Book Review: Kissing Ted Callahan (And Other Guys) ARC by Amy Spalding

18333999This review is based on an advanced reader’s copy of the novel obtained through Edelweiss at the permission of Poppy. This is in no way had an effect on the integrity of my review. Please note that published novel will differ from this ARC.

Genre: 

Young Adult, viagra 60mg Contemporary, Romance

Pages: 

320

Part of a Series?:

Standalone Novel

Release Date: 

April 14th, 2015

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist meets Easy A in this hilariously realistic story of sneaking out, making out, and playing in a band.

After catching their bandmates in a compromising position, sixteen-year-old Los Angelenos Riley and Reid become painfully aware of the romance missing from their own lives. And so a pact is formed: they’ll both try to make something happen with their respective crushes and document the experiences in a shared notebook.

While Reid struggles with the moral dilemma of adopting a dog to win over someone’s heart, Riley tries to make progress with Ted Callahan, who she’s been obsessed with forever-His floppy hair! His undeniable intelligence! But suddenly cute guys are popping up everywhere. How did she never notice them before?! With their love lives going from 0 to 60 in the blink of an eye, Riley and Reid realize the results of their pact may be more than they bargained for.

My Review:

Its going to sound pretty silly but when I read this book, and finished it, I stopped and thought, its like Amy knows me or something.

Riley and her friend Reid make a pact to expand their love lives after catching their friends together, and realizing how alone both of them are. So they decide to do something about it. While Reid focuses on one girl, Riley kind of spreads herself around. She has a massive crush on Ted Callahan but she can barely speak in front of him and she doesn’t really know if she likes him. So she meets other guys, who are interested and that feels nice so she goes for it. And its so me, I can’t handle it. Because its always a mess! Its like, she’s unsure if Ted likes her, so she doesn’t want to put all of her eggs in one basket, so to speak, and miss out on other guys that might like her, so she kisses and dates other boys, but really, its just a mess.

And that’s what makes this book SO good. Amy has a way of capturing characters in such a REAL way, even in the ways that can make us kind of silly, immature and even just plain stupid. Riley makes a TON of mistakes in this book: pushing away her best friend, not being honest with the boys she dates, writing down all the details of said love life, etc, and it all sort of blows up in her face, and as weird as it sounds, its kind of fun to watch. Its real and familiar and its nice to see that you’re not the only one that does stupid things like that.

But what I really like is the relationship that builds between Ted and Riley. It has bumps (mountains?) and its so uncertain and scary for both Riley and the reader but that is what makes it so real. They don’t automatically fall in love and have this tragic beautiful romance. There are awkward moments and they both make mistakes and have insecurities and it takes a bit for them to get on the same page and come together, and I think that happens a lot in real life and that’s what makes it such a great story.

Plus Riley is a drummer and is massively obsessed with music and I think that’s totally cool. It really makes her such a fun character to read, besides just the stuff that she goes through. I love characters that have passions and that sort of thing. Makes them more real, makes them fun and memorable.

Also, I love that it takes place in Southern California, around things that are super familiar. I loved the different venues and places they went because I know them and now they feel a little different, in a good way, because I know the things that Riley and the rest experienced while at these places and that’s really awesome.

Rating: 

Book Review: Emily and Oliver (ARC) by Robin Benway

13132816This review is based on an advanced reader’s copy of the novel obtained through snail mail at the permission of HarperTeen. This is in no way had an effect on the integrity of my review. Please note that published novel will differ from this ARC.

Genre: 

Young Adult, viagra Contemporary

Pages: 

352

Part of a Series?:

Standalone Novel

Release Date: 

June 23rd, order 2015

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Emmy’s best friend, pill 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?

My Review:

Dear Robin Benway, WHAT DID YOU WRITE HERE?

Okay, so I’ve read Robin Benway’s books before. I loved her books before. She is a friend of mine and she’s awesome. She’s a fantastic writer, a great inspiration and I just adore her. Getting an ARC of Emmy and Oliver made me incredibly excited and I’m even more happy that I got it now that I’ve read it.

