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Posts Tagged: America: Virginia

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Review: The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult4 Comments

Review: The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn BarnesThe Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: The Fixer,
Also in this series: The Long Game
Published by Bloomsbury on 07 July 2015
Genres: Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Mystery & Detective, People & Places, Politics & Intrigue, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: The Naturals, The Long Game

Place(s) Traveled To: Unnamed, Montana // Washington DC // Boston, Massachusetts // Unnamed Virginia

Fist Line(s): As far as I could tell, my history teacher had three passions in life: quoting Shakespeare, identifying historical inaccuracies in cable TV shows, and berating Ryan Washburn.

If you’ve ever heard my stance on book epilogues then you know my stance on book comparisons, you know what I mean, when a book x is compared to book y or z because so rarely is the initial book anything like the ones its compared to. So when I heard that THE FIXER by Jennifer Lynn Barnes was compared to Scandal and Veronica Mars I was intrigued but wary. Veronica Mars is among my more favorite of television shows and while I am not as big a fan of Scandal as I once was I do still tune in every week. With both shows I loved the mystery and the drama and the snark of the characters and these are all things that you will find in THE FIXER. Rarely has a book comparison ever been more perfect because THE FIXER is a combination of those two things and more.

The story centers around Tess Kendrick who is uprooted from her home in Montana to live with her sister, Ivy, who is the Olivia Pope-like character in this book. And because of who Tess’s sister is she sort of gets forced into that role in her new school where things quickly spiral out of control. Along the way you meet a wonderful cast of side characters that really bring this whole story to life. THE FIXER is a fast paced story that I found absolutely addictive. It was smart and funny and kept me on the edge of my seat until I hit the last page. I loved how all of these characters interacted and my only real complaint is that there wasn’t enough romance in the story. Although there is plenty of potential and in some ways I do like how this one just has the beginnings of a relationship because its more real than insta-love.

The Fixer Quote

THE FIXER is filled with mystery, drama and suspense but at its core its a story about family and friendship. Tess and her sister were estranged for many years and there is much animosity and secrets that exist between them. There is tension and angst and anyone with a sibling can probably find something in their relationship to relate to. Not to mention the friendships because as I said the secondary characters in this book are really something special. THE FIXER is a book with meat behind it and when you read it the story feels real. Barnes creates such a vivid world that its so easy to picture the events in your mind as they unfold and this is a book that I would love to see as a TV Series.

THE FIXER is also really hard to talk about without giving anything away. Its a mystery and as such there are twists and turns along with various red herrings to try and fool the readers. There is no major cliff hanger to the book but there are enough open threads that will easily feed into its sequel, THE LONG GAME, which is due to be released in June 2016. Words can’t express just how excited I am for this book and with luck maybe more books to follow because I really enjoyed Tess’s story and I don’t think that I’ll be ready for it to come to an end. This is definitely a book that you don’t want to miss.

irishdarkblue

IR - The Fixer

 

Add Clarity by Kim Harrington to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Also Known As by Robin Benway to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
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Thursday, July 9, 2015

Review: Jesse’s Girl by Miranda Kenneally

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Jesse’s Girl by Miranda KenneallyJesse's Girl by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks,
Also in this series: Breathe, Annie, Breathe, Defending Taylor
Published by Sourcebooks on 07 July 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Music & Musicians, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Breathe, Annie, Breathe, Defending Taylor

Place(s) Traveled To: Nashville, Tennessee // Franklin, Tennessee //Bristol, Tennessee // New York, New York // unknown, Viginia // Hoboken, New Jersey

First Line: Backstage, there’s so much security, you’d think it was the White House.

Jesse’s Girl by Miranda Kenneally may only be the second book of hers that I’ve read but I think that it will be my favorite. I really love the whole rock star trope so this one will always have a special place in my heart. Just as Maya and Jesse will as well. I just loved these two characters and I loved how their chemistry just sizzled off the page. Things weren’t always the easiest between them as Jesse is already so jaded for one so young but I loved watching as Maya broke through his walls and they built a strong and solid relationship. They had their ups and downs but overall Jesse’s Girl was a cute and fluffy read and I just flew through the pages.

Not only did I love Jesse and Maya but I adored all the secondary characters. Well, with the exception of that one guy who was such a douchebag!! Oh my stars did I want to reach within the pages and just smack him! But while I hated what he did to Maya in the end it really was one of the best things that could have happened to her. Its a cliche, but when once door closes a new one opens and that is exactly what this moment and what meeting Jesse was for Maya.

