Discussion: Do ARC Reviews HAVE To Be Positive?

Aren’t you proud of me? Being all consistent and writing discussions regularly for the first time ever? I told you had a list of ideas a mile long – I’m just working through it now.

Anyways. Onto the discussion you came here for.


I’ve seen a handful of bloggers touch upon this topic and I wanted to give my own view of it. Arcs are, especially, a book blogger’s lifeblood – one of my most popular discussion posts is on How To Request ARCs.

And for many of us, they are a perk to our hobby – but they are also a responsibility.

Regardless of your stance on negative reviews in general, we have do decide if its okay to negatively review on ARC.

ARC, simply put, stands for Advanced Readers/Review Copy.

An ARCs entire purpose of existence is to generate prerelease reviews and hype, so that the book sells better. Obviously, positive reviews are whats going to accomplish this, not negative reviews.

But upon reviewing an ARC, we all give a statement along the lines of “I received this book for free but it doesn’t influence my opinion”. I think for most of us, thats not even a conscious thing to write, its a legal, automatic, robotic thing. Like a user agreement – you mark agree and proceed to ignore it.

Even if you don’t consciously tailor reviews because its an ARC, I think it subconsciously motivates us to try and like the book a bit more – we feel bad giving a negative review when a publisher/author went out of their way, and spent money, to have us review the book.

But we need to be honest – thats the only way book blogs function. If our readers can trust us, if our fellow book bloggers can trust us.

If you heartily dislike the book – and you don’t want to give a negative review, maybe contact the publisher and let them know. Give them your feedback.

Otherwise, be careful with what you request or accept – if you’re not sure about it, don’t take it just because its offered – you don’t want to get yourself in that position.

Now, if you are reviewing an ARC, and you didn’t like it, DON’T BASH IT.

Explain why did and why did not work for you – what made you dislike it, its it a personal/subjective reason? Could others of certain tastes like it? Is the writing objectively good? Even if its a low rating, can you mention some positives?

We want to promote books. We want ARCs to serve their intended purpose, but not at the sake of our integrity. Be honest – just don’t be harsh or cruel.


What do you think?

Do you agree with me?

Do you have a different stance?

Let me know!

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Netgalley Review: Lies We Tell Our Kids

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I received an e-arc of this book from Netgalley and this is my honest review.

Original Release Date:

Feb. 20th 2018

Date I Read The Book:

May 2017

My Star Rating:

3 Stars

Official Summary:

From acclaimed artist Brett Wagner comes a book about the tall tales that parents tell their kids in the hopes of getting them to do something—eat, sleep, apologize to their sibling, or learn to do something the right way. Fun, heartfelt, and a little bit weird, Lies We Tell Our Kids exposes the not-so-great generational parenting tactic of lying to your child for the greater good!

Brett Wagner is a Pittsburgh-based illustrator and filmmaker with a penchant for puns and visual anomalies. A generalist by trade, he works mostly in commercial video production, while his short narrative film All Raccoons Are Bandits has been screened internationally. When not on set, he spends most of his time with a box full of Copic markers drawing colorful creatures for himself and others.

My Review: (Vague Spoilers)

This book was essentially…fine. A few pages made me giggle. The illustrations were really well done. But it just sort of fell flat for me. I’ve never heard of any of the “lies” show cased – and I’ve heard some weird ones – save for 3 or 4. A lot weren’t even particularly funny or sensical. It wasn’t the worst thing or anything like that, but I didn’t particularly care for it.

Check out:

 Netgalley Review: I Love You With All My Butt

and

Netgalley Review: United States of Absurdity – Untold Stories From American History

Netgalley Review: The Shape of Ideas

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I received an e-arc of this book from netgalley and this is my honest review.

