Monday, July 21, 2014

Review: #scandal by Sarah Ockler

#scandal Lucy’s learned some important lessons from tabloid darling Jayla Heart’s all-too-public blunders: Avoid the spotlight, don’t feed the Internet trolls, and keep your secrets secret. The policy has served Lucy well all through high school, so when her best friend Ellie gets sick before prom and begs her to step in as Cole’s date, she accepts with a smile, silencing about ten different reservations. Like the one where she’d rather stay home shredding online zombies. And the one where she hates playing dress-up. And especially the one where she’s been secretly in love with Cole since the dawn of time.

When Cole surprises her at the after party with a kiss under the stars, it’s everything Lucy has ever dreamed of… and the biggest BFF deal-breaker ever. Despite Cole’s lingering sweetness, Lucy knows they’ll have to ’fess up to Ellie. But before they get the chance, Lucy’s own Facebook profile mysteriously explodes with compromising pics of her and Cole, along with tons of other students’ party indiscretions. Tagged. Liked. And furiously viral.

By Monday morning, Lucy’s been branded a slut, a backstabber, and a narc, mired in a tabloid-worthy scandal just weeks before graduation. 

Lucy’s been battling undead masses online long enough to know there’s only one way to survive a disaster of this magnitude: Stand up and fight. Game plan? Uncover and expose the Facebook hacker, win back her best friend’s trust, and graduate with a clean slate.

There’s just one snag—Cole. Turns out Lucy’s not the only one who’s been harboring unrequited love...

My Review:

This was a good read filled with a lot of gossip and drama.  There are some mysteries in here, and the answers to them were ones that surprised me.  This dealt with online scandals as well as cyberbullying.


There are two main mysteries that Lucy is trying to figure out the solution to in this book.  When she went to a prom after party, someone took her phone and took a bunch of incriminating pictures of a lot of the other people at the party.  This person then went and posted the pictures on Lucy's Facebook page, since she was logged into Facebook on her phone.  People are mad at Lucy because they think she posted the pictures.  One girl, Olivia, seems especially mad because her dad saw a very embarrassing photo of her, and she is grounded because of this.  We do find out near the end of the book who took the phone and posted the pictures, and I was surprised by this culprit.  The other mystery is the one about Miss Demeanor.  Lucy isn't really actively trying to solve this mystery for much of the book, but it is just a kind of thing to wonder about.  Eventually, we do find out who is behind the online Miss Demeanor page, and this is surprising as well.

 There is a lot of cyberbullying, and real life bullying, in this book, and some of it is pretty harsh.  Someone creates an online page called Juicy Lucy, which many of her classmates follow, and they post pictures of Lucy and Cole, and say mean things about Lucy.  In school, her classmates call her a narc and a slut.  They think she's a slut because she "slept with" her best friend's ex-boyfriend, though she didn't actually sleep with him.  They slept in the same bed, but they didn't sleep together.  They call her a narc because she supposedly posted pictures from the party.  There is a group in the school called e(VIL) who supports Lucy.  They are against the use of online social media, and this does show the problems associated with social media.

Lucy's relationship with her sister is important to this story as well.  Her sister is Jayla Heart, a star who has been smeared in the tabloids many times.  I was surprised when I found out Jayla was Lucy's sister, since Jayla had been mentioned earlier than that, but I had no idea that they were related.  Anyway, her life parallels Lucy's in some ways, since they have both had untrue rumors spread about them.  Though, I guess some of the rumors were at least partly true.  Jayla is struggling now, in ways that Lucy won't even really know about until later in the book.  I liked how Lucy's feelings towards Jayla changed, since she originally seemed ashamed of her sister.

I wish that Ellie's character had been in the book more.  I thought she should have talked to Lucy about what happened much sooner.  Lucy made a mistake by doing what she did with Cole, but Ellie hadn't even told her best friend that she and her boyfriend had broken up, so it's not like she was being a perfect best friend either.  I feel like I didn't really know her character.  Griffin was kind of hot and cold for me.  She was sometimes nice to Lucy, and other times, she ditched her for Ellie.  I can see how the situation would be hard for her, though, since she was stuck in the middle and didn't want to choose sides, though it did seem like she chose Ellie's side more often.

If you like YA contemporary, read this book.