 

Jesse's Girl Quote

 

Jesse’s Girl was a fun story. It made me laugh and it hurt my heart and I hated for it to end. I just loved these characters and this world that Kenneally created. Kenneally’s books just scream reality and its so easy to lose yourself within their pages and to become the main character of her stories. You feel all the ups and downs that Maya goes through over the course of the story and while I’d like to think I’d act differently than she did at some points her actions fit her as well as the story.

I know that Jesse’s Girl is a book that I will find myself reading again and again. And with all the multitude of books that I have to read this is a very big deal as it can be so hard to find the time to revisit a story. But from the first moment that I started Jesse’s Girl I knew that these characters and this story would become old friends. This is a story that I’ll pick up when I’m sick or feeling distracted and know that I can easily loose myself within its pages for a few hours. Jesse’s Girl is a book that makes you happy sigh even as you are turning the last page and then sitting there for a few moments debating on if you should go back and start it over again from the beginning. So if this one isn’t on your bookshelf then you’ll want to fix that, like now.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Jesse's Girl

 

Add Behind the Scenes by Dahlia Adler to Goodreads.

Add The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
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Monday, March 23, 2015

Review: The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie ThorneThe Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne
Published by Dial on 17 March 2015
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary Romance, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, People & Places, Politics & Intrigue, Road Trip, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Young Adult
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: James Island, South Carolina // Maryland // Virginia // Valley Forge, Pennsylvania // Chicago, Illinois // Oklahoma // Ohio // Texas // Massachusetts // Maine // Los Angeles, California // New York, New York// Vermont // St Louis, Missouri // Kansas // New Jersey

First Line(s): The moment my horrible yearbook photo first appeared on millions of televisions, sending jaws dropping, phones ringing, and joggers tumbling off their treadmills across America, I was in the middle of my AP US history final.

When I first heard about Jenn Marie Thorne’s debut novel, The Wrong Side of Right, I though that it sounded like a really cute and entertaining read. I was excited for it and when I received a copy for review I pretty much dropped everything in order to read it. Even with the subject, the death of Kate’s mom and finding out who her father was, I was expecting a light and fluffy read. Something that would make me smile one moment and my heart ache the next as Kate dealt with her new family and new romance. However, The Wrong Side of Right turned out to be a lot more serious than I thought and those light and fluffy moments were few and far between.

Kate had to deal with a lot in this book, not just a new family but a whole new world. She was outed as a Senator’s daughter and not just any Senator but one who was running for President. This puts her immediately into the spotlight as she’s taken away from the life she’d been making for herself since her mom died. She becomes a political thing and is told how to stand, where to stand, what to wear and how to act. Her life is no longer her own and there is no one she can talk to about it and that broke my heart. Kate had no advocate and no support system in a world where she desperately needed one because no one was looking out for her.

Wrong Side of Right Quote

That is until she meets Andy and they are able to bond over their fathers and the crazy, jaded politicial life that they both find themselves in. I really liked the romance between Andy and Kate as it was real and genuine and the two had some good chemistry. I just wish that there was more of it. There was so little in the book that I think this story suffered a bit as a result. I get why Andy couldn’t play a bigger role based on who he was but it would have softened the deeper tones of The Wrong Side of Right and made it more relateable. I also really detested Kate’s father and Andy would have made a good distraction from that.

Kate’s father, when he is there, is never really there. He’s always so focused on the campaign and what Kate can do for him. If she messes up in anyway and he loses points then he allows his team to treat her like crap all while ignoring her. Even when Kate’s presence is helping him he pretty much ignores her. And that just bothered me so much. Not only that but Kate seemed so passive throughout the story and I just wanted to shake her and tell her to pitch a fit and cause a fuss and just BE A TEENAGER! I get that she’s been through a lot and dealing with a political campaign couldn’t be easy but she was just so accepting and showed so little life that teenage me totally got her rage on for Kate’s behalf.

Despite all my various issues with The Wrong Side of Right, I did enjoy the overall story. It was an interesting looking into a world that I know I want no part of, one lived in the public eye where ever move is watched and commented on. The stress of that would be too much for me but Kate does manage to navigate its waters. I did like that she showed some strength and growth by the end and I liked her stepmother and siblings who also showed change and growth. I never did like her father and thought that he changed very little, if at all, and the end was a bit meh for my liking. All in all though a decent debut novel and Thorne will be on my authors to watch list for future reads.

 irishdarkblue

IR - Wrong Side of Right

Add Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller to Goodreads (Click here for my review.)

