Sunday, November 29, 2015

November Wrap-Up and December TBR

The books I managed to read in November:
-How to Be Brave by E. Katherine Kottaras
-Rules for 50/50 Chances by Kate McGovern
-The Trouble With Destiny by Lauren Morrill
-Hello? by Liza M. Wiemer
-Wildflower by Drew Barrymore
-Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
-Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom

To be honest, November was the most difficult month for me this year.  I didn't think that I would get more than 3 books read, because I fell into a depression and the last thing I wanted to do was pick up a book...or do anything that wasn't watching The Office.  Two weeks and 6 seasons later, here I am.  I think I was able to do pretty well.  It also helps that this month was the absolute best for book mail, and I think all of the 2016 ARCs got me even more excited to read.

Thanksgiving just passed, and I wanted to take a moment to thank you, my readers and friends.  I had no idea what I was doing when I created this blog 4 and a half years ago, and I certainly didn't know that I would actually keep up with it, unlike so many other abandoned hobbies and blogs I've tried out along the way.  This world has opened up so many exciting opportunities for me, and I'm grateful to have you guys to share my excitement with.

The books I plan to read in December:

I hoped that I could use December to catch up on any 2015 releases I skipped over, but I also want to get ahead of my reviews for 2016.  Plus, these books have been taunting me ever since I put them on my shelves, so I don't think I can resist much longer.
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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #105

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases we can't wait to get our hands on! 

Title: Wink Poppy Midnight
Author: April Genevieve Tucholke
Release Date: March 22nd, 2016
Publisher: Dial

Every story needs a hero. 
Every story needs a villain. 
Every story needs a secret. 

 Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous. 

What really happened? 
Someone knows. 
Someone is lying.

The cover for this is absolutely beautiful, but the description has me so intrigued!  
I need to know more!

What awesome title are you waiting for this Wednesday?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Review: Popular by Lauren Urasek

Title: Popular
Author: Lauren Urasek
Publisher: Sterling
Age Group: Adult
Category: Nonfiction
Release date: October 6th, 2015
Pages: 224 (Hardcover)
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Publisher
Goodreads | Amazon Author

With more than 15,000 4- and 5-star ratings, an average of 35 messages per day, and hundreds of thousands of profile views from interested suitors, Lauren Urasek was dubbed "the most popular girl on OKCupid" by New York magazine. She then started a popular Tumblr detailing her experiences with Prince Charmings (and Not-So-Charmings), and now tells all in a series of frank, funny essays about the ups and downs of dating in the city that never sleeps. She's run the gamut of the nominally "single and ready to mingle" males of New York City, from dudes who went in for a kiss within the first ten minutes to one who conducted an impromptu “girlfriend job interview.” And in between the horror stories and dating disasters, Lauren shares some real talk about what works—and what doesn't. Her tales of wooing and woe will leave anyone who's ever tried online dating rolling in the aisles. 

Lauren's 19 essays are punctuated by cheeky yet informative sidebars on: 
- 10 male accessories or clothing items that'll turn a girl right off 
- Red flags you should NEVER ignore 
- Quirky/weird/offbeat ways to find out whether a guy's not right for you 
- The 15 WORST usernames 
- A comparison between different online dating services (OKCupid, Tinder, Match, etc.) 
- And much more!

As a young woman who has recently experienced the ups and downs of online dating, Popular seemed like a book that I needed to read.  From the first page to the last, it's filled with hilarious and cringe-worthy stories, which helped me realized that no matter which city you live in, the people really aren't that different.  A lot of Lauren's experiences were scarily accurate to the dozens of less-than-stellar guys I've dates over the past year and a half.

It seems that online dating is more of a form of entertainment than an actual way to meet "the one".  Don't get me wrong, I know plenty of people who have found love online, but for some, it's going to take a lot of digging through the bullshit.  Unfortunately, I am one of those people.  Like some of the stories mentioned in this memoir, I've spent time with perfectly nice guys that I just didn't connect with.  I've also come across some of the worst people I've ever met.  Popular isn't just a collection of tragic dates.  In its own way, the experiences shared are surprisingly uplifting.

The book is filled with stories, lists, and contributions from other women around my age, which I enjoyed greatly.  I think that even those who haven't gone the same route to find a partner will be able to read Popular in one sitting, because each of the essays pull you in deeper.  Lauren's voice is that of a best friend or older sister.  She doesn't dance around the truth, and that may be my favorite thing about Popular.  I don't read nonfiction very often, but I definitely would if I found more books like this.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Review: The Trouble with Destiny by Lauren Morrill

Title: The Trouble with Destiny
Author: Lauren Morrill
Publisher: Delacorte
Age Group: Young Adult
Category: Contemporary
Release date: December 8th, 2015
Pages: 272 (eGalley)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads | Amazon Author

With her trusty baton and six insanely organized clipboards, drum major Liza Sanders is about to take Destiny by storm—the boat, that is. When Liza discovered that her beloved band was losing funding, she found Destiny, a luxury cruise ship complete with pools, midnight chocolate buffets, and a $25,000 spring break talent show prize. 

Liza can’t imagine senior year without the band, and nothing will distract her from achieving victory. She’s therefore not interested when her old camp crush, Lenny, shows up on board, looking shockingly hipster-hot. And she’s especially not interested in Russ, the probably-as-dumb-as-he-is-cute prankster jock whose ex, Demi, happens be Liza’s ex–best friend and leader of the Athenas, a show choir that’s the band’s greatest competition. 

But it’s not going to be smooth sailing. After the Destiny breaks down, all of Liza’s best-laid plans start to go awry. Liza likes to think of herself as an expert at almost everything, but when it comes to love, she’s about to find herself lost at sea.

It's clear that Liza's love for her high school band runs deep, as she's prepared to do anything in order to save them when funding threatens to take away all of their hard work.  They board the Destiny, and while some think it's just a mini vacation from their everyday lives, Liza's the only one who knows the truth, and she's determined to push her friends to play the best they can so they win the grand prize of $25,000.  As the week progresses, everything seems to go awry.  Liza, who is so used to being in control, realizes that she's in over her head.

Throughout the book, readers will see how determined Liza is, and while I understood and enjoyed her character myself, she was a little too forceful at times.  In her mind, any little mistake would certainly cost them the competition, and she was so tightly wound that it put everyone else on edge.  It doesn't help that her focus is split between the band and her old crush, who she just reunited with the moment she boarded the ship.   At first she was sure that she wouldn't let anyone or anything get in the way of their victory, but as her feelings grow for Lenny, and her ex best-friend, Demi, competes against her, her confidence wavers.

The romance was the most predictable part of the story, but that didn't make it any less enjoyable.  It did take a while for anything to begin happening between Liza and the love interest, but there's enough going on in the book to keep the reader entertained in the meantime.  As Liza's feelings begin to take over, she decides that winning the competition wouldn't be enough.  She wants to win the guy, too.  Getting so caught up in this, her dramatic side comes out and that may ultimately cost friendships and the money they need to save the music program.

Like Lauren Morrill's other books, The Trouble with Destiny is a cute, fluffy contemporary that you'll be able to devour in one sitting.  It's a sweet story and I think that younger readers will definitely be able to relate to the characters.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

November Book Haul

-The Merciless by Danielle Vega
(ARC from Du Livre)

-Dream Things True by Marie Marquardt
(Finished copy from Paperback Treasures)

-Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom
(Finished copy from The Novl newsletter)

-Instructions for the End of the World by Jamie Kain
-How to Be Brave by E. Katharine Kottaras
-Things I Can't Explain by Mitchell Kriegman
(Finished copies from St. Martin's Press)

-If You're Lucky by Yvonne Prinz
(Finished copies from Algonqin Young Readers)

-Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace
-The Isle by Jordana Frankel
-The Capture by Tom Isbell
(ARCs from HarperTeen)

-Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
(ARC from St. Martin's Press)

-Once Upon a Kiss by Robin Palmer
-The Love that Split the World by Emily Henry
-Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
-The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman
(ARCs from Penguin Teen)


-Hello? by Liza Wiemer
-For the Record by Charlotte Huang
-Rebel Bully Geek Pariah by Erin Jade Lange
(eGalleys from Spencer Hill, Delacorte, and Bloomsbury)

-Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate
-Tragedy Girl by Christine Hurley Deriso
-Fat Dad, Fat Kid by Shay Butler and Gavin Butler
(eGalleys from Amulet, Flux, and Atria)


-Mr. Fahrenheit by T. Michael Martin
-Seven Black Diamonds by Melissa Marr
(eGalleys from HarperTeen)

-Gena/Finn by Hannah Moskowitz & Kat Helgeson
(eGalleys from Simon & Schuster and Chronicle Books)