Review: Summer of Yesterday by Gaby Triana

Book Title: Summer Of Yesterday
Author: Gaby Triana
Release Date: July 8th, 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: YA
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Link: Amazon 
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Back to the Future meets Fast Times at Ridgemont High when Haley’s summer vacation takes a turn for the retro in this totally rad romantic fantasy.

Summer officially sucks. Thanks to a stupid seizure she had a few months earlier, Haley’s stuck going on vacation with her dad and his new family to Disney’s Fort Wilderness instead of enjoying the last session of summer camp back home with her friends. Fort Wilderness holds lots of childhood memories for her father, but surely nothing for Haley. But then a new seizure triggers something she’s never before experienced—time travel—and she ends up in River Country, the campground’s long-abandoned water park, during its heyday.

The year? 1982.

And there—with its amusing fashion, “oldies” music, and primitive technology—she runs into familiar faces: teenage Dad and Mom before they’d even met. Somehow, Haley must find her way back to the twenty-first century before her present-day parents anguish over her disappearance, a difficult feat now that she’s met Jason, one of the park’s summer residents and employees, who takes the strangely dressed stowaway under his wing.

Seizures aside, Haley’s used to controlling her life, and she has no idea how to deal with this dilemma. How can she be falling for a boy whose future she can’t share?

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from Simon Pulse via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. I love a good time traveling story and it’s even better when it’s a YA time travel story. Initially Haley bothered me. A lot. Her attitude was terrible and I felt sympathy for her dad & stepmom who had to deal with her. Seizures are a big deal and while I can understand Haley’s reluctance, I can also understand how her dad wants to keep a close eye on her.

When she travels back in time, everything is different. All the things that she has grown up with don’t even exist. There is no Google, no iPhone or any of the technology that she has always known. Stranger yet, she meets her parents the summer they fell in love. But it’s cutie Jason who makes the most impact on her. He takes her under his wing,and doesn’t label her crazy when she drops a bombshell on him.

Yet, I didn’t feel the chemistry between Jason and Haley. Their kisses didn’t make my Kindle sizzle like I was hoping they would. Maybe it’s because I never completely warmed up to Haley. I ended up liking her a little bit, but I didn’t love her. I think more character development for Haley would have helped.

The plot was jerky. In some places it was slower than a turtle and in others, it zoomed by like a racehorse. I think a little extra time to work out the pacing would definitely have been beneficial to the story.

The ending was confusing too. I don’t think the author was really committed to the end of the story as it felt rushed and unfinished.There was one last bombshell at the end that surprised me, but didn’t shock me or fill me with feels.

So I’m kinda iffy on this one. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either. Between an underdeveloped protagonist and a rough ending & a jerky paced plot, I’m giving this book 3 stars. Maybe someone else will like it, it just wasn’t one of my favorites.

Stacking the Shelves #41

This feature is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews.
This was the week of pre-orders!!!! I got 2 books in the mail that I had pre-ordered in March. So excited they came the day after they officially came out. I’m not usually that lucky. I picked up one Edelweiss book and one Netgalley book. Also, I was incredibly surprised to receive a package from St. Martin’s Press. I didn’t request anything, but they must have me on an author specific list or something as I got an Adult Thriller book from an author I love. 

Let’s check out the books.

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Received for Review

Behind the Scenes by Dahlia Adler
Now I See You: A Memoir by Nicole C. Kear
-From St. Martin’s Press-
That Night by Chevy Stevens

Be sure to let me know if you’ve read any of these or if you are planning on it. Also leave links to your Stacking the Shelves posts so I can stop by.

Weekly Blog Wrap-Up
Monday- Review of Pointe by Brandy Colbert
Tuesday- Review of Independent Study (The Testing #2) by Joelle Charbonneau
Wednesday- No Post
Thursday- No Post
Friday- Guest Post from YA author Corey Ann Haydu about her writing process
Saturday- Review of Red At Night (an e-novella) by Katie McGarry

Review: Red At Night by Katie McGarry

Book Title: Red At Night
Author: Katie McGarry
Release Date: April 1st, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Special Releases
Genre: YA/Contemporary
Standalone (e-novella)
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Link: Amazon
Synopsis from Goodreads:
In Red at Night, Stella and Jonah are total opposites. She’s the girl with purple hair from the wrong part of town. He’s a high school senior who hangs with the cool crowd. Until a car accident leaves him haunted by guilt, and Jonah starts spending time at Stella’s favorite refuge…the local cemetery.

