7 Clues to Winning You by Kristin Walker is among my absolute favorite contemporary romance reads. It’s a fabulous blend between fluffy and substance,...more7 Clues to Winning You by Kristin Walker is among my absolute favorite contemporary romance reads. It’s a fabulous blend between fluffy and substance, with well-developed characters who experience growth, a slew of hilarity throughout the plot, and a fun first person narrative that contains these beautiful, meaningful moments of writing. I haven’t read many fluffy-ish contemporary books that show the author’s writing capability to be stunning. It’s a romantic, sweet, totes hilarious novel, whose cover I wish didn’t give everyone a mismatching impression—I mean, how many of us thought this was going to be a romantic cheese-fest?
However, 7 Clues to Winning You by Kristin Walker is emotional along with everything else. While it doesn’t touch on any seriously heavy issues, there is some emotional upheaval going on at home, and Blythe doesn’t deal with it well. I loved that the book doesn’t just thrive on the romantic chemistry between Blythe and her incredibly hunky nerd, Lucas, but also the rise and lows of her relationship with her father, who also has a bit of ‘waking up’ to do. It connects us with family, and how often people, not just parents and their children, can lose sight of what’s important—a universal and very relatable message.
If you’re into hate-turned-love relationships, hot male nerds, funny and weird adventures, life lessons, and sarcastic elderly women, then this book will be for you. Fans of Freshman Year, Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe, and Awkward will find themselves in love with 7 Clues to Winning You by Kristin Walker as well, though I might be a little bit more in love with the last. The story follows Blythe, a high school junior whose had a relatively easygoing life, with a set course for the future and unshakeable outward dignity. On the surface, she’s smooth, smart, and a bit of a cool, preppy snob. Beneath that, however, she’s as insecure and floundering as other teens her age—she just insists on maintaining a dignified, unflappable image that no one, especially the peeps at her new school, can dig. That attending a new school business is all thanks to her school official father who decides to relocate the family to the town in which he is the principal to further his career. You can only imagine Blythe’s displeasure.
Once she arrives, she realizes no one at Meriton High has forgotten that nose-picking picture that somehow found it’s way to the online newspaper the year before, which, incidentally, has now resurfaced once news of her arrival spins out. Which brings me to Luke, the standoffish, quick-witted, and sarcastic—not to mention smokin’—guy at school Blythe confronts with her grievances, who figures he’s got her pegged based on first impressions alone. And watching his opinion adjust is one of the best, most classic things to read. Their chemistry is grounded by their fast back-and-forth banter and intellect, and it is DIVINE. I burrow into that kind of romance like I would a particularly comfy terry-cloth robe and a million thread count sheets.
What brings everything full circle in my love cycle is the entire cast of characters. Not so much Blythe’s parents—though I do appreciate that Walker nicely a portrayed a marriage, one with ups and downs, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say merely the younger characters. Cy and Jenna, Blythe’s newfound bffs who are constantly caught making out and generally making Blythe uncomfortable, are two of the coolest edgy, goth-ish kids of my fictional acquaintance, for sure. But, my favorite characters HAVE TO BE Ms. Franny and Ms. Eulalie. They are this sisterly-like duo with some opposing beliefs who balance each other out. Ms. Franny is the more impulsive of the two while Ms. Eulalie tends to be the voice of reason. They’re cranky toward each other but the bond is very strong, and I loved that they get involved in Blythe’s shenanigans related to the secret Senior Scramble—which entails a mysterious scavenger hunt that provokes graveyard-hopping, trash-picking, porn-magazine-purchasing, etc. There’s just so much fun to be had.
If you’re into snorting your nose off or doing those weird laugh-farts (it’s exactly what it sounds), then you’ll love this book for it’s innate hilarity and mischief. The romance is anything but cheesy, quite classic in it’s predictability, and warm, sexy, and honest with all those flutters, fuzzies, and butterflies that come with the territory of first real love. 7 Clues to Winning You by Kristin Walker is about family, the importance of being yourself and not settling for the obvious and predictable, and forgiving others for their fumbles and trip-ups.
Trust me, the cover is nowhere near the half of it.
my thoughts in a few sentences: Ever since I'd read Jen @ Makeshift Bookmark's review of Amplified (which yo...moreRating: Perfect Bed Partner Source: Library
my thoughts in a few sentences: Ever since I'd read Jen @ Makeshift Bookmark's review of Amplified (which you can read here) this book has seriously haunted me. I immediately bought it for my kindle, and, alas, it got swept to the backburner. Little known fact about me, I organize my kindle titles alphabetically so naturally this book was in my face every day until the curiosity bit the crap out of me and I HAD to read the book. Amplified by Tara Kelly is a story of rawness and nerves and flourishing character, in which Jasmine Kiss becomes all those things and fights to be the musician born of dreams long held silent and are finally set free.
Rating: Sud-Kissed Source: Borrowed from the Library
my thoughts in a few sentences: Awkward by Marni Bates is a delightful, short little thing that pac...moreRating: Sud-Kissed Source: Borrowed from the Library
my thoughts in a few sentences: Awkward by Marni Bates is a delightful, short little thing that packs a punch that's gone epically wrong. HOLD ON. You’re probably like, was the book really that bad? The answer is NOT ON YOUR LIFE. What I mean by that statement: You ever witness someone TRY to punch someone else, but when it doesn’t work and their fist flops back leaving no marks, bruises, or internal bleeding, you have to laugh hysterically because they look ridiculous and don’t care. Like Kristen Stewart in that one movie where she played that girl in my favorite books-turned-movies, and she hit that guy, her best friend, the one that turns into a freakishly huge dog. Awkward made me laugh hysterically, and while the story is light and frivolous, the characters do leave a mark, but in a place where it’s not visible. HINT: That place beats.
my thoughts in a few sentences: Although I was really nervous about reading another Jole...moreRating: Perfect Bed Partner Source: Blog Tour via Tribute Books
my thoughts in a few sentences: Although I was really nervous about reading another Jolene Perry novel, it turns out there was no need to worry over whether or not I’d enjoy it. For such a short read, there is so much going on, so much to feel. In a relatively small amount of time, I felt attached to Ronnie and kept hoping for happier circumstances. I was super invested in the romance and could not wait until the outcome shifted into what I’d been hoping for. Knee Deep by Jolene Perry has the author’s telltale charming, expressive writing style and fabulously portrays the struggles of a young woman in an unexpected, horrible situation, and her work to overcomes the scars left behind.
