Tag Archives: ARC

ARC August 2014: I’m participating!

I made a promise to myself (just a couple weeks ago, actually… What planning ahead, right?) that I would catch up on some ARCs and SOON. I’ve had a stack of them growing, especially after BEA 2014 (which always brings a LOAD of September ARCs) and I really wanted to catch up on quite a few before their actual pub dates roll around since I seem to be having issues with that recently. (I do what I can to read before the pub date but I just read so many other things too!)

I decided the last couple of weeks of July and all throughout August, I wanted to start catching up on my ARCs — some pre-pub ARCs (Augus & September mostly) but also ones that I still need to read after being approved on NetGalley and Edelweiss (probably with more focus on NG since I seem to read more EW books for some reason)… When I heard/remembered about ARC AUGUST, that seemed like the perfect opportunity to officially commit to this plan! A big thanks to Octavia for hosting this and I’m really looking forward to kick off here soon!

GOALS

Hmmm. Well, I don’t want to say “THESE ARE THE BOOKS I WILL READ” because we all know I’m a mood reader and that won’t happen. What I WILL do is post some books from my lists that I really need to and want to read SOON and these will be the ARCs I’m focusing on!

AUGUST ARCs:

  • A LITLE SOMETHING DIFFERENT by Sandy Hall
  • MORTAL DANGER by Ann Aguirre (have heard some not good stuff about this so do I still read it?)
  • SIX FEET OVER IT by Jennifer Longo
  • VIRGIN by Radhika Sanghani
  • BLIND by Rachel DeWoskin

SEPTEMBER ARCs:

  • I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN by Jandy Nelson
  • EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN by Lindsey Lane
  • TRIAL BY FIRE by Josephine Angelini
  • FALLING INTO PLACE by Amy Zhang
  • ROOMS by Lauren Oliver
  • THE JEWEL by Amy Ewing
  • BELZHAR by Meg Wolitzer
  • SALT AND STORM by Kendall Kuper
  • WINTERSPELL by Claire LeGrand
  • FIREBUG by Lish McBride

OOPS I AM ALREADY BEHIND:

  • DISSONANCE by Erika O’Rourke (July)
  • THE HALF LIFE OF MOLLY PIERCE by Katrina Leno (July)
  • THE VANISHING SEASON by Jodi Lynn Anderson (July)
  • JUST LIKE THE MOVIES by Kelly Fiore (July)
  • 17 FIRST KISSES by Rachel Allen (June)
  • THE QUEEN OF THE TEARLING by Erika Johansen (June)
  • BEHIND THE SCENES by Dahlia Adler (June)
  • MY BEST FRIEND, MAYBE by Caela Carter (June)
  • THE THINGS YOU KISS GOODBYE by Leslie Carter (June)
  • COIN HEIST by Elisa Ludwig (June)
  • THE SECRETS OF LILY GRAVES by Sarah Strohmeyer (May)
  • REBEL by Amy Tintera (May)
  • BUZZKILL by Beth Fantasky (May)

So there you have it! That’s my reading list for August, more or less. I’m hoping to make it to at least… at LEAST six. Upwards to about 10? I’ve been averaging 8-12 books a month lately but that’s also including audiobooks which I won’t have for any of these so six may even be the max. Hopefully I’ll knock quite a few out in August!

Thanks again to Octavia for hosting! See you in August!

Love Letters to the Dead – Ava Dellaira

Love Letters to the Dead – Ava DellairaTitle: Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
Publishing Info: April 1, 2014 by Macmillan
Genres: Contemporary, Psych/Mental Health, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: March 6, 2014

    It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May did. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to people like Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Heath Ledger, and more -- though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating new friendships, falling in love for the first time, learning to live with her splintering family. And, finally, about the abuse she suffered while May was supposed to be looking out for her. Only then, once Laurel has written down the truth about what happened to herself, can she truly begin to accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was -- lovely and amazing and deeply flawed -- can she begin to discover her own path in this stunning debut from Ava Dellaira, Love Letters to the Dead.

bookreview1LOVE LETTERS TO THE DEAD is definitely a unique book, and one of the most original I’ve read so far this year. The book is comprised of letters to celebrities that have since passed, written by the main character Laurel. The titular letters are originally an assignment for class, but the more Laurel writes and the more she shares with these ghosts of celebrities past, the more she finally opens up about everything that’s happened in her recent past and the feelings that she hasn’t been able to share with anyone, especially since her sister’s death.

