Graham has decided that he will tell his best friend Roxy that he loves her at New York Comic Con. What better place to declare his feelings4.5 stars
Graham has decided that he will tell his best friend Roxy that he loves her at New York Comic Con. What better place to declare his feelings since they both have a shared love of comics? They even created their own comic together. When Roxy finds out that the reclusive Robert Zinc, creater of The Chronicles of Althena, is going to speak at a panel, Graham knows he has to get Roxy tickets somehow. It is going to be a Comic Con to remember. Unfortunately things don't go quite according to plan but Graham doesn't give up hope that he will win Roxy's heart.
Graham reminded me of Ducky from Pretty in Pink (the movie is referenced in the book) if Ducky was an artistic nerd. Actually I liked Graham more than Ducky who came across as whiny in comparison. Graham is a total sweetheart. He reminded me of Barry Allen from The Flash (CW TV show version) who is also in love with his best friend, Iris. I really felt for Graham. I think it would be very awkward and nerve wracking to develop feelings for your best friend and be unsure if your best friend felt the same way. I didn't like Roxy as much as Graham though I did like her and their friendship. I thought the flashback memories between them were sweet. I think the author did a great job of exploring the changing nature of friendships.
I thought the secondary characters were fun, especially Amelia and Felicia. I really liked how all the characters were true to themselves and awesome in their own nerdy way. Something else I liked was that Graham's dad was a big Star Wars geek and I loved the scene where they talked about going to Comic Con together sometime. So nice to see parents and families portrayed in a positive way in teen fiction!
The Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love was a joy to read. It is a sweet and funny story about friendship, love and fandom. There are plenty of references to comics and pop culture from Doctor Who to Star Wars, the Harry Potter series and The Princess Bride. I loved the setting and getting to experience New York Comic Con vicariously. I appreciated the little details that made the experience feel authentic, even the use of the fictional comic The Chronicles of Althena. That part reminded me of reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Other similar books include The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You by Lily Anderson and Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern.
If you've dreamed of going to a Comic Con someday or if you are a fan of Pretty in Pink or any of the books mentioned, you should consider adding The Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love to your summer reading list. It is one of my favorite teen contemporary novels of the year so far. ...more
Caterina has been keeping a secret from her strict mother. She has a little girl out of wedlock and while she was urged by the kind people at the mate Caterina has been keeping a secret from her strict mother. She has a little girl out of wedlock and while she was urged by the kind people at the maternity home to give her up for adoption, Marisa is too precious to her and she couldn't go through with it. Now she has to go home to the family winery and face the music.
Ava Rosetti has also been keeping big secrets from her daughter, secrets involving her Caterina's father and his family but when a lawyer visits about Caterina's inheritance she knows that at least some of her secrets are about to be exposed.
Caterina and Ava are both strong willed women who love deeply. At first Ava appears to be cold and heartless but as her past comes to light, it becomes apparent that her actions are motivated by a desire to protect those she loves and her coldness is a byproduct of the pain and sorrow she has suffered.
The Winemakers is the story of two women who on the surface seem to be very different but at heart are much the same. If they hope to save their home and livelihood and all they have built together they will have to learn to trust each other and share their hearts before it is too late.
I initially found it hard to like Ava. She comes across as unloving and strict and I could see why Caterina was worried about revealing her secret. It wasn't until I found out about Ava's own difficult life that I started to feel sympathy for her. It is much easier to like Caterina though I didn't think she should keep her daughter a secret from the baby's father. Caterina had some growing up to do but it is obvious from the beginning how much she loves her daughter and is willing to fight for her.
There is an element of suspense involving a threat to the safety of Caterina, her family and the winery. Towards the end of the novel, this became melodramatic and the villain was rather one dimensional. Overall however I liked the book because of the relationships between the characters, the setting and description and the unveiling of long buried secrets.
