Review: Future Perfect by Jen Larsen

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Book Title: Future Perfect
Author: Jen Larsen
Published Date: October 6th, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Links: AmazonBarnes & Noble

Synopsis from Goodreads
Every year on her birthday, Ashley Perkins gets a card from her grandmother—a card that always contains a promise: lose enough weight, and I will buy your happiness.

Ashley doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with the way she looks, but no amount of arguing can persuade her grandmother that “fat” isn’t a dirty word—that Ashley is happy with her life, and her body, as it is.

But Ashley wasn’t counting on having her dreams served up on a silver platter at her latest birthday party. She falters when Grandmother offers the one thing she’s always wanted: tuition to attend Harvard University—in exchange for undergoing weight loss surgery.

As Ashley grapples with the choice that little white card has given her, she feels pressured by her friends, her family, even administrators at school. But what’s a girl to do when the reflection in her mirror seems to bother everyone but her?

Through her indecisions and doubts, Ashley’s story is a liberating one—a tale of one girl, who knows that weight is just a number, and that no one is completely perfect.

Disclaimer: I received an e-ARC of this book from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Review
This book frustrated me from a very early point. At first I was really loving Ashley’s confident voice. Even her obsession with being perfect didn’t really bother me initially. It was her refusal to defend herself to her grandmother that really ticked me off. She claimed to be totally okay with how she looked, but she was so easily swayed by what her grandmother thought.

“It’s not her business. Your body is not her business.”

Thank God Ashley had her friend Laura. Laura at least tried her hardest to make sure that Ashley realized that the decisions about her body were to be made by her and her alone. She also had her boyfriend Hector and her other friend Jolene, neither of them thought weight loss surgery was necessary, and they were angry with her grandmother for offering it in exchange for paid tuition at Harvard. They were even angrier at Ashley for considering it.

Ashley really didn’t understand that her grandmother was not thinking of her best interests at all. She was trying to control Ashley. It was maddening to see Ashley not have a backbone. She needed a backbone. I just wanted to hear Ashley tell her grandmother off. Her grandmother needed to back off, and Ashley needed to make sure that happened. But she was so focused on being perfect that she didn’t realize she was being controlled by her grandmother.

I’m utterly frustrated that Ashley was this quiet, meek teenager. Where was her fire? Where was her her fight? Why didn’t she fight for what she knew was right? If she was truly confident and happy in how she looked, why did she even allow her grandmother to think she had won?

It took her so long to realize that her grandmother wasn’t really thinking of her. She was focusing too much on pleasing society. In society, thin is gorgeous and fat is ugly. She just couldn’t appreciate the granddaughter that she had.

I wish we had seen more of Ashley’s brothers. I think they were interesting and they could have brought some complexity to this story. They brought more about Ashley’s mother into the story. I wish we had seen more of Ashley’s mother in this story. I think there was a lot they didn’t delve into that could have made this book more interesting to me.

“And you’re pissed at Mom for not having gone to Harvard instead of Clara for lying to you?”

When she realized that her grandmother had lied to her, she realized her grandmother wasn’t as perfect as she claimed to be.

She started to become more aware of what she really wanted for herself. She started to realize that she could really be herself, and she didn’t have to be perfect.

But it was all just a little bit too late for me to really care about the characters in this book. The only people I really liked were the secondary characters Laura, Jolene and Ashley’s brothers. So unfortunately I have to give this book 2 stars. It was a total letdown for me in many different ways.

Waiting on Wednesday #24

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. It’s a way to showcase upcoming titles that we’re excited about.

My Pick
HS
Book Link: Goodreads

Synopsis from Goodreads:
John “Smoke” Conlan is serving time for two murders but he wasn’t the one who murdered his English teacher, and he never intended to kill the only other witness to the crime. A dangerous juvenile rehabilitation center in Denver, Colorado, known as the Y, is Smoke’s new home and the only one he believes he deserves.

But, unlike his fellow inmates, Smoke is not in constant imprisonment. After a near death experience leaves him with the ability to shed his physical body at will, Smoke is able to travel freely outside the concrete walls of the Y, gathering information for himself and his fellow inmates while they’re asleep in their beds. Convinced his future is only as bright as the fluorescent lights in his cell, Smoke doesn’t care that the “threads” that bind his soul to his body are wearing thin-that one day he may not make it back in time. That is, until he meets Pink, a tough, resourceful girl who is sees him for who he truly is and wants to help him clear his name.

