April 25, 2014

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

If clouds are blocking the sun, there will always be a silver lining that reminds me to keep on trying, because I know that while things might seem dark now, my wife is coming back to me soon. Seeing the light outline those fluffy puffs of white and gray is electrifying. [...] It hurts to look at the clouds, but it also helps, like most things that cause pain.
-from The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

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Pat Peoples has just been released from a neural health facility and he doesn't even remember why or how long he's been in there. All he knows is that he needs to get better, mentally and physically, if he wants "Apart Time" with his wife, Nikki, to end. When Pat returns home to live with his parents, his mother spends her time coddling him while his father will barely acknowledge him unless there's an Eagles football game on television. While focusing on the silver lining in every situation, Pat meets Tiffany, a clinically depressed widow who understands loss from a different angle than Pat. What transpires through their friendship is a laugh out loud adventure about how to find silver linings and recognize the happy ending to stories in ones life.

While this story is incredibly entertaining, comical and beautifully moving, it would not be able to execute these things without the narrative voice that Quick has crafted through Pat Peoples. A mentally ill narrator, in any capacity, is someone the reader may not feel they can entirely trust. But Pat is easily likable and I quickly developed a new perspective of living with mental illness through my appreciation of his character.

Similarly, another perspective is explored through Tiffany, a character I was distrusting of initially. Pat is endearing and hopeful; Tiffany is abrasive and shamelessly honest. Together we learn two different perspectives of individuals coping with varied mental illness. Pat and Tiffany learn from each other because of their different experiences also, which makes for an interesting pair struggling to get to their own respective silver linings.

I really enjoyed the character of Pat's mother who did everything she could to take care of everyone around her, but is treated so poorly by Pat's father. Her commitment to keeping her son's mental health positive so that he wouldn't have to return to the neural health facility is endearing and she eventually puts her foot down to his father, which made me cheer! Pat's father, while not a character I "loved", was equally fascinating, and I enjoyed the usage of football throughout the novel to express camaraderie between the men in the Peoples family.

While I loved how Pat viewed his life as a movie and the analogy was in step with his search of silver linings, I HATED the film adaptation of this book. I know that's a fairly common complaint with book-to-movie ventures, but this one was so different from the book that it felt empty to me. I probably wouldn't have felt that way if I hadn't read the book first because Bradley Cooper and especially Jennifer Lawrence were really wonderful in their roles. But the script --- UGH!! They should have let Matthew Quick write the script so that the story might have retained some of its depth and charm lost in translation.

Bottom Line: A beautiful explication of mental health, love and finding the positive in every dark time. If you love contemporary novels, you'll love this one! 4.5/5 Stars.

April 23, 2014

Paper Towns by John Green

Now, I'm not sure what you're supposed to say to the checkout woman at twelve-thirty in the morning when you put thirteen pounds of catfish, Veet, the fat-daddy-size tub of Vaseline, a six-pack of Mountain Dew, a can of blue spray paint, and a dozen tulips on the conveyor belt. But here's what I said: "This isn't as weird as it looks." /  The woman cleared her throat but didn't look up. "Still weird" she muttered.
-from Paper Towns by John Green

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Quentin is smart, reserved, and generally stays out of trouble. So when his next door neighbor, Margo Roth Spiegelman, shows up at his window late one night and insists he be her wingman for the ultimate marathon of revenge, he decides to venture outside his comfort zone for the pretty girl. Together they embark on a meticulously planned all-nighter full of more than Quentin ever thought possible and forcing him to fall for Margo harder than before. But the next day Margo disappears, and it's not the first time she's run away from home. Weeks before graduation, Quentin and his friends put together the clues she's left to try to find where she has gone and discover why she's always disappearing.

