Blog Tour: It Could Happen – Book Review

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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.

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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!


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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!

Book Blitz: It Could Happen

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It Could Happen
by Mia Kerick
Published by: Dreamspinner Press
Publication date: June 5th 2017
Genres: LGBTQ+, New Adult, Romance
Synopsis:

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.

ItCouldHappenBlitzBanner-1

Purchase:

AUTHOR BIO:

 

Mia
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 young 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.

Author links:

GIVEAWAY

Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)
  • $20 Amazon gift card

IT COULD HAPPEN-1“Consuming Love” In their arms Tears dry, Hugs warm, Fears fly. Kisses heat, Arms hold. One boy sweet. The other bold. 104IT COULD HAPPEN Safety mine. Pain banned By a line Drawn inI'm With Them-23-2THREE-2-1


Brody

Lunch block B is symbolic of our ruin:

Henry has joined forces with the jocks. He is a jock, so it makes complete sense. And he seems happy enough, which is good. He hasn’t looked at me once since the last night he slept in my bed— tucked between Danny and me—the day before he refused the offer of my Jeep keys. Henry had no interest in taking the Jeep for a final joyride. I respect him for that.

Danny has taken to eating upstairs with the artsy crowd. For all I know, he has his eye on Mr. Lansing. Mr. Lansing is middle-aged, kind of cute, and likely even gay. He’s nuts about Danny, if not way too old for him, but that’s par for the course in Danny’s life. He’s better than most of Danny’s boyfriends who came before.

As for me, I eat alone.
It’s okay. I’m a loner, really.
It’s cool.
And I write this without any bitterness, which is hard to believe,

but it’s also true. I’m returning to my natural state, after an almost four-year break. High school was a pleasant interlude of connection in a life I’m meant to spend without anyone to answer to.

LOL. “Pleasant interlude” makes pain sound so inviting.
But it’s all good. I like being alone.
Time to stop being so dramatic.
There are so many important things I’ve long neglected to do.

I’m ready to get started.


Henry: My life

Lunch block B is still the hardest part of my day, and it has been since about a week after Danny, Brody, and I went our separate ways. Strangely it’s also the highlight of my day. I’m surrounded by the cool people—the ones who matter in school. We crack jokes and laugh really loud. Some of them strategically pick on weak kids and even vulnerable teachers in the caf. Then we laugh even louder.

I never join in with that bullshit, although I admit to smiling and chuckling a little when everybody else is laughing. I kind of have to if I don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb. Thankfully the people who matter have forgotten all about the day I held hands with Danny and Brody, one lunch table to the right of where I sit right now. It’s like that never happened.

I look over at Brody, who sits alone every day at lunch. He has the entire “Island of Misfit Toys” lunch table to himself. Danny must be eating lunch upstairs in the art lounge. I don’t have a clue. In fact, I haven’t seen him in ages. Maybe he quit school.

Brody and I catch eyes. It happens once during every lunch block B. And I’m the one who makes it happen. I stare at him until he looks my way. It’s my only connection to those guys, and it makes my eyes burn every time, but I do it anyway. Brody always smiles when our gazes meet. At first it was a hopeful smile, now it’s just a pleasant one. He’s not an asshole, even to the guy who fucked him over.

I miss them so badly. I miss my old friends. I miss having real friends. I miss what was growing between us.


Henry: My life

Danny marches out the front door of his apartment building the second I step onto the snowy walkway. I turn around and follow him back to the minivan that I left running on the road. We get in, and Danny stares straight ahead.

“We’ve gotten about six inches already,” I tell him. “And the wind is picking up.”

“Thanks for the update, Mr. Weatherman. Now let’s figure out where the hell Brody is.”

My stomach does a somersault. I’m out of my league. Brody was always the one to guide us through the shit. “Well, first let’s find a place I can park, and we can talk.”

“Go to Cullfield Pizza. They always keep their lot plowed.”

We drive there in silence. But what is there to say? The only thing we have in common is that we both want to find Brody.

Once I park I ask, “Do you think Brody would go to Branton Beach? He was really into it during that hurricane.”

Danny turns in the passenger seat so he can look my way, but not at me. “Yeah, he could be there. He loves the wind.”

“Remember he went to that hill on the night of the really bad lightning storm last summer?”

“Pierce Hill. That’s another place he could be.” Danny smiles, probably thinking about Brody. “He told me he almost got struck by lightning that night.”