Now Smoke is on a journey to redemption he never thought possible. With Pink’s help, Smoke may be able to reveal the true killer, but the closer they get to the truth, the more deadly their search becomes. The web of lies, deceit, and corruption that put Smoke behind bars is more tangled than they could have ever imagined. With both of their lives on the line, Smoke will have to decide how much he’s willing to risk, and if he can envision a future worth fighting for.

My Thoughts
I loved Elle Cosimano’s first book Nearly Gone and am hoping to read the sequel, Nearly Found, soon. So when I found out she had a third book coming  out, I was super excited. When I read the synopsis, I was instantly intrigued by it. I normally am not a big fan of paranormal, but I’ll be making an exception for this book.

What book are you excited about?

Top Ten Favorite Book Covers of 2015

cd680-tttThis weekly feature is hosted by the ladies of The Broke and the Bookish.

Since we get a freebie this week, I decided to focus on my favorite covers of 2015 and there have been a lot of them, so I may exceed 10 covers. I’m not the least bit sorry.

Here are my favorite covers of 2015
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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (My review is here)
Dreamstrider by Lindsay Smith (Look for my review in late October)
Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas (Hoping to get to this before the end of the year)
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh (My review is here)
Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen (My review is here)
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (My review is here)  

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Hold Me Like A Breath by Tiffany Schmidt (My review is here)
Hotel Ruby by Suzanne Young (Look for my review at the beginning of October)
Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler (I am hoping to get to this book by the end of the year)
Made You Up by Francesca Zappia (My review is here)
Paperweight by Meg Haston (My review is here)
The Replaced by Kimberly Derting (My review is here)
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Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley (My review is here)
Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten (As I write this post, I am reading it)
The Cage by Megan Shepherd (My review is here)
Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge (I hope to get to this one by the end of the year)

We’ll Never Be Apart by Emiko Jean (I’ll be reading this one next month)
Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch (I’ll be reading it this month)

As you can see, I love colorful covers, covers that have different looking font on them, and sometimes even the simple ones. I tell book people that I’m a cover whore, and it’s true. Granted if I said something like that to anyone else, they’d look at me like I was insane.

If you did a TTT this week, link me to it in the comments below!

Release Day Blitz: Ten Things Sloane Hates About Tru (Creative Hearts #1) by Tera Lynn Childs

Ten Things Sloane Hates About Tru (Creative Hearts #1)
Release Date: 09/14/15
Entangled Crush
245 pages

 

Summary from Goodreads:

When life gives you a blank canvas, make art.Sloane Whitaker hates everything about moving to Texas. She hates leaving behind her friends and half her family in New York, starting over senior year at Austin’s NextGen Academy, and having to say she lives in Texas. Most of all, she hates that it’s all her fault. If she wants to earn her way back to the Big Apple, she has to prove she can still be the perfect daughter.

Which means no vandalism art, no trouble at school, and absolutely no Tru Dorsey, her serial screw-up neighbor, who loves nothing more than pushing her buttons.

But from the moment he vaults onto the roof outside her bedroom, there is something about him that makes her want to break every rule. Suddenly it’ s not the ten things she hates about Tru that are at the top of her list. It’s the ten reasons she doesn’t want to be without him.

Buy Links:
kindle | nook | ibooks | kobo

 

About the Author
Tera Lynn Childs is the RITA-award-winning author of the mythology-based Oh.My. Gods. and Goddess Boot Camp, the mermaid tales Forgive My Fins, Fins Are Forever and Just For Fins, and a kick-butt trilogy about monster-hunting descendants of Medusa that includes Sweet Venom, Sweet Shadows, and Sweet Legacy. She has published two e-novellas, Goddess In Time and Pretty In Pearls, and self-published her City Chicks sweet chick lit series. Tera lives nowhere in particular and spends her time writing wherever she can find a comfy chair and a steady stream of caffeinated beverages.

Author Links:
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Review: Damage Done by Amanda Panitch

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Book Title: Damage Done
Author: Amanda Panitch
Published Date: July 21st, 2015
Publisher: Random House Books For Young Readers
Genre: YA Thriller
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads
22 minutes separate Julia Vann’s before and after.

Before: Julia had a twin brother, a boyfriend, and a best friend.

After: She has a new identity, a new hometown, and memories of those twenty-two minutes that refuse to come into focus. At least, that’s what she tells the police.

Now that she’s Lucy Black, she’s able to begin again. She’s even getting used to the empty bedroom where her brother should be. And her fresh start has attracted the attention of one of the hottest guys in school, a boy who will do anything to protect her. But when someone much more dangerous also takes notice, Lucy’s forced to confront the dark secrets she thought were safely left behind.

