Tuesday, September 30

The Fine Art Of Pretending by Rachel Harris

The Fine Art Of Pretending by Rachel Harris
Release Date: September 30, 2014
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 256

Summary: According to the guys at Fairfield Academy, there are two types of girls: the kind you hook up with, and the kind you're friends with. Seventeen-year-old Alyssa Reed is the second type. And she hates it. With just one year left to change her rank, she devises a plan to become the first type by homecoming, and she sets her sights on the perfect date—Justin Carter, Fairfield Academy’s biggest hottie and most notorious player.

With 57 days until the dance, Aly launches Operation Sex Appeal and sheds her tomboy image. The only thing left is for Justin actually to notice her. Enter best friend Brandon Taylor, the school’s second biggest hottie, and now Aly’s pretend boyfriend. With his help, elevating from “funny friend” to “tempting vixen” is only a matter of time.

But when everything goes according to plan, the inevitable “break up” leaves their friendship in shambles, and Aly and Brandon with feelings they can’t explain. And the fake couple discovers pretending can sometimes cost you the one thing you never expected to want.

My Thoughts:  I was really excited for this one! When I read the summary, it sounded like a cute quirky read! And it was!

We are introduced to Aly who is best friends with a boy named Brandon. She once had a crush on him but she got over that. He’s her friend now, and only that. Aly finds out that none of the guys want to date her because she is a commitment. There are commitments and casuals and the casual girls are the ones the guys want to have fun with. Aly wants a change. Its her senior year and she wants to be a casual. She wants to have fun and actually have a boyfriend for once.

She gets a makeover and a plan. Operation Sex Appeal. And in this plan, she devises a plan with Brandon to date her to make her look attainable and she has her eyes set on another guy. She wants to get his attention. Of course things don’t go as planned and things just go haywire!!!

This was such a cute and sweet novel. I loved the whole story-line and I loved the moments between Aly and Brandon. I could tell they really cared about one another and I just thought the whole thing was just sweet. This one wasn't too deep but it did remind me that inner beauty is really all that matters and to be true to yourself. I liked both Brandon and Aly and I had fun with them. I loved her little schemes and I loved reading about them!

I thought this was a really cute and great novel. At times, it did feel a little young BUT it was young in a good way.

I loved how things turned out and I loved everything Aly learned along the way.

Overall:  So cute! I really enjoyed this one! I thought it was fun, laughable, and all out sweet!

Cover:  LOVE IT!!! When I saw the cover, I knew I had to read it! I love how they are standing and I love the big heart! Super cute!

What I’d Give It:

Sunday, September 28

Alice In Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles #1) by Gena Showalter

Alice In Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles #1) by Gena Showalter
Release Date: September 25, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages:  416

Summary: She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real….

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies….

I wish I could go back and do a thousand things differently.
I'd tell my sister no.
I'd never beg my mother to talk to my dad.
I'd zip my lips and swallow those hateful words.
Or, barring all of that, I'd hug my sister, my mom and my dad one last time.
I'd tell them I love them.
I wish... Yeah, I wish.

My Thoughts: Alice? Zombies? Yes please.

I started reading this one as I was in the mood for Zombies. Or something close to it. We are introduced to Alice who lives with her father, mother, and little sister. At least for a while. Alice has always been taught to stay inside. Her Dad believes there are monsters outside, especially after dark. The family can go out in the daytime but be alert. At night is a whole other story. Alice doesn’t hang out with friends or go on dates. Her life is pretty boring, really. But when something happens to her family, Alice gets a change of scenery. She moves in with other family members and starts a new school.

Pretty much everything is different in Alice’s life and she has to adapt quickly. She meets a new girl named Kat. And they become friends. I really liked Kat. She had spunk. She also meets two boys. Justin and Cole. I liked Cole from minute one. He was enduring yet tough yet exciting. I knew Alice would be drawn to him as well. Cole had that perfect bad boy thing going on.

BUT, there is more to his story as well. He can see the monsters just like her dad did. And Alice soon realizes she can do. And this puts everybody at risk. The new group of people she meets and her family she’s living with.

I really did like this one. At times, it did feel a little bit weird. But I liked it. A good weird. I thought the plot and characters were pretty neat and it made me keep reading.

