Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux


A Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody | Book Review

August 9, 2016 Blog Tour, Book Review, Young Adult 1 ★★★★★

A Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody | Book Review

A Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody | Book ReviewA Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody
Published by Farrar Straus & Giroux on August 2, 2016
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 464
Format: ARC
Source: From the Publisher
Amazon Barnes & NobleIndieBound iBooks Book Depository Add to Goodreads
5 Stars
When I made the wish, I just wanted a do-over. Another chance to make things right. I never, in a million years, thought it might actually come true...

Sixteen-year-old Ellison Sparks is having a serious case of the Mondays. She gets a ticket for running a red light, she manages to take the world’s worst school picture, she bombs softball try-outs and her class election speech (note to self: never trust a cheerleader when she swears there are no nuts in her bake-sale banana bread), and to top it all off, Tristan, her gorgeous rocker boyfriend suddenly dumps her. For no good reason!

As far as Mondays go, it doesn’t get much worse than this. And Ellie is positive that if she could just do it all over again, she would get it right. So when she wakes up the next morning to find she’s reliving the exact same day, she knows what she has to do: stop her boyfriend from breaking up with her. But it seems no matter how many do-overs she gets or how hard Ellie tries to repair her relationship, Tristan always seems bent set on ending it. Will Ellie ever figure out how to fix this broken day? Or will she be stuck in this nightmare of a Monday forever?

From the author 52 Reasons to Hate My Father and The Unremembered trilogy comes a hilarious and heartwarming story about second (and third and fourth and fifth) chances. Because sometimes it takes a whole week of Mondays to figure out what you really want.

I have been having a really hard time with contemporary YA novels right now, which has been so sad for me because I have always loved them so much. Am I getting too old for these books, or am I just reading the wrong ones? I’m happy to tell you that I’ve been reading the wrong ones! A Week of Mondays was so cute and so sweet and so swoony that I’ve decided I can continue reading contemporary YA! Phew! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. I loved watching Ellie relive her Monday over and over again because I got to see her directly learn from her mistakes. She got to develop and change and discover herself (she even went through a rebellious phase). Honestly, I think we could all benefit from going through something like this.

2. I loved the relationships. I loved Ellie’s friendship with Owen and with her sister. Both relationships are true and tug at the heartstrings. Her sister relationship actually reminds me of the relationship my own little sister and I have.

I so wish I had someone like Owen in my life. They grew up sneaking into each other’s rooms having sleepovers and being camp counselors together every summer. Now they watch law dramas on TV and use courtroom jargon in every day conversations. They remind me of Zack and Jessie from Saved By the Bell, but cuter.

I even enjoyed the exchanges between Ellie and her parents, and the ebb and flow of their coexistence and support of one another.

3. Ellie reminds me so much of my teenaged self: a bit of a perfectionist, someone who bites off more than they can chew, a people pleaser, a worrier, and a hopeless romantic. I loved watching her think through all the possibilities of who she could be, and ultimately how she could be the truest to herself. I loved her inner thoughts and her sense of humor. She’s just such a sweet, down to earth heroine and I really loved her.

4. Oh my goodness, Owen is my new favorite book boy. He is hilarious! He’s got this obsession with using British slang even though he’s not at all British (Codswallop! My new favorite word!). He also loves fortune cookies and hosts the school’s book club. He’s so funny and nerdy and sweet. I love how he unconditionally cares for Ellie (even if he’s having a bad day), and the fact that every time she explains to him that she’s reliving the same day he believes her and even helps her figure things out. He’s just so perfect!

5. As much as I wanted to hate Tristan, I actually liked him for a long time until a Monday showed us how shallow he is. I loved the story of how he and Ellie met, and had fun reading pieces of that at the end of each Monday’s section of the book. I think this goes to show how great Jessica Brody is at writing sweet, magical romances. Don’t worry, though, I’m forever and always team Owen.