my thoughts in a few sentences: Shooting Stars is that cute guy/girl who, although he or she isn't the most gorgeou...moreRating: Sud-Kissed Source: NetGalley
my thoughts in a few sentences: Shooting Stars is that cute guy/girl who, although he or she isn't the most gorgeous across the planet, makes us laugh and ensnares us anyway. A cute, light, funny read that has all the appeal of a Disney movie, Shooting Stars features a sarcastic main character who unexpectedly reconnects with herself and faces long-buried issues, all while developing an adorable, though predictable crush on the teenage heartthrob of the Hollywood she knows so incredibly well, a kind boy who has secrets of his own to keep hidden. Although it has an element of unbelievability, the differentness of Jo's life makes Shooting Stars that much more of a fun, entertaining read.
my thoughts in a few sentences: With all of our favorite elements from the first three books, Bourne...moreRating: Perfect Bed Partner Source: Lisa T. Bergren
my thoughts in a few sentences: With all of our favorite elements from the first three books, Bourne is a well-welcomed addition to a series I am deeply in love with, so deeply in fact that the fall never ends. Reading about Lia, Luca, Marcello, Gabi, and crew again brought the warmest, widest smile I could physically muster on my face. While Torrent ends beautifully, it was brutally clear that not everything was resolved, and while I loved that Lisa refrained from tying everything up in a neat and pretty bow, in Bourne we witness the aftermath of that last battle and I was ridiculously pleased. It would seem peace will never settle over our favorite band of Italian knights and She-Wolves, for trouble and danger find them always, and I relish every sticky situation that catches up to them. Plus, the romance we fans have all been waiting for erupts in perfect sweetness and incites dreamy sighs of happiness.
my thoughts in a few sentences: What did I expect from Night Sky? A solid, fun, and light co...moreRating: Perfect Bed Partner Source: Publisher for Blog Tour
my thoughts in a few sentences: What did I expect from Night Sky? A solid, fun, and light contemporary indulgence. I didn't expect to love it as much as I did. Night Sky is a creeper. Not as in creepy but as in it creeps up on you and suddenly, you turn around and are taken by surprise when you see what's behind you. This is not a cutesy read. This is a sweet and emotional story about a young man with his heart torn in two over two girls—the one he hasn't gotten over, whom he never dredged up the courage to communicate his feelings to, to be honest with, and the one who takes his breath away and fascinates him at every turn with her confidence and spare traces of vulnerability only revealed to him, who demands honesty and gives it back in spades. Jameson is an attractive narrator right from the start, his vivid emotions capable of hooking us into the story with the barest effort, and his journey away from heartbreak to a more exciting, heartwarming, wondrous true love is as perpetually addictive as the girl he swiftly begins to fall for.
my thoughts in a few sentences: A lovely story full of wonderful and breathtaking prose, Sisters of Glass is told i...moreRating: Sud-Kissed Source: NetGalley
my thoughts in a few sentences: A lovely story full of wonderful and breathtaking prose, Sisters of Glass is told in verse and, for my first time, I was blown away by the depth and imagination behind each sentence. Much like a bedtime story we would read to younger siblings or our children to breed beautiful dreams of happily ever afters, perfect words lulling them to sleep like a perfect lullaby, Sisters of Glass is a short delight that paints with words instead of colors and creates amazing portraits of the unspoken.
my thoughts in a few sentences:A Midsummer’s Nightmare by Kody Keplinger is, uh, very stimulating, kindling heat with the fiery attraction between Whitley and Nathan and igniting our sympathies for the main character due to her sad home life. I loved uncovering more about Whitley, learning that there’s a lot more to her than meets the eyes, and I basked in Nathan’s unerring faith in her. The rest of the characters are hilarious and real, and each of them work to intervene in Whitley’s self-damaging choices and treat her better than she’s known. Great for summer, certainly, but also a worthy and sexy addition to Keplinger’s stellar writing career!
Back in May, I read While He Was Away by Karen Schreck, which fit in with the military/war/death book tr...more**More like a 3.5**
A MUCH better military book
Back in May, I read While He Was Away by Karen Schreck, which fit in with the military/war/death book trend going on this summer. Prior to reading While He Was Away, it seemed, on the surface, to be a fabulous, relaxing, interesting summer read and I was letdown on all accounts. Something Like Normal by Trish Doller is my second time venturing into contemporary romance centering around similar themes as Karen Schreck’s While He Was Away and I felt it was executed loads better, with a much more exciting romantic spark and an intriguing, sympathetic male narrator and main character. It accomplished everything that was lacking in While He Was Away, and I barely fought back the overpowering relief—Something Like Normal by Trish Doller is one of my most anticipated books of this year, and a top contender, as far as anticipation goes, in the contemporary romance genre.
Despite my liking Something Like Normal by Trish Doller much, much more than the similar titles I’ve tried beforehand, I was still MARGINALLY disappointed. It’s that kind of vague disappointment that makes you feel crappy for feeling that way, particularly because Something Like Normal by Trish Doller is a GOOD book. It’s insightful, informative without being stuffy, and sweet. Authentic and raw. My expectations reached higher than what I got, and that’s mostly on me.
~A few minor problems~
My favorite aspects of Something Like Normal by Trish Doller all relate to the main character, Travis. I like books with male narrators if I can get my hands on them, so that’s a major plus for this story. I had no doubts that I was reading from a male point of view, and I loved that it still had a relatability to it despite the fact that the story IS told from a guy’s perspective. It’s always interesting for me to enjoy the way guy’s perceive things, the jokes, the sex and attraction, the more straightforward approach to their introspective inner monologues. Added to that, his flashbacks of his mind-numbingly terrifying and surrealistic time in the Middle East—I feel like I have a better understanding of what sorts of horrors are experienced there more than I ever did before. These moments are vivid and cutting, and it’s perfectly reasonable to expect Travis to have these kind of anxiety attacks over what has happened to him. Throw in grief over the loss of a best friend, and my sympathies were quickly evoked.
