Under the Dusty Moon by Suzanne Sutherland Review

Under the Dusty Moon

Under the Dusty Moon by Suzanne Sutherland

To Be Published Dundurn February 16 2016

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Format: I received an eARC copy of this book from the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of this review in any way.

b38bc-coollogo_com-221351400She’s with the band, whether she likes it or not.

Victoria Mahler is the sixteen-year-old only daughter of rocker Micky Wayne, whose band, Dusty Moon, took the world by storm when Micky was just a teenager. The band broke up under mysterious circumstances, but, after years spent off the road being a mom, Micky’s solo career is finally starting to take off.

When an offer to tour Japan falls into her mom’s lap, Vic is left to spend the summer under the care of her distant grandmother, and without her built-in best friend. Fortunately, a boy with a secret geek side and a group of feminist game-makers save the season, and Vic starts to see herself as her own person, out from under her mother’s shadow.

But when Micky finally comes home — with a poorly chosen boyfriend in tow — all bets are off. Will Vic be able to maintain her newfound sense of self amidst the building thunder of Micky’s second chance at stardom? And through it all, will Micky still really be her best friend?

029c6-coollogo_com-9181998Under the Dusty Moon had so much going for it – an interesting plot, a setting in Canada, promises of a mother/daughter relationship, and classic rock inspired music. All four things I love and need more of in a contemporary. But this one took a weird direction somewhere and it didn’t work out in the way I hoped it would.

My main problem with this book is that I hated Vic. She’s whiny, mean, and inconsiderate. All that really matters to her is her potential boyfriend, who I did not find attractive at all. All of her descriptions of him were slimy and kind of gross. He’s not the typical beautiful boy with passions and a super hot look. Instead, he is just the average guy. But in making him the ‘average guy,’ I didn’t care about him. I didn’t understand why Vic fell for the guy, why she loved him (in a couple weeks time), and why he should take up so much of the story. I felt like he was only there to add to the tension of her mother’s popularity, something that frustrated me. I love romances in books, so I would’ve been okay if that was what had happened during the story, but this one didn’t work out. If your love interest is an average guy, I still want him described as amazing! Give me some quality that makes him attractive! Anything!

Micky was a really cool character and a fun mother. She’s been in a band for a long time, and I liked the little bits of information we get about the band and their relationship. Now, she’s going solo and is back to touring. I was excited for her, but Vic was not. She cried all the time about her mother leaving her, but ALL she ever talks/thinks about is her mom too. If you want her to not be popular, quit bringing it up! Their relationship isn’t the Gilmore Girls like relationship I was expecting. Micky really tries to be a good mother and I sympathized with her, but Victoria was a brat. She steals from her mom and gets drunk and doesn’t really pay attention to anything. Because her mother is a musician.

Overall, none of these characters really made sense. As a contemporary book, it needs to thrive off the characters and all of them fell flat. I didn’t care for the romance, got annoyed by the mother/daughter relationship, and was all too excited to be done reading from Victoria’s perspective. The writing wasn’t too bad, but I think there could be some improvement before I try another book by Sutherland.

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Confess by Colleen Hoover Review

Confess

Confess by Colleen Hoover

Published Atria 2015

Genre: New Adult Romance

Format: Kindle ebook

b38bc-coollogo_com-221351400Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover Owen is keeping major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin…

029c6-coollogo_com-9181998I love contemporary and I’ve read a ton of YA contemporary/romances over the years. However, I have never really adventured into the new adult genre. I decided to start here, with some Colleen Hoover, because I’ve heard that she is the queen of new adult! I had some mixed feelings on this, but I’ll be for sure reading more and continuing to explore this genre.

Auburn and Owen are really sweet together. Auburn is a typical girl, but I really enjoyed her backstory. I don’t want to spoiler anything about her confession or anything, but she does have some secrets to be revealed! Auburn is a great female lead and I found her very relatable. She’s hard working and I admired her resilience. Owen is much less focused as compared to Auburn, but still has his own set of goals and values that lead him through life. I was also pretty surprised by his big confession. Colleen Hoover is very good at keeping things a secret and dropping NO hints!

