Review: The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi

Review: The Night We Said Yes by Lauren GibaldiThe Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi
on June 16, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads
3 Stars

A fun, romantic read, perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Susane Colasanti!

Before Matt, Ella had a plan. Get over a no-good ex-boyfriend. Graduate from high school without any more distractions. Move away from Orlando, Florida, where she’s lived her entire life.

But Matt—the cute, shy, bespectacled bass player who just moved to town—was never part of that plan.

And neither was attending a party that was crashed by the cops just minutes after they arrived. Or spending an entire night saying “yes” to every crazy, fun thing they could think of.

Then Matt abruptly left town, and he broke not only Ella’s heart but those of their best friends, too. So when he shows up a year later with a plan of his own—to relive the night that brought them together—Ella isn’t sure whether Matt’s worth a second chance. Or if re-creating the past can help them create a different future.

In alternating then and now chapters, debut author Lauren Gibaldi crafts a charming, romantic story of first loves, lifelong friendships, uncovered secrets, and, ultimately, finding out how to be brave.

pireviewThe Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gabaldi has a lot of great things going for it. It takes place over the course of two nights, one in the past and one in the present. Everybody love books set during one night or day, right? How could not?! There’s so much possibility and magic. The Night We Said Yes had all of those things and even some good angst thrown in.

Ella was a good main character. She was easy to relate to and just and all around nice person. I liked Matt but I feel like he could’ve been developed a bit more. His story felt a little flimsy to me. Meg and Jake were excellent minor characters. Although, they almost stole the spotlight at times.

The Night We Said Yes was a fun contemporary read. I think I read it at the perfect time, right at the start of Summer. That just seemed fitting. I looked forward to reading it in the evenings after my son went to sleep. That’s really all I ask for these days.

Overall, The Night We Said Yes was an enjoyable and quick read. Definitely add it to your Summer TBR!

pialso

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Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway
Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

Audiobook Review: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Audiobook Review: Saint Anything by Sarah DessenSaint Anything by Sarah Dessen
on May 5, 2015
Format: Audiobook
Goodreads
5 Stars

Peyton, Sydney’s charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion’s share of their parents’ attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton’s increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

The uber-popular Sarah Dessen explores her signature themes of family, self-discovery, and change in her twelfth novel, sure to delight her legions of fans.

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Sarah Dessen has never disappointed me. I decided to listen to Saint Anything on audio so I could fit it in faster and I’m so happy I did. I looked forward to listening to it every chance I got. Taylor Meskimen did a fantastic job capturing Sydney.

Saint Anything wasn’t exactly what I was expecting it to be but I loved every second of it. Sydney was a wonderful character. It was so great to see her find her new group of friends and watch her blossom. I really wish she would have spoken up more but everything works out in the end.

I adored Layla! I’m adding her to my favorite best friends list right now. She was so outgoing and kind. She really made everyone around her shine. Mac was also a great character. He was dreamy! The romance didn’t play as big of a roll as I was expecting but that just left more room for Sydney to grow.

The book is also filled with many infuriating characters. Sydney’s mother made me want to scream on more that one occasion. Ames was a utter creep! He made my skin crawl. I wanted Sydney to stand up for herself so bad. I’m happy with how everything worked out in the end. But I do think Sydney could’ve spoken up a bit more.

Saint Anything was a beautiful story about finding your place in the world. Sarah Dessen always writes quiet and gorgeous books. This one is no exception.

pialso

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

Review: Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

Review: Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland StoneEvery Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
on June 16, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
3 Stars

If you could read my mind, you wouldn’t be smiling.

Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off.

Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn’t help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she’d be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam’s weekly visits to her psychiatrist.

Caroline introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more “normal” than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.

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I was intrigued by Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone when I received it in the mail. I’ve never read a book about someone with purely obsessional OCD and I love a good issue book. So I bumped it up to the top of my pile.

Sam was a fascinating character. She has struggles with her OCD a lot but she has a great support system. Her family is very involved and she has a wonderful therapist. I enjoyed seeing the scenes with Sam and Shrink Sue. Situations like that are often glossed over. It was nice to see it first hand.

There was a pretty big twist at the end that I honestly didn’t see coming. It took me a little while to sort out my feelings on it, but I think it was an interesting element to the story.

My one problem with Every Last Word was that I didn’t feel a big connection to any of the characters. Sam has this huge, encompassing condition that should make you feel so much for her. I just didn’t, though.

Every Last Word is a good contemporary. I would’ve loved it if I could’ve felt more for Sam. The information about OCD was compelling and really made the story interesting.

Audiobook Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Audiobook Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. MaasCrown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #2
Also by this author: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Goodreads

“A line that should never be crossed is about to be breached.

It puts this entire castle in jeopardy—and the life of your friend.”

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena’s world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie… and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.

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It took me forever to get motivated to start this series again and I’m not sure why. I enjoyed Throne of Glass a lot. It seemed like a series that was only going to get better and more layered.

I decided to listen to Crown of Midnight on audio because I’m a lazy, slow reader these days. I’m happy I made that choice. I enjoyed the narrator. She did a great job of capturing Celaena’s personality well.

I did, however, run into the same problem I had the last time I read one of Maas’s books. I felt like nothing happened through 75% of it. The story unfolded so slowly and then a ton of really fascinating things were revealed at the end but I wish I could’ve been fascinated the whole time.

I also found Celaena unlikeable and uncharacteristically cowardly at times. She certainly didn’t make some choices I wanted her to make but I’m hoping that improves in the next books.

I think this is a really interesting world with tons of potential but I need someone to tell me the next book is better and faster paced. As of right now I’ve lost the motivation to continue again so convince me to read the rest! Please?

pialso

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Review: The Devil You Know by Trish Doller

Review: The Devil You Know by Trish DollerThe Devil You Know by Trish Doller
on June 2, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
4 Stars

Eighteen-year-old Arcadia wants adventure. Living in a tiny Florida town with her dad and four-year-old brother, Cadie spends most of her time working, going to school, and taking care of her family. So when she meets two handsome cousins at a campfire party, she finally has a chance for fun. They invite her and friend to join them on a road trip, and it’s just the risk she’s been craving-the opportunity to escape. But what starts out as a fun, sexy journey quickly becomes dangerous when she discovers that one of them is not at all who he claims to be. One of them has deadly intentions.

A road trip fling turns terrifying in this contemporary story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

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My mom still likes to remind me to be aware of my surroundings and The Devil You Know is a great example of why. When I was a teenager she always told me to never get in the car with strange boys. This is some advice Cadie could’ve used. But if she didn’t get in the car with those boys we wouldn’t have such a chilling and unputdownable book.

I’m a huge fan of Trish Doller. Everything she’s written has been gorgeous and addicting. The Devil You Know is no exception. Doller manages to throw so much tension in the story. You know something bad is going to happen you just don’t know when. There’s also some nice sexual tension but it’s so hard to tell if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I loved that!

Cadie definitely makes some really dumb decisions but she’s being reckless and rebellious after feeling stifled for so long. She just picked the wrong people to do those things with. She was a likable main character even with the horrible choices.

There’s a bit of a twist at the end that I saw coming for awhile but it was a thrill watching it all fall into place. The characters also made some really stupid decisions at the end and that made me knock my rating down to 4.5. I was so frustrated with them! But overall, I really adored the book. It’s gripping, creepy, and sexy.

pialso
Something Like Normal by Trish Doller
Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller
Stolen by Lucy Christopher

Audiobook Review: Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

Audiobook Review: Bone Gap by Laura RubyBone Gap by Laura Ruby
on March 3, 2015
Genres: Young Adult
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Goodreads
4 Stars

Everyone knows Bone Gap is full of gaps—gaps to trip you up, gaps to slide through so you can disappear forever. So when young, beautiful Roza went missing, the people of Bone Gap weren’t surprised. After all, it wasn’t the first time that someone had slipped away and left Finn and Sean O’Sullivan on their own. Just a few years before, their mother had high-tailed it to Oregon for a brand new guy, a brand new life. That’s just how things go, the people said. Who are you going to blame?

Finn knows that’s not what happened with Roza. He knows she was kidnapped, ripped from the cornfields by a dangerous man whose face he cannot remember. But the searches turned up nothing, and no one believes him anymore. Not even Sean, who has more reason to find Roza than anyone, and every reason to blame Finn for letting her go.

