ARC Review: Everything Must Go

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Title: Everything Must Go

Author: Jenny Fran Davis

Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

Flora Goldwasser has fallen in love. She won’t admit it to anyone, but something about Elijah Huck has pulled her under. When he tells her about the hippie Quaker school he attended in the Hudson Valley called Quare Academy, where he’ll be teaching next year, Flora gives up her tony upper east side prep school for a life on a farm, hoping to woo him. A fish out of water, Flora stands out like a sore thumb in her vintage suits among the tattered tunics and ripped jeans of the rest of the student body. When Elijah doesn’t show up, Flora must make the most of the situation and will ultimately learn more about herself than she ever thought possible.

Told in a series of letters, emails, journal entries and various ephemera, Flora’s dramatic first year is laid out for all to see, embarrassing moments and all.

Source: Thanks so much to St. Martin’s Press for providing me with an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley!

How I Found Out About It: Netgalley

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The quirky and colourful cover was what first drew me into reading Everything Must Go when I came across it on Netgalley. Although I hadn’t yet heard anything about this book from other bloggers, I decided to be one of the first to dive into it.

Just like the cover, this book was for sure quirky. That’s the one word I’d use to describe every aspect about it. Don’t worry, by quirky I mean in an absolutely awesome way. From the characters to the plot, I adored it all!

Everything Must Go is basically about a teenage girl named Flora. When she meets and falls in love with a guy named Elijah, she decides to attend the school at which he is about to teach. A change of plans sends Flora there without Elijah by her side, and thus she has a bit of trouble fitting in with her peers. How will her year make out to be?

First things first, I want to applaud the unique format of this book. That’s yet another thing that makes it amazingly quirky! Instead of writing paragraph after paragraph, the story is conveyed using letters, IMs, newspaper articles, and even more. It definitely kept me engaged and eager to find out what was coming next in the story.

Okay, I’m going to have to use that word again! Quirky. This is how I describe Flora. Hence what happened during the story in her troubles with fitting in, she definitely stood out in the sea of book characters I’ve read about. She was a feminist, which was awesome, AND she was an entrepreneur who was not scared to stand for what she believes in regarding femininity and self-expression. I can see myself remembering Flora for months, if not years, to come.

As for the storyline, events were sometimes a tad slow and confusing, but it may just be because I’m not quite used to the unique formatting of this book. Nevertheless, as I said in an earlier paragraph, I was for sure riveted and kept wanting more and more, which is ultimately what matters!

Overall, I don’t really have anything negative to say about Everything Must Go. It was an uplifting, fun, and diverse story all about how we should always strive to be ourselves in a society full of people trying to fit in, and I really appreciated this message. If you enjoy reading unique contemporaries complete with a cool protagonist and a spectacular format to keep you amused, then definitely check this one out!

*I received a digital ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Emmy & Oliver Review

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Title: Emmy & Oliver

Author: Robin Benway

Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, romance, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

Readers who love Sarah Dessen will tear through these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver’s father’s crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story.

Source: Public library

How I Found Out About It: Goodreads/Blogging

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I have seen a plethora of bloggers rave about the characters and overall sweetness of Emmy & Oliver. Until the day I picked it up, however, it wasn’t really one of my plans to read it- but since there was a copy of it in my local library and because it looked cute, I decided, why not?

Just as I anticipated, I adored this book! Although it does cover some sensitive topics such as kidnapping and betrayal, I found that the overall tone was quite light-hearted. The characters were strongly crafted and there are some valuable morals to be taken from the reading of this novel.

Emmy & Oliver revolves around a high schooler named Emmy. Some years ago, one of her best friends named Oliver suddenly disappeared, turning out to have been kidnapped by his father who did not live with him at the time. Flash forward all of these years, and now he is back home. Despite the fact that they hadn’t spoken since they were kids, Emmy wants to revert right back to being friends with Oliver. But Oliver is scarred from his ten years away- will they still be able to bond as friends… or possibly even more?

Emmy was a flawed character, but that is a-okay with me. A character cannot truly come to life without having flaws- flaws are what helps them develop by the end of the novel. In our case, Emmy kept some secrets from her loved ones and this really annoyed me at times, but if I were to leave that aside, she was an extremely kind and warm character to read about. She was upbeat and gregarious and she gave loads of useful advice to other characters when they were in need of it, proving that she was very intuitive as well.

