Friday, October 30, 2015

Summer-palooza: 5 Reviews in One!!

I've got so many books to review, to get caught up, that I decided to combine a bunch into mini-reviews. As you can tell, this batch is all about the Summer Romance Formula. :) I purchased a ton of these back in the spring and read them all summer long. It was pretty enjoyable. So let's get going with some reviews, shall we? These are going worst(ish) to best!

Summer of Skinny Dipping by Amanda Howells
2.5 out of 5 stars

I had a hard time getting into this one. I didn't connect with the characters or their story very well and it was very slow in the beginning. Mia is 16 years old and on summer vacation to the Hamptons with her family and aunt, uncle, and 2 female cousins. She thought it was going to be the best summer ever, reconnecting with her favorite cousin and spending all her time basking in the sun. But her cousin is a drunk party girl, her mom & dad are having problems, and she's just gotten dumped by the guy she was "in love" with.

And then, here comes Simon. The strange, slightly too quirky (he quotes The Great Gatsby blegh) guy next door that the cool kids tolerate. Simon, of course, goes after Mia and she rebuffs him at every shot. She starts spending a lot of time alone on the beach at night to get away from her family and, of course, runs into Simon. They start having late night talks and eventually, Mia falls for him. I am glad that the author didn't do an insta-love at least, this relationship definitely grew over time. If you know anything about reading into the clues given, you will know that "something big" happens to the two lovebirds and boy, is it a doozy. No spoilers here, but it will either make you love or hate the book, no in between.

The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller
3 out of 5 stars

Maddie is the typical blonde cheerleader but she has a dirty little secret...she likes comic books. Okay. I am a proud comic book reader and also a girl, so this just rubbed me all kinds of wrong. I don't care what you're reading: comics, 50 Shades, Berenstain Bears, whatever...if you're enjoying it, that's all that matters and NO ONE should make you feel bad for it. And that's why I had to mark this one down a star.

Okay, moving on. Maddie is eagerly awaiting the latest issue of her favorite comic and when it doesn't come, she decides to venture into the unknown: a comic book store. She meets cute nerdy guy Logan and he offers to loan her his only copy of the issue and the two start a tenuous relationship. Logan is great and his friend Dan is the typical chubby funny sidekick. It was Maddie I had the most problem with. She lied to her best friends nearly all summer when her relationship with Logan started growing, she sort-of cheated on her boyfriend, and she just didn't grow until the very end. It was a good moment, her "coming out" into the geek world, but I just don't know if it was enough for me to like her.

Summer of Yesterday by Gaby Triana
3 out of 5 stars

This is more of a time travel book than anything, but still has its summer romance moments, so I stuck it with this batch of books. Haley is 17 years old and had hoped to spend her summer with her friends and cute boys, but instead is dragged off to a Disney campground with her dad and stepfamily. I'm kind of surprised they were allowed to use all the Disney info. Haley had a mysterious seizure a few months before so her dad is being extra over-protective and she can't stand it. When she goes off on a scavenger hunt with some new friends her first night there, she discovers another side of the campground: 1982 River Country. Yep, you read that right: she has a seizure while exploring the abandoned water park and it somehow takes her 32 years into the past.

I kind of love time travel books, especially ones that go to the 80s or 90s, because, you know, that's when I grew up. ;) So reading about Walkmans, Jelly shoes, TV Guide, and E.T. brings out the nostalgia factor big time. Haley is understandably freaked out at first but then just decides to take it all in stride. I wait in a rocking chair, watching feathered hairstyle after feathered hairstyle pass me by. I see three rainbow-striped dresses, a dozen boys with socks up to their knees, and lots and lots of headbands on girls. *What* is that all about?

She meets a cute lifeguard named Jason who wears short shorts and runs into her mom and dad as teenagers. She somehow decides it's her mission to make sure they still get together, just like it really happened. Along the way, she falls for Jason, even though there's no possible way for them to be together. And she has some adventures: some scary and some fun. Does she make it back to her present/future? Well, you'll just have to read it and see. Lol...I will say that the ending was my favorite part and made me a little teary-eyed rereading it just now.