As we follow the stories of Finn, Roza, and the people of Bone Gap—their melancholy pasts, their terrifying presents, their uncertain futures—acclaimed author Laura Ruby weaves a heartbreaking tale of love and loss, magic and mystery, regret and forgiveness—a story about how the face the world sees is never the sum of who we are.

pireviewI started out thinking Bone Gap by Laura Ruby was one thing but it ended up being a completely different thing. Completely different. At first I wasn’t sure how I felt by the turn of events but by the end of the book I was so drawn into the odd story that I honestly forgot that this wasn’t the book I thought I was starting.

Bone Gap starts off as a chilling small town mystery with Finn O’Sullivan at the helm. Finn isn’t your typical teenage boy. He has nicknames like Mooney and Space Cadet because of his dreamy personality. Finn was an easily likable character. He had his own ideals and quirks that made him stand out. There were many character that demanded your attention. Roza, in her horrifying situation. Priscilla with her fierceness.  Sean with his disbelief and broken heart. This is one of those books you could read over and over and find new depth every single time.

I mentioned before that Bone Gap wasn’t really what I was expecting it to be. I was in no way expecting fantastical elements. When these started popping up I was a bit confused but I think the story has such a good flow that the out of the blue strangeness just works.

I listened to Bone Gap on audio. It’s narrated by Dan Bittner and he does an incredible job. He manages to capture everyone’s personality in their voice. With just a slight change he could turn the story to haunting and then back again. He is an amazing talent and I look forward to listening to more audiobooks featuring  him.

This book was a thrilling treat. I was permanently on the edge of my seat. It’s an odd book about a small town with secrets. If you’re in the mood for something different pick Bone Gap by Laura Ruby up right away.

Review: Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider

Review: Extraordinary Means by Robyn SchneiderExtraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider
on May 26, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads
3 Stars

From the author of The Beginning of Everything: two teens with a deadly disease fall in love on the brink of a cure.

At seventeen, overachieving Lane finds himself at Latham House, a sanatorium for teens suffering from an incurable strain of tuberculosis. Part hospital and part boarding school, Latham is a place of endless rules and confusing rituals, where it’s easier to fail breakfast than it is to flunk French.

There, Lane encounters a girl he knew years ago. Instead of the shy loner he remembers, Sadie has transformed. At Latham, she is sarcastic, fearless, and utterly compelling. Her friends, a group of eccentric troublemakers, fascinate Lane, who has never stepped out of bounds his whole life. And as he gradually becomes one of them, Sadie shows him their secrets: how to steal internet, how to sneak into town, and how to disable the med sensors they must wear at all times.

But there are consequences to having secrets, particularly at Latham House. And as Lane and Sadie begin to fall in love and their group begins to fall sicker, their insular world threatens to come crashing down. Told in alternating points of view, Extraordinary Means is a darkly funny story about doomed friendships, first love, and the rare miracle of second chances.

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I’ve been excited to read this book for quite some time. The Beginning of Everything was a fabulous book that I recommended to everyone. So of course I had some high hopes for Extraordinary Means. Unfortunately I didn’t like it as much as I wanted to.

Extraordinary Means wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I had the impression that the characters had something cancer like and were being treated in a hospital. That’s not the case at all. Robyn Schneider has created a fictional form of tuberculosis that is drug resistant. I was really fascinated by this. The characters aren’t in a hospital either. They’re in a boarding school like sanatorium.

While I thought the basis for the story was great, I just couldn’t connect with the characters as much as I wanted to. Lane and Sadie’s relationship was sweet but it fell flat for me. Sadie went from secretly hating Lane to swooning over him rather quickly. I also found the characters to be unnecessarily reckless with their health and the health of others. That might just be the mom in me coming out though.

I also felt the story was pretty predictable. I guessed the ending very early on and then it just felt like I was going through the motions to finish it.

I adored The Beginning of Everything so much that I will definitely be reading any future books by Robyn Schnieder. Probably not with as much excitement and anticipation as I did with Extraordinary Means.

pialso

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
Before I Die by Jenny Downham
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green