6. The romance is adorable. I don’t want to go into this point too much because I’ll spoil things, but young love is so wonderful and new and exciting.

7. This book is funny! Ellie’s thoughts, Owen’s quirks, and other little snippets of teen life just made me giggle and wax nostalgic. I hated being a teenager and, in retrospect, high school was pretty sucky. Most of my friendships were not true friendships and I can see now how much I was taken advantage of by people I thought cared about me. Jessica Brody’s imagination and writing have made me wish I could be a teen again! WHAT!? I wish my high school years were filled with the kind of memories Ellie will have at my age.

8. At times I got slightly tired of reading some of the same passages multiple times, but now that I’m done with the book I don’t even care. I loved reading it!

All in all, A Week of Mondays was just what I needed right now. I loved seeing such sweet relationships, such funny moments, and such great character development. It was a joyous reading experience for me, and I’m so glad I didn’t let my lukewarm feelings about contemporary YA steer me away from this sweet and heartwarming story. I highly recommend this book!


Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel | Mini Book Review

October 2, 2014 Book Review, Young Adult 4 ★★

Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel | Mini Book ReviewSecond Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Published by Farrar Straus & Giroux on May 13, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Retelling
Pages: 248
Format: ARC
Source: From the Publisher
Amazon Add to Goodreads
2 Stars
A twisty story about love, loss, and lies, this contemporary oceanside adventure is tinged with a touch of dark magic as it follows seventeen-year-old Wendy Darling on a search for her missing surfer brothers. Wendy’s journey leads her to a mysterious hidden cove inhabited by a tribe of young renegade surfers, most of them runaways like her brothers. Wendy is instantly drawn to the cove’s charismatic leader, Pete, but her search also points her toward Pete's nemesis, the drug-dealing Jas. Enigmatic, dangerous, and handsome, Jas pulls Wendy in even as she's falling hard for Pete. A radical reinvention of a classic, Second Star is an irresistible summer romance about two young men who have yet to grow up--and the troubled beauty trapped between them.

I was very excited for a Peter Pan retelling, as I’ve never read one before and Peter Pan has always been one of my favorite fairy tales. This book and I were not on the same “page”, though. The book’s synopsis mentions magic, but I guess I was hoping for more. Maybe you just can’t expect magic in a contemporary retelling, but a girl can hope. I went through a roller coaster of opinions, but I ended up unhappy. This review is actually very hard to write, so let’s see how it goes.

I was very intrigued by Wendy’s search for her surfer brothers who went missing in a surfing accident, and was looking forward to a bit of a mystery. Sadly, though, this whole aspect of the story ended up being rather lack luster, and such a tiny part of the focus. Readers aren’t even given the opportunity to solve this mystery. Wendy’s search leads her to a cove of “lost boys” who live in abandoned condos and spend their days surfing. I’ve never been the biggest fan of surfer dudes, so the fact that these ones have never grown up made me even more disenchanted. I did like the cove setting, but I never fell for these boys. They were terrible influences on Wendy, and got her involved in things she really should not have been doing, like drugs and vandalism. I liked Pete at first, but he just got weird. Peter Pan is immature in the Disney movie I watched over and over as a child, but his immaturity in this book made me really dislike him after a while. And Jas… meh. He wasn’t as dynamic as he could have been, considering he was meant to be the bad guy.

Oh, the insta-love. Again, I wanted a Peter Pan-esque tale, and Wendy and Peter are not supposed to fall in love in my mind. It would invalidate Peter’s desire to never grow up. In this book, though, Wendy and Pete make out a lot… immediately (even though he has a girlfriend…). And it just felt kind of icky because this is not supposed to happen (Wendy is supposed to be a mom figure to Peter and the Lost Boys!), especially so fast! And then there’s this insta-love thing going on with Jas, too. So we’ve got an insta-love love triangle, two things I’m never a fan of.

