ARC Review: The Real Thing by Melissa Foster

Title: The Real Thing
Author: Melissa Foster
Series: Sugar Lake #1
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publication date: September 5, 2017
Pages: 288
Source: Netgalley
Summary (via Goodreads): This sassy, spirited baker is fine with heat—but is her fake fiancé too hot to handle?

 

Bakery owner Willow Dalton’s friendship with Zane Walker has always been a bit complicated. Now a scrumptiously hot A-list actor, Zane’s always had a reputation as player. He’s arrogant, and he’s definitely not boyfriend material. Sure, he did Willow a favor by agreeing to take her virginity before college, but is that reason enough to go along with a fake engagement a decade later—even if it comes with a real diamond ring?

 

Zane should have known better. Nothing involving Willow has ever been easy. Still, he knows her better than anyone, and becoming America’s hottest new leading man means cleaning up his reputation. An “engagement” to curvy, sass-mouthed Willow is the perfect PR move . . . provided no one gets hurt.

 

Now Zane and Willow’s little white lie has turned into an irresistible recipe for sweet temptation. And soon no one will be able to tell the difference between their fake engagement or the real thing—including them.

 

review6

 

This is my first book by this author, and overall I’m pretty impressed. The characters were all great, and I liked the dual POV quite a bit in this one. The voices have to be distinct, otherwise multiple POV really irks me. But it was nice that we got to see inside both of their minds, giving us a glance at where they were at mentally and emotionally. Thank you Netgalley for providing me a copy in exchange for a honest review. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.

 

It was a little slow sometimes, but then the romantic parts would kick into high gear and I was hooked again. And let me tell you, there was quite a bit of romance…and sex. I haven’t read a ton of second chance romances (send me your recs!), but I really love the trope. Plus the small town vibe is usually adorable in books, and this one was no exception. Small towns are not so cute in real life. At least not the ones I’ve lived in.

 

Zane is total book boyfriend material. Where can I find a guy like him? *sighs* He was so caring, thoughtful, etc. I’m not going to tell you all about the things, but he does a lot for Willow. I absolutely adored Willow for the most part, and her family is definitely up there in my favorites. There were so many cute moments, which I don’t want to share, because it would spoil the fun.

 

It’s a pretty short book (less than 300 pages), so if you like second chance romance, sweet treats, and super cuteness overload, read this ASAP. I can’t wait to read more from this author. I’m off to check when book two of this series comes out, and what it’s all about.

 

4 stars

Sunday Street Team: Internet Famous by Danika Stone 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 pretty good overall *swoons for Laurent*. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.

 

Title: Internet Famous
Author:
Danika Stone
Publisher:
Swoon Reads
Publication date:
June 6, 2017
Summary (via Goodreads): High school senior and internet sensation Madison Nakama seems to have it all: a happy family, good grades, and a massive online following for her pop-culture blog. But when her mother suddenly abandons the family, Madi finds herself struggling to keep up with all of her commitments.

 

Fandom to the rescue! As her online fans band together to help, an online/offline flirtation sparks with Laurent, a French exchange student. Their internet romance—played out in the comments section of her MadLibs blog—attracts the attention of an internet troll who threatens the separation of Madi’s real and online personas. With her carefully constructed life unraveling, Madi must uncover the hacker’s identity before he can do any more damage, or risk losing the people she loves the most… Laurent included.

 

Pre-order Links: Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK) | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository


 

 

review6

 

I signed up for the Sunday Street Team for Danika’s last YA book, so I had to sign up for this one. As I stated in my review of her last book, I’m a huge believer in fandoms. And while this book was less fandom-y, I still really enjoyed it. I received a copy from Netgalley to review, and ended up giving this book 4 out of 5 stars.

 

One thing I should mention off the bat is the kinship I felt with Madi. I have a hard time interacting with people outside of the internet as well, at least initially. I am very introverted and I don’t open up until I really know someone. So yay for a main character I can relate to. And let me just say that I fully appreciated Laurent and his French self. *drools* Such a fine specimen of YA/NA male goodness. He’s going on my book boyfriend list.

 

Before I go any further into what I loved about Laurent, and some other characters, let me just say that I really disliked Madi’s mother, and an authority figure who I’ll refer to as She Who Must Not Be Named. The authority figure was kind of an evil witch, and Madi’s mother needed to get her head out of her butt in my opinion. Gross image, but so true. I’m kind of glad she was MIA throughout most of the book. #sorrynotsorry

 

Madi’s sister, Sarah, was a great secondary character. I loved how Madi interacted with her most of the time, and how they helped one another (mostly Madi helping Sarah, but Sarah came through for Madi in her time of need against the troll). Speaking of the troll, I pretty much knew who it was from the moment they started trolling. Not sure if everyone else who read this is in the same boat, or if I’m just a great guesser. I’m curious to know. So the big reveal was more of an affirmation of my suspicions. I always want to be surprised by books, and it rarely happens.

 

Okay, so lets talk about Laurent. He’s gorgeous, geeky, artistic, and speaks French at random times. I had to translate like a quarter of what he said, but seriously, I want someone to speak French to me all day, every day. He’s beyond perfect, the whole package. The flirtation between Madi and Laurent is half the reason why I couldn’t put the book down. There were some serious sparks between these two. And to kind of get off topic, but not really, I liked how Madi’s dad encouraged her to be with Laurent. He knew that Laurent made Madi happy, and he wanted her to have something that kept a smile on her face. Yay Madi’s dad! His parenting (later in the book) made up for her disaster of a mom.

 

I didn’t keep track of any lines, because the ones I wanted to save were mostly French…and kind of gave things away. Just read the book so you can swoon over Laurent too!

 

Final note: Another great book from Danika. Also, in case anyone is confused by the YA/NA tags, I think the subject matter is within the YA category. But with Madi being 18, and Laurent being in college, they’re NA aged. I can’t wait to see what Danika comes up with next. P.S. The ending of this book is seriously swoony.

 

 


 

about the author

 

Danika Stone is an author, artist, and educator who discovered a passion for writing fiction while in the throes of her Masters thesis. A self-declared bibliophile, Danika now writes novels for both teens (All the Feels and Internet Famous) and adults (Edge of Wild and Intaglio). When not writing, Danika can be found hiking in the Rockies, planning grand adventures, and spending far too much time online. She lives with her husband, three sons, and a houseful of imaginary characters in a windy corner of Alberta, Canada.

 

Ms. Stone is represented by Morty Mint of Mint Literary Agency.

 

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | LinkedIn

YouTube | Tumblr | Pinterest


 

giveaway

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

July SST: Signs of You by Emily France 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 definitely unique. I didn’t love it as much as I wanted though. I gave it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

 


Signs of YouTitle:
 Signs of You
Author: Emily France
Publisher: Soho Teen
Publication date:
July 19, 2016
Summary (via Goodreads): Since sixteen-year-old Riley Strout lost her mother two years ago, her saving grace has been her quirky little family in the grief support group she joined as a freshman. Jay, Kate, and Noah understand her pain; each lost a loved one, and they’ve stuck together in spite of their differences, united by tragedies only they understand.

 

When Riley thinks she spots her mother shopping in a grocery store, she fears she is suffering some sort of post-traumatic stress. Then Jay and Kate report similar experiences. Only Noah hasn’t had some kind of vision, which is perhaps why he’s become so skeptical and distant.

 

When Noah disappears, Riley fears she’s lost another loved one. As they frantically search for him, she, Kate, and Jay are drawn into the mystery surrounding a relic that belonged to Jay’s dead father and contains clues about the afterlife. Riley finds herself wrestling with her feelings for both Noah and Jay—which have become clear only in Noah’s absence. If Riley is to help those she loves, and herself, she must set things right with the one she’s lost.