However, there are parts in the dialogue I couldn’t fully appreciate because of the not-always-realistic tone to what is said. It could get stilted and unrealistic to what adolescents like he and his friends say. Most, though, don’t have as much of a problem with that as I do. Then, there’s Harper. I enjoyed her role in Travis’s life and emotional recovery, and yet there’s this recurring issue I have with books told in the male perspective—I can never fully connect and appreciate the love interest, especially the female love interests. They aren’t written as in-depth as I’d like and so I can’t fully grasp why the main character ends up falling in love the way they do. Harper seems like a sweet-natured, strong young woman but they also strike me as only surface qualities more than anything else.
Something Like Normal by Trish Doller is a well-written, interesting romance read that is more character-driven than anything else. Even so, the plot still managed to be engaging, and, I think, due to the page length more than anything else, feels paced quickly enough to drive away any impending boredom.
Something Like Normal by Trish Doller is focused on the internal battle waged by Travis against some of the more horrendous memories during his time abroad and the grief and guilt he feels over the death of one of his comrades. There’s romance and some limelight on the workings of familial relationships. Overall, Something Like Normal by Trish Doller is a quick indulgence that’s honest and ultimately happy about an appealing guy trying to take back his normal, and I enjoyed most of it, down to Doller’s soft, simple prose. Definitely suitable for summertime! (less)
Alona Dare: It was easy enough to sneak out of school. I knew that from previous experience.
I love short books! Seriously, I appreciate a book that's...moreAlona Dare: It was easy enough to sneak out of school. I knew that from previous experience.
I love short books! Seriously, I appreciate a book that's under three hundred pages and still manages to hook me. The Ghost and the Goth - told in dual perspectives - takes the cliche - The Queen Bitch, with depth beneath the surface, befriending the loser, who's actually very cute and not a psychopath at all, at school - and revitalizes it, giving each MC a very distinct, likeable voice. And the characters aren't the only surprise! The book itself, while character-driven, delves into issues existing outside of the supernatural problem the two characters have on their hands. There are some heavy issues explored, though with an overarching light tone that manipulates the atmosphere of the book to stay anything but somber or severe. It feels as though it's been a long time since I've had this much FUN reading a book!
As much as I claim to be a nice person, I can't help but snicker at Alona's type. Then the weirdest thing happened - I sympathized with her character! But the most refreshing thing about that is Alona is an unapologetic character who doesn't ask for nor want sympathy or pity, something that gets across loud and clear almost as soon as you spend a few pages with her. Which is why I couldn't help but agree with Will in that he admires her almost as much as he gets irritated with her. Despite her pitiful home life, Alona doesn't sit back and play the victim card, whine, pretend no one else in the world exists to live in isolation. Oh, no, instead she climbs the top of the social ladder at school, snags the boy everyone is pining for, and is ruthlessly blunt to anyone who doesn't try as hard as she does at life. Alona is a mean girl, no doubt, but her outlook goes something like everyone has control over their own lives, so those girls and guys at school who no one accepts and likes aren't trying nearly as hard as they're capable. To her, excuses don't exist. And you have to admire someone who isn't afraid to take what she wants without checking for vulnerable shoes susceptible to being stepped on.
I didn't like Will nearly as much as Alona, I will confess, mostly because he just doesn't have Alona's drive or her brand of meanness. (I find mean girls terribly appealing, if you haven't already figured out.) But what makes Will attractive - despite the fact that he's really cute! - is his unshakeable loyalty and protectiveness of those he loves. And even though he has family issues and a heartbreaking past roughing up his home life and zero tolerance or sympathy from his school principal making his schooltime horrible, he stands on his own two feet and remains self-reliant. He may not be as goal-oriented as Alona Dare but he's no wimp either! And best of all, he doesn't become compliant under Alona's tactics to boss him around or her demands.
Now what do you do when you have two headstrong characters meant to fall in love? You grab a bag of popcorn, some soda, and pick a better seat! The romance here progresses gradually but does NOT border on nonexistent or subtle. The chemistry and tension is there, a reluctant sparking that crackles into oh-so-delicious moments. And as the two learn more about each other, seeing all facets of the other's personality, those feelings escalate into something you know is going to be explored thoroughly in later books.
While the paranormal element is more of a sub-plot, I didn't mind. I enjoyed that touch of the supernatural even as I dived deeper into the characters. The paranormal aspects only made the book more intriguing, without overshadowing the characters, and drove the book forward at a pretty steady rate. The mystery and conclusion wasn't top-marks perfect but it did its job and served as a great incentive (besides the romance!) to continuing reading the series. Because by the time you're done you have just as many questions as the characters do! Queen of the Dead, here I come!
According to the puppy-of-the-month calendar hanging next to the phone in the kitchen, my sister June died on a Thursday, exactly nine days before her...moreAccording to the puppy-of-the-month calendar hanging next to the phone in the kitchen, my sister June died on a Thursday, exactly nine days before her high school graduation...
I've never been into the Angry At the World attitude, like Harper (although, later, it becomes evident that this girl IS WAY MORE COMPLICATED then she thinks/lets on). That's just not me, I don't flow that way (did I just say that?). I've never been a hardcore music fan. And no matter how ripped or sexy, I've never before been able to get into the rocker look for dudes. Again, not my style. My sisters and I have a tremulous (yet somehow steady) relationship, but I could never picture either of them poised for suicide. Gives me chills to think of it. So in going into this book, I was bombarded with all of these... foreign concepts, aspects I wouldn't normally go for. And for my efforts, Harrington WOWed me with her intricate characters, deeply emotional plot, and a resolution I could accept and be satisfied with.
From the opening page, Harrington fed me line after line of elegant prose and amazing metaphors and a wonderful narrative. I only mention writing styles when they're WORTH mentioning, and Harrington will grip you with her unique telling of a contemporary theme we've all encountered in our reading travels. A bowl of onions is hiding behind Saving June's cover, and as much as I love a good crying jag-inducing story, I accepted early on that this would be another of those tales where the teens have left the couch warm at their last therapy session and someone had died and the journey onward (via roadtripping, of course, because what else?) would be full of love and forgiveness and acceptance. I wasn't too far off, I will admit. But Harrington spilled the beans after having cooked them with sofrito thrown in as opposed to just the tomato sauce. This book shares common ground with my contemporary romance favorites and yet it screams different in the most beautiful way.
And while I wouldn't name my first-born after the MC or suddenly throw myself onto the mercy of the Bible, reading frantically for the answers to all of life's conundrums, Saving June, and its characters, became my teachers.The religious aspects weren't uncomfortable. There was no full-scale preaching; instead, Saving June expresses the importance of faith in something. Or someone, some higher power, because we all need something to believe that the world isn't all bad and we're being looked after... I'm gonna cut myself off before I go all Samwise Gamgee on you. The point being is faith and confusion as to God's existence is touched on more so than any specific religious practice. And Harrington exquisitely ties this to loss and overcoming grief, making the story THAT much more appealing.