Emmy and Oliver is an INCREDIBLE story. Its one of those stories that seems so out there, so incredibly unbelievable, but its TOTALLY believable because things like this happen. Oliver is kidnapped by his father as a child and reappears years later, as a teenager. Its difficult for him, because he was told a different story, raised a different way and then uprooted and returned to the family that he hasn’t seen in years, a family he probably doesn’t really feel like he has a bond with. It brings to mind all these girls that have suddenly been found after decades of being missing. What an incredibly traumatic experience to be kidnapped, but also traumatic to come home as well. This is what Oliver goes through and its hard to imagine.

That’s when you enter Emmy, who fell in love with Oliver as a child and has always wondered where he is, and how he is, especially since his kidnapping had such a profound effect on her parents and her own limitations in her life because of it. So when Oliver returns, that’s an experience for herself. She has no idea how to handle it. She wants to pick up where they left off as kids but she also feels like he’s a stranger, like he’s delicate and she doesn’t quite know how to interact with him.

When you put it all together, its an incredibly emotional and HUMAN story. Both Emmy and Oliver together, watching them figure out their lives and each other, and the people around them is incredibly engaging, familiar and addictive. Even if you can’t relate, you want to. You want to feel close to them and Robin does such a great job at writing these characters that they feel so real. Their stories are real and the romance that builds between them is just awesome. It has ups and downs, and it not easy because of Oliver’s past, and its beautiful to see them try and work.

This book doesn’t release until summer, but its definitely one that must be on your TBR. I adore Robin, she’s a great friend and she has written a total winner. A year ago, she talked briefly about her book and Oliver and how she wished she could talk to him, and show him a little love because of the things she put him through, and now I totally understand. I’m very excited for the official release of this book and you definitely should be too!

Rating: 

4.5 out of 5 Stars

Book Review: Falling Into Place ARC by Amy Zhang

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This review is based on an advanced reader’s copy of the novel obtained through Greenwillow Books at the American Library Association Conference for free. This is in no way had an effect on the integrity of my review. Please note that published novel will differ from this ARC.

Genre: 

Young Adult, side effects Contemporary Fiction

Pages: 

304

Part of a Series?:

I believe this is a standalone

Release Date: 

Sepetember 9th, 2014

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

On the day Liz Emerson tries to die, they had reviewed Newton’s laws of motion in physics class. Then, after school, she put them into practice by running her Mercedes off the road. 

Why? Why did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? Vividly told by an unexpected and surprising narrator, this heartbreaking and nonlinear novel pieces together the short and devastating life of Meridian High’s most popular junior girl. Mass, acceleration, momentum, force—Liz didn’t understand it in physics, and even as her Mercedes hurtles toward the tree, she doesn’t understand it now. How do we impact one another? How do our actions reverberate? What does it mean to be a friend? To love someone? To be a daughter? Or a mother? Is life truly more than cause and effect? Amy Zhang’s haunting and universal story will appeal to fans of Lauren Oliver, Gayle Forman, and Jay Asher.

My Review:

The synopsis reads: for fans of Lauren Oliver, Gayle Forman and Jay Asher. I’ve admittedly never read Jay Asher, but I’ve read everything by LO and GF and you can definitely tell that Amy was influenced by them. The novel reads as a cross between Lauren Oliver’s Before I Fall and Gayle Forman’s If I Stay. Because of this, I had a struggle to read through the entire novel. It felt like a sort of “been there, done that” plot line and I struggled to keep reading the book. The flashbacks, the coma, that sort of thing, all sort of felt like the previous two books I mentioned. If I Stay and Before I Fall are both favorites of mine so it just felt too close to me to make an impact.

I think what would have made this a stronger book is a stronger main character. In Before I Fall, Samantha is popular and hated, even though she doesn’t want to be and I felt that sort of connection with Liz as well. But Liz didn’t jump off the page nearly as well as Sam did so it felt hard to connect with her. She felt cruel, really truly cruel, and it was hard to connect with her when she started to pull back, when she felt bad. It wasn’t really toward the end, when I started getting flashbacks into the minds of some unlikely characters (trying to be as spoiler free as possible), that I finally seemed to feel for Liz.

What I do think is strong about this novel are two things: Amy’s writing and the beginning sentence.

