Review | Geek Girl

Geek Girl by Holly Smale

Geek Girl by Holly Smale Published by HarperCollins

four stars

Who hasn’t wanted to be an international supermodel their entire life? Oh… that would be Harriet Manners. Harriet is all numbers and logical thinking. She gets math but doesn’t understand fashion. She leaves all of the beauty tips and tricks to her best friend, Nat. At least until she gets “spotted” at a local fashion event where her “geek” life gets flipped upside down.

Geek Girl by Holly Smale is laugh-out-loud funny and will leave you with all the warm and fuzzies. It will remind you to celebrate who you are and that we are more than what we label ourselves.

Smale’s characters are golden. Each character holds their own and their are so many dominant and out-there personalities you will constantly be entertained even after the last page.

There are a handful of super duper moral guidances hidden among the pages of this book which unveil a beautiful coming of age story. One of the greatest is rendered in this quote:

“Nobody really metamorphoses. Cinderella is always Cinderella, just in a nicer dress. The Ugly Duckling was always a swan, just a smaller version. And I bet the tadpole and the caterpillar still feel the same, even when they’re jumping and flying, swimming and floating.

Just like I am now.

I didn’t need to transform after all.
My name is Harriet Manners and I am a geek.
And maybe that’s not so bad after all.”

If you are in search for a feel good and light-hearted novel, this one’s for you.

For full synopsis for Geek Girl, click here. 


All opinions are my own and are not affiliated or endorsed by any company or organization. 

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New Releases | April 2015

April 2015 New Book Releases

Anyone else feel like March sort of just blew right by? I sure do, but I am happy to say that Spring is finally here! (Hooray!)

March was packed with really great happenings (some book related, some not) as well as some not so great moments (totally not book related). All this to say, it has been a really busy month and my reading has greatly suffered. I did manage to FINALLY finish The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon. It wasn’t entirely my cup of tea, but that hasn’t strayed me from looking forward to the third installment of The Bone Season.  This month I also picked up Red Queen (so good-go read it now) and I just put down The Last Time We Say Goodbye (review to come).

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to speak with Laura Oliver, a Random House representative, at my local library. Not only did she tell me about all the upcoming RH releases for this spring, but she also gave me THREE ARCS. I don’t think I have ever been so excited. One book she got me stoked about is An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir which releases this month! (YAY!)

Speaking of…let’s talk about what other reads make their debut this month.

1. Kissing Ted Callahan (And Other Guys) by Amy Spalding
Releases April 7th by Poppy

Kissing Ted Callahan (and other guys)

via Goodreads

I was lucky enough to receive an advanced readers copy of this book from Poppy and NetGalley. I absolutely loved Spalding’s portrayal of teenage life and her main character, Riley, is laugh-out-loud funny. You can read more of my thoughts on Kissing Ted Callahan here.

Sneak out. Make out. Rock out.

Riley and her best guy friend, Reid, have made a pact: they’ll help each other pursue their respective crushes, make something happen, and document the details in a shared notebook.

While Reid struggles with the moral dilemma of adopting a dog to win over a girl’s heart, Riley tries to make progress with Ted Callahan, the guy she’s been obsessed with forever. His floppy hair! His undeniable intelligence! But between a chance meeting with a fellow musician in a record store and a brief tryst with a science-geek-turned-stud-not to mention Ted’s own tentative attentions-cute guys are suddenly popping up everywhere. How did she never notice them before?! As their love lives go from zero to sixty in the blink of an eye, Riley and Reid’s pact may prove to be more than they bargained for.

Filled with cute dogs, cute boys, and a few awkward hookups, this hilarious tale from Amy Spalding chronicles the soaring highs and embarrassing lows of dating in high school.

Click here to purchase.

2. Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Releases April 7th by Balzer + Bray

Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agena

via Goodreads

This read caught my eye a few weeks ago with its interesting and semi-creepy cover. I have also seen it pictured multiple times with Oreos. I mean… you can’t pass up anything regarding Oreos!

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Incredibly funny and poignant, this twenty-first-century coming-of-age, coming out story—wrapped in a geek romance—is a knockout of a debut novel by Becky Albertalli.

Click here to purchase.

3. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Releases April 28th by Razorbill

An Ember in the Ashes

via Goodreads

I foresee this being the biggest book this year. (I know that is quite the statement, but I have heard nothing but amazing things about this read.)