The ending infuriated me. I seriously felt there was no point in reading the book. I can’t stand it when that happens, and I feel like I wasted my time. Basically, this book was not for me, which has me SO sad. You just can’t make Peter and Wendy fall in love/lust/weird! Clearly, this is a big deal to me that I didn’t realize before. Haha. I think what made me the saddest, though, is that the fairy dust in this story ends up being drugs. I HATE drugs in books, so I was kind of crushed when I learned of this. The magical dust of my childhood was turned into evil drugs that make people do stupid things. Wendy and Peter don’t fly literally, they fly because they are high. The magic was immediately sucked out for me. That, combined with the fact that I didn’t like any of the characters, and the fact that the one part that actually had me excited (the mystery of the missing brothers) was overshadowed just left me disappointed and sad. Retelling a beloved fairy tale is risky and hard, and I feel like this attempt was not successful.


Plus One by Elizabeth Fama | Book Review

March 24, 2014 Book Review, Young Adult 6

Plus One by Elizabeth Fama | Book ReviewPlus One by Elizabeth Fama
Published by Farrar Straus & Giroux on April 8, 2014
Genres: Dystopia, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 373
Format: ARC
Source: From the Publisher
Amazon Add to Goodreads
1 Stars
Divided by day and night and on the run from authorities, star-crossed young lovers unearth a sinister conspiracy in this compelling romantic thriller.

Seventeen-year-old Soleil Le Coeur is a Smudge—a night dweller prohibited by law from going out during the day. When she fakes an injury in order to get access to and kidnap her newborn niece—a day dweller, or Ray—she sets in motion a fast-paced adventure that will bring her into conflict with the powerful lawmakers who order her world, and draw her together with the boy she was destined to fall in love with, but who is also a Ray.

Set in a vivid alternate reality and peopled with complex, deeply human characters on both sides of the day-night divide, Plus One is a brilliantly imagined drama of individual liberty and civil rights, and a fast-paced romantic adventure story.

Can we just take a second and look at that cover!? HELLO, Lovely! I was super excited to read Plus One as soon as I read the synopsis, and was even MORE excited when I saw the cover! I tend to really love dystopias, and I also love romantic thrillers, which the book’s synopsis claims that this is. I suppose I was thinking of super super thrillery romantic thrillers like Victoria Holt or Daphne Du Maurier, because I was not thrilled with Plus One. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. I’m saying this immediately, because it was probably the biggest issue I had with Plus One. It’s not a romantic thriller. It’s not suspenseful, and I didn’t feel like it was terribly romantic either. I mean, I guess there are some more tense moments when you’re wondering how these characters are going to get themselves out of the pickle they’ve gotten themselves into… but I never found myself holding my breath or gripping the edge of my seat. I think I probably just set my expectations too high.

2. Going along with the lack of thrill, I really did not feel the romance either. We’ve got two characters here, a day dweller/Ray named D’Arcy and a a night dweller/Smudge named Sol. Sol’s brother was promoted to a Ray because of his amazing technological skills. He got married, had a baby, and Sol wants nothing more than to let her grandfather, still a Smudge, see his great-grandchild. So she formulates a dangerous plan to kidnap her niece from the hospital and bring him to her grandfather. But she kidnaps the wrong child. D’Arcy, is a medical intern in the hospital who figured out what’s going on, but feels compelled to save/help Sol instead of turn her in to the authorities.

This is where I struggled. WHY would D’Arcy risk his career and his life to help a girl he does not know AT ALL to kidnap a child from his post in the hospital? I mean, any medical professional in their right mind, you would think, is against endangering their patients and allowing them to be harmed. ESPECIALLY if that professional does not even KNOW the person who is breaking the rules/law.