Stella knows she should keep her distance—after all, she spent her girlhood being bullied by Jonah’s friends. Once he’s sorted out his tangled emotions, Jonah won’t have time for her anymore. Too bad she’s already fallen for him.

Disclaimer: This book was a freebie from Amazon.

So I’ll read anything this woman writes. Oh my goodness, I never would have thought that so much emotion could be in a e-novella that was only 87 pages. Clearly I underestimated McGarry’s talents in condensing the story but not allowing the emotion to suffer. This book wrecked me nearly on the same level as Pushing The Limits did.

My heart ached so badly for Stella. She didn’t think there was any hope for her in life. She was resigned to her fate to work a full time job with no college since she couldn’t afford it and she didn’t have the type of family support she deserved. She had long ago learned that hoping doesn’t change the facts and that it was useless to hope for more. She had learned to be realistic and that dreams were just that, dreams.

“If I don’t hope for more, then it can’t hurt as bad.” -Stella
See, what did I tell you? Feels aplenty.

Then we had Jonah, who had the family Stella deserved but he couldn’t get past watching a complete stranger die on the road one night. He hated all the press that came with it. He hated being called a hero, because he wasn’t. He was just there at the right time and did what any decent person would do.
“His last words to me and on this earth were that he lived his life wrong.”-Jonah
I think everyone has that fear. That fear, that you’ll get to the end of your life and you’ll realize that you made some mistakes and maybe even lived your life wrong. Dying with regrets has got to be one of the worst feelings in the world because you can’t change it.
I loved Jonah and Stella’s relationship. I loved that he was willing to tell off his best friend, Cooper for making fun of her. I loved that he sided with her and was willing to defend her no matter what. The chemistry leapt off the page and it made me smile a lot.
“I know who I want to be and I want you by my side as I become that person.”
That quote is one of the most beautiful quotes I’ve ever read in a book. Oh my goodness, just reading it again, gets me all choked up. To have someone feel that way about you, has got to be one of the best feelings in the world.
This book packed an emotional punch from the very beginning and did not let go. I absolutely ADORED this book, and like I said before, I’ll read anything this woman writes. She’s that fabulous and her books are amazing, full of emotion and always, ALWAYS have amazing, and well written characters. 5 stars to this book that made me think of life, love and the choices we make in this world.

Guest Post from Corey Ann Haydu

Corey Ann Haydu is the author of two YA Contemporaries.

OCD Love Story- July 2013
Life By Committee- May 2014
Several weeks ago, Corey put the word out that she was willing to do a guest post on book blogs and I pounced on the opportunity for her to write one for this blog. Since I am working on 3 writing projects, I really wanted to hear about her writing process.

On Process and Doing What Works

The really wonderful thing about being a writer is the same as the really wonderful thing about being a person—you get to figure out who you are and what makes sense for you in your work and your writing and your life.

Here’s how a book happens for me:
I come up with an idea. It is vague. It is inspired by something else—a bit of my life or a documentary or a play or a podcast or another book. In the case of LIFE BY COMMITTEE I started with this French film I loved—Love Me If You Dare. I liked the structure, danger, and chaos of the film and I wanted to attempt that kind of arc in a book. 

That’s all I knew, when I started.

I write in cafes. I need a mocha or a chai. I have to have internet. I like to be chatting online with friends and looking at interesting articles and generally doing a sort of manic multitasking. I work best with a lot of chaos around me.

I write random scenes, out of order. I have only that one seed of an idea (“a YA novel sort of like that French film”) and nothing else. I play a lot. Slowly, I layer on ideas. At one point in writing LBC I realized the arc I wanted would intersect in an interesting way with bits of my own high school experience.