Admittedly, I had a hard time with the beginning of this book. I knew that it was made up entirely of letters and yet I still had a hard time getting into the swing of the narration. Each letter (which essentially made up a chapter) was dedicated to a different person and that person had a life or an experience that directly related to what Laurel was going through at the moment. I really liked the connections and how the deceased famous person involved really brought the story together, but at times, I felt like the personal life of the celebrity was a little too detailed for my tastes. I did learn a lot about their lives and things I didn’t know before, but at the same time, it sort of took me out of Laurel’s story and put me into someone else’s when I was anxious to make more of a connection with Laurel and her life and not a celebrity that I could easily research if I had the interest.

Aside from the involvement of the lives of the once rich and famous, I just wasn’t making a connection with Laurel for a decent portion of the first part of the book. Laurel had been having an extremely difficult time with her sister’s death and rightfully so, but the ways in which she was dealing with it just kind of turned me off. Unable to remain at the same school, Laurel lives with her aunt part-time so she’s able to attend a different high school and try not to live in the shadow of her older and more charismatic sister. In a new place, Laurel makes new friends and tries new things and many of those veered toward a more cavalier and rebellious-teen lifestyle. I mean, I understand. Laurel does not have an easy life and she’s also feeling not only grief but guilt from her sister’s recent death. I understand that she may be handling that different than I would handle it and I have no issues with that but reading about the decisions that Laurel made edged on uncomfortable and made it very hard for me to connect to Laurel as well.
I apologize for the lack of eloquence here, but it was just more of a feeling as I was reading that caused a big disconnect for me during the first half of the book and it’s hard to put into words. It wasn’t something that I necessarily “frowned upon” but just a series of subject matters that aren’t usually something I connect with or thoroughly enjoy reading about. Maybe it’s the fact that I was trying to feel for Laurel who was just trying to shut off her feelings and shut out her past and that made it painful to read, causing me to feel uncomfortable. Laurel has gone through quite a bit in her life that has led her to where she is at the time of the book and it’s been a more traumatic road than we initially realize.

That being said, the second half of the book did start to come together a little bit more for me. Yes, there was a romance involved, but that wasn’t the reason why. The romance, I think, helped Laurel feel the need to open up to someone else. She finally wanted to connect with someone and finally found her voice with Sky, the attractive and mysterious boy who she finds a connection to in more ways than one. Mostly, I was incredibly curious to find out exactly how May died because the reader is in the dark most of the book since we only get to see what Laurel is willing to divulge. My issue with things that are left intentionally mysterious in contemporary stories is that I find myself “hurrying” to find out what the big reveal is. LOVE LETTERS TO THE DEAD takes on a much slower pace so with a question rattling around inside of my head, I had a hard time focusing on what I should have been reading and anxious to find out exactly what happened. I don’t mean that in a negative way — it was more of a personal issue and I just know that’s what happens when I encounter situations like those.

All said and done, I easily see the appeal and glory of LOVE LETTERS TO THE DEAD but I just had a hard time connecting with it. I feel like my review pointed out so many negatives but the positives were so subtle and the more I reflect on the book, the more I have trouble remembering what they were. The second half of the book took off for me and I think all of the answers to my burning questions helped, but overall, I may not have been the ideal audience for the book. I’ve also read books with a similar feel (see recommendations below) and have been totally amazed and not disconnected like I was with this one, so take that as you will. There was just an ineffable something that I didn’t feel when reading this book and I wish I could have fallen in love with it.

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“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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I’ve decided to work my character section a bit differently for this review. I had so much to say in the general review section that I wanted to talk about the characters completely separately.