Original Release Date:

April 18th, 2017

Date I Read The Book:

May 2017

My Star Rating:

4 Stars

Official Summary:

What does an idea look like? And where do they come from? Grant Snider’s illustrations will motivate you to explore these questions, inspire you to come up with your own answers and, like all Gordian knots, prompt even more questions. Whether you are a professional artist or designer, a student pursuing a creative career, a person of faith, someone who likes walks on the beach, or a dreamer who sits on the front porch contemplating life, this collection of one- and two-page comics will provide insight into the joys and frustrations of creativity, inspiration, and process—no matter your age or creative background.

My Review: (Vague Spoilers)

This is a little graphic novel type book on creativity from the perspective of an artist. Its pretty clever, using different ideas, stereotypes, etc. of art to convey a message. The artwork is really well done with a pretty distinct style that I enjoyed. Some sections were more enjoyable than others, but if you enjoy art or other creative end overs, it may be worth checking out. Its quick to get through and it made me smile.

Blog Tour: It Could Happen – Book Review

It Could Happen tour banner


It Could Happen
by Mia Kerick
Genre: NA Romance (LGBT)
Release Date: June 5th 2017
Dreamspinner Press

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Summary:

Three misfits, mismatched in every way—Henry Perkins, Brody Decker, and Danny Denisco—have been friends throughout high school. Now in their senior year, the boys realize their relationship is changing, that they’re falling in love. But they face opposition at every turn—from outside and from within themselves. Moving to the next level will take all the courage, understanding, and commitment they can muster. But it could happen.

Henry is a star athlete and the son of religious parents who have little concern for the future he wants. Brody is a quirky dreamer and adrenaline junkie, and Danny is an emo artist and the target of bullies. Despite their differences they’ve always had each other’s backs, and with each of them facing a new and unique set of challenges, that support is more important than ever. Is it worth risking the friendship they all depend on for the physical and romantic relationship they all desire?

In this unconventional new adult romance, three gay teens brave societal backlash—as well as the chance that they might lose their treasured friendship—to embark on a committed polyamorous relationship.

Add to Goodreads


About the Author

mia kerick

Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled men and their relationships, and she believes that sex has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.

Mia is proud of her involvement with the Human Rights Campaign and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

Contact Mia at miakerick@gmail.com.

Author Links:

WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook

Buy Link: Amazon


3.5 Stars

Review:

I was sent a e-copy of the book for the tour and this is my honest review.

It Could Happen was a cute, quick read. I haven’t read many New Adult books, so I don’t have much to compare it to, but it was a quick, cute read. The writing was well done, I liked the transitions in writing type between POVs (Brody’s Journal, Henry in 1st person, Danny is poems – the poems were kind of cringe, but there are meant to be written by a teenage boy so it gets a pass).

Some aspects of the story felt a little forced. I’ve never read about a three-person couple before, but it felt a little forced initially, as did some of the more “look at how bad his life is” aspects.

But overall, I liked the book and I’m glad I read it. If you like NA, consider picking it up!


GIVEAWAY:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Blog Tour Organized by:

YA Bound Book Tours

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Excerpt #1

CHAPTER 1 MEET THE PLAYERS

Brody’s notebook

Monday, September 15
Before I bare my soul on paper, I’d like to set the record straight. 1. I’m not a ten-year-old girl.
2. My journal isn’t pink and fuzzy with a heart-shaped lock.
3. I don’t make daily entries with a magenta gel pen.
4. There’s nothing simple about bromance.
I feel better after getting that off my chest—my flat chest, and

I’m not in the market for a training bra. See #1, above.

My end goal is to create a user manual for my relationship with Henry and Danny, because I’m seriously confused about where we go from here—wherever here is—and how we get past everything that stands in our way to make it there. In theory, if I write down what goes on with us, I’ll be able to read it back to myself and make sense of things before I do something stupid and/or dangerous.

To get back to my original point, I am not keeping a diary. It’s just the third section of my AP Physics notebook, which I consider a safe place to record my most top-secret thoughts about life, as nobody on earth gives a shit about my half-assed notes.