The first draft took me about a year. First drafts in general tend to take me about a year. It is a messy, messy process. I don’t have any chronology until very late in the game. Plot points occur to me sort of willy-nilly, and I’ll write a scene that seems like it could be interesting (Sasha Cotton on her porch at night, in LBC) and not have any idea why I’m writing it or where it will fit in. It’s a lot like leaving breadcrumbs for myself, Hansel and Gretl style, without actually knowing where I’m walking as I drop those breadcrumbs.

But miraculously a lot of things come together.

And unsurprisingly, a lot of other things fall apart.

I do not have strong first drafts. My revisions are complicated, structural, character and plot overhauls. They are not far from page one rewrites. I need readers (betas and above all else my agent and editor) to ask the right questions so that I can find the right answers.

When I’m revising I make insane, impossible choices. That’s when the book starts to work. I don’t solve a problem of not enough tension or a character’s journey being off by simply tweaking. I completely rethink the way I’m telling the story. I changed the entire way LBC– the online group in the book– functioned in between the second and third drafts. I cut a major character entirely after the first draft. I started the book in a whole new place. I added probably ten chapters in my last revision.

I stayed open to new and large and surprising changes. That’s the important part of the writing process for me—openness. Being open to ideas that seem impossible or exhausting. Taking risks. Writing scenes you may never use. Going in a direction that’s going to be hard to turn yourself around from. Making big and scary decisions, sticking with them, and then having the courage to give them up and undo them again if they’re not working.

And then the scariest—trusting your own instinct and following through even when it’s terrifying and hard.

And knowing how YOU write best, how a novel comes to be for YOU, and not judging that the process doesn’t look the way it’s supposed to. My process isn’t efficient. It requires me knowing when I have done as much as I can do on my own. It is filled with self-doubt and small moments of epiphanies. I am often shocked and appalled and dismayed and lost. My process involves post-it notes and scattered ideas and no outlines or calendars or spreadsheets. It doesn’t involve story arc, even though I know eventually I’ll need that. It doesn’t involve consistency or thinking through motivations, even though I know eventually I’ll need that. It means sometimes I give up halfway through or start over for the fiftieth time. It means for every 80,000 word book, there are 300,000 written words, beautiful scenes that will never be seen, characters I loved that no one else will meet. It means my phone is filled with one sentence idea descriptions that offer me little more than a feeling on which to build a whole novel.

And those little feelings sometimes turn into books.

And that’s mine. I can own that. Even though it’s messy.

Thank you so much Corey for volunteering to write a post for the blog. I loved reading all about your writing process. Keep writing those amazing books for us!

Review: Independent Study (The Testing #2) by Joelle Charbonneau

Book Title: Independent Study (The Testing #2)
Author: Joelle Charbonneau
Published Date: January 7th, 2014
Publisher: HMH Books For Young Readers
Genre: YA/Dystopian
Series: Book 2 in The Testing trilogy (My review for The Testing is here)
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
In the series debut The Testing, sixteen-year-old Cia Vale was chosen by the United Commonwealth government as one of the best and brightest graduates of all the colonies . . . a promising leader in the effort to revitalize postwar civilization. In Independent Study, Cia is a freshman at the University in Tosu City with her hometown sweetheart, Tomas—and though the government has tried to erase her memory of the brutal horrors of The Testing, Cia remembers. Her attempts to expose the ugly truth behind the government’s murderous programs put her—and her loved ones—in a world of danger. But the future of the Commonwealth depends on her.

Disclaimer: I got this book from ARCycling.

I really enjoyed the first book of the trilogy so I was excited to get my hands on a copy of the second book in the series. The excitement didn’t last long though and I spent a good chunk of the book, bored out of my mind.

It wasn’t realistic. Cia was supposedly able to handle 9 classes plus an internship and be able to run around campus and still manage to ace her assignments and do well in her internship? Please! I wanted to see her fail only because I wanted to see how she would handle that. Yet they don’t show that. She goes through the entire book, at the top of her class and not getting caught when she sneaks around looking for answers. It was too convenient and unlike in The Testing, I really didn’t like her. She had this I’m-better-than-anyone-else attitude which made me really annoyed and pissed off.

