Blog Tour | Jubilee Manor by Bethany Hagen [Review + Giveaway]

20753330Title: Jubilee Manor (Landry Park #2)
Author: Bethany Hagen
Publication: August 11th 2015 by Dial Books
Format: Advance Reading Copy
Source: Provided by the Author
ISBN: 9780803739499

How Hard Can Love Be? (Normal, #2)


synopsisIn Landry Park, Madeline turned her back on her elite family, friends, and estate to help the Rootless. Now, in Jubilee Manor, she struggles to bring the Gentry and the Rootless together. But when Gentry heirs—Madeline’s old friends—are murdered, even she begins to think a Rootless is behind it, putting her at odds with the boy she loves and the very people she is trying to lead. If she can’t figure out who is killing her friends and bring them to justice, a violent war will erupt and even more will die—and Madeline’s name, her estate, and all the bonds she’s forged won’t make any difference.

reviewI received a digital copy of this book from Bethany Hagen for my participation in this blog tour. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.
This brief review may contain spoilers from both books of the Landry Park series.
Jubilee Manor continues on with Madeline, determined to bring peace between the Rootless and the Gentry. But the divide between the two just got bigger after the incident in Liberty Park that ended with her father’s removal in Landry Park.
When Jack’s real identity was revealed as Alexander’s brother and Madeline’s uncle, he takes over Landry Park. Together, he and Madeline make plans to bring the Gentry and the Rootless together but it becomes impossible when Gentry heirs are murdered one by one.
I am really amazed with the world building in Jubilee Manor. Right from Landry Park, I was already amazed with how Bethany Hagen created a dystopian, futuristic America where the privileged are treated like aristocrats. I also like how the sci-fi aspect was incorporated in the plot.
I also love how the love affair between Madeline and David wasn’t neglected. Although, the plot didn’t revolve around the love story, there was enough swoon for readers who like romance. Their relationship is this book become more mature.
I don’t know what else is missing in Jubilee Manor. It has romance, sci-fi, politics and a little bit of mystery. The murders of the Gentry heirs brought a different edge to Jubilee Manor as compared to the first book. I also enjoyed the suspense and action near the end.
The ending of this book was handled perfectly, I couldn’t think of a better way to end this book. Overall, I would recommend this book to everyone.
Rating:
4

abouttheauthor
Bethany Hagen was born and raised in Kansas City. She grew up reading Charlotte Brontë, Jane Austen, and all things King Arthur, and went on to become a librarian. Landry Park is her debut novel.
www.bethanyhagen.com
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GIVEAWAY!
Win a signed copy of Landry Park and a signed ARC of Jubilee Manor.
Open to US Residents Only.

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JM
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ARC Review | Awake by Natasha Preston

22881022Title: Awake
Author: Natasha Preston
Publication: August 4th 2015 by Sourcebooks Fire
Format: Advance Reading Copy
Source: Provided by the publisher via NetGalley
ISBN: 9781492618522

Awake


synopsisScarlett doesn’t remember anything before the age of five. Her parents say it’s from the trauma of seeing her house burn down, and she accepts the life they’ve created for her without question—until a car accident causes Scarlett to start remembering pieces of an unfamiliar past. When a new guy moves into town, Scarlett feels an instant spark. But Noah knows the truth of Scarlett’s past, and he’s determined to shield her from it…because Scarlett grew up in a cult called Eternal Light, controlled by her biological parents. And they want her back.

reviewI received a digital ARC of this book from Sourcebooks Fire via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.
When I first came across Awake, it appealed to me as something different. The mention of a cult wasn’t something common in YA worlds that it really got me curious. That was why I have quite some expectation in this book. I was looking for something new, something that will set it apart to other books.
The story starts off with Scarlett meeting Noah, the new kid at school. They easily engage in a casual conversation which leads to Scarlett telling something about herself not remembering anything before from when she was four years old. Noah seems interested about that fact but what she doesn’t know is that Noah knows something about it.
After a car accident, Scarlett starts to remember memories that happened in the past. She then starts to question everything including her identity. Is she really who she thought she is?
I’d have to say, I just find the story of Awake very simple and plain which isn’t a bad thing, but still, contradictory to what I was expecting. There were parts in the book that really dragged the story too long. At times, I felt like I was reading the same chapter over and over again and nothing was really going on. Nothing but these two love birds watching movies in Scarlett’s room.
Yes, this book has a serious case of insta-love. I still gave it a chance at first because there seems to be a motive behind it. But halfway through the book, we’re still caught up with Scarlett and Noah’s we-can’t-get-off-each-other-love-sickness that I just ended up turning the pages to see what happens next.
At about 60%, we finally get to be in Eternal Light’s environment. I don’t know but I really didn’t feel the dark vibe that would have been portrayed by Eternal Light. There was a lack of backstory to the cult that it didn’t become interesting at all. They just exist and they believe what they believe, but the “why they believe” is a big question unanswered.
Awake isn’t a bad book but it didn’t really leave any impression. But still, I recommend that you give this book a try.
Rating:

3


whatiliked

  • Dual POVs – The alternating perspective of Scarlett and Noah made the story-telling of this book easy to follow. I didn’t have a hard time reading through the story.
  • Unlikely Plot – It’s nothing I have read before. There were maybe some scenes that was predictable but it is still something new to me.
  • Mystery/Action – Although the story line was manifested with love bugs, I did enjoy the mystery aspect of it and the unraveling of the secrets kept. The action near the end was also something that was gripping about this book.

end
Book description and cover image from Goodreads

 

Blog Tour | Most Likely To Succeed by Jennifer Echols [Review + Favorite Quotes + Giveaway]

16140843Title: Most Likely To Succeed (Superlatives #3)
Author: Carolyn Lee Adams
Publication: August 4th 2015 by Simon Pulse
Format: Advance Reading Copy
Source: Provided by the publisher via Edelweiss
ISBN: 9781442474529

Are You Still There


synopsisThe yearbook votes have been cast.
Sometimes your friends know you better than you know yourself.
As vice president of Student Council, Kaye knows the importance of keeping order. Not only in school, but in her personal life. Which is why she and her boyfriend Aidan already have their lives mapped out: attend Columbia University together, pursue banking careers, and eventually get married. Everything Kaye has accomplished in high school—student government, cheerleading, stellar grades—has been in preparation for that future.
To his entire class, Sawyer is an irreverent bad boy. His antics on the field as school mascot and his love of partying have earned him total slacker status. And since his father is a convicted felon, everyone figures Sawyer will follow in his footsteps and never amount to much.
But while Kaye and Sawyer appear to be opposites on every level, fate—and their friends—keep conspiring to throw them together. Perhaps the seniors see the simmering attraction Kaye and Sawyer are unwilling to acknowledge to themselves…
As the year unfolds, Kaye begins to realize her ideal life is not what she thought. And Sawyer decides it’s finally time to let down the facade and show everyone who he really is. Is a potential relationship between them most likely to succeed—or to be their favorite mistake?

reviewI received a Digital ARC of this book from Simon & Schuster via Edelweiss for my participation in the blog tour. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.
I have to admit, I wasn’t really familiar with the premise of the Superlatives series to begin with. I was expecting that it will be difficult for me to catch up to the series if I read the 3rd book without reading the first two books (Biggest Flirts and Perfect Couple) but surprisingly, I didn’t feel lost at all.
By some means, I got the gist of how these Superlative titles affect the way these elected students look at themselves. In this book, Kaye and her boyfriend Aidan was voted as Most Likely To Succeed for their high school, but that’s what the committee made it look like. She was actually voted as Perfect Couple That Never Was together with Sawyer. This somehow penetrated through Kaye as she starts to look at Sawyer differently.
Kaye is smart but sometimes becomes a push-over.  Under her controlling mother and dominating boyfriend, she doesn’t have control over her life which leads to her becoming indecisive. She wants to prove a lot of things, including that she really is Most Likely To Succeed with Aidan but then, becomes unsure if that’s what she really wants.
She becomes curious as to what is it with Sawyer that made her schoolmates vote for them as Perfect Couple That Never Was.
Sawyer is the resident naughty boy that is labeled as someone not to be taken seriously in which Kaye managed to do in many occasions which results to a lot of misunderstandings between them. If only she would scratch beneath the surface and see Sawyer for who he really is.
The romance was cute, but it took quite a while for it to seethe. The fact that Kaye has a boyfriend, and her mother doesn’t like Sawyer for her, (add Kaye’s insensitive remarks toward Sawyer) made their relationship take off a rocky start.
More than just the romance between Kaye and Sawyer, Most Likely To Succeed portrays how “labels” affect the perception of people towards others and how it becomes a basis of other people’s judgment. The characters showed the pressure of living up to a title and the struggle of showing who they truly are.
The sudden turn of events near the end caught me off guard, though. Specifically with Kaye’s mother. She was portrayed to have an unyielding judgment to everything and everybody but all of a sudden, she starts to see differently which kind of made the pacing lose its rhythm.
If you would ask me if I wanted a different ending, I can only say, how about an epilogue?
Rating:

3


Favorite Quotes
“Anything making you feel guilty is definitely worth doing.”
“When I told you I loved you, that’s what I meant. I never intended to be your experiment, or your walk on the wild side, or your favorite mistake.”
“It’s never wrong to pursue something you love.”