Their interactions are super fun! They have some banter, but it isn’t a really obnoxious banter that is drawn out throughout the entire book. There is some insta-love, so I did take off a star for that, especially because they understand how they are both in love with each other after like a week? A little too fast for me and I would have liked more development between them. Everything moved a lot faster in their romance than in a typical YA romance, which is really the only big difference from YA in this book. I’m sure other books have more than this one, but I feel like this is good to start with if you are bridging from YA to NA.

Overall, I liked this book. I don’t really have much to compare it on because this is my first New Adult book. I was pleased with it, but I still wanted some more buildup on the romance and some more quirky characters. I’ll be reading more from CoHo though and keep trying more NA!

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Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling Review

Why Not Me?

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

Published Crown 2015

Genre: Nonfiction

Format: Kindle ebook

b38bc-coollogo_com-221351400In Why Not Me?, Kaling shares her ongoing journey to find contentment and excitement in her adult life, whether it’s falling in love at work, seeking new friendships in lonely places, attempting to be the first person in history to lose weight without any behavior modification whatsoever, or most important, believing that you have a place in Hollywood when you’re constantly reminded that no one looks like you.

In “How to Look Spectacular: A Starlet’s Confessions,” Kaling gives her tongue-in-cheek secrets for surefire on-camera beauty, (“Your natural hair color may be appropriate for your skin tone, but this isn’t the land of appropriate–this is Hollywood, baby. Out here, a dark-skinned woman’s traditional hair color is honey blonde.”) “Player” tells the story of Kaling being seduced and dumped by a female friend in L.A. (“I had been replaced by a younger model. And now they had matching bangs.”) In “Unlikely Leading Lady,” she muses on America’s fixation with the weight of actresses, (“Most women we see onscreen are either so thin that they’re walking clavicles or so huge that their only scenes involve them breaking furniture.”) And in “Soup Snakes,” Kaling spills some secrets on her relationship with her ex-boyfriend and close friend, B.J. Novak (“I will freely admit: my relationship with B.J. Novak is weird as hell.”)

Mindy turns the anxieties, the glamour, and the celebrations of her second coming-of-age into a laugh-out-loud funny collection of essays that anyone who’s ever been at a turning point in their life or career can relate to. And those who’ve never been at a turning point can skip to the parts where she talks about meeting Bradley Cooper.

22a99-coollogo_com-9181998For some reason, at the beginning of the year, I always crave some memoirs. Maybe it’s because I hope their life advice and reflection will inspire me, but this year, I decided to start off with Mindy Kaling’s second book. I read her first book last year and really enjoyed it!

I actually liked this book better than her first book. This one is filled with all different types of essays about Kaling’s life. She takes us through some moments that are more recent to right now, including her work on The Mindy Project and some of the more recent projects she has been on recently. Another example is her Harvard speech, which I have listened to many times, and liked that she included the text of it in the book. There isn’t really a major theme to each of the essays overall, but Kaling is self aware in an extremely funny way.

I laughed out loud a couple times during this book! I appreciated all the different perspectives she gives into her life and what it is like to be famous and working in the TV industry. Although the first book was more about her journey to get there, here, she is already there and is doing quite well. She can reflect on what it is like, in a still humble way, and offers her thoughts on things like fashion, filming, friends, and confidence. (I almost had three F words going there…)

Overall, I LOVED this book. It was a great first memoir to start my year with and offered some advice that I will probably take with me going into the future. I would highly suggest this book, even if you aren’t necessarily a fan of Mindy Kaling (I’ve never actually seen her act in anything, although I hope to start The Mindy Project sometime soon), and you probably will become, at least, a supporter.