Hannah & Natalie // Relation to Laurel: New friends.
Hannah and Natalie are Laurel’s first friends at her new school. They have a fairly important plot that run along side Laurel’s and really open Laurel’s eyes to things outside of her world and also that connect into her personal experiences. At first I wasn’t convinced of their friendship with Laurel. I actually didn’t like either girl very much (not dislike, but more indifferent) and towards the end of the book, I grew to really appreciate the fact that these girls all had each other and all of the things they had taught each other as well. Their story line deals a lot with acceptance, honesty, and not letting other people stand in the way of what makes you happy and that was really eye-opening for me. (Special nod to Estelle’s review because I almost forgot to include these two girls in my review somehow!)
Sky // Relation to Laurel: New crush.
What I really liked about Sky’s role in the book was that yes, he was the love interest and we got to see Laurel fall in love, but just her relationship with him taught her how to open up, how to trust, and how to love herself again. She needed to find out how to BE loved again and be appreciated and for me, it really wasn’t even the fact that there WAS a romance but exactly all of the things that Laurel learned from it. Honestly? I barely remember any details about Sky himself. I remember the big, bold points and that’s about it so to me, that says that yes, he was a big forgettable in the sense that it wasn’t a new book boyfriend for me, but that he still played a really important role in the story and the book could not possibly have been the same without him.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Epistolary formats. Granted, I DID have a hard time with the letters at times, but I really like the unique story-telling format and the feeling that it brings to the book. I always like to try to read different formats and ways of narrating so it was definitely interesting to pick up something told entirely in letters!
Left Me Wanting More: Dialogue. On the other hand, the epistolary format does take away a lot of opportunities for dialogue. We were so inside of Laurel’s head and had a larger inner-monologue since in a letter format, it’s really hearing things second-hand than as they’re occurring. I really enjoy dialogue and it makes me feel more involved in the action so that was something that I did wish there was more of.

Addiction Rating
Try it

I felt a range of emotions and reactions as I was reading LOVE LETTERS TO THE DEAD. I had some minor issues and though those issues weren’t large, they did last through the majority of the book for me. Then again, these were all really more personal issues than feeling like I had issues with the writing. I guess like any book, it will appeal to some and others won’t connect with it but it’s definitely worth the try to see if you fall in love with it!

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BOOKS LIKE LOVE LETTERS TO THE DEAD

(Click the cover to see my review!)

        The Sky is Everywhere       The Beginning of Everything

Better Off Friends – Elizabeth Eulberg

Better Off Friends – Elizabeth EulbergTitle: Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg
Publishing Info: February 25, 2014 by Scholastic Inc.
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: February 5, 2014
Related Posts: Revenge of the Girl With the Great Personality, The Lonely Hearts Club

For Macallan and Levi, it was friends at first sight. Everyone says guys and girls can't be just friends, but these two are. They hang out after school, share tons of inside jokes, their families are super close, and Levi even starts dating one of Macallan's friends. They are platonic and happy that way. Eventually they realize they're best friends -- which wouldn't be so bad if they didn't keep getting in each other's way. Guys won't ask Macallan out because they think she's with Levi, and Levi spends too much time joking around with Macallan, and maybe not enough time with his date. They can't help but wonder . . . are they more than friends or are they better off without making it even more complicated? From romantic comedy superstar Elizabeth Eulberg comes a fresh, fun examination of a question for the ages: Can guys and girls ever really be just friends? Or are they always one fight away from not speaking again -- and one kiss away from true love?

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BETTER OFF FRIENDS was just plain adorable. I’ve only read one other Eulberg book before, Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality, so I was confident I’d love her writing style for this book as well and I certainly was not let down! Like REVENGE, BETTER OFF FRIENDS really displayed a great strength in friendships which with so many books focusing on romance (not that I have a problem with that), really good friendships, especially those between a male and a female character, tend to get lost in the background.