I think The Winemakers would be a good beach read, the kind of book you enjoy on a lazy sunny day with a glass of wine. If you like historical fiction with romance and suspense, consider giving The Winemakers a try this summer....more
Maggie is a teacher at a private school in Boston and as summer vacation starts, she has to deal with the upheaval of finding a new place as3.5 stars
Maggie is a teacher at a private school in Boston and as summer vacation starts, she has to deal with the upheaval of finding a new place as her best friend and roommate is getting married. She also finds out that she may not have a job next year due to funding issues at her school. Maggie's boyfriend Evan isn't as supportive as she'd hoped. When circumstances lead to Maggie going back to her hometown of Mystic, Connecticut she is surprised to run into Cameron Wilder, her onetime boyfriend who is now a single father. Cameron has had a difficult life in the years since they split but he is doing his best to be there for his daughter. Maggie and Cameron become fast friends again but even though she is starting to feel some stirring of her former attraction to him and she is drawn to his infant daughter, she has her own issues to deal with and she is still committed to Evan. On top of that her best friend Erika's wedding has been moved from Boston to Mystic and Maggie's sister Jane calls on her to help take care of her children while she goes on a much needed break with her husband so Maggie has her hands full.
I think I was expecting this to be a contemporary romance but it ended up being something a little more. Maggie is facing some difficult decisions about her future and what she wants from life. I liked Cameron from the start and I enjoyed the rekindling of their friendship. He is a good fit for her but neither of them are in a place to start a relationship just yet. The novel also looked at Maggie's relationship with her family, particularly her mom and her sister Jane, as well as Maggie's friendship with Erika. I wasn't a big fan of Erika to be honest. She wasn't that great of a friend and if this were real life, that friendship would fade into mere casual acquaintance status after Erika's wedding.
I loved the setting of Mystic and it made me want to visit the town for myself although I don't think I'd like the crowded tourist season. I think it was the setting and the character of Cameron that really stood out for me in this book. He is a fantastic dad and I loved his interactions with his daughter Emory. I think he's a little too perfect :)
Mystic Summer would make a good beach read. It is the kind of book you could finish in an afternoon. There is a little bit of romance and a great setting so even if it's easy to guess what will happen, it is a fun journey to get there. ...more
Amanda survived the horrific ordeal of being kidnapped and held captive for two years. Two years after her rescue, it is still hard for her to get thrAmanda survived the horrific ordeal of being kidnapped and held captive for two years. Two years after her rescue, it is still hard for her to get through the day. She suffers from PTSD, taking comfort in hiding in her closet. Her family has been fractured by what happened to her and they don't treat her the same way. Amanda's mom likes to act like everything is just fine while her dad doesn't even acknowledge her. Her sisters are resentful though younger sister Mia is the only one to treat Amanda in a semi-normal fashion and her resentment is due to her parents' lack of notice.
Chase is trying to stage a career comeback. He is getting ready to film a movie set in a small town near Amanda. When his publicist comes up with the dubious idea of a publicity shot with Amanda and having her visit the movie set, Chase isn't completely on board with the idea but he could really use some positive publicity so he agrees. When he sees Amanda and how she reacts, he changes his mind but she wants to help his career and get away from home for awhile. Unfortunately there are complications in the form of Chase's cutthroat publicist, a stalker and Chase's past failures.
I felt so bad for Amanda. She suffered a lot and is having a hard time fitting in to her family now that she is back home. I did like how the author portrayed her relationship with her family especially Mia who may be selfish at times but at least she talks to Amanda even if it isn't what Amanda wants to hear. I had a harder time with Amanda's parents though her father's behavior is explained towards the end of the book and I understood why he had been acting that way. The abduction affected more than just Amanda and it definitely took a toll on her sisters and her parents treatment of them too.
While Chase makes some bad decisions he does care about Amanda and I thought that they were really good for each other. My one issue was with the timing of their relationship. This book takes place within a few days although it feels like a longer length of time has passed. It is a little hard to believe that Amanda is able to have a physical relationship with Chase after knowing him just a short amount of time considering the trauma of her past. I liked how the friendship and relationship with Chase blossomed to love but I thought it should have been over a few weeks or a month at least and not just a few days.