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Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis Review

Not a Drop to Drink (Not a Drop to Drink, #1)

Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis (Not a Drop to Drink #1)

Published Katherine Tegen 2013

Genre: Young Adult Dystopian

Format: Paperback

b38bc-coollogo_com-221351400Regret was for people with nothing to defend, people who had no water.

Lynn knows every threat to her pond: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes, and, most importantly, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty, or doesn’t leave at all.

Confident in her own abilities, Lynn has no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. Having a life means dedicating it to survival, and the constant work of gathering wood and water. Having a pond requires the fortitude to protect it, something Mother taught her well during their quiet hours on the rooftop, rifles in hand.

But wisps of smoke on the horizon mean one thing: strangers. The mysterious footprints by the pond, nighttime threats, and gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won’t stop until they get it….

With evocative, spare language and incredible drama, danger, and romance, debut author Mindy McGinnis depicts one girl’s journey in a barren world not so different than our own.

029c6-coollogo_com-9181998I had really high hopes for this one, but it was mostly just a disappointment. 😦

I’m a big fan of dystopians, and although the genre isn’t as popular anymore, I am still reading plenty of them that I bought during the huge craze. This is one that has only been on my radar for a short time, but all my friends have given it wonderful reviews. And I can see why, but this just wasn’t what I happened to be looking for from this book.

This is a survival story in the wilderness, but I also felt like there was no plot here. It was basically Lynn trying to survive among the elements – which I guess is a conflict (Lynn vs. nature), but there was no action or anything that kept me hooked on the book. Maybe it would have been better if I had more of an emotional connection with Lynn, but I never warmed up to her. She seemed very impersonal to me and I had trouble understanding her character. She was pretty emotionally unattached from anything that happened and I felt like her reactions never made sense.

One part of this book I did really like were the side characters. Characters like Stebbs, Lucy, and Eli were interesting and made the story feel more united. I was pretty worried that it would just be Lynn and her mother through the whole book, but thankfully, there were more characters brought in to help push the plot forward. Also, the world was kind of confusing. Lynn was detached from what was happening in the cities, but I wish that we had a clearer idea of what was happening to Eli and his family before they left.

I was also not a fan of the romance. It felt so much like instalove to me that I didn’t care about anything that came after. Lynn really didn’t know how to handle herself around him, and I got a very weird vibe about what he left behind in the city. I’m avoiding spoilers here, but their relationship didn’t work for me, basically.

Overall, I’m really sad to say that I didn’t like this book. I will probably read more from Mindy McGinnis but not finishing this series. I think it’s safe to say that survival books like this just aren’t my cup of tea.

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Ink by Amanda Sun Review

Ink (Paper Gods, #1)

Ink by Amanda Sun (Paper Gods #1)

Published Harlequin 2013

Format: Paperback

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

b38bc-coollogo_com-221351400On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.

Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they’ll both be targets.

Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive.

029c6-coollogo_com-9181998I have had this book on my shelf FOREVER and I decided that in 2016, it was finally time to read it. I have no idea why I waited so long because I have had it pretty much since its release, but I guess that it just kept falling back on my TBR. Anyway, this book has a really interesting premise with the inclusion of Japanese culture. I used to have a lot of Japanese friends growing up and my elementary school was actually majority Japanese students, so this book really brought me back to that part of my childhood. From the delicious aspects of the food to the little bits of Japanese language thrown it, it was a great reading experience and from what I can tell, pretty authentic. Reading the acknowledgements shows how much work Sun did into researching this world and that part of this novel pulled off really well.

Katie was our main character and ended up being my only major problem with the book. She is a foreigner in Japan, which of course would be a difficult transition, but I had a problem distinguishing her from any other main character. Sure, she’s brave and smart and has unique powers – but what fantasy lead doesn’t? I really was not a huge fan of her character and just wished that she had been given some unique feature that I could take away from, especially in her personality. Also, she falls in love with Tomohiro, a bad boy. I liked their early relationship with all the back and forth banter, but it developed way too quickly after that and became a lot of insta-love. Especially at the end of the book, that is so obvious. I wanted her to separate herself a little bit from him in her decisions, but that didn’t work out. I hope that their relationship expands some more in the next book and also that Katie really flourishes as a character.