Harper, Laney, and Jake are a trifecta of flawed perfection in fiction, three people who connect in ways I can only dream of experiencing one day. Harper and Laney have been best friends since forever (isn't that always the way?), but unlike the unlovable duo of yesterday's review for After Obsession, their friendship has its treasured memories, ups and downs, and a clear understanding of one another. They love each other for who they are, tolerate the bad stuff, and just accepte each other. That kind of friendship can only be stumbled upon a few times in a lifespan, I'm thinking. Harper and Laney's relationship is a rare find, one that any reader enjoying this book will lap up as the story progresses. And JAKE. Remember when I said I had an aversion to the punk/rocker look? BOY DID I NEED A (fictional) REALITY CHECK. Because Jake Tolan is a sexy mothertrucker, you guys. Jerky, arrogant, and an eternal music junkie with an attitude problem. But underneath is a heart of gold. Though he makes some crappy decisions and messes up a few times, he doesn't do anything that could potentially invoke Harper's (or my) abiding hatred. One of the most delectable romances I've read in some time has been written in Saving June's pages. I assure you, much will be missed if this book isn't picked up.
But the necessity of this book reaching your hands goes beyond JUST the romance, but also includes the themes (acceptance at the head of the list), the heartwrenching journey itself, and the characters. I've never met characters so utterly real in their heartbreak and being lost. Or as strong, because they somehow manage to reach for the crazy glue and stick the pieces back together. My single piece of advice: break out the Kleenex, but you'll need it when you least expect it. I knew there was a reason why this book called out to me, and I'm patting tummy (because that's where your intuition is, right? O_O) and thanking Intuition for refraining from leading me astray.(less)
my thoughts in a few sentences: From the beginning, I had NO IDEA what to expect from Life Is But a Dream. Despite...moreRating: Sud-Kissed Source: NetGalley
my thoughts in a few sentences: From the beginning, I had NO IDEA what to expect from Life Is But a Dream. Despite all the good reviews I noticed, this book remained a big mystery until I sat down with it today. Each word James writes is like biting into beautiful and irresistible pastries. A giant lightbulb hides behind James' writing and illuminates every word so that it dazzles our eyes with pictures we can't see but can feel. Within Sabrina's mind lies a world so brilliant, a wonderful palette that contains a rainbow of colors and shapes, and as she creates some of it in her artwork, James masterfully paints something abstract and intangible and alluring with each drop of his colorful words. While the romance escalates quickly, it's FAR from unsatisfying, though it might be a tad unbelievable. However, that's the beauty of Sabrina's story—we're temped to believe in the illogical, the far-fetched, and enjoy what we find in her incredibly imaginative world.
I adore contemporary romance novels almost as much as I love paranormal ones, so I've been tingling with anticipation for this novel for quite a while...moreI adore contemporary romance novels almost as much as I love paranormal ones, so I've been tingling with anticipation for this novel for quite a while! Hadley Sullivan is dreading her upcoming flight to England, where she'll be forced to watch her father get remarried to the woman who caused her father to leave his family behind, a woman, incidentally, she's never even met. Although ready to brave jet lag and sitting with strangers (never mind that she's claustrophobic), Hadley misses her flight entirely by a miniscule four minutes. Simultaneously tormented and soothed, she rearranges her flight and braces for the worst forty-eight hours of her life to begin. But those mere four minutes are responsible for so much more than a missed flight and will impact Hadley's life in ways she could never have predicted.
Hadley, hurt and bitter and resentful, is a pretty, pleasantly ordinary girl riddled with turmoil, yet she throws her chin up and takes the mature route, avoiding hysterics and annoying outbursts. Her pain is tangible, her distress and suffering becomes ours as we retrieve glimpses of her sweet, shattering past with a father who left her behind to be with another woman in, not a town or state away, an entirely separate continent. It's simple to hate him and blame him for the damage done to his and Hadley's relationship. But what I loved about this book is that it proves our feelings, which propel our actions, are so very complex, and while what her father did may not have been right, his situation spawns sympathy, and, eventually, forgiveness.
Oliver, a gorgeous, charming British boy with his own secret past, is not just that helpful stranger from the waiting area - turns out assistance is vital when trying to deflect the terrible disapproval of nosy old ladies - but also Hadley's flight companion for the next several hours. The flowering romance - which is not just limited to Hadley and Oliver necessarily, mind you - in this book conjures the warm and fuzzies and makes you want to curl up in bed, hugging this book and your pillow, fantasizing about meeting your true love in the seat next to you on your long, airborne journey to anywhere. I basked in their witty, insightful conversations, a trembling sigh escaped when a puzzled, intense look was shared, as if to say, I've found something amazing here, haven't I? Healing words of kindness and understanding, melting embraces, and the helping hand of fate combine to stitch a lasting bond between two characters, who, over the course of a single flight, in a matter of hours, not only fall in love with each other but make you fall in love with them too.
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is so much more than what it claims to be. It's not a story that focuses solely on romantic love, love at first sight, but one that realistically and genuinely illustrates the means of forgiveness, family issues, and the abiding love between family members. This book resonated with me especially because Hadley and I share similar pasts and old wounds, and our feelings blended together until I couldn't separate which were hers and which were mine, causing me to leak an ocean of tears, particularly toward the end.