Add Sophomore Year is Greek to Me by Meredith Zeitlin to Goodreads (Review coming soon.)

three-stars
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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Review: Loop by Karen Akins

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: Loop by Karen AkinsLoop by Karen Akins
Series: Loop,
Also in this series: Twist
Published by St Martin's Griffin on 21 October 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Futuristic Romance, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Politics & Intrigue, Sci-Fi, Survival Stories, Suspense, Time Travel, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Twist

Places Traveled To: Williamsburg, Virginia (21st Century) // Chinocoteague Island (21st Century) // Washington DC (23rd Century)

First Line(s): Hitting the ground in the hardest part.

It’s no secret that I am a fan of all things time travel and one of my favorite shows deals with this topic so you can imagine my excitement when I first head of Loop by Karen Akins. I was also a bit wary as I’d been burned a few times on time travel books that I thought would be good, but then didn’t live up to my expectations. I can be a harsh critic sometimes with books, I can admit it. So I decided to wade in slowly, like a swimmer on the shores of the north east coast. But as any swimmer up north knows, wading in slowly doesn’t take the sting out of the chilly water and the only method is to dive right in and I did that with Loop. Once I jumped in with both feet I found that I couldn’t put this one down and didn’t stop reading until I hit the end.

Loop is filled with snark and crazy moments that you wouldn’t think would work but they do. There is tension and chemistry between the two main characters, Bree and Finn. I like how Akins dealt with their romance on top of the mystery that Bree was working to solve. I liked the futuristic world that she created and no matter what Bree says I totally want a Pegamoo. This book had my heart go through a roller coaster road of emotions and left me a bit breathless when it hit the final page and so very eager for the next book in the series, Twist. Loop isn’t a perfect book though and there were several bits and pieces that were just a bit too convenient to be plausible but I loved the book enough that I was able to overlook some of these flaws. Even if I did roll my eyes a time or two.

Akin’s is a new voice and she’s one to watch out for. Her writing is solid and she manages to invent new language that is entirely realistic for phrases that future teenages might say. Her future world is one that I could see existing, yes….even with the time travel bits. Her time travel doesn’t need a blue box or special bracelet and it makes me wish that I had this special gene so I could visit new places as Bree does. I also really enjoyed the mystery element of Loop it kept me guessing just enough that I didn’t have it all figured out in the first chapter as happens all too often these days. I wasn’t surprised by anything and I did argue with Bree (mentally and totally one-sided) on some of her conclustions so I was totally engaged in this story. I also have several theories as to the bigger mystery at large and I am looking forward to seeing if they proof true or not.

Loop is a fun mystery and a good time travel story and its one that I highly recommend to all looking for a book in these genres. The romance is raw and beliveable and doesn’t overshadow the other elements of the story. If your reading tastes mesh with mine than I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in Loop so go forth to your nearest bookseller and pick this one up today!

.

irishdarkblue

 

.Loop Quote

four-stars
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Monday, April 7, 2014

Review: Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Review, Young Adult2 Comments

Review: Open Road Summer by Emery LordOpen Road Summer by Emery Lord
Published by Walker on 15 April 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Friendship, Love & Romance, Music & Musicians, Performing Arts, Road Trip, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: The Start of Me and You

Place(s) Traveled To: Nashville, Tennessee // Charlotte, North Carolina //Richmond, Virginia // Charleston, South Carolina // Little Rock, Arkansas // Wichita, Kansas // Los Angeles, California // Shreveport, Louisiana // Jackson, Mississippi // Mobile, Alabama // Knoxville, Tennessee // New York, New York // Baltimore, Maryland // Cincinnati, Ohio

First Line(s): The fans scream for her, but they don’t really know the girl on the magazine covers – the girl with the guitar and the easy smile.

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord wasn’t a book on my radar until it was sent to me when I made a request for another book and once I read the back I knew that this would be a book for me. Once I read the words road trip I knew that I had to read it because everyone knows what a sucker I am for the road trip novel. Open Road Summer didn’t disappoint in this either and every chapter begins with a place name letting the read know roughly where they are in the US. The story itself follows Reagan and her BFF Dee, who is better known to the world as Lilah an up and coming country music star. Reagan and Dee are both getting out of relationships and while it was a good choice for Reagan, Dee is devastated. The reasons for both become clear as you read the story and your heart will ache for Dee. Along the way some bad publicity threatens to overshadow Dee’s tour so in comes Matt Finch, former boy band star who is going solo, and a perfect match for Dee. At least, on the surface.