As said before, Oliver was definitely scarred from his past, which is likely an understatement. Absolutely no one should have to go through what he’d experienced in his mere seventeen years of life. In spite of this, his heart was built up with bundles of sweetness and I’m glad that he was able to share it with both the characters and the readers.

This book’s plot wasn’t its strongest feature by a long shot. It was predictable and slow, but although the events didn’t necessarily stick out to me, it was the immense character development that kept me amused throughout.

All in all, I can for sure see myself recommending Emmy & Oliver in the future to fans of heart-warming contemporaries. It was certainly flawed in some aspects, but the amazingness about this book for sure overweighs all of the tiny bits of blandness.

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Things We Know by Heart Review

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Title: Things We Know by Heart

Author: Jessi Kirby

Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, romance, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

When Quinn Sullivan meets the recipient of her boyfriend’s donated heart, the two form an unexpected connection.

After Quinn loses her boyfriend, Trent, in an accident their junior year, she reaches out to the recipients of his donated organs in hopes of picking up the pieces of her now-unrecognizable life. She hears back from some of them, but the person who received Trent’s heart has remained silent. The essence of a person, she has always believed, is in the heart. If she finds Trent’s, then maybe she can have peace once and for all.

Risking everything in order to finally lay her memories to rest, Quinn goes outside the system to track down nineteen-year-old Colton Thomas—a guy whose life has been forever changed by this priceless gift. But what starts as an accidental run-in quickly develops into more, sparking an undeniable attraction. She doesn’t want to give in to it—especially since he has no idea how they’re connected—but their time together has made Quinn feel alive again. No matter how hard she’s falling for Colton, each beat of his heart reminds her of all she’s lost…and all that remains at stake.

Source: Public library

How I Found Out About It: Goodreads/Blogging

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Upon my first glimpse at this book’s synopsis, I wasn’t fully convinced to pick it up. I don’t know, something about it just steered me away. One day, however, I had a change of heart- I couldn’t resist seeing what was behind that adorable cover. In brief, my process of picking up Things We Know by Heart was due to a big case of cover love!

This book blew me away, and even that is an understatement. After having read this one, one thing I can say for sure is that it has earned a special spot in my heart. Almost everything about it was absolutely perfect- I felt extremely engaged and emotionally connected to its plot and characters.

To provide a brief synopsis of the story, it follows the footsteps of a girl named Quinn. Her boyfriend Trent had gotten killed in a car accident a year earlier, leaving her wretched. His organs were all given out, and Quinn reaches out to those who received them so she could still feel in touch with Trent. To get some closure on his death, she seeks out Colton, the recipient of his heart. Soon enough, she finds herself falling in love with him- same heart, but two different people. But Colton has no idea that it was her boyfriend whose heart he’d been given…

I liked Quinn as she was extremely kind, however I didn’t particularly appreciate the fact that she kept the secret about her boyfriend’s heart from Colton for so long. Nevertheless, I do understand that it was to have a bond with him without all of the pressure from the loss of Trent, and thus I respect this. In my opinion, everything else about her made her very likeable and memorable.

I LOVED Colton even more than Quinn! He’d gone through so much trouble and yet stayed so strong, and while reading I could just picture him as this gorgeous, dreamy-looking guy. I shipped Quinn and Colton so hard, but at the same time I wanted a little bit of Colton all to myself. Do you get what I’m saying?!

This book had the perfect length and pacing. At just over 300 pages, even the slowest readers will be able to finish this book in a jiffy. I was kept on my toes and sucked in throughout the entire story. I also found that the writing was straight to the point and very engaging. Every word had its relevance in the novel, and I much prefer that to books that go on and on about how a character’s outfit looked that day.

To sum it all up, if I had the time and the patience to, I would learn every word of this book by heart. It was absolutely astonishing and I doubt I could have had a better time reading it. Unlike many fluffy books I read, this one definitely gave me some feels but stayed fluffy at the same time- it had great emotional balance! If you are into gushy and cheesy (in a good way) contemporaries that break your heart in the beginning and then sew it back together by the end, then Things We Know by Heart is the one for you.