3. In addition to this romance confusion, what aunt will deliberately put her niece in danger to bring her to her blind grandfather? I mean, this baby is brand new! And she is running around on a hot day carrying this baby in her sweatshirt, dodging bullets. She could feel the baby’s sweat on her skin. When she got it home, she put it in a kitchen drawer and then ignored its cries of hunger, pain, discomfort, and what have you. This is horrible! If she loved this niece so much, why would she put it in such grave danger? And I can’t think of a grandfather anywhere who would condone such acts. Did she not care at all about the baby’s parents or the baby itself? This book is centered around a plot that is dependent on the fact that Sol is incredibly dumb and selfish.

4. I wasn’t really a fan of any of the characters, just because they were making such dumb and pointless decisions. And since the romance wasn’t there, I just did not care.

In addition to Sol and D’Arcy, we are introduced to this rogue group of day and night dwellers (basically they’re out whenever they want to be), with extreme clothing and make-up. One of them is being sexually abused, which really bothered me. I really dislike reading about stuff like that. I never connected with any of these people, and the link they shared with Sol and her family bugged me. I’m not sure why. Things just got really political.

5. The world is never really explained. We’ve got a caste system and all these social rules, but I never knew the why’s and the how’s of it all! These details could have enriched the story so much more.

All in all, I pretty much know I am in the minority here. I’ve seen many raving reviews for this book, and I really don’t understand why. I did not believe the romance, and I was so confused by the plot itself. Because of these reasons, I had a hard time caring and even finishing the book, which is quite disappointing.


The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski | Book Review

March 12, 2014 Book Review, Young Adult 8 ★★★★

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski | Book ReviewThe Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Series: Winner's Trilogy #1
Published by Farrar Straus & Giroux on March 4, 2014
Genres: Romance
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: From the Publisher
Amazon Add to Goodreads
4 Stars
In the tradition of Kristin Cashore and Cassandra Clare comes this brilliant, unputdownable, star-crossed romance about the curse of winning.

Seventeen-year-old Kestrel is an aristocratic citizen of Valoria, a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers. Here, a girl like Kestrel has two choices: join the military or get married. Despite her skills in military strategy, Kestrel’s real passion is music.Which is why she feels compelled to buy Arin, a slave with a talent for singing, at auction. It’s not long before she finds herself falling in love with Arin, and he seems to feel the same for her. But Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for Arin is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a new world, The Winner’s Curse is a story of wicked rumors, dirty secrets, and games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

I read The Winner’s Curse MONTHS ago. I’m not kidding. Almost 5 months ago, actually. And I have been mulling this book over in the back of my mind ever since. And I am so distraught, because during all these months of mulling I still have no idea what to write. None. I’m hoping that things will come to me as I write now, and that hopefully I will have some sort of epiphany. Now, don’t get me wrong. I did not dislike this book. I loved it! And that’s why I’m so perplexed as to why I can’t figure out what to say about it. Normally if I love a book I go crazy and fangirlie and have SO much to say that I can’t organize it and end up feeling like a babbling idiot. This time, though, I’m experiencing something completely different. I loved it, yet I have no idea how to tell you why. I’m going to try here, and I’m going to let things flow. No numbered and bolded lists this time! This is going to be a complete brain dump.

  • I love the idea of a girl saving a boy for once. Kestrel purchases Arin, a slave, at an auction. And she does it because he is musical. What a unique way to begin a story.
  • Things started out really slow for me. I was honestly terrified that I was missing something because I was seeing all these raving reviews, and I was just not on board at all. Things change, though, and as I read more I became entranced.
  • I love that Kestrel is smart. She has so much power within her mind, which makes her strong in a way that is not usually written about. She is strong mentally instead of physically.
  • Arin is swoony in a very understated and mysterious way. He observes and watches from the sidelines. I love that about him. He is also very intelligent, and challenges Kestrel. I love the tension this creates.
  • I know that there is some romance that is just barely beginning to bloom. There’s no instalove, but there is definite interest. Kestrel and Arin watch each other. They are figuring each other out. And when they start to realize that they are being discovered by one other, the intrigue grows. I just get this feeling that neither of them is used to being at the forefront of someone’s mind. They are both quiet and broody and smart. They are so good for each other, even though society views them are being very far apart.
  • I’m not usually a fan of politics, but they worked for me here.
  • The writing is very pretty. The story is beautifully told.
  • I cannot WAIT to learn more about these characters. I am hoping for lots of details in the next two books, because I want to become even more invested in their lives.

