The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

***My book review may contain spoilers.***

The writing style made this book a fast read. The only reason I couldn’t read it faster is because of a time issue on my end. The overall story was okay. I liked it. But it didn’t really captivate my attention as much as it could’ve, especially considering it’s Jenny Han and I love Jenny Han. I hope reading the rest of the series will bring more maturity to Belly. Which was one of my biggest pet peeves of the whole story. The character’s name.

I get the cuteness of it. Belly. The whole story in how she got her nickname. But I’m over here just completely hating it and annoyed by it and thinking, “What’s her real name?” It’s escaped me. Completely. So completely, I’m googling it right now……oh…it’s Isabel. Okay. I’ll refer Belly to Isabel from now on because again, I HATED THE NICKNAME. Or maybe it was the character. She was very self-absorbed in my opinion in this one. But then again, most teenagers are so I won’t hold it against her.

Isabel and her brother Steven always go to a summer house with their mom to meet her best friend/her best friend’s kids who both happen to be boys of similar age to Isabel and Steven. Their names were Conrad and Jeremiah. So of course Isabel grew up with crushes on both of them (An unexpected plot twist would have been if her brother was gay and also was crushing on them both but clearly that didn’t happen). The number of flip flopping she did in regards to the two of them was evident in the entire story, and was addressed by other characters numerous times. The story was told in flashbacks and present day. In the present day, a new boy was introduced, so it became a love square of some sort, but let’s be real, this kid was a footnote (Sorry Cam. You may have noticed her in eighth grade, but Conrad and Jeremiah have noticed her since she was in diapers soooo….)

Conrad was quite a character. Very moody. You could tell something was going on with him. Both Conrad and Jeremiah were hiding a secret about their mom, knowing she was sick, even though she hadn’t told them yet. So it was clear from early summer that Conrad was hurting. Jeremiah was sweet and caring to Isabel. Conrad was such a jerk. But it’s clear to all of us as readers that they both were crushing on “Belly.” Yes, Conrad, please call her “Bells.” That’s a better nickname. Please bring more of this in the future.

Towards the end of the book, Belly realizes she’s self absorbed once she finds out Susannah (the boys’ mom) had cancer again. Let’s just gloss over the fact that she’s such a be-yotch to her mom and there’s no apologies at all towards her in the entire book, not even when she found out her mom bought her the dress she wanted, and not Susannah who she thought she did the whole time. Susannah doesn’t die in this book, but I believe that’s coming in the impending future.

Isabel had to make a choice between Conrad and Jeremiah. The reason being, Jeremiah professed his love to her, and she decides that it’s always been Conrad. Even though she’s flip flopped her whole life. That’s going to bite her in the ass later. Most probably. She tells Jeremiah she picked Conrad, and then goes off to profess her love. Of course, Conrad rejects her. Then when he out moping about his mom, she goes to comfort him, and by doing this, she decides to kiss him to comfort him. Worst moment ever. I cannot. That’s how the first Conrad and Isabel kiss is gonna go? Ooookay. But then again, Jeremiah’s and Isabel’s first kiss was during Truth or Dare. Soooo…

Which brings me to another point. Isabel had brought her best friend Taylor to the house one summer and Taylor flip flopped between all the guys and told Isabel to address who she really liked. Isabel wouldn’t say anything. Then finds out Taylor’s flip flopping also included her brother and then their relationship was strained ever since. Because she was flip flopping? …….You’re doing the same Belly, you’re doing the same. Because there’s three involved, it makes all the difference? It’s prob because she cared about all three of them too (brotherly caring for her brother clearly). But all I know is, it’s the pot calling the kettle black. At least she didn’t drop Taylor but I did not like how that situation was handled at all. There was no official attachments to anyone AND Isabel couldn’t even make up her mind back then either. The quote of this entire friendship for the reason why she didn’t drop her:“It’s hard to throw away history. It was like you were throwing away a part of yourself.” I agree with this quote. I just hate what it was put behind.

