Review: Under the Lights (Daylight Falls #2) by Dahlia Adler

UtL
Book Title: Under the Lights
Author: Dahlia Adler
Published Date: June 30th, 2015
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Genre: YA LGBT
Series: Book 2 in Daylight Falls series
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads
Josh Chester loves being a Hollywood bad boy, coasting on his good looks, his parties, his parents’ wealth, and the occasional modeling gig. But his laid-back lifestyle is about to change. To help out his best friend, Liam, he joins his hit teen TV show,Daylight Falls … opposite Vanessa Park, the one actor immune to his charms. (Not that he’s trying to charm her, of course.) Meanwhile, his drama-queen mother blackmails him into a new family reality TV show, with Josh in the starring role. Now that he’s in the spotlight—on everyone’s terms but his own—Josh has to decide whether a life as a superstar is the one he really wants.

Vanessa Park has always been certain about her path as an actor, despite her parents’ disapproval. But with all her relationships currently in upheaval, she’s painfully uncertain about everything else. When she meets her new career handler, Brianna, Van is relieved to have found someone she can rely on, now that her BFF, Ally, is at college across the country. But as feelings unexpectedly evolve beyond friendship, Van’s life reaches a whole new level of confusing. And she’ll have to choose between the one thing she’s always loved … and the person she never imagined she could.

Disclaimer: I received this book as an e-ARC from Spencer Hill Contemporary via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Review
I don’t know why it took me so long to read this book. If someone wants to figure that out for me, that’d be awesome. This book was utter perfection. Not only was the romance swoon worthy and sexy, but the friendships in here were absolutely awesome as well. Not to mention the diversity.

Josh was a royal pain in the ass initially. He drove me batcrap insane, but at the same time, he’d have me laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe. He had the combination of humor and douche-canoe down pat. At the same time, I loved the friendship that developed between him and Vanessa. We don’t see enough opposite sex friendships in books and that really bugs me. It is possible for a girl & a guy to be friends and I really hate the implication that men & women cannot be friends without there being a ulterior motive.

Vanessa is involved with a boy named Zander. This boy wants things that Vanessa doesn’t want. He wants her to focus on him, and the future with him. He wants that future to include a purity pledge. That’s not what Vanessa really wants and she struggles with that and what that means. He is also intimidated by Josh, yes crude, rude pain in the ass, Josh. He’s convinced that Vanessa is stepping out on him.

Well technically it’s not Josh, Zander should be worried about. It’s Brianna. Brianna who is initially Vanessa’s stand in for Ally, Vanessa’s best friend. Brianna who quickly becomes Vanessa’s confidant and good friend. Brianna talks to Vanessa about the whole purity pledge thing

“You really don’t want to have sex until you’re married?”
“What if I don’t?”
“Then I respect that. If it’s really what you want. Is it?”

First of all, I absolutely LOVE Brianna. Not only does she support a person’s right to wait until marriage to have sex, but she verbalizes that viewpoint. Not very many people would voice that. And that is sad & so depressing. If someone wants to wait to be married to have sex, that’s their choice. Even though Brianna didn’t believe Vanessa, she still respected Vanessa’s choices. That’s important in both a friendship & a relationship.

“I just kissed my first girl. And yeah, I think I might be…”
“Gay?”
“Maybe. Or maybe I’m bisexual. What if I am?”
“What if you are? Like boys all you want Park. It still won’t fix this. I’m bi and I promise you it’s not a fucking light switch. You can’t just set it on ‘boy’ because it’s inconvenient that you like a girl right now. Widening your options doesn’t change the feelings you have.”

This stuck with me for many different reasons, most of them being because it took me four years to admit to anyone that I was bisexual. I struggled with feeling like I had to flip a switch and make sure it stayed on “boy” because it was inconvenient for me to like a girl. I totally related to Vanessa because of this. I remember feeling the same things that she felt.

The sex scene was steamy and sexy and so perfect. I absolutely loved it. There are virtually no LGBT sex scenes in YA, so I was super excited to see Bri & Van get it on and for it not to fade to black like so many other YA’s do. I was so, SO thrilled. I am very pro-sex in my YA and in some ways, even more in the subgenre of YA LGBT because there is such a lack of full on sexy scenes that don’t fade to black.

Van then has to go through the tough process of coming out. Coming out to her friends, her fans & to her family. Josh and Ally handle it perfectly and Josh’s response made me cry.

“So you’re a lesbian K-drama, not an axe murderer. Why do you say that like it’s the most horrible confession on earth?”
“Because it may as well be, and you know it!”

Van handles this whole thing better than I ever could. Especially given the fact that she lives in the public eye. She tells her parents. Her super conservative, Korean parents, and thankfully, she had her friends & Bri to console her when things become rough. I couldn’t help but remember how rough it was for me when I came out. Especially how rough things were between my Catholic relatives and myself. Things are better now, but it took a really long time. So reading about Van’s struggles with her family, really hit home for me.

This book and the friendships and the romance was utter perfection and I cannot recommend this book enough. Adler is amazing, and she captured so many of my thoughts and made them come out of Van. If you need a diverse read with a couple you can root for, then you need to pick up this book.

Last Ten Books That Came Into My Possession

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

I have added several books to my shelves recently. I added a few library books to my shelves as well, so those will hang around for only a few weeks.

Go forth and check out the books I added this week!

Library Books
BJDODS
SA2WINTERGIRLS
Becoming Jinn (Becoming Jinn #1) by Lori Goldstein
-I’ve heard both good and bad things about this book, but I’m head over heels in love with the cover-
Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan
-I’ve heard mostly good things about this book, and it definitely looks like something I’ll love-
Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
-My FAVORITE Sarah Dessen book. So, so, SO good!-
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
-I had my eye on this book before, but it was Corey Ann Haydu’s vehement insistence that I read this book, that won me over-

Review Books
TASOAHTSP
The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jan Bennett
-I’m very hopeful for this book. It looks like something I’ll enjoy-
The Sister Pact by Stacie Ramey
-Suicide pact + sister books! Eeeeeep! Things that I love. I have high hopes for this book-

Gifted
THLOMP
The Half Life of Molly Pierce by Katrina Leno
-One of my FAVORITE books of 2014. A million thank yous to my Secret Sister for sending it to me-

Bought
UtLTop Ten Books I've Read So Far In 2015c1d84-thob
Under the Lights (Daylight Falls #2) by Dahlia Adler
-I am so excited to read this book. I’m in LOVE with that cover-
Paperweight by Meg Haston
-One of my favorite books of 2015. It was utterly gorgeous & I needed a finished copy-
The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles #2) by Mary E. Pearson
-I fell in love with The Kiss of Deception and I knew I needed to pre-order The Heart of Betrayal-

Let me know if you added any of the same books on your list this week. Also don’t forget to leave the links to your post in the comments below.

Stacking the Shelves #70

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This weekly feature is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews
Hi you guys!

This week, two of my pre-orders arrived in my mailbox. I haven’t read either of these, but I’ve heard amazing things about them. I’m super excited to read them.

This week was full of review books. It was Christmas in May on Edelweiss. I also received two books from NetGalley.

Bought
Black Iris by Leah Raeder
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Received for Review
-Edelweiss-


A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
A Step Towards Falling by Cammie McGovern
Future Perfect by Jen Larsen
Ice Like Fire (Snow Like Ashes #2) by Sara Raasch
The White Rose (The Lone City #2) by Amy Ewing
Believarexic by J. J. Johnson

-NetGalley-

 

Under the Lights (Daylight Falls #2) by Dahlia Adler
A Whole New World (Twisted Tales #1) by Liz Braswell

Hope you guys have an amazing week!

Stacking the Shelves #69

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This weekly feature is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews

Hi everyone!

This week was full of bookmail. I had books that I had recently purchased as well as books that I had pre-ordered awhile ago, all arrive this week.

I also took a trip to the library to pick up some books. Thankfully, it was a much smaller haul than the last few library trips I’ve taken.

I added only one review book this week.

Bought
The Remedy (The Program #0.5) by Suzanne Young
Behind the Scenes (Daylight Falls #1) by Dahlia Adler
Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby

Received for Review

One by Sarah Crossan

Library
Mosquitoland by David Arnold
Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes
Silent Alarm by Jennifer Barnash
The Wicked Will Rise (Dorothy Must Die #2) by Danielle Paige

I hope you all have an awesome week. Be sure to tell me if you’ve read any of these.