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight caters to the belief that the magic of true love/instantaneous love may not be confined to only the storybooks, that some things, like family bonds, can weather anything. A novel with the potential to soften even the biggest cynic's guarded, resistant heart, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is a wise, wonderful, heart-stopping debut that decisively places Jennifer squarely as an auto-buy author.
my thoughts in a few sentences: Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf was a striking surprise, a contemporary re...moreRating: Sud-Kissed Source: NetGalley
my thoughts in a few sentences: Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf was a striking surprise, a contemporary read that reaches in and filleted my heart with slashing memories and circumstances that aggravate frustrated tears until they were falling everywhere. Have you ever watched the movie for or read the book Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson? The searing frustration on behalf of Melinda directed at the few people in her life who judge, mistreat, and refuse to believe her came rushing back to me in Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf. Allie’s telling quiet, instinctive flinches, and disloyal "friends" and family who have looked the other way while she was cut down and broken up in so many ways ignited my already boiling emotions to brimming. A gripping story with an engaging mystery, rending moments, and precious characters, Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf is a wonderfully-written and brutal tale of secrets refusing to stay under and a girl with nothing left but to move forward.
my thoughts in a few sentences: Oh, gosh. *tries to breathe* Jess Rothenberg reins nothing in, leaving emotion st...moreRating: Special Shelf Source: Borrowed
my thoughts in a few sentences: Oh, gosh. *tries to breathe* Jess Rothenberg reins nothing in, leaving emotion strewn about in just about every place we stumble across through Brie's wrenching journey to peace and acceptance. Right within the first couple of chapters, my face was openly drenched for all to witness my sorrow and grief, mourning the loss of a young character's life—a character, incidentally, who I barely knew at the start yet I wept for this world Rothenberg exposes to us since it was now bereft of such a bright, happy girl with a deeply loving family, which includes a little brother who will be deprived of his older sister's presence in the years of his life to come. Literal heartbreak as a story concept isn't as corny as it initially sounds; a dagger breaks into our hearts every time Rothenberg pumps anguish into her words and into the discoveries she unveils.
my thoughts in a few sentences: Somehow Kody Keplinger manages to strike the right balance between light, funny, and c...moreRating: Sud-Kissed Source: Bought
my thoughts in a few sentences: Somehow Kody Keplinger manages to strike the right balance between light, funny, and cute, and offset it with heavier issues like sex, and all the decisions and pressures the act entails. Keplinger simultaneously tackles the wrongness of being pressured into uncomfortable situations, of girls being accused of and called abominable things because they like sex, and everything in between even while giving us situations to laugh over, to enjoy, and irresistible, adorable boys to ache for. Content from start to finish, Shut Out by Kody Keplinger is another hit that shows off Keplinger’s easygoing writing style, innate humor, and her fabulous skill at staging some of the best Sexy Times in existence.
You are mine. You all will be mine. These are the words I hear every single freaking morning since my friend Courtney’s dad died...
I'd never read anyt...moreYou are mine. You all will be mine. These are the words I hear every single freaking morning since my friend Courtney’s dad died...
I'd never read anything written by the Carrie Jones and Steven Wedel before After Obsession. I'd never read Jones's Need series, so my first time being exposed to her writing came in the form of After Obsession. And while I see the potential there, and I'd LOVE to say that I really enjoyed this book, I was majorly disappointed. What starts with a totally intriguing opening morphs into a non-engaging, 'where have I seen this before?' kind of tale. Despite the fresh spin on a relatively common paranormal element and the glimmers of humor derived from the fun dialogue, I was disappointed in the weaving of the story and the quickie romance that ensues after the main characters meet!
Although Amy has her moments of humor and quick wit, that wasn't enough to tide me over throughout this story. She comes across as dull and boring. Relatable? Yeah, kind of. But she isn't a lovable heroine, who sucked me into the story and made me want to stick around. I actually found her family to be much more interesting!
Gramps and Benji are great supporting characters that definitely know how to tug laughs out of you. I wish I could say the same about the rest of the cast! Courtney, Amy's best friend, is going through a tough time, what with her dad floating around in the deep blue sea and, you know, a DEMON has turned her into the next Regan MacNeil. Yet I kept asking myself, do I even care? And the answer was no. I didn't give a crap about this poor girl suffering from being constantly jumped by the aforementioned demon. I couldn't make a connection. And I didn't understand what was so amazing about Courtney and Amy's bestfriendship. Why are they best friends?
Alan, though slightly more alluring (at first), turned out to be another dislikable character. As the main romantic lead, I want some spark, some delectable chemistry, and that something that makes you want him. He's nothing more than a pretty face with a super cool heritage and a poor choice in girlfriends if you ask me. Amy is not all that in a bag of chips, and I just didn't get the romance.
As the story progressed it's enjoyability decreased steadily, boring me more and more, until it got to the point where I ended up skimming the last half of the book. The resolution? Blech. The ending didn't move me at all, didn't motivate me to read on about this couple should this evolve into a series. Overall, I hope After Obsession isn't a reflection of what's to come during Need, which I recently picked up from the library. I'll be majorly disappointed to discover the same lack.
After Obsession is just another beautiful face, with nothing stunning inside to discuss and nothing worth concocting a brilliant plan to trap your parents into buying the book.
My small Southern hometown is beautiful in the haunting way an aging debutante is beautiful. The bones are exquisite, but the skin could use a lift......moreMy small Southern hometown is beautiful in the haunting way an aging debutante is beautiful. The bones are exquisite, but the skin could use a lift...
I'm so glad that I followed my gut on this one and grabbed it from the library shelves, because if I hadn't I would've missed out on an impossibly fantastic debut! It was two steps away from making Special Shelf, that's how excellent it is. Superb narration, snarky heroine, riveting story line, and fabulous characters. Hourglass contains all of that AND a phenomenal twist on a paranormal element that hasn't been exhibited nearly enough in YA fiction. A wonderfully well-told story, Hourglass ranks top ten on my favorites list for this year!
Emerson, Emerson, Emerson, can't get enough Emerson. It has always been easier for me to connect and fall for The Guys of the books, but never have me and The Chick connected so seamlessly. What started out as just another book to read, Emerson is like the frosting on an already sumptuous cake with Michael Weaver and Kaleb Ballard playing the cherries that go on top. Michael, Kaleb, Michael, Kaleb. McEntire masterfully weaves a love triangle that makes your head spin, leaves you breathless, and, for once, deliciously (agonizingly) conflicted. No half-assed love triangles designed as a plot device to steer the novel in a different direction or lengthen the story. McEntire delivers something infinitely more powerful and downright swoon-worthy.
Full of action-packed, danger-ridden events and a smart twist on the paranormal, Hourglass will tantalize you with answers to questions that keep cropping up. A villain that terrifies, characters that enchant (finally, parental figures with some sense and control!), and dialogue that engages and humors, this book surprised me in the best ways and kept me engrossed to the very end. It reminded me vaguely of X-Men, adding to my already lengthy list of reasons as to why I love this book.
If you want something special, something that will keep you on your toes, then Hourglass is what you've been waiting for. It was exactly the thing to break me of my reading funk and get me back on track, giving me hope that I'll come across more reads as amazing as this one! I'm left with one burning thought, What awaits Emerson Cole after that explosive ending?
