Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday-- Cover Redesigns

Top Ten Tuesday is a really cool original feature/weekly meme now hosted over at That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week they post a new Top Ten List that bloggers join in on answering... and today (August 6th) I'm one of them :)

Today's Topic

Top Ten Cover Redesigns I Loved & Hated

1.  What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
2.  Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen

  • I love the redesigns that Sarah Dessen's books got a few years ago.  It was like life got breathed into those books so that a whole new generation could discover them.  I mean, who would look at that OG Keeping the Moon cover and not think dated?

3.  Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

  • The original cover is probably more popular-- it definitely has more pizzazz.  But I like the simplistic.

4.  Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

  • Both covers are good, but the pink hardcover with the drawings blown up is SO much better!!

5.  Delirium by Lauren Oliver

  • I think the Delirium series got a major upgrade from the dreaded face-girl originals.  Also, I love simple.

6.  Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

  • The original cover isn't bad-- and I have a lot of nostalgia for it... but I think the ombre is more aesthetically pleasing.

7.  I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

  • It's not THAT much different-- but the lack of colors in the paperback cover irks me.  This book is COLORFUL!!

8.  Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

  • It's not that I love the sand cover-- but that hair/arm girl is not doing it for me.  SOOOO boring.

9.  Little Monsters by Kara Thomas

  • Seriously, WTF.  The original cover is not great, but what in the actual is that paperback cover???  Is it 2008???  What were they thinking?

10.  Fireworks by Katie Cotugno

  • I really could've included any of this author's books because they took her very distinct style of having multiple snapshots and redesigned them into these blobby-looking, pastel, high school art work covers.  I HATE.

What cover redesigns do you love/hate??

Monday, August 5, 2019

Swipe Right For Murder by Derek Milman-- Swipe Right on this book, Swipe Left on the Swans

Swipe Right For Murder

Aiden is in New York for some medical tests.  He's spending the night in a posh New York hotel on his own. Why not swipe right on a guy who is staying in the same hotel and have a little fun?

Aiden swipes right-- next thing he knows, he's waking up to dead guy and a ringing cell phone.  A terrorist organization thinks Aiden is a hacker with information that was promised to them.  They want the info or they want him dead.  The FBI thinks he's a killer.  There are futuristic motorcycle riders chasing him through Brooklyn.

At every turn there are life and death decisions to make.  Should Aiden try to meet with The Swans (the terrorist group) and try to explain the mistake?  Should he turn himself in to law enforcement?  Should he take the help of the cute guy on the train?

This book was all GO and no SLOW.  It was a high octane, full throttle, chase book-- sort of reminding me of Catch Me If You Can with the way the character flew through settings.

I think this book will be easier to talk about if I do a likes/dislikes list for this book.


  • Loved that Aiden was a super complex character with twisty secrets and hidden fears.
  • Loved the fast paced nature of the book.  It kept it super interesting and hard to put down.
  • Aiden's friends rocked.  They were these 2 boys from his prep school, and they were rich/smart/had access to any and everything.  Plus, they were really supportive and always wanted to help Aiden even if he didn't want their help.
  • Shiloh (the not dead love interest). I liked that he played both sides of the fence-- as a reader, I never really knew who's side Shiloh was on and it made it interesting.  Also, Shiloh as a person seemed like someone worth getting to know.
  • The Swans.  Who doesn't want to read about a secret group of tech geniuses that are up to no good.  It was basically a cult-- and tweeting out swan emojis to claim credit to their crimes was boss.
  • The romance part.  There was WAY too much life/death/running around stuff going on for me to believe that Aiden would be thinking about a love interest as much as he did.  Especially one he didn't know at all.  A bomb would be about to go off and Aiden would stop on his way to disarm it to think about whether he could date this guy or not.  It felt like the wrong time.
  • The Swans are a terrorist group.  I liked that they sort of blurred the lines with good and bad the way they were acting like they were pursuing justice.  It's always nice when things aren't black and white in books.  BUT-- I really thought Aiden took too long to agree that killing people is wrong.  He was like "Welllllll, this person is not a great person and did that thing that really pissed everyone off-- should I care that this organization hacked his pacemaker and made him drop dead in front of his kids??"  It was icky to me.  If you don't like the thing a person did, pursue it legally, don't fucking blow up their car.  If you have serious doubts about whether it is wrong to blow up someones car because they voted against a law or bill, you might need to do an internal evaluation.
  • Basically, he just took too long for my liking to not agree with terrorism.
  • There were DEFINITE believability issues.  Do I think that the government would choose a minor to use as their decoy in a game with a terrorist group???  I get that they didn't want what happened to happen AT ALL, but they still put a child into the crosshairs of a terror group.  And I don't think that would ever be a thing.
  • The ending went ONNNNNN.  This book ended 30 pages before it actually ended.  The final scene commenced-- and then we get 30 pages of unneeded wrap-up.
So-- I really liked this book.  It was SUCH an addicting, fun read.  I don't think it's one that will super stick with me just because of the fast-paced nature of the book.  I would recommend for summer/beach reading because it's such an action-y book with a good mystery and a lot of suspense!!