Overall aside from the timing issue, I liked this book and I think readers who enjoy contemporary new adult fiction should give it a try. It offers plenty of romance, some suspense, emotional growth and a strong heroine to root for....more
Emma Blair grew up feeling like she didn't quite fit in with her family of readers. Her parents owned a bookstore and their dream was for the4.5 stars
Emma Blair grew up feeling like she didn't quite fit in with her family of readers. Her parents owned a bookstore and their dream was for their daughters to one day take over the store but Emma longs to travel and see the world instead of reading about it in a book. Her boyfriend Jesse felt the same way so they moved to California for college and never looked back. Emma and Jesse built a happy and exciting life together but it came to a halt when Jesse's helicopter crashed in the ocean. Emma falls apart and can no longer bear the memories everywhere she looks so she moves back home with her parents.
While at home, Emma begins to read more and more and take an interest in the store, eventually running it. She also reconnects with Sam who had worked for her parents and had a crush on Emma as a teen. As Emma heals, she and Sam fall in love and get engaged. Then she finds out Jesse is still alive and she is torn between not just two men she loves but two very different lives she lived with them. Can she go back to being the adventurous girl Jesse married or has she changed too much?. How can she walk away from what she has with Sam? What does she want to do with her life?
I thought One True Loves was well written and Emma's emotions and struggles felt authentic. Emma changes a lot over the course of the story, going from a young woman who can't wait to escape her family and small town life and hopping from place to place to becoming someone who settles down to run the family bookstore. Losing Jesse changed her fundamentally but she also matured through her life experiences, even developing a closer relationship with her older sister Marie. With a new fiance and a future planned out, things are thrown into turmoil when Jesse returns.
Jesse has also been changed by what happened so the two have to decide if they can rebuild because while they loved each other before, they have changed so much and have to figure out if there is still something worth saving. Then there is Sam who is a wonderful and caring and patient guy with whom Emma has built a very different kind of life from what she had with Jesse. I really appreciated how Emma's decision was not just between two different men. It was more about what she wanted from her life and what made her happy. Her family is supportive but it isn't an easy decision to make and I thought the author handled it well.
One True Loves is about falling in love, love that evolves and survives challenges and love for your family and yourself. There are no easy answers and that's what makes it feel so real and true to life. I would suggest this novel to fans of Jojo Moyes, Liane Moriarty and Cecelia Ahern. It is the first book by Taylor Jenkins Reid that I've read but I have a feeling it will make my list of top 2016 books and I definitely plan to pick up her other novels. If you are looking for a good contemporary summer read, consider giving One True Loves a try.
The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You is a retelling of Much Ado About Nothing set in a school for very gifted students. The story is peppered3.5 Stars
The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You is a retelling of Much Ado About Nothing set in a school for very gifted students. The story is peppered with references to comic books, Doctor Who, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and other "nerd" pop culture.
Trixie is opinionated and not always easy to like which is something she knows about herself. She has an ingrained hatred of Ben West and they've been verbally sparring since they were kids. Trixie's best friends are Harper and Meg. When Harper starts dating Cornell, Trixie has to put aside her animosity and try to get along with Ben (and his mustache). Things become complicated when Trixie accidentally finds out that Ben may have feelings for her and then Harper is accused of hacking into school accounts and cheating. Trixie wants Ben to take Harper's side and help her find the real culprit but not all of the friends think Harper is innocent.
Trixie is very smart and I liked how nerdy she is but her behavior could be a bit much. Her snarky attitude was annoying at times and I felt like her anger towards Ben wasn't always justified. She had a way of crossing the line especially by bringing up Ben's painful family/friendship issues. Thankfully her friends call her on it and she starts to change and be kinder. I really liked how loyal she was to Harper and how she marched to her own tune. I enjoyed seeing the friendship and romance bloom between Trixie and Ben. It was nice to see Trixie making more friends as well.