First off, Amy’s writing is incredible, especially when you stop to think that she’s a teenager. I am still learning to make my writing better and better as I write more but I would most definitely have not published my writing as a teenager. I’ve had to write more and get better as time went on. I think Amy will be the same. But already at such a young age, she is able to write very beautifully, and in a very compelling way. I think that as she learns more and strengthens her story telling, she’s going to be a force to reckon with.

I also think her opening line is just absolutely incredible. That line in its own will be the one that captures you.

On the day Liz Emerson tries to die, they had reviewed Newton’s laws of motion in physics class. Then, after school, she put them into practice by running her Mercedes off the road. 

There is so much about that that immediately pulls you in and immediately makes you want to read the rest and so I think she has that going for her. You can immediately get sucked into the story just by reading that line and I do think fans of Gayle and Lauren will enjoy this novel. I struggled with the similarities between those novels and Amy’s but I think she’s a strong writer and will only become stronger as she develops more skills.

Rating:

3.5 out of 5 stars

Giveaway: The Iron Trial Advanced Reader’s Copy by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black!

When I was at ALA just a few weeks ago, order I managed to grab an extra copy of The Iron Trial. The Iron Trial is a brand new book coming out this fall, seek from well-known YA authors, this web Holly Black and Cassandra Clare. I’m about 80 pages in and I’m loving it. Its middle grade but these are two authors that I absolutely love so I’m enjoying it.

I have no idea how I ended up with an extra copy but I did and of course, I don’t need an extra copy! SO! I’ve decided to have a quick giveaway for this book!

Here are some pictures of what it looks like!

The Prize!

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Those are NOT real signatures on the book. Sorry :(

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Please keep in mind that this is a paperback, advanced copy. That means there could be changes between this version and the final hardback copy.

Rules! (Yes, there have to be rules!)

The contest will run from today, June 12th to June 20th!

The winner will be contacted within 24 hours of contest end. If winner(s) do not respond within a 24 hour period of contact, their prize will be forfeited and a new winner will be chosen.

Come back every day to share on Twitter and Instagram to earn more entries!

This giveaway is in NO way endorsed by any authors, their publishers or any other affiliates.

What A Nerd Girl Says is not responsible for lost, stolen or damaged prizes. It HAS happened before, but only once!

Enter Now!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Good luck!

Book Review: Invaded (ARC) by Melissa Landers

17316770This review is based on an advanced reader’s copy of the novel obtained through Disney-Hyperion at the American Library Association Conference for free. This is in no way had an effect on the integrity of my review. Please note that published novel will differ from this ARC.

Genre: 

Young Adult, medical Science Fiction, for sale Romance

Pages: 

368

Part of a Series?:

This is the second novel of the Alienated series. To read my review of Alienated, click here.

Release Date: 

February 3rd, 2015

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

The romantic sequel to Alienated takes long-distance relationships to a new level as Cara and Aelyx long for each other from opposite ends of the universe…until a threat to both their worlds reunites them. 

Cara always knew life on planet L’eihr would be an adjustment. With Aelyx, her L’eihr boyfriend, back on Earth, working to mend the broken alliance between their two planets, Cara is left to fend for herself at a new school, surrounded by hostile alien clones. Even the weird dorm pet hates her.

Things look up when Cara is appointed as human representative to a panel preparing for a human colony on L’eihr. A society melding their two cultures is a place where Cara and Aelyx could one day make a life together. But with L’eihr leaders balking at granting even the most basic freedoms, Cara begins to wonder if she could ever be happy on this planet, even with Aelyx by her side.

Meanwhile, on Earth, Aelyx, finds himself thrown into a full-scale PR campaign to improve human-L’eihr relations. Humans don’t know that their very survival depends on this alliance: only Aelyx’s people have the technology to fix the deadly contamination in the global water supply that human governments are hiding. Yet despite their upper hand, the leaders of his world suddenly seem desperate to get humans on their side, and hardly bat an eye at extremists’ multiple attempts on Aelyx’s life.

The Way clearly needs humans’ help . . . but with what? And what will they ask for in return?

My Review:

Please note that while this review will have no spoilers for Invaded, it will have spoilers for Alienated. Please check out the review for that book at the link above!

