Review: Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

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“I made the wrong choice.”

Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.

But then she is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and even herself.

People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.

PUBLISHER: Simon Pulse

PAGES: 389

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Upon a first glance, this novel sounds like my future autobiography. Alas, it is not. Really disappointing.

Everyone needs a good summer read. Qualifications for a good summer read (in no particular order):

  1. Must look good next to actual sand. On a beach. In the middle of some exotic location.
  2. Keep your mind occupied so you don’t think about the pile of stress you usually carry on your shoulders or the overwhelming debt you still owe to someone… somewhere.
  3. Enjoyable characters. Engaging plot. Exciting twists and turns. Effortless delivery. Basically, a lot of “E” words. Sorry not sorry.

Love and Gelato qualifies as a good summer read. Continue reading

Review: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

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The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning!
 
Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

PUBLISHER: Knopf

PAGES: 378

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I was almost in the throes of finals when I bought this book at a local bookstore. I remember hearing a lot of hype about this novel a couple years ago as it was released around the time of my book blogging beginnings.

I was a fan of this novel at first, feeling intrigued by the creative banter between Finch and Violet and Niven’s smooth writing. As much as I enjoyed The Fault in our Stars, I found the same fault in Green’s big hit as I found in Niven’s All the Bright Places. They both romanticize some very serious life experiences and I have to comment about it. This review will not contain spoilers, though I am so tempted to include a few. Continue reading

Review: Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser

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Caroline Oresteia is destined for the river. For generations, her family has been called by the river god, who has guided their wherries on countless voyages throughout the Riverlands. At seventeen, Caro has spent years listening to the water, ready to meet her fate. But the river god hasn’t spoken her name yet—and if he hasn’t by now, there’s a chance he never will.

Caro decides to take her future into her own hands when her father is arrested for refusing to transport a mysterious crate. By agreeing to deliver it in exchange for his release, Caro finds herself caught in a web of politics and lies, with dangerous pirates after the cargo—an arrogant courier with a secret—and without the river god to help her. With so much at stake, Caro must choose between the life she always wanted and the one she never could have imagined for herself.

From debut author Sarah Tolcser comes an immersive and romantic fantasy set along the waterways of a magical world with a headstrong heroine determined to make her mark.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens Books

Pages: 373

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I received this book from my June Uppercase Box right after graduation. Yes, this girl has graduated! This is my first post-grad review! Wow, I can hardly believe it.

Unfortunately, this review is not going to be all unicorns and rainbows. In fact, I believe this review is going to be much like the post-grad world: too realistic and just a bit disappointing for many of the YA optimists out there. My apologies. Can you tell I’m feeling sassy? No? Well, let’s count the ways… shall we?

Continue reading

Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

cover-for-everything-everythingMy disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Pages: 310

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I bought this book on a vacation in Alabama upon the prodding of one of my fangirl friends. Not only is the cover of this novel absolutely flawless, but “Everything Everything” is also the name of one of my favorite British pop punk bands. Seriously, check them out. If you need any more motivation to read this book, the movie is coming out May 19 in the US and it features grown up Hunger Games Rue, Amandla Stenberg. Y’all there’s some good stuff here. Continue reading

Review: Pivot Point by Kasie West

11988046Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier . . .

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.

PUBLISHER: HarperTeen

PAGES: 343

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I read this book on a plane to Dallas and finished it in roughly 24 hours. I think I’ve come to the conclusion that two of the most important factors of a novel are the writing and the plot. If the plot is amazing, I can often disregard poor writing. If the writing is amazing, I can often disregard the poor plot. Continue reading

Sunday Short Reviews

FotorCreated2I’ve recently been so caught up with life and midterms and college and internship applications and… well, you get the point. I’ve been reading novels, but haven’t quite had the time to post reviews for them. I’ve become a bit backlogged in the review department. Here’s some short reviews of books I was too impressed with to write an excellent, all-inclusive review (or not impressed with enough to bother writing a full review)!

I’m a busy college student, what can I say?

Continue reading

Review: The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd

MMD+final+cover+hi-resSixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father’s gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.

Accompanied by her father’s handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father’s madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island’s inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father’s dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it’s too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father’s genius—and madness—in her own blood.

Inspired by H. G. Wells’s classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman’s Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we’ll do anything to know and the truths we’ll go to any lengths to protect.

PUBLISHER: Balzer + Bray

PAGES: 420

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Walked into the library. This book caught my eye. Recognized that several of my book blogging peers had read this book. Read the blurb. Gaped at the beautiful cover. Checked this book out.

I didn’t used to check Goodreads before checking a book out at the library, but I’ve become a Goodreads fanatic since becoming a book blogger. People seemed torn about this book, and I inevitably find myself torn at the end, like everyone else. Continue reading