Paper Towns is the second John Green novel I've read and his witty and articulate style continues to resonate throughout every page. While I appreciate his writing style, I can understand in reading more of Green's work why readers tend to either love him or hate him. At times his style and characterization can become obnoxious and overdone (for instance, I have maybe met 2 high school students with vocabularies half as good as the majority of his protagonists....). In Paper Towns I was able to continue to admire Green's style and the way he develops his characters, but I can see where I might grow tired of his character styles very quickly over time.

Similarly entertaining is how the story is written as a mystery where the reader is able to follow along with Quentin and his friends' search for Margo. While some parts of their search had me slightly bored, the majority of the time I was excited and trying to figure out where she was myself. I enjoyed how Margo's need for an adventure changed the direction of Quentin's ordinary life and gave him new things to consider about his own life. Themes of identity and real vs fake are replete throughout this book, along with the question of how well you know the people around you. In high school I think this is an especially important area to explore because high school students are generally self-absorbed, but it's also a nice concept to revisit as an adult.

What missed the mark for me as a reader is that I really did not like Margo at all, so it was difficult for me to care about Quentin finding her. About halfway through the story I was mostly rooting for Quentin to give up on her because she was too self-absorbed for him. I understand that John Green's intent was to deconstruct the "Manic Pixie Dream Girl" or whatever, but the whole MPDG topic is uninteresting to me if not completely annoying. Maybe had I known that was one of the driving forces of this book, I wouldn't have pursued it. I know that I'm outside of the norm on this (which is proved by the fact that I'm the only person in this world underwhelmed by the tv show New Girl... haha), but that's my two cents and why I'm not giving this book 4-stars.

Bottom Line: An enjoyable contemporary YA adventure! If you like John Green already, you'll probably love this one. If you're new to Green, this is a great book to give you a jump start on whether or not you'll be a fan. I would only recommend you avoid this book if you're as irritated by the "Manic Pixie Dream Girl" as I am haha! 3.5/5 hearts.

April 22, 2014

Bout of Books Read-a-thon 10

I don't know if I'm ready for Bout of Books Read-a-thon 10, but I better get ready because it's coming May 12-18! What is Bout of Books? Well, I'm so glad you asked!

Bout of Books

"The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 12th and runs through Sunday, May 18th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional.  
For all Bout of Books 10 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog."
- From the Bout of Books team

In the past this read-a-thon has really helped kick me into gear when I needed it and right now I really need it! The reading momentum that really kicked this year off to a great start has dwindled down and I need some good books to bring it up a notch so that I meet all of my reading goals.

Do you participate in read-a-thons? Which are your favorite? Do they help you meet your goals?

Spring TBR List Checkpoint

I was thinking that maybe if I hold myself accountable through checkpoints throughout the spring I will get more reading done from my Top Ten Spring TBR List. So far I think I'm doing a pretty good job, but these are the books I have left:

I've finished: Just One Day and Just One Year by Gayle Forman, Legend, Prodigy and Champion by Marie Lu.

I've also finished a hand full of other books that weren't on my Spring TBR list, so I think I'm doing pretty well!

April 21, 2014

Monday's Reading Recap

I missed last week's reading recap because I was sick AGAIN and didn't come online to post, sorry! It's really not fun to get sick twice in a 3 month span with pretty much the same thing! I also didn't get a whole lot of reading done while sick, but I'm still kicking my 2014 reading goal's butt! I hope everyone else is doing great, reading wonderful books and staying healthy!

Last Week I Finished Reading: Just One Year by Gayle Forman, Cruel Beauty by Rosamond Hodge and The Lovely Bones (audio book) by Alice Sebold
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  This Week I Plan on Reading: The Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle and something else!

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This Week I'm Sharing a Review For: Paper Towns by John Green and Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

April 18, 2014

The Marriage Bargain by Jennifer Probst

The grief leaked out for one moment as the truth of her predicament hit full force. This would never be a real marriage, and something would be forever ruined once Nick's ring slipped onto her finger. She'd always dreamed of love everlasting, white picket fences, and tons of children. Instead, she got cold hard cash and a husband who politely tolerated her.
-from The Marriage Bargain by Jennifer Probst

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 This book review is being posted in celebration of the fact that I found my wedding dress!!! Eeeeek, it's spectacular, you guys! I can't wait to show it off!