One thing is clear: The damage done can never be erased. It’s only just beginning. . . .

Disclaimer: I received this book from Random House Books For Young Readers in exchange for my honest review.

Review
Holy mother of God. This book was beyond my expectations. I started it Tuesday morning and before I knew it, I had read half of the book in one sitting and had been treated to a roller coaster of craziness, only half of which I had guessed ahead of time.

It was the kind of book that I just wanted to forget all of my adult responsibilities and just read. I had to know what happened. I had to know more about Ryan and his twin sister. I had to know the truth because I suspected Julia/Lucy knew more than she was letting on about what had happened.

This book reminded me a lot of Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn, both in the writing and in the twists and turns. And I enjoyed this one just as much as I enjoyed Complicit.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book, but I knew that since it was a YA thriller, I had to read it. YA thrillers are my jam and books that are total mind-fucks are even more my thing. I love not really knowing what is going on in a book. I love books that keep me guessing all the way though. And this one did that in a really big way.

Sociopathy has always been very fascinating to me, so when I first read the synopsis for this book, I knew her brother had to be a sociopath. It was the only thing that made sense to me. By the time I was only 10% into it, I knew I was going to love this book. It was the kind of crazy that I LOVE. It was the kind of crazy, topsy-turvy ride that makes for an awesome thriller.

I liked Lucy as a character a lot. She was trying to put the past behind her and focus on rebuilding her life. After something like what her brother did, can you really blame her? She surrounded herself with two good people Alane and Michael. Alane was a good friend to her and I could tell that Lucy needed a good friend. She needed someone who wasn’t afraid of her. Michael was a sweet guy, albeit a bit boring for me, but maybe boring is what Lucy needed at the time.

Ryan was captivating and I really wanted to know more about him. More than we already were told through Dr. Spence’s notes. Sidenote: I LOVED Dr. Spence’s notes. It felt like we were getting more of an idea of who these twins were though his notes. It was unique and it worked for me.

There is so much more that I want to talk about, but I can’t because of spoilers. So I’m just going to say that if you love YA thrillers, you need to pick this one up ASAP. I loved this book and I am giving it 5 stars.

Review: The Assassin’s Blade (Throne of Glass #0.1-0.5 by Sarah J. Maas

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Book Title: The Assassin’s Blade
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Published Date: March 4th, 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens
Genre: YA Fantasy
Series: Throne of Glass series
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads
Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan’s most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin’s Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas – together in one edition for the first time – Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn’s orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out

Disclaimer: This book was gifted to me.

Review
Since there were 5 novellas encased in this book, I’ll be reviewing them separately.

The Assassin and the Pirate Lord
This first novella introduces us to Arrobynn, Celaena, Sam and several other characters. We then watch as Celaena and Sam work to free the slave ships. I wasn’t all that enamored with this one. It was cool what she and Sam did, but, I don’t know, I was kinda hoping for more.

The Assassin and the Healer
I loved this one. I loved seeing a different side to Celaena. Yrene was my favorite secondary character and I loved watching her transform from a weak, quiet girl to a tougher, bolder girl. All with Celaena’s help. It showed me that Celaena was able to be multifaceted.  I loved seeing that she had a heart.

The Assassin and the Desert
In this book, we meet Ansel, another secondary character who I loved. I actually loved seeing Celaena want a friendship with another girl. The ending was utterly crazy, and twisty turn-y. I didn’t even expect it. I guess that’s the mark of really awesome twists. I think I liked this novella the best, although I really enjoyed all of them.

The Assassin and the Underworld
Holy hell, this one made me angry. I wanted nothing more than to kick Arobynn’s teeth in. At the very beginning of these novellas, I thought he was a good person. I didn’t realize how much of an asshole he was until this novella. By the time this novella was over, I was utterly livid with him. I did love watching Celaena slowly fall for Sam. They were adorable together and I loved them.

The Assassin’s Empire
This novella destroyed my feels. Oh my god, I suspected what would happen, but I was so hoping I was wrong. I hated reading about what was happening. I hated it for Celaena. She went from being a girl of strength, both mental and physical, to a girl who was only a shell of herself. What a character arc!

The writing was beautiful. I don’t even know how Sarah J. Maas does it. She manages to weave together a gorgeous story with beautiful writing. I will be giving this book 4 stars. If you haven’t read the series yet, I’d recommend you read The Assassin’s Blade first.