“He’s reckless.”
“He always has been. It’s like he has a death wish or something.” For the first time, we look each other straight in the eyes. It’s been so long. We both shudder, and my eyes begin to burn and fill.

“Don’t you dare fuckin’ cry, Perkins. This whole thing is your fault. If he dies today, it’s all on you.”


Free Verse Poetry by Danny D

“The good stuff”

waking up between them

touching without thinking

laughing about nothing

holding hands in public

planning nights together

believing it can happen

trusting it won’t end

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.

Waiting on Wednesday #4 – Gentleman’s Guide To Vice and Virtue

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming book releases you’re dying for!


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An unforgettable tale of two friends on their Grand Tour of 18th-century Europe who stumble upon a magical artifact that leads them from Paris to Venice in a dangerous manhunt, fighting pirates, highwaymen, and their feelings for each other along the way.

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Witty, romantic, and intriguing at every turn, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is a sumptuous romp that explores the undeniably fine lines between friendship and love.

Hardcover, 528 pages
Expected publication: June 27th 2017 by Katherine Tegen Books

18th century European travels. Family/sibling relationships. Pirates. A bisexual MC, and a cute love story. And ITS OVER 500 PAGES WHICH IS MY DREAM FOR ROMANCES. Also, look at that cover.

Of course I need this.

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Things I Want To See More Of In YA

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Anyone can participate and its a lot of fun, so I highly encourage it!

Let me know if you’re a part too!


Today’s Prompt:

May 9Ten Things On Our Reading Wishlist – things you want to see more of in books — tropes, a time period, a specific type of character, an issue tackled, a certain plot, etc. All those things that make you think I WANT MORE OF THIS IN BOOKS!


1 – Involved Parents

Something that happens in virtually every YA novel, no matter the genre. The parents are absent. In fantasy, this generally means dead or conspicuously missing. In contemporary, this means their existence is ignored until the main character is grounded to create drama.

Kids go where they want, when they want, never seem to go home or get caught doing stupid things. Parents just aren’t involved in their kids lives and while unfortunately that is the reality for some kids, it certainly isn’t the most common reality.

The only YA books I’ve seen where the parents role an important role, are ones why the parents are terrible – and if thats the focus of the book you’re writing, if thats the story. Then perfect! All is well!

But don’t make your protagonist a well-rounded character with a good home life, with parents who never talk to them. And not every fantasy heroine needs to be an orphan. Let them have families!

2 – Protagonists That Don’t Live Up To Western Beauty Standards (Where That Isn’t The Focus Of The Plot)

Every YA protagonist is beautiful, and they either KNOW IT or think themselves as plain until a love interest expounds on their beauty. But generally, they are always thin, pale etc. Always adhering to western beauty conventions.

Give me different races and ethnicities. Give me different fashions. Give me unique hair and eyes – or very,very generic ones.

Give me ugly protagonists, protagonists with disabilities and scars. Acne. Different body types. Like a real person, like a real teenager, the ones the protagonists are meant to be embodying – in stories why their looks aren’t the focus.

Why can’t a chubby girl star in a fantasy? Because she’s only ever in contemporaries angst-ing about her weight – like in “Dumplin'” – the entire arc is her accepting her body type. And its a great story, its a great message. That doesn’t mean it should be the only arc afforded to those character types. (Sorry, I got a little heated)

3 – Diverse Sexualities That Aren’t The Plot’s Focus

Diverse reading is a big topic now. And now is when more books featuring lesbian/gay/bisexual characters are coming out, with all sorts of different portrayals and representations. Which is great.

But overwhelmingly these characters star in contemporaries where their main, or even entire story arc revolves around their sexuality. Coming to terms with it, coming out, etc. If they are afforded a place in a fantasy, it is a side characters.

I’d like contemporaries and fantasies with non-straight protagonists whose sexualities aren’t the focus, you can be gay and still have a life not centered on it, you can be a part of another plot.

4 – Asexual Characters

Or any diverse sexuality really, but as I’m ace, I’d love to see more ace characters (especially with the awful erasure of Jughead in Riverdale making me want to stab things).

Here is a list of books with ace characters I found. – As you can see, its pretty sparse, and most of the time its not even explicitly stated. (That’s why I’m dying to get my hands on Tash Hearts Tolstoy).

5 – Books With No Romance

Virtually every YA book, be it contemporary, fantasy, sci-fi, or what have you is wither romance centered or has a romance sub-plot. Why?