Alexa needs $150,000 to save her family home. Nick needs a wife in order to meet the stipulations of his uncle's will, which will give him full control of the company that has turned him into a billionaire. On paper their bargain sounds simple: if they marry and stay married for one year, Alexa will get the money she needs and Nick will inherit the family business. The marriage is only for show, so they both agree to stay celibate for the year, maintain their separate business lives and above all, not to fall in love with each other. This shouldn't be difficult considering how much they both annoy each other. But life has a funny way of complicating things and the bargain becomes anything but simple.

The premise sounds a bit outrageous and predictable, but sometimes a girl just needs to read a salacious romance and indulge in a sweet love story. This book hit the spot and surprised me with how well-crafted and entertaining it was from start to finish. While most readers can anticipate the general arc of the story, the road to getting there was comical, heart-felt and full of unexpected surprises.

I read the story in one sitting, not just because it was an easy read, but because Probst does an excellent job creating a male and a female character authentic to their gender, realistic in action and dialogue. Told from an alternating third-person limited narrative mode, readers get the perspective of both Alex and Nick. The results are often laugh-out-loud funny simply because of the differences between men and women and the follies that ensue when neither are able to properly communicate. Anyone who has ever been in a relationship will be able to relate to their stubborn opinions and decision to bottle most of what they want to say inside. It thoroughly entertained me how well Probst was able to articulate such a universal struggle between men and women because of our differences in nature.

In keeping with the authenticity of male and female nature, Probst was also able to create realistic characters through dialogue. I am very sensitive to characters who don't talk like real people, and the characters in the pages of this story are very natural. In fact, much of the relationships between the characters develop fluidly because of their voices, especially with Nick and Alexa. One of my favorite characters is Nick and Alexa's mutual friend (Nick's sister), Maggie. Maggie isn't even in the story very much, but her dialogue made her an instant favorite to me.

Bottom Line: If you love romance, this is one I can strongly recommend. If you don't like romance, then this one might not work for you. It does contain a lot of adult content/themes, so be advised. 3.5/5 stars

April 16, 2014

The Forever of Ella and Micha by Jessica Sorensen

It isn't as important to feel great about all the things we do, [...] but how we feel toward the end when we look back at everything we've done.
-from The Forever of Ella and Micha by Jessica Sorensen

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I don't know what I was thinking. Maybe it's that I wanted to like Ella and Micha despite my experience reading The Secret of Ella and Micha; maybe it's my obsessive compulsive need to finish a series that I've started; or maybe I just wanted to understand why so many people were finding my thoughtful review of the first book as "unhelpful" despite being honest and respectful. I mean, clearly I missed something in the first book, right? So I decided to give the sequel, The Forever of Ella and Micha by Jessica Sorensen a try with an open mind. Unfortunately I should have listened to my intuition.

Picking up right where its prequel left off, The Forever of Ella and Micha chronicles the relationship struggles of Ella and Micha, two dysfunctional kids from the wrong side of the tracks whose love for each other work to make them whole. Already knowing where Ella and Micha came from in the first book, I was willing to overlook the things I disliked there and read this book as a fresh start. Initially I enjoyed seeing the character growth of both Ella and Micha, their struggles, and ultimately their fidelity toward each other despite their trust issues. However, there was nothing to really keep me hooked into this story for the long run.

Basically a bunch of back-and-forth drama, this story has no strong arc and repeats the same themes of trust and communication over and over until I was so bored with these self-made victims that there was no more room for empathy. I'm glad that Ella was responsible in getting professional help for her problems and I want to really stress that I gained a lot of respect for her as a character for this, but I was bored with her trials nonetheless. It kind of reminded me of the storyline/arc of 50 Shades of Grey, or rather, the lack of one; just endless cycles of drama. I did like Ella and Micha both a lot more in this book than in the first, but overall the book still flopped for me.