I still don’t like Tomas and honestly I didn’t really like anyone in this book outside of Raffe. I found the characters to be very bland and definitely underdeveloped. I was hoping for more character development and I didn’t get that.The world-building was also lacking significantly and that made it very difficult for me to be able to visualize everything.The world-building was decent in the first book, but it definitely took a nosedive in the second book.

There was no action in it, which really sucks because in books in this genre, there’s got to be some action in order for it to be good and compelling. Without action, this book was nothing more than a fictional political book.

This book suffered the infamous “Sophomore Slump” It was boring, uninteresting and it was a book that I could not wait to finish so I could put it behind me and move on to a better, more interesting book. This book will be getting 2 stars. I am not sure I’ll read the final book in the trilogy.

Review: Pointe by Brandy Colbert

Book Title: Pointe
Author: Brandy Colbert
Published Date: April 10th, 2014
Publisher: Penguin
Genre: YA Contemporary
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Theo is better now.

She’s eating again, dating guys who are almost appropriate, and well on her way to becoming an elite ballet dancer. But when her oldest friend, Donovan, returns home after spending four long years with his kidnapper, Theo starts reliving memories about his abduction—and his abductor.

Donovan isn’t talking about what happened, and even though Theo knows she didn’t do anything wrong, telling the truth would put everything she’s been living for at risk. But keeping quiet might be worse.

Disclaimer: This book was a personal purchase.



Holy catfish, this book was far more complex than I ever gave it credit for. It’s not “just” a ballet book with kidnapping and anorexia subplots. It involves friendships, boys, choices and, even a more dark subject matter, rape and I think realizing that was important. There was definitely more than met the eye for this book. It tackled a ton of tough subjects and it was done well, really well. When you first start reading this book, you think it’s going to head in one direction, but it doesn’t and that really threw me off for a little while.

Theo didn’t always make the best decisions, but that’s what I loved about her. She was real, she was human and she was dealing with more issues than I had ever dealt with in my life. She loved and was devoted to ballet, something that never wavered throughout the book. She was loyal to her friends Sara-Kate and Philip. She had supportive and loving parents who she had put through the wringer. And there’s Hosea, he’s spoken for, but Theo cannot help but be drawn to him. 

And then, there was Donovan. Her best friend who she hadn’t seen in 4 years. In those four years there had been leads, but all had been false. Until the day, he returns. It’s an ordinary day, a day much like the previous days. Except Donovan is back. 

Theo is desperate to see him, to talk to him, but he’s not talking, his mother is honoring his request to keep a low profile. So Theo has no choice but to wait.

Waiting is hard for Theo. She likes being in control but she cannot control this situation. She cannot control anything about Donovan’s return and the legal case that will follow it. Because there will be a legal case. The person who took Donovan will be put on trial. Worst of all, Theo must testify about the last time she saw Donovan before he disappeared. Secrets threaten to come to the surface, but Theo knows that she can’t keep quiet anymore. She knows that she must spill secrets that she’s kept for four years. 

The feels were definitely there in abundance. I cried a lot in the beginning of the book and I cried a lot at the end of the book, so major kudos to Colbert for giving her readers those all important feels. This book didn’t read like it was penned by a debut author. It read much more like Colbert was a seasoned author. It was well written and beautifully written. 

I think this book was incredibly important for reasons that you’ll find out as you read the book. It touches on important topics and it does it with honesty. As I laid awake in bed after finishing it, I felt my feelings for this book only soar higher. I want to be able to give this book a full five stars, but I wanted to see Donovan more in the book. He was the one I wanted to know more about. 

Yet I understood why he wasn’t in the book that much and my favorite part between Donovan and Theo was at the end. It was beautiful, heartfelt and so damn perfect. 4.5 stars to this extremely important and beautifully written book. I definitely would recommend it to fans of contemporary YA and I will definitely read anything this woman writes.