I have never been so grateful in my entire life to the girl working the Disney-Hyperion booth at ALA a couple weeks ago. I spotted Alienated, because it had been on my radar and I asked them if they were giving out copies of it. They weren’t BUT they were having a signing with Melissa Landers later in the day and giving away the second book, Invaded. I decided to try and make it to the signing. Melissa’s signing was literally at the same time as David Levithan, Jay Asher, Lauren Myracle, Jessica Brody, Josephine Angelini…a ton of authors. But I wanted to make it. I bounced from booth to booth to booth and finally made it over there and was excited to see that she was still signing.

Then I got super sad because they were out of books. I decided I would stand in line to talk to her anyway, maybe just introduce myself and then the girl in front of me said “I don’t know Melissa, so here, have this”, and handed me a copy of Invaded. I was so excited. Melissa was super sweet, and I knew I had to get home and read Alienated. Which I did, in one night. The next day, I read Invaded. I’m so glad that I got my hands on this book because it pressured me to purchase and read the first one and I absolutely love these two books. They are easily now a favorite for me.

Melissa continues a well thought out story that she had concocted in book one. We leave book one with this: Cara and Aelyx will be split for months, Cara to continue the exchange program on L’eihr and Aelyx to go down to Earth to complete the alliance, to ensure that it goes through. While the first book was centered on the somewhat small circle of Cara and Aelyx’s romance, and the town that turned their backs against them, this book focuses on the bigger picture. The romance is there (oh thank god, because it makes me so happy) but its so focused. Cara is figuring out more and more who she is and what she wants and where she wants to be. She’s figuring out where she fits in, on the planet that she’s intended to spend her life. She’s trying to come to terms with how different the L’eihr really are to her. Her life in their schools, and their society is difficult and the ever optimist is having problems. I love this character development. It makes me incredibly happy to see a character struggle and question things, even things she was so firm on before.

Then we continue to Aelyx. I love that he was able to spend more time on Earth. Obviously he changed his mind about earth and the alliance when he came to the exchange program and fell in love with Cara. But I think in Alienated, it had more to do with Cara and his affection for her and her parents that changed his mind more than anything else. I mean, the other humans he was exposed to didn’t exactly give him reason to want to save the planet or anything. However I think by spending more time on Earth, around other humans and without the rosy taint of love with Cara around him constantly, he grew more desiring of the alliance. I liked that he seemed to be trying new foods, and that he genuinely started a friendship with a new character. I liked the effect it had on him and his personality and I love what that did to Syrine. I loved the way the L’eihr changed during their time on earth.

I also really liked the bigger picture we got. This wasn’t just about Cara and Aelyx anymore. This was about the betterment of both societies, both species and the necessity of the alliance. The events that were happening on Earth and the events that were happening with Cara in space, they were threatening to this alliance. Everything is hanging in the balance, one small move could ruin everything. Not only would it ruin this beautiful romance that I ship so hard its not even funny, but it would ruin the relationship between these two species and it would mean the complete destruction of the planet, because Earth so desperately needs the L’eihr to cure the water supply.

The only slight problem that I had was that Cara had to make a fairly big decision in the end. I’m happy with the decision that she made but I was kind of thrown off with how quickly she made it. She was very adamant in her decision but she changed her mind, I was very thrown off. I thought it would have taken a bit more for her to make that decision and I was slightly upset that the character would…change her gumption that easily. However, when I was talking to Melissa on Twitter, she said Disney-Hyperion have signed on for two books, and so she probably had to wrap it up as much as possible while still enticing interest for a hopefully third book (Please Disney-Hyperion!!!!). So while I wasn’t a massive fan of this, I understand why it was done. I know that’s vague but I’m trying to be spoiler free!

All in all, if you loved Alienated, you’re going to love Invaded. I know that the final product may be completely different from what I read but I’m hoping that there are little changes because I really did love this book and I’m hoping the publishers hear my plea for more books!

Rating:

4 out of 5 Stars

 

Book Review: The Young Elites (ARC) by Marie Lu

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This review is based on an advanced reader’s copy of the novel obtained through Penguin Teen at the American Library Association Conference for free. This is in no way had an effect on the integrity of my review. Please note that published novel will differ from this ARC.