Release Day Blitz: Play On by Michelle Smith

 Title: Play On
Author: Michelle Smith
Release Date: April 21, 2015
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Synopsis
In the small town of Lewis Creek, baseball is everything. Especially for all-star pitcher Austin Braxton, who has a one-way ticket out of town with his scholarship to a top university. All that stands between him and a new start is one final season. But when Austin starts flunking Chemistry, his picture-perfect future is in jeopardy. A failing grade means zero playing time, and zero playing time means no scholarship.
Enter Marisa Marlowe, the new girl in town who gets a job at his momma’s flower shop. Not only is Marisa some home-schooled super-genius, she’s also a baseball fanatic and more than willing to help Austin study. As the two grow closer, there’s something about Marisa that makes Austin want more than just baseball and out of Lewis Creek–he wants a future with her. But Marisa has a past that still haunts her, one that she ran all the way to South Carolina to escape.
As Austin starts to peel back the layers of Marisa s pain, it forces him to look beyond the facade of himself and everyone he thought he knew in his town. What he sees instead is that in a small town like Lewis Creek, maybe baseball isn t everything–maybe it is just the thing that ties them all together.”
  
Buy Links and Goodreads Link:
Excerpt
In this excerpt, Marisa surprises Austin on the baseball field…in more ways than one.
I pass the bat to her, watching her face light up like a full moon on a summer night. “Now, it’s a little heavy,” I joke. “Think you can handle it?”
Her eyes widen. “I don’t know,” she says breathlessly. “I may need the help of a big, strong, baseball player. Because we both know that baseball is so superior to softball.”
I shake my head. “That’s not entirely true. Your balls are bigger.”
We stare at each other. Stare. Stare some more. She’s the first one who breaks, bursting out laughing. It’s one of the best sounds I’ve heard in a long time.
“Here,” I say, still laughing. I carefully place my hands on her hips, helping her square up over the plate. “In case, you know, you’re too out of practice.”
She bites back a smile. “Yeah. Because I’ve totally forgotten how to square up for a pitch.”
“Two years is a long time.” Resting my hands on her shoulders, I remind her, “And relax these. You’re too stiff.”
She hangs her head. “You’re killin’ me, Smalls.”
I walked right into that one. She relaxes her shoulders. Slowly, my hands move down her arms until they rest on top of hers. They’re so warm, fit so perfectly in mine that it almost hurts to let them go. But I do, because, you know, friends.
“There,” I say on an exhale. “Ready?”
Her lips curve up. “Let me have it, Floral Prince.”
My mouth drops open. “All right. No mercy, Marlowe.”
I grab the ball and jog out to the mound. I gotta say, she’s the prettiest batter I’ve ever been up against. Taking a deep breath, I wind up and let my fastball fly.
That girl smacks the hell out of the ball.
Holy… I turn, watching it sail all the way back to the fence. When I whirl back around, she grins, pointing the bat at me.
“And that’s how it’s done,” she calls to me, setting the bat in the dirt. She wipes her hands on her jeans.
All I can do is gape. Some of the guys on our team could take a lesson from her. It’s not like I thought she would be bad, but damn. I pull off my cap as I walk toward her. As soon as I tug it onto her head, she laughs.
“Are you going to have any of these left?”
“I have an endless supply.” I nudge the brim of the cap, so I can see her eyes. “And you’ve earned that one.”
She quirks her lips into this little half-smirk that makes me pure weak in the knees. Takes a step closer. Another. And another. I swallow hard. My hands ache to touch her, to pull her to me and kiss the daylights out of her.
But friends, though.

Q&A with Michelle Smith
1. Play On touches on several sensitive topics. What do you hope your readers will take away from reading it?
I hope they come away knowing that illnesses do not define us. That setbacks, mistakes, scars, whatever we’ve done in the past—none of that defines who we are. That yes, you can fall to rock bottom, and you can still thrive after that fall. There’s laughter, and happiness, and hope, and love waiting for you—there’s so much love. And I hope they know that they’re worthy of that love.
It’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to reach out. It’s okay to admit that you need help with this crazy life-thing. Because none of us have all the answers—we’re just doing the best we can. And we’re all in it together.

2. What scene do you most regret having to cut?
Not really a scene itself, but one of the lines. In the original draft, Austin had an ex-girlfriend that was, in a word, vengeful. One night, Austin told her to leave, and she came back to slash his truck’s tires. After discovering what happened the next morning, his mom said, “Your breakup really brought out the redneck in that girl.” That line always made me giggle.
(There’s no ex-girlfriend in the final version, by the way. She got the cut in my first round of edits.)

3. On the flip side, what was your favorite scene that got added during edits?
My favorite scene in the entire book was added during edits!  It takes place toward the end and involves stars, hand-holding, and Austin and Marisa talking about what’s to come, rather than the past. It’s a sweet moment that makes me grin like an idiot.