Maybe I’m not the creative one, but I can write stuff down as well as the next guy. And everybody knows that getting started is the hardest part, so I won’t obsess over it… too much.

I’ll start here, about Henry.

Mostly Henry Perkins strives to live life by the book—it makes it easier to deal with his parents’ rules and expectations. The problem is that the smaller, more insistent—and much hornier—part of Henry wants to do whatever the hell he wants to do. But the thing is, Henry can’t get any of the stuff he wants if he lives by the book, which his mom and dad wrote.

I nailed that summary, so I’ll move on to Danny.

Next there’s Danny Denisco, who is the creative one. He can do stuff like write poetry and paint pictures and still not come off as lame. I can sum up what he wants in a couple of simple sentences. Danny wants only one thing out of life and, more specifically, from the guys he goes out with. And no, it’s not sex. Danny’s looking for the L word, but his problem is that he’ll settle for any liar’s promise of affection, and lie is the wrong L word.

Then there’s me. It’s tough to look objectively at the big picture of yourself, conclude that “Brody Decker’s main objective is to _____,” and then fill in the blank with something profound. Because all kinds of shit comes to mind when I think about what want—to feel the wind in my face and to find the highest adrenaline rush of all time are on the top of the list. But there’s this other guy in me. He gets freaked out easily, so he lives life by the “don’t ask, don’t tell” code. I’m starting to think he wants some of the stuff Henry and Danny want too.

Wind and adrenaline don’t take much effort to find where there’s speed, and I’ve got that part covered. But maybe I want the stuff Henry and Danny want more.


Excerpt #2

Henry: My life

Something’s off with Danny. He didn’t come to the movies with us on Saturday night because he had a date with that thirty-five-year- old fry cook he met at work. I spent this Sunday, like all the rest, with my family, doing the church and Sunday-dinner thing, but Brody texted me that night to let me know that Danny never returned his calls. And Danny was out of school yesterday.

When we stopped by his apartment after cross-country practice today, he didn’t answer the door. Maybe he wasn’t home, but Brody’s got “inner feelings” about things, and he says Danny was in there. I tend to believe him.

You can’t distract Brody when he’s worried about one of us, although he uses distraction to throw us off track when we’re worried about him. And since we’re almost always worried about him, he has to distract us a lot.

“I just want to hear Danny say he’s okay. Until I hear that, I’m not going to stop trying to reach him.” Brody’s draped across my bed on his belly. His T-shirt is twisted in a way that lets me see his skinny back. I think he forgets to eat when he’s worried, but he still looks good.

And then there’s his ass…. I stare at it a little bit too long, but he can’t see my eyes, so it’s okay. I shake my head in an effort to get my unwanted horniness under control, and I say, “My folks aren’t about to let me out tonight, not after I was late coming home from cross-country.”

Eleven months until I leave for college. I can survive eleven more months trapped in this split-level ranch prison with controlling parents who think they own me.

Do over—controlling parents who actually do own me.


Excerpt #3

Brody’s notebook

Tuesday, September 23

Memoir of a Stalker—I sincerely hope this is only a temporary title.

I’m not exactly a stalker, but when it comes to Danny and Henry, sometimes I play the part of one.

And the situation with Danny is seriously messed up. I keep telling Henry that it will sort itself out. I hope I’m not lying to him.

Before I picked up Henry for school today, I drove by Danny’s apartment building three times. Or maybe it was five times. I lost count.

Extremely stalkeresque.

I stared at the building each time I drove by, but there was nothing out of the ordinary—one beige cement building, nine nondescript windows with torn screens, five crumbling brick steps leading to a cracked plate glass door, zero landscaping. The place is almost invisible in its plainness. The only thing that draws any attention to the residence is the number of beat-up SUVs, ancient boats on trailers, and motorcycles that have seen better days that surround it. The property looks like a used-vehicle auction lot.