While this book was an easy read, I didn't care enough about the outcome to read it as quickly as I should have; in fact, it took me weeks to read it which is an indication of how little I liked it alone. And similar to the first book, this one is so replete with grammatical errors and simple typos that I was soooo frustrated!!! Typos are a given for anything (yes, including this blog!), but for a series as a whole to have as many typos as this one is just inexcusable. There are too many cheap online editors available for me to pay money for a book and feel like I'm reading high school fan fiction. I know I'm harsh with this, but it really is inexcusable. This is a responsibility of the author or publisher when selling a product and as a reader, the book loses so much credibility when there are so many of these errors.

So I guess I just don't get it. This is also what frustrates me about the whole "New Adult" genre. I want to just take ownership that I don't like this genre, but there are other similar books that I do like that are categorized as "New Adult" fiction. I have tried in my review to break down why I disliked this book so that you can distinguish if it's a sub-genre you might enjoy or not enjoy. If you loved this book, I'm totally happy for you! I don't judge you, I'm just happy that you enjoy reading as much as I do! So please, no hating on reviews that aren't like-minded to yours, mmmkay?

Bottom Line: Unless you were absolutely obsessed with The Secret of Ella and Micha, you really don't need to know what happens to them. And I don't need to know what happens in the third (unnecessary IMHO) book of this series. 2.5/5 stars - only because I knew what I was getting myself into.

April 11, 2014

Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan (audio book)

I don't know what's more exhausting about parenting: the getting up early, or acting like you know what you're doing.
-from Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan

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Jim Gaffigan's parental memoir Dad is Fat is a hilarious account of his experience thus far as the father of five young children. Gaffigan, a stand up comedian, and his wife, Jeannie, live in a tiny two bedroom apartment in New York City with their five children ranging from five-months to eight-years old. In what can only be described as self-help meets stand-up routine, Gaffigan explores the thankless job of parenting young children including everything from the deceivingly difficult tasks like taking five children to the park to how his family is able to live in a 2 bedroom New York City apartment and so much more. Gaffigan exposes himself with hysterical transparency that anyone can appreciate, whether they have children or not.

Personally, I do not have children but I've participated in the lives of enough babies to be able to appreciate this novel on a very special level. I guess I can't speak for readers who have no experience with kids whatsoever, but I'd like to think that this memoir is funny enough that it can be enjoyed by all. Gaffigan supplies a healthy mix of advice with personal anecdotes about his children to keep this book from sounding like a dad bragging about his funny kid-related stories. I'm sure it's a talent he's perfected through his years of doing stand-up comedy, but it was definitely not lost on me as a reader. The pacing of this book was definitely on point.

I listened to Dad is Fat on audiobook, read by Gaffigan himself, so it was actually just like hearing him do stand-up for five hours. The only complaint I have is that near the end I was growing a little less interested in the stories about family vacations. While I think traveling with small kids is an important facet when exploring life with children, all of the stories weren't as interesting to me as earlier segments of the book. It's possible I was just burnt out on listening to the audio book (I finished this in two sittings), but that's the only part I would skip in the book if I had to.

While I didn't have any strong opinion of Jim Gaffigan before reading this book, I definitely have a positive feeling for him now. Through this memoir, he admits that he's not a perfect dad, but he's spending every day trying to be the best that he can be for his children and finding the comedy in every step along the way. I think if more parents had such a good balance of easy-going yet sincere, we might have more positive parents and, in effect, more positive children.

Bottom Line: Read this, especially if you have and/or love children! This would make a great gift to any fathers to-be; in fact, they should pass these out instead of cigars in hospital waiting rooms!  4/5 stars

April 9, 2014

Finding It by Cora Carmack

I wondered if I would ever be able to stop pretending. This was how it started last time. First, you pretend for others, then you pretend for yourself. Then you pretend because everything is a lie, and you have to keep the cycle going.
-from Finding It by Cora Carmack

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The third companion in Cora Carmack's Losing It series, Finding It follows rich party girl Kelsey Summers as she traipses around Europe upon graduating college. Dressed in her uniform of tight jeans and stilettos, armed with her dad's credit cards, and on a mission to lose herself in fun before facing real life, Kelsey still can't seem to fill the void in her heart. When she keeps bumping into hot American Jackson Hunt during her travels, everything begins to change. He challenges her on a week-long adventure where Kelsey learns more about herself and wants to learn more about the mysterious Jackson.

To be honest, I wasn't planning on reading Finding It because I didn't care for the character of Kelsey in the previous books in this series. However, I'm a sucker for finishing a series and knew that if nothing else, Carmack's spunky writing and quick wit would entertain me. I was pleased to discover that Kelsey actually is a likable character underneath the facade she maintains. While this story is overall fairly predictable, what set it apart from other New Adult romance novels is observing Kelsey slowly remove the layers she's built up to protect herself.

Based on the title of the book, I asked myself, "Finding what?" The simple answer in a New Adult romance is love, and while Kelsey is definitely on track to find that, this novel is also about finding a lot more. It's about finding adventure, finding hope, finding independence (emotional and financial) finding your history and, most importantly, finding yourself. Kelsey has a lot more depth than I anticipated and she's not nearly as obnoxious once she starts stripping away her layers.

As with all of her novels, Cora Carmack has a wonderful talent for being laugh-out-loud funny. Her characters each have their own individual voice and Kelsey is by far the sassiest. As I've said, it was fun to watch her grow on me when I expected to be annoyed. This book definitely delivers the pleasantly unexpected.

Bottom Line: A great finale to the Losing It series; Kelsey is fun, sassy and her metamorphosis is much more in-depth than I anticipated. If you enjoy New Adult, this book is a winner. Contains strong sexual content. 4/5 stars.

April 7, 2014

Monday's Reading Recap

Over the weekend my amazing fiance took me on a weekend cruise to Ensenada, Mexico and it was soooo nice to get away and relax!! Not to mention, reading a book on a cruise ship overlooking the Pacific Ocean is kind of perfect, no? I got a lot of reading done in a perfect setting with my number one guy, so my weekend couldn't have really gotten much better!

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Now it's back to the reality of work, planning a wedding and trying to find a house to buy! But I really cannot complain! :)

Last Week I Finished Reading: Grace (Eventually) by Anne Lamott (audio book), Prodigy and Champion by Marie Lu

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  This Week I Plan on Reading: Just One Year by Gayle Forman, The Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle and The Lovely Bones (audio book) by Alice Sebold

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This Week I'm Sharing a Review For: Finding It by Cora Carmack and Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan

April 4, 2014

Faking It by Cora Carmack

I mean, she'd asked a complete stranger to pretend to be her boyfriend. She had seemed fearless. Parents were apparently her Kryptonite.
-from Faking It by Cora Carmack
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{buy here}

* This review contains spoilers for Losing It by Cora Carmack*

I enjoyed Cora Carmack's Losing It enough to give its companion novel, Faking It, a read. I was disappointed that this story wasn't a sequel, but instead the story of Cade in grad school in Philadelphia. But if you loved the flawed characters and sassy narration that Carmack provides in the preceding novel, then you'll have no trouble adjusting to Cade and female protagonist, Max, in this comedic contemporary romance.

After graduating college, sweet and wholesome Cade Winston decides to pursue grad school in Philly; unfortunately this is the same idea as his unrequited love, Bliss, who also moves to Philly with her boyfriend Garrick. When Cade learns that Garrick is going to propose to Bliss, he knows that he must move on. As the fates would have it, in walks Mackenzie Miller aka Max, a beautiful, rough-around-the-edges girl with tattoos, piercings, and unnaturally bright red hair. She approaches Cade with a proposition: pretend to be her wholesome boyfriend for her crazy conservative parents who are visiting in exchange for a date. While they appear to be polar opposites, Max and Cade quickly learn that they each have something the other needs to be whole: adventure and acceptance respectively. But with so many differences and a relationship built on a lie, it seems impossible for them to trust each other.

I've always enjoyed a good "boyfriend/girlfriend-for-hire" story (yes, I even love the terrible Debra Messing movie The Wedding Date, even though it's so bad), and this one didn't disappoint. This story was a lot deeper than I anticipated, which was both endearing and cryptic. We know that there's a reason Max and her parents have such a disconnect, but we don't learn a lot about it until later in the story. I liked that Max wasn't black-and-white emotionally, but I think too much time was spent on the chase of the relationship and not enough spent on Max's emotional past. In general, I really liked Max, even if I couldn't relate to her chaotic nature and ability to shut off her emotions. She was colorful, adventurous, and her fear of her parents was especially interesting. Similarly, I enjoyed learning more about Cade and his history. It helped that this story was told in alternation perspectives of both Cade and Max.

True to her writing style, Cora Carmack continues to provide funny and honest prose that are true to her characters. Some of the descriptions were so vivid that I laughed out loud ("like a rusty eggbeater to the heart"). However, some parts of this book were just way too ridiculous for me ("I was a masochist. I was just as bad as that crazy monk in The Da Vinci Code, only her smile was my whip." REALLY?). I felt like the characters and overall story were great, but the execution was too fluffed with drama and not enough depth, when there was plenty of room for depth. I didn't mind reading the fluff because I liked the characters, but in evaluating as a story overall, this kind of made it fall flat.

Bottom Line: Another great contemporary romance from Cora Carmack. If you enjoyed Losing It, then you will probably enjoy this one, too. A light read, great for romantic entertainment.3.5/stars

There is a third story in this series, Finding It, which chronicles Kelsey's adventures in Europe. I never really cared for Kelsey, so I don't think I'll be pursuing this one unless it becomes a part of the Kindle Lending Library.

April 2, 2014

Losing It by Cora Carmack

It wasn't until I'd walked halfway across the parking lot that I realized: 
  1. I wasn't wearing shoes. 
         A. Or a shirt.
2. I didn't bring my keys. 
                     A. Or anything really.
                                          3. I'd just left a complete stranger in my apartment. 
 A. Naked.
Whoever said one-night stands were supposed to be simple with no strings attached had clearly never met the disaster that was me.
-from Losing It by Cora Carmack
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{buy here}
Have you ever read a book that made you realize that maybe you're just getting too old for YA/NA fiction? Yeah, this book did that to me.  The story is simple: Bliss Edwards feels like a total loser for being a 22 year old virgin and is on a mission to take care of that problem with a one-night stand. The only problem is that she can't shut her brain off. When she's moments away from reaching her goal she comes up with a ridiculous excuse, leaving a smokin' hot British guy alone in her bed. Just when Bliss thinks the problem is behind her (albeit with virginity still intact), she walks into her acting class to find that smokin' hot British guy is her new teacher. 

So here's where I get on my moral and ethical soapbox for a minute and you can choose love me or hate me for it. I was so peeved by this storyline because I feel it perpetuates the idea that women are better off as sluts and I HATE THAT. Now, don't get me wrong, I love a good romance novel and I indulged in reading both 50 Shades of Grey and the Crossfire novels, much to my own embarrassment. But the premise of this novel seemed to scream, "GET RID OF YOUR VIRGINITY AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE BECAUSE IT MAKES YOU A LOSER!" FYI girls: it doesn't. You don't need to be a nun, but you don't need to be a slut. And if the guy is worth anything and loves you, he'd be HAPPIER if you're a virgin because guys are so damned territorial (Hello!! Christian Grey and Edward Cullen told you that!). I know I sound like a crazy, way-too-wholesome, Sister Christian or something, but the bottom line is that the idea of girls trying to "get rid of" their virginity ultimately just makes me sad. We criticize Miley Cyrus for using a foam finger in deplorable ways but then talk about virginity like it's a cold sore. I know there has to be a balance, but when I first heard the premise of this novel it fueled my irritation to no end. *steps off soapbox and thanks you for not throwing rotten tomatoes*

So, why did I give this novel practically 4 stars then, right? I know, I'm full of surprises today, but so was this book. The most redeeming thing (and why I chose to give it a chance at all), is that Bliss didn't follow through with losing her virginity. That twist piqued my interest and the idea of the guy being Bliss's theater teacher was too exciting not to follow through with my decision to give this book a shot. I'm glad I did because the story was good and very fast paced. This is a New Adult romance that will probably not necessarily change your life, but it will entertain you to no end. The writing was witty, funny and helps you feel as awkward as Bliss in the situations in which she finds herself. Sure, there were plenty of moments that made me roll my eyes because they were so cheesy or far-fetched, but I really liked Bliss as a character. With descriptions like, "This was stick-your-hand-into-a-blender-terrible", how could so I not overlook my less than favorite parts? Bliss isn't the dumb wanna-be-"hoe bag" (as she puts it) that I thought she would be from the book description and I am so happy about that.

I was especially impressed by how the pieces of this book fit together. I really dislike how a lot of NA and romance novels move along without any real plot or direction; the events that happen in this book all mean something for the conclusion which was satisfying. Also, this book moves fast! Within minutes you're following Bliss on her search for a one-night stand and it was great to just jump into the action. I also loved how the characters interacted with each other, especially Bliss and her friend Cade. I did not expect this story to have so much thought put into it, but it did, making me pleasantly surprised and very impressed!

Bottom Line: While this book doesn't read like the PSA I started with, I think it has a serious message not addressed in the synopsis. If you like light, funny, romantic books that will entertain you and you can put up with a little bit of cheesiness, then this is your book! 3.5/5 stars (LOL)

Another sign that I must have loved this book is that I'm really disappointed that the "sequel", Faking It, is really a companion novel! I want more Bliss (and not in just a novella!)!!

April 1, 2014

Book Bingo Reading Challenge Update

I think my favorite challenge that I'm participating in this year is Anne and Kristilyn's Book Bingo Reading Challenge! I'm doing really well and have been making sure to consult my bingo card when I'm looking for a new book to read. It has really helped me read outside my comfort zone and is keeping me on target to read New Releases when they come out. If you haven't signed up for this challenge, it's not too late!

My progress thus far is below and you can keep up with my progress on this and other challenges throughout the year by clicking the "challenges" tab above. So far I have 3 Bingos, but I'm really working toward a blackout!

Are you participating in this Bingo challenge? Have you gotten any Bingo yet?

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TBR Pile: 
  • Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell (One Book)
  • Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan (one of Two Books)
  • This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales (two of Two Books)
  • Paper Towns by John Green (one of Three Books) 
  • Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (two of Three Books)
  • How to Love by Katie Cotugno (three of Three Books)
  • Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis (one of Four Books)
  • Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin (two of Four Books)
  • Just One Day by Gayle Forman (three of Four Books)
  • Getting the Pretty Back by Molly Ringwald (four of Four Books)
  • Grace (Eventually) by Anne Lamott (one of Five Books)
Mix It Up
  •  Non-fiction: Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan
  • Classic: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury 
  • Reread: Faking It by Elisa Lorello 
  • Free Square - Paranormal: Invoking Nonna by Sage Adderly
  • Contemporary - Sailing Out of Darkness by Normandie Fischer 
  • Finding It by Cora Carmack (one of One Book)
  • Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi (one of Two Books)
  • Unite Me by Tahereh Mafi (two of Two Books) 
  • Legend by Marie Lu (one of Three Books)
  • Fantasy: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  • Historical Fiction: The Help by Kathryn Stockett 
  • Free Square: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
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