Stacking the Shelves #40

This feature is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews

Hi guys, hope your week was awesome. This week brought a ton of e-ARC’s my way, most of which I could have avoided if I had stayed off of Edelweiss. But, as I’ve mentioned before, I seriously lack self control when it comes to books. I got a couple of books from NG, 1 of which I was surprised to get. I am excited to attack the books as my reading slump is a officially O-V-E-R.

So let’s check out what I received this week.


Received for Review

Blackbird (Blackbird Duology #1) by Anna Carey
Get Even (Don’t Get Mad #1) by Gretchen McNeil
Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez
Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes #1) by Sara Raasch
Even In Paradise by Chelsy Philpot
Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker

Hold On Tight by Serena Bell
Stone of Destiny (The Daanan Trilogy #2) by Laura Howard
Broken Hearts, Fences And Other Things To Mend by Katie Finn

Breaking Free by Winter Page


Definitely let me know if you’ve read any of these or if you are planning to. Don’t forget to leave your links in the comments section.

Weekly Blog Wrap-Up
Monday- No Post
Tuesday- Blog Tour Review of A Life, Forward by Tracy Hewitt Meyer
Wednesday- Review of Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
Thursday- Review of The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Matheiu
Friday- Role Reversal
Saturday- Review of Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern

Review: Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern

Book Title: Say Whay You Will
Author: Cammie McGovern
Release Date: June 3rd, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA/Contemporary
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars meets Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park in this beautifully written, incredibly honest, and emotionally poignant novel. Cammie McGovern’s insightful young adult debut is a heartfelt and heartbreaking story about how we can all feel lost until we find someone who loves us because of our faults, not in spite of them.

Born with cerebral palsy, Amy can’t walk without a walker, talk without a voice box, or even fully control her facial expressions. Plagued by obsessive-compulsive disorder, Matthew is consumed with repeated thoughts, neurotic rituals, and crippling fear. Both in desperate need of someone to help them reach out to the world, Amy and Matthew are more alike than either ever realized.

When Amy decides to hire student aides to help her in her senior year at Coral Hills High School, these two teens are thrust into each other’s lives. As they begin to spend time with each other, what started as a blossoming friendship eventually grows into something neither expected.

Disclaimer: I received this book from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

I will admit that I was insanely excited about this book. I mean cerebral palsy is so completely rare in books and yet many people have to deal with it in real life.Cerebral Palsy comes in different levels of severity but it is still massively under represented in books.OCD is more common in books, but this is the first book that I know of that combines both of these things. 

I really don’t want to get preachy but people with disabilities want the same thing as non-disabled people want. They want to be accepted for who they are as a person.That’s the journey that Amy finds herself on in this book.She starts off under her parents roof, coddled and protected to the hilt. Especially by her mother. Nicole feels it necessary to coddle the heck out of Amy even going as far as to interview “friends” for Amy.

I have had my own share of health problems. Not as severe as Amy’s but I use a wheelchair for long distances and being disabled in a “visual way” does make you feel so lonely. People seem to shy away from you and friendships are hard to form & keep.I cannot imagine being nonverbal & unable to use your voice to communicate your thoughts. I was a part of a disabled kids & teens group about 15 years ago and I knew someone who was a lot like Amy.

Matthew’s journey was in some ways, more special than Amy’s. Amy was battling not only her mother, but also her own body and her dream of independence. Matthew was battling himself. OCD can also be very hard to deal with. I have OCD, but in a much milder form than Matthew dealt with. 

I love the little tasks that Amy set for him. She wanted him to get better and to overcome the OCD since she would never be able to do the same with her disability. Matthew found himself wanting to do it because of Amy and how they had developed a friendship. A friendship that is threatened by Amy’s own mother who is clearly afraid that if Amy becomes more independent, she will no longer be needed.

About halfway through this book, I was genuinely conflicted on how I felt about it. But by the end of it, I realized how beautiful it was and how each of the characters, main and secondary had gone through their own journeys. I would absolutely recommend this book. It gets four stars mostly because it took awhile for me to really get into it but once I did, I couldn’t put it down. 

Role Reversal

It’s no secret that my mom and I are incredibly close. I know I’ve alluded to it in book reviews (when appropriate) It’s also no secret that I have health problems. I have mentioned them in general terms before and don’t worry, I’m not going to delve into them further today.