Genre: 

Young Adult, approved  Fantasy

Pages: 

368

Part of a Series?:

Yes, see the first novel of what I believe is a planned trilogy

Release Date: 

October 7th, 2014

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is amalfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.


Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.
 
It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

My Review:

Honestly, I can’t imagine there is ever going to be a book by Marie Lu that just doesn’t completely floor me and leave me absolutely dying for the next book.

This book is so incredibly different from her Legend trilogy but that is what makes it so good. You still have the great writing and storytelling and the unique “voice” that is Marie Lu, but it in an entirely new story, an entirely new world. I think sometimes its difficult for an author to venture outside the way they’ve written, but Marie Lu proves in The Young Elites that not only can she write fantastic dystopian but she writes dark, rich fantasy as well.

In Legend, there is a constant struggle for truth, who is right, who is wrong, what is the right thing to do, how much of the truth do you tell a person. In The Young Elites, its all about power, and the use and abuse of it. Adelina is a malfetto, an abomination. The malfettos are blamed for everything wrong in the country: poverty, starvation, bad crops, whatever. They have no power as those in power, the Inquisitors, take them out at every possible chance. Even Adelina’s own father shares in the opinion that she is worthless, she will gain no good for him.

Until it is discovered that she has an absolutely incredible, terrible, dark, and out of this world power, and suddenly she’s a hot commodity. She’s hunted down by two different men, one working for the queen and one trying to fight for a rebellion against them. What makes this beautiful is there is no clear right and wrong, no dark and light. Each side is full of darkness. Each side bears so many questions. Its hard to know who to trust. Even those who say they are the right side have their own things to gain, their own reasons for using Adelina. That’s what makes it so good. You are constantly questioning everyone in the book. You never really know who is telling the truth, or what the truth even is. Even the supposed good guys don’t always seem like good guys. You’re even questioning the main character throughout the novel as well.

Its a book full of darkness, and power and its chock full of mystery. That’s what keeps you turning the pages. Its so dark. I feel like…I never know what direction this story is going to take and its frustrating and exhilarating. I honestly have such a hard time figuring out who is going to do what, and what I want people to do. I can’t even figure out what I want for the characters because its so back and forth. As soon as I sort of kind of figure out what I want for them, what I hope happens to them, the direction veers so dramatically in the other direction that I suddenly feel like I was knocked off balance. This book kept me hooked because it kept surprising me. Every time I thought I got a measure of a character or a group of people or anything, something would change and it would make it a whole new story.

I read somewhere, I can’t remember where, that this book was a sort of cross between X-Men and Assassin’s Creed. Now I don’t know much about Assassin’s Creed so I can’t say much about that. From what I understand, the main character goes back in time, with his ancestors, to different parts of history? Something like that. The history, that sort of old time feel is definitely in the book. This is a world that could exist but there’s just a bit more to it than we know. The X-Men thing is easy: some of these malfettos have powers: power over fire, wind, animals, Adelina’s power of illusion. The Young Elites totally feel like medieval version of the X-Men and they too have their prejudices against them, because they are different. They are blamed for things, and they want to fight back. They remind me of both Professor X, who wants to live in peace with them, and Magneto, who is angry at the way they treat them and wants revenge. It had a very X-Men feel about it but in a very whimsical, dark and fantastical way. I loved every bit of it.

I don’t know how much of this book will or could change before its release in October but I hope its very little. This book was absolutely incredible and I am so insanely grateful that I managed to get my hands on a copy this weekend. Marie Lu is such a gifted writer, and tells such a fresh and interesting story every single time. I was intrigued immediately from page one to the last page, unsure of what to expect. In fact, the last few pages left me in wonder, my jaw dropped, in a revelation as I discovered just a bit of something that literally leaves me incredibly impatient for a book two, even though book one hasn’t even released officially yet. Just when you think, the story is wrapped up, but you’re unsure of what direction the characters are going in, a curveball is thrown and you’re left thinking “But wait, what happens next?” I hope to find out very, very soon.

Rating:

5 out of 5 Stars