Monday, October 19, 2015

Book Review: If You're Lucky by Yvonne Prinz

Quick Facts
My Rating: 3 stars

Series: N/A

Date Read: June 12, 2015

Source: Free review copy from Netgalley

Publication Date: October 20, 2015

Publisher: Algonquin Books

Genres: Young adult, contemporary

When Georgia meets Fin, a friend of her dead brother, Lucky, she feels that something is off about him. He's charming, much like Lucky, and perhaps that's the problem: He's kind of taking over Lucky's life. First, his girlfriend; then, his dog, his family. Georgia is the only one who isn't fooled.

As time goes on, Fin's behavior becomes even more suspicious. Georgia, who is schizophrenic, stops taking her medication. Everyone else seems to think that her mind is playing tricks on her - but is that true? Or is Fin exactly who she thinks he is?

This sounded like a fast-paced, action-packed book. I really expected it to be mysterious, intriguing, and wonderful. And it took me a long time to accept that this was not the book I expected. It took me even longer to figure out what, exactly, did not sit right with me.

When we first meet Fin, he is very charming, bordering on love interest. Georgia really likes him, and he has a way of making people feel special and understood. Rather than talking about himself, he focuses on the other person - which, as Georgia observes, is not only a great way to make people like you, but a fantastic strategy when keeping secrets.

I liked the beginning of the book well enough, although I kept waiting for the action. But when things took off, the story seemed to go even further downhill. It's not that the story wasn't interesting, because it was! I love the concept of someone completely taking over the life of someone they murdered, and I love stories about mental illness. The highlight of the story, I think, was getting into Georgia's mind and seeing things from her point of view.

But everything felt predictable. Perhaps it was just me, but I knew what was happening throughout most of the book. I may have doubted it a couple of times, and there was one small twist in the middle that I especially enjoyed. The thing is, there was just not a lot of mystery going on, at least for me.

The writing also felt just a bit lacking. I couldn't figure out just what I didn't like, and I don't think anything was technically wrong with it. I just kept wishing it were more. I felt the same way about Fin's character - I wanted to be more charmed by him. I especially wanted to be more afraid for Georgia when she began questioning him and getting into dangerous situations. But I didn't. When Fin was supposed to be charming, it almost worked. When he was supposed to be creepy, I couldn't feel that at all.

Lastly, the ending. This was what caused the most trouble for me - it didn't feel realistic. And I kind of ended the book thinking that's it? The last chapter kind of started some new plot lines, rather than simply wrapping old ones up. And I'm sure this was meant to give new hope for the future - but I don't think it was handled well. The new bits felt forced and not a part of the story at all, and left me wondering why I should care, especially about a character who was introduced within the last five pages.

So maybe this one just wasn't for me. I'm sure others will pick it up and love it. But I couldn't get past thinking it was okay, nothing more or less.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

An Official Goodbye

It's finally time. This isn't going to be a long post, because I've explained a number of times now that I'm moving blogs.

Although I was keeping both this and my new blog going for awhile, just posting less here, it's now time for me to officially switch over. I'm very happy with what I've done on my new blog, BookMatcher, and hope you guys will continue to follow and support me over there if you haven't begun to do so already.

I won't be deleting the old content for Kittens and Books, so all the old posts will still be around if you want to read them for any reason in the future. However, there won't be any more new content posted here.

Thank you to everyone who has supported my blogging either here or at BookMatcher, and sorry for any inconvenience this move might cause to anyone! This was just something I wanted to persue and, since BookMatcher is basically a new-and-improved Kittens and Books anyway, hopefully you guys will enjoy my new blog just as much.

That's just about all I have to say in this post, but if you missed my first announcement and want more information, you can find that here!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Two Contemporaries I Cannot Wait For!

It's been awhile since I shared my anticipated releases with you guys, so here I am! I have two contemporary, summery books that I really cannot wait for. These are both books that I'm likely to read the moment they are released.

First of all, we have The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick. It seems like I've been waiting on this one forever, although I know there are people who have waited longer than me -- I read My Life Next Door a bit after all the hype. Still, I will be buying and reading this the very day it comes out, no doubt in my mind. I've even tried getting an advanced copy in many ways -- I requested an ebook review copy, I've entered giveaways ... Looks like I'm destined to wait until release day, though!

Second is Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between by Jennifer E. Smith. I have mixed feelings waiting for this one, because I have read three of this author's books. Two I loved (The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight and This is What Happy Looks Like) and one (The Geography of You and Me) was just ... okay. I admit I was pretty disappointed, and it doesn't help that it was the latest released -- which always makes me wary of the next release, of course.

Still, I had such a great time with the other two books that I really want to give this one a chance, and I still am excited about it. While I might not get to reading it right away for those reasons, there's still a good chance I will! And if not, I'll definitely be reading it sometime. (Also, I need to read more of Jennifer E. Smith's earlier releases. Because I checked Goodreads just now, but before then I had no idea there were so many!)

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Book Review: How to be Bad by E. Lockhart, Sarah Mlynowski, & Lauren Myracle

Quick Facts

My Rating: 4 stars

Series: N/A

Date Read: June 24, 2015

Source: Purchased ebook

Publication Date: May 1, 2008

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genres: Young adult, contemporary



When Jesse finds out her mom has cancer, she's desperate to leave and escape the reality she doesn't want to accept. Her plan is to go on a road trip with her friend, Vicks, to visit her boyfriend at college. She doesn't expect Mel, the rich new girl at work, to invite herself along -- but she offers to pay, so how can Jesse say no?
The three girls set off in Jesse's mom's car, each with their own secrets and issues to deal with. Vicks' relationship isn't quite as perfect as she made it seem, and she hasn't really heard from her boyfriend since he left. Jesse is keeping her mother's cancer a secret. And Mel just wants to feel like she belongs somewhere, but she knows she's really only there because the other girls wanted her to pay.
I really enjoyed this book. The dynamics between the girls were so interesting -- they were all so different, and I enjoyed every one of their perspectives. I will admit that I preferred Mel's point of view to the others in the beginning, but towards the middle I didn't care who was telling the story. I just wanted to hear more about the girls and their trip!
This book also did a great job at balancing a realistic aspect with a fun, summery read. It does deal with a pretty deep topic -- cancer -- but it isn't covered much throughout the book, due to Jesse's reluctance to talk about it.
That said, and I'm probably being contradictory: I wanted something more. I was so interested in the girls, I could have read so much more about their lives. Maybe this is just a sign of how well-developed they were, but when I reached the end I wanted more. Maybe a bit of a deeper story line. Or maybe just a longer book?
I didn't hate the ending -- in fact, I thought it was a really great place to leave off. At the same time, I would have liked to see more of the girls daily lives, more of their friendship, everything else that happened after the trip. (Maybe what I'm saying is that I wouldn't mind a sequel? Even though this does work fine as a standalone?)
Anyway, I would completely recommend this to anyone looking for a great summer read. It has so much fun, so much girl power, and such excellent relationships. And it's a road trip book -- which might be my favorite trope, ever.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday

Here is the link to the Top Ten Tuesday information from The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's topic is Top Ten Hyped Books I've Never Read. I haven't done a Top Ten Tuesday post in FOREVER, so let's get into this one!

1. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
This is a series I really should have gotten to by now, especially because I own the first book. (And maybe the third? I think?) I tried to read it once and couldn't get into it, although I did like it -- I was in a reading slump at the time, and just needed to read a few contemporaries to get out of it. And then, of course, I never picked this one up again! (I'm bad at doing that!)

2. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

I have absolutely no excuse for not reading this one. It's been on my TBR for years. I've heard countless people talk about how great it is. Yet, I have never picked it up. It's something I want to read, obviously, since I have never taken it off my TBR list. Maybe I'll get around to it soon?

3. A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

The hype seemed to die down rather quickly after this one was released which, come to think of it, might not be a great sign! Still, I added this one to my list when everyone was talking about it, and I still do want to get around to it eventually. It's something that I think I would enjoy, as I usually like stories told in unusual ways. A love story told by people surrounding the protagonists just sounds like such a unique, fun twist!

4. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

I don't think there is a ton of hype surrounding this one, but I've heard about it enough to consider it a hyped book. This is yet another series that I meant to start ages ago, but never did. I'm pretty awful at starting series, really. It's just such a big commitment when there's more than one book!

5. City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

These next few books are going to be similar in that I'm now into the book series that I've started, but never finished. I even reread City of Bones awhile back in preparation for finally reading this series, but it hasn't happened yet! I do have plans, though. I have to be in a certain mood to read these books, for some reason.

6. Spirit Bound by Rachelle Mead

How many times did I say I would finish this series? I don't even want to count! Anyway, it's super hyped. And I want to read Bloodlines. And I need to finish these last two books! (I might toss a bunch of series into my August TBR and see what happens. If I actually finish any of them!)

7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

This is, by far, the most hyped book on my list. But look, I'm almost finished with the series! I've just had this last book waiting for me forever. It's just, spoilers. And deaths. I've been waiting until I'm ready for this one.

8. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

I'm moving into books that aren't on my TBR anymore, now. This whole companion-novel-series was on my shelf for a very long time, but I could not get into Anna no matter how many times I tried! Finally, I found a copy of Lola and the Boy Next Door and tried reading that. But I didn't really like it, either. So I guess this is one time that the hype failed me. Which is disappointing, because I loved Stephanie Perkins' short story in My True Love Gave to Me. So I do like her writing style. I'll probably give these, or possibly any other books she publishes, another chance in the future!

9. To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

This one is super hyped right now, with the sequel having just been released. However, I purchased it pretty recently and just couldn't get into it. The narrator seems pretty childish to me, which I have since seen quite a few people say in reviews. I'm likely to give this another chance sometime, as I did buy it (on sale, luckily), but it'll probably be quite some time. Maybe I'll wait until I'm looking for a book with a younger protagonist, and then I won't be so bothered.

That's all I have! I'm sure there are a ton more hyped books that I've never read, but these are the ones that I could think of. I've been pretty good recently at keeping my TBR pile small, and I've been trying not to give into the hype for every single book -- so that's why I couldn't quite meet the ten here! 

Are there any of these that you guys haven't read, either? Any that you think I should read immediately? Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

July TBR

It's time for another TBR! Last month I began on making big plans for my reading in July, so I'm excited to get into those now that the month has started. In July, I will be challenging myself to read only diverse books. I'm hoping that, by dedicating a month to finding and reading diverse books, it will change my reading patterns. I definitely don't search for diverse books as often as I should. It's something I tend to save for later, when I get through all my books on my immediate TBR. Which, of course, never happens. So I'm starting now!

To begin with the books I'll be reading this month, I do have two current reads. I couldn't wait to start Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda after hearing all the hype, so I started the audiobook in June. Due to my reading slump, I'm still pretty close to the beginning, but making progress! Hopefully I can finish this one soon -- I'll be writing a lot in July, which usually means more audiobooks than text. I guess I get tired of looking at actual words!

The other book I started at the end of June was Far From You by Tess Sharpe. I bought this (first full-price book I've purchased in quite awhile!) as a reward for finishing last months review books, so I couldn't wait until July to begin! I really enjoyed the little bit that I read, but again, reading slump. It's a pretty quick read though, so I can probably finish it pretty fast once I get back into reading it.

And from here we get into the books I haven't started yet, that I plan to read. Although I have many potential reads (all listed on my Goodreads shelf, if anyone is interested), I'll just list a few that I'm most likely to get to here, starting with The Miseducation of Cameron Post. I have been meaning to get to this one for quite awhile, so hopefully it'll happen this month.

Next I really want to read Liar by Justine Larbalestier. This is one I came across just recently, and I'm super excited to get to it! This one is about a compulsive liar. I really like books with unreliable narrators, and this seems to be just that! Micah's boyfriend dies and she has to begin to tell the truth, but how can she do that when she's so used to lying about everything? This seems super great and suspenseful, and I really hope it meets the expectations I have for it.

And that's it for this month! As I said, go ahead and check out my Goodreads shelf for more diverse books that I might read this month, if I get through the four listed here. Also, you can check out a duplicate of this post on my new blog, BookMatcher, where I add in some monthly goals and talk about the things I'll be posting over there this month. 

Also, tell me what you'll be reading! Any diverse books planned for the month? (Or any that you would recommend me?)

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

In June...

June has been a crazy month. While every other month this year has seemed to fly by, I feel like June took its time and lasted forever. Despite some of the real-life, awful things that happened to make this month so long, though, it was a great writing and blogging month for me!

The most notable thing that happened to me as a blogger is that I'm in the process of moving the blog. (That links to my announcement post that went up earlier this week.) My new blog is called BookMatcher (link to the actual blog, there!), and I am SUPER excited about it. It's just what I needed to get back into my excitement for blogging again, and I'm having so much fun.

Anyway, onto what I read this month...

I read 5 books in June.

I feel pretty good about this, considering how busy this month has been. And it's probably more than I will be reading next month, simply because I'm participating in Camp NaNoWriMo. My goal for that is 60,000 words (I know, I'm crazy for making the word goal higher instead of lowering it), so I'll be writing like crazy next month!