Friday, June 19, 2015

Review: Sugar by Deirdre Riordan Hall

Title: Sugar
Author: Deirdre Riordan Hall
Publisher: Skyscape
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Rating: 3/5

Synposis: Sugar Legowski-Gracia wasn’t always fat, but fat is what she is now at age seventeen. Not as fat as her mama, who is so big she hasn’t gotten out of bed in months. Not as heavy as her brother, Skunk, who has more meanness in him than fat, which is saying something. But she’s large enough to be the object of ridicule wherever she is: at the grocery store, walking down the street, at school. Sugar’s life is dictated by taking care of Mama in their run-down home—cooking, shopping, and, well, eating. A lot of eating, which Sugar hates as much as she loves.

When Sugar meets Even (not Evan—his nearly illiterate father misspelled his name on the birth certificate), she has the new experience of someone seeing her and not her body. As their unlikely friendship builds, Sugar allows herself to think about the future for the first time, a future not weighed down by her body or her mother.

Soon Sugar will have to decide whether to become the girl that Even helps her see within herself or to sink into the darkness of the skin-deep role her family and her life have created for her.

Review: I was immediately drawn to this book after reading the brief blurb, browsing through NetGalley. I'm a Polish chick and I did experience a bit of bullying in my day, regarding my weight. This book called to me and as soon as I was approved, I dug in.

For starters, I have to say that this book reminded me a lot of "Push" by Sapphire. Sugar's problems were not at all as intense and crazy as those that Precious experienced, but both books left me with a severe level of frustration. I wanted to reach through the pages and slap people, and scream "Wake the eff up!!"

In "Sugar," our title character is a bullied loner, whose home life is just as terrible as her life at school. Insults regarding her weight plague her, and she uses food - especially sweets - as a crutch. This all changes when she meets Even, a friendly and cute guy who befriends Sugar. When hanging out with Even, Sugar feels weightless and her feelings for Even continue to grow into a more romantic nature. Even is just perfect - kind, handsome, a bit tortured, and he rides a Harley - to boot.

My frustrations reading this book were related to almost every single plot point. I was so frustrated reading how Sugar was a doormat for every single person in her life. She gets physically and mentally abused and yet never defends herself or gets angry...she just takes it. Then most frustrating of all, tragedy strikes and forces Sugar's character to undergo rapid growth. Her redemption doesn't seem nearly as redeeming as I would have liked based on all the stuff she had to deal with. But who knows, maybe I'm reading this as a grumpy adult who has learned NOT to tolerate people's crap anymore.

Overall, I think this book would be great for teens who have been bullied due to their weight, but for me - Sugar was just too much of a doormat for it to be believable.

Goodreads | Amazon

3/5 teapots!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Review: The Wedding Vow by Cara Connelly

Title: The Wedding Vow
Series: Save the Date #2
Author: Cara Connelly
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Rating: 3/5


Cara Connelly's second Save the Date novel proves that opposites do attract...

The Playboy
Sexy billionaire Adam LeCroix has a mission: hunt down the sultry spitfire he blames for his troubles, demand her help, and exact revenge while he's at it. Maddie St. Clair will help him...or else. 

The Prosecutor
Former prosecutor Maddie damn near nailed Adam for stealing, but the lucky bastard walked. Now, five years later, he's back, arrogant as ever, giving her an ultimatum—work for him to collect the insurance money, or she'll never work again.

The Problem
Maddie's all about right and wrong. Adam's shades of gray. So when he uncovers the hot body under her hard-ass veneer and she finds he's a thief with a heart, can the law-and-order lawyer and the fast-and-loose felon put their prickly past behind them?
Would you believe me if I said that I never read a modern romance novel? Yes. It's true. Give me highlanders or damsels in distress and I'm usually good but, seriously, "The Wedding Vow" completely changed that!

 The story centers on the relationship between Maddie, hard-ass attorney, and Adam, gajillionaire playboy. It just so happens that a few years back, Maddie was prosecuting Adam for a fine art theft that she was 100% convinced he committed. Although she lost the case, she gained an unwavering grudge against Adam. When he shows back up in her life and hires her as his new counsel - a monetary offer Maddie cannot turn down - their volatile relationship quickly turns into desire.

As Adam's business quickly takes him and Maddie to Italy, more is revealed about them both - secrets I was definitely surprised by - and its all set against the gorgeous backdrop of Portofino, Bugattis, Ducatis, and star-studded events. Definitely adult fairy tale status!

One of my only dislikes about the book was that it took Maddie a long time to grow on me due to her stubbornness and unyielding nature. While her reluctance to let Adam in makes sense, at the end everything was kind of rushed for me and I didn't get the full satisfaction of truly, really believing in her growth. Due to this I wavered between a 3 and 4-star rating, eventually settling on a 4 because while I may not have really cared for Maddie, Adam was the perfect drool-worthy guy. I also loved how this book was written - modern, youthful, and real. I always love it when a book's characters talk like real people!

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was hot, fun, and engaging. Though I haven't read the first book in the series, I am absolutely going to be picking it up, along with the next installment. Cara's writing is just THAT great!

Goodreads  |  Amazon

3/5 teapots

Friday, November 1, 2013

Dystopian Giveaway Hop!!

Who doesn't love a good, dystopian read?? I think some of my favorites are always in this genre and it's one I keep coming back to. With that being said, I am extemely excited to be participating in the Dystopian Giveaway Hop, hosted my My Shelf Confessions and I Am A Reader, Not A Writer

Enter to win one of the following reads in the Divergent series, OR a dystopian book of your choice. Yes, it must be dystopian, and I WILL be checking. ;) The book will be shipped directly to you via Amazon (US) or Book Depository (INT).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the other stops on this giveaway hop:

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Title: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Author: Benjamin Alire Saenz
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: YA, LGBT, Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis: Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

Review: Well, first of all...COVER LOVE! I am so glad I got this hardback copy of the book because the cover is truly just gorgeous. That being said, I had mixed feelings about this book that turned into an overwhelming like, as I got towards the end.

No one can debate that the writing in this book is absolutely phenomenal. There is a certain kind of poetry to the words, and how they they on the page. While beautiful, I found that it took me quite a while to actually get into the book itself. I really think it had a lot to do with tone and narration. I wasn't instantaneously in love with the protagonist and it took a while for him to grow on me. Aristotle is a complicated character and his complexity only ever really became endearing to me through the second half of the book. Dante, on the other hand, was so sweet and likeable...almost tragic in a way.

The story of Dante and Aristotle's friendship grew in a natural pace, and their transition from young boys to teens was illustrated perfectly. That is not to say that the book had no issues. For me, it was really difficult to picture this story happening in the late 1980's. Nothing really put the story into that time period, other than Ari's father being a Vietnam War veteran, which I truly feel could have been adapted to a more modern conflict without issue. The attitudes and tolerant nature of the majority of the characters were certainly not common in the 80's, and it was a bit unbelievable.

Overall though, the ending of this book made the entire story so worth it and really, who doesn't love a good payoff? Without giving anything away, I'd have to say that the ending pretty much justified the indifferent attitude of Ari throughout the book. A solid, quick read.

Goodreads | Amazon

4/5 teapots

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Epic Reads!

I don't know if you guys have heard of Epic Reads but I had to share because well, they have an awesome, interactive chat every Wednesday afternoon. This chat is called #TeaTime and it's pretty much an all-out Twittery, geeky, YA book crush chat! You should follow them on Twitter. Why?

Epic Reads is HarperCollins' YA book community and they host a bunch of awesome giveaways, contests, interactive chats, and memes! Who doesn't love a good book-related meme?

I absolutely had to plug them and their community just because it really is a genuinely awesome place to discuss books on Twitter and I get to share my geeky YA love with other people who feel the same way! I was lucky enough to win a copy of "The Paradox of Vertical Flight" by Emil Ostrovski like two weeks ago when we were all totally dissecting the trailer for "Divergent." See super fuzzy picture of my book and I:

I will be reviewing it soon! And speaking of reviews, how do you all feel about vlogs? I am toying with the idea of getting a webcam and incorporating a video chat/discussion component into the blog. Do you guys watch bloggy, book-ish videos? Hate 'em? Love 'em? Let me know!!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Review: Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol

Title: Anya's Ghost
Author: Vera Brosgol
Publisher: First Second
Genre: YA, Graphic Novels, Paranormal
Rating: 5/5

Synopsis: Anya could really use a friend. But her new BFF isn't kidding about the "Forever" part. Of all the things Anya expected to find at the bottom of an old well, a new friend was not one of them. Especially not a new friend who’s been dead for a century.

Falling down a well is bad enough, but Anya's normal life might actually be worse. She's embarrassed by her family, self-conscious about her body, and she's pretty much given up on fitting in at school. A new friend—even a ghost—is just what she needs. Or so she thinks.

Spooky, sardonic, and secretly sincere, Anya's Ghost is a wonderfully entertaining debut from author/artist Vera Brosgol.

Review: It's always so much harder for me to effectively write a review for a book I loved than it is for a book I hated. If I hate it, I can tell you all the reasons why. But love? Well, sometimes it's just everything! The book as a whole makes me giddy, resonates with me somehow, or otherwise captures my full admiration. That is absolutely the case with "Anya's Ghost" by Vera Brosgol.