Not everyone dates in high school. And almost no one finds their true love in high school. And honestly, in all that world saving, is a boyfriend your biggest concern?

Mind you, I love romances, I love the romance subplots. But do they need to be in every book? We can’t just have strong, complex friendships? Friends that live and die for one another? Complex character interactions not revolving about romance?

Is it just me? Because I’d like to see some books without romance.

6 – Redeemable/Complex Villains or Morally Grey Protagonists

I’ve mentioned before that I love the arc of a redeemable villain, because I love the complexity of those characters. Not all evil people are actually evil, and if they are, they often didn’t start out that way. I’d love to see more stories with villains who, even if they aren’t redeemed, have their convictions fully explored. Or even stories from the villain’s point of view – where we’re rooting for them (Think Dr. Horrible or Invader Zim type thing).

Give me unreliable narrators that keep me guessing on who to trust, on what to believe – not knowing who to root for to win.

Morally grey protagonists whose ends justify their means, or so they believe.

It’s more interesting than the generic good-to-the-bone arch-type protagonist every fantasy/action story gets these days.

7 – Retellings of Lesser Known Source Material

Adaptations and retellings are EVERYWHERE in YA. And I love them, love seeing new takes on old favorites. But you can only retell Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast so many times before it gets old.

Don Quixote would make a great YA retelling. Or what about Aesop’s fables? Or one of the less common Shakespeare plays like “Midnight Summer’s Dream” or “Twelfth Night” – all would make great retellings that people won’t know by heart before they’re even picked up.

8 – Magical Realism

I love magical realism, because I like cross-genre fiction. Like contemporary sci-fi. Theres a million different ways to combine things and it isn’t very common to do so.

I want dragons in the real world. Modern day witches. Superheroes going to high school. Soulmate stories. Love potions in chemistry class. Give me time travel.

If its a fanfiction trope, it probably falls under magical realism and I probably want it in YA.

9 – Diverse World Building In Fantasy

I love fantasy. But lately, a lot of fantasy world have begun to feel repetitive. Similar world/caste/magic systems, all mono-cultured.

I want new fantastic worlds. New mythologies and lands and magi systems.

Multiple systems and cultures within the same world.

Maybe a story with different factions having different views on who exactly IS the chosen one.

That would be new and interesting.

There are hundreds of cultures in human history to draw from – no need for the constant use of anglo-saxon culture – while I enjoy it, I also learn enough about it in school.

Give me ancient Greece or Meso-american inspired! Something!

10 – Subverting of Tropes

After a while, tropes get dull, especially when authors rely on the selling of the trope and rather than using it as a single aspect of the story, make it the entire story.

So I love the novels that subvert the tropes, as much as I may love some of them. Like “The Love Interest” which is basically satire of every YA love triangle there is. Or, “The Rest Of Us Just Live Here” which flips the entire “Chosen One” arc. I love that sort of thing.


Do you agree with my list?

Which do you want to see more of?

Are they any you disagree with?

Do you do TTT?

Let me know down in the comments and drop me a link if you do!

 

Waiting on Wednesday #3 – When Dimple Met Rishi

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming book releases you’re dying for!


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Summary:

A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married. 

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right? 

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself. 

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not? 

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

Hardcover, 320 pages
Expected publication: May 30th 2017 by Simon Pulse

Unique plot. Nerdy characters. Cute romance. Diverse cast. YES.

 

Book Review: Not If I See You First

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Original Release Date:

December 1st 2015

Date I Read The Book:

January 2017

My Star Rating:

3.5 stars

Chronology:

Standalone

Official Summary:

The Rules:

Don’t deceive me. Ever. Especially using my blindness. Especially in public.

Don’t help me unless I ask. Otherwise you’re just getting in my way or bothering me.

Don’t be weird. Seriously, other than having my eyes closed all the time, I’m just like you only smarter.

Parker Grant doesn’t need 20/20 vision to see right through you. That’s why she created the Rules: Don’t treat her any differently just because she’s blind, and never take advantage. There will be no second chances. Just ask Scott Kilpatrick, the boy who broke her heart.

When Scott suddenly reappears in her life after being gone for years, Parker knows there’s only one way to react—shun him so hard it hurts. She has enough on her mind already, like trying out for the track team (that’s right, her eyes don’t work but her legs still do), doling out tough-love advice to her painfully naive classmates, and giving herself gold stars for every day she hasn’t cried since her dad’s death three months ago. But avoiding her past quickly proves impossible, and the more Parker learns about what really happened—both with Scott, and her dad—the more she starts to question if things are always as they seem. Maybe, just maybe, some Rules are meant to be broken.

