Throwback Thursday Mini-Review: Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood

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Title: Six Impossible Things
By: Fiona Wood
Release Date: August 11, 2015
Publisher: Poppy
Genres: Fiction, Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 304 (Hardcover)
Format: ARC
Source: Won from NOVL newsletter (2015)

About Six Impossible Things:

1. Kiss Estelle.
2. Get a job.
3. Cheer my mother up.
4. Try not to be a complete nerd/loser.
5. Talk to my father when he calls.
6. Figure out how to be good.

Nerd-boy Dan Cereill is not quite coping with a reversal of family fortune, moving, new-school hell, a mother with a failing wedding cake business, a just-out gay dad, and an impossible crush on Estelle, the girl next door. His life is a mess, but for now he’s narrowed it down to six impossible things…

In this charming story of one guy’s efforts to get it together when his life is falling apart, award-winning author Fiona Wood introduces an irresistible voice and a delightfully awkward character who is impossible to forget.

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N |  The Book Depository


MY RANTS AND RAVES OF SIX IMPOSSIBLE THINGS

I went into this book with very little knowledge of it, other than it is a new contemporary read. Six Impossible Things was the perfect book to cozy up on the couch with as the rain splattered against the windows. I’m not an aficionado in Aussie lingo, so I had a hard time understanding some of the Australian slang/wordage, but other than the small slang barrier, I enjoyed this book.

In the beginning of Six Impossible Things , the saying “when it rains, it pours,” fits Dan’s life perfectly. All has gone wrong in Dan’s life, but as the story progresses, life’s mishaps slowly begin to mend. Dan wants to do things right by his family and his friends, but sometimes he breaks the rules for selfish reasons. In the end, Dan matures into a likeable main character for both the reader and his fellow characters.

Six reasons you should read Six Impossible Things:

1) Dan is a self-proclaimed nerd. He has great taste in music and has the most perfect friendship with his dog.

2) Howard, Dan’s dog, is a Dan-proclaimed “psychic” and knows how to correctly respond to all situations. EEEeee!!! Howard steals every chapter that he is in. You will want to hug him and never let go.

3) Dan loves making lists. I love making lists. So in other words, Dan is perfect. HAHAHA!

4) This book will tug at your heart strings. Dan has to deal with divorced parents, in which his dad leaves his family bankrupt and homeless. Dan’s mother starts a business with wedding cakes; her only downfall is that she usually convinces her customers that marriage is a fluke. And while Dan’s family life is in knots, he has to go to a new school and deal with bullies. AHHH SO MANY DILEMMAS AND PROBLEMS FOR SUCH A YOUNG GUY.

5) Dan has a dark but witty sense of humor. It’s his best quality and a great mechanism to deal with all that goes wrong in his personal world.

6) Dan is a black sheep who becomes the ultimate hero. He cares for his old and new friends, he helps his mom through emotional and financial troubles, and in the end I wanted to go back to high school, befriend Dan. His sarcasm and philosophies are validating…he definitely has swoonworthy qualities.

4 star rating

MY RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars

Note:   This review was previously posted on my Goodreads account on June 28, 2015, and has been updated for my blog. I received an Advance Reader’s Copy (ARC) as a winner of NOVL’s monthly newsletter giveaway.  Thank you, NOVL and Poppy! I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher as an exchange for a review; I reviewed it at my own discretion.  All statements and opinions in this review are mine.

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Throwback Thursday Mini-Review: Trial by Fire

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Title: Trial by Fire
By: Josephine Angelini
Release Date: September 2, 2014
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 374
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

About Trial by Fire

The exhilaratingly seductive new series from the author of the bestselling Starcrossed series

Love burns. Worlds collide. Magic reigns.

This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying many of the experiences that other teenagers take for granted…which is why she is determined to enjoy her first (and perhaps only) high-school party. But Lily’s life never goes according to plan, and after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class Lily wishes she could just disappear.

Suddenly Lily is in a different Salem – one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruellest of all the Crucibles is Lillian . . . Lily’s identical other self in this alternate universe. This new version of her world is terrifyingly sensual, and Lily is soon overwhelmed by new experiences.

Lily realizes that what makes her weak at home is exactly what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. It also puts her life in danger. Thrown into a world she doesn’t understand, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can’t hope to shoulder alone, and a love she never expected.

But how can Lily be the saviour of this world when she is literally her own worst enemy?

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N |  The Book Depository


MY RANTS AND RAVES OF TRIAL BY FIRE

I had the hardest time getting into this book and then the hardest time finishing it. I am a sucker for books about witches, especially witchy books that encompass a nod to the Salem Witch Trials, so I had high hopes for Trial by Fire. But in the end, sadly, this book did not win me over.