On May 20th, my mom will be having knee surgery. It’ll be arthroscopic so she’ll be discharged on the same day. Procedure should take about 2 hours max, but it’s still surgery, and she’ll be under general anesthesia for that. It’s going to be such a change for me as I am used to me being on the operating table and not her. I am used to signing forms and talking with the surgeons and anesthesiologists etc. Yes, she’s had 2 C-sections (last one being in 2000), but she is generally extremely healthy (thankfully she got her mom’s genetics healthwise)

It’s going to be a complete role reversal for both of us. I am comfortable in the patient role and she is comfortable in the caretaker role. Thankfully, with arthroscopic surgery, she won’t be laid up for long. Not like it would be with full blown knee surgery.

If you could all please keep her in your thoughts, I’d be very appreciative. We are all so ready to have this taken care of.

Review: The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Matheiu

Book Title: The Truth About Alice
Author: Jennifer Matheiu
Release Date: June 3rd, 2014
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group
Genre: YA/Contemporary
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleBook Depository 
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Everyone has a lot to say about Alice Franklin, and it’s stopped mattering whether it’s true. The rumors started at a party when Alice supposedly had sex with two guys in one night. When school starts everyone almost forgets about Alice until one of those guys, super-popular Brandon, dies in a car wreck that was allegedly all Alice’s fault. Now the only friend she has is a boy who may be the only other person who knows the truth, but is too afraid to admit it. Told from the perspectives of popular girl Elaine, football star Josh, former outcast Kelsie, and shy genius Kurt, we see how everyone has a motive to bring – and keep – Alice down.

Disclaimer: I received this e-galley from Macmillan via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Ever have really high hopes for a book and then you read it and find yourself really bummed by a lot of parts in the book? Well that was me with this book. I was about 40% of the way through it and I was so frustrated and angry at so many characters. These characters thought more about being popular than about being a good friend.I mean all of these rumors were swirling around Alice and not once did these kids stand up and stop the rumors. Nope they continued to trash her and spread increasingly horrible rumors about her.

It absolutely killed me to see that no one was willing to forgo their popularity to stand by Alice. It was heartbreaking to see that the only one who was on her side was nerdy Kurt. He was on her side from the beginning. Not because he wanted to sleep with her but because he knew she needed someone to be on her side.

Ugh Kelsie was a terrible person & friend. She valued popularity over friendship. I mean I get it, in high school popularity is the ultimate goal but I was so frustrated by her actions (she was the one who bothered me most) I really wanted her to have some character development but she didn’t really. I mean she sort of did, but the author kind of half-assed it at the end.

I loved Kurt and his interactions with Alice were so sincere and they weren’t forced at all. They were my favorite part of the book and honestly the only reason that this book wasn’t a total miss with me. His friendship was exactly what Alice needed so she would know that she still had friends. Yes Kurt had his secrets and yes he didn’t exactly tell her them at the right time,but he did tell her.

I do think Alice may have forgiven him just a tad bit too quickly. I mean the secret that Kurt had was a major one and it threatened to turn everything around. Yet, Kurt didn’t say anything sooner. If he had, Alice would have gotten her life back a lot sooner.So I was a little mad at Kurt for that.

What really made me mad was the bathroom stall where people would just write terrible things about Alice. Things that were totally untrue, but definitely hurtful. As a former victim of bullying, that part was really hard to read.Bullies tear other people down because they want to feel better about themselves. That’s not the way to do it people. 

Overall I didn’t love the story but I didn’t hate it either. Alice was a big plus in the book but she wasn’t in it enough which is why I didn’t enjoy a lot of it. Plus I really wanted her to have a voice in the story. She didn’t really have a voice until the very end. I think the book would have been much stronger if they eliminated some of the other voices in the story and made more of an emphasis on Alice’s story.

The character development was not as strong as I was expecting in this book which really bummed me out. The author had a chance to really go for it and I don’t think she did that as well as she could have. Kurt and Alice were my favorite parts of the book (and the only two characters that I actually liked) So this book will be getting 3 stars from me.