Combining a fiercely engaging voice with true heart, debut author Eric Lindstrom’s Not If I See You First illuminates those blind spots that we all have in life, whether visually impaired or not.

My Review: (Vague Spoilers)

I really liked this book, liked its portrayal of blindness as a fact of life needing accommodation but not pity – Parker is fully capable. And as a disability rarely seen in YA, I liked its representation (though I cannot claim it to be accurate as I have no experience be it first or second hand).

I did like the character development and the backstory that is built through out.

What I didn’t like was the abrupt nature of the ending, of her forgiveness of Scott after one conversation. The love triangle was unnecessary and the ending felt rushed. Even if the romance between her and Scott was cute.

They raised questions of her dad’s death – that it may not be an accident – without resolving them. Why raise questions if they don’t progress the story at all? And her aunt felt very “Cinderella’s step-mother” in the beginning and I disliked it.

Thats why I rated it a middling 3.5 stars.

 

 

 

Book Review: Ask The Passengers

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Original Release Date:

October 23rd 2012

Date I Read The Book:

January 2017

My Star Rating:

3.5 stars

Chronology:

Standalone

Official Summary:

Astrid Jones desperately wants to confide in someone, but her mother’s pushiness and her father’s lack of interest tell her they’re the last people she can trust. Instead, Astrid spends hours lying on the backyard picnic table watching airplanes fly overhead. She doesn’t know the passengers inside, but they’re the only people who won’t judge her when she asks them her most personal questions–like what it means that she’s falling in love with a girl.

As her secret relationship becomes more intense and her friends demand answers, Astrid has nowhere left to turn. She can’t share the truth with anyone except the people at thirty thousand feet, and they don’t even know she’s there. But little does Astrid know just how much even the tiniest connection will affect these strangers’ lives–and her own–for the better.

In this truly original portrayal of a girl struggling to break free of society’s definitions, Printz Honor author A.S. King asks readers to question everything–and offers hope to those who will never stop seeking real love.

My Review: (Vague Spoilers)

While I enjoyed this book alright, I was disappointed in it.

So many book-bloggers and book tubers LOVE AS King and I just…didn’t. It was merely okay.

The writing was good, I liked the style. I liked the realism of her characters and her story.

But it felt too open-ended for me, we didn’t get enough resolution, the character growth didn’t seem earned – like it happened when we weren’t looking. We didn’t get enough backstory – like Astrid and her mom don’t get along, but we never really find out why. Her parents aren’t homophobes, but they don’t accept Astrid and its never really talked about.

I did like that it was diverse, its a lesbian romance with multi-dimensional characters and not-heavily stereotyped.

I liked the little plane passenger excerpts too.

I liked the book – I just had such high expectations I was underwhelmed by it.

I will check out some of her other books though, and I’d recommend it her anyone who can take it with a grain of salt – it won’t be the best book ever, but it is a pretty good one.

 

NetGalley Review: Get It Together, Delilah!

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

Original Release Date:

April 4th, 2017

Date I Read The Book:

January 2017

My Star Rating:

4 stars

Chronology:

Standalone

Official Summary:

A story about falling in love, literally.

Seventeen-year-old Delilah Green wouldn’t have chosen to do her last year of school this way, but she figures it’s working fine. Her dad is on a trip to fix his broken heart after her mom left him for another man, so Del’s managing the family café in his absence. Easy, she thinks. But what about:
– homework and the nasty posse of mean girls making her life hell
– or how one of Del’s best friends won’t stop guilt-tripping her
– and her other best friend is so in love with his tutor he might go to jail for her if Del doesn’t do something

But who cares about any of that really, because above all else, she can’t stop thinking about beautiful Rosa who dances every night across the street until one day Rosa comes in the café door . . .

And if Rosa starts thinking about Del, too, then how in the name of caramel milkshakes will Del get the rest of it together?

My Review: (Vague Spoilers)

Delilah is awkward and stubborn and I loved her, even if I wanted to smack her silly for not telling her dad about things and for dropping out of school which made me stressed out FOR HER, despite being a fictional character. Her motivations are real, and she is well developed. All the characters are.

The romance is super cute, and slow going, its very realistic, there is no immediate happily ever after, most of the characters act like idiots very often but by being fallible they are real.

I loved the setting and I loved the story, all the little details brought it to life and I highly recommend it!