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Friday, February 24, 2017

[Review] Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby

Title: Things We Know By Heart
Author: Jessi Kirby [Twitter | Website]
Publisher: HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollins
Genre: Young Adult Fiction - Contemporary, Romance
Release Date: April 21, 2015
Source: ARC provided by the publisher via Around The World ARC Tours, opinions are honest and my own. – review policy here.

Whoa, that was heavy...
We open up with Quinn losing her boyfriend Trent in an accident and her attempts to meet in organ donor recipients. She's managed to meet several of them but the recipient of his heart has yet to answer her letter. So she takes matters into her own hands and through some internet research thinks she has found a boy in nearby beach town. 

Quinn goes through a lot after Trent's death that involves more than just grieving but balances the grief with guilt, growth and the big "what's next" question. I really, really love Quinn's family. Her relationship with her dad, sister and grandma are all memorable. It's not often we see great YA parents and these are pretty awesome.

Hello Colton
In comes Colton who spends his days on the water leading kayaking tours, surfing and through other random adventures. Colton is charismatic and has a deep seeded need to live life to the fullest. You might as well tattoo "Carpe Diem" across his forehead. Basically, he's totally swoon-worthy and I wish I could go on secret kayaking trips with him. 

The Meet Cute and Climax
It doesn't take long after the clumsy girl trope for these two to strike up a friendship and a series of super cute outings take place. Their friendship is not without it's struggles due to both sides keeping secrets and the constant risk of those coming to light. As a reading this kept me on serious edge because I was constantly waiting for the "other shoe to drop". 

How it all ends...
The unveiling that had to happen, happens. However, Jessi Kirby's reveal does not come in the way I suspected and neither is the reaction that came after. I really loved it. It made sense to the story and stayed true to the character's mutual guilt that had bought them together. I could imagine 800 worse ways that this could've turned out but this is by far the best. 

Bonus: This book pulled me out of a terrible reading slump, so yay!

3.5 Stars – No tears, a few awws, but still totally sweet.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

[Guest Review] The Remedy by Suzanne Young

Title: The Remedy
Series: The Program #0.5
Author: Suzanne Young [Twitter | Website]
Publisher: Simon Pulse, an imprint of Simon & Schuster 
Genre: Young Adult Fiction - Science Fiction, Dystopian
Release Date: April 21, 2015
Source: ARC provided by the publisher, opinions are honest and the reader's own. – review policy here.

A huge thank you to Meghann for sending me this ARC and letting me review it!

I was a bit nervous to read this because I LOVED The Program but The Treatment let me down a bit. I was wondering which way this book would go. The synopsis immediately intrigued me though. 

Here it is:Quinlan McKee is a closer. Since the age of seven, Quinn has held the responsibility of providing closure to grieving families with a special skill—she can “become” anyone.
Recommended by grief counselors, Quinn is hired by families to take on the short-term role of a deceased loved one between the ages of fifteen and twenty. She’s not an exact copy, of course, but she wears their clothes and changes her hair, studies them through pictures and videos, and soon, Quinn can act like them, smell like them, and be them for all intents and purposes. But to do her job successfully, she can’t get attached.
Now seventeen, Quinn is deft at recreating herself, sometimes confusing her own past with those of the people she’s portrayed. When she’s given her longest assignment, playing the role of Catalina Barnes, Quinn begins to bond with the deceased girl’s boyfriend. But that’s only the beginning of the complications, especially when Quinn finds out the truth about Catalina’s death. And the epidemic it could start.

THIS BOOK. I loved it even more than The Program. I was on an emotional rollercoaster the whole time! I loved the relationship between Quinn and Deacon, her former partner and former boyfriend turned best friend. The humor between them was fun and reminded me of Sloane and James. On the actual "closer" job, I was somewhere in the middle. I can see how this could be a beneficial therapy but I also found the idea SUPER creepy and unhealthy for the grieving families. Quinn was such an interesting character. We essentially follow her tailspin into insanity. It was awful to watch but so addicting. My favorite thing about this book was how psychologically intense it was! There was a point in the book where she stopped investigating some of Catalina's mysteries and that bummed me out. This cooling off period didn't last too long. I won't spoil it, but after her assignment with the Barnes and Isaac, she had a few mysteries of her own to unravel along with getting back to Catalina's. THE END OF THIS BOOK HAD MY HEART RACING. It was still racing after I finished! I couldn't help myself and HAD to ask the author on Twitter if we will get more Quinn and she said yes! *happy dance* My only complaint about this book would have to be some of the character's physical descriptions. I feel like I didn't get enough to form clear pictures of them in my mind. I mostly just made them up myself.
Otherwise, I loved this book and I am definitely ready for more! Five out of five stars!

5 Stars from Harlee Rose (@Harlee_S)

Monday, February 20, 2017

[Guest Post] Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

Title: Made You Up
Author: Francesca Zappia [Twitter | Website]
Publisher: Greenwillow, an imprint of HarperCollins
Genre: Young Adult Fiction - Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Social Issues 
Release Date: May 19, 2015
Source: ARC provided by the publisher, opinions are honest and the reader's own. – review policy here.

omg I LOVED THIS BOOK! I loved the writing style, the wacky school, Alex's humor and sincerity and MILES! I freaking LOVED Miles! And their whole little group. It was such a colorful cast of characters.

This is a story about a girl named Alex who has paranoid schizophrenia. She often hallucinates and takes photos with her digital camera to help her understand what's real and fake. The story starts off with her as a child trying to free the lobsters in the lobster tank at the grocery store. She meets a boy who has the bluest eyes she's ever seen... and later learns that the whole thing was a delusion.