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Don’t Even Think About It Review

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Title: Don’t Even Think About It

Author: Sarah Mlynowski

Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, magical realism, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

A contemporary teen novel with romance, secrets, scandals, and ESP from the author of Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn’t Have) and Bras & Broomsticks!

We weren’t always like this. We used to be average New York City high school sophomores. Until our homeroom went for flu shots. We were prepared for some side effects. Maybe a headache. Maybe a sore arm. We definitely didn’t expect to get telepathic powers. But suddenly we could hear what everyone was thinking. Our friends. Our parents. Our crushes. Now we all know that Tess is in love with her best friend, Teddy. That Mackenzie cheated on Cooper. That, um, Nurse Carmichael used to be a stripper.

Since we’ve kept our freakish skill a secret, we can sit next to the class brainiac and ace our tests. We can dump our boyfriends right before they dump us. We know what our friends really think of our jeans, our breath, our new bangs. We always know what’s coming. Some of us will thrive. Some of us will crack. None of us will ever be the same.
So stop obsessing about your ex. We’re always listening.

Source: School library

How I Found Out About It: By browsing the shelves of my school library

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Magical realism is one of my favourite genres. Magic in fantasy books doesn’t always work for me, but I adore when tiny sprinkles of magic are added into contemporaries. Thus, when I read the synopsis of this book, all I expected were good things.

Unfortunately, Don’t Even Think About It lacked that- dare I say it- magical touch. The tone and the writing style were both very juvenile-sounding and the plot was strange and more dramatic than expected.

This book is all about the sophomores who attend a New York City high school. When they get flu shots one day, the side effects include extreme telepathy- soon enough, everyone could hear each other’s thoughts. This causes a lot of drama to the point when the teens no longer know who to trust. Will the telepathy be fixed, or if not, will the students learn how to use it properly and effectively?

As I write this review, I finished reading this book less than a month ago, but I can’t remember any of the characters for the life of me. There wasn’t even really a protagonist, for goodness sake! The characters were all so bland and forgettable and they made no impact on me as a reader; I remained unmoved. I need to oversee good character development in order to fully enjoy a book, and in this story it was just completely absent.

Hence the juvenile writing style, the plot was just as weirdly young-sounding and basic. All it revolves around is the students’ telepathy; that is literally it. Although the book was under 300 pages, the redundancy of all the telepathy drama made it seem much longer!

To sum it all up, I’m afraid that I just didn’t find too many redeeming qualities about Don’t Even Think About It. It didn’t work for me, and thus I am handing it a (probably too generous) 2.5 star rating. Because of the one-dimensional characters and repetitive storyline, I don’t think that teens will appreciate it as much as tweens getting a head start into YA will.

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The Book Thief Review

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Title: The Book Thief

Author: Markus Zusak

Genre & Age Group: Historical fiction, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

A story about, among other things: A girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul. Winner of the 2007 BookBrowse Ruby Award.

Winner of the 2007 BookBrowse Ruby Award.

It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist – books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau. This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

Source: School library

How I Found Out About It: Who doesn’t know about it?

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I feel like I was one of the last readers to hop onto the bandwagon for this book. As long as I have been into the YA genre, bloggers have constantly been raving and recommending this book to others. Although I enjoy reading about World War II, the long length intimidated me for the longest time so I kept on procrastinating to read it.

When I finally gave in and decided to give The Book Thief a read, I was amazingly astonished. Even though it took me longer to read this book over several others because of the slow pacing and length, it was worth every second.

For those of you who don’t know what the story is about, it follows a young girl named Liesel through the eyes of Death itself during World War II. When she learns to read, she starts stealing books and sharing them with her supportive neighbours, including a Jewish boy who hides in her family’s basement. To escape the woes of the war, Liesel reads all the time, but will it eventually get to be too much? Will she have to sacrifice her life because she reads books rather than paying attention to reality?

I found Liesel to be adorably innocent, and I guess that is both good and bad. It was good because we got more of a focus on her love of reading than on the terrible war, but bad because she was ignoring reality for the most part and blocking it all out with books. Nevertheless, I adored her passion for reading and I thought she was a very kind character.

I as well definitely appreciated the aspect of family we oversee in this story. Much like Anne Frank hid in an annex during World War II, the Meminger family hid a boy named Max down in their basement. They interacted with him with a welcoming mindset and that was one thing I loved about this novel. Hiding Max came with some fatal risks, and I’m glad that Liesel’s family was supportive and didn’t care if they were shamed for doing what should have been considered as a good deed.

My least favourite part of this book was most likely the incredibly slow pacing of the plot. Hence the mere 550 pages of the story, it takes a very long time to progress and I sometimes got bored during the slower parts. If I were to push that completely aside, though, then I loved virtually every other aspect of this book, which includes the interesting POV of death.

Having read and adored this novel, I will not hesitate to read more from Markus Zusak. His writing style and imagination are both amazing and although we all know how horrible the concept of war is, Zusak captures it in a way that all teens will comprehend and value. If you have not yet gotten around to picking up The Book Thief then you should do so now- before I steal all of your other books and replace them with this one!

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ARC Review: Kiss Me in New York

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Title: Kiss Me in New York

Author: Catherine Rider

Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, romance, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

It’s Christmas Eve at JFK in NYC.

Charlotte is a British student, waiting for a flight home after the worst semester of her life. Anthony is a native New Yorker, surprising his girlfriend at the airport after three months apart. Charlotte has just been dumped, and Anthony is about to be dumped, right in the middle of the holiday crowd.

Charlotte’s flight is canceled when a blizzard blows in, and Anthony can’t bear to go home. So, they set out into the city together, clutching a book Charlotte picks up in the airport gift shop: Ten Easy Steps for Getting Over Your Ex. For this one night, they’ll focus on healing their broken hearts … together.

Step-by-step, the two struggle to put the past behind them. But the snow is so enchanting, and the holiday lights are so beguiling, that soon their shared misery gives way to something else. Soon, they’re not only over their exes — they’re falling for each other.

Then a subway ride splits them up by mistake. Will they reunite before Charlotte’s flight leaves New York forever?

Source: Thanks so much to Indigo Books & Music Inc. for providing me with a physical ARC of this book!

How I Found Out About It: Indigo newsletter

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I am always a sucker for an adorable holiday romance story. I don’t celebrate Christmas myself, but I just love the idea of characters kissing under the mistletoe and catching snowflakes with their tongues. I also adore reading about the Big Apple, so put two and two together, and here you have Catherine Rider’s Kiss Me in New York!

I have to admit that this book does not have the world’s most original storyline or characters, but that’s okay with me. It was a short, fast-paced read that did nothing but make me happy and prepare me for winter, and that is exactly what I look for in my contemporaries.

Kiss Me in New York follows the footsteps of a girl named Charlotte over the course of one Christmas Eve in New York City, where she has spent the last semester miserably studying. Her plans to fly home to the UK in time for Christmas are shattered when her flight is delayed because of a blizzard, and to add on to that, her boyfriend from college had just dumped her. Enter Anthony. He too has just been dumped in the middle of the airport, so when he and Charlotte meet, they decide to get over their exes together with the aid of a special book to help people do just that. It works miraculously- to the point when they’ve become interested in each other.

Neither character stood out very much to me, so what I want to touch on more is the romance between them. It was adorable (that is probably an understatement), yet at the same time unrealistic. I mean, I know next to nothing about these things, but who would break up with their partner and get over them in a night using a book and then find a new fleeting romance within 12 hours? Definitely not me, but given Charlotte’s circumstances, I thought it was fine. Again, the purpose of this book is to make you smile and get you into the holiday spirit, and I’m thankful that this romance novel made me do just that.

I have read a fair share of books about fleeting romances. Kisses on a Paper Airplane, The Sun is Also a Star, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, you name it. After a while I probably won’t remember this one as well as some of the others, but what I will remember are the giddy emotions that its premise and setting gave me. If a book like this is able to make me FEEL something, then to me that is a wonderful read.

To sum it all up, Kiss Me in New York is not meant to be the most unique, mind-blowing story out there, but a feel-good novel that makes you want to explore the Big Apple and all of its quirks during the festive winter season. In my opinion it’s not worthy of 5 stars, and probably not even 4, but if you want to check out a nice, breezy book to pump you up for wintertime, then this one is for sure worth a read.

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*I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review.*

Windfall Review

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Title: Windfall

Author: Jennifer E. Smith

Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, romance, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

Let luck find you.

Alice doesn’t believe in luck—at least, not the good kind. But she does believe in love, and for some time now, she’s been pining for her best friend, Teddy. On his eighteenth birthday—just when it seems they might be on the brink of something—she buys him a lottery ticket on a lark. To their astonishment, he wins $140 million, and in an instant, everything changes.

At first, it seems like a dream come true, especially since the two of them are no strangers to misfortune. As a kid, Alice won the worst kind of lottery possible when her parents died just over a year apart from each other. And Teddy’s father abandoned his family not long after that, leaving them to grapple with his gambling debts. Through it all, Teddy and Alice have leaned on each other. But now, as they negotiate the ripple effects of Teddy’s newfound wealth, a gulf opens between them. And soon, the money starts to feel like more of a curse than a windfall.

As they try to find their way back to each other, Alice learns more about herself than she ever could have imagined…and about the unexpected ways in which luck and love sometimes intersect.

Source: Public library

How I Found Out About It: Goodreads/Blogging

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What would you do if you won millions and millions of dollars from the lottery? Me, I’d probably donate at least half of it to those in need, spend some of it on travelling the world (and on buying new books while at it!), and then save all the rest for my future.

I know my answer was pretty typical, and the answer to this question is basically what Jennifer E. Smith covers in her story Windfall. I adored the premise, the characters, and all of the fabulous morals that this story has, and I am totally going to be recommending it!

As you could have easily guessed, this novel does revolve around a lottery ticket. In fact, this is a ticket that protagonist Alice buys for her friend Teddy as a birthday present, which turned out to win him millions of dollars. Although the two of them have been supporting each other for ages through family crises, all of the money seems to be drifting the two of them apart. Will it be the end of their friendship forever, or will they return to each other as better people?

Though I did not think that Alice was really the most interesting character I’ve ever read about, she thought positively in ways that many people wouldn’t and her generosity was amazing. You know why? She bought Teddy a lottery ticket for his birthday and when he won, she insisted that he keep it all! She did not get jealous or anything- even though there were a couple disputes about the money because of both of their guilt, she seemed a-OK with everything by the end.

I liked Teddy as well, but like Alice, he too was flawed. He stayed humble about his winnings for the most part, but I found that he went a bit crazy on the spending. But hey, everyone has their own ways of managing their money, and I guess Teddy can do whatever he wants with his millions.

What drew me into this book in the first place was both the fact that I have devoured many of Smith’s other novels and my curiosity about the premise. Never have I read a book about winning the lottery, and seeing what teenage book characters would do with the earnings just intrigued me so much. Though a bit longer than it ultimately needed to be, it was very fast-paced and riveting and it absolutely had me on the edge of my seat!

Probably my favourite thing about this book is that it explored the domino effect of kindness- once you perform one kind gesture, it will go on and on and reach dozens more people. You may never think much of a tiny move such as holding the door open for someone, but little do you know that by doing that, you could hugely impact someone’s life. In this story, I was very happy to read about many similar events that mirrored this grand moral. 

All in all, that stunning cover definitely did live up to the gorgeous story inside. In spite of their flaws, the characters were fabulous, the concept was unique, and the coming-of-age element was pure gold. Contemporary lovers, if you haven’t gotten your hands on this beautiful novel yet, then I suggest you do so as soon as possible! I promise that you will be extremely captivated and inspired to do good deeds.

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Charlotte Cuts It Out Review

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Title: Charlotte Cuts It Out

Author: K.A. Barson

Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

Lydia and I were in eighth grade when we came up with our Grand Plan to go to cosmetology school and get jobs to build our clientele while we earned business degrees. Then we’d open our own salon . . .

Now Charlotte and Lydia are juniors, in a Cosmetology Arts program where they’ll get on-the-job training and college credits at the same time. The Grand Plan is right on schedule.

Which means it’s time for Step Two: Win the Winter Style Showcase, where Cos Arts and Fashion Design teams team up to dazzle the judges with their skills.

Charlotte is sure that she and Lydia have it locked up—so sure, in fact, that she makes a life-changing bet with her mother, who wants her to give up cos for college.

And that’s when things start going off the rails.

As the clock ticks down to the night of the Showcase, Charlotte has her hands full. Design divas. Models who refuse to be styled. Unexpectedly stiff competition. And then, worst of all, Lydia—her BFF and Partner in Cos—turns out to have a slightly different Grand Plan.

Like 45 Pounds (More or Less), K.A. Barson’s Charlotte Cuts it Out is a funny, relatable story set in the heart of the Midwest, just right for girls who have big dreams of their own.

Source: Public library

How I Found Out About It: Blogging

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Like many books I take out of the library, I went into Charlotte Cuts it Out almost completely blinded. I’d heard a couple bloggers talking about it, but I couldn’t recall the quality of their feedback. Knowing that I can usually trust contemporary novels for a good time, I was still curious and decided to give it a read.

This turned out to be a just above average read for me- I didn’t dislike it nor love it. It wasn’t the most unique of stories, but the protagonist really resonated with me and it was quite fast-paced.

Charlotte Cuts it Out is basically about a high schooler named Charlotte who is registered in a special program for cosmetology. She and her best friend Lydia have had a plan that would lead them to win a fashion design contest, but Lydia decides to drop out of cosmetology and pursue a different path. This means that Charlotte must participate in the contest all on her own. Will she be able to succeed by herself?

I found that Charlotte was a very wise character, and I adored her. She did make a few impulsive mistakes during the novel, but she had no problem accepting them, learning from them, and growing from them. I also really appreciated her desire to work with cancer patients in the hospital, which goes to show others how huge her warm heart really is.

Although Charlotte was fantastic, I didn’t like her selfish friend Lydia. She at first appeared to be loyal to her plan with Charlotte, so I was surprised and angered that she’d dropped out of the program without having a heart-to-heart with her first. Hence this, there was a lot of drama between the girls throughout the course of the novel, and this was one of the aspects of the story that I just did not enjoy at all.

I noticed how similar the plot was to Susan Juby’s The Fashion Committee, minus the fact that TFC is more of a romance novel and this one only had a tiny splat of unnecessary romanceThis is not a bad thing at all, but it just tells me that this book is not as unique as some others are and that it blends within the crowd. Despite saying that, though, I will say that it was for sure interesting enough to fully captivate me for 350 pages, but I wouldn’t really accept any higher number.

There were some things about this story that were awesome plus some that bothered me, but at the end of the day, I still really enjoyed it. If you are into fashion, friendship, and teen angst in your books, then Charlotte Cuts it Out deserves to be read!

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ARC Review: The Devil’s Advocate

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Title: The Devil’s Advocate

Author: Michaela Haze

Genre & Age Group: Fantasy, romance, adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

Dahlia Clark is a Hell Broker. You want to sell your soul, she’s your girl.
The only problem? She’s not seen her boss, Luc, in over two centuries.
Not since he forced her out of hell, out of his bed and condemned her to be his eyes and ears on the surface.
As far as breakups go, it could have been better!

When Dahlia meets Samuel Rose, a male incubus with the London Underground scene wrapped around his finger, things are looking up in the romance department.
At least she can dust off a few of those cobwebs.

Wrong.
Lucifer doesn’t like it when people play with his things.
It doesn’t matter that he dumped her over two hundred years ago. The Devil wants Dahlia back, whatever the cost.

Source: Thank you so much to author Michaela Haze for providing me with an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

How I Found Out About It: Author request

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This book is exactly the reason why I have no longer been accepting review requests from authors. I just almost never enjoy the books, which proves that many authors do not actually seem to read my review policy. (It may be my fault, too, for accepting the requests. But shh!) Author Michaela Haze requested for me to read and review this book for her, and under the influence that it was young adult, I accepted. Big mistake.

I have literally NO IDEA what this book was, but all I know is that it was all of the genres I don’t read mixed into one. (Why did I even accept this, again?) It was written for adults, it had elements of fantasy, and even a bit of erotica (ew!). These authors do not seem to understand that I am a teen in high school- I really should not be subjected to this stuff!

Typically in the third paragraph of my reviews I write up a brief synopsis of the book, but since I didn’t understand it, I will be passing on that for today. If you are (somehow) captivated in seeing what the book is about after reading my review, then by all means, check it out above or on Goodreads.