Friday, July 18, 2014

Review: On the Fence by Kasie West

On the Fence She's a tomboy. He's the boy next door…

Charlie Reynolds can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn't know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at a chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world. To cope with the stress of her new reality, Charlie takes to spending nights chatting with her neighbor Braden through the fence between their yards. As she grows to depend on their nightly Fence Chats, she realizes she's got a bigger problem than speeding tickets-she's falling for Braden. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.

Fun, original, and endearing, On the Fence is a romantic comedy about finding yourself and finding love where you least expect.

My Review:

I read On the Fence all on a seven-hour car ride.  I pretty much read the entire book in one sitting, only stopping when we stopped the car to eat dinner.  I loved this story.  It was engaging with good characters.  It was mainly a cute and fluffy read, but with a few darker topics explored as well.  I love Kasie West books, and I look forward to reading more of them in the future.


I loved Charlie's character, and her growth and development throughout the book.  At the beginning, she is a complete tomboy who has no female friends.  She hangs out with her three brothers and their friend, Braden, and she plays sports with the guys.  She starts to change a bit once her dad makes her get a job to pay off a speeding ticket.  Her job is at a boutique where she has to dress nicer, and a makeup artist starts to put makeup on her for weekend demonstrations.  She becomes friends with Amber, the makeup artist, as well as with Linda, the interesting lady who owns the boutique.

The romance in this book was a slow burn that went from friendship to romance.  I loved when Charlie and Braden had their chats by the fence.  These really let them get to know each other on a deeper level.  It was clear how different they acted when they were by the fence, than during the day when they were with Charlie's brothers, and teasing each other.  The romance that developed between the two of them was very sweet.  They both had feelings for each other, but they took a while to admit it because they thought the other didn't feel the same way.  There is a little bit of a love triangle for a short period of time, but it's not really a love triangle in my opinion.  Charlie does date another guy for a little bit, but it's clear to the reader who shes actually going to end up with.

I loved how family was also a very important part of the story.  Charlie lives with her three older brothers - Nathan, Jerom, and Gage - and her dad.  Her mom died when she was younger.  Her family may be keeping secrets from her about her mom's death.  The secrets that they are hiding are the part of the story that is a bit darker.  Other than that, this is just a cute and sweet family story.  Seeing how the dad sometimes struggles with parenting a teenage girl is interesting.  He has to be there for her for stuff that typically a mom would do with a daughter, or talk about with a daughter.  It is difficult for him, but I think he does a very good job raising her.

If you like YA contemporary, read this book.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Review: In the End by Demitria Lunetta

In the End (In the After, #2) The thrilling conclusion to In the After, the survival story of Amy and Baby, set in a near future where Earth has been overrun by vicious, predatory creatures. 

It’s been three months since Amy escaped New Hope, and she’s been surviving on her own, like she did in the After. Until one day, her former fellow Guardian’s voice rings out in her earpiece. And in a desperate tone, Kay utters the four words Amy had hoped she would never hear: Dr. Reynolds has Baby.

Now it’s a race against time, for Baby is in imminent danger, her life threatened by the malevolent doctor who had helped start the end of the world. In order to save Baby, Amy must make her way to Fort Black, a prison-turned-survivor-colony, where she will need to find Ken, Kay’s brother. He alone holds the key to Baby’s survival.

One small slip-up on this quest could spark a downward spiral that would not only cost Baby and Amy their lives, but threaten the very survival of the people in the After.

My Review:

Last year, I read In the After shortly after its release, and I sped through the pages, loving it.  This year, I bought my copy of In the End the week it released, and I read it soon after that, speeding through the pages just as quickly as the first one.  I love both books in this series, and the characters and world that are explored within their pages.


This book starts by exploring another part of the After that was not seen in the first book.  This is Fort Black, another shelter for survivors.  Life in this shelter, though, is much bleaker than New Hope.  Fort Black used to be a prison, and many of the guards there now are ex-convicts.  It is especially bad there for women.  To survive, they basically have to be claimed by a man there so that they have a protector.  Amy doesn't like this, but she finds a good guy who pretends to "claim" her, but he doesn't treat her like she's his property.  There are many men in there who are sexual predators, the main one being Tank.  He had been in jail for some heinous crimes, and later you find out about something awful that he did in Fort Black during the After.

