2018 Book #65 – Smothered by Autumn Chiklis

51T99qCdIqLTitle: Smothered
Author: Autumn Chiklis
Date finished: 8/3/18
Genre: Young adult
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication Date: August 7, 2018
Pages in book: 304
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

A humorous debut crossover young adult novel about what happens when entering the “real world” means moving back in with your mother, inspired by actress and celebrity Autumn Chiklis’ real life.

Eloise “Lou” Hansen is graduating from Columbia University summa cum laude, and she’s ready to conquer the world. Just a few minor problems: she has no job, no prospects, and she’s moving back into her childhood bedroom. Lou is grimly determined to stick to a rigorous schedule to get a job and get out of her parents’ house. Shelly “Mama Shell” Hansen, on the other hand, is ecstatic, and just as determined to keep her at home. Who else will help her hide her latest binge-shopping purchases from her husband, go to SoulCycle with her, and hold her hand during Botox shots?

Smothered is a hilarious roman à clef told via journal entries, text messages, emails, bills, receipts, tweets, doctor’s prescriptions, job applications and rejections, parking tickets, and pug pictures, chronicling the year that Lou moves back home after college. Told from Lou’s point-of-view, Smothered tells the story of two young(ish) women, just trying to get it right, and learning that just because we all grow up doesn’t mean we necessarily have to grow old. (After all, what is Juvaderm for?)

My rating:  1.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This was the first book that I finished for ARC August 2018! Love this reading challenge. And this year I’m especially excited because as part of the challenge they added one of my favorite things, reading Bingo! This book will be checking off my “Book set in Summer” box.

I really love epistolary novels and so I thought I’d give this one a try. I have to say though I did not love it. Lou as a character was just a doormat and let everyone walk all over her. And her mother was so immature and self-centered. Really there weren’t many characters that I did like in the book, except for Theo who was amazing and did not deserve the treatment (and lies) he got through most of the book. Lou’s character was very whiny and also she lied a lot, and overall it really took away from my enjoyment of the book. It is hit or miss with me and young adult novels since many of them I find to be a little too teen angsty. But this novel was supposed to be about a college graduate, but Lou either would not or could not stand up for herself for most of the book, despite being on her own for 4 years. Her mother had no idea of what boundaries were and really was just overwhelmingly pushy. Anyways, the plot itself wasn’t my favorite either because it centered around Lou’s inability to stand up for herself and also be an honest person. There were some funny things but I honestly just couldn’t get past my personal downfall’s with the book.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

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2018 Book #57 – Dating Disasters of Emma Nash by Chloe Seager

41YWCUmbRRLTitle: Dating Disasters of Emma Nash
Author: Chloe Seager
Date finished: 7/6/18
Genre: Fiction, young adult
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: May 1, 2018
Pages in book: 336
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Online, you can choose who you want to be. If only real life were so easy…

Emma Nash may be down, but after months of wallowing, stalking her ex online and avoiding showering—because, really, who’s going to care?—Emma’s ready to own her newly single status, get out with her friends and chronicle her dating adventures on her private blog.

But life online doesn’t always run smoothly. Stumbling upon her mother’s Tinder dating profile, getting catfished and accidentally telling the entire world why her ex-boyfriend Leon’s not worth any girl’s…um…time… Okay, those were disasters.

But surely nothing else can go wrong?

My rating:  1.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I’m going to try and be brief because I don’t want to start going into a rant. This will (hopefully) be a constructively critical little blurb about how I felt about this book. Emma as a character was very naive, but even more than that she was immature, self-centered, obsessive, and completely unsympathetic to those around her. She was also, as is mentioned in the novel, a complete doormat. The fact that she only finds out she’s been dumped by this Leon character when he starts dating another girl is, in one word, despicable. But the fact that Emma then spends month(s?) wallowing in her room and then obsesses about this same boy non-stop is really where the true crime is. This goes past even teen drama to the point of being unhealthy. The idea that young girls might read this and think this is normal behavior is awful. If a boy EVER treats a girl in the way that Leon treated Emma, he shouldn’t be allowed to date anyone. Same with how Emma treated Greg to be honest. Even teen romances should incorporate respect for the other person’s feelings as much as possible.