Overall: I really liked the monsters aka zombies. I liked seeing how they attacked and how they reacted to things. I also liked Alice and Cole’s relationship even though it was a bit complicated. I think this is a good start to a new series for me.

Cover:  Like it! It fits. It would make me pick it up to see what in the world its about!

What I’d Give It:

Friday, September 26

Summer State Of Mind (Whispering Pines #2) by Jen Calonita

Summer State Of Mind (Whispering Pines #2) by Jen Calonita
Release Date: April 22, 2014
Publisher: Poppy
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 256

Summary: Summer has finally arrived and fifteen-year-old Harper McCallister intends to spend her days at the mall shopping or by the pool at her country club. But after receiving her latest heart-stopping credit card bill, Harper's parents makes other plans, and ship her off to camp.

Suddenly, the clueless yet ever-popular Harper is the new girl at the bottom of a social ladder she can't climb in wedge sandals and expensive clothes. She seems to be winning over super-cute camp "Lifer" Ethan, though, and if she can manage to make a few friends--and stay out of trouble--she just might find a whole new summer state of mind.

A fresh and funny summer-camp companion novel to Jen Calonita's hit Sleepaway Girls.

My Thoughts: This was such a cute followup to Sleepaway Girls! I liked the new plot and the new set of characters.

We are introduced to Harper who is popular. She hasn't always been the way she is. She has two best friends and one of them brings out the snobbish girl in her. She also has a brother.

Harper’s parents are sick of her being a brat so they send her off to a camp that her father went too when he was younger. They think this will kick Harper into high gear on becoming a better human being.

Harper gets to camp and realizes the boy her group wasn't so nice too is also there. His name is Ethan and he’s a lifer. He goes there every summer. Harper realizes there is so much more to Ethan than she realized.

I loved seeing everything Harper had to do. I loved seeing her get all muddy. And there there were so many funny moments. I also really liked Ethan. And I’m glad he gave Harper the benefit of the doubt and became her friend. She also meets a few other people along the way that were interesting.

I loved how much camp changed Harper and how much she grew up. She realized who her true friends were.

Overall: This was a fun novel! But also had some real good life lessons. I loved how funny some of the moments were and what Harper had to endure. It was fun to watch! I’d probably give this between a 3.5 and 4 cupcake rating!

Cover: Like it! I’d probably pick it up in a store to see what it was about.

What I’d Give It:

Tuesday, September 23

Adrenaline Crush by Laurie Boyle Crompton

Adrenaline Crush by Laurie Boyle Crompton
Release Date:  September 23, 2014
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages:  192

Summary: When a daredevil teen pushes herself too far, she must choose between two boys: the one who wants to keep her safe, and the one who dares her to return to her old self.

Seventeen-year-old Dyna comes from a family of risk takers and is an avid thrill-seeker herself, until the day she splinters her ankle in a terrible fall. Her whole life goes from mountain biking and rock climbing to sitting at home and attending group sessions at the bizarre alternative healing center that her hippie mother found. The boy who witnessed Dyna’s accident believes her injury is a wakeup call and he encourages her mild new lifestyle, but a young Afghanistan War veteran she meets at the healing center pushes her to start taking chances again. Forced to face the consequences of her daredevil impulses, Dyna finds herself in danger of risking the one thing she’s always treated with caution—her heart.

My Thoughts: This was such a fun cute little novel. But it also had a deeper message.

We are introduced to Dyna who is adventurous and likes to take chances. She’s always doing something, riding a bike, running, hiking, she has so many big dreams.

One day Dyna starts hanging out with a boy. Well, on this same day she falls and hurts her leg pretty bad. She’s got to be on crutches for a while and we see a lot of this new boy. His name is Jay.

Dyna has to attend a recovery meeting every week. She meets a lot of cool people who all have their own back-stories. She meets a boy named Pierce. I really liked him.

This one was so short but it was also really fun and good. Even though Dyna’s relationship with both boys did develop pretty quickly, I enjoyed it. It was rushed but I felt a connection to both boys.

I also felt a connection to Dyna. I felt everything she felt. I could see how hard it was for her to be on the sidelines and having to change her lifestyle.

This one was deep on one level but on another, it was a fun story.