BETTER OFF FRIENDS is geared as a YA “When Harry Met Sally”. Well clearly I need to see this movie now. (I KNOW, I KNOW, I’ve seen a lot of 80s movies throughout my childhood and my life and yet I still have so many to cover. Gimme a break, I was three years old when the 90s took over!) It’s no secret though that I LOVE best friend to boyfriend romances because there’s just such a great foundation of friendship and it’s SUCH a big step to decide to switch from friends to something more. Seriously. All the goosebumps for any romance like this.

One thing I really loved that I was actually surprised by was how much of a time period this book covered. The book kicks off in junior high, actually, when Macallan and Levi first meet after Levi moves to Wisconsin from California. I feel like I could have easily been hesitant that the book spent so much time while the two main characters were in junior high had I known it beforehand but A) I do love going into book blind and it really does work in my favor more often than not and B) I think it was absolutely perfect because the reader really gets to see their relationship from the beginning. I always appreciate seeing things chronologically, especially for contemporary books because sometimes flashbacks can get tiring or confusing. I had zero issues with starting things off in junior high and working forward to high school/”present day”. It’s also great because that really opens up the book to a younger age range as well. BETTER OFF FRIENDS is cute, clean, and fun so it can really appeal to a young audience as well as the older crowd. (I don’t know what I mean by old. Older teens? Adults? Clearly, since I loved it!)

I also really, really loved the dual narration in the book. I think it’s important to see things from both Macallan and Levi’s sides as the events in the book are playing out. It’s more exciting, more heart-breaking, and more interesting to really get both sides of the story and I felt like I connected with both characters equally instead of ending up on one side or the other. Especially with friendships possibly turning into romances, I think seeing both sides is vital because there are so many missed clues, misunderstandings, and potential arguments that the reader needs to see from each point of view so neither character gets thrown under the bus or ends up as the “bad guy”. I also loved how there were breaks in between chapters where Macallan and Levi took on more of a narrative role, interjecting their feelings and looking back on the events that had just happened in the chapters. It made me feel like these two were actual real people and they just couldn’t help but throw in their thoughts about how things were back then and make sure the audience is seeing the story straight. I actually have never seen that in a book before so it was really enjoyable and definitely an interesting change up!

BETTER OFF FRIENDS was adorable and so enjoyable. I think part of the reason why I loved it so much is that I easily related — and even if you hadn’t ended up having feelings for your best friend, I’m sure there’s been a situation that most of us have been in a where feelings complicated a friendship, whether it be from the guy’s side or the girl’s side. Another thing that really piqued my interest was that I legitimately didn’t know how it was going to end. Would Macallan and Levi end up in a relationship? Or did they finally decide that they really were better off friends? So how does it end? You’ll just have to read the book to find out!

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Macallan // Character Obsessions: Family, school, Buggy & Floyd, sarcasm.
I saw a lot of myself in Macallan. She seemed like a typical girl next-door that also has her own personal issues and past. I loved her attitude and how she handled situations with her friends… I feel like that was a lot of me when I was growing up so I really related to her a LOT.
Levi // Character Obsessions: Running, family, Buggy & Floyd, girls.
I loved Levi. Aren’t all Levis just adorable? I seriously think I’ve loved every single one I’ve met in a book so far. Anyway… I absolutely wanted to be best friends with him and let’s face it — Macallan never stood a chance. He’s definitely the kind of best friend you could totally fall for. (I did.)

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Kept Me Hooked On: Friendships turned relationships. LOVE THEM. I love when characters start off as friends and start to fall for each other. For some reason it just feels so much more special to me. I think I just feel the butterflies so much more because there’s so much more at stake when you start to fall for your best friend. They already know so much about you too, so there is no getting-to-know-you stage… Just getting to know you more intimately and that can be scary! I seriously just wanted to smoosh Macallan and Levi together and make them kiss.
Left Me Wanting More: Setting. This book was set in suburban Wisconsin so I was trying to LOOK INTO the book to find places I knew haha! My sister lives in a suburb of Milwaukee so it was easy for me to picture the setting but I love when I see exact places and I can picture myself there. There were still plenty of fun, local references but you know I just love seeing more!

Addiction Rating
Buy it!