Giveaway!
Win all 3 books in the SUPERLATIVES series by Jennifer Echols
Open to US residents only.

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If the winner has any of the Superlatives books, he/she can choose instead a different book written by Jennifer Echols.

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Most Likely To Succeed

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ARC Review | Damage Done by Amanda Panitch

19542831Title: Damage Done
Author: Amanda Panitch
Publication: July 21st 2015 by Random House Books for Young Readers
Format: Advance Reading COpy
Source: Provided by the publisher via NetGalley
ISBN: 9780553507492

Damage Done


 

synopsis22 minutes separate Julia Vann’s before and after.
Before: Julia had a twin brother, a boyfriend, and a best friend.
After: She has a new identity, a new hometown, and memories of those twenty-two minutes that refuse to come into focus. At least, that’s what she tells the police.
Now that she’s Lucy Black, she’s able to begin again. She’s even getting used to the empty bedroom where her brother should be. And her fresh start has attracted the attention of one of the hottest guys in school, a boy who will do anything to protect her. But when someone much more dangerous also takes notice, Lucy’s forced to confront the dark secrets she thought were safely left behind.
One thing is clear: The damage done can never be erased. It’s only just beginning. . . .

reviewI received a Digital ARC of this book from Random House Children’s Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.
Review contains mild spoilers.
When I saw Damage Done on Goodreads, I immediately added it on my “Want To Read” shelf. Obviously, Mystery/Thriller is one of the genres that I have a strong interest in. The cover and the synopsis had me sold but the whole plot and execution blew me away.
Julia and her family recently moved to Southern California after a tragedy struck their family. They left behind completely everything including their identity to start a new life where nobody knows about their past. Just when Julia, who now goes by the name Lucy, is in the brink of establishing a new life; with a good friend always by her side and the cute boy that seems to be interested in her, someone from the past comes haunting her, risking her identity’s secret to rise to the surface. 
Damage Done‘s guessing game of whodunit (or whydoit) is quite a challenge. You don’t just sit there and let the book tell you what happens, it makes you think and solve. Hints where thrown in but they’re too minimal to even notice. But if you’re really paying attention and you’re “in the zone” to solve the mystery (basically me when reading mysteries), you might realize that they’re actually clues. But don’t think that it’s just that easy to uncover, it’s not. I may have my theories but I doubted them. Julia made me doubt them.
Julia/Lucy is not the typical YA heroine. She just went through a traumatic experience and is starting anew. You would expect her to be too fragile. But then, she isn’t. Julia is a strong character. She’s smart and bold.
*THIS IS A SPOILER.* Highlight with cursor to view >> Not only is Julia smart, she’s also manipulative and a good liar. She knows how to act and convince people to think something that isn’t (I fell victim for this). She’s the reason why my mind is freaking blown after reading this book. *END OF SPOILER*
Ms. Panitch did a good job in writing an unpredictable character. With such an elaborate plot, she made sure not to neglect her characters. The balance between the two left such a good impression Damage Done and the author’s writing style.
Disturbing, intense & mind-blowing, Damage Done is one mystery that takes a lot of unraveling that will make you stay up all night reading and you won’t stop thinking about it long after you’ve reached the end.
Rating:

4h


whatiliked

  • Unputdownable – Most Mystery/Thriller books have this effect on them. They lure you with your curiosity and the next thing you know, you’re hooked. And with Damage Done, the mystery is just hidden so well I devoured it in one day. It couldn’t wait for another day, I had to finish it at once. And I did. I bet you will too.
  • Narration – One thing I realized early on reading this book is how I enjoyed reading in Julia’s POV. The narrative is naturally engaging. Julia is a good story teller. And when I say good, it’s damn GOOD.
  • Astounding Plot – Reading Damage Done is like watching a really, really good movie. You just have to see (read) it for yourself.
  • The Cover – There is a mysterious aura to it which is fitting to the story. The blurry effect really works. I mean, look at it! Doesn’t it make you stop and stare?

end
Book Description and Cover Image from Goodreads

 