OVERALL: Complicated feelings about this one.  I always love when books make you read them fast!!  But I also had moral problems with the main character's feelings on murder.  I think this is one of those books that need to be read for the fun of it and not be taken super seriously.  It's pure entertainment.

Date Published: 8/6/2019
How I got this book: Thanks to ALA and jimmy patterson books for the opportunity to read and honestly review an advanced copy of this book.
Publisher: jimmy patterson books/Little, Brown

My Rating: 3.5/5

Character: Aiden Jamison
Book: Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig

  • Flynn is also suspected of being involved in something he totally wasn't and he's carrying secrets as well.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

ARC August-- My 4th Year!!

I love doing ARC August each year because it actually works for me!!  I actually force myself to kill off some TBR!!  And read review books instead of randoms!!!  Also, my friends at Read.Sleep.Repeat do such a great job at hosting this-- and this year I heard there are games???  I freaking love games!!!  So go over there, make your own to-read post, and join in the fun!!

My ARC August Plan:

Wilder Girls by Rory Power

  • Sort of cheating because I've already started this, but I'm a slow reader, so there's zero chance I'll finish it before August 1st (or 2nd or 3rd).

Here There are Monsters by Amelinda Bérubé

  • I am so stinking excited to read this book!!  I skimmed the first chapter just to see what it was like and !!!! 

Suggested Reading by Dave Connis

  • This comes out at the end of September, but I'm pretty interested in it, so I want to read it now!!  I love that this is a book about banned books (seriously people, stop banning books!!!).

#Murderfunding (Murdertrending #2) by Gretchen McNeil

  • I didn't LOVE the first book (it was a tad unbelievable and had a lot of things happen that were a little too convenient), but I want to give the 2nd book a try-- and I really like this author!!

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

  • This book was so hyped at ALA this year.  And I love and miss Dystopian, so I'm definitely fitting it in!

City of Beasts by Corrie Wang

  • I just finished this author's first book (The Takedown) and was OBSESSED!!!  I can't wait to see what else she comes up with!!

Deposing Nathan by Zack Smedley

  • This book came out a few months ago and I was bummed that I didn't get to it.  So thank you ARC August!!

The Lying Woods by Ashley Elston

  • I always try to pick a book from the year before that I didn't get to and this is one from 2018 that I really wish I would have read.  Plus, her new book is coming out (10 Blind Dates) this fall and I'd like to be caught up with her works before I read that!

I'm super excited to read these books-- so here's to hoping that I can read fast and stay motivated (and my mood reading gets under control!!).

Have you read any of these books??  Any that I should be reading first??

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday-- Books Me & My Son Read Together

Top Ten Tuesday is a really cool original feature/weekly meme now hosted over at That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week they post a new Top Ten List that bloggers join in on answering... and today (July 30th) I'm one of them :)

Today's Topic

Top Ten Books I Have Read With My Son

  • This week's topic is a Freebie, so I thought I would take this time to talk about books that I've read with my son-- since this blog is typically YA focused and those books are more Young Reader/Middle Grade books.
  • My boy is 11 now and we've been sharing books (me reading them to him or him reading them to me) since he was about.... well, I guess since he was born.  Obviously he didn't start reading them to me until he was like 6, but we've done a lot of reading together and it's one of my favorite aspects of our relationship.
  • Of course, there are some books I've LOVED that Cole was kinda MEH on.  And the other way around.  These are the books we both agreed are AWESOME:

1.  Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling- I started reading this to Cole when he was in 2nd grade I believe.  We've since read all the books and have started on a reread.  I loved being able to share these magical books with my kid, and I love that he loved them as much as me.

2.  Magyk (Septimus Heap #1) by Angie Sage- HOW DID I JUST FIND OUT ABOUT THESE BOOKS THIS SUMMER???  I, like everyone else, have been looking for something to read in the aftermath of Harry Potter-- and while I feel nothing will adequately compare to the way HP captured my heart, this Septimus Heap series is seriously nipping at it's heels.  We've only read the first and 1/2 of the 2nd so far, but we're obsessed.

3.  The Darkdeep by Allie Condie & Brendan Reichs- This was a fun book that reminded me a little of Stranger Things.

4.  Pennybaker School is Headed for Disaster by Jennifer Brown- Jennifer Brown can do it all.  She's one of my forever favorite YA authors and now she's one of my favorite Middle Grade authors as well.  This Pennybaker School series is seriously adorable and funny.  Cole loved every minute of both books.