Jacks is a very sweet guy, in a place where so many of the men are awful.  He stands out from the crowd.  He cares about Amy, having no true ulterior motive for protecting her, other than that he cares about her and doesn't want her to get hurt.  He may like her as more than a friend, but he isn't going to try to force a relationship if she doesn't want one.  I like Amy and Jacks as a couple, more than Amy and Rice as a couple.  They seem to have better chemistry and care more for each other.  Amy and Rice's relationship seems like it could have easily remained a friendship.

Though Baby may not be in the story for the majority of the book, she is present in motivating Amy.  Amy cares deeply for her "sister," and she will do anything to save her, even finding another person to replace her.  Amy does many difficult things in this book for Baby.  I like the ending that we get with Amy and Baby, though I was worried for a bit that there wasn't going to be any good ending to their story.

If you like YA post-apocalyptic and sci-fi, read this book.


Friday, July 11, 2014

Review: The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

The Truth About Alice Everyone has a lot to say about Alice Franklin, and it’s stopped mattering whether it’s true. The rumors started at a party when Alice supposedly had sex with two guys in one night. When school starts everyone almost forgets about Alice until one of those guys, super-popular Brandon, dies in a car wreck that was allegedly all Alice’s fault. Now the only friend she has is a boy who may be the only other person who knows the truth, but is too afraid to admit it. Told from the perspectives of popular girl Elaine, football star Josh, former outcast Kelsie, and shy genius Kurt, we see how everyone has a motive to bring – and keep – Alice down.

My Review:

This is a very quick read, coming in at only 199 pages long, and I was able to speed through it, since it was also engaging.  This book has an important message about slut shaming, and how it is wrong, as well as showing how people's versions of the truth can vary so much.  And, of course, the only person who can truly know the truth about Alice is Alice herself.


This book alternates in POV, and we do not get to read the POV of Alice herself until the very last chapter of the book.  That chapter was so perfect, because it really showcased the pain that she had been going through because of the way everyone was treating her.  Her character is well developed.  She definitely did not do everything that she accused of through rumors, but she certainly has slept with some guys before.  That doesn't mean she deserves any of what is happening to her, though.

Kelsie is a very complicated character, and quite flawed.  She does some awful things, but she's also been through some really awful things too.  She mentions the Really Awful Thing a few times, and while I don't want to spoil what that is, it was pretty bad, and I can see why Kelsie is still struggling with the aftermath of it.  That doesn't excuse her from what she did.  She spread lies, and started a "Slut Stall," about her former best friend Alice.  Alice, who would have still been her best friend if Kelsie hadn't decided to dump her.  Kelsie is the kind of person who cares more about her popularity than about sticking with her friend and believing her instead of the rumors.  So, I cannot say that I liked Kelsie, but she was a fascinating character.

Kurt was certainly my favorite character of the entire book.  He was a sweet genius who had never really fit in with the kids at school, but he was also secretly in love with Alice.  I love how he falls for her as a person.  He never wants to be with her just because he thinks she will sleep with him.  In fact, he doesn't try to make any moves on her.  He is just there for her as a friend, which is something that she really needs.

Elaine and Josh didn't seem as dimensional.  I didn't like Josh because of some of the things he thought.  He used Alice as the scapegoat for the accident, and he seemed to think that if Alice had texted Brandon than it was obviously Alice's fault that he was distracted.  I didn't like Brandon either because he seemed like a jerk.  Elaine seemed like she was into her popularity, and she didn't really care about people's feelings like Alice.  Her relationship with Brandon seemed rather superficial as well.

If you like YA emotional contemporary, read this book.


Monday, July 7, 2014

Review: Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally

Breathe, Annie, Breathe Annie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can’t escape the guilt that if she hadn’t broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race.

But the training is even more grueling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she’s at war with her body, her mind—and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms…and sprint in the opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line.

My Review:

I loved this book.  I expected it would be amazing, since it's a Miranda Kenneally book in the Hundred Oaks series.  I'm not completely decided on this, but it may be my favorite of her books yet.  I loved the characters in this book, as well as all the cameos of the characters from the other books.  For some reason, this book came in the mail several weeks before its release date, so I got to read it early.