Once I started Open Road Summer I couldn’t put it down and I read it in a single sitting, on Valentine’s day no less. I feel hard for this book and I loved the relationship between Dee and Reagan. So often in books the main character has a best friend who really isn’t a friend at all. They are mean and hateful and when the going gets tough they ditch their friend and are never there when they need them. That isn’t the case with Dee and Reagan. They are true friends and while they do have their ups and downs you know that their friendship is the lasting kind. Especially since Reagan isn’t always the easiest person to get along with. I also really loved how Matt fit into their group and how his relationship with Reagan. It was real and heartachey and just makes you feel all the feels.

There is so much to love about Open Road Summer its hard to put it all into words. Its a book that is really well written and its hard to believe that this is Emery Lord’s debut novel. Its a book that reminds me of favorite authors like Morgan Matson, Tiffany Schmidt, and Trish Doller. Open Road Summer is so very real and I hated for it to end. I hated that I read this months before its release because its going to be all the longer before there is another Emery Lord book in the word. Its a book that I know I’ll re-read again and again and bully others to read it as well. But there is something magical about reading an unexpected gem for the first time and Open Road Summer hits all those right notes.

Open Road Summer is a book that everyone needs to have on their radar as I think there is something in it for everyone. Its a road trip book, a contemporary story, a book about friendship, and falling in love. Its a book that will make you laugh and hurt your heart and then put all the pieces back together again. Love just isn’t a big enough word for my feelings on this book.

irishdarkblue

five-stars
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Monday, November 25, 2013

Review: One & Only by Viv Daniels

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, New Adult, Review2 Comments

Review: One & Only by Viv DanielsOne & Only by Diana Peterfreund, Viv Daniels
Series: Canton,
Published by Self-Published on 08 November 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Pages: 264
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
five-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Canton, Vermont // Ithaca, New York

First Line(s): I was six years old when I found out my father had another family.

One & Only by Viv Daniels is a new adult title that is a departure from all that you think new adult is. One & Only is a smart and funny story that is filled with heart and substance and everything that you could want in a story set in college. But as Viv Daniels is the alter ego of Diana Peterfreund, of Secret Society Girl fame, this comes as no surprise. However, when I started to read One & Only was was unsure of it. There was just something weird about Tess’s voice and manner of telling her story that just made it hard to connect with. The language or something just felt off and my brain would focus on trying to figure out what it was that wasn’t quite right and not as much time on the story.

The more I read One & Only the better able I was to ignore this strangeness or perhaps over the course of the book it went away. I can’t say for certain and I really can’t give an exact example of what felt off to me either. It just did and then it didn’t.

The character of Tess was was one that I liked. She wasn’t perfect, she made mistakes and then had to live with the consquences. The more you learn of her past the more you can see why she made the choices she did. I like how over the early chapters you see her grow from a strong, yet passive, girl into one who is strong and willing to fight for what she wants. To add to the complex nature of Tess’s life, she reconnects with her first love, Dylan, whose heart she broke when they broke up 2 years prior. They’d had a brief but intense relationship while at a special science program and then since she had so many secrets she thought the easiest thing to do was to just stop all contact when they returned to the real world and prepared to go to college. Not the smartest choice but haven’t we all made irrational choices before?

When the reconnect Dylan has a girlfriend, who just happens to be Tess’s half-sister. The half-sister who doesn’t know that Tess is her sister. There is also the added complication that both Tess and Dylan seem to have retained all of their strong and intense feeling for each other. Now when this all started to happen I rolled my eyes and though ‘Oh sweet baby Jesus this is a cheating story!’ and was in a hairs breath of just putting the book aside. But something kept me reading and I was so glad that I did as One & Only is one of those super heart-achy reads that has you cheering on the main characters despite the obstacles in their way. If I could compare One & Only to one book it would be Anna and the French KissAnna and Etienne have a very similar relationship to Tess and Dylan and if you like that book then you will like One & Only.

This book had so many emotions! It was a total roller coaster ride and there came a point where I was unable to put it down. My heart ached through much of the story for both Dylan and Tess and Tess’s sister Hannah. So I’m really glad that the next book in this series will be Hannah’s story as she deserves a happily ever after. While One & Only wasn’t a perfect read it was one that I loved by the end. I stayed up late to finish it and am so sad that there is no more. Sad that I can no longer read this story for the first time. But you can experience all those ups and downs. All the hopeful moments and the ones that almost break your heart.