First, I want to talk about the characters. The protagonist’s name was Dahlia, and she was very forgettable and dull. She never seemed eager to make decisions by herself and always relied on others to make them for her, which was a definite turn-off for me. The other characters as well had no depth to them- there was literally nothing in terms of the characters for me to relate to.

Next up, the storyline. For me, unfortunately, none of the puzzle pieces really fit. The storyline got VERY sexual WAY too quickly– as I said before, I am way too young for this stuff- and it dealt with pregnancy as well, which is definitely a sensitive topic. I was mislead by the blurb; I didn’t expect any of this to be involved. Overall, I was ultimately very confused about how everything came together. 

The one perk about this book was the fact that it was written beautifully, but pushing that aside, I’m afraid I have to say that this book didn’t work for me at all. I sure won’t be recommending this to teens because I don’t think this is even supposed to be a young adult novel, but I guess this can appeal more to older readers who are more into fantasy. I usually have a hard time with this genre as it stands, and adding in mature themes makes it ten times worse for me. I’m sure The Devil’s Advocate is objectively a great book, but it’s just not the type of story I should be exposed to as a teenager. 


Rating: 🌟🌟

*I received a digital ARC of this book from author Michaela Haze in exchange for an honest review.*

Saints and Misfits Review

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Title: Saints and Misfits

Author: S.K. Ali

Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, romance, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

Saints and Misfits is an unforgettable debut novel that feels like a modern day My So-Called Life…starring a Muslim teen.

How much can you tell about a person just by looking at them?

Janna Yusuf knows a lot of people can’t figure out what to make of her…an Arab Indian-American hijabi teenager who is a Flannery O’Connor obsessed book nerd, aspiring photographer, and sometime graphic novelist is not exactly easy to put into a box.

And Janna suddenly finds herself caring what people think. Or at least what a certain boy named Jeremy thinks. Not that she would ever date him—Muslim girls don’t date. Or they shouldn’t date. Or won’t? Janna is still working all this out.

While her heart might be leading her in one direction, her mind is spinning in others. She is trying to decide what kind of person she wants to be, and what it means to be a saint, a misfit, or a monster. Except she knows a monster…one who happens to be parading around as a saint…Will she be the one to call him out on it? What will people in her tightknit Muslim community think of her then?

Source: Public library

How I Found Out About It: Goodreads/Blogging

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Upon the release of this book in June, there was a lot of hype surrounding it. People were praising its diverse themes and feminism, so naturally I knew that I wanted to pick it up and have a good time with it.

Okay, here’s my problem. Although I definitely did appreciate the feminism, morals and diversity, Saints and Misfits didn’t really appeal in other ways to me. I found that the main protagonist was unmemorable and that the plot moved much too slowly for me to get the most out of it.

This novel basically follows high schooler Janna. Being Muslim, a photographer, and a bookworm, she is very different from her peers and has trouble fitting in. Although her family tells her that she’s not allowed to date, she finds herself falling for a guy named Jeremy. If she does decide to break the rules and date him, will she still be respected in her Muslim community?

As I mentioned before, Janna was a dull and forgettable character. I liked that she had eclectic interests (for the record, all that most contemporary protagonists do is hang out with their friends and love interests), but for me, they just weren’t explored nearly as much as they could have been. I was super excited to hear how much Janna adores books, but if there was anything about it, it was in the tiny details of the story that I sometimes don’t tend to absorb.

Hence the fact that the pacing of this story was quite slow, I was never able to find myself completely engrossed. There were a lot of references to Muslim culture that I found hard to understand and process in my mind, and even though I appreciated the tiny bit of acquired knowledge about the culture, I know I am bound to forget it soon enough. Also, there wasn’t nearly enough swoon-worthy romance and this really disappointed me! Isn’t this technically supposed to be a romance story?

Overall, Saints and Misfits was a rather mediocre, unmemorable novel about embracing your identity and fitting in. It may not have been written with me in mind, but there is definitely potential for it to appeal to many other readers. Do you like huge loads of diversity, feminism, and coming-of-age morals in your books? If so, then go ahead and pick this one up- I can’t guarantee you’ll devour it, but I’m sure you’ll still enjoy it.

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