For those of you who'd like a teaser, click here. (It's a recycled scene in the book, but it's a BIT SPOILERY.)
In the most totally inappropriate way you can imagine, Perfect Bed Partner books are the books you want to do, they're so bloody brilliant... (My Rating System In-Depth)
...I HADN'T BEEN OUT LONG. I STRETCHED AND OPENED MY EYES TO MICHAEL, WHO APPEARED TO BE IN PAIN. HIS BROWS PULLED TOGETHER OVER HIS DARK EYES, AND THERE WAS A HARD SET TO HIS MOUTH. I FROZE MIDSTRETCH. "WHAT'S WRONG?" "NOTHING," HE SAID, HIS VOICE ROUGH. I DIDN'T THINK I HAD CROSSED ANY BOUNDARIES SINCE I TOUCHED HIM BEFORE I GOT IN THE CAR, AND NONE OF MY ROOMMATES AT SCHOOL EVER CLAIMED I TALKED IN MY SLEEP. "I'M SORRY ABOUT BEFORE, ON THE STREET--" HE SHOOK HIS HEAD. "IT WASN'T THAT." "THEN WHAT DID I DO?" "BESIDES FALL ASLEEP?" "I'M SORRY. IT'S NOT THE COMPANY, BUT WE WERE UP SO LATE, AND THE SUN FELT SO GOOD." I STOPPED. WHY WAS I DEFENDING MYSELF? MICHAEL WASN'T TOO BIG ON EXPLANATIONS, SO I HAD NO IDEA WHY I WAS TRYING TO CLARIFY ANYTHING TO HIM. HE LOOKED AWAY FROM ME TO FOCUS ON THE SIDE OF THE BUILDING. "YOU SEEM SO VULNERABLE WHEN YOU SLEEP. I DON'T GET THAT FROM YOU A LOT." I SHIFTED UNCOMFORTABLY IN MY SEAT. "I ALMOST CRIED AT DINNER THE OTHER NIGHT. WAS THAT NOT VULNERABLE ENOUGH FOR YOU?" "THERE'S A DIFFERENCE. AT DINNER YOU WERE SAD; TODAY YOU'RE... SOFT." (121).
I have three simple wishes. They're really not too much to ask...
Besides waiting until I could collect my thoughts and put them down into coherent, re...moreI have three simple wishes. They're really not too much to ask...
Besides waiting until I could collect my thoughts and put them down into coherent, readable sentences, I used this month as a sort of test. As much as I love Stephanie Perkins, I had to wonder about what made her books so special? While I waited in this month to write this review, and pushed all the squealing back in, I thought about this. And you want to know what I came up with? I. Don't. Know.
And when you fall in love, sometimes it's just better to be surprised and not understand, because otherwise it gets hard to feel THE MAGIC of it. I can't deny that Perkins's books are magic, of the purest, truest, most addictive form, which can't be conjured or crafted in any spell, but one that springs solely from the heart.
I give you, 6.5 reasons why I heart Lola and the Boy Next Door:
1) The Side Characters
One thing you have to remember when picking up a Stephanie Perkins novel: every single character counts. No one ever falls into the backdrop. Even Lola's best friend's father, while not a major character at all, produced a smile from me upon our first meeting. And I don't even know the guy.
Perkins has a way of writing characters that are living proof of the Onion Effect. You peel back one layer and you find so much more than what you see on the surface. Whether that surface is pristine or tattered is entirely irrelevant. It's guaranteed that you'll find depth in these characters AND LIKE THEM FOR IT, even when you should hate them.
This is something I can count on every time I encounter a new character. And I loved this about Lola, and even Anna! And how Lola interacts with these characters of many shapes and sizes seizes your affection for this book and Co. From her quiet, investigative-by-nature best friend, Lindsey, to her lovable pair of dads, Lola's friends and family take the cake as far as best characterizations. You WILL be envious of the people she is fortunate enough to have in her life.
1.5) Surprise Guest Stars
Or should I say not so surprising? There's been huge talk about Anna and Etienne's planned appearance in Lola. And while I was excited for that, I didn't expect to see SO MUCH of them! And I'm so happy that Perkins was intuitive to know that fans would so appreciate their huge roles in Lola and Cricket's love story.
And somehow, it was better to read them under these circumstances, through another set of eyes. They seem THAT much cooler. And the romance that sparked the love for Perkins to begin with, IS STILL very much there only threefold. I gushed with pleasure every time I got a glimpse of their superspecialawwww moments!
Honestly, I didn't know what to expect from Lola the character. It was easy to develop a sketch of her in my imagination, and her kind of character already seemed likeable. But, I didn't expect her to be so... so... realistic in spite of her eccentricites. For a girl who's out-there, she's very real; a girl who makes silly decisions, has insecurities (the read-between-the-lines kind), and quirky aspirations.
And the best part? She IS NOTHING LIKE ANNA. So many authors who write companion novel series fall into that trap of telling the same story with different characters and vice versa. I wanted Perkins to break that mold, and she delivered. Lola is original, her own person, and while compatible with Anna, she retains this awesomeness that's completely unique to her character.
Cricket Bell is no St. Clair, and I applaud Perkins for her ability to create TWO such heart-melting, swoon-worthy guys. Two boys who make you sigh wistfully for two totally differently reasons.
St. Clair is the Superfly Artsy European Mutt dude who makes every passerby fawn over him with his heartstopping good looks. Cricket would make me stop in my tracks and stare for a completely different reason: he's odd in his own right. He has crazy inventor hair, habitually wears rubber bands on his wrists and pinstripe pants, and is charming and sweet. The fact that I still REMEMBER all of that a month after reading this book speaks volumes.
4) Family Matters
The family dynamic is obviously different from the typical mom-dad scenario, being that Lola has two fathers, but toss out any misconceptions you may have had about being raised by gay parents. Because Nathan and Andy prove THAT YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT. :P
If there was an award for favorite fictional parents, Nathan and Andy would get top scores. They'd beat out everyone (except maybe Mia's parents from If I Stay).
5) *sings* I love the way you love...
The last thing I want to do is give anything away about the romance (especially). It's so important that you read it and feel the SLOW BURN that is part of Perkins's style thus far. It's agonizing, full of hard choices, but ultimately it left me in a WOWed state, in which I took the time to bow down to the amazingness that is Stephanie Perkins. I promise, you will not be disappointed Anna fans!