4. Biggest writing quirk?
I have to have something on my feet, whether it’s socks or shoes. Like, I absolutely cannot write with cold feet.

5. Are you working on any new projects?
I am! I can’t say too much at the moment, but I will say that we haven’t seen the last of Lewis Creek. 😉 
Author Bio:
Michelle Smith was born and raised in North Carolina, where she developed a healthy appreciation for college football, sweet tea, front porches, and a well-placed “y’all.” She’s a lover of all things happy, laughs way too much, and fully believes that a little bit of kindness goes a long way.
Michelle lives near the Carolina coast with her family.

Author Social Media Links: 
Giveaway

Stacking the Shelves #65

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This feature comes from Tynga’s Reviews.
Hi guys, I know I haven’t done a haul post in awhile. In the past few weeks, I received several e-ARCs, from both Edelweiss & NetGalley. I also received a physical ARC from Bloomsbury.

I also got my Book Outlet order finally. I made the order on the day after Black Friday, and they were very backed up. 

I received my TBTBSanta package as well this month and it had so many awesome goodies. I received The Assassin’s Blade, Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight & Heir of Fire, all of them in glorious hard-back, so thank you bunches, Emily!

 I also received my OTSPSecretSister package and in it was a signed copy of The Young Elites. This surprise came a few days after making the arrangements with another blogger, Alexa, to get yet another copy of The Young Elites. So now I have TWO copies of The Young Elites. Since I loved this book so much, I’m thrilled to have 2 copies of it. 

Let’s see what landed on my shelves recently.
Bought

All These Lives by Sarah Wylie
You Look Different In Real Life by Jennifer Castle

 

How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True by Sarah Strohmeyer
Anomaly (Anomaly #1) by Krista McGee

 
Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer

Everneath (Everneath #1) by Brodi Ashton

Everbound (Everneath #2) by Brodi Ashton
Evertrue (Everneath #3) by Brodi Ashton

The Brokenhearted (The Brokenhearted #1) by Amelia Kahaney
Go Ask Alice by Anonymous

Ashes to Ashes (Ashes to Ashes #1) by Melissa Walker
Olivia Twisted by Vivi Barnes

The Adoration of Jenna Fox (Jenna Fox Chronicles #1) by Mary E. Pearson
The Fox Inheritance (Jenna Fox Chronicles #2) by Mary E. Pearson

 

Fox Forever (Jenna Fox Chronicles #3) by Mary E. Pearson
Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell

Received for Review

-Edelweiss-

Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway
The Cage (The Cage #1) by Megan Shepherd

Paperweight by Meg Haston
Tiny Pretty Things by Sonia Charaiportra & Dhonielle Clayton

The Revenge Playbook by Rachael Allen
The Replaced (The Taking #2) by Kimberly Derting

-From the Publisher-

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses1 #1) by Sarah J. Maas

-Netgalley-

One of the Guys by Lisa Aldin

Gifted

The Young Elites (The Young Elites #1) by Marie Lu

The Assassin’s Blade (Throne of Glass #0.1-0.5) by Sarah J. Maas
Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. Maas
Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas

1Let me know if you’ve read any of these or if you are planning to. Don’t forget to leave the links to your posts, in the comments section.

Stacking the Shelves #59

This feature is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews
Hi guys! This week my brand new computer arrived. I am still learning how to use it as I had never used Windows 8 before so I’m struggling with mastering it. I hope I master it quickly so I’m no longer all thumbs with it.

I got 2 books from Edelweiss, 2 books from NetGalley and I was gifted a book from a friend as well. Thank you so much Bekka! I received a book for an ARC Tour. I also bought a book using a gift card I got. On Saturday, I was surprised with a package from Bloomsbury.

Here’s what I added to my shelves.

Bought
The Summer I Wasn’t Me by Jessica Verdi

Received for Review

-NetGalley
Chaos Theory by M. Evonne Dobson
Alex As Well by Alyssa Brugman

-Edelweiss-

All Broke Down (Rusk University #2) by Cora Cormack
On the Edge by Allison van Diepen

ARC Tour

Damsel Distressed by Kelsey Mackie


-From Publisher-

Positively Beautiful by Wendy Mills


Gifted
The Vault of Dreamers (Untitled #1) by Caragh M. O’Brien

Bloggers Mentioned
Bekka

So be sure to tell me if you’ve read any of these or if you are planning on it. I am hopeful this reading slump will end soon as I am frustrated with my lack of blogging lately. Don’t forget to leave me links to your book haul posts!