I loved the romance in this one.  It was such a slow burn, but with a lot of chemistry between the two characters.  I loved how it was slow burn because it really needed to be too.  After her last boyfriend's death, it wouldn't seem in character of Annie to rush into a relationship with someone new.  The doubts she had about a relationship with Jeremiah made so much sense for someone in her situation.  She doesn't want to care about Jeremiah and lose him because he takes so many risks.  Of course, when she trying to convince him not to take these risks, she already cares about him, so it's already too late.  I could tell that she was totally falling for him.

The running stuff in the book was very interesting.  I was so impressed by how much Annie was able to run, and her struggles that she faced with it were so relateable.  Of course, she's struggling to make it through many miles, while I struggle to make it through one mile without having trouble breathing.  But the issues that she had running many miles were ones that I could see myself having if I actually tried to do that.  I was so impressed that she did the half marathon and the marathon.  Also, there was a color run in this book, and I had just been to a local color run a few days before starting this book, so that was a funny coincidence.

I loved how the characters went to college before the end of the book.  That means that we got to see a bit of college and dorm life in the book, which isn't something that is very typical for young adult novels.  I liked how Annie roomed with Vanessa, since I liked her character in Racing Savannah.  There are so many cameos in these books.  Jordan from Catching Jordan is now a coach at Annie's school, so she had two small cameos.  Matt from Things I Can't Forget is Jeremiah's brother, and Annie's running coach.

If you like YA contemporary and Miranda Kenneally books, read this book.


Friday, July 4, 2014

Review: Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

Everything Leads to You A love letter to the craft and romance of film and fate in front of—and behind—the camera from the award-winning author of Hold Still.
A wunderkind young set designer, Emi has already started to find her way in the competitive Hollywood film world.
Emi is a film buff and a true romantic, but her real-life relationships are a mess. She has desperately gone back to the same girl too many times to mention. But then a mysterious letter from a silver screen legend leads Emi to Ava. Ava is unlike anyone Emi has ever met. She has a tumultuous, not-so-glamorous past, and lives an unconventional life. She’s enigmatic…. She’s beautiful. And she is about to expand Emi’s understanding of family, acceptance, and true romance.

My Review:

This was a wonderful story with a good romance, characters, and plot.  I found myself wrapped up in this story and unable to put it down.


The romance in this book is a perfectly done, slow burn.  Emi has gone through her on-again, off-again girlfriend breaking up with her for the sixth time.  She wants to be able to move on from her, but at the same time, she sometimes just wants to get back together with her again.  That is, until she starts falling for someone else.  She meets Ava, the granddaughter of a dead film star, who never knew he was her grandfather.  Emi meets her when she's investigating a bit of a mystery, but then she begins to fall for her.  There is a lot of build-up to the final scene.  As a reader, I had a feeling the whole time that Emi and Ava would end up together, so it was more about the journey to that point.

There was also a friendship in this book between Emi and a girl named Charlotte.   Charlotte encourages Emi to not get back together with Morgan, her ex, because she cares about Emi and doesn't want her to get hurt again.  She is always there for Emi when Emi needs her.  They see each other a lot since they both have careers in the movie industry, and they are both living in Emi's brother's apartment.  She is there to help Emi through everything, including her developing feelings for Ava.

Emi's family is in this story for part of it, though she doesn't live with them.  They are very caring to her, and they are welcoming to her friends.  There is a lot about Ava's family in this book as well.  She never knew her biological mother or grandfather, and her life would have been quite different if she had known that Clyde Jones was her grandfather.  She has plenty of issues with her adopted mother, who was her mother's best friend.  She doesn't always treat Ava well, and there is a scene in the book where we see her being a total jerk to her daughter.

If you like YA contemporary, read this book.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July Releases I'm Most Excited For

July 1st:
On the Fence by Kasie West - The premise of this book sounds awesome, but the main reason I'm excited for it is because it's by Kasie West.  I have read three Kasie West books so far, and I love all of them.

On the Fence

July 15th:
Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally - I've loved all the Miranda Kenneally that I've read so far, and this book looks just as awesome as the rest of them.  I love this cover, too, though it's different than the covers of her other books.

 Breathe, Annie, Breathe

July 22nd:
Extraction by Stephanie Diaz - This sounds like it will be an interesting sci-fi story.  That cover is pretty awesome, too.

Extraction (Extraction, #1)

July 29th:
Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead - I look forward to reading the next book in the Bloodlines series, and I hope for more Sydney-Adrian romance.

Silver Shadows (Bloodlines, #5)