6) What I've come to call the Stephanie Perkins Flair
The pacing, the writing, Stephanie Perkins knows how to weave a tale. Her writing is friendly and fun and inviting. Insightful. And at times poetic-like. There's a warmth and allure to her books that can easily be described as incomparable in the face of so many YA books out right now. If you've been skeptical up until now, don't be! You will not regret reading this series!
A misconception that could perhaps cost you a limb...
This a companion novel, friends. You do not need to read Anna (although I advise that you do, so that you can appreciate Anna and St. Clair's presence more) in order to read and love Lola. So, if in fact you encounter this book in your travels before Anna, do not hesitate to read it. It's a win either way, whichever way you do it.
The great thing, so far, about this series is that it's actually very, very interesting and definitely engrossing. I haven't read a book that's made m...moreThe great thing, so far, about this series is that it's actually very, very interesting and definitely engrossing. I haven't read a book that's made me want to know about its backstory, more on the mythology, and piece together the Big Picture as much as with The Prophecy of the Sisters in a long time. The time period only adds to the dark, dismal overtone and the animosity between the sisters grows to the point of chilling, which tended to push me to look over my shoulder from time to time (making me feel slightly ridiculous in the process). The sisters themselves fascinated me in their differences and the parts they play in this cryptic, grim prophecy.
I can't say that this book was absolutely amazing, because I didn't find it to be so. It was still a well-written, intriguing novel that has definitely encouraged my curiosity as to what's to come. I was genuinely impressed by how creatively Zink incorporated *MAY BE SPOILERY* the angel mythology in Alice and Lia's story, how she twisted the plot in unexpected ways to make the book more appealing and readable. I wanted to go on reading purely for the sake of learning more. I wanted to uncover Alice and Lia's roles in this mysterious prophecy, and how they were supposed to fulfill it. With Lia being the good sister, how was she supposed to prevent the black side of the prophecy from coming true? It got to be pretty intense at points, and it never felt safe with Alice roaming the grounds and acting suspiciously.
Because Lia is so hampered by grief it was difficult to establish an attachment to her. She's a nice, kind girl and far braver than she gives herself credit for, but I want to feel more connected with her as I continue with the series. I want to feel the urge to make I HEART LIA t-shirts because her character, this story is so epic. I haven't felt that yet, unlike many around the blogosphere. So many people love this series, and I can only assume it's going to get better with the next two books, but I'm not firmly hooked just yet. I want to love the cast, Lia's two new allies, Aunt Virginia, Edmund... it's just not there yet for me. My heart hasn't been completely captured. I need more.
I especially need more romance. It's no secret that I need me a good, satisfying romance to fully enjoy a book. Without one, a WELL-WRITTEN one, I can't totally immerse myself in the book. There's promise for an exhilarating romance with the entirely lovable James, but it wasn't nearly as rich as I needed it to be for me to fall in love with him and his relationship with Lia. I need more background on him, on their history for me to understand why she loves him, has loved him for some time, going back to the connection I so badly want. I hope to see more of James in the coming books! And I sincerely hope that Alice doesn't successfully get her grubby little paws all over him! That would be bad, really bad and distasteful, if you ask me.
The ending was on the jaw-dropping side, for sure. A bit of a tear-jerker, too, particularly for someone with a heart prone to turning to mush and who easily gets WAY too invested in the fictional realm. My undoing is children and any suffering that is aimed at them, so you can imagine (really you can, but you have to read the book to understand what I mean) why I was so upset with the conclusion. And now that the battle lines between the sisters have been officially set, things, from this point on, are only going to get more exciting! Guardian of the Gate, I expect, will be much better and much more addictive...
"...Isn't it worth the small sacrifice of conscience to live your life in peace?" Something desperate has crept into her words, waking me from the silken spell of her voice. I shake my head with force, as if to push away the whispered promise that pulls me close even as I want to push it away. "I cannot... I cannot do such a thing, Alice. I simply cannot. I cannot help the way I feel either. This is the way I am." I think she might be angry, but her voice is filled only with sadness. "Yes. I thought as much. I'm sorry, Lia." Her hand finds mine across the step, and she takes it the way she used to when we were small. It is not any bigger than mine, not really, and yet there was a time when I always felt safe with my hand in Alice's. I don't know why she says she is sorry, but I fear I will soon find out. And my hand will not be safe in hers again." (189)
Carlos: I want to live life on my own terms. But I’m Mexican, so mi familia is always there to guide me in everything I do, whether I want them to or...moreCarlos: I want to live life on my own terms. But I’m Mexican, so mi familia is always there to guide me in everything I do, whether I want them to or not...
I would love to say something clever to open this review, but all I can manage is, I am cuckoo for the Fuentes brothers. When I first wanted to pick up Rules of Attraction, I kept getting a lot of feedback saying that it's basically just Perfect Chemistry retold. The same story with different characters, and the third book followed the same formula. I have to disagree. While yes, the same themes are being executed, the same TYPE of story - you know, Mexican bad boy meets White good girl - the story in Rules of Attraction still somehow manages to be fresh and unique to the characters.
Carlos reminded me of Alex, sure, but he is still his own person, with his own aspirations, quirks, and resentments. Honestly, I'd be a little mad if the two weren't similar, being that they are brothers. I like seeing familiar personality traits being passed down into the family. It isn't like Anna and the French Kiss vs. Lola and the Boy Next Door, because those feature two unrelated people, who were brought up differently in different environments. Whereas Alex and Carlos are products of their shared pasts. And while Carlos has the whole bad boy thing down-pat, he does it with his own flair. He has this certain arrogance that's different and more acute than Alex's. Did I like him more than Alex? That's a toughie. I'd say they're pretty much tied in my book.
Being that this story is told between two POVs, Kiara is the other first person narrative to be enjoyed. And I did. I actually love Kiara more than Brittany. Kiara is that girl who wears clothes two sizes too big, who fixes cars for fun, currently in the process of revamping the craptastic one she's in possession of, who isn't afraid to say what she means, and she stutters. I admired her while simultaneously adoring her for being so cute. Plus I loved that she has a gay guy for a best friend, especially this particular one (Tuck), because he is the source of so many great LOL-moments. And like Brittany, besides valuing family a great deal, she has that specific ability of challenging their chosen Fuentes guys, infuriating them and invoking overpowering love in them.