 


 

review6

 

When I saw that this book was being offered for the Sunday Street Team, I was so excited. Overall, it was a good book and the writing was so beautiful in places, but I just didn’t connect with the characters and story like I was expecting. I received a copy from Edelweiss to review, and ended up giving this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.

 

One thing I can definitely praise this book for is being unique. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like it. But with that being said, it was a little weird for my tastes. I liked the beginning of the book, got a little lost/uncertain about the middle, and really liked the ending.

 

The book is only 240 pages, which isn’t long, but I felt like it could have been shorter. At times I felt not a lot was happening, and I think that contributed to my not liking the book as much as I wanted. I did like Riley a lot overall, and Noah was a doll. Kate was pretty entertaining, but I really didn’t like Jay’s character very much. One of my favorite parts of this book was their friendship (I could have done without Jay personally).

 

There’s a major lack of parents in this book (besides the dead ones which are mentioned quite a bit). I think the only parent that’s shown is Riley’s dad, and even he’s not that prominent. The rest were MIA. I guess maybe that’s the nature of parents going through grief?

 

Noah was probably one of my favorite characters of this book. He’s pretty quiet, maybe a little bit of an outsider (even in their group), and very observant. By the end of the book, I loved him to pieces. He’s a new addition to my book boyfriend list. One thing to note is that there’s not a lot of romance in this book. Sure Riley’s got a major crush on someone, but the focus of the book isn’t romance.

 

I made notes of beautiful lines while I was updating my progress in this book. There were quite a few: “…I know we’ve learned something about loss: when you find friends who know it, who’ve been through it, who really, really get the ache that moves in and lives in your bones, it gets a little easier.” and “My deepest, darkest fear is that maybe we don’t ever get over some things. Maybe we just carry them around, permanently, these heavy, dull aches in the heart. And maybe they don’t heal; maybe we just learn to work around the pain.” and “…maybe it’s no more complicated or romantic than that the damaged are drawn to the damaged. Connected by hurt.”

 

Final note: A good book, but I didn’t love it like I’d hoped I would. For anyone that likes contemporary books that are a little darker, and kind out there subject wise, check this one out. It’s got some beautiful writing people!

 

3.5 stars

 


 

about the author

 

Emily France graduated from Brown University before going on to law school, where she was the editor-in-chief of the law review. She finds creative inspiration in all things spiritual, from sitting with Benedictine monks for 4 a.m. vigils in a Rocky Mountain monastery to trekking to Buddhist and Hindu temples in India. Now she writes full-time and lives with her husband and their fearless Tibetan Spaniel in sunny Colorado—the closest place to Nirvana she’s found. Signs of You is her debut novel. Visit Emily online at www.emilyfrancebooks.com and follow her on Twitter @EmilyFranceBook.

 


 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

June SST: All the Feels by Danika Stone 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 really good. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.

 

All the FeelsTitle: All the Feels
Author: Danika Stone
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication date:
June 7, 2016
Summary (via Goodreads): College freshman Liv is more than just a fangirl: The Starveil movies are her life… So, when her favorite character, Captain Matt Spartan, is killed off at the end of the last movie, Liv Just. Can’t. Deal.

 

Tired of sitting in her room sobbing, Liv decides to launch an online campaign to bring her beloved hero back to life. With the help of her best friend, Xander, actor and steampunk cosplayer extraordinaire, she creates #SpartanSurvived, a campaign to ignite the fandom. But as her online life succeeds beyond her wildest dreams, Liv is forced to balance that with the pressures of school, her mother’s disapproval, and her (mostly nonexistent and entirely traumatic) romantic life. A trip to DragonCon with Xander might be exactly what she needs to figure out what she really wants.

 


 

review6

 

I’m glad I signed up to read this book for the Sunday Street Team. I’m a huge believer in fandoms (Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Grisha, etc.), so I was super excited to see a book that focused on a fandom like All the Feels did. I received a copy from Netgalley to review, and ended up giving this book 4 out of 5 stars.