BETTER OFF FRIENDS was adorable. Perfect for so many ages and just plain fun and cute. I love stories that just make me giddy and give me butterflies and this sure was one of them! I loved everything about it.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE BETTER OFF FRIENDS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

        Ask Again Later           Nantucket Blue

Unforgotten (Unremembered #2) – Jessica Brody

Unforgotten (Unremembered #2) – Jessica BrodyTitle: Unforgotten (Unremembered #2) by Jessica Brody
Publishing Info: February 25, 2014 by Macmillan
Source: ARC
Genres: Science Fiction, Time Travel, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: January 21, 2014
Related Posts: Unremembered (Unremembered #1), A Week of Mondays

After a daring escape from the scientists at Diotech who created her, Seraphina believes she is finally safe from the horrors of her past. But new threats await Sera and her boyfriend, Zen, at every turn as Zen falls prey to a mysterious illness and Sera’s extraordinary abilities make it more and more difficult to stay hidden. Meanwhile, Diotech has developed a dangerous new weapon designed to apprehend her. A weapon that even Sera will be powerless to stop. Her only hope of saving Zen’s life and defeating the company that made her is a secret buried deep within her mind. A secret that Diotech will kill to protect. And it won’t stay forgotten for long.
    Packed with mystery, suspense, and romance, this riveting second installment of Jessica Brody’s Unremembered trilogy delivers more heart-pounding action as loyalties are tested, love becomes a weapon, and no one’s memories are safe.

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** Warning: There WILL be spoilers for BOOK ONE, UNREMEMBERED so just be aware that in my review for book two, I can’t NOT talk about what happened in the first book! **

UNFORGOTTEN was absolutely thrilling and definitely a wild ride. Whereas there were tiny things in UNREMEMBERED that I didn’t quite jive with, I really fell into UNFORGOTTEN and finished it within two days which is a pretty quick pace considering it’s a 400+ page book! I really got sucked into the action and with UNFORGOTTEN being much more action-packed and fast-paced, I really couldn’t put it down!

UNREMEMBERED left us with the interesting twist in the plot and one of my favorite things about science-fiction: TIME TRAVEL. In UNFORGOTTEN, we got to see so much more of that, figure out exactly how the time travel system and mechanisms worked, and what it meant for Seraphina, Zen, and also some more minor characters as well. It actually plays a really big role in the book which I wasn’t expecting so that was a pleasant surprise!

I actually loved the set-up in the beginning. The book starts in a totally different place (and time!) but I felt like the set-up was important to sort of slow everything down from where book one left off and set everything up for book two. We got to see more character development in both Sera and Zen and really see their characters interact which was hard to do in UNREMEMBERED at times since there was a lot at stake, there were a couple of action-packed moments in which the focus was on movement and not character development, and Seraphina was still getting to know a lot about herself as well. I really felt the chemistry a lot more in UNFORGOTTEN and I was really glad to see that connection not only made but also strengthened.

There were a couple of new characters introduced and I don’t want to say too much about them because it’s quite exciting to discover them yourself, but I really loved their involvement in the plot and how calculating Sera was about them. It’s become so hard for her to trust people with Diotech always dogging her steps and I just loved the uncertainty of who the readers can trust and who they can’t. There’s never quite a clear answer until something major happens and it’s really quite exciting!

OH OH also!!! There’s another character from UNREMEMBERED who makes an appearance (and I also don’t want to say who it is although you might already know or be able to guess) but I was really excited to see their involvement in the plot and really how different that person had become. I always love seeing characters from previous books return in future books, especially if I’m not expecting it. I just love how plots tie in like that and it really makes the book feel like all the pieces are falling perfectly into place.

UNFORGOTTEN was extremely exciting and I think I enjoyed it more than UNREMEMBERED having a concrete idea of where the series was going. There were definitely a few surprises, some good plot twists, and really solid foundation of what the series is all about. This was a really great sequel and I think fans of this trilogy will really enjoy it!