Stories like One & Only are what new adult books should be about. Learning to be an adult. Making tough choices. Balancing work and school – because we see the characters do both here and they aren’t in some easy peasy major either but in an intense science program. (I loved that they were both science nerds!) If you’ve been on the fence of new adult then try this story. I don’t think that you will regret it.

irishdarkblue

five-stars
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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Blog Tour Review: A Risk Worth Taking Tour by Heather Hildenbrand

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Blog Tour, Contest, New Adult, Review1 Comment

Blog Tour Review: A Risk Worth Taking Tour by Heather HildenbrandA Risk Worth Taking by Heather Hildenbrand
Published by Publisher: Accendo Press on 22 October 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Pages: 265
Format: eARC
Source: Inkslinger PR
Goodreads
three-stars

 

Place(s) traveled to: Grayson County, Virginia

First Line(s): I looked around my bedroom at the growing pile of cardboard boxes and sighed.

When I first read the synopsis of  A Risk Worth Taking by Heather Hildenbrand I thought it was right up my alley. It was a contemporary new adult and seemed to include all the things that I have been craving in stories of late. Sadly though, A Risk Worth Taking, didn’t live up to my expectations and I had a hard time getting into the story.

A Risk Worth Taking is a short book but it felt long, and not in a good way. It just seemed like it took forever for something to happen and then what did happen was just sort of meh. I found Summer to be this moody emo sort of character who was way over emotional over her parents divorce and acted more like she was 12 and not 22. I liked Ford better but around Summer he was this deep and philosophical person and I much preferred him when he was hanging around Casey. Both Ford and Summer seemed more natural and human when Casey was in the mix and those were the scenes that I liked best.

A Risk Worth Taking wasn’t a bad story but I just wish that there had been more depth to it. More emotion to tug at the heart strings. Summer is all “I hate my mother” and then an event happens and she’s “Oh mom I love you so much!” The transition just didn’t seem real to me. Nor did the timeline of the story. I haven’t sat down and plotted it out but it just seemed more time passed then was actually quoted. It just felt off.

As I said above, Casey was my favorite part of the story. He was fun and just brought life to the page. He energized the story for me and without him in it this one may have ended up on the DNF pile. If Heather Hildenbrand ever writes a book that centers around Casey I am totally going to read it.

Other than that, there isn’t much that I can say for A Risk Worth Taking. For me it was a slow story with an annoying heroine. But I feel that there is an audience for this book, after all Goodreads, is filled with glowing reviews. If you are looking to give new adult a shot then maybe this one is for you, its short, doesn’t have a ton of sex scenes (and what is there aren’t adult romance descriptive), and there are good bones to the plot.

GIVEAWAY:
Heather is giving away a gift basket with a hair flower, nail polish, bracelet, and a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

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BLOG TOUR PARTICIPANTS

–Wednesday, October 23rd
sofia loves books -Review Stop
Living in a Bookworld -Excerpt
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–Thursday, October 24th
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–Friday, October 25th
A Bookworm Confessions -Review Stop
Keep Calm & Read Romance -Top 10 & Review

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Book Wookie -Excerpt
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The Geekery Book Review -Author Interview

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Ramblings From This Chick -Guest Post
Shawna’s Survey -Excerpt
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Bibliophile Mystery -Excerpt
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A Life Bound By Books -Character Post & Review
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TSK TSK What to Read -Excerpt
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Hackaroo’s Reviews -Excerpt

three-stars
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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Review: That Summer by Sarah Dessen

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult2 Comments

Review: That Summer by Sarah DessenThat Summer by Sarah Dessen
Published by Viking Juvenile on 01 January 1996
Genres: Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Young Adult
Pages: 240
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Truth About Forever

Place(s) Traveled to: Virginia

First Line(s): It’s funny how one summer can change everything.

Considering how this book came out during a time when I was an actual teenager its kind of shocking to me that I didn’t learn of it until a few years back. Growing up I was in the book store every week picking out the 3 books that my mother allowed me to get. Oh she didn’t restrict what I could buy just the quantity. I would scour the shelves looking for new books that I thought were worthwhile to read. There were no book blogs then, no twitter, no easy way to know if a book had the potential to be good or to avoid it at all costs. This was also a time with very little YA reading so I spent a lot of time in the sci-fi/fantasy section. But I would always drift over the the few shelves of YA and see if there was anything new mixed in with RL Stine’s Fear Street or the Sweet Valley High books.