Wow. I think this review is full of fail. Haha! I have never had such a hard time getting my thoughts out. I just know I loved this book, and I guess that will have to be good enough. I just loved it, ok!?!?!

Anyone want to help me out here? What did you think of The Winner’s Curse? And please help me feel better by telling me I am not the only person who has loved a book just because they loved it!! Has this happened to you before?


Unremembered by Jessica Brody (Book Review, Author Guest Post, & Giveaway)

March 5, 2013 Blog Tour, Book Review, Giveaway, Guest Post, Young Adult 22 ★★★★★

Unremembered by Jessica Brody (Book Review, Author Guest Post, & Giveaway)Unremembered by Jessica Brody
Series: Unremembered #1
Published by Farrar Straus & Giroux on March 5, 2013
Genres: Science Fiction, Survival, Suspense
Pages: 307
Format: ARC
Source: From the Publisher
Amazon Add to Goodreads
5 Stars
When Freedom Airlines flight 121 went down over the Pacific Ocean, no one ever expected to find survivors. Which is why the sixteen-year-old girl discovered floating among the wreckage—alive—is making headlines across the globe.

Even more strange is that her body is miraculously unharmed and she has no memories of boarding the plane. She has no memories of her life before the crash. She has no memories period. No one knows how she survived. No one knows why she wasn’t on the passenger manifest. And no one can explain why her DNA and fingerprints can’t be found in a single database in the world.

Crippled by a world she doesn’t know, plagued by abilities she doesn’t understand, and haunted by a looming threat she can’t remember, Seraphina struggles to piece together her forgotten past and discover who she really is. But with every clue only comes more questions. And she’s running out of time to answer them.

Her only hope is a strangely alluring boy who claims to know her from before the crash. Who claims they were in love. But can she really trust him? And will he be able to protect her from the people who have been making her forget?

Welcome to my stop along the official Unremembered blog tour, hosted by Macmillan Kids! We’ve got a jam-packed post today with my review, The Who is Seraphina? clue #9, a special guest post about the things Jessica Brody hopes she never “unremembers”, and a chance to win a hardback copy of Unremembered!

First of all, happy book birthday to Jessica Brody! Unremembered hits shelves today, and I am SO excited for you all to read and experience this wonderfully exciting book! I love mysteries and I love survival stories. Unremembered is both, plus a little science fiction. You really can’t go wrong with this one! I’m keeping my review short because we’ve got Jessica’s post right after!

1. I love the mystery and frustration that comes with memory loss stories. I mean, OH MY. I was getting so terribly frustrated that Sera/Violet could not remember anything! But at the same time, I was tearing through those pages in the hopes that she would remember. And the intrigue and danger that came with not remembering was really exciting.

2. This story flows really fast, but not so fast that you can’t keep up. I loved that.

3. I really liked Sera. I thought it was really cool that, since Sera did not remember anything, we got to learn about her past right along with her. Sometimes an author throws you into a story and has to teach you what a character already knows about his or herself. That can sometimes end up being tedious and frustrating. With Unremembered, though, we get to experience everything with Sera.

4. I really liked the very little I got to learn about Zen in this story. I’m hoping he plays a more dynamic role as the trilogy unfolds, because I really like what I know about him so far. I hope we get more of his own back story, rather than his past with Sera. I want to know him. And I was hoping for more romance. We get glimmers of it throughout the story, so I know the potential… and I want more! I can see book #2 being amazingly good.

5. The sci-fi aspect is really cool and unique. I won’t give too much away, because I loved not knowing about it when I started the book. Let’s just say there are some evil people, associated with an evil plan, who go to great lengths to get back what they claim is theirs. It was so exciting!