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Seraphina // Character Obsessions: Ditching Diotech, time travel, saving Zen.
Whereas I was hesitant about Sera in book one, I really started to like her a lot in UNFORGOTTEN. She’s finally starting to fill in the missing pieces and there’s even a sort of jab at her former-self and how spacy she had seemed in UNREMEMBERED!
Zen // Character Obsessions: Helping Sera, thwarting Diotech, surviving.
I really appreciated seeing a lot more of Zen in this book! The beginning of the book really sold me on him and let me find out more about him as well as establishing more chemistry with Sera.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Time Travel. I just love time travel. I was so surprised to see how big of a role it really played in this book and seems like it will play in the entire series!
Left Me Wanting More: Hmmm… I can’t quite put my finger on it. This was another one of those books where I really enjoyed it but there was just a tiny bit of SOMETHING missing. I thought it was exciting and action-packed, I appreciated more character development and romance, even more shocking moments! But there was just a tiny bit of something that didn’t shoot it up to five stars for me.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

Fans of this series will appreciate a lot in UNFORGOTTEN! I’m excited to hear the reactions and see what everyone else thinks about this thrilling sequel!

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(Click the cover to see my review!)

        Crewel          The Adoration of Jenna Fox

The Break-Up Artist – Philip Siegel

The Break-Up Artist – Philip SiegelTitle: The Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel
Publishing Info: April 29, 2014 by Harlequin
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: November 23, 2013

    Some sixteen-year-olds babysit for extra cash.
    Some work at the mall.
    Becca Williamson breaks up couples.
    Becca knows from experience the damage that love can do. After all, it was so-called love that turned Huxley from her childhood best friend into a social-world dictator, and love that left Becca's older sister devastated at the altar. Instead of sitting on the sidelines, Becca strikes back—for just one hundred dollars via PayPal, she will trick and manipulate any couple's relationship into smithereens. And with relationship zombies overrunning her school and treating single girls as if they're second-class citizens, business is unfortunately booming. Even Becca's best friend, Val, has resorted to outright lies to snag a boyfriend.
    One night, Becca receives a mysterious offer to break up the most popular couple in school: Huxley and raw football team's star player, Steve. To succeed, she'll have to plan her most elaborate scheme to date—starting rumors, sabotaging cell phones, breaking into cars...not to mention sneaking back into Huxley's good graces. All while fending off the inappropriate feelings she may or may not be having for Val's new boyfriend.
    No one said being the Break-Up Artist would be easy.

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Firstly, I need to thank author Philip Siegel for the opportunity to read THE BREAK-UP ARTIST in advance! When I first read up on the title, I knew this was going to be an incredibly fun read and I certainly wasn’t disappointed in that expectation!

I think THE BREAK-UP ARTIST is a great story that touches on several different aspects of the average teenager’s life (okay, and adults too) such as friendships, romances, and balancing the two. Becca, also known as “The Break-Up Artist” is making her living by breaking up couples at her high school, but ONLY by hire. Most of her clients are girls who have lost their best friends because they got a boyfriend and Becca’s totally on their side. Her sister Diane was left on her wedding day and a year later, she’s still picking up the pieces. This book was such a perfect fit for me because even though I’m happy engaged now and planning my wedding, in high school I was all too-often “that girl” who got left behind because of a boyfriend or a crush.

Becca was kind of my girl. She’s funny, witty, and she knows what it’s like to be ditched because your best friend found a guy. She used to be BFFs with Huxley until she started dating the most popular guy in school, and instead of taking Becca with her on her path to popularity, she ditched her like they had never been friends in the first place. When Becca gets a request to break up Huxley and her boyfriend, she hesitates, knowing that they once had a real friendship, but when she ultimately accepts, the plot thickens. Now I can’t say I would ever do the same to my former-best friend, but Becca has a business and she really believes that even though breaking up couples sounds horrible, she’s really doing it for the right reasons.