OK I’m starting to rant, I’m just going to make a list on my observations:
1- Emma whined all the time
2- Emma couldn’t stop talking about the boy who treated her badly
3- Emma treated everyone else badly
4- There was underage drinking
5- Excessive talking about masturbation
6- I was glad Emma realized in the end she should pursue her own interests and just learn how to be happy just as herself but I hated the fact that it took over 300 pages to reach that conclusion

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2018 Book #45 – The Opposite of Here by Tara Altebrando

51-IuvSNclLTitle: The Opposite of Here
Author: Tara Altebrando
Date finished: 6/2/18
Genre: Young adult, suspense
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Publication Date: June 5 2018
Pages in book: 256
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

There’s no hiding on a cruise ship-not even from yourself. 
Natalie’s parents are taking her and her three best friends on a cruise for her seventeenth birthday. A sail-a-bration, they call it. But it’s only been a few short months since Natalie’s boyfriend died in a tragic accident, and she wants to be anywhere but here.
Then she meets a guy on the first night and sparks fly. After a moonlit conversation on a secluded deck of the ship, Natalie pops down to her cabin to get her swimsuit so they can go for a dip. But when she returns, he’s gone. Something he said makes her think he might have . . . jumped? No, he couldn’t have.
But why do her friends think she’s crazy for wanting to make sure he’s okay? Also, why do they seem to be hiding something from her? And how can she find him when she doesn’t even know his name? Most importantly, why is the captain on the intercom announcing the urgent need for a headcount?
With her signature thrilling storytelling, the author of The Leaving and The Possible explores our vulnerability to the power of suggestion-and the lies we tell others and ourselves-in a twisting, Hitchcock-inspired mystery with high stakes and dark secrets.

My rating:  2.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

The plot for this book on the cover description sounded pretty interesting, so although I didn’t know much about the author I decided to give this one a try. It was a little too teen angst-y for my tastes personally but if that kind of thing doesn’t bother you then this would be a pretty good book for you. The plot line is pretty good and takes some interesting twists and turns. The twist at the end of the book is probably the best one and kind of wrapped up all the plot and the characters into one little circle. And while I liked it, the story overall was still just so very sad. And I felt awful for Natalie, I felt like she was just like a doormat and everyone kind of walked all over her. One of her friends betrayed her pretty badly and the girl barely even apologizes but Natalie’s still fine with it. So anyways, overall I kind of liked the story but I think it would be a better fit for an actual young adult.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2018 Book #14 – You Will Be Mine by Natasha Preston

51hQYpC879LTitle: You Will Be Mine
Author: Natasha Preston
Date finished: 2/9/18
Genre: Fiction, young adult, horror, suspense
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
Pages in book: 304
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Love turns deadly in a new heart-pounding thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Cellar and The Cabin!

ROSES ARE RED
VIOLETS ARE BLUE
WATCH YOUR BACK
I’M COMING FOR YOU

Lylah and her friends can’t wait to spend a night out together. Partying is the perfect way to let loose from the stress of life and school, and Lylah hopes that hitting the dance floor with Chace, her best friend, will bring them closer together. She’s been crushing on him since they met. If only he thought of her the same way…

The girls are touching up their makeup and the guys are sliding on their coats when the doorbell rings. No one is there. An envelope sits on the doormat. It’s an anonymous note addressed to their friend Sonny. A secret admirer? Maybe. They all laugh it off.

Except Sonny never comes home. And a new note arrives:

YOUR TURN

My rating:  3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

Killing for revenge on Valentine’s Day

Lylah and her friends try to outrun a killer bent on revenge and fixated on their little household. They obviously don’t do too well though since more than one of them ends up murdered. The characters in this novel were ok, although I found Lylah to be a tad whiny, but I guess that’s to be expected when your friends are being killed off. The plot of the book was really good. Even though I did kind of see the plot twist at the end coming, it was still super creepy and dark/twisted and I thought it was great. The book was appropriately creepy too, I found myself looking over my shoulder for bad guys while I was reading it. I also like that this was a horror story centered around the Valentine’s Day holiday, I thought that was a fun twist on what is normally just a mushy day. My issues with the story line mostly consisted of what felt like holes in the plot or incomplete sections. At one point Riley and Lylah argue and I don’t think the reader knows what happens to Riley then but Lylah goes upstairs and goes to sleep with Chase. Just felt a little scattered with the plot line in some parts. Other than that I liked the book a lot and I thought it was a great book for what’s normally a romantic holiday.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2018 Book #5 – The Safest Lies by Megan Miranda

518u1R1zo6L._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Safest Lies
Author: Megan Miranda
Date finished: 1/14/18
Genre: Young adult, thriller/suspense
Publisher: Ember
Publication Date: May 30, 2017 (Paperback; hardcover was released May 24, 2016)
Pages in book: 357
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: My friend Alex

Blurb from the cover:

Kelsey has lived most of her life in a shadow of suspicion, raised to see danger everywhere. Her mother hasn’t set foot outside their front door in seventeen years, since she escaped from her kidnappers with nothing but her attacker’s baby growing inside her—Kelsey.

Kelsey knows she’s supposed to keep a low profile and stay off the grid for their protection, but that plan is shattered when her dramatic car accident and rescue by volunteer firefighter and classmate Ryan Baker sparks media coverage.

A few days later, she arrives home to find her mother missing. Now, to have a chance at a future, Kelsey will have to face her darkest fears. Because someone is coming for her. And the truth about the past may end up being the most dangerous thing of all.

My rating:  3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review:

What do you do when your worst fears are realized?

Kelsey’s whole life her mother has been subtly training her, giving her the knowledge that she would need to survive. Kelsey always believed that her mother was paranoid because of what she experienced when she was around Kelsey’s age – being abducted and held against her will. But after Kelsey’s mother disappears and Kelsey finds herself in danger, facts start to surface that don’t fit with this story. As Kelsey fought her way to freedom and in the days and interrogations that followed, I found the thought process for the police and for some of the other adults in charge to be a little unrealistic. Overall though I liked this book and found it to be an interesting read. I especially liked how Ryan and Kelsey’s relationship developed through the book, I thought it was really sweet. And I think the part where they were trying to escape the panic room was one of the best parts of the book, I only wished it had been closer to the end since it created such great tension in the story. I thought this was a good read though and I would recommend it.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2017 Book #75 – Bad Girl Gone by Temple Mathews

41eDiHG-MLLTitle: Bad Girl Gone
Author: Temple Mathews
Date finished: 9/1/17
Genre: Fiction, young adult
Publisher: A Thomas Dunne Book for St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: August 8, 2017
Pages in book: 265
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Sixteen year-old Echo Stone awakens in a cold sweat in a dark room, having no idea where she is or how she got there. But she soon finds out she’s in Middle House, an orphanage filled with mysteriously troubled kids.

There’s just one problem: she’s not an orphan. Her parents are very much alive.

She explains this to everyone, but no one will listen. After befriending a sympathetic (and handsome) boy, Echo is able to escape Middle House and rush home, only to discover it sealed off by crime scene tape and covered in the evidence of a terrible and violent crime. As Echo grapples with this world-shattering information, she spots her parents driving by and rushes to flag them down. Standing in the middle of street, waving her arms to get their attention, her parents’ car drives right through her.

She was right. Her parents are alive—but she’s not.