 

So obviously, one of my favorite things about the book was the fandom aspect! Duh. I think a lot of people can appreciate Liv’s devotion to Starveil. She can be a little obsessed at times, but what true fan isn’t kind of obsessed with their fandom? *waits for a response* All fans are kind of obsessed with their fandoms, you say? Yes, you’re correct.

 

Besides the fandom aspect, I felt a kinship with Liv over her anxiety over social situations, like dating and group gatherings, and her need to stay under the radar by doing things like dressing casually instead of wearing things that drew attention to her. I kind of feel like Liv could be my long lost twin.

 

Xander was another great character. Not really a book boyfriend for me, because he’s not really my kind of guy, but I thought he was adorable still. Because his real life is all about cosplaying, I was a little iffy about his appeal at first. But he’s a great best friend to Liv, which is the most important thing. He’s pretty sweet too, so yay for Xander! I kind of hated Liv’s mom, and her mom’s boyfriend. They were such downers in the book, and I felt like the mom listened to her boyfriend way too much, and not enough to Liv. Liv’s mom had a change of heart right at the end of the book, but I don’t really buy it. I’m sure she’ll go back to hating Liv being in the fandom.

 

Some of the minor characters in the book were pretty interesting, like the online fandom people Liv finally met at DragonCon. One thing I really liked was that the book including texts and social media because that’s so relevant in our society nowadays. I would suggest getting a physical, versus ebook, copy of the book if possible for that reason. While I don’t think I’d ever be part of the Starveil fandom, I can appreciate everyone’s love and dedication to it. The ending was pretty good, but there some things that I felt were unresolved by the end of the book, and the second to last chapter felt kind of off/rushed. For the story to get to that point and not focus on it a little more felt like a letdown.

 

Final note: A great read for anyone who loves a fandom of their own. I think a lot of people could relate to Liv’s story.

 

4 stars

 


 

about the author

 

Danika Stone is an author, artist, and educator who discovered a passion for writing fiction while in the throes of her Masters thesis. A self-declared bibliophile, Danika now writes novels for both adults (The Intaglio Series and Ctrl Z) and teens (All the Feels). When not writing, Danika can be found hiking in the Rockies, planning grand adventures, and spending far too much time online. She lives with her husband, three sons, and a houseful of imaginary characters in a windy corner of Alberta, Canada.

 

Ms. Stone is represented by Morty Mint of Mint Literary Agency.

 


 

giveaway

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

May SST: Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee Review + Giveaway

Sunday Street Team

 

Welcome to the Sunday Street Team! I received an eARC of this book in exchange for a honest review. It started a little slow, but ended with a bang! I ended up giving it 4 out of 5 stars.

 


9780399175411_OutrunTheMoon_BOM.inddTitle:
 Outrun the Moon
Author: Stacey Lee
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
May 24, 2016
Summary (via Goodreads): San Francisco, 1906: Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong is determined to break from the poverty in Chinatown, and an education at St. Clare’s School for Girls is her best hope. Although St. Clare’s is off-limits to all but the wealthiest white girls, Mercy gains admittance through a mix of cunning and a little bribery, only to discover that getting in was the easiest part. Not to be undone by a bunch of spoiled heiresses, Mercy stands strong—until disaster strikes.

 

On April 18, an historic earthquake rocks San Francisco, destroying Mercy’s home and school. With martial law in effect, she is forced to wait with her classmates for their families in a temporary park encampment. Mercy can’t sit by while they wait for the Army to bring help. Fires might rage, and the city may be in shambles, yet Mercy still has the ‘bossy’ cheeks that mark her as someone who gets things done. But what can one teenaged girl do to heal so many suffering in her broken city?

 


 

review6

 

It’s been a while since I’ve read a historical fiction book, so I was excited to be able to read this one. The first thing that drew me in was definitely that gorgeous cover! *swoon* I received a copy from Netgalley to review, and ended up giving this book 4 out of 5 stars.