I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Overall: Very fast read for me. But I liked it. This is probably more a 3.5 rating for me but I’m going to round it up to 4 because I did enjoy it and it was fun!

Cover: Its cute! I love the colors!

What I’d Give It:

Thursday, September 18

Catch A Falling Star by Kim Culbertson

Catch A Falling Star by Kim Culbertson
Release Date: April 29, 2014
Publisher: Point
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages:  304

Summary: A deliciously charming novel about finding true love . . . and yourself.

Nothing ever happens in Little, CA. Which is just the way Carter Moon likes it. But when Hollywood arrives to film a movie starring former child star turned PR mess Adam Jakes, everything changes. Carter's town becomes a giant glittery set and, much to her annoyance, everyone is starry-eyed for Adam. Carter seems to be the only girl not falling all over herself to get a glimpse of him. Which apparently makes her perfect for the secret offer of a lifetime: playing the role of Adam's girlfriend while he's in town, to improve his public image, in exchange for a hefty paycheck. Her family really needs the money and so Carters agrees. But it turns out Adam isn't at all who she thought he was. As they grow closer, their relationship walks a blurry line between what's real and what's fake, and Carter must open her eyes to the scariest of unexplored worlds - her future. Can Carter figure out what she wants out of life AND get the guy? Or are there no Hollywood endings in real life?

My Thoughts:  I recently read another novel about a glimpse into acting and I have to say I enjoyed Catch A Falling Star a bit more than then that one.

We are introduced to Carter Moon who lives in a small little town. And she likes it that way. She likes how things are. She enjoys knowing everybody. But when a new movie gets in filming location in Carter’s town, things start to go haywire! In walks Adam Jakes, all the girls fall over him. Even her best friend has a crush on him!

I was glad Carter wasn't all Hollywood obsessed. She sees Jake as a person. She thinks of him as a person even if he is a bit conceited at first. She doesn’t really see the allure of him.

But when she gets hired to be his pretend girlfriend, things get complicated. The more time she spends with him, the more she sees who he truly is. I really liked him. He is a little full of himself but there was so much more to him than I originally thought.  

I loved when Carter and Adam were together. Such funny moments!  

Overall:  I really enjoyed this one and thought it was cute! Its a very light and funny read! Just what I was in the mood for!

Cover:  Like it! Like the colors. And how she is sitting on the roof (fits perfectly)!

What I’d Give It:

Monday, September 15

Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang

Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang
Release Date: September 9, 2014
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 304

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 Thoughts:  Boy, oh boy have I read some amazing reviews for Falling Into Place! And while I enjoyed it, I was hoping it would be a 5 cupcake rating for me.
We are introduced to Liz who thinks she deserves to die. She’s not a perfect person, she’s made her fair share of mistakes but she thinks the world would be better off without her. Sadly, she doesn’t realize all the people that her death would affect.

I liked learning about Liz and what made her tick. I also loved the scenes with the mysterious boy. I really adored him and the way he saw Liz and her life.

I also liked seeing how her friends and boyfriend took everything. And her mom.

I liked seeing the things that lead up to her suicide attempt. What made her do it. What made her “her.”

Most of all, I loved how the story was written. I felt like I was looking inside her head the whole time, even though I was seeing things from the outside.

I thought this one was quite good, I liked learning more about everybody in the story, and I liked all the little details about gravity, motion, etc.

Overall:  I’m not sure why I didn’t give this one 5 cupcakes. As much as I enjoyed it, I felt like I couldn’t connect to the whole thing. At times, I just wanted to know the ending and didn’t really care about reading the middle. Yes, this story is about hope, and love, and it was beautiful!  

I would recommend it, a solid debut!

Cover:  Love it! Its kind of plain but in a good way! I’d pick it up in a bookstore just to see what it was about!

What I’d Give It:

Saturday, September 13

The One (The Selection #3) by Kiera Cass

The One (The Selection #3) by Kiera Cass
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Publisher:  HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult

Summary:The highly anticipated third book in Kiera Cass's #1 New York Timesbestselling Selection series, The One will captivate readers who love dystopian YA fiction and fairy tales. The One is perfect for the fans who have followed America's whirlwind romance since it began—and a swoon-worthy read for teens who have devoured Veronica Roth's Divergent, Ally Condie's Matched, or Lauren Oliver's Delirium.