Book Blitz: Push Me, Pull Me by Vanessa Garden

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Push Me, Pull Me
by Vanessa Garden
Release Date: 8/25/15
Limitless Publishing

Buy Links:

Summary from Goodreads:
Since Ruby Milton’s mother committed suicide, she’s forgotten what it’s like to be seventeen.

Saddled with taking care of her toddler brother and alcoholic father, Ruby has no time for fun. She also can’t shake the growing resentment she feels for her mother’s decision, which left her unable to grieve without anger and regret.

Then she meets blue-eyed musician Byron Black, who challenges everything she believes.

Byron refuses to let anyone control his life—or his death. When he left the city behind, he was in search of somewhere where nobody knew his secret. What he didn’t expect was to meet a beautiful redhead whose views conflict so completely with his own. But as their romance deepens, he begins to doubt his choices and decides to return to the city…for one last chance.

When Byron disappears, Ruby will stop at nothing to track him down.

Upon finding Byron, Ruby discovers his devastating secret, and a battle of wills begins. Byron doesn’t want her to know this part of him. He has to deal with it by himself, even though the idea of losing her tears him apart.


Will they be able to see each other through the darkness?


Or should they save their hearts and just let go?

Guest Post

Push Me, Pull Me Author, Vanessa Garden, in Threes
3 things I love about being a writer:
-Getting to do things vicariously through my character, things I’d never get to do in real life – like kissing a hot, mysterious musician in the rain!
-Being able to work in my pyjamas
-Having a good excuse for my sometimes messy house

3 ways I make time to write:
-I try to ignore the TV
-I sleep less (which unfortunately results in a very absent mind the next day
-I try to get up early in the morning while the rest of the house sleeps

3 books that made me want to become a writer:
-Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett (because it is just brilliant)
-The Heaven Series by Virginia Andrews (because of Troy in the maze *sigh* – I read and re-read this series as an early teen about ten times)
-Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (because I still get teary eyed thinking about the characters and their yearning for a better life)

 

VGA

About the Author
A bookseller and Young Adult author, Vanessa loves nothing more than immersing herself in the exciting world of books. When she is not raving about her favourite reads with customers, or mentally casting actors to play the characters in her next novel, she enjoys hanging out with those she loves most.

Author Links:

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Review: Return to the Dark House (Dark House #2) by Laurie Faria Stolarz

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Book Title: Return to the Dark House
Author: Laurie Faria Stolarz
Published Date: July 21st, 2015
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Genre: YA Horror
Series: Book 2 in Dark House duology
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads
Ivy Jensen survived the Dark House once, but can she make it out a second time?

Two months have passed since Ivy narrowly escaped the Nightmare Elf’s grip, but the memories of Parker, Natalie, Shayla, Frankie, and Garth continue to haunt her. Their killer is still out there—somewhere. The police trail has gone cold, though, and it’s up to Ivy to piece together the clues to find him.

When a cryptic video arrives in her inbox, Ivy soon finds herself back in the spotlight, this time on a twisted scavenger hunt through the dark, ancient halls of a long-forgotten Gothic school building. Ivy’s not alone, either. Taylor Monroe has returned to the scene. But can Taylor be trusted? Or is she another pawn in the Nightmare Elf’s deadly game?

Laurie Faria Stolarz crafts a mesmerizing thriller that will leave readers looking over their shoulders.

Disclaimer: Library book.

Review
I don’t know if you guys remember, but I really enjoyed Welcome to the Dark House so when I heard that it was getting a sequel, I was thrilled. I couldn’t wait to dive back into this world.

Guys, the wait was so worth it!

They added an element to the story that made it even scarier and I actually loved that. This time, it wasn’t the Nightmare Elf that scared the ever loving hell out of me. It was this mysterious E. W and the boy called Ricky. The origin of these boys took this story down a path that I was not expecting.

I think the thing I was most excited about was that we got to meet Taylor this time around. She had been the girl who had left before things had even really begun. I knew after finishing Welcome to the Dark House, that she probably was important to the story. I was really curious to see what her part was in all of this.

This book was even more terrifying than the first book in this series. I would love to talk about certain things, but I don’t want to spoil you guys, so I’ll just say, READ IT. If you haven’t read the first book, then binge-read both books, one right after the other. If you enjoy horror books, you will not be sorry. 5 stars to this utterly terrifying but at the same time, captivating book.

Waiting on Wednesday #23

97524-wowThis feature is hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. It’s a way to showcase upcoming titles that we’re excited about.