The plot was really amazing and what I enjoyed the most. I was a little confused with the idea at first, but I think that I caught on by the end of the book. Tomohiro has the power of ink and can make drawings come to life. Super cool, right?? I loved reading about all the things that he could draw (being artistically untalented myself) and the consequences of that. There are all types of Japanese mythologies involved here and I liked learning about that too because I don’t really know too much about it. The addition of the Japanese gangsters  and the twist at the end also added to lots of enemies for Katie and Tomohiro by the end. With the next book, I am really hoping that there is some more of that involved!

Overall, I enjoyed this book. It was a fun, fast-paced read and I loved the inclusion of Japanese culture and mythology. The major downsides that I had were the insta-love romance and the main character, but I am looking forward to seeing what happens in the next book!

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Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen Review

Lock and Key

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

Published Viking 2008

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Format: Kindle ebook

b38bc-coollogo_com-221351400Ruby, where is your mother?

Ruby knows that the game is up. For the past few months, she’s been on her own in the yellow house, managing somehow, knowing that her mother will probably never return.

That’s how she comes to live with Cora, the sister she hasn’t seen in ten years, and Cora’s husband Jamie, whose down-to-earth demeanor makes it hard for Ruby to believe he founded the most popular networking Web site around. A luxurious house, fancy private school, a new wardrobe, the promise of college and a future; it’s a dream come true. So why is Ruby such a reluctant Cinderella, wary and defensive? And why is Nate, the genial boy next door with some secrets of his own, unable to accept the help that Ruby is just learning to give?

Best-selling author Sarah Dessen explores the heart of a gutsy, complex girl dealing with unforeseen circumstances and learning to trust again.

029c6-coollogo_com-9181998Okay, so for some reason, everytime I start a Sarah Dessen book I always get worried that it is going to be an overdone version of one of her books that I have already read, cut from the exact same cookie cutter. But, I have never actually had that problem, so I really need to stop doing that!

This is probably the most unique of all of Dessen’s books that I have read so far. Ruby’s mother is abusive and so terrible to read about. I hated her family situation, yet I was also able to understand all the conflicting feelings that Ruby was feeling about her mother and what happened to her. Ruby finally ends up moving in with her older sister who she has not seen in a long time and this creates some new problems as the dynamic in her home life shifts yet again. I really liked this interesting plot line and how Ruby carried herself, even amongst all of these other problems. She is a very strong character, and while I didn’t agree with everything she did, I understood all of it from her perspective. I also found Ruby to be the most gritty and realistic of all of Dessen’s characters. She has a lot of issues to deal with, and there is a scene when she turns to drinking with some old friends to get rid of the pain. I liked how that was included and it made her different from all the other typical Dessen leads so far.

Of course, all of the other characters were all so precious. There was not a single one that I did not fall in love with, like normal. I really liked the love interest, Nate. He suited Ruby really well and helped her without being her savior. It was really sweet to see their relationship develop throughout the book, as well as Ruby’s other friendships. The other people she meets during the short time she has at her new high school are really great in continuing her journey and added another great level to the story. I also appreciated how Nate’s ex-girlfriend was not made out to be evil or manipulative or so many of the other things that they typically get labeled with. Ruby is actually friends with her and has multiple very intriguing moments with her.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book! It was different enough from all the Sarah Dessen novels to show me how much I LOVE her books, but it also had that same magic and hopefulness that come from all of her work. After finishing a Sarah Dessen book, I always want to escape right back into that world with the characters and stay there forever. I have no idea how she does it – but she’s truly the queen of contemporary (and I read A LOT of contemporary). This might be my favorite Dessen (of course, that’s always a hard question…)

What’s your favorite Sarah Dessen book? And if you haven’t read any, this one is a great place to start!