I thought this book was clever though the references didn't all make sense to me as I am not into those particular fandoms. There are some fun secondary characters that correspond to characters from Much Ado About Nothing but the novel doesn't follow the play faithfully (it wouldn't really work if it did) so readers who aren't familiar with it would still be able to appreciate the book. Although I didn't always like Trixie's behavior, I enjoyed the book and even laughed out loud at times. I'd suggest this book for fans of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern. I think readers who like snarky and humorous dialogue, offbeat protagonists and Doctor Who would like this too and maybe even be inspired to pick up Much Ado About Nothing (or at least watch the Kenneth Branagh movie)....more
Recent high school graduate Aubree is not an adventurous person and as the baby in her family she has been coddled and overprotected by her mom. Her oRecent high school graduate Aubree is not an adventurous person and as the baby in her family she has been coddled and overprotected by her mom. Her older sister Elizabeth is the driven and responsible one who always seems to have it together. So when Elizabeth gets into some legal trouble (it's sort of Aubree's fault) Aubree agrees reluctantly to go to Europe in Elizabeth's place as a tour guide. The stakes are high for Elizabeth as she is counting on a good recommendation to get an internship with a congressman. Aubree doesn't think she has what it takes and when she loses her cellphone and Elizabeth's binder of tour info on the plane it looks like she is in for a rough time.
Reading Wanderlost is a great way to armchair travel through Europe along with Aubree on her madcap adventures. I enjoyed reading about the different countries visited during the tour but I could have used more detail! Although Aubree is initially pretty helpless and whiny she started to grow on me. Her determination to prove herself to her sister and to succeed as a tour guide was admirable and although she wasn't always successful I liked how hard she tried. Aubree matures during the trip with the help of the seniors on her bus and once Sam joins the tour she starts to lighten up and have more fun, inspired by his way with people. One of my favorite parts was the Sound of Music tour and learning about the various filming locations.
I think this novel is funny and the romance was sweet in spite of the lies. It always makes me cringe to read about characters behaving dishonestly even in this case when Aubree was motivated to lie on behalf of her sister. It was nice to see the sisters grow closer and come to a greater understanding of each other and to see Aubree's mom realize that her daughter is growing up.
Wanderlost would be perfect as a light summer read especially if you have a yen to travel so put it on your list! I'd suggest it for readers who liked Sophomore Year is Greek to Me by Meredith Zeitlin, Maureen Johnson's Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes and for fans of Morgan Matson and Emery Lord. ...more
Charlie Ryland is an elite gymnast who aspires to make the U.S. Olympics team but at her high school where she is known as "Charlotte", no on3.5 Stars
Charlie Ryland is an elite gymnast who aspires to make the U.S. Olympics team but at her high school where she is known as "Charlotte", no one knows she is a gymnast. She doesn't want the added pressure or the special treatment that she might receive if her classmates knew the truth. Of course if she makes the Olympic team, her secret will be out but in the meantime she wants to be treated like everyone else and have some anonymity to enjoy high school. It becomes harder to keep her secret as she meets Bobby, a talented wrestler at her school. Bobby understands the pressure of being a top athlete but she can't even talk to him about her own experiences. Charlie also lies to her best friend Zoe because she just can't bring herself to be open even though Zoe is a good friend to her.
I understood why Charlotte/Charlie didn't want her whole school to know about her but I did wish she could have been honest with Zoe. I was glad Charlie had her friendship with fellow gymnast Gwen which is the one relationship where she didn't have to lie.
The Flip Side delves into the world of elite gymnastics and I found it fascinating to read about what they go through. When I was a little girl I loved The Little Gymnast by Sheila Haigh which introduced me to gymnastics and this book is even more interesting as it details the life of a top athlete. Shawn Johnson does a good job of bringing her life experience into the novel to make it authentic. I did wonder how likely it would be that her classmates wouldn't have suspected the truth about her before but it was still an entertaining book and I like how it focused on achieving dreams.
This book would be appropriate for young teens and maybe even tweens. With the Summer Olympics around the corner, The Flip Side would be a good book to consider adding to summer reading lists for young teens who are into gymnastics....more