Tag Archives: Standalone

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Book Reviews

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Becky Albertalli
Published: 7th April, 2015
Balzer + Bray
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Age: Young Adut
From: Publisher ARC won via YA Romantics Freebie Friday giveaway; copy from NetGalley

Summary:

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Content warning: minor sexual mentions Continue reading

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Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Book Reviews

Gone Girl

Gone Girl
Gillian Flynn
Published: 24th May, 2012
Broadway Books
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Age: Adult
From: Purchased from WalMart

Summary:

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media–as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents–the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter–but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

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The Violet Hour by Brynn Chapman

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The Violet Hour

The Violet Hour
Brynn Chapman
Published: 11th April, 2015
CreateSpace

Genre: Fantasy
Age: Young Adult

Summary:

Secrets.

Allegra Teagarden, a musical prodigy, flees her father’s dominance and abuse while touring in pre-civil war Charleston, South Carolina. Plagued by depression over her mother’s suicide during their previous visit, she escapes in an effort to piece together the details behind her mother’s mysterious demise.

Secrets.

Down to her final coin, Allegra happens on Charleston’s Fancy, the first southern amusement park, which is searching for musicians for its orchestra. At first, the park seems her salvation; but she quickly realizes she has traded the dominance of her father, for the even more terrifying madness of the owner, Silas.

And more secrets.

Allegra meets the dashing Brighton LeFroy, Fancy’s engineer and pyrotechnics master. His shabby clothing cannot conceal the brilliant mind beneath. The musician’s whisper he is a witch, is obsessed with storms, and is rumored…to fly. And despite the danger, despite her own misgivings, Allegra is inexplicable drawn to him.

She ventures to his reclusive home on Fire Isle during a thunderstorm and together they seek to unravel an ancient mystery.

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Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

Book Reviews

Crimson Bound

Crimson Bound
Rosamund Hodge
Published: 5th May, 2015
Balzer + Bray
Genre: Fantasy, Fairy Tale, Retelling
Age: Young Adult
From: Edelweiss

Summary:

When Rachelle was fifteen she was good—apprenticed to her aunt and in training to protect her village from dark magic. But she was also reckless—straying from the forest path in search of a way to free her world from the threat of eternal darkness. After an illicit meeting goes dreadfully wrong, Rachelle is forced to make a terrible choice that binds her to the very evil she had hoped to defeat.

Three years later, Rachelle has given her life to serving the realm, fighting deadly creatures in an effort to atone. When the king orders her to guard his son Armand—the man she hates most—Rachelle forces Armand to help her find the legendary sword that might save their world. As the two become unexpected allies, they uncover far-reaching conspiracies, hidden magic, and a love that may be their undoing. In a palace built on unbelievable wealth and dangerous secrets, can Rachelle discover the truth and stop the fall of endless night?

Inspired by the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood, Crimson Bound is an exhilarating tale of darkness, love, and redemption.

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Swept Under by Michelle Dalton

SWEPT AWAY

Swept Away

Swept Away
Michelle Dalton
Published: 5th May, 2015
Simon Pulse
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Age: Young Adult
From: Fantastic Flying Book Cub

Summary:

Beachfront love blossoms in this refreshing summer romance, in the tradition of Sixteen Summer and Seventeen Summer.

Mandy Sullivan isn’t exactly looking forward to the summer months as tourists invade her seaside hometown of the coast of Maine. Her best friend, Cynthia, has abandoned her for camp and her older brother just announced he’ll be staying at college taking classes for the summer, leaving Mandy with nothing to do and no one to hang out with. Hoping to keep herself busy, Mandy takes a volunteer job at the Rocky Pointe Lighthouse. On her very first day, Oliver Farmingham asks for a private tour. A new-and incredibly cute-face in Rocky Pointe, Oliver seems more interested in Mandy than the lighthouse and its history.

Without her best friend at her side, Mandy is scrambling to act the right way and say the right things when Oliver is around. Cynthia-not Mandy-has always been the confident, flirtatious girl that everyone wanted to be around. As mandy and Oliver spend more time together exploring the coast, biking through the woods, and attending the local summer festivals, their budding friendship becomes much more. But with Mandy’s insecurities creeping to the surface, can she open her heart to someone who will only be in town for three months?

What I liked: The cover of this book gave off a wonderful, summertime romance feel and the story fell into that feeling. The romance between Mandy and Oliver started off and stayed pretty cute throughout the story as they grew to know each other. I also liked that how that even though Mandy’s best friend, Cynthia, was gone for the summer that Mandy still had friends that she could spend time with. Oliver’s grandfather, John, turned out to be quite different from what I was expecting when he was first introduced into the story, and I ended up really liking his character and the role he played.

What I didn’t like: Other than the cliche bits (because this is romance and those were expected so they didn’t completely bother me even all that much) there really wasn’t anything that even bothered me about this story.

Overall Review: This story was cute and fun, and I really liked the story. Oliver and Mandy were cute together and they had an adventurous sort of story that drew me in and kept me entertained. The light romance moved quick, but at a pace that was enjoyable for this story and worked well in the story.

Recommend?: If you’re looking for a light summer romance this story is really great for that!


“I think just like you’re trapped in a candy tower to be a witch’s servant, he’s under a spell. A spell that can only be broken by a kiss from an innocent year-rounder.”

Is this what it’s like to fall in love?


Goodreads: 4.3/5 Amazon: -/5 Barnes&Noble: -/5 BookDepository: -/5

US Paperback | UK Kindle | UK Paperback | Kobo | iBooks

My Rating: 3.9/5

Rated Materials:
Cover: 4.6
Idea: 3.5
Story: 3.8
Characters: 3.8

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Sixteen Summer standalones!

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Sixteen Summer
Michelle Dalton
Published: 3rd May, 2011
Simon Pulse
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Age: Young Adult

Summary:

Anna is dreading another tourist-filled summer on Dune Island that follows the same routine: beach, ice cream, friends, repeat. That is, until she locks eyes with Will, the gorgeous and sweet guy visiting from New York. Soon, her summer is filled with flirtatious fun as Anna falls head over heels in love.

But with every perfect afternoon, sweet kiss, and walk on the beach, Anna can’t ignore that the days are quickly growing shorter, and Will has to leave at the end of August. Anna’s never felt anything like this before, but when forever isn’t even a possibility, one summer doesn’t feel worth the promise of her heart breaking.

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Pulled Under

Pulled Under
Michelle Dalton
Published: 6th May, 2014
Simon Pulse
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Age: Young Adult

Summary:

A shy teen befriends an attractive beach town tourist in this refreshing summertime romance, in the tradition of Sixteenth Summer and Seventeenth Summer.

In the small town of Pearl Beach, Florida, Izzy Lucas needs only her surfboard and the water to be completely happy. She wants nothing to do with parties, popularity contests, or showing her face around the cliched touristy hangouts. Izzy’s tight group of coworkers at the local surf shop have tried relentlessly to break shy Izzy out of her (sea)shell. But Izzy isn’t interested…until the day Ben Barker walks into the store.

Ben’s from the city. He’s cute, charming, and wants to her help adjusting to the beach town culture. As the weeks of surfing lessons and pizza shack visits fly by, Izzy and Ben realize their attraction goes beyond mere friendship. But Ben is only in town for three months, and Izzy wonders if this amazing guy is worth stepping out of her comfort zone for what might be the perfect summer romance-or her first heartbreak.

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Check out the rest of the tour here!

About the Author

Michelle Dalton is one of the many names Carla Jablonski uses when writing. Her two YAs written as Carla Jablonski (published by Razorbill/Penguin), Thicker than Water and Silent Echoes, were included on the NYPL Books for the Teen Age list, and her graphic novel trilogy, Resistance (illustrated by Leland Lurvis, published by :01 Books) has won several awards, including the Sydney Taylor Silver Medal. In addition to writing novels she is an actor, playwright, and former trapeze artist. A native New Yorker, she is eternally grateful to her friends who invite her to their beach houses.

GIVEAWAY*!

  • One finished copy of Swept Away by Michelle Dalton (US only)

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Book Blitz: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

An Ember in the Ashes

An Ember in the Ashes

An Ember in the Ashes
Sabaa Tahir
Published: 28th April, 2015
Razorbill
Genre: Fantasy
Age: Young Adult

Summary:

An Ember in the Ashes is a thought-provoking, heart-wrenching and pulse-pounding read. Set in a rich, high-fantasy world with echoes of ancient Rome, it tells the story of a slave fighting for her family and a young soldier fighting for his freedom.

Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

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None of the Above by I. W. Gregorio

Book Reviews

None of the Above

None of the Above
I. W. Gregorio
Published: 7th April, 2015
Balzer + Bray
Genre: Contemporary
Age: Young Adult
From: Edelweiss

Summary:

What if everything you knew about yourself changed in an instant?

When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She’s a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she’s madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she’s decided that she’s ready to take things to the next level with him.

But Kristin’s first time isn’t the perfect moment she’s planned—something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy “parts.”

Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin’s entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self?

Content warning: very undescriptive sex scenes (2); underage drinking; bullying

What I liked: This is a big, eye-opening novel about the struggles someone who is intersex can go through. It was touching, and at times an emotional read for me because of what Kristin was going through when she found out that she isn’t who she thought she was biologically. This book even showed how having boxes to check “male” and “female” can be hurtful to the person because they’re simply “none of the above” (which was an actual line a couple of times in the book and I applaud that). Yet it also showed how someone views their gender can be different. That what gender you identify as is not always the same as your biological gender. Honestly I think that was a great thing to put in this book since it is part of Kristin’s journey to understand who she really is. The way the school reacted to the news about her being intersex also showed how not knowing the facts about something that sounds bad on the surface can have a huge negative backlash. It made me think of one thing when I was reading each part where she was getting negative backlash about her “real biological gender” since she was intersex, and that was “ignorance breeds hate” because a lot of the time it does. It was really important to see that too, because for each person we saw accept her for who she was it was a really touching thing. I also loved her father, he was the most supportive and was really there for her and did his best in trying to help her in the only way he knew how. One of the most touching parts in the novel to me, came from her dad and one of the things he learned while researching what it meant for his only daughter to be intersex.

What I didn’t like: I don’t think we really saw Kristin truly accept who she is before the end of the novel. Yes, we get that in a way she accepts her AIS (Androgen Insufficiency Syndrome) but at the same time, I don’t think we really saw her accept herself as who she is, a chromosomal male but a physical female. However, given the circumstances and how far she still has to go, I think just coming to terms with who she is and not yet fully accepting who she is is good.

Overall Review: This is not just an honest tale of what life for someone who is intersex deals with, but a brutally honest one that shows just how hard it can be to come to terms with who you really are when you’re intersex. Over the course of the novel Kristin questions what it really means in this day in age to be male or female, or even none of the above. Her conclusion? Well, that is something you’ll have to find out when you read the book. Its a powerful story that shows how far we still have to go to become more accepting of people just because they don’t fit the social “norm.” This is a story about learning to come to terms with who you really are, and I think I speak for some people when I say that coming to terms with who you really are is harder than it sounds, much less fully accepting something you never expected about yourself.

Recommend?: I highly recommend everyone read this book. Its very informative and realistic about what something like this can do to a person, but its a fantastic read and one that I will undoubtedly read again in the future!

Goodreads: 4.1/5 Amazon: 4.7/5 Barnes&Noble: 4.7/5 BookDepository: /5

US Harcover | Audible | UK Hardcover | Kobo | iBooks | Publisher

My Rating: 4.6/5

Rated Materials:
Cover: 4.6
Idea: 4.7
Story: 4.5
Characters: 4.8

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About the Author

I. W. Gregorio is a practicing surgeon by day, masked avenging YA writer by night. A graduate of the Yale School of Medicine, she studied creative writing at the University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins University. While a surgical resident, she published in the San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News and Washington Post. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two children. NONE OF THE ABOVE (Balzer & Bray/HarperCollins, Spring of 2015) is her first novel. She is represented by Jessica Regel of Foundry + Media.

Links:

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Tumblr | Facebook | Instagram

The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy by Sam Maggs

Book Reviews

The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy

The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy: a Handbook for Girl Geeks
Sam Maggs
Releasing: 12th May, 2015
Quirk Books
Genre: Nonfiction
Age: Children, YA, NA, Adult
From: Giveaway by author on BookLikes

Summary:

Fanfic, cosplay, cons, books, memes, podcasts, vlogs, OTPs and RPGs and MMOs and more—it’s never been a better time to be a girl geek. The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy is the ultimate handbook for ladies living the nerdy life, a fun and feminist take on the often male-dominated world of geekdom. With delightful illustrations and an unabashed love for all the in(ternet)s and outs of geek culture, this book is packed with tips, playthroughs, and cheat codes for everything from starting an online fan community to planning a convention visit to supporting fellow female geeks in the wild.

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Solitaire by Alice Oseman

Book Reviews

Solitaire

Solitaire
Alice Oseman
Published: 30th March, 2015
HarperTeen
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Age: Young Adult
From: Edelweiss

Summary:

In case you’re wondering, this is not a love story.

My name is Tori Spring. I like to sleep and I like to blog. Last year – before all that stuff with Charlie and before I had to face the harsh realities of A-Levels and university applications and the fact that one day I really will have to start talking to people – I had friends. Things were very different, I guess, but that’s all over now.

Now there’s Solitaire. And Michael Holden.

I don’t know what Solitaire are trying to do, and I don’t care about Michael Holden.

I really don’t.

Content warning: bullying; mental health issues; Continue reading

Life Unaware by Cole Gibsen

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life unaware

Life Unaware
Cole Gibsen
Published: 28th April, 2015
Entangled Teen
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Age: Young Adult
From: YA Bound Books Tours

Summary:

Regan Flay has been talking about you.

Regan Flay is on the cusp of achieving her control-freak mother’s “plan” for high school success―cheerleading, student council, the Honor Society—until her life gets turned horribly, horribly upside down. Every bitchy text. Every bitchy email. Every lie, manipulation, and insult she’s ever said have been printed out and taped to all the lockers in school.

Now Regan has gone from popular princess to total pariah.

The only person who even speaks to her is her former best friend’s hot but socially miscreant brother, Nolan Letner. Nolan thinks he knows what Regan’s going through, but what nobody knows is that Regan isn’t really Little Miss Perfect. In fact, she’s barely holding it together under her mom’s pressure. But the consequences of Regan’s fall from grace are only just beginning. Once the chain reaction starts, no one will remain untouched…

Content warning: bullying; thoughts of suicide Continue reading