Years later she's in her senior year of high school. Getting her last chance. She didn't do so well in her last school (due to paranoia about communists and a spray paint incident) and you get the feeling that if she doesn't prove herself this time around something bad is going to happen.

Alex is quirky and not just because of her schizophrenia. She's just a wacky girl with a good sense of humor. I loved her voice and I loved being inside of her head. So often people are scared of schizophrenics and this really helped me to understand what it might be like for people who suffer from schizophrenia. I felt for Alex and she broke my heart more than once. Towards the end of the book we learn a very sad truth that is devastating for Alex and my heart just broke.

Mile's is an incredibly interesting character. He's a genius, he's a jerk, he's king of the school. He does 'jobs' for people who pay him money to get revenge, get them out of tests, and other odd ball things. He does this because it gives him power. Without that he's just a nerd from a bad home who gets bullied. And he faces off with Alex, pulling pranks on her, and her pulling them back on him. They slowly form a bond thought and he later figures out that she's schizophrenic. But he's very good about it, and takes care of her. There are some of THE sweetest moments between the two of them. And I just loved him. And I also loved how she took care of him when he needed help.

The school they go to is almost it's own character. There's a lot of weird stuff going on and I just loved how it added to the story as an almost living background.

Pick this book up guys. It's brilliant and amazing!

5 Stars from Molly at

Thursday, February 16, 2017

[Guest Review] Mosquitoland by David Arnold

Title: Mosquitoland
Author: David Arnold [Twitter | Website]
Publisher: Viking Children's, an imprint of Penguin
Genre: Young Adult Fiction - Contemporary
Release Date: March 3, 2015
Source: ARC provided by the publisher, opinions are honest and my own. – review policy here.

You know those books that just stay with you long after you read them? The kind where you went in not expecting much, and was then blown away by it? This was that kind of book for me. I went into this book as I do most contemporaries, expecting mostly fluff, but this book was so much more than that. In fact, I never tab or sticky books, with a few exceptions, but I tabbed this one so much. And then I bought a finished copy. I’m not saying that this is a perfect book. It has its moments. But I still found it an exceptional read.
Mary Iris Malone, known as Mim, has been uprooted from her mother and childhood home, to move with her father and new stepmother to what she has dubbed “Mosquitoland”. When she finds out her mother is sick, she hops on a Greyhound bus to go back to Ohio. Along the way, she gets into quite a few skirmishes, and meets an eclectic group of people.
Mim isn’t the most likeable character, I think, but I also think that was the point. I actually enjoyed her quite a bit. She was blunt, honest, and clever. She has a different and unique way of looking at things, and she wasn’t afraid to tell it like it is. This book is told in two ways: Mim narrating her current journey, and Mim’s letters to someone that mainly include flashbacks from her life. We get to learn who Mim really is, and she is quite an interesting person. She sees the world differently, and that’s a good thing.
I love a good road trip story, and this was just that. But along the way, Mim also has to learn to fight her demons. This was a coming of age story, in which Mim learns who she is, and what she wants out of life. Her father has spent most of Mim’s life obsessed that there’s something “wrong” with her, so Mim either covers up how she really feels, or wonders if maybe there really is something wrong with her. Mim isn’t a perfect character. She makes mistakes, does many things wrong. But that’s all part of her learning experience. This book touches on subjects that are so important, says things that really need to be said, that people need to hear.
And I loved the supporting cast. Walt, Beck, every person she meets along the way. Mim gets herself into quite the situations, but they were so much fun to read about. This book is so well-written, the pages will seem to fly by. Mim herself says that she is not a fan of predictable endings, and I think Arnold did a great job of tying up loose ends while still keeping them open, and not being predictable.
This is definitely one of those books that I wish I could shove on everyone. While I realize this book may not be for everyone, I loved it so much. I thought it had an important message, one we all need to hear. But it wasn’t so serious that it bogged down the story, it was also fun and entertaining. An all-around great story.

Monday, February 13, 2017

[Review] Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor

Title: Maybe One Day
Author: Melissa Kantor [BlogTwitter | Website]
Publisher: HarperTeen an imprint of HarperCollins
Genre: Young Adult Fiction - Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Release Date: February 18, 2014
Source: Audiobook borrowed via library, opinions are honest and my own. – review policy here.

Always read the synopsis for an audio book *doh*
One of my favorite things lately is to choose a weekly audiobook from the Overdrive app. I usually pick things that look interesting and are available immediately. Picky, I know. Anywho.. I had no clue what this what about when I pressed play. I found out quickly it's a story about Olivia and Zoe, and all that happens when Olivia is diagnosed with cancer.

The narrator was really good and the story is written beautifully but I'm not sure I would've chosen such a heavy read in audio format. I think it caused more tears than I wanted to shed. 

Girls rule, boys drool
I loved this book because more than anything it was actually about friendship. Sure there's boys but they're around for comfort, kind of like the opposite of the Bechdel test. This is about two girls who grew up together loving to dance and dance, until they were dismissed. Then it's about them figuring out life after dance and pondering all the things they'll do one day. This is about that friendship you only form once in a lifetime. It's beautiful, delicate and something to envy.

There is some minor romance but it is just that, minor. So if that's what you're looking for, carry on. If you want to know what it's like to have that impenetrable friendship for life, read this. Love Olivia and Zoe, grown with them. It was pretty awesome.

Warning!!! There are feels in this book. Everyone on the highway probably thinks I'm a crazy person who ugly cries on the way home. I was a HOTT mess and then towards the end I just curled up in my reading chair with my headphones in and the lights off. My partner thought I was sick but I said "No, this is so sad." and then he covered me with a blanket as I laid there to heal. So yes, read this!!!!! Just maybe not in public. 

4 Stars – This friendship absolutely wrecked me. Excuse me, I need to stitch my heart back together now.