Although mostly categorized as a graphic novel with a paranormal edge, there is really a wonderful coming-of-age story that I could absolutely relate to...having once been an awkward teenage girl from an Eastern European country. Yet, even without the immigrant experience, there is this relate-able aspect to this book that is sure to resonate with most teenage girls.

The wonderfully expressive illustrations work so well in conjunction with the text, which I'd have to admit is sparse - but in this case, it works!! Vera's illustrations do such a wonderful job of telling a story with just the right amount of detail. Although in black and white, nothing is lost without color. As a matter of fact, I think the choice works for the story from a paranormal angle!

And speaking of paranormal, there is the right amount of creepiness to the story! Emily, who is Anya's ghost, convincingly ( convincingly as any ghost story can manage) goes from friend to foe with the perfect level of angst, desperation, and longing. Sure, she's pretty psychotic...but I kinda feel bad for her too!

I am really glad I got a chance to read this book. It was quick, cute, and legitimately awesome. Check out the trailer!

Goodreads | Amazon | Author's Site

5/5 teapots!!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Review: Bad Boy by Dream Jordan

Before I jump right into this review...egads! It has been over a year since I last posted a review onto this blog. It has sat abandoned for some time, collecting dust, but has been revived! With that being said, here is a quickie review for "Bad Boy" by Dream Jordan!

Title: Bad Boy
Author: Dream Jordan
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Genre: YA, Urban, Contemporary
Rating: 3/5

Kate is devastated to find herself back in a group home after a peaceful year of living with her loving foster parents, Lynn and Ted. The fantasy life of having the perfect family has come to an abrupt end and Kate's reeling from having to return to the place she’s fought so hard to avoid.

Sad and lonely, Kate soon falls prey to the dangerous affections of Percy, a good looking but shady young man. He treats her well at first, manipulating her already broken heart, and soon a cycle of controlling and abusive behavior begins.

Now Kate finds herself trapped and unable to be the strong, independent girl she’s tried her whole life to be. But this Brooklyn-born girl is never one to let a bad situation keep her down for too long. Told in Kate's sassy, witty voice, Bad Boy is all about staying strong and remaining true to yourself even when it seems like the whole world is out to get you.

Review: Although this book's action follows that of Dream Jordan's debut "Hot Girl," I did not read the first book and had no issue getting right into the thick of the novel. This quick read tells an important story: one of how easy it is to get sucked into an abusive relationship as a teenage girl. Kate, our protagonist, is a smart, tough girl who has been through a lot in life. From gang-banging to foster homes, she's come out on top. That is, until Kate meets Percy - who seems like Prince Charming at first but slowly peels away his layers to show the ugly, dark parts underneath.

There was definitely a telling progression from dream man to nightmare, and it was interesting to see the duality of Kate's struggle between those two aspects of Percy. While offering a good message, the book was not without issue. Most notably, the narration struck me as odd. While told in a first-person voice, there were times where I was taken out of that narration when the author chose to use words or terms that I could never picture a teen use. It made the text a little too unbelievable having slang like "Mad tight" and "peeped a box" alongside text like "...I slid my knapsack from underneath it...Looking at those pictures would precipitate a rainstorm inside of me." Knapsack? Precipitate? I was a teen girl in NYC not that long ago and I would have never used either of those words.

The other thing was the pacing of the story. It was quick and partially due to that fact, it seemed like everything happened so fast. Ultimately though, this may not be that big of a deal since it captures attention well and kept me reading non-stop. A solid read with a great message.

Goodreads | Amazon

3/5 Teapots!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme run by Jill from Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases bloggers are eagerly anticipating.

This week, I'm waiting for...

Lost your way?

Your dreams?


Welcome to Lost.

It was supposed to be a small escape. A few hours driving before turning around and heading home. But once you arrive in Lost...well, it's a place you really can't leave. Not until you're Found. Only the Missing Man can send you home. And he took one look at Lauren Chase and disappeared.

So Lauren is now trapped in the town where all lost things go-luggage, keys, dreams, lives-where nothing is permanent, where the locals go feral and where the only people who don't want to kill her are a handsome wild man called the Finder and a knife-wielding six-year-old girl. The only road out of town is engulfed by an impassable dust storm, and escape is impossible....

Until Lauren decides nothing-and no one-is going to keep her here anymore.

Expected publication: June 2014 by Harlequin/Mira

I am totally looking forward to this book! It seems really unique and I can't help myself from wondering more about this world and all of the adventures it will bring.

What are you waiting for this week?