 

The book started off a little slower than I would have liked, but I kept reading because I saw the rave reviews by other bloggers. Eventually the story picked up and I loved finding myself immersed in another culture, in another time period, in practically another world. The imagery of San Francisco in 1906 was done beautifully. Stacey definitely has a way with words, with painting images in her readers’ minds.

 

I thought Mercy was a great main character. I loved that she had ‘bossy’ cheeks and wasn’t afraid to stand up…for herself, for what she wanted, and for others. The friendships she found in this book were amazing. I loved the girls from St. Clare’s School for Girls. The fact that because of Mercy, different races and cultures mingled together in this book, was amazing. She was definitely an inspiration character, reminding me of what one person can do. It’s astounding that she was only fifteen and had such a grasp of the world and how things should be, instead of being focused on how they were.

 

I shed some tears towards the middle/end of this book. I won’t spoil the twists and turns and the all-around magic of this book, but I highly recommend it. It gets more amazing as you keep reading. I pretty much devoured the last half of the book in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down.

 

The focus of the book wasn’t really on boys, but there were some amazing ones and then some not-so-great ones too. The focus was more on society’s flaws, finding lasting friendship, overcoming adversity, cherishing family, etc. I was mostly too busy reading to make note of lines I liked, except for this one: “Maybe sorrow and its opposite, happiness, are like dark and light. One can’t exist without the other. And those moments of overlap are like when the moon and the sun share the same sky.”

 

Final note: Overall, this was a fantastic historical read. I absolutely love finding diverse novels that I adore, and this one is on that list. I’m glad I didn’t give up when it started slowly, otherwise I would have missed out on this gem of a book. If you like reading about different cultures, or different time periods, or even about natural disasters, check out this book!

 

4 stars

 


 

about the author

 

Stacey Lee is a fourth generation Californian with roots in San Francisco Chinatown. Born in Southern California, she graduated from UCLA then got her law degree at UC Davis King Hall. She has lots of experience with earthquakes, having skinned her knees more times than she wants to remember diving under tables. One day she hopes to own a hypoallergenic horse and live by the sea. See what she’s up to on Twitter & Instagram: @staceyleeauthor.

 


 

giveaway

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

May SST: Genius: The Game by Leopoldo Gout Review + Giveaway

Sunday Street Team

 

Welcome to the Sunday Street Team! I received an eARC of this book in exchange for a honest review. I gave it 3 out of 5 stars. Before I get into the review, here’s my secret words of a quote:

 

___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ need to be ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___. ___, ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___, ___ ___, “___ ___ ___ ___, ___ ___. ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___.”

 

GeniusTitle: Genius: The Game
Author: Leopoldo Gout
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication date:
May 3, 2016
Summary (via Goodreads): Trust no one. Every camera is an eye. Every microphone an ear. Find me and we can stop him together.

 

The Game: Get ready for Zero Hour as 200 geniuses from around the world go head to head in a competition hand-devised by India’s youngest CEO and visionary.

 

The Players:
Rex-One of the best programmers/hackers in the world, this 16-year-old Mexican-American is determined to find his missing brother.
Tunde-This 14-year-old self-taught engineering genius has drawn the attention of a ruthless military warlord by single-handedly bringing electricity and internet to his small Nigerian village.
Painted Wolf-One of China’s most respected activist bloggers, this mysterious 16-year-old is being pulled into the spotlight by her father’s new deal with a corrupt Chinese official.

 

The Stakes: Are higher than you can imagine. Like life and death. Welcome to the revolution. And get ready to run.

 


 

review6

 

This was kind of interesting, but it didn’t meet my expectations. I received a copy from Netgalley to review, and ended up giving this book 3 out of 5 stars.

 

So here’s the thing…I didn’t hate this book, but I didn’t love it either. The ending kind of sucked and just left the story hanging. I really hate cliffhangers, especially if there’s no second book being published/talked about. I liked the characters for the most part, but I felt like I didn’t really get to know them that well, other than their skills that got them into the Game. And the little more besides their skills that I did get to know about Rex, Tunde, and Painted Wolf, I felt unsatisfied with the lack of closure.