The Selection changed America Singer's life in ways she never could have imagined. Since she entered the competition to become the next princess of Illéa, America has struggled with her feelings for her first love, Aspen—and her growing attraction to Prince Maxon. Now she's made her choice . . . and she's prepared to fight for the future she wants.

Find out who America will choose in The One, the enchanting, beautifully romantic third book in the Selection series!

My Thoughts: Wow! I really adored and enjoyed this one! Or The One!

We are back with America who is still competing in The Selection to win Maxon’s heart. And of course her old flame Aspen is still around.  And the other handful of girls she’s competing with.

By this point, you may have realized how much I love this series. And The One doesn't disappoint. People have romance, people grieve, people change, people evolve.

I’m still team Maxon. I just like him more for some reason. I did feel like The One was a little bit drawn out, I felt like some of Maxon’s actions annoyed me, but overall I still like him more than Aspen.

I’m still not a big fan of his father though. And the way America deals with him is pretty mature. She doesn’t get too upset, or at least show him she’s upset. I do like his mother! I also liked the family element between America and hers. I liked hearing her thoughts about them and caring.

I want to say so much but I don’t want to give away spoilers if you haven’t started the series yet or read The One.

I could go on and on about this one but I won’t. I loved this book in the series! I think it was a little bit more drawn out than the others, not as much drama really but I still loved it.

I love the atmosphere, the characters, and all the bickering. I’m also happy about the way things ended up with America, Maxon, and Aspen. Things aren't perfect but they make sense.

Overall: Loved it! Team Maxon! I just love all the characters and the way things happen. I love seeing their reactions to certain things. I really enjoyed this one!

Cover: Like it! I always love seeing her pretty dresses! Pretty!

What I’d Give It:

Thursday, September 11

Illusions Of Fate by Kiersten White

Illusions Of Fate by Kiersten White

Release Date: September 9, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages:  288

Summary:Downton Abbey meets Cassandra Clare in this lush, romantic fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White.

“I did my best to keep you from crossing paths with this world. And I shall do my best to protect you now that you have.”

Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets Finn, a gorgeous, enigmatic young lord who introduces her to the secret world of Albion’s nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn’t—power, money, status…and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, dangerous secrets that the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits and her determination, can stop him.

Kiersten White captured readers’ hearts with her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy and its effortless mix of magic and real-world teenage humor. She returns to that winning combination of wit, charm, and enchantment in Illusions of Fate, a sparkling and romantic new novel perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare, The Madman’s Daughter, and Libba Bray.

My Thoughts:  I liked this one but I didn’t love it as much as I hoped.

We are introduced to Jessamin who just moved to Albion. She’s basically on her own and attending school. She wants an education more than anything else right now. She also holds down a job in her spare-time when she’s not studying. One day she meets a boy named Finn. Finn is cute and really sweet and Jessamin finds herself more attracted to him than she likes. But, she also thinks he’s kind of arrogant and a jerk.

Well, she ends up in his presence more than she likes at first. She’s kind of been thrust into his life and she’s none too happy about it.

She also finds out there is more to life than meets the eye and there are spells or magic. And not everyone is good who practices it.

I didn’t like Lord Downpike at all! From the first moment I met him! He totally creeped me out! But I liked Finn and I also liked how the bird could turn into a book. How cool is that?

I liked the plot of this one, and the characters and I thought it was mysterious and a little weird. It is somewhat historical but I actually enjoyed it.

It wasn’t my favorite of Whites books that I have read. I still enjoy the Paranormalcy series more but I did enjoy this one and will keep reading what she writes.

Overall: Liked it! It was a bit weird but in a good way! I really liked Finn and Jessamin together! I also liked some of the minor details as well! And I was satisfied with how everything ends!

Cover:  Love it!! I would go right for it at the bookstore! I like this cover!

What I’d Give It:

Tuesday, September 9

Kiss Of Broken Glass by Madeleine Kuderick

Kiss Of Broken Glass by Madeleine Kuderick
Release Date: September 9, 2014
Publisher:  HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 224

Summary: Madeleine Kuderick’s gripping debut is a darkly beautiful and lyrical novel in verse, perfect for fans of Sonya Sones and Laurie Halse Anderson. Kiss of Broken Glass pulses with emotion and lingers long after the last page.

In the next seventy-two hours, Kenna may lose everything—her friends, her freedom, and maybe even herself. One kiss of the blade was all it took to get her sent to the psych ward for seventy-two hours. There she will face her addiction to cutting, though the outcome is far from certain.

When fifteen-year-old Kenna is found cutting herself in the school bathroom, she is sent to a facility for mandatory psychiatric watch. There, Kenna meets other kids like her—her roommate, Donya, who’s there for her fifth time; the birdlike Skylar; and Jag, a boy cute enough to make her forget her problems . . . for a moment.

My Thoughts: Kiss Of Broken Glass was an interesting read! We are introduced to Kenna who cuts herself. She is in a psych ward getting help. She also meets a few others with problems of their own.

This novel is told in verse. So, we switch topics a lot and we jump around a lot.

This was a very open and interesting novel about cutting and about Kenna’s feelings.

I liked that it was in verse but I just had a hard trouble really connecting with the main character and the storyline. I finished it, and it was a very fast read for me but I felt like it just wasn’t the right read for me and that is alright!

I know a lot of people will enjoy this one and it does have a very important message!

Overall:  It was alright. Just not my type of novel. I can see where  a lot of teens will relate to this one! Even though it was unique and something I haven’t read about before, I’m only giving it 3 cupcakes because it just wasn’t “right” for me since I read more paranormals and contemps!

Cover:   Like it! Its dark and haunting and I’d definitely pick it up in the store!

What I’d Give It:

Friday, September 5

Don’t Touch by Rachel M. Wilson

Don’t Touch by Rachel M. Wilson
Release Date: September 2, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 432

Summary:  A powerful story of a girl who is afraid to touch another person’s skin, until the boy auditioning for Hamlet opposite her Ophelia gives her a reason to overcome her fears.

Step on a crack, break your mother’s back. Touch another person’s skin, and Dad’s gone for good.

Caddie can’t stop thinking that if she keeps from touching another person’s skin, her parents might get back together... which is why she wears full-length gloves to school and covers every inch of her skin.

It seems harmless at first, but Caddie’s obsession soon threatens her ambitions as an actress. She desperately wants to play Ophelia in her school’s production of Hamlet. But that would mean touching Peter, who’s auditioning for the title role—and kissing him. Part of Caddie would love nothing more than to kiss Peter—but the other part isn't sure she's brave enough to let herself fall.

Perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson, this debut novel from Rachel M. Wilson is a moving story of a talented girl who's fighting an increasingly severe anxiety disorder, and the friends and family who stand by her.

My Thoughts:  I thought this one sounded amazing!!! A girl who can’t touch people. It had such an interesting premise and something I have never read before. And a boy she likes, but can’t touch? Yes Please!

And I thought it was interesting but I just didn’t feel like I really connected to it the right way.

We are are introduced to Caddie whose parents are separated. She feels like if she can go without any skin on skin contact, maybe they will get back together. She thinks if she does one thing, something else might happen. But, if she doesn't succeed, something worse could even happen.

Caddie gets the lead in Ophelia. This is quite the task for her since it does rely on touching people. She can’t even touch her friends or the new boy Peter she likes.

Caddie suffers from severe anxiety and I felt so bad for her. I wanted it to be ok. I wanted her to be comfortable in her own skin where she could just hug someone.

I really liked Peter! He was such a nice and caring guy. But I also felt that most her friends were caring and would have understood if she had told them from the get go. I felt like they would have gotten it and helped her out.

I liked Don’t Touch but I felt like I just couldn’t connect right. At times, the novel almost seemed too long and not enough happened.

I liked the play aspect and how she wanted to be an actress. I’m happy with how things ended for Caddie. She started understanding things and accepting them.

Overall: I liked this one but I just didn’t fall in love. I’d probably give this more of a 3.5 rating. There was just something missing for me that I really needed.

All in all, I thought it was a good story but just not the absolute right one for me, at least at the time. I will definitely read more from Wilson in the future.

Cover: Like it! It fits perfectly!!!

What I’d Give It:


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