The first three times I passed by, I saw a couple of wrinkled old men with bloated bellies smoking cigarettes on the front walkway. I also noticed about five skinny cats skulking around the property. But no Danny. I was tempted to park behind the row of overgrown shrubs on the corner and wait as long as it took to see if he emerged alone or arm-in-arm with Jared, the jealous fry cook.

But I didn’t stop. I passed by unnoticed… unless Danny happened to glance out the window. Lime-green Jeep Wranglers are hardly stealthy.

There’s no valid reason for me to be snooping on him. Danny Denisco is not my boyfriend. He’s not my best friend’s boyfriend. We’re straight. He’s gay. The whole romance thing is not possible.

Danny’s not a mystery I need to solve. He’s just a guy from the bad part of town who happens to enjoy the darker side of life. He has an extraordinary gift for painting fluorescent sunsets on black velvet without making them look redneck tacky. His poetry could even bring tears to Lionel Wagner’s eyes.

Danny has a fashion sense that, on a good day, could be called peculiar. Most of the time, Danny comes to school looking like a boy witch. He has multiple piercings in his ears, nose, bottom lip, right eyebrow, and probably other places I don’t want to know about. Add to that an emo haircut, complete with sideswept bangs and neon-blue tips, and way too much black eyeliner.

That’s Danny.
Like I said, no mystery.
Danny defines “gay, emo, Goth boy.”
He looks radical, but he just wants what everybody else wants out of life.

And Danny is not my boyfriend. I don’t know how I feel about that.


Excerpt #4

Free Verse Poetry by Danny D

“Secure”

everything aching joins into one,

an opaque cloud blocking the sun

I must walk through this storm

alone, like a martyr at death

guilty that I stole their breath

afraid as a child in the night

injured, the loser of a fight

jealous, like the one in last place

lost as a call with no trace

the only shelter I can see

is in this false security


Excerpt #5

Henry: My life

First Wagner surges past me, and then the top three runners on the Wilson Brown Bears Cross-Country Team go by me, one by one. Each time I get passed feels like a stab in the gut. But when No-neck Nelson awkwardly lopes by, I know I’m up a creek.

“You can do this, Perky.” Brody’s not even wearing running shoes, but he breaks out of the small crowd at the top of Linden Hill to run beside me. And then he’s with me—baggy cargo-pocket fatigues and work boots with a loose button-down shirt flying behind him, and even wearing his backpack—racing along, offering encouragement.

“Pick up the pace now. Focus on getting past just Nelson for starters. You’re so much faster than him it’s not even funny.”

Brody doesn’t look at me, but he keeps on rambling words of inspiration until I pass Nelson. Then he retreats back into the scattered group of spectators and calls out a final bit of advice. “Keep it up, Henry. You’ve got this!”

But I don’t “got it” at all. I run into the finish with my tail between my legs and end up in fifth place.

Dad is in my face before I can blink.

“What on earth do you call that?” He grabs my shirt by the Golden Eagle emblem on the front. “You call that an effort?”

I look around for Brody. I’m not sure why. It’s not like he can save me from my dad. All I can see are teammates crossing the line and their parents and other students congratulating them.

“Look at me, son,” Dad barks, and then he shakes me to make sure he has my full attention. “You think you’re going to get into a Division One track school with a performance like this?” He jabs his watch with a pointed finger.

The people around us can’t miss that Dad is basically exploding all over me in an ugly show of public parental frustration. It’s like he thinks I ran slowly to hurt him.

“This is unacceptable.” Again he looks at his watch. “I’m speechless.”

As I again look around for Brody, I sincerely wish Dad actually could be speechless.

“Have you been taking lessons on how to get slower? Have you?” He won’t let up.

Finally I see Brody come through the crowd. I think he heard my father’s last insult, as he steps up to my side in an act of solidarity. “And this pothead loser”—he gestures toward Brody with his elbow—“is most certainly the one who’s teaching you how to run at the pace of a damned turtle.”