Review: The Fine Art of Pretending (The Fine Art of Pretending #1) by Rachel Harris

Book Title: The Fine Art of Pretending
Author: Rachel Harris
Published Date: September 30th, 2014
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Series: Book one in The Fine Art of Pretending series.
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
According to the guys at Fairfield Academy, there are two types of girls: the kind you hook up with, and the kind you’re friends with. Seventeen-year-old Alyssa Reed is the second type. And she hates it. With just one year left to change her rank, she devises a plan to become the first type by homecoming, and she sets her sights on the perfect date—Justin Carter, Fairfield Academy’s biggest hottie and most notorious player.

With 57 days until the dance, Aly launches Operation Sex Appeal and sheds her tomboy image. The only thing left is for Justin actually to notice her. Enter best friend Brandon Taylor, the school’s second biggest hottie, and now Aly’s pretend boyfriend. With his help, elevating from “funny friend” to “tempting vixen” is only a matter of time.

But when everything goes according to plan, the inevitable “break up” leaves their friendship in shambles, and Aly and Brandon with feelings they can’t explain. And the fake couple discovers pretending can sometimes cost you the one thing you never expected to want.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Spencer Hill Contemporary via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
Okay, so by now you guys should know that I generally don’t do light and fluffy. Light and fluffy normally bores me and I usually need depth to really enjoy the story. However, I had seen this cover awhile back and I fell in love with the cover. So when I saw it up on NetGalley, I decided to give it a shot, hoping desperately that I wouldn’t be disappointed.

Unfortunately, I was disappointed. One of the biggest predictors of whether or not I’ll like a book is how the character development is. If it’s strong and I see a great character arc with tons of growth and I know what makes these characters tick, I’ll like the book. Unfortunately, with this book, the lackuster character development, particularly for Aly, was what ruined the book for me.

I think Gabi had the right idea here. She was the only sensible girl who insisted on questioning Aly’s reasons for doing it. Gabi knew that changing your whole look just so guys will see you in a different light was insane. Yet Aly had been so sick of watching the boys pass her over for some other hottie, that Gabi’s words didn’t sink in like they should have.

Look, I’m not hating on Aly. Really, I’m not. I remember how it felt in high school to have all the boys see you as just a friend. It was incredibly hard and it does do a number on your self esteem when you see all the hot girls having dates constantly and no guy will even look your way. It sucks. I think it was just hard for me to relate to her as I would have never changed myself for a guy. When I was in high school (10+ years ago) I was definitely a tomboy and boys generally didn’t look my way. Was it hard? Yes, of course it was, but it never occurred to me to change myself just so boys would like me.

I never really felt “it” between Aly and Brandon. They didn’t sizzle off my Kindle like I was hoping they would. In romance books, chemistry is key and I just never felt like Aly and Brandon really had chemistry. I did like the tension between them, but I definitely felt like the chemistry was lacking between the two of them. Now friendship chemistry was absolutely there and I felt like they would have made better friends than romantic partners.

All in all, this book wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t one I enjoyed either. I’m pretty indifferent to it actually, which really bums me out. The lackluster character development and the romantic chemistry were both major disappointments to me. For these reasons, I have to give the book 3 stars. I would recommend this book to a younger reader. I think the tone of this book is for a younger reader. I was never able to connect with it.

Stacking the Shelves #55

This feature is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews

Hi everyone! This week was a week in which I wanted to pinch myself. Several weeks ago I got an email from Bloomsbury Publishing, with their Winter 2015 catalog and a request form to fill out. I filled it out, picking and choosing the titles I was most interested in and emailed it back. I had pretty much forgotten about it until this week, when they sent me one of the titles I requested. There was a lot of flailing & fangirling and freaking out that day. This week, I also got two books from NetGalley and I picked up 3 library books.

Let’s see what landed in my mailbox this week.

Bought
Received for Review
-From Publisher-

There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake

-NetGalley-
The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris
Every Ugly Word by Aimee L. Salter
Gifted
Won

Library

Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
Stealing Parker (Hundred Oaks #2) by Miranda Kenneally

Burn for Burn (Burn for Burn #1) by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian

So that’s it for me this week. Be sure to let me know if you’ve read any of these. Also leave the links to your Stacking the Shelves posts and vlogs so I can try to stop by. Have a great wee everyone!

Stacking the Shelves #41

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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.

Bought
Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Received for Review

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


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