I also really like that Philip Siegel incorporated the story of Diane, Becca’s older sister. We could have just had her story appear, find out she was left on her wedding day, and let that be a driving force but never developed, but I really liked that we got to see many different sides of Diane’s story and how that helps Becca. Becca always looked up to her older sister and she often goes to her for advice since Diane is the only person who knows that Becca is The Break-Up Artist. I always love sister relationships and the one between Becca and Diane really propels this story forward and keeps it moving.

I also really loved the many examples of how girls balance relationships and friendships. Some of them actually handled it well but most of the characters get blinded by their boyfriends and from my personal experience, I think that’s easy to do, even as an adult. It’s not so much more noticeable as an adult because that’s the time for settling down. You’re supposed to spend the majority of your time with your significant other, get married, move in, etc. But in high school, it’s much more noticeable when you find you’re hanging out with your friends less and less because of guys. Becca even has to go through this first-hand and then, well, I don’t want to spoil things, but her life gets much more complicated and she finds herself in situations she never thought she would be in.

THE BREAK-UP ARTIST was definitely a fun read and something that I really related with as well. I was the girl without a boyfriend in high school so I really related to Becca and how hard those situations could be sometimes. I think readers will have a lot of fun with this one and really enjoy it!

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Becca // Character Obsessions: Breaking up couples, helping her sister, not losing any more friends.
Becca already lost one best friend to a boyfriend so she’s determined not to let it happen to anyone else. She has a really tough job as The Break-Up Artist but she knows that what she’s doing is for the best of everyone’s interests. I really loved her sense of humor and was so happy to see it! I also loved how she wasn’t flawless. When things get complicated with her friend Val, Becca doesn’t always make the right decisions but I love how friendships DO end up prevailing in this book.
Huxley // Character Obsessions: SDA, her boyfriend Steve, popularity.
Some of the scenes with Huxley ACTUALLY reminded me of Mean Girls and I was laughing out loud! (“You can’t sit with us!”) Huxley was actually a really interesting character and the further we got into her relationship as Becca is trying to break it up, the more we learn about Becca and Huxley’s old friendship and the more we begin to see the pieces of what once was. I like that she had some layers to her character and that she wasn’t totally one-sided!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Realistic high school. Okay, so most high schools have nothing like a break-up artist, but I really liked seeing the realistic friendships and relationships play out. Not all of them are like that, but these are ones where you can see when they need to be exaggerated, they definitely have roots in reality. All too-often I felt like Becca and I really appreciated the situations she went through.
Left Me Wanting More: You know what… I really don’t know. I enjoyed the book and I can’t really say I was missing anything! I had a really great time reading it and I felt like it covered a lot of big issues and had some really great and natural character development. Right on, Philip Siegel!

Addiction Rating
Read & Recommend It!

This is definitely one I would recommend if you’re looking for a fun and still realistic contemporary. Keep an eye out for THE BREAK-UP ARTIST coming out in April 2014!!! I think readers will really enjoy it.

book_recommendations1(Click the cover to see my review!)

          Confessions   Nantucket Blue

The Bookcase Spectacular Giveaway!

GUYS. You may or may not have seen but I got new bookcases. And not just any bookcases — real deal, solid wood, BUILT-IN CUSTOM BOOKCASES. THEY TAKE UP THE WHOLE WALL. This alone deserves a celebration. I’ve had quite a few books that I’ve been meaning to giveaway so I thought this was the perfect occasion to do so!

Shane’s friend Ryan from RPM Custom Homes built the bookcase and he did such a FANTASTIC job!

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Empty Bookcase

FULL OF BOOKS!

FULL OF BOOKS!

Before we get to the giveaway, I’m going to show you guys these beautiful babies and show you how I organize my shelves… And believe me. It’s crazy.