We now have the attention of the entire crowd. Coach Wentworth stands behind Dad, looking seriously disturbed. He places his hand on Dad’s shoulder and says, “Mr. Perkins, with all due respect, this is just one race. Henry’s a little bit off his game today. I’m sure he’ll perform much better next time.”

Dad turns around and glares at Coach, who shakes his head in mute frustration but steps back.

“I’m seriously considering sending you off for a postgrad year at Northrop Sports Academy. Maybe there you’ll be able to concentrate on the important things in life, like running faster, rather than wasting your time hanging around with boys who are never going to amount to anything.” The crowd’s attention shifts to Brody. He looks down at the grass.

I can’t help it. I make one of those lame choking noises. I want to cry because everything is so fucked-up in my life, but I can’t. So the messed-up, strangled sound just pops out from deep in my throat. Even Lionel Wagner cringes, none too eager to see an eighteen-year- old guy cry ten feet past the finish line of a stupid cross-country race. Brody leans against me, and we stand shoulder to shoulder and wait for what comes next.

Dad storms off—finally speechless—but before I have a chance to breathe a sigh of relief, Mom steps up and shepherds me a few yards away from Brody.

“Kneel down,” she says in all seriousness and then drops to her knees on the grass despite the fact she’s wearing a skirt. “Get on your knees and pray with me, Henry.”

I look back at Brody, and his face is pale. He shakes his head slowly, but obedient as always, I get down on my knees in the grass beside Mom. The shocked stare of the crowd heats all of my exposed skin.

“Lord Jesus, we thank You for all of the blessings You have bestowed upon us. We ask that You hear our humble prayer,” she begins, her head bowed and her eyes closed. “Please help our son to succeed, dear Jesus.”

I don’t bow my head or close my eyes. But I do pray. Silently. Oh God. Public prayer. Please, no.
“Let’s do this at home, Mom,” I manage to utter.
Apparently God hears my desperate plea and passes it on to my mother. She rises to her feet, as I do, takes me by the hand, and leads me to the family minivan. I don’t look back at Brody. There’s no point. Dad is waiting in the driver’s seat. He refuses to look at me when I slide open the door and climb in back.

This afternoon was the crowning glory on a week from hell.


Blog Tour Schedule –

Adding the tour schedule to promote my fellow bloggers. Check out their posts!

June 6th

June 7th

June 8th

June 9th

June 12th

June13th

June 14th

June 15th

June 16th

Netgalley Review: Tash Hearts Tolstoy

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I received an e-arc of this book from the publisher via netgalley and this is my honest review.

Original Release Date:

June 6th, 2017

Date I Read The Book:

May 2017

My Star Rating:

5 Stars

Official Summary:

After a shout-out from one of the Internet’s superstar vloggers, Natasha “Tash” Zelenka finds herself and her obscure, amateur web series, Unhappy Families, thrust into the limelight: She’s gone viral.

Her show is a modern adaptation of Anna Karenina—written by Tash’s literary love Count Lev Nikolayevich “Leo” Tolstoy. Tash is a fan of the forty thousand new subscribers, their gushing tweets, and flashy Tumblr GIFs. Not so much the pressure to deliver the best web series ever.

And when Unhappy Families is nominated for a Golden Tuba award, Tash’s cyber-flirtation with Thom Causer, a fellow award nominee, suddenly has the potential to become something IRL—if she can figure out how to tell said crush that she’s romantic asexual.

Tash wants to enjoy her newfound fame, but will she lose her friends in her rise to the top? What would Tolstoy do?

My Review: (Vague Spoilers)

I requested an arc of this book for several reasons:
1) a nerdy, smart, bookworm main character,
2) Classic adaptation as a blog series a la Lizzie Bennet Diaries and
3) AN ASEXUAL CHARACTER OH MY GOD.