Overall, I loved Unremembered. It’s definitely a step or two away from the books I usually read, and I loved this change. I’d recommend this to people who enjoy a little bit of everything in their stories: romance, sci-fi, mystery, survival. It’s the beginning of a promising trilogy, and even though I know we are all really beginning to tire of trilogies, but this one is worth investing the next 2-3 years in.

And now for today’s clue!

Jessica Brody: Five Things I Hope I Never Unremember

My memory is a pretty fickle thing. It likes to play tricks on me. It likes to make up stuff and convince me they’re real. It has a tendency to completely misplace things and then blame me for it. Basically, my memory is a really annoying younger sibling.

When Jana and I first got in touch to talk about post ideas for this blog tour she suggested two topics: The first was “5 Things You Hope You Never Forget” and the second…well, I don’t think I even read the second because I was too excited about the first and my mind was already churning with ideas!

This topic is so charmingly appropriate. In UNREMEMBERED, my character, Seraphina, thinks she has amnesia after she’s been rescued from the site of a plane crash and has no memories about who she is or where she came from. But she soon learns there’s much more to her past than simple memory loss. Someone has actually been erasing memories from her mind. No bueno. I can certainly think of a boatload of things I hope are never stolen from my own mind but since the topic of this blog post is “5 Things You Hope You Never Forget” and not “A Boatload of Things You Hope You Never Forget,” I suppose I will have to narrow it down. 

So…here are the top 5 things I will cling to like a Krispy Kreme in a donut drought, should anyone ever try to erase my memories.

5. The way my dogs look at me after they sneak into the backseat of the car and hope I won’t notice and make them get out.

4. This perm at age 13. Because if I forget it, I may end up repeating it. *Shudders at the thought*

3. The girl who bullied me in the 6th grade. As painful as it was, as horrible as she made me feel pretty much every single day, I know her actions shaped who I am today. Remembering her means remembering that I survived it.

2.  The day I signed my first book contract. I had been trying to get published for over 5 years and had a mountain of rejection letters (I still have them all!) Getting that first contract in the mail (all official in a Fedex envelope) was pretty much one of the best feelings in the world. I would never want to lose that.

1. And last but most important, I hope I never forget why I do this job. It’s not for money or acclaim or to see my name on the front of a book. It’s to tell stories. To bring make-believe worlds to life. To entertain people like you. Fortunately, I’m reminded of this with every fan letter I receive and every reader who takes the time to tweet me or leave a comment on my Facebook page. So thank you for making sure I never unremember.

Comments from me: Yay! Jessica, thank you SO much for stopping by the blog today! I loved your answers. Your dogs are adorable, your perm was out of this world (I secretly wish I had a crazy hair style when I was younger, because then I could tease myself…), and you look so happy signing your contract! It was so much fun getting to know you better today. :) 

Try your luck at winning your own copy of Unremembered, which Mac Kids is so graciously providing! I hope you win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And don’t forget to stop by the other tour stops! Here’s the schedule:

Monday 2/25 Bewitched Bookworms
Tuesday 2/26 IB Book Blogging
Wednesday 2/27 Good Choice Reading
Thursday 2/28 Books with Bite
Friday 3/1 Book Sake<
Saturday 3/2 YA Book Nerd
Sunday 3/3 My Five Monkeys
Monday 3/4 The Irish Banana
Tuesday 3/5 You are here! (That Artsy Reader Girl)
Wednesday 3/6 Carina’s Books
Thursday 3/7 A Patchwork of Books
Friday 3/8 MacTeenBooks Blog

And in case I have not provided enough links for you, here are some other really important ones: 

Unremembered Book Trailer
Read and download the first five chapters of Unremembered for free!
Become a fan of the Unremembered Trilogy on Facebook
Follow Jessica Brody on Twitter
Become a fan of Jessica Brody on Facebook
See Jessica Brody on tour!
Check out her website!