ARC Review | The Escape by Hannah Jayne

24857263 Title: The Escape
Author: Hannah Jayne
Publication: July 7th 2015 by Sourcebooks Fire
Format: Advance Reading Copy
Source: Provided by the publisher via NetGalley
ISBN: 9781492616542

The Escape


 

synopsisWhen two boys walk into the woods, and one comes out covered in blood, what would you believe?
Fletcher and Adam venture into the woods for an afternoon hike, but when day turns into night and neither boy returns, their town is thrown into turmoil. Avery, the detective’s daughter, is the one to find Fletcher—dishelved, disoriented, and covered in blood. He has no memory of what happened, but Avery can’t shake the feeling that something’s off. When Adam’s body is finally found, Avery is determined to uncover the truth. But if she stands by her gut, and Fletcher, is she standing by a friend, or a murderer? The answer might cost her her life.

reviewI received a Digital ARC of this book from Sourcebooks Fire in exchange for an honest review. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.
I can’t say that I’ve read enough Mystery/Thriller books but the premise of these stories are starting to get very common.
The Escape is set in small town where nothing bad ever happens but suddenly disturbed by a mysterious crime. And there is one witness/survivor that suffers from a traumatic amnesia which makes his memory the key to the mystery. In simpler words, we just have to keep turning the page until his memory comes back (if it ever comes back) and the mystery is solved.
Adam and Fletcher are unlikely to be friends. Adam is the golden boy, Fletcher is the weird one. One afternoon, they decided to go on a hike in the woods but they never returned.
Avery is the police chief’s daughter, she is also a part of the search team for the missing teenagers. In their search in the woods, she finds a badly beaten and bloody Fletcher. Few days after, Adam’s body is discovered.
The big question is what happened in the woods? Who killed Adam and left Fletcher for dead?
Some characters were made to look suspicious but I really didn’t buy it because they appear to be a little too obvious. It’s like they’re wearing a note on their forehead saying, “I’m a booby trap! Please avoid!”. These characters I’m talking about are disguised to make you suspect them but you can tell it’s just a bait.
The clues were obvious too. When I saw it, the mystery (quite) solved itself. (It’s on page 134, don’t look it up!) But I still had to carry on reading. Don’t we all have the need to know what actually happened? Or at least prove our suspicions?  I was still bracing myself, gripping my book tightly. Oh wait, I was reading on desktop so I didn’t actually do that. still wanting my questions to be answered. Although, some of the scenes were predictable. Like the Avery-Fletcher love-or-whatever thing they have. Or when *spoiler* Fletcher asked Avery to go with him into the woods, you already know something is about to happen.
Let’s skip to the ending before I spoil everything.
Yes, let’s talk about the ending. The ending… was very anticlimatic. It felt too rushed and really didn’t work for me. After waiting too long for the roller coaster to reach the highest point before the big drop, it just fell flat. Or maybe it’s just the fact I can’t accept how things ended up.
But I do hope you guys would give The Escape a try, especially those who are into Mystery/Thriller reads.
Rating:

3


whatiliked

  • Magnetic – The culprit is right in front of you, the book spelled it out already but somehow, you choose to overlook that fact. You deny yourself of everything until you finish the book, it won’t let you put it down until you turn to the very last page.
  • 3rd Person Narration – I’m a 1st person type of reader. For me, they’re easier to read and they’re more engaging. I also like being inside the head of a character but with The Escape, you’re not rid of that. The narration and the alternating POVs between Avery and Fletcher added more mystery to the story. I admit, from the very first page, I’m already hooked. See, I told you it’s magnetic.
  • Guessing game – Every mystery book has it and when you decide to play, it’s either you end up right or wrong. With this book, I really didn’t have a solid guess so I kind of lost in that game. And of course, the book wins.

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Book Description and Cover Image from Goodreads

 

Blog Tour | Ruthless by Carolyn Lee Adams [Review + Dream Cast + Giveaway]

18715922Title: Ruthless
Author: Carolyn Lee Adams
Publication: July 14th 2015 by Simon Pulse
Format: Advance Reading Copy
Source: Provided by the publisher via Edelweiss
ISBN: 9781481422628

You and Me and Him


 

synopsisRuth Carver has always competed like her life depends on it. Ambitious. Tough. Maybe even mean. It’s no wonder people call her Ruthless.
When she wakes up with a concussion in the bed of a moving pickup truck, she realizes she has been entered into a contest she can’t afford to lose.
At a remote, rotting cabin deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Ruth’s blindfold comes off and she comes face-to-face with her captor. A man who believes his mission is to punish bad girls like Ruth. A man who has done this six times before.
The other girls were never heard from again, but Ruth won’t go down easy. She escapes into the wilderness, but her hunter is close at her heels. That’s when the real battle begins. That’s when Ruth must decides just how far she’ll go in order to survive.
Back home, they called her Ruthless. They had no idea just how right they were.