I wish I saw more of the mothers and their friendship. I know it was based on Belly and her shenanigans but it would have been a nice touch. It would have made the finding out about Susannah having cancer again more emotional for me. When they recited Susannah’s poem, it was a nice touch. “For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)/it’s always ourselves we find in the sea.”

I didn’t get any feels with this book. It was very typical love triangle-esque story for me. From reading this, I pick Conrad. Only because I like damaged, hard to love, unattainable, unavailable, whatever vibes he was throwing at me. I’m a sucker for those.

Overall, it was an okay book. Fast read. I imagine the whole series is.

My Star Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Stars

Read From January 24, 2018 to February 7, 2018 (14 Days)

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Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

***This book review may contain spoilers.***

Okay. So I was skeptical about reading this. Mostly because I can’t do action-y novels, and I worried it would be that kind. I saw the movie and enjoyed it, just as much as any other woman I expected enjoyed it. How could you not, with such a feminist message which is why I decided to read this book in the first place. I haven’t read anything by Leigh Bardugo before. This is a case of the label for why I read it. A Wonder Woman story. When I added it to my to-reads, when it got closer and closer to reading it, I wanted to cancel it and take it off my list. I’m so glad I didn’t.

It was soooo good. All the characters were greatly developed, and it brought such a new and fresh take to the Wonder Woman story. It’s a story about friendship first and foremost. It was so beautiful, in my opinion. And it really is solidifying Wonder Woman as my favorite superhero. Legit. A lot of emotion in this book, that’s for sure. The character’s relationships with each other was so spot on. You cared about every single one. Every character had their uniqueness and storyline added into it where they didn’t feel like blips in the background of the book.

It brought in Greek mythology which should have been expected by me but it was not. I loved the tie-ins the book made and the Warbringer mythology. What a great storyline in my opinion. I also loved finding out that Diana was brought to the mortal world on purpose to fulfill her destiny as an Amazon. Personally, I wouldn’t have minded this book to be the Wonder Woman movie. It was just as good with a better “villain” reveal.

Can I just talk about how sketch Jason was from the beginning though? Did anyone catch this or was it just me? Just throwing this out there. And the plot twist with Alia at the end? Nice little touch, I have to say.

Overall, the book was really well written and kept me intrigued. And it does leave it open-ended which gets me excited for the possibility of more.

My Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Read from January 21, 2018 to January 24, 2018 (3 Days)

How To Disappear by Sharon Huss Roat

***This book review may contain spoilers.***

This was going to be a DNF. Mostly because the character annoyed me from the beginning. Mostly because I related so much. As a person who has social anxiety and had the same thoughts all the time, especially back in high school/college where it was so severe, it just brought me back to the old days. And I didn’t want to reminisce. But I also have to acknowledge it. And reading a book wasn’t going to change who I am. So I pummeled my way through. And man, this author really knows social anxiety. Really captured it well.

The main character Vicky loses her best friend. Her best friend moves away so she promised to be there for her but instead gets lost with her new crowd of friends and Vicky overhears a conversation where she hears Jenna (her best friend) call her pathetic with Jenna’s new love interest Tristan. I mean, it’s clear she’s saying this because he’s calling her lame for being so attentive. First of all, you should have known from that point Jenna, that he was no good for you. A best friend is a best friend. Pshhh. Second, I get the position where Jenna was in. It’s also new people at a new school and you’re trying your best to fit in. Anyways, of course Vicky, with her anxiety takes it literally and instead of confronting it, she creates a new persona on Instagram called Vicurious. Which ends up becoming Instagram famous and keeps avoiding Jenna through texts/phone calls. (Typical social anxiety behavior I would say. The author has this spot on).

All the while, Vicky starts gaining confidence as her page gets more and more famous. She starts liking this guy Lipton, who I have to admit was a really adorable character and was perfect for Vicky to help her build the confidence she needed without her best friend in the area. They had a lot of cute moments. He was just so adorbs.