My Pick
BTB
Book Link: Goodreads

Synopsis from Goodreads
Candace “Candy” Pickens has been obsessed with the swamp lore of her tiny Louisiana town for . . . forever. Name any ghostly swamp figure and Candy will recite the entire tale in a way that will curl your toes and send chills up your spine.

That doesn’t mean Candy’s a believer, however. Even though she and her friends entered the swamp at the start of summer and left it changed, Candy’s the only one who can’t see or feel the magical swamp Shine. She’s also the only one who can’t see the ghosts that have been showing up and spooking everyone in town ever since. So Candy concentrates on other things—real things. Like fighting with her mother and plotting her escape from her crazy town.

But ghosts aren’t the only newcomers in Sticks, Louisiana. The King family arrives like a hurricane: in a blur and unwanted—at least by Candy. Mr. King is intent on filming the rumored ghostly activity for his hit TV show, Local Haunts. And while Candy can’t ignore how attracted she is to eighteen-year-old Gage King and how much his sister, Nova, wants to be friends, she’s still suspicious of the King family.

As Candy tries to figure out why the Kings are really in town and why the swamp that had previously cast her aside now seems to be invading every crack in her logical, cynical mind, she stumbles across the one piece of swamp lore she didn’t know. It’s a tale that’s more truth than myth, and may have all the answers . . . and its roots are in Candy’s own family tree.

My Thoughts
I had no idea until recently that Beware the Wild was getting a companion novel. I’m so excited for this book. I loved Beware the Wild and I cannot wait to see what happens next in this world. Plus that cover is gorgeous! I need this book in my hands ASAP.

What book are you looking forward to the most?

Blog Tour: The Body Institute by Carol Riggs

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TBIBook Title: The Body Institute
Author: Carol Riggs
Release Date: 09/01/15
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Book Link: Goodreads
Buy Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo Books

Summary from Goodreads:
Meet Morgan Dey, one of the top teen Reducers at The Body Institute.

Thanks to cutting-edge technology, Morgan can temporarily take over another girl’s body, get her in shape, and then return to her own body—leaving her client slimmer, more toned, and feeling great. Only there are a few catches…

For one, Morgan won’t remember what happens in her “Loaner” body. Once she’s done, she won’t recall walks with her new friend Matt, conversations with the super-cute Reducer she’s been text-flirting with, or the uneasy feeling she has that the director of The Body Institute is hiding something. Still, it’s all worth it in the name of science. Until the glitches start…

Suddenly, residual memories from her Loaner are cropping up in Morgan’s mind. She’s feeling less like herself and more like someone else. And when protests from an anti–Body Institute organization threaten her safety, she’ll have to decide if being a Reducer is worth the cost of her body and soul…

Review
I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book, but I knew I wanted to read it. Science Fiction is one book genre that if done well, I’ll love.

And The Body Institute was done well. So, so well.

We’re in a world now that taxes people who are overweight. In order to avoid having to pay those taxes, there are people called Reducers who take over the bodies of Loaners and help them lose weight so the Loaners no longer have to worry about those “fat taxes”

The bodies of the Reducers are kept in suspended animation until their job is done. That could take 3 months to over a year depending on how much weight the Loaner has to lose to avoid being taxed.

Morgan Dey is one of those Reducers and I loved her almost immediately. She was tough, stubborn and willing to do whatever she needed to to help out her family. Throughout the book, she took a lot of risks, made some questionable choices, but it always came back to her wanting to help her family.

The second half of this book was probably my favorite because things just started getting more and more twisty and messed up. Shocking revelations kept coming and more and more secrets came to light.

I really hope that this book isn’t a standalone because I feel like there’s a lot more to the story. More things could be uncovered especially considering how it ended. I did really enjoy this book a lot. I am giving it 5 stars because it was awesome the entire way through.

About the Author
CR
I’m a YA writer represented by Kelly Sonnack of Andrea Brown Literary. My sci-fi novel THE BODY INSTITUTE explores the themes of society, identity, and body image. I live in the beautiful, green state of Oregon and have a Studio Arts degree; I’m an SCBWI member.

You’ll usually find me in my writing cave, surrounded by my dragon collection and the characters in my head. I also enjoy reading–mostly young adult novels–as well as drawing, painting, and quilting. I also attend writing conferences, walk with my husband, and enjoy music and dance of all kinds.

Author Links:
WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook

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Book Tour Organized by YA Bound Book Tours