What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick
3.5 out of 5 stars

"Other people's stories are their own to tell." And that's how it goes in this book. From the past to the present and back and forth, we find out the true story of the conflict between teenagers Gwen and Cassidy. Gwen is trying to deal with her past as she struggles in her present, taking care of her autistic little brother (who sometimes stole the show), working for a rich old lady all summer, and trying to keep her family together. Cassidy is a "rich kid" making up for his past mistakes in school by being a "yard boy" for the summer. The two teens are forced to deal with their past relationship choices and decide if they want or can even have a future together.

There are a lot of different stories going on here and unfortunately, it sometimes made the book confusing and even drag on a little long. Gwen's cousin Nic and BFF Viv have been together for years and have always assumed they would grow old together, but everything can change in a summer. The difference between the rich and the poor, the locals and the tourists, the good and the bad, is a big part of this story too. Overall, a decent read but not quite on the same level as My Life Next Door.

On the Fence by Kasie West
3.5 out of 5 stars

This book was probably my favorite out of the bunch. It's got the romance for sure, but it also has a family story that will bring you to tears more than once. Charlie is the only girl in a family of 3 older brothers and her dad. Even her best friend and next-door neighbor, Braden, is a guy. So you can probably guess who she falls for right? I don't have to tell you? I knew y'all were smart.

Charlie is a tomboy to the core (playing football with the boys is a normal occurrence) but when she has to pick up a summer job at a frou-frou clothing boutique to pay off speeding tickets, she realizes that maybe being a girl isn't so bad after all. Not that she wants anyone, ever, to find that out. As the summer goes on, it gets harder for her to hide her second life and she starts having late night chats with Braden over their shared fence. (Not on some weird bridge like on the cover.) The two grow closer but also apart somewhat...they can't be that close without their relationship changing and that's terrifying for Charlie. She doesn't understand how anyone could see her as anything but "one of the guys".

"By a show of hands," Braden said loudly, "who here would've asked Charlie out in the last six months had they not been given the 'We will kill you if you look at Charlie' speech by the three lugs over there when she turned sixteen?"

Charlie has a lot of growing up to do and she doesn't know how to do it without her mom, who died when she was little. The relationship she has with her dad is good but it doesn't take the place of a mom and when she finds out a secret from her past, it threatens everything she knows.

Charlie "Why are you doing this to me? Why couldn't you just let me figure it out on my own?"
Braden "Because I don't want to see you hurt."
"Unless you're the one hurting me?"
"I'm not trying to, Charlie."

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Book Haul: Summer-Fall 2015

I haven't gotten a whole lot of new books since my last haul-palooza, but thought I'd share what I picked up over the summer thru fall. And I want to know: what's the last book you got, either from the library or bought? Tell me below! (Click any pics to make bigger!)

First up are two small, but good, library stacks. Unfortunately, I ended up not reading 4 of these before returning them! I just wasn't feeling them for one reason or another. Don't you hate that? (I'll just link back to the ones I did read.)
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion --think Sheldon Cooper of The Big Bang Theory. I'd really like to pick up the sequel soon.
Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid --review coming next week!
The Shadow Cabinet (Shades of London #3) by Maureen Johnson --I couldn't wait for my sister to get this so I picked it up at the library. The first one is definitely the best.
The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour --my review here, loved it!

Next up, two graphic novel hauls...all single issue comics. I've actually been getting into those more lately, I was strictly a trade paperback or volume girl before. But I really wanted to try these first 3 out, so I gave in. I'm really glad I did, because I loved all of them! Now I have to figure out a new organizing system. Yay! (not sarcasm lol.)
Gotham Academy by Becky Cloonan --I just realized I have a different cover for the first one, weird. I found #2-8 one night at Half Price Books but sadly didn't have any money at the time, so I put them back (in the correct spot). I came back a few weeks later, with money, and they were still there! It was meant to be. :)
Jem & The Holograms by Kelly Thompson --this series is NOT based from the movie (which I heard did horribly boo) but really a reboot of the original. I never watched the show much as a kid but did have a coloring book at my grandma & pop's that I always enjoyed. 
Groot by Jeff Loveness --I LOVE GROOT! So how could I not give this a shot?? And it was my favorite of the bunch. :) Don't let his simplistic vocabulary fool you, this guy can communicate!

And finally, two highly anticipated reads...
Dumplin' by Julie Murphy --I'll be reviewing next week, but check out this Baby-Sitters Club shoutout!
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell --I am right in the middle of this and OMG I LOVE IT SO FREAKING MUCH!! (yes, all CAPS were necessary!)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Spooky Reads

Wow, I haven't done a TTT since June? That sucks. I always enjoy reading The Broke & The Bookish topics and this week's is a freebie, so I thought I'd do my top 10 spooky reads. I've actually never done this topic before, that I know of, so this should be fun! I love reading scary books during October, it really gets me in the mood. I'm kind of a weenie though, so these will probably be on the lighter side of scary lol.

1. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman --There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife. The perfect amount of spine-tingling and heartfelt love for the boy named Nobody. A great family read. (Coraline too!)

2. Edgar Allen Poe graphic novels --I recommend these over just reading the stories. You get a lot more of the meaning and background of the poems/stories. Plus, creepy pictures like this one.

3. Haunted by Eileen Maksym --if you're a weenie like me, you can still read this book. Just do it in the middle of the afternoon when the sun is shining and there are plenty of (living) people in the house, but make sure they can't sneak up on you! Oh and watch out for jumpy cats who like to stare at the wall behind you until you're sure there's a giant spider hanging over your shoulder. Yeah, don't read this with them in the room. But do read it! :)

4. Christopher Pike or RL Stine --the kings of teenage scare-itude (yes, I just made that word up). My favorites are Master of Murder and the Baby-Sitter series.

5. The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren-Wright --omg, I so need to reread this one this week! It was my very favorite ghost/scary story as a young child!

6. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness --this is way, way more than just a scary story. Actually, you should maybe more scared of crying in public with this one!

7. Dollhouse (Dark Carousel #1) by Anya Allyn --this book legit terrified me. Apparently, the thing I'm most scared of is dollhouses lol.

8. Rachel Rising graphic novels by Terry Moore --people keep dying and coming back to life. Rachel has to figure out how and why. Lots of blood and gruesomeness in this one!

9. Hater series by David Moody --a virus has turned normal people into vindictive, vicious killers. Anyone can become a hater: your neighbor, your dad, you. This book has a zombie feel without actually being zombies. Lots and lots of blood (duh, just look at the cover!)

10.Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore --an interesting blend of magic and old Texas history. And within that magic, there is something we don't see very often: witches mixed with science mixed with ghosts.
(not sure where this is from, if you know please comment!)

Monday, October 26, 2015

Another Picture Update...

You know how it goes...summer comes and you just want to be in the sunshine or the pool and all of a sudden it's been 2 months since you last blogged. Grr. But I'm still here, reading and trying to blog. So how about a quickie picture update post today? You may have seen these on my Instagram if you follow me there, but just bear with me. :) (Click pics to make bigger!)

First of all, I attempted vlogging for the first time and it was totally awkward and weird and I don't know if I'll try it again lol. But you can see an outtake here. I found this picture at my mom's house last weekend, I'm around 18 years old and was super mad at my mom for taking my picture while I was reading lol.

I loaned my two younger sisters some books. Isla & The Happily Ever After was a hit, to say the least.

I reread Twilight for the first time and actually enjoyed it. Still haven't decided if I'll continue the series though. What do y'all think?

I also rediscovered Jane Green (Bookends was great!) and Bloom County comic strips on Facebook. I experienced the worst problem a book nerd can have and lived through it ;) and spent my first day of my vacation at the library like a proper book nerd.

And I have lots and lots of reviews and posts ready for you lovely people in the next coming weeks! Starting with a book haul and a summer-palooza multi-book review this week. So don't go anywhere, k?