Trial by Fire started out so slow, and nothing hooked me to the plot. I am still unraveling the idea of mixing fantasy and science in the storyline, and creating a dynamic binary between magic versus science/scientific method/medicine/atomic theory/pollution, etc. But overall, I don’t think the meshing of fantasy and science is what lost me in the book. There are some holes in this novel that made me feel like I was missing an inside joke or that I was purposely being left out of big secrets. I need a reason why I should be rooting for the main character/heroine, Lily, and I never got that reason, or I at least didn’t understand that reason.

I thought the premise of Trial by Fire was interesting (hello, Salem witches!), but this book fell flat for me. Hopefully in the next book the characters are more developed and there is more information given on the driven force between each of the characters’ motives/motivations.

1 star rating

My Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars

Note:  This review was previously posted on my Goodreads account on August 22, 2015, and has been edited/updated for my blog. I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher in exchange for a review. I bought this book with my own funds and reviewed it at my own discretion. All statements and opinions in this review are mine.

Throwback Thursday Mini-Review: How to Say I Love You Out Loud by Karole Cozzo

Throwback Thursday Mini-Review: How to Say I Love You Out Loud by Karole Cozzo

22718802Title: How to Say I Love You Out Loud
By: Karole Cozzo
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Format: Physical ARC
Source: Received in a Swoon Reads Tote Bag Giveaway at Joseph Beth Bookseller’s Cincinnati, Ohio book event

About How to Say I Love You Out Loud:

When Jordyn Michaelson’s autistic brother joins her at her elite school, she’s determined not to let anyone know they’re related. Even if that means closing herself off to all her closest friends, including charming football stud Alex Colby. But despite her best intentions, she just can’t shake the memory of kissing Alex last summer, and the desire to do it again. Can Jordyn find the courage to tell Alex how she really feels—and the truth about her family—before he slips away forever?

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N |  The Book Depository


Mini-Review: My Rants and Raves of How to Say I Love You Out Loud

At first I thought this book was going to be a typical formulaic contemporary read, but I’m so glad I was wrong and kept reading.

I went into this story without reading its synopsis, and I think not knowing what the book was about made me like it more. Throughout the book, Jordyn, the main character, creates a boundary between her peers and her home life–the truth is that she has an autistic brother, and in the past she has always been labeled as the sister of the autistic kid. She is in her second year of starting a new school, and for once she is only Jordyn. But as the story progresses, her brother (Phillip) unintentionally bombards her school life, and people begin whispering how “weird” he is and find out that he’s related to Jordyn.

In the end, I loved the development of Jordyn. She accepts who she is, and more importantly she accepts the challenges that life throws at her. She becomes brave, opens up her heart, and doesn’t worry what other people think about her or her brother.

Karole Cozzo has a knack for real-life storytelling, and her development of creating Alex to push Jordyn to challenge herself is beautifully written. Jordyn’s story is beautiful and well worth the read.

4 star rating

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Note: This review was previously posted on my Goodreads account on August 2, 2015, and has been updated for my blog. I received an Advance Reader’s Copy (ARC) from a giveaway hosted by Swoon Reads at a book event held at Joseph Beth Booksellers in Cincinnati, Ohio during the summer of 2015.   I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher in exchange for a review.  All statements and opinions in this review are mine.

Throwback Thursday Mini-Review: The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

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Title: The Fill-In Boyfriend
By: Kasie West
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 344
Format: Physical ARC
Source: EpicReads’ Early Readers Group (2015)

About The Fill-In Boyfriend:

When Gia Montgomery’s boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she’d been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend—two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley.

The problem is that days after prom, it’s not the real Bradley she’s thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn’t even know. But tracking him down doesn’t mean they’re done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend’s graduation party—three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.

Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship.

PURCHASE THIS BOOK FROM YOUR LOCAL BOOKSELLER/RETAILER OR 

Amazon        Barnes and Noble         Book Depository 


My Rants and Raves of The Fill-In Boyfriend

WOW this story reeled me in and I don’t want to be casted back out! If you know me, I have never been a go-to contemporary reader; however, in the last year, I am trying to change this fact about me and read more YA contemporary novels. I have never read a Kasie West novel, and after reading this book, I may have to gobble up her other books ASAP!