reviewI received a digital ARC of this book from Simon & Schuster via Edelweiss for my participation in the blog tour. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.
Ruthless is without a doubt a spine-tingling YA read. Right off the bat, the readers are taken to a position that will keep them engaged in this story of pursuit to escape a notorious killer.
The story starts off as Ruth wakes up blindfolded and wounded and has no idea where she is or how she ended up in that situation. She doesn’t panic, she takes her time to think.
Then she realizes that she has been kidnapped.
Right away, it displayed what type of main character is being portrayed in the book. Ruth is strong and smart. Being used to competing all her life, she wouldn’t go down without a fight.
When she meets her captor, a.k.a. “Wolfman” (who happens to be a man that used to work in their farm and got fired because of her), he tells Ruth what’s in store for her and it isn’t the first time he’d done it.
In between chapters, there are flashback entries featuring past events including Wolfman’s and some of Ruth’s. It shows why Wolfman do these things to girls especially to red haired ones.
The suspense build up is compelling. It’s like I was also with Ruth in the book and I’m on the run for survival. But, to be honest, I can’t really imagine being in her situation. (Being naked and lost? I’d be a hopeless wreck!) I’d probably be dead by the first 10 minutes – or less.  The narration did a lot with how an instant connection is bridged between Ruth and the readers. You will feel just as scared, just as terrified and just as vindictive as Ruth. I felt very connected to Ruth and I was rooting for her all through out.
Ruth gets the chance to escape and the next thing we know, the tables are turned. There were a lot of chasing and running and escaping and hiding and a lot of fight for the upper hand but not so much action which dragged the story a little bit but the tension is always there. You’d always have to be on the watch out, just like Ruth.
Ruthless will surely keep you on your toes.
Rating:

4


Dream Cast
Untitled-1Molly C. Quinn as Ruth
The only detail I picked up on the book about Ruth is that she is red headed and petite. But I also imagined her as a girl with an innocent facade that she puts on but snobbish and intimidating at the same time.wolfJeffrey Dean Morgan as Jerry T. Balls/”Wolfman”
“He’s a big, thick man, a hairy man, and it’s not easy to find his jugular.” Just add more facial hair on him, he could pass as Wolfman (I think).
caleb
Nick Robinson as Caleb
Ruth describes him as her red neck best friend who wears Wranglers and cowboy jeans. Straight up country boy?

Giveaway!
Win a finished copy of RUTHLESS by Carolyn Lee Adams
Open International.

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RUTHLESS

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The Fantastic Flying Book Club.
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ARC Review | You and Me and Him by Kris Dinnison

9780544301122_hresTitle: You and Me and Him
Author: Kris Dinnison
Publication: July 7th 2015 by HMH Books for Young Readers
Format: Advance Reading Copy
Source: Provided by the publisher via NetGalley
ISBN: 9780544301122

After the End (After the End #1)


synopsisBetween the two of us, Nash and I have had more unreciprocated crushes than Cedar Ridge has stoplights.
Maggie and Nash are outsiders: She’s overweight. He’s out of the closet. They’re best friends, and they’ve helped each other survive their small-minded small town. But when Tom moves to Cedar Ridge at the start of the school year they have something unexpected in common—feelings for the same guy. As emotions take hold, Maggie and Nash’s friendship is put to the ultimate test . . . Up until now they have always chosen each other, but what if winning someone’s heart means losing your soul mate?

reviewI received a Digital ARC of this book from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in exchange for an honest review. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.
What happens when best friends fall for the same guy?
You might think that the book is mainly circling on that question but it’s more than just that. You and Me and Him is an adorable coming of age story about friendship, trust and acceptance.
Maggie is overweight and Nash is gay. They’ve been best friends ever since and both have a common taste for almost everything – including boys. Nash first spotted Tom in the school bus and asks Maggie to check him out, having the same taste for guys, both called “dibs” on the new guy but Maggie waives and lets Nash crush on him.
Nash gets on a roll to befriend Tom and of course, drags Maggie along. Tom is a quite the charmer and is overly friendly to everyone. I admit that even I, was smitten by Tom. No wonder Maggie and Nash likes him.
Contrarily, Maggie gets to hang out more with Tom than Nash. She can’t ignore the fact that she’s developing feelings for Tom but she doesn’t let it get to her, considering Nash’s feelings and also because she thinks she doesn’t stand a chance with Tom because of her weight.
The emotions I felt while reading this book were very real. I felt for Maggie the most, especially with her struggles. There were heartwarming scenes and moments that just made me want to be with her side but there are also times that I wanted to yell at her. It’s impossible not to feel different emotions when you read this book. And, it’s very honest.
You and Me and Him is a promising read you surely would not want to miss.
Rating:

4h


whatiliked

  • The Characters – I was fortunate enough to have Ms. Kris Dinnison answer some questions for me about her book and one of them is about writing these characters that were defined as outsiders (read full interview here). Even if you haven’t read the book yet, the description gives everyone the idea of what “type” of characters the book represents; one is overweight and one is gay. That alone, made me want to read this book but it is the portrayal that really fascinated me. Ms. Dinnison didn’t want her characters to be a type, her characters have individuality. Maggie isn’t just the fat girl who struggles with her body image, she’s also Maggie who loves to bake, Maggie the good friend and Maggie who loves listening to Billie Holiday. I also like the minor characters of Quinn and CeCe. AND the parents actually exist in the story!
  • The Cover – Almost everything about this book is not your typical YA, including the cover. It’s simple and straight-forward. I think it really suits the story. I’d love to get my hands on a finished copy of this book!
  • Writing style – I love books that are easy to read and isn’t manifested by purple prose. Maggie’s narration is very smooth and engaging that it didn’t take long for me to finish reading the book. You and Me and Him is Kris Dinnison’s debut novel and I’m surely looking forward to her future works.

end
Book Description and Cover Image from Goodreads

 

Book Review | Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

8728403Title: Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour
Author: Morgan Matson
Publication: May 3rd 2011 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (first published May 4th 2010)
Format: Finished copy/Paperback
Source: Purchased from Powerbooks
ISBN: 9781416990666

Amy and Roger's Epic Detour


synopsisAmy Curry is not looking forward to her summer. Her mother decided to move across the country and now it’s Amy’s responsibility to get their car from California to Connecticut. The only problem is, since her father died in a car accident, she isn’t ready to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger. An old family friend, he also has to make the cross-country trip – and has plenty of baggage of his own. The road home may be unfamiliar – especially with their friendship venturing into uncharted territory – but together, Amy and Roger will figure out how to map their way.

reviewDon’t expect Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour to jump right into the story when you first turn the pages of this book. It will first take a detour (that will be my first and last attempt of a word play 🙄 ) show snippets of unread emails, an itinerary and even Amy’s final report card. What’s amazing is that it already tells us a story right from those clippings.
Then, the book introduces us to Amy. We learn that she’s been living alone in her family’s old house in California after her Mom moved to Connecticut and her twin brother is in rehab. Their house has been sold and she now has to bring their car to her mother but she can’t drive it yet because of a car accident that killed her father is still haunting her. Enter Roger, the designated driver to take Amy to Connecticut. Let me also mention that Roger is “shockingly good-looking” according to Amy.
The 2 of them hit the road. Amy doesn’t remember who Roger is but they’re supposedly childhood friends. This adds to the air of awkwardness that Amy has been emitting since the sight of Roger. But at least Roger seems to be easy-going.
Amy’s mom provided an itinerary for them with hotel reservations but Roger hints that he was expecting a “real” road trip so Amy suggests to just ditch the itinerary and take on a more scenic route.
What Amy and Roger doesn’t realize is that they needed that detour more than they know.
Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour lies between light and heavy YA. It’s a fun and enjoyable, quick read but at the same time touches some difficult topics which balances everything out.
Roger and Amy (let’s give Roger a chance to be called first) started with an invisible wall separating them but, along the way, they began to bring those walls down and open up to each other, with those witty banters, ice breakers and inside jokes.
As Amy and Roger get to know each other, we get a chance to learn some things about them too like how Amy prefers cream soda (which I googled and later ooooooohhhed) and Roger is your root beer guy. Amy snacks on Skittles and Roger likes Reese’s. Those tiny details got me engaged with the characters.
We also discover what baggage Amy and Roger has been carrying as the story progresses. We’re given a glimpse of what Amy has been through, how she blames herself for her father’s death and basically shut down everyone else around her. But it wasn’t just Amy that has some heavy load, Roger has them too but the only difference is that Amy is running away from hers and Roger is chasing his.
Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour is more than just a road trip. It’s a journey to self discovery, letting go and moving on.
Though I did say that the book was a quick and light read, it took me quite a while to finish it. It didn’t have that page-turner magic in the first parts thus making me put it down a few times but it picks up in the middle and earns redemption.
Rating:

4


whatiliked

  • The Scrapbook – Prior to reading this book, I’ve read that the author, Morgan Matson, really went on the same road trip that Amy & Roger took which is absolutely awesome. There were pictures that she took and have been included which made the book look even more of a legit road trip. There are also receipts, flyers, state facts, and even side notes from Amy. The scrapbook vibe lets us experience the story beyond reading.
  • Writing style – I’m no writer but seeing the details of this story amazes me. It reflects the hard work and effort of the author. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour is Morgan Matson’s debut novel so, I’ll be expecting more from her other books after having read this.
  • Hillary and Edmund’s Amy and Roger’s Relationship – Roger and Amy needed each other by their side. Someone to give each other a little nudge, someone to learn from and someone to rely on. There were a lot of adorable moments between Amy and Roger that I was tempted to dog ear some pages. (Note to self: Keep post-it flags within reach when reading) One of my favorite moments is when Amy & Roger posed as Mr. & Mrs. Udell to get a hotel room and that later became an inside joke between the 2. ^^’ But seriously, I wanted more of the swoon-y, giggly moments that I almost shipped Amy with Lucien JUST BECAUSE I was craving for some romance and their brief flirty moments sufficed that need for a little bit. But wait, is that a jealous Roger I’m sensing?… *giggles* Just kiss already!

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Book Description and Cover Image from Goodreads

Book Review | The Heir by Kiera Cass

23215489Title: The Heir (The Selection #4)
Author: Kiera Cass
Publication: May 5th 2015 by HarperTeen
Format: Finished copy/Paperback
Source: Purchased from National Book Store
ISBN: 9780062391308

The Heir (The Selection, #4)


synopsisTwenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won Prince Maxon’s heart. Now the time has come for Princess Eadlyn to hold a Selection of her own. Eadlyn doesn’t expect her Selection to be anything like her parents’ fairy-tale love story. But as the competition begins, she may discover that finding her own happily ever after isn’t as impossible as she always thought.

reviewReview contains mild spoilers.
Let me get straight to the point: Eadlyn was a major disappointment. No, I’m not talking about the whole book. I was really just annoyed with the main character and the fact that I have to read everything in her perspective. With all the whining, the bratty attitude and how she thinks she’s better than everyone else (Oh, what an understatement)… it was difficult connecting with her.
There wasn’t supposed to be a Selection for Eadlyn but King Maxon and Queen America came to a decision that it’s best to hold a Selection for Eadlyn to distract the public from protesting about the now abolished caste system and how people are having a hard time finding a job because of the discrimination it caused. Apparently, people were happy during the past Selections and they expect that if they hold another one, the attention of the people of Illéa will be diverted until the problem with the riots are solved. But the thing is, Eadlyn doesn’t want a Selection.
I feel sorry for Maxon, the pressure is on him with the ongoing situation in Illéa. Add a selfish daughter that is unwilling to comply with the solution they came up. I guess the stubbornness runs in the genes. *coughs America coughs*
But of course, Eadlyn finally agrees with the Selection decoy but bargained that it will end in 3 months with or without a husband.
Enter, the Selected! Let me just mention the 3 standouts. First is Kile Woodwork. He has a “we don’t like each other” relationship with Eadlyn, he didn’t intend to be a part of the Selection but he was mysteriously entered. He is the son of Marlee, America’s best friend and among the Selected during Maxon’s Selection. He lives in the palace that’s why he knows Eadlyn since birth. Next is Hale Garner. He has a prince charming aura from his looks and his ways. He also wears nice suits. Last is Henri Jaakoppi from Swendway. He doesn’t speak English and requires a translator which Eadlyn thinks is a liability because of the language barrier but having met Erik, Henri’s translator, Eadlyn felt at ease.
If you have to ask me who I’m rooting for, here’s a clue: He’s not among the Selected.
The character development for Eadlyn was rather slow but I guess it was needed in the plot so we can see Eadlyn’s progress in the next book. (Yup, there is a next book.) But I didn’t like how only in the end did she realize how terrible she was and from then, decided to take the Selection seriously.
Then the book ends. ARRRRGH!
To be honest, my satisfaction meter for The Heir was far from full. I still prefer the first 3 books over this one, even if America was quite annoying too.
Rating:

3h


whatiliked

  • The cover – Beautiful and Elegant. The cover is a total eye candy. It will make you want to get a hold of it, take it home and display it with the rest of your copies of The Selection Series.
  • Ahren – Eadlyn’s younger twin. He was what I needed in the book. Someone to tell off Eadlyn that not everything is about her. A part of me wished that Ahren should have been the first born instead.
  • There’s a 5th book – As much as the 4th book didn’t reach my expectation, I’m still looking forward to the next book. I can’t wait to know what the title will be and what color will Eadlyn’s gown be on the cover. Yup, that really matters. LOL. 😛

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Book Description and Cover Image from Goodreads

 

ARC Review | What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi

23418610Title: What You Left Behind
Author: Jessica Verdi
Publication: August 4th 2015 by Sourcebooks Fire
Format: Advance Reading Copy
Source: Provided by the publisher
ISBN: 9781492608745

What You Left Behind


 

synopsisIt’s all Ryden’s fault. If he hadn’t gotten Meg pregnant, she would have never stopped her chemo treatments and would still be alive. Instead, he’s failing fatherhood one dirty diaper at a time. And it’s not like he’s had time to grieve while struggling to care for their infant daughter, start his senior year, and earn the soccer scholarship he needs to go to college.
The one person who makes Ryden feel like his old self is Joni. She’s fun and energetic—and doesn’t know he has a baby. But the more time they spend together, the harder it becomes to keep his two worlds separate. Finding one of Meg’s journals only stirs up old emotions, and Ryden’s convinced Meg left other notebooks for him to find, some message to help his new life make sense. But how is he going to have a future if he can’t let go of the past?

reviewI received an ARC of this book from Sourcebooks Fire in exchange for an honest review. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.
What You Left Behind is a fast paced story about Ryden, a teenage father struggling to put his life back together after the sudden death of her cancer-stricken girlfriend leaving behind a baby that he doesn’t have any idea how to raise.
It’s understandable how Ryden blames himself for Meg’s death but this somehow affected his relationship with Hope, their baby. Even if it wasn’t directly mentioned, you’ll see it in his actions. It wasn’t like he didn’t want to deal with Hope at all but he just depended on almost anyone who’s willing to take care of his child and wasn’t really taking any responsibility. Ryden can’t seem to accept the fact that he’s already a father at 17.
Ryden wanted to live his life like nothing ever happened, like there is no baby. With a Soccer scholarship almost in grasp, he wants to see himself as the same old Ryden, just less of Meg and none of Hope.
And with Joni, he can be that guy, or so he thinks.
Joni, a nose ring wearing, free-spirited girl, is Ryden’s co-worker. She doesn’t have any idea about Ryden’s past which Ryden thinks as a good thing because in that way, he can live 2 separate lives… but Ryden, you’re not Hannah Montana, you can’t have the best of both worlds.
All throughout the book I lost count of how many “if this was a movie” lines Ryden threw, I guess it’s because he thinks that the things that happened to him can only be seen in the movies and he can’t deal with it in reality. Some parts in the book were also predictable but nonetheless, I still enjoyed reading it.
Lastly, I praise how the book dealt with the heavy stuff like cancer and teenage pregnancy. What You Left Behind shed its light on denial, struggles, disappointments and acceptance. It’s worth the read for all the feels.
What You Left Behind is definitely something to watch out for! The book is out on August 4th 2015.
Rating:

4


whatiliked

  • Character Development – Ryden started out as the boy with the wrong priorities. The way I see it, Soccer was more important than Hope. He is irresponsible when it comes to raising his own child. It may have taken quite a while to see him change, but it’s rather believable than to see Ryden on a sudden 180. Although, when it comes to having a child, you can’t just sit around and expect things to be the same as before. Things may not go as planned but they won’t change when they don’t work out with yours, the change is up to you.
  • Narration – I sometimes encounter male POVs that sound like a girl when they think/speak (which is a sore point for me) but with Ryden, his voice is on point and sensible. It made me believe that the perspective I’m reading from, in fact, is of a 17 year old boy.
  • Mystery – What Megan left behind wasn’t just a baby but a bunch of journals containing unspoken thoughts inside her head. The mystery wasn’t just where could have Meg left the journals but what’s also inside it. A quote from the song If I Die Young by The Band Perry says “Funny, when you’re dead how people start listening”. The situation wasn’t exactly the same because before, the journals were for Meg’s eyes only and what’s written in there may/may not be intended for anyone to read but just the fact that such journals exist made Ryden want to hear more of what Meg had to say.

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Book Description and Cover Image from Goodreads