Set in a terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world, An Ember in the Ashes is an epic fantasy debut about an orphan fighting for her family and a soldier fighting for his freedom. It’s a story that’s literally burning to be told. LAIA is a Scholar living under the iron-fisted rule of the Martial Empire. When her brother is arrested for treason, Laia goes undercover as a slave at the empire’s greatest military academy in exchange for assistance from rebel Scholars who claim that they will help to save her brother from execution. ELIAS is the academy’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias is considering deserting the military, but before he can, he’s ordered to participate in a ruthless contest to choose the next Martial emperor. When Laia and Elias’s paths cross at the academy, they find that their destinies are more intertwined than either could have imagined and that their choices will change the future of the empire itself. 

Click here to purchase.

4. Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley
Releases April 28th by HarperCollins

Magonia

via Goodreads

Neil Gaiman’s Stardust meets John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars in this fantasy about a girl caught between two worlds…two races…and two destinies.

Aza Ray is drowning in thin air. 

Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live. 

So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn’t think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia. 

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—and as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war is coming. Magonia and Earth are on the cusp of a reckoning. And in Aza’s hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?

Click here to purchase.

5. In A World Just Right by Jen Brooks
Releases April 28th by Simon & Schuster for Young Readers

In a World Just Right

via Goodreads

Imagination takes on new meaning for a uniquely talented teen in this debut novel that is a breathtaking blend of contemporary, fantasy, and romance. Sometimes Jonathan Aubrey wishes he could just disappear. And as luck—or fate—would have it, he can. Ever since coming out of a coma as a kid, he has been able to create alternate worlds. Worlds where he is a superhero, or a ladies’ man, or simply a better version of himself. That’s the world he’s been escaping to most since sophomore year, a world where he has everything he doesn’t have in real life: friends, a place of honor on the track team, passing grades, and most importantly, Kylie Simms as his girlfriend. But when Jonathan confuses his worlds senior year and tries to kiss the real Kylie Simms, everything unravels. The real Kylie actually notices Jonathan…and begins obsessing over him. The fantasy version of Kylie struggles to love Jonathan as she was created to do, and the consequences are disastrous. As his worlds collide, Jonathan must confront the truth of his power and figure out where he actually belongs—before he loses both Kylies forever. 

Click here to purchase.

6. The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey
Releases April 28th by Delacorte Press

The Girl at Midnight

via Goodreads

For readers of Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones and Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone, The Girl at Midnight is the story of a modern girl caught in an ancient war.

Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she’s ever known.

Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she’s fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it’s time to act.

Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the Firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, but if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it’s how to hunt down what she wants . . . and how to take it.

But some jobs aren’t as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.

Click here to purchase.

What are you reading this month?


All opinions are my own and are not endorsed or affiliated with any company or organization.

Review | Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Guys)

Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Guys)

Image via Goodreads Release Date: April 14th from Poppy

Um, Amy Spalding have we met? Because I am pretty sure you just wrote about me in your newest book, Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Guys).

Awk-ward. No really, awkward. This book is chock-full of it and it will have you laughing out loud (and yes, mighty loud) til the end.

I love Spalding’s characters, like L-O-V-E. Each of her characters hold their own. You have Riley who runs head first into love, says the first thing that pops in her head, and is (just a little bit) reckless. Reid is her fierce band companion, and I love their platonic friendship. (Who says boys and girls can’t just be friends?!) He is a bubble of insecurities, and I appreciate that Spalding added a male character like his into the mix. Then there is Lucy, she is sensible, nice, and is the definition of what a friend should be. Milo, who is quite possibly the coolest (and smoothest) kid in town.  Oh, and let’s not forget Ted! I may or may not have a crush on Ted. He is a bit of a mystery, plus he is smart, kind, thoughtful, and seems to be the All-American good guy. He may be a bit of a geek, but those are usually the best kind of guys. (I mean have you watched The Big Bang Theory?!)

This book has been compared a lot to Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. It definitely has a similar vibe, meaning Riley is in a band and music is a huge part of this story, but Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Guys) is definitely in a category of its own. Spalding was very smart when she wrote this novel. It is a love story that is so authentically adolescent, you will feel like you are in your teenage shoes again.

Get ready to laugh because this one brings everything to the table.

For full synopsis click here.
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Release Date: April 14, 2015
Publisher: Poppy / Little, Brown Book for Young Readers 

Special thanks to NetGalley and Little Brown for this ARC. It was a pleasure reading this title!  


All opinions are my own and are not endorsed or affiliated with any company or organization. 

Review | Red Queen

Red Queen

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard Published by HarperTeen Image via Goodreads

four starsAnyone can betray anyone. Sometimes even the author can betray the reader. (Cough, Victoria Aveyard, Cough) 

Mare Barrow bleeds red therefore her life was made for service not for privilege like the Silver. Once she turns eighteen she will be forced to conscript into the King’s army to fight a never ending war with outer provinces, just like her three older brothers did before her. Her life is less precious than the Silver.