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What’s Broken Between Us by Alexis Bass: Blog Tour

WBBU

What's Broken Between Us

What’s Broken Between Us by Alexis Bass

To be published HarperCollins December 29

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Format: I received an eARC copy of this book from Edelweiss and Fantastic Flying Book Club in exchange for review consideration. All the content of this review and opinions are my own.

b38bc-coollogo_com-221351400

Alexis Bass’s heartbreakingly beautiful second novel is a tale of love, loss, and learning to forgive.

Look to the left, look to the right. We’re all going to die. But someone has to do it first. So who’s it going to be?

Tragedy struck Amanda Tart’s town a year and a half ago when a sophomore girl was killed in a car accident on graduation night.

Amanda’s brother, Jonathan, was behind the wheel and too drunk to drive. He’s spent the past year in prison and has cut off all ties. But now Jonathan is coming home. Just as Amanda’s trying to figure out what that means for her family and herself, she’s paired up for a school project with Henry Crane—a former crush, and brother of Jonathan’s ex-girlfriend, who survived the crash with horrible injuries.

Everyone is still incredibly damaged by the events of that night. Can Amanda and Henry finally begin to heal what’s broken and find some peace?

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Don’t we all just love a book with complex characters and a unique plot? That is exactly what What’s Broken Between Us by Alexis Bass has to offer.

I have never read her first book, but I knew she was a contemporary author from popping up on other people’s blogs as her debut came out. This synopsis reminds me a lot of books by Katie Cutogno, who I really love, for their complicated plots and sometimes uneasy characters. Are they in the right? Or are they wrong? Probably, they are somewhere in the middle like most people really are. This situation provides a great example for that – Jonathan was driving drunk and killed his girlfriend and his best friend. For that, he was sent to jail and has just been released. Instead of focusing on Jonathan, instead we focus on his sister, Amanda. I really liked having a slightly different point of view of a family member. Often in young adult, there are not too many family perspectives or how tragedy really expands outward to affect lots of different people in the family. This book was able to focus on that with a unique perspective from Amanda. She pairs up with Henry for a project, who is also a huge part of the family relationships that are featured within this book. Henry’s sister died in the car crash that Jonathan caused and this is yet another aspect of the family relationships.

Both Amanda and Jonathan are complete messes, and understandably so, but I did find it a little hard to connect with them. The characters are really the most important part of the YA contemporary, but I was left unattached from them as the book and the situation continued to develop. I also wasn’t a giant fan of the romance amongst everything else that was happening. It felt a little distracting from the other parts that I was more interested in, like the family relationships and the relationship between Amanda and Jonathan. However, the writing was really beautiful and you can tell from the quote down below and the excerpt!

Overall, this is a really hard book to tackle and discuss. There are lots of different aspects to this book and I would really suggest it if you are a fan of morally complex YA contemporaries.

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BOOK LINKS:

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23633796-what-s-broken-between-us

Amazon paperbackhttp://amzn.to/1J40lLk

Barnes & Noble (B&N)http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/whats-broken-between-us-alexis-bass/1121271803?ean=9780062275356

Bookdepository: http://www.bookdepository.com/Whats-Broken-Between-Us-Alexis-Bass/9780062275356

Kobohttps://store.kobobooks.com/es-ES/ebook/what-s-broken-between-us

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/whats-broken-between-us/id983040373?mt=11

PINTEREST BOARD FOR WHAT’S BROKEN BETWEEN US (by Alexis Bass):

Direct Link: https://www.pinterest.com/alexisbass/whats-broken-between-us/

EXCERPT:

Direct Link: click here
Teaser

Giveaway!

You can win a $25 Barnes and Noble gift card (maybe even to buy this book!) by going to the Rafflecopter link here.

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