She’s a ghost, just like all the other denizens of Middle House. Desperate to somehow get her life back and reconnect with her still-alive boyfriend, Echo embarks on a quest to solve her own murder. As the list of suspects grows, the quest evolves into a journey of self-discovery in which she learns she wasn’t quite the girl she thought she was. In a twist of fate, she’s presented with one last chance to reclaim her life and must make a decision which will either haunt her or bless her forever.­­­­

My rating:  2.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Echo (Eileen) who wakes up in Middle House, unsure of how she got there. Middle House is an orphanage and Echo is very sure her parents are still alive. Unfortunately when she leaves to prove that, she instead discovers that she was (**SPOILER**) murdered, and Middle House is more of a halfway house where kid ghosts live until they can find and take revenge on their killers/ Echo misses her boyfriend Andy but from the stories we hear from when she was alive, Echo was a pretty shitty person. And now Echo has Cole at Middle House, another dead-o like her. Unfortunately Echo can’t decide between them so she strings both of them along for the next few days, generally making them both miserable. And all the while her new friends are helping her discover who it was that murdered her.
Overall I didn’t particularly care for this book. The premise behind it was just a little too far-fetched for me – the thought that a kid would get to Heaven (the After) only after haunting/killing someone (even if it was their murderer) seems not right to me. Also, Echo as a person/character really was just not at all likable. The plot was not my favorite and I hated how devoted Andy and Cole were considering what a shitty person Echo was. And everything really was just so sad, Echo’s parents lost their only child. And there were many pieces of the plot that just didn’t feel like they really fir to me – the stuff with Mrs. Tourney and thinking Echo is someone else wasn’t necessary in the plot at all and felt superfluous. Overall wasn’t my favorite book but there were some creative thought to it.

The bottom line: Eh this book was ok, it wasn’t my kind of story and it was super sad. If you like ghost-y stories though I would give this one a try, it was kind of interesting.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2017 Book #31 – Geekerella by Ashley Poston

41vbwsnJrILTitle: Geekerella
Author: Ashley Poston
Date finished: 4/9/17
Genre: Young adult
Publisher: Quirk Books
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Pages in book: 320
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Cinderella goes to the con in this fandom-fueled twist on the classic fairy tale. 
Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom. Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.
Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons—before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.

My rating:  3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Danielle Wittimer, a girl with a positively awful stepmother and two equally awful step sisters. Ever since her father died Elle has felt alone in the world, just trying to sludge through the days and save up enough money to move to LA. Her only outlet for her frustrations is her blog where she writes about Starfield, a show that her and her Dad would watch together. Her Dad even started a convention nearby in Atlanta years ago, a convention that Elle hasn’t been to in years. This year though there is a contest and the winner gets $500 and a chance to meet the new star of the upcoming Starfield movie, Darien Freedman. Elle could care less about meeting the previously unknown actor, she wants to win the cash prize to help her on her way to her dream. But she also wants to meet the boy that she’s been talking to for weeks, her own Prince Carmindor. But he turns out to be who she least expects.
Overall I really liked this book. It was an interesting and modern retelling of the Cinderella tale. The cast of characters in this book was awesome, I loved each of the characters and what they added to the story. There were a couple of frustrating points in the book for me and one of them was that I felt the villainous characters in the book, specifically Chloe, should’ve gotten a bit more punishment for their wrongs. At one point Chloe steals Elle’s life-savings (which is about $700) and NOTHING HAPPENS. If someone stole $700 from me I would call the cops and have her ass arrested. So there were certain points that I thought Elle (and Darien really) should’ve fought back a little more. But the parts about Elle’s Mom and Dad and keeping their memories alive were truly touching. And I loved the ending, how Darien came riding in on his “white horse” (LOL) to save the day. This was a really cute retelling of Cinderella’s tale with all the modern twists that will attract a fandom of its own.

The bottom line: I thought this was a cute novel with an interesting twist on the Cinderella tale. There were a couple of frustrating points for me but other than that was a great book.

Link to author website

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