I also loved how the book exemplified Vicky’s relationship with her mom. Most of the time, a parent and a child are at different maturity levels, and the difficulty of communicating the lessons you already learned through time is something that all parents have to go through. At least I’d like to think so. It’s nice that Vicky was finally able to talk to her mom about her anxiety and to talk about getting help.

“The way to overcome your fears is just to face it.”

The overall theme of the book. One solution to anxiety. Continuous exposure. It was nice seeing Vicky grow as a character from not being able to say one word to somebody to being able to have full on conversations with people and sometimes not even acknowledging that she had. Time and continuous exposure always helps.

The Vicurious/Vicky Decker reveal was a sweet moment. The Vicurious instagram was created because of her best friend. And she gave up her anonymous identity to find her best friend again. Did the book ever answer if Marvo knew the whole time she was Vicurious. Did I miss that?Also, I didn’t understand how Vicurious got to be so big? I get that some things just take off, but to me, it was just so sudden that didn’t really make it real to me in my head.

Overall, it was good. The writing style made it an easy and fast read.

My Star Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Read From January 20, 2018 to January 21, 2018 (1 Day)

Who’s That Girl by Mhairi McFarlane

***This book review may contain spoilers.***

Ehhhhhhh. It’s the bottom of my list in regards to all the books I read by Mhairi McFarlane. But I will give it to Mhairi McFarlane. The foreshadows and plot was clear straight from the beginning. She knew exactly where she wanted the book to go. Also, even though you knew where the book was going in all it’s cliche-ness, it didn’t feel like a cliche. It was a very natural transition from normal girl falling for an actor/actor falling for a normal girl. Probably because she alluded to the fact that actors are people too. Just there’s an additional aspect/annoyance to it. Aka paparazzi/fans. Poor guy couldn’t catch a break.

I really liked Elliot as a character. He really took Edie’s problems with stride and the kind of maturity you would want an almost stranger to take them and really empathized with her. He seemed like a character who didn’t let the fame get to him, and saw it as more, doing the thing he loved. He wasn’t egotistical at all which was refreshing. I usually see in these type of books, the actor is egotistical and is always brought back down to earth by the normal person, but it wasn’t the case here. That’s probably why this love story felt so natural and not as cliche.

The friendships Edie had…and clearly I’m talking about Hannah and Nick. Not her London friends. Pshh. Those losers/followers/hacks can stay over there. Hannah and Nick were amazeballs and I loved reading about their friendship and loved the scenes where they all got together. Life is a s*** show and you always need your friends around. Margot was an absolute pleasure to read and it was sad to see her go. But I’m glad Edie met her. She was meant to be in her life for even just a moment.

Can we just also talk about the whole wedding kiss scenario which was the main part of this extremely long book? Currently, in pop culture right now, there’s something going around called “micro-cheating.” Jack was a clear micro-cheater. He embodied that persona to a T. TO A T. That is, until he kissed Edie at the wedding. Edie, my girl. I agree with everyone else that you were way above his capabilities in girlfriend material and I’m glad you saw that yourself when he came crawling back at the end thinking he’d be taken with open arms. Very egotistical dude, considering we’re dealing with famous people in this book who were not at all. And I hate how we, as women, always blame the other woman. But Edie was a single girl with no attachments to anyone. Charlotte, you knew this. But it’s typical for women to side with their boo. I’ve seen it done all the time. So for Charlotte to allow and acknowledge bullying and hate…like girl. That should have all been directed to your man. ALL OF IT. I get that you were hurting but shoooooooooooot. Charlotte’s best friend Lucie is a be-yotch. I love how Edie confronted her to her face. It was one of the best scenes of the book. I was clapping along with the other people at the restaurant.

When it came to Edie’s family and that whole dynamic, I understood why it was happening from the beginning so it was nice for it to come full circle at the end. The only character in the book I didn’t like too much or understand as much was Meg. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like the character was built too hard at being one way, that it didn’t make sense altogether.