The Silvers were destined to rule through their steel colored blood which hold abilities that enable their reign. Some move metal, others heal, while few are able to enter the conscious gripping control over the mind. But what if everything wasn’t so Black and White…er…I mean Red and Silver. What if there was a middle ground that could spark a revolution?

I highly enjoyed Red Queen. I could have read it in one sitting, but it’s one of those books that you like to pace yourself because you know it’s just book one and book two won’t come out for another year. (BAH!)

I hated Aveyard’s characters, but for this read it’s a good thing. It isn’t a satisfying read, but you appreciate the twists and turns her story weaves. Red Queen is very “young-adulty”, but it does take a few different approaches than the typical YA story-line. If you are looking for romance, you get a glimpse, but not much. So don’t buy this thinking you get a twilight love story. The story-line mainly surrounds Mare’s understanding of the world; that the grass isn’t always so green on the other side, but maybe with a little work (AKA a lot of betrayal and killing) you can try to make your side a little bit greener. It is a revolution story through and through and it have you in it’s grip until the end.

For those who love Suzanne Collins’  The Hunger Games and Kiera Cass’ The Selection Series, don’t wait to pick this one up. It’s a royal goody.

For full synopsis or to purchase click here.


All opinions are my own and are not endorsed or affiliated with any company or organization. 

Review | The Darkest Part of the Forest

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

via: Goodreads

****/5

Folklore, fairies, beautiful boys with horns, and knights. The Darkest Part of the Forest already had me at synopsis and after reading did not let me down. Holly Black goes back to her roots with this one and boy does she know how to write an enchanting tale out of the forest.

Most folklore has a dark edge to it but Holly Black keeps it pretty light, with a few spots of darkness here and there. Her pacing is spot on and if I didn’t work I would have read through the entire night. (Yes, 4 AM is “technically” not through the night). I could kiss Black for her character development. It’s predictable to a point but gender roles are switched, which deserves a firm high five in my book.

The book does have a bit more of a juvenile undertone, even for a YA book, but that may just be the folklore talking.

Overall, The Darkest Part of the Forest is a quick, fantastic, and entertaining read. I heavily recommend for anyone who is looking for quick read with a little enchantment and a touch of mystery.

For more information about this book click here.


All opinions are my own and are not endorsed or affiliated with any company or organization. 

2015 | February New Release

Hello my dear bibliophiles!

We are officially in the second month of 2015! How was your first? I hope it was full of adventures, new discoveries, and of course epic reads.

Well this past month, I finally knuckled down and read Michelle Hodkin’s Mara Dyer trilogy. I’m not sure what took me so long. It’s a phenomenally edgy and twisted series and I highly recommend it to any of you who like a lot of creepy mixed in with your teenage romance. (Twilighters, I’m talking to you!) I also picked up Paula Hawkin’s The Girl on the Train. Not to beat a dead horse, but another fantastic read. Also, another creepy read. (I guess I was in a thriller/psychological/suspense mood this month.) In short, it will definitely be one of the best books released this year.

Speaking of good books… let’s talk about a few  who are making their debut this February!

1. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
February 10th by Orion

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Red Queen has been on my watch list for awhile and it hasn’t been hard to keep up to date. This book has been posted everywhere, which only heightens my anticipation for it’s release.

The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

2. My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
February 10th by Harper Collins/Balzer + Bray

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Hey all of you The Fault in Our Stars fans, a little bird whispered this one is a must read. 

Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother who can barely look at her without wincing, classmates who whisper behind her back, and a father whose violent crime rocked her small town, Aysel is ready to turn her potential energy into nothingness.

There’s only one problem: she’s not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers a website with a section called Suicide Partners, Aysel’s convinced she’s found her solution: a teen boy with the username FrozenRobot (aka Roman) who’s haunted by a family tragedy is looking for a partner.

Even though Aysel and Roman have nothing in common, they slowly start to fill in each other’s broken lives. But as their suicide pact becomes more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, she must choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover the potential of their energy together. Except that Roman may not be so easy to convince.

3. The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons
February 10th by Tor Teen

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I haven’t seen this one floating around much, but the premise is so intriguing that I had to add it on to my list!

The Handmaid’s Tale meets Blood Red Road in Glass Arrow, the story of Aya, who lives with a small group of women on the run from the men who hunt them, men who want to auction off breeding rights to the highest bidder.

In a world where females are scarce and are hunted, then bought and sold at market for their breeding rights, 15-year old Aya has learned how to hide. With a ragtag bunch of other women and girls, she has successfully avoided capture and eked out a nomadic but free existence in the mountains. But when Aya’s luck runs out and she’s caught by a group of businessmen on a hunting expedition, fighting to survive takes on a whole new meaning.