I haven’t read much classic literature, Tolstoy included, so that didn’t grab me in more than the abstract, unlike some reviewers.

The ace representation did draw me in though. I’m ace (somewhere on the scale not quite sure where) so I was super excited to read a book with an asexual MC because I have never in my life heard of one let along read one.

Let me tell you I was not disappointed!

 To me at least, I thought the representation of asexuality was very realistic. People say stupid things about it, and it feels weird to be different, but at the end of the day, you have the same feelings as everyone else (Tash is asexual but NOT romantic which are often equated when they are NOT the same thing).

The characters are all real (occasionally flawed) people, the character growth is great and I loved it. The friendships were really realistic and I related to Tash so hard!

Plot wise, it was really interesting. YA stories featuring you tubers are particularly common now, but I thought the story of the making of their show was well done. A bit slow at times, but it balanced out.

The writing was good, quick, easy, cute YA reading.

I highly recommend this story!

Netgalley Review: One of Us is Lying

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I received an e-arc of this book from netgalley and this is my honest review.

Original Release Date:

May 30th 2017

Date I Read The Book:

March 2017

My Star Rating:

5 Stars

Chronology:

Debut, Standalone

Official Summary:

One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

My Review: (Vague Spoilers)

Cover:

I love this cover, with the cut out faces and sharpie it looks like a defaced yearbook and it is great.
Characters:
All the characters are unique, and their voices are distinct. I did find my self most drawn to Bronwyn’s POV but since I relate most to her that’s understandable. I like that they all begin to defy their stereotypes throughout. And that their is diversity sprinkled through without a big deal being made about it. Everyone has different home lives, and not every character is straight and white. I liked he side characters and sibling relationships a lot. And I like that the romances were varied, none the main focus, and nine were instalove or an instant fix to anyone’s problems.
Plot:
There is foreshadowing like crazy and I loved it. The story is fast paced and intriguing all the way through, and lots of little details and side plots for each character really tie it together. I guessed part of the ending before he characters did, but not the whole think, and I like that it was able to surprise me. I had some issues with the legality of some of the police actions and certain things that seemed overlooked by adults irked me, but these were all things addressed later on in the story and it was good.

Netgalley Review: The Love Interest

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I received an e-arc of this book from netgalley and this is my honest review.

Original Release Date:

May 16th 2017

Date I Read The Book:

March 2017

My Star Rating:

4/4.5 Stars

Official Summary:

There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets.

Caden is a Nice: The boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection. Dylan is a Bad: The brooding, dark-souled guy, and dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose a Nice or the Bad?

Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to be – whoever the girl doesn’t choose will die.

What the boys don’t expect are feelings that are outside of their training. Feelings that could kill them both.

My Review: (Vague Spoilers)

When I first requested this book from Netgalley I was expecting a YA version of
“This Means War”. But I was extremely pleased to be wrong.
The Love Interest is essentially a satire of every love triangle YA trope, and it is gloriously aware of that. It also subverts the love triangle in that, our narrator, who is the “Nice Boy” of the love triangle, falls for the “Bad Boy” rather than the girl whose affections they are meant to be competing for.
The romance was impossibly cute. It’s well executed, and doesn’t feel campy. I thought its pacing was good – definitely didn’t feel like instalove. Caden is an adorably awkward, out-of-his-depth narrator, who constantly feel for Dylan’s seduction tactics intended – theoretically – for Juliet. I loved the friendships in the book as well.
The pacing of the book is fast, but well balanced – it stays exciting without getting ahead of itself. The setting remains contemporary, and the romance is of heavy focus, but the book also plays heavily on action tropes and contrived scenes common in YA fiction.
It had its flaws of course, sometimes it felt too caught up in the tropes/satire. Sometimes I got frustrated that, despite everything, Juliet still often felt at times like a plot device, the lack of ability to communicate feelings for most of the book (which plagues most YA) was still present, etc.
There was a specific thing towards the end that bothered me – don’t continued reading this if you don’t want spoilers!
But towards the end, there was this whole “Dylan’s isn’t gay” thing going on that has Caden equivocating on whether he loved Dyl or Juliet and the whole thing was utterly unnecessary, not really used to further the plot, it was just annoying to add drama to an already rushed end.
But over all, I LOVED it. I definitely recommend it.