As a teen I think that I might have liked this book more than I did reading it as an adult. There was no depth to it and Haven came across as a tad bit whiny. Nothing ever really seemed to happen in this book, with the exception of Haven dwelling on the past and thinking that life would be perfect if they could just return to a time before. But when you don’t know the whole story then that oh so perfect past may not be so perfect after all.

I think I would have liked this one more if there was something deeper between Haven and Sumner. Or between Haven and any of the characters. All her interactions were very separate and on the surface. Haven isn’t happy about her parents divorce but she’s fine with him getting remarried. She’s not fine with this other thing but then she is. She is a very bland, blah character and I got bored being in her head for the whole book.

The writing was good tough so I will probably check other Sarah Dessen books in the future. I just think that That Summer wasn’t for me. Though I think that its a book that will be appreciated more by younger teens. It was a quick read but in the end this one was nothing special for me.

three-stars
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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Audio Review: Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult10 Comments

Audio Review: Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan MatsonAmy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Narrator: Suzy Jackson
Published by Brilliance Audio on 20 September 2011
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adolescence, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Friendship, Love & Romance, People & Places, Road Trip, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Length: 10 hours 8 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: Second Chance Summer, Since You've Been Gone, The Unexpected Everything

Place(s) Traveled to: Raven Rock, California // Yosemite National Park, California // The Loneliest Road in America // Eureka, Nevada // Delta, Utah // Colorado Springs, Colorado // Wichita, Kansas // Fairfield, Missouri // Louisville, Kentucky // Memphis, Tennessee // Asheville, North Carolina // Richmond, Virginia // Philadelphia, Pennsylvania // Connecticut

First Line: I sat on the front steps if my house and watched the beige Subaru station wagon swing too quickly around the cul-du-sac.

I LOVED LOVED LOVED this book!

For a long time now I’ve really wanted to take a road trip across the country but I just haven’t had the time to do it. Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour allowed me to take that trip and still remain firmly in boring old Massachusetts. It both satisfied my wanderlust but also fed my travel bug as well.

Amy and Roger meet for the first time in years (they were childhood friends) when Amy needs to get herself and the family car from California to Connecticut where she is moving to. The only catch is that Amy no longer drives – enter in Roger – who is being forced to spend the summer in Pennsylvania with his dad & stepmom.

At the start of the trip Amy and Roger are very stiff with each other as they are rebooting their friendship. But as they progress across the country you get to see them grow and get to know each other and this makes for a very heart-achy book. Morgan Matson did such a wonderful job with the way the emotions flowed in this book. It was gradual and real and as a listener you find yourself routing for Amy & Roger to become more than friends because you can see that there is something special there. If they just let go of their baggage and open themselves up to something new.

I really liked how Amy and Roger decided to chuck Amy’s mothers pre-planned trip and just go where the road led them. It was was healing trip for them both as they faced memories of their past which then allows them to move forward. It also allowed us a reader to get to know them both even though the book is told from Amy’s POV. I also liked the little flash backs that occurred throughout the novel where we learn about Amy’s demon’s and why she has an aversion with driving. Her past isn’t some big reveal and its pretty obvious from the start what happens but its not so much about what happened as it is about how Amy remember’s what happened. And its through the remembering and the interactions she has with those she meets as she travels across America that help her get over the past.

As with many YA books parents are mostly absent throughout the book. First Roger’s mom just drops him off in front of Amy’s house. We only see her from a distance through Amy’s eyes and she gets no dialogue. I found it odd that she didn’t even say hello to Amy. Then there is Amy’s mom – who could be a royal b&@#h through most of the phone conversations that we saw her through. I couldn’t believe some of the things she said and did. I mean of her two children Amy is the one who was always miss goody two shoes. She was the model child. She got good grades and never got in trouble. The one time she does something radical her mother goes a bit crazy. And yet her brother was constantly doing something wrong and it took YEARS before he faced any consequences. So she was just a very frustrating character for me. With all that Amy was going through taking a few extra days to travel from her old life to her new one shouldn’t have been as big a deal as her mother made it into.

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour  is an excellent book to listen to in the car (if only I’d been able to listen to it on an epic road trip of my own!) If you haven’t checked this one out yet then do so now. It was amazing and I can’t wait to see what Morgan Matson writes next.About the Narrator:

I loved how Suzy Jackson narrated this book. She really brought Amy to life. She was very believable as a teenage girl and handled the male voices well. She even handled reading off the playlists well. The only thing I wished she had done differently was to try to find a way to articulate the pictures and drawings that were in the physical book. I think that those aspects add to the story and so there was just something missing in the audio since there is no way for the listener to know that they were there.

irishdarkblue

five-stars
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