AdultsideFirst up, we’ve got the “Adult Side”. My bookcase is made up of MOSTLY YA, but I still have mounds and mounds of cozy mystery mass market paperbacks that I stocked up on back when I was… you know, actually reading cozy mysteries. Some are series, some are only the first in the series, some are series I haven’t even started yet… Then we’ve got the In Death series by J.D. Robb which I think I’ve made it nine books in? And the ones I own are the ones I still need to read. (I sold the ones I did read back to the used bookstore.)
Then I have a shelf full of ALL my Janet Evanovich books since I’m a big Stephanie Plum fan! I’ve got the whole series in PB (ONLY in PB) and some of her other books too, which I have yet to read.
Then I have the super sad shelf full of the rest of my adult books… Some from BEA, some previously purchased but… There’s not much there haha! YA has truly taken over.
LeftSideYANext up, from left to right, is my YA collection! On the top is my FAVORITE series (actually, there are some adult books there on the top left… Heather Wells, The Spellman Files, and then the various other adult books I couldn’t fit on the left hand side) and then my YA favs on the top right!
The next shelf down are the YA sci-fi/paranormal/dystopian hardcovers I’ve read (most of which are signed), then my FAV SERIES EVER (again, most of which are signed. Not CInder & Scarlet yet). Then we go to TBRs/hardcover a shelf down and then my TBRs paperback a shelf down from that!
Think I’m going overboard with the organization…?

YArightsideNext up is the other side… More of my favorite series (for some reason I needed to keep the vampire books together even though it made shelving more complicated), down from there are my contemporary reads (which apparently seem to be REALLY lacking!), and then a shelf full of nice decorations 🙂
Then I’ve got my ARC side! Older ARCs that I’ve gotten from other people, YA Book Exchange, and rescued from thrift stores because they don’t belong there… Then my shelf of ARCs from BEA I still need to read. Below that, ARCs I’ve received for The Selective Collective, from Macmillan, and other books I want to read soon. Then below that, books I’ve borrowed from other people (seriously, don’t loan me books. You see my shelf now. You’ll never get them back because I don’t have time to read them haha) and the stack of books I’m GIVING AWAY!!!!

nonbooksLastly — and the least exciting — is all of my “non-reading books” all the way to the right. I’ve got my yearbooks, binders, old school stuff, and some photo albums on the top. Book related movies below it (all of my movies wouldn’t fit in the bookcase so I chose to display the book adaptations! HA!), my TV show DVDs beneath that (because you always need to display Friends! And that’s Shane’s mom’s DVDs of Downton Abbey. SERIOUSLY. DON’T LOAN THINGS TO ME), and just some more decorations on the bottom.

WELL. Those are my shelves! This is actually the first time I’ve really had a visual explanation of how I organize them and I’m actually kind of proud of them haha! I’m sure you all think I’m crazy now because my method of organization is RIDICULOUSLY specific. Oh, and in case you didn’t notice… Within those specific groups, they’re also organized by color. My bookcase has to be PRETTY, okay?

Okay, okay, I know you’re all excited for the giveaway so enough about me. Let’s give some books away! I have quite a hefty stack to give away — some old, some new, some hardback, some paperback — so I’ll pick three winners (all at the same time) and the first person will get first pick, then the second, then the third. I’m sure you’re curious what’s up for grabs, so here you go!

giveaway

Fated by Alyson Noel (Paperback provided by St. Martin’s Press for giveaway!)
Tidal by Amanda Hocking (Hardcover provided by St. Martin’s Press for giveaway!)
Switched by Amanda Hocking (Paperback provided by St. Martin’s Press for giveaway!)
Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn (Hardcover provided by St. Martin’s Press for giveaway!)
Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau (ARC)
Relic by Heather Terrell (ARC)
Inhuman by Kat Falls (ARC)
Maybe Tonight by Bridie Clark (ARC)
Antigoddess by Kendare Blake (ARC)
Fractured by Sarah Fine (ARC)
Entangled by Amy Rose Capetta (ARC)
Indelible by Dawn Metcalf (ARC)
The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas (ARC)
The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle (ARC)

The winners of the giveaway will also get some SWAG.

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PLEASE NOTE that a lot of these are ARCs and SOME OF THESE are parts of a series. If you are the winner, please make sure you are aware of what you are selecting!

All you have to do to enter is use the Rafflecopter below! US & Canada only. (Sorry, no International on this one!) The giveaway will be open for one week, so have at it!

a Rafflecopter giveaway