5.  Hatchet by Gary Paulsen- I read this like 999 times as 4th-6th grader and now Cole is equally into it.  His favorite thing now is playing in the woods and it's so cute.

6.  Still a Work in Progress by Jo Knowles- This is another author who I've read their YA books, and decided to try and read their MG books with Cole.  We loved this fun/sad book about an 8th grader dealing with a sister who has an eating disorder.

7.  The Last Kids on Earth by Max Brallier- This is one of those half novels, half graphic books.  It's fun and funny and I love the found family aspect.  Cole loves the monsters and the fun weapons and technology that the kids come up with.

8.  How to Capture an Invisible Cat (The Genius Factor #1) by Paul Tobin- YES to this book.  We loved the fantastical nature of this book-- it's not super believable, but it's super fun.  It's about a genius who likes to do stupid things on Friday the 13th and a non-genius, but street-smart girl who has to try to get him (and their town) out of the dumb situations he's gotten them into.

9.  The Giver by Lois Lowry- So I never read this until my kid and I read it together. and I think we were both pretty impressed with it.  It wasn't perfect, but I love a good Dystopian.

10.  Scouts by Shannon Greenland- We're reading this now and I can already tell it's going to be a favorite.  I love the group of kids that are chasing this UFO, and the situations they've gotten themselves into so far are funny/crazy!!

Honorable Mentions: Upside-Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, & Emily Jenkins, Monsterville by Sarah S. Reida, The Doldrums by Nicholas Gannon, The Curiosity House: The Shrunken Head by Lauren Oliver & H.C. Chester, Land of Stories by Chris Colfer

What did you choose for your freebie??  Do you have any MG books to recommend to me & Cole?

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Notes From a Former Virgin: Chloe Snow 3 by Emma Chastain-- Review & Giveaway

Notes from a Former Virgin: Junior Year

(Chloe Snow #3)
by Emma Chastain
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: July 2, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg


Bridget Jones’s Diary meets Mean Girls as lovably flawed high school student Chloe Snow chronicles her junior year as she navigates the highs and lows of family, friendship, school, and losing her virginity.

I’ll be honest: junior year has been a disaster.

My horrible mom is back from Mexico.

My dad’s girlfriend is living in our house.

Did I mention my parents aren’t divorced yet?

On the plus side, I lost my virginity!...and then the whole school found out and I got slut-shamed.

Then, somehow, I got popular! But according to some people, it turned me into a monster, and I’m pretty sure everyone hates me now.

Oh, and there was the Thanksgiving fiasco, and the prom queen debacle, and the illegal middle-of-the-night drive to the hospital.

Want to hear the whole wild story? You’ll have to read my notes.


Chloe Snow is baaaack!!!  I can't tell you how happy I was to start reading this book.  It was a breath of fresh air for me.  Chloe talks in her diaries in a way that makes me feel like I'm living in her world rather than just reading about it.  It's 400+ pages and feels like 50 because of how light and easy it is to fall into Chloe's head.

In this 3rd book Chloe and Grady are officially official.  But now that Chloe's boy problems are over, that's not going to magically fix her family.  And since Miss Murphy is moving in and Chloe's mom randomly reappears, life in both her houses is tragically complicated.

Also, there's school.  You didn't think Reese was going to melt into the background after Chloe started dating her ex-boyfriend, did you??  That feud is still going strong.

There are so many things I love about this book and this series, that I think I'm going to have to list them:

  • Snickers!!  I love her adorably loyal Boston Terrier (I'm a proud Boston Terrier owner myself).
  • I love that Chloe is brutally honest about everything.  I mean, it IS her diary and all, but she's painfully honest about body functions and embarrassing thoughts.  It's endearing.  And real.
  • I love her honesty about sex in this book.  She's having sex (it's not a spoiler because TITLE, duh), but she's also not all freaked out about it.  She's just happy.
  • I love that she doesn't want to talk to her boyfriend about feelings.  I love that she's more the guy than the guy :)
  • She's still googling ridiculous stuff-- it makes me laugh.
  • Ughh her mom.  I like that this book kind of took a serious turn with the mom situation.  I always knew Chloe's mom was crap ever since she ran off to Mexico, but this book really highlights that she's also pretty abusive.  It was sad.
If you haven't read this series yet, I seriously implore you to try it.  If you're easily annoyed by teenagers, you might struggle, but I think her voice is fun and interesting and she makes me laugh.

OVERALL: Big, giant YES!!!!

My Rating: 5/5

Emma Chastain is a graduate of Barnard College and the creative writing MFA program at Boston University. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and children.

July 22nd

Kayla Reads and Reviews- Review/Creative Option
L.M. Durand- Bookstagram

July 23rd

July 24th

July 25th

July 26th

Bookmark Lit- Cover Colors/Review

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