Arc Review: Nowhere Near You

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*I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Original Release Date:

Feb. 7th 2017

Date I Read The Book:

End of January/Beg. of February – 2017

My Star Rating:

5 stars

Chronology:

Sequel

Official Summary:

Following up her acclaimed debut, Because You’ll Never Meet Me, Leah Thomas continues the stories of Ollie and Moritz in another heart-warming story of unique friendship.

Ollie and Moritz might never meet, but their friendship knows no bounds. Their letters carry on as Ollie embarks on his first road trip away from the woods–no easy feat for a boy allergic to electricity–and Moritz decides which new school would best suit an eyeless boy who prefers to be alone.

Along the way they meet other teens like them, other products of strange science who lead seemingly normal lives in ways Ollie and Moritz never imagined possible: A boy who jokes about his atypical skeleton; an aspiring actress who hides a strange deformity; a track star whose abnormal heart propels her to victory. Suddenly the future feels wide open for two former hermits. But even as Ollie and Moritz dare to enjoy life, they can’t escape their past, which threatens to destroy any progress they’ve made. Can these boys ever find their place in a world that might never understand them?


Since this is a sequel, there will be spoilers for the first book in this review. You can read my review of the first book here: Review: Because You’ll Never Meet Me

Read this review at you’re own risk if you haven’ read the first book. (Though I love these books to bits so GO READ IT).


My Review: (Vague Spoilers)

I discovered these books by accident.

I was searching for an e-book to read, stumbled across Because You’ll Never Meet Me. I picked it up thinking it was a cute, gay love story told in letters. I also thought it was a standalone. I was very wrong about these books.

These books are part-contemporary romance/friendship, and part modern day Sci-fi (a-la X-Men or Stranger Things) and are super funny, filled with pop culture references. It is also told entirely in letters. I love how we learn more about our characters as they grow to trust each other, and how we discover secrets of the world around them as they do. The voices come clear distinct and amazingly well.

Our two main characters are: Ollie, a sheltered American boy whose allergic to electricity and Mortiz, a blind german boy who also happens to be gay.

I spent the entire first book dying for them to get together – and they didn’t. But I was satisfied with Mortiz’s love story (a blind boy and a mute boy and really they are so cute) but Liz annoyed the hell out of me. I thought the first book was a standalone, and I was crushed, I needed more, but the ending was well wrapped up, so I didn’t even think about subsequent books.

Cue November, where I discover this book exists, and go into a frenzy. I was lucky enough to get an ARC but took a while to get through it to savor-it/not fail school.

So, Nowhere Near You.

We start off where we left in the last book. Ollie crossing the power line to go an a road trip and find the other oddball kids. Mortiz trying to confront both his past and his future. Both of them ingesting over the fact that they may now actually meet.

And within two pages we get a Hamilton reference, so you know its great.

I love the character relationships in these books, and I loved seeing more of their pasts as they learn secrets kept from them, I loved meeting new mutant kids. (Ollie’s meet the mutants road trip felt very X-men) The writing in these books is funny, and a little heartbreaking and so so so GOOD! (Also, Mortiz angsty-ly crushing on Ollie from across the ocean through me off guard and made me very happy because for once they were actually talking about their feelings!)

This installment does have more sci-fi than the first as we learn more about the “blunder kinder” – but is still cross-genre contemporary/sci-fi like the first.

I don’t want to say too much else, or I’ll give something away.

But, I highly recommend these books, and this sequel, and I am already desperate for a third book (that I’m not sure exists or not – it does work as a duology). Easily one of my favorite series.