a full-time writer living in Seattle with her husband, Neal; their baby boy, Kellan; a rowdy German shepherd named Ronin; and two crazy cats, Ono and Poke. She’s a member of both the Pacific Northwest Writers Association and SCBWI, and is also co-founder of the YA Buccaneers.

 

SUMMER OF SLOANE is her debut novel, out May 3, 2016 from Disney-Hyperion. Visit Erin online at www.erinlschneider.com or on Twitter: @ErinLSchneider1.

 

Erin is represented by literary agent Lisa Grubka of Fletcher & Company.

 


 

giveaway

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review: The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

The Distance Between Us

Title: The Distance Between Us
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication date: July 2, 2013
Pages: 312
Source: Purchased
Summary (via Goodreads): Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

 

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she’s beginning to enjoy his company.

 

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.

 

review6

 

This is by far my favorite Kasie West book to date. Caymen was a great main character, and I found the sarcastic nature of her character to be refreshing and entertaining. This book was 5 out of 5 stars to me, and it was added to my favorites list.

 

Overall this was a fast, easy, enjoyable read. I’d highly recommend it to lovers of contemporary romance. Since I’d just read On the Fence recently, I recognized some of the characters from that book in this book. I can’t remember if there was any character overlap from The Fill-In Boyfriend.

 

This book wasn’t very fluffy overall, which was fine by me. I like books with a little more substance, with some issues/problems scattered throughout. It’s more like real life. I won’t spoil what happens in the book, but there’s definitely some drama, some problems, that occur. I think Kasie did a great job with the story, making it slightly suspenseful, even though I pretty much guessed most of what would happen before it did. But nevertheless, I still loved the book.

 

In addition to loving Caymen, and wanting to be her best friend, I also liked Skye a lot. I felt like I got to know Skye more in the book than in On the Fence, because Caymen is her best friend. Xander was another great character. I absolutely loved the interactions between him and Caymen. They seemed like the perfect pairing. Xander has definitely been added to my book boyfriend list. *swoon*

 

I didn’t make a lot of status updates because I was so busy reading, but I did make note of one line I really liked: “Feelings, my dear daughter, you will perhaps learn one day, can be the most costly thing in the universe.”

 

Final note: If you had to read one Kasie West book, I’d tell you to read this one. It was my favorite by a wide margin. I can’t wait to read Kasie’s sci-fi/fantasy duology and her new book coming out later this year.

 

5 stars

Audiobook Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Title: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Author: Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Series: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe #1
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication date: April 9, 2013
Length: 7 hrs and 30 mins
Source: Borrowed
Summary (via Goodreads): A lyrical novel about family and friendship from critically acclaimed author Benjamin Alire Sáenz.

 

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

 

review6

 

I listened to this audiobook on a road trip to visit my family. The narrator was fantastic, and instantly drew me into the story. I’d give this audiobook, and story in general, 5 out of 5 stars.

 

The description gave no indication that this was set in the late 80s, so I was a bit surprised by that when I first started listening. But I really did enjoy the story right off the bat. I was trying decide between audiobooks to listen to on my trip, and this one was recommended to me. I’m so glad I listened to it. I thought Aristotle, or Ari as he’s most often known as, was a fascinating main character, and I really love Dante’s character. I’d looked this story up on Goodreads before listening, so I kind of already knew what was going to happen based on the genres it was listed under.

 

I was a bit surprised by how long it took to get to the point I expected the book to go to though. What I wanted to happen didn’t happen until nearly the end. But at least the buildup/anticipation was entertaining enough. There were happy parts, sad parts, kind of crazy intense parts, etc.

 

Ari’s “girl friends” from school were pretty annoying. I just wanted more Dante, and less of them. Towards the end of the audiobook, I cried some, because it got kind of emotional. Ari’s parents were okay,  especially towards the last quarter or so of the book. But I thought Dante’s parents were the ones who shined through; they were the kind of parents most kids probably dream about.

 

Before I listened to the audiobook, I saw that there was going to be a sequel coming out sometime in the future, which makes me super happy. I’m so ready to see what happens next in Ari and Dante’s story. I didn’t get nearly enough of them in those 7+ hours. Obviously, because I was driving, I didn’t keep track of my favorite lines, but there were some really good ones!

 

Final note: A fantastic audiobook, with an equally amazing narrator. I’d highly recommend this book to diversity lovers, to anyone who likes books set in the not too distant past.

 

5 stars

ARC Review: In Real Life by Jessica Love

In Real Life

Title: In Real Life
Author: Jessica Love
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication date: March 1, 2016
Pages: 240
Source: Netgalley
Summary (via Goodreads): Hannah Cho and Nick Cooper have been best friends since 8th grade. They talk for hours on the phone, regularly shower each other with presents, and know everything there is to know about one another.

 

There’s just one problem: Hannah and Nick have never actually met.

 

Hannah has spent her entire life doing what she’s supposed to, but when her senior year spring break plans get ruined by a rule-breaker, she decides to break a rule or two herself. She impulsively decides to road trip to Las Vegas, her older sister and BFF in tow, to surprise Nick and finally declare her more-than-friend feelings for him.

 

Hannah’s surprise romantic gesture backfires when she gets to Vegas and finds out that Nick has been keeping some major secrets. Hannah knows the real Nick can’t be that different from the online Nick she knows and loves, but now she only has night in Sin City to figure out what her feelings for Nick really are, all while discovering how life can change when you break the rules every now and then.

 

review6

 

This was such a cute contemporary romance read. I devoured it as fast as my schedule allowed; it’s a fast enough read that you could definitely read it in a day, if you had the time. Thank you Netgalley for providing me a copy in exchange for a honest review. I gave it 5 out of 5 stars.

 

This book was one of my Waiting on Wednesday picks, and I’m so glad I finally read it. I’m always looking for new contemporary favorites, and this one is right up there. The relevance of the main topic, online friendships/relationships, is prevalent in our society nowadays. With all the different forms of social media out there, people are finding others to befriend that are halfway across the country, halfway across the world. I think Jessica did a great job with the subject matter at hand.

 

The summary and the cute cover is what made me really want to pick up this book. After reading, I can conclude that this book definitely met my expectations, and even exceeded it occasionally. Hannah was a pretty great, realistic main character overall. She annoyed me a few times, along with her sister and her best friend, but people annoy you sometimes [in real life]. Note: pun intended. I liked Grace, Hannah’s sister, for the most part. Hannah’s best friend, Lo, annoyed me more than other characters, but even she had some great aspects to her character. The other characters were all fine, but didn’t make a huge impression on me overall when compared to these girls (other than Nick, of course).

 

Nick was adorable; definitely book boyfriend material. He’s more nerdy chic than some of the other love interests in YA books nowadays, which I love. Not every guy looks the same, and Nick is still handsome in my opinion, based on the descriptions. Unfortunately I haven’t seen him in person. Drats! The friendship between Hannah and Nick was amazing. I wish I had a guy best friend that I could share everything with, who I constantly talked/texted/video chatted with.

 

The book had tension/drama throughout, leading up to the fantastic conclusion. The slight annoyances were easily overcome by the happy feelings I had while reading the book at all the swoony parts. I’d love to see more of Nick and Hannah’s story in the future! I don’t think that’ll happen though, so I guess I’ll just have to daydream about them instead. I didn’t make note of any favorite lines, because I was too busy reading this cute book as fast as I could.

 

Final note: Another contemporary romance favorite to add to my growing list. I’d highly recommend this book to anyone that wants swoony romance on a socially relevant subject matter.

 

5 stars