 

The different cultures and POVs were overall interesting, and the Game concept was also cool. But the Game felt a little anti-climactic. There were only a couple challenges. I figured they’d be run through a lot of challenges, narrowing down the competitors slower than they did, especially with how much the company paid to get all these people to the Game. The Game seemed like a big waste of money.

 

The other problems that Rex, Tunde, and Painted Wolf faced were just left incomplete by the end of the book. The one thing that took up a lot of Tunde’s POV/time with the warlord was kind of resolved, but I wanted to see it play out more. I felt like you didn’t get closure with that situation. I wanted to see what happened with Painted Wolf next after the Game, especially with what team she ended up on and how they did. I wanted to see what happened with Rex after the end. There was a twist towards the end of the book that just had me staring. It felt so out of place, and weird. I just wanted…more. I did like the hint of romance that was weaved into the story a little bit.

 

Final note: It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good either, in my opinion. I think there could have been a lot more of the Game. I really wanted more closure on what happened with Rex, Painted Wolf, and Tunde. Hardcore sci-fi fans might like this more than me.

 

3 stars

 


 

about the author

 

Leopoldo Gout is the producer behind many films including Days of Grace, which A.O. Scott of the New York Times called “a potent and vigorous film.” He is also a writer, artist, and filmmaker. Leopoldo is currently involved in various film and television projects including major adaptations of the Alex Cross series, with the author James Patterson and the upcoming film adaption of Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life.

 


 

giveaway

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ARC Review: The Girl Who Fell by Shannon M. Parker

The Girl Who Fell

Title: The Girl Who Fell
Author: Shannon M. Parker
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication date: March 1, 2016
Pages: 368
Source: Netgalley
Summary (via Goodreads): His obsession. Her fall.

 

Zephyr Doyle is focused. Focused on leading her team to the field hockey state championship and attending 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.

 

review6

 

This was a really powerful book. Shannon definitely wasn’t afraid to show the darkness that is obsession. Thank you Netgalley for providing me a copy in exchange for a honest review. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.

 

I did a poll to decide my next ARC, and this one won by a wide margin. And I can definitely see why. The writing, and subject matter, were pretty much perfection. It got pretty intense and creepy at parts, so make sure you’re okay with that before you read this. Before I go into the actual review, I just want to say that I love the cover. It’s what first drew me to the book before I even read the amazing summary.

 

I really liked Zephyr, Gregg, and Lizzie. I also liked Zephyr’s mom a lot. Finn was a great book animal, although it was slight disconcerting to go from Finn being a book boyfriend in a recent read to a dog in this one! Bahaha. The focus on sports to a certain extent was also nice. I’m not a sports person, but it’s nice to see what extracurricular activities characters participate in, what things they love.

 

This book did a great job touching on obsession. I had a bad feeling about Alec throughout the whole book, even from the beginning. It might have been due to the summary, but I think it was just his attitude and things he said/did. I kept wanting to yell at Zephyr to run far, far away from Alec the entire time I was reading the book. Alec was a freaking psycho, and I really hated him vehemently.

 

I didn’t find a book boyfriend in this book, but Gregg was pretty adorable. I’d love to be best opposite sex friends with him. The book was a bit predictable, at least for me. I knew what was going to happen during a couple points well before it even happened. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’m usually a good guesser.

 

I mostly just made updates. Here are some of them:  “Um yeah, I agree Finn. I don’t like him either…”, “Omg I want to punch this guy in the face.”, “I have a really bad feeling in the pit of my stomach…”, “Ahhhhhhhhhh! F*cking creeper!”. But I also made note of one line I really liked: “Darkness doesn’t have fingers that twist into my flesh. Darkness can’t stalk me. It can’t drive me into the shadows because darkness is fleeting. Not like the threat before me.”

 

Final note: Such an intense, rollercoaster ride of a book. I’d highly recommend it.

 

4 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