4. The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand
February 10th by Harper Teen

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I know this one will most likely make me cry rivers, but usually those are the best kinds of stories. Plus, the cover is gorgeous! 

There’s death all around us.
We just don’t pay attention.
Until we do.

The last time Lex was happy, it was before. When she had a family that was whole. A boyfriend she loved. Friends who didn’t look at her like she might break down at any moment.

Now she’s just the girl whose brother killed himself. And it feels like that’s all she’ll ever be.

As Lex starts to put her life back together, she tries to block out what happened the night Tyler died. But there’s a secret she hasn’t told anyone-a text Tyler sent, that could have changed everything.

Lex’s brother is gone. But Lex is about to discover that a ghost doesn’t have to be real to keep you from moving on.

From New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand, The Last Time We Say Goodbye is a gorgeous and heart-wrenching story of love, loss, and letting go.

5. A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas
February 24th by Harper Teen

22535481I am a sucker for anything fairy tale, so when I heard about this spin on Sleeping Beauty I was ecstatic. Who doesn’t like princes, sword fights, and damsels in distress?

Rhiannon Thomas’s dazzling debut novel is a spellbinding reimagining ofSleeping Beauty and what happens after happily ever after.

One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale.

Her family is long dead. Her “true love” is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept.

As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.

Rhiannon Thomas weaves together vivid scenes of action, romance, and gorgeous gowns to reveal a richly imagined world … and Sleeping Beauty as she’s never been seen before.

6. No Parking at the End Times by Bryan Bliss
February 24th by Greenwillow Books

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I. Can’t. Wait. For. This. Not only is the cover compelling, but the synopsis grabbed my full attention. I have a feeling this is going to be one witty and gripping story. 

Abigail’s parents have made mistake after mistake, and now they’ve lost everything. She’s left to decide: Does she still believe in them? Or is it time to believe in herself? Fans of Sara Zarr, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell will connect with this moving debut.

Abigail doesn’t know how her dad found Brother John. Maybe it was the billboards. Or the radio. What she does know is that he never should have made that first donation. Or the next, or the next. Her parents shouldn’t have sold their house. Or packed Abigail and her twin brother, Aaron, into their old van to drive across the country to San Francisco, to be there with Brother John for the “end of the world.” Because of course the end didn’t come. And now they’re living in their van. And Aaron’s disappearing to who-knows-where every night. Their family is falling apart. All Abigail wants is to hold them together, to get them back to the place where things were right. But maybe it’s too big a task for one teenage girl. Bryan Bliss’s thoughtful, literary debut novel is about losing everything—and about what you will do for the people you love.

What books are you looking forward to this February?! 

Photos & synopses via Goodreads


All opinions are my own and are not endorsed or affiliated with any company or organization. 

Review | All the Bright Places

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*****

5/5

Friday I couldn’t take it anymore. As I sat on my sofa and read review after review of how All the Bright Places may be the biggest YA book of the year, I knew I had to get this book. Now. I had just made the decision to skip the gym, because it was -10 degrees outside (and anyone willingly going out in this weather was nuts-o).  But sometimes books are more paramount to your heath and mental stability-so naturally I quickly turned myself into an Eskimo and ventured to the closest Barnes & Noble. It was so worth my frost-bitten fingers.

It’s taken me awhile to write this review. It’s really hard to put all your emotions in to words and I really don’t want to screw this up, but I still may.

When an author and a character share the same scars it is evident in the writing. The author seems to just ‘get it’. They are able to craft the deepest emotions into fluid sentences that strike a harmonious chord. A chord that reverberates to the reader bringing clarity to issues that the reader may or may not have experience in. Jennifer Niven does this very well throughout the entirety of All the Bright Places. You feel each emotion as if it were your own and while you may not necessarily understand the thinking of Finch and Violet you appreciate who they are.

When the reader shares similar marks with the author and the character that is what I like to call magic and more importantly… healing.

Nine years ago a friend of mine took his own life. To step inside a character’s shoes and face your own reality is a powerful thing. It is a healing thing, because somehow Niven was able create this character that understands. She grasps your hurt, your anger, your confusion, your loss–allowing you to feel a little less lonely and a lot more understood.

So, thank you Jennifer Niven for breaking barriers, calling out stigmas, and for stirring conversation in relation to mental illness. It’s an important one that needs to be continued among all regardless of gender, race, age, and sex.

Please be sure to pick up this book. It’s not only well written but it may just change your life or at least your perspective. 

For more information about All the Bright Places or to read the synopsis: Click here


 

All opinions are my own and are not endorsed or affiliated with any company or organization.