West’s main character Gia is portrayed so accurately as a modern-day teenager–at first she is self-involved and constantly worried about what her “friends” think, but over time she begins to mature. Straight from the beginning, Gia recognizes that her words and actions are self-centered. But after asking for a favor from a concerned stranger (that would be Hayden, the fill-in boyfriend/Bradley), Gia starts to analyze herself, her friends, her frienemies, her family, her actions, and social media’s influence on her life. And throughout her analysis, she begins to change and develop into a likable and self-conscious person.

This book is well-paced and each word tugs at your heart and your gut. Gia straight out says or portrays that she needs to change, and as a reader, I enjoyed that process of her evolution. The Fill-In Boyfriend is a quick read–I couldn’t put it down–and adding a smart, observant, “geeky,” and a lay-it-all-out-on-the-table fill-in boyfriend, like Hayden, to expose Gia’s flaws and strengths made the story 10 times better. Hayden is swoon-worthy and definitely a friend to be trusted.

The only flaw I saw with the book was that I thought it was too short, but I may be acting bias because I want more Gia and Hayden banter/conversation.

Favorite lines:

“The librarian lowered her brow disapprovingly. ‘I don’t think we have any biographies on people who had to deal with d-bags'” (page 217 of the ARC).

“I was thinking about vanilla but then I thought, ‘That is so boring, Gia will think I’m the most boring person ever.'”…”So then I thought, ‘I bet Blake here will tell me what to order,’ but he was no help whatsoever. Thanks a lot, Blake.” (page 225 of the ARC).

star rating

5 out of 5 Stars

Note: This review was previously posted on my Goodreads account in May 19, 2015, and has been updated for my blog. I received an Advance Reader’s Copy (ARC) from Epic Reads as a participant reviewer for their new Early Readers Group in the summer of 2015.  Thank you, Epic Reads and HarperTeen! All statements and opinions in this review are mine.

Throwback Thursday Mini-Review: The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker

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Title: The Witch Hunter
By: Virginia Boecker
Release Date: June 2, 2015
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genres: Fiction, Paranormal, Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 362 (Hardcover
Format: ARC
Source: Won from NOVL newsletter (2015)

Synopsis:

The magic and suspense of Graceling meet the political intrigue and unrest of Game of Thrones in this riveting fantasy debut.

Your greatest enemy isn’t what you fight, but what you fear.

Elizabeth Grey is one of the king’s best witch hunters, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and doling out justice. But when she’s accused of being a witch herself, Elizabeth is arrested and sentenced to burn at the stake.

Salvation comes from a man she thought was her enemy. Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful and dangerous wizard in the kingdom, offers her a deal: he will save her from execution if she can break the deadly curse that’s been laid upon him.

But Nicholas and his followers know nothing of Elizabeth’s witch hunting past–if they find out, the stake will be the least of her worries. And as she’s thrust into the magical world of witches, ghosts, pirates, and one all-too-handsome healer, Elizabeth is forced to redefine her ideas of right and wrong, of friends and enemies, and of love and hate.

Virginia Boecker weaves a riveting tale of magic, betrayal, and sacrifice in this unforgettable fantasy debut.


MY RANTS AND RAVES OF The Witch Hunter

The Witch Hunter is a beautifully written and action-packed, debut novel about a young girl named Elizabeth Grey. Elizabeth has grown up learning the art of witch hunting. In the craft of witch hunting, she is inculcated with the idea that she is providing justice and purification for a kingdom that she is willing to protect. However, through life’s unexpectancies, Elizabeth’s world is put through a whirlwind, and she finds herself being accused of witchcraft. After weeks of incarceration, she is saved by the single wizard that she was told was her worst enemy–Nicholas Perevil. In Perevil’s protection, Elizabeth is healed by magic–something she was conditioned to loathe. More importantly, she discovers that she plays an important part in breaking the curse casted on Perevil by someone she trusted.

Elizabeth’s journey is filled with betrayal, a handsome healer, jolly pirates, whimsical forest parties, fancy ball gowns, cursed tablets, mythical swords, giant red-eyed rats, the crumbling of old friendships, and the growth of new friendships.

The Witch Hunter is a fast-paced, fantasy novel that will engross you in an enchanting world of betrayal, redemption, and a passionate heroine set forth to change a world she once loved.

star rating

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

PURCHASE THIS BOOK FROM YOUR LOCAL BOOKSELLER/RETAILER 

Amazon        Barnes and Noble         Book Depository 

NOTE:          This review was previously posted on my Goodreads account in May 25, 2015, and has been updated for my blog. I received an Advance Reader’s Copy (ARC) as a winner of NOVL’s monthly newsletter giveaway.  Thank you, NOVL and Little, Brown Books! All statements and opinions in this review are mine.