November Reading Update

Dead Ringer by Jessie Rosen
Everything but the Truth by Mandy Hubbard – Currently Reading
Did I Mention I love You? by Estelle Maskame – Read
Inherit the Stars by Tessa Elwood

Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby – Read, review coming
Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E Smith – Read and reviewed
The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick – Read and reviewed
Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson – Read and reviewed
Fairest by Marissa Meyer – Read
P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han – Read and reviewed
NEED by Joelle Charbonneau – Read, review coming
The Diary of a Haunting by M. Verano – Read and reviewed
Skyscarping by Cordelia Jensen – Read

So far I’ve finished 9 books and 1 novella.

Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E Smith

Clare and Aidan dated all through high school, but now they’re leaving for college on opposite ends of the country. Clare has a schedule of things to do for their last night together. At the end of the night, she hopes to be able to make the decision of whether to break up or try to make this long distance thing work.

I’ll be honest, I was a little disappointed by this book. I love Jen E Smith’s writing but the plot of this book didn’t really do it for me. Aidan and Clare seemed like real people–and I’m sure this is a situation that many teenagers are in every summer. My only problem is that we as readers are introduced to this couple at the potential end of their relationship. The great thing about reading contemporary romances is that we get to meet the characters before they’re a couple and then watch them fall in love. That’s the part that I like at least. I like having that inside scoop that he likes her and she likes him, but they don’t know it yet. I like that moment when they finally realize what the reader has known all along–that they’re perfect for each other. We don’t get that in this book. Smith tries to give us a glimpse of that by having Clare remember past moments in their relationship as they visit different locations. But they’re just memories. The reader isn’t in that moment with the characters. Because of that, I didn’t feel very invested in the relationship. I wasn’t going, “But, no! They HAVE to stay together! THEY JUST HAVE TO!!!”

That being said, the writing was beautiful as always. There’s something different about Smith’s writing that makes her books feel like more than other books in her category. We’re not reading about fluff here. Her books feel more real and like they have a certain depth that is uncommon.

The secondary characters were all really fun. I liked the two best friends and the group camaraderie felt genuine. I felt like both sets of parents were really well written. Even though they didn’t get much “screen time” they felt like complicated people–not cardboard cutouts. I also liked the premise that this book occurs over a twelve hour period–just one night. I’ve pulled one or two all-nighters and there’s that moment when you realize you have six-eight more hours to your day that didn’t exist before that makes the whole night seem to last forever. I got that feeling from this book.

In the end, I wasn’t so much a fan of this book, but I’m still a big Jen E Smith fan. The autoread will continue.

Overall Rating: 3
Language: Mild
Violence: Mild. One fistfight.
Sexual Content: Mild
Smoking/Drinking: Moderate. The characters go to a party with underage drinking.


9781419707841_s3No True Echo by Gareth P Jones [ARC]

This book was just okay for me. I liked the characters, especially Eddie and Angus. The story and plot were engaging enough that I did want to finish the book, but in the end I feel like nothing really happened. There just wasn’t a satisfying “THIS IS THE ENDING” moment. I guess it just seemed like a lot of build-up and then a flash in the pan climax/resolution but then we don’t even get to find out what happens afterward… The Echo Technology was a really cool concept, but it felt like it should have been used in a more dynamic context. Overall, this book was enjoyable but forgettable. 3/5

Red Girl, Blue Boy by Lauren 23848094Baratz-Logsted [ARC]

Oh gosh. I did not like this book. The characters were immature and unrealistic. Drew was okay, but Katie was OUT OF THIS WORLD. Granted, I don’t have much experience with the children of politicians, but I find it really hard to believe that someone would actually act like that. She’s so clueless! The romance seemed forced and I couldn’t picture Drew and Katie really being together if they were real people. The only thing I liked was the ending result of the election (I won’t spoil it). Overall, just not that great a read. (Also, they talk about High School Musical being an old movie. What??? When did that happen? How did I get to be so old?) 2/5

13569338Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson

Okay, this book was so great! I read it for a book club that I didn’t end up going to (whoops) but I’m so glad that I read it. It had been on my TBR ever since I finished Blackmoore by the same author. These books are seriously everything that is great about regency era romances. If you like Jane Austen, then I really think you’ll like these. The heroine in Edenbrooke is feisty (if a little too self-deprecating), the hero is definitely swoon-worthy, and the villain is…pretty gross really. There were a couple of parts that I was confused about…just one or two plot points that I don’t think were fully explained, but it was still so good! 4/5

The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley 18392495Fitzpatrick

Honestly, I was kind of disappointed by this book. I really, really enjoyed her first two books because I thought they were sweet with fun, relatable characters. But with this book I didn’t feel as connected to the characters. I felt like I was supposed to remember more about Tim and Alice from the first book than I actually did. I honestly can’t remember much of anything from My Life Next Door, so maybe that was my problem. I didn’t particularly like Tim or Alice and didn’t really care if they got together or not. I really liked some of the scenes between Tim and Cal–I thought those were really sweet. Overall, it just wasn’t that great and I didn’t really find myself enjoying it as much as I thought I would. 3/5

24885765The Diary of a Haunting by M. Verano

Oh gosh. This book was such a let down. First let me say that horror is really not one of my genres but I decided to take a chance on this one since it was a free read on PulseIt. Some of the reviews on GoodReads said that it was really scary so I was mentally preparing myself for that. The book is written in a unique format–we’re reading the main character’s blog posts. I both liked it and didn’t like it. We’re reading summaries of events that have already happened so it’s almost like…there’s less potential for suspense. That wasn’t even the main problem though. I felt pretty unsettled throughout the book–which is expected. But then every time the book was gearing up for something really scary…it wasn’t. In the end, I just feel like nothing really got explained. There was this big deal with the spiders and the flies but I still don’t know what they had to do with anything. The cover is way freakier than the book actually is. 2/5

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Book-to-Movie Adaptations


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: Top Ten Book To Movie Adaptations I’m Looking Forward To or Ten Book To Movie Adaptations I Still Need To Watch

Ummm…yeah. Not a big fan of this week’s topic. I kind of fell like everyone is going to be cycling through the same 15 movies. So…I’m doing my own thing that’s kind of related. Here’s a list of my Top Ten Favorite Book-to-Movie Adaptations.

Books that I’ve read

1) Harry Potter series
2) The Hunger Games series
3) The Maze Runner
4) Austenland
5) Pride and Prejudice (the Keira Knightley one, sorry I haven’t watched the longer one yet)
6) Persuasion (recent-ish BBC version)
7) Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock, The Robert Downey Jr movies, heck even Elementary. All good).

Books I haven’t read

8) The Big Year
9) The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
10) The Martian

P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han [Spoilers]

Warning: This post will contain spoilers. I normally try to steer clear of those, but I just can’t talk about this book without spoiling some things.

Lara Jean likes Peter for real and it looks like he likes her back, but she’s not quite sure how to act in this new, real relationship. So she and Peter draw up a new contract. Peter will not be more than five minutes late. Lara Jean will not make Peter do crafts of any kind. Peter doesn’t have to call Lara Jean before he goes to bed at night, but he can if he feels like it. Lara Jean will only go to parties if she feels like it. Peter will give Lara Jean rides whenever she wants. Lara Jean and Peter will always tell each other the truth. Peter and Lara Jean will not break each other’s hearts.

p-s-i-still-love-you-9781442426733_hrI FEEL SO CONFLICTED ABOUT THIS BOOK. I remember really liking the first one, but as I started to read this one, I couldn’t remember why I liked Peter or even why I liked Lara Jean. I will say, though, I still LOVE Kitty. She’s probably my favorite character. I’m sure she’d be hard to live with, but she’s awesome to read about. But back to Peter and Lara Jean. I just didn’t get why they were together. I didn’t see what Lara Jean saw in Peter besides his good looks. What else is there about him? He just doesn’t seem like her type at all. It was also hard for me to see what Peter saw in Lara Jean. Why does he want to be with her so bad? I just don’t get it. Somehow they made sense to me in the first book, but not in this one.

So…the love triangle. I agree with some reviewers that it was a little much to add a second love triangle to the series. But let’s be honest, Jenny Han loves writing about love triangles (I mean, you guys have read her Summer series, right?) What I’m trying to say is, this shouldn’t have been unexpected and frankly, I like John better. I think he and Lara Jean are MUCH better suited for one another. Just take the end and compare John’s birthday present versus Peter’s. John gives her this wonderful gift, a snow globe that Lara Jean LOVES. He obviously thought really hard about what to give her and just naturally seems to be on the same wavelength. Peter’s gift, on the other hand, pales in comparison. He gives her back the necklace (which he took back from her in the first place) and it’s not even like he came up with that idea on his own. Lara Jean had told him that she liked the necklace. No way Peter would have thought to get that for her by himself. Also, John definitely would have written an original poem for Lara Jean on Valentine’s Day.

In the end, not only do I feel like Lara Jean chose the wrong guy, but it was also very sudden. First Peter’s kind of being a jerk but then all of a sudden he wants Lara Jean back and it all seems very random and happens within five pages. Honestly, it seemed more like Peter wanted to keep John from having Lara Jean than Peter actually wanting Lara Jean for her. Whatever. I don’t get it, but whatever.

Last thing: there was one part of the book that especially bothered me on a more personal level. Lara Jean and Peter are in the tree house and their conversation leads to Peter saying something like, “Any guy who says he doesn’t watch porn is lying” and Lara Jean isn’t even fazed by it. What? First of all, what Peter is saying here isn’t true. It’s just not. Second of all, Lara Jean should definitely be bothered by this! Ignore any moral or religious beliefs regarding porn–porn is scientifically proven to be damaging to individuals and relationships. Porn is harmful and addictive and–despite the attempts of the media to normalize it–is not okay. Go to for more information on how Porn Kills Love. I’ll get off my soapbox now. Sorry, not sorry.

Overall Rating: 3
Language: Moderate. A few scenes with strong language.
Violence: None
Sexual Content: Heavy. Nothing explicit, but pretty constant talk throughout.
Smoking/Drinking: Mild

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors That I’d Like to Read More From


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:  Top Ten Debut Authors Who Have Me Looking Forward To Their Sophomore Novel

I can’t think of too many of those off the top of my head, but I’ll also include some authors that I personally have only read one book from but would like to read more (links are to my reviews).

Debut Authors

1) Nicola Yoon – Everything, Everything
2) TA Maclagan – They Call Me Alexandra Gastone
3) Erin Morgenstern – The Night Circus

New to Me Authors

4) Ryan Graudin – Wolf by Wolf
5) Tamara Ireland Stone – Every Last Word
6) Ernest Cline – Ready Player One
7) Claudia Gray – A Thousand Pieces of You
8) Liz Czukas – Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless
9) Lindsey Leavitt – Going Vintage
10) Delilah S Dawson – Hit

Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan

22749539Note: This post was used as a homework assignment and may contain spoilers.

Historical fiction is a genre that I enjoy but seldom read. I like that this book is mostly realistic, but has a slight mystical/magical element to it. I think that magical element will make the book more interesting and manageable for kids. I liked that we were given several different main characters to follow spaced a few years apart. It shows how the war and the time period affected different types of people and kids. First we’re introduced to a character on the German side of things. It was interesting to read about Germans who did not agree with Hitler—often I think all Germans get lumped together as being Nazi supporters when that likely was not the case. This could teach kids not to make blanket assumptions about groups of people. Not everyone within a group is going to agree on everything (or anything). Children can see how even families may not agree on everything—even really important issues. In the end, you may not ever come to an agreement, but you’re still a family and should still love each other.

Next we’re introduced to an American orphan and we see what life is like for him and his brother. Again, it gives the reader a realistic view of the hard circumstances that some of these kids had to grow up in. With the war, a lot of children were left orphans for various reasons. Their fathers were likely off at war (or killed in combat) while disease was hard to avoid as well without our modern medicine. Even though not explicitly stated, Mike and Frankie’s story is set during the Great Depression (you can learn more about the Great Depression here). During this period of time it was especially difficult to care for children. As shown in the book, orphanages were overrun by boys (and girls) without families. I think this line from the book especially sums up what many children must have felt during this time period: “If the blues meant a song begging for its life, then Mike’s middle section of ‘America the Beautiful’ was a cry for a place to call home” (pg 338). Many children just wanted a home, but circumstance prevented them from having that.

Lastly, we’re introduced to a Mexican-American girl whose family is trying to find a place where they can truly settle down. We learn about some prejudices that existed against Mexicans and Mexican-Americans as well as what Japanese families had to deal with during the war. I was horrified at the treatment and suspicion that surrounded the Yamamotos. I was also deeply saddened by the Ward family as they grieved for their dead son. This book gives readers a little window into the everyday life of some of the normal people who were affected by the war. Another book that gives a window into everyday life during wartime is In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters. This book is set during World War I and also talks a lot about the Spanish Influenza. Like Echo, it’s a historical fiction book with a little bit of the fantastical thrown in. I would also recommend The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker. While I haven’t read it, I understand that it’s also about children living during World War II.