Overall, it’s a decent read. A little too long for my taste.

My Star Rating:3 out of 5 Stars

 Read from January 12, 2018 to January 20, 2018 (8 Days)

When Life Happened by Jewel E. Ann

***This book review contains spoilers.***

Before I go even further, you really should be jumping into this book clueless. I did. Made it more enjoyable.

Jewel Ann can write. I give her that. The story line just didn’t do it for me though. And because it didn’t do it for me, unfortunately it’s not a 4. This is of course my biased opinion. I have the same mindset as Parker. I despise cheating. I have no tolerance for it. So to me, right from the get go, she didn’t exemplify those traits. She flirted with Gus right off the bat. For someone against cheating, you think she would have cooled it or backed away. Also, you can’t base a whole character on despising cheating and have her thinking about hooking up with a married man since Chapter 2. No no no. That’s now how that works.

And sitting here writing this, I realize I can’t be the judgement police. I’ve done a whole lot of stuff on my own that people can judge me on. Feelings are a powerful thing. So now that I’m continuing writing this review, I’ll give it a 4 because it’s just dawning on me that things aren’t so black and white. There’s also gray. Which was a major theme of the book.

“Someone cheated on you, and you’re so fucking mad about it because you can’t understand it. But love is an emotion that resides in your head and your proverbial heart. It has to be nurtured to grow or it dies.”

“I wanted you to acknowledge desire is a drug and no one is immune to its effect.”

“Yeah, life never checks the forecast before it decides to just happen.”

#Truth. That’s all I got to say. I relate wholeheartedly to all the above quotes.

I’m going to summarize the entire book right here. This is a total spoiler. Pretty much Parker falls in love with Gus. A married man. They never fully had an affair aka slept together but they were getting there. Gus felt ignored by his wife, Sabrina. Turns out Sabrina was legit having an affair. Life happens. Gus never makes it to be with Parker. Enter Sabrina’s brother, Levi. Parker falls in love with Levi. Clarifies it’s more in love than she ever felt with Gus. They get married. The end.

That’s what I didn’t like at all to be honest. The instalove. I’m all for instalove. But two instaloves in one book? And so quickly one after the other? You didn’t even let me mourn Jewel Ann. You didn’t even let me acknowledge how big of a loss Gus was because in comes Levi and it’s already being thrown in there where it’s like, oh here we go.

I got Christian Grey vibes from Levi. There was something about him I did not like. I preferred Gus to tell you the truth. And that’s saying something because I hated the cheating story line altogether. I just didn’t care for Levi and his cheesy lines. I was extra guarded with this guy. I’m just like soooo everyone ran away because you were honest? Like, I don’t get it. That’s it?

And then it’s also like, what made Parker so great that it made both Gus and Levi go completely head over heels? She’s an attractive, single 26 year old. I say attractive because that was the main focus for both of them. Other than that, all she did was flirt and be playful and pay attention to them. Any girl can do that. Which is why the instalove is so unbelievable to me. Instalove has to be believable if you’re going to use it. And I refuse to believe that Levi’s whole decision on his life partner was based the fact that Parker would leave his apartment in the middle of the night alone just to get a donut but that’s what Jewel Ann wants me to believe. I MEAN, I CAN LEAVE MY APARTMENT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT FOR FOOD TOO. Where’s my millionaire boyfriend?

Another thing too. Why is it that every person Parker met had some money to their name. The podiatrist. Gus. Levi. And she was the poor one. It’s like the author wanted her to be saved from her mess of a life with a man with money. Somehow, I don’t believe the story would have the same effect if Levi was poor.

This book wasn’t what I expected, but it was a good, fast read. And it gives you something to debate about after.

My Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Read from January 11, 2018 to January 12, 2018 (2 Days)

Renegades by Marissa Meyer

***This book review may contain spoilers.***

I only have read Heartless by Marissa Meyer so I wasn’t sure what to expect with Renegades. I did notice some complaints in regards to how long this book was. So I was very tense about reading this book. Turns out it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

I personally think Marissa Meyer’s style of writing is addicting. Renegades was slow in the beginning, not going to lie, but it really did pick up after the backstory/world-building was introduced.

Every character’s backstory is pretty interesting. I would love to see this turn into a movie. But you know…that’s called X-Men. Pretty much. Two groups. Renegades and Anarchists (formerly Villains). *cough* X-Men vs Acolytes *cough*. Anyways, the Renegades are regarded as superheroes by the “normal” people and revere them and count on them to save them. Renegades control the town and have rules. In contrast, Anarchists, believe that everyone should be free to do what they wish.

We get the story told by two perspectives. Nova’s and Adrian’s. They both have a major secret throughout the book. OKAY. I’ll tell you. Adrian’s a secret superhero. Because he was already a superhero. But he also is an extra superhero. LOL. Yeah. I know. Nova is working for the “villains” and raised by them. They decided that she infiltrates the Renegades to learn their secrets and to figure out a way to beat them. Which you know is technically hard, because Renegades have different chapters all around the world. You can’t really defeat the Renegades. Nova’s villain’s name is Nightmare. Her hero name is Insomnia. They both grew up very differently but the irony is, you can tell they both want the same thing for the world. Some different aspects, but overall, yeah. And I don’t even think Nova is a true anarchist. She can’t even kill someone. But she isn’t a Renegade either. They’re both in the middle in my opinion. And clearly there’s some romance thing going on here. I’ll feel bad when the truth comes out because Adrian is going to feel oh so betrayed. BUT I feel like Adrian will let it go. Which, you know, I wouldn’t. Nightmare did attempt to kill his father. Let’s not forget that.

I can’t wait to see what’s going on there between Ruby and Oscar. It wasn’t really addressed much but I see something big happening there. Otherwise why would it be mentioned.

Detonator was annoying as a character. Maybe because I’m more on the Renegade’s side and don’t think the Anarchist’s have a true mission value except causing anarchy.

I thought I would be confused with all the different superpowers going on but it was actually pretty easy to follow once the book gained traction.

I’m interested in Max’s ability. I figured he was something like that. He’s quarantined for a reason. I’m just trying to figure out the end game on that. Because the Renegades wanting to control who has powers? WTF? Whoever thought of this is clearly very non-heroic. I get it though. Like you don’t want people dying unnecessarily. People with powers killing people with powers? Yeah. I understand. But also, y’all think your ideologies are all running on the same paths? Clearly there’s Renegades that are ultimately “good”, and clearly there’s Renegades that are ultimately “bad.”

My Star Rating:4 out of 5 Stars

 Read From December 26 to December 30. (4 days)

This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

***This book review may contain spoilers.***

No. Just no. In theory, the summary made this book seem great. The execution? Not so much. I couldn’t get into it, but I was able to get through it where I didn’t DNF.

The characters, in my opinion, were way too one-dimensional. And to work with such a controversial subject, you have to do it justice. I can’t read a book about a school shooting and not feel despair, but the way this story was written and executed, I didn’t harbor any emotions whatsoever for any of the characters. It’s like when you’re watching an action movie, and the side characters all get picked off and you’re just watching all the action, not thinking about the consequences of that character’s death because they’re nothing to you. The feeling I had reading this entire book.

And you know, this book went at a fast pace. So I could forgive it since the book went at a fast pace if you could have given me more depth later. After all the events transpired. And the author attempted to with the epilogue, but even the epilogue was a little flat for me.

For a book that had so many multiple perspectives, it also would have been nice to get Tyler’s perspective. I mean, he’s the main character, if you really want to think about it. There’s a reason they all knew his name. For someone who claimed to be a nobody and ousted from the world, they all seemed to know who he was.

My Star Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars.