The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak [ARC]

Stella and Drew would do anything for their sister, Cara. When Cara’s cancer comes back, they decide to get her a birthday present that will blow all other presents out of the water. They decide to get her signed merchandise from her favorite boy band–The Heartbreakers. Stella doesn’t understand her sister’s obsession with the band, but she’s willing to stand in line for hours if it means bringing a smile to Cara’s face. But when Stella is offered a job by the band’s publicist, she’ll have to learn to deal with two things: lead singer Oliver Perry and life without Cara.
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I remembered really liking My Life With the Walter Boys, so I was excited to read this new release by Ali Novak. The premise of this book was really light and fun, but I liked the depth that was added by Cara having cancer and just the whole dynamic between the triplets. I liked Drew a lot because it really seemed like he had his head on straight. He’s there for Cara, but he’s also not putting his entire life on hold for her like Stella was. He seemed like a fun brother to have. Cara was sweet and I was amazed by the strength that she had throughout the book. She was always positive and didn’t want pity from others. Compared to her siblings, Stella was just okay. She was really indecisive and a little bland. Honestly, she was my least favorite of the three siblings. I liked when she would talk about photography because I felt like we were getting a better glimpse of who this girl is and what she’s passionate about. Other than that though, she was a little boring and her character doesn’t really stand out. The band members also seemed pretty one-dimensional. The story hinted at there being some depth, but we never really got to see it.

The story itself was okay. I liked it, but there were some things that could have made the book more meaningful. Overall, it just kind of felt like a fluff book. For example, the band becomes friends with Stella and Drew REALLY fast. Maybe they’re starved for friends because they have to keep to themselves all the time, and Drew is really friendly, but I’m just not really buying it. It was just too much, too fast. The other thing was the relationship between Stella and Oliver. I wished that it had moved slower. I really wanted to see them become friends first. As it was, it was more like instant attraction and that made their relationship feel a lot shallower than I think it was supposed to be. It seemed like a relationship that was based purely on looks as opposed to personality, compatibility, and friendship.

The last thing that kind of bothered me was how much Stella hated The Heartbreakers’ music without any concrete reasons. She just kept saying she hated it but…didn’t really talk about why. Overall, though, I did enjoy the book. Probably more than I should have. It was just a fun no-brainer that was easy to relax to between more intense books. My rating is probably a little generous, so I’ll understand if some of you don’t agree with it.

Overall Rating: 4
Language: Moderate
Violence: None
Sexual Content: Mild
Smoking/Drinking: Moderate

Note: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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July Wrap-up/August TBR

For July, I found myself with a lot of ARCs on my plate and a little less patience than usual. As a result, I found that I DNF’d more books than I do in a typical month. At another time, I might have tried to power through, but I just didn’t have the patience.

ARCs
Ghosts of Shanghai by Julian Sedgwick – DNF
Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood – Read and reviewed
The Kiss by Lucy Courtenay – Read
The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes – Read and reviewed
Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George – Read and reviewed
Song of Summer by Laura Lee Anderson – Read and reviewed
Alive by Scott Sigler – Read and reviewed
Confessions of a Queen B* by Crista McHugh – Read
The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak – Read and reviewed
Wishful Thinking by Kayla Bulster – Currently Reading
Devil’s Daughter by Hope Schenk-de Michele et al – DNF
Bombs Away by Harry Turtledove – DNF

Kindle TBR Challenge
Something Real by Heather Demetrios – Read

Graphic Novels
In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang – Read
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang – Read

Others
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer – Read, review coming
Cress by Marissa Meyer – Currently Reading
Honey, Baby, Sweetheart by Deb Caletti – Read and reviewed
Poison Princess by Kresley Cole – Read
Endless Knight by Kresley Cole – Read
Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson – Read and reviewed
Impossible by Nancy Werlin – Read
Starkissed by Brynna Gabrielson – Read
The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler -Read

In July I read a total of 17 books and 2 graphic novels and I didn’t finish 3 books.

For August:

ARCs
Con Academy by Joe Schreiber
Lumiere by Jacqueline Garlick
The Last of the Firedrakes by Farah Oomerbhoy
State of Grace by Hilary Badger
Last Bus to Wisdom by Ivan Doig
Everything, Everything by Nicole Yoon
A Whole New World by Liz Braswell
Whippoorwill by Joseph Monninger
Hunter by Mercedes Lackey

Kindle TBR Challenge (continued)
This month I hope to get in at least five from my Kindle.

DISCUSSION: Bookish Pet Peeves

Hello everyone! Today we’re going to talk about pet peeves. I know that it’s hard to write a book (I myself have tried on an occasion or two and it is no simple task). That being said, there are some things that I just read and a small part of my soul dies. Why did the author have to include that? What does it add to the story? JUST WHY???

petpeeves

I’ll split my pet peeves into two categories: Things Authors Do and Things People Around Me Do.

Things Authors Do

1) The Weepy “Tough” Girl – I don’t mind when girls cry in books or when they have a weak moment, but I cannot stand when a female character is portrayed as being super tough and then proceeds to cry/break-down at every plot twist/fight with her romantic interest. Too many times have I read “I never cry” and then two pages later…crying. It’s just not consistent. That’s my real issue. The consistency.

2) Unexplained Skills That Happen to Save the Day – Katniss has an awesome skill–she’s super deadly with a bow and arrow. It is explained to the reader that she was taught to hunt by her dad and that her skill with a bow and arrow had been necessary to keep herself and her family alive. This is a skill that makes sense. But there are a lot of times when a character has a seemingly “learned skill” with no explanation of how they learned it. I don’t know about you guys, but I actually wasn’t born being able to fix all things mechanical. That’s something that I’d have to learn and do a lot of to become good at. Apparently, that rule doesn’t hold for some fictional characters…

3) “This boy is so beautiful” x One Billion – Just…no. Repeatedly exclaiming over the beauty/hotness of a boy does not move the story along. I don’t care if that thought actually goes through the mind of a teenage girl twenty times a chapter–the reader does not need to read it that many times. Just edit it out. Please. It’s like when you read through a paper and realize that you start every paragraph with the same word. No good. You need to mix it up, right? Same goes here. MIX IT UP.

Things People Around Me Do

1) Dog-Eared/Folded Pages – Why do people do this? Bookmarks can literally be made out of ANYTHING. Dog-eared pages are bad enough, but I have legitimately seen people fold pages in half to mark their spot. Can I please supply you with a post-it instead?

2) Constant Interruptions – I’m reading. Like, obviously reading. My book is out and I am dead to the world. I haven’t been responding to anyone for at least half an hour. This is NOT the time to ask me how my job is going! Okay, in reality I can usually stand for one or two interruptions. If you want to talk, that’s fine, I’ll set my book aside and we can talk. But it’s the interruptions that come every five minutes and only last about thirty seconds–just enough time to yank me out of the book. Then, once I’ve finally gotten back into it, I’m yanked out again! So if you want to talk, just tell me and I’ll talk with you. I’m more than happy to set my book aside (actually, some times I might not be, but I’ll still do it to be polite).

3) Damaged Book Covers – Cover might not be the right word for this…maybe book sleeves? Whatever, you know what I’m talking about. It’s the cover that comes around hardback books. Personally, if I am reading a hardback, I remove the cover and leave it on my bookcase until I’m done with the book. This prevents the cover from receiving any wear or tear. Also, if I happen to spill something on my book (not that I’ve ever accidentally done something like that…okay, but rarely) then I have a nice cover to…you know, COVER any damage. I just don’t understand when I see book covers that are completely mangled. It could have been prevented so easily!

Do you guys agree with my pet peeves? Disagree? What other bookish pet peeves do you have?

Alive by Scott Sigler [ARC]

M. Savage wakes up in a coffin. She can’t actually remember her name, but that’s the name on the nameplate at her feet. She’s wearing clothes that are about three sizes too small and there are no adults in sight. As other kids start to wake up around her, Em takes charge and quickly becomes the leader. With no water and no food, their situation quickly becomes desperate. What Em and the others don’t know, is that finding food and water is the least of their problems.

So this book was basically a combination of The Maze Runner 51Bkct71hkL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_and Lord of the Flies. The reader is confused for virtually the whole book, but then again, so are the characters. We don’t know what’s going on, we don’t know who these kids are, we don’t know where these kids are. That kind of thing might work for some people, but it rarely works for me. I just don’t like feeling confused! I can’t concentrate on enjoying the characters, the writing, and the story when I’m just trying to figure out what the heck is going on with the plot. I thought the idea of people who emotionally and mentally are twelve-years-old in older (late teen to early twenties?) bodies was kind of weird…it just seemed like a strange premise. I felt like it didn’t really add much to the story. The author would have been better off choosing an age group instead of trying to use two at the same time.

The beginning was very slow to grab me. I didn’t find myself connecting with the children or really caring if they survived or not and there were a few too many “main” characters for me to keep track of. There wasn’t a lot of character development. I think this is mostly because the characters themselves have no memory, so the reader can’t connect with any of their past experiences. They all just felt flat and very one-note to me.

Overall, this book was just alright. It lacked world-building, which, again was probably caused by the lack of character memories. I thought the book would have been better if it had been written in the third person. Then it could have incorporated flashbacks of the characters pre-whatevertheheckisgoingon as well as scenes from the perspective of characters that we meet later in the book. I think that way the characters could still have been confused, but the reader wouldn’t have been. After finishing this first book, I feel no interest in reading a second.

Overall Rating: 2
Language: None
Violence: Extreme. A lot of fighting, a lot of gore
Sexual Content: Mild
Smoking/Drinking: None

Note: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY | Confessions of a Queen B* by Crista McHugh

QueenBSynopsis: Alexis Wyndham is the other type of Queen B.

After years of being the subject of ridicule, she revels in her ability to make the in-crowd cower via the exposés on her blog, The Eastline Spy. Now that she’s carved out her place in the high school hierarchy, she uses her position to help the unpopular kids walking the hallways.

Saving a freshman from bullies? Check.
Swapping insults with the head cheerleader? Check.
Falling for the star quarterback? So not a part of her plan.

But when Brett offers to help her solve the mystery of who’s posting X-rated videos from the girls’ locker room, she’ll have to swallow her pride and learn to see past the high school stereotypes she’s never questioned—until now.

Purchase: Amazon | B&N

Author Bio:
Growing up in small town Alabama, Crista relied on story-telling as a natural way for her to pass the time and keep her two younger sisters entertained.

She currently lives in the Audi-filled suburbs of Seattle with Cristaher husband and two children, maintaining her alter ego of mild-mannered physician by day while she continues to pursue writing on nights and weekends.

Just for laughs, here are some of the jobs she’s had in the past to pay the bills: barista, bartender, sommelier, stagehand, actress, morgue attendant, and autopsy assistant.

And she’s also a recovering LARPer. (She blames it on her crazy college days)

For the latest updates, deleted scenes, and answers to any burning questions you have, please check out her webpage, www.CristaMcHugh.com.

Author links:
http://www.cristamchugh.com/wordpress/
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3035791.Crista_McHugh
https://www.facebook.com/CristaMcHugh
https://twitter.com/crista_mchugh

Excerpt:
“By the way, I brought something from home that you might find helpful.” He pulled a black contraption from his backpack. “This is an infant carrier—very useful when you want to keep your hands free while carrying the baby.”
I tried to make sense of all the straps and fasteners, but after a few seconds, I was completely lost. I gritted my teeth. I would have to ask Brett for help. “How does it work?”
“Here, I’ll show you.” He looped two of the straps around my shoulders and snapped them into place. “The X goes in the back, and the pouch goes in the front like so. Then, you put the baby here and lock into place.”
Five seconds later, the doll was pressed against my chest, and Brett was conveniently helping it rest its head comfortably on my boobs. And much to my horror, I kind of liked him standing this close to me, touching that part of my body. It was far from actual groping, but every little brush of his fingers sent a little shiver through me. I was running dangerously close to giving into my hormones and letting him continue.
I slapped his hands away before it was too late. “Hands off!”
He backed away, hands up in front of him. “What? You have a nice rack.” His gaze lingered on that part of my anatomy. “In fact, I’m a little envious of Junior there.”
“I can’t believe you just said that.” I turned around and tried adjusting the doll so it wasn’t being smothered in my cleavage. The reprieve also gave me a moment to pull myself together. My cheeks were still burning from the realization that I was suffering from a bad case of Brett-itis. “Actually, I can. You’re a bonehead jock who’s too busy thinking with his dick.”
“God gave men both a brain and a penis and only enough blood to use one at a time,” he replied matter-of-factly.
“Well, start thinking with your other head before I take the lower one out of commission.”
“And we’re back to the ball-busting.” The amused glint in his dark brown eyes told me he’d witnessed my moment of weakness, that he saw the flush that still lingered in my face (and other parts of my body I refused to acknowledge). “So, back to getting your phone number…”
I closed my eyes to clear my head. “Just for exchanges, right?”
“Sure, if that’s what you want.”
“Yes.” So far, every conversation I’d had with Brett ended with me alternating between wanting to punch him in the face or jump his bones.
“No worries.” When I opened my eyes, he was focused on his phone. “Anytime now.”
I gave him my number, which he entered into his contacts. Part of me wanted to snicker. How pissed off would Summer be once she discovered my number in his phone?
“Do you want my number?” he asked when he was done.
“Kind of hard to get to my phone with this doll strapped to my chest.”
His eyes flickered to my chest again. This time, I managed to limit my response to pure annoyance and snapped my fingers in front of his face. “Eyes up here, bucko.”
“Fine, let me write it down for you.” He tore a scrap of paper off something in his backpack and scribbled his number on it. He pressed it into my palm, reviving that irritating shiver I got every time he touched me. “I’m sure you’re just dying to conveniently misplace this, but please wait until after the project is done.”
The slip of paper reminded me of the one I found yesterday, but the bell rang before I could confront him about that. He was gone, and I was left with an eight-pound computerized doll and a growing sense of confusion when it came to Brett Pederson.

Enter the giveaway for a chance to win a signed copy of Confessions of a Queen B* + a $25 Gift Card to the vendor of the winner’s choice!
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Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Characters

top-ten-tuesday
Okay, I’m a little early this week, but I’ve got a book tour stop scheduled for tomorrow that’s supposed to be the top post, so here’s my TTT a day early. Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week there is a new topic and this week’s topic is: Ten Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds (love reading, are writers, work at a bookstore, etc.)

1) Dash from Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

2) Jane from Austenland by Shannon Hale

3) Clay from Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

4) Death from Endless Knight by Kresley Cole

5) Werner from All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

6) Cinderella from Cinderella and the Colonel by K.M. Shea

7) Percy from Prudence by Gail Carriger

8) Sloan from The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

9) Cath from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

10) Millard from Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Day Three: 3 Days, 3 Quotes Challenge

Last day! One more time…I was tagged by Emily @The Diary of a Bibliophile. Go look at her blog! It’s awesome.

Rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Post a quote for 3 consecutive days (1 quote for each day).
  3. Nominate three new bloggers each day.

This quote comes from A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray.

17234658“Now I know grief is a whetstone. It sharpens all yourlove, all your happiest memories, into blades that tear you apart from within….They say ‘time heals’…what people really mean is that eventually you’ll get used to the pain. You’ll forget who you were without it; you’ll forget what you looked like without your scars.”

I especially love that last part, “you’ll forget what you looked like without your scars.”

Nominations:

A Bit Behind on Books
Aimee @ My Life in Books
Audrey @Forwards and Bookwords

And as a final reminder, feel free to ignore the nomination if you’ve already done it or are just plain not interested!