Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Top 16 Books I Want that Are Releasing in 2016

This list is about the 2016 releases that I am most excited to get my hands on.  They are in no particular order.

1. This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp - This book sounds like it will be really good and powerful.

2. The Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin - This book sounds really interesting and different from any other book that I've read before.

3. The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter - This sounds like it will be a really good emotional read that deals with real mental health issues.

4.  The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie - This sounds like a really interesting book, even if it isn't really in my usual genre that much.

5. Run by Kody Keplinger - I'm excited to get to read another book by Kody Keplinger, and this one sounds really good.

6.  Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes - This looks like a cute and fun read and Paula Stokes wrote it, so I'm sure I will like it.

7. Suffer Love by Ashley Herring Blake - I have heard so many good things about this book, and I cannot wait to get a copy for myself.  It sounds like it will really deal with some serious family issues.

8. The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner - This sounds like a good and powerful read.  I have heard that it made several early readers cry, so I am excited for that, even though I don't usually cry while reading books.

9.  How It Ends by Catherine Lo - This sounds like it will be an important story about friendship.  I've heard some good things about it.

10.  The Girl Who Fell by Shannon Parker - This sounds like it will be dark, and it deals with the important topic of abusive relationships.  I am excited to get to read it.

11.  Summer of Sloane by Erin Schneider - This book sounds like it will be a great summer read.  Plus, I really love the cover and its color scheme.

12.  Look Both Ways by Alison Cherry - I have read one book, For Real, by Alison Cherry, and it was cute and fun, and I'm hoping this one will be good too.  It looks like the kind of book that I would like.

13.  The Year We Fell Apart by Emily Martin - This sounds like it will be really good and deal with real life issues that people face.  I've heard that the characters are flawed and real too.

14.  When We Collided by Emery Lord - Emery Lord wrote this book so I will be reading it.  I have loved her first two books and she is an autobuy author for me.  I can't wait to preorder my hardcover copy of this book.

15.  The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith - This sounds like a great and powerful story about how a rape affects a girl, which is an important topic.

16.  A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro - This sounds like it will be a great mystery with interesting connections to the Sherlock Holmes stories.


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

ARC Review: Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Firsts Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward, fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time- the kind Mercedes never had herself.

Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy- so far. Her absentee mother isn’t home nearly enough to know about Mercedes’ extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won’t even say the word “sex” until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn’t bank on Angela’s boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn- or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.

When Mercedes’ perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her reputation and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, FIRSTS is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.

My Review: 4 Stars

I received this book as an ARC in exchange for an honest review.  I really liked this book, even if the characters weren't all the typically "likable" characters.  I liked how this book could make me root for characters that I probably wouldn't even like if I encountered them in real life.  Because of this, of course, it will make me think more about how I view those people in real life as well.

Mercedes was not a character that I would expect to like.  I disagreed with much of what she did in this book.  And yet, I rooted for her character, and wanted her to be happy.  I wanted her to have a better home life, instead of having her mother who didn't really care about her.  I wanted her to realize that this thing with the virgins was going to end up hurting her instead.  And I wanted her to open herself up more to relationships that could be good for her, with people who really cared about her.

I really enjoyed watching her relationships with Zach and Faye.  Zach was originally her "Wednesday friend," which basically meant they hooked up on Wednesdays.  It was pretty clear from the beginning that he wanted more than that, but she was afraid to get too close to him emotionally.  I liked to see the progression of their relationship.  Of course, it wasn't easy, since he didn't even know about her thing with the virgins, but I loved how he was a genuinely great and supportive guy, and how he stuck by her when most others didn't, even when he might have reason to be upset.  Faye was the new girl to school who quickly became good friends with Mercedes.  I liked this friendship and how great Faye was to her through everything that happened in the book.

If you like YA contemporary, read this book.


Sunday, December 27, 2015

Review: Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa

Fans of the Impossible Life Ten months after her recurring depression landed her in the hospital, Mira is starting over at Saint Francis Prep. She promised her parents she would at least try to pretend that she could act like a functioning human this time, not a girl who can’t get out of bed for days on end, who only feels awake when she’s with Sebby.

Jeremy is the painfully shy art nerd at Saint Francis who’s been in self-imposed isolation after an incident that ruined his last year of school. When he sees Sebby for the first time across the school lawn, it’s as if he’s been expecting him.

Sebby, Mira’s gay best friend, is a boy who seems to carry sunlight around with him like a backlit halo. Even as life in his foster home starts to take its toll, Sebby and Mira together craft a world of magic rituals and impromptu road trips, designed to fix the broken parts of their lives.

As Jeremy finds himself drawn into Sebby and Mira’s world, he begins to understand the secrets that they hide in order to protect themselves, to keep each other safe from those who don’t understand their quest to live for the impossible.

A captivating and profound debut novel, Fans of the Impossible Life is a story about complicated love and the friendships that change you forever.

My Review: 4 Stars

This was a book that was very interesting and a quick read.  I was able to get invested in the characters pretty quickly, and I wanted everything in their lives to work out for them, though sometimes it seemed like that was a difficult thing to hope for, since they all had a lot of struggles.

Mira started at a new school in the beginning of the book after spending time in a hospital for depression and chronic fatigue.  She was into shopping at thrift stores and designing some of her own clothes.  I had trouble liking her family, since it seemed like they always treated her as the problem child.  She may not have been as perfect as her older sister who studied at Harvard, but she had her own strengths, and she didn't deserve that treatment from her parents.  Her older sister, Julie, was also rather condescending and hurtful to her.

Sebby, Mira's best friend, was a gay boy in foster care.  He had a really tough life, though I think at least some of it was his own doing.  He chose not to go to school at all, though he did go to school before a bullying incident that landed him in the hospital.  He did not really get along well with his foster mom.  I wasn't entirely happy with the conclusion that was given to him in the book, since it didn't seem too happy, after all he'd been through.

Jeremy was a nice, shy boy with two dads who was also gay.  I really loved his character because he was just such a good guy, who had been through some tough things.  But his dads loved him.  He definitely had the best family and home life out of the three characters.  I liked seeing him get swept up in the world of Sebby and Mira.

Peter was a teacher in the book.  I struggled with his actions.  I feel like he really cared about the students, yet he also seemed to cross boundaries, by letting them into his home and things like that.  I ultimately don't think he really did anything that was that wrong, though.

If you like YA contemporary, read this book.