Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Review: On the Fence

Title: On the Fence
Author: Kasie West
Released: July 2014

My rating: 5 stars

Summary: She's a tomboy. He's the boy next door…

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

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

My Review:

There are a few authors that are "auto-buy" for me. Kasie West is one of those authors. Her writing and stories flow so naturally that I cannot put them down. I was hooked in immediately with On the Fence.

What I loved: On the Fence is a contemporary that really feels like a contemporary book to me. It hits every point on my list. I love Charlie's voice. I liked that she wasn't a girly girl-and I also liked watching her transformation throughout the book. I feel by the end of the story she found a happy medium and felt really good about who she was. And then there was Braden....seriously, is there a better book boy than Braden right now???? I don't think so. 

I loved watching their story play out. They both have different family dynamics and they were both supportive of each other as true friends (who just happened to be crazy about each other). Their story was easy to sink into and I think every reader would be pulling for them to figure it all out.

What left me wanting more: Nothing. This was absolutely ideal for me. Pick this up for a fun summer read!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Review: Hung Up

Title: Hung Up
Author: Kristen Tracy
Released: March 2014

My Rating: 3 stars

Summary: Can you fall in love with a voice? This witty romance, told entirely through phone calls, chronicles the tale of a wrong number gone right.

It all started with a wrong number. The voicemails Lucy left on James’s phone were meant for someone else—someone who used to have James’s digits. But then when James finally answers and the two start to talk, a unique bond forms between the two teens.

Gradually Lucy and James begin to understand each other on a deeper level than anyone else in their lives. But when James wants to meet in person, Lucy is strangely resistant. And when her secret is revealed, he’ll understand why…

My Review:

What I liked: I really enjoyed the banter between Lucy and James. I'm huge on dialogue and since this book was entirely dialogue it would not have worked for me if the conversation had been flat. It was fun to read how Lucy and James' relationship developed over the course of the story. There was no insta-love or crazy immediate attraction. The relationship built from friendship, which is always refreshing to read. 

What left me wanting more: While I enjoyed this book, I didn't love it. As much as I liked the dialogue, I wish we would have gotten to know more supporting characters to the story. We heard all about them through Lucy and James but I think I would have liked to get to know them in a different way. I totally get that this wasn't the point of this book but it would have been nice for me.

Final thoughts: A quick-paced, light-hearted read that will make you smile.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Review: Sweet Reckoning (Sweet Evil #3)

Title:  Sweet Reckoning (Sweet Evil #3)
Author: Wendy Higgins
Release: April 2014

Summary:
It’s time. 

Evil is running rampant and sweet Anna Whitt is its target. Nobody knows when or how the Dukes will strike, but Anna and her Nephilim allies will do anything necessary to rid the earth of the demons and their oppressive ways.

The stakes are higher than ever, and Anna is determined that the love she feels will be her strength, not a liability. But trying to protect the ones she loves while running for her life and battling demonic forces proves to be perilous—especially as faces are changing and trust is fleeting. When the Duke of Lust sends Anna’s great love, Kaidan Rowe, to work against her, Anna must decide how much she’s prepared to risk.

In the most sensual and fast-paced installment yet, Sweet Reckoning brings all the beloved Neph together one last time to fight for their freedom.

My Review:
I was so excited to read the conclusion of the Sweet Evil trilogy but I was nervous. Would it live up to my expectations? Would I be satisfied? Would it make me mad? Would I hide the book in the freezer? When I picked this book up to finally read it (and it had been on my TBR stack for a while) I was instantly captivated. Wendy Higgins delivered a third book like a third book should be.

What I loved: I loved that in Sweet Reckoning we can truly see how Anna has grown over the course of the three books. I was sitting on the edge of my seat rooting for her. She was able to be strong, brave, and fearless when she needed to most. She faced conflict head on without having any idea what would really happen. And as a reader, I had no idea what was going to happen...I like it that way!

I could write PAGES about Kai....but I won't. I want you to read for yourself, and then get back to me...we can discuss all you want.

Final Verdict: I couldn't be more pleased with the way this trilogy ended.


5 stars!

Review: Biggest Flirts (Superlatives #1)

Title: Biggest Flirts (Superlatives #1)
Author: Jennifer Echols
Published: May 2014

Summary:
Tia and Will’s lives get flipped upside down when they’re voted Yearbook’s Biggest Flirts in this sassy novel from the author of Endless Summer and The One That I Want.

Tia just wants to have fun. She’s worked hard to earn her reputation as the life of the party, and she’s ready for a carefree senior year of hanging out with friends and hooking up with cute boys. And her first order of business? New guy Will. She can’t get enough of his Midwestern accent and laidback swagger. 

As the sparks start to fly, Will wants to get serious. Tia’s seen how caring too much has left her sisters heartbroken, and she isn’t interested in commitment. But pushing Will away drives him into the arms of another girl. Tia tells herself it’s no big deal…until the yearbook elections are announced. Getting voted Biggest Flirts with Will is, well, awkward. They may just be friends, but their chemistry is beginning to jeopardize Will’s new relationship—and causing Tia to reconsider her true feelings. What started as a lighthearted fling is about to get very complicated…


My Review:
I can't seem to rave enough about this book. First of all, there is high school band. I was in high school band, I was in college band. I get all of the high school band dynamics.


What I loved: I loved what a fast-paced, energetic story this was. Once I started reading, I really didn't stop. The whole "will they or won't they get together" story line is always one that I love. Echols manages to keep readers waiting until the very end to find out--but that didn't bother me so much. I felt like the story was a process....one that both Tia and Will (but especially Tia) had to go through before they could figure out what they really wanted. 

What left me wanting more: I don't think Will had his shirt off nearly enough....kidding...well, maybe... Seriously, I loved this story. I was hooked from the beginning and was sad when it ended. I hope Tia and Will make some appearances in the other books of this series.

Final Verdict: A fun book that you won't be able to put down!


5 Stars!!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Review: Ready to Wear (Sew Zoey #1)

Title: Ready to Wear (Sew Zoey #1)
Author: Chloe Taylor
Publisher: Simon Spotlight
Released: June 4, 2013

Thanks YABC for sending this book my way!

Summary:
Over the summer, fashion-loving Zoey Webber gets the best news ever: Her middle school is getting rid of uniforms! There’s just one problem. Zoey has sketchbooks full of fashion designs, but nothing to wear! So with a little help from her best friends Kate and Priti, she learns to make her own clothes. She even begins to post her fashion design sketches online in a blog. That’s how the Sew Zoey blog begins, and soon it becomes much more.

Zoey’s quirky style makes her a bit of a misfit at middle school, but her Sew Zoey blog quickly gains a dedicated following. Real fashion designers start to read it! Yet even as her blog takes off, Zoey still has to deal with homework, crushes, and P.E. class. And when the principal asks her to design a dress for the school’s fashion-show fund-raiser, Zoey can’t wait to start sewing! But what will happen when her two worlds collide?


Review:
The first book of the Sew Zoey series is everything that I like in a middle grade book. This book will most certainly appeal to young fashion lovers. Zoey is a creative young lady that gets the idea from her two best friends to start a blog of all of her fashion sketches. The blog inspires Zoey to actually start creating some of her very own designs. The process of her learning how to sew was funny and cute. 

My one complaint about this book is about Zoey's blog. When Zoey writes a post, her voice sounds older than she is. The dialogue she has with her friends and classmates seems much more true to age. I also know technology is a huge part of everyone's lives but I would hesitate to let my own middle-schooler have a blog and interact with followers that I didn't know. I'll be interested to see how and if this discussion comes up in other books of the series. 

Ready to Wear isn't just a book for aspiring designers. It is a book that focuses on friendship, family and hard work. I'm hoping that the rest of the series is just as delightful and sweet as this first one is
.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Review: Better Off Friends

Title: Better Off Friends
Author: Elizabeth Eulberg
Publisher: Point

Thanks to Jen at Jenuine Cupcakes for sending this to me!
Summary:

WHEN HARRY MET SALLY . . . for teens, from romantic comedy star Elizabeth Eulberg. 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?

My Review:

I'm a huge fan of Elizabeth Eulberg. Every time I sit down to read one of her books, I know I won't be disappointed. 

What I loved: So many things. I really enjoyed the flip flop between Macallan and Levi. Their voices were distinct but it felt so natural to read both of their perspectives. They meet in seventh grade and the book follows their relationship over the next five years. The evolution of their friendship was fun to read. They had a natural, witty banter between them and it was fun to get lost in their conversations.

I LOVED how Eulberg was able to convey how complex their feelings for each other are. Everyone knows that relationships are not two-dimensional and there are many sides and feelings involved in each one we have. Because of the alternating POV's I felt like I was really inside of their heads and really understood how deep their feelings were. It made the story believable and and engaging.

What left me wanting more: Nothing. I love, love, loved it!

Final Verdict: If you are looking for a fun, sweet romance look no further.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Review: Wedding Wings (Disney Fairies: The Never Girls Book 5)

Title: Wedding Wings
Author:  Kiki Thorpe
Publisher: Random House/Disney

Summary:

Gabby is going to be a flower girl in a wedding! But a Never Land fairy hidden in her basket causes big trouble on her big day. Tinker Bell and the Disney Fairies star in a magical early chapter book series for girls ages 6 to 9—The Never Girls!

My Review:

I've loved all the books in the Never Girls series. However, none have made me laugh out loud like Wedding Wings. 

Once again, the clumsies and the fairies meet up for another adventure, this time at a wedding. When a fairy explores the set-up for the wedding reception, she causes all kinds of funny fairy trouble. The girls and the fairies have to work together to save the wedding and the results are a sweet, magical event. 

If you have a young reader who is making the transition to chapter books, I encourage you to give this series a chance. The Never Girls series has a lot to offer a young reader and I can't wait to see what happens next!


Thanks to YABC for the chance to read and review this!