I liked how the plot in this book ties in the first one as well, as the Fuentes brothers are revisited by some unwelcome disturbing members of their past. Set-ups, betrayals, and old gang ties crop up and nearly ruin both Fuentes brothers' chances at happiness with the girls they love. I don't remember how huge the tension level was in Perfect Chemistry, but in Rules of Attraction I was gripping the pages hard and sporting white knuckles. And whenever I'm in that situation I tend to skim until I find out what happens, so there's a whole chunk toward the end that's kind of a blur because I got so worried and curious. And it leads up to a superb ending, which induced many awwwws from me.
I'm so happy that I didn't let other people's judgements pry me away from this series! It was worth the time it took to read Rules of Attraction, and Carlos and Kiara's love story makes my list of best romances.
An all around fun read, I don't think I've laughed quite this much in a long, long time. Populazzi has a side-splitting humor at many points throughou...moreAn all around fun read, I don't think I've laughed quite this much in a long, long time. Populazzi has a side-splitting humor at many points throughout so much so that I think the comedy will be the aspect that stays with me the most, making me smile every time I pass by this book. Cara, Claudia, and others in the book nearly had me choking because I couldn't seem to stop cracking up.
Cara and Claudia--these best friends made this book for me! I can't even totally consider Cara as the star of the show because Claudia was such an active and prominent part of the story. The things these two would say, think, or do... really just reminded me of my own experiences these past few years in high school. The stupid or girly things I push my friends to do with me, the overanalyzing me and my girlfriends do when it comes to boys, poring over the most natural encounters for signs of what the opposite sex involved is thinking. Allen must have a very clear, sharp image of what it was like in high school because she nailed it right on the head with her accuracy. And even though these two girls felt like me and my friends, interchangeable, they were still completely unique. I favor Claudia of the two to be honest, just because of her dramatic (and terribly hilarious), unconscious integration of Shakespearean works into her everyday life. But, don't get me wrong, Cara appealed to me, too. She was my former self--shy, nervous, and incredibly book-smart, afraid to step out of her shell, longing to belong. And because I recognized an intimate piece of myself in her, I relished her transformation by the end of the book.
And their tongue-in-cheek descriptions and classifications of the different "tiers" in the social hierarchy that make up high school was downright hysterical! Watching Cara navigate the tricky halls of high school while trying to accommodate Claudia's Populazzi plan had its funny and awkward moments that roused a number of different reactions ranging from head-desk to embarrassed giggles to bright blushing to goofy smiles. The kind of expressions that take over during my own high school experiences. And Cara taking on boys is a sight to behold, let me tell you. It helped me recall all the stupid things I did to get myself noticed and liked by guys.
Lucky for Cara, though, she managed to find one that was right for her all along. Of course, this book would not be complete without romance. Although Cara interacted with a few boys on this level, there really was only one boy that actually mattered. When it came to these two, Archer and Cara, I can't tell you how many times I wanted to put their heads through the wall. I forgot anxiety-ridden these romantic comedyish novels can be. It was no picnic for someone like me, who gets way TOO EMOTIONALLY INVESTED.
I was forced to skip over certain scenes, mostly because I couldn't take Cara's changing toward the end before the good started cropping up. I felt like I was in Claudia's shoes and I was the one being betrayed, so I couldn't even read it. Oh, and this book actually made me cry! Yup, I know, crazy. But, those tears were a mixture of frustration and hurt on Cara's behalf. I HATED HER PARENTS. Not the I Hate You While I Love You hate that only teenagers or married couples are acquainted with. No, this was pure rage and fury and raw loathing. Her parents, particularly her stepfather, were probably the most ill-suited, selfish, insecure, cowardly, and self-absorbed parents I'd ever had the displeasure of "encountering." I'd hate to be Cara in that respect.
I didn't expect Populazzi to play on my emotions so well or Elise Allen to so skillfully pull them out of me and direct them toward the characters in the story. From the authenticity of the high school experience to the flawed, lovable, TEENAGE characters (hated parents swept aside) to the adorable romance that ended up coming together at the end, concluding the book perfectly, I love to say it: Populazzi was a funderful, hilarious read that I couldn't put down and was so caught up in that when all the funny parts came up I turned heads (I imagine bursting out in random fits of giggles didn't go over so well with people--who, incidentally, MUST've been nonreaders, otherwise they wouldn't've looked so appalled). A perfect summer read and an overall fantastic debut! ---------------------------------------------------
"Come on, kids, this is the good stuff. This is Junior English. This is T.S. Eliot. Let's dive into this! What is Eliot doing with his images? Anyone: shout it out!" I almost giggled when I realized I could now say this twice in one hour. "Um..." I began, "he's making them stand erect?" "Yes!" roared Mr. Woodward, and this time Archer didn't hide his smirk. "You've almost redeemed yourself for being late..." "Cara," I said. "Cara," he repeated. "So each time, Cara, when his images are at the peak of their 'erection,' if you will, what does Eliot do to them?" There was only one answer, and I wished I could say it without blushing. Still, I didn't hesitate. "He lets the images go flaccid."
I fell asleep counting not sheep but possible opening lines. Claudia must have done the same--I woke up to an email from her with a huge list of options. "Really, Claude? 'Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much?" I had her on speakerphone as I drove to school... "It worked for Juliet," Claudia said. "Romeo fell head over heels for her." "You are aware that they both die at the end, yes?" "Did you seriously just ask me that question?" "Did I seriously ask it, or did I seriously think you didn't know they died at the end?" "Fine. Forget Romeo and Juliet. Forget the centuries-old benchmark of true romance. How did you want to start?" I took a breath, then offered up the best of my bunch. "Hey! Do you play Scrabble! 'Cause I had the best triple-word score last night!" Claudia's silence was deafening. I couldn't blame her. Maybe I'd go with the good pilgrim thing after all.
When Archer and I went to the mall that day, I didn't even mention the weekend. I said neither the words "week" nor "end." I simply channeled all my concentration into the words "invite me," then shot them toward Archer in a continuous beam of psychic energy. "Cara?" he finally asked. Success! "Yes?" I batted my eyes. No, really, I did. "Are you okay? You're holding your head and your face is all scrunched up. Do you have a headache or something?" "Oh. No. I just... precalc. Hard problem. I'm having tangent issues." So much for psychic energy.